Opinion

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT FOR PROGRESS ORGANIZATION

 

 

THE FATE OF 12TH MAY 2019

JOY OR SORROW FOR SOUTH SUDANESE

 

ADVOCACY PAPER 

  1. INTRODUCTION: The signed Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) dated 12th September 2018 by the various conflicting parties of South Sudan faces enormous challenges during its implementation. The agreement offered the parties eight (8) months of pre-transitional period begins from 12th September 2019 and 36 months for transitional period that begins from 12th May 2019. The Agreement stipulated that by the end of the pre-transitional period a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity will be established on 12th May 2019[1]. The parties’ signatories to the peace accord during the pre-transitional period were unable to implement the key required pre-transitional provisions[2]. The factors that contributed to effective delay in implementing the pre-transitional period requirements were centered on lack of political will and commitment on minor issues such as release of detainees, prison of war, unrestricted humanitarian access plus inadequate transparency in the revenue sector. All these issues end up in discouraging some donors who are members of the international community with political obligations to take step of not offering any financial support for the implementation of R-ARCSS. They viewed the non-compliance with those pre-conditions[3] by the parties’ signatories to the R-ARCSS as clear indicators for lack of political will and commitment. This is reflected for instance in the continued hindrance of the humanitarian access and response after the signing of the peace accord by the parties.
  2. THE CHALLENGE: The great challenge right now is the establishment of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in accordance to R-ARCSS provision date of 12th May 2019. The two powerful parties’ signatories to R-ARCSS namely the Incumbent Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) under Dr Riek Machar have started contradictory arguments on the fate of 12th May 2019. These contradictory arguments are already influencing the public opinion. The current impact of those contradictory arguments are raising the public doubt and fear towards the fate of 12th May 2019.The public are divided some felt those contradictory arguments are alarms for possible return to violence while others felt that the contradictory argument are clear demonstration of lack of trust and confidence in forming the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. Majority of the public are disappointed as because these contradictory arguments among the parties started immediately after their spiritual retreat in Vatican after Pope Francis kissed the feet of the conflicting parties’ leaders who are signatories to R-ARCSS.
  3. THE CONTRADICTORY ARGUMENTS: The contradictory arguments are;
  4. The incumbent Government under leadership of President Salva Kiir wants the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity to be established per the provision of the signed R-ARCSS on 12th May 2019. This position is supported by the other political allies[4].
  5. On the other hand, the leadership of SPLM-IO under Dr. Riek Machar is demanding extension of the pre-transitional period with six months (12th May through to 12th November 2019) to allow accomplishment of the unfinished milestones[5] of the pre-transitional period.

Unfinished milestone were agreed upon by the parties as pre-conditions for the establishment of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity

  1. THE ARGUMENTS AND IMPLICATIONS: Compliance or Non-compliance with 12th May 2019. 12th May 2019 is sensitive date for majority of South Sudanese because it reminds citizens of 16th July 2016. The level of fear is increasing among the citizens and they are questioning the attitudes of the political elites towards securing peace and stability. Majority of the citizens felt the political elites care less about the enormous human suffering caused by civil war including loss of human lives and properties. The delays that resulted in the slow compliance in implementing the requirements of the pre-transitional period was mainly due to high political mistrust among the parties. The parties mistrust towards each other have to the level that they want external actors to take the primary responsibility for implementing the pre-transitional period requirements. In simple terms, 50% of the pre-transitional period requirements do not require cash but only political will to be executed. Issues such as the release of political detainees, prisoners of war, free humanitarian access and identification of cantonment sites are matters that can be accomplished without cash. Yes, 50% of the security arrangements require funding. Funds are availed when there is concrete plan developed between parties and their possible partners. The absence of technical dialogue between the parties and the possible donors for funds for the implementation of the R-ARCSS is an obstacle that needs to be addressed immediately even prior transitional period. The demand for donors to avail funds without thinking that the donors at the same time are members of the international community under United Nations with other political obligations[6] besides funding is unrealistic. Non-compliance with 12th May 2019 will immediately raise a question on legitimacy of the parties’ signatories to the R-ARCSS for implementing it. Especially when the non-compliance is not through political consensus among all the parties signatories to R-ARCSS. Any unauthorized non-compliances by the consensus of the parties signatories to R-ARCSS is risky and it offers immediate threat to the fate of the R-ARCSS. Reaching non-compliances with 12th May 2019 through parties signatories to R-ARCSS is essential. Compliance with the 12th May 2019 will be a great indicator to the citizens that our political leaders do indeed respect and honor the Vatican spiritual retreat since Pope Francis has called for the parties to implement the peace accord despite the challenges they are facing. The ESTABLISHMENT or NO ESTABLISHMENT of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity requires concrete careful decision by the parties’ signatories to R-ARCSS
  2. OPTIONS WAY FORWARD

Option 1: Forming the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity per the schedule of 12th May 2019. This option requires the parties to agree on concrete plan for accomplishing the unfinished milestones of the pre-transitional period. The key milestones are;

  1. Protection of the very important persons (VIP)
  2. Schedule for unifying the army and other security organs
  3. Enactment of the Revitalized Transitional Constitution
  4. Resolution on the number of state disputes
  5. Responsibility sharing criteria
  6. National Revenue Transparency

These actions should be scheduled and to be accomplished within the period of one to two months of the transitional period

Option 2: Postponing the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity per the R-ARCSS schedule of 12th May 2019. This option requires the parties’ signatories to R-ARCSS to urgently convene a gathering for reaching consensus on the extension of the pre-transitional period. Briefing the nation after reaching consensus on the extension of the pre-transitional period is paramount. The extension of the pre-transitional period should be also based on concrete plan that demonstrates clear political will for fast-tracking the implementation of unfinished milestones of the pre-transitional period

  1. ACTIONS FOR EXECUTING THE TWO PROPOSED OPTIONS
  2. Action 1: The National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) should convene urgent meeting immediately after the Easter holidays to brainstorm on the road to 12th May 2019. The NPTC meeting should explore discussions on all suggested options for the way forward
  3. Action 2: NPTC through RJMEC should require for convening of urgent Joint IGAD-AU Ad hoc Committee (AU-C5) session on the path way to 12th May 2019. The joint IGAD-AU-C5 multi-stakeholders summit. The summit should focus on consensus building to address the challenge for the deadline of 12th May 2019
  4. Action 3: whether the 12th May 2019 purposed were met or not, there is need for joint IGAD-AU-UN summit on South Sudan situation. The summit can address issues of way forward whether on formation of revitalized Transitional Government of national Unity or possibility of supporting the established Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity
  5. KEY CONCERNS PRIOR 12TH MAY 2019
  6. The parties’ signatories to R-ARCSS should be peruse for demonstrating political will and political commitment for securing peace and stability for South Sudan
  7. Mismanagement of the road to 12th May 2019 like the examples of 16th July 2016 is eminent if the regional bodies namely IGAD and AU including East Africa Community (EAC) never intervene early on the on-going arguments on 12th May 2019
  8. The guarantors of the R-ARCSS are silent on the on-going exchange of messaging between the parties on the fate of 12th May 2019 and it is very risky. The guarantors should do something to prevent return to frictions that may lead to another military-political tensions among the parties
  9. Administering public services through ad hoc structure of government is expensive and it offers chance for other to resort to short-cut path way for political and economic gain
  10. CONCLUSIONS

Silence on the arguments going on between the incumbent government and SPLM-IO is risky on the fate of securing peace and stability through R-ARCSS. Primarily the members of the NPTC need to proactively engage the R-ARCSS guarantors, IGAD, AU-C5 and UN on urgent decisions making on the fate of 12th May 2019 before it is late. The clock is ticking closer. 20 days to reach the 12th May 2019. It is clear that 12th May 2019 will arrive when the parties have done less on the security arrangements[7] and Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC)[8] business is unfinished. Remember the security arrangements and IBC outcomes are the key pre-conditions for forming the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

[1] R-ARCSS provision. 20 days from the date of this paper for the revitalized transitional government of national unity to be established  

[2] These provisions acts as pre-conditions for the establishment of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity

[3] Immediate release of political detainees and prisoners of war

[4] Other political allies that stand for fulfillment of 12th May 2019 without failure are umbrella group and national alliance  

[5] Security arrangements, release of prisoners of war, number of states and enactment of transitional constitution including oil revenues management R-ARCSS article 1.4.8

[6] They should that the parties have political will and commitment for transparently implementing the R-ARCSS before offering funding

[7] The South Sudan army spokesperson confirmed that they far from meeting the security arrangement requirements. Check this link  http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article67397

[8] IBC is still engaging on the issues of the state tribal boundaries since necessary information such as maps are not available in South Sudan. Check this link https://eyeradio.org/boundaries-commission-members-resigning-reveals-dr-elia  

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