As citizens continue to flout Covid-19 measures, the National Task-Force on COVID-19 has announced heavy fines for anyone who doesn’t comply with the strict guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization.
So far, the Coronavirus has claimed more than 100 lives, forcing the Ministry of Health and the National Task-Force on COVID-19 to impose additional lockdowns as preventive measures to counter the spread of the virus.
New Restrictions and Penalties to Enforce Public Compliance with Measures to Reduce COVID-19 Spread
Whereas, the COVID-19 has been declared as a Pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Taskforce on Coronavirus Pandemic issued the Public Order No. 01/2021 dated 3 February 2021 to effect the partial lockdown measures, which will remain in force up to the 3rd March 2021.
Whereas, to enforce the National COVID-19 Guidelines and partial lockdown measures, the National Taskforce has considered it necessary to take further measures to prevent wider spread of COVID-19 across the country.
In view of the above, the National Taskforce is hereby once again putting in place the following measures:
• Extending the partial lockdown for additional one month starting from 3nd March to 3rd April 2021, subject to review.
• Warning the Public to stop receiving dead bodies in numbers at the airport, receptions and burials. This should only be attended to by not more than twenty immediate relatives:
• Only authorized health facilities are allowed to use the approved antigen- based rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for screening purposes. Meanwhile, interested facilities are advised to apply to the NTF for authorization.
• Warning all the public and private health facilities not to admit any COVID- 19 patient or suspect. They should instate alert the Public Health Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) by calling free toll, 6666;
• Directing Juba City Council and other town municipal councils to ensure that traders, hotels, customers and the general public comply with environmental cleaning, hygiene and sanitation, COVID-19 Guidelines and lockdown measures; and
• Directing Civil Aviation administration to assign more personnel to enforce COVID-19 measures at the entrance and within the airport to ensure all travelers comply with civil aviation safety and COVID-19 protocols.
The National Taskforce issues this Order to effect the following restrictions and measures for enforcing the COVID-19 protocols and partial lockdown measures in force, along with other South Sudan Panel Code 2008 that shall be applicable on whoever:
(a) Violates the guidelines banning funeral rites, reception, transport and burial of dead bodies.
(b) Does not comply with infection prevention and control measures at public places such as health facilities, airports, markets, hotels, restaurants, shops, tea places, public and private institutions,
(c) Transports people in public or private vehicles, boda-bodas and rakshas (rickshas) at more than half-capacity.
(d) Does not wear facemasks and observe social distancing measures in public places, vehicles, boda-bodas and rakshas (rickshas).
(e) Crew or passenger does not comply with precautionary measures at bus stations, airports, riverports and borders.
(f) Smuggles persons across borders or helping with illegal entry in to South Sudan territories.
(g) Does not comply with closure of learning institutions, sports activities, social events, places of worship, bars, nightclubs or other places that attract gatherings
(h) Disseminates false information or data on social media or misinformation related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) writes to you following the eve of the first anniversary of the Transitional Period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
“This letter aims to update you on what is happening with the implementation of the 2018 Peace Agreement.”
SSCSF, with a nation-wide membership of over 200 diverse and independent civil society organizations and individual activists, has represented you in the peace process right from the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and now in the implementation mechanisms of the R-ARCSS.
The Forum held numerous consultations throughout the country, engaged in radio talk shows, social media and channelled your voices to various institutions of the agreement. It is therefore obligatory for SSCSF to report to you the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS, one year into the Transitional Period and about 29 months since the signing of the Agreement.
The purpose of this letter is to inform you about prospects for peace in our country through the implementation of the 2018 Agreement by the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) and its constituent parties. This letter also intends to draw your attention to active citizenry in pursuit of lasting peace in the country.
Missed Opportunities during the Transitional Period
Fellow Citizens, the R-ARCSS is a framework for peace in South Sudan. It was agreed upon by parties to the conflict and endorsed by stakeholders including faith-based leaders, civil society, academia, women, youth, business community and eminent persons.
If implemented on time, the Agreement would have established and strengthened the government to deliver on its core mandate of protecting us, our property and our country. Public institutions at all levels of government would have been reformed and strengthened to deliver social services to South Sudanese. It would have also allowed internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to return home voluntarily, in safe and dignified manner.
Through transitional justice processes in the Agreement, families and individuals offended and aggrieved during the conflict would have gotten an opportunity to seek justice. We would have also engaged in a process of truth, reconciliation and healing to overcome the pains of the past and unite across our diversities to build a peaceful, just and prosperous South Sudan.
True implementation of the peace agreement would have enabled us to write a new constitution and prepare for democratic elections to elect leaders of our choice at all levels of government in our country.
Status of implementation of the R-ARCSS
Fellow citizens, we regret to inform you that progress made in the implementation of the peace agreement, over the last one year of the Transitional Period, has been very limited and mainly elitebased and Juba-centric. We are disheartened at the extent to which the Agreement has failed to offer you anything tangible so far, whether peace or peace dividends.
The parties formed the executive of the national government, appointed state governors, and allocated responsibilities (positions) among themselves for state and local government institutions. The national executive of RTGoNU was structured into five ministerial thematic clusters, each headed by a Vice President. Despite the disruptions related to COVID-19 pandemic, these institutions including the Council of Ministers have been operational.
After one year of delays, the parties to the Agreement have started reconstituting state governments. By the time of writing this letter, appointments were made for officials in the executive arm of Central Equatoria, Warrap, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Unity, Western Bahr el Ghazal Jonglei and Western Equatoria state governments.
A National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) reviewed several laws and drafted them into bills for enactment. These legislative bills were submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for presentation to the Council of Ministers and subsequently to the parliament for enactment, as part of numerous reforms envisaged in the R-ARCSS.
Fellow Citizens, the remaining provisions of the Agreement which are crucial to our lives have not been implemented over the last one year of the Transitional Period.
The 2018 Agreement provided for restoration of permanent and sustainable peace, security and stability in our country envisaged through training, graduation and deployment of national unified forces to take charge of security. Sadly, there is little progress to report on this front.
During our visits to the unified training centers, we confirmed that the training was supposed to last for sixty day. However, the trainees have been in the training centers for over fourteen months and there is no clarity on when they would be graduated and deployed.
A comprehensive national plan to facilitate and support repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in a voluntary and dignified manner has not been developed. Lack of plans by the government, looming insecurity and poor services continue to discourage IDPS and refugees from returning home.
Reconciliation and healing of our society, especially through transitional justice mechanisms of the Agreement did not move an inch in the whole first year of the Transitional Period.
We should have been engaging in writing a permanent constitution for our country to address unsettled matters of governance, wealth sharing and elections. This too has not formally commenced.
Radical reforms and transformation in public financial management systems to promote transparency and accountability in the utilization of our national resources have not been accomplished. Commitments in the Agreement for much needed reforms, restructuring and transformation in the civil service, security sector, judicial and electoral systems have not been meaningfully realized.
The commitment to devolve powers and resources to state and local government levels, closer to us throughout the country, still remains only on paper.
The Agreement provides for representation of women by at least 35% in constitutional posts. Unfortunately, out of 264 officials so far appointed in governments of seven states, only 33 (12.5%) are women. At the national level, this 35% was not also met and the former Incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (ITGoNU), dominated by Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) is the main party that consistently undermined this commitment of the Agreement.
Effects of slow implementation Fellow Citizens, in the slow and selective implementation of the agreement, the one year-old RTGoNU has done very little to develop sufficient administrative, institutional, systemic and security capacities to effectively govern the country and address the multiple challenges facing South Sudanese.
The country is beginning to lose the gains made in implementation of the Transitional Security Arrangements (TSAs). Reports by the monitoring mechanisms of the Agreement – the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation (RJMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (CTSAMVM) indicate that forces assembled in both cantonment sites and training centers have been deserting those facilities due to unbearable living conditions and wilful neglect by the parties to the agreement.
Within the last one year of the Transitional Period, the parties have been accepting and even promoting on the national television, the defections of forces who are supposed to be unified within the framework of the Agreement. The defections amounts to recruitment, hence violating commitment of the parties in Article 2.1.8 of the Agreement, to cease recruitment of forces. Acceptance and promotion of defectors on the national television also amounts to violation of commitment under Article 220.127.116.11 to refrain from offensive, provocative or retaliatory actions such as dissemination of hostile propaganda, recruitment, mobilization, redeployment and movement of forces.
In Moroto unified training center, these defections resulted in serious fighting among forces affiliated to the SPLM/A-IO and defectors allied to ITGoNU, especially in September and November of 2020, undermining Agreement commitments to cessation of hostilities. The fighting also resulted in loss of lives of our fellow citizens, some of whom were your close relatives.
At the community levels, inability of the RTGoNU to provide adequate administrative controls and security to civilians gave way for numerous armed violence that resulted in destruction of lives, property and villages; abduction of women and children, raping of women and girls; displacements of populations and disruption of means of livelihoods of our populations. In our interactions with many of our fellow citizens, especially in the affected areas around the country, they reported living in fear and not having seen the “Juba-based” Agreement helping to improve their conditions.
Fellow Citizens, instead of using the provisions contained in the agreement to address major security issues affecting the country, RTGoNU relies on ad-hoc interventions of holding political, elite-level and Juba-based dialogues. While doing so, conflicting groups in the communities and villages continue with the menace. Moreover, the dialogues are concluded only at closing ceremonies and their outcomes are never seriously implemented.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has found evidence that senior army and elite politicians are providing weapons to communities . The country is yet to witness any action by the RTGoNU to hold to account individuals or groups responsible for the flow of combat grade weapons to civilians involved in killings, cattle theft, abductions of women and children and destruction of villages.
While the forces under unification desert cantonment and training centers, civilians roam the villages, so armed and powerful that local government authorities and available government security cannot manage to contain them. In some parts of the country, for example Tonj East County of Warrap State, selective and poorly planned disarmament of civilians resulted in more violence and loss of lives; leaving heavily armed civilians in control of villages.
We are repeatedly told by the parties that our country has no resources to fund the implementation of the agreement, especially the security arrangements. However, we see hotels in Juba demanding millions of dollars of our national resources in accommodation bills from the RTGoNU. We equally witness heavy spending of our national resources on very expensive luxurious vehicles. With priorities, these resources would have helped in the implementation of many aspects of the Agreement.
Fellow Citizens, we measure progress in the R-ARCSS not by elite- and Juba-based activities but by the level of improvements the Agreement brings to your living conditions in your respective locations. Generally, the economic situation has continued to worsen since the signing of the Agreement and particularly over the last one year of the Transitional Period.
By the time Agreement was signed in September 2018, the exchange rate of South Sudanese Pounds (SSP) against the United States dollar was about $1 to 200SSP in the parallel market, today $1 equals to 340SSP. And it has further plunged to $1 equals 650SSP, raising market prices on goods and services far above the reach of ordinary citizens who are not usually paid salaries for months.
These difficult economic conditions cause some institutions of the RTGoNU to improvise means to extort money from the already struggling citizens. For example, many illegal roadblocks are set up along major roads in the country to illegally extort money from travellers and businesses. In Juba city, driving licences and logbooks are routinely confiscated from drivers, especially female drivers and boda-boda riders and they are charged to pay thousands of pounds, in most cases without receipts. This happens in complete disregard for the economic situation citizens face.
Current statistics on humanitarian situation indicates that over 8 million of our citizens, including 4.3 million children are in need of multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance; 4 million remain displaced including 1.6 million IDPs and 2 million refugees in the region . The statistics further reveal that 1.3 million children are at risk of acute malnutrition, 3.3 million people lack essential health care services, 5.2 million people lack access to safe clean drinking water and 3.1 million children can miss basic education in this year alone. This statistics puts our humanitarian crisis among the worst in the world. Evidently, the Agreement is not being implemented to robustly address these multiple humanitarian crisis in the country.
Fellow Citizens, there is no clear political agenda and direction for our country. The R-ARCSS as a political program, is not being responsibly implemented. A complimentary solution was sought through the South Sudan National Dialogue, from December 2016 to November 2020. Substantial amounts of resources were invested from national and foreign sources and many of you participated in this National Dialogue at different levels – grassroots consultations, regional conferences and national conference. This too is now being abandoned with no commitments to implement its outcomes. Further still, the vision of the struggle for the liberation and independence of our country “…for justice, freedom, equality, human dignity and political and economic emancipation ” should have been the foundation of our country’s governance. But again, our leaders have abandoned that vision too.
On the political land scape, there is clearly no difference between parties that have been in government and those supposedly fighting for fundamental reforms in our country. We engage with all the parties directly and in the oversight and implementation mechanisms of the agreement and we can report to you with certainty that the calls for reforms no longer feature prominently anywhere in the discussions of the leaders of our country.
As South Sudan remains politically weak, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to aggressive encroachment on our sovereign territories by some neighbouring countries. This is another potential source of future crisis in the country.
Fellow Citizens, from our analysis of the situation, we have reached a conclusion on the following important issues:
(1) Economic, security, political and humanitarian situations in our country continue to worsen, imposing unbearable suffering on the population over the past one year of the Transitional Period. There is no predictable indication showing that the situation will change for the better any time soon, under current conditions of the peace implementation.
(2) The bloodshed and the suffering of the people as a result of the deteriorating security, economic and humanitarian situations in the country are likely to worsen unless the government takes urgent and responsible measures as outlined in the Agreement and also in the Resolutions of the National Dialogue, to restore sustainable peace, security and stability in the country.
(3) The people of South Sudan have used the agreement, the National Dialogue and other peaceful means at their disposal to repeatedly remind the parties and the government to improve the situation in our country, but nothing significant has changed. The region and the international community who sympathize with our conditions have equally called on the parties to implement the agreement, but the parties remain selective, slow and inconsistent in implementing the peace agreement.
(4) Our participation in the agreement as your representative voice only makes sense as long as the implementation of the agreement is carried out in a manner that improves the security, economic, humanitarian and human rights situations for you; and ultimately unite our country and put an end to the bloodshed. We contend that we cannot be an endorsement to the continuous extension of your suffering, the destruction and mismanagement of our national resources through willful inconsistencies in the implementation of the peace agreement. To that end Fellow Citizens, we will reconsider our participation in the oversight and implementation mechanisms of the Agreement.
(5) Given this situation in the country, we invite you, Fellow Citizens, to do your part and play an active citizenry role towards ending the persistent suffering and continuous bloodshed in our country. Specifically, we call on you to:
5.1 Demand of the government and its constituent parties, full implementation of the Agreement and measures that would restore stability in your respective localities.
5.2 Take charge of peacebuilding in your respective communities including holding dialogues to resolve any disputes and normalize relations.
5.3 Identify, disown, name and shame perpetrators of violence in the community and use appropriate mechanisms at the community, state or national levels to stop them perpetuating further violence and destabilization.
The IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Amb. Ismail Wais (PhD) would like to congratulate the Parties and Stakeholders to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), the people of South Sudan as well as IGAD Member States and the International Community as we mark the first year anniversary of the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) on 22nd February 2020.
A year on, commendable progress has been made particularly in the implementation of governance related tasks under Chapter I of the R-ARCSS considering the confluence of natural calamities that have hit South Sudan ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, flooding and locust invasion.
Thus far, the Executive, composed of the Presidency and the Council of Ministers, has been formed; the Governors and Deputy Governors of the ten (10) States as well the Chief Administrators of the three (3) Administrative Areas have all been appointed; and agreements have been reached on the structures and allocation of remaining positions at the State and Local Government levels as well as in the three (3) Administrative Areas. The ceasefire is largely holding, which is creating a relatively conducive environment for the overall implementation of the R-ARCSS.
However, despite these encouraging progresses, a year after the commencement of the Transitional Period, some critical Pre-Transitional tasks which were carried over are yet to be completed. The Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) has not been reconstituted; nomination and appointment of State and Local Government positions, other than the ones referred to hereinabove, are pending; and training and unification of forces is way behind schedule.
With respect to unification of forces, as the recent joint visit by regional Ambassadors, RJMEC and IGAD to Maridi and Rajaf Training Centers revealed, the situation in the camps is deplorable with no adequate food, shelter, water and medicines. Moreover, there seems to be no clear timeline for the graduation of the first batch of Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) forcing many to abandon their camps. Therefore, no significant development has occurred with regard to Transitional Security Arrangements in the last one (1) year.
Defections and ensuing clashes between some forces is further eroding trust among the Parties and threatening the hard won peace in South Sudan. Cattle raiding and intercommunal conflicts also continue to claim the lives of civilians unabated and are alarmingly becoming more deadly and devastating posing additional threat to the already fragile security situation in the country.
Due to the delay in the implementation of Pre-Transitional tasks, implementation of Transitional Period tasks have either stalled or not commenced at all especially those under Chapters V and VI of the R-ARCSS on Transitional Justice and Permanent Constitution making respectively.
In this regard, IGAD welcomes the recent decision of the South Sudan Council of Ministers authorizing the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs to start preparations for the establishment of Transitional Justice Mechanisms under Chapter V of the R-ARCSS and lauds the Minister’s quick decision and action in establishing a Taskforce to spearhead and coordinate the Ministry’s work in the implementation of Chapters V, VI and judicial reforms under Chapter I. The humanitarian crisis and food insecurity have been exacerbated by natural and manmade disasters.
According to reports from UNOCHA, in 2021 over 8.3 million people in South Sudan are estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance, that is hundreds of thousands more from last year. The economy is also severely affected by the cummulative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, plunging of oil prices and soaring inflation.
The ongoing talks between the Government of South Sudan and the non-signatory group, South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) under the auspices of the Community of Sant’Egidio have registered encouraging results since January last year, and IGAD hopes that the talks will be concluded with positive outcomes within the shortest time possible.
IGAD also recognizes and appreciates the significant contribution that South Sudan is making to regional peace and stability by successfully hosting and mediating the Sudan talks as well as by offering to mediate between Ethiopia and Sudan to help peacefully resolve the ongoing border dispute between the two countries. This is one clear indication that besides the people of South Sudan the neighboring countries and the region at large are reaping the fruits of peace in South Sudan.
All in all, the last one year has witnessed a mixed-bag of progresses and delays with regard to the implementation of the R-ARCSS, and it is the right time for the Parties and Stakeholders of the R-ARCSS to take stock of achievements and challenges and have a genuine discussion and dialogue on the way forward.
The Parties need to renew their commitment and redouble efforts towards a speedy and full implementation of the RARCSS in letter and spirit, including the adherence of the 35% women representation, within the resources available. In this regard, priority shall be given to unification of forces as that is the backbone of the R-ACRSS.
IGAD and the Office of the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan are committed and will continue providing and facilitating political and technical support, within their means and mandate, to the Peace Process in South Sudan, and also call upon the International Partners and Friends of South Sudan to continue and enhance their support towards the implementation of the R-ARCSS.
Full Text: The Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) 19 February 2021
Breaking the Silence—The Way Forward
Press Release —We the members of the JCE wish to release this document as a follow-up to our press statement released on 26 January 2021. The previous press statement generated a lot of debate and questions from the public with people wondering what prompted us to issue the statement. There are many other conspiracy theories that the statement has spawned, and we intend not to give credence to those wild speculations.
We owe it to the public, however, to explain what compelled us to come out publicly. This statement, therefore, is in response to the question of what provoked us to speak out, and in it we offer a concise analysis of the crises facing the country, the main reason we had to speak out. We also propose what we believe needs to be done to reverse the trend that is definitely heading to another senseless war in South Sudan.
“The country seems to be heading for another war and as elders and senior citizens, we do not want to witness another bloodshed in the country.”
Our people have had enough of the suffering and if we can contribute to alleviating this suffering by speaking the truth, we shall have performed our patriotic duty. In our Press Statement in January, we stated that the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is far worse than the 2015 ARCSS.
Here is why:
First, the Agreement is overly focused on power sharing among the parties and less about peace among the people of South Sudan. This Agreement simply lacks credibility when it comes to building peace at the local level as it has no single clause addressing real grassroots issues such as communal violence, cattle raiding and mundane gun criminality.
In fact, the Agreement has fractured the country more, starting from the national, states, counties and payams levels to the level of communities. The responsibility sharing at the states, counties, and payams is not properly understood at the local level and it has triggered local conflicts. People wonder why they are forced to accept sharing power in their counties and payams with parties which have no presence in their areas. The political conflict has simply been expanded by way of an agreement to areas that never experienced unrest before.
This has unnecessarily politicized and militarized normal social relations in our rural areas. Current violent conflict episodes in Warrap, Lakes, Unity, Central Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile states explain this phenomenon. This phenomenon was compounded by the abrupt dissolution of 32 states and county governments early last year, leaving no authority in charge of the entire countryside. This goes of course into the broader question of the quality of leadership and decision-making mechanisms in the country.
Second, the Agreement has instituted an experimental government in the country with six copresidents running mini cabinets, a system never seen anywhere before. This structure of government is not workable and quite impractical, and it has led to paralysis of the institutions and decision-making processes everywhere in the country. In fact, no one feels responsible for running the affairs of the country. Executive powers have been diffused and the President is technically handicapped with so many veto points in the cabinet and the presidency. It should not surprise anyone that it has taken a year just to form this government, which in the end is assured to fail.
Third, the Agreement lacks international support. Key members of the international community such as the Troika (United States, United Kingdom and the Kingdom ofNorway) and the European Union have refused to be witnesses or guarantors to the Agreement, an indication of their reservations. Even IGAD countries did not become guarantors to the Agreement, only Sudan and Uganda are guarantors. The process was simply handed over to Bashir, our erstwhile enemy, to arm-twist the parties into accepting an Agreement that is fraught with impractical clauses.
Fourth, the Agreement failed to address the central problem of South Sudan, which is the political stalemate and leadership failure. As will be shown in the next section, leadership failure and political stalemate are the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan as indicated by the Obasanjo Report and the National Dialogue. Failing to address this fundamental issue is the single most important drawback of the R-ARCSS.
Lastly, any agreement, no matter how imperfect it might be, can be made to work, provided there is political will and effective political leadership. Unfortunately, for the R-ARCSS, political will is exactly what it is lacking. The slow pace, coupled with selective implementation of the provisions of the Agreement, demonstrate the unwillingness of political leaders to move forward. What we see in fact are more efforts to undermine the Agreement and less practical initiatives to move it forward. This therefore renders any hopes for its success hollow and unrealistic. It is in this vein that we want to make it clear that we are not against the peace Agreement; we as a matter of principle, would like to see a workable peace agreement and the R-ARCSS is awfully unworkable.
Way Forward—The government must take necessary actions now to prepare for the elections to take place. The current Transitional Period cannot and must not be extended as the country needs a democratic transition to consolidate peace. Among the most important steps that need to be taken now, include conducting census, revising the electoral law, reconstituting the Elections Commission, and registering political parties. The work on the permanent constitutions must also commence now because it is going to govern the next elections. It is imperative, therefore, that resources are made available for these processes. More importantly, the return of the displaced persons and refugees and the unification of the forces are prerequisites for both the census and credible elections.
The National Dialogue
President Salva Kiir Mayardit initiated the South Sudan National Dialogue process in December enlighten segment of the country’s population. The JCE fully supported the initiative as this was consistent with our objectives. Dialogue among the people of when the opportunity was availed, the people came together, and they have spoken in no uncertain terms. All the three stages (grassroots consultations, regional conferences, and national conference) of the National Dialogue provided the opportunity for the people of South Sudan to air out their grievances and to reach consensus on the way forward.
The people of South Sudan have analyzed critically how the country got into its current crises and this analysis is contained in the Covering Note of the Co-Chairs. The people of South Sudan have discussed all issues exhaustively starting with governance and political issues, constitutional matters, security matters, and matters related to the economy and social cohesion. It is a readymade program for the government to implement. We are appalled, however, by the indifference of the political leaders toward the National Dialogue Resolutions.
President Kiir, in his closing statement of the National Dialogue, showed little enthusiasm for the implementation of the National Dialogue Resolutions. Dr. Riek Machar, on the other hand, refused to acknowledge the significance of this national process. Other opposition leaders did express their support to the National Dialogue Resolutions. Failing to recognize or implement those Resolutions would amount to killing of a national spirit and the people of South Sudan will not stand by and watch their interests dismissed. As with the R-ARCSS, the leaders are simply intent on shelving the will of the people of South Sudan expressed through the Resolutions of the National Dialogue. We stand with the people of South Sudan in their demand for full implementation of the National Dialogue Resolutions.
Way Forward—We fully support the Resolutions of the National Dialogue National Conference and the outcomes of all the three phases. The South Sudan National Dialogue provides far superior solutions to the problems facing South Sudan. As such, its resolutions and recommendations contained in the Covering Note should be implemented. The RTGoNU must hold a national meeting on the National Dialogue Resolutions and the follow-up mechanism must be instituted. The will of the people of South Sudan must not be buried; it must be invigorated through the implementation of the National Dialogue Resolutions.
Leadership Failure and Political Deadlock
The war in South Sudan was a result of political deadlock between President Kiir and his then Deputy, Dr. Riek Machar, and the fact that the duo failed to lead the country as envisioned. This conclusion came out very clearly in the Final Report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS), also known as the Obasanjo Report. Paragraph 90 of the Report states that:
“the crisis in South Sudan, has roots in, and is indeed a crisis of weak governance, weak leadership and weak institutions, conflation of personal, ethnic and national interests”
The National Dialogue Leadership reached the same conclusion independently by concluding that leadership failure and political deadlock lie at the root of the conflict, and unless resolved, the country cannot move forward. The Covering Note of the National Dialogue Co-Chairs states that:
The people noted with concern that the collective leadership of the country did not only fail to provide a vision for the country and lay a strong foundation for stable political,
security, and socioeconomic systems, but conspicuously got distracted by power struggle and related spoils from the goal of building a new political dispensation for all the people of the country. Although the people from the grassroots to the regional conferences highlighted this failure, it is common knowledge to which our national leaders themselves attest.
Both the leadership failure and political deadlock remain unresolved in South Sudan. The origin of this political deadlock, according to the Obasanjo Report, is deeply rooted in the history of the liberation struggle. Paragraph 50 of the Report states:
The other dimension to these developments was the relationship between the President and his Vice President. The Commission established that long before the 2010 elections, the relationship between the two leaders was already strained, and that these differences were overlooked for the sake of unity within the party during the Interim Period (2005-2011). It is was suggested that the SPLM split in 1991, and the reordering of the SPLM leadership to accommodate Riek Machar on his return were partly to blame for the frosty relationship that carried on into government after independence. In 2010, the two leaders are said to have supported rival candidates in a number of key electoral positions, particularly the governorships of several states.
The Leadership of the South Sudan National Dialogue, in the Covering Note of the Co-Chairs, clearly articulated the political deadlock, stating:
It seems obvious by now that President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar have irreconcilable political differences and personal animosity towards one another. They have therefore created a seemingly unbreakable political deadlock in the country, and they no longer have the political will or leadership capacity to move beyond personal grudges. Our country is stuck in the hands of these two leaders and both have proven beyond reasonable doubt that their joint leadership is no longer capable of getting the country out of its present predicament. Nothing is likely to improve or work in South Sudan unless this political deadlock is broken.
The wild claims that the JCE or the Jieng community in general, is behind the conflict, are obviously chauvinistic opinions. Evidence is already abundant, through the Obasanjo Report and the National Dialogue documents, in respect to how South Sudan got itself into this abyss.
Way Forward—President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar symbolize both failure of leadership and political deadlock. Addressing this dual problem demands that both of them step aside and give the country an opportunity to explore other options politically per the National Dialogue recommendations. They have both stymied democracy, economic development, and human progress. Besides, we strongly believe that there is not much that is left for them to achieve more than the referendum and hoisting of our national flag on Independence Day!
South Sudan is now among the most corruption countries in the world, according to Transparency International 2020 Report on in South Sudan is the driver of political competition and hence the war. This assertion is supported by the Sentry Report, the National Dialogue, and the Obasanjo Report.
The Sentry had this to say:
“By the time South Sudan became the world’s newest state in 2011, a cabal of military and civilian officials had already captured its main government institutions, enabled by a dizzying array of international actors seeking to profit from a rapidly developing kleptocracy.”
Factions that had formed during the long war for independence now turned their attention to competing over the control of this new state, which was blessed with billions of dollars of annual oil revenue and no checks and balances or transparency.
The perception of corruption is apparently high in South Sudan as the government operates in total darkness without accountability. Oil revenues and the revenues from the National Revenue Authority get spent whimsically without regards to the public financial management rules. The public budget, which is presented to the parliament is hardly the basis of expenditures. In fact, fictitious institutions that do not appear in public budgets get to spend the money while public institutions are cash starved. The country is basically up for looting and this is in large part because of the political deadlock and leadership failure. Public resources are spent on buying political opponents, keeping them in hotels for lengthy period, buying them homes, simply paying them handsome amounts of cash to remain silent. Yet, the men and women of the armed forces in the trenches get passed when the time for payment comes.
All these have bankrupted the country and will continue to drain the meagre resources away from serving public interest. Although the R-ARCSS has elaborately outlined in Chapter IV reforms in the economic and public financial management sectors, we know nothing will come of these provisions. It is these concerns, that have prompted us to speak out.
Way Forward—We call on the government and the international community, to support an international audit of the oil production and sale of crude effective since independence. This audit should involve both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Petroleum focusing on cost oil, revenue sharing and related transactions such as Transitional Financial Assistance to Sudan.
The Ministry of Finance and the National Revenue Authority should also be audited on revenue management. Ideally, a foreign consulting firm with recognized experience in oil auditing from countries, like Norway and Canada, should carry out the audit. The audit reports would then inform the country’s new financial management rules and procedures. Generally, there is a need for institutional reform to prevent corruption.
Perpetrators in public institutions that have already been identified as the dens of corruption must be brought to books.
Our Legislative institutions must perform their constitutional role in exposing and ordering prosecution of corrupt elements throughout the country whether in public or private institutions. The President’s voice must be heart in the campaign against corruption.
Persistent Insecurity in the Rural Areas
If there is one area where the government of South Sudan has spectacularly failed, it is in relation to security. We are all witnesses to the appalling security situation in our rural communities. Interethnic wars are commonplace and so are intra-ethnic conflicts. For far too long, our government has allowed citizens to fend for themselves in protecting and preserving their lives and property. Weapons have found their way in the hands civilians and they now kill and loot each other with impunity. The state is apparently unable to exert control and it therefore has no capacity to prevent these conflicts. For how long can the people of South Sudan go on like this?
These are issues that leaders everywhere in the world have sleepless nights over. In South Sudan however, leaders are inured to these situations and could care less about addressing them. What peace are we talking about then, if the majority of our people are at war in the rural areas, and we are unable to contain these wars? The state has the duty to address these matters, failure of which would warrant questions about the legitimacy of the government and its functions.
Way Forward—We cannot pretend that this not a problem; it is actually the most serious situation that any serious government would want to address at the start. South Sudan shall never be a stable country until all local conflicts are addressed and until civil disarmament takes place. The people of South Sudan, through the National Dialogue, consider disarmament as the number one priority for peace in the country. Failure to disarm and control the civil population, means there shall never be peace and stability in the country. The fallacy that once you reward warlords with positions and power you get peace is simply outdated and we need a paradigm shift.
To address some of these issues the government must organize and modernize the security organs and provide them with the requisite logistics to enable them to perform their mandates satisfactorily. Furthermore, the government must revive the supremacy of the state power and authority. The most important responsibility of any government is to ensure the security of its citizens and maintain law and order throughout its territory.
All institutions of democratic governance in South Sudan are virtually dead. The ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), is practically paralyze. It does not meet, and its policies do not guide government action. The Secretariat, which generates ideas and policies is neglected and its recommendations are not considered. The National Liberation Council (NLC) last met in December 2013 and it has not met again. The Political Bureau only meets to discuss policies decided already by the government and only when convened at the whims of the Chairman.
The parliament has been undermined and weakened by executive interference. It is not independent, and it does not debate matters democratically. It simply goes along with what is brought by the Executive. It doe not question the on-going coruri and it does not investigate or debate reports of the Auditor General. The country has for long been under an authoritarian system and it is now moving more towards stalemated and unworkable system.
All accountability mechanisms have been disabled, including the national army, which has now been relegated to the same level of militias per the terms of the R-ARCSS. For all practical purposes, South Sudan has lost all the democratic gains ushered in by the CPA and the Declaration of Independence. There are no avenues where political matters of significance are discussed openly. Many politicians now resort to talk politics at funerals, weddings, and other social gatherings such as the churches. South Sudan cannot and must not continue like this.
Way Forward—The single most serious threat against the Republic of South Sudan is lack of internal cohesion and insecurity across the country. In keeping with the Resolutions of the National Dialogue, civil disarmament is the most important priority the country should undertake. After the unification of the national army, the country needs a robust disarmament policy through an act of parliament. All must be disarmed, and possession of arms must be criminalized for civilians and non-active military personnel. The government must have a robust and decisive response to communal violence. South Sudan urgently needs democratic transition. Return to democracy is the only way to establish and reinforce virtuous institutions of governance. The growing impunity is a function of paralyzed democratic institutions. Democracy by definition is a form of accountability and transparency.
In concluding this statement, we want to reiterate that South Sudan remains in serious crises and the R-ARCSS has proven inadequate in bringing peace to the country. These crises as indicated by the National Dialogue are a result of leadership failure and power struggle.
We strongly believe that the National Dialogue provides superior supplementary solution to the problems facing South Sudan, so we suggest that its resolutions must therefore be implemented fully and should become a readymade program of the government. We call for democratic transition in the country as an exit from leadership failure and political deadlock, hence, our demand for preparations for elections to be expedited.
“Honorable Governor, let the government(s) not force us to take the law into our hands or use jungle laws to depend our ancestral land.”
A group of local chiefs from Gumbo, Tokiman, Loggo East and West, Kansuk, Gorom and Somba has presented a petition letter calling on the Central Equatoria state government to urgently resolve land grabbing, insecurity and cattle rustling or else they will resort to jungle laws to defend their ancestral lands.
“Hon. Governor, Emmanuel Adil Wani Governor, with great pain we are writing this letter in reference to our previous letters to both the national and the State governments in regards to an organized, systematical and persistence land grabbing, occupation, insecurity, child abduction, cattle herders and imposition of the new highways roads construction.”
“Hon. Governor, given the series of the above incidences and the high level of insecurity involved, we do here by emphasize that the following concerns are accorded immediate interventions.”
The following are the concerns raised by the Equatoria community leaders
• —The organized, persistent and systematic land grabbing and occupation is causing enormous disposition of our ancestral land; which is the only source of our community livelihood and existence.
• —Categorically we state that the current land grabbing and occupation in Rejaf Payam is orchestrated by armed individuals, internally displaced persons (IDPS), armed ethnic groups from Dinka Bor and Bahr El Ghazal including some top military officers from our organized forces.
• —We have noted with great dismay, that the land grabbers have been scrambling and competing to own, sellI, lease and sub-lease land they grabbed to enrich themselves and their families illegally. No longer an issue of lack of accommodation coupled with rampant insecurity paused by armed land immediate transfer and replace by our sons and daughters from Central Equatoria State.
• —In accordance to the prevailing Revitalized Peace agreement and the government commitment to implement the peace accord, we demand without prejudice for immediate repatriation of the IDPS from Rejaf Payam possibly to their areas of origin.
• —We also demand for immediate relocation of Capital City from Juba to Ramciel as stipulated in CPA and as passed by Council of Ministers meeting in December, 2011 chaired by H.E the President of the Republic.
• —Finally these issues have pushed us very far and have caused unbearable suffering to our communities. We trust and believe that your government will use its mandate and authority to address the issues mentioned above.
• —Honorable Governor, let the government(s) not force us to take the law into our hands or use jungle laws to depend our ancestral land. Hence, we will appreciate if the State Government could respond within a short period possible please!
‘For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land’. (Psalms 35:20)
Joint Press Statement
Ahead of the eve of the first anniversary of the Transitional Period of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS); we, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), the South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF) and the South Sudan Women’s Coalition for Peace (SSWCP) have come together to jointly amplify the call of the citizens of South Sudan for restoration of peace, security and stability and an end to all bloodshed in our country.
This is not the first time we have called on the same leaders to fulfill their responsibility to our country and the citizens of this nation. Unfortunately, these calls have not yielded any meaningful change to the ongoing crisis in the country and the living conditions of the common citizens.
While we acknowledge reduction of military confrontations among forces of parties to the peace agreement, positive steps to hold few armed forces accountable for crimes against civilians and the reconstitution of the executive of the new unity government as well as appointment of all ten state governors, we remain deeply concerned that the overall situation has not convincingly improved.
The country has continued to witness; devastating intercommunal violence, displacement of civilians, sexual and gender based violence, unnecessary roadblocks for extorting money and inflicting pain on travellers and humanitarian workers alongside an economy that falters with soaring inflation rates. Reports from aid agencies persistently indicate increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance, showing that the peace agreement has not helped to significantly scale down the humanitarian crisis in the country.
Moreover, most parties remain recalcitrant to implementation of the 35% affirmative action quota. With this growing unbearable situation of human suffering, we are prompted to echo the people’s call for an end to violent conflicts and insecurity, displacement of civilians and insensitive creation of more orphans and widows. It is becoming more apparent to us each passing day that this is the most viable option to stability.
We now seize this moment to jointly exhort all our representatives; religious leaders, women, youth and civil society leaders across the country to unite, raise their voices and call for what the people desperately need – peace, security and stability to end bloodshed and human suffering in South Sudan.
We find ourselves at a loss for what to say or do when it is evident that the scale of the economic, security and humanitarian crisis have not moved the leaders to save this country from further disintegration and human suffering.
In the face of these unprecedented challenges our country and the people are going through, we commit on their behalf to intensify these calls until all leaders listen and deliver peace, justice, liberty and prosperity for all citizens of our country.
Press Statement | On the rampant corruption in Nilpet under the leadership of Bol Ring Muorwel
The leadership of South Sudan Anti-Corruption Forum would like to update the general public and the high leadership of the country, on the ongoing malpractices that are being practiced by the incumbent Managing Director Eng. Bol Ring Muorwel and his relatives.
The SSACF’s leadership is much concerned about the broad daylight looting of the Nilpet’s resources by Bol Ring and his relatives. Eng. Bol Ring unknowingly turned the national company into a clan entity and the public need to take this into consideration.
The top leadership of the country should intervene quickly and rescue the national company from collapsing by firing the corrupt managing director Eng. Bol Ring. The leadership of South Sudan Anti-Corruption Forum (SSACF) made strong research on Nilpet Company surroundings and finally comfiled the following points that you need to intervene so that you liberate the innocent South Sudanese’s resources from being eaten by this man you appointed but turns into Hyena in a broad daylight looting Nilpet resources and hired people to defend him on social media (Deng Emmillo Mou) and many others.
1- The leadership of South Sudan Anti-Corruption Forum examined and found that the monthly salary designated for Managing Directors depending who is present as a Managing Director had been an amount of 1300$ with weekly allowance of 1000$. However a designated amount that an Eng. Bol Ring Muorwel refused to abide by but he instead changed his Managing Director’s monthly salary from 1300$ to 50,000$ with a weekly allowance of 70,000$. Which is a clear corruption on the broad daylight. He deserves to be relieved immediately.
2- The salary amount of a cashier in the National Oil Company all these years had been 800$ and an allowance of 300$, but when Eng. Bol Ring Muorwel entered as a Managing Director, he first of all relieved the innocent cashier (Chiek Reech) with his duties and appointed his brother’s son Ring Charles Mayen and changed the cashier’s salary from 800$ to 20,000$ with weekly allowance of 50,000$. Corruption and nepotism in action.
3- He currently bought an unbelievable luxurious building in Sudan Khartoum and he is building or constructing another wonderful tower in Uganda Kampala currently too through brother’s son Ring Charles Mayen who is in charge of all his uncle’s looted country’s resources. And more are yet to happen.
4- The Managing Director Eng. Bol Ring Muorwel rented the house here in juba for 5years with an amount of 3,000,000$. He did this in his arrival to the National Oil Company.
5- He bought 4 cars on his arrival to the company as his own, 1 prado, 2 V8 and 1 Land cruiser.
6- He diverted the company’s employees year bonus Clothes allowance into his private account, he also moves to divert the amount dedicated for Christmas occasion and other important feasts into his account also.
7- He (Managing Director) is planning to buy a cargo plane for the company at an amount of 45,000,000$ which is not an amount of buying when the citizens are hungry, civil servants have no salaries and when government is always on loan from other countries, waging a heavy debt that would have serious implications on the next generations.
With all these evidences, an Eng. Bol Ring Muorwel deserves immediate dismissal and taken for investigation. In this time of the implementation of the Revatlized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, South Sudanese are keenly checking on you the leaders of the Country to see who doesn’t hear the voices of people across the country, imagine that Bol got appointed recently into this sensitive Country’s position but in less than 6 months, he did all the listed above which is a clear disgraced to the high leadership of the country
Deng Tong Ariath,
President, South Sudan Anti-Corruption Forum, Juba, South Sudan
Opinion —In South Sudan, if you were to fill out your passport application form, instead of using another word to describe your profession, all you have to do is write your father’s position in the government.
This is a new approach or methods used by first-class citizens to illegally access government services or when traveling abroad for medical reasons or government-sponsored scholarships.
This marks the outbreak of rampant corruption in South Sudan.
For some of us, whose fathers are celebrated every year as fallen heroes and martyrs, but forgotten at the dinner table, are yearning to see an end to this form of dishonesty in the Republic of South Sudan.
Imagine, I spent an entire month looking for a national passport at the Department of Immigration and Passports, but it was all in vain —simply because I wasn’t related or a son of an ambassador to Russia, United States or China.
Our late founding father, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, once said that after their work is done or the country’s independence is achieved, there would be a generation of corrupt elites who know nothing but money and food and will plunder the nation’s vital resources.
“People accuse me of killing our sons and eating up people’s farm produces for nothing, but let me tell you this, our blood will be shed because I hate oppression and marginalization of our people but I will not even enjoy the fruits of this struggle. There are people sleeping comfortably right now; they don’t know the hunger or the sound of a gun. After our job is done that generation will take over; they will cut a large piece of land with pangas and sell it cheaply for a bottle of beer.”
Without a doubt, these are the people whom Dr. John Garang de Mabior was referring to. The country paid off with blood, sweat and tears has lost its sense of direction at the hands of failed leaders.
The writer is a concerned South Sudanese and currently resides in Juba, South Sudan. He can be reached via his Email: email@example.com
The views expressed in this “Opinion Section” belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The South Sudan Herald. Should you wish to submit your opinion piece or analysis, kindly contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Sudan’s government marks SPLM-IO-controlled areas as no-exams zones
Press statement on conduct of Primary Eight Exams in SPLM-IO Areas
Members of the press, Ladies and gentlemen — It is my pleasure to inform the nation that all necessary arrangements have been made for timely commencement of the 2020 Certificate of Primary Education examinations on Monday 8th February 2021.
However, it is important for me to underscore that in this year 2020/2021 examination cycle, a lot of stringent security measures have been devised and put in place to curb malpractices in examinations and to ensure security of the Examinations, Examinees and Examiners.
Central in these measures is that any certificate examination that is conducted by the South Sudan National Examinations Council MUST be protected and guarded by both the South Sudan National Police services and National Security. In the absence of both the Police and Security, nothing can guarantee the security and integrity of the examinations and thus such areas shall be regarded as no-exams zones.
Given this brief backdrop, the South Sudan National Examinations Council and the Ministry of General Education and Instruction have been alerted of possible examination security threats in most of the SPLM-IO bases in parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile State. Case in point is the recent detention of Staff belonging to an agent contracted by the National Ministry of General Education and Instruction to pay teachers’ incentives in Nyiror in Jonglei State.
To date, the money is not yet recovered although the agents were later released. These concerns have been shared with both the National Security Service and the Police and it has been resolved that unless a clear assurance is given by the SPLM-IO leadership over the security of examination in these areas, the National Examinations Council will have no other viable options but withhold the examinations in these areas in light of the fact that South Sudan National Security service and Police have no presence in such areas to provide full control and provision of security to Examiners, Examinees and the examinations.
Therefore, since I have already raised a red flag over this security concern, and the Primary eight examinations are set to begin in literally four days from today, I am afraid to state that pupils in these locations will have to needlessly miss out on their examinations due to the unresolved security concerns.
Hon. Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction and Chairperson of the South Sudan National Examinations Council.
Press Release| The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) has recently noted with great concern gross human rights violations perpetrated against women in the country.
On Wednesday, CPA learned that innocent women were gang-raped between March and April of this year in South Sudan and such an unbearable incident was confirmed by a law maker representing Yei River County in the Transitional Legislature Assembly and perpetrators happened to be “men in uniform”. CPA urges the government to hold perpetrators accountable and brought them to book.
“The failure of the government to protect and support victims of sexual violence undermines the quest for justice,” said the group’s national Director Ter Manyang Gatwech.
Since the signing of Revitalized Peace Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) on the 12 September 2018 in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by parties to the agreement and therefore, human rights situations remain a challenge for the last two years in South Sudan.
Late last year to early this year, rape and gang rapes occurred in northern Unity state has been reportedly continuing this year, with perpetrators apparently thinking they could get away unpunished a statement by U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (Source Reuters news). Last November there were report of 125 women and girls who were allegedly raped or gang raped over a 10-day period reported.
Violence against women and girls in South Sudan remains a challenge. Two thirds of women who have experienced domestic violence say it was perpetrated by an intimate partner, while one in four women report that their first sexual experience was forced. It is important to note that in cases of sexual violence, many women do not report due to fear, stigma and the trauma that is associated with the offences.
“These police brutalities are just a tip of the ice bag of the magnitude of violence committed against women on a daily basis in this country.”
We at CPA condemn these acts of injustice committed by individuals and other criminal groups in the country. As a Human rights organization, we urge the government to bring these criminals to justice and also to speed up the formation of states governments and hybrid court for South Sudan to avoid such violations.