Sudanese official says optimistic about reforms in labour ministry

File photo: Sudan’s state minister for labour, Stephen Amin

File photo: Sudan’s state minister for labour, Stephen Amin

Sudan’s newly appointed state minister for Labour and Social Development, Stephen Amin Arnu has vowed to fight corruption to achieve success in the ministry.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Thursday, Amin said the ministry’s new policies are focused on empowerment, civil service reforms and social welfare, adding that concerted efforts are needed to reform the labour sector in Sudan.

“There were a lot of malpractices in this sector during the former regime and we are now working hard to reform it,” he explained.

The government official further said policies of the Labour ministry are currently focused on reforming the country’s civil service, social welfare to realize social justice and reinstating the dismissed civil servants.

Amin, who hails from South Kordofan State, said he was appointed on the basis of being a professional and competent technocrat, not due to his political affiliation. He pointed out that the current transitional government is composed of technocrats.

Last month, Sudan’s government appointed three state ministers including a state minister for foreign affairs. The transitional government appointed Omar Gamar Eldin Ismail as state minister for the foreign affairs, Stephen Amin Arnu as state minister for labour and Hazim Diab as state minister for physical infrastructure.

The transitional cabinet headed by Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was formed months after the ouster of longtime leader Omar al-Bashir amid nationwide protests in April last year.

Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan heads the ruling sovereign council, a joint civilian and military body tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule within three years.

SPLM distributes new vehicles to state governors

The ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement party under President Salva Kiir has donated 33 new Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles to its secretariats in the 32 states plus Abyei area.

The party’s acting secretary general, Jemma Nunu Kumba handed over the new vehicles to state governors in Juba on Friday.

Speaking to reporters after the handover ceremony, Lol State governor, Rizik Zachariah Hassan, said the vehicles will facilitate activities of the SPLM party in the states.

He said the move is aimed at correcting mistakes within the ruling party and pledged that its leaders will lead South Sudan to a better stage.

The SPLM office has reportedly spent $3.5 million to purchase the new vehicles.

Troika Envoys meet to discuss South Sudan peace process

Press statement,

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar

February 8th, 2020 (Thessherald)-Norway, UK and US call upon the South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will needed to move the process forward.

On Thursday 6 February the three Troika Envoys for South Sudan met in London. The UK Special Representative for the Sudans, Bob Fairweather and the Norwegian Special Envoy Endre Stiansen were joined by the newly-appointed US Special Envoy for South Sudan Stuart Symington.

They discussed the status of the South Sudan peace process, two weeks from the scheduled formation of the transitional government. This critical deadline has now been delayed twice. In their discussions the Envoys emphasised the importance of beginning the transitional period on time and called on the South Sudanese parties to demonstrate the political will needed to move the process forward.
The Envoys welcomed the role the region has played in supporting the process, including recent efforts by South Africa. They were concerned that despite these efforts, the parties have been unable to make sufficient progress on the outstanding issues.
This lack of political will could derail the peace process and undermine the ceasefire, risking a return to violence at a time when the South Sudanese already face a devastating humanitarian crisis.

The Troika agreed that the imminent IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and African Union meetings in Addis Ababa may be the last chance to get the process back on track before the deadline. The parties to the agreement, including the incumbent Government, must be prepared to make compromises and agree a way forward on outstanding issues, to enable the formation of an inclusive transitional government.

Their people are watching, impatient to see the peace that their leaders have publicly committed to, but so far have been unwilling to deliver.

The Envoys shared their assessment of the remaining challenges, and discussed possible responses to the scenarios around the 22 February deadline. The Troika remain engaged, and will continue to work with the region for the sake of South Sudan, whose short history has been blighted by conflict, corruption and terrible violence.

Reforms in South Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs

Opinion,

By James Gatdet Dak

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation Awut Deng Acuil

February 9, 2020 (Thessherald)— I hope South Sudan’s “iron lady”, the current minister of foreign affairs, Awut Deng Acuil, has begun to voluntarily introduce and vigorously and fairly implement reforms in her institution, by also weeding out unqualified employees in all the embassies and diplomatic missions of the Republic of South Sudan, across the globe.

I am saying this because when minister Awut was the minister of labour and public service before the war broke out in 2013—and while I was a member of the Secretariat sitting in the cabinet meetings— I watched her one day lamenting as she was presenting to the cabinet (chaired by President Kiir), a bunch of applicants’ papers seeking employment in senior civil service positions in various institutions of government.

Minister Awut told the cabinet that she was shocked by the fact that many of those who claimed to be holding Bachelors, Masters, and even PhDs certificates, could not write or speak English well; and could not therefore express themselves well, or could not explain to committees at the ministry their field of study or relevance to employment in a particular area. She said this happened although majority of the applicants indicated they went to school in English-speaking countries abroad.

To her, she was concerned that most of the certificates were either fake, or were not thoroughly studied or obtained by those who held them.

Full text: Outcome of the IGAD Council of Ministers’ meeting on South Sudan

Update on the outstanding issues at the IGAD Council of Ministers and Heads of State and Government on South Sudan

President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar

February 9th, 2020 (Thessherald )—Today 8th February 2020, the IGAD Council of Ministers held its 70th Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the situation of the Republic of South Sudan to discuss two agendas as follows:

1. Review the status of implementation of the revitalized agreement on the resolution of conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, and
2. Chart way forward on what to be taken.

According, the Council deliberated and recommended 23 States plus Abyei Administrative Area and 10 States plus two Adminstrative Areas of Pibor and Abyei and subsequently presented the two options to the 34th Extraordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of states and Government.

The Summit deliberate on the recommendations while the Government of the Republic of South Sudan maintains its position on 32 plus States.

As a result, the debate did not reach any consensus and the IGAD Summit is adjourned to tomorrow.

The Heads of State advised Sudan and Uganda to sit down with the two principals of South Sudan to agree on the way forward to resolve the problem of states. After the guarantors finished meeting with the two principals, they will then report to the Heads of state of IGAD on Sunday.

What should be done to resolve the states impasse?

South Sudan’s map featuring 32 states established by the President Salva Kiir Mayardit

 

February 10, 2020 (SSNN)—While on one hand the government and its supporters vehemently oppose to the reversal of 32 to 10 States or any reduction thereto, the main opposition, the SPLM-IO and its supporters on the other hand make it clear that they cannot be part of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity—R-TGONU unless the issues of the Number of States and their boundaries and Security Arrangements are resolved.

However, the issue of the number and boundaries of States has now become the most difficult to tackle and it has even overshadowed the issue of Security Arrangements. This makes the issue of the number and boundaries become a threat to the whole Peace Agreement given the extreme positions both parties are taking.

The statements on Facebook and other social media outlets made by different people behind the government and the SPLM-IO respectively make it clear that if the matter of the number and boundaries of the states is not handled well it may result into the total collapse of the Agreement that may further result into war.

I have reached the above conclusion based on the fact that if both parties are not compromising by agreeing on neutral position to resolve the matter amicably but continue maintaining their extreme positions as we are seeing currently, they may end up in direct confrontation on battle field to resolve it.
To make the matters worse, the IGAD and AU may not able to intervene directly as both sides of the divides are backed by a good number of citizens and the citizens may not be able to accept the position taken by both the IGAD and AU. Because of this, the issue of the number and boundaries has become a very serious threat to the Peace Agreement which requires us to put the simple question thus, what should be done if both parties cannot compromise or IGAD or AU cannot find a favorable to both parties in resolving the matter amicably?
In the previous article that I wrote some weeks back on the same matter, I tried to explain the steps to be followed in resolving the issue of 32 States and their boundaries. As the Agreement itself provides, the best way to resolve this issue is through well-prepared referendum that will enable all the citizens to have meaningful participation. In that article, I have stated that in resolving the dispute over the 32 States the following steps should be followed—
The first step is the formation of the Technical Boundaries Commission-TBC which would have to determine the true boundaries of 1.1.1956, which were violated in the process of the creation of 32 States. This means that in doing that, the TBC must restrict itself to addressing those boundaries by specifying the tribal boundaries of 1.1.1956 that were violated by the 32 States.

The Agreement makes it clear that the TBC should not interfere with the states without any dispute over boundaries. This is important because it tries to isolate the issues by dealing with the issue of land before the referendum so that the citizens should not end up opposing referendum as it will be seen validating their grabbed through the creation of 32 States.

In addition, the referendum cannot go on freely unless the issue of the boundaries under dispute is determined. This will ensure that that all 32 States are free from the dispute as the referendum cannot go on if there are disputes over the land or boundaries of the states.

The second step is that the TBC shall present its report to the Independent Boundaries Commission—the IBC and upon the reception of the report, the IBC would begin its work by determining the number and boundaries of the States appropriate for the Republic of South Sudan. The decision of the IBC in voting shall take into account: the population size and social cohesion, geographic size, and economic viability.

In case the IBC fails to reach the agreement over the number and boundaries of States, then the third step is the transformation of the IBC into the referendum commission.

The Agreement provides that if the IBC fails to reach the conclusion within 90 days then on 90th Day it shall transform itself into the Referendum commission on the number and boundaries of 32 States. The referendum is supposed to be conducted within the Pre-transitional Period but the Agreement does not anticipate the question that what if the referendum commission fails to conduct referendum with the time as provided in the Agreement? This question is the centre of our current conflict but it can be resolved if we can analyze the provisions of the Agreement itself which takes us to the third step.

The third step is for the parties to renegotiate the period within which to conduct the referendum which appropriately should be after the implementation of other parts of the Agreement. This is because all citizens must participate which means that peace must prevail if all citizens are to come back to the country and participate. The Referendum Commission can lead the way on what should be done as the Agreement gives it powers to do anything that is incidental to the success of the referendum.

Though the provisions of the Agreement do not explicitly provide what the referendum Commission should do, the fact that the Agreement provides that once the IBC transformed itself into the Referendum Commission, then it must work under the direct supervision and support of the African Union and the IGAD in accordance with the International guidelines (clause 1.15.15). This provision takes the implementation of the Agreement in respect to 32 States out of the hands of the parties to the Agreement and vast the power in the hands of the referendum commission.

In relation to the foregoing conclusion, it means that the Referendum commission has the power to determine whether it is feasible to conduct the referendum now or not. The factors to consider in reaching their decision are those provided in the international guidelines on referendums. The Guidelines for Constitutional Referendums at National Level Adopted by the Venice Commission at its 47th Plenary Meeting (Venice, 6-7 July 2001) set out minimum rules that are designed to ensure that this instrument is used in all countries in accordance with the principles of democracy and the rule of law.

It implies that the referendum must meet the fundamental principles of human rights such as universal, equal, free and secret suffrage. The application of the International Guidelines on human rights means that citizens must be free from fear so that those who are eligible to vote must decide freely whether to vote or not without external fear or influence. In addition, the participation of the majority of citizens freely in any referendum is one of the requirements for any referendum to be valid.
Hence, for referendum on 32 States in South Sudan to be valid and to meet the international guidelines referred to above, every South Sudanese eligible to vote must participate in the referendum process freely or freely abstain from voting which is only possible when all citizens have returned to the country and in the absence of any fear of any kind. The foregoing statement in practice means that all the South Sudan citizens in the neighboring States must be present in the country.

The participation of the majority in referendum is required since it takes into account the popular votes in which the question of partially or totally revising a State’s Constitution is asked, irrespective of whether this requires voters to give an opinion on a specific proposal for constitutional change or on a question of principle (United Nations Human rights Office of the Higher Commissioner).

The fourth step the Referendum Commission to close the gap already identified above by recommending the time for conducting the referendum. This means that the Referendum Commission can be of help by recommending the postponement of the referendum.

The recommendation should be based on the views of the parties to the Agreement as the Agreement itself provides that the Referendum Commission must work in consultation with the parties. But the parties do not have any power to dictate what the Referendum Commission should recommend in regard to the conduct of referendum over the 32 States.

Therefore, the implementation of the Agreement on the number and boundaries of States should be left to the Referendum Commission to properly determine the issue after the permanent peace is achieved in the country as the issue of land involved in the disputes over the tribal boundaries is a matter of Constitutional importance and connected to the national stability.

The disputes over boundaries is something connected to land which explains why the importance is attached to the issue of the number and boundaries of 32 States which must be settled with minimal political interference from politicians if the lasting Peace can be achieved. It is the same reason the Agreement gives those who are aggrieved by the decision of the IBC or Referendum Commission in respect to the disputes over boundaries to appeal to the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

It is the same issue the TBC is composed of the international experts who are supposed to determine the tribal boundaries affected by the creation of 32 States before the referendum. In recommending the international experts, the Agreement presumes that they will be able to deal with the matter impartially as they do not have any interest in the process and by that fact they will give correct conclusion on the disputed boundaries of the number of 32 States with dispute as they stood in 1.1.1956.

Fifth step is that after the recommendation of the Referendum Commission is accepted by the parties and endorsed by the African Union and the IGAD, the population census is conducted and it is that population as ascertained during freely and transparently conducted census that will be allowed to participate in the referendum. Whatever outcome that will come as a result of the referendum based on the proposal of whether 10, 21, 23, 32 or any other number suggested by the Referendum Commission will be adopted in the Constitution of South Sudan.
The next question to be dealt with as we prepare for the referendum is what about those whose houses are or land is affected by the order creating 32 States or what will they be doing before and during the referendum? In other words, where will they be staying since the land they are claiming is cut into other states which they do not want to stay under its rule?
The answer is that those that are affected by the creation of 32 States should remain in their homes even after the referendum unless they voluntarily choose to leave the houses or the land they are claiming. If they have decided to remain in the original homes or land before the creation of 32 States, then their right to remain there cannot be affected even if the referendum says otherwise.

This is because their rights to the land are not affected by the Constitutional order created by 32 States. The government should be ready to counter any groups that interfere with the individual South Sudanese settlement whose land was arbitrarily cut into a given state among 32 States during the creation of those states.
Besides, in order to protect the rights of individuals during and after the referendum, the Referendum Commission should also recommend the establishment of the Hybrid Court of Arbitration located in Juba in case if it lacks enough judges or different states if there are enough judges. Their main work will be to deal with the land cases before, during and after referendum so that the citizens will have the rights to appeal to the highest courts which will be Hybrid Court of Arbitration in matters of land. If those appealing have lost the case then the duty of the government is to move in to enforce the court’s decision.

It means that for the citizens to have confidence in the court and for the Court to command obedience from them, the judges to be appointed must be agreed by all the parties to the Agreement and their credentials be made public to all in a given period so that those who want to challenge the appointment of a given individual member of the court are free to do so without any interference. The African Court of Human Rights should locate temporary body in Juba as a Court of Appeal in such matters.

In summary, if the parties may compromise and adoption the foregoing states with modification or without, the conflict that is likely to occur at the moment may be avoided. The reason people have reached deadlock at the present is because they are operating outside the Agreement without being guided by it yet the issue is very complicated with very serious political implications on citizens and the country as a whole. In addition, the matter is complicated by the fact that the issues are not isolated to deal with issues of disputed boundaries first and then the number of states after.

The parties should go back to educate their members that the Agreement provides for the solution and the insistence on the approach outside the Agreement may result into the destruction of the whole Agreement and the war will be the only option.
Daniel Juol Nhomngek is a lawyer by profession holds LLB from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. He’s currently working with M/S Ibaale, Nakato & Co., Advocates, P.o Box 26781, Kampala, Uganda. His research, he is interested in teaching and law practice in the areas of criminal law, international human rights law and the law of armed conflicts, public international law, administrative law, Equity and Trusts, constitutional law, Jurisprudence or political philosophy, legal methods and theory, legislative drafting and judicial practice; and law & public policy. For any comment please reach the authority through any one of the these email addresses:

juolmarialdit@gmail.com ;or
juoldaniel2003@gmail.com

SPLM-IO welcomes recommendation of the IGAD Council of Ministers

 

Opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny

February 10, 2020 (SSNN)—The main opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-IO has welcomed the recent recommendation of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the number of states and their boundaries and called on the government to demonstrate political will in the interests of peace in the country.

“We welcome the recommendation of the IGAD Council of Ministers and the government has to demonstrate political will for the sake of peace in our country,” said Puok Both Baluang, the SPLM-IO ’s Director for Information.

He also confirmed that the two leaders, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar are locked in a closed-door meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“President Kiir and Dr Machar are still deliberating on the number of states and security arrangements. We don’t know what is going on because it is a closed-door meeting,” he stated.

On Saturday, the IGAD Council of Ministers held its 70th Extraordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the situation of South Sudan and discussed the status of the implementation peace accord.

The Council of Ministers recommended that the number of states would be reduced from the existing 32 states to 23 states, however, the government opposed the move and accused the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development of being biased.

Gov’t informs citizens to be ready for nationwide consultations on states’ issue

Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information and Broadcasting addressing the press after the African Union heads of state and government summit held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

February 10, 2020 (Thessherald)—South Sudan government has requested all citizens to get ready for nationwide consultations on the number of states they would prefer, as the government and the opposition were unable to reach a compromise during a closed-door meeting held on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Addressing the media following the meeting, the Information Minister, Michael Makuei clarified that their stance on the states’ issue has always been clear that they will never make any concessions on the number of states and that even a single state would not be compromised.

“Our position had ever been clear that we are not ready to change even a single state… we are not ready to remove even a single state from the 32 + Abyei. We’re saying this because this is not a decision of the government, this requires decisions from the people of South Sudan. They’re the ones who will direct their government to act in the way they want, said Makuei.

Makuei further explained that when the opposition leader, Machar decided to change his mind from their usual position on the number of states, by resorting to the 10 states, the matter reached the point of no return.

“And as such when Dr. Riek Machar decided to come back to ten states, he made it even worse than before and we told him in clear words that we’re no longer ready to continue with the talks.”

In that regard, the government decided to suspend talks and requested all citizens to be prepared for nationwide consultations at the grassroots level in order to explore their views on the number of states that will be created in the country.

“The only thing we will do is to suspend the talks and we will go and inform the people of South Sudan about their positions and the position of their government. If the people of South Sudan say, create whatever number you want or if they say ‘accept 10, accept 20, don’t move, keep the 32 [states] increase it or make it 50 or 100 that will be up to them and they are the final authority and the decision-makers” Makuei concluded.

SPLM-IO issues press statement on the On the Tripartite Consultations on the Pending Critical Issues

Press Release,

SPLM/A-IO – IO National Committee for Information & Public Relations

Opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar Teny meets top opposition members in Juba

 

February 10th, 2020 (Thessherald)—On the Tripartite Consultations on the Pending Critical Issues of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) – 9 February 2020, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

As per the resolution of the Communique of the 34th Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Head of State and Government was held on 8 February 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Abdala Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan and chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Devolvement (IGAD), H.E. Youwri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan with the participation of H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the SPLM/SPLA (IO) and Designate First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan; and in the presence of H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD Executive Secretary, held a tripartite consultations to discuss the pending critical tasks in the extended One Hundred (100) days of the pre-transitional period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and to draw the way forward, on 9 February 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The meeting deliberated on the challenges associated with the determination of the number of states and their boundaries, and the implementation of the security arrangements.

1. The meeting agreed to revert to the former ten (10) States;

2. President Salva Kiir request to be given 3 days to return back to South Sudan for consultations on the matter with his group based on his request and to report back on the matter to the IGAD chair on the 15th February 2020;

3. The upcoming tripartite consultations shall be held on the 15th February 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and;

4. The issue of the security arrangements and the deployment of the UNMISS troops in the major towns, civilian centers, and the lifeline routes was discussed but decision was deferred to the next forthcoming tripartite meeting.

In conclusion, the SPLM/SPLA (IO) reiterates its full commitment to the implementation of R-ARCSS in letter and spirit, as the sole way to attain peace in South Sudan.


Cde. Puok Both Baluang
SPLM (IO) Director of Information and Public Relation

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