South Sudan’s prominent opposition leader and chairperson of the country’s National Democratic Movement (NDM), Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, has released a proposal on how to conduct the forthcoming Upper Nile state conference. Fine below the full text of the proposal.
Proposal on UPPER NILE STATE CONFERENCE
For reconciliation, healing and unity among the people of Upper Nile State.
Upper Nile State is one of the ten (10) States comprising the Republic of South Sudan. It is home to five ethnic groups –the Chollo, the Dinka, the Koma, the Maban and the Nuer – residing in thirteen (13) counties.
The civil wars that took place in the country since December 2013 and the political developments associated with them have caused devastation in the state and division among the communities. As a result, the social fabric was torn between these communities that have existed peacefully together for centuries.
These communities need each other. Therefore, this unfortunate situation must be rectified for the communities to resume existence in peace and harmony. The reconciliation, healing and unity of these communities can be brought about only through free, genuine and frank dialogue among them.
In February 2020, two sons of Upper Nile State, Dr John Gai Yoh and Gen. James Hoth Mai, initiated a dialogue which went very well and could have culminated in a Conference were it not for the onset of COVID-19 pandemic that made it not possible to continue with the meetings. Now, with the pandemic fairly under control, the time is ripe to resume that dialogue.
The dialogue will be conducted in two phases:
1- The preparatory consultative stage, and
2- The convening of the conference.
To ensure its success, the dialogue must be owned and controlled by the people of Upper Nile State. Therefore, the preparatory consultative stage must reflect the earlier initiative of the sons and daughters of the State. However, and in recognition of the role of the Government in supporting the process and overseeing the implementation of the resolutions of the Conference, the President of the Republic and the First Vice President are given the responsibility to nominate members to the Preparatory Committee as follows.
THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE
The Preparatory Committee shall be tasked with carrying out all the activities necessary for the preparation for convening the Conference. Without prejudice to the generality of this statement, the Preparatory Committee shall:
1- Make the necessary contacts with the communities to ascertain their readiness to attend the conference,
2- Solicit various opinions regarding the objectives, substance and conduct of the conference,
3- Decide on the participants in the conference and send out invitations to them,
4- Solicit financial and material assistance necessary for the success of convening the conference,
5- Decide on the venue and time for convening the conference, 6- Oversee the convening of the conference,
7- Adopt its own rules of procedure,
8- Draft the rules of procedure of the Conference,
9- Draft the programme of work of the Conference.
The Preparatory Committee shall be composed of thirty-two (32) members as follows:
1- The Leadership Body: comprising five Upper Nile State elders of good standing among the communities as follows:
(a)- One initiator. The other is now a Minister and hence doesn’t qualify,
(b)- Four (4) members appointed by the President and the First Vice President, two each.
(c)- The five members shall elect the Chairperson of the Committee. 2- Twenty-eight (28) other members: two from each of the 13 Counties and two from the Koma community to be nominated as follows:
(a)- The President of the Republic shall nominate one person from each county and one from the Koma community. Out of the 14 nominees, at least 5 shall be women.
(b)- The First Vice President shall make similar nominations as above. (c)- The lists of the nominees will be handed to the Leadership Body.
The Conference shall be convened by the Preparatory Committee on the basis of its mandate above. The Rules of Procedure of the Conference shall indicate who chairs the sittings of the Conference as well as other procedural matters.