Opinion: All the Republic needed was a photograph…

Look at this photograph

Every time I do, it makes me laugh

Every time I do, it makes me” – Nickleback – ‘Photograph’ (2005)

Today the First Vice President and fellow other dignitaries in the Freedom Hall launched the first of its kind. The Revitalized – Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) has launched the first Presidential Portrait of His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit. After all these years in office and in transition. The Government finally has a photograph and a frame, which the President is reflected kindly in.

Instead of finishing legislation and proper institutions. The state is busy finding out which suit the President should wear and from what angle his face looks the smartest. They have the time and the ability to pursuit this endeavour. Before following any sort of vital stipulation of the R-ARCSS. A peace agreement which is already on the overtime of the overtime. It is passed two or three deadlines and still no end in sight.

A portrait or a picture of the President isn’t solving anything. This isn’t helping the stalemate or the issues within the R-TGoNU either. The FVP haven’t resolved the grievances with the President yet. The President can still live by decree’s, but that doesn’t make his action any better.

This portrait is just the proof of the mismanagement and lack of priorities. This political elite will not solve or implement anything useful. No, this will just stall and buy time. That’s what they have been busy doing for years.

What has happened today will make no difference and people will pay it no mind. Yes, the government offices will get a new picture. Some is even stating that it’s the same that has been since 2005. I don’t know about that, but if it is… that is truly amazing and genuinely stupid to launch an 18 year old portrait in 2023.

Well, that is enough rubbish for today. This shouldn’t be thing, but we know President Kiir has no plans to retire or to give way to a new generation. No, they want to prolong their time in office and there is no end in sight. Today is just another proof of that, even if he wasn’t there himself to officiate his own portrait.

It is an epic failure and not matching the significance of everything that isn’t working in Juba. The government of South Sudan should fix other issues. Instead, they framed a portrait and called it a night. Peace.

South Sudan: SPLM-IO – Central Equatoria State – Office of the State Secretary – Ref: Political Campaigns Rallies in Central Equatoria State by the SPLM IG (15.03.2023)

South Sudan: A “deadlock” which isn’t a “deadlock” between the President and the FVP…

The Presidential Press Unit would like to inform the public that the meeting held yesterday between His Excellency, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny did not end in deadlock as reported by some media houses. While the two leaders did not come to an agreement in the meeting yesterday, the consensus among the parties to meet at a later date was a positive commitment to resolve the issues at hand in the spirit of cooperation. Therefore, any attempt to portray this as an impasse threaten to jeopardize the spirit of the meeting” (Office of the President – Presidential Press Unit, 11.03.2023).

The Office of the First Vice President would like to briefly clarify that the usage of the word “deadlock” is not and never meant to “sensationalize” issues of national importance as incorrectly perceived. It is rather a correct description of a situation in which an agreement has not been reached on the substantive issues under discussion, thereby “no agreement reached.” Deadlock means no agreement reached yet on the issues concerned and being discussed, or postponed to another time. It doesn‘t prevent an appointment to discuss the same issues again at a later date, and therefore not sensational at all. It has been normally used over and over again in our political or peace making history” (…) “The staff of the Press Unit in the office of the First Vice President are well aware of the importance of peace in our country. This is the reason we honestly issue statements decrying violations of the Peace Agreement as a concern and also point out how they occur in respect to provisions of the Agreement with the hope to avoid any violations by any Party. This is professionalism!” (Office of the First Vice President – Press Unit, 11.03.2023).

Well, what can I say… we have been here before right? It’s a stalemate and nothing substantial has happened. Yes, the President and First Vice President held talks, but nothing profound came out of the meeting. This was just a first gathering after the Presidential Decree, which sacked one vital representative and minister from the SPLM/A-IO. That’s why the meeting was happening in the first place, as that is a direct violation of the R-ARCSS. If it wasn’t and such, the meeting wouldn’t be necessary.

However, here we are and it just shows how ineffective and insufficient the whole government is. When it does things this way and it leads to nowhere. It is a stalemate between the two parties. One is aggrieved and another is at ease. The checks and balances aren’t there. That’s why the President could just decree it and let bygones be bygones.

Now we are seeing them together, but nothing is resolved. Just like the slow implementation of the R-ARCSS. It takes ages to institutionalize or even follow up formalities in the Peace Agreement. This is just a deliberate stalling and a technique to stay in office. It is a simple excuse and waste of time. When the President and his allies knew it would cause a headache and a stir. You don’t need to be rocket scientist to get this under wraps. When you sack a certain someone’s wife and signatory of the R-ARCSs, which happens to be the FVP. You know you are endangering the whole agreement. That is simple math…

The President and his team can talk about honouring the agreement and wanting to implement it. Nevertheless, it is a waste of words… when the President makes a decree like this. Especially, when the R-ARCSS is already on “overtime” and far beyond the original deadline. A deadline that has been extended and again extended without any or significant progression.

President Kiir can take people for fools. The FVP can do the same, but we all can see the game here. Kiir has given himself time and a controversy to skip time. He can patch this one very easy, but intends to push the boundaries instead. Peace.

South Sudan: National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) – Suspension of NCAC Operations pending Payment of its National Members (07.03.2023)

South Sudan: Are we seeing a new stand-off between Kiir and Machar?

These days it seems more likely, even if we don’t want to phantom it or really consider it. The prolonged agony of the R-ARCSS in combination of lacking implementation and rising insecurity. The leaders of Juba are now gearing themselves up again.

This is happening after the Khartoum Declaration, the R-ARCSS and all the mechanisms moving things glacier slow. There been little to no significant progress and we are still living in a Republic where the Presidential Decree is the final word. That’s why we are getting in trouble, yet again.

The President suddenly without forewarning dismissed or sacked a minister. Not just any minister, but the Minister of Defence, which happens to part of the SPLM/A-IO. The various of stakeholders and consignees of the Peace Agreement have negotiated themselves into several different offices and amassed power by doing so. Therefore, the dismissal is going against this idea and also shuffling without consent of the co-signers.

President Salva Kiir Mayardit should know this by now. That he couldn’t just sack a fellow Minister or do so without warning or talking with the party the Minister was a part of. This is he what he did. The President didn’t consult the SPLM/A-IO and will later announce a successor, which will most likely be a part of his SPLM-IG. Therefore, it is demoting the SPLM/A-IO and giving them a less prominent office. Which also doesn’t adhere to the agreements and the negotiated settlements the parties has agreed upon.

Some has claimed that Dr. Riek Machar has always looked for reasons to be disloyal, disgruntled and displeased, just so he can launch a “war-cry”. However, in this instance… he got it on the up-and-up. This is the ego of the President and his sudden change of heart. There might be valid reasons for the sacking, misuse of power, inept or just not fit the office. Nevertheless, none of that was communicated and it just came out of thin-air. A decree dropped in the late of night and sudden in the public domain.

That’s why the SPLM/A-IO had all the reasons to feel hurt. They have the right to call it out. Some might say… that the stakeholders and co-signers are only in it for the offices. That is partly true, because everyone is first searching to feed their own belly. Secondly, the working for their cause and their party. Which they are supposed too… but still, the President should have informed and spoken in the right forum about the planned sacking of the Defence Minister. That would only have made sense. Especially, since that would have been done according to the Peace Agreement.

The President should know all this and I don’t know why he wanted to poke the hornets-nest. It seems risky and who really plays with fire. A seasoned man and a for life president like Kiir should know better. Nevertheless, maybe he just wanted to create tensions and have reasons to end the stalemate. Get less hectic partners and try to gain more control. However, that is a gamble and it haven’t paid off for him in the past.

This move will certainly stop the implementation of the R-ARCSS, yet again. It will create a mess and someone has to clean it up. The President should be wiser than this and do it smarter. Especially, when he knows who his bargaining with and knows how easily things can spark. Therefore, why do it now? When you have just entered another extension of the R-ARCSS?

Make it make sense… it is just like you want to have reasons to grab the guns again. That’s how it looks like from a far. A silly excuse to end the games and charades… and just go back to the battlefield, one last time. Like that would resolve anything. It would only cost more lives, create more internally displaced people and refugees in the nearby countries. A new conflict would only damage the nation more and consistently hurt civilians in the cross-fire. That is something all the parties here knows and this is why they should have more caution. Especially, a man who has been so long on the throne, President Kiir. He should know this and I think he does… Peace.

South Sudan: SPLM/A-IO – Resolution of SPLM(IO) Political Bureau Extra-ordinary Meeting Held on 4th March 2023 (04.03.2023)

South Sudan: Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – SPLM/SPLA IO KD – SPLM/A-IO Kitgwang Statement on Two-Year Extension, R-TGoNU’s calls for IDPs to Leave UN Camps and Overall Security Situation in South Sudan (03.03.2023)

South Sudan: Jonglei Civil Society Network – Press Release (23.02.2023)

Opinion: Be ready for the E-R-ARCSS Era

“There are a lot of doubts, there are a lot of doubting Thomases that [ask] what happens if you don’t implement the deal, and this is what most of you have in mind that ‘This is the government of people who have decided to rule, they are not ready to step down for elections, they are obstructing all the times and delaying the implementation because they want to stand again”Michael Makuei Lueth (21.02.2023)

The The Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) has had several of deadlines and is on overtime as we speak. The implementation and the lack thereof are the reason for the current quagmire. The slow process and lack of progress is infuriating. Though it is better to be slow, than be quick and re-start conflict. So, in that sense… it is better to be careful and listen to the people on the ground. However, the actions of Juba and the high-ranking official is a game of prolonging the agony as long as possible.

Ever since the signing of the R-ARCSS things has moved glacier slow. There has been so many setbacks and acts of which make it seem to be the endgame. It is just a way of ruling without having to worry about elections, protocol or institutionalize things. Because, if they had done that… the ones in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) or in Cabinet wouldn’t maybe even be there. They are all through negotiations and separate agreements, which are done by stakeholders or others. Therefore, these are not elected people, but selected to represent former rebels, war-lords and even the Presidents own men.

This Peace Agreement was first bound to be implemented by November 2019 and now we are in February 2023, and they will have another two years to fix it. This just shows how long the “Transitional Period” is and how they are stalling it. If they were sincere and willing… a lot of the stipulations and parts of the R-ARCSS would already be in order. However, there is now will and therefore… there is no way.

We are now not only in the era of R-ARCSS but officially entering the territory of E-R-ARCSS, the Extended- Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (E-R-ARCSS), the R-TGoNU is giving itself a life-line of 24 months. No one should be shocked if they need more time after this. They are just finding ways and measures to prolong it anyway.

The ones in-charge are not only taking this very soft and not acting swiftly. They are not rushing, no hesitation or forging away ahead. No, they are just taking it day by day and awaiting a verdict. It is just like a long-con, instead of a short-con. Since they are ahead and in office. There is nothing substantial or worthy of finishing it. Because, if they finish it and execute the R-ARCSS. They might loose office and could easily be history. That’s why they rather linger and stall the process. It is a “victory” for them and it keeps them “busy”.

While the hope the donors, the stakeholders and everyone else just accepts the slow reforms, the non-reforms and the non-action as a peace gesture.

We can all without shadow of a doubt, believe and abide the one simple thing. Nothing is as stagnate or permanent as a temporary policy or institution. These high ranking officials are earning, profiting and gaining influence by keeping it this way. If they suddenly where to loose or miss out. They would re-amp and re-start the process. The same ones would usher in improvements and actually deliver R-ARCSS. However, they are not getting anything out of it and risks losing it all. That’s why they are not willing or have the heart to finish it.

That’s why we have entered the era of E-R-ARCSS, and this is the political framework, which makes Juba going. If not, this is the glory and greatness of President Kiir. His legacy is bound by the slowing down of the process and stopping the tracks of implementation. A man who is worried about having to retire. Peace.

South Sudan: Jonglei Civil Society Network – Press Statement (16.02.2023)

%d bloggers like this: