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Date: 15 December 2016

Press Release

President Salva Kiir Mayardit delivered today before the Transitional National Legislative Assembly a speech he dubbed as “announcing the commencement of national dialogue”. The National Democratic Movement would like to clarify its position on this development.

Dialogue is a noble objective to resolve disputes and hence is something that all cherish and aspire for. However, any dialogue must be based on a clear definition of the parties involved and matters to be discussed and resolved. More importantly, it must be anchored on a firm basis, especially in a country torn by an ethnically driven war like ours. The legal and constitutional basis of the current government led by President Salva Kiir is the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS). Hence, any move he makes should be sanctioned by this agreement.

The objectives of the dialogue are set out on page 8 of the speech. Except for the first, the other nine (9) objectives are a mixture of matters related to the Constitution making process and issues to be dealt with under transitional justice. Both categories are dealt with under Chapters V and VI of ARCISS. Ending all forms of violence in the country, the first objective, was achieved by ARCISS which Salva Kiir abrogated triggering off the current widespread insecurity in the country.

Therefore, this call by President Kiir for national dialogue is yet another gimmick to circumvent the implementation of ARCISS and a ploy to hoodwink the international community into believing that he is serious in implementing the moribund agreement. This trick comes out clearly in his appeals to them on page 13 of the speech. What the government intends to do is to have an internal monologue with his surrogates. Dialogue can only be between parties that have genuine differences between their positions on particular issues. The government should seek peace first which is a precondition for a meaningful and fruitful dialogue.

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