16 Jan 2019

 

Yei Community Leaders In Agreement To Promote Unity, Peace And Fight Hate Speech

Local community leaders in South Sudan’s Yei River State say they will use their influence to promote unity, preach peace, reconcile and fight against tribalism and hate speech in an effort to boost the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.

Yei Community Leaders In Agreement To Promote Unity, Peace And Fight Hate Speech
Participants of the workshop organised by CEPO in Yei pose for a group photo [Gurtong photo|Daniel Friday]

Daniel Friday Martin

YEI, 18 December 2018 [Gurtong] –
The Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) a leading civil society organization operating in Yei River State brought together key community leaders from all the Counties of the State, representatives from greater upper Nile, greater Bhar-el-Ghazal, Western and Eastern Equatoria States and the Abyei region for a three days peace building workshop.

In a statement extended to Gurtong, CEPO said the goal of the project aimed at strengthening the capacity of local community leaders for effective peace building.

“CEPO believes empowering diverse community leaders in peace building will enhance reconciliation and forgiveness that contributes towards peaceful co-existence, unity and development in the country” the statement added.

Speaking to Gurtong at the end of the three days workshop, Michael Kuwai a prominent community leader representing Upper Nile said the workshop has equipped him with new skills on peace building, reconciliation and forgiveness.

Kuwai said he will use his influence as a community leader to preach to community members to denounce tribalism and work towards supporting the recently signed peace deal.

 “Tribalism is a bad thing because it disunites and takes us back; let’s come together and restart our livelihood. The peace has been signed and Kiir and Riak are now working together so let’s join hands to build peace. I am going to educate my community members and others on the negative effects of tribalism and also promote the language of peace” said Kuwai.

Matur Apach another community leader for Greater Bhar-el Ghazal pledged to spread messages of peaceful co-existence, unity, reconciliation and conflict mitigation so as to boost peace building in the area.

 “My role as a community leader is to help those people who were traumatized, talk the language of peace, unity and reconciliation. My message to my fellow South Sudanese is that leaders must unite for peace and handle issues in a non violent way through dialogue” he added.

Hillary Garison another participant thanked CEPO for having brought representatives of all the  64 tribes to work for peace in South Sudan.

Garison said he will apply the learnt knowledge to transform lives of others in a positive way so as to promote peaceful co-existence as one people one country.

 “With the new knowledge I got from the workshop organized by CEPO, it’s important because I am going to change the lives of other people so that our suffering comes to an end and we all live in peace. We did not know that peace would be signed but now I am very happy that the peace has been signed and we will all support it” he added.

Ayak Deng a female participant from the Abyei region says she wants to see all the tribes of South Sudan reconcile and live in peace with one another.

“Peace and unity is very important in this country. Let’s show love and unity among ourselves. Tribalism is bad, let’s forgive ourselves and stay in peace with one another” Mrs. Ayak stressed.
Ayak said she will speak to her fellow women to speak the language of peace with their husbands.

David Bala a community leader in Yei River County said hate speech and propaganda were key causes of death and displacements in Yei River State.

 “With the skills I have gotten from the workshop, we will advocate for an end to hate speech, because hate speech still remains a big wound in the hearts of many people and let’s now talk the language of peace not hatred again” he ended.

For her part, Chritine Anite, the Yei River State minister of Gender and Social Development thanked CEPO and its partner VISTAS and USAID for working hard in supporting peace building processes in Yei River State.

Anite said enough efforts are still needed in promoting peace building in the rural conflict affected Counties of Yei River State.

Anite said the local government is working hard to restore peace and stability so that development partners can reach to the rural areas of Yei.

Mrs. Anite urged the participants to apply the learnt skills to transform the lives of other people within their areas of reach.

“Let’s all be united as a family in building this country. You have learnt a lot and my appeal to you is that bear fruits with the seeds of knowledge given to you so that we all enjoy the fruits of peace in our communities.”

Yei River State is one of the States in the country that witnessed violent impact of the 2016 conflict and as such, the United States agency for international development (USAID) with its partner CEPO launched a six months peace project in August this year aimed at promoting peaceful constituency in the area.

 
 

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