Let’s look why the JCE thinks that the current R-ARCSS agreement appears as focusing on power sharing than building peace.
By Marial Deng
1. It doesn’t remove the army from politics whether they will participate in elections or not
2. Upon reunification and elections are carried out, if there’s dissatisfaction between the parties seeking to get or retain power, what is the chance that the army may not split on tribal lines the same way it did in 2013?
3. The agreement also doesn’t state the way forward in controlling flow of guns to the civilians and stopping communal conflicts. Currently, there’s fighting everywhere. Disarming armed civilians and ending communal conflict is a project which might take a couple of years for a hard working government to minimize or get rid of it. However, here comes elections in two years’ normal time
4. It doesn’t also tell how to prevent the army into meddling into national elections which should be treated as civilians elections. Some of those who may go for elections are active military leaders, the agreement doesn’t specify whether they will need to retire from the army prior to joining politics. Maybe the constitution will specify
5. It doesn’t also specify the role of peace guarantors in the event that the parties may disagree or delay transition. And while heading into elections and there appears to be irregularities and thus returning to war is eminent, where will the intervention come from? Should the parties be watched at while sliding back into war?
6. It has taken the parties a year to form national cabinet, states and local governments, how long will it take to reconstitute the assemblies both national and states?
7. With time running out, there’s a likelihood that the parties will be caught up by time, electoral laws are some of the basis for a free and transparent elections, which need to be given due attention without these, there will be a mess
8. Refugees, IDPs are still in camps and yet they are part of the people that need to participate whether in the constitution, electoral laws reforms and finally elections
9. The government is not having money to run all these necessary activities, reunification of the army is being delayed with the government having no cash to finance the implementation of the agreement, civil servants don’t receive their monthly payment and when they do, it will be one month out of eight unpaid months, it’s not allowing positive atmosphere into elections
10. Armed civilians are not disarmed neither are there preparations to do so and it will be too dangerous to carry out elections when they hold guns. They will either disrupt or threaten peace during elections
11. National and state government has been expanded with states and local governments alone making 5382, governors + administrators =13, deputy governors + deputy administrator = 13, states advisors =78, state ministers =221, state MPs =923, commissions =390, county commissioners =82, county councils =3640. This doesn’t include office assistants, civil servants, organized forces, where will the government get money to pay these large government when it hasn’t been able to pay civil servants?
12. President Salva Kiir and FVP Dr. Riek Machar who took each other in one of the most brutal conflicts in our time, that has left the South Sudanese social fabric distorted may want to challenge each other for Presidency at the end of transitional period, however, how prepared are the people to receive them during the campaign?
How safe is any of them campaigning freely in the rivalry’s strong holds? For instance Nasir, Leer, Akobo for President Kiirdit? Gogrial West, Awiel East Dr. Riek Machar?