EXTENSION OF THE TERM OF GOVERNMENT IN SOUTH SUDAN
By Remijo Lasu Peter (MP)
The current extension of the Government term of office in South Sudan by the Transitional National Legislative Assembly is part of the revitalization process. Some Civil Society Organizations including some foreign diplomats have raised concern that such a move derails the revitalization of the Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA) 2015. They thought by extending the term of the government, the government will not be willing to sign peace or may not negotiate whole heartedly for an end to the civil war, simply because it will have secured for the government three years in power. That was a good concern for the suffering civil population of South Sudan. Indeed that is the role of pressure groups such as the civil society organizations. But such pressures are not applicable to diplomats, because it will become interference in the internal affairs of another Sovereign State. In sovereignty, all States are equal in status. Economic and military differences are not countable. E.g. USA being the strongest economic and military power and the current hegemony, can’t say please South Sudan I am more sovereign to you, so I can become your police officer. South Sudan will automatically give options: please USA, either you remove your police cap, or I invoke Article 9 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, the only article for sending away diplomats or I will not receive the credentials of your ambassador. Automatically, USA will say, regret!
Unfortunately, the civil society organizations and our partners in the diplomatic relation did not realize the imminent end of the government term of office, which is the worst evil in the peace process. The extension of the government term of office gives breath to the government to negotiate. Because the end of the government term of office in August marks the end to the peace process. The government will not be a party to the revitalization of the peace agreement, unless the parliament revitalizes it first.
Since the parties to the peace agreement are still pulling rope on the governance; each party wanted to secure positions in the executive as well as in the legislature, the process may take long time for all the conflicting parties to arrive to Juba. The process may extend beyond August, 2018. So to be in safe side, the term of the government need to be extended, to keep the process moving. When the final peace agreement is signed, it will not be a problem to amend the constitution or to incorporate the agreement into the constitution in shortest possible time.
The most important thing in this regard is that, all South Sudanese should come out of themselves to common good. Ambition for power through the barrel of the gun should be avoided; that is avarice and it is power rustling reducing the dignity of the country. They must aim at legitimacy, in achieving power through democratic means. They should sympathize with the suffering of the innocent civil population of South Sudan who are dying every day in circumstances relating to the civil war.
The best solution to such problem is full implantation of laws, as deterrence to the culture of rustling, beginning with the domestic animal, coming to government money, now is extended to government positions. The law will act like the lion; nobody will force the lions to run to his house, because the lion can respond with its big and red canines that please don’t move near me. Such deterrence will force the power rustler to seek mandate from the civil population though the ballot paper, instead of bullets as a means of achievement.
In regard to the peace process, whether the peace talk is conducted in Ethiopia, or in Kenya or in Khartoum, or treasured in Djibouti, doesn’t make any difference. The same words are spoken for the same objective. There is nothing new other than the suggested humiliating multiple positions by those who are laughing at the power rustling activity. Such a struggle has become a domain. It is becoming a new discipline in the security sector which could be researched for teaching in Universities. Such studies normally, make records for generations, and they may not be a good history, especially for those with rustling institutions. There is an English saying; that “a good name is better than wealth” I am hereby creating a new saying into the world of knowledge, “A good name is better than power achieved though rustling”.
See the way the media is describing the chartered diplomacy in the process of this peace revitalization; announcing itinerary of peace negotiations in the regional States, as if the peace has been broken into pieces of peace and had been distributed to the Regional Capital cities for safety, where the parties are now collecting them together in an effort to bring the whole peace back to South Sudan. Why shouldn’t they check it first inside their hearts, before wasting time and money for chartering planes for travelling abroad in search for peace?
When the theme went to look for peace in Uganda, few were allowed to meet with the President of Uganda; the rest wasted their time waiting outside for eight hours without a meeting. Hence, they found no hidden peace in Uganda, other than the atrocities known as refugee’s settlements. So it was meaningful for them to try elsewhere. Bravo, President Museveni, you know how to teach! Next time you invite all of them to Uganda, let the plane land in Arua, a special tour should be made in the Refugees settlements before any consultation in your office. Kenya should do same drama, to give to the power rustlers the sense of the suffering of the people in the refugee’s camps. Such drama will also help them examine whether they posses good or erroneous conscience.
The author is a Member of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly representing Constituency no.13, Morobo County. He can be reached via email: email@example.com