S SUDAN: Kiir Forms New Committee for National Reconciliation

JUBA, April 23, 2013 (CISA) -South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir , has announced the formation of a new national reconciliation committee in a move seen as a response to public concerns, a week after suspending the process.

The public expressed numerous concerns in the media as to why the president decided to suspend the much-needed national reconciliation process, instead of changing the membership and composition of the committee without interruptions.

Kiir on Monday April 22, appointed the Archbishop of Episcopal Church, Daniel Deng Bul, to chair the national reconciliation committee, deputized by the Archbishop of Catholic Church, Paride Taban.

This is the second time the president has appointed Archbishop Bul to chair a reconciliation process, after his first appointment to chair the process among the tribes in his home state of Jonglei, last year.

According to Sudan Tribune, Bul, in the process of reconciling tribes in Jonglei, was accused by the Murle community of allegedly siding with the Dinka Bor, his tribe, prompting the Murle to withdraw from the reconciliation process and demanding for appointment of a neutral person to chair it.

It is yet to be clear whether his second attempt this time to reconcile not only tribes of Jonglei state, but also in the wider South Sudan will bear fruits, or at least not face similar rejection by some communities, particularly the Murle.

South Sudanese top political leaders have had disagreement over the agenda for the national reconciliation, with some advocating that the process be limited to preaching of reconciliation and forgiveness. Others, however, want it to include addressing the root causes of the conflicts and discontent; focusing on development, service delivery, good governance, land grabbing and land disputes, as well as socio-cultural issues, among others.

The former category perceives the wider scope of reconciliation to translate into political campaigns by individual leaders in the lead, while the latter argues that limiting it to the spiritual aspect of it without addressing the root causes, which are in the government’s jurisdiction and the government filling the identified gaps, the spiritual element of reconciliation alone will not succeed.

The dissolved organizing committee was chaired by the presidential advisor on decentralization and intergovernmental linkages, Tor Deng Mawien, with government’s Peace and Reconciliation Commission serving as its secretariat.