Confidence-Building and Laying the Foundations for Sustainable Peace in South Sudan
Nov 08, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — The following statement was delivered by JMEC Acting Chairperson Ambassador Lt. Gen. Augostino Njoroge on 7 November 2018 at a breakfast meeting of the South Sudan Center for Strategic and Policy Studies. The event was arranged to examine the issue of confidence-building and laying the foundations for sustainable peace in South Sudan.
Since its inception in 2015, JMEC’s role has consisted of monitoring, evaluating, and reporting on the status of implementation of the peace agreement. However, our continuous oversight of the implementation of the agreement and the special deliberations of the six working committees of JMEC, made it clear that there were serious lacunae in the implementation of the agreement.
This is why the then-JMEC Chairperson H.E. Festus Mogae recommended the revitalization of the peace agreement. Accordingly, through exhaustive mapping of the stakeholders and understanding of the failures of 2015, JMEC was able to substantively contribute to the development of the 2018 revitalized agreement which was signed by the parties in September 2018.
JMEC’s opinion is that currently, the political environment has improved to the extent that the revitalized agreement can be implemented in a way which was not possible for the 2015 peace agreement. The commitment of the government and the Parties is stronger now. However, it still requires an ongoing process of confidence- and trust-building measures on the part of all Parties, and also the regional and international stakeholders.
Following are the key points or opportunities that JMEC has identified and recommends.
At the level of South Sudan
1.In addition to the President of South Sudan’s confidence building measures already undertaken, the President as a national leader should continue to constructively engage all stakeholders and Parties to the agreement to ensure that each party fulfils what it agreed to do in signing the revitalized agreement.
2.Together and in a spirit of unity, the President and the leaders of the Opposition should travel throughout the country and advocate for peace and reconciliation to the people of South Sudan.
3.The value of traditional leaders and chiefs must be recognized and factored in to the implementation process through various confidence-building mechanisms.
4.The existing National Dialogue can be instrumental to the implementation process, but it should be genuine and inclusive to serve as a building block in the pursuit of trust building.
5.Traditional South Sudanese conflict resolution mechanisms and inter-tribal dialogue practices should be used to deepen understanding and contribute to the full implementation of the agreement. Academia, researchers and other experienced practitioners should be involved to provide recommendations and examples of best practice.
6.The Parties should collectively show the determination and necessary political will to take action against spoilers from whatever angle they come. There should be alignment of message and action of the Parties to counter forces that seek to disrupt or delay implementation.
7.The Parties should ensure that all the remaining political detainees and prisoners of war are released, and those with criminal cases are given transparent and timely due process.
8.For confidence building purposes, we recommend to officially announce the lifting of state of emergency, to ensure that the political space needed for exercising the individual’s democratic rights and freedom of speech are in place, and the role of a responsible media is duly recognised.
9.The Parties should examine the mistakes of the recent past, draw lessons, and develop early-warning mechanisms to avoid the triggers that lead to the conflict of July 2016.
10.The Church and faith-based leaders, eminent personalities, and civil society, women’s and youth groups, should be given a prominent role in national reconciliation and the confidence-building effort.
11.Lessons on national reconciliation and healing should be drawn from elsewhere on the continent and applied to the South Sudanese context.
At the regional and international level:
12.Regional and international guarantors should give their full support to the implementation of the agreement, including to the agreement institutions, through appropriate political and economic support.
All these measures, if properly implemented will create a conducive political, social, and economic environment for the people of South Sudan, especially refugees and internally displaced, to enjoy the dividends of peace.