JUBA – South Sudan’s main armed opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) on Monday issued a communiqué following a meeting of its political bureau to deliberate on the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.
The group lamented the intentional delays in the implementation of the peace agreement. Below is the full text communiqué of the SPLM-IO.
SUDAN PEOPLE’S LIBERATION MOVEMENT
POSITION OF SPLM/SPLA (IO)
ON THE STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF THE
The SPLM/SPLA (IO) Political Bureau met on 11th-14th March, 2022, in Juba, Republic of South Sudan to review the status of the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) 2018. The Political Bureau consulted reports from the Peace Implementation Mechanisms namely: RJMEC, NCAC, SDSR, IBC, CTSAMVM, JDB, JMCC, JTSC, SSM and DDR. The Political Bureau also received presentations from the members of SPLM/SPLA (IO) assigned in the RTGONU. After extensive deliberations, the Political Bureau observed the following:
I. ON THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PEACE AGREEMENT
- Recalling that the conflict in South Sudan is rooted in the social, economic, security and political structures of the State;
- Cognizant that R-ARCSS is to lay the foundation for a united, peaceful and prosperous society based on constitutionalism, justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law for South Sudan to emerge as a viable state capable of protecting and serving its citizens;
- Urging the parties to abide by and reaffirm their commitments to establishment of a federal and democratic system of governance that reflects the diverse character of the Republic of South Sudan during the Transitional Period;
- Reaffirming that R-ARCSS is the only roadmap to end political violence as it has addressed the root causes of the conflict and provided a system of governance that undertakes transformative reforms and transition to democracy; and
- Mindful of the fact that the Transitional Period ends by 22nd February 2023 and noting the stagnation in implementation of R ARCSS.
In the light of the above, the Political Bureau evaluated the implementation of R-ARCSS and the findings are as follows:
II. VIOLATIONS OF THE R-ARCSS
The Political Bureau registered during the three (03) years and five (05) months of implementation of the R-ARCSS the following major incidences of violations:
- Rejection and refusal to appoint nominees of SPLM/SPLA (IO) to positions allocated to SPLM/SPLA (IO) in RTGONU and State levels. For example, Governor of Upper Nile State, Presidential Advisor, Deputy Minister of Interior, Minister of Health, Commissioner of Kajo-keji County in Central Equatoria State, etc (Art.1.13.1).
- Unconstitutional suspension by Governors of State Ministers and Commissioners in Central Equatoria, Unity, Lakes and Jonglei States without prior information to their respective parties.
- Arbitrary arrest of Commissioners of Yirol West County in Lakes State and Tonj East County in Warrap State by the Governors.
- Intimidation of constitutional post holders from other parties particularly in the states.
- Refusal of participation of SPLM/SPLA (10) and other parties in the governments of the three Administrative Areas (Art. 1.16.2 read together with Article 162(1) (a) of the Constitutional Amendment Act No. 7, 2020 and Article 164(1) of the Constitutional Amendment Act No. 8, 2021) in the Agreement on structures and allocation of responsibility sharing in the three administrative areas in accordance with R-ARCSS (January 18th, 2021).
- Continuous attacks on SPLM/SPLA (IO) cantonment sites and training centers namely Turu cantonment in Maiwut County, Liangkeji cantonment in Maban County, Pieri Cantonment in Uror County, Namatina cantonment in Najero County, Mirmir cantonment in Koch County, Kaljak training center in Rubkona County and Morta training center in Kajokeji County.
- Facilitated defections resulting into violent clashes, displacement of civil population amounting to continuation of war by proxy in the above-mentioned cantonments and training centers, and in Kit Gwang in Manyo County, Wau County, Longuchuk County, Torkech and Kier Wanding in Nasir County (Art. 2.1.8 and 2.1.10). 8. Continuous arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and forced disappearance of members of SPLM/SPLA (IO) (Art. 2.1.10).
- Encouraging hostile propaganda and hate speeches against SPLM/SPLA (IO) and its leadership using state media (Art. 2.1.10). 10. Lack of political space and civil liberties manifested by continuous obstruction of other parties from freely assembling and holding public meetings (Art. 2.1.10).
- Continuous harassment, arrest and detention of media personnel, civil society, etc. (Art. 2.1.10).
- Denying SPLM/SPLA (IO) forces from joining training in Pantit training center in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.
From the experience of the past years, it is noted with concern that little or no action has been taken against violators. If anything at all, the parties are equally blamed or condemned. This must change. Each party must carry its own cross.
III. STATUS OF IMPLEMENTATION OF R-ARCSS
Chapter I: Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGONU)
Pre-Transitional activities that are not implemented:
- Dissemination of the R-ARCSS to the people of South Sudan (Art. 184.108.40.206).
- Process of national healing and reconciliation (Art. 220.127.116.11).
- Security arrangements activities (Art. 18.104.22.168).
- Reviewing and drafting of the necessary bills (Art. 22.214.171.124).
- Devolution of powers and resources to the lower levels of government (Art. 126.96.36.199).
- Failure to establish pre-transitional period implementation Fund (Art. 1.4.8.).
- Most of the pre-transitional period activities had to be carried over into the Transitional Period as the National Pre-Transitional Committee (NPTC) failed to carry out its mandate of oversight and coordination of implementation of the activities of the Pre Transitional Period (Art. 188.8.131.52).
- While the NCAC has completed incorporation of the R-ARCSS into the Transitional Constitution (Art. 184.108.40.206) and reviewed and completed relevant amendments of the 6 security sector legislations (Art. 220.127.116.11), reviewed Political Parties Act 2012 (Art. 1.20.1) within the 17 months of pre-transition period, however, these bills have not been enacted into law.
While the Executive of RTGONU was established on the 22nd February 2020, the National Legislature was inaugurated on 2nd August 2021, and the reconstitution of the State Assemblies started on 6th November 2021 and was completed on 26th January 2022.
The following are pending tasks required to complete the establishment of RTGONU:
- Reconstitution of the governments of the three Administrative Areas. (Art. 1.16.2 read together with Article 162(1) (a) of the Constitutional Amendment Act No. 7, 2020 and Article 164(1) of the Constitutional Amendment Act No. 8, 2021). Also see the Agreement on structures and allocation of responsibility sharing in the three administrative areas in accordance with R-ARCSS (January 18th, 2021).
- Reconstitution of national independent Commissions and other independent institutions (65 in number including those institutions mentioned in other chapters). See the attached list.
- Establishment of local government councils. As of today, the Government of Central Equatoria State is the only state that has completed on 23rd February 2022 establishment of its local government councils.
- Reinstatement of civil servants who fled the country during the war.
- Participation of members of other parties in the Foreign Service.
- Appointment of Undersecretaries and Directors General at the National and State level respectively without recommendation from the concerned minister (Art. 18.104.22.168).
- The Constitutional Court is not yet established (Art. 1.17.7).
- The Political Parties Council has not been reconstituted (Art 1.20.2).
- National Elections Act, 2012 has not been reviewed (Art. 1.20.3).
- The National Elections Commission has not been reconstituted (Art. 1.20.4).
- National Elections to be conducted sixty (60) days prior to the end of Transitional Period in accordance with the Permanent Constitution (Art. 1.20.5).
- Due to lack of funding, since the beginning of 2021, the NCAC has not discharged its mandate (Art. 1.4.10 and 22.214.171.124).
- Ad hoc Judicial Reform Committee (JRC) has been established (Art. 1.17.3) on 29th June 2021, but not resourced. IGAD appointed the Chair and the Deputy of JRC in the 1st week of March 2022 (Art.1.17.5).
- RTGONU has not addressed the challenges of reconstruction, repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation and reintegration of IDPs and returnees as critical factors affecting peacebuilding and elections (Art. 1.20.7).
Chapter II: Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (PCTSA)
- Composition of Command of the Unified Forces not agreed.
- Forces have been under training for almost three years, they have recently been organized into respective units’ formation and are pending graduation and deployment.
- Provision of food and medicines to the training centers is irregular.
- Food and medicines have not been provided to the cantonment sites for over two years.
- Security mechanisms have not been adequately funded.
- Funding of the security mechanisms’ activities is inadequate and not consistent.
- NTC is not functioning, it met only once during the last 24 months of the Transition.
- Due to lack of funding, DDR has not established any of the 8 Transition Facilities/Centers and, therefore, is unable to implement its mandate.
Chapter III: Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction
- Special Reconstruction Fund (SRF) has not been established (Art. 3.2).
- Board of the Special Reconstruction Fund (BSRF) has not been established (Art. 3.2.1).
- RTGONU has not provided the SRF with initial funding of not less than USD 100 million per annum for the Transitional Period (Art. 3.2.7).
- The IGAD, Troika, China, African Union, United Nations, European Union, World Bank, IGAD Partners Forum and African Development Bank have not appointed their respective members to BSRF (Art. 3.2.5-13).
- The international community within BSRF has failed to appoint the chairperson of BSRF (Art. 3.2.3-4).
- South Sudan Pledging Conference has not been convened. Responsible bodies are: BSRF Chairperson, Chairperson of IGAD, Chairperson of African Union Commission and Secretary General of the United Nations (Art. 3.2.8).
- IDPs and refugees have not been repatriated, resettled, reintegrated and rehabilitated (Art. 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206).
- Non-Governmental Organizations Act 2016 has not been reviewed by NCAC (Art 220.127.116.11).
Chapter IV: Resource, Economic and Financial Management
In this Chapter only the Strategic Economic Development Roadmap (National Development Plan) (Art. 18.104.22.168) was reviewed and has been tabled before the National Legislature together with the national budget 2021/2022.
The following new institutions have not been established:
- Economic and Financial Management Authority (Art. 4.16.1).
- Board of Economic and Financial Management Authority (Art. 4.16.2).
- EFMA Advisory Committee (Art. 4.16.5).
- Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Authority (Art. 22.214.171.124).
- Salaries and Remuneration Commission (Art. 126.96.36.199).
- Environmental Management Authority (EMA) (Art. 188.8.131.52).
- Research and Development Centers (Art. 184.108.40.206): a. National Disasters b. Strategy, Studies and Scientific Research
- Health Care Support Fund (Art. 220.127.116.11).
- Students Support Fund (Art. 18.104.22.168).
- Enterprise Development Funds (Art. 22.214.171.124).
- Youth Enterprise Development Funds (Art. 126.96.36.199).
- Women Enterprise Development Funds (Art. 188.8.131.52).
- Micro-finance Institutions (Art. 184.108.40.206).
- Social Security Fund (Art. 220.127.116.11).
- Oil Stabilization Account (Art. 18.104.22.168).
- Future Generations’ Fund (Art. 22.214.171.124).
The following institutions have not been restructured and reconstituted:
- Bank of South Sudan (Art. 4.2.1).
- The National Audit Chambers (Art. 4.5).
- Anti-Corruption Commission (Art. 4.4).
- Fiscal and Financial Allocation Monitoring Commission (Art. 4.11.2).
- National Petroleum and Gas Commission (Art. 126.96.36.199.14).
- Nile Petroleum Corporation (NilePet) (Art. 188.8.131.52.14).
- National Revenue Authority (Art. 184.108.40.206)
- Constituency Development Fund (220.127.116.11)
The following national legislations, inter alia, have not been reviewed:
- Investment Promotion Act, 2009 (Art. 18.104.22.168).
- Banking Act, 2010 (Art. 22.214.171.124).
- Telecommunication and Postal Service Act, 2016 (Art. 126.96.36.199).
- The Transport Act, 2008 (Art. 188.8.131.52).
- The National Audit Chambers Act, 2011 (Art. 184.108.40.206).
- Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2009 (Art. 220.127.116.11).
- Public Financial Management and Accountability Act, 2011 (Art. 18.104.22.168).
- Petroleum Revenue Act, 2012 (Art. 22.214.171.124).
- The Mining Act, 2012 (Art. 126.96.36.199).
- Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2012 (Art. 188.8.131.52).
- National Pensions Fund Act, 2012 (Art. 184.108.40.206).
- National Revenue Authority Act, 2017 (Art. 220.127.116.11).
- Land Act, 2008 (Art. 18.104.22.168.1).
- Code of Ethics and Integrity of Public Officials (Art. 4.1.3).
Failure to establish and reconstitute the institutions mentioned above as well as non-devolution of powers and resources to the states and counties (Art. 4.1.6 and 4.1.5) defeats the mandate of the RTGONU to reform South Sudan’s economic and public sector (Art. 4.14.10) and is tantamount to non-implementation of critical tasks of R-ARCSS.
Chapter V: Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing
The following institutions have not been established:
- Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) (Art. 22.214.171.124 and 5.2).
- Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS) (Art. 126.96.36.199 and 5.3).
- Compensation and Reparation Authority (CRA) (Art. 188.8.131.52 and 5.4).
- Compensation and Reparation Fund (CRF) (Art. 184.108.40.206).
However, a committee was established on 10th May 2021 to undertake public consultation for drafting the legislation for the establishment of the CTRH. The committee is not discharging its mandate due to lack of funding.
The AU Commission has failed to establish the Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS) (Art. 220.127.116.11).
This Chapter is very important for justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing in the country.
Chapter VI: Parameters of Permanent Constitution
RJMEC organized a constitution-making workshop moderated and facilitated by Max Planck Foundation (Art 6.8). As a result of the workshop, a Constitution Making Process Bill has been drafted (Art 6.9) and submitted to the TNLA for enactment into law.
The following institutions and processes have not been done:
- National Constitutional Review Commission (Art. 6.6).
- National Constitutional Conference (Art. 6.6).
- Preparatory Sub-Committee (Art. 6.6).
- Constitutional Drafting Committee (Art. 6.9).
- Constituent Assembly (Art. 6.5 and 6.11)².
- Amendment of the amended National Elections Act 2012 (Art. 1.20.6) and reconstitution of National Elections Commission accordingly.
- The constitution making process is envisaged to be completed not later than 24 months following the establishment of the Transitional Period and shall be in place to guide the elections toward the end of the Transition (Art. 6.5).
- National Elections to be conducted sixty (60) days prior to the end of Transitional Period in accordance with the Permanent Constitution (Art. 1.20.5).
Chapter VII: Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC)
Article 7.3 provides for IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government in consultation with IGAD-Plus Partners to appoint a prominent African personality to chair RJMEC. SPLM/SPLA (IO), therefore, urges IGAD to appoint the Chairperson of RJMEC.
IV. THE WAY FORWARD
In light of the Transitional Period ending 22nd February 2023, when most of the chapters in the Agreement have not been implemented, the way forward is for the parties, stakeholders and guarantors to the Agreement to fast track full implementation of the Agreement and in lieu of fast tracking the parties, stakeholders and guarantors must deliberate and decide on the future of the status of the Agreement.
Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, PhD
Chairman and Commander-In-Chief, SPLM/SPLA (IO), and The First Vice President of the Republic.