Thursday, July 30, 2015

South Sudan’s SPLM Forms Committees to Study IGAD Peace Proposal
July 29, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s ruling SPLM party has formed three committees to study a peace proposal document released last week by mediators of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to end the 19-month long civil war in the country.

In a meeting chaired by president Salva Kiir on Wednesday, the SPLM officials in the executive and legislative organs gave the committees 48-hours to report their findings to a plenary.

“After the deliberating, the meeting decided to set up three committees so that they go and [study] the provisions of the agreement and come back to report to the plenary on Friday the 31st of July at 10am,” Michael Makuei Lueth, the country’s information minister and senior official of the SPLM, told reporters after the meeting on Wednesday.

“The three committees are committee on governance, committee on economic issues and the third committee is on permanent ceasefire and security arrangement,” he said.

Makuei said he will head the committee on governance and minister of humanitarian affairs, Awut Deng Acuil, leads the economic group while deputy foreign affairs minister, Peter Bashir Gbandi is the chairperson of the security arrangement committee.

Each committee started meeting at 4:pm local time in SPLM House, parliamentary affairs ministry and the national parliament, according to Lueth.

IGAD-Plus peace proposal on security arrangements provides for at least 18 months out of the 30 months of transitional period during which to complete integration of the two rival forces loyal to president Kiir and opposition leader, Riek Machar.

The two principals will separately be the commanders-in-chief of their respective armies, pending completion of the integration process. The two forces will begin to assemble 90 days after signing of a final peace agreement.

South Sudan’s capital, Juba, will be demilitarized and its security provided by international and regional forces. A radius of 25kms will be imposed for 30 months until the end of the transitional period. President Kiir will be allowed to have 260 soldiers as bodyguards while the armed opposition leader, Machar, will have 195 bodyguards.

On economic sector the proposal stressed the importance of realizing major reforms that will ensure equitable distribution of wealth in the country. The document has not however detailed how the wealth should be shared among different levels of government.

In the document the power sharing in the national executive would be 53% of ministerial positions for the government, 33% for the opposition faction of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), 7% for former detainees and 7% for other political parties.

In the oil-rich greater Upper Nile region, the SPLM-IO would have 53% in the three states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei, while the government would take 33% and 14% divided between former detainees and other political parties. No power sharing in the seven states of greater Bahr el Ghazal and greater Equatoria regions as government would take 100% in the two regions.

Also the top executive at the national level would include the incumbent president Kiir, first vice president to be named by the SPLM-IO and the incumbent vice president, James Wani Igga.

While the president shall be the executive head of state and chair the council of ministers, national defence council and national security council, the first vice president deputizes him and acts on his behalf in the event of absence.

The main task of the first vice president would be to initiate and implement reforms in the transitional government of national unity. There are other functions which are joint executive powers that need consultations between the president and the first vice president, and at times include the vice president in consultations.

The national legislative assembly would expand from the current 332 membership to 400 members. Members who rebelled from within the 332 MPs will be reinstated. SPLM-IO would appoint 50 additional new members to the parliament and former detainees plus other political parties would appoint 18. The Council of states would not be affected.

The speaker of the national parliament should also come from the states of greater Equatoria region.

The two warring parties to the South Sudan’s nineteen months long conflict have until August 5th to return to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to resume peace talks. IGAD and other members of the international community have set August 17 as the last day to sign an agreement to end the war.


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