President Museveni has urged the people of South Sudan to embrace unity for prosperity and development warning that the misuse of identity can paralyse and endanger their nation.
Mr Museveni was speaking in Juba where he travelled at the invitation of President Salva Kiir, to attend the launch of South Sudan’s National dialogue and swearing in of the process’ steering committee members.
“There are three problems; misuse of identity. This can paralyze and endanger any nation. Why insist on identity at the expense of other people. The issue of identity broke up Sudan,” Mr Museveni said.
The President arrived in the South Sudan Capital Juba direct from Dar es Salaam where he assumed the EAC chairmanship.
The launch of the National Dialogue was held at the Freedom Hall in Juba under the theme: Redefining the basis of our unity and sense of common purpose through the national dialogue.
“Yes identity is important but it can be misused. Why are you not concerned about prosperity, about common interests? Emphasizing identity and forgetting common interests is very dangerous. Our other disadvantage is backwardness in technology and science,” Mr Museveni said, adding that he attended to lend his support to the effort to promote dialogue for peace.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 agreement that ended Africa's longest-running civil war. The country however fell back into a civil war two years later in December 2013when forces loyal to then First Vice President Riek Machar clashed with government forces. The clashes led to a long protracted civil war that has left thousands displaced causing one of the world’s biggest refugee crisis.
The national dialogue announced by South Sudan president Salva kiir commenced today after a long delay that was caused by the necessity to include opposition leaders that were previously left out.
Prior to the swearing in of the committee, the Juba government warned the armed and non-opposition groups which refused to join the dialogue, that any attempt at sabotaging the government-led political process will not be tolerated.
"I am glad to let the people of South Sudan through the media know that the long-awaited national dialogue committee on which the secretariat has been working will be officially opened on Monday," said Daniel Awet Akot, the presidential advisor on military affairs.
"This will not only be in Juba alone. It is a bottom-up dialogue and so a general national dialogue will start in all the states across the country,” he added.
Akot went on to say that President Kiir who is the chairman of the process would just open the proceedings, but the real work would be done by the co-chairpersons.
The presidential advisor told Daily Monitor on Sunday that President Kiir had already met delegates representing several factions.
Akot’s added that president Kiir would no longer wait for opposition parties, adding that he would extend patience but he would not allow the dialogue to fail.
He noted that his administration could not force opposition parties to join the national dialogue, asserting that any attempt to undermine it would not succeed because of the significant political and social support it has received in the country.