WHILE everyone defines peace in their own opinion and context, we acknowledge that peace is not the absence of conflict; it is about how best the society manages conflicts arising amongst them.
For one to be at peace, it’s a choice. It is about defining your environment and not allowing the environment to define you. Some people allow peer pressure and force to fit in, even when circumstances (family background, financial capability etc) do not allow. They fail to understand that everyone has their own race in life to run and that people’s goals in life are not achieved at the same time. Just because your neighbor built a new house, bought a new car or furniture, does not mean you are failing. Learn that you came on earth to serve different purposes, discover yours and pursue it.
Things that affect a person’s peace are wide ranging, from absence of food in the house, unemployment, attitude of competing, corruption; in business and in public service, mostly seen on civil servants taking bribes yet they are salaried, police officers, etc. Other peace inhibitors include; being of different political parties, being of different religious denominations, disloyal members of community groups (like those people that would borrow money and then start to be problematic when having to pay back).
For JCI Lesotho, these are some of the reasons we commit to embarking on initiatives intended to build peace and starting entrepreneurship development programs, peace advocacy initiatives and so on. We also have dialogues and share materials on issues of emotional intelligence, personal mastery and personal branding.
Our country’s Vision 2020 indicates that “By year 2020, Lesotho shall be a stable democracy, a united and prosperous nation at “Peace” with itself and neighbors…” Just this part of the vision seems not to be speaking of the Lesotho we live in. We are already approaching 2020 and things are not as one would expect to see them, as far as peace is concerned. While some believe that we should keep calling on the SADC mission’s deployment of military troops or mediation personnel, I think what we need is God’s intervention more than anything else.
We also observe the United Nations Agenda 2030, Sustainable development goals (SDGs), with some goals and indicators on peace development, in particular, SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
SDG 17 Partnership for the goals: We recognize and appreciate the importance of establishing and reinforcing partnerships to realize the sustainable relationships and impact in our Peace development endeavors.
As young people committed to making peace possible, we attended the International summit on peace in Kuching, Malaysia, whose main organizers were JCI and the government of Sarawak.
The summit had three pathways which delegates had to partake in, namely:
- Peace Promoters: This was for delegates aiming to expand knowledge and understanding of peace in themselves, their communities and the world around them.
Topics ranged from communicating with compassion to the global goals (SDGs)
- Peace Actors: This was for delegates looking to develop skills and knowledge to mobilize individuals, organizations and communities to take united action for peace.
Topics ranged from building peace coalitions to effectively collaborate across borders.
- Peace Makers: This was for those looking to identify and develop advocacy techniques to present solutions and opportunities for peace.
Topics ranged from; learning how to create an advocacy plan to conflict resolution training.
The main outcome of the summit was; Youth Proclamation on peace with several provisions.
Below is the summary:
“As young people, we are committed to creating a peaceful future. We recognize that terrorism, inequalities and poverty continue to prevent peace locally, nationally and globally. We no more have to rely on institutions alone to overcome these peace barriers but we must find new and innovative ways to create peace.
The UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security recognizes young people as central figures for successful peace initiatives. We believe that engaged, mobilized and empowered citizens are our greatest resource in achieving peace, which we define as follows:
Peace is the ability to respect differences within our diverse global community, transcending the sovereignty of nations. Peace is not just the absence of conflict but it is also the prevalence of justice.
We the young leaders of today and tomorrow, proclaim our commitment to the following actions;
Action 1: Recognize human dignity in every person and challenge ourselves and others to treat everyone with mutual respect.
Action 2: Identify, connect and engage communities experiencing conflict and injustice and unite active citizens to be actors and advocates for peace.
Action 3: Collaborate with like-minded organizations from all sectors of society to build peace coalitions that will collaborate to positively impact societies.
Action 4: Hold all levels of government accountable for their actions to ensure policies and frameworks for just and peaceful communities are created, implemented and sustained.
Action 5: Create a positive narrative of peace by engaging the media and other relevant platforms to share our unified global voice and vision for a peaceful world.
Action 6: Apply the sustainable development goals as the guiding framework for community development, while ensuring that young people are empowered as key players.
Action 7: Empower our generation and the next to be powerful and bold peacemakers who will not sway in the face of opposition.
As young active citizens of the world, we proclaim and accept our vital role and responsibility to take action and ensure peace is possible for all.”
The assignment now is to develop plans that would guide the implementation of the provisions of the proclamation, in collaboration with JCI development partners, locally and globally.
JCI Lesotho therefore invites all stakeholders willing to contribute to making peace vision for Lesotho and its citizens a success. We need to have constant dialogue on Peace, Safety, security and constitutional human rights as other people’s rights are violated. At JCI, we believe that governments should be of law rather than of men. No person should commit offenses, criminal or civil and yet go unprosecuted like the rest of the citizens. Law administration should be fair and just, not discriminatory.
Some are in prison for crimes they never committed, just by allegations while others are never charged.
We need to work on our issues affecting peace so that we experience growth in our economy and other aspects. Other countries are so developed and things they now talk of are far beyond what we are talking of in Lesotho. For Example; United states of America and Singapore now talk of signing of the purchase of 39 Boeing “wide-body” aircraft by Singapore Airlines to “support business and tourism related travels”, while we are busy fighting for parliamentary seats to rule just over two million people, yet multitudes are still unemployed. We continue to see killings of people over things not even comprehensive.