Opinion – First and foremost, I welcome the adoption by the parties to the agreement of the communiqué of the 55th extraordinary session of the IGAD council of ministers. In spite of the alteration of the initial sequence in the much anticipated execution of the August accord, the step taken to accept it is a crucial break through.
However, varieties of reactions and views regarding the communiqué have drawn my attention, analysis and response. At some points, I agree on the views which are opposed to the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) before the amendment of the constitution which incorporates the agreement. At other points, it is imperative to discern that the communiqué dictates and that it puts on hold the amendment of the constitution pending the disagreement between the two warring parties on the 28 new states.
“The Council of Ministers calls on the parties to incorporate the agreement into the transitional constitution as signed, but confirms that the TGoNU can be formed on the basis of ARCSS, and the provisions which render it supreme to the constitution.” Read article 14
In a coherent account, the matter of 28 states is set for negotiation post formation of the unity government by the parties to the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS). The creation of 28 states is seen as being inconsistent with the term of the ARCSS, but should not hinder the formation of the TGoNU.
“The Council got concerned by the recent decision of the Government of South Sudan to implement the October 2, 2015 Presidential Decree on the creation of the 28 new states, given that such action is inconsistent with the term of ARCSS. However, council underlined that this should not delay the formation of the TGoNU and urges the rapid formation of the TGoNU to enable dialogue in this matter.” Read article 7
In the communiqué, one will find that there are a number of provisions which render the agreement supreme to the constitution. Consequently, the unity government can be formed without the constitution. That does not have to make anyone drag their feet anymore.
That stands to reason that the parties shall negotiate and come to term on the number of the appropriately studied states with apparent defined boundaries by the National Boundary Commission (NBC).
“The Council of Ministers urges the parties, subsequent to the formation of TGoNU at national level, in the absence of agreement on the creation of new states, to suspend further action on implementing the operationalization of new states until an inclusive, participatory National Boundary Commission comprising all parties to ARCSS review proposed states and their boundaries, and that this review occur for a period of one month.” Read article 12
In view of the known changes, we are left with no other option than to think about the need to demilitarize and deploy the acceded military forces in the city. This is necessary and sufficient and it should be addressed prior to the formation of the TGoNU. The provision on the security arrangement is so paramount. Formation of the TGoNU may be necessary, but may not be sufficient because having not demilitarized and deployed forces ahead of the unity government formation; the agreement will definitely be under the threat of collapsing.
Once the forces are deployed and the demilitarization takes place, we will be sure that nothing can threaten the implementation of the agreement. And the new road map to peace execution will stand a chance to work out.
“The Council calls on the parties to immediately implement, by no later than the first week of February 2016, the first phase of the Transitional Security Arrangement for Juba in order to provide the establishment without further delay of the TGoNU.” Read article 10
Both IGAD and JMEC gave to Caesar what belonged to Caesar and gave to God what belonged to God. All that we need to put at the back of our minds is the fact that mediating body – more often than not remains impartial. They can only identify one‘s faults, and it is up to them who are having the faults identified to adjust before disciplinary measures are taken against them as a matter of response to their resistance and notoriety.
“The government action has led to impasse and a challenge in sequencing the implementation of the agreement.” Mogae
“The plan to create 28 new states in South Sudan is inconsistent with the peace agreement signed last year and should be suspended.” IGAD
“What is clearly unacceptable is the rhetoric of some of those in favor of one configuration of states over the others who have threatened war if there is any reversal in policy, and vice versa.” Mogae
With every quoted statement in the above paragraphs, one will be able to tell A and B apart.
The other vital and fundamental matter to address which was not in the communiqué is the need to lift the state of emergency so that movements are not restricted within the country and outside. Freedom of movement should be granted to those ones who need to move. Casting people in the negative light should stop instantly so as everyone realizes the prevalence of peace in the country. The thirst for kidnapping, burning houses, killings, raping and arresting people should be curtailed as long as both parties are willing and committed to the full implementation of the pact.
Ultimately, I recommend that we keenly read and internalize the communiqué in order to avoid hanging in the balance. We may read and conclude that the position of IGAD is dubious when in actual sense it is quite apparent. Others may conclude that they are confused or IGAD is bias.
Forever, shall Justice, Liberty and Prosperity reign.