This article was last updated on May 26, 2022
The campaign involved procession from Buluk football ground to the Ministries and back. CEPO was joined by the South Sudan Peace Commission, religious leaders, students and other activists. Much as only a few stakeholders joined the procession, there was one and clear message the activists passed, that is: “stop the war; we need peace in South Sudan.”
Last December, South Sudan experienced one of its worst instability since it got independence in 2011. A political dispute within the ruling party, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) turned violent and ran the whole country hostage.
Gun shooting started at the capital, Juba in various military barracks and spread wildly across the country. Government accused ex-Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and other ex-politicians of masterminding a coup against the government but the vice president denied the allegations.
The fighting displaced over a million people and an estimated 10,000 perished in the conflict in just six months. The situation has created bitter relations between some ethnic groups in the country and threatens the unity of the fledgling nation.
“As the past few months we have witnessed the situation in South Sudan… it is time for us to stand for peace. This is a move we have launched in Juba and we will reach to the other States,” Edmond Yakani, CEPO’s Executive Director told the gathering at Buluk football ground on Tuesday.
“We are reconciling among ourselves. We are not celebrating any political agenda: stop the war” is the message we are passing out to our leaders.” Yakani’s voice was also echoed by the students who were in the procession:
“We are crying for peace. We want the fight to stop. They [leaders] should stop the war,” Pabu Puru, a student representative said. “All citizens of South Sudan let us be united and work together for peace. Let’s stand for peace. It should not be supported by another nation.”
The launch of the peace campaign came days after President Salva Kiir and the rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar stroke a deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa – for a formation of an interim government – within sixty days.
The Government and anti-government delegations had earlier signed a Cessation of Hostility agreement on January 23 this year under the auspices of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Rev. Simon Peter, the church representative called for both parties to recommit themselves and put their words agreed in sealing the deal into action. “The peace we are looking for should not be the peace we say in words only. The reconciliation we are talking of we need to see it in action,” Peter said.
He called for all the political parties in the country including all the organized forces to work on an agenda: peace, adding all the churches in the country should be working for peace and act as instruments for reconciliation and healing.
Peter Gwang, the Deputy Chairperson of the South Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SSPRC) reiterated: “There are problems but they cannot be solved by a barrel of gun. We need not to be aggressive in approaching these problems. We need dialogue.”