Civil Society Groups on consultations in Addis-ababa
( CPJ) assisted by Center for Humanitarian Dialogue is underway in Addis Ababa, at Bole Ambassador Hotel.
The meeting is aimed at how civil society can best contribute to a solution of the current political, military and humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. So far the participants, drawn from other civil society organizations, think tanks, academia and others, have made moving statements about how South Sudan as the country should end up in this unenviable position.
The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Chaloka Beyani from Zambia and professor at the London School of Economics.
And the main questions for the discussion is, what can civil society do to contribute to a solution of the current crisis in South Sudan?
Different people like Alfred Lokuji, Luka Biong, Lual Acuek Deng, Pauline Riak, and others have suggested a serious and honest reflection on how the country got in to crisis of leadership, marginalization, ethnic-based politics, our own history of liberation and sense of entitlement by these liberators which drove them to loot the country for 8 good years, were all mentioned.
After exploration of the history, the remainder of the conference will include a way forward, the peace process, and the various scenarios for a peace agreement.
Mean while Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba joined the meeting and he, suggested that the involvement of civil society in the peace process has complicated the situation further, that perhaps they should just restrict themselves to advocacy, and instead restrict the peace talks to the two main warring parties.
Citizen for Peace and Justice (CPJ) concluded with a variety of common grounds between the participants.
The dilemma of a quick peace between the main warring parties, which quickly ends the violence but risks an sustainability or a more comprehensive peace process that involves a cross section of South Sudanese, tackle all the root causes, commit the parties to justice and accountability so as to produce a durable peace. The discussion also revolved around the issue of transitional government.
The consensus was that such a government should have a specific time frame, clear agenda, including constitutional review, institutional reforms, census, elections and reconstruction of the war affected areas.
Several scenarios about the structure of the Transitional Government of National Unity were presented. It was also made clear that focusing on the conflict that started on December 15 as the start of the crisis is inaccurate, as we all know that December 15 was just a trigger to what had been mounting for the previous 9 years.
This means that a solution to this crisis, if it were to be sustainable, must take stock of the gaps, loopholes, mistakes and crimes that existed in system dating back a decade.