|HE Salva Kiir|
Full implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan is a prerequisite for restoring harmony and unity within ourselves and our great Party. The Agreement calls for the formation of a Transitional Government of National Unity with an overall objective of laying a solid foundation for building resilient institutions of democratic governance. In this regard, the Arusha Reunification Agreement and the IGAD-mediated Addis Ababa Peace Agreement are complementary to each other. They are two faces of the same coin.
Allow me to elaborate on the key elements of the mandate of the SPLM-led Transitional Government of National Unity, which are underpinned by the two Agreements I have just mentioned. There are four main components of this mandate, which are essentially series of reforms:
1.Restoration of social cohesion and sense of belonging and common destiny through a genuine change of our attitudes toward each other;
2. Attainment of peace and security through a comprehensive reform of the security sector;
3. Establishment of a system of responsibility and accountability by reforming the institutions of law and order; and
4. Creation of opportunities for achieving sustainable livelihoods for all the South Sudanese citizens through a comprehensive reform of our country and effective service delivery.
This last point is fully illustrated in Chapter IV of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.
The foundation of our social cohesion and sense of togetherness has been weakened by the two-year violent conflict. And we cannot restore social cohesion and sense of togetherness without understanding the causes of that conflict in the first place. I would only mention two inter-related causes with the main objective of finding solutions and not for our usual blame game. As Harry Truman, once said: “the buck stops here!”
The first cause has been the dysfunctionality of the SPLM at all levels of governance (national, state, county, Payam, and Boma) in our country. The SPLM General Secretariat has not been able to establish a robust network of Party operatives at all levels and through which the national leadership would have had a two-way communication with the masses. Such a network would have enabled the SPLM, as a ruling Party, to provide effective oversight on both Executive and Legislature at the national, state, county, Payam, and Boma levels.
The consequences of the dysfunctionality of the SPLM General Secretariat were the widespread indiscipline within the Party. This indiscipline in turn led to unnecessary power struggle within the Political Bureau and thereby pushing the Party and the country into the senseless war that we have just ended. This senseless war has been very costly in terms of the loss of precious lives, property, and our own dignity as leaders and people in the eyes of the whole world. To point out the obvious, we have squandered much of international good-will earned over the years of our struggle against northern oppression.
The dysfunctionality has also led to the emergence of communal entities, which have crowded out the SPLM from the political space. Instead of being vehicles of lobbying for the advancement of communal welfare and culture, they have become political enclaves within the SPLM. Some of our comrades have abandoned legitimate channels within our Party and embarked on expressing political opinions on matters of national interest from these community organizations. The communal entities have become instruments for seeking appointments in the government and other constitutional positions. This practice must stop today and not tomorrow.
I have started to address this cause through the restructuring of the General Secretariat. I have appointed a new Deputy Secretary General and new Secretaries. I have also introduced a new element by appointing Technical Advisors to the General Secretariat. The SPLM in the near future will also involve its cadres in the academia and civil society with various expertise in the activities of the Party. These experts will provide technical backstopping to the Secretary General in ensuring effective performance of the General Secretariat and the Party in general. I appreciate the critical role of our intellectuals in the liberation struggle. The intellectuals were the Eighth Front during the war of liberation. I appeal to them to join us in renewing the SPLM through the effective utilization of their abundant skills and knowledge in building our nation.
The second cause is “tribalism,” which has created a sense of marginalization and ethnic-based injustice. This cause is also being reinforced by the Communal entities. I would like to say at this juncture that “tribalism” is a cancer which is threatening to kill our nation-building project. How? You might ask. It creates unequal opportunities between the various tribes and/or clans who are the pillars of our nation-building project.
I am aware that some of our tribes or ethnic groups feel marginalized in their own country by their own government. You would recall that when Southerners took up arms in August 1955 it was because of marginalization by Khartoum. When we again took up arms on May 16, 1983 and embarked on the war of liberation, it was because of the marginalization of the majority of Sudanese people by a tiny minority in Khartoum. In this regard, as I will ensure that this practice comes to an immediate end by revisiting the SPLM coherent package of political ideals.
Let us restore the vision and mission of the SPLM. Our vision, this time around, is the liberation of the mindsets of South Sudanese people, which is embedded in “tribalism.” This liberation must start with those of us in the SPLM. Our mission remains the same as stated in the 1998 SPLM Program, Constitution and Vision Document, which I quote: Our Mission is the establishment of good governance, which according to UNDP definition is, the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of the country’s affairs at all levels is people-based, so that individuals and groups have an effective say in the allocation and management of resources and in decisions that affect their lives.
The above stated mission is now more relevant than ever. My Executive Order number 36 of 2nd October 2015 was in response to the long awaited demand of our people who felt their government was too far from them. Hence, the SPLM enduring mission guided me when I issued that Executive Order. I subsequently appointed the Governors of 28 States on Christmas Eve as a gift for our people.
I was not acting in an ideological vacuum. I acted within the SPLM coherent package of political ideals, such as taking towns to the people in the rural areas; peace through development; and SPLM strategic framework for war-to-peace transition. These political ideals are guided by our core values of justice, liberty, and prosperity, which are inscribed in our national coat of arms, including the National Anthem. Therefore, while I acknowledge that some comrades might have different opinion over the number of states established, I am sure that all SPLM members agreed on the principle of taking towns and services to the people.
Taking government closer to the people in the rural areas would definitely alleviate people’s suffering by bringing basic services to them. It would enhance transparency and accountability, since the SPLM organs at the respective levels of government would have an effective participation in equitable allocation of resources as well as their efficient management.
The second key element of the mandate of the coming government is the attainment of sustainable peace and security in our country. This would be a challenging as well as a difficult task to undertake. However, it must be done in order to end the suffering of our people. I am aware of a generalized insecurity in the country. In this regard, I would like to see each and every person in this country go to bed by night with peace of mind and assurance that she or he is in a secure environment. I am, therefore, determined to ensure sustained peace and security for all the people in our beloved country.
The third key element of our agenda during the transition period is the establishment of a system of responsibility and accountability, which is underpinned by the rule of law. The point of departure for the establishment of such a system is our willingness to accept full responsibility of whatever we do in the service of our beloved country. We must all accept that none of us is above the law. We are, therefore, accountable for our actions, individually or collectively. The destiny of our country is our fundamental responsibility that cannot be wished away or passed to someone else other than all of us in this opportune Convention.
You have heard of the Dura saga, the letters of credit saga, and of Presidential aides under investigation over alleged corruption and other embezzlement saga. These sagas are a manifestation of a serious malady, which has infested our society in the absence of robust institutions to administer preventive measures. In fact, corruption has become rampant and entrenched despite our concerted efforts to fight it and defeat it forever. This is because of weak institutions and structures of law and order.
We will need a strategic approach in our determined quest for transparency and accountability in the use of public resources. This calls for the reform of the judiciary on the one hand, and the police service on the other. It would also require strengthening and empowerment of other two important institutions. These are the Audit Chamber and the Anti-corruption Commission. I instruct the Ministers of Justice and Finance, assisted by the Anti-corruption Commission and the Audit Chamber, to reactivate the Stolen Asset Recovery (STAR) program. The STAR program was initiated in 2012, but stopped due to factors beyond our control. A number of institutions of economic governance stipulated in the Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan will be used as our main artillery to soften the grounds before our final assault on this monster called corruption. The proposed Economic and Financial Management Authority (EFMA) will be such a vehicle.
The fourth mandate of the Government of National Unity is creation of opportunities for achieving sustainable livelihoods by all South Sudanese citizens. This will be through a comprehensive reform of our economy. I would like us to remind ourselves, at this juncture, about the SPLM coherent package of political ideals and their consistency with our coat of arms as vividly displayed on the Presidential seal. They are our point of reference in the quest for sustainable livelihoods as one of the major objectives of economic policy during the transition period, that is, sustainable livelihoods are a function of justice, liberty, and prosperity. Sustainable livelihoods will not be achieved if ordinary South Sudanese people are not given the opportunity to make their own choices. Liberty means social mobility in space and time in pursuit of legitimate economic activity. And obviously prosperity is the foundation of sustainable livelihoods. Prosperity is, however, a function of macroeconomic stability.
Our economy has been through several severe shocks. Some of these shocks have been of our own making, but some of them were beyond our control. I would not want to give an account of these shocks here. I will, nevertheless, briefly highlight the cumulative effect of those shocks on the economy.
The first shock that hit our economy was the shutdown of the oil pipeline in January 2012, following disagreements over transport tariff, processing and transit fees with the Government of Sudan. An austerity budget program was put in place to mitigate its effects. The second and the devastating one was the outbreak of violent conflict in December 2013. This disrupted oil production in former Upper Nile State in general and a complete shutdown of production activities in former Unity State. The third shock was the sharp decline of global oil prices in the first quarter of 2015 to less than US$ 40.00/barrel, leading to a fall of approximately 75% in oil revenues.
The combined effect of the fall of both oil production and global oil prices seriously affected the Government revenues, which led to a fiscal deficit since then. As a result of these shocks, our economy suffered from the following six problems: 1.Sharp drop in overall Government revenues; Rapid rise in money supply; Currency depreciation High Inflation; Rapid depletion of the Central Bank's reserves and Internal Debt accumulation. These six problems had pushed us to make bold and drastic decisions to rescue our economy from imminent collapse.
Our economic team under the able supervision of Cde. James WaniIgga, the SPLM Deputy Chairman was able to provide policy options for our final decision, which was implemented on 14 December 2015 by the Minister of Finance together with the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan.
After pursuing all possible economic options; the current macroeconomic reform program was seen to be the only package that could bail out the economy from the current meltdown. The shock therapy my team administered on the economy was necessary, though not sufficient in rescuing our economy from imminent collapse. That stage is now behind us and we must therefore embark on the medium-term strategy, which was recommended by the SPLM Economic Taskforce.
Difficult and painful as it may be, nothing shall sway us from this program. Doing nothing, as others suggest, is not an option. I have directed our SPLM Economic Taskforce to immediately work out a package of measures to mitigate the consequences arising from its implementation. The first track is salary increase. Efforts are underway to assess the projected revenues that would be realized from the program and after a comprehensive salary review, mitigated measures will be implemented in order to ease the adverse effects of the policy on our people. The second track is to consider subsidizing certain strategic commodities such as fuel, cooking oil, sugar, and maize and wheat flours. Although the Government has already picked up about 40% of petroleum bill, the team is working on the full package of benefits for our citizens.
Our economy was vulnerable to both internal and external shocks because of its dependency on a single commodity, which is oil, for foreign exchange earnings on the one hand, and for government revenues on the other. Hence, diversification of our economy is imperative if we are to avoid recurrent macroeconomic instability. The popular theme of our fallen hero and founder of the SPLM, the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior was: “agriculture is the engine of growth of our economy and we will use our oil to fuel it.” In this regard, the driver of our diversification strategy will be the agricultural sector, which is the main stay of over 80 percent of our population. Let us implement this strategy as a way of paying tribute to Dr. John Garang de Mabior as well as ensuring food security.
Diversification and making agriculture the engine of growth of the economy are essentially two sides of the same coin –sustainable livelihoods for our people. I have instructed the SPLM Economic Taskforce to prepare an Inclusive Growth Strategy (IGS) for the transition period. The Taskforce has already identified five key determinants of economic growth. They are: savings; investment; education; productivity; and infrastructure. The Inclusive Growth Strategy is being prepared in tandem with the repatriation, relief, resettlement, rehabilitation, and reconstruction program for the war-torn area of our country.
Let us remind ourselves about how we always bounce back after a Convention. I take this opportunity, Comrades, to briefly highlight our achievements of the first two conventions for they will give our people hope and confidence that we are here to serve and not to rule them. The SPLM search for human freedom started long time ago. Our democratic transformation is not new.
In 1994, we were able to organize our first National Convention as a rebel Movement in Chukudum. Given the situation at the time, we democratically deliberated for days on many challenges and opportunities, including the new strategy for the liberation struggle, structures of the SPLM, and lection to offices. Cde. Dr. John Garang de Mabior, our late leader and founder, and I were unanimously elected as SPLM’s first Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively.
That Convention also put forward resolutions, which enabled us to continue to fight and force the Sudan’s government to negotiate with us on the table. Our first Convention created Civil Authority for the New Sudan (CANS) and we embarked on civil structures in all the SPLAM liberated areas. The first Convention laid down liberation strategy in terms of military and negotiation principles. This strategy in turn prepared us to successfully conclude the Naivasha Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), 2005. The first SPLM Convention adopted SPLM flag. The Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) subsequently adopted it as the South Sudan National flag on 12th May 2011. Today we are united under this great national insignia that gives us hope and pride for, as one of the great African freedom fighters Cde. Nelson Mandela had said it, our long march to freedom.
We all witnessed how we overcame the loss of our great leader and continued with the implementation of the CPA. With the weight of the CPA implementation issues, which fell on my shoulders after the tragic death of our late Chairman, the SPLM led government under my leadership, engaged the Sudan government and the international community in implementing the CPA. We set up national and state governments; we also set up national and state legislatures not only in South Sudan, but also all over Sudan. While addressing the political, rehabilitation and development issues at the same time, we made efforts to reconcile with various South Sudanese armed opposition groups and organized the SPLM structures all over Sudan. We created two SPLM Sectors: Northern and Southern ones.
It was in the Nyokuron Cultural Center that we had the SPLM 2nd National convention on 23rd May2008. During that time, the Party made many political gains. For the first time in history, a political Party commanded popularity in the whole Sudan, overcoming the racial, religious, gender, social and regional barriers, which the successive sectarian governments had created under the policy of divide and rule in Sudan. I was elected as the President of Southern Sudan by a majority of 93% of the votes. Moreover, the SPLM won over 90% of seats at both the National Legislature and State Assemblies respectively in Southern Sudan.
Having won the confidence of our people, the SPLM conducted the historic referendum successfully. This was to fulfill the wishes of the people of Southern Sudan who saw little hope in change with Khartoum. Our people voted with over 98% “Yes” for separation of Southern Sudan from Sudan. The post succession period witnessed how the SPLM’s led government promulgated the Transitional Constitution for South Sudan, which was approved by the National Legislature. I outlined an economic program consistent with the SPLM’s vision and mission. That meant, building the Republic of South Sudan of our dream, a country we are all proud to call home today together with our families and generations to come.
One important thing that we wanted to do as a Party was to complete reorganization of the SPLM after independence. This was a necessary step to transform the liberation movement into a genuine political force that would embark on the search for democratic ideals in collaboration with local, regional and international entities.
Finally, we reiterate our commitment to Arusha SPLM Reunification Agreement, as incorporated into our Party constitution and manifesto. The provision of Arusha addresses issues that created division in the Party. Since Arusha Agreement is already incorporated into the SPLM Constitution, there should be no more division in the party. It is therefore my hope that the two terms, "SPLM-IO and SPLM-FDs will henceforth cease to exist.
I would like on behalf of the SPLM membership to thank and appreciate the support we have received from our sisterly parties; the CCM of Tanzania, ANC of South Africa, EPRDF of Ethiopia, and NRM of Uganda in our efforts to resolve our differences and reuniting our ranks following the 2013 crisis. This relentless support culminated in the Arusha SPLM reunification Agreement, which is part of the current draft.
I also thank the CMI for facilitating the process of the Agreement. It is my hope that, the support will continue through the implementation of the agreement. We also recognize the importance of taking lead as a ruling Party in the implementation of the peace agreement, and also to take lead in the reconciliation of our people. I would like to conclude my Statement by reassuring our commitment to the values, vision, and mission of the SPLM, which has always been the source of our courage to take tough decisions.
By Salva Kiir
President od The Republic of South Sudan.