World, Africa

Cover-up claims in South Sudan's national dialogue

Lawmakers say committee has hidden comments unfavorable to government in consultation on civil war

Ekip   | 28.11.2017
Cover-up claims in South Sudan's national dialogue

Cuba

By Parach Mach

JUBA, South Sudan

A government initiative to air public opinion on the causes of South Sudan’s long-running civil war was accused of a cover-up on Tuesday.

Lawmakers said officials involved in carrying out the national dialogue launched by President Salva Kiir in May had hidden some tapes and documents.

The consultation was established to garner people’s views on the four-year, on-off conflict.

Kiir said the process would help heal the nation when it was announced in December last year.

“The national dialogue steering committee is hiding some tapes that were recorded during the dialogue process at the grassroots consultations in the states,” Dusman Joyce, a lawmaker for Yei River state in the transitional parliament, told Anadolu Agency.

“People are not free to discuss issues affecting the country.”

She added that the committee had hidden tapes that were due to be played on state-run television to avoid publicizing criticism of the government.

“This is against the objectives of the dialogue process,” Joyce said.

Philip Thon Leek Deng, head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the steering committee was unprepared for the dialogue task.

“It is a great sacrifice that the South Sudanese agreed to settle their own differences through dialogue and it is a high time the president intervened to check [the committee’s] disobedience of his good initiative before South Sudan’s dialogue hits the rocks,” he said.

The country’s armed opposition has spoken out against the dialogue process on the grounds that it subverted a regional peace plan.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since the country plunged into conflict in December 2013, when Kiir fired Vice President Riek Machar.

A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed a year later and led to Machar fleeing to South Africa.

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