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President kiir gives way: Relinquishes patron-ship of National Dialogue

President Salva Kiir has relinquished his position of the national dialogue to the two Co-Chairs; Abel Alier and Angelo Beda Bangboru.

Speaking during a consultative meeting on the National Dialogue agenda organized by the Voluntary Civil Society Taskforce in Juba yesterday, one of the Co-Chairs Angelo Beda said President Kiir was the patron of the national dialogue when it was declared in December, but  had now relinquished his patronage of the process and left it to the two Co- Chairpersons.

He has left it free for us the two Co-Chairpersons to see to it that the national dialogue moves ahead, said Beda.

The two Co-Chairpersons of the committee, Abel Alier and Angelo Beda Bangboru were appointed through Republican Order No. 08/2017 A.D. on April 25th 2017 by President Kiir.

“The national dialogue is not a replacement to the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ACRSS) but is to strengthen it. It is a perfect opportunity for us to restore peace and get rid of war. It is a forum both at the national, state and grass root levels to bring about all South Sudanese to air out their grievances and come up with solutions,” Beda said.

“There are people who are not confident of the national dialogue; they think that it will be another peace agreement that will not be honored. It will be honored because it is genuine and the President has said it must be open to all, those within the country, those abroad and those still holding arms,” he added.

Peter Gwang, the Chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission (PRC) said the national dialogue is an indigenous project which if steered in the right direction; South Sudanese will be able to reach an understanding that shall cement and build unity.

“If we fail in this national dialogue, then we have no way to rescue our future,” Gwang said.

He further urged religious leaders to consult with people at the grass root to come up with solutions for the national dialogue to attain its objectives of sustainable peace and unity.

“The solution will not come from the top but from the bottom. How do people live together and rebuild their lives? The religious leaders should inform people on the grassroot level the agenda of the national dialogue,” Gwang said.

Rajab Mohandis, a representative of the taskforce said the consultation meeting is to create and increase awareness on the concept of the national dialogue.

“We brought the secretariat to explain to the faith based leaders the concept of the national dialogue and update them where we are with the process and how the various stakeholders can participate,” Mohandis said.

He pointed out that the President’s decision to relinquish his position as the patron of the national dialogue is welcomed as it has been a call of the civil society and other stakeholders.

“The President’s decision enhances credibility of the process and moves it away from him as a political leader and empowers the Steering Committee as an independent group to run the process,” Mohandis said.

Pastor Anthony Odego from Christian Brotherhood Church in Juba said that for the national dialogue to be successful the two principals to the agreement have to be brought together to dialogue and a neutral body like the Church should mediate.

He further said that the church plays a vital role in bringing peace and applauded the initiative of the government for a national dialogue as a way of restoring peace in the country.

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