December 20, 2016 (JUBA) – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir appointed more than 30 eminent persons as members to the National Dialogue that will mend communities ties in war ravage country.
- President Salva Kiir addresses the nation at the South Sudan National Parliament in Juba, November 18, 2015. (Photo Reuters/Jok Solomon)
Retired Catholic Emeritus Bishop Paride Taban and former Sudanese Second Vice President Prof. Moses Machar Kachuol were appointed as co-chairpersons to the committee.
In the same decree, announced on state-own South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) Monday, President Kiir, who declared himself as patron to the dialogue committee, appointed Abel Alier-wal Kwai, Joseph Lagu, Bona Malual Madut and Francis Mading Deng as his advisors. Alier and Lagu were presidents in 1970s for Juba-based semi-autonomous the Higher Executive Council for Southern Sudan.
Malual is a controversial politician and memer of tribal group that informally advice President Kiir, the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders (JCE).
Other members of the committee includes former speaker Manasseh Magok Rundial, former governor of Upper Nile state Simon Kun Puoch and Member of Council of States representing Pibor County, Sultan Ismail Konyi.
The list does not have members loyal to the main rival in South Sudan conflict, the SPLM in Opposition led by former First Vice President Riek Machar or the faction led by Machar’s successor, First Vice President Taban Deng Gai.
President Kiir said in the order that the committee shall develop agenda for the dialogue, steer “up the process of National Dialogue,” work closely with experts and resource persons to help in facilitation of the process.
“[The Committee will] issue out a schedule/timetable for the national dialogue process,” Kiir said in the order number 27/2016 AD.
There has been no official reaction to the formation of the committee from other South Sudan parties to the conflict, although some citizens have been critical on social media about the decision to unilaterally forming a committee without consultations.
MACHAR REJECT DIALOGUE
Meanwhile, South Sudan rebel leader, Riek Machar has rejected President Kiir’s call for national dialogue in the war-torn nation, describing the move as a “bogus” one.
In an interview with the Associated Press (AP) from South Africa, Machar said there must be peace talks to end the civil war before any such dialogue, as announced by the president, takes place.
Last week, President Kiir announced an inclusive dialogue which he says will be led by “eminent personalities” accepted as credible, genuine and trusted by all rival parties in the young nation.
Addressing members of South Sudan’s Parliament in the capital, Juba Wednesday, President Kiir asked for forgiveness for all the wrongs he could have committed.
"National dialogue in my view is both a forum and process through which the people of South Sudan can gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, and sense of belonging," said the South Sudan leader.
"In the light of national endeavour, I am calling upon all of you to forgive one another, enter dialogue with one another in your personal capacities, embrace yourself," he added.
However, although the South Sudanese leader did not mention Machar’s name in the speech, he insisted that armed groups opposed to his government will be represented at grass-roots level.
Tens of thousands have been killed in South Sudan’s civil war, and more than a million refugees have fled the country. The United Nations recently warned that South Sudan is at risk of genocide as fighting escalates in the southern Equatoria region of the country.