5 May 2018

South Sudan: Kiir Adviser Pens Recipe for Peace

Photo: The Rwandan Focus
South Sudan leader Salva Kiir.

The South Sudan peace talks in Addis Ababa remain as troublesome as the civil war itself that is now in the fifth year.

With various interest groups giving suggestions on how to implement the stalled 2015 peace agreement, a top advisor to President Salva Kiir Mayardit has published a book that analyses the challenges facing the implementation and how the revitalision process can avoid past mistakes.

Lawrence Korbandy, the presidential advisor on legal affairs, in his 118-page booklet titled South Sudan: The National Security Interest and Economic Bottlenecks, published in April, tries to strike a balance between the outstanding issues ahead of the third phase of the talks in Addis Ababa starting May 8.

Mr Korbandy, who is the former chairperson of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, suggests that the mediators should avoid the usual power-sharing option based on ethnicity and instead seek a lean government that can deliver basic services.

Lack of basic services contributed to the disgruntlement which led to the civil war in 2013, after a group of politicians led by Dr Riek Machar accused President Kiir of failed leadership and demanded his replacement.

At that time, over 60 per cent of the total South Sudan annual budget was being spent on salaries and other administrative costs.

However, Mr Korbandy says that the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), is stuck with the power sharing approach that set up the 2015 peace agreement.

He adds that inclusivity in South Sudan is more of political accommodation for ethnic participation than a quest for a real professional outfit that would deliver basic services.

He proposes a government of 11 to 13 ministers, including the President and the Vice President, in place of the current 30 as per the 2015 agreement. Mr Korbandy insists that he is writing the book from the government's position but enriching it with insights from his experience.

In straight forward prose targeting both the leadership in government and the opposition, Mr Korbandy says that the slow implementation of the 2015 agreement means that some important institutional reforms are behind schedule.

These include; the constitutional amendment and legislation on military, police services and other organised forces reform programmes, judicial reforms and the formation of hybrid courts.

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