THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT (NDM)
Date: 6 August 2018
Why the NDM Signed the Agreement on Governance
Right from the onset of the IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum in June 2017, the NDM leadership worked out its position on the peace process. When the peace talks commenced in Addis Ababa in December 2017, the NDM together with its allies formulated a joint position on the peace talks. This position was further developed when the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) was formally announced in March 2018. As the peace talks progressed, three areas were identified as critical for SSOA to sign any peace agreement. These were:
1. Getting rid of the 32 States which were imposed in contravention of the 2015 peace agreement and grabbed tribal lands;
2. Adoption of federalism as the system of governance in the country; and
3. The participation of SSOA at all levels of government throughout the country.
We had earlier conceded on the two important issues of the de-concentration of power and technocratic lean government for the lack of support among the negotiating Parties.
The “Agreement on Outstanding Issues on Governance” initialled on the 25th of July addressed only two of the above three critical areas. Federalism was adequately addressed (in the Preamble and Article 6.11) and a whole Article 5 on the participation of SSOA at the State and Local levels –which was our formulation except for the power sharing ratios – was included. However, the way Article 4 was crafted was objectionable to SSOA. It was clearly meant to maintain the illegal 32 States . This was the reason why the NDM and its allies in SSOA rejected that Agreement and did no append its signature to it.
Since the initialling of the Agreement SSOA has been engaging the Mediation and conducting contacts with influential local and regional leaders so that they see our point of view. Yesterday, the Heads of State and Government attending the signing ceremony met and looked into our position which was mainly our objection to Article 4 on the number and boundaries of States. They supported our position to include a new sub-Article 4a on creation of a Technical Boundary Committee (TBC) to delineate and demarcate tribal boundaries in dispute as they stood on 1/1/1956. This was necessary to return the grabbed lands to their rightful owners before discussing the number and boundaries of the States in South Sudan. Additionally, they agreed that the whole Article 4 be subjected to renegotiation when the peace talks resume and they directed the Chief Mediator, Sudan’s Foreign Minister, to put that commitment in writing which he did (Attached). Therefore, our concerns in this area have been addressed to our satisfaction. In other words, the three areas identified by SSOA as critical have been included in the agreement. This was the reason why SSOA including the NDM decided to sign yesterday.
We want to assure our supporters and the public at large that SSOA has been consistent and steadfast in the defence of their rights. The developments that took place yesterday were a victory to our people who stood with us when we were termed as holdout groups. This is not the end of the road and there are more negotiations ahead. We count on your unswerving support.
The National Leadership Council
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