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Analysts Warn of Overly Bloated South Sudan Government


FILE - South Sudanese people hold signs as they await the arrival back in the country of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, at the airport in Juba, South Sudan, June 22, 2018.

South Sudan's government and opposition groups have begun the process of implementing the peace agreement signed last week. But some analysts warn it will be difficult to maintain the bloated government for three years.

South Sudanese leaders will have a three-year transitional period to put the country on a path toward peace and resettle its people, both those who fled the country and those internally displaced.

During the transition period, the country will be run by a government that includes five vice presidents, 35 cabinet ministers, and 550 legislators.

Deo Gumba, a researcher with the Institute for Security Studies, said countries and international organizations will find it difficult to fund and maintain such a bloated government.

"It will require a lot of support from donors and from international partners to ensure that this bloated government works," he explained. "The transition period of three years is quite a long time.They usually say one day is a long time in politics and therefore three years for a transition will be a very long time indeed to be able to do things that would change the situation quickly because the longer it stays, the more things are likely to remain the same."

James Okuk, a political science lecturer at the University of Juba, sees the transition going longer than three years.

"If a lot of things are not put in place," he said, "it could be extended for few months, especially if election preparation need some more time.They could extend it to even four years. So it's not a big deal because a lot has been destroyed in South Sudan, you need a real transitional period where you can put things to order."

South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar (L), and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir sign a ceasefire and power sharing agreement in Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 5, 2018.
South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar (L), and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir sign a ceasefire and power sharing agreement in Khartoum, Sudan, Aug. 5, 2018.

As part of implementing the peace agreement, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Thursday granted amnesty to rebel leader Riek Machar and other opposition leaders.

Some regional observers have welcomed the renewed effort to end South Sudan's civil war, but Okuk said a lot needs to be done to change people's behavior in solving their differences.

"The mentality that has developed during this time of conflict — that mentality has created a culture of war, culture of violence," he said. "So there is a lot of work to be done to reset that mentality of the people so that they can adopt the culture of peace and the can resort to the rule of law in case of any differences or any difficulties."

South Sudan has been mired in civil war since December 2013. The United Nations says the war has driven more than four million people from their homes, with more than two million living as refugees in nearby countries.

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