For immediate Press Release: DEC/24/2016, SSN;
To begin with, Peace is the ultimate goal of any civilised society or country. Even at the times when civilised people go to war, it’s always a temporary situation because peace is the norm while war is the exception. While a call for dialogue for peace among communities should normally receive everyone’s attention and support; yet it got to be based on solid foundations in order to have a good chance of success.
The foundations for kick-starting such a formidable process by the nature of the conflict are – plenty of goodwill, trust and individuals of good integrity to lead the dialogue.
The timing of the announcement of the National Dialogue on the eve of the third anniversary of the Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians that occurred on December 15, 2013 – transpires lack of a genuine goodwill for peace. To many, it was nothing but an attempt to overshadow the anniversary and to project to the outside world a false sense of unity in South Sudan.
Many still would view it as a covert attempt to abort or frustrate any endeavours by other entities to resolve the conflict by excluding the leadership of the regime from the peace process. It’s also aimed at evading accountability for atrocities committed by the regime during its ongoing terrible tenure.
Trust is the building block of any dialogue or agreement. We also know that trust can hardly meet with illegitimacy as each one cancels the other.
Furthermore, President Kiir is the top culprit to answer for war crimes and crimes against humanity during his rule. What is being presented is another ploy by Kiir and his henchmen to regain legitimacy through the back door and ensure the continuation of their dictatorial regime.
The composition of the National Dialogue team leaves no doubt that the regime wants peace on its terms. There are personalities within the National Dialogue team who are clearly unfit to be part of any effort to bring people together. They are well-known divisive figures whose activities caused disunity of the South Sudanese people on several occasions.
It’s inconceivable that a team led by Kiir and former and/or present members of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) could be a catalyst for peace in South Sudan.
Unfortunately, the entity that could equitably and effectively steer a national dialogue is often sidelined or ignored. The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) applauds the resolutions of the Church Leaders Consultative Meeting for Peace that took place in Nairobi from December 14 to 19, 2016.
The following are excerpts of the resolutions:
**For any national dialogue to succeed in making peace it must be an inclusive process facilitated by a body trusted by all stakeholders.
**Efforts to resolve South Sudan’s crisis in the manner currently laid out may not bring all stakeholders together and as such, does not guarantee sustainable peace.
**The Church is best placed to lead a national dialogue process.
**In the current political environment with the opposition being muzzled, free Press and free speech being curtailed – the likelihood of a fruitful national dialogue is quite remote. The war will certainly continue unabated bringing on more human suffering.
Kiir and cohorts might have succeeded partially in obscuring the Church leaders endeavours and the commemoration of the Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians but the fact remains that they haven’t solved any problem.
The SSDF remains steadfast behind the people of South Sudan in these difficult times. With the impending genocide in Equatoria; the stakes have never been higher. The international community should act fast and not buy into the regime’s gimmicks.
There shall never be peace in South Sudan while Kiir and the JCE remain part of the Equation.
The SSDF takes this opportunity to wish all the South Sudanese people back home and in the diaspora; a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May the almighty God be with you wherever you are.
Lotole Lo Luri,
Deputy Press Secretary – SSDF