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Why PDM rejects Khartoum Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance

People’s Democratic Movement, August 6, 2018,, UNITED KINGDOM, SSN;

The PDM wishes to share with the people of South Sudan its views and reasons for why it rejects Khartoum Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance as proposed by Sudanese mediators, and hence did not append its signature to the agreement for a number of reasons, chiefly:

 The agreement does not put the people first before SPLM factions of IG and IO.

 It is a bilateral agreement in the context of SPLM unification between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, to maintain the status quo, giving a renewal of lease of legitimacy for the failed TGONU.

 The agreement, with IGAD’s blessing, is rewarding impunity, illegality of 32 states and violations of the Constitution TCSS 2011 and ARCSS 2015 by President Salva Kiir. The IGAD, AU and the International community is not standing with the people of South Sudan, are oblivious of over 4 millions of the population in refugee camps, IDPs and POC sites who are not consulted in the decision making process for a sustainable peace in the country.

 The agreement entrusts corrupt leaders with power to lead fundamental reforms in the country that they failed to deliver since independence in 2011.

 ARCSS 2015 made provisions for adoption of federalism, and three years on, the Ministry for Federal affairs established by terms of ARCSS 2015 has reached no conclusion nor made a recommendation for the type of federalism suitable for the country. The agreement, unjustifiably, does not provide for implementation of a federal system during the transitional period.

 Federal Governance during the transitional period, based on three (3) autonomous regions with their borders of the three provinces of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal as they stood on 1st January 1956, provides the most optimal number of federal units of governance amid the country’s collapsing economy.

 By comparison, ten (10), twenty one (21) or thirty two (32) states represents excessive burden on the country’s economy during transitional period, and results in a bloated government of over 100 Ministers at state level alone, 550 members of national legislature, 50 senators, 32 governors, 32 state legislative assemblies and their MPs.

 The Agreement does not promote a people-centric power sharing between the people in three federal regions on 33.33% for each region, and not allocation of power to political elites and their movements by a stroke of a pen. The mediators proposal for power sharing is elites-centric, with high concentration of parties to the agreement from one or two regions only, which makes elites-centric power sharing unfair to the people of South Sudan three regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghzal.

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 In SSOA alone, there are 9 parties, 3 from Equatoria, 5 from Upper Nile, 1 from Bahr al Ghazal and a host of other political parties in Juba, without a fair formula for power sharing between them, IO and the IG

2. PDM proposes that the responsibility sharing at all levels of government shall give representation and power back not to the elites but to the people in the three regions. Therefore the responsibility sharing shall be only through the people in accordance with the following percentages for each autonomous Region of Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal:
a- Upper Nile Region: 33%
b- Equatoria Region: 33%
c- Bahr al Ghazal Region: 33%

Through regional people’s convention in the pre-transitional period, the parties to the Agreement shall seek mandate by the people in each region for each region’s share of 33%.

This is to ensure legitimate and fair participation of the 64 ethnicities of the people of South Sudan in the decision-making processes.

This avoids elite-centric responsibility sharing, which allocates percentages to elite political groups by the stroke of a pen without putting people first and their participation in the process.

Addressing root causes to the civil war:

The critical issues that have surfaced post-ARCSS which have not been incorporated in the Agreement and proposed structures of the Transitional Federal Government and its institutions are:-

 The root cause to the civil war is the determination by ethnic-based political elite to dominate power in South Sudan since 1972, when South Sudan became for the first time ever, a self-governing autonomous region in Sudan. The 2013 incident which triggered the present war was, therefore, the latest manifestation of this same attempt to dominate power in our country.

 The power-sharing proposals on %ages for IG, IO, SSOA and OPPs, tabled during the last phase of Khartoum talks are unrealistic, and any such effort to bridge the divide between the parties to the HLRF on power sharing should be holistic and beyond mere arithmetical computation of the Executive and the Legislature composition.
A holistic power sharing approach should now become synonymous with ‘inclusivity’ of the people from all of the 64 ethnicities who are not represented in the HLRF but are entitled to participation in various arms of government and institutions. At present these institutions are dominated by one single ethnicity, the Dinka.

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 Power-sharing should be based on a broad set of pillars and principles that include at a minimum, the following five core categories of institutions and territorial or regional population:-

1. The Army and the Security Sector
2. The Executive
3. The Legislature
4. The Judiciary
5. The Territory or Region Population Representation

1. The Army and the Security Sector.
The present army is a tribal, Dinka army. Even President Kiir has acknowledged this fact.
The power-sharing (inclusivity) proposal in the army rests on the call by the Opposition that a new army, in which all the 64 ethnic groups are represented, equitably and qualitatively be established.
This should follow a review of the entire security sectors-the army, the police, National Security Service, Wildlife, Fire Brigade, and Prison- to come up with new doctrines and criteria, which must encompass equal representation of the ethnic groups.

2. The Executive.
In the Agreement, the mandate for being a president must ultimately come from the people. Therefore, the rump population in the regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile should and shall organize respective People’s Convention to nominate whom they want to be the President.

This Convention must also nominate those they want to be their Ministers at National and Regional levels. They shall also nominate the Governor of their region.
It is not right that SPLM/A-IG or SPLM/A-IO leaders should be the ones selecting Ministers from other regions, the people of the region shall select their Ministers so that they are made accountable to the people.
The distribution of the Ministerial portfolios shall be non-discriminatory; members from any ethnic group should be able to head key ministries of Defence, Finance, Petroleum, or Central Bank etc.

3. The Legislature.
The People’s Convention mentioned above should and shall also nominate who they want to represent them at National Legislative Assembly and the House of Nationalities, and at the State or regional legislatures.
It is not acceptable that SPLM/A-IG or SPLM/A-IO should pick a Speaker of the National Assembly on behalf of Equatorians, for example.
The Transitional Federal Government shall upon its inception, institute the House of Nationalities to which each ethnic group shall nominate two of their respective representatives.

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4. The Judiciary.
The present Judiciary, headed by a member of Jieng Council of Elders (from the President’s ethnic group), serves at the behest of the Presidency. Recent judgments by courts portray strange jurisprudence, where excessive sentences of death by hanging or imprisonment for life are meted out to the perceived opponents of the regime.
Defendants who are abducted from foreign countries and returned to the country illegally are permitted to be tried by the courts against all modern best practice and internationally accepted standards.
Therefore a complete overhaul of the judiciary shall be implemented, first by a wholesale resignations of the judges at all levels; followed by the institution of a new Judiciary Service Commission based on transparent, non-discriminatory and meritorious criteria in the appointment of the members, who in turn will follow the same principles in the recruitment of judges.

5. The Territory or Regional Population Representation.
The stranglehold by certain ethnic groups elites on the centralized government shall be broken through the establishment of autonomous Regional Governments.
Through the Federal Government, fair distributions of budgets, independent regional judiciary and local government shall be instituted.
This principle shall be applied to the creation and thereby establishment of three (3), autonomous Federal Regions or States consisting of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile with their borders as provinces as they stood on the 1st of January 1956.
The merits of sub-division into more number of states shall be discussed at an appropriate time in the constitution making process.
The people of South Sudan in all of their 64 ethnicities are sovereign and they shall be consulted and shall participate in the Agreement implementation during the pre-transitional and Transitional Period.
Their views, which were collected during the pre-HLRF consultations by the IGAD Special Envoy shall be incorporated in the Agreement; and the people shall be the final arbiters on the number of Federal States in the emerging new South Sudan during the Transitional period in the Constitution making process.

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair

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