C. Equatoria legislators undergo peacebuilding, conflict resolution training

Fifty members of parliament from the Central Equatoria State Legislative Assembly are undergoing a four-day workshop on peacebuilding and conflict resolution organized by the state’s ministry of peacebuilding in collaboration with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative in Juba.

Speaking during the opening session on Wednesday, James Wani, the Director of Peace in the state Ministry of Peacebuilding, said the need to conduct the training comes as the state is engaging in resolving conflicts and he urged the parliamentarians to take an active role in the peacebuilding processes.

“This program came about because we have been doing a lot of conflict resolution and peacebuilding across the state,” he explained. “However, we have been building capacity at the grassroots but we also now need to build capacity of the leaders. That is why we felt it important to organize this workshop.”

Wani revealed that the legislators will also discuss the root causes of conflicts, and mechanisms to resolve them and pointed out land grabbing as one of the root causes of conflicts.

“Peace comes from collective efforts. Inclusivity is very important in peacebuilding, therefore, we need you parliamentarians to take an active role. If Central Equatoria State can breathe peace, it will be reflected in the other ten states because you are the heart of this country,” he stated. “Therefore, let us utilize these four days, let us seize this opportunity not only as legislators but to build your capacity as individuals.”

Speaking to the press after the opening session, Peter Wani Elia, the Speaker of the Central Equatoria State Legislative Assembly, said the training is very important because it will build the capacity of the lawmakers.

“I believe by the end of the four days, our members will also carry the same message to and educate others in the six counties they come from. I believe our people in the state will be enlightened to know the meaning of peace and conflict resolution,” he enlightened.

“We are facing so many challenges in terms of peace and security, especially land issues because we are a host community. A lot of people from all over the Republic of South Sudan are in Juba and therefore there is a high need for land.”

According to Speaker Wani, the state parliament encourages every citizen of South Sudan to follow the right procedures for acquiring land.