By Gideon Mabor
OPINION – The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan signed on 12 September 2018 is a political settlement negotiated by warring parties and South Sudanese stakeholders on behalf of the wider South Sudanese population. The agreement aimed to stop the political violence, and ensure a return to peaceful coexistence while committed as a unity government during the transitional period to implement package of post-conflict and democratic reconstruction programs of state.
Accordingly, these tasks to achieve the vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous South Sudan based on justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law as enshrined under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan as amended includes but not limited to: security arrangements, governance issues, institutional reforms, transitional justice, reintegration and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons and finally conduct a free and fair general elections to elect the government.
On the other hand, the agreement provides a resolution mechanism for each thematic issue of the agreement in the event of disagreement or dispute during the course of the implementation. Some of these resolution mechanisms are primary function of the Transitional Government of National Unity while others are delegated to other independent bodies whose decision shall be binding and final.
On the outstanding issue of states and internal boundaries, article 1.15 read together with Annex E of the revitalized agreement clearly provided mechanism for resolution of this particular outstanding issue. Article 1.15.14 provide that “in the unlikely event of the Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) failing to make its report before the end of its term, the IBC shall be automatically transformed on the 90th day of its term into Referendum Commission on Number and Boundaries of States of the Republic of South Sudan.
Therefore, what is the call for arbitration to resolve the outstanding issue of states and internal boundaries contrary to the letter and spirit of the revitalized agreement? This departure from modality of dispute resolution and act outside the revitalized agreement is not only harmful to peace in South Sudan, but it is a Pandora box for renegotiation of the agreement and therefore a violations of the revitalised agreement.
The arbitration proposal from regional envoys led by South African Deputy President His Excellency David Mabuza, should not be accepted by all parties. As leaders who fought for a just cause to achieve the vision of South Sudan as outlined above and in the Constitution, you must swallow your pride and adhere to the letter and spirit of the peace agreement and find amicable solutions.
Finally, even if the arbitration tribunal does it job, where are the parties going to cultivate the political will to implement the arbitral award that is now lacking to reach an agreement on the outstanding issues.
Gideon Mabor is a Human Rights Activist and work for South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) as a Senior Project Officer. SSHURSA is a national Human Rights civil society organization with vision geared towards building an enlightened human rights abiding South Sudan. Prior to joining SSHURSA, the author has worked for South Sudan Ministry of Justice, and a columnist. His research interests include governance, human rights and social accountability. This opinion does not represent SSHURSA position but of the author. He can be reached at email@example.com
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