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News Analysis: International takeover not good idea for South Sudan: experts
Last Updated: 2017-02-04 08:58 | Xinhua
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Despite huge humanitarian suffering caused by over three years of conflict in South Sudan, experts say the war-torn nation is not yet at the level of warranting international takeover.

The proposal to put the oil-rich yet impoverished country under African Union (AU) technocrats for an interim period gained currency after the renewed clash between the warring factions in July 2016, which threatened to reverse the slim gains in the 2015 peace deal.

South Sudanese officials in the capital of Juba have vehemently dismissed any possibilities of foreigners taking charge of their sovereignty after the hard-earned independence from Sudan in 2011.

Remember Miamingi, a South Africa-based law expert, told Xinhua that the conditions in the country were not yet at the requisite level for International Transitional Administration (ITA) like in Kosovo and East Timor, but he instead supports a government of technocrats.

"Even though I believe that in some extreme cases of state failure ITA might be an appropriate remedy, I intend to argue here that South Sudan is not yet a very good case," he told Xinhua.

Miamingi said international trusteeship succeeded only in countries where warring parties had reached mutually hurting stalemates, and with significant domestic constituencies that were willing to consent to ITAs.

This would contrast with South Sudan where the post-independence war nostalgia was still high and hugely credited to the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) that dominated the transitional unity government formed last April.

"ITAs should more likely be considered only in the event that a territory contains a true vacuum of political authority; domestic political agents are fragmented to the extent that collective action via UN-facilitated power sharing is impossible; political actors are too violent or untrustworthy, or because they have violated foundational internal norms and covenants," he said.

Juba-based analyst with the Ebony Center for Strategic Studies James Alic Garang said letting the AU takeover of South Sudan will not happen as the AU member states will be moving in unchartered waters.

"Besides, there are many countries in Africa with similar political problems and none has been put under the AU sanctioned mandate. It's unacceptable in the present day and age where self-determination tops agenda at the international arena," he said.

"There is no compelling reason to believe that UN or AU administrators will be effective or efficient in transitioning South Sudan out of its current crisis. If local political actors have failed, why would anyone expect foreigners to singlehandedly deliver South Sudan from its modern abyss given a prevailing undulating political terrain?" he added.

Garang however said South Sudan still needs the AU to challenge all warring parties to stop fighting and implement the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).

Meanwhile, former deputy defence minister Majak D' Agoot, told Xinhua there was urgent need for roundtable conference outside Juba to bring all warring factions to chart a new road map for the country.

"The first premise to restoring peace is to recognize that the peace agreement has been fractured and for peace to return a fresh break is needed," he said.

Jacob Chol, head of Juba University's political science department, said the proposed government by technocrats was not a bad thing.

He however added that the proposal would likely be resisted. "Nobody wants to be removed especially the illiterates who have been accommodated in government," he said.

"Most of the technocrats we have are not very well qualified since they are mostly political appointees," Chol added.

Miamingi noted that ITAs for South Sudan should be last resort for an extreme form of limited statehood.

"Other options should be tried first before frog jumping to the other extreme. One such alternative is a technocratic administration of South Sudanese with support where needed, from the international community," he said.

He added that such technocratic government could be responsible for overseeing the healing, reconciliation and accountability processes, ensuring political and security stability, and providing normative and institutional frameworks for successful transition.

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