QUOTE: “Committing mistakes is something human and sometimes inevitable. However, not learning from mistakes may suggest that something is fundamentally amiss because it subjects the individual, group, country or society to perpetually commit the same mistakes.” Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba
By: Bol Khan, South Sudanese, MAY/30/2018, SSN;
What is IGAD’s imperative priority in South Sudan’s tedious peace mediation? Is IGAD aiming to bring about a peace accord that saves the lives of suffering ordinary people of South Sudan or a shaky peace deal that serves only the politicians’ interests?
The HLRF’s Round Two of Phase III that recently ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, without a signed deal was supposed to be the last round of South Sudan’s four years old Peace process.
The public thought that even if the delegates fail to reach a comprehensive deal by themselves, then IGAD was going to come up with a neutral and moderate proposal to narrow the gaps or differences between the negotiating parties.
This was what’s in the mind of every South Sudanese citizens. However, unexpectedly, when the IGAD’s “Bridging Proposal” was out, everybody including the author was dumbfounded.
I was surprised and bewildered because the IGAD’s proposal would appear like aiming to serve only the politicians’ interests.
Let us take for example, in the structure of governance branches, the IGAD proposed an additional position of Third Vice President, forty-two (42) ministers, fifteen (15) Deputy Ministers, four hundred and forty (440) members of Parliaments.
A transitional poor government with five hundred and-one (501) cabinet and parliament members excluding the Advisors, Councils of States’ members, bureaucrats at the various ministries, heads of commissions and Directors… name them all.
Just assume that the parties have had accepted and signed IGAD’s Bridging Proposal,” how big would such a government be?
Again, the IGAD also proposed a six (6) member Transition Facilitation Council (TFC), monetary rewards for all those would-be displaced persons from positions both in National and in the States governments.
“Where, as a consequence of the allocation of positions under this agreement, a post-holder is displaced from a post, the Transitional Government shall make every effort to find an alternative position for that person, including in the reconstituted boards and commissions as appropriate.”
The proposal said “the affected person may include: (a) A member of the Executive, (b) A Governor or other office holder in a State; and a member of TNL” (Transition National Legislature).
“In the event that a person cannot be accommodated in a suitable alternative position, the Transitional Government shall endeavor to make an appropriate ex-gratia payment or form of compensation to that person.”
Generally, looking at the nature of proposed governance and security sectors, IGAD did not only expose itself as a coalition that aims to create jobs or interests for politicians but also a regional alliance that is indirectly putting the lives of suffering South Sudanese ordinary citizens into greater and further danger.
“Benefits and Standing of Former leaders”
Furthermore, the IGAD also proposed that a revitalized Transitional Government would work to give the benefits, incentives and standing of former leaders.
“Within 30 days of the signing of this Agreement, Legislation shall be introduced in the TNLA to make adequate provision for the benefits, emoluments and standing of former leaders. Legislation shall provide for benefits of a former leader, including an office staff, protection and allocation of sufficient resource commensurate to their standing as leaders.”
This increasingly casts much doubt in IGAD’s precedence in South Sudan’s peace revitalization process. Yes, it is not dreadful idea to pay leaders benefits especially in stable countries where leaders correctly serve the nation’s interests.
However, in reality, what good thing have those leaders done so far and/or in the people of South Sudan’s interest, rather than these immense damages they have been causing in South Sudan since 2013?
They are not leaders of national stature. Therefore, the benefits that the IGAD “Bridging Proposal” proposed are all unnecessary.
Instead, the proposed resources should only be use to rebuild the nation and lives of the ordinary citizens who are suffering or to provide them better security, development and peace dividends in the country, South Sudan.
Are there elected and legitimate leaders in the Republic of South Sudan?
Who are the democratically elected Leaders in the Republic of South Sudan? In other words, who is a democratically elected President, Parliamentarian or Governor in the Republic of South Sudan today?
I think there is none, because there was neither Executive nor parliamentarian elections ever conducted in the Republic of South Sudan since 2011!
Hence, there is no legitimate leader today in the Republic of South Sudan who could claim that he/she is a democratically elected leader.
Since 9 July 2011 to 21 May 2018, South Sudan has been operating under two consecutive transitional rules of unelected governments.
The first transition, interim and constitutional (leaders) term in offices government (after independence) ended on 21 May 2015. Moreover, the second transition government that was provided by August 2015 Compromise Peace Agreement also ended on 17 May 2018.
This is the reason why the ordinary people of South Sudan have been calling on IGAD to impose a peace solution that is in the interest of South Sudanese ordinary citizens.
What is the interest of South Sudanese’s ordinary citizens?
The central interest of South Sudanese citizens is to have a better peace deal in South Sudan that addresses the root causes of the conflict.
A deal, that holds all perpetrators accountable for atrocities they have committed as stipulated in a revitalizing ARCISS.
The interest of the people is a peace agreement that does not reward politicians for atrocities they have had committed instead.
A deal, that installs a responsible, balanced and lean government to implement peace and security, restore deteriorated economic situation, a sincere honest government that will unconditionally organize free and fair general elections at the end of transitional period.
The people of South Sudan are interested not in a shaky peace deal that who’s aim is just to renew the lifespan of politicians in offices at the expense of innocent citizens’ lives.
What the people of South Sudan do not want is a precarious peace deal that shall be susceptible to people lives just like August 2015 Agreement.
In this regard, IGAD must first acknowledge publicly its practical and proven failure in solving South Sudan’s crisis or its complicity in all these enormous suffering the ordinary citizens of South Sudan are today facing in and around the country.
Therefore, IGAD must choose to implement one of the following two popular demands, forthwith:
— (a) Either assure and prioritize the ordinary citizens’ interest (not again politicians’ interest) by bringing peace back to South Sudan within one or two weeks, maximum;
— (b) Or hand over the South Sudan’s peace process to AU or UN, a global body.
This is what the people of South Sudan are greatly yearning for. “Committing mistakes is something human and sometimes inevitable. However, not learning from mistakes may suggest that something is fundamentally amiss because it subjects the individual, group, country or society to perpetually commit the same mistakes”.
IGAD or others should learn from lack of proper security arrangements, impunity and imbalanced power that impeded smooth and successful implementation of August 2015 Peace Agreement.
Where we have had transitional period which was agreed upon in 2015, become wasted three (3) years without any tangible change towards the lives of innocent South Sudanese people who are now suffering in South Sudan and in the neighboring countries.
The author, Bol Khan, is a South Sudanese Activist and Freelance Writer. He is reachable on firstname.lastname@example.org