South Sudan’s Kiir vows no more war as country marks 10 years of Independence dotted with recurrent conflicts

Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan on Friday received a roadmap that will guide the Country towards the end of the Transitional Period and pave way for the country to conduct a peaceful and democratic election. A committee appointed by President Kiir was tasked to look into the status of implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R­ARCSS).  This includes the implemented, ongoing and the outstanding provisions, and come up with a Roadmap that will guide the Country towards the end of the Transitional Period in a peaceful manner and to conduct a Democratic Elections that will usher in an Elected Government. 

The move comes days after the South Sudan celebrated 10 years since it seceded from Sudan, becoming the world’s youngest independent nation. 

Tut Gatluak Manime, the Presidential Advisor on National Security Affairs, Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Mayiik Ayii Deng, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister of Information, communication and Postal Services, form the appointed committee who consulted various institutions and stakeholders while drawing the Roadmap. 

During celebrations of the country’s 10th Independence Day, President Kiir, like on several occasions before vowed to not let the country slip back into the throes of war, calling for unity and solidarity among the people. “I want to assure you that I will not return you back to war. Let’s work together to recover from this past decade and put the country back on the path to development in this new decade,” Salva Kiir said in a speech on Friday July 8.

He called for renewed spirit as the country implements the RARCSS. 

South Sudan gained independence in 2011 following a referendum in which a majority of the population voted to separate from Sudan. However, the country plunged into civil war just two years later. A peace agreement was struck which didn’t last long as another round of conflict broke out in 2016.

A second deal, the R­ARCSS, was signed in 2018 between the government side – the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the main opposition (South Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition– SPLM/A-IO), the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FD), and Other Opposition Parties (OPP). 

It lays out power sharing in the national legislature in the ratio 60:23:9:6:2 respectively (332, 128, 50, 30, and 10 members respectively, totalling 550 members), and in the ministerial council, positions are shared 20 to TGoNU, 9 to SPLM/A-IO, 2 to FD, and 1 to OPP. 

At the level of state and local councils, power sharing across state governors, speakers of state legislatures, state councils of ministers, state legislatures, county commissioners, and county councils allocates 55 per cent for TGoNU, 27 per cent for SPLM/A-IO, 10 per cent for SSOA, and 8 per cent for OPP, while the FDs are to choose three ministers from states of their choice. However, regional ethnic composition or political influence of the signatory parties at these levels are loosely regarded, thus working against the principle of proportionality proposed by Lijphart (1997). Such disregard might lead to aggressive ethnic power competition at the state and council levels, and disenfranchise ethnic majorities in such cases, if not promote indirect territorialisation by dominant regional political parties. 

The R-ARCSS further provides for the unification, training and redeployment of forces to be done within the first eight months (pre-transition), upon which the tenure of the transitional government would start for a period of 36 months, constitutional review, and elections for the next government coming at least 60 days before the end of the transitional period. Lastly, Article 1.15 of the R-ARCSS provides for redistricting according to 1956 tribal boundaries, and a path to federalism, and while chapter 5 of the document provides for transitional justice, reconciliation and healing under Chapter 5.

In 2020, the nation formed a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity, which is made up of members of the previously warring parties, in accordance with the 2018 peace deal. 

During the 10th Independence celebrations, President Kiir reaffirmed that committed efforts were being made to improve South Sudan’s security situation, adding that some 53,000 thousand personnel are ready to be inducted into the security forces.

He said calm has been restored in many parts of the country but there is still conflict in some areas. The president identified the National Salvation Front, led by Gen. Thomas Cirilo, as a group that has refused to be part of the peace process and “still contributes to instability in some parts of the country.”

More so the President has assured the country and the world at large that his government has implemented a series of economic reforms the have helped strengthen its currency and has also been making efforts to boost employment opportunities for the youth.

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