12 Dec 2019


Independent (Internal) Boundaries Commission Work Begins

"Ambassador Themisile Majola on Tuesday urged the general public to submit responses on how many states should South Sudan have and why."

Independent (Internal) Boundaries Commission Work Begins
Participants after the opening session of the Independent Boundary Commission meeting in Juba on March 18, 2019. [Courtesy Photo]

By Ojwe Lumara

JUBA, 20 March 2019, (Gurtong[ -The Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) has started its work after completing a two-day meeting in Juba on Tuesday.
The IBC work aims at considering the number of states of the Republic of South Sudan, their boundaries, and the composition and restructuring of the Council of States.
On Monday the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Weis, officially established the IBC, which is one of the key institutions set up under the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
The IBC is chaired by Ambassador Thembi Majola of South Africa and consists of four other members from the African Union High Level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan, five representatives from the incumbent government, two from the SPLM/A-IO, and one each from the South Sudanese Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FD), and the Other Political Parties (OPP).
In the coming days the IBC is expected to receive and consider a report from the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC), which was tasked with defining and demarcating the tribal areas of South Sudan as they stood on 1 January 1956, and the tribal areas in dispute in the country. In addition, it is expected to consult with various stakeholders, and other South Sudanese as well as subject matter experts, as it works on coming up with recommendations on the number of states and their boundaries.
The IBC is expected to continue its work to the end of the Pre-Transitional period. Once complete, it will submit its report to the IGAD Executive Secretariat to be enshrined in the R-ARCSS as an addendum.
The IBC is established under article 1.15 of the R-ARCSS and is made of fifteen members namely, five from the Incumbent TGoNU, two from SPLM/A-IO, one from South Sudan Opposition Alliance, one from Former Detainees and one from Other Political Parties. The other five, of whom two are yet to arrive, are higly experienced C5 members nominated by the member States of the African Union High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan from South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Algeria and Chad.
Speaking during the official opening session on Monday, RJMEC Chief of Staff Ambassador Berhanu Kebede congratulated all those who had been appointed to the Commission.
“Your work of considering the number of States in the Republic of South Sudan, their boundaries, and the composition and restructuring of the Council of States, is very important to the future stability of this country. At the same time, your recommendations about the same issues will be invaluable,” Kebede said.

He urged the Commission to do all in its power to complete the task within the 60 days.
“The judgment and recommendations of these esteemed members present today will be very consequential for South Sudan as it builds its architecture of permanent peace,” he said.
“There is no doubt that the people of South Sudan and the country’s friends and supporters await the results of the work you will undertake over the next two months. I am convinced that you are all more than equal to the task ahead, and will bring to bear your collective professionalism and impartiality,” Ambassador Kebede added.
Ambassador Themisile Majola, the IBC chairperson said achieving peace in south Sudan was the ultimate goal of the commission.
“Our focus is peace in South Sudan. This peace is what guides everything we do. Although we work within the parameter of the agreement that has been signed but the end goal is peace,” Majola said.
The Commission will consider the report of the Technical Boundary Committee (TBC) on the South Sudan tribal boundaries as they stood on 1 January 1956. The IBC is expected to deliver their decision in 90 days pursuant to the R-ARCSS.
Ambassador Themisile Majola on Tuesday urged the general public to submit responses on how many states should South Sudan have and why. He said written responses should be submitted via email to ibcss2019@gmail.com, or hand deliver to IGAD South Sudan Liaison Office in Juba not later than 3rd of next month.
Upon completion of its work, the IBC will present its recommendations to the IGAD Executive Secretariat. These recommendations will then be communicated immediately to the Parties.
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