National Dialogue: A Critical Perspective

Francis Deng

15 Aug 2017

3pages PDF

Is the National Dialogue in South Sudan turning out to be a nice surprise to those who wanted it but feared that it would not succeed, or a disappointment to those who opposed it or predicted its failure? When President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced the National Dialogue Initiative on December 14, 2016, and then launched it officially on May 22, 2017, there were a variety of responses, whether openly or privately voiced. Some people thought it was a noble and indeed timely initiative, and others pessimistically feared that it would not amount to much. The cynics thought it was another delay tactic or even a distraction from serious efforts to implement the 2015 IGAD-negotiated agreement to resolve the conflict in South Sudan; they also predicted that it was doomed to fail. Probably only a minority felt positively that it was an opportunity to be taken seriously to end the proliferating violence that is devastating the country.