AGENDA: HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
PEACE AND PROGRESS
PROF. SIMON E. KULUSIKA
Zambian Open University
Box 449, Post.Net, Manda Hill
P/ B E891
Cell: 00 260 973 711 250
To: Gen Salva Kiir Mayardid
President of the Republic of South Sudan
Commander — in — Chief of South Sudan Armed Forces
Chairperson of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.
Commander Gen Dr Riek Machar Teny
All Presidents and Chairpersons of Political Parties
in South Sudan.
All Chairpersons of Civic Societies based in South Sudan.
All Chairpersons of NGOs based in South Sudan.
From: Prof. Simon E. Kulusika, Citizen of South Sudan
Date: 6th July, 2014
SUBJECT: HEALING AND RECONCILIATION FOR PEACE AND PROGRESS
Sisters, Brothers, Comrades
July 9, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Our country has witnessed and continues to experience violence following the events of 15th December 2013. The protagonists to the conflict are known to all of us, although the overlapping ethnicand political nature remains a matter of debate. What is disturbing is that it has caused and created uncertainty, instability, insecurity, and humanitarian crisis and emergency, which must quickly be addressed.
The cease-fire agreement, negotiated and concluded recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a promising step if the parties adhere to it and implement and enforce its provisions in good faith, to achieve peace. It is the first step in overcoming the crisis and more needs to be done to ‘rebuild’ trust between politicians and between communities directly or indirectly affected by violence.
The purpose of this letter is not only to call upon all political leaders in South Sudan to ‘re-engage in political dialogue and prevent further human suffering’, but also to suggest seven main agenda to address the current crisis and enhance the processes of returning to normalcy.
A – 1: CEASE-FIRE
a) Cease-fire Agreement (CFA) must be observed and adhered to by all parties to the conflict. Its terms must be made public to ensure transparency and accountability in case of violations. The agreement must be implemented and enforced through appropriate mechanisms, monitored by AU, UN Peace-keeping Units.
Those who were alleged to have collaborated with forces opposed to the government should be allowed to return to where they were prior to 15th December in order to participate in the observance and implementation of the Cease-fire Agreement. The government should ensure their safety.
Cease-fire should be supported by plans for repatriation of internally displaced people and refugees, and their resettlement and rehabilitation. There should be short-term and long-term plans. The IDP and refugees should be involved in the implementation of the Cease-fire Agreement to ensure that it is respected and comprehensively implemented and enforced.
b) The implementation and enforcement of the Cease-fire Agreement (CFA) should involve all sectors of the population:
i. State governments,
ii. Local government authorities,
iii. Traditional authorities,
v. Women organisations,
vi. Youth organisations,
vii. Civil societies,
viii. Academics at institutions of learning etc.
c) Measures to be adopted for effective implementation of the CFA should include:
i. The return of all government armed forces to their bases.
ii. Reassemble of all forces opposed to government to specific locations.
iii. Identification of armed militias who had taken part in the fighting on one side or the other to facilitate reintegration when that process is put in motion.
iv. The prevention of renewed clashes and the combat of criminal activities.
v. To encourage inter- and intra-communal dialogue to achieve transitional justice cardinal for healing and reconciliation, and peaceful co-existence.
d) To undertake the foregoing, the National Government will have to provide various forms of support to those taking part in the implementation of the CFA, in the form of logistics, financial support and security protection.
A – 2: HEALING AND RECONCILIATION
These are difficult and complex processes which will require huge sacrifices on both sides. The success of the processes will depend largely on the men and women who shall be entrusted to manage them and the willingness of those in power to respect the outcomes of the HR.
The major proposition of the A – 2 is that the events of 15th December 2013 and thereafter have created massive pain and suffering to all the people of South Sudan, which must somehow be overcome, if the future of South Sudan is to ‘incorporate positive peace’.
A – 2 assumes that a more practical way of overcoming grieves is to engage in the processes of Healing and Reconciliation.
a) HEALING: It is a process of forgiveness. It does not aspire to resolve social and political grievances, or put right past wrongs. Its objective is to ‘establish an environment in which the present and the future will no longer be compromised by bitterness and resentment’. There are diverse forms of African ceremonies of healing which are performed by elderly, big, respected persons in the community:
i. Among the Dinka the ceremony was performed under the direction of the ‘Chief’ of Fish-spear in collaboration with the notables of the community.
ii. In Nuer-land the leading figure in the performance of healing ceremony was the ‘Leopard-skin Chief’ assisted by the elders and other persons of high status in the community.
iii. Among the Nilo-Hamites and the Sudanic ethnic groups the ceremony was conducted by the ‘Rain-maker’ i.e. won kot: King of Rain, or indeed monye kak: Lord of the Land, etc.
The healing processes should not ignore such traditional practices as they may prove more effective than the so-called modern mechanisms for healing. It should also incorporate intercessions through different religious faiths.
b) RECONCILATION: it is a more commonly used process of making adversaries to try to forgive and press on with peaceful co-existence. A number of reconciliation commissions have been established in a number of countries, e.g., Argentina, Fiji, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, East Timor etc.
In the case of South Sudan, reconciliation is supposed to allow perpetrators of violence on both sides to ‘acknowledge their misdeeds and express contrition, and the victims or their relatives to offer forgiveness’. The offering of forgiveness implies that those involved in or implicated in the commission of violence must come home in order to express ‘contrition’. If they do not come back or allow to return and freely to exercise their rights of the freedom of expression, then, the process of reconciliation will be meaningless or utterly impossible.
c) Reconciliation processes can be fruitful, if they are meant to achieve the following:
i. To look back and acknowledge a painful past.
ii. To engage each other without blaming and excluding others from the process. In addition governance must become inclusive.
iii. Lingering hatred, mistrust, prejudices and politics of ethnicity must be transformed into peaceful co-existence. A difficult process which will require education and active campaigns of civic education from early education to university level.
d) As a way of conflict resolution, reconciliation calls for the conflict parties to acknowledge their responsibility and guilt. Its main characteristics are:
i. Honest acceptance of harm inflicted on the other.
ii. Readiness of the conflict parties to forget the anger and bitterness caused by the conflict.
iii. To enter into a new mutually enriching relationship.
e) The reconciliation processes should be entrusted to a Panel of Senior Clerics and Traditional Rulers. It is to be co-chaired by an Archbishop and a Senior Imam or Rabbi. The Panel is to be appointed by the President in consultation with all stakeholders including NG0s. The Panel is to be assisted by a secretariat and a balanced technical and advisory team. The Panel should have power to pardon those appearing before it, or to refer certain matters to law enforcement for further investigation. The mandate of the Panel should not extend beyond 36 months from the time its members were sworn in before the President. The Panel should present its final report to the President and the Speakers of both national legislatures. The report also should be made public on the day it is presented as aforementioned.
As we move away from conflict to peaceful co-existence, let us be guided by the requirements of justice, truth, healing and reparation. We must try to change our mind set: there is no one who is more equal than another. All are Jalle Dwong. But in a democracy, authority must be respected for law and order to prevail.
A – 3: PARTICIPATION
a) The criteria for measuring governance for the common good are numerous. One is participation. It refers to voluntary activities by which individuals in a society share in decision-making on matters of public concern. Such an activity may include voting in an election, communicating with members of the legislature, or executive, competing for public office or party position on equal basis. Participation is cardinal in a multi-ethnic state. The making of critical decision must be done based on the consent of all affected by the decision. The decision to appoint and remove leaders from office must be based on sound grounds which can be justified. Failure to participate because of indifference or by exclusion will result in that man or woman enjoying ‘less power’ or exercising or sharing no power. A commentator observes ‘the right to participate is an essential element of democratic government, inseparable from such other attributes of democracy as consent, accountability, majority rule, equality and popular sovereignty’.
b) In addressing the current crisis the ideals and principles of democracy should guide and govern political processes in South Sudan.
i. All ethnic groups, small or large, must be given the opportunity of political participation and wealth sharing. Participation can become an effective tool for nation-building if its base is made wider: the addition of new states to the existing ten (10). The agenda is proposing six (6) new states to be added: (i) two (2) new states in the Greater Equatoria, one in the east to give the Toposa, Didinga, Nyangatom, etc a state of their own to be called as Kapoeta State, to reduce the present intense power struggle in Eastern Equatoria. Another new state in Western Equatoria, to be called Yei River state to incorporate some western Bari speaking ethnic groups and Muro-group. This will lessen the claims of the domination of Bari or Zande in the region and it is necessary for development. (ii) Add three (3) new states in the Greater Upper Nile, one to cater for the Anuak, Murle, Pan, Lofit etc. This can be called as Boma Plateau state. This is intended to reduce pressure on Bor. The Anuak must have proper and effective participation in the governance of South Sudan. The other state should cover the area from Nasir across Sobat River to the eastern bank of Zaraf River, to be called as Sobat State. It should give Eastern Nuer a deserved representation in governance. It will reduce pressure on Bentiu and Malakal. The third state may be called Toanga State to cover the northern bank of White Nile. This will give the Shilluk a comfortable exercise of political powers than at present. (iii) Add one state in the greater Bahr al Ghazal, to cover the area west of River Jur to Deim Zubeir, to be called as Jur River State. It should give the numerous Sudanic ethnic groups in the area greater say in the governance of South Sudan, and allow the Fertit (Kireish) to a state and reasonable representation in the politics of South Sudan.
The purpose of this new arrangement is to prevent the claims of marginalisation and improve people’s sense of belonging to South Sudan as a nation which is lacking at the present. The present political system stems from past experiences which everybody knows is based on injustice, repression and oppression, meant to perpetuate backwardness.
ii. Vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, and people with disabilities must have the right of political participation. The 25% offered to women, with nothing for the other groups, is an insult and an attempt to disguise man’s dominating tendency. The 25% must be reviewed without delay. Imbalances existing at the moment must be addressed by high level of affirmative action.
iii. Illiteracy and poverty must be addressed as a long-term measure. If addressed, women and the youth will be enabled to make positive contribution to national recovery and progress.
iv. Participation is important. ‘It impels one to acquire the knowledge needed for a sound judgement, to become aware of one’s best interests, and above all, to learn how the system works, and what principles and beliefs it values’.
A – 4: COLLECTIVE PRESIDENCY
a) Governments can be broadly classified as monarchy, aristocracy, theocracy, democracy etc. The subsidiary forms of government are referred to as unitary, federal, or con-federal governments. Further classification includes parliamentary and presidential governments. There also is an admixture of the above. One common feature to all of these forms of government is that one person who is referred to as head of state has absolute powers or powers restricted by the constitution.
In the case of South Sudan the government system can be classified as quasi-federal, because the underlying principles that organise the government are those of the devolution of powers to the a subordinate organ without the right of sharing sovereignty. Moreover, the President of South Sudan exercises sweeping powers including the powers of appointment and dismissal of officials holding key positions, e.g., vice president, governors, chief justice, attorney general, ministers etc. The exercise of some of these powers can give rise to the expression of dismay and anger which can boil up into uprising.
b) Everybody knows what the President of South Sudan can do: as an executive president he becomes the sole and real head of state. He is not accountable to the legislature, except in a few instances, though he may be removed by the process of impeachment. He may change the portfolios of ministers at will, or may dismiss any one of his ministers who falls in disfavour with him. He formulates national policy, orders mobilisation of troops, and declares state of emergency. He takes steps for the enforcement of laws and the maintenance of order in the country. These are critical powers which may be excessively employed. Once this happens, especially in a multi-ethnic state as South Sudan, allegations of ethnic victimisation will be made, and may lead to confrontation as the events of 15th December showed.
c) Those sad events, we believe, call for re-invention of a presidential system in which executive powers are collectively exercised. Under this system there shall be established a Presidential Council Of State (PCS) as a collective Executive Presidency of the Federal Republic of South Sudan (hopefully the name South Sudan will have been changed to save the people from being reminded of bad history). The PCS shall comprise:
i. Nine members: Dinka — 2; Nuer -1; Shilluk — 1; Bari —1; Latuka (or Toposa) — 1; Zande —1; Ndongo —1; and Fertit (kieraish) — 1.
ii. A member of PCS whose party has a commanding majority in the lower House of the National Assembly (without the aid of alliance) shall assume the Chairpersonship of the PCS and be sworn in as the Executive President of the State (South Sudan).
iii. There shall be three (3) Vice Chairpersons of the PCS who shall also become the Vice executive presidents of the State. They shall be as follows: Dinka -1; Nuer — 1; and another — 1.
iv. The Quorum for a valid business of the PCS is four (4) including the Chairperson. The decision of the PCS shall be by consensus, failing, by 2/3 majority of the members present and voting in respect of substantive matters, and by a simple majority in procedural matters.
v. The tenure and functions of the PCS shall be regulated by the Constitution and Orders in Council.
The establishment of the PCS is intended to reduce struggle for power and remove allegations of ethnic domination and tendency of staying (in power). One caveat is that the Numerical advantages of the Dinka, Nuer, and Zande should not and cannot be ignored if South Sudan is to move forward. But this must obtain by consensus in a democratic State.
The existing system of political representation needs to be reformed to give adequate representation to the following:
a) Women groups (here the goal should be the realisation of the 50% representation for women, not just 25% which has not been attained so far).
b) The youth (people below the age of 27 years.
c) Workers doing jobs that are risky (e.g. sanitation workers).
d) Teachers (e.g. members of teachers union).
e) Farmers (peasant farmers, small and medium scale farmers, and commercial farmers).
f) Trade federations.
g) Professional associations (e.g., members of the Medical Council, the Engineering Council, Law Society, Bar Association etc).
The representation should incorporate territorial representation and functional representation so that most if not all views must be represented and every voice heard as a matter of right. This can be realised if governments at all levels launch campaigns of education and voter’s rights to increase people’s awareness and interest in electoral processes. Emphasis should be on the promotion of togetherness as one people whichis a key element in fighting ethnicity.
A – 6: THE MILITARY
a) It has been claimed that the current crisis in South Sudan has arisen as a result of tensions within the South Sudan Armed Forces: e.g. poor command and control, lack of proper training, imbalance in ethnic representation, nepotism in matters of promotion and deployment, political interference in purely military matters, declining morale because of questionable condition of service etc. It is also claimed that the close association of the military with one or two political parties has made it to operate with divided loyalty. In the circumstance disorder is bound to prevail and individual members of the armed forces may commit the most ‘violent and inhumane acts’.
b) Measures must be taken to reorganise the South Sudan Armed Forces into a well — trained military that should exhibit national identity rather than fragmented into ethnic apparatus. These measures should include:
- Efforts to continue the processes of disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration.
- The established armed forces should be delinked from SPLM and similar political movement or party. A military general who aspires to become the president of South Sudan or to hold a position in a political party or organisation should relinquish his or her military position. This should be provided for in the Constitution. The armed forces of South Sudan should acquire a national character as none partisan armed forces of South Sudan. This should be carried out gradually to prevent shocks.
- Most, if not all, armed militias should be disarmed, demobilised and reintegrated into the South Sudan Armed Forces as paramilitary forces with a separate command within the Armed Forces of South Sudan. The paramilitary forces should be stationed at all headquarters of states. The paramilitary armed forces should have a defined mandate, e.g., to be used by the state governments to restore order where the police service has failed to maintain law and order. The Regular armed forces will be called in to restore order if the paramilitary was unable to control the situation. This will require orders from the Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces as by law established.
- The composition of the paramilitary must take into account regional characteristics. For example, a paramilitary based in Torit cannot be entirely composed of Toposa. The majority should come from the local inhabitants i.e., Latuka with some Buya, Didinga, Ma’di, Acholi etc. The reason is simple, in an emergency the state government will rely on the paramilitary which must be able to communicate with the people of the locality where disorder is reported. It will be unlikely that a Nuer paramilitary will be able to communicate with an Acholi in Parajok village.
- There should be complicated balancing formulae for the composition of the armed forces including the paramilitary to take account of the ethnic composition of the population of South Sudan. This also should take care of the appointment and deployment of commanding officers, their promotion to avoid claims of nepotism and favouritism in the recruitment, promotion, and retirement of persons in arms. For example, it will be bad if the chairperson of the joint chief of staff is a Dinka or Latuka, no one will accept that two other Dinkas or Latukas to be also members of the joint chief of staff. If this were to happen, a cry of domination would be justified.
c) The government of South Sudan should organise its armed forces keeping in focus that all South Sudan’s neighbours have big, complex, and modernised armed forces. South Sudan armed forces should also be big, complex and modernised and enabled to face challenges emanating from across the borders. In this respect the armed forces of South Sudan should include: (i) marines division, (ii) army with all its various divisions, (iii) air force, (iv) navy (to navigate South Sudan’s water-ways), (v) border guard, (vi) medical corps, (vii) military judiciary, (viii) morale rearmament division, (ix) presidential guard the composition of which shall be within the discretion of the President, and the appointment of its commanding officer shall be done by the President in confidence, because of the nature of duties to be performed by the presidential guard. (x) Paramilitary (this is a special armed force within the armed forces of South Sudan). The armed forces are to be managed by joint chief of staff (JCS) consisting of at least seven Lieutenant Generals. The members of the joint chief of staff shall be appointed by the President as commander-in-chief, and they shall be released from their positions by the President. One of the seven generals shall be appointed by the President as chairperson of the JCS.
d) The de-linkage of the armed forces from politics and partisan politics is to create a military that is professional, national in character, and has one mission: the defence of the country against external threats, not to defend any particular ethnic group or groups. The claims that South Sudan has ‘too big’ armed forces must be ignored.
A – 7: NEW EDUCATION
a) The outlines set in these Agenda of Healing and Reconciliation show that the conflict the country is experiencing is historical, complex, and multi-dimensional. Its resolution requires specific approaches and strategies of containment:
ü One approach is healing so that people forgive each other for the suffering inflicted.
ü A second approach is reconciliation which is a two-dimensional way of dealing with bitterness after fighting.
ü A third approach is mediation, where mediators are selected by the parties by mutual consent, and commitment to respect the result of the mediation and carry it out.
ü The ends of these approaches are numerous, but most important is to bring violent conflict to an end so that the engine of peace and development can take place for the common good.
b)Education and literacy campaigns can also facilitate conflict prevention and its resolution:
v From early childhood, a child must be brought up to love his or her parents, family members, other people especially the elderly persons, his or her fellow children etc.
v Parents must inculcate in the child the spirit of tolerance, forgiveness, friendliness etc.
v A child should be brought up to cherish the resolution of disagreement by dialogue or discussion.
v School curricula should include civic education on the virtue of love, honesty, courage not aggressiveness, and the requirement to do voluntary work for the disadvantaged in the community.
v Pupils at schools should learn to memorise and recite the National Anthem, to greet the National Flag during morning parade, and at the commencement of all functions of national nature. They must learn and understand mottoes such as ‘One People, One Nation’.
v A child in Grade 1 to 2 should receive lessons in the languages convenient to him or her as a matter of educational policy. A convenient language is that which is spoken at home. While at the same time English should be taught as a subject at these stages. From grade 3 the language of instruction becomes English, and local language will be continued as a subject through to grade 12. This will require preparation of materials in the different languages for grades 1, and 2 pupils, and for those who would like to continue learning local languages as a subject. It is obvious that primary education will have to undergo drastic changes, if civic education is to bear fruits.
v Civic education should also be carried out during literacy campaigns. People need to be made aware of their common heritage and common destiny. This will help wipe out discrimination. Civic education also should be directed to enhance the spirit of togetherness. Civic education and literacy will help people especially children acquire knowledge about public life, and they can achieve great things without shedding tears or blood.
v Civic education and literacy campaigns are very expensive ventures and difficult to fulfil. But there is no choice if South Sudan is to get out of this vicious cycle of struggle for political power and violent conflicts.
The lessons people have learned from the events of 15′ December 2013 are numerous and painful. They must be remembered in order that they are not repeated again:
1) That dispute, if not quickly and prudently defused, will escalate into violent conflicts. These conflicts can result in loss of human lives, destruction of property, displacement of people, and the diversion of resources into arms purchase and the funding of allies, instead of being channelled for the promotion of sustainable development.
2) That every society desires peace and political stability. Peace is not impossible to achieve but we must do the right things that keep the light of peace burning. We must denounce injustice, repression and oppression. We must eradicate unjust political and social structures. We must avoid despotism, corruption, self-destruction, criminal activities, and above all prevent the politics of ethnicity.
3) We must strive for ‘egalitarian’ distribution of political powers and resources, and build a viable democratic system for us and for our posterity.
SIMON E. KULUSIKA