The New Deal implementation in South Sudan.

Year of Publication
Document Publisher/Creator
Hafeez Wani
CSO Working Group/ South Sudan NGO Forum
NGO associated?
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The New Deal implementation in South Sudan. "A South Sudanese civil society perspective paper"

As a pilot country for the New Deal implementation, South Sudan was described as a burgeoning
young nation steadily emerging from the crisis phase on the fragility spectrum into the reform
and rebuild phase. A critical analysis however of the events two years post-independence would
have revealed the true nature of the state of the nation. By late 2012, South Sudan had
conducted its first Fragility Assessment as a country volunteer in the pilot for the New Deal,
over a period of seven months, the Government of south Sudan and development partners
began the process of developing a New Deal Compact by engaging in sub national consultations
across the country. The purpose of the compact was to create a framework of improved
partnership and mutual accountability between the Government of South Sudan and her
development partners with the aim of fulfilling South Sudan’s development vision. In December
2013, the signing of the New Deal compact came to a halt due to the shortcomings associated
with the IMF staff monitored program. Shortly after, the country lapsed into a conflict
precipitated by a political crisis within the government and the ruling party of SPLM.
This perspective paper analyses the relevance of the New Deal under the current circumstances
created by the conflict in South Sudan and assesses the shortfalls of New Deal as a framework
for aid effectiveness through literature review and perspectives harvested from a cross section
of government, civil society and development partners.
The findings of this perspective paper by no means reflect a thorough interpretation of the full
effects of the conflict in South Sudan or the complex dynamics that characterises South Sudan as
a newly independent nation affected by numerous challenges.
It identifies areas for follow up actions and recommendations for establishing concrete building
blocks necessary for the launching of the New Deal process in South Sudan situation allowing.

South Sudan From Fragility at Independence to a Crisis of Sovereignty

Year of Publication
Document Publisher/Creator
Lauren Hutton
Clingendael Institute
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What started as a political conflict in South Sudan in December 2013 has created a community security crisis drawing in a range of uniformed, community and foreign security actors. At the heart of the crisis, are fundamental questions about democratic values, about accountability and justice, and about overcoming narratives of marginalisation, impunity and ethnic bias.

This conflict is a contest between social orders in which the authority of the prevailing order is being challenged. The relevance of the systems through which resources are accumulated and dispersed is also being challenged. This is a crisis of the legitimacy of the state. The state represents the formal expression of a range of highly subjective interfaces and partnerships through which power is shared and order finds expression.

This paper outlines some of those interfaces and partnerships, and the dynamics that affect them. It is by no means an exhaustive analysis but rather a tracing of threads of interaction at local, national and regional levels as a way of mapping some of the webs that connect across space and time in South Sudan. The overall approach is one that seeks to understand how South Sudan moved from fragility at independence to a full-blown crisis of internal and external sovereignty in December 2013. The paper is divided into sections addressing different aspects of state behaviour – the search for internal legitimacy; the search for security; and the search for economic growth and development. These sections provide an overview of the domestic context and key dynamics determining the national agenda. After the internal focus, the paper provides an overview of regional relationships that affect South Sudan’s internal and external political behaviour.

The main argument presented here is that the current crisis in South Sudan is the result of challenges to the internal legitimacy of the SPLM as part of the state formation process and the expression of sovereign authority. The current configuration of power in Juba has proven an astute capacity to build and break alliances across different interests and to dominate the narrative in a way that limits response options. This is not a nascent government anymore but one which is demonstrating how it wants to run internal affairs and how it will exercise sovereign authority. The narrative of this internal legitimacy is based on overcoming the threat of rebels and a coup; it is a narrative firmly rooted in the politics of ethnicity and the focused use of coercion, and which seeks to reinforce the centrality of the party as liberator and guarantor of order. But for the South Sudanese state (and by extension the ruling SPLM), the ability to exercise sovereign authority remains dependent on managing increasingly competitive external relations.

When the dust has settled on this latest crisis, the question that remains will be one of the level of violence which is acceptable for a state to employ against its citizens under extreme circumstances. The current crisis in South Sudan is reshaping not only internal relationships between the organs of state and the people but also the parameters of relationships between the government and international actors in the region and beyond. These are highly lucrative relationships at all levels leaving much still to be fought over. This crisis has become a civil war in which the state is beginning to deal with its legitimacy and sovereignty issues within a deeply fragmented country and highly competitive regional political economy.

Conflict in Western Equatoria - Describing events through 17 July 2016

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Document Publisher/Creator
Small Arms Survey
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Political tensions in former Western Equatoria state rose steadily throughout South Sudan’s 2013–15 civil war, culminating in clashes during the months and weeks leading up to the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) between President Salva Kiir and the opposition leader, Vice President Riek Machar. During the war, Western Equatoria’s populist governor, and frequent Juba critic, Joseph Bakosoro, flirted with defection from Kiir’s Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) but remained in his governor post until Kiir sacked him in the run-up to the accord. In the months following the peace deal, full conflict erupted across the state (see map).

The Western Equatoria war theatre consists of three primary armed groups with independent command and control. All of the groups share some origins in the Arrow Boys, a network of community defence militias mobilized to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and unwanted cattle herders. Two factions—one in Mundri under Wesley Welebe, the other, more dispersed, under Alfred Fatuyo—have declared their allegiance to the SPLM-in- Opposition (SPLM–IO). After the peace accord, Machar appointed both Welebe and Fatuyo major generals. A third group, led by defected security officers, rejected the SPLM–IO and signed a peace deal aimed at reintegration into the armed forces in April 2016.

The ambiguous and unresolved inclusion of the armed groups in the ARCSS—or their exclusion from it—continues drive the conflict. Both Fatuyo and Welebe maintained links to the SPLM–IO throughout the war. Whereas Fatuyo clearly did not join the opposition movement until after the peace accord, Welebe’s ties to the group were stronger.

Anti-government grievances are widespread and often expressed as opposition to the Dinka ethnic group, and its political elite, specifically. While partially rooted in longstanding animosities, such sentiment has intensified since independence, with accusations that the SPLM’s Bahr al Ghazal Dinka elite promised shared power but then championed tribal interest. Equatorians primarily cite redirected national revenue, impunity for incursions by armed cattle herders, land-grabbing, and political marginalization. (According to the paramount chief of the Azande, Wilson Hassan Peni, the Azande did not have an officer at the rank of major general at the beginning of 2015. The Azande are one of several ethnic groups claiming to be the third-largest in South Sudan behind the Dinka and Nuer.) Western Equatoria is an opposition stronghold, but the armed groups are poorly supplied and often retreat in the face of government counter-insurgency. Some early community support for the armed leaders has waned even as government military abuses amplify resentments. Community elites are divided on the wisdom and feasibility of seeking an armed solution or aligning politically with Machar. Humanitarian consequences in the war theatres have been devastating, since the counter-insurgency strategy of security hardliners seeks to punish entire communities and depopulate rebel strongholds. Armed-group withdrawals from government attack have left civilian populations vulnerable.

In the aftermath of the peace deal, Western Equatoria in particular turned into a stage for contesting the new disposition of power in the country; the conflict must be understood in the context of the new power framework created by the ARCSS.