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Sudan Tribune

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Dinka elder says war denying opportunity to elect chosen leaders

July 14, 2017 (JUBA)- A leading member of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of elders Friday has said that the ongoing armed conflict has imposed on the South Sudanese a situation in which they are unable to choose leaders of their choice.

Joshua Dau Diu, co-chairman of the Jieng Council of Elders told Sudan Tribune that politicians have sandwiched political discourses into long and historical communal differences to an extent that mere complaints connected to land and cattle theft have foreign elements, institutions and bodies that do not know our background and the methods use in solving internal conflicts within traditional and cultural context

“If politicians did not politicise and ethnicize local issues to appeal local supports, the current situation would have been contained and resolved a long time ago. It would have taken this long and the longevity of this current has now denied the citizens their right to choose leaders of their choice”, said Dau.

The elderly politicians added that “Nobody likes the situation to continue but the current war itself was imposing the current situation, which he said he was ripping the country apart.

He echoed appeal of President Kiir at an occasion marking the 6th anniversary of the independence of South Sudan from neighbouring after conduct referendum on self-determination on July 9, 2011.“Our country is politically divided and we must find ways and means to unite and build one nation. The implementation of the peace deal and the national dialogue are the only way forward,” said Kiir.

“I want to appeal to all our international partners, the IGAD countries, East African Community, the African Union, the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly, to support the National Dialogue process in South Sudan,” he added.The south Sudanese leader appealed to all the opposition groups to support the dialogue, saying the initiative was the only viable formula for resolving layers of conflicts in the country.

“It is therefore incumbent upon all of us; both government and opposition, to let the national dialogue succeed,” stressed Kiir. But an outspoken religious cleric in South Sudan has castigated Kiir for failing to find a solution for the three-year civil war and resorting to a “waste of time” national dialogue.

“Instead of solving the political problem of this country, national dialogue is thrown to us…the problem is political and it has to be solved by the political leaders,” said Bishop Santo Laku Pio, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Juba

The young nation slid into a civil war two years after secession following the collapse of a coalition of ethnic and political elites pitting President Kiir and his followers against his deputy Riek Machar.

Regional grouping, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) attempted to piece the unity coalition back twenty months later, culminating in the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). Under the terms of this agreement, Machar flew to Juba in April 2016 with a sizable protection force insisting he remains the legitimate first vice president.

The new unity government did not work as rival forces clashed in Juba only three months later and Machar was controversially replaced by the chief negotiator of his group. While the SPLM-IO leader fled into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Last May, President Kiir sworn-in a steering committee of national dialogue in order to unite South Sudanese along peace and heal the ethnic divisions. However, he said he would not allow Machar, who is currently confined in South Africa to take part in the dialogue.

(ST)