Contributor's Opinion Oyet Nathaniel Pierino Politics South Sudan

Open Letter to Dr. Riek Machar Teny, Chairman and Commander In Chief (SPLM/SPLA (IO)

Subject: Proposal for the International Mediators to impose Ten (10) States or Consider a Neutral Independent Caretaker Administration (NICA).

By Nathaniel Pierino

SPLM-IO Governor of Imatong state and representative to NCAC Oyet Nathaniel Pierino (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)
SPLM-IO Governor of Imatong state and representative to NCAC Oyet Nathaniel Pierino (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

February 12, 2020 (SSNN)—Dear Chairman, Antonio Gramsci said, “The Crisis Consists Precisely in the Fact that the Old is dying and the New cannot be Born…” The question is, what do we do?

I am writing to the fact that now, we are bogged down in a perpetual dilemma of whether to fully implement the Peace Agreement or not; If RTGNU is formed without implementing critical provisions of R-ARCSS, the Agreement is dead; if we don’t form RTGNU, it is in the best interest of Incumbent TGNU to prolong its life in power to weaken and disorganize the opposition.
ITGoNU now is plotting to further violate the Agreement they signed. It is true that the Agreement has legitimized a regime that is complicit of violations and collapsed of the ARCSS in 2016. And in this the regime has absolved itself. As you are aware, the regime has been prolonging itself and ruling the nation through endless transitions- (2005-2010; 2010-2011; 2011-2015; 2015-2016; 2016-2018; September 2018-May 2019; May 2019-Nov 2019 and Nov 2019-Feb 2020. And more transitions are yet to come.

Apparently, The pleas of South Sudanese people, suffering in the countryside, IDP and refugees camps, and the efforts of the region and international community to bring peace to South Sudan is being disregarded by the ravenous oligarchs in Juba. This group have divided the nation, plundered its resources and took it hostage.

ITGoNU in clear contempts and disregards of the recommendations of the Special Envoys and mediation, IGAD Council of Ministers and IGAD Summit; to return the country back to ten (10) constitutional states of South Sudan is planning to stage demonstrations in the country and purporting consultations with itself (National and States Ministers, Members of Parliaments, etc) in the name of the people of South Sudan. It’s clear that ITGNU is virtually consulting it’s members and beneficiaries.

Do not expect any positive outcome!
It is now likely that again, the outstanding issues that occasioned two (2) successive extensions on 12 May, 2019 and 12 November, 2019, shall not be resolved by date, 22/02/2020. This yet underscores unfitness by the regime to lead any political transition in South Sudan. Any further extension is bound to fail.

There’s now need seriously to consider a new approach to arrest the unending extension of pre-transitional period which plays in the cards of the regime to prolong itself in power. The regime is a beneficiary of this dangerous pattern of “no peace, no war” since September 12, 2018. This should not be allowed.

Something must be done. Recently, Dr. Wani Igga was heard making fun of the opposition quest for extension saying: “we shall see! who will suffer, is he the one sitting in the office under the air condition or the one sitting on the sun…?” As if the Agreement was about official comfort and privileges.

In 2018, at the talks in Addiss Ababa, the parties agreed on one principle position, that the Incumbent TGNU should not be entrusted with implementing peace agreement and reforms of government. This is now obvious before our very eyes. ITGoNU has been faltering and stumbling over the peace agreement.

They have no political will to implement it.
Comrade Chairman, it’s against this backdrop that I am writing to propose a practical way forward. A paradigm shift in thinking and approach to implementing the agreement. This proposal is by no means exhaustive or preclude any other option. And should act as basis for next round of talks rather than discussing further blanket extension.

Proposal that the ten (10) constitutional states be imposed on the parties by IGAD-Plus or Incumbent TGNU should be immediately dissolved at all levels and replaced by a caretaker interim neutral administration.
If the regime fails to accept IGAD proposal of ten (10) constitutional states, The parties should seriously consider restructuring Chapter One of the Agreement; relating to the Governance of the transitional period and decide to dissolve and replace ITGNU and establish an independent neutral caretaker administration to run the transitional period for two (2) years until elections.

Article 1.1, which establishes RTGNU should be completely amended through to Articles 1.16. So that provisions related to the establishment, and structure of RTGNU especially the Executive and Legislature is suspended and replaced by another mechanism- a neutral interim/caretaker administration with robust international oversight, capable of completing the unification of the forces, carrying out requisite reforms in all sectors; facilitating establishment of federal system of government through permanent constitution making process and holding credible internationally monitored general elections after two (2) years.
All the political parties in South Sudan shall not be allowed to participate in this caretaker government.

The caretaker government shall be non partisan, neutral whose membership has no interest in participating in the general elections.
Comrade Chairman, for this purpose, by the end of the 100 days, and parties failing to resolve the critical issues of the number of states and their boundaries and Security arrangements, the parties should not accept any negotiations to further extend the pre-transitional period because it will not make any sense and difference.

The parties should rather discuss concrete way forward towards establishing a caretaker interim administration and not extensions.
This proposal should be sold to other parties and international partners.

So that in the next discussion between opposition and the ITGNU, a high level international mediation and IGAD-plus, acting in the AU spirit and promise of “Silencing the Guns” should summon all parties, civil society, all stakeholders currently inside and outside the country including holdout groups to a neutral venue under new mediation for a national conference to restructure the peace process to arrest the prevailing stalemate and stagnation in the peace implementation.

This is the best remedy to deal with intransigence and lack of political will being exhibited by the regime. The regime should now choose between illegitimacy and the Agreement, dissolution or implementation of the agreement. Without the agreement the government cannot be legitimate.
Please Chairman, accept the assurances of my highest regards.

The author is a senior official of the main opposition group,  representative of the SPLM-IO at the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC). He can be reached through his email at oyetnathaniel22@gmail.com

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