By Gladys Fred Kole
Central Equatoria state government sets to celebrate the 12th anniversary of South Sudan’s Independence in Kajo-Keji County.
A decision warmly welcomed by the community, who believe the occasion will instill hope to returnees, expectant to rebuild their lives.
The occasion will be marked on July 9 th 2023 at Kajo-Keji County Freedom Square.
Kajo-Keji Community Organization (KKCO) believes the state celebration could bring in hopes for return of citizens who had fled for refuge in the neighboring countries due to the 2016 violence.
KKCO held a meeting on Wednesday with the state governor on preparatory struggles for the approaching Independence Day Celebrations.
Mr. Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, the Chairperson of KKCO, recognized the State Government’s declaration to commemorate the forthcoming independence anniversary at Kajo-Keji county Freedom Square.
“It is a good move towards nurturing sustainable peace, development and homecoming of the refugees in the various camps to rebuild their lives and actively per-take in the State’s building,” he said.
Central Equatoria state governor, Emmanuel Adil Anthony has engaged the State committee to coordinate with the community organization to mobilize resources and masses for the function.
He also appealed to KKCO leadership to use its influence to disseminate messages of unity for common purpose and the return of refugees in the camps.
The governor noted that peace and stability have been restored in the area through Government’s sustained efforts.
Early this month, the governor issued a gubernatorial order, establishing a state high-level committee for the preparation of the 9th July 2023 Independence Day celebration in Kajo-Keji.
Membership of the committee includes the state Advisor on Gender, Child and social welfare- as Chairperson, State Minister of Roads and Bridges, as Deputy Chairperson, Commissioner of Kajo-Keji County- as the Secretary general.
Other members consist of the State Minister of Cooperatives and Rural Development, State Minister, of Agriculture, Environment and Forestry, State Minister of Labor and Public Services, Secretary General, Revitalized Transitional Government of Central Equatoria- Deputy Secretary.
It further encompassed Central Equatoria State Assistant Inspector General of Police (A/IGP) & Commissioner of Police, the state Director of National Security Service, , state Director of Counter Intelligent and the Army Commander in Kajo-Keji Forces.
Governor, Adil in his order had tasked the state officials with the responsibility to prepare for the independence celebration and keep reporting day-to-day activities until the end of the function.
The committee was also entrusted to mobilize enough resources in order to facilitate all the necessary arrangements of the function by bringing together all the six (6) Counties of the State.
Additionally, the committee was also tasked to mobilize all the citizens of the State to turn up in large numbers for the celebrations.
Kajo-Keji County is one of the six counties of Central Equatoria State, bordering Ugandan districts of Moyo to the South, and Yumbe to the West. It also borders Juba County to the north, Lainya County in the west, and Magwi County of Eastern Equatoria State to the east.
However, the 2016 civil unrest badly devastated the area prompting three-quarters of the county’s population to flee for refuge in the neighboring countries while others opted for the capital, Juba.
Kajo-Keji was one of the most peaceful counties in the country, where the locals are self-reliant, living on subsistence farming and others raring livestock while a small percentage practices fishing, but the entire livelihood has been destroyed by the war.
The 2016, conflict and insecurity exacerbated by the marauding cattle keepers caused havoc to local farmers, with big effects on the livelihoods and economic stability of the country, rendering the people vulnerable.
In recent years, the presence of migratory cattle herds has caused problems among the people who don’t seem to be getting better, with the latest incident being the murder of 27 innocent lives by suspected armed herders, creating the first ever mass grave in the history of the county.
However, with the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement on course, life is slowly returning back to normalcy.
Reduction of food rations in the refugee camps has subjected South Sudanese to opt to come and survive in the precarious environment, characterized by relative peace, back home.