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Gov’t calls for unity in the Country

By Okan Thomas Onyango

The Minister of peace-Building in the country calls upon South Sudanese to have a common within the diversities.

He said this during an opening of the three days Peace Forum that brought grassroots representatives from the states and Juba based national figures which kicked off yesterday in  Juba under the theme: “Identity Politics, Unity and Diversity”.

Stephen Par Kuol, the Minister of Peace-building said that diversity can cause more harms in a country when mismanaged so there should be a common ethnicity in the diversity to unite instead of being used to divide the citizens.

“It’s a timely and important forum and we need the Civil Societies Organizations, the Academia and Intellectuals to take charge this time on uniting the citizens in diversity to reach a common ethnicity this time and dialogue about it,” Par said.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of Jonglei State Civil Society Network David Garang Goch, said South Sudanese should come back and lead the country in the right path and avoid misuse of ethnic identity to get political interest out of it.

“Diversity doesn’t mean you should know someone by their names but rather it means coming together as one understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, religious and political difference,” Goch said.

Goch further urged the South Sudanese to join their hands and develop one motive as citizens and avoid political motivations.

Substantive content of the Peace Forum is to Share experiences with grassroots actors on issues of identity politics in their personal and professional lives, presentations by the UN Office of the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, renowned author and former South Sudan representative to the United Nations and deliberations on tangible ways in which participants can help to re-frame narratives in their areas of influence to counter the effects of negative identity politics and hate speech.  

This was the fourth forum in series under the theme: Identity Politics, Unity and Diversity that brought a diverse range of about 60 participants including facilitators, guest presenters and grassroots representatives from the states and national figures. The first forum was organized in Juba in August 2019, under the theme “Grassroots role in the peace process”. This forum focuses on an examination of identity politics in the country and the extent to which this sows divisiveness and the opportunities that exist to reverse this and mobilize identity constructs that increase social and political cohesion.

Since the signing of the R-ARCSS in September 2018 it has been clear that the appetite for peace at the grassroots level is immense. This has also been true among local government and opposition leaders as the frequency of subnational rapprochement activities reveal. These have resulted in greater freedom of movement among civilians, opening of roads and riverine routes and the resuscitation of local markets. Creating a platform to help raise awareness of the aspirations of grassroots stakeholders to achieve peace across South Sudan is at the centre of this programming. The program is also predicated on the assumption that a full and sustained implementation of the revitalized peace agreement is reliant upon grassroots participation in the process.  Thus, the main aim of the program is to strengthen the nexus between sub-national and national actors in the implementation of the R-ARCSS.

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