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By Deng Vanang - 10 Feb 2020

Opinion | A peep into UDRM/A’s peace package as it warms up to Rome meet

On the forthcoming 12th of February UDRM/A as an integral part of SSOMA, shall have its best foot forward and firmly stamped in Vatican City State, an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy.

There the non-signatory opposition group officially referred to as South Sudan Opposition Movements’ Alliance {SSOMA}  and government of South Sudan, mediated by Sant’Egidio - a peace-making lay Catholic community, will have a candid conversation on long running conflict’s underlying root causes.

These root causes, already  interpreted by keenly observing citizens and other institutional formations from different perspectives, were ones responsible for making some current member parties in SSOMA abstain from signing the presently struggling September 12th, 2018 Khartoum peace agreement.

In defining the root causes of any conflict in history studies, always arises the confusion in which effects of conflict are confused with root causes of the same, with misdiagnoses that profoundly and devastatingly work to complicate and prolong the dragging conflict to which many desperately want to put an end.

For instance, Torit mutiny on August 18th 1955, was actually an effect or result of Southern Sudanese unresolved popular demands {grievances or root causes} for special status within united Sudan in the run up to an independence on January Ist, 1956.

The same is true with Akobo mutiny in March, 1975 when then newly integrated Anya-Nya I armed rebels into Sudan Defense Forces {SDF} backed off from dictated terms of transfer to the North after realizing the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement was not smoothly sailing as previously signed on February 27th, 1972.

The moral of story is, either ignore for whatever reason or wrongly define the root causes within the political settlement framework, then rest assured that the conflict can be far from being resolved, since it will keep recurring over time to become a phrase commonly known as ‘’postponement of conflict’’.

It is therefore on this basis United Democratic Revolutionary Movement /Army {UDRM/A}, among other fellow members of SSOMA, would like to both differentiate between effects and their root causes in public physique, thereby documenting and clarifying what are truly the underlying root causes dangerously driving the ongoing civil war in our beloved country, South Sudan.

And which if addressed accordingly, could not only cease perennial hostilities now maiming and killing our innocent people, but also to a great extent, shall bring the conflict to its logical conclusion, enabling the permanent peace to come back home to roost forever.

This paper on root causes is not just our negotiating position as UDRM/A, it as well represents our vision for a war-ravaged country’s future.

Without any much ado, following are 18-point root causes of South Sudan’s grinding six years’ conflict and their attached proposed solutions than blame games as researched  and defined by UDRM/A within the SSOMA’s fertainity comprised of UDRM/A, NAS, SSNMC, NDM-PF, SSUF and Real SPLM:


1-The concentration of power in one individual leader desperately requires breakdown of an imperial executive presidency into three peaceful and harmonious  centers of power based on federal parliamentary system of governance run by differently and healthily competing political entities to ensure both inclusion and democratic checks and balances, which can be vested in the offices of Federal President as the moral force and potent symbol of national unity, President of Bicameral Legislative Assembly and Executive Prime Minister with the following respective functions:

I.Federal President as the retired elder state man/woman and appointed from 3rd largest party or coalition of parties shall:

·       Be Head of State.

·       Sign international treaties the government under an executive Prime Minister has reached with foreign country as consented to by Federal Bicameral Assembly.

·       Accredit and receive envoys.

·      Put ascent to or reject for further review acts of Federal Bicameral Assembly to become laws, including the declaration of war against rival foreign state by the latter{Federal Bicameral Assembly}.

II.President of federal Bicameral Assembly {the joint sittings of upper and lower chambers} appointed from the 2nd largest party or coalition of parties shall:

·        Preside over legislations.

·      Control oversight institutions, except an independent Judiciary in protection of public resources and civil liberties.

·       Sanction for rejection or approval nominations of politicians and civil servants nominated to public offices by an Executive Prime Minister.

·     Declare war against an invading foreign state with an ascent from Federal President.

III.Executive Prime Minister appointed from the 1st largest political party or coalition of parties, based on the number of MPs in the Federal Bicameral Assembly, shall be:

·      The Chief executive and head of the government, administering all organs of clearly designated executive arm of the government.

·       Commander-in- Chief of the armed forces and federal police unit, with all civil defense forces left to federal states to recruit, employ and manage under the Governors.

2-Ethnic majoritarianism which unnecessarily subjects state’s key institutions to major ethnic groups’ rivalry and domination of ethnic minorities which are now calling for politically motivated, socially divisive and economically unsustainable mini-states of their own within the larger sovereign state of South Sudan, desperately calls for redress as it is already mentioned in point number one.

3-The widening divide between government and people is a reality worthy of redress since those working in government are termed as hijackers of state’s power and resources by citizenry irrespective of ethnic backgrounds and who found themselves disadvantaged and denied of well deserved right to live a prosperous, secure and dignified life, simply by making resources trickle down to grass roots.

4-The personalized power struggle between and among some top leaders which draws members of their ethnic groups into what is an otherwise personal enmity and hatred rather than common public concern desperately needs urgent attention and whose solution demands all publicly known divisive elements be humbly requested to voluntarily excuse themselves from any transitional government of national unity, for they don’t inspire trust and confidence in the people to lead and which if it is not addressed accordingly, could undermine much needed peaceful settlement of conflict and its subsequent sustainability.

5-Mismanaged state’s resources in addition to failed judicial prosecutions pressed against rightfully accused corrupt officials, minus handsome rewarding and protection of whistle blowers, giving rise to an endemic and run away corruption by a sizable few as popular anger over exclusion from key state’s resources systemically flourishes must be put to an immediate end through the establishment of strong bureaucracy on the bedrock of democratic checks and balances and completely insulated or shielded from power politics.

6-Mismanaged affirmative action and gender mainstreaming seen in unfair gender representation tilted towards benefiting female-male friendships, elite family members { both urban and rural} and even married couples which led to systematic circulation of resources and decision-making within exclusive socio-political groups needs to be resolved by putting high premium on professional competence, fair selection process and strict adherence to family’s values demanded from not only women, but equally men to be honored with responsibilities of leadership, which is the ability to deliver required public goods and services against the backdrop of professionalism and social integrity.

7-The physically impaired, war wounded, veterans, fallen heroes’ surviving spouses and children, as the special interests group, have got an entrenched ill-feeling of marginalization towards an ever enriching elite class that requires necessary attention and lasting solution by involving them in the sharing out of the national cake via technical capacity building and setting up of special investment funds tailored for their special needs. That aside, they must also be allowed to select joint representatives through constitutionally established associations in both national and state legislative Assemblies to highlight their flight.

8 -The unaddressed historical injustices and persistent social prejudices between the peoples of three Greater regions and ethnic groups which can be seen in past socio-political and economic conflicts in form of past ‘’kokora’’ or re-division and present heartless land grab, mass ethnic massacres and a blend of ancestral land claims and raw territorial ambitions which have seen the creation of 32 States outside constitutional framework requires an urgent redress.

9 -Foreign interference , especially from regional powers in South Sudan’s governance that works to divide top leadership categorized into those standing for status quo and opponents angling for democratic change to usher in necessary reforms the regional powers loath as the threat to their ill-acquired economic benefits,  must be warded off as per the African Union and United Nations’ policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states and safeguard of their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

II- Economic reforms:

10-The usurpation of resources by a tiny elite class in capital Juba and other major cities, instead of devolving them to the lower units of government where over 80% of total population lives, which results in class conflict between urban and rural dwellers as seen in grime shortage of social amenities in the latter in terms of road networks, means of transport and communication is the great cause of concern to be amicably dealt with. Other shortfalls are basic education and healthcare facilities, agricultural production, security, water and electricity supplies, etc. and whose alternative solution is to disburse huge sums of money to the Counties from their respective federal states and sufficient Constituency Development Funds {CDF} meant for  national MPs for their constituencies’ development as success story in Kenya.

11-Lack of private sector reforms which should be reflected on robust state funding and full scale nationalization program to wrestle most local investments and humanitarian agencies’ operations South Sudanese can afford to manage from the hands of foreign expatriates, which shall lead to strengthening and control of national economy, besides creation of youths’ employment be taken seriously to reverse the status quo. However, in the incoming revolutionary transitional government of national unity and those that follow must be swift to response to any rising cases of xenophobia.

12-Lack of human and material compensations and trauma healing brings about popular dissatisfaction that returns the country to the past crisis. To make the traumatized section of our population productive once again and forgiving, trauma should be declared a national disaster in order to be tackled through giving the victims free access to what shall be made more available clinical counselling and healing services countrywide. While on the other hand,the transitional has to labor extra-time and ensure fair, comprehensive  and complete registration and gazetment of all victims of conflict and their lost property for necessary compensations during the post-war period.

III-Security sector reforms:

13-Biased recruitment in the armed and civil defense forces resulting in demobilized war veterans without dignified sendoff, unfair ranking, poor numerations and improper management of their deteriorating conditions in lack of housing, health, education of their children and post-service retirement packages always work to drag the country back to war.

14-The impeded bill of rights to freedom of expression, movement, assembly, life, work and own properties by citizens as partly seen in the rising cases of human right abuses against human rights groups or individual activists on the one hand and on the other, media and judiciary’s forced lack of independence and objectivity outside constitutional framework which can only be reversed through well articulated security sector reforms within an overhauled system of democratic checks and balances cries for an amicable redress, via all oversight bodies such as anti-corruption body, judiciary, armed and civil defense mechanisms being headed by representatives of the most peaceful and least corrupt nations outside East African region with proven records of impartiality and competence, while deputized by nationals with the same competence and professional ethics during transitional period, if South Sudanese people have to regain their confidence in government and security of their lives in all forms in the post-conflict country.

15-The feared repatriation without rehabilitation  after complete silent of guns, unfulfilled promises of demilitarization of civilian buildings and centers, lack of general disarmament of firearms from illegal hands at one appointed time countrywide, without restoration of full security to normalcy and opening of all humanitarian corridors to assist the returnees work to affirm distrust in security sector and subsequently discourage the return of the refugees to the would be pacified country.

V- Transitional justice system:

16-Lack of judicial independence, especially most currently ongoing individual, communal and political differences taken into individuals or groups’ own hands are due to lack of public trust and confidence of those involved in rule of law through various kangaroo courts.

17-Unsolicited state’s control over political parties as the platform of political representation through which citizens participate in governance has to be reversed by allowing parties to be set up and registered at both national and state levels and not to be confined at the latter level  in order to give chance to those who can only afford forming parties at state level for a full-pledged participatory democracy.

VI-National healing, peace and reconciliation:

18-Virtually and deliberately failed national reconciliation and healing to reverse the bad past shall be revived by:

 I-Developing the spirit of constitutionalism and rule of law in the hearts and minds of South Sudanese citizens and their leaders for an entrenched participatory democracy through independent constitutional writings and amendments with clearly defined method of assembly, repeals and enactments.

 II-Establishing, based on moral principle of repentance and forgiveness, institutions of transitional justice system on the pedestal of openness, transparency and accountability on past crimes of all kinds committed.

III-Providing avenues of equitable distribution of power and resources among all citizens and special interests groups.

V-Establishing and generously financing more stronger arts {literature, music, comedy, and painting}, sports and cultural institutions to promote already depleted patriotism and nationalism as part of national healing, peace and reconciliation. Handsome awards be handed to those who have made excellent performances during annual sports competitions, arts and cultural festivals.

Deng Vanang is UDRM/A’s secretary-General, Head of Rome’s peace delegation and member of SSOMA’s Leadership Council

The views expressed in ‘opinion’ articles published by Radio Tamazuj are solely those of the writer. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author, not Radio Tamazuj