President Kiir’s National Dialogue is a Bad Tree That Will Yield Poisonous Fruits.
By Makneth Aciek, Kampala
Dec 23, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— The bitter disappointment of the past has made many south Sudanese skeptical that it’s impossible to believe something positive would come out of Mr. Kiir’s dialogue. We would have believed the stated good intention toward the future of South Sudan, had there been any policy indication of it in the last four years.
This much I know; majority of common people are doomed to remain in limbo of false hopes; hoping to find some respite in the national dialogue. They will find it difficult to realize they are being taken, yet again, for a ride. The rest are politically neutral; they have their own woes to mind. They live burdened by the struggle of daily life. Politic is even at the worse time.
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The fact is, the initiated national dialogue by president Kiir is a bluff! No matter how the major sale point of this bluff appeared to be based on nationalism and welfare of suffering common people, president Kiir’s actions repeatedly dismissed the woes of South Sudan people as the price to be paid for him to hold on to power. Basically president Kiir is the traditional enemy of independent South Sudan .
In this national dialogue, the discretionary power of government have expanded to people private life. They are literally given a new direction: what to like, who to talk to; and collectively how to dialogue and who to dialogue with them.
National dialogue needs a credible leader who inspires trust among communities; a leader who doesn’t think in term of “us” against “them”. A leader who is capable of drawing the circle widely.
When the leader draws the circle in an exclusionary manner, with the rhetoric of hostility, the sense of threat among the followers is increased. The situation president Kiir dialogue portrays!
President Kiir has been comfortable to issue presidential decrees and orders, but not ready to answer tough questions. In his latest, he constituted the membership of national dialogue steering committee, in which he included the respected men of God in person of Bishop Paride Taban ( former bishop of diocese of Torit) and Bishop Nathaniel Garang Anyieth ( former bishop of diocese of Bor) to use as camouflage to advance his agenda.
These honorable men of God will struggle to come to terms with responsibility placed on their famous shoulders, because president Kiir will knock them about here and there ; drive them from hatred to hatred. Am almost afraid this innocent and noble men will be forced to unknowingly take part in the systems of cheats and criminals.
If president Kiir meant well to the people of South Sudan, he should cancel this bluff and follow the following procedures to realize meaningful and inclusive dialogue:
1) High level/Summit dialogue; this should involve the top leadership of contending parties i.e. SPLM-IG , SPLM-IO, SPLM-FPDs and other political parties or arms group, with the help of international community to address the risk evens of observable genocide in the country. To put to stop the raging war in the part of country and allow humanitarian access to the most affected areas and constituencies.
2) After ending the physical fighting, it has to be followed by Tract two intervention by civil society organizations, it is the civil society organizations that read the mood of nation; it is them that are suppose to provide discrete and low-risk opportunities and chances to explore best options; build skills and trust in the process of dialogue.
3) political dialogue ; which will supposedly constitute the aspect of planning for peace building, state building and in some extend, developmental projects.
4) Multi-level dialogue; where the dialogue will be initiate in various level of communities. This is where ordinary citizens could be engage in building sufficient national consensus on critical issues and challenges.
These are researched and tested forms of dialogue process, meant for ending the conflict such as the one South Sudan faces now. There is no future in excluding opponents that have substantial followings and expect peace and harmony in near future.
The president and his group may be the one with smiling faces now, but it won’t be long before facing the reality. The quarrel between reality and fantasy; the break down of trust between citizens and state will soon become a daily erosion.
With this nature of dialogue, the president is burying the conflict in a shallow grave and we shall all be holding our noses for a very long time.
It’s not in vain that many are alarmed this dialogue is going to fail. There can never be honest national dialogue, while the rest of 63 tribes believe that south Sudan has become a world in which there is space only for Dinka.
Otherwise, the whole thing will be another ploy to increase the suffering of civilians who are collateral victims of president Kiir’s crusade against what only him can tell.
As suffering people of South Sudan are watching their president and officials shine and burgeon, claiming the future of their disadvantageous group; the world is equally watching president Kiir’s social experiment to see whether something positive could come out of his shakespearean monologue.
Makneth Aciek is a south Sudanese and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org