The Communist Party of South Sudan On the Initiative of the National Dialogue
The initiative taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan declaring a need for a national dialogue is an official recognition that the crisis is aggravating all over South Sudan. This is an admission that, something is needed to come out of the entanglement. The government alone is to be held responsible for entanglement which is taking place now; killing, starvation and destitution, while others remain in the UN camps for several years.
The National dialogue had already taken place in Addis Ababa almost two years ago. In that dialogue, all the political, social and religious forces in the country participated. It produced the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) and the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) was formed. What remained was the implementation of ARCISS in letter and spirit to restore peace in the country and its consolidation and not another call for a dialogue.
The memory of the people will not forget that the Agreement of Resolution of Conflict In South Sudan was from the first moment, met with many suspicious reservations and objections by the two conflicting parties, the Government and the armed opposition. There were repeated utterances that the agreement was imposed by the international community, and as such, it shall not find its way to implementation as required.
In such circumstances, we must recall some of our previous experiences, so as not to lose the track. The South-South conference convened before the independence in 2010 came out with two important resolutions:-
First: - A constitutional conference for the people of South Sudan was to be convened to decide on how to rule the South in the transitional period, and the formation of a national government to implement the resolutions and the programs of the conference.
But after the conference, surprisingly enough, the SPLM party shelved the resolutions of the conference and took power by itself alone.
Second: - With all clarity, the May, 9th, 2014 African Union’s Summit Resolution, called for the participation of all stakeholders in the negotiation but the government conspired to exclude the National Alliance parties from negotiations because of the differences in political positions at the negotiations. These parties were deprived of signing the peace agreement when their representatives were prevented from going to Addis Ababa for the signing of the Agreement. Till now the government has not appointed representatives of National Alliance in the national parliament, it only appointed the representatives of parties allied with it.
The question then is: What inclusivity will this new national dialogue guarantee after having experienced the outcomes of the previous dialogues?
The Communist Party of South Sudan looks at the initiative of the national dialogue as an attempt by the government to empty the conflict resolution agreement of its reformatory and democratic contents and make it meaningless. Also, the national dialogue initiative is a manoeuvre for the Government to regain momentum, and mislead the citizens that salvation from the present crisis in all fields is to be achieved from the outcome of the national dialogue conference, hence the citizens need to be patient.
If the government wants to be serious to go forward with the national dialogue and make it successful for the good of the people and the country certain conditions must take place to create a conducive atmosphere that will not contradict the framework of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.
The government should keep away from playing the role or influence on the progress of the national dialogue so the dialogue is independent administratively and financially.
The government should take a number of steps and measures which shall help in preparing an atmosphere so that the dialogue is really national and inclusive. To mention a few:-
(a) All the political, social and religious forces that participated in Addis Ababa negotiations are to be allowed to participate besides the armed opposition groups produced by the last wars.
(b) The dialogue preparatory procedures are to be reviewed as they were set by one side. The SPLM alone selected the steering committee and determined the issues and the stages of dialogue that indicates that the recommendations of the dialogue resolutions and the outcomes are already made.
(c) The government to repeal any decisions and measures taken outside the framework of the Agreement such as (the new states)
(d) The government to repeal special decisions taken to ban some newspaper houses, stop arresting and summoning journalists, work to reduce the cost of printing to enable all contribute in freedom in the national dialogue.
(e) The government to take immediate procedures to make representatives of the National Alliance parties join the national parliament
(f) It is a known fact that dialogue to settle a conflict is always between the conflicting parties and not between friends or allies. So if the government insists that the dialogue takes place inside South Sudan, then the National Dialogue would have been assigned to failure.
The Central Secretarial
Communist Party, South Sudan