By Hüstin Läkü,SR,
Dec 27, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army (SPLM/A) leadership under President Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) has failed to improve the living standards of South Sudan citizens since taking power in 2005. The President’s recent speech on national dialogue is not new: he has made similar pronouncements in the past that were never followed up nor respected by those who were required to do so. One has to wonder whether this “national dialogue” speech was well thought-out. The speech lacks substance because it failed to outline a holistic vision for resolving the numerous bad governance problems facing South Sudan now or in years to come. For example, the speech fails to mention how to bring the country out of this current political and economic crisis that is Kiir’s making.
The call for dialogue is short on details of how the country would be secured for the oppositions to attend a national dialogue convened by Kiir, when he was the one who led South Sudan to the present Quagmire”. How would a tribally dominated Government be impartial in addressing the problems it created of bad governance, exclusion of majority of non-Dinka people in the national political process, and the country’s collapsed economy and dysfunctional, illegitimate political institutions?
[ad name=”Google Ads 03″]
In my own humble opinion, the dialogue should among other issues address the exclusion of the vast majority of the people from echelons of government, injustice, blatant inequality and the dispossession of Equatorians, Ferit, Nuer and Shilluk from their ancestors land by some government officials. Likewise, the culture of corruption with impunity and the lack of accountability need to be tackled head-on. Furthermore, it is urgent that President Salvar Kiir puts an end to the existence of illegitimate ethnic dinka paramilitary of Mathiang Anyor that is carrying targeted killings of Equatoria States, implement the security sector reforms across the security organs such as the national army, police, intelligence and prisons which are dominated by two ethnic groups as well as implement a plan to recover $4.5 billion pocketed by his tribesmen ministers.
As it stands now, most government institutions including the military and paramilitary reflect only one or two ethnicities. Instead of focusing on the real political crisis facing the country, including bad governance, failing institutions and corrupt officials, the President diverted the world attention by announcing a meaningless national dialogue. Yet, he knows very well this dialogue does nothing, but buy time for him and his tribes mates — the Jieng Council of Elders to drag the country into more economic turmoil and political crisis.
For South Sudan to go forward, President Salvar Kiir must accept the implementation of the peace agreement signed with the SPLA-IO in 2015 and ARCISS in entirety. He must not interfere with implementation of national reform of government institutions such as police, national security, prison, military and public service and in order to correct all bad governance problems and the human rights violations committed against South Sudanese citizens ( ref: South-Sudan dialogue 2002/ and 2005, and Equatoria Conferences 2011 resolutions). It is through such reforms and inclusion
policy that there can be real national dialogue and not the kind of superficial forgiveness Mr. Kiir talks about.
A critical look at the proposal for the dialogue quickly reveals the following: Thirteen out 26 Members of the “National Dialogue Steering Committee” are Kiir’s hardliners, peace spoilers, JCE members, and some members of advisory board are very ill-suited and have no competency in conflict resolution mechanisms such facilitation, mediations, impartiality, and leadership. Moreover, the list of national dialogue members demonstrated that, the national dialogue is no longer a dialogue, but rather a monologue since Kiir, the very creator of political crisis and bad governance, is also the chair with his associates appointed either as advisors or committee members.
In nutshell, the rule of thumb of dialogue is that the parties to the conflict, disputes and problems to be resolved by dialogue or mediation cannot chair dialogue committee. Dialogue processes require impartial, independent and qualified body to preside over the committee and its membership.
President Salvar Kiir has been in the office for over 10 years and has failed to govern the country for the good of all citizens. He has killed the aspirations and hopes of South Sudanese who fought against successive governments of Sudan regimes. Having struggled and shed their bloods for more than 50 years, South Sudanese people want nothing, but good governance, justice and equality for all and not for a select few; power and resource-sharing, inclusion and respect and dignity. These are the same demands that the Southern Sudanese political block demanded in the pre-independence at Juba Conference of 1947 as well as the first session of the first national parliament following independence from Britain in 1956.
As a South Sudanese, I believe the only Christmas and New Year gift Mr. Kiir can give to South Sudan is to resign and permit new leadership to take the country to a brighter future. The country needs new servant leadership that puts his/her own personal and tribal interests behind the interests of the country, has the knowledge, capacity, competency, and will to deal with the numerous man made (SPLM/A) challenges facing the people.
Finally, Kiir’s national dialogue call falls short of dialogue requirements, principles and mechanisms and it is not dialogue per se, but rather national monologue.
Federalism, Decentralization and Conflict Resolution Consultant.