Is South Sudan's current peace a genuine peace agreement or is it a forced arrangement of power-sharing, like the case of 2015 disastrous forced. Marriage, where President Kiir confessed that he was forced to sign the deal as such, he very soon after dismantled it and plotted to eliminate his peace partner. What did those who shoved that agreement into the throats of unwilling Kiir learned, and how can they restrain him this time around from repeating the same? A history not learned is bound to repeat itself.
South Sudan Liberty news investigative journalist, Justin S. Kwaje has gone undercover and spoke to several knowledgeable sources inside the negotiation and mediating teams.
This reporter has spoken exclusively to reliable sources who have full knowledge of inside the situation room where the two principles locked horns with mediators in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
After several attempts to bridge the gap between the President and his new First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar failed, the reports we uncovered revealed that the Trump administration had much to do with the increased pressure and that the American President was frustrated and had urgently dispatched the US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Tibor Peter Nagy Junior with two unnamed CIA agents to Addis Ababa at the time IGAD mediators were about to the hang up their tools and in utter disappointment to abandon South Sudan for a time.
Mr. Tibor Peter Nagy Junior and the two unnamed CIA agents upon their arrival have received a full briefing about the untamed situation. It was on 7 February 2020 when Assistant Secretary Tibor and his team arrived in Addis Ababa, to ensure that South Sudan President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar agree to form the unity government.
The inside sources divulged to SSLN that Mr. Nagy Junior found the negotiators were frustrated at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.
He was told the efforts to make the two archenemies, Kiir and Machar to compromise on the issue of the number of states and their internal boundaries has reached its peak or dead-end, the efforts by the negotiators, in other words, to make the leaders narrow their positions were exhausted without fruit.
As the February 22 deadline to form a transitional government of national unity [TGoNU] was fast approaching, the two leaders had not moved an inch on the number of states and security arrangements.
Mr. Nagy according to the sources was instructed by the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump to pressure the two antagonist leaders to meet the deadline of 22 February or else face with tough sanctions and other measures.
Mr. Nagy Junior with the two CIA agents then made it very clear in their messages to the parties that they either compromise and form a government of national unity or bear the consequences of their act of being peace spoilers.
At this point, President Kiir who before insisted that he cannot revert the 32 states, told the US Assistant Secretary of the state that there is no money to implement the peace agreement as Washington and the rest of international community, particularly the western nations, are reluctant to sponsor the peace agreement.
The insider with intimate knowledge of the encounter told SSLN that the Assistant Secretary of state for Africa Tibor Peter Nagy told Kiir if he concedes to revert the 32 states and hit the February 22 deadline, Washington will release $2 billion to support the peace implementation program, this included the cost for training of the joint unified forces and other necessities.
However, the source said the $2 billion for the implementation of peace won't be handed over to the government of South Sudan. The source said then-President Kiir was asked to sign the offer, Kiir hesitated and asked for more time to be given to him to consult his members who were outside the meeting hall.
The source said the American diplomat clearly warned Kiir that should he failed he must prepare to face all options not least including military intervention, travel ban, freezing of his bank accounts in foreign lands, and sanction on South Sudan's oil.
Under intense pressure from Trump's administration, President Salva Kiir conceded to revert the 32 states to 10 states and also agreed to form the government of national unity.
The source said Kiir's return to Juba was a face-saving as if he was consulting his members, even when the SPLA/M cadets in Juba told Kiir to resist the pressure and stand firm on 32 states, unknown to the cadets in Juba that this was a game over.
As South Sudanese all over the world took to social media to express their mixed emotions over the formation of the government of national unity, many expressed that they did not believe Kiir's words of forgiveness and apology, they called for a quick establishment of the proposed Hybrid Court to try the instigators and perpetrators of the wars and bring them to books.
An unnamed diplomat who without revealing his identity, spoke freely and told South Sudan Liberty News that the atmosphere inside the meeting hall can be characterized as fierce given nobody believed anything will change as fast as they did before the arrival of the American Diplomat concertedly applied pressures and living no rooms for Kiir wiggle out but to choose carrots or sticks, he said all methods available were used to try to reconcile the two mortal enemies.
He recalled on the evening alongside AU meeting halls, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok held tense discussions after President Kiir and Dr. Machar failed to agree once more.
Both Khartoum and Kampala are guarantors of the South Sudan Peace Agreement.
The official revealed, at this point, Dr. Machar who had earlier insisted on having South Sudan divided into the old colonial districts of 23 administrative states, changed his mind and had agreed to revert the country to 10 states, the number that the country had at independence from Sudan in 2011. President Kiir, on the other hand, refused to buy the idea of returning to 10 constitutional states, he said Mr. Kiir insisted on either 32 States or more because it is the popular demand of the people.
The diplomat said it was not clear how Dr. Riek Machar had reverted his decision from 23 old colonial districts to the 10 states, but it was wise for the IO team to make this decision since they knew this is indeed the popular demands of the people which left Kiir with no choice but to accept the constitutional 10 states. He highlighted, the 10 states were never a point of contentions before Kiir unconstitutionally decreed it out of existence this, therefor was the only viable choice as far as the mediators were concerned.
He said after the meeting between Museveni and Hamdok ended, immediately this was to be followed up by an IGAD Communique in the wake of the stalemate, painting Mr. Kiir as the peace spoiler and the ball has been pass to President Kiir's backyard to play, although he managed to wiggle his way out of the room to go consult his people and report back to the mediating bloc by last Saturday 14 February.
The source said reading President Kiir’s body languages, revealed all his defenses were Brocken and he had no justifications for his 32 states nor how he would finance for such swollen bureaucracies, nor could he show a single statistics how he reached the conclusions that the 32 states were a popular demands and among what segments of south Sudanese.
Kiir seemingly had no clue he had used the same delay tactics the last 6 years over and over again and by now all of his tricks are obvious and enough to fill a book and failed to noticed the Mediators concluded that all these negotiations with him is time-consuming and money-wasting and the region block but was set to use sticks.
The clearest message of willingness to use the sticks came from the Trump administration, thus change had to happen.
In public, Mr. Nagy said donors would not accept leaders who do not compromise for peace, and IGAD warned it will no longer sponsor an extension for indefinite and fruitless talks.
“Refusing to compromise undermines peace and risks the ceasefire,” Mr. Nagy warned amid the fiasco. “South Sudan’s leaders should put the people first. The government and opposition parties must resolve any impediments issues to form a national unity government.”
So, with this revelation from a senior American diplomat, when Kiir said he had made a painful decision, this is a de Ja Vu, we are reminded of his reservations to the 2015 peace deal, the man was not for genuine peace but was pressured. It is our hope the world is prepared to deal with this treacherous man since the only predictable thing about Kiir is, he is unpredictable.
In concluding we ask, are the 32 states put to rest forever? The answer to this questions comes from none other than Kiir himself who made it clear to the governors who lost their jobs because their states where returned to the original 10 states, this was not slipping off the tongue but it was intended when he said: " the issue of 32 states will come back after the implementation of the pre-transitional period Kiir told the governors."
The Jieng Council of Elder's/JCE, initial agenda of land grab and imposing their tribal beliefs on the 63 ethnic groups suffered a setback and is not yet fulfilled. the world body, the American, in particular, failed to underscore, the real tragedy in South Sudan is not power struggles as they came to believe nor is Kiir but rather that real powers that drives him, the JCE, that the 32 states were centered on their agendas of ethnic cleansing, displacements, expansionism and land grabbing displayed in all corners of South Sudan the last 6 years unless this club of ethnic radicals supremacist is rained on by the international communities, in particular the Americans, whom south Sudanese credit their existence to, the current peace is short-lived.
Justin. S. Kwaje