Friday, August 26, 2016

UN Trusteeship & Joint Administration: A Response to Nhial Titmamer

"UNTAG was established in accordance with resolution 632 (1989) of 16 February 1989, to assist the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to ensure the early independence of Namibia through free and fair elections under the supervision and control of the United Nations. UNTAG was also to help the Special Representative to ensure that: all hostile acts were ended; troops were confined to base, and, in the case of the South Africans, ultimately withdrawn from Namibia; all discriminatory laws were repealed, political prisoners were released, Namibian refugees were permitted to return, intimidation of any kind was prevented, law and order were impartially." Source UN.ORG

Calgary, Alberta 
The examples of Trusteeship I cited in my first response were Namibia and East Timor. And none of those cases failed. I didn’t give 'Congo' as a ‘success’ example so to cite it in response to my article is misleading. Both the Namibian and East Timorese examples I gave are neither impractical nor are they ineffective. Nations all over the world work with best practices. Your only concern was article 78 caveat; which I’ve addressed.
Besides, what you said about Namibia is historically inaccurate. By that time the South African government, which ruled Namibia, was fighting SWAPO’s armed wing, PLAN. So the trusteeship was a combination of three parties working together: UNTAG, South African government, and SWAPO-PLAN. The government you are talking about wasn’t technically an African government. It was the very government SWAPO was fighting. PLAN was fighting the South African government and the institutions were controlled by South Africans.
Recently the government of South Sudan amended the constitution to allow the president to create additional 18 states. Given that there was no provision in the constitution that allows the president to create states, the amendment made the president’s decision legal. So to say that my argument that article 78 could be amended to deal with the would-be legal hurdle is either a misunderstanding of legal processes or an ad hoc rebuttal. There’d be nothing ‘illegal’ if all the members vote to amend the article. Neither my call nor the process of amendment of any legal document (be it national or international) is illegal. You might say it’s unnecessary if you don’t like its causal factors, but by no means would anyone say it’s unnecessary either.

We are all making a legal point so to say a call for an amendment is to stretch the debate is rather bizarre. “It’s not to shift the goal posts’ but to say that your concern is addressed; and that, my friend, is the point of debate. Besides, any concerns in policy recommendations need to be addressed. That’s what I did. I didn’t shift any post!
We are staying put on the same article, on the same legal ground. Just because the call for an amendment deals with the concern doesn’t stretch the debate. It’s to address your concern within that legal context. There are indeed procedures to be followed as you put it; and amendment is one such legal procedure should the need arise. And whether or not it would pass, that’s not for us to decided.
“Things do not happen because we think they are right,” you wrote. Nothing actually 'happens', Nhial. We make things happen. And what prompts us to do things is that we believe ‘they are right.’ That we think ‘they are right’ is the reason that prompts us into supporting given processes that lead to them ‘happening.’ You’re rejecting the very basis of human moral action.
By the way, I didn’t say ‘article 78 is ‘no longer relevant.’ I said it cannot be applied in the same way it was applied when it was instituted, at face value. My point being that new conditions can necessitate changes in the article.
And to argue that I should have been ‘convinced’ with your explanation of article 78 is to lose sight of why we are discussing the topic in the first place. It’s not about convincing ourselves but about making our case for a governance framework that’d make South Sudan what we want. It’s not advisable to say “there, I convinced you so stop responding!”
What I don’t understand, however, is the inclusion of Dr. Majak, of all the South Sudanese who’ve made their cases for external assistance to the governance problems in South Sudan. Should I be convinced because Majak holds a given view? Or is Majak the paragon of acceptable arguments? Majak is usually cited by my critics to silence me because he’s something of a relative. Should I accept something because of Majak?
I’ve read enough Chomsky, Said and Cesaire to understand west’s imperial tendencies and love of skewed nature of international sociocultural and sociopolitical systems. I know enough international geopolitical favoritism to understand why 12 people die in Paris and all western leaders attend a solidarity rally while thousands are killed by Boko Haram and nothing of the sort happens. I know it’s contradictory for nations that hold freedom and equality dear to their democracies only to have five (5) members of the United Nations to bully everyone in the dictatorial ‘veto.’ 
You’ve also talked of ‘alternatives’; that you’ve offered alternatives to trusteeship and joint administration. You also said that I failed to give both merits and demerits of your ‘alternatives.’ First of all, what you called ‘alternatives’ are the normal functions of government. What you listed are things governments are supposed to do so calling them alternatives is to believe they are things other than what governments do.
Besides, if we were to accept them as alternatives, the question would still be: “Who’ll implement them?” Do we believe the same leaders will implement them or do we have some other leaders in mind? You seem to still have faith either in the current leaders or in the current system; both of which are no way to go. We need to remember that what is missing in South Sudan aren’t ideas as you seem to imply. Your ‘alternatives’ presupposes that these ideas or things like them have not being suggested. I would like to tell you that South Sudanese leaders have access to comprehensive development plans that outline not only the problems but HOW to solve them.

Some of the things you suggested have already been discussed by international partners and scholars and given to South Sudanese leaders. The problem is either the inability or refusal of the leaders to implement them.
Between 2005 and 2011, the following were suggested to the government of South Sudan by the World Bank, neighboring countries and even Hilde Johnson.
1.Keep oil money outside South Sudan until South Sudan’s fiscal institutions and accountability parameters are put in place. This was ignored. SPLM’s finance department became finance ministry and it was dangerous unprepared.
2.Training of South Sudanese civil servants by neighboring countries to bolster indigenous capacity building. Juba dragged its feet to the point that the neighboring countries gave up. Trainings offered were not applied.
3.The World Bank, to check how South Sudan spends its money and to help in accountability, asks Juba to be transparent with its expenditure. It turns out that South Sudan kept off-record accounts so the World Bank couldn’t have access to reports on expenditure. This off-record accounts helped leaders embezzle money without any way to ensure transparency.
4.The world bank also advised ‘secondment’ in the ministries and especially the finance ministry to make sure that ministers don’t fill ministries with their relatives and friends and to ensure accountability. South Sudan didn’t like the idea of ‘foreignness’ telling them what to do.
All these were either ignored or dismissed because they were obstacles to ‘eating’. Are they [leaders] now ready to listen?
And after independence, South Sudanese leaders were equipped with the best documents to help them make South Sudan the best country it could be. But all the ideas and programs were ignored. To know that what is missing in South Sudan isn’t ideas but leadership to implement them, I would refer you to the following documents as they contain everything the government needed to make sure South Sudan succeeds. They were simply ignored or leaders didn’t care about following rules and regulations or they simply saw them as obstacles to wealth and power.
-South Sudan Development Program (2011 – 2013) – extended by the government in 2014 to 2016. 
-USAID put out a document called - “The Transitional Strategy” – 2011
-African Development Bank had – “Interim Strategy Paper” – 2012
-World Bank – “Interim Strategy Note” - January 2013
-Brookings Institute – “South Sudan: One Year Later” – 2012
-UNDP – “An analysis of Government Budgets in South Sudan from a human development perspective” – 2014
-The then “South Sudan Transitional Constitution.” etc
If you read these documents (and I’d assume you’ve read some) then you will realize that what is missing in South Sudan is not ideas or how to solve our problems. What’s missing in South Sudan is the system and the leaders to implement them. South Sudan Development Plan (2011-2013) addressed every single problem in South Sudan and HOW to deal with them. So what you list as ‘alternatives’ are neither alternatives nor are they things South Sudanese leaders don’t know. They have access to more comprehensive documents than what you’ve listed. In a word, your ‘alternatives’ are either redundant or they could be used, in a more positively constructive form, to merely remind South Sudanese leaders of their job. So I didn’t spend time on the merits of your alternatives because they are not alternatives.
This brings me to the question of leadership. If South Sudanese follow the development plan and the national constitution to the point where we see measurable outcomes, then you’d not see anyone talking about ‘trusteeship.’ It’s the failure of our leadership, death and destruction for the past decade that makes us discuss this topic. I am not ignoring some ‘good’ the leadership is doing for the country. Unless you folks still believe these leaders can still change the country or have started to change the country. But if you believe these leaders have failed and that they cannot change for better than I see no point of suggesting ‘alternatives’ to a leadership that will not care about them? What makes you think they will follow and implement your alternatives when they ignored the very documents they help draft (SSDP & TTNC)? What’s required is a leadership that would HELP overhaul the governance and accountability system in South Sudan. We have a leadership that’s accountable to no one. How exactly can these people implement your ‘alternatives’ when they don’t care?

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