South Sudan peace partners agreed on number “79” for counties

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Sep 23, 2020(thejubamirror ) — South Sudan peace partners, who are pushing on with the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan [R-ARCISS], announced today that they have agreed on the number of counties to be shared among the peace partners.

The number of counties was supposed to be 79 following the creation of three administrative areas; however, the SPLM party of President Salva Kiir wanted only 75 counties to be shared among the parties in accordance to the R-ARCISS responsibility sharing ratio

The other four counties from the administrative areas were to be retained by the SPLM-IG – an argument that the SPLM-IO and other parties firmly stood against.

Speaking to the media after the cabinet ministers meeting, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth, said the parties have agreed to allocate all the 79 county commissioners’ positions and that will be based on responsibility sharing ratios.

Hon. Makuei explained that the parties agreed pretty much on everything before they disagreed on the allocation of positions of the county commissioners which turned into a major deadlock.

“All these completed in term of governors, deputy governors, the Ministries, the speakers, the deputies, the members of parliament, advisors, states advisors, commissioners of the states….all these were agreed upon but before we could hand them over there came up the issue of allocations of the positions of county commissioners in the states. In fact it is not the counties which are being allocated in the states but it is the positions of the county commissioners” Hon. Makuei explains.

The deadlock is now resolved but the parties remain with a few more issues to finalize.

“So the committee did not come to understanding on that. They had to go in for consultations with their principles and it is agreed that we allocate the 79 positions of comm issioners in accordance with the responsibility sharing of the agreement”  Makuei continued.

“So we started on this task today and we have agreed on most issues except we are left with a very few issues” He added.

With a slightly different version, the Spokesman of the First Vice President, James Gatdet Dak, said the parties have confirmed that they have agreed on the number of counties to be 79, not 75.

“The Parties have today confirmed that the number of Counties to be allocated is 79, not 75. The Parties have therefore started the negotiations on allocating Commissioners for these 79 Counties.” James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s spokesman, reiterated.

Gatdet further explains that the deadlock was basically on which party should nominate a commissioner for which county and not who [candidate] should be nominated or appointed as the commissioner.

“Let it be clear that allocating Commissioners to Counties means which Party should nominate a Commissioner for which County in accordance with the responsibility sharing ratios. It doesn’t mean naming individual candidates for each County. This will come at another stage when it comes to appointing the County Commissioners. Each Party shall nominate their candidates to respective allocated Counties.” Gatdet further explained. 

James Gatdet further reiterates that the parties “have also progressed well this week in the allocation of the positions of Deputy Governors in each of the States”.

“This is a further great step from last week’s breakthrough in the allocation of ministerial positions in the States.” He added.

Optimistic, Gatdet explains that the parties have made other major breakthroughs and the only little challenge that remains is the allocation of counties which he believes will also happen anytime soon.

“The Parties have as well reached a breakthrough in allocation of positions of Speakers, Deputy Speakers, Specialized Committees in the States Legislative Assemblies.” Gatdet said.

“They have also reached a consensus on allocation of positions of States government Advisors and Commissions” he continued.

“What remains is the allocation of Counties, which is expected to happen anytime soon.” he said.

The Press Secretary further pledged that the governor of the Upper Nile state will also be appointed this month.

“Also the Governor of Upper Nile State is expected to be appointed this month.” He pledged.

“It is expected that all States governments will be formed soon within the next 10 to 15 days, hopefully.” Gatdet added.

According to James Gatdet, the security arrangment, mostly the deployment of the unified forces, is just around the corner.

“Necessary needed procedures for graduation and deployment of unified forces are also underway.” Gatdet stated.

“We are moving in the right direction, maybe not as faster as we expected, but surely. We shall be there!” He promised.

The divided factions of South Sudan’s main ruling party, the SPLM, and the then national army have been entangled in a bitter conflict for the last 7 years until February this year.

In 2018 the parties revitalized a peace agreement they initially signed in 2015 but late broke down in 2016; however, for the past two years the parties have achieved very insignificant portion of the 3-year term peace agreement.

The peace agreement was expected to mature within three years and ends in general elections but with the current phase of implementation, there are little hopes that the parties will meet the datelines as stipulated in the documents, the R-ARCISS.

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