Peace talks collapse as warring factions unite in rejecting IGAD’s abridging proposal

Posted: May 24, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Editorials, Emmanuel Ariech Deng, HLRF, Junub Sudan, PaanLuel Wël

By Emmanuel Ariech Deng (Addis Ababa) and PaanLuel Wel (Juba)

HLRF Hall of Deliberation

 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 (PW) — South Sudan’s sworn enemies and bitter rivals have unanimously united in rejecting the compromised power sharing formula and security arrangements offered by IGAD’s Bridging Proposal towards the outstanding issues in the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The IGAD’s Abridging Proposal had proposed a revitalized transitional government headed by a president, supported by three vice presidents, and a power sharing ratios of 55% to the government, 25% to the SPLM-IO, 10% to the SSOA, 5% to the SPLM-FDs and the other 5% to the Other Opposition Parties (OPP).

The government has rubbished this proposal and instead insisted on a transitional government headed by a president, with four vice presidents, two of which would be nominated by the government. More importantly, the government seems to be incensed by the apparent removal of Taban Deng Ghai’s position.

Moreover, the government has vetoed the power sharing formula and has instead proposed the following ratios: Government 65%, SPLM-IO 15%, SPLM-FDs 5%, National Alliance Parties 5%, Parties of National Agenda 5% and South Sudan Opposition Alliance 5%.

Whereas IGAD had proposed that the government would take 65% of all state governors while the SPLM-IO takes 25%, and other opposition groups, comprising of the Former Political Detainees (FDs), South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance (SSOA), and Other Opposition Parties (OPP), will take the remaining 10%, the government has counter-proposed the following: Government 70%, SPLM-IO 15%and the remaining 15% for other opposition groups.

With regards to the transitional legislative assembly, IGAD had proposed that the additional 108 members would be contributed by SPLM-IO (70) and other opposition groups (38), the government has rejected that by proposing the following: Government 50 members, SPLM-IO 30 members, and Other Opposition Parties 28 members.

The only area of concurrence between the government and IGAD is on the deferred questions of federalism and the 32/10 states, which both parties have agreed to be tackled during the reform phase of the peace agreement. SPLM-IO and other opposition groups have cried foul on this point, accusing IGAD of siding with the government, which they compare to condoning and rewarding impunity and violations of the ARCSS.

On its part, the SPLM-IO have categorically rejected the abridging proposal by IGAD. In a press statement, Mabioor Garang de Mabioor, the head of SPLM-IO information and public relation committee, stated: “The leadership of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) would like to inform our members and the people of South Sudan at large that we have categorically rejected the IGAD’s Abridging Proposal.”

Mr. Mabioor Garang argues that the IGAD power sharing proposal “is an endorsement of the status quo which emerged in Juba after the collapse of the ARCISS.” He concludes that “The IGAD Proposal further rewards the regime in Juba for their intransigence throughout the peace process and for their well-documented role in precipitating the collapse of the ARCISS in July, 2016.”

“We proposed that the country should adopt a federal system but the proposal ignored it and supported the government position. We reject the proposal that maintains the current 32 states because it is a clear violation of the 2015 peace agreement and the 2011 constitution,” Mr. Manawa Peter Gatkuoth, deputy head of the SPLM-IO’s committee for information and public relations, told Radio Tamazuj in Addis Ababa.

FUNNY

The South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance (SSOA), an umbrella groups of different opposition parties including the FDs, has dismissed the Abridging Proposal by IGAD as a “one-sided” proposal which is nothing more than a wholesale endorsement of the well-known positions of the government on various thematic issues.

Yesterday, IGAD circulated a new abridging proposal on principles of governance for transitional period, structure of the transitional government, the composition of the government, responsibility sharing, and allocation of responsibility, structure and composition of state government, inclusive boundary commission and transitional national legislature.

However, today, after reading through written position papers from the TGoNU, SPLM-IO and SSOA on a bridging proposal this afternoon, it was abundantly clear to everyone that the warring parties had united in categorically rejecting the IGAD proposal on power sharing and security arrangements. Only then did it dawn on the mediators and stakeholders that the peace process have faltered again, in the third round of the HLRF.

A refugee representative from Uganda, Simon Marot who was given a chance to speak, threatened the South Sudanese leaders, declaring that “if you people do not achieve peace this time, this month or in the next two months, then we the citizen will determine the fate of the country by any price.”

Simon Marot stressed that any leadership in the whole world must take into account the wellbeing of the people they lead which, he reiterated, is not the case with the current leadership of our country.

Another Female refugee representative who requested for anonymity, made an emotional presentation to the leaders during the signing of the agreed cantonment of forces. And all women in the hall of negotiation could be seen showing post cards in solidarity with her touching messages, “why do you leaders reluctant to bringing peace to the country, why do you want us to represent our country as refugees.”

Reacting from Juba, South Sudan, Pal Chol Nyan, a South Sudanese political analyst with PaanLuel Wel Media Ltd, blamed conflicting regional interests for the failure of the peace talks. “If there are people who failed and let us down, they are not further away from our borders. They have proclivity to talk but are not able to resolve our conflict in a conclusive way. It seems they are hamstrung by their vested interests in the South Sudan. Given this state of uncertainty, South Sudanese should dismiss any hope for peace from our neighbors,” he lamented the collapse of the peace process.

Edmund Yakani in Addis Ababa, May 23, 2018

Edmund Yakani, Human Right Defender and the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO)

Speaking to PaanLuel Wel Media Ltd, Human Right Defender and the Executive Director of the leading civil society organization, the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO), Mr. Edmund Yakani, express disappointment over the positions of the parties to the IGAD proposal on governance.

“This bridging proposal does not favor any of the parties and that the parties must drop their interest and come together to bring peace to the desperate citizens in the country,” he said. Mr. Yakani stressed that “feet dragging attitudes toward this proposal by the parties is not the priority in these trying moments.”

With the swift rejection of the IGAD proposal by the warring parties, observers are worried that IGAD might be pressured by the international community to impose another peace agreement on South Sudan’s warring factions, a factor which was largely blamed for the failure of the 2015 ARCSS which was imposed on the government and the opposition.

South Sudan was plunged into a deadly civil war in December 2013 following a leadership contest in the ruling SPLM party when President Kiir and his then deputy, Dr. Riek Machar, failed to agree on the best method of conducting party election for the post of the chairmanship. Winning the post of the chairperson of the ruling SPLM party is widely seen as an assured way of clinching the presidency.

The five year old civil war has displaced over four million people, crippled the economy, frayed social fabric and exacerbated underdevelopment in a nation besieged by conflict for the best part of its nascent existence.

The third round of the HLRF of the 2015 ARCSS has officially been adjourned pending a new date that will be picked and communicated after the IGAD Council of Ministers Summit to be convened in the coming few days.

Reporting by PaanLuel Wel Media Correspondent, Emmanuel Ariech Deng, at the IGAD-led High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Editing by PaanLuel Wel from Juba, South Sudan.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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