November 4, 2014 (SSNA) — As the saying goes, wherever there is justice, holiness exists. The flip side is, wherever there is injustice, bloodbath looms and agony takes its ugly course. In comparison, South Sudanese want less of the latter. For it robbed so much, so far. Because justice led to holiness, we must collectively thrive to garner it, at all cost even at a gunpoint. We must fight to survive. Life is a survival of fetish.
The negotiations between the war factions in South Sudan has resumed on Nov. 1st, 2014 in Ethiopia and ongoing. We all yearn for justice at the end. Rumors flew that President Kiir has recalled his negotiating team back to Juba citing the violation of cessation of hostilities, but this is far from truth. I can certainly assure my readers that all the warring parties are stick-glued at the peace talk in Ethiopia. No single soul left the venue directly or indirectly or otherwise.
This is a good sign but hopeless at the core. I am obliged to write this piece to inform my readers and fellow South Sudanese about the progress being made, and hurdles eating up peace deal in Ethiopia.
As far as the timeline is concerned, IGAD member states’ summit is scheduled for next week, probably November 10th or so. The negotiation was given five day. This mean pressure is looming on negotiators from both sides. They must come up with something, even if it means nothing in real sense. At least something for the Eastern African’s leaders to brags about, call it misconstrued progress. In 5 days, South Sudan’s warring parties probably will come out united with one text, even though mistrust lingers and run deep in everyone’s veins.
As things stand, the Government of South Sudan has so far objected every step on the following items:
1. Rights and access to justices for the victims
2. Independence and garnering powers to judicial system in South Sudan
3. Victims’ rights to reparations and compensations
4. Setting up a special tribunal
5. Involvement of ICC and seeking assistant from international investigation bodies on enquiry.
As you might be aware that the talk in Ethiopia is sectioned up into six chapters, and where chapter one dealt with good governance, presented by none other than a charismatic Kenyan Professor, Patrick. L.O Lumumba. Under the good governance discussion is the separation of three branches of government, whereas the Government of South Sudan’s delegation has out rightly objected all attempts.
In particular, President Salva Kiir’s delegation refused to garner independence and powers to South Sudan judicial system, while the other parties fully support independence of all three branches of government. Chapter two of the talk focused on the transitional Security Arrangements and reforms. It was report that both side disagreed flat out. Points of disagreement will be made available tomorrow for public consumption.
Chapter three dealt with resources, economic and financial management on which no progress reported. Chapter four focused on the transitional justice, reconciliation and healing, of which the GRSS delegation has objected rights and access to justices for the victims, setting up of special tribunal courts to trials those who have committed gross war crimes and crimes against humanity. The government delegation also rejected involvement of ICC and seeking assistance from international investigation bodies on enquiry, while the others parties were in agreement to perfect and establish these commissions.
Chapter five dealt with humanitarian protocols which include relief programmes, repatriation, resettlement, reintegration, rehabilitation and the reparations. It was reported that GRSS delegation objected reparations and compensations flat out, while the others parties were in support for reparation and compensations for victims.
Chapter six focused on the parameters of permanent constitution. All parties agreed that the Republic of South Sudan’s permanent constitution making process shall be based on the principles of federalism, while taking into account unity, diversity of the people and to devolve more powers to the states.
However, both parties disagreed on the point of reference or technicality to the lesser degree. The SPLM/A- Resistance Movement and the SPLM Political Detainee proposed a new constitution- zero drafted, while the GRSS delegation poised current constitution and utilizing already formed National Review Constitution commission.
In closing, it’s legally correct to assert that the Government of South Sudan wants to forge an agreement on a mold hill or pushing for establishment of rubber stamp agreement to say the least. The government delegation wanted an agreement where impunity takes the upper and killers are let loose and get away with bloody hands.
Paradoxically, the government of South Sudan want to make us believe that nothing has happened. That no crimes were committed and it’s business as usual. I negatively envy this distorted and wishful thinking. Note, there shall never be business as usual in South Sudan after this senseless war. Love it or hate it.
J. Nguen is a South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at [email protected]