Let us celebrate the launching of this great progress of the splendid South Sudan National Dialogue website today at Freedom Hall, Juba, The Republic of South Sudan. It is comforting gifts by the 2010 pick President, the Joshua, the nationalist. This launching gives others and me this boundless opportunity to revise this article. The website shall also be a platform to share views with others and be able to listen to other Jenuubeen among others. While the process of revitalization is being appreciated, the impact of National Dialogue could be positive not only on revitalization but in the implementation of the agreed areas to be revitalized. National Dialogue alone might not be sufficient, but unless South Sudanese Communities are allowed to dialogue, the elitist oligarchs have demonstrated that power sharing is a cornerstone to help the elites to stay under one roof.
I remain confident in the initiative and progress of National Dialogue. I wish it could go faster and could attract everyone to demonstrate his or her Jenuubeen nationhood and leadership quality. National Dialogue is an excellent opportunity. To me, National Dialogue in its current state has timely come to enable the Peoples of South Sudan to own the past, now and future. South Sudanese, as a community with a desire for freedom, peace, and prosperity as came on June 12-13, 1947 Juba Conference by Traditional Authority Leaders called for oneness as Jenuubeen. Father S. Ohure, compatriots and K. Kuanyin, compatriots felt the danger in 1955 and 1983 respectively. There was Anya-Nya and then SPLA to defend the General Will. Dr. John innovated the Solution Modalities and subsequently in Golden Plate granted to Jenuubeen a chance to vote in 2011 Referendum. Kiir, the Joshua, meandered to the Promised Land! Bashir saw the logic! Others vacillated and are fated to repeat. Cheers to Taban and Wani who shared the logic. HISTORY!
Dr. John Garang logically called for all Chiefs Conference during the liberation struggle. There was Chukudum Convention. There was Rumbek all SPLA Senior Officer Dialogue. President Kiir maintained the culture of dialogue leading to Bentieu All TALs Conference. President Kiir earlier allowed consultative Juba Dialogue that unified the armed groups as a continuation of South-South Dialogue. Whoever asks why National Dialogue now, if he/she is honest then the answer is that the time has come. The Church called: Let My People Choose! Prayer was BLESSED!
Yes! National Dialogue is now because of genuine and demonstrated transformational quality leadership of Kiir and SPLM being responsive to the objective realities following the 2013 recurrent failed peace agreements and nosedived balanced of forces that were ill imposed by external friends and foes. Many agreements could be made but they may be limited to power-sharing through which the elites would try to step in the footsteps of colonizers to rule Jenuubeen. It is a worrying occurrence that there is a growing elitist oligarchy among sons and daughters, who were, through conscription by colonial administrators, send to schools by then TALs. With the rise of national liberation struggles during the second half of last century, the same educated nationals learned from the colonizers. They learned to organized but plagiarized the notions of governing to exploit. Instead of acquiring the knowledge and return to adapt to traditional governance system; they opted to replace colonialism with a national system that quickly turned oligarch. The oligarch elites and military adopted the same exploitative systems of governance. Majority of the nationalists replaced the colonizers in persons but they created elitist oligarchy system of governance backed by a military oligarchy. Worst of it all, the elitist oligarchs-turned-rulers maintained the looting by started to amaze national wealth to benefit their individualist and centric attitude. The policy of divide and rules were adopted and used in name of the nationalities/tribes of origin.
However, due to their oligarch’s attitudes, elites demonized the Traditional Authority Leaders as not educated. The tribes could not enjoy the fruits of freedom instead these tribes become the target of other oligarch elites seeking community support to take over. In most of African countries these elitist oligarch exploited the general will and desire for liberty. Slowly these oligarchs become Presidents but adopted new oligarch tactics of shifting terms and age through constitution making. This pattern should be changed. Communities through their Traditional Authority Leaders should be given a chance to establish autonomous forums that should allow them to be equal if not above the elitist oligarch national assemblies. Botswana provided an excellent example of constitutionalizing the House of Chiefs as the Second Chamber of the National Assembly. In South Sudan despite the challenges the National Dialogue should ensure that TALs authority Leaders are included but should be give then autonomous forums exclusively for Chief, Kings and Queens.
South Sudanese elites must not demonize their communities. They should abide by the South Sudan Interim Constitution 2011 that explicitly mandated the following: Traditional Authority in accordance to article 166(1) the institution, status and role of Traditional Authority, according to customary law, are recognized under this Constitution. 166(2) Traditional Authority shall function in accordance with this Constitution, the state constitutions and the law. 166(3) the courts shall apply customary law subject to this Constitution and the law. In that the Role of Traditional Authority under article 167(1) Legislation of the states shall provide for the role of Traditional Authority as an institution at local government level on matters affecting local communities. 167(2) Legislation at the National and state levels shall provide for the establishment, composition, functions and duties of councils for Traditional Authority leaders. These gains should be institutionalized. Above all there should be a chance granted by this National Dialogue TALs to discuss possible package of rotational, collegial presidency and parliamentary system of governance. The present form of elections is almost bringing some countries to collapse. Elitist oligarchs are using the policies of divide and rule to mobilize innocent tribal votes. For me I interpret the National Dialogue goals to mean the following:
1. To end all forms of conflict in South Sudan: to dialogue and have consensus on restitution, mutual recognition, rule of law, sustainable retirement support and sustainable DDR and adherence to article 37 of SSTC 2011…
2. To redefine and reestablish stronger unity in diversity: system of governance, mutuality, collaborative existence, shared values, routinized consultative forum for listening and harmonization…
3. To strengthen social contract between citizen and the nation-state: rights, dues and inclusivity and practical enforcement, preventive and punitive measure against exclusions…
4. To address issue of unity in diversity: articles 33, 35, 36(4) and 166(6)(c) of SSTC 2011 and federation as mandated under ACRISS 2015 V article 1.1 on Supremacy of Peoples of South Sudan and 1.2 to articulate federation and affirmative action on gender and cultural inclusivity….
5. To agree on mechanism of allocating and sharing national resources: Enforcement of article 36(4), article 37,article 166, 167, 168 and 179 of SSTC 2011 and adopting iSDG model for South Sudan and land should be for the Peoples not State land in echo of Crown Land….
6. To settle historical and current disputes amongst the communities: Community-to-Community and National Dialogue continuum under TALs not under opportunist elites…
7. To set stage for an integrated and inclusive national development strategy and economic recovery: adopt iSDG Model for South Sudan, land be valued in share capital to pay for the 33% national/local ownership mandated under Companies Act 2012 and skills development…
8. To agree on steps and measure to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections and post-transition in 2018: Build on ongoing Trio-Leadership, Rotational leadership within the three Greater Regions built around the ongoing apportioning of powers among nationalities and communities in federal states, Cultural Affirmative Action and Twin Federal Model, Routinized Consultative Forums that include COTAL, Gender and Culture Inclusivity Affirmative Action….
9. To agree on speedier and sustainable resettlement return of Internally displaced peoples and refugees from diaspora to their homelands in South Sudan: iSDG, DDR, Sustainable Cash Grants Relief, Recovery and Resettlement System, Microfinance, Health Insurance for all and Students Support Grant….
10. To further national healing, social cohesion, mutuality, peaceful coexistence and reconciliation: Traditional Arbitration, Restitution and Compensation and forgiveness, share a commonality of being safe, peaceful and prosperous when others enjoy the same….
Compared to other nation states in Africa with similar multi-nationalities and multicultural setting, South Sudan enjoys unique historical mile stones where the roles of TALs positively contribute towards configuration of a South Sudanese nationhood as Jenuubeen, with sets of expectations, roles, fairness, commonality and collaborative existence within unity in diversity. This is demonstrated by the 98.83% unanimous voting for the independence of South Sudan in 2011. This could largely be attributed to the initiative by President Kiir wise call and meeting with TALs in Bentieu 2009. Earlier on, to revitalize the essence of oneness and solidarity behind the liberation movement; Dr. John saw the logic in calling for a national consultative forum for TALs in New Kush Heimann.
Though the British Colonization robbed the TALs, during the June 1947 Juba Conference, documentation indicates the oneness and desire for collaborative existence as Jenuubeen. TALs called for independence a federation and/or a referendum. That is I went to the bush under SPLA to fight and again now opted to do my Masters on roles of Traditional Authority Leaders. See the link:http://africaworldbooks.
I do not agree with those who, for understandable reasons, might have been confused or surrendered to the political whims, military oligarchy and other developments that have ensued. The argument that the political peace agreements have to be implemented before engaging in National Dialogue is not logical and demonstrate imprudence and myopic views by those calling so. Though these agreements could be defined as necessary they are addressing the limited interest of the oligarch warring parties. The elitist and military oligarch warring parties have vested interests like their supporters locally, regionally and internationally. These interests should be incorporated but there is no way that South Sudan as a pride nation of Jenuubeen should be a hostage of oligarch politicians. I am included. Jenuub should not be a hostage to oligarch-armed groups. Instead, the opportunity of National Dialogue should give a yardstick or standards upon which political parties should vie to take over the administration of South Sudan to deliver. Armed groups may fight for what could be convincingly legitimate to fight for. I myself fought in SPLA. Others should tell us why they are fighting within the sealing of what defines us as Jenuubeen. This could only be defined through the General Will of National Dialogue.
South Sudan was once, before, under Miri and colonization then Khartoum and now under SPLM led government. Others would want to take over. But that is not all of us as Jenuubeen. These attempts to usurp the General Will by interested socio-political or military oligarch entities should not be allowed to outshine the Peoples’ Power and General Will. The Jenuubeen General Will could only come with National Dialogue. It might take some time and different forms and contents but the ultimate is the General Will and not special interest that is expected to seek Peoples’ sovereignty through elections. Those who are addicted to fighting should feel ashamed. They could suggest their views through the National Dialogue, which shall give chance for the General Will. If their desires are not met then they could legitimately resume fighting to protect the General Will and not for a power struggle or power sharing as it looks now. Honest and sober minds should go beyond their current self-destructive killings and explore the chance to tell Jenuubeen what they would want to see as a general good through National Dialogue. Each of us should donate or volunteer like me to add a value or more to National Dialogue. The correct question should be: What am I contributing to enhancing National Dialogue to achieve its declared goals? Do not obstruct! Add your voice to National Dialogue! Be a Jenuubi! National Dialogue Goals shall surely be delivered to you again in Golden Plate like the historical chance that was given by SPLM to you to vote in 2011 Referendum! Sit and relax and enjoy the fruits sacrificed by those who gave it all!
By Cde. Acuil Malith Banggol
Juba, South Sudan
November 10th, 2017