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CEPO report on parties compliance to 35% affirmative action.

CEPO Report on South Sudan Parties compliance to 35% affirmative action.

March 2020.

Abstract: This observation report has specific focus on South Sudan parties’ compliance with affirmative action of 35% for women during the formation of the revitalized transitional government of national unity cabinet. Although essential ministries were allocated to female ministers, the incumbent government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition SPLM-IO failed to enforce the quota of 35% for women during the cabinet formation however, the parties met 22% of the 35%.

The incumbent government appointed only 3 female ministers out of the expected 7 female ministers while, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) appointed 2 female ministers out of the expected 3 female ministers.

South Sudan Oppositions Alliance met 100% compliance with 35% for women throughout their allocation of ministerial portfolios at the cabinet level.  In regards to female deputy minister, the incumbent government appointed 1 female deputy ministers out of the expected 2 female deputy ministers while Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) failed to appoint the expected 1 female deputy minister. The present female ministers at their various capacities should immediately constitute women executive caucuses for designing and adapting women agenda for the transitional period.

The female vice president should take the lead in forming the women executive caucuses, the importance of women executive caucuses at the moment is to derive the influence for realization of the UNSCR 1325, SDGs 5 and 16 including sustainable peace for the country. As strong point to note, the women executive caucus should immediately take pro-active role to pressure the political parties to honor the 35% for women in the next political appointments.

For the women leading Foreign Affairs, Defense, Health, Gender and Social Development, General Education and Instruction ministries including heading gender and Youth cluster at presidency by the female vice president is a great gain for setting narrative for the societal recognition of the women in public life.

Nevertheless, the gains will be useless if the women leaders fail to organize themselves into Women Executive leaders Caucuses for collaborative action to driving women agenda for accomplishing the transitional period 2020-2023. 

  1. Key Concerns for Consideration.
  1. The Incumbent Government (SPLM plus its allies in the Government) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition leadership demonstrated that, they are not ready to honor their commitment for ensuring meaningful women participation in the government.
  2. The parties have neglected to engender the rest of the 65% of the responsibility sharing as enshrined in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan article 1.4.5.
  3. More violations of  35% quota for women is eminent during the formation of the Revitalized Transitional National Legislatures, Revitalized Transitional State Governments, Revitalized Transitional Local Government and Revitalized Transitional Independent institutions and Commissions at national and state levels.
  4. The political parties for women structures are not influential over their party leadership on enforcement of the 35% quota for women as required by the provision of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.  
  5. The women leaders, who incurred positions in the Revitalized Transitional Government Presidency and cabinet, ranging from Vice President to national cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, should organize into Women Executive Leaders Caucuses in order to build a coalition to ensure inclusive perspectives in the transitional period agenda.
  6. Women leaders in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity should prioritize responses to the conditions of the women in the sites of the unification forces and gendered disarmament, demobilization and reintegration.
  7. Adequate preparation by activists is required for ensuring that Transitional Justice; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector transformation/reform; resettlement and rehabilitation, institutional and policies reforms have gendered perspectives.
  8. Specific review of South Sudan National Action Plan/ UNSCR 1325 for accomplishing the transitional period is required. 

  

  1. The lesson from the violation of the 35% for women during cabinet formation

It’s clear that the Transitional Government of National Unity (Incumbent Government parties) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition leadership violation of the 35% for women was an indicator of male-dominated political parties.

Due to this, the women wings of both parties are not recognized by the party decision makers and not influential. Pursuing women participation and representation in the public life requires extra work on empowering men in political parties’ leadership to understand the importance of gender mainstreaming in public sector.

As long as men in political parties’ leadership have no belief, interest and will for supporting meaningful women participation and representation in public life, the struggle for women contribution and representation will not harvest the results expected.

There is need to begin thinking about framing funds for supporting women in politics and, the fund should much focus on political capacity building of women in politics. women in politics without proper required political capacities for perusing political agenda is not helpful to  influence improvement for positive change  in societal life.      

  1. Demonstrations of  compliance and violation of 35% women quota during the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. 
    1. Cabinet Clusters
  1. Governance Cluster: 2 Female Ministers appointed and 2 Female Ministers were not appointed as required by the peace agreement quota formula. No Female Deputy Minister appointed.  
  2. Economic Cluster: 2 Female Ministers appointed and 1 Female Minister not appointed as required by the peace agreement quota formula. 1 Female Deputy Minister appointed out of the required 3 Female Deputy Ministers.
  3. Service Cluster: 2 Female Ministers appointed.  
  4. Gender and Youth Cluster: 2 female ministers appointed.
  5. Infrastructure Cluster: Neither female minister nor deputy female minister appointed.
    1. Summary
  1. 8 Female ministers appointed out of the required 11 female ministers
  2. 1 Deputy Minister was appointed out of the expected 3 Female deputy ministers. 

 

          Remarks

  1. Gender and Youth cluster have move extra step to appoint 2 female ministers
  2. No female minister is appointed in the infrastructure cluster         
  1. Advocating for parties compliance with women quota of 35% including lobbying for the rest of political appointments under the  65% quota have been gendered.

The advocacy and lobby for enforcement of 35% for women and engenderment of the rest of 65% of responsibility sharing to be improve and strengthened, and improve in terms of influencing rights decision makers such as chairperson of political parties plus his or her close allies that build consensus on party decision.

To gaining political will of a party for compliance with the agreed upon affirmative action of 35% for women is essential. Whereas,  in terms of strengthening, it is paramount campaigners of affirmative action of 35% and engenderment of the rest of 65% of the responsibility sharing to have accurate knowledge for advocating for enforcement or compliance.

One of the weakness around championing women participation and representation is absence of accurate facts that are influential for winning acceptance of the rest. Wrong or inadequate messaging on the importance of compliance with 35% for women do contribute in empowering decision makers that are nor pro-affirmative action or engenderment of the rest of 65% of responsibility sharing.     

  1. Take adventure of the registered gains of the 35% for women.

The opportunity of securing presidential and ministerial portfolios in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity is great advantage for ensuring women participation and representation in public life, and for women leaders to participate in improving societal and human growth.  Among the immediate issues are;

  1. Women leaders should speak out about the occurrence of sexual violence in the on-going inter-communal violence
  2. The conditions of the women in the unification of the forces training centers
  3. Championing establishment of transparent financial system for financing the transitional period 2020-2023
  4. Standing firm on protection of political freedoms and civic space
  1. Next steps for women leaders in the government under 35% for women
  1. Women leaders in the revitalized transitional government of national unity cabinet should constitute women executive leaders caucus for the purpose of driving women influence for realization of societal and individual growth.
  2. Reviewing the developed women national agenda for delivering the transitional period 2020-2023.
  3. The women leaders in the government and alliance of women participation and representation should build up partnership for championing women influence for positive change in the society.
  4. Review of South Sudan national Action plan with commitment to adapt specific plan for the transitional period 2020-2023.
  5. The women leaders should adapt clear strategy for women engagement on transitional justice, institutional and legislations reforms.   
  6. Allocation of specific funds for supporting women engagement in public life is required and,  particularly financing civic orientation of women constituencies across the country on the requirements of the transitional period such as special reconstruction fund, women enterprise development fund, engendering transitional justice and women involvement in policy and institutional reforms agenda. 
  1. CEPO’s ROLE   

Community Empowerment for Progress organization under its initiative of status of women initiative will be championing sub-national/state civil society pro-active engagement on women, peace and security agenda. This will be fostered through the establishment of sub-national or states civil society network on women, peace and security and the network will be called “1325 Net”.

1325 Net will be a platform that mainly empowers states or sub-national civil society engagement on localization of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

Among the key planed contribution of 1325 Net will be centered on the followings  for equipping the civil society with essential knowledge and skill for influence, creating space for the civil society to influence state and community structures for commitment on women, peace and security agenda.

It will also champion the civil society visibility through publishing their work in month magazine known as Voice of Women (VOW). VOW will be a magazine totally focusing on amplifying women, peace and security engagement. However, the is magazine will dedicate space for publishing young women engagement on realization of United Nation Security Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security  

  1. Recommendations   
  1. Female ministers should constitute executive leaders caucus for perusing the government for delivering of women, peace and security agenda.
  2. Influential advocacy and lobby is required for winning the enforcement of 35% for women in the next appointment of the revitalized transitional national legislature, state governments, and independent commissions at national, state and local government level.
  3. There is need to urgently review the national action plan for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325. Through the review of South Sudan NAP, then specific action plan for the transitional period 2020-2023 should be adapted.
  4. There is joint to conduct joint gender assessment of the security arrangement process for the unification of the South Sudan parties’ forces.
  5. Political parties specially the incumbent Government and SPLM-IO to increase women representation in their next appointments as a  compensation for the violation of 35% women quota during the formation of the national  cabinet

 

  1. Conclusion 

This first oversight observation report for the beginning of the transitional period 2020-2023 is intended to raise the concerns about parties’ lack of will for enforcing the 35% for women. Further, this report is also a strategy of holding the parties accountable to their obligation enshrined in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan on women participation and representation during the peace agreement implementation.

The report confirmed that the political parties of South Sudan are lacking political will for embracing meaningful women participation and representation in the peace agreement implementation.  

Extra advocacy and lobby efforts are needed to secure meaningful enforcement of 35% for women in the next appointments of the following political posts in the revitalized transitional national legislature, state governments, and independent commissions at national, state and local government level.

The current women leaders should double efforts for ensuring that political parties enforced the 35% women quota including the rest of the 65% implementation, however, specific strategy for women participation and representation during the transitional period engagement is essential for increasing women influence on public interest and setting societal narrative.

The specific strategy should be in line with the implementation of the South Sudan National Action for the implementation of the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.