Hon. Henry Odwar: SPLM-IO Official Response to the IGAD’s Abridging Proposal

Posted: May 24, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in HLRF, Junub Sudan, Press Release


Hon Henry Odwar, deputy chairperson of the SPLM-IO

Hon Henry Odwar, deputy chairperson of the SPLM-IO


1. The title and the preamble of the proposal talk about “bridging” the gaps and identifying a “middle ground” between the different negotiating positions.

2. Having studied and analyzed the proposal, it is apparent that the proposed bridging and middle ground position has, instead, widened the gap among the positions of the parties.

3. Therefore, it does not bridge any gap, nor does it create a middle ground.


From our analysis of the document, the proposed guiding principles are not reflected on the articles proposed to bridge the gap. The following are our observations:

1.1.1. The purpose of the HLRF is not to renew and strengthen the TGoNU, but it is rather to revitalize the ARCSS and ensure its implementation. Therefore, it is our view that the principles proposed to renew and strengthen the TGoNU is conflicting with the objectives of the HLRF. Therefore, since the life of the de facto TGoNU has come to an end on May 17, 2018, the principle of establishment of the new TGoNU must guide the proposal of the new transition.
1.1.2. The principle of equitable participation is not reflected in the proposed responsibility-sharing ratios as indicated under articles 4, 5, and 6.
1.1.3. This principle should not only be reflective of goals, but more importantly the mandate and objectives of the transition.
1.1.4. …………
1.1.5. The responsibility-sharing ratios as provided in articles 4, 5 and 6 do not ensure effective checks and balances because they give the de facto TGoNU a mechanical majority.
1.1.6. The principle of collegiality would be undermined by the fact that all the presidential powers have been invested in the President, unlike the in the ARCSS where powers, functions and responsibilities were divided and shared in articles 5, 6, 7 and 8 of ARCSS.
1.1.7. ……
1.1.8. The principle position of the SPLM/A (IO) is to institute federal system of governance at the commencement of the transitional period.
1.1.9. ARCSS has taken care of the issues of dialogue, popular consultations and transitional justice as provided for in Chapters 5 and 6.

Under the proposed structure: We reject this proposal for the following reasons:
(a) The idea of the incumbency of the TGoNU is defunct since its mandate ended as provided by the ARCSS. The position of the SPLM/A (IO) is not to tailor the agreement to personalities. We, therefore, do not agree with the idea of the incumbency.
(b) The SPLM/A (IO) stands by the structure, functions, and powers as spelt out by the ARCSS. We propose that the position of the Vice President is to be filled by SSOA and OPP.
(c) The SPLM/A (IO) rejects the proposal from the government to expand the executive (42 Ministers, 15 Deputy Ministers) and the TNLA (440). The SPLM/A (IO) is committed to the notion of a lean government by instituting a federal system of government where more responsibilities are taken care of at the lower levels.
(d) Expansion does not necessarily mean inclusivity. The idea of accommodation creates more problems and undermines the need to address principle and structural matters of government which have contributed to the current crisis.
3.2. Our institution is SPLM/SPLA (IO). Therefore, it must be referenced with its proper name “SPLM/SPLA (IO)”.
4.1 This provision talks of the imperativeness of inclusivity in the composition of the revitalized TGoNU. This is good in principle. But it is not reflected in 4.2 and 4.
4.3. Re-allocation of responsibility
Paragraph (b) talks of a shift in allegiance. We see this reflected in the re-allocation in regards to Taban’s defection from the SPLM/A (IO). But, the same thing is not reflected in regards those who defected from the government such as General Bapiny, General Cirillo, General Malong Awan, etc.
Paragraph (d) talks of premium of the various high offices. This needs clarification.
Paragraph (e) talks of inherent advantage of incumbency. What is that advantage, and how is it relevant in this arrangement? We are negotiating to end a conflict. The responsibility-sharing should be informed by the variances and the context of crisis. Giving an advantage to a specific group would definitely be biased and defeat the principle of inclusivity and collective decision-making.
4.3 Allocation of responsibilities under this provision kills the principle of inclusivity as it imposes the status quo.
Power-sharing does not reflect the reality in the states and local government levels. It is even silent on the state legislatures and local government areas. As such, it does not bridge the gaps, nor does it create a middle ground. It only validates the status quo.
5.4 and 5.5. One of the objectives of HLRF is to revise the ARCSS timeline in order to prepare country for democratic elections. This proposal exclude some parties from participating in certain regions. This would be disadvantageous to the democratic process as envisaged in the agreement, and result in an unfair elections. Excluding any group or region in this arrangement shall not address the crisis in the country. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) position is that the responsibility-sharing ratios apply throughout the country and at all levels of the governments.
5.6. The SPLM/SPLA (IO) rejects the formation of this IBC as irrelevant to the ARCSS. The ARCSS is clear on the boundary and the number of states in the country. The boundaries of the ten (10) states stand as stipulated in ARCSS.
6.3. The allocation of seats in the TNLA:
• Gives the government total power in the decision making.
• Undermines checks and balances.
• Kills the principle of equitable participation
• Kills any attempt for institutional reforms and transformation.
The SPLM/A (IO) stands for the principle of a lean government.
6.5. Talks of selection of a Speaker…..
• There should not be any attempt to allocate leadership positions in the legislature to regions or groups as it undermines democratic principles.
• The Speaker should not be selected by any group.
• The reconstituted TNLA should elect its Speaker in a normal democratic parliamentary procedure.
6.13. Composition, functions and mandates of the Council of States.
• Refer to SPLM/A (IO) position on the Council of States. Responsibility-sharing shall apply to the Council of States.

7.1. Talks of devolution of more powers and resources to substitute for federalism (refer to the principle 1.1.8):
• Federal and democratic system of government should not be postponed to the future exercises.
• There must be real constitutional division of powers (competences) and resources between the various levels of government such that no level can grab powers and resources from the others.
• Therefore, federal system of governance must be instituted at the commencement of the transitional period (SEE SPLM/A-IO position on federalism).

This is unnecessary expansion of government at a time of scarce resources. It does not bridge any gap between the parties, nor does it create any middle ground.
This is not a bridge, nor is it middle ground.
• There are other mechanisms for benefits.
• There is no need for former leaders to advise on the goals of transition.
• ARCSS has provisions for the processes of reconciliation, healing and so on.
1. The Parties have agreed for a permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangement workshop for implementation of agreement but the parties did not agree to differed outstanding issues to the workshop. All unresolved issues at the negotiations have been transferred to be discussed and agreed upon at the (PCTSA) Workshop. These matters must be resolved by the political leaders to the conflict rather than the workshop which is designed for the implementation of the agreement (not negotiations).
2. CTSAMM is an implementation institution for monitoring and verification mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements therefore, it has no mandate to facilitate negotiations on outstanding security issues.
3. All outstanding issues on security that have not been adequately discussed and resolved during the negotiations have been watered down in the proposed new agreement text (e.g De-militarization of Juba and other towns has been lost in the new text). This has totally changed the meaning from its original context (The new text does not address the concerns anymore). E.g. 1.11.4 (original and proposed text do not carry the same meaning).
4. The provisions on cantonment of forces as well as the timeline for unification of forces that have been agreed upon, but have all been changed. The proposal has regressed from the previously agreed proposal from the parties. This is unfortunate.
5. We have raised the issue of security for the country, the mediation is adamant to only address the security of opposition leaders’ referring it to 3rd party. SPLM/SPLA (IO) is concern about personalizing the security rather than institutionalizing it. We disagree with special arrangements for special groups. From experience, 3rd party have not been spared by SPLA. Civilians were killed in Juba and PoCs (Bor, Malakal and Wau) and recently in Leer. In order for third party forces to be effective, all security forces without exception must be cantoned.
6. Our views as SPLM/SPLA (IO) have not been reflected in this proposal. It seems, the draft proposal is to maintain the status quo. This contradicts the title of the document which reads “Bridging Proposal” or “ Middle Ground”, this proposal has not done that (e. g. Cantonment, timeline, TSA, etc).

SPLM/SPLA (IO) position on governance and security is clear, find attached is our position on all issues.

Hon. Henry Odwar
Head of Delegation,

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