A meeting chaired by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Entebbe has seen South Sudan’s warring parties sign an undertaking to work on a roadmap for the implementation of the 2015 Arusha Agreement and end the war.
In attendance was the acting SPLM secretary-general Jena Nunu Kumba, SPLM-IO foreign secretary Ezekiel Lol Gatkhouth, the head of former detainees Pagan Amum Okietch, Juba’s ambassador to Kampala Samuel Luate Leminsuk and Betty Bigombe.
The deal came as the South Sudan National Dialogue finally started on May 22 with the swearing-in of the steering committee.
There are concerns though on the team’s ability to achieve its objectives due to the inaccessibility of some areas in the country due to the ongoing civil war. Armed groups opposed to President Salva Kiir’s government, former detainees, and a few opposition parties have cast doubts on the success of the Dialogue, saying it is not all-inclusive and terming it a “monologue.”
Co-chair of the 94-member National Dialogue Steering Committee, Abel Alier is confident that the team will reach out to the armed opposition and other stakeholders in and outside the country, despite President Salva Kiir having declared that rebel leader Riek Machar should return to the country for the talks, the Africa Review reports.
Dr Machar’s group has cast doubt on the National Dialogue — which was proposed by President Kiir in December 2016 — terming it an attempt to scuttle the implementation of the August 2015 Peace Agreement and an attempt to hoodwink donors into releasing budgetary support, which has been frozen for three years.
“If President Kiir is honest and the intention is to achieve national healing, reconciliation and forgiveness, then the lack of inclusiveness and prejudice in the selection of the so-called steering committee will make the entire process redundant,” Mabior Garang de Mabior, chairman of the rebel movement’s National Committee for Information and Public Relations said.
The National Dialogue was unveiled by President Kiir in December 2016.