Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

By Charles Lotara (Guest)

Most African countries are still deeply entrenched in a phallocentric thinking that stems from cultural and historical baggage that women are not entitled to speak up over issues that matter to them. Vocal South Sudanese women have placed an end to such a misogynistic thought by a growing call for the implementation of the peace agreement through the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity slated for this month. It is the second time women’s voice is coming up after women from the South Sudan Council of Churches bowed down to prayer in anticipation of truly, and genuinely lasting peace. Women are getting concerned and anxious; they are right. They form part of the group that suffers the most in times of crisis. With a plethora of responsibilities that they shoulder, women find no solace in a politically volatile environment often gripped by fear of the unknown. The outcome of the summit held between the signatories to the peace agreement in Ethiopia recently is another worrying phenomenon pushing women to voice their concern for the principals to fast-track the process of signing the deal. That the other party can go ahead to form the government despite unavailability of others is nothing but a blunt statement no matter who makes. It is the rhetoric we heard prior to the 100 days extension period last year. The government insisted on forming the TGoNU with or without opposition, what happened next is a topic to be discussed in another day. It is time protagonists stop behaving like kleptocrats. Just Like most citizens and experts, women are also saying no to pseudo pledges that do not eventually materialize. Do not take my words for it. Betty Sunday, Founder and Conductor of Women Monthly Forum said “How are we going to form the government without knowing the number and boundaries of states? On what basis is the government going to be formed?” As if that was not enough, Suzan Kaku, a small scale businesswoman brought to light an idea that the signatories to the peace agreement could obviously figure out. “I think both parties should first solve the issue of states. I don’t think it’s right for them to form the government with pending issues,” Kaku stated. The reasonable submissions of these women must be given considerable attention.  Misogyny aside, gone are the days when women were treated as second class citizens.  

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