South Sudan’s peace will not materialize under IGAD’s leaders! This is because their neutrality, failure to give a clear and timely commitment in support to bring about peace are in question since the war and negotiations began.
Warring factions under Dr. Riek Machar Teny and Salva Kiir Mayardit signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2015 in the hope that it would bring the war to an end, restore love and harmony to the world’s youngest nation’s citizens. However, IGAD’s leaders’ undue influence over it made it fail and cost many more lives.
The CPA collapsed under the watch of IGAD’s leaders, and thus resulted to the episode of indescribable killings between the warring parties, that is, Sudan People Liberation Army/ Sudan People Liberation Movement in Opposition and in Government (SPLA/SPLM-IO) and (SPLA/SPLM-IG). This caused massive displacement of innocent civilians in the South Sudan’s capital and elsewhere across the country in July, 2016. Similar episodes forced Dr. Machar and his forces out of Juba to Democratic Republic of Congo with hot pursuit of an aerial bombardment and ground infantry combatants for more than forty days with IGAD’s leaders failing to intervene and/or condemn. As the CPA of 2015 failed under the watch of IGAD’s leaders without intervention and condemnation, even this revitalization that is now in the process is unlikely to materialize.
IGAD’s leaders are architects of South Sudan’s conflict. There is nothing that will bring South Sudan’s peace into place while they are present in the negotiations. They are working behind closed doors in fueling the conflict and making it worse, knowing that the more South Sudan’s war prolonged, the more employments they will get from the international communities such as Troika, China, EU and others under the guise of peace negotiation. In this case, they do not deserve to be mediators of South Sudan’s conflict while they are not playing a neutrality role as mediators. They are taking and favoring sides, working around the clock day and night to promote war in, and the destabilization of South Sudan. A good example is violation of Cessation of Hostilities (COH) signed on the 21st of December, 2017 by the two factions in Addis Ababa. It was violated by the government within less than 72 hours, and IGAD’s leaders neither intervened nor condemned.
Since the negotiation between South Sudan’s warring parties began, IGAD’s leaders have done little to bring about peace to South Sudan and its people because their mediation process lacked flavor of truth and impartiality. They recklessly mediated the warring parties, knowing that their mediation would mean nothing else than killing and the displacement of innocent South Sudanese. In essence, they are not good at anything else, but creating loud propagandas and mockeries, causing more confusions, fueling conflict, disintegration and discord within the South Sudanese people. Their mediation has never been negotiated with a good faith but with dirty deals with South Sudanese angry position leaders.
Leaders of IGAD have little knowledge in knowing that both parties have to be aware of what their interests are, and the need to be willing to engage in a give-and-take process with the other party to come to agreements together. This lack of understanding shows that IGAD’s leaders’ ability to bring about peace to South Sudan is very slim. They are far from addressing conflict negotiation strategies that can brings the conflict to an end. That is, as mediators, they do not confront the situation’s differences differently, or consider interests separately or engage the warring parties in a good relationship-building dialogue. Ignoring these approaches will not allow good understanding between the parties or the mediators. Even cases where resolution of a dispute is possible it would not be possible.
South Sudan’s peace will not materialize if the leaders of IGAD continue to act naively, not knowing there would be no real writ and viable political solution in the peace talks without involving IO’s leader, Dr. Riek Machar. His isolation is a huge setback in the peace talks and recipe for war in South Sudan. This is simple to know, it does not need people like IGAD’s leaders to be commonsense scientists to know it. Isolation of the main person to the conflict such as Dr. Riek Machar shows that South Sudan’s peace is far from materializing under IGAD’s leaders.
Author: Gatwech Deng Wal
The author can be reached by email