The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that established the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC ), have been leading and mediating the peace process in South Sudan with the sole responsibility to monitor, oversee and support the implementation of the ARCSS and to ensure that the parties to the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) adhere to agreed timelines and schedules of 17th August 2015 Agreement implementation.
The former President H.E Festus G. Mogae, leader of JMEC has this to report in the last JMEC Plenary of 2016 :
“I leave the verdict to each one of you, but I think we can all agree that we have not fulfilled our obligations to the Agreement or to the long suffering people of this country. We all know very well that our modest accomplishments have been outweighed by a number of squandered opportunities. Suffice to say, however, that, if it weren’t for the unfortunate events of July, we may very well have achieved something more substantial.”
JMEC is expected to recommend corrective action in the case of non-compliance by the parties including taking appropriate remedial measures. JMEC is also responsible for overseeing the work of Ceasefire and Transitional Security Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) and the Economic and Financial Management Authority (EFMA) including all other transitional institutions created by the Agreement. More specifically, on accountability:
- JMEC, under H. E. Festus Mogae, has failed to achieve nor has it enforced compliance with any of the ARCSS provisions on security, governance, and economic reform mandates and obligations;
- JMEC failed to ensure establishment of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS) under Chapter V. On transitional justice, accountability, reconciliation and healing. The court could have given the Chairman an additional tool to exert pressure on the parties to implement the agreement;• JMEC has failed to ensure that an all-inclusive cantonment of the warring forces was set up as called for by the resolution to move the peace process forward, nor did it expedite efforts for the deployment of the 4000 regional protection force to stabilize the security situation.
- JMEC failed to hold the parties to the transitional government accountable for lack of political will to deliver on the security arrangements and demilitarization of the capital Juba and other major towns;
- JMEC’s leadership failed to get the TGONU parties’ compliance to amend the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 to incorporate the ARCSS agreement.
It’s notable that JMEC’s mandate was established by terms decreed under Chapter Seven of the ARCSS, signed on 17th August 2015 in Addis Ababa, and in which the Agreement recognised President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar, leader of the SPLM-IO as the principal signatories.
The agreement that was painstakingly put together remained a fragile one and at risk of collapse if any of the principals refused to cooperate with its implementation or commit actions in direct violation of the agreement.
President Salva Kiir’s resort to violence for the second time in July 2016, and the replacement of the Dr. Machar and his representatives in the Transitional Government constituted a gross violation of the peace agreement and rendered it inoperable.
By condoning President Kiir’s violence, JMEC breached its mandate under the terms of its establishment by refusing to take corrective action to ensure compliance with the implementation of the peace agreement. Hence, JMEC can no longer be seen as a neutral broker of peace in South Sudan.
Instead of seeking robust powers to enforce the agreement and ensure an effective and legitimate transitional government as mandated by ARCSS, JMEC stood by the side lines while President Salva Kiir swiftly:
- Unilaterally establishes the 28 states in violation of the agreement
- Engulfs the rest of the country in violence and war against the innocent people of South Sudan.
PDM recalls how Chairman Festus Mogae lifted the hopes of many displaced citizens when he visited the UN run Protection of Civilians (POC) sites around the country. Acknowledging the warm welcome, Mr. Mogae said he felt like “the President of South Sudan.” On the contrary, President Salva Kiir Mayardit has never left the capital, Juba, to interact with his fellow citizens.
JMEC’s support of President Salva Kiir, a man who has publicly incited genocide in pursuit of an ethnic agenda, betrays the hopes of millions of South Sudanese who pinned their hopes on JMEC to realize the full implementation of the peace agreement in letter and spirit.
Mr. Festus Mogae has failed to manage the different vested interests of IGAD countries impinging on the agreement.
Since the renewed outbreak of violence, which the UN investigative report concluded was planned and executed by President Salva Kiir in July 2016 , the humanitarian situation in the country is worsening by the day.
Over 50% of the population is facing life-threatening hunger; there is genocide in the making, and Equatoria region is a new theatre of war. The economy has collapsed, an inflation rate of over 1000%, a failing local currency and the government not able to meet important obligations, including salaries for civil servants and the army.
H.E. Festus Mogae, on the other hand, is presiding over this unfolding catastrophic failures and JMEC’s oversight abject leadership to deliver on its obligations under the agreement.
PDM draws on the lessons learnt from the success of the IGAD mediation of the Sudan – Southern Sudan conflict in 2005, the success of which was due in part to:
- The parties realized there was no victory to be achieved through combat
- The international community firmly stood with the people of South Sudan and actively supported their need to exercise their rights to self-determination.
- No one party dictated the rules of the game.
While recognising that the responsibility for the protection of South Sudanese civilians rests first and foremost with the Government of South Sudan, PDM is gravely perturbed and alarmed that the sponsors of IGAD have changed the rules of the game this time around, and consequently, JMEC is now abandoning the people centric and inclusive approach to bringing peace to South Sudan.
PDM therefore calls upon the leadership of JMEC in the person of H.E. Festus Mogae to resign and on the African Union to assume responsibility for the peace process in South Sudan guided by principles of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPRs) and put in place the necessary capacities to initiate an inclusive process for implementing a revised and people-centric Agreement that is able to hold intransigent leaders accountable for the vialotions of the agreement.
PDM calls on the African Union to act now so as to avoid new ethnic conflicts from emerging and stirring old ones that could potentially turn into regional wars.
Dr. Hakim Dario
CC: JMEC, AU, UNSC, TROIKA, IGAD, Political Forces, SS Community Leaders, Media Houses
“The degree of liberty or tyranny in any government is in large degree a reflection of the relative determination of the subjects to be free and their willingness and ability to resist efforts to enslave them.” ― Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship to Democracy.
ABOUT PDM: The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is a popular grassroots Movement formed by concerned South Sudanese in the country and the Diaspora; in response to the political crisis and fast deteriorating economic, humanitarian and security situation in the Republic of South Sudan. It seeks to offer the way forward amid heightened ethnic polarisation and devastating conflict in the country, encouraged and abated primarily by President Salva Kiir’s divisive Government policy, incompetent, oppressive and corrupt leadership.
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