• The most stable economies on this continent and the world over were birthed from the genuine desire to dialogue and chart the way forward.
• The region and the international community should take a cue from the people of South Sudan and complement their strides towards achieving national unity.
Dialogue is a necessary component in nation building as it seeks to unveil, reveal and shape the true identity of a nation.
The process of dialogue is not easy, especially when confronted with historical injustices, but is necessary in the laying of the foundation of a strong and robust economy for generations to come.
The most stable economies on this continent and the world over were birthed from the genuine desire to dialogue and chart the way forward.
I make three points on national dialogue.
The history of South Sudan has been replete with the struggle for liberation exacerbated by the Bor mutiny of 1983. A significant achievement of the liberation struggle was the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed on January 9 , 2005, in Nairobi.
The CPA agreement was the anchor document that determined the secession of the Southern Sudan and midwifed the birth of the new nation state of South Sudan.
We must also never forget the role that those who fought in the struggle played and their vision for an emancipated Southern Sudan.
As someone who has walked with the people of South Sudan, I am pleased to say that the very fact we are present here today at the negotiation table is a great milestone in the journey towards the vision of the late John Garang.
His vision was of a united people whose differences create diversity and build strength. Therefore, let us embrace the spirit of give and take as a measure of compromise.
A good idea makes room for an even better and greater idea. The national dialogue in itself is not conclusive and will not achieve a perfect outcome. This is because national dialogue and consultation is a continuous process that will be part and parcel of overall nation building.
In Kenya, we have had a Constitution that we inherited from the colonial government and as the years went by, we finally promulgated our own generic constitution famously known as the Constitution 2010.
Between 1963 to 2010, we made many constitutional amendments, key among them was the transitioning from a one-party state to a multi-party democracy by repealing Section 2(a) of the old Constitution.
When we promulgated the 2010 Constitution, we entrenched devolution within our system of governance. The nation was devolved into 47 counties and created the position of governor.
Resources have been devolved to the counties from the central government and this has created more job opportunities and improved the livelihoods of our people.
We are yet in another process of national dialogue through the Building Bridges Initiative, which seeks to make constitutional amendments to our system of governance, increase opportunities for the youth and champion the agenda for gender equality in Kenya.
The BBI is indeed a call to deeper national unity, where no Kenyan is left behind. Therefore, drawing from the Kenyan example, it is necessary to understand that the outcome of National Dialogue Conference shall mark the first step to your constitutional journey and Kenya promises never to let go the hands of our brothers and sisters of South Sudan.
The great Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkurumah once said, “The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart."
This process of national dialogue shall be guided by the people of South Sudan and it is our sole duty to encourage their own generic desires.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon nd correct for the region and the international community to take its cue from the people of South Sudan and complement their strides towards achieving national unity.
The formula for nation building is by truth and patriotism. True patriotism should guide this process and the spirit of love should be the binding factor behind every decision and resolution that will constitute its outcome.
I appeal to the international community to reconsider their decision on sanctions in South Sudan. They are like shackles on their feet. For a start ,as the necessary benchmarks are achieved, the sanctions regime should be repealed as a measure to encourage the country. I also appeal to the African Union to continue encouraging and supporting the people of South Sudan.
Nation building is not easy and can be very painful. Parties should be constructive and engage in a spirit of give and take so that the people can walk together and build the economy together.
National dialogue is a process that requires inclusivity as it requires the input and participation of every South Sudanese, including the non-signatories. It is envisaged that this process shall successively be followed by a constitutional conference.
As the youngest nation amongst many long-established nations, South Sudan has the advantage of learning and drawing from others’ experiences to expedite its national growth and development.
On behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta, I assure South Sudanese of the unreserved commitment of the people and government of Kenya in pursuit of sustainable peace, political stability and economic growth.
The great musician Bob Marley in his Redemption Song said, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds, have no fear for atomic energy for none of them can stop the time…. “
This article is an excerpt of former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka’s speech as the Special Envoy for South Sudan during the National Dialogue Conference on November 3 in Juba