Since South Sudan got independence in July, 2011, people there have known more fighting than peace.
By Simon Mone
This week African leaders gather in Rwanda's capital, Kigali on the occasion of the 27th African Union summit. It is very much welcome, given all wrong happenings on the continent.
With statistics of African countries needing redemption growing, the to-do list following conclusion of this AU meeting is what we crave for. Solutions contained therein will be the music we all yearn in our ears.
Concerns related to emerging unrests and also existing ones, from a big part of the continent are now too huge a bite to chew. And African citizens are left to rue their God-given rights ̶ it has been snatched from their grasp.
This background means at the moment, that AU leaders' hands are full. To begin with, in Bujumbura, the brutal dust there seems to have settled momentarily. Burundian citizens continue to refuge in humiliating conditions in neighbouring countries.
From afar, in the news, it appears as if Bujumbura is now peaceful. But the one question hanging over our heads is whether this is long-lasting peace, especially with another killing yesterday, of a prominent journalist.
That is why we kneel before God and beg that people in Burundi don't return to the low of April last year. As we figure out how to solve this madness in Burundi, we are yet shocked by a fresh turbulence next door.
Juba has opened up to fresh killings again. And the sight of dead bodies lying on compounds brings up to mind, how much, yet how far, humanity is being embarrassed in this inexperienced independent state.
Continued humiliation and damage could undermine the gains made in rebuilding what was left after decades of SPLA armed struggle. Also, the commendable aid and development work of humanitarian agencies will have been undone greatly. South Sudan will be taken backwards by so many years. And civilian populace will feel the severity of this new conflict.
Already, one thing is for sure ̶ civilian protection is not guaranteed.
And flights in and out of Juba have been halted; meaning efficient aid delivery air is dented. Thousands of local people are now to be left with no basic amenities to ensure their hand-to-hand survival.
Even humanitarian workers are vulnerable. We continue to wonder if the peace agreement signed between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar was only because they bulged under pressure from the likes of IGAD.
But world-wide calls for Juba to let peace prevail continue to pour in. It will take commitment by conflicting parties. Anything less, then humanitarian situation will descend. This will and commitment rests exclusively on the shoulders of Kiir and Machar, to throw everything at peace initiatives and immediately stop hostilities. And end constant streaming of people, children and the elderly to seek protection.
Since South Sudan got independence in July, 2011, people there have known more fighting than peace. And continue to be in despair. Therefore, as Amnesty International rightly put it, we are hopeful that at the end of AU summit, clear steps to ensure that rights of civilians are protected await implementation.
Also, there shouldn't be crime committers who get away with it. They must be made to account for their sins. We expect to see genuine pledge by leaders in offering a suitable environment for civil society and humanitarian organisations.
Then they can carry out their aid work without needless restrictions, hindrances and harassment.
Finally, that AU members lobby for a global arrangement which allows for sharing an equal quota of displaced people. The African Union must demonstrate that it possesses the mettle to thump its authority to discipline its wayward members.
The writer is a civil engineer