, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 22 – The Pan African Forum is now proposing the adoption and implementation of the visionary document prepared by South Sudan’s first President John Garang, to end the conflict in the world’s newest nation.
Without this, the lobby group says, lasting peace cannot be achieved in South Sudan, where military factions have been fighting since last week, after a failed coup on President Salva Kiir.
The forum is convinced that the seminal document, prepared by the late Garang, diagnosed the central problem of the post 1956 Sudan and, more importantly, articulated an alternative vision for South Sudan which include a “fundamental and democratic transformation of Sudan; a restructuring power on a new basis that allows for the establishment of inclusive governance; a people based decision-making architecture; and, an equitable resource allocation.”
The document titled ‘Strategic Framework for War-to-Peace Transition’ was prepared in April 2004, way before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the Economic Commission of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
“We call on all parties and stakeholders in the current South Sudan conflict to consider the following proposals in the quest to break the cycle of violence that has consumed South Sudan since last week,” David Matsanga, a conflict resolution expert who is also the forum’s chairman said.
The forum is now urging President Uhuru Kenyatta, as chairman of the East African Community (EAC), to consider embracing on his mediation team to insist on the late Garang’s visionary document in their talk with President Kiir, in a bid to find a lasting solution.
“That is the only way we can end the cycle of violence likely to be witnessed in South Sudan,” Matsanga said.
Over 500 people are though to have been killed in the wake of the renewed fighting between government soldiers and a renegade faction loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar who insists on getting Kiir out of power.
Key among the issues outlined in the Garang peace document include the establishment of institutional infrastructure of governance, Development of physical infrastructure, Regeneration of social capital, Restoration of peace and harmony and prioritization agriculture as the engine of economic growth and poverty eradication.
Others are the transformation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) from a war time guerrilla organization to a peace time political organization in an environment of democracy and political pluralism and the transformation of the SPLA from an insurgency based guerrilla army into a conventional army.
“The current crisis should be addressed in a manner that retains fidelity to the dreams of the Founding Fathers, enhances the dignity of the people of South Sudan, and, more importantly, steers the country along the urgent and difficult tasks of healing, state building and nation building,” the Pan African Forum said in a statement.
The forum is also proposing the involvement of former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano to lead the coordinated mediation efforts to achieve lasting peace.
“He has extensive experience in similar processes of peace building, state building and nation building having led Mozambique during a difficult time of transition following the death founding president Samora Machel,” the forum said.
Chissano has previously served as the United Nation’s Special Envoy for the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) affected areas during the Juba Peace talks between the Government of Uganda and the LRA.
In the forum’s opinion, Chissano enjoys deep respect amongst African and non-African people for his leadership during his presidency and his involvement in similar peace processes within and outside Africa.
Peace efforts in South Sudan are currently being led by the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Kenya has deployed its military to evacuate stranded Kenyans, following the killing of two of its nationals at the weekend.
The first batch of 22 Kenyans evacuated from the clash-torn country arrived in Nairobi late Saturday aboard a military plane, while many more were expected on Sunday and in the days to come.