The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) which was published on the 24th April 2021. This report is an update on the implementation of the ARCSS. That is why the statements from this report is important and it says how far the Revitalized-Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) have come in concern to the Revitalized Peace Agreement.
Some of the statements in this report is very blunt but needed to addressed, as well as spread. Because, it says what the government itself will not say or be open about. This sort of report dares to question and honour the agreement, which is the reason for its current existence.
“Very little progress was observed during the quarter as it relates to the implementation of the key outstanding tasks. In particular, implementation of the tasks of the Pre-Transitional Period related to the reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA), and the training and redeployment of the Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) completely stalled” (RJMEC, 2021).
“Minister for Presidential Affairs on the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS. They both offered their opinions that the outstanding tasks must be completed as quickly as possible in order to keep the Agreement on track. The RJMEC leadership raised its concern over the delay by the Parties in submitting their list of TNLA nominees to the NCAC. The First Vice President gave his assurance that the names would be submitted in due course. Failure by the Parties to reconstitute the TNLA continues to be of great concern to RJMEC” (RJMEC, 2021).
Here it states a worrying sign, as there was little progress on the major things for governing the state. Where the stalling and lacking development gives the Executive and the Head of State even more reasons to rule by decree, instead of seeking validation of a Parliament(National Assembly).
“The RTGoNU has committed to expedite the unification of forces starting with the formation of a unified command structure, but to date, no apparent progress has been made in that area. The Parties struggle to find a solution to the excess number of senior officers in their forces, since there is no clear Demobilization Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) process or retirement strategy that can cater for those who are neither eligible nor able to serve in the new unified forces” (RJMEC, 2021).
Here we see a real pressure cooker and lack of progress, which needs a certain dialogue and humility from all parties. As these are all military men, soldiers and commanders who doesn’t want to loose pride. However, there is a need to unify and get behind one banner to make peace. Therefore, this has to be done with negotiations and talks to settle, find ways and make new brigades/troops who are together for one common goal. That is needed and its worrying that this haven’t got further with all the years since the last agreement was signed.
“During the quarter, intracommunal and subnational violence continued to be the main security concern and deterrent of humanitarian movement and operations as well as the biggest threat to the safety of humanitarian staff and assets. Humanitarian access was further hampered by physical constraints particularly in the most affected areas of Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area due to non-seasonal floods and poor road networks across the country. Further, humanitarian work remained on hold in Renk and Maban in Upper Nile state following threats to NGO staff and damage to NGO facilities. It is important to note that fragmentation of power blocks and political parties made access harder as humanitarian workers were forced to negotiate access and carefully manage relationships with different parties and groups” (RJMEC, 2021):
Here is a another sign and a signal of what is coming ahead. If the R-TGoNU cannot contain this or have solutions to this. It will spiral out of proportion and cause more conflict. That there is also blocking and lacking access to the humanitarian workers is a sad sign. As there is a need for aid and the NGOs/UN Organizations fills in the gap where the state doesn’t have the ability to fulfil the needs of plenty.
The state also lacks transparency on the financial aspects of the agreement:
“For instance, The Economic and Financial Management Authority (EFMA) as mandated in the R-ARCSS has not been established. This institution is needed to report to the RJMEC on progress in implementation against provisions of the Agreement. There is no update on the status of operationalising the oil revenue funds (Oil Stabilization Account and the Future Generations Fund) and restructuring the National Petroleum and Gas Commission, and the Nile Petroleum Corporation, as required in the R-ARCSS, or on the different enterprise development funds, including the Youth and Women Enterprise Development Funds, as mandated under Article 4.15.1 of the R-ARCSS” (RJMEC, 2021).
This here is more important and shows how the state operates. As it isn’t accountable or transparent about how it uses its revenue. The streams of funds coming through the export of oil. This oil revenue needs to be evaluated and questioned. That is more dire now, as the leaking of Auditor General Report of late shows there been usage of oil money to “unknown reasons” for several of high ranking officials, including the Office of the President. Meaning it is very likely the state itself doesn’t have enacted these measures, because it undresses the high and mighty. They don’t want to explain every allocation or “unknown reasons”.
The final worry that needs mediation and talks to create a better trust between parties:
“(d) there was lack of prioritization and sequencing of tasks by the Parties; (e) trust-deficit between the political leadership of some Parties resulted in deadlock, which delayed implementation of some key tasks of governance; and (f) incoherence within some parties to the R-ARCSS mostly associated with the complexity of decision-making within party alliances” (RJMEC, 2021).
These small sentences is maybe the key ingredient to why things are moving slow and not being implemented. That’s because the parties doesn’t trust each other and this creates a dead-lock where nothing is moving. It is an endless cycle of bad-behaviour or overpowering from the ones in high ranking offices, which isn’t listening or being open to the suggestions of the rebels. This is in the end stopping progress and implementation of the R-ARCSS.
The state and all stakeholders needs to address this and create trust. That seems to be the most important. So, that the other issues can be handled with trust and some sort of hegemony. Where all parties involved goes into it with goodwill and prospects of honouring the R-ARCSS.
Time will tell if the R-TGoNU is interested in this and they should be. It would be something the world haven’t seen and make them legendary. They would have been nation-building and created structures that can sustain long after they are gone. That will be their memories, instead of the stories of war and cycle of violence that has haunted the Republic.
South Sudan deserves that and the parties should try to see it that way. Instead of just trying to get quick fixes and schemes for wealth. Which is steadily creating a worse climate between them. That’s also stopping progress and implementation of the R-ARCSS, which is happening in snails phase. Peace.
***** Just want to say: I don’t know why some of the statements from the report is blown up big, but I cannot edit it to normal or same size as the rest. Just to clarify that here.