Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You Want South-South Dialogue??

South-South dialogue as a concept and a cause has been parrotted so relentlessly by so many people that it has now turned into a cliche almost. Its amazing that a fairly simple idea that should have universal appeal can easily be so politicized and co-opted. But that's what happens when pedestrian and even cynical political calculations become the lens through which we see everything.

But here's what I think of this dialogue and what its should be all about. ( I have the perogative to use that grave elder statesman intro here; cuz its my blog buddy!!!:)

This SS dialogue is not only about various political actors and parties demanding the convening of a conference in Nairobi with the SPLM leadership. Its not about Southerners in Khartoum, both government of Sudan supporters and die-hard opponents of the regime, demanding a share of the cabinet and legislature in the new SS government. It should be about a collective expansion of the arena to accommodate perennially ignored sectors of our communities.

Women and Young people remain totally marginalized from the affairs of their community, eventhough they are the fuel that continued to power the struggle throughout the last decades. I have yet to see many of the people demanding this dialogue actually put their slogans to work, and actually convene broad conversations with their people about the future of the country. The SPLM must be called upon to engage other voices in setting the course of Southern Sudan as the dominant political entity on the ground, but that's just one aspect of these overall efforts.

It is clearly evident that many of our elders think of these dialogue as one between them and their rivals for the leadership of Southern Sudan. It does not concern us poor commons, and if not for the stubborn rebels in Nairobi, it would have been convened a few years back in a Hotel there or in Switzerland, and we would have another ecumenical High Executive Council with the seats apportioned fairly. Then, Southern Sudan would have really engaged in dialogue and presented a united front to our enemies in Khartoum.

Is that the SS dialogue we want??????? I don't think so.

1 comment:

  1. You are absolutely right - the people are in desperate need of dialogue and direction and programmes to be communicated to them - not just more bits of paper telling of the "situation". In short, they need leadership - and quick too {I am working on a post that points to a report suggesting peace in the Nuba Mountains may unravel if things don't start happening soon]

    Here is a copy of another post I have just finished drafting but not yet posted:

    SUDAN: Interview with Caesar Mazzolari, bishop of Rumbek

    A few weeks ago, after googling around to find out what the church and religious leaders in Sudan were doing, I started drafting a post on the Bishop of Khartoum, trying to make sense of what religious leaders - including the Muslim clerics - were saying about the situation in Sudan.

    So this morning, it was interesting to see, after billions of dollars were promised to Sudan, the Bishop of Rumbek, south Sudan, popping up in mainstream media.

    Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of the diocese of Rumbek, south Sudan’s designated capital, has been involved in pastoral and humanitarian work in the area for many years. In an interview in Gordhim, a town northwest of Rumbek, on 8 April, he told IRIN that the region was not yet ready to receive the returnees. He also said that southern Sudan needed as much help as [the western region of] Darfur, and appealed to Sudanese intellectuals to return from abroad.

    Click here for excerpts of that interview and note the lack of dialogue between Sudan's leadership and the people. A total lack of leadership from all concerned [including the church]. What are the Muslim clerics saying? I've not found anything yet. But I have read some of what the Christian leaders in Sudan have been saying over the past five years. More later.