Central Equatoria State, News

Yei commences land dialogue

By James Innocent


About 63 Chiefs, Elders, and Cultural Leaders converged on Sunday in Yei River County to dialogue on issues related to land use and peace, in the county.

The dialogue organized by the county authorities specifically seek to address disputes over land use.

Speaking during the dialogue the Commissioner of Yei River County, Aggrey Cyrus Kanyikwa, urged the Chiefs, Elders, and Cultural leader to promote peace, protect the environment, and prevent abuse of land.

He said that local government Act of 2009 and Local Orders, grants traditional powers.

The Commissioner emphasized the need for community leaders to play a vital role in encouraging armed criminals and those who threaten peace to seek dialogue, put an end to violence and criminal activities in Yei River County.

Additionally, he called upon the local leaders to facilitate reconciliation of returnees with host communities, to foster integration and harmonious coexistence.

Kanyikwa stressed the need to support returnees, who are in desperate.

He also highlighted the importance of the Community Leaders and County Authorities in ensuring a peaceful resettlement.

“We have no other option but to help the returnees and thrive together as one family,” Kanyikwa stated during the meeting.

As the discussions progressed, the Commissioner issued a stern warning to the Chiefs, Elders, and Cultural Leaders regarding the sale of lands and the destruction of forests without following proper procedures.

Instead, he urged them to actively promote peace and protect against unnecessary deforestation and misuse of land in Yei River County.

The commissioner emphasized on Chiefs and Landlords involved in unauthorized tree-cutting and land sales would be held accountable and required to immediately cease such activities.

The Cultural Leaders, recognizing the significance of the issue, pledged to mobilize themselves in cleansing the land and repelling intruders, all to foster peace, harmony, and prosperity.

Emmanuel Natalie, the Executive Chief of Tekori Boma, expressed concern over the diminishing role of Landlords and Chiefs since the outbreak of conflict in South Sudan in 2016, particularly in Yei River County.

He said Land grabbing has undermined their authority, and they are now often disregarded, including the Rainmakers.

“Chiefs, elders, and Rainmakers have faced numerous challenges since the 2016 conflict in South Sudan, which forced many people to flee their homes. As a result, we are no longer recognized within the government system, and many people do not respect our authority when it comes to issues of land grabbing, which have become increasingly common,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Lasu Payam Executive Chief, Alex Kenyi Lokosang, highlighted the severe hardships faced by civil population in Lasu.

He said armed individuals instill fear and tension among the people while numerous roadblocks hinder movement, resulting in exorbitant charges when transporting goods to Yei market, particularly food items.

CES governor, Emmanuel Adil Antony had previously called for the removal of checkpoints to facilitate free movement of people, but according the executive chief, no action has been taken thus far.

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