Event Reports

Debating about the structure of a post-conflict South Sudan

Due to continuous violence in South Sudan since the outbreak of the conflict in 2013, the IGAD countries will soon start the 2nd phase of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) to promote a revitalized and stable peace process within the country. Therefore, KAS in partnership with the Center for Peace and Justice and the African Youth Action Network (AYAN) organized another roundtable discussion at Makerere University. Different members of Civil Society Organizations (CSO) discussed about sustainable solutions for a good governance structure and security sector reform in South Sudan.

In the first phase of the HLRF on 18th, December 2017, IGAD as well as South Sudanese stakeholders, representatives of the government, opposition parties, armed and non-armed groups and CSO representatives achieved a successful conclusion through signing an Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access. This created a fundamental basis for further peace process discussions. The second phase of the HLRF on 5th – 16th February 2018 is meant to expand previous achievements and aims at providing a solid platform to deal with issues about governance, permanent cease-fire and security arrangements.

The roundtable discussion linked several members of CSOs in order to develop a common proposal position on a future governance structure and security sector reform of South Sudan which shall influence the outcome of the second phase of HLRF. CSOs play a crucial role in the peace process of South Sudan, since they articulate the needs and interests of the civil society and provide information about substantial facts and events happening in the country. Thus, the discussion pathed the way for common understanding and finding joint solutions as CSO members.

KAS Program Manager Donnas Ojok opened the discussion with a brief abstract about the importance and meaning of dialogues. To cite the Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire: “Human existence cannot be built in silence; But in word, truth, work and reflection”. Dialogues outlines the encounter of people, having a meaningful interaction and increased understanding with an outcome of creation.

Following, different participants shared their views and principles to foster peace and stability through inclusivity, nation building and national identity, a rule of law and accountability, capacity and citizen participation. The upcoming question on how to implement these principles was upheld until the end of the discussion.

Tito Anthony, Director of the Center for Peace and Justice, remarked the importance of presenting a common proposal at the upcoming HLRF and initiated the start for the discussion about new governance and security solutions for South Sudan.

In order to receive a reformed governance structure in the country, CSO representatives came to a consensus to primarily embrace a federal system on the ground. This should help to distribute power, decentralize and create a compensation through mutual control and continuous compromises. In its upcoming meeting, he HLRF has to conclude with key components about the duties of the South Sudanese government as well as improved ways on how to hold them accountable. South Sudan necessarily needs the power of strong institutions, fostering transparency, accountability, quality, justice, participation, and professionalism within the country.

Turning over to the crucial question on how to reform the security sector, participants expressed the necessity of a unified army, which must be able to hold peace in all parts of the country. During the discussion, participants openly shared their concern about the vast unprofessionalism of the Sudan People´s Liberation Army – South Sudan´s major armed force. Therefore, the HLRF also has to come out with a concrete policy on how to distribute the army within the country.

All participants of the roundtable discussion agreed upon the necessity of new structures in both governance and security sector to promote the peace process in South Sudan. With the common proposal on governance structure and security sector reform, drafted at the end of the discussion, they are looking forward to have a strong influence on the second phase of the HRLF.

Report compiled by Klara Giesler

South Sudan CSOs Meeting v_5
South Sudan CSOs Meeting v_3