Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: The bumpy sticky corridor of South Sudan’s political destiny

By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak

Photo: President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Dr. Riek Machar speak to reporters after their meeting in Juba on December 17, 2019 | Credit: Eye Radio

January 18th 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – There is no doubt Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan is in Jeopardy, given the fact that warring parties are not willing to compromise and open political space. One would not miss to see the same 2016 dejavu is in awaiting in foreseeable future. The question that beg answer from many political analysts is, why do South Sudan peace negotiators lay back when the peace they mediated is thrown in a dustbin? Basically, the purpose of R-ARCSS was an attempt to correct the fall back of 2016. The agreement aimed to stop the political violence and ensure a return to peaceful coexistence while committed to unity government during the transitional period to implement package of post-conflict and democratic reconstruction programs in the new Republic of South Sudan.

Precisely, these tasks are laid out in order to achieve the vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan based on justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law as enshrined under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan as amended includes but not limited to: security arrangements, governance issues, institutional reforms, transitional justice,  reintegration and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons and finally conduct a free and fair general elections to elect the government at the end of 38 months after the formation of the government of national unity.

On the other hand, the agreement provides a resolution mechanism for each thematic issue of the agreement in the event of disagreement or dispute during the course of the implementation. Some of these resolution mechanisms are primary function of the Transitional Government of National Unity while others are delegated to other independent bodies whose decision shall be binding with the content of R-ARCSS documents.

On the outstanding issue of states and internal boundaries, article 1.15 spell out mechanisms about the revitalized peace agreement. All the issues that are now facing the parties and holding back the peace implementation had been identified.  In regard of States and boundaries,  Article 1.15.14 provide that “in the unlikely event of the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) failure to make its report before the end of its term, the IBC shall be automatically transformed on the 90th day of its term into Referendum Commission on Number and Boundaries of States of the Republic of South Sudan. This statement basically means that, the process of determining the number of States and their boundaries could be completed before the formation of the government of national unity.

Currently, the parties are talking about forming the government of national unity before number of States and their boundaries is determined, this is a clear violation of Revitalized peace agreement. In recent meeting in Juba, South African deputy president who is charged to oversee the implementation of R-ARCSS, opted, the issue of States and their boundaries will be determined and resolved by arbitration. In heaven sake, what is the call for arbitration to resolve the outstanding issues of states and internal boundaries contrary to the letter and spirit of the revitalized agreement? This departure from modality of dispute resolution and act outside the revitalized agreement is not only harmful to peace in South Sudan, but it is a Pandora box for renegotiation of the agreement and therefore a violations of the revitalised agreement. One would reason that, the arbitration proposal from regional envoys led by South African Deputy President David Mabuza, should not be accepted by the SPLM/A-IO, if the movement is keeping up with its promises. The movement can reject the proposal of forming the government of national unity by February 22, and transfer the issue of State numbers and their boundaries to African union and the United Nations.

The slow implementation of R-ARCSS is an indication South Sudan government is just luring in the SPLM/A-IO and refuse to implement any provision of the peace document. Regional and international community call regarding slow movement of the peace implementation can be directed to whoever unwilling to allow peace implementation. South African deputy president proposal will not save South Sudan from falling backward. Even if the arbitration tribunal he suggested has successfully help South Sudanese leaders to agree on the number of the States and their boundaries, where are the parties going to cultivate the political will to implement the arbitral award that is now lacking to reach an agreement on the outstanding issues. Profoundly, Revitalized peace agreement on the Republic of South Sudan is in its nursing bed. The attempt to create peaceful atmosphere among the country’s warring parties going to waste. The leaders are not ready to put their differences aside and think about the suffering of the people.  The hope for peace and stability in South Sudan is now diminishing, so sad.

The author is a concerned South Sudanese, he can be reached via: lulgatluak09@gmail.com

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