August 15th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– Leading to the long awaited D-Day, the August 5th 2018, many South Sudanese, observers, friends and members of the international community had mixed feelings on whether the parties would sign and commit to the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan(RARCSS). Before August 5th, despite many challenges, the parties had inclusively signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement[December 21st, 2017], the Khartoum Declaration of the Agreement[June 27th, 2018], Agreement on Outstanding Issues of the Security Arrangements[July 21st] and SOME stakeholders voluntarily initialed the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance as a commitment to sign the final document on Security and Governance arrangements as scheduled although some parties had abstained and pledged not to sign until their grievances are resolved.
Until July 21st, 2018, the major warring parties and majority of South Sudanese and observers were optimistic that the Khartoum mediation would bring a lasting peace to the world’s youngest nation; however, the Entebbe-Kampala power sharing proposal, the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance, numerous violations of the already signed peace deals and new grievances such as 32 states, huge government and five vice presidents watered down the euphoria for peace and replaced optimism with doubts. On August 5th and thereafter, more issues, some of which may amount to major violations of the Peace Agreement being revitalized, arise and all these collectively raise eyebrows on whether the new peace deal will be implemented in letter and spirit.
To try resolve the puzzle of whether the parties will implement the agreement, this analysis will revisit the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, Security arrangement, the Bridging Proposal, the mandates of the peace guarantors and the WILL of the parties and South Sudanese people. In addition, a brief comparative analysis of the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of the Security Arrangements framework (July 1st, 2018) and the Security arrangement framework of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA) will be drawn to pinpoint and emphasize major strengths and weaknesses that may enforce or paralyze the peace accord.
The Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, June 27th, 2018
The Khartoum Declaration of Agreement outlined five major points in the document that was signed by the South Sudan parties in Khartoum on June 27, 2018. The five points introduced declaration of permanent ceasefire, the security arrangement, the bridging proposal, resource mobilization and full operationalization of oil production in South Sudan. With exception of the last clause, which is controversial, the first four clauses are deemed to be in the best interest of a lasting peace and that of the South Sudanese people.
The fifth clause, which placed full operationalization of the Unity State oil production under Bashir’s leadership, has ignited controversial debates on social media since the signing of the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement on June 27th, 2018. On one hand, critics believe that Salva Kiir government has traded off the Unity State oil fields to Khartoum to gain military and political influence over the SPLM/A[IO] both during the Khartoum peace mediation and also during peace implementation. Control of Unity State oil fields has given Dr. Machar an upper hand in his bilateral trading with Khartoum for many years, however, this clause puts the overall influence of the SPLM/A(IO) in Khartoum’s politics in a jeopardy.
On the other hand, whether or not the peace implementation comes to a sudden halt, this clause will remain valid and shall be jointly implemented by Bashir and Salva Kiir governments. This leaves Machar with no room to breath over oil production and any attempt to regain control of the oil fields in an event of future conflict will be a suicide mission for the SPLM/A[IO]. In sum, the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, which was unanimously signed by all parties including the SPLM/A[IO], takes away control of oil fields from the rebels and places it in the hands of Khartoum and Juba. In this case, the SPLM/A[IO] has fathered a new relationship between Juba and Khartoum against her own will and the will of the people of Unity State and South Sudan!
For records, the five points were outlined as follow:
- A permanent ceasefire is hereby declared throughout the Republic of South Sudan and shall enter into force within seventy two (72) hours of signing of Declaration of Agreement. The permanent ceasefire shall be based on the Cessation of Hostilities of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed on December 21, 2017. Within seventy two hours of signing this Declaration of Agreement the parties shall agree on all the ceasefire arrangements including disengagement, separation of forces in close proximity, withdrawal of allied troops, opening of humanitarian corridors and release of prisoners of war and political detainees. All relevant provisions of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) shall apply unless it is agreed otherwise. The parties shall agree on self-monitoring mechanism. Furthermore, IGAD and African Union member states are kindly invited to deploy the necessary forces to supervise the agreed permanent ceasefire.
- The security arrangements that shall be adopted shall aim at building national army, police and other security organs of an all-inclusive character that shall be free from tribalism and ethnic affiliations. Policies shall also be agreed upon for the disagreement of civilians all over the country.
- An agreement on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” shall be concluded as soon as possible and before closing the current Khartoum Round of Talks. After concluding the agreement on the :Revised Bridging Proposal” a pre-transitional period of 120 days shall commence to be followed by a Transitional period of thirty six (36) months. Sharing of power during the transitional period shall be in accordance with the formula that shall be agreed in the “Revised Bridging Proposal. During the transitional period the country shall be prepared for national election that shall be conducted as agreed in the revitalization ARCSS. It is agreed that the election shall be open for all political partied and shall be free and fair.
- Efforts for improving the infrastructure and basic service in the Republic of south Sudan, particularly in the sectors most connected with the livelihood of citizens, shall be intensified. The parties appeal to the international community to help in this regard.
- The security of the oil field in the unity states (block1,2 and 4) and tharjiath( block 5A) is the responsibility of all South Sudan citizens. If need be, the government of South Sudan while undertaking its security duties shall work in the regard in collaboration and coordination with the government of Sudan . The government of South Sudan in collaboration with the government of Sudan shall immediately rehabilitate the oilfields identified above, and others as would be agreed upon for the resumption and the restoration of the previous levels of oil production. All the outstanding issues related to the oil sector ,particularly on the cost of the oil field rehabilitation, shall be technically assessed and economically valued by the relevant authorities of South Sudan and Sudan respectively. Each party is entitled to seek support of an impartial technical third party for independently verifying the assessment but without causing delay in the joint operations. Such data/information shall provide guidance for any political decision that may be undertaken by the leaders of the sisterly countries. The government of South Sudan is committed to use the petroleum proceeds to improve the livelihood of south Sudanese and to alleviate poverty and suffering.
The Agreement on Outstanding Issues of The Security Arrangements
The Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Security Arrangements framework, signed by the warring parties on July 6th, 2018 in Khartoum Sudan, segmented the security arrangement into four major clusters as follow:
- The Permanent Ceasefire,
- The Pre-Transitional Period,
- The Transitional Period and;
- The Mechanism of Security Arrangement.
Notwithstanding that the document did not address what pulled the trigger in July 2016 and other well-known security vulnerabilities, the framework outlined an excessively worded abstract generally for the purpose of ingratiating the peace agreement. Whereas some clauses were completely unnecessary others would be impossible and redundant to implement. Overall, although the armed opposition groups claim to have an upper hand in this document, the security framework is a flattery!
For the sake of clarity, a brief comparative analysis between the security arrangement frameworks of June 2018 together with the security arrangement of the ARCISS, August 2015, and the security arrangement of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, September 2003, are drawn below. Major points of interest in this comparative analysis are highlighted in red and more comments shall follow;
|AGREEMENT ON OUTSTANDING ISSUES OF SECURITY ARRANGEMENT,
KHARTOUM: Friday, July 6th, 2018 (6 paged document)
|AGREEMENT ON SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS DURING THE INTERIM PERIOD
NAIVASHA: Thursday, September 25th, 2003(4 Paged Document)
1. Status Of The Two Armed Forces:
a. Not addresed in 2018 but 2015: Within thirty (30) days of signing this Agreement, there shall be established a mechanism referred to as Temporary National Architecture for the Implementation of Permanent Ceasefire (TNAIPC) (as per Appendix 1: Ceasefire Institutions) in order to oversee and coordinate the actions of all security forces in assembly, cantonment and barracks; operationalize the Permanent Ceasefire Arrangements; and oversee the process of unification of the National Defence Forces of South Sudan (NDFSS) and other security forces.
b. However, the training and redeployment of the necessary unified forces shall be completed within a period that shall not exceed eight (8) months. This provision prevails on any other contrary text.
c. All forces shall be screened and classified according to known military criteria followed for the purposes of recruitment for the army, police, security and other services. Ineligible individuals shall be referred to as DDR.
d. Building of the national army, police, security and other forces shall be completed before the end of the Transitional Period.
1. Status Of The Two Armed Forces:
a. In the context of a united Sudan, and should the result of the referendum on self-determination confirm unity, the Parties (the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s liberation Movement and Army) agree to the formation of the future army of Sudan that shall be composed from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
b. As part of a peace agreement and in order to end the war, the Parties agree that the two forces, the SAF and the SPLA shall remain separate during the Interim Period, and further agree that both forces shall be considered and treated equally as Sudan’s National Armed Forces(SNAF) during the Interim Period …
c. The parties agree to the principles of proportional downsizing of the forces on both sides, at a suitable time, following the completion of the comprehensive ceasefire arrangements.
1.1 The Parties hereby agree that the Permanent Ceasefire signed in the Khartoum Declaration of 27 June 2018, which came into effect on 1st July 2018, shall be observed meticulously throughout the Republic of South Sudan.
1.3.All forces shall be cantoned under the supervision of the current monitoring bodies at their present barracks and sites. However, cantoned forces shall be assembled in accessible areas and in a size of not less than a battalion.
1.1 The parties agree to an internationally monitored ceasefire which shall come into effect from the date of signature of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Details of the Ceasefire Agreement shall be worked out by the two parties together with the IGAD mediators and international experts.
a. Disengagement, separation of forces and collection of long and medium range heavy weapons.
b. All forces shall be cantoned under the supervision of the current monitoring bodies at their present barracks and sites. However, cantoned forces shall be assembled in accessible areas and in a size of not less than a battalion.
C. On completion of training the unified forces shall be re-deployed at different level and sizes(units, ormations and commands)
a. The two forces shall be disengaged, separated, encamped and redeployed as will be detailed in the Comprehensive Ceasefire Agreement.
b. The Parties shall provide detailed data on their inventories and stocks including different weapons and munitions, fuel oil and lubricants, etc., and their exact locations to CJMC or the VMT in the ceasefire zone. Such inventories shall be verified immediately after the declaration of the ceasefire. The Parties shall agree on ways and means of monitoring such stocks and/or stores to make sure that they are no longer accessible to the Parties.[NOT ADDRESSED IN THE FRAMEWORK]
4. Joint/ Integrated Units:
a. Training of the unified force of the military, police and other security services shall start at the beginning of the Pre-Transitional Period according to the requirement of each force or service. Forces shall be trained together to ensure coherence and harmony.
4. Joint/ Integrated Units:
There shall be formed Joint/ Integrated Units consisting of equal numbers from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) during the Interim Period. The Joint/ Integrated Units shall constitute a nucleus of a post referendum army of Sudan, should the result of the referendum confirm unity….
5. Command and Control of The Two Forces:
1.0. The JDB shall be formed at the level of Chiefs of Staff to exercise command and control over all forces.
2.0.Half members of the JTSC shall be from the TGNU and the other half from the opposition groups collectively. Eight(8) of the party members of the Joint Transitional Security Committee(JTSC) shall be from the TGNU, five(5) members shall be from the SPLM/A-IO and three (3) members from SSOA. Decision of the JTSC shall be adopted by consensus.
5. Command and Control of The Two Forces
The Parties agree to establish a Joint Defence Board (JDB) under the Presidency, and shall be comprised of the chiefs of staff of the two forces, their deputies and any number of senior officers to be agreed to by the parties. It shall take its decisions by consensus and it shall be chaired alternately by the respective Chiefs of Staff.
6. Common Military Doctrine:
Not addressed in 2018 but 2015: The Board [multi-stakeholder Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR)] shall examine within one hundred and fifty (150) days of this Agreement, the military and non-military security challenges that affects the Republic of South Sudan (internally and externally), clarify the responsibilities of different bodies and agencies in responding to these security challenges including the management and oversight of the security sector; identify the mission, vision, specific role of the national army, and outline the programme and doctrine for its unification and modernization (Source: ARCSS 2015)
6. Common Military Doctrine:
The parties shall develop a common military doctrine as a basis for the Joint/Integrated Units, as well as a basis for a post Interim Period army of the Sudan, if the referendum vote is in favor of unity. The parties shall develop this common doctrine within one year from the beginning of the Interim Period. During the Interim Period, the training of the SPLA (in the South), the SAF (in the North) and the joint units (in both North and South) will be based on this common doctrine.
7. 0 Status of Other Armed Groups In The Country:
NOT ADDRESSED in 2018
7. Status of Other Armed Groups In The Country:
a. No armed group allied to either party shall be allowed to operate outside the two forces.
b. The Parties agree that those mentioned in 7(a) who have the desire and qualify shall be incorporated into the organized forces of either Party (Army, Police, Prisons and Wildlife forces), while the rest shall be reintegrated into the civil service and civil society institutions
c. The parties agree to address the status of other armed groups in the country with the view of achieving comprehensive peace and stability in the country and to realize full inclusiveness in the transition process.
8. National Security Organs and Police forces:
NOT ADDRESSED IN 2018:
8. National Security Organs and Police forces:
Structures and arrangements affecting all law enforcement organs, especially the Police, and National Security Organs shall be dealt with as part of the power sharing arrangements, and tied where is necessary to the appropriate level of the executive.
Comments on The Security Arrangement
In 2015 the parties agreed that a Temporary National Architecture for the Implementation of Permanent Ceasefire (TNAIPC) was to be formed to oversee and coordinate the actions of all security forces in assembly, cantonment and barracks; operationalize the Permanent Ceasefire Arrangements; and oversee the process of unification of the National Defence Forces of South Sudan (NDFSS) and other security forces. This article was violated by president Salva Kiir in May 2017 when he changed the name of the army from Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) to South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF) and restructured it into three separate forces: a ground force, an air force and navy units headed by their respective commanders through a presidential decree. In 2018 the parties shied away from revitalizing this article which is a major setback to the whole security arrangement.
In 2015 the parties also agreed that upon signing of this Agreement the Parties shall establish the shared Unified Command of the NDFSS immediately and its complete unification shall be completed within eighteen (18) months. The process of unification shall be overseen and monitored by the National Architecture described in Section 3 above. Contrary, in 2018 this section was altered as the training and redeployment of the necessary unified forces shall be completed within a period that shall not exceed eight (8) months and that the building of the national army, police, security and other forces shall be completed before the end of the Transitional Period. Although eight(8) months are not sufficient for full training and redeployment of the unified forces, this article has already been violated by president Kiir who recently promised his army at the Bilpham headquarters that he will INTEGRATE the SPLA[IO] and other opposition groups into his army, the SSDF, within the shortest time possible.
In comparison, during the security arrangement of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA) in September 2003, the parties clearly agreed that there shall be formed Joint/ Integrated Units consisting of equal numbers from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) during the Interim Period. As part of the peace agreement and in order to end the war, the parties further agreed that the two forces, the SAF and the SPLA shall remain separate during the Interim Period, and also agreed that both forces shall be considered and treated equally as Sudan’s National Armed Forces during the Interim Period. These clauses are paramount to ensure full and honest implementation of the peace agreement by the rival parties or otherwise the party with the greater number of forces, favorable treatment or any other military upper hand will always deviate and violate the peace agreement.
One of the reasons the Kiir’s government violated the August 2015 ARCSS was because the parties did not have equal number of forces in the capital Juba. According to that agreement, the SPLM/A[IO] was suppose to contribute 2900 forces to the unified units; however, Machar ended up in Juba with only 1,372 troops that were armed with light weapons and very minimal supply. Without a sophistical prisoner dilemma or any game theory model, it became a common sense that deviating from peace implementation was an optimal decision for President Kiir to extend his grip on power. Surprisingly, the parties this time agreed NOT on equal numbers of forces to ensure full implementation of the agreement but on shorter period of eight months to train and complete unification of forces. After this period, the current TGoNU, which will fully command the army, will have the power and the means to violate any element of the agreement. Again, the parties failed to revitalize this article leaving doubts if the SPLM/A[IO] will be allowed to enter Juba with even the 2900 forces that were agreed upon in 2015.
In summary, the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Security Arrangement framework shied away from addressing the root causes of J-1 dogfight, demilitarization of the capital cities, weaknesses in the Joint Military Commission, weaknesses in the Joint Transitional Security Committee, weaknesses in the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement, challenges facing the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, composition and status of the two armies, command of joint Security and Police Organs among other factors that are well known to the leadership of the main warring parties.
It’s obvious that some commentators may argue for the sake of giving the usual false hopes that majority of these factors will be addressed in the implementation matrix, however, that is very unlikely. Juba has clearly objects the proposal of two armies as a no-go zone and it is yet to be seen if this framework will achieve a better security arrangement!
Reservations and Violations Of The Peace Agreement
From the body language to speeches, the South Sudanese leaders, and particularly President Kiir, Dr. Machar and their peace entourages, could not agree on many things but on reservations. Right on the peace table, President Kiir violated the peace agreement when he refused to exchange greetings with Dr. Machar which was aimed to send a strong signal that the incumbent does not want to work with the opposition and/or with Dr. Riek Machar. This behavior alone reiterates the same reservations that Kiir and his group demonstrated and implemented in the recent past.
In 2015 Kiir refused to sign the Peace Agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia until he was talked into it a few days later. Although he eventually signed the peace document, Kiir attached a long list of reservations which he wanted addressed or otherwise he would violate the peace agreement which he publicly disapproved as “not a Bible or a Quran”. The peace agreement was constantly violated through a series of presidential decrees and military offensives, and was eventually crippled to collapse within two months upon Dr. Machar’s arrival in Juba, and that saw the leadership of the SPLM/A[IO] being chased for almost forty days into the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo[DRC] in a hot pursuit that killed a significant number of Dr. Machar’s fighters and military generals; however, instead of addressing the root causes of these violations and what triggered the J-1 dogfight, JMEC, IGAD and the TROIKA put Dr. Machar, the person who is suppose to be the victim in an ordinary world, under house arrest thousands of miles away in Pretoria, South Africa, and legitimized his controversial replacement by Taban Deng Gai who was imposed immediately by President Kiir as his new First Vice President and the leader of the SPLM/A[IO]. For almost two years, the JMEC, TROIKA, AU and the international community rewarded Kiir’s government for abrogating the peace agreement and blindly continued to support his leadership.
After the government uprooted the peace agreement leading to death of thousands of people and displacement of over two millions people, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), TROIKA and allies later made a U-turn to reconstitute a peace re-negotiation forum which they carefully acronymized as “High Level Revitalization Forum”[HLRF] to address Kiir’s reservations that should have been addressed in late 2015. This decision came far too late after the peace agreement had already collapsed and enough damage was inflicted on innocent South Sudanese people but as they say “better late than never”, the process would have been worth reconvening if and only if the HLRF was to resuscitate the ARCSS and ensures the full implementation of the agreement in letter and spirit. Unfortunately, the Revitalized ARCSS yet again failed to address how these fragrant violations would be mitigated differently as opposed to 2015-16 or otherwise what would be the maximum punishment for the masterminds should such a tragic history repeat itself!
Although Kiir’s 2015 reservations are now addressed, his government has hyped its military and political grounds in the country, and has generated far more grievances than in 2015 to an extend that has rendered the August 2015 peace document almost irrelevant. The regime has further exerted more influence in the region and intentionally, which gives Salva Kiir the confidence to refuse his rival’s handshake and powers to overwrite or violate the peace agreement at any moment. Without proper checks and balance on how to mitigate future violations of the peace agreement and strict enforcement guidelines, the sustainability of the peace agreement will depend on cooperation or “the attitude” of the opposition groups and the will of President Salva Kiir and his inner circle.
a). President Kiir’s Speech:
While addressing thousands of South Sudanese at the Juba International Airport upon his return from Khartoum, Sudan, president Salva Kiir violated Article Four of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, signed on December 21st 2017, titled “Other Prohibited Acts” that states:
1) The Parties shall not engage in any form of hostile propaganda or hate speech, or use any media, including social media to foment ethnic or sectarian hatred:
In his speech at the airport president Kiir made inappropriate tribal connotations that amount to inter-ethnic incitement accusing the Equatorian community of killing his fellow tribesmen and women, the Dinka ethnic group; and claiming that he couldn’t find any sufficient justifications for a Dinka leader to join a rebellion led by an Equatorian son, saying:
- “Someone called Julius Tabuley from Kajo-Keji came to me. He came with four others who are his commanders. Two commanders among them are from Dinka, both of them are from Bor, so I asked them two questions;I told Michael, who is a Dinka, that the slogan of Thomas Cirillo and his group, those of Tabuley, they say they are fighting against the Dinka ethnic group, how did you join them? He said they changed that slogan, I said: No, you cannot convince me…It was not good with him and the other colleague”
In the same speech, President Kiir broke false news against his main rival, Dr. Riek Machar, and the content of the Khartoum peace deal saying;
- “I am sure nobody will accept it[to change 32 states], so he[Riek Machar] was asked to drop his condition [and accept 32 states] so that he can be accepted to become a vice president, so that was my compromise. I have actually accepted him to be the first vice president;
- “So, we don’t have any problem here but it is because Riek Machar and his friends do not want a peace agreement because there are people who tell them behind there that this government will be overthrown so that you take over power. Even if we are expelled today and they are brought to power, for how long will they stay in power before you overthrow them?;
- “I have just heard from the security personnel, the First Vice President and the Vice President that those who are in the bush are still attacking people. They attacked people on the road to Torit, they attacked people in Yei and attacked people in Western Bahr el Ghazal, but what is the reason?;
- “Everyday we hear that there are people being attacked. But we have never launched any offensive. If I give orders to the military generals you are seeing to move tomorrow morning, do think they will find a base in the bush?;
- “During this period, all forces of those people will be cantoned and trained before being integrated into our army. I told those of Riek that you organize your forces with all their ranks… I will not accept a general without forces.”
b). Kiir’s Amnesty to Machar
Notwithstanding that the amnesty is a clear violation of many articles of the peace agreement, issuing an amnesty could be an indication that the president does not understand his new Powers, Functions and Responsibilities under the terms of this agreement which overwrite his previous powers, functions and responsibilities granted by the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan.
With exception of presiding over the swearing into Office of the First Vice President, conferred by section five(5) of the ARCSS, the President of the Transitional Government of National Unity does not have any powers to remote powers from his First Vice President or to demote him and hold him accountable for any crime committed between December 15, 2013 to today:
5.2.4. Appoint and preside over the swearing into Office of the First Vice President, Vice President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, in accordance with the terms of this Agreement;
President Kiir was jumping the gun without knowing that not only his First Vice President but also himself and any other official shall be fairly prosecuted by an independent hybrid judicial court, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS), for violation of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese law, committed from 15 December 2013 through the end of the Transitional Period. The amnesty and behavior of president Kiir violates the following article of chapter V of the revitalized Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan:
- 3.1.1. There shall be established an independent hybrid judicial court, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS). The Court shall be established by the African Union Commission to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing the responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese law, committed from 15 December 2013 through the end of the Transitional Period.
- 3.2.2. The HCSS shall be independent and distinct from the national judiciary in its operations, and shall carry out its own investigations: The HCSS shall have primacy over any national courts of RSS.
- 3.5.1. A person who planned, instigated, ordered, committed, aided and abetted, conspired or participated in a joint criminal enterprise in the planning, preparation or execution of a crime referred to in Chapter V, Article 3.2.1. of this Agreement shall be individually responsible for the crime.
- 3.5.4. The HCSS shall not be impeded or constrained by any statutes of limitations or the granting of pardons, immunities or amnesties.
- 3.5.5. No one shall be exempted from criminal responsibility on account of their official capacity as a government official, an elected official or claiming the defence of superior orders.
So far the enforcement bodies, mediators, TROIKA and the International Community have not issued a strong condemnation or drawn possible punishments for the recent violations of the revitalized peace agreement, which sends clear signals that the responsible parties for these violations may continue to commit more violations or suffocate the peace agreement all together like it happened in 2016 and get away unpunished. It would amount to delusion if any opposition party is confident that the peace agreement is progressing or it will be implemented in letter and spirit as things currently stand.
Peace Monitoring, Evaluation and Enforcement
a). The Republic of Sudan and The Republic of Uganda,
After the Republic of Sudan managed to revitalize the Outstanding Issues on Security and Governance Arrangements with significant contribution from the president of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri K. Museveni, the parties agreed that the current monitoring and verification mechanism known as CTSAMM, which shall be restructured and reconstituted into the Ceasefire Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring and Verification Mechanism-CTSAM-VM, shall be led by Uganda and Sudan. The CTSAM-VM shall be responsible for monitoring and verification of compliance, and reporting directly to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) on the progress of the implementation of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (PCTSA) and shall last for the duration of the Transitional Period.
For many years the two countries, Sudan and Uganda, have been engaged in a bitter cold war over control of South Sudan resources and politics. While Uganda used to harbor political dissidents, escaping the wrath of Bashir’s leadership, and supply the SPLM/A with ammunition, weapons and logistic while fighting the Bashir’s government, Sudan on the other hand used to support the Lord Resistance Army(LRA) of Joseph Konyi against the Museveni’s government. Today, despite that the LRA has been defeated and South Sudan is now a sovereign state, giving Museveni an upper hand in South Sudan’s politics, the old rivals are still logged in a game of competing interests over South Sudan. Their competing interests, which sometimes overwrite the interest of the people of the Republic South Sudan, kept resurfacing during the talks in Khartoum and Entebbe-Kampala.
In addition to disrespectful mixed military boots, combat pants and a white shirt dressing during the final signing of the peace agreement in Khartoum and reluctant to sign the final peace document itself, the Entebbe-Kampala governance arrangement proposal gave a lots of powers to president Kiir’s side as opposed to earlier governance arrangement proposal that was presented to the parties and almost agreed in Khartoum before the parties traveled to Kampala. The last two months of talks in Khartoum alone have clearly demonstrated that the political will between Uganda and Sudan to work together could be as wide as the gap between Salva Kiir and his rival, Riek Machar.
The political rivalry between Sudan and Uganda may worry many South Sudanese; however, politically speaking, it should worry the SPLM/A[IO], other opposition groups and civil population more than anything else. On one hand, it is not a secret that President Museveni controls South Sudan politics through President Salva Kiir and his weak administration. Therefore, President Museveni is determined to protect and secure the position of president Kiir to ensure his long grip on South Sudan politics. On the other hand, President Bashir has secured his economic interest by controlling the production of oil which is the major lifeline of South Sudan; however, Bashir has maintained impartial bilateral relationship with both Machar and Kiir until this agreement came along. The recent declaration of peace agreement in Khartoum puts control of Unity State oil fields in the same docket as that of Abyei and Heglig, and this means that Bashir could shift his full allegiance to guaranteeing Salva Kiir’s interests. In the worst case scenario the two countries may end up competing in attempt to please Kiir for the next 36 months and this could jeopardize the peace agreement.
b). The JOINT MONITORING AND EVALUATION COMMISSION (JMEC)
Although Sudan and Uganda shall lead the CTSAM-VM -the body that shall be responsible for monitoring and verification of compliance – the reports of CTSAM-VM shall be presented directly to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) for further consideration and recommendation. Therefore, any visible bias in reporting that could be influenced by political rivalry between the two countries could be rectify through JMEC, however, will JMEC be more proactive this time than it has been in the past?
According to the August 2015 peace agreement, JMEC was tasked to carry out these mandates among others:
- 1. The JMEC shall be responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the Agreement and the mandate and tasks of the TGoNU, including the adherence of the Parties to the agreed timelines and implementation schedule. In case of non-implementation of the mandate and tasks of the TGoNU, or other serious deficiencies, the JMEC shall recommend appropriate corrective action to the TGoNU.
- 2. The JMEC shall oversee the work of CTSAMM, the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (and its successor mechanism, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Monitoring Mechanism), the Economic and Financial Management Authority (EFMA), the Strategic Defence and Security Review Board (SDSRB), the National Elections Commission (NEC), and all other transitional institutions and mechanisms created by this Agreement and established as part of the TGoNU. The CTSAMM, EFMA, the SDSRB, the NEC, CTRH and other institutions and mechanisms created by this agreement shall present regular reports to JMEC for this purpose. Notwithstanding the foregoing, JMEC may request further reports from any transitional institutions and mechanisms, as it deems necessary.
- 3. The JMEC shall report regularly in writing to the TGoNU Council of Ministers, the Transitional National Assembly, the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union and to the Secretary-General and Security Council of the United Nations on the status of implementation of this Agreement every three (3) months. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Chairperson of JMEC may report and recommend for remedial actions on critical issues that may arise during the implementation of the Agreement to those bodies at anytime.
- 4. Following the establishment of the TGoNU, within one month JEMC and TGoNU shall negotiate and define functions that the TGoNU may cede to JMEC to break deadlocks and ensure implementation.
The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) was the big failure of the IGAD-plus peace mediation for the people of South Sudan. It was quite a contradiction that the IGAD-Plus designed a bloated peace agreement that does not please the warring parties but in the process of instituting a stronger and independent body that would have the capacity to resolve disputes among the warring parties and enforce compliance, the mediators instead designed an institution that was much weaker than the warring parties themselves. JMEC was expected to be ceded powers by the same warring parties to break their deadlocks and ensure peace implementation that the parties are not happy with. After reporting to the TGoNU and IGAD, JMEC was expected to report to African Union Commission, the Peace and Security Council (PSC), UN Secretary General and the United Nations General Assembly. Some of these institutions meet after 3 months and complex institutions like the UNSC may take many months or years before passing one resolution. Such procedural mechanism can never end a civil war between Nilotic communities. JMEC is too weak and too deformed to be revitalized, and as such the people of South Sudan can only count on the political will of their leaders to compromise, forgive and implement the peace agreement in letter and spirit.
The author, Deng Elijah, can be reached through email at email@example.com or through firstname.lastname@example.org