South Sudan: “National Dialogue” becomes a farce

STP calls for comprehensive peace process (Press Release)

The South Sudanese government has already lost influence and the calls for Salva Kiir to resign are getting louder. Photo: Al Jazeera English via Wikimedia Commons

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has described the South Sudanese government’s idea of a “National Dialogue” as a “farce”, further demanding a comprehensive peace process to prevent even more killings in the country, which is shaken by a civil war. “A dialogue in which no one wants to participate is neither credible nor promising,” criticized Ulrich Delius, the STP’s Africa expert, in Göttingen on Wednesday. “Apart from the individual warlords, the political parties, churches, women’s groups and other social institutions must be brought to the negotiating table as well, to enter a dialogue that is based on trust. Obviously, the government is unable to do so – and more and more parties are turning away in disappointment.”

Last Monday, the South Sudanese government had suspended the executive committee of the “National Dialogue” after only a fifth of the originally scheduled members had attended the opening ceremony. According to the government, the work of the committee will be suspended until at least half of its members take up their work.

The controversial “National Dialogue” is ill-fated because many personalities have rejected the invitation of President Salva Kiir to work on the committee – for example Rebecca Garang de Mabior, the wife of the late founder of the South Sudanese freedom movement SPLM, as well as Kosti Manebe, and the Anglican clergyman Reverend Canon Clement Janda. The former Catholic bishop Paride Taban won’t be joining the committee either – officially for reasons of age.

“Many of these celebrities don’t want to be instrumentalized for a half-hearted initiative that focuses more on the government’s power than on peace,” Delius stated. Further, he warned that “it is fatal that there is no credible peace process.” The failure of the “National Dialogue” also shows how much influence the South Sudanese government has already lost. Thus, despite the measures to restrict the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press, the calls for Salva Kiir to resign are getting louder.

Originally, the “National Dialogue” (announced by Salva Kiir in December 2016) was supposed to begin in March 2017. Due to a lack of funding, the official opening had to be postponed to April.

Header Photo: Al Jazeera English via Wikimedia Commons