This Report on the status of implementation of the activities of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is prepared pursuant to Chapter VII, Article 7.9 of the R-ARCSS and covers the period 1st October to 31 st December 2020. With almost a year into the Transitional Period completed, the Report highlights the decided lack of progress on the Pre-Transitional activities carried over after the initial formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU) on 22 February 2020, as well as failure to undertake tasks scheduled during the Transitional Period.
During the reporting period, an inter-party committee continued with negotiations that culminated in a partial agreement on responsibility-sharing positions, initialled on 27 October 2020. Then on 9 December 2020, the Presidency of the Republic of South Sudan, resolved that:
(a) the President appoints the State and Local Governments of nine states with exception of Upper Nile; (b) the President proceeds to establish the Revitalized TNLA and Council of States; (c) the RTGoNU holds a conference in Juba for the community of Upper Nile state to discuss ways and means of resolving any tribal or community differences and to engender harmony in the State prior to a final decision on the appointment of the governor of the State; and(d) the President shall issue a decree to formalize the above decisions of the Presidency.
The National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) has continued to amend relevant laws as provided for in the R-ARCSS. These included Public Financial Management and Accountability Act, 2011 (amendment) Bill 2020 and Southern Sudan Audit Chamber Act, 2011 (amendment) Bill 2020, which were reviewed and validated. The NCAC also commenced the review of the Petroleum Act 2012 and the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2013. The NCAC further reviewed and rectified the discrepancies that were detected in the Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 2020 that incorporates the R-ARCSS into the TCRSS, 2011 (as amended) and resubmitted Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 8 (2020) to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The Bill now awaits enactment into law.
The Permanent Ceasefire has largely held during the period of the Report. However, several clashes have occurred between the SPLA-IO and forces of Maj Gen. Lokujo, who in September defected from the SPLA-IO to the SSPDF. As a consequence, several deaths and injuries were reported on both sides during the last quarter of 2020. SGBV cases were also reported in some parts of the country even while community-based violence continues to be a main cause of insecurity in many of the states.
South Sudan continued to suffer the effects of multiple shocks that adversely affected the humanitarian situation. Access to the people in need continued to be hampered by bureaucratic impediments, floods, and inter-communal and sub-national violence. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) stated that food insecurity is rising to more than 60 per cent amidst large scale displacement of civilians resulting from the effects of years of conflict, an economic crisis, recurrent flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic.
With respect to the Permanent Constitution-making process envisaged under Chapter VI of the R-ARCSS, the RTGoNU has already initiated the permanent constitution making process as mandated by the R-ARCSS. According to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the RTGoNU Governance Cluster has endorsed its proposed roadmap for implementation of iv legal, judicial, transitional justice and constitutional reforms as provided for under Chapter 1, Chapter V and Chapter VI of the R-ARCSS.
As mandated under Article 6.7 of the R-ARCSS, the RJMEC Secretariat has made significant progress in preparation towards the convening of the workshop for the Parties to agree on the details of conducting the permanent constitution-making process. The outcome of the workshop shall form the basis of the legislations to be enacted to govern the constitutionmaking process.
During the period under review, the RJMEC Leadership met with IGAD Chairman and Prime Minister of Sudan Hon. Abdallah Hamdok in Juba. The RJMEC Chairman thoroughly briefed the Prime Minister on the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS and the lack of progress in some key areas. The RJMEC leadership met repeatedly with H.E Salva Kiir, President, Dr Riek Machar Teny, First Vice President, and the four Vice Presidents of the Republic of South Sudan. The RJMEC leadership also held discussions with Nhial Deng Nhial, Presidential Affairs Minister on the status of implementation of the R-ARCSS. The meetings discussed on the need to complete the power-sharing arrangements at the state and county levels, the appointment of the Upper Nile Governor, the reconstitution of the TNLA, and urged for the financial support of the NUF and DDR Commission, among others.
The slow pace of implementation of the R-ARCSS is accompanied by a number of attendant risks and challenges. These include growing defections and intercommunal violence, which could destabilise the permanent ceasefire; insufficient resources devoted to the training and redeployment of the NUF, with the potential to derail unification; failure to complete the RTGoNU at all levels of government; and a prolonged delay in establishing the TNLA and Council of States, which could result in the inability to pass meaningful legislation critical to the success of the Agreement.
Tasks related to ChaptersIII, IV and V of the R-ARCSS have hardly been addressed adding to the terribly slow pace of implementation. In fact, with the exception of the proposed holding of the permanent constitution making workshop, none of the other activities in Chapter V has been attempted. Similarly, none of the transitional justice institutions has been initiated and the several economic reforms called for in Chapter IV remain undone. It is therefore imperative that the RTGoNU dispenses with the two Pre-Transitional tasks and commence work on the many outstanding Transitional Period tasks.