Abyei Dialogue: Bottom Up and Top Down

Francis Deng

14 Jul 2017

19pages PDF

This report on the case of the Ngok Dinka of Abyei provides a model for the National Dialogue that substantiates the Bottom-Up-Top-Down approach, which the President has stipulated in his various statements, and in his Concept Note. The experience documented in this report is particularly remarkable in that it started as a personal problem between leading individuals, extended to regional relations between neighboring communities, became incrementally connected to the responsibility of the national government for addressing the Abyei crisis, and ended with the challenges facing Sudan and South Sudan over the case of Abyei. The starting point is a conflict that persisted for years between Bona Malual and leading Ngok Dinka individuals in the SPLM/A and the Government of South Sudan. As is well known, Bona Malual's leadership extends from his base in the Twic Dinka community, to the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region, on to the level of South Sudan, with connections to the leaders of the Sudan, and outreach extending to the international community. The Ngok leaders with whom Bona Malual has been in conflict are individuals who contributed enormously to the South Sudanese struggle and continue to play crucial roles in the post-independence Government of South Sudan.