A former American congressman has made a passionate appeal to South Sudanese leaders to create space for new voices and fresh leadership as they aim to end years of conflicts.
Frank Rudolph Wolf is a retired Republican congressman from the House of Representatives from January 1981 to January 2015.
In Congress Wolf earned a reputation for being bipartisan as he championed the rights of religious minorities.
He is credited for his strong advocacy for the people of South Sudan during the years of the liberation struggle against Khartoum-based governments.
“For years, every night before I went to bed I would pray for the people of South Sudan. I saw so much suffering. The pain and suffering is unbelievable,” Mr. Wolf recounted how southerners fought for decades against marginalization, underdevelopment and discrimination by subsequent administrations in Khartoum, that left the southern region and its people impoverished.
The retired congressman, however, expressed his utter dismay over how the country — shortly after independence — descended into a civil war following a fall-out between leaders of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement—SPLM party.
He said the conflict is a tragic betrayal of the liberation promises and the long-term commitment of the friends of South Sudan.
Frank Wolf was addressing delegates via a video-call during the ongoing national dialogue conference on Thursday.
He wondered what has become of the ideals the majority of the South Sudanese fought for during the 21 years of civil war.
The UN says the 2013 and 2016 conflicts have displaced over two million people into refugee camps and to the UN protection camps.
A peace deal to end the violence was signed in 2018.
The deal gives three years for the parties to lead a transitional government before a national election is held.
Congressman Frank Wolf urges the leaders to use the opportunity to build strong institutions that can withstand individual interests.
He said one such avenue to engage all stakeholders is through the current national dialogue process.
The former US congressman, Frank Wolf was recognized in 2018 for his role in defending human rights worldwide—particularly religious liberty.
He has championed these causes during 34 years in Congress and then through his work with the 21 Wilberforce Initiative.
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