South Sudan: On Communal Conflicts, Local Peace & Reconciliation Efforts, & more

Published on 1st May 2021. YouTube Channel:

In this episode, Roger Alfred Yoron Modi hosted William Ongoro and Kawaja Kau. Ongoro is a former National Coordinator with the NPPR which was established in 2014 in the aftermath of the December 15, 2013 crisis as hub for institutions with a peace mandate, faith based organizations and CSOs striving with a common agenda of amplifying voices of South Sudanese for peace and reconciliation. The NPPR had worked with and supported more than 70 CSOs across the country. Ongoro also served as Conflict Resolution Expert with the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative, a non-profit organization founded by artist and social activist Forest Whitaker with the mission to help societies impacted by, among others, destructive conflicts transform into safer and more-prosperous communities. As recognition of his contribution to peace, healing and reconciliation among ethnic and political divide spectrum, Ongoro was awarded International LIVIA Peace Award in 2016, Copenhagen –Denmark. On the other side,

Kawaja Kau, a political scientist, is the Executive Director of Centre for Democracy and Integrity.

The Program discussed Communal Conflicts and Local Peace and Reconciliation Efforts, the factors causing and exacerbating communal conflicts in South Sudan; how grassroots/local peace and reconciliation initiatives/efforts could be developed and promoted for lasting peace in the Country, and lessons on ending communal conflicts that South Sudan can learn from others, and more.

Extracts from the show:

“The issue of communal conflict in this Country is not the vacuum if legal instruments. It’s the question of as to how the government can make sure that they are smoothly exercising their Constitutional mandate.” Kawaja Kau. “The question of identity is a sort of a broader understanding. It’s from the perspective of a nation. And therefore when we talk of identity we are talking of how we can create a common identity in South Sudan. Creating a common identity is attached to the respect of social cohesion between communities, bearing in mind our diversities.” William Ongoro.

One of the competences of the Council of States provided for in Article 59 (f) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan include legislating “for the promotion of culture of peace, reconciliation and communal harmony among all the people of the states.”

Under the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan R-ARCSS, one of the principles to also include “committing the people of South Sudan to peaceful resolution of national issues through dialogue, tolerance, accommodation and respect of others opinions.”

Kawaja Kau said, “Disarmament, from the first date of carrying out disarmament in this Country have never been comprehensive. It has been selective. That’s one problem. The fact that it was selective made communities that were disarmed to rearm themselves because the government is not protecting them from those that the government did not disarm. If you look at the weapons that have been collected from the civil population….the storage capability of the government or the disarmament committee is in question…How do these arms get [back] their ways to the hands of the civil population? Let’s keep the government on its toes. That where are the arms that have been collected from the civil population? Where are they stored? We can even opt to enact a law…Enact a law that the collected arms should be destroyed immediately if it becomes now a business of some cartel that dealing with the disarmament committees.”

Meanwhile, regarding Transitional Justice in South Sudan, the R-ARCSS provides that the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity shall establish a Commission for Truth Reconciliation and Healing CTRH as “a critical part of the peace building process in South Sudan, to spearhead efforts to address the legacy of conflicts, promote peace, national reconciliation and healing.” The R-ARCSS says the Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation CNHPR and the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation shall transfer all their files, records and documentation to the CTRH within fifteen (15) days following its establishment. The CTRH and other related mechanisms have not been established amid the slow implementation of the R-ARCSS.

“Unfortunately, the National Platform for Peace and Reconciliation at the moment is defunct, it’s no more existing. But if personally or as a committee we are asked to provide those files, we are available. We have the files in the archives,” says Ongoro, the former National Coordinator with the NPPR.