Stalled and violated, what is next for South Sudan Peace Agreement

By Gatgong Thany,

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, right, and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar, left, signing a preliminary peace deal in Khartoum, Sudan, (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, right, and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar, left, signing a preliminary peace deal in Khartoum, Sudan, (photo: File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

June 5, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — The glowing preamble of the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCISS) that is currently suffocating and in a comma had the following commitment statement‘’ mindful of our commitment under the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 as amended, to lay a foundation for a united, peaceful and prosperous society based on justice, equality, respect of human rights and the rule of law. In the same preamble, the parties to the agreement expressed deep regret for the scale of suffering that had befallen the Country and the people, which is a result of their failure to honor their commitment, they however promised to compensate the people of South Sudan by fully recommitting themselves to peace and constitutionalism’’ 

However, despite the parties’ bold commitment and promise on paper, their loud rhetoric in front of cameras and microphones, the R-ARCISS is in limbo, Breathless and on its knees, possibly awaiting the fate of many of its predecessors, an imminent collapse. And the people are very worried, consequently the euphoric and ecstatic atmosphere witnessed during the early Months of the agreement had since dissipated, giving way to desperation and anxiety, as people’s hopes evaporates rapidly 

It’s Over three (3) Months since the executive (the Presidency and the Cabinet) of the R-RTGONU was formed partially, amidst wrangling and conspiracies among the parties to the Agreement, however from the onset, everyone could tell, that the road ahead would be tough, if not impossible. The intransigence of the parties to the R-ACISS was explicitly demonstrated during pretransition period, when eleven Months (11) were intentionally wasted, sadly, the habit stubbornly persisted and is carried over into the transition period. Despite the clarity of the road map and the specific timeframe of implementation matrix arrived upon by the parties with support of the implementation mechanisms (R-JMEC, JBD and others) an available budget for the implementation of various activities, the parties are yet to accomplish anything among the milestone activities of the R-ARCISS. Nothing, AND almost nothing is being done as the dragging of the feet continues. 

Chapter one (1) Article 1.14.2; of the R-ARCISS state that, the transitional National legislative assembly be expanded and reconstituted in accordance with the agreement, this also includes the Council of states. A functioning, democratic government should have a legally constituted parliament or its equivalent, to speaks the voices of the Citizens, unfortunately, as the agreement is concerned, three Months on, our country currently lives without a legal parliament.  On the same chapter, Article 1.16.2 states that; at the beginning of the transitional period, the States and local government (s) shall be reconstituted in accordance with the responsibility sharing ratio provided for in Article 1.16.1., however until today, there is no government at the states and County (s) level, this has created a deadly power vacuum in the states and Counties, hence the rise in crimes and disorder in the countryside

Chapter two (2) of the agreement, especially,  on the security arrangement , Article 2.2.1 demanded that the parties complete the training and redeployment of a necessary, unified forces within a period that shall not exceed eight (8) Months, it’s interesting to note, the same article reiterated that ‘’ this position shall prevails over any other contrary provision, disappointingly, this chapter had since been violated/compromised, the unification of the necessary forces, required to grantee the accord is pending, admittedly, until this key chapter of the agreement is implemented, IDPs and refugees will not return to their homes, insecurity, inter-communal conflicts and the worsening  cattle raiding across the Country will not end, but most importantly, the sustainability of this agreement is not granted

Article 2.2.10.4 demanded that parties to the agreement cease, offensive, provocations and retaliatory acts like dissemination of hostile propaganda , recruitment, mobilization and movement of troops, while Article 2.1.10.5: also forbids acts of hostilities, intimidation and violence attacks against civilians; sadly all this clear provisions of the ARCISS had been openly violated by the some of the parties to agreement; for instant we witnessed an all-out confrontation in Maiwut County between forces Mr. Ochan Puot, a former SPLA-IO General turned government militia and SPLA-IO forces, all the while the National TV station, the SSBC had continued to play hostile propaganda in contravention of the above article.  Meanwhile movements and deployment of troops as well as recruitment and rearmament go on unabated, proxy wars for instant the Jonglei situation, particularly between the Murle and Lou Nuer is but just a one of many examples, all these paint a worrying picture of what lie ahead. 

Not to mention; from chapter Three (3) all the way  to Chapter Seven (7), not even a single page is turned, we expected that; Chapter Five (5) which consist of the transitional justice mechanisms, like the Truth, reconciliation and healing commission (CTRH) and the independent hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS) would be prioritized, what a dream ! indeed Chapter eight (8) , which pronounced the supremacy of the accord over any other document in the land had been blatantly disobeyed. 

Frustratingly, as time quickly fly-by, and politicians continue to barricade themselves in their luxurious palaces, the agreement staled and lay half dead, while the ordinary Jinubi continue to flee, bleed and die, from bullets, ravaging hunger and diseases, including the Corona-virus pandemic. We must recall that, Chapter one (1) of the agreement, Article 1.2.2, mandated the RTGoNU to among other things, implement the agreement, restore permanent peace and stability in the Country, therefore the RTGoNU is not only obligated by law to implement the agreement in the later and spirit, but also to immediately end the ongoing carnage and disorder in the Country. 

In conclusion, it has been over two (2) years since this agreement was signed, a whole year of pre-transitional period has been squandered, with zero achievement, and over three (3) Months of transitional period had  elapsed, so far, so worst, out of the Seven (7) main Chapters making-up the accord, most remained untouched, yet, the few that had been attempted, non-had been completed, I could be wrong, but in my own, unqualified rating, the overall completion rates of the activities of the agreement as per the provided schedule so far, stand between 3-5%, or worst. That’s an alarming situation, the truth is, there is a tactical, intentional and systematic delays/sabotage, whose aims, I sensed, are intended to abrogate the process. Ironically, the parties are pretending and playing smooth, but with time, frustration will set-in, truth will break-out of the confinement and hell shall break loose. All the same, lets continue to pray for miracles, for political goodwill, patriotism, leadership and change of hearts, and hope that God intervene, otherwise, unless something is done and done now, to resuscitate and rejuvenate the stalled south Sudan peace agreement, its heading to an imminent collapse. In a nutshell, it could soon be added to Justice, Abel Alier’s list of the dishonored peace, narrated in his famous Book, too many agreements dishonored

The Author is a concerned South Sudanese, the views expressed here are solely his and not attributable to any other party, organization or an employer. He can be contacted on this email address: g.gongk15@gmail.com 


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