National Dialogue Initiative – Final Report from Central Equatoria Sub–Committee

Posted: September 7, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in History, HLRF, Junub Sudan, National Dialogue

National Dialogue Steering Committee Report – Final Report from the Sub-Committee on Central Equatoria states (PDF)

National Dialogue, concept reflictions by Mading Deng

“In this polarized and polarizing conflict, perceptions can overshadow reality, and whatever the equation of the power structures, the Dinka are being seen as having replaced the Arabs as the rulers in an ethnically unjust system. As the various ethnic groups converge against what they perceive as Dinka domination, the Dinka in turn begin to perceive themselves as targeted and paradoxically as in imminent danger of a genocidal onslaught. They therefore strive to mobilize themselves in self-defense.” – Dr Francis Mading Deng – SOUTH SUDAN NATIONAL DIALOGUE; Conceptual Reflections page 43

National Dialogue Steering Committee – Final Report from Central Equatoria Sub–Committee

Executive Summary

1.1 Introduction

The Central Equatoria Sub-Committee of the National Dialogue was in the field for 45 days, beginning in Yei River State in October 2017, and proceeding to Juba, Capital of Jubek State. The team continued with consultations in Terekeka State and finalized the assignment by conducting meetings in Ganji and Lokiliri counties of Jubek State and in Tali County in Terekeka State in March 2018. The estimated total number of the people consulted, in 37 meetings, is 3,200, inclusive of all sectors of the communities targeted.

The mandate of the Sub-Committee was to guide the process of the National Dialogue, listen and document the concerns raised by the participants and ensure an environment of inclusivity, transparency, freedom of speech and full participation in the consultations.

The stakeholders were asked: What, in their opinion, are the causes of the political and communal violence in the country that has caused unnecessary deaths, displacement into the bush, refugee camps as well as the suffering from hunger and disease? What, in their opinion, is the solution to bring the Republic of South Sudan back to peace, stability, and development?

The process of consultations was highly successful, due to the cooperation and support from Governors of Yei River State, Jubek State and Terekeka State. The Sub-Committee would like to convey its gratitude for the popular reception accorded to the team by the Governors of these three States. Each of the State Governments formed a committee to mobilize, coordinate and facilitate the work of the Sub-Committee. In each State, the committee was provided with transport, security escort to counties and lecture halls. Their support extended to contribution of fuel, feeding and accommodation of the team in Morobo, Kaya, Lainya and Tali Counties.  The participants were very keen to meet with the National Dialogue Sub-Committee and they responded enthusiastically.

1.6 Summary of Emerging Issues in Former Central Equatoria State:  Yei State, Jubek State and Terekeka State:

1.6.1 Unification of the SPLA as one Army of South Sudan was not done.

1.6.2 Lack of Services from all the Ministries.

1.6.3 Lack of Retirement Age Limit for government employees.

1.6.4 Promotions in all sectors are not equitable and uniform.

1.6.5 Proliferation of firearms, which the government is unable to control, is a big problem.

1.6.6 Employment opportunities are not equitable in all the sectors.

1.6.7 Widespread rape of girls and women, looting and killings in former Central Equatoria Sate, particularly in Yei River State.

1.6.8 Immigration and borders are being controlled by one tribe only.

1.6.9 Widespread child abduction cases without intervention by the Central Government.

1.6.10 Economic crisis, random killings and looting in the country.

1.6.11 Salary delays are a big problem.

1.7 Main Issues Identified in Central Equatoria States of Yei River, Jubek and Terekeka:

1.7.1 Land grabbing: This issue of land has become a big problem in former Central Equatoria State and needs serious intervention from National Government.

1.7.2 Tribalism: Tribalism has become the main source of conflict in South Sudan that has affected the whole country.

1.7.3 Accountability: There is lack of accountability in the country. Most government officials are corrupt and steal from public funds, but they are not accountable for being dishonest.

1.7.4 Governor David Lokonga is a contributor to the destruction of Yei River State. His allegation that “all the bodoboda[1] boys are rebels” alienated most of the youth and encouraged them to join the SPLM-IO in the bush.

1.7.5 Pastoralists are seen as the main source of conflicts in former Central Equatoria State, particularly in Yei River State.

1.7.6 Borders: Issues of borders between Terekeka and Bor, Terekeka and Jubek are seen in Terekeka State as serious enough problems to warrant intervention from Central Government.

1.7.7 Power Struggle has also become the main source of conflict in South Sudan.

1.7.8 Tribal Army: The so call Mathiang Anyoor[2], are seen as the main source of conflict in Yei River State and in other parts of Central Equatoria, for example Bongo and Lobonok in Jubek State.

1.7.9 The Jieng Council of Elders is accused of being the main contributor to all the conflicts in South Sudan.

1.8 Recommendations of Stakeholders Consulted in Former Central Equatoria State: Yei River State, Jubek State and Terekeka State:

1.8.1 Security Reforms SPLA should be a national army of South Sudan, independent of any political party and not as it is now affiliated to the SPLM Party. Representation of the sixty-four tribes in the national army is necessary to balance the force from being dominated by one or few tribes. Equitable Employment: Government should recruit proportionally from all the tribes in the country to avoid imbalance with forces composed mostly of tribes supporting their ethnic communities, often breaking military rules and creating tribal militias in the country, thus fueling tribal conflicts. Unification of the SPLA factions into one South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF) to fairly defend the people and the country, not just leave them as splintered brigades who function on tribal lines and in unethical manner. Age Limit: The SPLA/M Ministry of Defense should set out clearly a law for the national army. It should clearly spell out the age limit for serving in the national armed forces, after which their pensions are paid and retired from the forces to leave vacancy for the youths to upgrade their ranks in the army. Efficient Service: The SPLA/M have to provide efficient services to all the army units, by paying their salaries in time, providing uniforms, feeding and healthcare; hence reducing crimes caused by the army when these services are not provided in time. Promotions in the SPLA/M must be equitable and based on merit. General Disarmament must be carried out evenly and thoroughly throughout the country. Mathiang Anyoor: This army unit is unprofessional. It is fueling conflicts, looting, rapping, and killings in the state. We demand for its immediate removal from the barracks of Yei River State.

1.9.1 Institutional Reforms​ Equal Employment Opportunities: The public sector of South Sudan should have equitable opportunities for citizens. Employment should be based on merit and qualification. Resources should be shared equitably and equally throughout the nation. Revenue collected locally should be managed by the states. While 40% of the locally raised income should be given to the national government, 60 % should remain in the state for development. Resources and budget allocations of the national government should be distributed proportionally, based on the population of each state. Foreign investors who come to south Sudan must first present their intended activities at the level of the state where they intend operate; they can then be referred to the National Government by the concerned state. Local Government and Law Enforcement Agencies at the state level should be granted powers of structuring local administration and governing the citizens in the state without interference from the National Government.

1.10.1 Public Service Promotions in the public sector should be at least after two to three years to allow for application of pensions and new recruitments in all government institutions. Public Service should provide job descriptions for all employees in government institutions. Pensions: Payment of pensions should be made at the level of relevant state for retiring employees who have served in government institutions. Scholarship programs applications should also be advertised at state levels, not only at the national level. Jobs in the public sector at national level should be awarded on the bases of relevant academic qualifications and experience in the field.

1.11.1 Social Issues Land should belong and be owned by the community. Laws governing ownership and titles should be clearly recorded at both the national and states levels. Community land border issues should be resolved at the inter-states level and based on the 1956 borders. Pastoralist and cattle owners from other regions should leave Equatria Region. Those groups who committed crimes of looting, child abduction and cattle raiding in the Equatorial Region should be brought to justice at the national level. Empowerment of traditional leaders to solve cases of traditional nature, such as marriages, should be effected at the state level.

1.12.1 Governance and Sovereignty Confederal system of governance must be implemented by the National Government. This should be based on the three regions of Greater Equatoria, Greater Upper Nile and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal. The Constitution of the nation should be amended according to the will of the citizens, for effective respect of the law and governance. It should be translated into all the national languages of our ethnic communities. The local chiefs should be given the necessary training to understand the level of crimes and the laws governing the citizens according to the national constitution. Salary for Chiefs: The chiefs should be paid salaries and facilitated with transport to reach all parts of the locality under their jurisdiction.

1.13.1 Political Issues Decree Appointments: The President of South Sudan should stop appointing governors and members of parliament to power by decrees. Such positions should be filled through elections by the citizens, so that democracy is followed to minimize corruption in political appointments. Equitable Employment: There should be equal and proportional representation of the three regions in political posts at the national level inside South Sudan as well as in the Foreign Service, where at the moment only one tribe dominates. Peace & Healing: There should be a process for peace, reconciliation and healing, beginning from the top political leaders to the citizens for genuine forgiveness in South Sudan. Hate speeches at top political level have to be prohibited by law to avoid passing hatred on to the next generations of South Sudanese

1.14.1 Developmental Aspects Even Development: There should be equitable development programs delegated by the National Government to the states level to boost even development of the country. Women should be given 50% of development programs to empower them to contribute to building South Sudan for future generations. New States: Priority should be given to newly created states, to build their capacity to govern effectively. They should elect their own governors, who should not be appointed by presidential decree. Foreign Investors, NGOs and companies coming to South Sudan should be deployed equally to states for even development of South Sudan.

1.15.1 Way Forward for Smooth Transition, Fair and Free Elections ARCSS should be fully implemented as called for by IGAD. This is the only way forward for resolving all the conflicts and bring about a lasting peace for South Sudan. JMEC: The parties to the agreement (ARCSS) should be accountable to JMEC in all cases of delay or deviation. Constitutional Review Commission: The commission for the amendment of the national constitution must be fully funded to speed up the process. The concern is that without constitutions, the elections will not be possible by 2018 as planned. Full implementation of ARCSS is the way forward for constitutional amendment. There is concern over the delays in the Constitutional Amendment process. Election Monitors should include the UN and foreign observers, while the management of the elections is handled by the UN for credible results. Development Funds: Funds designated for national development projects should be managed through the UN and the IMF.

1.16.1 Strategy for the Return of IDPs and Refugees Repatriation and Resettlement: The government should make proper agreements and arrangements with all parties involved in the care of refugees and internally displaced South Sudanese for smooth repatriation from the camps in the neighboring countries as well as the resettlement of the internally displaced citizens.

1.17.1 Arrangements for Armed Forces Warring Parties: All the warring parties (SPLA IG/IO and Others) should assemble their forces in cantonment areas, where selection into the national army and training can take place. Size of Security Organs: All security organs must be balanced and limited to numbers manageable by government’s resources. Exclusive Forces: The Police, Prisons, Wildlife and Migration departments at states level should be exclusively staffed by sons and daughters of each state. Reconstruction and Compensation: The Central Government should bear responsibility for the destruction caused by the war at the state level. There should be government’s reconstruction of the destroyed buildings and compensation for properties of the citizens looted by the SPLA soldiers.

1.18.1 National Peace, Healing and Reconciliation Healing and Reconciliation should take place when guns are silent and total peace is restored in the country; then the healing and reconciliation can take place between the SPLM-IG and the SPLM-IO. Human Rights: There should be respect for Human Rights among South Sudanese, regardless of politics and ethnic affiliation. The national body for Human Rights should be headed by a UN appointee. Hybrid Court: The government should speed up the establishment of Hybrid Court outside the country for fair trial for crimes committed by South Sudanese nationals during the conflicts. There should be rigorous enforcement of the law by the law enforcement agencies to protect the rights of citizens and aliens alike.

1.19.1 Power Struggle The Republic of South Sudan should be supervised by the African Union (AU) for a specific period of time to avoid the grabbing of power by military means.

1.19.1. 2 AU should use force to punish leaders who want to take power by force.

1.20.1 Conclusion Federal System of Government: Generally, all the stakeholders consulted in Central Equatoria Region stand for a Federal System of Government based on the three regionswhich they believe will transfer political power and resources to the grassroots and avoid manipulations by Central Government to centralize power and resources, in spite of the decentralization policy. The National Dialogue Steering Committee is now to oversee further consultations at Regional Level on issues and recommendations raised at the Grassroots Level and cluster the results for further discussions later in the year at the National Level. In fact the Grassroots National Dialogue consultations seem to have motivated the communities to start owning the National Dialogue for peace to address community to community violent conflicts. The earlier the Regional Conferences are held, the more that would encourage community to community peace and reconciliation conferences, which in turn shall enhance the Revitalization process for the ARCSS.

1.21.1 Declaration The above voices are from stakeholders, as mandated by the National Dialogue Steering Committee.

[1] Bodoboda is a motorbike commonly used as taxi in South Sudanese towns.

[2] Mathiang Anyoor is an army unit supportive of the government; but is seen as being entirely manned by the Dinka and therefore “a tribal militia”.

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 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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