JMEC CHAIRMAN: Traditional elders are agents of peace and reconciliation in the South Sudan.
JMEC Chairman, H.E. Festus Mogae, met Chiefs Council of South Sudan in Juba, emphasizing the integral leadership role they play in enhancing reconciliation efforts among communities and building lasting peace.
“Traditional leaders play a vital leadership role in their communities just as elected representatives play a role in a modern democratic setting. We can all agree that traditional leaders have historically been effective mediators and adjudicators in their communities by implementing positive traditional forms of peace-making, conflict resolution and intervention on behalf of victims of injustice,” he said.
The meeting which brought together 655 chiefs from 28 States Plus Abyei Administrative is among other efforts JMEC is making in building peace and cohesion among communities in the country.
“I appeal to you, as I have done to the rest of the leaders of this country – to go all out and preach peace and reconciliation; to extend a hand of friendship to all, including estranged members of the Opposition, offering assurances of safety,” the chairman said.
He urged inclusive participation in the implementation of transitional security arrangements. “The key message I have sought to articulate regarding inclusivity is that it is not, and should not, be about individuals. It is and should be about communities and all other parties that have a stake in the peace process.”
Council president Deng Garang said “the solution to the conflict is in our hands. We therefore need to be partners in the peace process (and work) together with the international organization. We know the politicians in the government and those in the opposition. They are our people. We need to talk to them.”
The chiefs pledged to be peace ambassadors among tribes in their jurisdictions.