By Suzanne Jambo
14th October 2021
It’s been 10 years since our independence but freedom is still beyond our reach, as are peace, self-determination, prosperity and happiness. Our communities have been destroyed. Countless thousands have died, and, unless the status quo changes, we have little to look forward to.
Yet in the face of despair and misery we can still offer both alternative voices and other solutions driven by our people’s dreams to be free, to live dignified and to be happy. We are also cognizant that as the Republic of South Sudan is the world’s youngest country, there’s no way, no justifications whatsoever for the terrible dilemna we are in as a nascent nation. We South Sudanese are amazing human beings with tremendous resilience, commitment and aspirations. Our ancestors sacrificed selflessly with their dear souls. Most of us gave invaluably to be at peace with ourselves, with our neighbors and the world. We appreciate the world’s generous goodwill to us for nearly 40 years, especially ten years ago for us to be free; 99% of the UN members states voted unanimously to accredit our nation as the newest member of the world community. We have great personal friends across Africa and globally as Norway, the USA, Netherlands, the UK and Italy who sat with us with patience and dedication as we sought peace and solidarity in all corners of the world. Our leaders messed up, we messed up! We all did! But shouldn’t we be allowed to make amends, to get another chance? Should we be believed, once more, with stringent guarantees this time, or should we be left to continue spiraling downward into a Hellish abyss? We are determined to reclaim our nation from those individuals in power who are too proud to forego power, humble themselves to seek their people’s forgiveness, to end our suffering. Ego is a never ending vice amongst our leaders forcing us to continue to lose dear souls, to remain in abject poverty, to be humiliated the world over. We refuse and reject that outcome. We will not be dictated to or held hostage to the whims of egoistic and power-seized tyrants.
So, we are the Alternative Voices. We are moulded by both learnt lessons and the desire to fulfil our People’s dreams. We have different solutions—we strive towards founding a People’s peace by respecting our diverse cultures as are our strength, not a weakness. We approach peace holistically; embracing our cultural traditions and diversity. That is the foundation on which we can be reborn. We want and will accept nothing less than a return to our ancient values of ethics and meritocracy. To where we had already thought of ourselves as our own country. One in which we were all patriots. One in which communal strife was easily managed. One where we felt belonged. We can see for ourselves that economic stability must be anchored on a people’s peace—-and that our people’s peace can only be achieved and guaranteed by the people themselves. Forging common national values are pivotal toward re-building trust among our people, without which no nation can be built. We know there can’t be any stability, let alone economic recovery unless we prioritize healing of our people to rebirth our nation. We must reset to where we where ten ago, but even better through the painful and bloody lessons we suffered at the hands of ungrateful tyrants and liberators who all betrayed our trust.
Furthermore, we are committed to build our nation on hard work, good governance, non tolerance of corruption as “entitled to rule…we liberated you…to insane public thievery….”, and without favoritism of any kind. We are committed to walk this renaissance journey together with our people to reach an empowered citizenry. Leaders must learn to become answerable to the people, transparent and accountable for this is the liberated nation we all dreamt about. We will seek any and every program to empower our people so they themselves become agents of change to further a just and lasting peace.
We envisage to do all this beginning on the first day of a transition government. We are patriots. We are inclusive and transparent, and with the support of our people we will rescue our country from its endless suffering. We are the voices with a total commitment to all our people without favor or discrimination. We will use open dialogue as a tool for unity. We are determined to build ego-less platforms for a sober nation building.
We come from all walks of life; organizations, political affiliation, tribe, region, age, gender and faith, we firmly believe we will rebuild our land to what it was meant to be. We are a reflection of our diverse society; youth, women, professionals, skilled cadres, refugees and the diaspora. We are the alternative voices determined to offer solutions based on our dreams and learnt lessons. “A lesson learned the hard way is a lesson learned for a lifetime.” There are certain life lessons that can only be learnt in suffering, in the struggle…
Suzanne Jambo is the Founder and Chairperson of Steps “We64 peacefully”