Opinion | South Sudan in between extensions and forming R-TGONU prematurely
The A-ARCSS 2018 pre-transitional period in South Sudan has been extended for the second time sequentially. There is a probability that a third extension is inevitable, if selective implementation of R-ARCSS chapters and deliberate derail of the implementation continue unabated. Also, the political sprawl between the supposedly RTGoNU bloc and peace holdout groups could add another hidden dimension of an extension as long as political compromise is yet not reached. However, these extensions are viewed with mixed feelings depends on where one stands.
Primarily, the political views are divided into three - first group wants formation of government immediately upon expiry of transition period; second group pressure extensions till proper implementation of the agreement is achieved particularly on the security arrangements; while a third group mostly the common people are less concerned of extension or no extension but are challenging ‘change of attitude’ as a necessary tool to usher sustainable peace in South Sudan.
The scenario of forming R-TGoNU prematurely, under whatever circumstances, will definitely have severe consequences and negative impact on the peace efforts in South Sudan. Just to mention few as below:
1-The South Sudanese automatically will walk into the R-ARCSS transitional era more divided than ever before. The spirit of brotherhood will be overshadowed with loathsome and abhorrent prejudices. No doubt that this will water down the entire peace gains such as the confidence building and the commendable work accomplished by the implementation mechanisms. Also it will drastically impede any future reconciliation and healing processes that are vital to consolidate peaceful coexistence and return of life to normalcy. Thus the hopes on R-ARCSS 2018 and joys of the citizens for peace are cleaved.
2-The continuation of different armed groups under multiple Commander-in-Chiefs into the presupposed transitional government with a unified army and security sector is a fragile scenario. It complicates process of demilitarization of human settlements and the disarmament of civil populace. The ultimate result is that threats to peace and security are heightened. This is pathetic and unhealthy Page 2 of 3 phenomena that no single eye would like to witness that again after the horrible events of 2016.
3-Diminishing incentives to dialogue and encourage voluntarily return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their areas of origins. As the fear of hassling, killing and looting surrounds them much.
4-Furtherer discouragements of both domestic and foreign direct investment and that will automatically hamper economic recovery initiatives at unprecedented scale.
The successful implementation of the R-ARCSS 2019 depends fundamentally on resolving the calculus of accumulative issues in between the extensions and the formation of the R-TGoNU. How can the NPTC be rejuvenated and be responsible in achieving the pre-transitional objectives. How can the transitional government of national unity be prepared to work harmoniously to address challenges of post-conflict nation building. And how to break the chains of interwoven regional and domestic geopolitics, that to a greater extent, remains in drive of the political will to implement or not to implement the agreement. Also, it is right to ask what will happen, meanwhile, building up strategies of how to intervene if the extended 100 days of the R-ARCSS pre-transitional period has been mismanaged and defrauded too. All these political parameters need to be addressed simultaneously to establish a common ground for successful A-ARCSS pre-transitional and transitional epoch.
Although, time has shown that ‘fox-hurdling’ over R-ARCSS implementation matrix, selective implementation of R-ARCSS chapters and political insinuations have constituted the bulk of domestic factors of dishonoring the agreement, yet, the peace stakeholders are expected to demonstrate nationalism and rise to the challenges of implementation. However, in between the extensions and alongside the peace implementation it is equally important for the stakeholders and the entire civil activists to envisage the following:
-Stick to the spirit of collective responsibility in protecting and implementing RARCSS 2018 and make the necessary sacrifices to achieve the agreement desirable goals. This agreement is for the people of South Sudan and therefore the political parties must view it with a wider spectrum. It is more than scrambling for positions. The interest of the common citizen is first.
-It is paramount to evolve a robust national agenda (minimum program) that will usher reconstruction and socio-economic recovery during the pre-transitional and transitional period. A minimum program that will safeguard the sovereignty of South Sudan and pursuant of balance foreign policy.
-Change of attitude to embrace freedom of media, ensure level ground and political space is fundamental in winning the citizen’s conscience and prepare them for democracy and civility. This is crucial to reorient our political parties to a new culture of intellectual dialogue and political tolerance far away from the culture of militarism and political violence. The changes of attitude also will greatly refurbish the South Sudan scratched political image.
-It is essential to develop viable strategies of how to regain control of our economy then surrendering this important sector to quirks of unscrupulous investors – we need honest indigenous and foreign investors that will contribute significantly towards robust economic development, industrialization and growth. It is unfortunate that the South Sudan economic sector has been managed without a clear vision and aspirations since 2005. It is time to wake up and take control of the destiny of our national economy and be committed to face the economic challenges head on.
-Conceptualization and contextualization of federal system of governance at the infantry stage of the R-ARCSS is of great added value in achieving resilient peace and development. It encourages healthy competition among the federal regions in terms of goods and service delivery as well as enhancing regional planning. It will rapidly strengthen regional security through cross-border trading and traditional socio-cultural linkages particularly in the border States. Also, it will foster accountability and transparency since the federal level of government is closer to a constituency of politics and instantaneous tax payers.
It is important to acknowledge that in between the extensions and formation of RTGoNU, the political road to South Sudan’s resilient reconstruction and peace requires a commitment to a vision that puts the citizens at the top – love and respects of the citizens. Be accountable to the citizens. Indeed, the R- ARCSS must be conceptualized in graceful of a national dream of ‘Citizens First’ in order for it to become a formidable tool of achieving colossal socioeconomic returns and prosperity. Always remember that, strong nations are founded on respect of citizens, liberty and democracy. South Sudan must be one.
The author Alikaya Aligo Samson is an independent researcher and consultant on housing and post-disaster reconstruction. He is reachable through email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.