FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 30th April 2017
South Sudan: amid death, destruction and despair, there can be no credible dialogue without inclusion.
Late last year, President Salva Kiir Mayardit attempted to hold a national dialogue to try to quell tensions in South Sudan, where on-going civil war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions of others since 2013. But South Sudanese, political forces, civil society, regional partners and the international community criticized the process because it lacked neutral oversight, inclusivity and attempts to deal with communities over the heads of the stakeholders. On April 25, 2017, President Kiir made another move aimed at reviving the process that was already running out of steam by issuing Republican Order No. 08/2017, which purports to address these problems. However, little has in fact changed and it is hard to see how this new order will inspire trust or confidence in national dialogue as currently envisioned.
Among the many problems with the new Order is that, like the previous one, President Kiir who is a party to the conflict arrogates to himself the right to unilaterally call for the National Dialogue and proceeds to appoint the Steering Committee for the dialogue. Other cosmetic changes are meant to portray the President as having made concessions such as appointing members of the opposition; he failed to consult in advance.
Wide consultation is essential for any national dialogue to be representative, legitimate and, most importantly, effective. Such consultation would signal a resolute effort to silence the guns, create an enabling security environment, facilitate the widening and deepening of public space conducive to frank and honest national debate leading, we hope, to the hard compromises that are required for advancing the peace process and the stability, peace, state and nation building efforts. As we have seen over and over again since December 2013, superficial dialogue is not a road to peace. The root causes of the conflict must be identified, discussed and addressed; there are no shortcuts. Whcommitmentred is a political process that is inclusive and transparent.
Therefore, we reiterate that the prerequisite for a meaningful dialogue are:
- An agreement on a political process to bring the war to an end through a roundtable conference to be convened in a neutral venue.
- A negotiated and enforceable permanent ceasefire and cantonment of all the belligerent forces.
- A genuinely commitment to an immediate, full and unconditional deployment of regional protection forces and the demilitarization of Juba and other major cities.
- The repatriation of refugees and return of IDPs to their houses and communities to enable them participate in the political process,
We also urge the African Union and the United Nations to redouble their efforts to facilitate the negotiation of an end to the war, protect political space and democratic rights and avoid supporting overlapping initiatives that complicate an already extremely complex conflict.
Hon. Henry Odwar
The Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM –IO)
Hon. Kosti Manibe
SPLM Leaders (FDs)
Hon. Gabriel Changson Chang
The Federal Democratic Party (FDP)
Dr. Lam Akol
The National Democratic Movement (NDM)
Governor Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro
The South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC)
Gen. Thomas Cirilo Swaka
The National Salvation Front (NAS)
For contact and further information:
Read PDM Policy Brief on the National Dialogue here