By: Akic Lwaldeng, South Sudan, MAY/08/2018, SSN,
“August, 2015, the Pope Francis, told a group of youth that the greatest challenge in his vocation so far has been finding true peace, and encouraging them to learn how to discern between this peace and the one offered by the devil.” (Source: Catholic News Agency);
South Sudan people are seeking a sustainable peace in the country. In fact, it has been revealed recently that the European Commission Tourist Office advisers warned their citizens about security in Eastern Africa region, such as South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia.
And recently South Sudan, was ranked as the second worst place in the world after Somalia, to live and work in; this is because there is an ongoing conflict in the country and, also, because South Sudan regime faces several forms of malicious violence on foreigners and their own people.
And the question is: what’re the prospects for building a sustainable peace are? What would be the elements in such a peace and how might we bring them about?
In spite of all the militarism that now fills the headlines, I’m feeling less encouraged that the prospects are good for building a meaningful peace over the next few decades.
After all, friends, while I am sharing my thoughts and personal experience on these issues, I often asked myself what motivates a person from Western world to return to the country governed by immoral leaders.
I did study there, but I spent the majority of my life abroad. You could say that my return home represents a reunion with the place of my origin and allows me to gain a more holistic sense of self and identity.
In other words, returning home is an opportunity to be a part of something bigger and better, which could make me positively contribute to the lives of others.
If I could remember well, at the beginning of 2013/14 after having been independent for just two years, South Sudan was deranged, the government was able to control only five regions under the regime, the rest and most of regions were under control by the rebel movement.
There was an incredible number of severe casualties and deaths, women with children were displaced time and time again as we saw many refugees killed by both rebel SPLM-IO and regime SPLM-IG.
Those who were fraught with constant uncertainty many times felt that their freedom has been robbed and they have been disconnected from their family and outside world.
Today they are struggling to maintain a sense of purpose of living, which initially led some of them to leave the country. However, they often contemplated giving up with their lives abroad and just going back to South Sudan.
On the one hand, it was very easy to do it, but on the other hand lack of security was one of the real obstacles and made their returning process difficult, because of causes that prevented them from going back home.
I recognized that the institutional conditions in order to facilitate their returning and integration did not exist in previous years, because of the wicked regime.
In so many years security hasn’t improved, the experiences that I had with my returned colleagues are appalling. They were South Sudanese refugees from the neighbor African countries and all over the globe, but they were not welcome home with dignity.
This is something unbelievable and worthless way of celebrating the returning refugees.
Anybody in this world can easily understand that the current South Sudan regime is an unhealthy system; and that it would be impossible for any sound mind to suggest them to return home.
It is true that the refugees and internal displacement provided by the United Nation camps around the country is a blessing at this stage, but we must acknowledge that a friendly coexistence and the foundations for peace building are not there yet.
In fact, it is unrealistic for refugees from the neighboring African countries to come home to South Sudan under Salva Kiir’s regime: it would be a nightmare for their lives, and it would be the same as we have already witnessed in between 2015 to earlier 2018, genocide in cities such as Juba, Malakal, Bentiu and Bor.
This happened because weak and wicked agreements supervised and undertaken by a failure organisation, so-called IGAD, which was meant to act as a mediating agency, but, in reality, was not able to accomplish this mission at a decent level.
Therefore we are calling them to step down from this worthless negotiation: we realize that to be negotiators became a business for them, and, therefore, the longer it takes, the better and more profitable job they get.
And if we want a real peace, let it be UN or AU to lead the peace process on behalf of South Sudan people and refugees, and not anyone else: in fact, in the past they have done a successful job in Central African Republic. And again they facilitated the entire peace process by the CPA agreement in 2005.
I would give some advice to those who want to help the people of South Sudan, they should put pressure and action on the regime, such as more sanctions on the individual politicians and bans on buying or transporting weapons from some countries, such as Egypt, Uganda and Kenya.
In fact, these countries have no interest in peace in South Sudan, including the toothless so called IGAD plus. In fact IGAD Plus is a dead fish, should not conduct the peace process again, in order to avoid a waste of time.
Africa has so many organisations in the continent such AU, ECOWAS, and others. And I am afraid that IGAD will never ever bring a sustainable peace in South Sudan, with due respect, it looks like a dogs whining and barking with no effect.
Finally, South Sudanese people did put faith and creditable hope on the IGAD Plus to bring peace home, but they have been let down by it.
By Akic Adwok Lwaldeng
NDM’s Representation in the UK and member of the Policy Institute for Africa Economy.