Opinion

National Dialogue for conflict resolution and political transformation

Our nation should not be muddled by dreadful ideologies, fraudulent and awful hearts. We should not lose all the moral integrity in leadership. We need the spirit of nationalism to encompass peace building. I don’t consider myself among the majority of neutrals, I do protest on how this country is mishandled, I am not in budge with the frustrated majority who feel helpless and too scared to speak anything, and experience shows that there is worry about national security lethal behaviors. In fact I’m not against any proposal that will bring peace.

Honestly, President Salva Kiir should end the ongoing war across the nation in-accordance to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) signed two years ago between the government and armed opposition (SPLM-IO) negotiated by IGAD.

Actually this national dialogue initiated by the president will not bring final resolution or tranquil to our nation if it is not politically guided with principles of national dialogue. This process will indeed provoke the situation to local people; the government should not blackmail the country by using unenthusiastic principle in order to remain in power.

The so-called National Dialogue is difference from other dialogue categories in the world; the real national dialogue is an increasingly popular tool for conflict resolution and political transformation. It can broaden debate regarding a country’s trajectory beyond the usual elite decision makers. It is always in the position of giving chance to critics or questions those in power and instructs them to give solution to problem in the country. The national dialogue provisional committee is always given powers to act independently.  They are not threatened or intimidated by those in power. Our national dialogue is yet lacking agenda to discuss. Also it lacks political facts and mediators to handle the process. It lacks independency and mandate integrity.

The country needs an effective dialogue to convene a broad set of stakeholders for a deliberative process. To maximize the dialogue’s potential to address the real drivers of conflict; all key interest groups should be invited to participate, including women, youth, and other traditionally excluded groups such as opposition groups. Before the process begins, an inclusive, transparent, and consultative preparatory phase sets the foundation for a genuine national dialogue.

The initial decisions on the shape and structure of a national dialogue and in particular, who is invited to participate, can be as intensely political as the dialogue itself. It is important that these preparations are undertaken carefully and transparently by a preparatory committee that is inclusive of all major groups.

Note even a dialogue that includes all major interest groups risks losing legitimacy if there are no sufficient opportunities for the public to remain informed about and fit into the dialogue. This broad participation can be achieved by linking local dialogue processes to the national dialogue, as well as through public consultations, regular outreach, and coverage in the media. Delegates can be mandated to hold consultations with the groups that they represent.

To secure the participation of a wide variety of stakeholder groups and to avoid perceptions of bias, a credible convener is of the utmost importance. This convener may take the form of a single person, a group of people, an organization, or a coalition of organizations. The convener should be respected by the majority of citizens and should not have any political aspirations or goals that would present an obvious conflict of interest.

I would also appeal to the provisional committee to reach agreement on key issues facing a country. Often, months or even years of pre-negotiation or consultation need to take place to identify and agree upon these issues, which could include any number of conflict-fueling themes: national identity, the role of religion in government, political rights, basic freedoms, institutional reform, election procedures, and the structure of government. A national dialogue’s agenda should provide for substantive conversation around the major grievances of all key interest groups but not get mired in details, which are often better resolved by technical bodies or future governments.

National dialogues should take place outside of the existing institutions of government. In fact, national dialogues are often convened because the sitting government and existing institutions are unable to resolve the major issues at hand, either because they are seen as neither legitimate nor credible, or because they are unwilling to challenge the status quo. A national dialogue will have its own set of procedures and rules for making decisions, which should be transparent and carefully tailored to the composition of the group and the nature of the issues.

These procedures should also include mechanisms to break deadlocks if an agreement cannot be reached. Furthermore, a clear mandate lends purpose and authority to a national dialogue, whether it has been established through a peace agreement, law, presidential decree or some other manner. The clear mandate of national dialogue allow delegates to make steady progress toward four goals: selecting a caretaker government, approving a new constitution, establishing an electoral management body, and setting a timetable for elections.

National dialogues should feature an agreed upon plan to ensure that the resulting recommendations are implemented through a new constitution, law, policy or other programs. Without a clear implementation plan, a national dialogue risks consuming extensive time and resources without producing any tangible results.

Therefore, I’m requesting the Provisional committee of South Sudan National Dialogue headed by Abel Alier Kuai to consider local people ownership because without a strong respected national facilitator and buy-in from a sufficient coalition of the country’s groups, a national dialogue is unlikely to produce any meaningful change. National authorities should bear the primary responsibility for envisioning, organizing, facilitating, and financing the national dialogue. Although international assistance can fill important gaps, assistance providers must take great care to leave the fundamental responsibilities in the hands of national authorities.

International actors can offer important support on the follow-up to national dialogues, while ensuring that the main responsibility and decision making remains in the hands of national actors. This support can take the form of donor commitment to provide funding to implement the policy priorities that emerge from a national dialogue. International actors can also fill a gap by providing technical guidance to assist national authorities in reaching agreement on contentious issues that remained unresolved at the dialogue’s conclusion, although this must be undertaken cautiously to avoid perceptions of bias. Civil society may also benefit from international support to monitor the implementation of agreements reached through the national dialogue.

Lastly, I would like to ask my colleagues across the country either in the government or in rebel camps to wake-up and join the campaign to empower the national dialogue to make good observations and make implementation of results immediately. There is need to revise the current government leadership manifestly, and make any possible changes if compatible.

Our nation should not be muddled by dreadful ideologies, fraudulent and awful hearts. We should not lose all the moral integrity in leadership. We need the spirit of nationalism to encompass peace building. I don’t consider myself among the majority of neutrals, I do protest on how this country is mishandled, I am not in budge with the frustrated majority who feel helpless and too scared to speak anything, and experience shows that there is worry about national security lethal behaviors. In fact I’m not against any proposal that will bring peace.

Honestly, President Salva Kiir should end the ongoing war across the nation in-accordance to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) signed two years ago between the government and armed opposition (SPLM-IO) negotiated by IGAD.

Actually this national dialogue initiated by the president will not bring final resolution or tranquil to our nation if it is not politically guided with principles of national dialogue. This process will indeed provoke the situation to local people; the government should not blackmail the country by using unenthusiastic principle in order to remain in power.

The so-called National Dialogue is difference from other dialogue categories in the world; the real national dialogue is an increasingly popular tool for conflict resolution and political transformation. It can broaden debate regarding a country’s trajectory beyond the usual elite decision makers. It is always in the position of giving chance to critics or questions those in power and instructs them to give solution to problem in the country. The national dialogue provisional committee is always given powers to act independently.  They are not threatened or intimidated by those in power. Our national dialogue is yet lacking agenda to discuss. Also it lacks political facts and mediators to handle the process. It lacks independency and mandate integrity.

The country needs an effective dialogue to convene a broad set of stakeholders for a deliberative process. To maximize the dialogue’s potential to address the real drivers of conflict; all key interest groups should be invited to participate, including women, youth, and other traditionally excluded groups such as opposition groups. Before the process begins, an inclusive, transparent, and consultative preparatory phase sets the foundation for a genuine national dialogue.

The initial decisions on the shape and structure of a national dialogue and in particular, who is invited to participate, can be as intensely political as the dialogue itself. It is important that these preparations are undertaken carefully and transparently by a preparatory committee that is inclusive of all major groups.

Note even a dialogue that includes all major interest groups risks losing legitimacy if there are no sufficient opportunities for the public to remain informed about and fit into the dialogue. This broad participation can be achieved by linking local dialogue processes to the national dialogue, as well as through public consultations, regular outreach, and coverage in the media. Delegates can be mandated to hold consultations with the groups that they represent.

To secure the participation of a wide variety of stakeholder groups and to avoid perceptions of bias, a credible convener is of the utmost importance. This convener may take the form of a single person, a group of people, an organization, or a coalition of organizations. The convener should be respected by the majority of citizens and should not have any political aspirations or goals that would present an obvious conflict of interest.

I would also appeal to the provisional committee to reach agreement on key issues facing a country. Often, months or even years of pre-negotiation or consultation need to take place to identify and agree upon these issues, which could include any number of conflict-fueling themes: national identity, the role of religion in government, political rights, basic freedoms, institutional reform, election procedures, and the structure of government. A national dialogue’s agenda should provide for substantive conversation around the major grievances of all key interest groups but not get mired in details, which are often better resolved by technical bodies or future governments.

National dialogues should take place outside of the existing institutions of government. In fact, national dialogues are often convened because the sitting government and existing institutions are unable to resolve the major issues at hand, either because they are seen as neither legitimate nor credible, or because they are unwilling to challenge the status quo. A national dialogue will have its own set of procedures and rules for making decisions, which should be transparent and carefully tailored to the composition of the group and the nature of the issues.

These procedures should also include mechanisms to break deadlocks if an agreement cannot be reached. Furthermore, a clear mandate lends purpose and authority to a national dialogue, whether it has been established through a peace agreement, law, presidential decree or some other manner. The clear mandate of national dialogue allow delegates to make steady progress toward four goals: selecting a caretaker government, approving a new constitution, establishing an electoral management body, and setting a timetable for electio

National dialogues should feature an agreed upon plan to ensure that the resulting recommendations are implemented through a new constitution, law, policy or other programs. Without a clear implementation plan, a national dialogue risks consuming extensive time and resources without producing any tangible results.

Therefore, I’m requesting the Provisional committee of South Sudan National Dialogue headed by Abel Alier Kuai to consider local people ownership because without a strong respected national facilitator and buy-in from a sufficient coalition of the country’s groups, a national dialogue is unlikely to produce any meaningful change. National authorities should bear the primary responsibility for envisioning, organizing, facilitating, and financing the national dialogue. Although international assistance can fill important gaps, assistance providers must take great care to leave the fundamental responsibilities in the hands of national authorities.

International actors can offer important support on the follow-up to national dialogues, while ensuring that the main responsibility and decision making remains in the hands of national actors. This support can take the form of donor commitment to provide funding to implement the policy priorities that emerge from a national dialogue. International actors can also fill a gap by providing technical guidance to assist national authorities in reaching agreement on contentious issues that remained unresolved at the dialogue’s conclusion, although this must be undertaken cautiously to avoid perceptions of bias. Civil society may also benefit from international support to monitor the implementation of agreements reached through the national dialogue.

Lastly, I would like to ask my colleagues across the country either in the government or in rebel camps to wake-up and join the campaign to empower the national dialogue to make good observations and make implementation of results immediately. There is need to revise the current government leadership manifestly, and make any possible changes if compatible.

The writer can be reach through machardhieu@gmail.com,

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