Odongo Odoyo


By Paul Jimbo

Latest efforts by leaders in the Greater Jonglei region to ensure a lasting peace among local communities should be praised and supported fully.

I have always advocated for dialogue between neighbouring communities as opposed to conflicts as the best option to finding lasting solutions over disputes.

We all realise that nothing good comes from conflict apart from loss of lives, massive destruction of property and disruption of livelihoods.

Remember during conflicts, women and children are usually the most vulnerable and so the most affected.

If you visit IDP camps or even refugee camps, you will confirm my point that this lot constitute the lager majority of survivors of any conflict.

The fact that leaders from the greater Jonglei region have resolved to ensure their communities live in harmony is enough evidence that we can find lasting solutions to our differences through local dispute resolution mechanisms.

The reason I’m advocating for dialogue is because warring communities are better placed to explain and understand the genesis of their conflicts.

On the flipside, this means that the same warring communities are better placed to defining possible lasting solutions.

When people are given the opportunity to discuss their concerns and fears, they open up and speak out and basically this is the best way forward in solving problems.

Solutions should be home grown and inclusive so that parties to any conflict embrace them.

The government and parties concerned must encourage more efforts through substantial amount of resources to ensure a lasting peace across the country.

However, parties to any conflict must also show total commitment and invest trust in the peace process if real peace is to be achieved.

The healing process begins with admission and forgiveness from all the parties to the conflict. They must admit their trespasses and they must promise to walk the peace path.

That means they have to understand that any resolutions made in a dialogue process is binding.

Let me explain here that we all know and understand that the puzzle in the greater Jonglei has always revolved around tribalism, cattle raids, overgrazing and abductions.

Communities living in the greater Jonglei region must appreciate their diversity failure of which, coexistence becomes a myth.

Once the sticking issues have been identified then the same affected populations should be involved in the search for lasting solutions.

These communities must learn to coexist through cross cultural activities, common grazing, intermarriages and trade.

Leader from these communities should be at the forefront in the search for common ground and that comes with utmost good faith.

Local farmers must embrace pastoral communities and engage each other diligently in the search for a lasting peace.

Remember the youth form a bigger part of those fuelling these conflicts, more so where cattle raids are involved.

Organizers of these dialogue forums must involve the youth full to firmly deal a blow to the ghost of cattle raids.

Communal conflicts have a greater bearing on the overall peace implementation process and should therefore never be ignored.

Any pockets of insecurity or killings should not be condoned because we are talking about sanctity of lives here.

Nobody has the right to take away someone’s life and so recent killings in some parts of the country should not go unpunished.

Perpetrators of these heinous acts should be made to pay dearly for their actions and they communities should never tolerate any acts that violate peace.

The country is at a crucial peace implementation stage and any other sideshows that threaten the much needed peace should be avoided at all costs.

This is why I said at the beginning that dialogue should form the basis of our unity and identity as a peace who share common pasts.

We should learn to appreciate the fact that there have been some relative peace because some of our national leaders led by President Salva Kiir Mayardit have vowed never to let this country slip back to war again. Indeed that should be the spirit.

I support the idea of having the regional dialogue forums across the country but more importantly is that they should bear tangible fruits; they should mark the beginning of our national healing journey and motivate us to look at the greater picture of this country for posterity.

The writer is a media consultant, trainer and mentor.

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