From January 2014, friends of South Sudan and South Sudanese uncomfortably dismissed violence for peaceful resolution of a conflict generated by individual politicians in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and few politicized generals in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). The rejection of violence and campaign for peace gathered a tremendous momentous impact on the then warring parties: the SPLM, SPLM In Opposition and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) to accept dialogue, negotiation, and reconciliation. In the process, from 2014 to 2018, the committed Regional Bloc of the Horn of Africa, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in alliance with African Union (AU), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Troika (the US, UK, and Norway), exerted their diplomatic experience and successfully mediated an agreement which seems capable to end “the senseless war” of 15 December 2013. The Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), signed on 12 September 2018, is now holding and correctly being implemented by the political parties with support by the IGAD countries and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Now that peace is here, what is the role of the South Sudanese civilians, in terms of critical support of peace, security and upcoming government of national unity?
Yes, we have national roles and obligations as citizens of the Republic of South Sudan. These roles and obligations are of two facets: (a) the protection and services provisions by your country to you as a citizen. (b) And “what you can do for your country.”
What we can do for our country now, for R-ARCSS to succeed, should be focused on the following: (a) commitment to the unity of purpose and necessity; (b) sustain and maintain our obligatory commitment to peace and security; (c) support the political parties in their efforts and endeavors to correctly implement the R-ARCSS in the pledged spirit and letter; (d) remind the upcoming Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) to critically abandon dictatorship, tightened legislation to prevent and fight corruption, theft, and mismanagement; and (e) finally, save-guide the future of system of government (federation) and good governance, liberalism, democracy and the rule of law. Above all, the National Legislature (parliament) and the Judiciary must prevail effectively in the transitional legislation and application of interim justice respectively.
In my opinion, it is time to regret the past (2005-2018) and acknowledge the failure of the state in all fields of customary livelihoods. Worst of all, the culmination of the country’s political, economic and social failure into anarchical violence, chaos, and war, has recorded a historical shame on our country. The humanitarian death and plight shall remain among the top worst in world records. To repair the image of our country, we must accept our mistakes, learn from them and correct them amicably. Such actions can win us a reconsidered recognition worldwide and restoration of our national pride. Let’s bury our differences if any, and reverse back to the long liberation (1955-2005) solidarity which gave us the independence we deserved. Let’s go for the change because the past had messed up, decayed and impossible to retain and maintain.
– Aldo Ajou Deng
Fresh civil war erupted in Juba on 15 December 2013, causing heavy civilian casualties. The war spread to other parts of the country as the power struggle within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and took a nose dive into the military and the general public. As the war progressed, it took ethnic dimensions pitting the Dinka and Nuer residing largely in Juba. The war was predictable but the magnitude of the violence was unforeseen as it quickly spread from Juba, Bor, Malakal, Akobo, and Bentiu. There were revenge and counter-revenge from both sides of the conflict. Immediately, in January 2014, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) intervened to stop the violence and broker a negotiated peaceful settlement within the context of the conflict. Eventually, and on 12 September 2018, the South Sudanese political parties: the SPLM, SPLM IO and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), signed the Revitalized Agreement on Resolutions of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). These parties to the R-ARCSS have so far shown their commitment to it as compared to the previous peace agreements (ARCSS 2015 in point) which ended up in a brutal violence and total failure.
The focus has now shifted to the implementation of the R-ARCSS. The R-ARCSS has provisions for eight months pre-transition leading to the formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). The TGoNU shall run for a period of three years under which a new constitution will be made and government structures put in place. There shall be institutional and security sector reforms that will make government small, effective and efficient. Reforms will be directed at the public sector but most importantly putting governance institutions in place. The implementation phase requires all parties to collectively pull in the same direction and ensure the process is carried out to a successful conclusion.
The immediate challenge is hence security. The security challenge is complex to deal with in a period of three years given the history of the liberation struggle within SPLM/A and lack of documentation on liberation cadres within the formal and informal military ranks. The process of creating a new South Sudan Defense Forces and the criteria of inclusion and exclusion is a negotiated agenda. It also carries with it political risks of more violence from those who might not be accommodated within the new People’s Defense Forces (PDF). Thus, security sector reforms must encompass vocational training and recruitment of cadres in other security agencies such as police, wildlife, prisons, and national security among others. Security sectors reforms also have both lateral and horizontal implications since the number of generals shall be drastically reduced and redeployment and training of others in military academies to take new roles within the restructured South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF). The success of security sector reforms shall equally guarantee success in other sectors and state institutions.
Security sector reforms remain the most controversial and basic source of ensuring peace in South Sudan. The six national security services (SPLA, South Sudan National Police, National security intelligence, South Sudan National Prison, National Wildlife, and Fire Brigade) have to be restructured, reformed and professionalized. Above all, they have to be put under government administration for accountability and strict monitoring and supervision. In the past, the central focus has been the reconstruction and undertaking of security reforms solely focusing on SPLA instead of whole security sector reforms. Whereas there have been policy documents of security sector reforms such as the transformation program (2012-2017), very little has been achieved. Security agencies are largely a reflection and damping ground of SPLA and its affiliated militias. The starting point would be a comprehensive undertaking or review of the security sector to determine force strength, capacity, skills and competencies and then right size through alignment with resources and in a manner that takes into consideration emerging security threats in South Sudan and globally. The specific objective of undertaking sector reforms is to professionalize the six security agencies while making them independent of the executive and SPLA. Most importantly is to place them under civilian control. Finally, the general objective would be to strengthen civilian oversight role internally and externally. The security sector should be undertaken also as part of greater institutional reforms.
South Sudan faces serious humanitarian crises in diverse forms- Internally displaced persons, refugees, and over seven million facing starvation across the country. There are those physically challenged, injured, traumatized, and civilian deaths with attendants effects socially manifested in IDP camps where direct and indirect effects of the war are widespread and notable. The humanitarian tasks involve high social movement and mass resettlement of people. More often than not, diseases such as measles, cholera, and meningitis take the heavy toll on women and children in a distressful environment and conditions. What is more, it requires huge international support from humanitarian agencies to resettle refugees and internally displaced persons even as the state seeks a lasting solution to the problem largely associated with war and legacy of war.
The revamping of the economy is equally important if not the most important variable in realizing and implementing the peace process. Besides the oil economy that contributes to 98% of national revenue, other sectors of the economy have been neglected. Agriculture, animal husbandry, minerals, and tourism have the potential to transform the economy and create jobs for the youth. It is worth noting high youth unemployment and security implications, especially when coupled with high inflation and low productivity. Indeed, the revitalized peace agreement placed more emphasis on sharing oil resources and revamping the oil infrastructure at the expense of diversification of the economy and food security. Prudent management of oil resources and diversification of the economy would generate revenue that might transform sectors such as health, education, delivery of social services and infrastructure to link the country both horizontally and vertically.
The success of the peace agreement would depend also on the caliber of the constitution negotiated within the transitional period of three years. The constitution requires taking into consideration a federal system of government and control of resources by devolved units to allow the central government to concentrate on foreign policy, defense national security. The aim would be to introduce many centers of power and control of resources placed at the hands of the local populace. What is important however is not to weaken the state but allow the state to play its traditional role.
Finally, peace is expensive and require support beyond national borders. The peace agreement would need the support of the whole world and especially countries with significant investments and other interests in South Sudan. The primary focus should remain the interests of South Sudanese to realize and reap peace dividends.
By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey
The President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, is resolved to mediate the political conflict between the Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile, and Darfur on one hand, and Government of Khartoum, led by President Omer Ahmed Hassan Al Bashir, on the other hand. After the January 2011 referendum of Southern Sudan and eventual declaration of independence on 9 July 2011, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of January 2005, ended. Thus rendering the CPA protocols on the borders of South Sudan and Sudan, Abyei region, the Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile, in limbo. From there on, the regions of the Nuba Mountains, South Blue Nile, and Darfur formed a unified front and staged a new war against the Sudan Government, from 2010. Sudan accused President Salva Kiir of linking his Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) with the remanents of the SPLM-North faction. This new situation, after the division of Sudan and division of the SPLM, triggered a “cold war” and a “war in a proxy,” between South Sudan and Sudan.
Since 2011 South Sudan has been and still is, in cold and proxy wars. Thus the intervention of President Al Bashir, behind the curtains of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had come at the right time when South Sudanese were extremely tired of war and needed peace. President Al Bashir’s acceptance to mediate peace among South Sudan warring parties (SPLM, SPLM IO, and SSOA), successfully concluded the “Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), which was signed on 12 September 2018, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by the parties. This R-ARCSS effectively paved the way for the resumption and return to square one: “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)” of 9 January 2005 between the SPLM and the Government of Sudan, Signed by Dr. John Garang de Mabior and President Omer Ahmed Hassan Al Bashir respectively. This peace, by necessity, should prevail equally, in two Sudan.
In these interlinked political conflicts and civil wars, there are chains of roles and obligations that need full involvements of two governments, South Sudan and Sudan. Although the mediation of President Salva Kiir Mayardit could be said to have come late, yet political analysts favor this time since comprehensive peace and security could be achieved in two countries. President Salva Kiir Mayardit is the right person to mediate peace between the group (SPLM-North) and Sudan. This group, by names: Malik Agar. Abdel Aziz Al Hilu, Yasir Arman, and many others worked with President Salva during the Interim Government, under Al Bashir, from 2005 to 2011.
In my opinion, the two Presidents of Sudan, Salva, and Al Bashir should simply restore and reactivate CPA protocols for the Nuba Mountains, South Blue along with Abyei and the borders between the two countries. This scenario shall fully open the spirit of the CPA to end all sorts of political anarchies, violence, and wars in South Sudan and Sudan for the benefit of Sudanese in two countries and one people.
Bolsonaro, the new Brazilian President, seems to declare that he is a “Trumpist” in all aspects of ideologies and diplomacy: personality, white racism, politics and racial divide in the United States of America (the USA). Externally, the conduct of diplomatic relations in arms control, peace and security, world trade, climatic change, and humanitarian movement to save heaven, seeking safety and livelihood is frustrating.
The policies of Trumpism, sloganeering “America first” could and will not be compatible with the world order that emerged after the cold war and the collapsed of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991. The anti-world peace and security being promoted by Trump Republicanism and populism should not be allowed to flow out of the USA. Dangers that could be caused by Trump’s rhetorics could backfire, not only to the USA but could affect the whole world. Already the mini-world war is taking place in the Middle East between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the USA and Russia backing the two war consortium respectively. Can such a war be allowed without the nuclear arms control?
Bolsonaro is naive by saluting the ghost of the USA flag in an attempt to lure Brazil into politics of the USA growing isolationism.
The international advocates, whatever their intentions, friends or enemies, have intervened in the conflict very late. This peace deal has been a hard work of nearly five years, in the midst of serious difficulties. This peace process started in January 2014, that is, people of South Sudan were almost exhausted and at the edge of hopelessness to stop the war.
The advocates, so-called, have come late. The countries they have mentioned in their letter, are the very members of the Regional Bloc: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) who had been shuttling among the South Sudanese warring parties, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), represented by the UNMISS on the ground in South Sudan. Thus Uganda, Sudan, and Ethiopia are part and parcel of the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) because they have signed the R-ARCSS as guarantors, so their responsibility is determined by the R-ARCSS and supported by all the parties in the R-ARCSS.
In my legal opinion, Uganda, Sudan, and Ethiopia are not in anyway, violating the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan. The Agreement is signed. There is no article of the R-ARCSS that authorizes renegotiation in retrospect. We invite all peace-loving people of the world to support the R-ARCSS for humanitarian reasons, if not political. The letter should be ignored
-By Aldo Ajou Deng
Quite clear! A true statement by “the EastAfrican” newspaper, a sincere friend of South Sudan for all times of war and peace. Many people, out there do not know President Salva or Dr. Riek. They were born in peace, went to Sudan schools, learned English and Arabic and grew up into wars of liberation in the 1960s. It is from this point forward that Salva and Riek learned violence and war of self-defense.
The real one-stop violence, among South Sudanese elites, occurred for the first time in August 1983, when Anya Nya two broke up over self-determination for Southern Sudan and unified Sudan. The breakup of Anya Nya two gave birth to a very violent child: The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The SPLA, military wing of the SPLM defeated the Anya Nya two. Some South Sudanese, many veteran politicians, lost their lives. From there on, the SPLM leadership continued in violence and political anarchy, a culture deeply rooted in communist orientations throughout the cool war, 1945 to 1991.
But, Salva and Riek were never and are not communists, if any, they were/are freedom fighters. They both fought for the right of self-determination and independence of South Sudan from Sudan. In this war, 2013-2018, Salva and Riek did not invite any foreign country or an international organization like the United Nations (UN) to take over South Sudan and govern it for ten years, though many leading politicians in the SPLM did betrayed the country.
This political behavior of “love, protect and fight for your country,” is installed in Salva’s and Riek’s nationalistic orientation. This installation of nationalism in them is inclusive of the use of violence in liberation and in self-defense. This is the violence syndrome orientation they have used to usher political power in the clear absence of democracy, an exercise common in countries where dictatorship is the bases of governance. This Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), if implemented “letter and spirit” as they have promised, then the violence and war syndrome could be counseled and reverted from the bullet to ballet.
As implemented, the R-ARCSS shall change the system of governance and government from dictatorship to democracy, where a government is changed by “the people for the people”. I am sure Salva and Riek will abide by freedom and rule of law.
It is in my opinion that, the R-ARCSS shall hold and peace and security will prevail beyond the next elections in 2021.