By Juma Keneth
The second week of November (2017) saw the South Sudan Young leaders Forum (SSYLF) organized a youth convention in Kigali, Rwanda.
The convention brought together young people both from within the country and the diaspora. It came at the right time when young people are in a serious search for peace and platform to contribute towards promoting sustainable peace and forging a state.
This kind of convention bringing together young people from various ideological orientation with a sole motive of building consensus, forging unity and ending violent conflict is something that should be greatly recognized and appreciated.
It is always incumbent upon the young generation upon which the future lies to craft solutions and build a future they will enjoy.
To many observers, however, the group’s motives are not clearly understood. This has generated outrage among some members of the society, which is fine, but they should be educated and informed.
The critics of this body base their arguments on;
1. That the group is too engaged on a regional tour than provide solutions and get firsthand information from the victims of the conflict at home.
2. That the group has a sinister plan to overthrow the government and they quickly refer to the ‘generational exit’ campaign.
Clearly all this points are out of ignorance. I am therefore, going to demystify this argument and help guide them.
First, it’s not true that the groups are on a regional tour. Majority of the South Sudan Young Leaders forum members are actually based within the country but it should be noted that majority of the country population are either political exile with the region or stuck up in the refugees settlements.
Moreover, South Sudan Young Leaders forum did series of youth consultation within South Sudan, key among them was the Juba Youth Forum, July, 25th, 2017 held at Landmark Hotel and a two Youth Consultation on the ongoing peace processes 1-2, November, 2017 at Lacorte hotel, Juba.
All information about South Sudan Young Leaders Forum are in public domain and is accessible on http://www.ssylf.org . Besides, it should be noted that for any youth intervention in bringing sustainable peace in the country every young person deserves to be consulted and this includes even those in the armed opposition and the civil society in the Diasporas.
In our efforts to search for sustainable peace and provide healings to our already traumatized society, it is important to learn and share experiences within the region. Rwanda therefore, given its past and recognizing that ours is almost descending on a similar path, offers a credible lessons to young people from South Sudan, and this explains the choice of location for the Conventions.
Secondly, it is quite an insult to believe that for any organized body there should be an invisible hands. The young people of South Sudan are quite competent and capable of initiating a programs for societal transformation. It should be made clear that the group has no hidden agenda of overthrowing the government through armed confrontation. The youth more than any other understand the effect this current war had on our economy, politics and social cohesion.
However, it should be noted that the young people agree in unison that the older generation ‘’Sunset Generation’’ has failed squarely in uniting our people, promoting and protecting fundamentals of good governance as such there is a popular call for ‘generational exit’. This is a process and should such time comes it will be within the constitutional parameters of the country.
Juma Keneth is a South Sudanese youth leader and peace activist. He can be reached on +211955887207, firstname.lastname@example.org
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