Government backs dry season dissemination of Pieri peace

By the closing day of the inception workshop for the inter-communal governance structures, the tone had noticeably shifted. The tendency to revert to the blame game steered back towards a collective responsibility for the peace…

By the closing day on Thursday 28 October of the inception workshop in Bor for the inter-communal governance structures, the tone had noticeably shifted. The tendency to revert to the blame game steered back towards a collective responsibility for the peace. As each representative of the respective structures reported back to the whole group, they underlined that they were speaking not as Nuer, Dinka or Murle, but as the spokesperson for their Committee Structure.

According to a Nuer proverb:

Anything that does not allow you to sleep, you are the cause of it.

As the representatives of the three structures and the County Commissioners return to their communities, Governor Denay Jok Chagor told them during the closing that this peace should be keeping them awake, because they are the cause of it and are responsible for it.

At the invitation of the Governor, the Chief Administrator of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area travelled from Pibor for the closing ceremony with the GPAA Peace Commission Chairperson. Hon Malual Gabriel, Jonglei State Minister for Peacebuilding, publicly read the conclusion of the meeting, officially appending the updated resolutions to the provisions of the Pieri Action for Peace.

The Jonglei Governor and Deputy Governor, and GPAA Chief Administrator, all speaking to the group in their native languages, with interpretation to the other communities, re-iterated their commitment and made clear that they are expecting all those part of the structures to continue seriously with their commitment. In particular, they underlined that this peace is from the communities of Jonglei and GPAA, for the communities, and that the peace must be upheld in the face of the inevitable spoilers, internal and external.

There was equally a clear message from the Government that there will be accountability. Communities who encourage or tolerate violations to any provisions of the agreement will be held to account, starting with their leaders. And where the authorities identify groups of criminals holding out  against the peace, they should expect government intervention.  

Among the next steps that each structure emphasised in its own conclusions, the need for logistical support stood out. The women are intent on playing an integral role in the wider dissemination of the peace, including as mixed groups of Murle, Dinka and Nuer. The youth are ready to work on joint patrols in the key border areas between the three communities. The traditional leaders are ready to move through their communities, and the Murle traditional leaders specifically re-iterated their hope to travel as a group through the remote areas of the Murle community. All these endeavour require resources.

The structures have two months before their next meeting, which they agreed will take place in Lekuangole in December. Apart from general dissemination measures, immediate next steps include two bilateral dialogues – between the Gawaar and Murle (to be witnessed by representatives of Dinka Bor and Lou Nuer), first in Ayod and then Gumuruk, and between the youth of Kongor and Greater Lou.

This community governance structures project and associated threads of peacebuilding activities in Jonglei and GPAA are supported by the Swiss Cooperation Office, the Peacebuilding Opportunities Fund (POF), the Reconciliation, Stabilisation and Resilience Trust Fund (RSRTF), Shejah Selam and Caritas Germany.

Peace Canal, as a partner in the peace process, has an interest in promoting positive narratives of peace, but aims to present balanced perspectives on progress.

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