Opinion

Views on National Dialogue

Operationalizing the Fiscal and Financial Allocation and Monitoring Commission (FFAMC)

At present it is imperative and crucial to have the FFAMC functional because it converges all Ministers of Finance in the national and the state levels in one place and avails for them space for collective work and clear understanding of the economic reality of the country. It divides labor and enlightens all the authorities regularly not only on the situation in the country but in the region and the world at large through the presentations that could be made to the commission by the Word Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, and many others.

The importance of this commission is to ensure on good revenue collection based on a bottom-up approach (grass-root to the top approach) and to guarantee fair distribution of the national income between the national and state governments and good use of the resources by a collective resolve of fiscal and financial decision makers in both the national and state government. As a Ministry has now been established by the peace agreement to prepare for Federal System of Government in South Sudan, the role of this commission to ensure on the principle of “Funds following Power” i.e. the powers given to the states and the counties must be followed with funds to make the use of the power given possible. This is an issue worth considering by the National Dialogue.

Repatriation and Resettlement

Citizens who have migrated and taken refuge in neighboring countries or overseas due to the hectic and instable living conditions in our country during the recent years must be expected to return home as soon as the situation returns to normalcy. Repatriation and resettlement of those citizens is an issue worth considering in the National Dialogue to connect with the situation both at the state and local government levels and connect as well with situation abroad as far as our citizens are concerned.

Conduct of National Census

Five years or half a decade has elapsed since the independence of South Sudan, and there are many challenges that must be addressed; mainly the economy and the political stability. These two important matters cannot be tackled without conduct of the national census. Agreement must be reached at the National Dialogue to have a healthy environment for holding a credible census that would not only determine the size of the population of the new states and that of the country as a whole but also to determine the electoral constituencies for the parliamentary elections by the end of the Tenure of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) and to make the transition successful. Moreover it would provide a lot of data on the economic resources and potentials of our country that would facilitate socio-economic planning for prosperous stable South Sudan.

New Election System

There is pressing need for changing the election system we have been conducting in case we want South Sudan to free itself from the bondage of tribalism and avoid possible division of the country into a number of independent countries. There are two options to take in order to drop the present method of election that has caused us a lot of lives in South Sudan and jeopardized breaking our country into pieces. One option is to adopt the “Proportional Representation System” as seen in Brazil, Israel, Iraq, etc., at present. The other option is to maintain the “Territorial Representation System” but without nominating candidates to contest in their original home locations or villages so that tribal affiliation of tribal status is no more a leverage and is no more a cause of disunity in the tribes between clans and between tribes as such in a state or the country at large. The National Dialogue must resolve on this critical matter.

Transformation of the Army and Organized Forces

The national Army since independence has remained to be a conglomeration of tribal militias and units and divisions of the liberation army still bearing names such as Tiger Division, Jamus Division, and so forth instead of names like the Artillery Division, the Signal Division, Air Defense Division and so forth. Almost 5 years or half a decade has gone since the independence and the liberation of South Sudan. The SPLA must have already started the process of transformation into a conventional army and by doing so all the bonds of tribal affiliations and loyalties to personalities during the movement would have been broken. Incidents such as the December 2013 and June 2016 would have not occurred and must not be allowed to recur.

Expediting the SPLA transformation into a national professional army is therefore key to stability and defense of the independence and sovereignty of South Sudan. The Police and various other organized forces have follow suit.

Foreign Relations

So far the government has been the sole player in the space of relations with countries and international organizations. It is necessary that the National Dialogue considers in its discussions among others the role of popular diplomacy that involves people outside government structures and could help in cementing relations between the peoples of the region, the developing countries and the world at large.

The writer is the Chairman of National Democratic Party

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