Who’s misleading about South Sudan latest peace deal?

By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi

Opinion 

South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir (R) shaking hand with First Vice President designate Dr. Riek Machar Teny (L) in Addis Ababa after signing the revitalized agreement (File photo)

September 18th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – Last Wednesday, President Salva Kiir, SPLM/A-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar, and other parties (opposition) groups signed a peace deal known as Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan R-ARCSS.

So far, the signed R-ARCSS has not been published officially on IGAD website as expected.

Instead, yesterday, the last month initialled R-ARCSS was republished on Igad website under the title “SIGNED REVITALIZED AGREEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION OF THE CONFLICT IN SOUTH SUDAN.”

That is misleading because first and foremost the public is expecting Igad to publish the R-ACSSS signed last week, not the one initialled last month, again.

President Kiir, Dr. Machar, and the leaders of the other parties were seen last week publicly signing the R-ARCSS at a ceremony attended by Igad heads of state and government in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. However, the republished initialled R-ARCSS does not bear their signatures, except the signatures of those who initialled it last month.

Further, the initialled R-ARCSS republished in the name of the final (signed) R-ARCSS clearly mentions Khartoum, Sudan as the venue of the signing and not Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where the R-ARCSS was finally signed.

More importantly are the provisions of the two documents.

According to Eye Radio, the signed R-ARCSS has increased the number of deputy speakers of parliament to three. That is not possible to independently verify since the signed R-ARCSS has not been published officially.

Also, according to Nyamilepedia, the R-ARCSS signed last week has addressed four concerns earlier expressed by the opposition groups, a claim that also requires the signed document to verify.

Those issues of concern to the opposition groups include the number of states, quorum in the council of ministers, permanent constitution-making process and the deployment of foreign forces, according to Nyamilepedia.

Eye Radio has provided a link to an unsigned copy of the R-ARCSS also dubbed “Final Approved Revitalized ARCSS.” In it, indeed Article 1 (10) (12) provides that twenty-three (23) members of the Council shall make the quorum of the Council of Ministers provided that the ministers present include at least six (6) from the opposition. On the other hand, the initialled R-ARCSS republished on Igad website simply maintains in Article 1.9.13 that twenty-three (23) members of the Council shall make the quorum of the Council of Ministers. In it, there is no mention of the number of opposition ministers required for the quorum.

There are other differences between the two documents on the matters raised above.

Therefore, for the purposes of availing the public with an authoritative document, Igad should publish on their website the R-ARCSS the leaders signed last week. The currently published last month initialled R-ARCSS under the title “SIGNED REVITALIZED AGREEMENT ON THE RESOLUTION OF THE CONFLICT IN SOUTH SUDAN” is misleading and that should be rectified immediately.

South Sudanese population suffering due to this armed conflict is monitoring. Those who want a lasting peace in South Sudan are monitoring.

The author, Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, a South Sudanese journalist, is the former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor Newspaper and former Chief Editor of Bakhita Radio. He can be reached via his email: rogeryoron@gmail.com  or his Twitter handle @YoronModi