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Finally, South Sudan to form interim govt

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South Sudanese rebel chief Dr Riek Machar (left) and President Salva Kiir (in hat) in Addis Ababa for peace talks in August 2015. PHOTO | AFP 

By FRED OLUOCH

Posted  Saturday, January 9   2016 at  18:56

In Summary

  • The four partners — the government, Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition (SPLM-IO), former detainees and other political parties — struck the deal on Thursday in a meeting held under the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) led by the former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae.
  • After four days of haggling, it was finally agreed on January 7 that the government will take 16 ministerial posts and SPLM-IO 10 while the former detainees and other political parties got two posts each.
  • The transition government is set for launch on January 22.

The South Sudan Transitional Government of National Unity will be formed on January 22 after the four partners to the peace deal agreed on sharing ministerial portfolios.

The four partners — the government, Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-in Opposition (SPLM-IO), former detainees and other political parties — struck the deal on Thursday in a meeting held under the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) led by the former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae.

After four days of haggling, it was finally agreed on January 7 that the government will take 16 ministerial posts and SPLM-IO 10 while the former detainees and other political parties got two posts each.

The mood in Juba is that every group is satisfied with the posts they got although there was an earlier attempt by the government to negotiate with other stakeholders outside the cluster given by the Inter-Governmental Authority of Development (Igad)-brokered peace agreement.

Igad had divided the 30 ministerial posts into Governance, Security and Services, yet when it came to implementation, there was competition over key ministries namely Foreign Affairs, Finance, Petroleum, Internal Security and Defence.

While the government got key ministries such as Finance and Planning,  Defence and Veterans’ Affairs; it was cancelled out be giving SPLM-IO equally key posts of Petroleum and Interior, while the former detainees got Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation and Transport; and the other political  parties were rewarded with ministries of Cabinet Affairs and  Agriculture and Food Security.

“Peace has finally come to South Sudan after a long wait. We are satisfied that the ministerial portfolios were shared according to the percentages set by the agreement and it is now up to the leadership of various groups to put the names to the posts,” said South Sudan deputy ambassador to Kenya, James Morgan, who though noted that there are still some challenges to be overcome.

The two most pressing challenges, according to Mr Morgan is that many people were mobilised during the war and given guns, so there are so many guns in the wrong hands which could pose a threat to the smooth implementation of the agreement. 

Secondly, the group that split from Dr Machar in July still poses a threat even though a fraction of  it comprising six generals led by Gatkouth Gatkouth Nyang have initiated what they call a South-South Dialogue with the government.

On Monday, the group under the name Federal Democratic Party/ South Sudan Armed Forces (FDP/SSAF), sent a delegation to Juba to present demands to President Kiir that if accepted would see them join the peace process.

Speaking in Nairobi early Monday, Gen Nyang said that FDP/SSAF believes that the peace deal signed in August last year left out other armed groups and failed to address the root causes of the conflict.

“We want a comprehensive peace deal involving all those with grievances and not a compromise that is simply meant to share power. We did not take up arms so that Dr Machar can become the vice president but to address all the issues that have seen South Sudan remain in constant conflict,” said Gen Nyang.

In its memoranda to President Kiir, FDP/SSAF demands that circumstances that led to the killing of about 50,000 Nuer in Juba in December 2013 be addressed, the prosecution of 75 government officials who had been identified by the government for corruption and the restitution of money looted from the government between 2006 and 2013.

They also demanded that the peace agreement address the issue of constant insecurity and how to govern the country after two years of disruption. 

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