The Prospects of the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia today: What are the contentious issues?
Briefly, the following, I believe, form the contentious issues:
(1) Security, (2) Transition, (3) Good governance, (4) Power sharing, (5) Number of states, and (6) The system of government in the Future Republic of South Sudan.
Already, many South Sudanese and the international community who are assisting peace mediation are quite aware of the position papers presented so far by the parties to the conflict. The Government, SPLM IO, South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and a new group, reported being breaking away from SSOA. However, there are very divisive issues that seek immediate compromises. I am, therefore, trying here to share you as citizens of South Sudan concern to discuss within the medium of the social media, which seem to be the only forum available within reach of the South Sudanese readership in Juba and diaspora. With them, I believe we can exchange free, without prejudice, national views on nearly all problems and issues of concern. We can begin, in chronological order the issues in the order above, from one to six and more…
(1 ) Security
As from 15 December 2013, the whole security establishment went amuck. Military support to the rebellion widely affected Juba, Bor, Bentiu, Akobo, and Malakal security garrisons including civil institutions. From here then, the rebellion spread, like wildfire, into Greater Bahr Al Ghazal and Equatoria, thus uprooting nearly six million and locked another seven million into severe starvation and related killer diseases. To be exact, the ongoing war has maximized its tolls and must be ended through negotiated political settlement.
To end this war comprehensively, the parties should now, while sharing the negotiating tables under the IGAD’s High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), resolve, update and activate the cessation of hostilities they signed on 22 December 2017. The comprehensive ceasefire is the master key that could unlock the “salvation door into peace-rooms.” To arrive at this admired target of resolution of the dire conflict, the parties should acknowledge the damages incurred and accept to peacefully end the violent atrocities. Such a resolution could likely reverse the mental attitudes in favor of friendly understanding and conciliation.
In my opinion, the steps that could lead to permanent cessation of hostilities, the ceasefire and security arrangements, organized by implementation matrixes, should follow the following trajectories: (a) Ceasefire, (b) concerted evaluation and monitoring commission, embodying all parties in the conflict, AU, and UN; (b) Lifting state of emergency and releasing all political prisoners; (c) Issuing a legislation, declaring a comprehensive amnesty and immunity to the political leaders and citizens who participated in the rebellion; (d) Allowing freedom of movement, freedom of Assembling and association, freedom of speech and press in accordance with the constitution and the law.
These arrangements should include the other security sectors, such as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (National army), rebels armies and tribal militias, which should thereafter, be handled by its own inclusive military commission and the UNMISS peacekeeping forces. This commission is very important since it shall be dealing with arms control, creation, and organization of garrisons and cantons for temporary accommodation and sheltering different forces, pending technical screening and final integration of the armies into the National Army of South Sudan (the SPLA).
The suggestions being floated by some parties, proposing the dissolution of security institutions like the SPLA, National security and the law enforcement agencies like the police and other organized forces, should not be on the tables. Legally, the proposal is not compatible with the Transitional Constitution and the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), and therefore should be ruled out accordingly. As we have learned earlier on, the HLRF is about revivification of ARCSS, not its amendments. It is to be recalled that the institutions being floated for dissolutions, and not even suggested transformation or reforms, were instituted by very leaders who want to destroy them now. Quite a conundrum!
NB. Continue with: The transition
by Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey