February 6, 2013 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s vice-president, Riek Machar, has called on civil society organisations in the country to play a role in creating awareness and mobilising the population for the upcoming campaign on national reconciliation.
In a consultative meeting between the organising committee and representatives of civil society groups on Tuesday in Juba, Machar spoke about the initiative to bring peace and reconciliation between rival tribes and clans in many parts of the country.
He called on the leaders of civil societies present to carry the message correctly to their other colleagues, saying a national committee for reconciliation will be formed, with participation of civil society representatives.
In a separate meeting with faith-based groups on Monday, which included Christian and Muslim leaders, the vice-president also urged them to preach about the importance of national reconciliation and healing in their churches and mosques.
South Sudan has initiated the process to forgive the past and instil the spirit of unity and culture of peace among the people so as to unite all communities.
Machar explained that the program for healing and national reconciliation was not a new idea because it was enshrined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005 between Sudan’s then government and South Sudan’s current ruling party the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to end decades of civil war.
The reconciliation process was not implemented during the six-year interim period due to the reluctance of northern Sudan as by then war was still raging in Darfur, he said.
South Sudan, however, split from Sudan in July 2011 and formed its own independent state following an overwhelming vote for secession in a referendum.
The conference to kick off the campaign in the new country will convene in April. A number of high profile personalities are invited to share their experiences on reconciliation and good governance.