Urgent appeal to JMEC Chairman to take the right steps in the implementation of South Sudan peace agreement.
Dear President Mogae,
By Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham,
South Sudanese elder and Former UN Diplomat,
Oct 27, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– Following eruption of a series of violence which started in Juba on July 8, 2016 and led to total collapse of both the Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in The Republic of South Sudan and The South Sudan Transitional Government of National Unity, unconstitutional dismissal of Dr. Riek Machar Teny from the position of First Vice President, illegal and unconstitutional appointment of Taban Deng Gai as the new South Sudan First Vice President, the situation in South Sudan is changing every day from bad to worse and will soon result to total collapse of the State if no right steps are taken by JMEC in the implementation of the signed peace agreement.
As you have seen, economy of South Sudan has collapsed, humanitarian situation has worsened nationwide, the Country is becoming more ungovernable every day as the level of insecurity has increased, people are being arrested, tortured and killed on daily basis, civil servants are no longer being paid regularly and their salaries no longer match up with the cost of living due to high inflation rate, Many people in Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria have been displaced in the bushes of South Sudan or to the neighboring countries, with no or limited food to eat, war has been intensified in the whole country, ceasefire has been violated, there is no more peace to keep in South Sudan, Many schools have been closed and a big number of school aged children are now staying without education, which is a violation of human rights, no more Press freedom as journalists are either being threatened, arrested, tortured or killed at will, corruption is at the highest level, health and food security services have become too poor and resulted to high death rate, particularly among children, women and elderly persons mostly in the rural areas of South Sudan, raping of children, women and men by SPLA- IG Army is now at the increase, looting of food and properties of civilians by the government army and other criminals in cities and on roads, towns and rural areas has increased and most of those responsible have not been arrested, sent to court for trial or imprisoned. People in government controlled areas are suffering as they are currently living in fear of their lives, unable to speak the truth of what is happening and not having enough food to eat, jobs in government controlled areas are being tribalized and mostly limited to the tribe in power.
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In rebel controlled areas, the humanitarian situation is getting worse every day as government does not allow timely delivery of humanitarian services to SPLA/SPLM (IO) controlled areas. NGOs do not have easy access to rebel controlled areas as the government do not allow them or give them permits to operate freely in these areas. Guns have not been silenced till now.
Therefore, for genuine peace to be implemented in South Sudan, the first step is to silence the guns and to silence the guns, it is important to involve leaders of all those who are holding guns in the implementation process of the peace agreement. So far, this is not been done as Dr. Riek Machar who controls a big force and large part of South Sudan has been left out or marginalized in the current process of peace implementation. This is a serious mistake which needs to be corrected with immediate effect. Secondly, most members of the Former Detainees who are signatories to the peace agreement have been left out or forced out of their country and their houses are either taken by government security or closed and keys taken by the government. All these are indications that peace agreement has collapsed and the right steps to revive it has not been taken.
Therefore, as a concerned South Sudanese citizen, I would like to suggest the way forward for JMEC to revive the peace process and move it to the right direction as follows:-
- Accept the fact that the current peace implementation process has failed or come to a stand still
- Return the country to the signed peace agreement
- Ask President Salva Kiir to dismiss Taban Deng Gai and reinstate Dr. Riek Machar back to his original position as the first Vice President.
- Demilitarize Juba
- Ask leaders of all those who are holding guns to declare permanent ceasefire
6.Request for urgent deployment of the Regional Protection Force to Juba and all other major contested towns and cities to restore law and order together with UNMISS.
- Organizing a quick return of Dr. Riek Machar back to Juba to continue with the implementation of signed peace agreement.
- Establishment of genuine cantonment sites for all forces and armed groups in all parts of South Sudan
- Suspension of the operationalization of the 28 States and establishment of a committee to look into this matter in consultation with the people.
10.Reconstitution of the national and State parliaments with active participation of SPLM/SPLA (IO) under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar (not Taban Deng as he does not control SPLM/SPLA IO Forces and has no influence over them), Former Detainees, other political parties and Civil Society organizations who are signatories to the signed peace agreement
- Quick deployment of Joint Integrated police to Juba, other major towns and cities which are being contested.
- Reform of all institutions of governance as stipulated in the signed peace agreement
- Reconstitution of all institutions of governance as stipulated in the Agreement
- Review of South Sudan constitution as stipulated in the signed peace agreement
- Subject the Country to free, fair and democratic elections within a specified timeframe without any manipulation and intimidation by the current government
- Provision of all needed logistics to all Forces while at the cantonment sites
- Organize an effective DDRR program for the fighting forces
- Organize a round table conference for all stakeholders to discuss and decide on the best options on how to govern and move South Sudan forward.
- Tell all parties in dispute that participation in any Transitional Government of National Unity is not based on who likes who or who works well with who BUT on the Signed Peace Agreement. This is how it works in many peace keeping missions which I am familiar with.
These are my humble suggestions for your kind consideration.
The author, Dr. Wesley Bokati Natana Abraham, is a Concerned South Sudanese elder and Former UN Diplomat currently living in Nairobi, Kenya. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org