29 May 2020

 

How Will Cluster Concept System Work In South Sudan

"...the clustering arrangements under R-ARCISS 2018 sent a wrong signal that these clusters are solely run, supervised, and fall within the mandate of each Vice President..."this gives impression that the government is divided into six mini cabinets". Dr Yoh.

By Beny Gideon Mabor

The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) 2018 provide clustering of Governmental institutions into clusters on governance, economics, infrastructure, social services, gender and youth, each under leadership of the first Vice President and four five Vice Presidents.

However, the R-ARCSS did not provide terms of reference for each cluster and how do they finally collaborate in the overall collective responsibility and accountability of the Government under the President.

Instead, article 1.5 on the structure of executive of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) provides that the First Vice President and four Vice Presidents shall each chair their respective clusters, follow up and ensure the implementation of the Council of Ministers' decisions with relevant Ministries and Institutions within the respective cluster.

Unfortunately, there's no clear role of the President, apart from chairing the overall Council of Ministers meeting. These clustering arrangement is never giving a coherent approach to a Government under one President.

In agreement with Dr. John Gai Yoh, in his recent discourse on the development policy forum of the Ebony Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS), he said that "the clustering arrangements under R-ARCISS 2018 sent a wrong signal that these clusters are solely run, supervised, and fall within the mandate of each Vice President".

Accordingly, Dr. Yoh concluded that "this gives impression that the government is divided into six mini cabinets".

In my honest opinion, such confusion and misunderstanding may force the President to ignore some recommendations from these clusters due to lack of central information sharing. Remember, information is power!

In other jurisdictions, it's true that Governance arrangements of clustering system have different approaches of coordination mechanisms, that's is aimed at improving Government planning, decision making and service delivery, but above all, the main functions of clusters are to ensure the alignment of Government priorities, facilitate and monitor the implementation of priority programmes and to provide a consultative platform on cross-cutting priorities being taken to the Council of Ministers.

In accordance with existing best practices and standards, the clustering arrangements work well when there's a technical body vested with specialized knowledge on all matters that fall under each cluster. It's not a club of political leaders. In South Africa for example, they have similar clustering Governance arrangements.

But to fully operationalize the clustering arrangements with central information sharing, there's established a Cluster of the Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD). The FOSAD serves as mirror and provide technical support to the Ministerial clusters.

In light of these background, I had keen observation that clustering arrangements under R-TGONU may not produce good results as each cluster is disconnected with the other due to lack of programmatic contributions from Undersecretaries and other professional bodies and central information sharing.

Therefore, I advise the Presidency to look into this matter and if the answer is in affirmative, then the President can establish technical/coordination forum of Undersecretaries to feed the clusters with substantive contributions that shall produce SMART inputs and outputs for the implementation of the R-ARCISS 2018.

 

Beny Gideon Mabor
This's my personal opinion and doesn't represent the position of any entity.
 

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