National Dialogue Consultations Underway in South Sudan’s Lakes States
The National Dialogue Subcommittee for the greater Lakes States has begun holding consultations in the region. The Subcommittee’s delegation, headed by Hon. Benjamin Majak, arrived in Eastern Lakes capitol Yirol on Friday, December 15th. The delegation immediately received a warm, welcoming reception from the state authorities and Yirol citizens in attendance. Soon after the reception, the delegation held a meeting with the Governor of Eastern Lakes state, Hon. Bor Wutchok, and his cabinet. Working together, meeting participants finalized plans for how and where to conduct the consultation process in the Lakes States.
Speaking to SSBC afterward, Governor Wutchok welcomed the visitors from South Sudan National Dialogue and promised to support the process locally. Hon. Benjamin Majak in turn thanked the government and the people of Yirol for responding to the call of the president of the republic to engage in the National Dialogue process.
Consultations began in earnest on Saturday, Dec. 15th, 2017, the delegation’s second day in Yirol. In the early part of the day, the subcommittee held a series of meeting with the members of Eastern Lake assembly. These meetings were co-chaired by Rt. Hon. Andrew A. Yak, assembly Speaker of the House. The delegation later met with representatives from organized forces and with church leaders to understand directly from them what issues are affecting them and specifically what issues threaten peace in region.
Consultations are the Precursor to a Regional Conference
One of the points made by Hon. Benjamin Majak during each of these meetings was that that his committee had come to primarily to make grassroots consultations, and that meeting with authorities was a secondary goal. He also clarified that the purpose of the consultations was to pave the way for the regional conference. He explained that his subcommittee would prepare for this conference by selecting its delegates from among the grassroots consultations and by setting the conference agenda based on issues raised by the “man on the street” during consultations. Meanwhile, Speaker Yak echoed a common consultation sentiment when he suggested that the outcomes of the National Dialogue be built into the constitution of South Sudan.
Next stop: Rumbek
Having concluded consultations in Yirol, the Greater Lakes Subcommittee proceeds to Rumbek, former capitol of the erstwhile Lakes state, and current capitol of Western Lakes state. The subcommittee will arrive on Monday, Dec. 18th, and begin consultations immediately thereafter.