Report on Equatoria Regional Conference [Part 2]
By Anna Nimiriano
Dear readers of Juba Monitor, in part one I briefed you about some points raised during the Equatoria Regional conference discussions based on opinions of people at the the grassroots in three regions. In part two, I would present to you some information on what is expected to be implemented in the near future to bring lasting peace in the country.
It was discussed that when South Sudan got its independence in 2011, it opened ways for foreigners to come in the country without government made strategic plan on how to treat them and which rule should be imposed on them. People with evil spirits came and destroyed our people with native medicines. They were doing it as business to get money.
It was also said that, Equatoria Army has been marginalised; this scenario should be stopped, for the reason that all army forces are to be treated equal in the country. Lack of wider networking for media coverage, like Radio Miraya and Eye Radio in the states distorted information to reach people at the grassroots. Bad roads and insecurity make it difficult for journalists to move freely to the states to know the opinions of people about peace in the country.
It was said that soldiers and the National security are not to attend social gathering while holding guns. It gives fear and bad concept to people. There should be rules for recruiting soldiers in the country. All militia groups are to be taken out from Equatoria, they are causing insecurity in the state. They said that there is need to monitor the Revitalized Peace Agreement in the country, and people of South Sudan should participate in peace process and know the obstacles preventing peace process.
Intimidation of chiefs in the rural areas should be stopped immediately, for the reason that, they are leaders for local people in the grassroots. They have responsibility to deal directly with people. They should conduct regular meetings in the rural areas for peace messages. Many taxes for business people and car charges should be reduced from the roads, not to affect them in the country.
The issue of Abyei should be considered a national issue in the country. The National government should consider it as one of the priorities in their plan of action.
The agenda of the National Dialogue conference contained key issues affecting people of the grassroots in South Sudan. In the Communiqué, it was recommended that “any member of the parliament appointed to an executive position must resign from parliament and be replaced through elections.” It was also recommended that access to, and transfer of power should only be through legitimate, timely, free and fair democratic elections.”
Government should make peace a priority in order to restore macroeconomic stability in the country, accelerate economic growth, sustainable livelihood, employment opportunities and formulate inclusive and equitable socio-economic programs throughout the county.” These are some of the recommendations that the participants came up with on the last day of the conference. May God bless us all.