November 2nd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan’s opposition National Democratic Movement (NDM) led by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin has criticized recent order by President Salva Kiir Mayardit in which the head of state formed a committee to look into the issues of the number and boundaries of states.
Kiir on October 18th formed an 18-member committee to deliberate on the report of the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) on how many states should South Sudan have.
The decision was in line with a September consensus between Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar who were meeting at the time in Juba trying to break an impasse on the issue which has been one of the sticking points in the peace process.
In a statement issued on Friday, the NDM said the president has no authority to form a committee over the issue of states saying the government is like any other signatory and cannot form a committee unilaterally.
“Today, the NDM came across a Presidential Order Issued by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on “the formation of a Committee to look Into the Number of States and Boundaries. In the Republic of South Sudan, 2019 A.D.” The Order is dated 18 October 2019. Such an Order is ultra vires, has no basis In the Agreement and is faulty in both form and content,” the statement extended to Nyamilepedia partly read.
“It is faulty in form because the President of the Incumbent Government in South Sudan has no authority over the Signatories of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). In fact, the government itself is just one of the five political signatories (Parties) to R-ARCSS and cannot thus be a neutral arbiter on matters connected with implementation of the Peace Agreement,” the statement said.
The statement said the issue could be solved by the new government which is yet to be formed by the parties to the conflict.
“Only the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGONU) which includes all the Parties under a new Transitional Constitutional has the mandate to do so,” the statement said. “Therefore, the President of the Incumbent Government has usurped powers that were not his. The Articles quoted in the Order are totally irrelevant.”
“It is faulty in content because the issue of the number of States and their boundaries was dealt with under Article 1.15 of R-ARCSS. The Independent Boundaries Commission (1BC) tasked to deal with the matter under Article 1.15.7 rendered its final report to the IGAD Executive Secretary on the 20th of June 2019 in accordance with Article 1.15.10 which reads: “The recommendations of the 1BC shall be presented to the IGAD Executive Secretariat and shall be immediately communicated to the Parties”. Nowhere in this provision does the President of the incumbent government come in here.
“The IGAD Secretariat forwarded the final report of the IBC to the Parties and on the 18h of September 2019 the IGAD Special Envoy convened in Juba a meeting of the Parties to discuss and resolve the issue of the number and boundaries of the States. All Parties attended except the government which boycotted the meeting.
“Therefore, the government was bent on scuttling the work of IGAD on the issue under the mistaken assumption that it will take it over to impose its will. This Order is the clearest manifestation yet of that intention
“The IBC’s final report was unambiguous. The 1BC rejected the 32 States by an overwhelming majority of 10 to 4 (71 %). Therefore, this option is out of consideration.
“The IBC supported the option of ten (10) States not only by a colossal majority of 71 % but by a huge consensus of its members unprecedented during the peace negotiations. Four of the Parties, one person from the fifth Party and all the AU CS members voted for the ten (10) States. The CS members in the 1BC also wrote to IGAD Secretariat recommending the ten (10) States as the preferred option.
“The only hurdie that stood on the way of the l8c to conclusively come up with the ten (10) States as its chosen option was the provision of Article 1.15.9. that requires seven (7) South Sudanese to vote with the majority whereas those who actually did so were six (6). The import of the 18C recommendation to call the Parties to take a political decision was to overcome that hurdle but taking into consideration the consensus referred to above. There is no room for forming another committee
“The government has been busy all this time working hard to win some Parties to its side in an attempt to circumvent the 18C decision confident enough to unfurl its plan and hence the issuance of this Presidential Order which has no basis in R-ARCSS
“Curiously, the breakaway South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) is now superimposed over the official $SOA in the Presidential Order.
“We reject the Presidential Order in its entirety and consider it as null and void.”