South Sudan must restore justice, peace through dialogue & reconciliation efforts

BY: Mabor M. Dhelbeny, JUBA, FEB/11/2014, SSN;

Since 2011 the country had been experiencing a lot of rebellions after the disintegration. Some of these rebellions were addressed through presidential amnesty and pardons granted by the President of the Republic of South Sudan.

In accordance with the provision of article 101(h) of Transitional Constitution 2011, it says “the President shall confirm death sentences, grant pardons and remit convictions or penalties according to this Constitution and the law.”

Such function exercised by the head of our state was never made by any other African head of state like Uganda Museveni’s LRA, but President Kiir did it not only just to embrace peace and harmony in our country but also to thwart rebels’ plans of destabilizing South Sudan.

These rebels include SSLA, George Athor, and David Yau Yau. Some were crushed or perished before taking too long.

The era of the transition from a military based regime to a democratic viable state in the post conflict, demonstrates that the SPLM had lost ideal of democracy based upon a reconciliation of the values of equality and liberty.

Peace and reconciliation must be accommodated among all communities inhabiting South Sudan.

Analysts noted that some ethnic tribes had never tasted the fruits or dividends of peace since the inception of CPA, 2005 particularly the murle tribe of Pibor in Jonglei state.

As problems are bound by the interactions of man with another man, it’s better to sit down rather than to fight and iron out your differences on the round table.

So the two heavy weights comrades, President Kiir of the SPLM-led government and Dr. Riek, the rebel leader of the SPLM-in Opposition should take heed to lay down their arms and go for peace talk in order to address the worsening plight of South Sudanese people.

The salvation of our country lies not only through dialogue but also through democratic reforms. Only dialogue will settle these crises, for the dialogue is amusing but the plot is weak.

The most senior members of the party turned out to be disloyal to the SPLM leadership.

It disturbs the public when the mother party the SPLM/A which liberated the country or the marginalized South Sudanese people from the hands of oppressors (Arabs in the north) seemed to have failed to de-escalate their internal conflicts.

The question that poses itself is that had the SPLM been like this during the years of struggle, South Sudan would have not attained her independence.

Many people including the SPLM-Youth League were vocal to country’s peace, stability and reconciliation. Following the occasion in the University of Juba on January 30th 2014, Akol Paul, the chairperson of the SPLM-Youth League “has urged the South Sudanese youth to unite under an umbrella of patriotism and nation building rather than being misled into joining the conflict for tribal reasons”.

While Daniel Awet, the former deputy speaker of the National Legislative Assembly and a member of Political Bureau on the same function, “called upon the South Sudanese youth to practice being leaders of tomorrow and remain the backbone of the country and not to be manipulated by the politicians with personal agendas.”

A good start of our journey to reconciliation and national healing has now begun with government officials’ campaign.

So if the next phase of peace talk be inclusive of all representatives from the following groups such as women, youth, civil societies, elders, traditional and church leaders than chances of achieving peace and unity will be higher.

The significant role of civil society groups such as CEPO and the likes also need to be acknowledged in this scenario. South Sudanese civil rights groups should not be cowed by any threats as did some politicians during the past few years.

Instead they should be inspired to fight for equal rights as they endeavor to put South Sudan into a true democratic state free from ethnic violence.

Therefore such duties of citizens have been enshrined in Art. 46 (2) (b) of the TCSS, 2011 which says that “every citizen shall in particular promote peace, harmony, unity, fraternity and tolerance among all people of South Sudan in order to transcend ethnic, religious, geographical and political divisions.”

So each representative from each group deserves a right to participate in coming peace talks due to be held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Reconciliation means the process of restoring peace, harmony and relationship or friendship from one person to another.

The fact that we need reconciliation means that our relationship or friendship with Nuer, Dinka, or any other tribe in South Sudan was broken (Romans 5:10).

For us to accommodate peace and reconciliation, we must repent, confess and forgive one another.

When John the Baptist commanded the Jews to repent, people asked, “Then what shall we do?” John answered, “Let the man who has two tunic (sleeveless garment) share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise” (Luke 3:10-11).

Hence, people who are seriously affected or aggrieved should be remedied by the crises management teams after proper evaluation or assessment irrespective of their race, color, religion etc.

Economic injustice is another factor in our country, for it deprives people of free access to the creation of God. Therefore the demand of justice to redistribute the resources of our young nation must be examined.

For instance the two percent of oil revenue in Unity State which was meant for state’s development have ended up in the pockets of few elites due to lack of transparency and accountability.

What happened in our country is really a tragedy caused by the enemies of peace and sinners. No doubt that Juba has become a capital of witchcrafts who proclaimed to be doctors of healing misfortune, ascending to power and etc.

This however, has perversely caused the lives of others to be in trouble especially those who believe in them.

Nevertheless some people who rebelled against God just to follow their false prophets in search for power and wealth still continue but they do not know it consequences.

It has given birth to the senseless war which devastated the towns of Greater Upper Nile.

It’s better to think critically, revisit our bibles and learn the past events. Prophet Isaiah in the past had one time told the God’s followers who failed to obey His commands that “…your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies and your tongue mutters wicked things. No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity. They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil” (Isaiah 59:2-4).

Such prophetic statements however have reflected our current situations now but what to do next.

Alas, let’s come back, kneel down and bow to worship our Lord. For the scripture reads, “Ask and you will be answered; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Can we not ask our Father Who art in heaven to give us the lasting peace in order to restore justice!

Restorative justice is the process whereby victims, offenders and community are collectively involved in resolving how to deal with the aftermath of an offence and its implications for future (mediation UK 2002:2).

Of course it could be a tool for an effective conflict resolution and problem-solving approach. Because the conception of restorative justice system is that it seeks to balance the victim and community with the need to reintegrate the offender into the society and finally to make those who caused the harm acknowledge the impact of what they have done and give them an opportunity to make reparation.

I mean people who have committed atrocities, those who have looted properties, broke houses and segregated residents must face justice if proper investigations are done.

So it’ll be our collective duty after peace and reconciliation not only to relocate the IDPs but also to reintegrate the offenders or those South Sudanese people who have committed crimes into their respective societies.

For us to be law abiding citizen, justice must prevail. This is what the Lord says about justice, “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed” (Isaiah 56:1).

If the government decides to release all political detainees before the court verdict, then the Lord of innocent South Sudanese citizens will not spare any politician or ruler in this country.

Because the scripture says, “Acquitting the guilt and condemning the innocent, Lord detests them both. It is not good to punish an innocent man or to flog officials for their integrity” (Proverbs 17:15, 26).

Suddenly, the author of this piece has missed his dearly relatives who lost their lives in defense of our nation after the war spread to other towns of Malakal and Bentiu.

But government should not take risk to exclude all the representatives of the above-mentioned groups to the peace talk, if we want the lasting peace to come in this country.

Occasionally politicians sometimes work for their own interests but the civil societies and church leaders as well as women groups will leave no stone unturned.

For the bible says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Each of you should work not only to your own interests but also to the interest of others” (Philippians 2: 3-4). I think if we restrain ourselves from tribalism, nepotism and individualism then we will achieve nationalism.

The author is a legal practitioner who lives in Juba. Email him at emmademaker@yahoo.com

1 Comment

  1. Joe says:

    Dear Mabor,

    According to your article the four(4) remaining detainees are guilty?, Your article truly tells us that you are siding with your rotten to core governement.What a legal practioner are you, premature and fake law graduate.
    God bless south Sudan.

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