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South Sudan: Is Power Sharing Impossible or Inevitable?

By Beny Gideon Mabor


September 6, 2014 (SSNA) -- This policy brief is an attempt to unearth the complexities surrounding circumstances in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development IGAD-led peace process for South Sudan. It will answer few questions to include but not limited to underlying idea of a political power sharing in divided societies. Is power sharing something impossible or inevitable in an armed conflict situation? What is the nature of relationship in a power sharing deal? And finally where is South Sudan in these circumstances in search of political settlement following mid December 2013 violence in Juba which later spread to the states and now growing into a threatening full scale civil war. In few days, the international community step in and initiate political settlement between the government and oppositional leadership under former vice President Dr. Riek Machar.

In chronicle event, the IGAD held its 23rd extraordinary session of Heads of state and government in Nairobi, Kenya dated 27 December, 2013 where the IGAD mediation team was appointed in the persons of three renowned military and diplomatic officials namely Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia as Chairperson of Special Envoys for South Sudan and membership of General Lazarus K. Sumbeyo of Kenya and General Mohamed Ahmed El Dabi of Sudan respectively. Shortly after taking up mediation role, both the IGAD Special Envoys and even the political leadership of IGAD member states and international community said it loud and clear that the crisis in South Sudan are political in nature and therefore need political solution.  In other words, a power sharing deal to end crisis is an obvious reasoning behind this statement. The same call for power sharing deal was echoed by all envoys, international community and friends of South Sudan.

In his opening remarks at the second phase of the peace talk for South Sudan dated 11 February 2014, the  Ethiopian Prime Minister and chairperson of IGAD General Assembly H.E Halie Mariam Dessalegn, said “ the most fundamental issue at the heart of the conflict is of political nature that could only be resolved through civilized dialogue based on the principle of give and take and all-inclusivity. It is my hope and expectation that the peace process will be designed in such a way that a broad range of South Sudanese stakeholders from government, political parties and civil society actors are brought on board and in manner that gives due respect to the transitional constitutional arrangement already in place in South Sudan. This statement is a clear manifestation that inclusivity both at peace talk and representation in the transitional government is a must.

In fact, this statement marks the beginning for initiation of a multi-stakeholders negotiation for South Sudan peace process.  The procedure for identification of the said stakeholders kick off right in March, 2013 where the civil society organizations and faith based leaders were first engaged with rule of selection criteria. In the 9 May 2014 agreement to resolve crisis in South Sudan which was signed by president Salva Kiir and SPLM/A in Oppositional leadership Dr. Riek Machar, it become clear that the stakeholders should include political parties as separate block added together with the politicians who became known as SPLM Leaders-former detainees that make total of six stakeholders taking part in the negotiation.

Conflict And Power Sharing Rationale

Traditionally, power sharing is a term used to describe a system of governance in which all major segments of society are provided a temporary share of political power to end an intractable conflict with agreed transitional period. Generally as a matter of principle, a power sharing deal is governed by four basic principles namely grand coalition governments in which nearly all political parties have appointments at all levels of government; protection of minority rights; decentralization of power to sub-national level and decision making process by consensus. These features are designed to alleviate the grievances of potential spoilers, ensure the representation of a broad range of social interests and guarantee that no group will suffer discriminatory policies detrimental to its interests or existence in the course of political pluralism.

Second, a power sharing deal must have agreed transitional period. During such period, necessary institutional reforms are to be done to set a permanent governance system and chart way for new political dispensation. In South Sudan political transition, chief amongst issues to consider at the transitional governance are implementing the would-be peace agreement and ensure no return to war; executing radical institutional reforms including legislative development; reintegration and resettlement of displaced persons; constitutional making process in a democratic and people-driven manner and organize general elections in  an internationally facilitated and monitored  electoral process.           

On the other hand, it must be noted clear that power sharing mechanisms in any political transition is also implemented in the political, military, and economic spheres without distinction. This formula is fitted in the four principles of coalition government and any attempt to violate the same jeopardizes the forged political union and can easily track back the state into conflict. The question whether power sharing is impossible or inevitable in South Sudan armed conflict is deed rooted in the nature of the conflict and should be addressed accordingly. The history of South Sudan conflict is very difficult to tell its predictable outcome of the ongoing IGAD mediated peace talk. But the fact is that the war was caused by members of the same SPLM ruling party upon which their internal breakdowns of leadership circle thrown the whole nation into blood bath.

Still, nobody disputed the wonderful achievements done by SPLM for taking lead in the liberation of South Sudanese and brought them to where they are today, but the question is how long the SPLM now as a political party and the Sudan People Liberation Army SPLA as national army remain inseparable? Is South Sudan really going to realize democratic transformation in multiparty politics as provided under the law if the SPLM party is still liked to the SPLA and vice versa? Who is to be blamed for this lack of separating them for the last nine years? The majority believes that answers remained with the political leadership who could not perform institutional reforms during the interim and transitional periods respectively.

IGAD Protocol on Transitional Arrangements towards Resolution of Crisis in South Sudan

The recent protocol on agreed principles on transitional arrangements towards resolution of crisis in South Sudan is one of the documents that expressly set an agenda for political transition. The called for establishment of the transitional government of national unity is correctly with hope to take the country forward.  The controversial agreement was signed on 25 August, 2014 by the IGAD heads of state and government as the guiding framework to help parties negotiate items provided thereunder in latter and spirit.

However, it must be made loud and clear that the protocol has a lot of challenges and defects both in its procedural, substantive and legality aspects.  First, the protocol is a result of multi-stakeholder negotiation from 14-22 August 2014 by five stakeholders, despite government boycotting and therefore, its ownership and liability squarely remain with the parties and not otherwise. Unfortunately, the protocol was signed by those who are not parties to the armed conflict when the form and content is talking of the parties. This out rightly set confusion and may jeopardize the peace process if the IGAD policy and mediation team may not think twice before going ahead with one-sided deal. In any peace agreement, the mediation cannot create preconditions in the mutual arrangement over one party. The conditions for the acceptability of the Prime Minister to the President and baring him or her from contesting public office at the end of transitional period is not normal and it was  not done in good faith to resolve crisis in South Sudan.

Usually, a significant challenge that power sharing attempts to address is to convert high level of post-conflict mistrust into mutual cooperation. Political power sharing often takes the form of a consensus model. There is no winner and a loser in a political transition, but a win-win solution. This is exactly the reality in South Sudan which IGAD and the international community noted earlier on and have persistently called on parties to reach a political solution to end the crisis. How come this time round for the same IGAD to contradict its initial position in resolving crisis in South Sudan? The ongoing armed conflict in South Sudan cannot be ignored or resolved by adding fuel into fire that is likely to burn the half of the nation for the interest of individuals or groups who do not want to peacefully shared or transferred power. Of course, the legitimacy of the government is in place and does not mean overriding prospect for peace, if the SPLM/A in Opposition deny or do not consent to the peace deal impose by the region.

In conclusion, the IGAD mediation team and the international community should revisit the protocol on transitional arrangements towards resolution of crisis in South Sudan and try to forge mutual solution. The region must be reminded that both President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar commanded concurrent larger constituencies. Any exclusion of one person in governance is definitely seen as a defeat by the other community and it is not in the interest of peace and security. Therefore, the lasting solution is definitely a power sharing between all political forces to collectively do necessary arrangements for transition. In the light of agreed protocol to resolve crisis of governance, the IGAD mediation should give more opportunity to the stakeholders to negotiate their own peace process that its outcome shall be implemented without fear or favor.

Beny Gideon Mabor is Executive Director, African Centre for Peace and Humanitarian Dialogue and a member of Civil Society Delegation to the South Sudan peace process in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His research interests include governance, human rights and social accountability. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

South Sudan: African Union should take a lead in the peace process!

By Peter Gai Manyuon

September 6, 2014 (SSNA) -- Inter-governmental Authority on development (IGAD) has been wasting time since the genesis of South Sudan crisis that erupted on the 15th of December in Juba Capital 2013.

Many have been having hopes and aspirations about IGAD role to resolve the current mess in the newest nation.

Different interests emerged from the IGAD leaders and have lead to the mistrust of the mandate of the body by the world and as well by African Leaders.

Absolutely each and every one knows that the IGAD countries are being run by group of dictators who do not want the peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

The only organization that should address the African problems is African Union which is bigger than the IGAD even though Africans Countries are lead by crocks of dictators but some have sense of solving the problem more than the IGAD body which has become the American project and the East African Community/countries.

Moreover, United States of American (USA) is doing double standards prolonging to stop the South Sudan crisis because of the interest behind the scene. People might not see the interest but different analysts have dig out the interest of American people in South Sudan.

However at the AU inaugural meeting in Durban, the African leaders signed the “Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AU” which came into force on 26 December 2003. The Protocol defines the PSC as “a standing decision-making organ for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa continent.

In the meeting African Leaders said, the PSC shall be a collective security and early-warning arrangement to facilitate timely and efficient response to conflict and crisis situations in Africa.

In March 2004, the PSC adopted its Rules of Procedure and sat for its inaugural meeting one day later, thereby marking the beginning of the operation of the PSC. Indeed, two months later, the PSC was solemnly launched at the level of Heads of State and Government on 25 May 2004 respectively.

The only legitimate body to address African problems is the African Union not IGAD that has become the project of employment opportunity to some of the whites and East African leaders who act as the eyes and the hears of the Obama Administration.

The thousands of dollars that were channel by International Community to IGAD are being misuse/consumes. Very shameful!

South Sudan crisis is the man-made issue that is now turns in to project by the International Community and their allies who are looking for wealth in Africa rather than settling political disputes.

The Author is Independent Veteran Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human rights in South Sudan. He can be contact on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or

Diaspora breaks families apart

By: Sirir Gabriel Yiei Rut

September 5, 2014 (SSNA) -- The mass exodus of South Sudanese flocking to other countries in the region and overseas has no doubt dealt a negative blow to some families.

Families have been forced to live apart, with children living with grandparents while their parents work abroad to earn money. The social fabric of South Sudan has, no doubt, been ripped apart.

Grandparents have been overburdened with such a responsibility, which in some instances has had negative results.

For those that do not have grandparents, children are left in the custody of relatives and friends and some children have been sexually abused by the very people who are supposed to protect them.

I have also heard so many stories of teenagers who were left on their own renting apartments as parents moved abroad in search of greener pastures.

But the greener pastures have become so thorny that the parents now ponder whether they made the correct decision to move so far away in search of fortune.

I personally know of one teenager who turned their family home literally into a bar and brothel as she spent her mother’s hard- earned British pounds on various men.

She is believed to have bought one of her boyfriends a car. Her mother left for the United Kingdom many years ago and without papers to legalize her stay there, she cannot come back to South Sudan and wallow in poverty.

Her two school-going siblings watched their sister as she degenerated into a drunk and hardly two years later; she fell pregnant and gave birth to twins.

The young girl could not even tell who was responsible as various men kept jumping in and out of her bed when she was drunk.

Her 10-year-old younger sister was almost raped by one of the men that frequented the house.

I also learnt of yet another very sad story about a 12-year-old schoolgirl who screamed at her mother on the phone, telling her that she was fed up of the presents she sent her regularly.

The schoolgirl wanted her mother to come back because she missed her badly. But what would happen to the child’s education if she decided to return home?

That would signal the end of her education at a local private school and she would most probably have to head for the village.

It is every parent’s desire to ensure that their children get the best of education so that they can lead a much better life than they have had.

But given the psychological problems these children undergo when their biological parents leave for the Diaspora, should money- making take precedence over their emotional needs?

This is debatable.

Recently there was a press report about young girls who assisted their colleague deliver a baby which they later burnt at a float in the Jabel Market area of Juba.

There was so much condemnation of these girls, as having committed a very serious offence.

I heard a certain woman say: “Those girls should be jailed for murder. They are a bad influence on our society . . .”

You see, society loves condemning when wrong is committed but never does it take time to critically analyse situations in order to come up with a more informed conclusion.

I totally do not condone what these girls did but there has to be a reason that drove these children to destroy an innocent soul.

But why did the pregnant girl decide on such a plan to conceal the existence of this baby? And what of the man involved? What role did he play?

Last week I bumped into a relative of the alleged offender who is said to have been left in her father’s custody together with her younger sibling when their mother left for the Diaspora.

But a few years later, the girls found them alone as their father left for live with his own mother.

The mother left for the Diaspora with the good intentions of working and raising money for her children’s school fees, but because these children lacked guidance and control, they found themselves in a mess.

“This woman went overseas in the late 90s and frankly speaking those children should not be blamed because there was a serious lack of parental supervision and control. They were hardly teenagers when their mother left so what did you expect from children living on their own?

For many African parents, raising children in the Diaspora is a very daunting and challenging task.

The reasons are many, including the culture of the liberal society, which gives enormous powers to the child.

Torn between two cultures, African parents are therefore in a dilemma as to where to raise their children.

A few years ago, I was told of a story during one of my visits to Kenya about a South Sudanese couple that was almost arrested when they punished their daughter who they had found being intimate with a Jamaican boy.

Ayen Majok, a South Sudanese living in Minnesota, said: “The parents manhandled the boy and their daughter. They made a report and the case turned against them. Who in their normal senses would allow a daughter to do that in their own homes? That is unheard of in Africa.”

According to Nigerian Village Square, an Internet website, conditions which give children unlimited powers and freedom undermine parental control and guidance.

It is also detrimental to family cohesion and the mental growth and moral development of the child and makes parenting more challenging for African parents.

“Consequently, some of them have joined gangs, started doing drugs, stealing and killing, engaging in sexual precocity. Rising teenage pregnancy, prostitution, cutting classes or dropping out of school and other self-destructive behaviours have become ‘normal’ to them.

If one may ask, are African children raised in traditional African societies better behaved than the ones raised in Diaspora?

The answer to these questions would vary from case to case but the general consensus is that because of environmental factors African children raised in the Diaspora often display behaviours that, under normal circumstances, would not be tolerated or accepted in a traditional African society.”

These are some of the major reasons why South Sudanese prefer the local education system that emphasises good discipline and behaviour.

But this can only be possible with the assistance of parents who are the primary shapers and moulders of a child’s character.

The Village website says, because of the heavy economic burden piling on parents, many of them have multiple jobs that allow them little or no time to fully undertake parental responsibility.

“But in a more relaxed and “less materialistic/competitive” and community-oriented traditional African society, the wife is often at home with the children. More importantly, in African societies it “takes a whole community to raise a child” — the neighbour, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew or even a stranger assists in raising a child in the absence of the biological parents.

Obviously, this is not possible in the Diaspora!

However, parents in Diaspora have had their children abused back home by that very same community that has been empowered to be in loco parentis.

The term in loco parentis, is a Latin term for “in the place of a parent” or “instead of a parent,” refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organisation to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent.

“I know of one single mother who left her daughter in the custody of her brother but the child stopped going to college three years ago and she now loiters around Juba Raha Hotel hanging out with men who are notorious for stealing. Do you think her mother knows this is what is happening to her? I doubt that very much.

“People do not care anymore about such children and yet they will be milking these people of their hard-earned US dollars and British pounds.”

Then there is a case I personally handled when I was working for a local NGO where a brother and sister who were left at their family home while parents went to Dubai in search of better opportunities, fell in love which resulted in pregnancy. What do you do? Where was the community at large when all this was happening?

The department of social welfare is no longer effective in dealing with such cases and this has left many children vulnerable to abuse.

People just don’t care anymore about the child next door and this is how the street children syndrome has blown out of proportion.

Tragically though, some fathers who sired these children are purportedly responsible citizens of this country holding very high positions in industry, commerce and civil service.

The question is who will protect and defend the rights of these children? The flight to the Diaspora has definitely ripped families apart, with parents in some instances parting when faced with such a predicament.

The matter becomes a “blame game” between the warring partners…

The author is the acting chairman of SPLM Youths League in Egypt; you can easily get Him through his Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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