By Omuno Mogga Otto
Recently, the government has put a plan to go for elections this year. The government believes that elections can be held even if the process of peace is not going to be successful. The basic aim of peace is to end economic and humanitarian crisis in the country. Previously when South Sudanese were struggling to have peace and freedom during the era of civil war between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Islamic regime in Sudan, the Government of Omer Al -Bashir held many elections. But the fruits of all the elections which were held when Southerners and Northerners were by then living in one country called Sudan did not stop the struggle for peace and freedom by the people of South Sudan.
Having elections in time of conflict and political crisis will not contribute to peace. What will contribute to peace is a change in the political attitude through reconciliation, forgiveness and heartfelt acceptance that South Sudan is for all of us and its political crack can be repaired by all of us regardless of ethnic division.
Majority of South Sudanese are wishing success of the process of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF). They are not for its failure. Elections alone will end the conflict and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country. The HLRF is scheduled to take place towards the end of the current month. The idea of holding elections is good when the country is politically stable and economically looking better. Peace is more important than elections.
The idea of going for a fresh elections without peace will not contribute very much in containing and solving the worse economic situation that started since the war begin more than four years ago. The reason that has affected the economy of the country is war and corruption. If the country is not in war, the cases of corruption would have reduced.
The people of South Sudan are in difficult moment. In December last year, the rate of one dollar against local South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) in the region was 185 to 190 SSP. Currently; the exchange rate has reached 270 SSP per a dollar. There is a slight increase in the prices of basic and other essential goods in the market such as food and medicine, living the scale of the suffering of our people from the high inflation remaining without considerable improvement.
In March this year, the Head of the Central Bank of South Sudan put a strategic plan which is to start from this year upto the year 2022. One of the objectives of the plan was to address and solve the issue of unstable exchange rate of hard currency against the local currency in the country. It is not known whether the implementation of the strategic economic plan will be implemented successfully within the next two or three months. It might be very difficult for the management of the Central Bank to begin implementing its four year plan if the focus on peace and democracy do not prevail to end the war.
The current political and economic situation needs peace. But to bring peace and development in economy of the country would not be achieved if the Head of State do not put more efforts to deal with obstacles that is hindering and might continue to hinder the peace process and democracy in the country.
The aim of peace is to stop war and change the life of our people from insecurity, injustices and war to an era of unity and democracy and good governance based on federalism. Ending the conflict in South Sudan is more important than everything aimed at keeping the wrong and unpopular policies which I believe is fuelling the political tension in the country.
There is difference between holding elections without peace and having elections after peace. There will be no much improvement in the economy of the country if the elections are held without the achievement of peace first. Peace will make a great change. It will improve the economy of the country. Peace and freedom is fundamental gift from God.