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This is my contribution towards a positive coverage of both parties

harriet

By Kuyang Harriet Logo Mulukwat

new dawn is engulfing South Sudan and once again, just like it was during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) period of 2005, the expectations are very high. I have in the past been extremely critical of both the government and the opposition - partly because there was really nothing good to write about, but today, I am taking a totally different outlook of the political landscape and perhaps for only this specific article. First of all, in the recent few days, I have witnessed positive developments with regards to the way the government and the opposition address themselves. The tone has softened and there is an indication that the peace deal might hold and the parties will shake hands in good faith very soon. A few weeks ago, the Honorable Minister of Information cautioned media houses to refrain from attacking both the government and the opposition. The honorable Minister further noted that both parties are committed to the implementation of the peace agreement and that it was essential that both parties are accorded a positive media coverage.

 The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/IO) were as per the scheduled time lines of the peace agreement, supposed to have sent a 500 strong delegation to Juba to set the ground for the subsequent formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity(TGoNU) and perhaps other processes. The anticipated visit, one of its kind, since the peace agreement has been signed has been stalled because the preparations to receive the opposition are incomplete and more time is required to finalize the details of their proposed visit.  The little snag has caused some anxiety amongst the people; to be honest making arrangements for the arrival of 500 people requires resources and extensive plans especially with regards to logistical arrangements. It is it envisaged that the big delegation of the SPLM/IO will grace the streets of Juba very soon.

Interestingly, in such times of high expectations, there is a tendency of the South Sudanese pounds to gain against the dollar and begin to falling rapidly once again. In such times, it is clear that the economic situation is primarily influenced by the crisis which occurred.

Now that both parties have softened their tones towards one another, there is still much more that needs to be done with regards to the full implementation of the peace agreement. For instance, there has to be an honest process of dealing with the past, both parties to the agreement must move beyond the softened tones and verbal commitments and have the moral authority to look one another in the eye and ask for forgiveness.

Just last week, I was in a meeting where strategies for dealing with the past were being discussed. One participant’s comments caught my attention. 

“Even here in this room, if I ask each one of us to look at the members of the other community and ask for forgiveness they will decline and even if we ask people to narrate the accounts of the recent events, each one will provide a narrative which exonerates them. Now are we really ready and do we know why we must reconcile and forgive each other?”

 She lamented.

 Her comments raised the question as to whether the leadership and the most affected communities are preparing themselves for one of the toughest journeys of reconciliation and moving beyond the painful past. If the leadership is showing some signs of acknowledging one another, then perhaps it is time and perhaps both the leadership and the communities are ready to engage with one another.

 It is then equally the duty of everybody to embrace the new peace and hold on to hope, that this time round it will be fully implemented. As I sit on the peripheries of the political circle, I am for the first time tempted to think that Southerners are ready to end this conflict and get on with their lives. I have been in the country from the time the crisis started and I have kept the ear to the ground and I must say that the hostile environment that existed between the leadership is gradually softening. The anger that had engulfed the nation is slowly subsiding. There is no way the communities can move beyond the hatred and animosity and resentment of one another without the guidance of the leadership of both the parties to the peace, who must know that as they form the TGoNU, all hopes of a new dawn have been rekindled. The leadership’s positive sentiments must be matched with practical steps and commitments must be made to the process of reconstruction, institutional reforms, reconciliation and forgiveness. Again, as I wrote earlier, this is my contribution towards a positive coverage of both parties on this forum.

 

The Writer is a South Sudanese Lawyer and a United Nations Consultant on Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law and teaches on a part time basis at the College of Law of the University of Juba. She can be reached on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

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