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Akol's NDM questions Upper Nile peace committee

Malakal Town

In a letter sent on Saturday morning, the National Democratic Movement (NDM) cast doubt on the Government’s plans to form a committee to address violence in Upper Nile state.

Signed by NDM Chairman Dr Lam Akol, numerous questions were raised about the makeup of the committee, its agenda, and the participation of local authorities in the process.

Plans to form a sterling committee were announced earlier this month following an unprecedented rise in inter-communal violence in the Upper Nile region. Centred around Malakal town, recent conflict has seen more than 50 killed, including a Bishop.

Malakal, the capital of Upper Nile state and centre of recent inter-communal violence

The NDM’s objection to the committee appears to centre around ambiguity concerning the participation of local leaders in the peace process. Taking aim at the Government’s plans to allow the President, first Vice-President and Minister of Cabinet Affairs to lead the conference, Dr Akol points out that the Upper Nile State communities can neither nominate nor sit on the steering committee themselves.

Dr Akol’s letter also questions how there can be thorough healing and reconciliation in the region when ‘no role is envisaged for the traditional authority’ of Upper Nile State. Referring to the allocation of delegates according to article 1.16 of the R-ARCSS, he notes preference is given to political groups and not tribal stakeholders.

Article 1.16 of the R-ARCSS, used by the government to assign delegate positions for the conference.

Further questions are also drawn as to the role the committee will play in the appointment of the Upper Nile state governor, a position which has drawn controversy following Khartoum based Gen. James Olony was nominated to the role.

Ending the letter, Dr Akol requests answers to questions of governorship, community participation and the conference’s delegate makeup.

It is declared that from these answers the NDM will come to decide ‘whether or not to participate in the conference’.

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