SOUTH SUDAN CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM
July 11, 2018
Excellency Dr. Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, Minister Of Foreign Affairs, Republic Of Sudan.
Thank you for the briefing last night. Though we would have appreciated an opportunity to pose some lingering questions that we have about this process and its intended outcomes, we nonetheless found the meeting to be useful and informative. We, Civil Society Delegates and members of the South Sudan Civil Society Forum (SSCSF), are pleased to present to your office and the Sudanese Mediation Team, this submission on the Post-Entebbe Draft Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Responsibility Sharing:
- Presidency: Our preference would have been for a lean presidency consisting of a president and prime minister. We do not see how four executives will deliver security and services to the people of South Sudan more efficiently than two. However, recognizing the limited space for compromise among the parties, we would opt for the first Khartoum Proposal on Outstanding Issues of Responsibility Sharing that provides for a President, First Vice President and two Vice Presidents. This proposal provides a fairly inclusive representation of the parties to this peace process in the presidency. It is also more cost effective than the Post-Entebbe Proposal. Civil society agrees that there shall be no hierarchy among the Vice Presidents, apart from the First Vice President. The clusters should remain three as presented in Khartoum Proposal.
- The Revitalized TGoNU: We have consistently called for a lean and efficient cabinet size of 18 ministries to deliver specifically and robustly on the commitments of the Revitalized ARCSS during the Transitional Period. We reiterate and maintain this position. This agreement should also affirm as a principle that the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports should be occupied by and individual who is not above the youth-age of 35 at the time of assumption of that office. We ask the mediation to carefully consider whether a solution based solely on political accommodation will really have the capacity to deliver to its people in a context of near total economic collapse. In our view, South Sudan would be better served by concentrating the few resources that we have in a smaller number of ministries that do not merely function as channels for salaries to public employees but actually deliver goods and services.
- The Transitional National Legislative Assembly: We strongly recommend a small, efficient and effective legislature of not more than 200 members. Our country, with the smallest population in the region, a collapsing economy and citizens in dire humanitarian situation, cannot afford to fund the largest parliament in the region. We demand for a simple, viable transitional governance framework, particularly the legislature.
- States of the Republic of South Sudan: We recommend the adoption of viable state structure based on clear, historical and conflict-sensitive boundaries. This could be the former 10 state or the old 21 districts of South(ern) Sudan. These are well defined administrative territories that do not require a final decision by a temporary boundaries commission. This will also relieve the Revitalized Transitional Government from unnecessary burden and focus its attention on addressing the dire humanitarian situation of our people, consolidating peace and implementing critical transitional reforms for long term stability of our country.
- Condition for elections at the end of the transition: We further recommend that whoever serves in the interim period should forfeit their rights to stand in elections following the end of the transitional period. In addition, anyone indicted for crimes relating to the conflict should immediately forfeit their position in government.
- Clerical submission: We submit that the preamble of this Post-Entebbe Draft should be in possessive pronouns, i.e. replace “their” with “our”.
Your Excellency, in addition to the submission above, we further draw your attention to the following points:
1. We commend the Sudanese Mediation Team for the speedy progress made in the Khartoum Round of Talks. In particular, the Khartoum Declaration Agreement and the Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Security Arrangements, signed in just about a week of mediation.
2. The Khartoum Round of Talks should conclude with an agreement on Outstanding Issues of Responsibility Sharing. In September last year, civil society proposed that negotiation process of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) should not exceed 30 months. Quite unfortunately, the last six months were spent largely on development and rejection of proposals on transitional governance and security. It is therefore, our considered position and submission that the Khartoum Round of Talks concludes with an agreement on the remaining Outstanding Issues of Responsibility Sharing.
3. IGAD mandated Excellency, President Omar Hassen Ahmed el Bashir to host and facilitate the Khartoum Round of Talks. We request that His Excellency, the President delivers successfully on this mandate.
4. Finally, Your Excellency, your briefing to us in the meeting last night was commendable. While we accepted your request for a written response to the Post-Entebbe Proposal, we also counted on your assurance for discussion of our response. We therefore, request your office for about 30 minutes of discussion with you, on our written response.
5. Should the current process conclude without significant process towards an agreement, IGAD should reassess how it has approached the mediation effort and consider a fundamental change in approach. An ad hoc mechanism could be established in which IGAD continues to play a role, but with stronger involvement from the AU and UN. The process must provide space to grapple with the actual causes of the conflict and be open to considering alternatives to power sharing and political accommodation. The goal of the process should be to put in place a security apparatus and a government that can deliver security and services to their people, not institutions designed to transfer power and wealth to a militarized elite.
Your Excellency, SSCSF is a coalition of over 200 diverse and independent civic organizations representing civil society, women, youth, academia and faith-based institutions from government and opposition-controlled areas, camps of internally displaced persons, refugee settlements and neighbouring countries – united across these sectors by the common desire for peace, unity and human dignity in our country. We derive our mandate from the will of thousands of our fellow citizens whom we have been consulting and briefing on the progress of the HLRF since the commencement of the process in December 2017. Accept, Your Excellency, the assurance of our highest regards,
Accept, Your Excellency, the assurance of our highest regards, Signed on behalf of SSCSF, Civil Society Delegates to the Peace Talks
- Alikaya Aligo Samson
CC: All stakeholders to the Khartoum Round of Talks