Opinion: Is South Sudan agreement on governance a blank check?
The Agreement (Proposal) on Outstanding Issues of Governance in South Sudan has not provided for a date for the formation of the next transitional government.
Article 4.14 and Article 6.3 of the Agreement imply that the Pre–Transitional Period shall be eight (8) months but there is no explicit provision on when exactly the transitional government shall be formed.
In its preamble, the Agreement (Proposal) confirmed the commitments that parties have solemnly undertaken in the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan ARCSS and the Khartoum Declaration.
In the Khartoum Declaration, in Article 3, the Parties agreed that “An agreement on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” shall be concluded as soon as possible and before closing the current Khartoum Round of Talks. After concluding the agreement on the “Revised Bridging Proposal” a Pre-Transitional Period of 120 days shall commence to be followed by a Transitional Period of thirty-six (36 months…”
However, the implications of Article 4.14 and Article 6.3 of the Agreement (Proposal) on Outstanding Issues of Governance have overridden the Article 3 of the Khartoum Declaration by implying that the Pre–Transitional Period shall be eight (8) months instead of the 120 days earlier agreed on.
Article 6.13 of the Agreement (Proposal) on Outstanding Issues of Governance also provides that it (the Agreement) shall prevail on contradictory or incompatible provisions of ARCSS, any other agreement and the Revised Bridging Proposal. These are all major concerns in relation to the date for the formation of the next transitional government and even its tenure.
In Article 6.1, the Agreement provides that the Parties recognize that during the Pre-Transitional Period, the incumbent transitional government shall continue to exercise its powers as per the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.
Therefore, given the above background, is the Agreement (Proposal) on Outstanding Issues of Governance a blank check for the incumbent government to remain in power indefinitely?
To address the vagueness, the Agreement should make explicit provisions on when exactly shall the next transitional government be formed and as well stipulate its tenure or simply incorporate into the Agreement the thirty-six (36 months) provided for in the Khartoum Declaration.
All these can and should be done before the final signing which is scheduled for 5 August in Khartoum, Sudan.
Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, a South Sudanese journalist, is the former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor Newspaper and former Chief Editor of Bakhita Radio. He can be reached via his email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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