The concept of a House of Nationalities
was developed by Sudanese intellectuals
during two workshops held in 2000 and 2001,
and this as the answer to the crucial questions
on cultural diversity and political stability.
In January 2003, more than seventy leaders
of the South Sudanese Civil Society 1 and
representatives of various ethnic groups
met for three days in Nairobi and came up
in strong support of the project, agreeing
that all communities should decide themselves
on the implementation of a House of Nationalities
during a national conference to be held
inside the South Sudan.
In preparation of such a national meeting,
a delegation composed of chiefs and members
of the civil society visited Botswana and
its ‘House of Chiefs’ in order
to learn from the experiences made in a
country praised for its fine record of good
governance and economic growth. During the
years of 2003 and 2004, the idea of creating
a House of
Nationalities spread all over the South
Arguing that the future belonged also to
them, the Youth and Women united at the
occasion of workshops held in Kenya, in
Uganda and indeed in all the three regions
of the South Sudan.
They raised their voice in support of the
project which they consider to be important
for peace among the ethnic
communities and for harmonious development.
Of great significance was the first Women
conference on the House of Nationalities
held in Lokichokio in November 2003 when
the seventy participants agreed that a forum
of traditional leaders would provide them
with a most efficient platform for improving
the status and rolef women in the South
In June 2004, the SPLM invited over 300
kings, chiefs and spiritual leaders of the
South Sudan to a historical conference.
The Movement presented to them the results
of the peace negotiations achieved so far
and thanked them for their contribution
in the liberation-war.
In the meeting’s final resolution,
the chiefs formally demanded the recognition
of the country’s cultural diversity,
asked for a role in the peaceful resolution
of conflicts among their communities, and
a forum for regu-lar meetings of traditional
leaders representing all the ethnic communities
(Mazalla al-Kawmiya) in the South Sudan.