CAN THERE BE A SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE
With Odongo Odoyo
The stand-off between UNMISS and the local artists union which led to the cancellation of the titled “our peace forum” which was to take place at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre was indeed unfortunate. After highlighting the plight and confusion of the event in this column yesterday, the UN body came out to clarify their position. And this is their statement “UNMISS is deeply disappointed that the finale of its three-day Art for Peacebuilding activity had to be cancelled, due to circumstances beyond its control. The event was organized as part of the ‘Our Peace Forum,’ initiative, a grassroots peacebuilding interaction designed to enhance two-way dialogues between local stakeholders and national actors in Juba. The Mission rejects baseless allegations of exploitation levelled against it which has led to an unjustified shift in focus from the creativity and commitment of volunteer artists drawn from all 10 states in South Sudan.
Participation in this particular forum, as in all public events hosted by UNMISS, is entirely voluntary.
The Mission is grateful to all artists for their energy and enthusiasm to shape an inclusive peace for South Sudan as vibrantly demonstrated during the first two days of the forum.
UNMISS reiterates its support for unfettered civic space across South Sudan. It stands by the right of every artist to communicate freely and widely in efforts to galvanize positive social transformation and build peace.” Two wrongs do not make a right, in this case the truth is being held by UNMISS and the Union. The referee should come out and officiate the match with the aim of finding out the truth behind the union’s claim and the denial by the U.N body. It is always said that where there is smoke there must be fire. There is nothing personal in this issue but both parties should come out and tell the country and citizens why this wrangle and why cancel the event at the eleventh hour. The artists who were scheduled for the events are young citizens of this country and they could not have come out with wrong information which was meant to jeopardize their chances of climbing to the top and into the public limelight. Before pointing a finger on who could be right or wrong, we have to inspect ourselves and find the truth behind the whole saga. Am saying this because l am sure that somewhere something went wrong and that is the something we would like to find out. The referee in this case should be the government through the relevant departments. They should find out reasons because such actions discourages the youth and kill their talents which should be used to build and promote the cultural value in the country. UNMISS is here for a purpose among them encouraging and promoting peace among the citizens of this country. Let there be no more such action that involve matters of national interests which should always be solved soberly.