By Gladys Fred Kole
Natives of Kajo-Keji County in Central Equatoria State have been asked to voluntarily return home to rebuild their livelihoods ahead of the forthcoming 2024 general elections.
Kajo-Keji is among the places worst hit by the political crisis in South Sudan, which saw the young East African country plunge into conflict twice in December 2013 and July 2016—10 years from independence.
The country is recovering from the brutal civil war that has killed an estimated 400,000 people, sent over two million to exile as refugees, and displaced millions more internally, primarily to urban centers.
As the political crisis that struck the country was mended by the fragile 2018 revitalized peace agreement, which brought relative peace and elections expected to wear out the transitional unity government brought by the accord, government officials are encouraging citizens to return home from camps to prepare for the 2024 presidential polls.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ambassador Dr. James Pitia Morgan, advised the refugees to return home and rebuild their livelihoods.
Ambassador Morgan was addressing members of the Kajo-Keji community on Saturday in Juba during a Thanksgiving ceremony held in honor of his appointment.
“People should return home and prepare for the coming elections so that they can elect the government that will be accountable to them,” Amb. Morgan told his community members.
He elaborated that the people cannot expect their land to flourish if they don’t make a decision to return and take charge to rebuild their livelihoods.
“We have made mistakes with that—I mean, the 2013 and 2016 eras—but now peace has been restored, the guns have fallen silent.” Pitia expressed.
“We were given time to implement the revitalized peace agreement; with this agreement, we were not able to finish some of its articles, and that is why it was extended by something called the roadmap,” he continued.
“This roadmap is also coming to an end in 2024, and at the end of 2024, there will be elections in this country,” he lamented.
The Vice President for Economic Cluster, H.E. Dr. James Wani Igga, who graced the occasion, also reiterated that people should not let their place be taken by intruders who want to oppress them.
He also emphasized the need for the locals to return home, rebuild their land, and bring back the lost glory.
Kajo-Keji County is slowly recovering from the impact of the brutal 2016 war that sent most of the citizens to neighboring countries as refugees, and the marauding armed cattle keepers also added to the trouble in the countryside.
“Go and guard your land; let’s not leave our land to be taken away; let us look back.” Dr. Igga urged natives.
Kajo-Keji Community Organization (KCO) over the weekend splashed a colorful Thanksgiving ceremony in honor of the appointment of their son as minister of foreign affairs and international relations Ambassador Dr. James Pitia Morgan.
Ambassador Morgan hails from Nyepo Payam in Kajo-Keji County, Central Equatoria State,
The occasion also recognized the appointment of two other sons of Kajo-Keji County, including Julius Tabuley Daniel, who was appointed in earlier April 2022 as deputy minister of public service and human resource development, and the recent appointee H.W. Mogga Franco Wani, the deputy Juba city mayor for administration and finance.