Home | Comment & Analysis    Monday 14 October 2019

Will the interim gov’t of South Sudan be formed by 12th November 2019?


By Luka Biong Deng Kuol

It is almost one month remaining to form a national government as per the 2018 peace agreement. Five issues are critical for the formation of national government; namely the overwhelming desire of people of South Sudan for peace, the security arrangements including security of major towns such as Juba and unification of forces, the resolution of the number of states and their boundaries, the political will to engage with non-signatories of the peace agreement and the expected response of regional and international community.

There are three scenarios. Given the SPLM-IO and other signatories are rejecting the formation of national government unless the key provisions of the pre-interim period are implemented, Juba may unilaterally opt to form a new government that may not be recognized and with perils of Juba to be derecognized by the regional and international community. Given the relative peace in the country except in Equatoria and some areas in Upper Nile, the second option would be for Juba to continue with status quo and not to form the new national government but with a clear timeline to resolve the pre-interim period pending issues. As Juba draws its legitimacy from the peace agreement, any continuation with the status quo without new agreement with the signatories of the peace agreement may put in question the legitimacy of Juba.

The third option is for Juba during the remaining month to resolve the issue of number of states and their boundaries as suggested by the opposition parties, agreeing with all signatories of the 2018 peace agreement to call for the Regional Protection Forces and UNMISS to provide security in the major towns while genuinely availing resources for the unification of forces and building professional and inclusive national security services and call the church leaders and in the spirit of recommendations of national dialogue to mediate its negotiations with the non-signatories after affirming federal system as the popular demand of the people of South Sudan. This option is the most desired one but it requires political will that is currently in short supply but it is critical to be engineered to rescue South Sudan from its current path towards Hobbesian state.

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