By James Okuk, PhD, Lecturer, OCT/14/2015, SSN;
In its extraordinary meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on Tuesday 13th October 2015 in Juba, the National Council of Ministers approved the expansion of states from 10 to 28 as it came in the Republican Establishment Order No 36/2015. The Council applauded the decision of the president and directed the Minister of Justice to table it soon as an amendment bill before the National Legislature (NL).
But this is still unfitting legally until the President nullifies the Order first or else the Council’s directive is considered to be a new initiative altogether. A confusion, isn’t it?
Given the fresh facts that the IGAD-Plus Secretariat has decided to relocate to Juba, and also given the World’s support and pressure [see UNSC Resolution 2241 (2015) and IGAD Envoys Memo] for the implementation of the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) as it is without any unilateral alternation, and further more the fact that the UNMISS mandate has been renewed and expanded with authorization of use of UAVs drones and other sophisticated armaments, I don’t think Juba or Pagak should have guts to go against the ARCISS.
What the Council of Ministers and NL are trying to do is a futile short-lived mere psychological fulfillment. Unless the government and SPLM-J first declare publicly that it has granted the UNMISS and IGAD-Plus ‘entity non grata’ in South Sudan, any amendment that goes against the ratified provisions of the ARCISS will be declared null and void, hence, waste of time and resources.
The IGAD Extraordinary Summit of Head of States and Governments will approve soon nominated JMEC’s Chairperson who shall come to Juba to supervise and direct the ARCISS implementation, starting from November 2015. Hence, Juba will be forced to put the Republican EO No36/2015 on Coma until the TGoNU is formed, including the reconstituted Permanent Constitutional Making Mechanism, which shall then handle it within a different governance context and methodology.
I’m saying this because the current alarming situation in the country indicates that Juba and Pagak have no capacity now to go against the demands and sanctions of the regional front-line countries; international community at large; and the mounting internal pressure and suffering from the hardened economy, spread insecurity and loosened social fabrics all over South Sudan.
Some keen young South Sudanese intellectuals are thinking that our national parliamentarians need to acknowledge that the EO No 36/2015 has spurred some dangerous undertakings (e.g., the Luach Jang of Tonj demanding its own state after the recent violent confrontation with the Rek of Riang Nhom and justifying that they are more in numbers than both Gok and Twic West combined; the Twic Mayardit threatening each other with violence over the relocation of the capital to Mayen Abun; the Fratit of Raja demanding detach from Dinka of Malwal; the Bul Nuer expressing dissatisfaction of their new annexation; the Shilluk rejecting division of their Kingdom between West and East Nile States; the Acholi and Madi demanding a separate state, the Azande of Tumbura rejecting being part of Gbudwe State, and the vicious circle of the opened Pandora Box continues, etc).
All these evidenced examples raise a fundamental issue of lack of reliable instruments for instituting the 28 states.
Thus, until a sensible framework is developed, the EO No 36/2015 should be put on a moratorium.
But while lawyers are important in state designs, there is also need to engage demographers, anthropologists, sociologist, geographers, historians, economists and political analysts in determining scientifically the new federal governance reality for South Sudan.
A popularity demand alone is not sustainable; consensus building is the sure way of success.
The provisions enshrined in the ARCISS and TCSS are paramount, and should form the ground-level from which some of these convictions/beliefs are justified for higher interest of the country rather than for those few elites who engineered the 28 States for the cover up of parochial interests of their ethnicities.
Now the safe exit lies in faithful implementation of ARCISS as a supreme document even if it is not a Bible or a Quran, so as to bring back the sanity of peace to the saddened and embattled Republic of South Sudan.
Opting for continuation of war will be more risky, especially with the NATO’s drones and Chinese gunship hovering on our sky in the coming months under the mandate of Protection of Civilians within Chapter VII of UN Charter.
If some people are afraid of the heat of AU Hybrid Courts for South Sudanese war criminals of humanity and serious abusers of human rights fundamentals, the remaining choice will be dark graves or even a graveless worst destiny like what had occurred to the warlords who went against the international community in the recent past.
Therefore, be ware my people; the international politics could be brutal than usual! Let’s start to open our ears and eyes wide by listening to the peace advises of the World’s leadership.
Long live South Sudan!