H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit
President of Republic of South Sudan,
Patron of the National Dialogue Initiative
Juba, South Sudan
March 4, 201
By Thiik Mou Giir, Melbourne, Australia
Dear Mr. President,
March 4, 2017 (SSB) —- I live in Australia and the worsening situation in South Sudan have affected us in Diaspora. We have become, more or less, dysfunctional communities. Dysfunctional, because we are not interacting among ourselves they way we used to do. Dysfunctional, because our communities have become communities without peace. When the poison of hatred emanating from the violence in South Sudan is directly and indirectly being instilled into our children’s young minds and souls, we feel we will not have a bright future in Diaspora given the fact that the countries we live in present us with their own realities, realities full of socio-economic issues. Many of us, therefore, feel duty-bound to contribute with ideas that may bring peace to all the people of South Sudan.
When I heard that you had proposed that this year, 2017, is a year of dialogue, I thought our suffering people would now have a glimpse of hope. However, I also heard that Dr. Riek Machar-Teny, call the proposal a ‘bogus’ and Mrs. Rebecca Nyandeng DeMabior and others are saying that you are the one to be ‘blamed’ for the situation created in the country and, therefore, you should not possibly be the patron of National Dialogue Initiative. This argument takes away any possibility for peace. In my opinion, the grass-roots should step in and attempt to break the deadlock. The people should be the ones to drive this initiative. I presume that the leaders would give people a chance to play a role that would determine their own destiny. In this light, I made a proposal on social media, urging people to join me in writing dialogue peace plan.
After I received so many Facebook ‘likes’, I then started to write the plan. As I was writing, I came across information that said you had already assigned the Sudd Institute, Ebony Centre, and the Centre for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba to help in the national process. I have great respect to these bodies and I hope they will deliver. I also believe that these bodies will be impartial. Having said that, I still feel that I should write this document which I call A Dialogue Peace Plan from the Grass-roots (DPPG).
The reason I am doing this is that many people, me included, think that an environment conducive to a constructive and positive outcome has not been created. The war is still being fought, our people are still fleeing from their country and are still being sheltered by the UN and, more alarmingly, a famine has been declared. It is barely an environment where a profound, reflective and honest dialogue would take its course.
This document is, in a way, a kind of an appeal to all the parties to the conflict to accept the challenge of creating this environment and also to unconditionally accept to come to the dialogue table for the sake of our suffering people. It is also a way of telling people, ‘It is your time; it is mainly the peoples’ time to talk and to do things that will bring peace to your country and, also, to not allow anyone get in your way’.
It may or, it may not, contain something that would be of any use to the agenda/plan that the National Dialogue Steering Committee will eventually produce. Nevertheless, it is an attempt to contribute. We want peace now. We want it for our people and we want it for ourselves. We do not want to wait any longer and let the war drag on up to the point when we would realize that South Sudan has become a country drastically de-populated.
Thiik Mou Giir
- First Vice President of South Sudan, Taban Deng Gai
- Second Vice President of South Sudan, James Wani Iga
- Co-chair of the Initiative, Bishop Paride Taban
- Co-chair of the Initiative, Prof. Moses Machar Kachuol
- Advisors and Members of the National Dialogue Steering Committee
- Leaders of SPLM, SPLM/IO, FDs, and other parties
- Religious leaders
- Chairs of various Councils of Elders
- The Public
A Dialogue Peace Plan from the Grassroots (DPPG)
Five Phases of Dialogue (Note: Dates and Times will be added by National Dialogue Steering Committee)
- Preparation Phase (Two months)
- Leaders of armed forces to make public announcement of cease fire so that people can participate in the National Dialogue;
- Reaching out to those other stakeholders who are reluctant in order to persuade them to come to the dialogue table;
- No one to continue to send out hate messages targeting any tribe or tribes during this time of dialogue;
- No more propaganda messages to be shared on social media;
- Notifying international experts and inviting them to go to South Sudan to assist, especially expert from countries where people had similar situations to ours (South Africans and Rwandese, for example);
- Food to be delivered to places where people are facing famine;
- Notifying eminent South Sudanese elders to play a role of mobilizing and sensitizing people to participate in a dialogue;
- Notifying and inviting singers who will contribute towards peace efforts through their talents: (Emmanuel Jal, Moor Dinganyai, Silver X, Emmanuel Kembe, Gordon Koang, for example);
- Setting up of dialogue centres (Churches and otherwise);
- Launching a campaign to make people be aware of all steps of the Dialogue plan/agenda and to teach the masses about the dialogue guidelines;
- Universities and Churches to train young men and young women to participate in a campaign to explain the peace plan process to those who cannot read and write.
- Self-Dialogue/Reflective Phase (One month)
- Individuals’ and Groups’ Reflection – Inner Dialogue (two weeks)
- In Churches and dialogue centres (Forums): Elders and religious leaders to share podiums to deliver peace messages in South Sudanese towns and villages;
- Peace concerts to be held in towns and villages;
- *The Last day of the Reflection Phase:
- From 8:00 to 3:00PM: Peaceful Demonstrations all over South Sudan to send strong peace messages to the president and to all the leaders of the parties who are involved and those who are not involved directly in the armed struggle, urging them to stop the war immediately and make dialogue and elections as the only viable means to keep or to change the regime;
- *At 11:30PM People sit around any form of fire (candles, fire, or otherwise) and reflect and pray as they would remember and pray for the souls of those who fell during the war;
iii. *At 12:00AM: The fire will be extinguished (blown off and turned off)
- Dialogue with Other People Phase (One Month or More)
- *Outer Dialogue (two weeks)
- Formal Setup:
- Panels consisting of people who hold different views and from different backgrounds are to sit facing each other with audience in attendance;
- Informal meeting:
- People to be encouraged and supported to seek other people of different tribal backgrounds in order to dialogue with them;
- People to casually meet during social events and dialogue;
- Dialogue outcomes
- Apology for crimes, atrocities committed during the war to be offered and to be forgiven;
- Recommendations from the formal dialogue meetings to be made public;
iii. *The formal establishment of the National Council of Elders (NCE)
After Dialogue (Two Months or more)
- Hybrid Courts Phase
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Phase (One month or more)
- (South African Model) (One month)
(2. a) Inner Dialogue: Reflecting at an individual, family, tribe, entity or party, level. So many South Sudanese have engaged themselves in criticizing and attacking other people as well as defending themselves from other people who are attacking them. They scarcely have any time to reflect as individuals, as a family, and as a tribe. It is time that we, as individuals, have a dialogue within oneself in order to find out: (1) whether they are the problem; (2) Whether they would realize that the time to make a turning point have arrived for the best interest of all South Sudanese; and (3) whether they have any idea as to what kind of the government and constitution they would want in their country.
The last day of Self Dialogue/Reflective Phase – A Historic Day
(2, d, i) From 8:00AM to 3:00PM:
- This day is of utmost importance. If, in the end, dialogue initiative is going to turn out to be a success and war stops, this day will be remembered in history as a day when civil war official came to an end, marked when millions of South Sudanese blew off fire wherever they reside;
- In the future, monuments will be built in all major South Sudanese towns and cities showing two statues, one facing the East and another facing the West. The one facing the East will symbolize that our people fought our common enemy, the Arab Muslims. The other facing the West will symbolize that we fought our worse enemy, the enemy within us (greed, hatred, corruption, nepotism, injustice, etc). Although we will continue to fight against these vices, we hope our people will not again embark on physically destroying themselves. The inscription will read: ‘This is a monument for those whose ultimate price sanctified South Sudan during these periods of time: 1955 – 1972, 1983 – 2005 and, 2013 – 20____.’ The commemoration will take place every year and will be an important element in our effort to Construct our New Identity;
- The demonstrations will conclude when a leader of any social group hand over their letter to the persons in authority expressing their need for peace. For example, school children will end their demonstration when a student leader hand over the students’ letter to the governors. All these letters will be kept in the National archives.
- (2, d, ii) At 11:30PM: People as groups: families, congregations and other social group setting, will sit or stand around any form of fire to reflect, to pray and to remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. For families, this will be the time that children will be expected to ask their parents to explain the meaning of the event and the parents will be obliged to explain.
- (2, d, iii) At 12:00AM: All forms of fire will be extinguished at this time. Presumably, the breath of people blown to extinguish fire will signal the end of the war. This time also marks the beginning of the most important aspect of the National Dialogue Initiative, dialogue with other people. Be part of history. Let us make history.
(3, a) Outer Dialogue: People talk with other people, members of other tribes about one’s tribe/community concerns, differences, similarities, interests, and grievances with members of other community(s)/tribe(s).
(3, d, iii) This group of elders would be expected to constitute one, and the only National Council of Elders (NCE) in the country. They will symbolize our people’s unity and their common past. They will be expected to be retired eminent personalities who had in the past reached a national status.
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