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Civil society’s Implementation roadmap to the extended 100 days

Views by Civil Society Forum/ Odongo Odoyo

It is not in every situation that we have to comment about the opinion and feeling of some institutions, civil society included. But on this one there is need to say something because this is a national issue which is of national interest. The civil society forum has come up with the roadmap to the 100 days.

Some of the points are very important to the country’s well-being and should be critically looked into. Could this work in your situation and can it be a recipe for the remaining days to the D-day. What is your take outside there?

INTRODCUTION

This implementation roadmap outlines critical benchmarks and indicators for successful implementation of outstanding tasks of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) within an extended 100-day Pre-Transitional Period.

The South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) has divided the 100-day extension into four quartiles of 25 days each for periodic review of the status of implementation of pre-transitional tasks. The Forum outlines six benchmarks and associated indicators for tracking progress. SSCSF observes that the entire extension stands a chance of success only if the first and second benchmarks – the restructuring of the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC); and financial and political support – are realized at the beginning of the first quartile. To ensure efficient and effective use of resources, SSCSF recommends the adoption of rigorous procedures for utilization of resources during the Pre-Transitional Period.

  1. CONTEXT

The Pre-Transitional Period of the R-ARCSS was extended by 100 days in a Tripartite Summit held in Entebbe, Uganda on November 6, 2019. This Summit happened amidst rising uncertainties and tensions over the anticipated formation of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) in South Sudan by November 12, 2019.

The incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (I-TGoNU) and a majority of opposition groups wanted R-TGoNU formed by November 12 as agreed in May. Meanwhile, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) and the National Democratic Movement (NDM), both armed opposition groups, insisted that the formation of the R-TGoNU be delayed until the implementation of Transitional Security Arrangements (TSA) and the determination of the number and boundary of states as outlined in the R-ARCSS were completed.

In a statement released on November 1, SSCSF recommended a 100-day extension of the Pre-Transitional Period. The Forum was convinced that necessary preparations for the formation of R-TGoNU outlined in the R-ACSS had not been adequately met. An extension was therefore necessary for the implementation mechanisms to make convincing progress on the outstanding tasks.

  • OBSERVATIONS ON SLOW IMPLEMENTATION OF THE R-ARCSS

SSCSF notes that the main reasons for slow implementation of the R-ARCSS included:

  • Unclear vision for transformation and development of the country.
  • Deep mistrust between the top leadership of incumbent TGoNU and SPLM/A-IO.
  • Collective failure of all parties to the R-ARCSS to convene meetings by themselves and resolve outstanding and emerging issues in the R-ARCSS.
  • Disintegration of opposition groups and their collective failure as a block to demand for consistent implementation of the peace agreement.
  • Failure to disburse sufficient government funds for timely, consistent and full implementation of the R-ARCSS. A reasonable government pledge of US$100 million would have resulted in a major boost in the implementation of TSA if the funds were released in May when the pledge was made. However, the NPTC has disbursed only about 40% of this pledge in small instalments of about US$10 million each and with only a small portion reaching the joint transitional security mechanisms. Robust implementation of the many tasks of the TSA is not possible under these conditions.
  • The I-TGoNU is reluctant to release funds that would eventually empower opposition parties to become strong contenders in unfolding political processes and eventual elections.
  • NPTC’s ineffective coordination of the work of mechanisms of R-ARCSS, including the support from partners.
  • BENCHMARKS FOR THE 100-DAY EXTENSION

SSCSF is fully aware that the 100 days are not technically enough to accomplish the pre-transition tasks, particularly the TSA. However, the decision to further extend the pre-transitional period was a compromise between the immediate formation of R-TGoNU on November 12 and extension by a much longer period of about six months. It was also a way to deescalate rising tensions, provide more time for the parties to redefine the way forward and honestly implement the R-ARCSS.

After careful assessment, SSCSF notes that successful implementation of the R-ARCSS in the 100-day extension would largely depend on the following six benchmarks:

  • Restructuring of the NPTC
    • Financial and political support for pre-transitional tasks
    • Resolution of the issue of states and boundaries in a manner that mitigates the risk of conflict
    • Implementation of pre-transitional security arrangements
    • Establishment of legal foundation for R-ARCSS
    • Formation of inclusive R-TGoNU
  • MEASURE OF SUCCESS

The success of the 100-day extended Pre-Transitional Period will be determined by the amount of time, effort and resources that the parties invest in the implementation process especially by the I-TGoNU, which has primary responsibility for funding the process. The responsibility to convene meetings, discuss and resolve outstanding and emerging issues of the R-ARCSS lies with the parties. Only when they deliver on this responsibility, can there be a real assurance of success in this new extension.

  • SSCSF’s MONITORING PLAN

SSCSF has divided the 100 days into four Quartiles of 25 days each. The Forum will review progress at the end of each Quartile and provide public statements with recommendations on status of implementation of the pre-transitional tasks. The four Quartiles are as follows:

  • 1st Quartile: Nov. 12, 2019 – Dec. 6, 2019
  • 2nd Quartile: Dec. 7, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019
  • 3rd  Quartile: Jan. 1, 2020 – January 25, 2020
  • 4th Quartile: Jan. 26, 2020 – Feb. 19, 2020
  • NEXT STEPS FOR SSCSF

Civil society also has a responsibility to support the parties and advise them on how best to make use of their time over the next 100 days. In this regard, SSCSF pledges to:

  • Monitor the status of implementation of pre-transitional tasks,
  • Provide public reports and recommendations on the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS,
  • Engaging closely with the signatories and other stakeholders through their representation on the various transitional mechanisms and through other track II processes,
  • Engage citizens throughout the country to keep them abreast of developments in the peace process and ensure that the parties are attentive to the views of the people of South Sudan,
  • Help to coordinate efforts among the many civic actors involved in the peace processes
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