BRUSSELS, 10 February 2021 – South Sudan could relapse into another civil war unless those in power in the capital, Juba, reach and honor power-sharing arrangements.
The warning came in a report – “Toward a Viable Future for South Sudan” – published Wednesday by the International Crisis Group (ICG).
The election scheduled to hold in South Sudan next year (2022) threatens to inflame tensions between signatories of the September 2018 peace agreement, the report warned.
“Incentives for post-election violence will be acute,” the reported noted, accusing South Sudanese President Salva Kiir of flouting the constitution by refusing to devolve oil revenues.
South Sudan depends on oil revenue for 98 percent of its budget, according to official data.
The report also slammed President Kiir for putting in place an over-centralized system of governance under which he has powers to remove powerful governors by decree.
The 38-page report urges South Sudanese elite, religious leaders and civil society to rethink the country’s system of governance.
It calls on them to create a political system that would work for one of Africa’s most diverse nations with more than 60 different ethnic groups.
The report recommends the setting aside of prominent positions in the South Sudanese national government for electoral runners-up as a way of guaranteeing them positions of influence to prevent them from taking up arms.
The ICG also calls on regional leaders to broker pre-election dialogue, to extract assurances from losing parties in order to lower the stakes as well as guaranteeing in advance another broad-based government of national unity.