SUMMARY OF THE OVERSIGHT OBSERVATION REPORT
12th September -12th October 2018
This summary presented the general oversight observations conducted by Community Empowerment for Progress Organization on the first month of the implementation of the revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan. The first month for the implementation of the peace agreement demonstrated reasonable progress especially on the political aspects of the pre-transitional period for the implementation of the agreement. This first month of Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan is better than the first month for the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan in 2015. Among the Key progress witnessed in the first month of for the implementation of the revitalized disagreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan are;
A. Progress Made
1. Ratification of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan by all the signatories’ parties o R-ARCSS
2. Field military commanders’ dialogues over honoring the ceasefire. The face-to-face meeting of Government Army and SPLA-IO field commanders in Pagaka town of Maiwut dated 6th October, 2018 over allowing soldiers to movement free without interference was great act of trust and confidence building
3. Communication among the principles. Trust and confidence building can be realized only if the principals of the opponent parties are communicating with each other in positive manner. The demonstration of H.E. President calling his opponent Dr. Riek Machra over the violation of the ceasefire in the area of Yei was great factor for nurturing trust and confidence.
4. Release of Prisoners of War: TGoNU State government releasing Prisoners of War (POW) and SPLA-IO release of prisoners of war all to ICRC. The release of prisoners of war by the Lol state government was impressive and it encourages ownership of the R-ARCSS by the citizens. The SPLA-IO releasing prisoners of war were encouraging and it offers chance for testing commitment.
5. The voluntary return of influential political figures such as Deng Alor to Juba for further dialogue with the government for renewal of pledge and commitment for effective implementation of the R-ARCSS was one of the impressive acts. Fostering dialogues among the principals of the parties’ signatories to the R-ARCSS is essential with regards to growth of trust and confidence for winning political will for the implementation of R-ARCSS
6. Joint AU and UN field visits to South Sudan. It was good for moral rising and encouragement of the parties’ signatories to the R-ARCSs to commit for genuine implementation of R-ARCSS. This act can also contribute in fostering citizens to own the peace accord. Demonstration of responsibility for making peace happen in South Sudan by AU and UN is key.
7. Joint Military Chief of staff meeting in Khartoum: First face-to-face meeting of the military chiefs of staff from Government and SPLA-IO dated 2nd October, 2018 in Khartoum was a beginning of building political will for genuine implementation of the R-ARCSS. The meeting was able to set light on number of security arrangement provisions including strengthening efforts for honoring of the ceasefire.
B. OBSERVED SHORTCOMINGS DURING THE FIRST MONTH OF THE R-ARCSS IMPLEMENTATION
1. The violation of ceasefire: The numerous witness violations of ceasefire by both Government and SPLA –IO in some of the country in Yei, Wau and Bentiu are discouraging and disturbing. They increased in making the public and friends of South Sudan have less hope for genuine implementation of the R-ARCSS.
2. Delay and Politicization of the release of prisoners of war and detainees: Besides the officially the issued directives by the principals of the parties mainly the Government and SPLA/M-IO for the release of the prisoners of war and detainees. The conflicting interpretations on who is detainee or not detainee by the R-ARCSS provisions is a totally demonstration of lack of will for fostering actions that will contribute in nurturing trust and confidence for the R-ARCSS implementation.
3. Detainees: The conflict in defining who qualified to be termed as political detainee is creating Hugh lost of trust and confidence among the public on the fate for implementing R-ARCSS genuinely. The principals of Government and SPLA/M-IO have issued orders for the release of detainees and prisoners of war in accordance with the provisions of the R-ARCSS. Release of prisoners of war was progressing not for release detainees is getting more political and clash in interpretation on who is detainee
4. The culture of splits: The splits among the opposition parties signatories to R-ARCSS was bad practice and it has contributed strongly in making the citizens lost hope on balance political engagement for the growth of democracy in South Sudan during the implementation period for R-ARCSS. The tendency of the political parties splitting has convinced some reasonable size of the population that R-ARCSS is all about competition for responsibility sharing than answering the actual root causes of the violent war.
5. Slow and weak role of IGAD: IGAD as a mediation entity for R-ARCSS should strengthened its influence on the parties to implement the provisions of R-ARCSS and improve its human resources for the implementation of R-ARCSS. Weak human resources of IGAD for fostering the implementation of R-ARCSS is a serious factors that should be address by IGAD leadership urgently
C. CONFLICT OF R-ARCSS PROVISIONS INTERPRETATION
1. Execution of 35% for Women: The execution of the 35% if facing conflict of interpretation between the parties signatories to R-ARCSS and activists or advocate for gender equality. The activists interpretation of 35% for women was based on the concept that 35% for women is principle objective for the implementation of every provision of R-ARCSS while the majority of the parties signatories to R-ARCSS interpretation was, 35% for women is only applied to provisions of R-ARCSS associated with the formation of the executive organ of the government at various level. Institution constituted by R-ARCSS is not pre-conditioned to observe 35% for women.
2. Structuring TGoNU Parliament: Likely disputes about reframing TGoNU parliament will develop soon if the approach for reconstituting TGONU is not properly handle. Some parliamentarians are disturbed by lack of clarity on the procedure for restructuring the parliament. Is the procedure based on the principle of dissolution and reconstitution or just adding more number to the current existing numbers? Majority of the parliamentarians have low acceptance of the idea of dissolution and reconstitution with clear explanation in relation to April, 2010 elections results. For example women are concern that dissolving them and reconstituting them under 35 for women formula is a loss for them since some of them came to parliament through party list and geographical constituencies during the April, 2010 elections.
3. Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission-JMEC report on the status of Implementation of the R-ARCSS 2018 dated 28th September 2018: The report issued by JMEC dated 28th September 2018 on the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS was remarkable and offering genuine findings and recommendations on the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS. The big question our oversight observation is “after issuing the report, what is next? And who is responsible for ensuring that the report findings and recommendations are executed?” As JMEC mandate is only limited on monitoring and evaluation?
RECOMMENDATIONS AND WAY FORWARD
a) The principals of the parties signatories to R-ARCSS has to take primary responsibility for fostering commitment for genuine implementation of R-ARCSS
b) Communication and dialogue among the principals and field military commanders of the warring parties should be encourage and facilitated
c) The violation of the ceasefire should stop immediately to gain trust on and confidence of the friends of South Sudan for possible support
d) The government and other parties’ signatories to R-ARCSS should open up for dialogue with the members of the regional and international community for possible support for the implementation of R-ARCSS and
e) Dialogue allows the parties to share their positive records for implementing R-ARCSS
f) IGAD should to avail experts for interpretations of R-ARCSS provisions. If possible the experts should be among full time staff of IGAD in South Sudan-Juba
g) Some IGAD member states that low appetite for strengthening IGAD for successful implementation of R-ARCSS should start change attitude. Let vest interest of the country not be used for subjecting South Sudanese to suffer from violence.
h) Civic Space and freedom of expression should be restricted for sake of fostering disseminating R-ARCSS
i) IGAD, AU and UN should stand up unto their obligation for ensuring peace implementation succeeds in South Sudan. Being accountable is needed
j) IGAD partners forum meeting should be held urgently for building common position for unified messaging around the R-ARCSS implementation
k) Speeding release of prisoners of war and detainees is a great in building trust and confidence for R-ARCSS implementation
l) IGAD and AU should adopt strategy for engaging the other parties both armed and non-armed that are no signatories to R-ARCSS to get into dialogue for peaceful way of resolving political difference