Kiir opens national dialogue in Juba

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South Sudan President Salva Kiir waves at members of his cabinet as he boards a plane

South Sudan president Salva Kiir has officially launched the long awaited national dialogue initiative today at Freedom Hall in Juba where the national dialogue steering committee would be sworn in before the deputy chief justice.

The ceremony is being attended by President Kiir, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and top government officials.

The event is also attended by heads of diplomatic missions accredited to South Sudan.

In December 2016, President Kiir, whose wrangling for power with his former deputy Riek Machar plunged the world’s newest nation into a brutal conflict, Kiir called for “national dialogue” to end the ongoing civil war.

Kiir pointed out that the national dialogue will be bottom-top approach to address local grievances and political issues in the country.

But the opposition described the dialogue to end the ongoing conflict as “bogus”.

Kiir says after the members of the steering committee of the National Dialogue take oath of office, they will start the implementation of the process.

He said the process would preserve, protect and restore the integrity of South Sudan.

In February, the President told a rally in Yei town that sessions of the dialogue would begin in March, after the members of the national assembly returned from recess. However, the sessions are yet to begin.

He slammed those who have questioned the genuineness of the process for which he is the patron.

“This national dialogue has been raising so many questions and especially those who pretend to be friends of SPLM or friends of South Sudan, when they are actually the enemies in disguise that they want to destroy South Sudan. They are pressing for this.”

“[But] there are some with genuine opinion that this thing may bring peace and unity in South Sudan,” Kiir said.

The swearing in of the secretariat was postponed early this month after only a few members showed up for the ceremony at the Presidential palace, J1, in Juba.

Sources: Tamazuj, Eye Radio