BY: Hüstin Läkü SR, South Sudan, MAY/27/2017, SSN;
Several points should be made regarding “Republican Order for the Reconstitution of the National Dialogue Steering Committee” and Membership composition. The data collected on each individual member shows that Membership composition is not inclusive, but exclusive and dominated by one ethnic group mostly from two regions of South Sudan (formally Upper Nile and Bhar Al-Ghazal) currently, Warrap and northern Bhar Al-Ghazal, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States. It is not a national dialogue; rather it’s a dia-state dialogue.
In addition, some members are from one family, for instance; Lt. Gen. Pieng Deng is a half brother of Dr. Francis Deng, as well as Ms. Lily Albino is a daughter of Rtd. Maj.Gen. Albino Akol Akol. Data collected when analyzed on key positions, ethnicity, political parties, gender and professional association affiliations etc. leads to the conclusion that it’s not a national dialogue, but a fraud and a scam to manipulate the current situation to benefit Jieng council of elders (JCE), buying time, mislead international community as well as insulting to the intelligence of South Sudanese citizens and friends of South Sudan.
The initial observations show the following:
Which one comes first, Peace or dialogue?
As a matter of principle, achieving peace should be the priority and followed by dialogue. Therefore, dialogue cannot replace absent of peace and it cannot resolve political and humanitarian crisis in the country in the way it’s conceived and being implemented.
Furthermore, this is not the right time for dialogue in the middle of ongoing war in the country and massacre of thousands of civilians, forcing hundreds of thousands into refuge in the neighboring countries. A genuine dialogue should be after the 2015 peace implementation and when All South Sudanese returnees and refugees have returned home in their constituencies.
For instance, South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established and functioned after political settlements brought the nation together after long period of healing processes. To do the opposite is setting the country into wrong direction, shaky ground and it might lead to disintegration of South Sudan to smaller States as it happened in the Balkans.
Co-Chair and Rapporteur and Deputy Rapporteur positions are controlled by JCE hardliners. These members are the architects of the “born to rule” Dinka slogan in late 1970’s and early 1980s. The slogan born to rule is now born to destroy South Sudan.
As is commonly said, the previous experiences determine the future experiences and outcomes; the hardliners will control direction of discussions as well as pre-determine the resolutions of South Sudan National Dialogue (SSND) which will not be representative of views and opinions of opposing parties and other ethnicities.
For example, in 1989, President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir initiated national dialogue and invited SPLM/A to participated, and Dr. Garang declined on the ground that, it was not inclusive and controlled by the northerners and hardliners Members of NIF and SSND is no different than the former Sudan national dialogue and even worst.
South Sudan has 66 ethnic groups and only 18 ethnic groups were represented in very small number against 45 members from one ethnicity group. 48 ethnic groups who suffered the most human right violations are excluded from participations. Equatoria has 32 ethnic groups and 13 ethnic groups were appointed.
South Sudan has 36 political parties and only 2 are included and these two are part of Juba regime. E.g. Taban Deng IO and Joseph Ukel groups. In addition, most members are SPLM and SPLM/IO cadres. The key positions of decision making are controlled by hardliners of Jieng Council of elders (JCE) and excluded women.
Gender representation is not balanced and contrary to the concept of 25% quotas for women. The current list shows that women represents only 15.6%, and 8 out of 15 women are mostly citizens of Warrap, northern Bahr Al-Ghazal, Jongeli, and Unity States and sadly enough there is no single woman appointed in key position-this is a complete marginalization of South Sudanese women and defeats 25% quotas system.
Clergymen representation is not balanced and the current list shows that there is no representation from government critics such as Catholic Church vocal clergymen Bishop Laku, all were excluded as well as important members of opposition groups such IO, PDM, NMC, NDC and many others. The list shows many Bishops and Pastors who were silent about their colleague Pastor Lasu and many other pastors who were killed by national security the day after national day of prayers and prior. This shows that these Bishops and Pastors are supporters of government and its corrupting influence on society, with many among them being co-opted by the government.
Civil Society, Youth, and People with disabilities
Civil Society, Youth and people with disabilities groups are completely disregarded. The behavior of South Sudan government suggests that youth and people with disabilities have no value in South Sudan’s development, decision-making as well as have no say in future of nation building.
For the benefit of readers and concerned citizens of South Sudan and friends of South Sudan, it is important to shed light on some key members of the committee, and provide analysis on overall selected members and draw conclusion with some recommendations to move the country forward.
Abel Alier is Dinka from Bor and was a Former Vice President of Sudan (1970-1982), he served as president of the High Executive Council of Southern Sudan in Juba, after Lt. Gen. Joseph Lago gave him green light to do so. Alier was the first Southern Sudanese to introduce mono ethnic politics and Dinka hegemony in South Sudan which lead to Kokora in 1983. His time was known by tribalism, employment and appointments of one ethnic group based on tribal lines and favoritism.
Alier never participated in the first phase of civil war (1956-1972) fought mainly by Equatorians as well as the second civil war from 1983-2005. Alier has always acted on the advice of Khartoum regimes and advanced the interests of Arab-north in the South. Alier is one of the architects of “born to rule” slogan in late 1970s and early1980s.
Bona Malwal is a Dinka from Warrap and Warrap is Kiir’s home State. Malwal is a member of the secretive Jieng Council of Elders tribal advisory council to President Kiir. Malwal was Minister in Alier’s Cabinet in the Regional Government of Southern Sudan. Malwal is key member of the “born to rule” Dinka slogan along with Alier, Justin Yack and Joshua De Wal.
Malwal was an opponent of the late Dr John Garang De Mabior and the anti- separation of South Sudan. Malwal was known for his famous hate speech which he delivered on Saturday, March 21st, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.A. In the meeting, Mr. Bona Malwal said “South Sudan existed thanks to the Dinka and therefore belongs to the Dinka people, and the Dinka have earned it and are where they are now above all others in South Sudan.” Please, refer to below link for full text.
Dr. Francis Deng, is Dinka Ngok of Abyei. Abyei is still disputed area by both Juba and Khartoum and its fate is still unknown. Deng is known for his unionist position and opposes South Sudan secession and defended his views in many public forums in Middle East. He expresses his views in letter exchange with former University of Juba Professor currently in Oman as well as with former retired South Sudanese Professor at University of Toronto in Canada. 25% of Abyei citizens hold key positions in South Sudan government and some holders of Sudanese passports and working for Khartoum regime and some receiving salaries from both Juba and Khartoum.
Lt. Gen. Pieng Deng is Dinka Ngok of Abyei, and a half brother of Dr. Francis Deng. Gen. Pieng was former Chief of Police. South Sudan Police Services administrative corruption happened under his authority.
The objective of a dialogue is not to analyze things, or to win an argument, or to exchange opinions or to pre-determine the outcome of dialogue or pre-written dialogue resolutions. Rather, it is to suspend your opinions and to look at the opinions of other parties into dispute, to listen to everybody’s opinions, to suspend them, and to see what all that means in resolving political crisis, peace without justice, land grabbing, marginalization and exclusion from administration of the country, mono ethnic politics and centralization of political, economic, administrative and military powers in the hands of few or two ethnicities.
SSND in its current status will not achieve everlasting peace, but rather it will create more division, suffering, killings, and political instability in the region. 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?
What South Sudan requires is political settlement through peace talks that includes all parties into the conflicts, but not mono ethnic dialogue or dia-state dialogue. Why mono ethnic dialogue? because it excluded 48 ethnic groups in the refugee camps in the neighboring countries who would love to participate.
The solution to South Sudan man-made political and humanitarian crisis is not mon dialogue, but reforms of government institutions and deliver justice to the victims of land grabbing; rapes; marginalization and exclusion; favoritism; tribalism; lack of promotion of non Dinka public servants; limit President Powers; division of powers to three levels of government; human rights crimes and held criminals and public servant’s thefts who stole 4.5 billion dollars from government coffer accountable.
The solution to South Sudan bad governance is for the current and future government should reflect 66 ethnic groups at all government levels specially security, police, customs, army and public services as well as division of powers to all levels of governments.
The solution to South Sudan political crisis is when South Sudanese is treated equally not based on his or her ethnic groups and employed based on job merits, not of favoritism.
The solution to South Sudan political crisis is encouraging opposition groups whether it armed groups or not they should participate in any national issues. Government’s argument of preventing them is has no logic to it. During the CPA talks, If Khartoum regime would put forward similar argument of “preventing armed groups from peace talks” South Sudanese would be fighting the north today.
What should be done?
If Juba regime still maintains its position of resolving political crisis through dialogue, than the SSND should be under the auspices of an independent international organization such as Initiative of Change Swiss (IofC). IofC has credibility, expertise, experiences, and skills to select members from all parties in the conflict, conduct fair and impartial process in neutral location and submit final report with recommendations.
African Union should replace IGAD lead in negotiation with both government and opposition groups, because most IGAD Members have vested interests in South Sudan and they are not impartial.
African union should encourage and support opposition groups to unite their objectives, and speak in one voice.
Kiir’s government should release political and non-political detainees, because it is key towards political settlement. The current list of detainees is exclusively non-Dinka which raises alarm. Please, see attached detainees list for full picture of injustice and discrimination.
South Sudanese politicians and senior public servants are well known for their high level of corruption. They have sticky fingers that have been implicated in the disappearance of public funds, and development money which more often than not ended up in their private accounts in banks overseas. To combat, financial corruption in South Sudan, it is very important that Western governments should pass law that will prohibits transfer of money from South Sudan to western banks without proper transparency; also the law must force, and persecute the international financial institutions (IFI) and other banks or bankers who fail to disclose any private accounts from South Sudan, and specially if the account is related to statesmen. Failure of the Western governments to act means that the West is encouraging, and abetting the endemic corruption in Africa.
AU,UN,EU and Western governments should find legal mechanism to recover the stolen $4.5 billion from South Sudan and repatriate the fund to pay public servant salaries, development programs and project such as health care, schools and others
Finally, President Kiir’s should put the interest of the nation first, before his personal and tribal interests. Kiir should give peace a chance by consideration stepping down to provide positive environment for political settlement and move South Sudan out of political, economic, humanitarian crisis. The longer Kiir stays in power the worst people suffer in refugee and IDP camps as well as the country suffers economically.
Federalism, Decentralization, Conflict Resolution and International Development Consultant