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Report on Political Parties Commitment for Enforcement of 35% Affirmative Action

DESK REVIEW SURVEY REPORT, AUGUEST 2019

Abstract: This report is a product of desk review survey of political parties’ readiness for compliance and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women during the forthcoming Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. Women participation and representation in the government is basically realized through political parties’ nominations. The present political parties of South Sudan have weaker and fragile women internal party structures for championing the cause of women participation and representation in the forthcoming government to be form on the 12th November 2019. The survey realized that majority of the political parties’ signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan lack powerful and well-established party women league. While the few parties with women league have not granted their women league the power of semi-autonomous in party decision making with regards to women nomination to occupy government seats. They embrace a lot of party male interference with women nomination for occupation of government seats. This means chances of women nomination will be below the stipulated affirmative action of at least 35% for women        

  1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION

South Sudan parties[1] that signed Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) dated 12th September 2018 in Ethiopia-Addis Ababa are obligated to legally uphold women presentation and participation in the peace agreement implementation by affirmative action of at least 35% for women by the signed agreement article 1.4.4. The spirit of acknowledging women engagement in the peace agreement implementation is a global obligation for South Sudan political parties under the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325, Africa Union Maputo Protocol, Inter-Governmental Development Authority Peace and Security Strategy  and the Transitional Constitution, 2011 of the Republic of South Sudan article 16 (4) (a). The practices for enforcing the agreed upon affirmative action of at least 35% for women is prerogative the political parties that commit to it by signing an agreement document like R-ARCSS. Once political parties decided not to observe the principle of affirmative action of at least 35% for women in their government posts allocation at various level of the government then no any other option for enforcing the affirmative action of at least 35% for women. Recently, it was observed that the parties’ signatories to the R-ARCSS decided to nominate their delegates to the various R-ARCSS implementation mechanisms and institutions of the National Pre-Transitional Committee without enforcing the principles of affirmative action of at least 35% for women. Activists and Actors wit best interest of Gender mainstreaming demanded the parties to change their nominations but none of the parties’ responding to the call.  All the peace agreement (R-ARCSS) implementation mechanisms and Institutions failed to meet the threshold of affirmative action of at least 35% for women participation and representation. This recent practice sent out strong alert that if efforts are not now deployed by women in political parties for obligating the parties for compliance and enforcement of the agreed upon affirmative action of at least 35% for women, then less can be done for enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all level of government during the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity as expected on 12th November 2019. Weak women in political parties influence on their respective party leadership on enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women, may lead to below expectation execution of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all level of the government  

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Women participation and representation in government is determinate by the level of their influence in their respective political parties. Political parties that have sound participation and representation of women in the government are those political parties that have influential party women establishment. Political parties establishment in South Sudan have weaker investment on their women wings normally called as “Women Leagues”. Over 21[2] political parties which are signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) were by this survey having no clear strategies and mechanisms for enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women. Their party establishment basic documents investigated by this survey were not having clear methods or ways that describe obligation for the party compliance with and enforcement of the agreed upon affirmative action of at least 35% for women. Their basic document only have clear provisions on acknowledgement of the affirmative action as a quote for women participation and representation in b public life. The survey was able to identified only 03 parties out of the 21 parties that their basic documents namely manifesto and constitution have clear provision on acknowledging of women participation and representation in a government or public life. But the 03 parties also lack specific strong provision on obligating the party to enforce the acknowledgement of women participation and representation in public life or government.

Political parties with basic documents on establishment of women leagues tended to positioned women league as a unit of the political party without strength of semi-autonomous powers related to enforcement of party commitment for enforcing women participation and representation without their male counterparts’ direct interference. This finding was proved to be true by the parties nomination of their members recently to the peace agreement implementation various mechanisms and National Pre-Transitional Committee entities by not meeting the threshold of at least 35% for women.  Evidently, male party members are more powerful collectively than their female counterparts in relation to allocation of party members to government posts. The recent practices of political parties has demonstrated that male members of the political parties are more empowered than female members by the party basic documents on matters of decision making on allocation of arty members to various government posts

WOMEN LEAGUES of political party should be view as a party entity that empowers women members of political party to have right of semi-autonomous powers for pressuring the party consultatively and productively for the enforcement of affirmative action of at least 35% for women without after excuse. Secondly, allowing women members to secure powerful political seats in the government more than the usual culture where women are allocated ministries of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Home Affirms and other social services ministries is the expected aspiration of all. This survey realized that the parties’ signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan have women leagues that were intended not to be influential and semi-autonomous. This is a disturbing factor. Clearly women will face challenge in securing influential political seats even if the parties have compliance with the affirmative action of at least 35% for women in the next government of the Revitalizes Transitional Government of National Unity      

It is essential to prioritize to strengthening of political parties’ basic document with provisions that are straight forward and strong for enforcement of women participation and representation in the forthcoming government of the revitalized transitional government of national unity. Out of the 03 identified political parties’ that were signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) which have sound provisions in their basic documents on women participation and representation, none of them is female headed parties.  Investment on empowering women leagues of political parties’ signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan is required now and before 12th November 2019. The investment should focus on the following skills;

  1. Empowering political parties women leagues with skills for influencing their respective parties decision making with regards to the parties compliance and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women
  2. Tactics for positioning women candidates with merits for the available party seats in the government
  3. Skills for pushing back male counterparts in influencing allocation of government seats for female party members 
  4. Building women communication across political party lines for sharing strategies for winning influential seats of the government

The usual trend of activists, representative of diplomatic missions and intergovernmental agencies such as United Nation Agencies, international non-governmental organizations, human rights bodies and similar others taking lead in advocating for genuine enforcement of women participation and representation should maintain as a strategy for backing up women leagues efforts. This survey was able to identify some of the weaknesses of the women leagues of political parties. The key weaknesses that were identified centered on the following issues;

  1. Inefficiency in designing advance strategy for securing influential political seats allocated to the party
  2. Inability in countering the male counterparts strategy of clashing female party candidates over allocation of government political seats to women
  3. Limited financial resources for facilitating mobilization and strategizing meetings prior party allocation of government seats for the party members
  4. Female members who are ethnically, tribally and have family links with the top leadership of the party turn to betray their fellow female members with merits in winning government seats allocated to the party
  5. Deficit in both educational and political know-how for paving way for winning influential government seats. Although sometimes male members have worse deficit in both educational and political know-how but still occupied influential seats in the government     

Having limited or NO attention for empowering women leagues of the current political parties signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan will be a big mistake by feminist movement in South Sudan. For women to secure the affirmative action of at least 35% for women in the next government and beyond affirmative action of at least 35% for women, the women leagues of the parties’ signatories to the peace agreement need to urgently empowered with effective strategies for winning the parties compliances and commitment for enforcement with the stipulated affirmative action of at least 35% for women and beyond on 12th November 2019   

  1. METHODOLOGY

This survey data was collecting through desk review only. The desk review was used to build up some concrete evidences from existing information from the political parties’ basic developed documents on promotion of women participation and representation in public through quota allocation system (affirmative action of at least 35% for women) and non-quota system.  This survey was designed with the intension of informing the next face of the survey. The next survey data will be collected through developed standard questionnaire and focus group discussions. The data of this report was generated from over 21 political parties’ basic documents  

  1. KEY ISSUES STUDIED
    1. POLITICAL PARTY READINESS FOR WOMEN PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION

Through the survey desk review, it was realized that the political parties’ readiness for women participation and representation was inadequate. The all political parties’ current strategy for responsibility (power) sharing was totally focusing on prioritizing the party male members to occupy influential positions in the forthcoming government to be form on the 12th November 2019, than the party female members. Over 15 political parties reviewed minutes and notes of discussions collected from some members about the internal party discussions on responsibility sharing in the next government, the accessed minutes and notes all indicated that over 70% of the political parties signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan prefer to allocate influential ministries and other government seats to their male members than the female members of the party. Through those minutes and notes reviewed by the survey, the conclusion was that the chance of 70% of the political parties to R-ARCSS seats in the next government may be occupied by male members than female members. The threshold stipulated in the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan on women participation and representation in the revitalized transitional government of national unity with affirmative action of at least 35% for women may not be observed by the parties as expected. Indicators from the majority of the parties members held discussions minutes and notes on responsibility sharing the next government demonstrated the chances of political parties favoring observation of the stipulated affirmative action of at least 35% for women is very low. The survey review realized those held by political parties on responsibility sharing approach are male party members dominated discussions with less than 35% for the party female members’ participation. Therefore, strong indicators are merging out clearly that the application of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women all level of the government by the political parties in the forthcoming government as stipulated the signed peace agreement dated 12th September 2018, the chance of this aspiration will be fulfil by the political parties is narrow       

  1. POLITICAL PARTIES’ BASIC DOCUMENT PROVISIONS ON WOMEN PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION

The majority (18 out 21) political parties’ basic documents that have provisions on women participation and representation are inadequate in terms of language and strategy for enforcement of women participation and representation.  Genuine enforcement of the aspirations on women participation and representation in the forthcoming governmental posts requires early female party members influence on their party leadership decisions on responsibility sharing. The reviewed basic documents of the all political parties’ signatories to the R-ARCSS have reasonable language on acknowledgement of women participation and representation in government posts and weaker language on enforcement of women participation and representation in the government. Through the parties basic document reviewed by the survey it was realized that the parties cleverly used the same tactics of their language on matters of women participation and representation in their party basic documents  in framing the language of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women in the provision of the R-ARCSS article 1.4.4 “provisions of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan and Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, 2015  on participation of women (35%) in the Executive shall be observed”[3]. With reference to the previous communications from the mediation team the language used was affirmative action of at least 35% for women in all levels of the government as stipulated in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 article 16(4) (a) “promote women participation in public life and their representation in legislative and executive organs by at least 25% as an affirmative action to redress the imbalance created by history, custom and traditions”.  It is critical to begin advance and consistent advocacy and lobby for the political parties’ to compliant with and get committed for enforcement of with the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan article 1.4.4. The survey desk review, realized that since the majority of the political parties are male-led and dominated parties, the appetite of committing for compliance with the principle of women participation and representation at all levels of the government with at least 35% for women is very low. 

  1. POLITICAL PARTIES’ WOMEN LEAGUES

Women leagues of various political parties are not at their full capacity for pressuring their party leadership decision making for compliance with and enforced the principle of women participation and representation in the forthcoming government should be at least 35% for women as affirmative action. The establishment of various political party women leagues was not clearly intended for shaping women members of the party influence on the decision of the party in relation to women participation and representation in the public life but just a platform for accommodating women members of the party. The party male members and some female members with allegation to party male leadership in their mindset women league is just intended to be a party platform for bringing women to a party than as a platform for offering the women chance of pressuring party leadership internal decisions on observation of democratic practices such as availing women a quota system such as affirmative action of at least 35% for women participation and representation at all level of the government. The survey realized that all present parties’ women leagues are weaker in influencing or pushing their party leadership internal decision making for observation of the stipulated affirmative action of at least 35% for women participation and representation in the forthcoming Revitalized Government of National Unity. Urgent action by good wishers for empowerment of political parties’ women leagues for effective demand of their respective parties for effective women participation and representation in the forthcoming Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. Complaining without empowering the women leagues of the various political parties while expecting that the parties will observed the principle of affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all levels of the government is unrealized because the all political parties’ women leagues are at stage of being weaker and disorganized structurally        

  1. KEY FINDINGS
    1. POLITICAL PARTY BASIC DOCUMENTS SUPPORT OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION IN GOVERNMENT POSITIONS
      1. All the political parties in their basic documents such as manifesto and constitution expressed provision for encouraging women participation and representation in all level of the government
      2. All political parties’ basic documents provisions are more of demonstrating the party aspirations than party commitment for making women participation and representation in government equally with their male counterparts
      3. All political parties clearly encourage party establishment for promotion of women participation and representation in public life through a mechanism called “Party Women League” 
    2. POLITICAL PARTY STRATEGY FOR ENFORCEMENT OF WOMEN PARTICIPATION AND REPRESENTATION IN GOVERNMENT
      1. All political parties basic document have no clear provisions on enforcement of party aspirations on women participation and representation in all levels of the government
      2. All political parties that have male leadership have serious limitations in promotion of women in occupying influential seats in all levels of the government
      3. All political parties basic document have strong language on acknowledgement of women participation and representation in public life
    3. POLITICAL PARTIES’ WOMEN LEAGUES CAPACITY
      1. All political parties established women leagues were not purposely intended to champion party women members for competition equally on government positions with their male counterparts
      2. All political parties women leagues are weak financially in supporting their female counterparts who are aspiring for securing influential government seats through party nomination
      3. All political parties’ women leagues intentional were denied chance of positioning female members to influential posts. The party caucuses which is the highest party internal decision making organs is favoring male party members more than their female counterparts in relation to allocation of party members for influential seats in the government    
      4. All political parties women leagues designed not to be semi-autonomous with regards to party internal decisions making  
  2. RECOMMENDATIONS AND WAY FORWARDS 
    1. All political parties should review their basic documents namely party manifesto and constitution in order to recognize and enforce the affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all levels of the government before 12th November 2019
    2. There is need to develop a strategy for early empowerment of all parties’ women leagues with skills for consultative and productive influence of their party internal decisions making for compliance with and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women. Among key early actions of the strategy should be on the followings;
  1. Establishment and facilitation of all political parties Women Leagues Forum
  2. Equipping all parties women leagues with information on their respective parties responsibility sharing distribution and allocations  
  3. Building skills for genuine advocacy and lobby for their respective party compliance for enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all levels of the government on the 12th November 2019
  4. Engaging party male members who are pro-party compliance for enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women in all levels of the government
    1. Political parties’ women leagues required urgent action for their organization in the terms of building governance structure and gaining semi-autonomous status within the party
    2. Dialogue with top leadership of the parties’ signatories to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan on party compliance for enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all level of the government is required
    3. The seat of the female vice president in the presidency should be utilize for compelling the political parties in their nominations of members to various seats of the government in all levels of the government for compliance with the enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women
  1. THE ROLE OF CEPO

CEPO will be immediately engage in developing strategy for influencing all political parties which chances of nominating their members for various government posts for compliance and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women. Among the key strategy interventions will be;

  1. Focusing on the utilization of the post of Female Vice President since is responsible for administer Gender and Youth Cluster at presidency as an opportunity in the presidency for compelling political parties for compliance and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women
  2. Campaigning for all political parties to sign “A Declaration on Compliance for Enforcement of the Affirmative Action of at least 35% for Women during the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity on 12th September 2019”
  3. Establishing and facilitating all political parties Women Leagues Forum from the month of August 2019 till the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in partnership with National Pre-Transitional Committee Unit for Dissemination for the Revitalize Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan
  4. Developing women political influencing strategy for securing influential post for women in the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.
  5. Developing South Sudan Gender Agenda for utilizing the posts of
  • Female Vice President who is responsible for the National Gender and Youth Cluster in the Central Government
  • Female Duty Speaker of the National Parliament
  • Female Duty Speaker of the Council of States  for setting narrative on societal development  
  1. CONCLUSION

This desk review survey was intended to generate some facts for further conduct of in-depth survey on the political parties’ readiness for compliance and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 355 for women at all levels of the government. The findings and recommendations of this desk review survey required to be take further by any entity that beliefs women participation and representation in the forthcoming Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. Investing on building the nexus between the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan with the United Nation Security Council Resolution 1325 is essential for taking stock for genuine women participation and representation in the forthcoming Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity. CEPO will be playing role in partnership with other actors to ensure that platform for bringing all the political parties women leagues for strategizing for lobbying and advocating for all political parties compliance and enforcement of the affirmative action of at least 35% for women at all level is established and facilitated urgently




[1] Incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) of the Republic of South Sudan; The Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army In-Opposition (SPLM/A-IO); The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FDs) and Other political Parties (OPP) . Most of these parties are umbrella entities expect SPLM/A-IO and FDs is a party by identity not umbrella entity  

[2] From the following umbrella entities TGONU, SSOA , OPP plus none umbrella entities namely SPLM/A-lO and FDs

[3] The language of “in the Executive shall be observed” is disturbing and limiting women participation and representation at all levels of the government