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CEPO report on peace revitalization process

Background Information:

Regional Bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development declared revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) signed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in August 2015 and after the subsequent violence that erupted in July 2016. A different trend emerged after July 2016 conflict, the principal signatories to the agreement under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar were divided into two as party waging war against the government under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar and party in coalition with the government on the implementation of the peace agreement under the leadership of the First vice president, Taban Gai Deng. The division of SPLM-IO resulted to the on-going violence across the country and this led to creation of more other armed groups. During GAD Heads of State Summit held on 12th June 2017, the regional bloc   convened a High-Level Revitalization Forum in respect to 2015 peace agreement. The forum aims to include Government and Opposition groups in a dialogue to consider how to implement the Peace Agreement in which a   Special Envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais was appointed to follow on its decisions. Recognizing the importance of securing President Kiir’s buy-in, the IGAD Council of Foreign Ministers met in Juba on 24-25 July. Following that, IGAD, with help from JMEC and UNMISS carried out a mapping exercise on the relevant opposition actors to be included in the Revitalization Forum. The appointed Special Envoy, Ambassador Ismail Wais commenced stakeholder’s consultations from 13th October to 17th with leaders in South Sudan’s coalition government to be consulted first during the IGAD-initiated process. Ambassador Ismail Wais spoke to stakeholders’ which include religious leaders, women, youth, Internally Displaced Persons and civil society. In late November 2017, Ambassador Ismail Wais released his report of pre-consultations prior the commence IGAD council of ministers meeting for shaping the IGAD-led high level revitalization forum scheduled for 11th-12th December 2017. CEPO read the press release of the IGAD special envoy on the content of the report, CEPO pick up advocacy concerns. The concerns are enshrined in this report.

 

STEP 1: CHANGE OF ATTITUDES

SOUTH SUDAN CONFLICTING PARTIES LEADERS HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT PEACE IS ABOUT HUMILITY, APOLOGY AND INCLUSIVENESS.

The content of IGAD envoy on South Sudan press release on the report for national stakeholders’ consultations on the peace revitalization clearly demonstrated that, without change of attitudes among the leadership of South Sudan conflicting parties, the revitalization process will not be of great help. The change of attitude among the leadership of the conflicting parties is paramount step for making the revitalization meaningful. Any attitude from the conflicting parties of South Sudan that is not centered on utilizing the IGAD-led revitalization processes as opportunity of achieving peaceful solution to their political differences is useless.

Re-engagement on the agreement on the resolution of conflict in South Sudan requires expression of attitudes for humanity, apology and inclusiveness. It is hard for the conflicting parties to express sense of humanity, apology and inclusiveness if still they brief that military approach for resolving their political difference is the best option. Every conflicting party may not gain same share of the government power contributions if the principle of power sharing is the factor that motivates their positive attitude change. The only available option for non-violent and peaceful power transfers among contending political actors is conduct of free, credible and democratic elections where the citizen’s votes entrust political entity the full mandate to administer their affairs for given period of time. But elections can take place in an environment that is not observing permanent ceasefire and fully free from violence. Whatever the conflicting parties of South Sudan have as strategies for administering public affairs, violent approach for it is meaningless and unrealistic. The only concrete pathway is agreeing on political road map that creates conducive environment for facilitation of peaceful elections for winning the citizens votes as entrustment for public office.

The concept to re-engage on the implementation of the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan should not be much influenced by the appetite for gaining access to public office through power sharing than working for political formula that allows creation of conducive environment for peaceful electoral process. Therefore, the principle of re-engaging on ARCSS should focus on negotiation conditions to conduct peaceful electoral processes with compromise on political approach. It is essential for IGAD to push all the existing armed conflicting parties in South Sudan to approach solution finding strategy to their political difference as political parties with clear political agenda

 

STEP 2: STOPPAGE OF VIOLENCE

PEACE MEDIATORS. PERMANENT CEASEFIRE IS THE CORNERSTONE FOR POLITICAL ARRANGEMENTS.

The political arrangements that are needed in South Sudan for the transformation of the nation from the current on-going violence to peaceful nation requires immediate lay down of guns by the armed conflicting parties. Stoppage of the on-going violence is principle appetite for moving forward in seeking political settlements in South Sudan. Further, political settlement without effective humanitarian response to the food insecurity created by the violence, is just a worse of time because the chance of violence prevailing is higher.  Remember, to empower citizens to decide on peaceful and honorable transfer of power among political actors requires immediate stoppage of on-going violence. IGAD’s Special envoy to South Sudan report press release on the national stakeholder’s consultation tells that, the citizens and good will actors are crying for permanent ceasefire in order humanitarian assistance without any hindrance. Violence undermines the spirit of transforming situation from violent to peaceful.

Further it limits acceptance of dialogue for seeking solutions because of the results of the on-going violence such as unsecured facilitation of humanitarian assistance, on-going human rights violations, and restrictive civic space among others equal hampers in peace negotiation. The armed conflicting parties in South Sudan should first agree on permanent ceasefire as an approach of restoring culture of peaceful settlement of political difference. The permanent ceasefire will allow consensus on political arrangements that is genuine for public power transfer from one political actor to the another peaceful through citizens votes.  The idea of building essential public governance reforms being on policies or institutions for political transformation of the nation from the moment of violence to peace requires lay down of arms; institutionalization of rule of law; facilitation of transparency; offering quick public livelihood recovery and embracing protective humanitarian support as a tool of lifting public from vulnerability to recovery. The objective of re-storing ARCSS cannot be realized till permanent ceasefire prevails unconditionally.

 

STEP 3: PEACE NATIONAL OWNERSHIP

INCLUSION OF NATIONAL ACTORS’ REPRESENTATIVES IN THE PROCESS

To make peace accord successful is determined by its national-ownership. South Sudan is a society where national-ownership is secured through the so-called “Non-partisan trust and objective actors of the society”. These actors normally commend moral respect from the society. They are composed of different leaders which include; faith based, women, youth and civil society leaders. The society of South Sudan often has strong feeling that anybody who is discontented should be given chance to participate in direct negotiation or mediation. South Sudan dialogue prior the voting of South Sudan referendum, 2011 was the practical and live example of strength of inclusion for making public interest met. Inclusion is central element of socialization for winning public trust and confidence in South Sudanese society. The objective of revitalizing ARCSS should embrace inclusion of national actors and discontented actors for the sake of gaining public trust and confidence for minimizing spoilers for obstruction of peace from prevailing. The public ownership for revitalizing ARCSS is built on inclusiveness and non-precondition of the process for revitalization of ARCSS.  The intention of facilitating the process for achieving peace accord that will be owned by the citizens is normally determined by effective participation and representation of representatives of the society actors. The push for public ownership of the outcomes of IGAD revitalization of South Sudan peace requires effective inclusive process. The cornerstone for inclusive peace process are centered on the following; direct participation of societal sectors actors, regular briefings of public, open sources for receiving public opinions, transparency on the process and standing with the opinion of the majority. It is necessary that the process is inclusive for the revitalization of South Sudan peace. This is to reduce reservations on the content of the peace accord or some misinterpretation of some provisions of the peace agreement.

 

STEP 4: CONCRETE COMMITMENT FOR PEACE IMPLEMENTATION

AVOIDANCE OF DOUBLE STANDARDS

 

For the revitalization conceptions of Re-engage, Re-store and Re-vitalize ARCSS to prevail, the mediators and their supporters should absolutely avoid display of double standard acts. Demonstration of sincerity for behind process is paramount for the drivers of the process. Those who are supporting the drivers of the process should ensure that the game of double standards is absolutely avoided. Standing for certain norms without demonstrating the meaning of the norm by action is hypocrisy.  Any act of insincerity at whatever levels of the peace revitalization process will directly have effect on the phrase of drawing the implementation strategy/action plan for the revitalized peace. Credible political process is always defined by the degree of the parties involved in the process, and the commitment to demonstrate responsibility to deliver the aspirations created by the political process. Effective multiplier of hypocrisy in any political process is lack of commitment for fulfilling the responsibility to deliver and lack of   support to accelerate the responsibility to deliver.

 

SOUTH SUDANESE CONFLICT PARTIES

The primary actors that needed to avoid hypocrisy are the South Sudan conflicting parties. They have the primary task for make the responsibility to deliver peace in South Sudan real. The tendency of escaping the primary responsibility delivering peace in South Sudan from the conflicting parties that was observed in the past should be abolish during and after the revitalization of ARCSS.  The political culture of undermining political authority at the centered of political leadership is the worse character for spoiling peace agreement implementation. Political authority during peace agreement implementation period should be flowing in the stream with clear boundaries of check and balance, obedience to defined elements of political leadership. Undermining supreme authority during peace implementation is an offer for spoiling peace or invitation for renewal of/refreshing violence.

 

IGAD AND AU MEMBERS’ STATES LINKAGES

Creating pressure for commitment of the conflicting parties of South Sudan to commit themselves to re-engage, re-store and revitalize ARCSS requires unified position from IGAD and AU. The content of IGAD envoy report press release on the pre-revitalization stakeholders’ consultations tells that stronger unified position of IGAD and AU is required to compliment the position of Troika or UN.  IGAD and AU member states are divided on the strategy of delivering peace in South Sudan because of clashed of their interest in South Sudan. This is not resolve before the revitalization forums; it will instill less hope for realization of peace.  Each IGAD and AU member state is obliged without any excuse to compromise need, value interest and position under the umbrella of IGAD-led ARCSS revitalization.  ”Peaceful South Sudan benefits all and instable South Sudan disturbs all”.  

 

UGANDA, ETHIOPIA, KENYA AND SUDAN (IGAD FRONTLINE MEMBERS OF SOUTH SUDAN)

The IGAD and   AU member state need to stand firm for successful South Sudan peace revitalization. Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan are the frontline neighbors of South Sudan that need to balanced their interest on South Sudan. The concept of “peaceful South Sudan benefits all and Violent South Sudan threats all” should have a buy-in from them. They should stand against and not support the approach of double standard game. Consensus among them for joint and unified approach for resolving the on-going violence in South Sudan is necessary. Regional security interest should be the factor that drives them for unifying efforts and position for making peace prevail in South Sudan. The extra secondary required action for making the revitalization forum successful lies on their shoulders.  They have the chance of turning South Sudan as land of proxy war or hub of regional peace and stability.         

 

TROIKA, CHINA AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS

The augment that UN and Troika have no direct interest in South Sudan is not justifiable because South Sudan is not an island of its own.  If there is regional interest, then there is global interest because any region is a subset of the global community. The proof is appointment of special envoy on peace process by some global community member(s). With this point of view; the IGAD’s envoy to South Sudan report press release on roadmap for revitalizing ARCSS requires consensus from Troika, China and other members of the global community for deliverance of peace in South Sudan.  

 

For any political transformation process from violence to peace requires promotion of transparency and accountability for realization of commitment for making peace happen. The sense of non-interference is not justifiable because under global community principle for peace and stability “standing for the responsibility to protect human lives and properties” is essential and even non-negotiable unless global members believe on hypocrisy as a principle of political partnership for meeting interest.  So revitalization of ARCSS does not require entrainment of hypocrisy from any member of global community.

 

RANKING INTERVENTION FOR MAKING ARCSS REVITALIZATION SUCCESSFUL

IGAD Task

1.     Clear defined scope for revitalization of ARCSS

Kick-off commitments

1.     Permanent Ceasefire.

2.     Absence of restriction for monitoring and verification of permanent ceasefire violations by CSTMMA.

3.     Non-hindrance of humanitarian deliverance.

4.     Incorporation of ARCSS into National Constitution.

5.     Extension of ARCSS implementation period.

6.     Restructuring and strengthening JMEC.

Engagement commitments

1.     Actions for stabilizing communities

2.     Framework for political transformation (political reforms agenda).

Conclusions

This document acts as advocacy and lobby tool after reading the remarkable report of IGAD envoy to South Sudan on the national stakeholders’ consultations prior the ARCSS revitalization forum. This report tends to point out the next steps for different players to accomplish during the revitalization forum interactions. The document calls all actors engaging for deliverance of peace for South Sudan to avoid hypocrisy and demonstrate commitment for making the responsibility to deliver peace functional. CEPO will be keenly tracking the processes of the revitalization.  Finally, CEPO urges IGAD special Envoy to South Sudan to increase the level of transparency on the process by timely making its report available for public consumption in either IGAD or JMEC website. This will help a lot in controlling flow of fake/false news about its performance or progress of the revitalization. Recently some rumor mongers are observed in spreading fake/false news in the social media about the IGAD special envoy to South Sudan pre-consultations of stakeholder’s report.