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The Steering Committee of the National Dialogue yesterday said that the process was real and not a “deadlock” as some members of the public were trying to perceive.

This comes in a response to perception by some people in the country that it was a deadlock since it was not progressing to the expectation.

A representative of South Sudan Network for Democratic Elections (SSuNDE), James Lomoryia had claimed that some people perceived the National Dialogue as a deadlock because there was still fighting, insecurity on the roads, and economic crisis in the country.

Speaking in a workshop organized by UNESCO to facilitate grassroots initiative for an inclusive and credible National Dialogue, Betty Achan Ogwaro, a member of the steering committee said the perception of some members of the public was misunderstanding about the National Dialogue urging the media to inform the public properly to understand the purpose of the process and its value.

She said the President had given freedom of expression to members to freely discuss the way forward for the progress of the National Dialogue.

She said the role of the media was important in mediating between the public and the government and that there was a need for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to get the message. “This is the time to speak the truth, we are going to the grassroots for the National Dialogue because our hearts really need peace,” she said.

“Peace is cheaper than war; let’s begin to change ourselves because peace is for our own benefit. We are the ones who will suffer when it comes to war,” Ogwaro said.

She said the ongoing fighting had affected the lives of women and children and it was time “they should unite against the fighting.”

The representative of UNESCO, Sardar Umar Alam said they will support the National Dialogue by bringing communities together through the Media and identifying partners to work with for the good of the National Dialogue.

He said they will still support the peace process through the National Dialogue by engaging the public through the media.

The Director for Communication in the National Dialogue Secretariat, Alfred Taban said it was through the National Dialogue that the 31 political detainees were released.

He also stressed the issue of hate speech, saying it brings hatred and backwardness.

The acting chairperson of Association for Media Development in South Sudan (AMDISS), Mary Ajith said the public perception is that “we cannot have so many things put on the table like SPLM reunification, elections, and implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) while we are also going on with the National Dialogue. “People are confused”.

Edward Terso, General Secretary, Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOSS) said some members of the public are saying they did not know about the National Dialogue and asked how they could participate in the process while their children were dying of hunger.


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