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Chiefs: Lack of funds hinders harmonization of laws

Netherland Acting Ambassador; Jaap van der Zeeuw

By Taban Gabriel

Lack of financial support is the major factor hindering harmonizing of customary laws with the South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, said traditional chiefs.

Denis Darramollo, the paramount chief of Juba said due to power struggle among political leaders in the country, the traditional chiefs have been neglected without any financial support.

Darramollo made the statements during the launching of a two-day Annual Rule of Law Forum for traditional leaders held under the theme: “Exploring Traditional Justice as a vehicle for peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.”

Hesaid besides lack of stationaries for documentation of cases,most traditional courts do operate from under trees despite having acquired land titles.

“If some of the demands are fulfill, the chiefs will be able to address certain issues like the collection of arms from communities which no any public figure can manage,” Darramollo said.

“Unless you empower the chiefs whatever means of power you employ, you will never collect all arms from the youth.”

He saidit would be easier for the chiefs to influence the youth to cooperate with government policies.

Darramollo urged his colleagues not to become “power hungry,” adding: “instead they should act as peace makers.”

Mr. Jaap Van der Zeeuw, acting Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands called on the traditional leaders to uphold justice to overcome the challenges of customary laws.

Hesays local chiefs should explore traditional justice as a vehicle to restore peace and stability in the country.

Meanwhile, the Director General at the Ministry of Justice, Christopher Laki Peter said local chiefs have bigger role to play in these current conflict situation by educating the youth on importance of peace.

Laki said constitutional justice have been extended up to Payam levels so that chiefs do not encounter difficulties in implementing it.

The Forum that was funded by UNDP and the Kingdom of Netherlands brought chiefs from thirteen various communitiesand including those seeking protection at UN Protection of Civilians (POC) sites in Juba.

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