By Charles Kisanga,
Juba, South Sudan
March 18, 2018 (Nyamilepedia) — On the 14th February 2018, a document started circulating on the internet and referred to as Compromise Proposal for new South Sudan Government to be agreed upon in the HLRF meeting ongoing in Addis Ababa then. It went on to suggest names for portfolios although it did not tackle issue of Governance with its formula of distribution and it did not touch the status of the 32 states either.
I wish to add my views here as to what really can bring peace to South Sudan since hundreds if not thousands seemed to react positively to the so called ‘Compromise document’. It is clear from the public reaction that people are fed up with war and are ready to accept any tangible proposal and agreement that can silence the guns and bring peace. However some elites in Addis Abba are getting it wrong by trying to solve the root causes of war, the economy plus the issues that led to the collapse of our baby nation South Sudan.
It is not the IGAD mediators or facilitators who can impose the good governance in our country but it is the people of South Sudan who can work to create a great nation and so what matters is to accept the basic minimum that is needed to bring peace then let us come and harmonize our diverse views and we can work together to create a good country with the right makeup of the Government.
On 18th February 2018, on Radio Tamazuk, Cde Majaak D’Agoot claimed it was the Government who created obstacles that impeded the peace process. However I beg to disagree and say that is not the Government but the opposition and allied groups who created obstacles by creating new conditions and sticking to it and not being flexible. New conditions like seeking the resignation of the President are a big obstacle because it was not part of ARCISS when it was signed in August 2015. Hence the first step towards revitalization is to visit the agreement of August 2015 and then find out what can be added or adjusted in order to bring really peace to the country.
And so I formulated the following ideas based on the Fact that IGAD agendas even consisted of three principle areas: Enhancement of Cessation of hostilities, bringing on board all warring parties and revising a new implementation time frame:
1. Continuation of ARCISS and not renegotiation but expanding on it which means the positions of President and FVP is non-negotiable and cannot be touched.
2. All armed groups who will have to be cantoned but this does not mean there are two armies but one SSPDF. We are no longer talking of two armies as there are many claimed rebel groups who can tell Dr Riek their Army also must exist unless they signed a unification of their forces under Dr Riek which I doubt since even Bakosoro forces are fighting Riek forces around Yei and clashes between Thomas Cirilo NSF and Riek forces are common also.
3. The President remains the head of state but the President have to strive to make changes to remove the bad elements in the Government who are responsible for perpetuating hatred and war because they could yet spoil a new agreement.
4. The number of States cannot be changed at this time because more people will again go to the bush. So the stake holders must come and then work on new number of states that will be enacted with dissolution of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) so that people go to Elections in new agreed number of states based on new Census if that be the choice of the two Assembly houses during the transitional period.
5. The SPLM Secretariat must be made into a solid party and not a place where someone goes to cause hatred, marginalisation, undermining certain areas and fill positions with royal servants of their choice (personalisation of SPLM) but empower really cadres who have the country at heart and who can unite all the people who aspire to be SPLM members for a better country.
Now I would like to expand more some of these points:
Structure of the TGoNU Adding 4 Presidential Assistants
Continuation of ARCISS means the three positions of President, First Vice President, and Vice President remains intact and not subject to renegotiations or additions.
However there is nothing stopping people from creating the positions of Presidential Assistants. People can agree to create the posts of four (04) Presidential assistants for the different clusters and they shouldn’t be called VPs Presidents. Such structure worked perfectly with Khartoum, Sudan, where we had even many Presidential Assistants for sometimes in order to achieve peace.
These positions of VP and 4 Presidential assistances can be for negotiation as to who can get it but not the head of state because the President is the one holding the country together and until an alternative can be found we cannot negotiate his position and his alternative can only come via election after the transitional period.
The IGAD proposal document for the TGoNU talked of 32 ministers and 12 Deputy Ministers; I would like to revise that to 33 ministries and 14 Deputy Ministers so that this can be a comprise between government position of 42 ministries while IGAD says 32 ministries and 12 deputy ministers. They even forgot that Communications and Postal Services Ministry is huge in South Sudan and in a far area and it is even wrongly rewritten in the document and repeated where they put Information Ministry in Governance and again Information and Communications in Infrastructure.
Hence with my proposal, executive of TGoNU shall comprise of President and Two (2) Vices and 4 Assistants to the President plus 33 ministers and 14 deputies.
The Council of ministers shall comprise of the President, the 2 VPs, the 4 Presidential Assistants and the Ministers.
Each Presidential assistant shall have the following supervisory function in his or her own respective Cabinet cluster:
(i) Governance cluster
(ii) Economic cluster
(iii) Infrastructure Cluster
(iv) Human Development and Social Services Cluster
One Presidential Assistant must be a woman and come from the opposition.
The Governance Cluster is made of the following Eleven ( 11) ministries: Cabinet Affair; Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Defence and a Veteran Affairs; Interior; .Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Information and Broadcasting; Office of the President; and the East African Community Affairs.
The Economic Cluster Nine (09) ministries: Finance and Economic Planning; Petroleum; Mining and Natural Resources; Agriculture and Food Security; Livestock and Fisheries; Trade and Industry; Cooperatives and Rural Development; Environment and Forestry; and Wildlife Conservation and Tourism.
The Human Development and social Services Cluster Nine (09 ministries): Higher Education, Science and Technology; General Education and Instruction; Health; Labour and Employment; Public Service and human Resource Development; Gender, child and Social Welfare; Culture Youth and Sports; Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management.
Infrastructure Cluster Four (04) ministries: Transport, Roads and Bridges; Communications and Postal Services; Energy, Dams, Water Resources and Irrigation; and Land, Housing and Urban Development.
There shall be 14 deputy Ministers distributed as follows:
(i) Governance Cluster, six (06) ministries: Cabinet Affairs, Foreign Affair and International Cooperation; Information an Broadcasting; Defence and Veteran Affairs; Interior and Justice and Constitutional Affairs
(ii) Economic Cluster, Four (04) Ministries: Finance and Economic Planning; Agriculture and Food Security; Trade and Industry; Wildlife Conservation and Tourism
(iii) Human Development and Social Services Cluster, two (2) Ministries: General Education and Instruction; Public Service and Human Resource Development
(iv) Infrastructure Cluster, Two (02) ministries: Land Housing and Urban Development a Communication and Postal Services.
From these we shall have a total of 47 ministers and deputy minsters which is good and slim enough to the happiness of those calling for lean Government when lean Government is even not the priority but silencing the guns and brining peace is the priority. The country then can make enough money soon to deliver services.
The Transitional Legislative Assembly plus the Transitional Council of States
It will be good to maintain the Transitional Legislative Assembly to maintain the current number of 400. However the Legislative house should be shaken at this time because the house has a lot of people who were appointed there via recommendations by some people who love favouritism and they cannot deliver. Some MPS are illiterate and they cannot even express themselves.
I cannot mention examples where someone because of the desire of revenge and hatred of intellectuals from Western Equatoria decided to go to the villages and find candidate in order just to block the intellectuals. Even this person was reason for making some Azande go to war because of their hatred of such a person which mean they disliked the government indirectly because of persecution coming from one person.
We want the parliament where member can really be literate and work to write a permanent constitution for the country and not to sit idle and be full of gossiping. The negotiating team must work out equitable distribution of MPs according to the current number of states of 32. Governors have been dismissed and ministers have been dismissed and so there is no justification to keep incompetent MPs recommended and appointed via favouritism/nepotism and not recommended by their communities while they were not elected. If wrong MPs are appointed by decrees then they can also be removed by decrees.
Then we need to expand the number of members of the Council of states to reach 65 where 64 for the current 32 states plus one for the Administrative area of Abyei
Not the Time for Lean Government
Now let me come to the point of Lean Government. Am sure the man influencing the talk about lean government in Addis Ababa is Dr Lam Akol because it has been his obsession since we were with him in DC. I would like to tell Dr. Lam Akol and the people he has helped to influence especially the civil societies that Lean Government cannot bring peace in a country with 64 tribes because it was not the issue of lean Government that failed the country in the first place but because the SPLM did not have a programme for addressing the social and economic development of South Sudan after liberation.
In the interim period some SPLM leaders (especially some members of the former detainees) had become an elitist class completely alienated from the masses of the people. Although we had no means of production, this elitist class derived their wealth through the control of the government and its resources through the agency of corruption and outright theft from state coffers. Hence until we address the makeup and programme of SPLM as a ruling party nothing like a lean Government can change anything.
Those claiming lean are the same party to this elitist class. Also there were parties including DC who also joined some SPLM Leaders in jettisoning the liberation era pledge to build a society based on freedom, justice fraternity and prosperity. The elitist class had been interested only in what people of Juba called self-service and taking most money without accountability and this is what prevented money for services and not that because Government was too large.
Even if the Government was small the same thing would happen. We are not alone in Africa in having a big sized Government and even poor Uganda and Kenya have large Government and high pay and it still works well.
Hence the Civil societies and other parties should work for inclusion of capable technocrats and leaders to join the Government and not encouraging same thieves who spoil the Government again and we should do away with spirit of elitist class. Am sure the people who went to war did not do so because of lack of lean Government but because they were marginalized and their money misused via corruption so that they did not see the fruits of the CPA and Independent of our country.
So the aspiration of the people of South Sudan should not be hijacked by few who in turn want a lean system to exclude and marginalise others in another way but everybody has to be on board so that we work all together for a better future.
Status of the 32 states
Indeed we agree that creating more states were wrong during the war time without adequate budget and preparation but now they were created and are there and it was even Dr Riek who started the whole game which he continues to push. There is no way to undo the states now because you cannot give freedom to some people and then come back and hijack it again and then who knows if some do not rebel and fight for the new freedom.
So let the 32 states plus Abyei Administrative area remain and the new Transitional Unity Government can form a body to work out a new number of states. I would be happy to have something like 15 to 20 states then which can be debated and passed in Parliament but reverting back to 10 states cannot help bring peace now but be a breeding ground for another war which we cannot afford. It is easy to say go back to the previous 10 but it is impractical because it is unacceptable now in many places.
For example, the Gbudue people will never allow Tombura elites to be sitting on them again and the Moru may not like to be under Azande governor also. Even Dr Riek had proposed 21 states himself and appointed governors to such and so it should not be difficult for his supporters to swallow the pill of 32 states then.
The SPLM Party and Reform
For the SPLM party as the mother who gave birth to South Sudan I already mentioned a few problems the party is suffering from right now plus the fact that she has been forgotten and thrown to the wrong hands where nepotism and favouritism is the norm of the day.
Pagan Amum should come back to take up his position as the SPLM Secretary General and then together with other leaders they can unite the party and bring in the right carders to progress and change the Party to its original liberation era pledges like what is happening in South Africa with the African National Congress who remain undivided.
So much energy had been wasted in South Africa, in Tanzania, in Uganda and even in Egypt all for the unification of the SPLM; why can we not do that and take back possession of the SPLM from personification rather than institutionalisation?
The idea that progressive thinkers must be expunged and replaced with people who idolized or are royal to a leader must change for building a really party for progress and good governance based on competence and ability to deliver. If Pagan cannot come back then at least unite all the party members aspiring for unity and then select a new SG and deputy per has been agreed lately in Kampala and Cairo.
Wars are not easy episodes and the war mongers can always talk of winning the next day but then years pass and there is no winner. So if you are still a rebel or hoping to fight your way to the presidency then it will not be that easy and you can just destroy the country for generations to come without ever becoming a President.
So let us make peace a priority at all costs and leave aside impossible demands on the Government and SPLM-IG especially when we go for the 3rd round of HLRF. Let those in opposition see exactly what is feasibly and agree on that instead of putting hopes that the Western World can kick out President Salva Kiir and make regime change and then make those shouting lean government rulers.
Such ideas are fantasies otherwise Western world should first go and solve Libya, Iraq, Congo, Afghanistan and even Somalia. Remember Mugabe was sanctioned for decades and Zimbabwe economy put in ruins but still Zimbabwe did not collapse because of that and it was only internal change that changed the President and not Western pressure.
With peace even those dreams of becoming President can easily be a reality because Elections can bring surprises and give you that top job you were just dreaming about.
Eng. Charles Barnaba Kisanga is a former WES Information Minister and Former SPLA-IO officer and the leader of Arrow Boys (SPLA-IO). Charles defected to Salva Kiir’s SPLM-IG factions and now works in Kiir’s government in Juba.