Faced with the tragedy unfolding in their country since December 2013 , some citizens of South Sudan have tried to organize and structure the civil society contribution to the peace process . In late August , several civil society organizations applied for a permit to hold a forum at Quality Hotel in Juba on the theme “Revitalization of the Peace Process : Updates and Civil Society Perspective” . The National Security Service refused the authorization “due to security reasons”. This from the same government that two days before had asked for a review of the mandate of the recently-deployed Regional Protection Force , acccusing it of “creating havoc because it came into Juba carrying guns“. So the international force for peace could create havoc and the civil society could cause a security risk by holding a Forum on the revitalization of Peace (which was being discussed in Addis Ababa by the international community and the African Union) . To add another dash of surrealism to the situation , Information Minister Michael Makuei then declared that the South Sudan government “could hold elections in 2018 despite insecurity and fighting between government and opposition forces” . “You cannot take insecurity as an excuse for not running the election” , the Minister added . This seemed to consider that a general election in a country at war with four million refugees and even more IDPs was not a serious security risk while the meeting of a Forum of Civil Society members and the public display of weapons by a Regional Protection Force “caused havoc” and were “security risks” . After all this Alice in Wonderland talk , can the South Sudan government still be taken seriously ?
The September 1st decision by the Kenya Supreme Court to cancel the recent presidential elections is courageous and principled . Whether this results in a peaceful rerun (hopefully) or in violent troubles (God forbids !) is a risk that the judges took . It is now up to the population to rise to the level of courage and lucidity of their judicial brethren. The responsability is incumbent on every Kenyan citizen . But meanwhile , what a spendid lesson in democracy ! Coming from the continent where that political choice is so often frustrated and brutally manhandled . Kenyans can certainly boast about the degree of maturity of their political system which has so often in the past come very short of decent behaviour . Every participant — pro or con — in the running of public life has been promoted and his situation/action dramatized positively or negatively by the decision of the Kenyan judges . Both President Kenyatta — by accepting the verdict — and chief challenger Oginga Odinga — by calling for a peaceful response — have risen to the occasion . And helped Africa into political adulthood and responsability . Whether the charges that led to the verdict are correct or not is secondary . Julius Caesar repudiated his wife who was accused of infidelity . Some friends of the Roman politician tried to defend her , saying that the accusation was false and due to envy . “It could be , answered the Roman general , and if so we will remain friends ; but the wife of Caesar cannot be under suspicion”. That this statement can apply today to a key segment of Africa’s politics is an inceredible democratic leap forward . Tonight every African (and non-African) dictator or life-president will sleep less at ease . The whole world stands in gratitude to these Nairobi judges .