PEACE TALKS – Parties disagreed in Addis consultations
Delegates of the SPLM/A- IO at the second peace talks in February (file photo by Jale Richard):
By Jale Richard
The warring parties disagreed on many of the outstanding issues during their two-day Intensive Interparty Consultation in Addis Ababa last week.
The consultation ended on Saturday just five days ahead of the resumption of the peace talks in Addis Ababa.
IGAD invited five key representatives from all the parties to the conflict to consult them on the outstanding issues to bridge the gap on their different positions.
On the outstanding issues on Governance,the government delegates maintained that the incumbent President, First Vice President, and Vice President, and three assistances to the President be created.
The government also agreed for creation of a new position for the SPLM/A-IO of Machar but not to be filled by Dr. Riek Machar.
However, the SPLM/A-IO proposed that the TGoNU, SPLM-IO, SSOA and Other Political Parties invited by IGAD at the HLRF should participate in the Revitalized Transitional Government.
“On the Executive of the Revitalized Transitional Government, the SPLM/A – IO proposed that the Presidency shall consist of a President nominated by the current TGoNU; a First Vice President nominated by SPLM/A -IO; and a Vice President nominated by other political parties and SSOA,” the document partly read.
The South Sudan Opposition Alliance, on their part proposed that the presidency should comprise of five members with rotational Presidential Council. Three of the five representing three regions, one will represent women and the other Civil Society.
“The Executive is to be led by an Executive Prime Minister with two Deputies, all representing the three regions,” they said in the document seen by Juba Monitor.
The SSOA proposed for 18 ministers and a Prime Minister to constitute what they termed a lean technocratic government. However, representatives of TGoNU rejected the creation of the position of a Prime Minister, a technocratic or hybrid Government.
TGoNU also rejected immediate introduction of a Federal system, but said it was “open to making a presentation to the HLRF on work currently being done to initiate a Federal System of Governance, as provided for in the ARCSS, as part of the Permanent Constitution-making process.”
The parties also disagreed on the number of states, with the TGoNU maintaining that there was a strong popular demand for the creation of even more States.
“TGoNU invited IGAD to consult the people of South Sudan to ascertain their views on the question of States, TGoNU is open to assigning to a National Border Commission the task of reviewing and addressing issues of State border disputes,” the document said.
The SPLM/A–IO however proposed that the 10 states agreed to in the 2015 Agreement should remain. The SSOA also maintained that the 10 states be maintained and that the issues pertaining to the number of states would be reviewed under the Permanent Constitution-Making process.
Regarding the parliament, the government’s delegation said TGoNU was not prepared to displace the current members of parliament. However for inclusivity, it proposed an increase of the 400 to 440 with the additional 40 being allocated to the opposition.
The SPLM/A-IO proposed that the current parliament be dissolved and a new transitional assembly be reconstituted with 170 members representing 170 constituencies. However the delegates expressed flexibility on the size of the legislature by further proposing a parliament of 220 members.
The SSOA also maintained that the current National Legislative Assembly be reconstituted to 170 members with flexibility to an expansion. They also proposed an establishment of the House of Nationalities.
“This would address the concerns of underrepresentation in government as the feeling of being left out could potentially be conflict driver. The membership should be 64.”
The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) chairman Festus Mogae in a press briefing yesterday said many chances for achieving peace had been squandered and urged the South Sudanese leaders not to spoil the High Level Revitalization Forum.
“All our efforts, focus, and energies should be dedicated to the successful conclusion of the revitalization process and to ensure a return to full and inclusive implementation of the agreement,” Mogae said.