Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Attn: Amb. Ismail Wais
USSSAP Opinion on the Revitalization of ARCSS
With due recognition of the important role and commitment of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU), United Nations (UN) and International Partners and Friends of South Sudan to end the war and suffering of the people of South Sudan and to bring about sustainable peace and stability in the country, and
Encouraged by the new IGAD initiative to convene a High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) on the Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), The US South Sudanese Academics and Professionals (USSSAP), a US based South Sudanese Civil Society Organization and bona fide stakeholder in the South Sudan peace process, would like to commend and support the convening of the HLRF.
To which end, USSSAP would like to suggest a new set of principles informed by the failure in the implementation of the peace agreement in 2016, as the modus operandi for the revitalization of ARCSS.
1. General principles
1.1. Recognize that the implementation of ARCSS as signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on August 17th and in Juba, South Sudan on August 26th, 2015 totally
failed and that the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) born of the agreement and everything associated with it must be considered null and void.
1.2. Accept that the revitalization of ARCSS must not be centered on the faction of the SPLM party but rather on the people of South Sudan as represented by its three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr el Ghazal as the basis of formation of a new interim arrangement. This is in recognition of the inherent contradiction arising from the SPLM as a political party being the problem of South Sudan and at the same time being upheld as the solution to the problem.. Establish good faith in the ARCSS revitalization process by a truly inclusive representation in the HLRF and equal weight being given to all stakeholders or partners including Political Parties or Movements, Civil Society
Organizations, Faith-Based Institutions, Women Groups and Youth Organizations.
1.4. Agree that a South Sudan Interim Government (SSIG) must be established to take over from the failed TGoNU. The SSIG should be formed based on representation of the people of the three regions of South Sudan, namely Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr el Ghazal and the office holders must be men and women selected and vetted on their qualification and professional expertise or experience irrespective of any affiliations to a political party, civil society group or association.
1.5. Concede that the leaders of the SPLM party or any other party who have held positions in the Presidency or Vice Presidency of the Republic of South Sudan shall be excluded from the leadership of SSIG to pave their way for participation in the elections to replace the SSIG. On the other hand, individuals appointed to the Presidency or Vice Presidency of the SSIG shall not participate in the election of leaders to take over from the SSIG. The leaders of all groups registered as political parties during the interim period are strongly encouraged to focus on developing their parties into viable political institutions and agents of democratic transformation of South Sudan in preparation for elections following the interim period.
1.6. Acknowledge that the President and Vice President of the of SSIG, and the Speaker of the Interim Legislative Assembly (ILA) must be recognized eminent or national figures with experience and leadership skills in either Politics, Civil Service, Business or Faith-Based Institutions and must be individuals with possibly no interest in pursuit of a political career beyond their role in the interim government. The three positions shall be shared among the three regions of South Sudan.
1.7. Admit that South Sudan shall be run during the interim period on the basis of ten states and their respective sub-administrative divisions predating both the 32 states created by President Salva Kiir in October 2015 and January 2017, and 21 states declared by Dr. Riek Machar in December 2014. A Commission to study and recommend the suitable number of states for the Republic of South Sudan based on appropriate criteria shall be appointed by the SSIG to come up with recommendations for implementation during the Interim Period.
Moreover, it shall be taken into consideration that the three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr el Ghazal shall all comprise of equal number of states.
1.8. Realize that a mechanism for enforcement of reforms in the security sector during the transitional period to ensure compliance and timely implementation necessary to ensure that identified extreme minority ethnic groups are guaranteed presence in the various armed forces.
2.4.2. Reabsorption of existing forces and/or new recruitment must be based on rigorous selection criteria to meet training or retraining needs. The criteria must include minimal education requirement i.e. completion of 8 years of formal education to be eligible to serve in the infantry, and a high school certificate to be eligible for training as an officer; eligibility age requirement of 18 to 45 for recruitment into the service; and robust health determined by undergoing a prescribed medical checkup.
2.4.3. Forces not qualified for retraining and deployment in the various armed forces as needed shall be absorbed into various public works depending on availability of vacancies and fitness or retired with some gratuity.
2.5. Justice and Accountability: In addition to crimes against humanity and war crimes, justice and accountability must be broadened to include crimes committed against the state (including massive looting and misappropriation of state resources, money laundering, diversion of state funds to benefit private militias, abuse of public properties like homes, vehicles, etc.). Other provisions stipulated in the original agreement including the formation of Hybrid Courts shall be effected to try all suspects and mete out appropriate punitive actions including recovery of ill-gotten wealth.
3. Revision of ARCSS
ARCSS as endorsed previously shall be revised to reflect the General Principles set herein for revitalization of the agreement as stipulated in Article-1 andaccommodate changes suggested in Article-2 and others that maybe forthcoming.
All other articles of ARCSS deemed appropriate in their original form shall remain as they are or tweaked as deemed necessary.
Dr. Henry Y. Lejukole
Research Scientist, NewLink Genetics Corporation, Ames, Iowa
Dr. Benaiah Yongo-Bure, Professor, Kettering University, Flint, Michigan
Dr. Jane Kani Edward, Clinical Asst. Professor, Fordham University, New York
Dr. Sam Laki, Professor, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio