By James Okuk, PhD
January 5, 2016 (SSNA) — The month of January was originally named by the Ancient Greek to signify a god of double heads: one head facing forward to a bright future and another head facing backward to a dark past. This Greek nomenclature mythology seems to be making sense with the current situation of the Republic of South Sudan under the confusing SPLM regime that has not learn the dignity of revering credibility and truth.
The SPLM leaders have even spoiled the communist favorable term of ‘comrade’ which has now come to connote a ‘thief of public money’ – corruption – in the one-party dominated government. That is why some common South Sudanese react offendedly these days if you happen to call them ‘comrades’ as this liberation virtue got blown away by wind of kleptocracy.
The shameless SPLM’s behaviour could be the core reason that led to failure or hijacking of the leadership of the Republic of South Sudan to the extent that people don’t enjoy what can be called citizenship, peace, justice and prosperity for all. The previously trusted SPLM liberators have turned around to betray the people’s trust by taking them back to the anguishing situation of wars and tribal hegemonic oppressions that came to replace Jellaba’s injustices. That is why President Salva Kiir Mayardit feels nostalgic at times about the bush life compared to the current terrible SPLM power wrangling situation he has been wrongly managing in futility.
Since the signing of August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS), many days and months have been made to pass without putting an end to the senseless war so as to restore the sanctity of life through peace. However, the month of January 2016 has come to remain the critical and deterministic epoch for ending the shameless SPLM status quo by effecting a rebooting political dispensation.
The January will tell soon that it is irrationally unrealistic to sign a peace agreement on paper and do something different on the ground. It would have been better for the SPLM leaders not to append their signatures on ARCISS if they they didn’t believe in honoring it because this would have saved them from wrath of contradictions and confusions.
Now, the commitment for ARCISS implementation is on their necks with escape routes blocked. The concerned international and regional communities have already entrenched themselves to deal with the SPLM regime even if it means ‘highway methodology’. The fact that the UN Security Council has approved Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (known as drones), tactical military helicopters and other sophisticated heaviest arms with additional troops being deployed to South Sudan under Chapter VII of UN Charter, is already a clear signal that leaders of the new country are not going to be left alone to continue misbehaving on their vulnerable citizens.
Peace is going to be enforced down on throats of the unwilling SPLM regime by nooks and crooks because the biggest UN peacekeeping force in the world with unique civilian camps called PoCs shall not quit in shame. There is not going to be a new negotiated peace deal but the ARCISS itself under supervision of the most able Botswana’s Former President and his deputies who were dispatched by western superpowers to teach the intransigent Machiavellian SPLM leaders some lessons of good governance and modern political discipline.
As it is is commonly said that the whites’ taxpayers money (especially the Troika) can’t be spent with no returns, it has become evident that the SPLM regime has been caught finally at the tight corner of ARCISS they have been lying about in the wasted past months. Hence, it will be a safer soft landing for the SPLM leaders to implement the ARCISS in letter and spirit in accordance with matrixes and timelines provided by the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).
As the clock of the first week of the deterministic January 2016 is ticking towards a finishing line and as the second week is already knocking at the doors of the SPLM-J regime, the joint regional and international actors together with internal economic pressure is mounting yet again on the ruling SPLM leaders. All the rivalling SPLM factions are already in Juba to tell the whole world, including the people of South Sudan, that they are for peace and nothing else. Thus, whoever would attempt to obstruct the peace process by acting unilaterally outside the ARCISS provisions should be designated to carry the cross of undesirable sanctions alone.
The ARCISS should be allowed to overrule the Transitional Constitutions (2011) and its amendments, including the recently created troublesome 28 states that lacks scientific feasibility studies apart from parochial dirty politicking. The delayed National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) should be allowed to complete its work by second week of January 2016 without any attempt at renewed negotiations on ARCISS provisions.
As it has been stipulated in Article 13 of the ARCISS, the IGAD-led mediation initiated the formation of the 8-membered NCAC with mandate to complete the necessary tasks for transition period and establishment of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) with all its legislative, executive and judicial branches.
However, it has been very strange as usual for the GRSS representatives to object to the progress of NCAC’s duty on a lame duck excuse that they have not read and studied the ARCISS and should be given enough time to do so, when actually much time has already been wasted in vanity.
The Other Political Parties’ representative to NCAC has not been nominated due to obstruction by the GRSS’ wing who call themselves the ‘Programme Parties’ under satellitic leadership of Martin Elia Lomuro in contrast to the National Alliance under the astute liberalized leadership of Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin.
Nevertheless, the NCAC boat has been moving because the quorum is complete even with the absence of one member of political parties or two members of the GRSS. The draft peace constitutional amendments bill is supposed to be completed within 21 days from the date NCAC started its work (i.e., 22nd December 2015 – 12 January 2016). Anything that the NCAC is unable to do in the set time shall be done by the supreme supervisor of the ARCISS, H.E. Festus Mogae, so that the GRSS Minister of Justice could receive the draft peace constitutional amendments and other relevant legislations to be tabled in the current Council of Ministers (before it is dissolved) and thereafter within 7 days to the 400-membered reconstituted Transitional National Assembly (TNLA) led by an elected strong Equatorian MP.
The TNLA is supposed to ratify the peace constitutional amendments within 30 days (i.e., by second week of February 2016) so that it is assented to by the President of the Republic immediately and thereafter be used as the supreme legal basis of conferred powers for establishment of institutions and mechanisms that are necessary for legitimatization of TGoNU, with consideration of inclusivity and national diversity of South Sudanese by their political parties, tribal affiliations and gender categorisations for appointments to government posts.
The ARCISS set time could even be shortened so that the loss pre-transition period is compensated all by January so that the actual peace government assumes its total mandate by February after appointments of the 1st VP Dr. Riek Machar, the VP James Wani Igga, the 30 National Ministers and 8 Deputies, and 10 governors of ten states with their ministers in accordance with the ARCISS lottery and quotas of the principal parties (GRSS, SPLM-IO, FDs and OPP). The Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), including 10 states governments, has to take up its duties as mandated horizontally and vertically with a new political dispensation for reforms and adjustments in the country.
However, if the SPLM regime misses January 2016 it will not miss U.S plan ‘B’ in collaboration with the IGAD-Plus countries and allies. Under this plan, the UNMISS with its well-armed peacekeeping forces may automatically turn into an enemy of the SPLM-J regime, joined by IGAD-Plus stabilizing forces and other armed forces inside the country that are not happy with the political status quo. The current JMEC leadership may also automatically be tasked with a direct UN-AU Trusteeship for South Sudan for a government of technocrats in the transitional period before elections of politicians’ takes place later in fair and free atmosphere.
Because of this possibility, a Rational Choice Theory would suggest that the loss that shall be incurred by the SPLM regime could be severe in case of opening up the auction for plan ‘B’ to get effected, compared to reasonable gains that are engrained in the ARCISS (or call it plan ‘A’) if it is implemented willingly.
Therefore, if there are ears left in SPLM leaders, I hope they got to hear it well now in this January 2016 before it is too late for their political salvation after. Let them grab quickly the forward head of January before it is grabbed for them by foreigners. There is no ‘either or’ on the compromise of peace in South Sudan now because both the regional and international communities will not tolerate a making of another Somalia or Syria. South Sudan is a different gene altogether, especially its geopolitical position.
It would be better and safer to develop good faith for ARCISS implementation so that all of us can enjoy dividends of safety of peace in 2016 and beyond with the NCAC mandate extended up to a maximum of 12 months (i.e., December 2016) for drafting or revising the relevant legislations of reforms and peaceful adjustments in the country. Otherwise, the GRSS would be left alone in the cold singing the outdated sovereignty song on unviable unilateral 28 states because it doesn’t fit into the ARCISS and it is not easy for this to get swallowed without causing death to the Mother Peace in all corners of our promised land.
With the unpredictability we have known of our President Kiir since the time he assumed the highest office in 2005, things may just turn around positively at the last peak hour as he did it with nomination of GoNU ministers in Khartoum in 2005, with SPLM ministers’ boycott of GoNU in 2007, with national census in 2008, with referendum for self-determination in 2010, and with his signature on ARCISS in Juba on 26th August 2015. He may surprise the JMEC, the regional and international communities by endorsing the supremacy of the ARCISS over any decision he has taken and assenting to the supervisory directives of H.E. Festus G. Mogae who came to South Sudan with good intentions of helping the new country to exit fragility through peace, justice and prosperity so that any attempt for plan ‘B’ is aborted in shambles.
Let’s all converge on ARCISS implementation and other minor things shall get tackled harmoniously later with no abhorring bloodshed any more. Viva South Sudan Viva!
Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.