South Sudan National Dialogue Document Number One October 2017

The President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit launched the Steering Committee of the National Dialogue on 22 May 2017 when he swore in the 109 members that he had earlier announced in December 2016. The Presidential decree also includes a secretariat of 17 representatives of some of the country’s universities, research and think tank organizations, to act, not just as the secretariat of the National Dialogue, but also as the management of the accounts for the dialogue.

Objectives Of The National Dialogue

The broader objectives of the National Dialogue are to end all violent conflicts in South Sudan; constitute national consensus; and save the country from disintegration and foreign interference. To achieve the aforementioned overarching objectives, the following are the specific objectives:

1. To end political and communal violence in the country and resolve how to properly
transform the military.

2. To redefine and re-establish stronger national unity (including redefining citizenship, belonging, residency and political participation).

3. To restructure the state and negotiate social contract between the citizens and theirgovernment (address the nature of federalism, and tackle the arising conflicts over land, viability, belonging and border; federation of political decisions affecting party structures).

4. To settle issues of diversity (deal with fear of political domination; address issues of the national army, civil service and foreign service).

5. To resolve issues related to resource sharing and allocation (these include land
ownership and management; communal and states land disputes; oil, gas, minerals,
and taxes).

6. To settle social disputes and sources of conflict (cattle raiding and rustling; child abduction; communal violence related to marriages, territory, murder and cattle and human migration-related matters).

7. To set a stage for an integrated and inclusive national development strategy.

8. To agree on steps and guarantees to ensure safe, fair, free and peaceful elections and transition in 2018.

9. Agree on a strategy to return internally displaced persons and refugees to their
homes.

10. To develop a framework for national peace, healing and reconciliation.

Most of the above ten points of the Presidential decree setting up the assignment for the National Dialogue are not just political, they are also legal and constitutional and would require bearing in mind that although the institutional functions of the South Sudanese state are dysfunctional, which has arisen from the political failure to uphold and impose the agreed structures by the way of implementing them, the Steering Committee of the National Dialogue can only make recommendations in its final report about how the young state of South Sudan deals with these matters. If there is a need for a constitutional and legal action, then such a recommendation will need to undertake legal steps that can make it workable.

A good example of the first institutional failure was that the ruling party had decided that the national capital of South Sudan was Juba. It was necessary for the young state of South Sudan to have indicated from the outset, how much land around Juba was now the national capital and agree with the traditional owners of that land; legalise it and then allot the national government land accordingly for whatever purpose the land was required to be used, instead of allowing the citizens of South Sudan, who by necessity needed to be around their national capital to deal only with traditional land owners around Juba that had not yet become a national land, because it was not yet institutionalised in that way. The question of the national capital of South Sudan has, therefore, now become one of the major factures of dispute in the young South Sudanese state. Is the capital of the Republic of South Sudan staying in Juba or is it moving somewhere else? And is the answer to such a question part of the National Dialogue to resolve or to recommend how to resolve it? DOWNLOAD FULL DOCUMENT >>

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