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.