Implementation of Addis Ababa Agreement: Litmus test for Juba committees
By James Okuk, PhD
Now that the Addis Ababa deals have been ratified by the August Houses of the Republics of the Sudan and of South Sudan, the ball has been kicked back to the Presidencies in the respective countries and their executive teams. By these mutual parliamentary ratifications, the Addis Ababa Agreements have been accorded with the necessary legal backing and bindings.
But the litmus test now is on the nature and competence of the committees that shall be tasked with stipulation of the technicalities needed for implementations of these agreements in the coming weeks if not years. The nature of the civil service and competence of its personnel in Juba has a lot to be desired. Reforms in the GoSS composition and right positioning of civil servants have been resisted even from the highest authorities in the country as they live on the false premise that South Sudan was not liberated with professional qualifications but guns and loyalty to the SPLM/A. Hon. Awud Deng became victim of the needed reforms in the GoSS Civil Service and was pushed to the wall to call it quits and leave the status quo.
Now, the success of Joint Ministerial Committees as far as Juba is concerned remains in critical balance compared to that of Khartoum. Many deadwoods and incompetent civil servants in the GoSS who are supposed to do the professional work in Committees for Addis Ababa deals will just be warming up chairs, complaining about their sitting allowances and other payments more than the quality of work. Many of them cannot read and write well or comprehend issues critically apart from show-offs with standard neckties and Italian suits. How will such shoddy civil servants help in the work of committees (which need thinking and paper works) when they need help themselves?
Before going further, let me quote some articles in the “Nine Deals” that oblige Juba and Khartoum to form technical joint committees that shall expose the devils and release the cats that are hidden in the details of the implementation process.
Ixn the Mother Agreement on Oil and Related Economic Matters it is written that “A Petroleum Monitoring Committee shall be established within twenty (21) days of the signing of this Agreement. The Petroleum Monitoring Committee shall oversee the implementation of this Agreement, produce regular reports to the parties including possible recommendations on the improvement of the co-operation in the petroleum sector, ensure the development of any additional required agreements between the Parties and serve as a forum for seeking resolution to concerns and disputes in respect of this Agreement” (Article 10.1).
In the Agreement on Security Arrangements it is written that “The Parties shall immediately operationalize the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mission (JBVMM) and the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone … The Parties shall immediately activate the Ad-Hoc Committee to receive and investigate complaints and allegations made by one party against the other…The Ad-Hoc Committee shall be formally activated by Co-chairs of the JPSM as a JPSM sub-committee with a standing secretariat” (Articles, 2 & 4).
In the Agreement on Trade and Trade Related Issues it is written that “Within thirty (30) days of the ratification of this Agreement, the Parties shall establish a Joint Ministerial Committee on Trade Relations” Article 3(1).
In the Framework Agreement on the Status of Nationals of the Other State and Related Matters it is written that “The two States shall establish a standing Joint High Level Committee (‘the Committee”), which shall oversea the adoption and implementation of joint measures relating to the status and treatment of the nationals of each State in the territories of the other State” (Article 1.1).
In the Agreement on a Framework for Cooperation on Central Banking Issues it is written that “Within thirty (30) days of the ratification of this Agreement, the Parties shall establish a Joint Banks Committee” (Article 1.1).
In the Agreement on Certain Economic Matters it is written that “Any other matters relating to the implementation of this Agreement on assets and liabilities shall be addressed jointly between the two States, through the joint implementation mechanisms established in the Cooperation Agreement, and in accordance with the principles set forth in this Agreement” (Article 4.3.7).
In the Framework Agreement to Facilitate Payment of Post Service Benefits it is written that “Within thirty (30) days of the signing of this Agreement, the Parties shall establish a Joint Ministerial Committee on Pensions” (Article 3.1).
In the Agreement on Border Issues it is written that “Within two weeks of the ratification of this Agreement, the two States shall establish a Joint Demarcation Committee to manage and supervise the demarcation and the maintenance of the boundary and beacons” Article 8(1).
In the Cooperation Agreement it is written that “The Parties shall establish and sustain viable mechanisms and frameworks for cooperation and for managing their bilateral relations, including through regular Summit Meetings of their Heads of State, as well as through cooperation at Ministerial and Technical levels” (Article 5.1).
Reading through all the Nine Agreements (at least critically in letter), it could be seen that most of the hard work required has been left to the committees that shall be established between the two countries. It is only the deal on oil that has been tackled comprehensively, yet it is still subjected to committees for its implementation.
As it is said by some people that cheating the ignorant is not a crime, it remains to be the focus which country would compose un-cheatable committees that will garner maximum interest from the deals. To this regard, I am really afraid of the SPLM Juba Committees due to their usual lack of nuances in institutionalization, knowledge-ability and popular consultations. The SPLM Juba is still novice in running the state affairs, and is often repulsive and fearful of South Sudan technocrats who could help with the intellective game of technicalities on critical issues.
The perpetually recycled failed SPLM comrades have never been serious or committed in doing the right things in many tasks assigned to them, except flattery loyalty to the President. They don’t bother to learn from similar comparative cases worldwide. They are blindly and usually confident in relying on foreign consultants, who in most cases are not well-informed about the realistic situation of South Sudan and the Sudan.
Khartoum seems to be ready for such specialized committees because it has a history of established institutions and instruments of managing the state affairs. It has many archives of references and experienced technocrats for such kind of job. That is why the NCP Khartoum came out victorious in Addis Ababa over the weak SPLM Juba, and are still celebrating the gains they are hoping to get from deals that have been finalized.
I hope the SPLM leadership is going to get it this time that there are no miracles in politics, governance and good economic management but hard work and correct positioning of the well-trained national experts. There are no free lunches in bilateral agreements too. A mission without right and tough missionaries is a futile effort that can end up in mess! South Sudan has had enough of mess-ups and miss-ups under the SPLM rule that need no more additions but subtractions.
Will President Salva Kiir and his SPLM government top leaders acknowledge the internal strengths of their own nationals this time rather than depending on foreign consultants every time on matters that could be tackled by the very South Sudanese regardless of political affiliations? Why not learn how to develop confidence in our own expertise and intelligence and avoid preferences for outsiders?
A part from being an opposition leader to the SPLM and Kiir’s administration, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin is a technical expert in petroleum chemistry. He could be the right person to supervise South Sudan committee on the implementation of the oil deal with Khartoum. I recommend that President Kiir reaches out to him as soon as possible in order to ask him to help in this critical area so that South Sudan could avoid being cheated by Khartoum again in the coming tough work of committees. Minister John Luke Jok is also an expert in oil business. He could work well with Dr. Lam Akol in this area.
Right now, South Sudan needs more economic solutions than highly propagandized political confusions! It is high time to leave behind the unhelpful and useless accusations of who wants to overthrow who politically or militarily. The challenges of implementing the Addis Ababa Agreements require embracing of spirit of joint nationalistic work for building the Republic of South Sudan regardless of parties’ lines.
I would like to recommend to President Salva Kiir and the rest of SPLM to start reaching out to those South Sudanese they fear and shy to acknowledge in their capabilities of helping the new nation-in-the-making to an advantageous level than the usual accommodated gaps. This is not easy but it is the surest way to success.
Thus, let Ustaz Peter Abdelrahaman Sule be released from political detention together with other opposition figures and elements in South Sudan. Let President Kiir assign them some national duties so that they could contribute to the common good of the nascent Republic of South Sudan. Prisons and exiles do not and cannot benefit a new country like South Sudan. Instead, it is the freedom and nationalism that can save South Sudan from collapsing into a failed state.
President Kiir is our President, Dr. Riek Machar is our Vice President, Dr. Lam Akol and Peter A.Sule are our Opposition leaders, and Pagan Amum is the Secretary-General of the ruling SPLM Party and etc. Why are they finding it hard to co-exist side by side and working for the common good of the new country despite their different political orientations and affiliations? Leadership is not everything in life!
If the SPLM ruling party can commit itself to co-exist peacefully with the NCP Jellaba ruling party in the Sudan why should it be difficult for it to reach out and do the same with the very Non-SPLM nationals of South Sudan? Let’s become realistic and self-acknowledging to ourselves more than to the foreigners.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org