The JMEC’s Role in South Sudan Pre-Transitional Period and in TGoNU

By Mabor Maker Dhelbeny, JUBA, APR/18/2016, SSN;

According to the legal framework, signed on February 1 2015 by the parties in the presence of their Guarantors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the “GRSS” and the “SPLM/A-IO” had agreed to form a body known as Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC). This body, however, is tasked with not only crucial but also critical role during and after the pre-transitional period.

The “JMEC” will be responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the compromised peace agreement; direct the parties to recommit themselves and adhere to the agreed timelines and implementation schedule including the task and mandate of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

But the question that begs itself is that: “Do the parties stick to the agreed timelines and implementation schedule of the Agreement?” Definitely, the answer is a big “NO”, why because one of the modalities used by the mediators as conflict resolution in South Sudan is the word – “Compromise” in which the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) were compelled by the international community and regional bloc to sign it out of their will but for the sake of peace.

In “Compromise”, as the method of conflict resolution, the “GRSS” takes sixteen (16) ministries, gives ten (10), two (2) and two (2) ministries to the SPLM/A-IO, SPLM-FDs and other political parties respectively.

Furthermore, the GRSS takes some of its forces outside Juba at a distance of 25km and gives space for deployment of 1, 370 SPLA-IO forces in the capital. As a major step towards implementation of the agreement, the GRSS also provides accommodation to the SPLM/A-IO Advanced team and the SPLM-FDs in Juba. This demonstrates that the word “Compromise” – means give and take as the method of resolving South Sudan crises.

The establishment of “TGoNU” according to the above framework would have been in July 9 since last year and not in April 2016. The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) signed on January 23, 2014 has suffered many violations from both side. The “CoHA” provided that all warring parties shall cease from hostilities until the declaration of permanent ceasefire.

However, “CoHA” seems to have been an anchor of the transitional security arrangements in the “ARCISS”. Under chapter II of Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (PCTSA), Article 5 provides that all military forces – with exception of the republican guards, forces to protect military barracks, bases, warehouses and Joint Integrated Police (JIP) within Juba shall be redeployed outside a radius of 25km from the centre of capital to the agreed demarcated areas during the pre-Transitional period.

This phase has successfully been implemented by the “GRSS” and therefore, it’s up to the “CTSAMM” (Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism) to verify, confirm the compliance and report to the “JMEC” so that its Chairperson should inform the “IGAD” (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), “AUPSC” (African Union, Peace and Security Council) and “UNSC” (United Nations Security Council) on the progress of peace implementation and how government is committed.

The “JMEC” should also inform the “SPLM/A-IO”, especially its leader about the ongoing implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) on the side of the Government. This is because lack of trust still exists between the two warring parties – the “SPLM/A-IO” and the “GRSS”.

Within three (3) months of the Pre-Transitional Period as stipulated under Article 13 of the “ARCISS”, the “NCAC” – (i.e. National Constitutional Amendment Committee) would have incorporated the “ARCISS” into the Transitional Constitution 2011 and thereof the “GRSS” Justice Minister supposed to have received the draft amendments to the TRCSS prepared by the NCAC and presented to the Council of Ministers within 7 days while the Transitional National Assembly shall have ratified amendments to “TRCSS” within 30 days.

And finally the President shall have assented to the amendments within 90 days of Pre-Transitional Period has indeed missed the timeline. These scheduled timelines stipulated by the “ARCISS” are not met as planned.

Unfortunately, the contentious issues which include the Presidential Order # 36/Oct/2015 that created 28 states and number of presidential advisors were supposed to have been resolved through consensus by the parties. But due to lack of consensus, the parties could not make it by themselves and thus remained as the stumbling block to the “NCAC”.

While the “JMEC” has reportedly been calling the Order which created 28 states – a “complicating factor” therefore, the “IGAD” in its 55th Extraordinary Meeting released a communiqué on January 31st which resolved that the Boundary Committee shall be formed to handle the matter if the two parties have failed to resolve it amicably.

Such issue of newly created states may not only be resolved by the Boundary Commission but it may also require referendum from the civil population across the country. Perhaps, these may be contributed factors to “JMEC” frustrations and disappointments during implementation of the compromised peace agreement.

In 1990s, Liberia happens to have fallen under the sporadic rebellion by many warlords including Charles Taylor, until “ECOMOG” – (i.e. Economic Community of Military Monitoring Group) invited Professor Amos Sawyer to be the President under the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) in order to re-kindle the dialogue on a new Constitutional reconstruction.

But, Sawyer gave up his efforts and felt reluctant due to the parties’ lack of political will to forge strong coalition and too much of disappointment.

So my humble pleading to all leaders of this great nation is to implement peace by working hand in hand with the JMEC’s Chairperson. If the government takes no heed to his advice, Mr Festus Mogae, the Chairperson of “JMEC’ will leave no legacy behind that will set our country free from transitional regimes to democratic practices.

Conclusively, the “JMEC” role provides under chapter VII of the “ARCISS” indicated that this body will be the one ruling the country not H.E. the President Kiir Salva Mayardit or the FVP Dr Riek Machar Teny in the presidency.

In an analytical way of thinking however, the formation of the “TGoNU” within this month of April may oblige the “TGoNU” to cede some defined powers or functions to “JMEC” in order to break deadlocks and to ensure the implementation of peace.

The fact that “JMEC” may seek and request reports from any transitional institutions, articulated its supremacy over the “TGoNU”.

This mechanism has been designed by the IGAD-PLUS and its partners as an indirect form of governance under trusteeship – i.e. AU Trusteeship, hence that’s why a prominent African personality in person of H.E. Festus G. Mogae, the former President of Botswana, has been appointed by the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government in consultation with IGAD-PLUS Partners to lead the affected conflict South Sudan through monitoring, overseeing, evaluating and reporting the progress of “ARCISS” implementation to the concerned world authorities.

The Writer is an Advocate & Legal Consultant in Juba, the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached via his email address: mabor.lawyer@gmail.com

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