December 28, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudan President, Salva is considering, as a New Year “gift”, an amnesty for several inmates imprisoned for various offenses across the nation, a senior official said.
- South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, addresses the media in Juba on 2 May 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Paul Banks)
While addressing inmates at Juba Central Prison on Tuesday, Vice President, James Wani Igga says the president’s national dialogue initiative is a program designed to bring real peace in the country.
“When the president spoke in parliament to deliver the speech on national dialogue, he asked for forgiveness for any mistakes he may have committed during his time in office,” said the vice-president.
He explained that the peace “vehicle”, embedded in the president’s national dialogue initiative, will also cover prison inmates.
“If you are released from here and you go and commit the same mistake that you was brought here in the first place, then it will be unfortunate and you will face your own crime under law without further help,” stressed Igga, amidst cheers from the various inmates.
The Vice-President, formerly a speaker of the country’s Parliament, vowed to meet the president and First Vice-President, Gen. Taban Deng Gai to reach a decision regarding the prisoners’ complaints.
Igga said although the inmates have been convicted for different offences, others have been convicted due to “rumour” and “ear say”.
He added, “Others [inmates] may have committed a crime without knowing and others may have been brought here by other powerful forces, but all in all, we are reaching out to all the people of South Sudan to embrace peace and close dark chapters of our country’s history and to start the New Year 2017 as the year of peace”.
The Vice-President shared some light moments and shook hands with former senior officials from the president’s, who were convicted in June and are now serving life imprisonment at Juba Central prison.
A former official from the presidency congratulated the South Sudanese President and his entire leadership in the country for forming the national dialogue initiative that seeks to bring peace.
Speaking during the same occasion, a prisoner, only identified as Kaunda, highlighted some of the challenges facing his colleagues.
“On behalf of all my colleagues, we want to appeal to our President General Salva Kiir Mayardit to forgive us as we are his children. You cannot kill your child because they have made a mistake, but you should correct them not to make the same mistake again,” he said.
Kaunda, however, faulted the country’s judiciary mismanaging cases.
“There are people remanded for more than 10 years because the complainants have either forgotten they arrested somebody or no longer interested in the case, but police investigators and prosecutors are still holding such people in prison here,” he stressed.
He complained about cases before the Court of Appeal; the nation’s second highest court, saying it does not work in public interest.
“People wait for their appeal result between five to 10 years for a case to be concluded. The common jargon in the appeal court is that the first opinion is finished and from there you will never hear of the second and third opinion anymore”, Kaunda said on Tuesday.
“Lawyers and family will also forgot you in the process of this long wait,” he added.
The Director of Juba prison, Brig. General, Michael Malou Makuach told the inmates that their complaints would be forwarded to relevant authorities.
He encouraged inmates to support the president’s dialogue initiative.
“Start making peace with yourself, your children, wife and neighbours to achieve peace and attain unity in the country,” said Makuach.
Tribal politics done by some politicians is the cause of this war in our country. We must now all unite behind our president through the national dialogue to forgive each other as the president has done it. He may also forgive you in return, you never know,” he stressed.