Jan, 30, 2015 (Nyamilepedia) – An extraordinary summit by the heads of state and government of the African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which convened on Thursday, has been adjourned till Saturday in order to give the two warring parties two days to agree on a document imposed by the regional leaders.
This comes after the two principals, South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and leader of the opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), Riek Machar, could not agree on leadership structure and power-sharing arrangements in their face-to-face talks on Thursday.
IGAD leaders on Thursday afternoon decided to dictate a principle agreement on the two parties and warned for unspecified action against the rival leaders should they not accept the proposed agreement by Saturday.
“Failure to reach an agreement by Saturday afternoon along the dictated IGAD principles shall take firm action before any other body,” IGAD leaders warned in a joint statement.
The IGAD bloc also shut the door on the rival parties, saying it gave no room for any comments in response to the dictated text which the regional leaders expected to be endorsed in totality by the parties as a take it or leave it situation.
“In declaring this imposed agreement the Chairman of IGAD cautioned that they had a consensus and would not receive any comment,” it further directed.
The IGAD imposed principle agreement has endorsed President Salva Kiir as the president of the would-be Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) and that “this is a non-violating principle.”
The regional leaders in the past said an elected president would not be tempered with.
The document further said the leadership structure should be the president (incumbent Kiir), first vice president (from SPLM-IO) and vice president, in which they also directed must come from the Equatoria region – and in the person of the incumbent, James Wani Igga.
The imposed agreement however fell short of outlining their duties, saying the duties of the three principals in the executive leadership was again left to be yet worked by the two parties.
IGAD leaders went further by dictating that the president and first vice-president can only be succeeded by one from their respective parties.
In the power-sharing arrangements, the proposed agreement gives 60% to the government and 30% to the rebels of SPLM-IO while 10% to be shared among all other South Sudanese political parties and former detainees of Pagan Amum.
In the legislature the agreement says the current 332 members of the national parliament will remain untouched, but an additional 68 members shall be appointed by the three parties: government, rebels and political parties/former detainees, in accordance with the power-sharing ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%, respectively.
This will increase the total number of parliamentarians to 400.
The IGAD agreement also imposed that the speaker of South Sudan’s national parliament must also come from the Greater Equatoria region.
SPLM-IO disapprove IGAD’S proposal.
The rebel faction of the SPLM-IO has criticised the dictated solution by IGAD, saying this will not bring peace to the country.
“This take it or leave it approach undermines the essence of a peacefully negotiated settlement,” reads a statement issued on Thursday by the rebels chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai.
The statement said the imposed agreement was an attempt to dismantle the recent intra-SPLM agreement on reunification which the three factions signed in Arusha.
“IGAD has killed Arusha agreement by creating parallel lines of succession,” it says, also referring to the IGAD content which implied that president Kiir can only be succeeded by vice president Wani Igga, not first vice president, Machar, in the proposed terms of the transitional government in case the president’s post falls vacant.
The two warring parties previously agreed to form a national unity government headed by president Salva Kiir and a prime minister from the rebel side. However they failed to agree on the powers of the new minister.
The SPLM-IO group also reiterated their call on the African Union (AU) to make public the report of the Commission of Inquiry on crimes committed during the war.
The SPLM-IO group, although decrying the imposed principle agreement, however expressed its commitment to a genuine peace process.
Tens of thousands have died, 2 million uprooted from their homes and 4 million more threatened by hunger and diseases when a healthy internal debate on reforms within the ruling SPLM party turned violent on 15 December 2013.