The Importance of Understanding the Provisions of the Agreement

Public Service Announcement

By Capt. Mabior Garang de Mabior

Fellow South Sudanese!

There has been a lot of talk about peace in our country with little talk about the provisions of the Agreement. There has been little to no dissemination of the provisions of the Peace Agreement. This is being done deliberately by the hardliners in the regime who view the implementation of the peace as detrimental to their vested personal interest. To the traditional elites in our country, peace means a fundamental change to the status quo which they currently benefit from. It is important to understand peace from a political context and not a religious one- peace will not magically appear. Even a village peace is governed by laws; peace is the end result of following certain traditional legal ceremonies. The same applies in the context of the current Agreement; if the laws which govern it are not implemented, then the only logical thing that can follow is return to war. Peace can only be the result of successfully implementing the provisions of the Agreement. There are provisions in the Agreement to deal with the collapsed economy, to deal with the humanitarian crisis and most importantly, to restore security in the country. The security arrangements of the Agreement should be viewed by our people as the litmus test for the entire peace process. If we fail to implement the security arrangements, then the necessary conducive environment for peace will not be possible.

The following is a summary of the eight chapters of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), as a contribution to the national conversation:

  1. Chapter I (Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity) deals with power sharing and the overall structure of the new and revitalized transitional government of national unity. This is the most widely known chapter of the Agreement, especially the creation of five positions of Vice President.

  2. Chapter II (Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements) charts out how to establish a unified army from the warring factions to form a national army and a national security service; and other organized forces for the first time in our history. It is these organized units that will provide protection for the politicians (and citizens) charged with implementing the negotiated settlement. More importantly, they will be charged with protecting the Agreement itself. The Strategic Defense and Security Review Board (SDSRB)- whose setup is defined in this chapter- is supposed to preside over security sector reforms.

  3. Chapter III (Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction) details the steps that should be taken in dealing with the refugee and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) crisis in our country, and the setting up of the Special Reconstruction Fund (SRF), a fund to rebuild our vital shattered infrastructure (roads, hospitals, irrigation schemes etc.) destroyed by decades of war.

  4. Chapter IV (Resource, Economic and Financial Management) seeks to repair our broken economy, giving ordinary citizens an opportunity to earn an honest livelihood and improve their lives and those of their children. Measures to ensure responsible public spending and borrowing, equitable allocation of national resources and to curb corruption are also detailed in this chapter.

  5. Chapter V (Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing) aims to hold leaders accountable for their role in using political tribalism to foment intercommunal violence. The chapter also details the setting up of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) to address the wounds our people have suffered over countless decades of war.

  6. Chapter VI (Parameters of Permanent Constitution) allows the people of South Sudan to deal with the nationality question, which was the main source of conflict in the old Sudan. This chapter allows for the creation of the National Constitution Amendment Committee (NCAC) which will oversee this process. The highly contentious issue of state boundaries is part of the mandate of this committee.

  7. Chapter VII (Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission) provides for the creation of this oversight body whose mandate is to monitor the cessation of hostilities and ceasefire Agreements and report to the mediation, making recommendations for punitive measures against violators. Cessation of hostilities will create a conducive environment for implementation of the provisions of the Agreement.

  8. Chapter VIII (Supremacy of this Agreement and Procedures for Amendment of the Agreement) seeks to ensure that the R-ARCSS is incorporated into the law of the land and cannot be abrogated.

Compatriots!

  1. As the reader will appreciate, the R-ARCSS is a comprehensive document that addresses the most important issues facing our country today. So, what is the progress thus far in its implementation, two years after it was signed? While there has been some apparent progress, it is unfortunate that not much has been accomplished.

  2. The security arrangements are ‘ground zero’ of the peace process. If the regime was serious about peace, they would have implemented the security arrangements. There is no way the leadership of the armed opposition will go to Juba to start implementing the Agreement in the absence of clear security arrangements as stipulated in the provisions of the Agreement.

  3. The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is the last opportunity for our people to constitute a viable state. A Second Republic of South Sudan. If this Agreement fails, then we should be prepared for the unbearable status quo to continue indefinitely. The focus of the regime has been on Chapter I of the Agreement- on governance and power sharing- all other aspects of the R-ARCSS have been neglected.

  4. Our people should acquaint themselves with the rest of the Agreement because there is more to fixing our country than the fight for positions. Our people have a large stake in the Agreement, as they shall be part of the various committees charged with implementing the rest of its chapters. The future of our country depends on the successful implementation of these provisions- provisions that seek to address many of the challenges plaguing our society. The issue is beyond personal hatred for President Salva Kiir, or First Vice President Designate, Dr. Riek Machar; it is an issue of constituting a viable state for the first time in our history.

  5. Our people should be vigilant against the propaganda of the regime, who are working day and night to spread disinformation in the public. The Agreement we are struggling to revitalize today collapsed in July 2016, when the regime forces attacked the SPLM/SPLA (IO) in Juba, as is well documented by the United Nations Panel of Experts. The regime justified this to the public by erroneously claiming that the Agreement created two armies. The security arrangements of the first Agreement- which are similar to those of the current Agreement- provided for cantonment and unification of forces. However, the regime went ahead to deceive the world that the Agreement had created two armies- a blatant lie. The regime propagated this lie in order to justify the collapse of the Agreement. Even if it were true that there were two armies, this should not be strange to the regime as such a precedent exists in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005. Why is the regime resisting the establishment of a national army, insisting on maintaining a tribal army instead?

  6. I call on our young men and women who are defending the regime to consider the role they are playing in the current events in our country and what their place will be in our history. The regime has recruited an army based on defending a government that purports to be serving the Jieng speaking Peoples; however, the Jieng in their cattle camps and villages suffer like the rest of their compatriots. I appeal to my brothers and sisters who are sacrificing their precious lives to defend a regime that is presiding over an unbearable status quo to reconsider their position. A status quo that includes the army not being paid, no benefits and no plan for fallen soldiers. I call on my Comrades on the other side to reconsider their position as a military victory is futile.

  7. Our compatriots in the regime’s army should not fight to defend political tribalism; the future of our country depends on the establishment of a national army who’s allegiance will be to our soil and not to celebrity politicians– the future of South Sudan depends on this.

  8. Our brothers and sisters in the regime’s army should understand that the implementation of the security arrangements is in their best interest as it will transform the army and give the South Sudanese soldier the dignity he/she deserves, replacing the status quo of mercenaries violating our sovereignty and emptying our national coffers, while the regime’s forces are starving in their foxholes- a real travesty!

  9. The First Republic of South Sudan has failed. The promise of the liberation struggle has been betrayed by the very people who led our people’s struggle for independence. The SPLM Aristocracy in Juba have put their hatred for Dr. Riek Machar above the national interest and are using the tragic events of 1991 to arouse negative tribal sentiments in our people. How long shall we allow these traditional elites to insult our intelligence by making all the problems in our country be about two men? The problem is more complex than this. We must be prepared to face reality.

  10. We have often heard it stated that: “there is no military solution to our problem”. I would like our people to understand that there is also no political solution to the current problems plaguing our country . We have already tried removing Dr. Riek Machar from South Sudan’s affairs and it did not work. The problems in our country come about as a result of centuries of destruction from colonialism and slavery. Our cultural values have been eroded by this history of oppression and this is what manifests in the political arena. It is futile to solve political problems without addressing the underlying social ills; Individuals are created by the society and not the other way around. The establishment of the Second Republic of South Sudan must go hand in hand with a national cultural revolution.

  11. I would like to reiterate in closing, that it is only through the successful implementation of the R-ARCSS that peace can be restored to our country in a scientific way. There will be no supernatural peace. While the faithful appeals of the Holy See go viral-when he kissed our leaders’ feet- we should not lose sight of the fact that faith without works is dead, as the book of James in the Bible teaches. While we are deeply touched by the genuine concern expressed by the Holy See and the Archbishop of Canterbury, at the end of the day the work of bringing peace is our responsibility as leaders and citizens. The only way forward for the welfare and prosperity of our people, is to implement the R-ARCSS.

A luta Continua!

Cpt. Mabior Garang de Mabior

Mobile Office

11/04/2019 – 19:23 Hrs

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