ONAD launches campaign to shun tribalism in Rejaf payam
Residents of Rejaf Payam in Juba say; unity and reconciliation are necessary for lasting peace in South Sudan. This view was expressed by most participants reached during #NINA SAWA CAMPAIGN launched to denounce tribalism, promote unity, reconciliation and peaceful co-existence. Agreeing with most participants elder Serevino Morbe Ladu of Don Bosco residential Area said: “If we truly want to see a lasting peace in South Sudan, we need to educate, reconcile and unite our people. Your #NINA SAWA CAMPAIGN should be rollout in the whole country to not only denounce tribalism, celebrate unity in diversity but to allow people express what they like and dislike about one another to reach a common ground for acceptance. He added, the campaign is a right step in the right direction. He advised community members, state and non-state actors to use opportunity created by the revitalized peace deal to achieve this goal.” True, identifying “tribalism” as a problem, knowing what has gone wrong between us as people, may lead to forgiveness and acceptance of one another paving the way for peaceful co-existence. Conflicts are inevitable and are sure to happen no matter how we try to avoid. Conflict can fragment the society and its fabrics. But conflicts do not have to be violent and people who are affected by disputes have the potential to bridge their differences, reach out to each other through peace deals and civic education to open new pages in life. The Revitalized Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic Of South Sudan (R-ARCRSS) signed on 12 September 2018 is a practical attempt to unite and reconcile the people of South Sudan. Mr. Moses John the Executive Director of ONAD said: ONAD recognizes diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender, religion and even differences in opinion as strengthens for building a nonviolent, peaceful and democratic South Sudan. He added that # NINASAWA Arabic for “We are equal” aimed to reduce what divides us and increase on what unite us as people, working groups and country. He appreciated the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) for supporting the campaign.
It’s worth mentioning that the campaign used public speaker system on a moving vehicle, distributed 200 copies of posters with people holding hands together symbolizing ethnic, gender and social diversity in the country. An estimated 4,750 community members (2,147 male and 2,603 female) in Gumbo Shirkat, Don Bosco and Kor romla of Rejaf Payam in Juba were reached in three days in July 2020. Besides, over 1,300 people from across the country and the globe were reached within a week through ONAD’s official facebook page (organization for nonviolence and development). Commenting on social media outreach, Mr. Luka Deng Diing ONAD volunteer said; “The use of art work in the campaign communicated the message and positively caught the attention of many viewers. Six people shared it on their wall meaning we have actually reached more people online than estimated”.
The campaign also interacted with individuals to know their views as they were met by volunteer campaigners in their homes, streets and business places. For instance Miss. Jeska Sunday a tea seller in Gumbo Shirkat welcomed the campaign and pointed out that “in her tea selling place customers come and sit in same language and ethnic groups. Customers rarely share tables and talk freely to each other. She pledged to break this culture as a concerned citizen to promote unity and treat all customers as equals”.
On another hand, few participants expressed pessimistic views towards achieving what they called real unity and reconciliation in South Sudan. A participant who shared minority view said “unity and reconciliation can be achieved through practical action that promotes these values rather than talking or conducting civic education. He added condemning tribalism alone is not enough. Diversity and inclusion go together and that leaders have crucial stake in realizing this goal. He questioned how did we live with our differences during the years of struggle? Why are we divided now? We are one people with one destiny; we need to find a way to live together in peace”. Meanwhile another participant requested that such campaigns should not only reach the population of Rajaf in Juba but should cover the entire country to achieve a greater impact.