The National Consensus Forum (NCF) is a South Sudanese multi-stakeholder forum, founded to unite the people of South Sudan, and to seek national consensus on core issues critical to laying a strong foundation for the nation and to resolving the current national crisis. The National Consensus Forum stands for the unity of the people; the sovereignty and territorial integrity of South Sudan; and the promise of justice, equality, and prosperity for all its peoples, irrespective of ethnicity, religion, race, political affiliation, and or origin. The National Consensus Forum comprises Political Organizations, Civil Society Groups, Women and Youth Groups, Academics and Professionals, and Faith- Based Organizations.
The Forum fully embraces democracy and democratic values of individual liberty; freedom; political, ethnic, and religious pluralism; the rule of law and accountability; and the principles of checks and balances and separation of powers.
This National Consensus Statement (NCS) is an expression of the shared understanding in the National Consensus Forum of the historical context within which the current conflicts in South Sudan can be correctly situated, analyzed, and resolved. It is an articulation of our collective identification of the root causes of the multifaceted conflict facing our country. The Statement is a manifestation of the path we believe, South Sudan needs to take to escape the traps of political conflicts and persistent fragility. It is an affirmation of our shared vision for a South Sudan that holds the promise of justice, liberty, equality, and prosperity for all its peoples.
The National Consensus Statement is also an analysis of the strategic context that looks at the fundamental problems of South Sudan and their consequences; proposes a new political dispensation for the country; and concludes with a call for action.
- Historical Context
The struggle for freedom of the oppressed people of Southern Sudan took over a century and reached a level of political consciousness in 1947 at the Juba Roundtable Conference, attended by South Sudanese chiefs and few educated junior officials in the colonial administration. The Juba Conference (1947) marked the beginning of the demand, by the people of South Sudan, for the right of self-determination. When the right of self-determination was denied, it triggered two major liberation wars. The first liberation war (civil war) —The Anya-Nya War (1955—1972) ended with the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972.
The Addis Ababa Agreement gave birth to the autonomous Southern Sudan Regional Government (1972-1983) that afforded the Southern Sudanese the first opportunity to exercise self-governance, and that achieved remarkable results in political and socio-economic development. The second civil war (1983—2005) ended with the signing on the 9thJanuary 2005, of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) and the Government of the Republic of the Sudan.
The CPA was brokered by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with tremendous political, financial, and diplomatic support from the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Norway (Troika partners), the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN), and the African Union (AU). The Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) was set up in July 2005 for a six-year interim period.
The CPA gave the people of Southern Sudan the right to vote in a referendum either to affirm the unity of Sudan or secede from the Sudan. The people overwhelmingly opted to secede from Sudan with 98.8% of the votes, and South Sudan declared independence on 9th July 2011. This historical event was hailed by the people of South Sudan with much jubilation and very high expectations and hope for the nascent country.
Considering the enormous international goodwill and the stream of donor funds for the emerging country, oil proceeds, and unanimous support of the people for their leaders, GOSS had all it takes to hit the ground running and set up a functional system to meet the expectations and aspiration of the people of South Sudan.
Unfortunately, the rosy picture and the potential for the first government to deliver soon took a catastrophic turn. Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A), and President of GOSS, died suddenly in a helicopter crash in July 2005. The sudden death of Dr. Garang de Mabior dealt Southern Sudan a huge blow, creating a colossal leadership vacuum and setback. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the then Deputy of Dr. Garang, became the SPLM/A Chairman and the First Vice President of the Sudan and President of the autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GOS).
The sudden change in leadership within the SPLM/A was a turning point for South Sudan and would come to define the later challenges, including the civil wars the country now faces. For starters, it triggered internal realignment within the SPLM and settling of scores and grievances. The change also underscored
a lack of vision and a significant ideological bankruptcy of the new SPLM leader who took the helm of power after Garang’s death. The New Sudan Project that was promised to the people of Sudan died with John Garang. The new ruling elites and their cronies dug in to serve their self-interests, flaunting and relishing their liberation credentials as basis of entitlement, payback, and lack of respect for public probity.
Some of the political and military elites chose, instead to promote ethno- political dominance and supremacy as a means of power control, at the expense of securing national interests such as the unity of the South Sudanese people, respect for the constitution, the rule of law, and equitable provision of services. The SPLM leaders around the new Chairman and those in cahoots willfully disregarded and subordinated the rule of law with the rule of the gun.
The Leaders fumbled with the unfinished business with Sudan and offered little to no intervention on the poor or non-existent service delivery infrastructure for the good of the people of South Sudan. If there was a single most important solemn responsibility of the government in South Sudan, it was the alleviation of poverty; provision of security; and quantitative and qualitative improvement in the standard of living of the people. Indeed, the Kiir-led government had no plans or strategy to provide security, deliver services to its impoverished population, and to develop the infrastructure and economy of the country.
The failure in governance that ensued in South Sudan because of poor management, ignorance, sheer incompetence, and greed became a hallmark of shame as South Sudan got ranked at the bottom of every known global development index and rapidly ascended the ladder to become the world’s most corrupt country. President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, overly focused on control of power and power grab, respectively. Each leader heavily engaged in consolidating a militarized ethnic support base as a means of securing power for himself and supposedly for his people. The practice of tribalism, cronyism, and nepotism was let loose, nurtured, and entrenched, eroding the semblance of national unity that was formed during the referendum and immediately after the declaration of independence. The political culture changed to conform to the new SPLM political leadership style which sought loyalty to the person of the President or the Vice President, as the basis of doing business or political appointments, at the expense of meritocracy, expertise, knowledge transfer, and experience.
This new political culture gave rise to leadership predicated on the person of the President and less and less on the institutions of collective leadership inherent in the SPLM/A structures and in government. As a result, the system
grew and gravitated towards authoritarianism and eventually a dictatorship. In the 2010 general elections, the President craftily maneuvered for success of candidates loyal to him. The rigging of the elections in favor of the SPLM/A and the birth of dictatorship was a smooth operation which went unnoticed by many people. The lopsided 2011 constitution-making process and sacking of the entire Government in July 2013 crowned the maturity of dictatorship in South Sudan.
A corollary of the new culture was the birth of a run-away sanctioned corruption, moral bankruptcy, leadership, and administrative failure, and eventually the collapse of the SPLM/A-led Government. The SPLM party itself imploded in December 2013 and South Sudan erupted into violence with deplorable ethnic targeted killings and hatred. This was only two years following the celebration of the long-awaited independence in 2011, when President Kiir willfully chose to take South Sudan back to war; this time with itself and not on any fundamental disagreement over what direction the country should take, but over who should control the reins of power. Flimsy claims of attempted coup were used as cover-up to rid-off and humiliate reformists within the SPLM/A. The President consolidated his dictatorial rule, characterized by ruling by decrees, with devastating consequences for the lives of the people and more importantly, halting the process of nation building and development altogether.
Regional and international efforts to help South Sudan find peace and stability after the outbreak of conflict in 2013 have largely been undermined by the regime. The Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic South Sudan (ARCSS) brokered in 2015 was deliberately sabotaged. A second attempt in 2018 to end the conflict by way of a watered-down or flawed version of ARCSS dubbed as Revitalized ARCSS (R-ARCSS) has remained in a vegetating state, as its implementation continues to be selective, overly manipulated and undermined with impunity by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his ruling clique in Juba. The President has not only sealed his grip on power but also severely clipped the wings of his ambitious First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, and other political opponents who have succumbed to his power baiting and whims.
The President initiated his own National Dialogue in December 2016, hoping to use the people to reclaim his lost legitimacy. The people however used the opportunity given them to condemn the president and his government for the failure to govern the country effectively. Consequently, the resolutions of the National Dialogue which reflect the views of the people were shelved.
The ineptitude of the ruling elites became fully evident as a kleptocratic patronage system, and state capture became full-blown in South Sudan. Lawlessness and insecurity, including the so-called ‘subnational violence’ were unleashed and sustained as tools of repression and to obscure the plunder and misappropriation of national resources and wealth by the privileged political and military elites.
The abuse of fundamental human rights and kidnapping of political opponents (real or assumed) from neighboring countries; extrajudicial killing; forced disappearances or assassinations attributed to unknown gunmen; sexual and gender-based violence; and severe suppression of freedom of speech and the press, among other ills; became the modus operandi of Salva Kiir Mayardit’s regime.
The gaming and dishonor of agreements to perpetuate the interests of the ruling political and military elites and their allied business cartels have consolidated the perennial rule of a self-mutating transitional government by the same crop of SPLM/A leaders. The neglected, intimidated, and traumatized people of South Sudan have long resigned to go about fending for their survival in whatever ways they can. On the other hand, the international community watched on with little or no concern over the egregious transgressions of the regime as it traumatized its own people. Thus, the hope of the people of South Sudan in realizing their human worth and dignity as citizens of an independent nation got totally crushed.
Today, the country is overwhelmed with widespread insecurity, political instability, starvation, and violent inter-communal conflicts – euphemistically being trivialized as ‘sub-national violence’. As it was in Sudan many years back, a decent life, freedom, equality, justice, liberty, and prosperity have largely remained elusive for the average South Sudanese. A life of deprivation from quality education, decent health services, clean drinking water, employment, property ownership, personal security, and other basic necessities of life remain the order of the day for the majority of South Sudanese.
Once again, many people are languishing as refugees in neighboring countries or forced to perpetually live as internally displaced people in their own country, scrounging for handouts from humanitarian aid agencies, with no hope of ever enjoying a decent livelihood. All these are happening as a small clique of political and military elites, and their sycophants and affiliated business cartels sink millions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth into their bottomless pockets.
Astoundingly, instead of focusing on the plight of the ordinary South Sudanese, the regional organizations and international community continue to broker and sustain power sharing deals among the same corrupt and failed ruling elites sinking the country even further.
The insecurity, socio-economic, and governance crisis of South Sudan, if not resolved sooner, signal a descend to anarchy and total disintegration of the country under the watch of the current incompetent leadership. Such existential threat to the nation of eleven million people or so, is a serious disaster in the offing and needs to be taken seriously by the South Sudanese people and averted, with the help of the region and the international community.
The State capture of South Sudan should also be a source of concern as it breeds a potential hub for criminality and international terrorism. All should therefore be forewarned that what may have started in South Sudan will not inherently remain a South Sudanese problem. The neighbors of South Sudan, especially Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan, which already host a large number of South Sudanese refugees should therefore be equally concerned.
- The Problem of South Sudan (Root Causes of Crisis/Conflicts)
The fundamental problem of South Sudan, pre- and post-independence, is that of strategic failure in governance. The political and military elites have failed to build an inclusive and modern state, one that unites the nation around a common patriotic vision, protects citizens equally, delivers justice, defends the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, delivers social services, and creates conducive conditions for its citizens to develop and prosper socially and economically.
Contrary to the expectations of the people, the political leadership in South Sudan has captured and uses state power and resources to suppress the people and frustrate their aspirations. The regime employs tribalism to divide the people, perpetuate the ethnicization of state institutions, and promotes violence to maintain its iron-grip on power.
In pursuit of their thirst to remain in power unconstitutionally, the ruling political and military elites in South Sudan have paralyzed state institutions and turned them into private enterprises for the purpose of controlling state power and looting national resources. Thus, in the absence of a national vision, functional state institutions, and progressive and patriotic political ideology, the political and military elites use every means, particularly tribalism and ethnic divisions with impunity, to maintain power.
Although tribalism and ethnicization of the state is not unique to South Sudan, it is crucial in the context of this country to find lasting solutions to address the problem. The solutions rest in rooting out or mitigating the effects of tribalism and ethnic politics through political and economic decisions of visionary leaders to unite the people, build an inclusive national identity, address the needs of the people, serve their citizens without discrimination, and celebrate unity in diversity of its people and their rich culture. Unfortunately, what is totally absent from the vocabulary of the current leaders is the concept of statehood as the core of building and achieving nationhood. The pursuit of this ideal has been evading South Sudan since independence, allowing tribalism to rear its ugly head and to spread and flourish unabated. In addition, there are also socio- cultural practices such as gender-based violence and other forms of human rights violations committed against women and children which have hindered progress.
More precisely, visionless leadership, poor governance, power struggle based on ethnic sectarianism and marginalization, and violence against women based on archaic socio-cultural beliefs, are among the major contributors to the root causes of the problem facing South Sudan. Moreover, the consequences of poor governance, including environmental pollution by unregulated companies or businesses operating in the oil sector are being ignored because of tribal affinity.
Below are the main root causes of conflict that plague the country and require visionary political leadership, which is currently lacking, to confront the issues head on, to end the suffering of the people and prevent the country from sliding further into the abyss of statelessness and disintegration.
3.1 Lack of Vision and Strategic Direction
The poor leadership of the regime in South Sudan has failed to achieve peace and unity in diversity; stability, development, and prosperity in accordance with the aspiration of the people; and adherence to the rule of law and constitutionalism in the country due to:
1) Lack of consensual state or nation-building projects based on a patriotic vision in pursuit of South Sudan’s national interests. Instead, the state is captured by a tribal clique driven by greed, and insatiable thirst for power and self-enrichment. These leaders engage in systemic deliberate stifling and destruction of state institutions, resisting democratic reforms, and blatant abuse of fundamental human rights and freedoms in the country.
2) Lack of political will of the ruling factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, toward building an inclusive homeland that is free from the causes of self-destruction. The Government is not reflective of the diversity of the society it is supposed to serve, and meritocracy and technical competences have been rendered irrelevant.
3) A serious push of a distorted narrative of the history of South Sudan’s struggle for freedom with the intention of excluding some ethnicities, which has a negative impact on building of a national identity.
3.2 Dysfunctional System of Governance
The regime imposes an undemocratic and centralized system of governance, thus depriving the people of South Sudan of a federal system of governance, which has been their historical demand.
3.3 Politicized and Ethnicized Security Sector
1) The security sector is ethnically dominated and used as a tool for oppressing, suppressing, and intimidating the voices of the people; advancing tribal political agenda; and maintaining the status quo in power. Ethnic militarization (recruitment and training of tribal militia) and the proliferation of firearms among civilians, at the expense of building a professional national army that reflects the diverse population of the country, and with allegiance to the state rather than, a political party or ethnic group, is condoned and conducted under cover of the security apparatus.
2) Sanctioning of military and national security organs and their agents to operate above the law by suppressing dissent and conducting detention of opponents indefinitely without recourse to the rule of law, kidnappings, torture, and extrajudicial killings, thus denying a participatory political space to the people.
3.4 Politicization and Weaponization of Ethnicity
1) Widespread tribalized power struggle amongst the political and military elites to achieve political and economic dominance in all public and private sectors; thereby marginalizing the 60+ other nationalities and subjecting the national economic and socio-political sphere prone to ethnic tensions.
2) The rampant owning of firearms by certain ethnic groups with full knowledge of the regime is a source of havoc and insecurity in the country. It promotes cattle rustling among the cattle owning
communities; migration of heavily armed and marauding cattle herders to areas of agrarian communities, causing massive displacement of the population, both internally and as refugees; inter- and intra-communal conflicts; armed robberies on roads and in urban areas; and generally, unleashes lawlessness across the country, leading to unnecessary loss of lives and properties.
3.5 Land Occupation, Land Grabbing, and Environmental Degradation
1) Territorial occupation of land belonging to some communities by other communities, which is systematically designed, encouraged, and promoted by actors in the state to cause demographic change with intention of ethnic domination and control of natural resources.
2) Land grabbing by the most powerful in the government, military, or community. The rightful owners of lucrative pieces of land in towns as well as farmland have lost their properties to the land grabbers, and this has created a lot of painful deprivation, discontentment, and loss of ancestral land.
3) Misuse of unfortunate natural disasters as basis for permanent resettlement of displaced persons as a policy to advance occupation of the land of other communities.
4) SouthSudanhasalsowitnessedterritoriallanddisputesamongsome communities and disregard of internal borders as they stood on January 1st, 1956, thus creating tension and inter-communal conflicts.
5) Neglect of environmental pollution and degradation by unregulated companies or businesses operating in the oil and forestry sectors, which, if left unchecked, will inevitably harm the communities living in those areas, as well as the country, and future generations.
3.6 Corruption and Mismanagement of Public Resources
1) Massive corruption and misappropriation of public resources with impunity by the clique of military and political elites ruling the country and their affiliated business cartels, while the country faces acute lack of basic services, and the ordinary people are abandoned to wallow in abject poverty and perpetual dependence on handouts from humanitarian and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
2) Thedespicableviceofirresponsiblymortgagingthenaturalresources of richly endowed South Sudan into the distant future will deprive the future generations of South Sudanese of their rightful God-given inheritance and means of continued socio-economic transformation to
sustain the prosperity of the nation and to insure it against future man- made calamities or natural disasters.
3.7 Undermining the independence of the Judiciary, Law Enforcement Agencies, and Critical State Institutions
The deliberate undermining of the independence of the Judiciary by the powers that be encourages impunity and lack of justice and accountability. Moreover, the prevailing burden of corruption and constraints brought to bear by the Executive branch of government on lawmakers and law enforcement agencies among other institutions of government totally disempowers these institutions and creates a totally dysfunctional system of government that contravenes the constitution and tramples on the rights of the people.
3.8 Lack of Political Will to Heal and Reconcile the Nation through Transitional Justice
The scourge of emotional and physical scars of the liberation and civil wars have remained unaddressed and continue to hinder national healing, unity, and fraternity among the people. South Sudan had the opportunity in 2011 to embark on national healing and reconciliation to deal with these legacies of war. However, because of lack of political will of the leaders and the culture of impunity, they failed to reconcile the nation. Another opportunity was presented by the signing of ARCSS in 2015 but the leaders of South Sudan failed to take it, ensuring the continuation of the situation by their unwillingness to embrace the process of Transitional Justice, reconciliation, and healing.
3.9 Lack of Economic and Development Plans and Failure to infuse Civic Responsibility
The colossal failure of the ruling elites to broaden and diversify the economic base of the country and its perpetual dependence on a single commodity, oil, and the misappropriation of the revenue from the same, instead of using it to open new sources of revenue generation, such as investing in agriculture and infrastructure development. This economic indiscipline and lack of accountability stagnated South Sudan’s economic growthy; rendered its currency valueless; made the country vulnerable to the fluctuations in the oil market; and exposed its population to hunger, continuous dependence on its neighbors and aid agencies for food assistance and other amenities. More broadly, South Sudan lacks a
comprehensive national development plan to realise national prosperity for its people.
3.10 Failure to forge a National Identity and Uphold Peace
The defining feature of Salva Kiir Mayardit’s various mutative regimes has been its consistent and persistent failure to protect peace and forge a national identity. The greatest commitment of any leader is to safeguard peace and uphold the unity of its people. The government in Juba in its various shades have not only undermined peace but stoked ethnic violence to gain political advantage and has solely been responsible for dismantling national unity, which is the only basis for a legitimate nation and state.
3.11 Misguided and Failed Foreign Policy
South Sudan has become a pariah state not only because its leadership has failed to manage its domestic affairs, but because it has poorly conceived and mismanaged its foreign policy. The result is the expeditious loss of the international goodwill with which the country was welcome and endowed at independence. The loss of the international goodwill came together with the withdrawal of political support, financial support, technical support, as well as moral support for the people of South Sudan. The country has also earned international condemnation in the form of sanctions and an arms embargo.
- Pathway to Peace – A New Political Dispensation
The National Consensus Forum proposes a New Political Dispensation for South Sudan to wean the country off from its current state of political chaos and human suffering, and to realize sustainable peace and stability. The vision of the National Consensus Forum is a new political dispensation that is predicated on restoring peace and reconstituting the unity of the people of South through inclusive and meaningful resolution of the conflicts and crisis facing the country; re-establishing human security and undertaking an-all-inclusive political dialogue intended to re-establish political consensus and re-negotiating a new social contract through constitution making; re-committing the people of South Sudan to democracy and democratic values; restoring moral, accountable, and democratic political authority that will transform the country; and reviving the economy to ease the country’s climb out of the abyss. The call for a New Political Dispensation for South Sudan is prompted by the following:
4.1 Failure of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan to address the root causes of conflict in the country and to serve the interest of its people.
The National Consensus Forum recognizes that the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) is the basis of the current de facto political configuration in the country (RTGONU). The National Consensus Forum however strongly contends that R-ARCSS is inadequate; fell short of addressing the root causes of conflict in South Sudan; and miserably failed to deliver a much-needed peace and stability that the country needs. It is undeniable that R-ARCSS as a power-sharing pact was designed to address the reservations of President Salva Kiir Mayardit on ARCSS (2015) and to satisfy the interest of the political and military elites in arrogating power to themselves. The core grievances of the ordinary South Sudanese and their interests were relegated and trumped by political egos. The crisis in the country and the interests of the people of South Sudan were not the primary focus of the agreement. The loopholes in the agreement and the manipulation of its implementation with impunity has exposed R-ARCSS as a mere ploy for President Salva Kiir Mayardit to box-in the opposition forces to sustain continuity of the status quo.
4.2 Redundancy of the Extension of R-ARCSS and the Term of Office of RTGONU
The National Consensus Forum strongly contends that R-ARCSS has, as expected, failed to bring peace to South Sudan; that R-TGONU, on its part, has also failed to fulfil its mandate as a government. Both R-ARCSS and R-TGONU have therefore failed and indeed outlived their purpose. Now that the prediction made by The National Consensus Forum and others (in August 2022), that the proposed extension of R-ARCSS and R-TGONU by two years was unwarranted and that the extension was nothing more than a ploy to maintain the status quo has largely come to pass, it is time to reject any further mutation of the same arrangements. The agreements upon which the transition was founded was fundamentally flawed; even President Kirr Mayardit has publicly admitted that the Agreement is unimplementable.
It is to be recalled that the current extension of the RTGONU is the sixth term in office by the same crop of political and military elites since 2005. The series of interim or transitional governments led by these leaders to date are as follows: 1) Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS), 2005 –
- 2) Transitional Government of South Sudan, 2011 – 2015. 3) Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU), April 2016 – July 2016. 4) Second TGONU; 2016 – 2018 (with Taban Deng Gai as vice president instead of Riek Machar Teny as provided for in ARCSS). 5) RTGONU, 2018 – 2021; extended to February 2022. And 6), current extension of RTGONU, February 2022 – February 2024/2025.
The pivotal point is this, the entire architecture of the R-ARCSS, be it the RTGONU or the RJMEC and other institutions brought forth by the flawed Agreement, are no longer legitimate platforms for seeking redress and for addressing the continuing national crisis. They exclude a significant section of the South Sudanese people. The question of legitimacy of the R-ARCSS does not only arise because of the flawed way the R-ARCSS came to exist, but also because the parties which signed it, have failed to make it work and to earn the acceptance of the South Sudanese people. It has proven the doubts of most people of South Sudan, that the R-ARCSS was nothing more than a remodeling of the same dispirited regime.
Given the proven failure of these leaders, the need for an inclusive and legitimate new political dispensation is urgent and imperative. The National Consensus Forum is therefore proposing the convening of a Roundtable Conference to address and resolve recurring and persistent political crises, war, economic deprivation, humanitarian calamities, and repeated episodes of violent population displacement.
- The New Dispensation for South Sudan and the Roundtable Conference
The South Sudanese people from all walks of life needs to play a pivotal role in forging the new political dispensation for South Sudan and its agenda, in an all- inclusive roundtable dialogue. The National Consensus Forum therefore calls for an urgent convening of the Roundtable Conference as the forum at which remedies to the recurring and persistent crisis of leadership, war, economic deprivation, humanitarian calamities, and repeated episodes of violence-based population displacement will be addressed and resolved. The new political dispensation predicated on consensus reached at the Roundtable Conference, shall be based on a New Roadmap developed to move the country forward.
5.1 The New Roadmap
The New Roadmap shall be the action blueprint for the New Political Dispensation for South Sudan as agreed upon and adopted by the people at the Roundtable Conference. NCF stands by the key positions
enumerated below, that along with its understanding of the root causes of the crisis of South Sudan and other pertinent stipulations in the NCS, constitute an internal Charter binding to the NCF members. NCF presents these positions as its proposals among others that shall be deliberated upon at the Roundtable Conference to establish the detailed content of the New Roadmap (NRM). The positions and the soul-searching process undertaken at the all-inclusive Roundtable Conference to adopt them, shall enable the people to avoid repeat of past mistakes and empower them to realize genuine change in South Sudan in the interest of a conflict-free and stable future, anchored on the rule of law, unity in diversity, equality, and socio-economic prosperity for all.
5.1.1 Key prerequisites to achieve genuine change and stability in South Sudan:
1) Aresetintheformofanew,non-renewable,andviableinterim governance arrangements to implement the outcomes and resolutions of the Roundtable Conference, to realize the new political dispensation for South Sudan.
2) Suitable duration for the interim period as determined at the roundtable dialogue, and commensurate with the mandate and task of the interim governance in the interest of the country and the people of South Sudan.
3) Nature and composition of the interim government as determined at the roundtable conference and in conformity with the will and interest of the people of South Sudan.
4) Staffing of the structures of the new interim governance arrangement (executive, cabinet, legislative assembly, and judiciary) that is inclusive; reflecting the ethnic diversity of the country; and representative of the three regions of South Sudan (Bahr Ghazal, Equatoria, and Upper Nile).
5) A new legal framework (constitution) to regulate the business of the interim Period.
6) Upholding of justice and accountability and its sincere implementation to enable genuine forgiveness, reconciliation, and national healing.
7) Internationally supervised, free, and fair elections held by the end of the interim Period, in which all South Sudanese citizens
living inside and outside the country are allowed and encouraged to exercise their right to vote for their leaders.
8) Adoption and implementation of a federal system of government best suited for the country, as has been continuously demanded by the people of South Sudan.
9) A newly built, inclusive, non-partisan, non-ethnic, and well- trained professional security sector (army, national security, and other organized forces), reflecting the diversity of the country.
10) A viable policy and legal framework on land ownership and land use, anchored on the rights of communities to their ancestral lands, and retention of the historic territorial or administrative boundaries as of 1st January 1956, adopted to prevent land grabbing and ethnic territorial conflicts.
11) A framework adopted to ensure the independence and competency of the judicial system.
12) Effective anti-corruption policy or system, endowed with necessary safeguards and enforcement mechanisms to check the rampant corruption in the country.
13) A national framework designed for management of internal boundaries and border disputes.
14) A policy framework to secure an inclusive and merit-based public service.
15) A people centered and non-biased permanent constitution making process to enshrine into law the rights of the people, principles, laws, and regulations for effective governing of South Sudan in the interest of all its citizens.
5.1.2 Key provisions for implementation during the new interim period:
1) Deliveryofpersonalhumansecurityinallcornersofthecountry, particularly freedom from fear, and freedom from indignity must be prioritized.
2) Repatriation, settlement, and rehabilitation of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in their ancestral home areas.
3) Buildingofanew,inclusive,non-partisan,non-ethnic,andwell- trained professional security sector (army, national security, andnother organized forces) and necessary external support should be solicited to accomplish the endeavor.
4) Adoption and implementation of a suitable federal system of government including division of power and resources among the people in accordance with the structures of the system adopted and enshrined in the constitution.
5) Adopt a new constitution to regulate the business of the new interim government.
6) Identification and implementation of quick-impact economic projects to spur development of the country.
7) Effect the process of transitional justice and accountability for crimes committed against humanity, war crimes, and undue plunder of the state. The African Union Commission (AUC) shall set up the independent Hybrid Court for South Sudan within six (6) months from the start of the new interim period and in the event of failure by the AUC to timely operationalize the courts, the UN shall proceed to set up an International Criminal Tribunal for South Sudan based on the model for Rwanda.
8) Conduct credible national population census and clear demarcation of boundaries of constituencies with reference to 1956 borders.
9) Mobilize national and international support to aid the delivery on the mandate of the interim period in a timely manner.
10) Identification and implementation of crucial monitoring and evaluation programs to ensure productiveness and progress.
11) Develop a balanced role for engagement of both the private and public sectors in diverse areas of the economy of South Sudan, based on international best practices.
12) Timely conduct of free, and fair general elections, and smooth and orderly transfer of state power to an elected government by the end of the interim period.
5.2 The Roundtable Conference
The Roundtable Conference shall be an-all-inclusive forum and a mechanism through which the people of South Sudan shall engage in a dialogue aimed at resolving the social and political crises of the country, and to deliberate on positions that will enable the emergence of a new political dispensation for
South Sudan and a new social contract. The people of South Sudan, rather than the political and military elites, are to play a central role in engendering the new political dispensation and its agenda. Ultimately, it is the Roundtable Conference that is to be the empowering authority and arbiter of last resort that will come up with, adopt and own the New Roadmap for the new political dispensation.
5.2.1 The Objectives of the Roundtable Conference
1) Bring together representatives of the de facto government (inclusive of all parties in government), oppositions movements/groups, civil society organizations, faith-based groups, academics and professionals, women groups, youth, farmers, business leaders, and people with disabilities, as equal partners, and South Sudanese citizens, to deliberate on the path forward for the country.
2) Candidly address the intractable problems of the country, map out, and adopt a new Roadmap to forge a new political dispensation needed to deliver sustainable peace, stability, development, and prosperity for all South Sudanese.
3) Afford the people of South Sudan the opportunity to reconfigure their social outlook and to deliberate on the elements for a new social contract and commitment to a peaceful coexistence and unity in diversity.
4) Lay the foundation for a united, peaceful, and prosperous society based on justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
5.2.2 Venue Requirements for the Roundtable Conference
1) The Roundtable Conference shall be held outside South Sudan and
in a safe and neutral location.
2) ThedeliberationsornegotiationsattheRoundtableConferenceshall be time-bound to allow the business of the roundtable to be concluded at the specified venue. Those involved should therefore have the full mandate to make decisions on behalf of the parties they represent and if necessary, consult only from the site of the Roundtable Conference.
5.2.3 Expected Outcomes of the Roundtable Conference
1) A viable blueprint or new national Roadmap adopted by the people to enable the realization of the new political dispensation for South Sudan.
2) A new comprehensive national pact founded on the resolutions of the Roundtable Conference as an embodiment of the will of the people of South Sudan. The pact shall clearly map out, among other things, leadership arrangements for the interim period; the need for personal human security to enable people return to their ancestral home areas; institutional reform programs and vital service delivery; requisite policies to be developed or enacted into law; Justice and accountability process to enable national healing; introduction of a federal system of governance; and the implementation of good governance practices to transition the country out of the current crisis through the interim period, free and fair election process, and transfer of power to elected leaders to continue the process of socio- economic development and democratic transformation of the country. Overall, the covenant reached by the people will ensure the resolution of the crisis of South Sudan, and attainment of sustainable peace, stability, and prosperity in the country both in the short and long term.
2.1 Short-term (Interim Period) Expectations:
1) A new, inclusive non-partisan, non-ethnic, and well-trained professional security sector (army, national security, and other organized forces), built on well-defined and agreed upon parameters in order to deliver effective human security all over the country. The situation will allow the repatriation and rehabilitation of refugees and IDPs in their ancestral areas, and also attract other people outside the country to return home.
2) Transitional justice and accountability process implemented as per timeline agreed upon and adopted by the people to enable forgiveness, reconciliation, and mending or healing of the torn national social fabric.
3) An appropriate and sound federal system of governance and related division of powers and resources, adopted and implement in accordance with the will of the people of South Sudan as has been continuously expressed over many decades.
4) A viable policy and legal framework on land ownership and land use, developed and anchored on the rights of communities to their ancestral lands, and retention of historic territorial or administrative boundaries as they stood on 1st January 1956, to prevent land grabbing and ethnic territorial conflicts.
5) A firm framework developed to ensure the independence and competency of the judicial system South Sudan.
6) An effective anti-corruption policy with stringent enforcement mechanism, formulated to arrest the runaway corruption and bankrupting of South Sudan, and to ensure economic justice and financial integrity of the country.
7) A sound policy framework developed to ensure inclusivity and merit-based public service.
8) Credible national population census and demarcation of constituencies conducted to bolster the integrity and the right of the people of South Sudan to elect their leaders in a free, and fair democratic process.
2.2 Long-term (Post-interim Period) Expectations:
1) A people centered permanent constitution of South Sudan developed and adopted through an inclusive, transparent, and well-informed constitutional-making process.
2) Good governance practices in letter and spirit adopted as a norm for South Sudan.
3) Sustainable peace and stability; diversified economic development and growth; rooted and robust democratic practices; national unity, grounded patriotism, and a prosperous and internationally respected South Sudan.
- Appeal for Action
The National Consensus Forum calls upon the people of South Sudan, the government, opposition groups, civil society, regional partners, and the international community to embrace the proposed All-Inclusive Roundtable Conference as the preferred peaceful path to the resolution of the ongoing crisis/conflicts in the country.
The National Consensus Forum appeals to the people of South Sudan to take full ownership of the Roundtable Conference process to make their voices heard; initiate building of national unity; and to forge a lasting solution to the endemic problems of the country. It is imperative that the issues that divide the people be squarely and candidly addressed through consensus building at the Roundtable Conference, in the interest of sustainable peace and aspirations of all the people of South Sudan.
The members of the National Consensus Forum seize this opportunity to invite our neighbors, regional, and continental partners to support the call, efforts. and aspirations of our people for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous nation. We commend these countries for their generosity and continued support for our cause, including shouldering the perennial burden of hosting our people as Refugees. The peace, security, livelihood, and prosperity of the people of South Sudan are interwoven with those of its neighbors and the rest of the continent. We therefore appeal for the support of our regional and continental partners in our quest for sustainable peace and stability in South Sudan, and our mutual interests and aspirations.
The National Consensus Forum equally appeals to the friends and sympathizers of the people of South Sudan in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union, the United Nations, and the rest of the International Community, especially those that have played and continue to play a significant role in humanitarian support and the search for lasting peace, especially the Troika (US, UK, and Norway), the Community of Sant’ Egidio, the Vatican, the Anglican Communion, and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia, and China among others.
The people of South Sudan need more support and goodwill in their search for a lasting solution to the political problems of the country. The journey to end the suffering of the ordinary citizens of South Sudan starts with the call for the Roundtable Conference. The National Consensus Forum therefore strongly believes that the Roundtable Conference is the best platform to deliver a durable political dispensation and a new social contract and bring an end, at last, to the long-suffering of the people of South Sudan.
The National Consensus Forum (NCF) is an umbrella organization comprising 21 South Sudanese Political, Civil Society, Women, Youth, and Faith-Based Organizations and the Academic and Professional Association and represents a major segment of the South Sudanese Society
Statement Endorsed by the Following NCF Member Organizations
National Democratic Movement-Patriotic Front (NDM-PF), National Salvation Front (NAS), Real-SPLM South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC), South Sudan United Front and Army (SSUF/A), Red Card Movement (RCM), South Sudan People’s Movement and Army (SSPM/A), National Peoples’ Movement (NPM), and
South Sudan Peace Rally
Civil Society Groups
Cush Organization for Development & Advocacy (CODA), and South Sudanese Business Community in Uganda (SSBCU)
Women and Youth Groups
Strive Africa Action (SAA), and Nyaeden
Academics and Professionals
US South Sudanese Academics & Professional (USSSAP), and Other Academicians
Redemption International Ministries, Christian United for South Sudan, and Agape International