National Democratic Movement – Why the formation of R-TGONU should be extended

Posted: April 28, 2019 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in R-TGONU

Position of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) on the Extension of the Pre-Transitional Period: Why the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) should be extended.

2 Dinkas, 3 Nuers, and one Equatorian – The Proposed Presidency of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU)

Sunday, April 28, 2019 (PW) —– Reference is made to the National Democratic Movement (NDM)’s Report on the mid-term evaluation of the Pre-Transitional Period dated 14 January 2019 which we shared with the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, the stakeholders, guarantors and friends of South Sudan. In that report, we showed that the implementation of the activities slated for the Pre-Transition on which the commencement of the Transitional Period depends were horribly behind time and recommended doubling up the pace of implementation.

In particular, we listed ten (10) areas that called for special attention so as to beat the deadline, chief among these were: unification of the forces, funding the implementation process, the IBC and demilitarization of civilian centres. Unhappily, not much has changed since our last report as outlined below. Additionally, the issue of the Transitional Constitution has come up to add to the list of the unfulfilled promises. 

1- Unification of the forces 

This is the most critical aspect of the R-ARCSS. It was agreed that the requisite unified force should be in place before the commencement of the Transitional Period in order to avoid having multiple armies in the same country and so as to safeguard against the repeat of the ugly July 2019 military confrontation between Parties to the agreement. Article 2.2 sets out the activities that should be carried out during the Pre-Transitional Period in this regard.

Specifically, Articles 2.2.8 – 2.2.11 state clearly the steps that need to be taken to ensure the completion of screening, training and deployment of the requisite unified force during the Pre-Transitional Period. The only action taken since our report was issued is that the Parties agreed on a list of cantonment areas albeit that the government kept changing some of the locations unilaterally. Hence, there has not been green light given to the Parties to move to cantonment areas. This is how things stand today.

2- The Independent Boundary Commission (IBC) 

Contrary to the provisions of Article 1.15.1 of R-ARCSS, the IBC was formed on 28 February 2019, convened on 15 March and held its first meeting on the 18th of March 2019, less than two (2) months to the end of the Pre-Transitional Period. Its original mandate as per Article 1.15.12 was ninety (90) days which is not extendable, that is if there is no disagreement between its members on the final report. For sure, the IBC cannot be expected by any stretch of imagination to complete its task on or before 12 May 2019. 

3- Funding the implementation process 

This is the Achilles’ heel in the implementation of R-ARCSS. Out of an estimated budget of around 290 million US dollars for the implementation of the activities during the Pre-Transition, the government has made a pledge of a paltry 10 million US dollars, less than 4% of the total amount. For sure it could have done more. For instance, it has committed 30,000 bbl/day of oil production to the Chinese for building roads to Bahr el Ghazal.

As important as roads are, our utmost priority now is to bring peace to our country. It is only peace that will usher in development including constructing roads all over the country. This particular road construction can wait. A simple calculation in terms of what accrues to the government in daily production, would give a figure of about 10 million US dollars monthly.

In eight (8) months this would amount to 80 million. And this is just one aspect of government revenue. Without doubt given the political will the government would have put in more money enough for the cantonment, training and deployment of the requisite unified army, if not funding all the Pre-Transition activities. 

4- Demilitarization of civilian centres 

Peace is about the normalization of the lives of our people after this devastating war. They must feel safe to return to their homes in villages and towns of South Sudan. Article of R-ARCSS stipulates that: “Civilian areas shall be immediately demilitarized. This includes schools, service centres, occupied houses, IDP camps, protection of civilian sites, villages, churches, mosques, ritual centres and livelihood areas.” None of this has materialized seven (7) months after signing the peace agreement. 

5- The Transitional Constitution 2019 

In accordance with Article 1.8, the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) was formed and produced a Constitutional Amendment Bill to incorporate R-ARCSS into the current Transitional Constitution 2011. The Bill was delivered to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in March 2019.

According to Article 1.8.6, the Bill should have been tabled before the current Transitional National Legislative Assembly within seven (7) days from its receipt by the Minister. We are not aware that such a step has been taken.

Furthermore, the Transitional Constitution 2011 and Article 1.8.7 of R-ARCSS provide that it takes at least thirty (30) days for the TNLA to commence deliberations on the Bill before ratifying it as the Transitional Constitution 2019. 

6- Summary 

From the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that critical land marks in the implementation of R-ARCSS during the Pre-Transition have not been met, some of these can make or break the fragile peace environment in the country. To recap: 

1- The process of army unification has yet to start and this will require, according to our calculations, three (3) to four (4) months given the upcoming wet season; 

2- The civilian centres should be evacuated forthwith by the forces occupying them so that civilians in IDP camps, refugee centres, POCs or anywhere else can safely move to their homes. Peace is about the people and they must truly feel that peace has come; 

3- The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs should meet his obligations under R-ARCSS to expedite the tabling of the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 before the TNLA. When this is done, thirty (30) days will still be required to ratify the Bill to become the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2019. It is only on the basis of this Constitution that the new government of National Unity (RTGoNU) shall be formed. 

4- The government has not committed enough money towards meeting the budget for the implementation of the activities of the Pre-Transitional Period. It can do more so that these vital requirements are met. 

7- Conclusion 

On the basis of the above and to ensure a smooth implementation of R-ARCSS in a manner that is to usher in a sustainable peace in South Sudan, the National Executive Committee of the NDM in its Meeting No. 55 dated 22 April 2019 deliberated on the matter.

It resolved to address the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan to invoke Article 2.2.1 of R-ARCSS to call all Parties to the agreement for a round table to consider the extension of the Pre-Transitional Period in order to give time for the attainment of the objectives set for the Pre-Transition.

The period so decided should be deducted from the length of the Transitional Period so that the elections should take place on time as agreed in R-ARCSS. 

David Lawrence Lual, Official Spokesman 

National Democratic Movement

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