Category: Featured

S. Sudan faces long road to genuine peace despite signing agreement

By DANIEL K. KALINAKI, DAILYNATION, 27/AUG/2015, SSN;

The peace deal signed by President Salva Kiir and his rival Dr Riek Machar to end 20 months of fighting in South Sudan is a useful first step but many challenges remain for Africa’s youngest country.

First is the deal itself. President Kiir’s refusal to sign the deal in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on August 17 – the deadline set by the region and the international community, and the day Machar signed – was seen by many as a sign of strength. It was anything but.

Without the presence of Ugandan troops, hurried in to prop up his faltering regime when the fighting broke out in mid-December 2013, it is unlikely that Mr Kiir would still be in power. His inability to defeat the renegade forces military or isolate them politically left him weak and vulnerable to internal revolt from within his government.

It is not clear whether President Kiir would have signed the deal had the UN Security Council not threatened to take immediate action if he walked away from a peace process that had blown hot and cold until world powers, especially the United States, drew a line in the sand.

The terms of the deal, which broadly allow for a power-sharing transitional government, set up a demilitarised zone in the capital Juba and whittle down executive authority, reflect the power balance in the country but one that neither side acknowledges.

Mr Kiir must now hand over enough power to make the deal hold, while retaining enough not to undermine his own position.

Although Mr Machar was quick to sign the deal, he did so with his coalition beginning to fall apart, with key top commanders withdrawing their support for and confidence in him, and the peace process. His credibility and his place at the table depends on his ability to bring all or the most important renegades into the tent.

Secondly, the success of the deal depends on the ability of the two principals to find common ground in a movement with a long history of divisionism. This divisionism has long manifested itself in tribal warlordism and, since December 2013, in broad ethnic warfare between President Kiir’s Dinka and Machar’s Nuer communities.

The emotional wounds of the massacres of Neur in Juba and the reprisal killings of Dinka remain sore to the touch. To resolve this, the two main principals will have to do de-escalate their disagreements from a military to a political confrontation, and to build national consensus across tribal lines, and beyond the margins of the SPLA/M.

Yet, having fallen back to personal and tribal militia, a sadly routine modus operandi, this would require them to relinquish their power bases and show the kind of long-sighted nationalism that neither has hitherto demonstrated.

The warlords in South Sudan will have to be encouraged to hand over their personal militia into a new force that, with time and training, could slowly begin to look like a national army – one that doesn’t disintegrate into tribal militia at the first sign of political disagreement.

Thirdly, and in addition to this, the demilitarisation will have to be accompanied by a process of political reform to build the institutions required to check executive authority, such as Parliament, civil society and the media, while expanding the diversity of views to political actors and groups outside the SPLA/M.

The origin of the current crisis can be found in internal dissent over the rampant corruption, abuse of office and impunity within the government. Only deep reforms will cure the underlying governance deficit.

Crucially, improved governance will create the conditions necessary for those responsible for some of the most egregious episodes of violence, including the deliberate targeting of civilians by both sides documented by an UN Panel of Experts, to be held accountable.

Breaking this cycle of violence is important. “Lack of accountability for decades of violence during Sudan’s long civil war helped fuel the conflict,” Human Rights Watch notes.

ANY SERIOUS ATTEMPT

“Military and political leaders on all sides have failed to make any serious attempt to reduce abuses committed by their forces, or to hold them to account.”

Fourth, and most urgent, is the humanitarian crisis that the country has suffered for decades, and which the renewed fighting exacerbated.

According to the UN, thousands have been killed and 1.6 million forced to flee their homes. Many remain in UN-supported camps, too frightened to return to their homes. Resettlement of internally displaced persons and those who fled into neighbouring countries is a top priority, as is the provision of basic services in one of the poorest countries in the world.

The UN estimates that 6.4 million people are in need in South Sudan, including 2.5 million people without enough food to eat, and 235,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Rebuilding a country is a hard task in the best of times. It is extremely difficult in the current economic landscape where the price of crude oil, which contributes more than 90 per cent of government’s revenues, is at record lows and not expected to rise significantly in the foreseeable future. END

‘This is an imposed peace meant for regime change, Kiir declares at signing of peace deal

EDITORIAL ANALYSIS, AUG/26/2015, SSN;

For sure, watching president Kiir profusely sweating under serious stress and great reluctance before agreeing to initial the IGAD-Plus negotiated peace deal, South Sudanese should be extremely aware that peace is not anywhere nearer.

In no uncertain terms and words, while addressing Museveni of Uganda, Kenyatta of Kenya, Desalyan of Ethiopia and the Sudanese Vice president, a most unhappy and definitely belligerent Kiir declared that he had several reservations about the agreement and even intimated openly that there will be ‘no lasting peace’ in the country.

According to Kiir, there are only two options presented to him before signing the peace deal and these were either an imposed peace or continued war.

He further added that any problems that might arise will directly lead to failure of the peace process.

“Bentiu, the capital of Unity State has been attacked by Riek Machar and fighting is continuing as we sit here,” a visibly agitated Kiir announced.

An angry Kiir further told the IGAD-Plus leaders that leaders of his ruling SPLM are deeply concerned about some issues if peace is carelessly handled and managed as is seen today by the IGAD leaders and this will affect the whole region.

“We have deep and serious reservations on the peace process and the talks.”

According to Kiir, “from the intimidating messages we received, this peace agreement is meant for regime change,” intimating that the peace process is directly to change his government.

Kiir bluntly, while still profusely sweating and nervously removing and putting on his glasses, Kiir called for revision of some detrimental provisions designed and loaded in this agreement against the voices of the people, the political leadership and his so-called elected government.

Finally, Kiir uneasily declared, “with serious reservations, I will sign the document.”

However, Kiir repeated that they see many things we have to reject and the document

Interestingly, in a repetition of a quotation from former Sudanese president Numeri who when he was nullifying the Addis Ababa Agreement in 1983, a visibly angry Kiir quipped why the peace deal can’t be renegotiated.

“This peace deal is not the Bible or the Koran.” Kiir further added that even the Bible, there is always a new version coming up all the time.

Something wrong must be within this agreement document, Kiir declared, but they don’t want to be known.

It’s time to correct these things, he said.

As an example, Kiir accused the iGAD-Plus leaders for allowing Pagan Amum to change the Agreement by the altering of the ‘Former Detainees’ FD, which was changed into ‘SPLM leaders.’

Further, Kiir accused the IGAD-PLus that while he was never called in the agreement as commander-in-chief of the National Army, Machar was instead referred to as leader of SPLM Armed Opposition.

In conclusion, the angry president Kiir bluntly stated that while he’s not allowed to read the reservations of his government on the peace deal, however, he will give each one of the negotiators a copy to read.

“I call upon you regional leaders to stand with us during the implementation of this peace deal otherwise we will fail,” he ended his talk.

Will this peace last, what do you think?
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SUMMARY- Key points of peace deal:

**Fighting to stop immediately. Soldiers to be confined to barracks in 30 days, foreign forces to leave within 45 days, and child soldiers and prisoners of war freed.

**All military forces to leave the capital, Juba, to be replaced by unspecified “guard forces” and Joint Integrated Police.

**Rebels get post of “first vice-president.”

**Transitional government of national unity to take office in 90 days and govern for 30 months.

**Elections to be held 60 days before end of transitional government’s mandate
Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing to investigate human rights violations.
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From the BBC: AUG/26/2015, SSN.

As time passed and the temperature rose in the big, celebratory tent, the buzz of optimism started to wane.

Last-minute talks had been going on for hours – surely President Salva Kiir wouldn’t leave regional heads of state at the altar for the second time in 10 days?

The talking had been tough – the language of the leaders was strong.

When Kenya’s President Kenyatta said there was “no such thing as a perfect agreement”, it was clear it had been a tough day around a table.

People shouldn’t see “obstacles, but opportunity and hope,” he added.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni called South Sudan’s struggle for independence lea just war, but that this was “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time”.

And then in a long, slow speech, pausing regularly to remove his glasses and wipe his face, it wasn’t quite clear if President Kiir was going to sign the deal or notis.

In the end he did, but any moment of statesmanship was lost in a piece of theatre.

He finally said he would sign only if the heads of state initialled a long list of reservations – which he then proceeded to do while photocopies of the list were handed out to the audience.

The regional leaders declined, but the signing went ahead. With renegade generals not signing up to the deal and much picking still to be done over the detail, there’s little here that would make the 1.6 million displaced people in South Sudan rush home.

Will South Sudan peace deal be worth the wait?

Before signing the deal, President Kiir spent hours in a closed-door meeting with the regional leaders.

Afterwards, he addressed the delegates, speaking at length of his unease about the deal and saying he wanted these reservations to be on record.

During his speech, South Sudan’s president mentioned areas such as the ambiguous structure and command of the South Sudan forces once the transitional government takes office in 90 days.
He also had issues about the power-sharing arrangements.

Fresh fighting that has erupted in the oil-rich town of Bentiu was a clear indication that rebels did not respect the deal they had so recently signed, he added.

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From DailyNation of Nairobi, JUBA, WEDNESDAY/25/2015, SSN

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has finally agreed to sign a peace deal and power-sharing accord to end a 20-month civil war, his spokesman said Tuesday.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told AFP that the presidents of Kenya, Uganda and Sudan plus Ethiopia’s prime minister “will converge on Juba tomorrow morning for a one-day summit, and the President of the Republic of South Sudan will sign the peace agreement.”

The spokesman said, however, that the government was still unhappy with the accord, drawn up by the regional bloc IGAD.

“The government has some reservations… even if the President will sign,” Mr Ateny said.

South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar, a former vice president, signed the deal last Monday, in line with a deadline to do so.

SANCTIONS THREAT

Both sides in the conflict have been facing the threat on international sanctions if they refuse to sign.

But Kiir only initialled part of the text, and his government slammed the accord as a “sellout” — saying it needed more time for consultations.

Key issues of disagreement include details of a power-sharing proposal between the government and rebels, which could see Machar return as vice-president.

Ateny also said the government was unhappy over calls to demilitarise the capital Juba, hand over greater powers to the rebels in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, and see foreigners in charge of a Monitoring and Evaluation Commission — the body that will police the implementation of the peace deal.

Sources in IGAD also confirmed plans for the deal to be signed in Juba on Wednesday, with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Ethiopian

MACHAR TO MISS

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and chief mediator Seyoum Mesfin due to attend.

An IGAD official said rebel leader Machar would not be there because security provisions were not yet in place.

South Sudan’s civil war erupted in December 2013 when Kiir accused Dr Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that has split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

Marked by widespread atrocities on both sides, the war has been characterised by ethnic massacres and rape.

At least seven ceasefires have already been agreed and then shattered within days — if not hours — in the world’s newest country, which broke away from Sudan in 2011.

The peace proposal has been put forward by the regional eight-nation bloc IGAD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, as well as the United Nations, African Union, China and the “troika” of Britain, Norway and the US.

72-PAGE PACT

The 72-page accord commits both sides to implementing a “permanent ceasefire” within 72 hours after signing.

Military forces also have 30 days to gather for “separation, assembly and cantonment” — or confinement to barracks, with their weapons secured in storage — with a security review ahead of an eventual reunification of forces.

All foreign forces in the war, including Ugandan troops backing Kiir, must leave within 45 days, while foreign militia forces, including rebels from neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur and Nuba mountain regions, must also be disarmed and sent home.

No troops are allowed closer than 25 kilometres (15 miles) to the capital Juba, with only presidential guards, police and guard forces protecting infrastructure can remain in the city.

MACHAR FOR VP

The deal gives rebels the post of “First Vice President”, alongside the current vice-president.

That means Machar would likely return to the post he was sacked from in July 2013, six months before the war began.

Signatories also take responsibility for the war, “apologising unconditionally” for the tens of thousands killed.

A Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing will be set up to investigate “all aspects of human rights violations”, with a “Hybrid Court” — set up in collaboration with the African Union — to try crimes including possible genocide and crimes against humanity.

It’s time for President Kiir to show Leadership or Leave!

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, AUG/21/2015, SSN;

A few days ago the president, without explanation, removed five state governors, some of whom being elected officials. It’s very clear the president has advisors who either have no idea what they are doing, or the president does things while occupying his own world. Everything coming out of this presidency makes no sense. It’s dividing us and killing civilians by the day!

Anytime government officials talk of the legitimacy of the president, they invoke the fact that ‘he’s a democratically elected president.’ However, these tired minds fail to show that the country is running not only on idiotic parameters but also on undemocratic fatalism: no reverse gear!

We are just going and going and going in the wrong direction!

This president is perhaps going to be the worst thing to happen to South Sudan if he doesn’t change to salva-ge what is left of his presidency.

The constantly unexplained, unjustified, undemocratic and unjustifiable removal of elected governors not only reminds us of the oppression South Sudanese fought against for more than five decades; it also reminds us of the terrifying reality of the developing Musevenism in South Sudan.

Museveni is an old man with no wisdom and human heart; a man who not only fears opposition but mobilizes state resources against people who’d actually make the democratic process in Uganda meaningful!

And our dear president not only copied Beshir’s government structures and mannerism, he’s also sniffing the dirt under Museveni’s armpits. Very dirty!

Copying Musevenism is the death of South Sudan as a nation with economic and political functionality.

How can you call yourself a democratically elected president when you not only violate the constitution, but also act in an atavistic, undemocratic foolhardiness?

Criticism of government is not to be against the government. It’s a way of letting the government know how it’s performing in order to improve its service provision.

I’m in my 30s but I know this fact to be the reality of all successful governance in the world! How the hell can’t old men in their 50s, 60s and 70s know this?

When will you ever grow up to steer this country ahead in a mature manner? When are you going to stop acting like small kids?

Blaming Riek Machar for everything is childish! Without any doubt, Riek Machar is a man who’s ready to die for the sake of leadership. He’s shown his own dictatorial mannerism: 1991-1994 and 2015!

Dr. Lam Akol, Dr. Peter Adwuok Nyaba, Major General Peter Gatdet Yaka and Major General Gatkuoth Gatoath Oathnyany are living witnesses of Riek’s one-man leadership. But Dr. Riek Machar is not the president of South Sudan.

As the president, Mr. Kiir, you have to show leadership by taking responsibility of the peace process and successful implementation.

How long will you depend on mindless, heartless opportunists in your government and foreigners such as the heartless Museveni to make decisions for you? Outsiders can now intimidate us because of your failed leadership! Where in the world is peace forced?

I agree with you that signing a conditioned peace under duress is irresponsible and detrimental to the integrity and human valuation of the South Sudanese people; however, you’ve shown that you are anything but a leader.

Your decisions are not independent and every decision you make has always proven disastrous to the country!

Grow up (politically that is) or stop listening to opportunists! Or even better, pack up and go to Akon! And as you do that, tell Dr. Riek Machar too to go to Leer! It’s time for you two to start farming not politiking!

Nhial Bol Aken is still facing a devilish force more fatal and brutal than the one he faced in Khartoum! How can a son of the land feel worse and more oppressed in his motherland than in a foreign, oppressor’s land? Shame on you, Mr. President!

What happened to the good old Commander Kiir Mayardit? When did you go from a humble, less ambitious High Commander to a ruthless, unprincipled, cold-blooded, irrational General and President? I couldn’t figure that one out!

We used to watch you humbly pass by us in your then slim body, small goatie and Castro-style cap as we played football next to your compound in Itang. You had no cowboy hat then! What happened to that man of the people?

Unashamedly, you recently warned journalists that you’d test the killing on them because they are ‘against the country.’ “If anybody among journalists does not know that this country has killed people,” you said, then “we will demonstrate it one day, one time. … Freedom of the press does not mean you work against the country.”

And indeed someone fulfilled your warning. Moi Peter Julius of citizen newspaper is shot dead! Bravo, Mr. President?

Criticism is meant to improve the country not to destroy it. Anyone who points out the wrongs you do isn’t your enemy! Your enemy is the one who doesn’t tell you what’s wrong! You are a human being and you are bound to make mistakes!

You also, like Museveni, don’t condone criticism, or someone who disagrees with your point of view.

Are you the one who decides to arrest opposition figures and dissidents, or is there someone else who tells you that arresting the likes of Dr. Lam Akol of SPLM-DC and Governor Joseph Bakosoro is a good idea?

How democratic is preventing Lam Akol and Joseph Bakosoro from leaving the country? What democratic principle says that free citizens have to be prevented from leaving? Have you made South Sudan a giant prison?

Arresting opposition leaders, like Dr. Lam, is a work of wicked, frightened small men. What scares you in being criticized!

If any opposition figure says something that’s not true then send your officials to the media to falsify it and clarify your position by presenting factual evidence.

What’s the point of intimidating South Sudanese citizens? South Sudan is not a prison but you are making it one!

I warned Dr. Lam Akol a few years ago about the undemocratic nature of SPLM and your government, and he condescendingly responded by questioning why I said democracy hasn’t yet come to South Sudan.

He can now understand the value of my words as he languishes under house arrest, which is a function of your needless fear, obsession and incompetence.

Doing a good job is the best response against critics. Bring peace to South Sudan and initiate development programs and you’ll see that critics will have less or nothing to say in criticism.

Besides, stop making South Sudan a Jieeng kingdom and stop speaking in Jieeng in public like you did recently during Independence Day commemoration. I know some of your officials and supporters will run around saying: “But Riek Machar is doing that too!” Riek is not the president of South Sudan!

1- Most if not all state police commissioners are Jieeng.
2- Most of the ambassadors are also Jieeng.
3- The people whose decisions matter to you are also Jieeng.
4- The government delegation is headed by Nhial Deng, a Jieeng and the delegation is under the tutelage, control and influence of Makuei Lueth, another Jieeng.
5- SPLA spokesperson, Philip Aguer Panyang, is Jieeng
6- The face of SPLA on SSTV, Malaak Ayueen, is Jieeng

You are right when you, after taking over as Sudan’s First Vice President, stated that your car will be running with no reverse gear. The current destruction can only be explained by such a car. I advise you as such:

1 – Start accepting criticism as part of your governance system so don’t arrest politicians who disagree with you. You are not building a nation of single opinion where you lead an army of ‘opinionless’ robots.

2 – See those who criticize you not as against the country but those who’d want to hold you accountable in order to improve your service provision.

3 – Those criminally liable should be tried in a competent court of law not just arrested anyhow at whim!

4 – Stop removing elected officials without constitutional provision that supports such removals. That makes you a dictator regardless of what you say.

5 – Democracy doesn’t only apply to presidency but to all elected officials.

I understand we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be controlled by outsiders like America and Europe, but we shouldn’t destroy the livelihood of our people just because we want to resist external influence.

You are not strong enough and that’s why you recruited the assistance of Museveni’s UPDF so don’t think you have a chance against an international force that has been in existence for more than three centuries.

Kuir ë Garang lives in Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info or follow him on twitter @kuirthiy

US and Britain push for UN sanctions on Salva Kiir regime

DAILY NATION, JULY/19/2015, SSN;

UNITED NATIONS: The US and Britain pushed for UN sanctions against South Sudan’s government on Tuesday, over its failure to sign a peace deal to end a brutal two-year civil war.

South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar met a Monday deadline to sign the power-sharing agreement, but President Salva Kiir only initialled part of it and said he would return to the table in early September to finalise the accord.

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice accused Kiir’s government of a “failure of leadership” and said it had “squandered” another opportunity to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and which has plunged the world’s youngest nation into chaos.

NATION ABANDONED

“There must be consequences for those who continue to stand in the way of peace,” she said, calling for UN Security Council sanctions if the government does not sign the deal within 15 days.

On a recent visit to East Africa, US President Barack Obama threw his personal weight behind efforts to foster peace in a country midwifed into existence by Washington, but then, critics say, abandoned at birth.

The latest peace accord was brokered by the eight-nation East African Igad bloc, bolstered by the UN, the European Union, the African Union, China and other players, including Britain and the US.

At the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday, countries weighed their next move.

IGAD-PLUS DEAL

“If the government will not sign up to the Igad-plus deal, then we must all be firm on our next steps,” British Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson told the 15-member Security Council.

“We cannot sit by while leaders fight and their people’s suffering grows.”

The council last month imposed sanctions on six commanders — three from the government forces and three from the rebels — the first to be blacklisted by the United Nations over the conflict.

A travel ban and an assets freeze were slapped on the six men and the council is considering adding new names to the sanctions list, as well as an arms embargo.

But China, which has oil interests in South Sudan, said the government should be allowed more time to come on board.

BAN HOPEFUL

“The best solution would be to reach an agreement,” said Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the signing of the deal by the rebel leader and expressed “his strong hope that President Kiir will sign the agreement by the end of the 15-day deadline”.

The Security Council is due to discuss sanctions on South Sudan at a meeting next Tuesday.

South Sudan has been torn by fighting between forces loyal to Kiir and rebels allied with Machar, his former deputy, since December 2013 and the violence has imploded along ethnic lines.

Nearly 70 percent of the country’s population is facing food shortages while nearly 200,000 terrified civilians are sheltering in UN bases. END

EXPOSED: Why president Kiir declined to sign Addis peace deal

THE EAST AFRICAN, AUG/18/2015, SSN;

South Sudan President Salva Kiir refused to sign a peace deal with rival Riek Machar after finding the text of the accord had been altered from the one that had been agreed upon, the government camp now says.

South Sudan’s deputy ambassador to Kenya John Morgan told The EastAfrican that President Kiir was aware of the deal in store when he left Juba on Monday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the last-ditch talks were to be held to forestall economic and military sanctions being imposed on the warring factions.

Later that day, President Kiir refused to endorse a deal backed by IGAD and the troika – the US, the UK and Norway – saying he needed 15 days for consultations as Mr Machar put pen to paper, gaining some mileage as a pro-peace leader.

“The president left for Addis because he thought the deal he was meant to sign was reasonable. This was until he realised that some of the controversial clauses removed during the Entebbe meeting were reinstated in the Addis peace deal,” Mr Morgan said.

However, President Kiir had earlier appeared to suggest that he was going to Addis Ababa against his will; for fear of being branded anti-peace.

“Even if I am not happy, I must show my face. If I don’t go, negative forces will take me as the one against the peace that was going to be signed,” President Kiir told reporters before leaving Juba.

Machar told reporters he was surprised by Kiir’s decision.

“I didn’t know that he was not going to sign. I couldn’t find any explanation for this because he had it all. There is no reason why he requested for more time. We had a good agreement,” Mr Machar.

“Consequences”

The decision not to sign came as a surprise to regional leaders and the international community who had hopped the peace deal would mark a step closer in achieving a peace for the country.

The US, through its State department, said it “would consider ways to raise the cost for intransigence” while the EU has said failure to sign the agreement within the 15 days requested “would entail consequences.”

Contentious clauses

President Kiir refused to sign the peace deal because the reinstated clauses would see the capital Juba declared a demilitarised zone, have him share power with Mr Machar both at the national and state level, and exercise executive authority with his rival.

Perhaps most controversially, the peace deal would allow Mr Machar to be in control of his rebel forces while Mr Kiir would be in charge of the national army – presenting a dangerous situation where the country could potentially have two commanders-in-chief.

A recent meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, bringing together the so called “frontline” states, resolved to remove these provisions.

However, the president’s allies blame the US for putting pressure on regional leaders and mediators, who had been meeting in Addis since August 5th, to throw out the Entebbe peace proposal.

“IGAD members took it upon themselves in Entebbe to amend the July peace plan driven by the troika,” the deputy ambassador told The EastAfrican.

“That made our president want to go to Addis, but the troika was able to prevail on IGAD member states and the Entebbe proposal was removed from the deal.”

The deal gives 90 days for demilitarisation of Juba, which will come under the control of foreign troops from IGAD members and the UN which will take charge for 30 months until elections are held.

It is in Juba that President Kiir’s most loyal forces are stationed, but with Machar’s forces only 25 km away, it is no guarantee, according to some sources, that the former vice president may not attempt to take over the city again.

The Entebbe proposal also limited power sharing to the national level only, and stated that the status quo at the state level to be maintained before December 2013.

In the national executive, President Kiir will take 53 per cent, Mr Machar will take 33 per cent and 14 per cent will be split equally between former detainees and political parties. In the 325 seat legislature, former rebels will be reinstated to their positions before 15 December 2013.

But the new deal will see President Kiir’s side take 46 per cent of the governments in the most affected states in the war – Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states – while Mr Machar takes 40 per cent with the rest going to the former political detainees and other political parties.

Mr Machar will also get to nominate governors for the two oil-rich states of Unity and Upper Nile while President Kiir appoints the governor of Jonglei state.

South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013, when President Kiir accused his former vice president Machar of planning a coup, setting off a wave of violence that has split the country along ethnic lines.

At least seven ceasefires have already been agreed to and then broke within days even with the threat of sanctions, arms embargo, travel bans and asset freezes.

Earlier in August 2015 while on an African two-nation tour, President Barack Obama gave Mr Kiir and Mr Machar up to August 17th to reach a deal. END

World must directly address Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for Peace to come in South Sudan!

By Gatluak Ter Thach, PhD*, USA, AUG/15/2015, SSN;

South Sudan government and Uganda have quit IGAD PLUS peace proposal scheduled to be signed on August 17, 2015. The two countries have created their own peace plan contrary to the IGAD PLUS proposal.

Earlier this year, Uganda and South Sudan renewed their military collaboration that extended the presence of Ugandan army in the war-torn South Sudan, which resulted in Juba’s recently renewed hostilities, as well as ignoring threats of sanctions proposed by IGAD PLUS partners.

Under their renewed deal, thousands of Ugandan troops will remain in South Sudan for many months to assist Mr. Kirr and his cohorts fight Dr. Riek and his resistant forces.

Historically, since attaining her self-rule government before independence in 2011, South Sudan has emerged in recent years as the largest importer of Ugandan goods.

Over 200,000 Ugandan traders have been operating across the border of South Sudan, generating an estimated $1 billion in business for Uganda, according to Ugandan’s business fiscal report 2014-15.

After the crisis in South Sudan, the Ugandan traders have been reduced in size and income quite a bit, but their presence is still significant.

South Sudan relies heavily on its neighbors to provide goods such as construction materials and skilled services to counter its unskilled labor. Approximately 2,500 Ugandans work in Southern Sudan in the construction industry, while about 1,500 Ugandan professional are believed to be employed within non-governmental organizations, ministries and other industries.

Ugandan military has been providing military hardware to South Sudanese armies. In addition to their partnership with their South Sudanese counterparts, Ugandan military defense forces are also responsible for air defense and military logistics of South Sudanese army which is why Juba does not worry about IGAD PLUS sanctions since Kampala is on her side!

Ugandan is truly a part of the conflict in South Sudan. According to Dr. Riek, leader of opposition forces, “The Ugandans are partisan [s] in this conflict, their only agenda is to protect Salva Kiir’s government,” Dr. Machar told The Wall Street Journal. “We shall not accept Uganda’s imperialism.”

It is true tens of thousands of innocent South Sudanese civilians have been killed in this conflict which Museveni is believed to have sponsored in South Sudan. More than 50,000 South Sudanese have died since fighting erupted in Juba on December 15, 2013. A total of 2.2 million South Sudanese have been displaced since the beginning of the crisis, according to International NGOs’ report, with 800,000 of these fleeing to neighboring Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia.

In addition, as many as 4.5 million people in South Sudan (nearly one third of the population) face food insecurity. About 7.5 million people are at risk if situations remain unchanged.

“People are fading daily because of war and shortages of food”, while Museveni continues to counsel Mr. Kirr to avoid IGAD PLUS peace process.

Museveni of Ugandan remains a real threat to a meaningful peace in South Sudan and the region. He wants to stay on the peace table as a neutral mediator to two warring parties under auspices of IGAD, which has tried to bring lasting peace but miserably failed several times because of the interest of negotiators, includes his interest but did not mean what he is there for.

Uganda has now even attempted to marshal further military clout ahead of the talks to put in place a power-sharing government as he wishes.

Uganda’s new peace proposal is another setback to peace and would prolong the suffering of South Sudanese people. Mr. Museveni’s newfangled power sharing contradicts the IGAD PLUS power sharing which was supposed to bring lasting peace for people of South Sudan.

His proposal did not only fail to address issues that should have been tackled first for a good peace to come, but it lacks logic in basic mathematical methods, and it is uncertain why the world allows Museveni who does not have sympathies for suffering people of South Sudan to hinder peace to come in South Sudan!

Museveni has to be stopped. Here are what he proposed as power sharing at the national Level for South Sudan:

• 53% SPLM-Kiir in GRSS (national govt).
• 33% SPLM/SPLA(IO) in GRSS
• 7% FDS (former detainees)
• 7% PP (other political parties)
• *No power sharing in all the states
• *No demilitarization of Juba and other areas
• *Security arrangements be decided by the Chiefs of Staff of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda
• *Troops to be reintegrated in three months.

To make matters worse, Salva Kirr who invited Ugandan soldiers to fight along side his militia armies has always relied on Museveni for operational advice.

The World also knows Mr. Kirr and Mr. Museveni had used weapons of mass destruction that are banned on civilian targets, like the cluster bombs in several locations in Jonglei and Upper Nile States last year, but no one has yet called them to face charges for using banned weapons on civilian targets.

Museveni is wrongly advising Mr. kirr not to sign IGAD PLUS proposal, and he is doing away with it.

The source in Juba stated Museveni advised Mr. Kirr not to go to Addis Ababa cautioning him on the consequences if Mr. Kirr would refuse to sign the IGAD PLUS peace proposal on Monday, August 17, 2015.

It is astonishing and dismaying to continue receiving the destruction of human lives and properties in hands of people as Yuweri Museveni while the world powers haven’t yet collectively decided what to do with him.

Museveni and Kirr prefer war instead of peace. They care less about sanctions since Museveni believes Mr. Kirr can overcome the international sanctions as long as he is still ruling Uganda.

The world must urge them to come to their senses and sign the desperately needed peace to the young impoverished nation. It is assuredly and blatantly clear that there is no swift military solution to this conflict.

It is everyone’s belief that the solution to this conflict in South Sudan lies in the hands of the international community, and if this IGAD PLUS deadline falls into a similar category as previous ones, then it would be difficult if not impossible for a tangible peace to be achieved in South Sudan.

Recommendations

I would like to call on international bodies, especially US and the partners, as well as those of good wills, to position their weight to end this conflict without hesitation.

Had it not been because of the international community, especially the US and the partners that helped creat South Sudan, there should have not been sovereign and proud nation called South Sudan.

The same could be true as well now. The signs of human sufferings are vividly clear indications that this war has already inflicted human destructions of historical proportions than any genocidal war that previously engulfed the region including Rwanda, DRC or Somalia.

I’m personally appreciative of the role United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been playing in protecting innocent civilians who escaped the ethnic massacres in various parts of the country, which began in Juba on December 15, 2013.

UN agencies and international organizations are doing their parts to ensure that humanitarian support reaches those in need inside and outside South Sudan.

Yet, many more people are dying, and this must have to be stopped.

The followings points have to be addressed for a permanent peace to come:

1. Impose arms embargo immediately on the government of South Sudan in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 2206 for its role in orchestrating the targeted ethnic killings that began in December 15th, 2013 in Juba and its continued recalcitrance vis-à-vis the recommendations of the IGAD PLUS peace process.

2. Mr. Kiir’s speech few days ago in Juba indicated that he was hardening his position and reneging on some of the areas the SPLM in government and the SPLM in opposition had agreed on. May be it is time for sending in some deterring forces if Kirr prefers war.

3. Bring pressure to bear on the African Union to implement the findings of its Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.

4. Revised the role of Uganda in the IGAD-mediated peace process. Museveni is not there to bring peace… His new parallel proposal is counterproductive to the negotiating peace process in Addis Ababa. It is better for Kampala to join Juba side on peace table.

5. TROIKA members must actively engage and participate directly in guiding the peace process. Though I appreciated the role IGAD countries under the leadership of the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Ato Hailemariam Dessalegn, play, but I strongly believe engaging TROIKA in co-chairing the peace will append necessary impetus it needs to end the war.

I can conclude by reiterating what Secretary John Kerry said last time about South Sudanese leaders that, “Legitimacy is not a presumed right of any government. It is conferred by the people, and it is sustained only by demonstrating leadership to protect and serve all citizens – responsibilities the government has neglected.”

The leadership in Juba has lost its legitimacy to lead people of South Sudan, meaning peace will not come unless international forces and people of goodwill acknowledge enough is enough for Museveni and his war partner, Kiir, in order for people of South Sudan to achieve a sustainable peace instead of pursuing a military solution to the conflict.

Dr. Gatluak Ter Thach lives and works in Nashville, TN. Author can be reached at: gatluakt@yahoo.com

Beyond Deadlock: Recommendations for Obama’s Plan B on South Sudan

BY Enough Team, AUGUST/2015, SSN;

South Sudan’s warring factions have one last chance to end their country’s 20-month civil war and sign a compromise agreement proposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators, who are leading negotiations.

The U.S. government has promised serious consequences if the parties fail to meet the August 17 deadline set by the international community.

During his recent visit to East Africa, President Obama convened a roundtable on South Sudan with the presidents of Kenya and Uganda, Ethiopia’s prime minister, Sudan’s foreign minister, and the African Union Commission’s chairperson to build consensus on the need to collectively pressure South Sudan’s warring parties toward peace.

In no uncertain terms, President Obama warned that the United States is prepared to move forward with additional available tools to apply greater pressure on the parties. When speaking to the African Union, he said that if the two sides miss the deadline, “the international community must raise the costs of intransigence.”

At a press conference in the region with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Obama explained, “we also think that [the United States] can be a mechanism for additional leverage on the parties, who, up until this point, have proven very stubborn and have not yet risen to the point where they are looking out for the interests of their nation as opposed to their particular self-interests. And that transition has to take place, and it has to take place now.”

Back in Washington, on August 4, President Obama warned, “If they miss [the August 17 deadline] then I think it’s our view that it’s going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required.”

In order to maximize the impact of an alternate plan (being called “Plan B” by many), the U.S. should urgently cultivate the strongest possible support for such a proposal.

Such a Plan B should include high-level asset freezes and travel bans, a global arms embargo, and the prosecution of grand corruption and atrocity crimes, including natural resource pillage as a war crime.

Pressure from President Obama and other world leaders at such a pivotal moment in negotiations has already set in motion the most serious peace deliberations to date.

The United States must be prepared to take swift action on the promised Plan B should the parties once again fail to agree to and implement peace.

The United States must follow through on the president’s strong words with equally strong action, both unilaterally and at the U.N. Security Council, where so far only six ground commanders—who hold little in the way of personal wealth or assets outside of South Sudan—have been designated for sanctions.

The most critical elements of an effective Plan B for South Sudan should include:

1. Implementation of high-level asset freezes, travel bans, and an arms embargo.
President Obama should request that the U.S. Department of the Treasury prepare dossiers to present to the U.N. Security Council on high-level targets and their financial backers and enablers.

If the two parties fail to sign the proposed compromise agreement by the August 17 deadline, the Security Council should be prepared to impose additional designations immediately.

Because many of the targets’ assets are in the region, the United States should urge Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure U.N. sanctions designations are enforced.

The United States should also support a global arms embargo on South Sudan.

Should these measures fail to gain the support of the Security Council, the United States should be prepared to build a coalition of countries that are willing to ratchet up the pressure on high-level officials from both sides, who undermine peace and are responsible for ongoing atrocities.

2. Measures to end impunity for economic and atrocity crimes.
The United States should fully support IGAD’s proposed Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS), including its mandate to investigate and prosecute pillage as a war crime and other serious crimes, including grand corruption.

The United States should offer technical and legal assistance to the court and South Sudan’s existing Anti-Corruption Commission, including specific expertise on asset tracing and financial crimes investigations.

The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and others should also take steps to prosecute pillage cases involving South Sudan within their own legal jurisdictions to ensure that corporations do not benefit from the pillage of South Sudan’s natural resource wealth.

3. Strengthened regional capacity to enforce U.N. sanctions.
Building on efforts to tackle corruption and money laundering in the region, the United States should offer additional legal and technical support to improve regional sanctions enforcement.

The U.S. should prioritize programs that enhance the operational capacity of regional financial intelligence units to identify and freeze the assets of designated individuals.

The United States should also urge Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to submit reports on their efforts to enforce U.N. sanctions as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2206.

4. A connection of regional infrastructure projects to peace.
The U.S. and Chinese governments should jointly review bilateral and multilateral funds earmarked for regional infrastructure projects in East Africa to assess the feasibility of additional investments given the risks presented by ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

This review should make clear that active regional sanctions enforcement will be considered a key risk mitigation factor.

5. Measures to return the proceeds of corruption back to South Sudan.
President Obama should direct the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI to provide inter-agency support to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and focus on investigating instances of grand corruption in South Sudan.

The U.S. should also encourage Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to actively contribute to global efforts to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption to the people of South Sudan by sharing intelligence through the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Eastern Africa.

6. Amplification of civil society advocacy to increase beneficial ownership transparency. Donors should support efforts by South Sudanese civil society groups to advocate for the full implementation of existing beneficial ownership transparency rules and other public disclosure provisions laid out in the 2012 Petroleum Act and the Transitional Constitution of 2011.

Donors should also support civil society efforts in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to demand increased transparency about the real owners of corporate assets and trusts, as well as information about payments made to governments for mining and oil concessions.

At the same time, the U.S. Treasury should revise its own proposed rule on beneficial ownership to include a look-back provision before the final rule’s publication later in August 2015.

7. Greater resources for civil society groups to fight corruption.
Donors should use South Sudan’s ratification of the U.N. Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) as an entry point for supporting efforts by grassroots organizations to hold their own leaders to account for the misuse and misappropriation of government funds.

Ensuring the provision of space for civil society participation during the transition, including protections for local journalists and news outlets, should be made a precondition for the resumption of donor assistance to the government of South Sudan. END

FOR THE FULL REPORT, CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW:

http://www.enoughproject.org/files/Beyond_Deadlock_081215.pdf

Tougher Mediators are Good Mediators, IGAD Mediators Rock It!

BY: John Adoor Deng, Australia, AUG/10/2015, SSN;

The cry of all innocent South Sudanese who are subjected to unbearable consequences of this war, is that it must stop immediately. It is a baseless war as echoed by President Kiir Mayardit in his speech during the reception of Former Detainees in Juba.

Ironically, it could be said that President Kiir has all the tools to stop this war that he correctly referred to as a baseless war but instead chose to spectate it like a guest watching fighting rams.

However, it is a common understanding that spectators rarely solve conflicts but fuel it as they hit the bumps of the fighting rams.

As an executive head of State, recognized in the negotiation, President Kiir like a real father would have swallowed his pride over minute differences and given peace a chance in the country.

This brings me to the main focus of this article. In the first place, I must confess that the current mediators, mediating negotiations between SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO in Addis Ababa are men of integrity, brought up in, I suppose harmonious societies, where rules of law speak louder.

In my view, the mediators are doing an excellent job in trying to mediate excessive power driven groups and entities fighting for personal gains and interests.

Unlike these protagonists, the mediators think much about the fate of innocent children, old men and women sleeping under trees, persecuted by merciless mosquitoes at night in their hiding swampy areas, fearing to be killed by their South Sudanese sons!

The mediators think more about the resources from the international community being wasted to feed hungry, scattered and hard-to-access civilians. These resources would have been used to build roads (like Nimule-Juba road); hospitals, schools and meet other human needs as defined in the Maslow Hierarchy.

I was amazed this week, seeing demonstrations replete with young people, women, and members of civil society plus politicians calling down IGAD just for providing a working paper on peace negotiation.

I read the recent published Proposed Compromise Peace Agreement, in my view; it was fairly drafted and of course subject to negotiation by the two warring parties.

Why should people demonstrate against a working initiative that aims to bring peace to the country?

Did these people (demonstrators) read the document before going to rallies? Were they incited by politicians? Do people of South Sudanese especially these demonstrators want peace? Or they want so and so of their own in positions?

I am perplexed by these levels of comprehension and remained confused on why we people of South Sudan daily portray a negative image of our country to the international community.

If 53% is taken by SPLM-IO in terms of appointing public servants in Upper Nile for three years only, would that be a big problem compared with the ongoing devastating war?

Where will SPLM IO find people to lead great Upper Nile? Will they not come from within Upper Nile people?

On the issue of demilitarization of capital cities. I thought that people would march to the streets, celebrating the demilitarization of major cities.

Oppositely, I was amazed to see people calling for the army to remain in the cities. Are you people not sick of guns shooting randomly each day? Are you not sick from every day abuses on the streets?

In an ideal world, the armed forces are barracked far away from the vicinity of the public. The primary aim of the army is to protect the nation from external threats and not to mingle in suburbs areas with guns undisciplined.

The IGAD countries have no interest apart from facilitating peace to South Sudan. After all, interests are matters of bilateral relations between countries. However, countries always attach interests with stable countries.

If South Sudan remains in war, it is a fact that nobody will have any relationship with South Sudan let alone interest in South Sudan. Just as there is nobody having interest in Somalia except the fighting Al-Shabab, so will South Sudan be if it fails to restore her lost glory.

One is amazed to see how some politicians act in relations to the process of bringing peace to South Sudan. The recent scenario of Dr. Elia Lumoro’s delegation of political parties to Addis Ababa remain a laughing stoke!

The political parties allied to the SPLM in Juba were allowed to head to Addis Ababa whereas the rest of other political parties seen to express neutral positions were not allowed, these parties include SPLM-DC led by Dr. Lam Akol.

Upon their arrival at the mediators’ venue, Dr. Elia delegates were told to return to Juba immediately or face the full force of the law in Addis Ababa.

The mediators insisted that the invited political parties must all attend in totality, and that they must not accept a sorted list of political parties by one partner in the negotiation.

Seriously embarrassed, Dr. Elia‘s delegation returned to Juba and called for removal of mediators from the peace talks and suggested that the negotiation moves to Tanzania.

There is much to learns from the deportation of Dr. Elia‘s delegations. Firstly, it is clear as of now that IGAD Plus is a force to wrestle with, they are no longer a soft entity to allow mediocrity and manipulations to have a weight at the expense of the lives of innocent masses.

Secondly, South Sudanese like things to be done in a hard way, so IGAD has learned to do things hard ways for South Sudanese so as to come to terms with realities.

Thirdly, the IGAD Plus countries have run out of patience, for example, many signed cease-fires have been dishonored.

Fourthly, IGAD members have lost trust on South Sudanese leaders who rarely stand on principles of good governance. It has to be noted that the world has rallied to rescue the innocent masses.

I, therefore, believe that tougher mediators are good mediators, and the current IGAD mediators are rocking it right.

The Author is John Adoor Deng, a member of civil society in Australia. He can reach by email: dengjohn780@gmail.com

The Era of Heroic Errors in South Sudan

By Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, Northern Bahr el Ghazel State, AUG/07/2015, SSN;

In South Sudan, a writer or columnist faces two choices: turn away from reality to avoid intimidation and insecurity or conquer the reality and face its complexity at his/her own risk. However, a writer is supposed to take side with the powerless. And it’s rational to balance an opinion piece or story because there is no moral obligation to take side with oppressor or suppressor in a situation where things are not going well in our country.

Before I’m accused of being a Dinka, I urge my readers to face the reality as they go through this piece. This is a time to go against all political odds, time to call a spade a spade.

If we could judge the current war in South Sudan by the standards of political enmity within the SPLM, one would say individuals in the ruling party against their own party principles waged the war.

The rumor of ethnical rivalries and power struggles between Dinka and Nuer as ‘believed’ by the westerners is merely an imposture. There is no Dinka against Nuer as there is no Nuer against Dinka on ethnic lines.

We must set apart national issues or politics from ethnic dimensions. It’s also a big zero to believe that the current war in the country has a just tone. A rebellion led by looters is like a morning dew.

Is Dr Machar a right man to lead the rebellion if people are tired of President Kiir and the SPLM? Dr Machar was part of corrupt government in Juba when he was Vice President. He was in the list of alleged corrupt leaders in South Sudan. So he shouldn’t deceive grown up men and women with lifeless propaganda that he is an alternative for presidency.

We made our country a bastion of plights. Everything is fading into mist in our country. Legacy is almost erased by power hungry leaders who mutinied against legitimate government, corruption has rooted itself in our public institutions and constructed lies become truth on social media for individuals who don’t want to believe in the history of rebellion with Dr Riek but interested to get a new story of the same coin in the new nation.

Poverty has already reduced many of us to potential beggars. Many people fled the country. Masses were forced to live in the UMMISS camps. Others kept starving in their own huts in the villages due to lack of food. Call it Riekiiracy’s political era of errors. Are we on the axe of evil?

Besides, Lakes State is another unique place with its component of insecurity. I call it a ‘component of insecurity’ because there is no smoke without fire. Something must be wrong somewhere or there is a troubler somewhere.

On the other hand, coopted loyalists, MPs and toothed-public servants are the internal political enigma to our people. These people built political hives on social media and began waxing the public with unhealthy political rumors in order to instigate chaos for political gains.

People are complicated. There is no devil than a man. The real devil isn’t far from an educated person. Politicians are also different people – they devised ideas to become law they don’t follow and pleasingly enshrined their doings for the sake of society. Some of the law enforcing agencies are trouble igniters. So where is the real devil?

In a football game, a team is expected to defeat the rivals. Those who kept killing their own people are the losers. The societal complexities and the nature of killing in Lakes state are frustrating. Oh no, Rumbek is not the only place where there is insecurity.

Go to Yambio and the villagers in Nzara will tell you their own stories of insecurity. Or go to Warrap state and the Aguok or Apuk section of Dinka becomes the warriors of their own styles. Are we the mixtures of wrong generation at the right time in the new nation?

Do you know the kind of South Sudan we are creating through mutiny? Our political branded brains are allergic to democracy – that is why there is rebellion.

Some of our politicians who aspired to fulfill their political interests and dreams through power struggle, war and corruption have made democracy to be the wickedly weakest system of government for South Sudanese ever tried.

Democracy becomes a system of government where some of our people wake up in the morning and decide to loot public resources without accountability. It’s the government where people form consortiums within the ruling party for trouble-makings.

It’s the government where its security agencies unlawfully humiliate and arrest activists and journalists to please their bosses.

Now that people are afraid when they aren’t supposed to be afraid of their government, however, things may remain unchanged for a long time. It’s a democratic government that should be afraid of its people because democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.

In heaven, all the interesting people are missing. Greatest poet, Aristotle didn’t find them there. And in South Sudan, Aristotle found everything – corruption, tribalism, nepotism and rebellion, all in one mind.

As the saying goes, “the greatest patriotism is to tell a truth when your country is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.”

Alas, we are mouth-folded. You can’t tell some people that their algebra or political arithmetic is wrong or say that all SPLM factions shall one day unite and the losers will be the innocent people.

We are in the era of Achebe’s Nigeria, ‘this house has fallen. Maybe, but some people are living fabulously wealthy lives amid the ruin. And others survive and get by. How? It’s a mystery. The secret lies in the layers of millions up millions of networks, personal ties, family links and ethnic loyalties’. Or call me a liar.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a South Sudanese blogger and columnist. He lives in Aweil and can be reached via mangokson@gmail.com

IGAD-Plus Compromise Agreement is a Failure

BY: Malith Kur, London, Ontario, Canada, AUG/05/2015, SSN;

When IGAD got involved in a search for peace in South Sudan after the events of December 2013, South Sudanese were hoping that the East African community had a united front against violence in South Sudan. Nonetheless, the way in which the peace process is progressing under the leadership of IGAD has proved otherwise, and South Sudan is not going to see peace any time soon.

But at this point, two things need to happen if peace is to be realized in South Sudan. First, there is a need to show that IGAD is no longer a neutral and credible body to promote peace in South Sudan.

Second the government of South Sudan must not delegate its responsibilities of searching for peace in the country to others. It needs to take full responsible and device a way forward to end the rebellion in the country.

Failure of IGAD Peace Process:
The IGAD-led peace process in South Sudan has worsened the political implications of the South Sudanese conflict. It has created significant gaps in the dialogue between the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the rebels led by Riek Machar.

These gaps have emerged because the IGAD-led peace process has not considered the ordinary South Sudanese as an integral part of reaching a lasting peace in the country.

But these gaps might be bridged if the majority of South Sudanese were not absent from this dialogue. After all, South Sudanese who want peace form an important constituent in the country. If their voices are ignored, the peace process is a total failure.

The document that IGAD mediators released on July 24, 2015, known as The Compromise Peace Agreement, has deepened the gaps in peace building in South Sudan, because it concentrates the decision-making process in the hands of the political elites.

However, for peace and dialogue to make headways in South Sudan, conversation concerning peace must involve the masses at the grassroots level, particularly the traditional leaders.

The presence of traditional leaders or their representatives in the debate about peace in the country could be important because they will bring the concerns of the ordinary South Sudanese on to the negotiating table.

The current mode of dialogue between the politicians, whose concerns are political powers, has already reached a stalemate. An injection of new ideas from the masses into this process, however, at this point in the history of conflict in South Sudan, would bridge the gaps and cement the relationship between different communities in the country.

But IGAD has no intention of doing this.

The South Sudanese traditional leaders have the potential to revive awareness of the importance of social interconnectedness of the South Sudanese communities the tribal politics has destroyed in the country.

The underlying claim here is that the traditional leaders would allow the communities to begin to re-emphasize their shared heritage, which has been damaged by negative politics of division and enmity.

Therefore, South Sudanese people and their government should design the peace process instead of IGAD.

The current running conflict in South Sudan since December 2013 has created difficult political atmosphere. It has re-opened the previous wounds that were beginning to heal. The reasons the previous wounds are opening up is the way in which IGAD is handling the peace process.

First of all, some IGAD member states treat the rebel movement with a courtesy that gives them a reason to justify the lawlessness they have created in the country. The rebels have been granted spaces in the East African region to function against the government of South Sudan.

The countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya are indirectly aiding and abetting the perpetuation of conflict in South Sudan by allowing the rebels to propagate violent propaganda through the media. The rebels’ commanders are running the war in Addis Ababa and Nairobi.

Furthermore, the IGAD treats rebels on an equal basis with the government of South Sudan. It refers to both the government and the rebels as the warring parties. No one refers, for instance, to the Ethiopian government and the rebels in Ethiopia as warring parties.

These attitudes leave some people wondering about what is so special about the rebellion in South Sudan. Those rebels need to be treated as a group of people who have violated the rule of law in South Sudan.

They should not have been accommodated in Ethiopia and Kenya in the first place. Had they not been accommodated in those countries, they would have seen a peaceful solution to the conflict as a viable way to achieve their aims.

To make matters worse, Kenya and Ethiopia treat Riek Machar as if he were the president of South Sudan in exile. This treatment that Riek Machar gets from these countries remains as an incentive for the rebels to pursue war and defy all efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan.

Riek Machar and his commanders make impossible demands because most of them remain in the comfort of Addis Ababa and Nairobi, without consideration for what is happening in the villages of South Sudan.

In this context, Ethiopia and Kenya need to know that instability in South Sudan is influenced by their unreasonable policies toward the rebellion that is causing upheavals in the country.

In addition, the major factor contributing to the intransigence of rebels is the support they receive from the arch enemy of South Sudan—-Sudan. Sudan is playing a double game here. It is using the IGAD as a platform to pursue its policy of keeping South Sudan unstable.

Peaceful South Sudan is not in the interest of Sudan. Unstable South Sudan offers Sudan a hope of achieving unhindered territorial claims on South Sudanese land.

Therefore, Ethiopia and Kenya provide sanctuary to Riek Machar and his commanders while Sudan supplies him with weapons to destabilize South Sudan.

On the other hand, IGAD has ignored the voices of South Sudanese. It has focused its attention on the political elites, who are not interested in the well being of the people but political power.

The focus of the peace process has been on the way to empower the political class to dominate the people of South Sudan even more. In all the peace proposals that IGAD has attempted, there has not been a concrete mention of the public participation in the peace process.

The people of South Sudan will never be consulted should the government and the rebels sign the proposed IGAD peace accord. IGAD has closed the doors of peace instead of opening them to the people. It is a troubling sign because it is against the very idea of peace.

Troublesome elements of IGAD Compromise Agreement
The IGAD proposed peace agreement is a total failure. It has deepened and worsened the already fragile political situation in South Sudan.

It shows that rebellion in the country will always remain as the best option for anyone having political grievances against the government in the country.

If we look at the terms of this proposed agreement, it leaves many questions answered. Why does Riek Machar always replace James Wani Iga? Why he should not become the Vice-President instead of Wani?

Looking at issues related to governance, one can see that the agreement was designed to provoke even more problems.

The proposed system of “collegial decision” making during the transitional period is a recipe for more problems. It places the First Vice President and the President on a collision course. The President of the Republic will have no powers to making decisions without seeking the approval of the First Vice President.

This agreement was designed to fail because it is not possible to govern a nation on a consensus. I have not seen a country in East Africa where a president cannot make the executive decision to run the affairs of a nation.

The other major failure of the compromise agreement is that IGAD expects problems in the running of the country if the agreement is signed as it is.

IGAD suggests, “In the event of a deadlock in the exercise of the Executive powers….the matter shall be decided by the Council of Ministers.” (See article 9.1.3. of the proposed agreement).

This is a recipe for conflict, which indicates that the agreement was built to make South Sudan ungovernable during the interim period, which is a recipe for war to continue.

It is important to note that any peace agreement in South Sudan without the participation of the people is bound to fail. People will not understand it, and they will not be in a position to defend it.

Similarly, the proposed representation of the rebels in the states of Jonglei, Upper Nile, and Unity is very troubling. It is a signal to those who have not chosen the option of the war to feel a sense of betrayal, and this will not reflect the advent of peace in the Upper Nile region.

The handing over of those states to rebels suggests that violence is the only way for people to demand a change they want.

In a nutshell, this proposal is dangerous and lacks any basis to support peace in South Sudan.

The proposed ratios of governance in the states of the Upper Nile region (Article 1.6) and the proposed “demilitarization of Juba” (Chapter II, Article 5.1) represent IGAD’s mockery of South Sudan’s sovereignty.

Moreover, IGAD does not recognize the South Sudanese National Army, the SPLA. It keeps referring to the “unification of two armies”, instead of suggesting the integration of some rebels into the national army.

The possibility of allowing the peace process to fail is the name of the game here.

All of this explains IGAD’s lack of any credibility as a mediator in the current South Sudanese situation. IGAD is planning to rule South Sudan instead of its legitimate of government.

Indirect colonialism is unacceptable.
All of this has strengthened the resolve of those who want power not peace in the country. It has encouraged the emergence of conflict in other parts of the country.

Those who feel that they might gain nothing in the peace process are creating problems, for instance, in Western Equatoria State, rebellion is developing because those who are running the administration there are feeling insecure.

Because of this contradictory peace process, these forms of tribal rebellions are to increase.
They will be seen as a means of gaining attention from the government.

In short, the factors I have mentioned above have played a significant role in the failure of IGAD mediation. They indicate that IGAD is not a neutral mediator, and it has not understood the South Sudanese situation. It should relinquish the mediation role.

A Better Wary Forward
A better way forward to achieve peace in South Sudan is for the government not to rely on the IGAD mediation. The current peace should be the last round under IGAD mediation. If it fails, IGAD should not be allowed to continue the process. A new mediation should be sought.

When Tanzania initiated the reunification of the SPLM, we have seen the results. The so-called former detainees have now rejoined the government and are functioning as part of peace building in the country.

The Tanzanian example is the form of mediation that the conflict in South Sudan needs. Tanzania does not have hidden agenda in South Sudanese politics. It, therefore, took a neutral stand in the interest of South Sudan and its people to live in peace and prosperity.

Consequently, the peace process in South Sudan does not need those who shed the crocodile’s tears but those who shed genuine tears for the suffering people of South Sudan.

In general, South Sudanese expect their government to protect them and ensure that peace prevails in the country. For peace to prevail in the country, South Sudanese, and their government must make the final decision on how peace should be achieved in the country. They should not allow the outsiders to dictate the terms of the peace process.

South Sudanese and their government should own the process. It entails that the government must come up with its own proposal to initiate ways to establish peace in the country.

The government of South Sudan should not be the one to react to proposals made by people who desire nothing but the continuation of war in the country. It has the duty to propose solutions to the conflict because it knows what can work better in the country.

It is quite naïve for the government of South Sudan to expect Ethiopia and Kenya, for example, to place the interest of South Sudan first instead of their own. We all know that Riek Machar’s headquarters is in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has political interests in doing so. Therefore, Ethiopian-led mediation is lame.

The same is true for Kenya. Riek Machar, shortly before South Sudan’s Independence Day in July this year, declared the government of the Republic of South Sudan illegitimate in Nairobi.

Kenya has a political interest in doing this as well. Machar was allowed to call a press conference in Nairobi to promote his violent political propaganda.

When those countries do not set clear parameters between the rebels and the legitimate authorities of a sovereign state, how will their mediation be different?

These examples should be a wakeup call for the government of South Sudan to take a full control of the peace process and establish new methods of making peace a priority.

The growing protests against the IGAD peace proposal suggest that the people of South Sudan have realized the dangerous path the country is heading to.

Therefore, South Sudan’s government needs to show its people that it is in control of the destiny of the country because the future of the country is not in the hands of the IGAD. The IGAD countries have different agendas and interests in the peace process.

The future of South Sudan should be in the hands of the government and its people.

IGAD’s Compromise Agreement has failed the test, and South Sudanese must decide the way to achieve peace in the country.

Malith Kur, London Canada
Malith_kur@yahoo.ca