It was an event in Juba that had it all: Participants jumping, singing, dancing, ululating and generally relishing the tunes of the peacekeeping mission’s in-house band, the near-legendary Flamingos, while, in between flamboyant dance moves, absorbing meaningful messages of peace.
The jubilant crowd also received exciting information about the mandate of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the constitutional making process, and on how to improve social cohesion within and between communities.
“I want to congratulate UNMISS for thoroughly having explained the constitutional making process in the country, because some of us were not aware of this happening. Women need peace, and to be involved in decision making,” said Christine Anita, Chairlady of the African Inland Church, adding that not only women but also youth and other relevant stakeholders be involved in drafting one of South Sudan’s most important political documents.
Carried out under the theme The Revitalized Peace Agreement – Achievements, Challenges, and the Way Forward, the happening brought together more than 300 people, 80 of whom were pastors in the making, courtesy of the African Leadership Institute.
“The implementation of the peace agreement is a collective responsibility, not the exclusive task of the government. We must all support the process,” Michael Ladu Alajabu, Mayor of Juba and guest of honour at the event.
Reuben Inaju, Head of the peacekeeping mission’s Community Outreach Unit, hinted that some citizens, having suffered through decades of non-peace, may harbour a false and perhaps unconscious belief that peace might not be achievable in their country.
“Peace is not an alien idea. It is, or at least could become, part and parcel of your lives and yet something that must be nurtured and maintained by every South Sudanese man, woman, boy and girl. Without doing this, you won’t achieve dividends that typically come with peace,” he said, stressing how essential it is to provide all citizens with platforms to express their views and partake in decisions relevant to their lives and livelihoods.
The peacekeeping mission is mandated by the UN Security Council to support the implementation of the peace deal; inclusive, accountable governance; and free, fair and peace elections in December 2024, at the end of the transitional period.