IGAD and the question of impartiality on South Sudan

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, APR/29/2018, SSN;

One of the main reasons the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was formed was to maintain peace in the East African region. In its mission statement, the bloc claims that it is the premier alliance for preserving peace in the region. This is an attempt to show why IGAD has not been neutral in its quest for peace in South Sudan.

There are irrefutable problems with IGAD being the lead player in South Sudan’s peace talks. The East African regional bloc began its search for a peaceful solution in 2014 as a capable agency.

For instance, in January 2014, IGAD brokered the first ceasefire agreement between South Sudan’s warring factions.

The pact was praised both locally and internationally. However, the supposedly peace-loving regional entity suddenly resorted to trying to sell Kiir’s tyranny to the people of South Sudan by imposing the August 2015 power-sharing deal and passing questionable resolutions.

IGAD’s protect-IGAD-head-of-states policy has enabled Kiir to commit more atrocities.

In any armed conflict, a lasting peace can only be achieved with the involvement of an unbiased mediator, and only when the root causes of such a conflict are properly addressed and the rival sides compromised reasonably.

It is good to remind people that Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni proclaimed two weeks after the war broke out in Juba that the entire East African region gave South Sudanese rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar, four days to accept a ceasefire offer or face a collective military action from IGAD’s member states.

In addition, the Ugandan leader claimed that a deal to punish Machar was agreed upon by IGAD’s leaders in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Museveni was in Juba when he announced such a demanding warning to Machar.

Museveni’s assertion was never echoed by any other East African leaders.

It would be unnecessary for me to speak of Museveni’s support of Salva Kiir’s tyrannical regime since millions of South Sudanese were already aware of it before fighting erupted in Juba.

Museveni is a documented co-founder of South Sudan’s civil war. IGAD failed to uphold its mandates as a regional player and instead empowered Kiir to keep obstructing the peace and waging his brutal campaign against the people of South Sudan.

The 2015 agreement was not a plausible pact because the bloc forgot the fact that Kiir was prepared to hinder its peace implementation.

There are reasons to believe that the bloc has not been impartial in its search for peace in South Sudan.

In the 2015 deal, IGAD placed too much emphasis on assigning ministerial percentages to factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and other political parties, and little attention to peace execution.

The bloc gave Kiir’s faction 53 percent, whereas 33 percent were allocated to Machar’s group and 14 percent to Former Detainees (FDs) and other parties.

One of IGAD’s blunders is that when it assigned ministerial positions to all four main groups, it thought the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) would succeed and that the agreement would be fully implemented.

The power-sharing deal also stipulated that Juba must be demilitarized and it called for an external force to take over security in the capital.

There was also a need to monitor locations and movements of rebel and government forces. IGAD was fully tasked with enforcing and verifying many mandates needed for peace to succeed.

Nonetheless, the regional bloc failed to enforce its own rules. Because of IGAD’s inaction, Juba was not demilitarized: government troops were simply re-positioned into different strategic areas in the capital, and there was no third-party force running the security in Juba.

Besides, when Kiir attempted to assassinate Machar in July 2016, IGAD was disgracefully silent.

As noted above, IGAD’s pro-Kiir position is real. In July 2017, the bloc shocked the people of South Sudan when it declared that it will not allow the South Sudanese rebel leader to participate in the peace revitalization talks.

The reaction against its decision was loud and clear. The people of South Sudan were furious.

After South Sudanese questioned the motive behind its decision, IGAD then turned around and claimed that Riek Machar’s ideas would be incorporated into the negotiations and suggested that the rebel leader send his representatives to the revitalization forum.

Most of IGAD’s actions are not those of a neutral mediator. The bloc acts as if it has been infiltrated by Juba’s regime. Any unconscionable person would argue that IGAD’s position on South Sudan’s conflict has been questionable.

One would argue that trusting the bloc is like trusting a cunning tyrant who tries to convince his people that his ruthlessness mysteriously evaporated into thin air overnight and that they should trust him.

I know for a fact that not all IGAD leaders want to prevent Machar anymore from participating in South Sudan’s politics.

The people of South Sudan know Uganda and Kenya either colluded with Kiir or at least represented his interests in the bloc. Other East African nations should tell Kampala and Nairobi that IGAD is not Kenyan or Ugandan — it is East African — and that ending the suffering of the people of South Sudan outweighs their self-interests.

Is IGAD really an entity for maintaining peace in the East African region as it claims in its mission statement, or a bloc merely meant to protect the leaders of IGAD’s countries?

Does IGAD conspire with Juba to prevent Machar from participating in South Sudan’s politics?

Is South Sudan’s oil money being used to bribe some members of IGAD?

Is there any external power influencing the bloc’s decision on South Sudan? Can the people of South Sudan still trust IGAD?

IGAD’s actions on South Sudan’s peace negotiations speak for themselves. The bloc has simply become a useful tool for Salva Kiir. Kiir uses IGAD’s anti-SPLM-IO resolutions to impede the revitalization of peace.

South Sudan’s peace can only be achieved if parties to the conflict compromise fairly and their concerns are addressed in a way that is acceptable to both sides.

Millions of South Sudanese were stunned when they saw the rather dubious communiqué IGAD issued on March 26, proclaiming that it is ready to lift Riek Machar’s house arrest in South Africa and that it will relocate the rebel leader to a country outside the East African region.

The decision was not only baseless; it was a clear glorification of Kiir’s atrocities. The statement was clearly a resolution to protect Kiir’s regime. It baffles me that IGAD passed such a communiqué when the people of South Sudan have been patiently waiting for more than four years hoping that the bloc would find a reasonable solution to resolve the young nation’s crisis.

If there are entities that hinder the revitalization of the 2015 compromise deal, then IGAD likely qualifies to be in the cluster of organizations standing in the way of peace.

Most of IGAD’s peace proposals have been conducted in secret consultations with Juba’s regime. The bloc is no longer impartial and has proven itself to be an agent for Juba’s atrocious regime.

IGAD’s confinement of Machar is a colossal mistake. His house arrest did not stop the war — in fact, it only intensified the conflict.

If IGAD believes it is working for a real peace in the young nation, it must utterly release Machar. Relocating the rebel leader from South Africa to a different country should not be called a release: it is merely a change of location of the same arrest.

If the bloc really wants a lasting peace in South Sudan, it must also ask Kiir and other political leaders to denounce violence. IGAD’s complicity has allowed Kiir to obstruct the implementation of the 2015 deal, kill with impunity, and loot state resources.

Whether Juba uses plundered oil wealth to bribe several of IGAD’s leaders is another topic. The African Union (AU) and the international community should not allow IGAD to play with the lives of innocent people by crying for peace during the day and colluding with Kiir at night.

The East African regional bloc — which seems to be suffering from a crisis of credibility — is no longer a reliable body and cannot be trusted to play a leading role in the peace process.

If IGAD wants to regain its credibility, then it must stop acting as Juba’s agent. Protecting a murderous tyrant is rather reprehensible.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

11 Comments

  1. William Mier says:

    IGAD should go to HELL. F*** that group.

  2. Koryom Gatwech Deng says:

    The so-called IGAD needs to leave us alone. That group becomes a Uganda organization run by a world-famous Killer Yoweri Museveni. Peace will not come through this fake bloc.

  3. Deal: All Of US

    Southerners should stop putting high hope in IGAD TOTALLY! IGAD is benefitting for Southeners tax payers bloods! NO PEACE IN IGAD FOR REAL!

    Sincere Save the Nation!

    Abiko!

    KC,MO.USA

  4. Jima Kendiy says:

    Blood of South Sudanese is hunting down Museveni, Kiir, and their supporters. Kiir MUST GO.

  5. gatluak Puoch Khor says:

    stupid IGAD needs to tell us why its fake peace talks ended up killing tens of thousands of south Sudanese. Peace is better than war but that IGAD members get bribed by Salva kiir and act like mafia people. stupid people killing south Sudanese.

    peace out, Gatluak Khor Puoch

  6. BILL KUCH says:

    Guys,
    Why are you complaining now, and you know very well that you have been the ones who asked for all of it? I am sorry to say this, but the way I see it here is that, you said you needed intervention and that is why they are here to conduct their business interests. You were hoping that IGAD would compel Kiir on your behave, but things don’t work like that in our world of today. For Riek, he strives for power through the help of western people, but western people are smart and they became more exacerbated on Riek when he fails to fulfil his promises of having larger army than his boss Kiir. And western people just realized that, it would be illicit to compel Kiir without election. And now there is no doubt that Riek is responsible for the prevalence violent that keeps Kiir in power today. Therefore, it is an imperative to keep Riek behind bars.

  7. mading says:

    Duop Chak. What is this lied you rebels have been running a round telling the world that president Kiir was trying to assassinated Riek Machar ? If Kiir wants to Riek as you Nyagaat lied about it all the time, then what stop president not to do it ? You even see president telling a journalist days after fighting in J1 that he was protecting Riek whole time when fighting was taking place out J1 from his angry officers who want to kill Riek at that time. What you rebels intentionally ignored to talk about every time you make your baseless assassination attempt on your evil Riek is that it was you rebels who attacked J1 when both president Kiir and Riek Machar were meeting. You know very that president Kiir can not start a fight in J1 where his family live.

  8. mading says:

    William Mier, and Gatluak. Do not dirty Igad image, Igad has agood story to tell about itself regarding people of South Sudan, CPA is a living proof. The reason you are blaming Igad is because it did not support your destructive war of Nuer wanting to put their son to J1 by force, that is all.

  9. GatCharwearbol says:

    Entrusting business organization to deliver peace and nip its source of wealth in the bud is like entrusting hyena guarding your goats. This set up was designed with aim of sucking the blood right out of South Sudanese. South Sudan is a money tree to IGAD. I have yet to understand how do you people expect IGAD to chop down the very tree enriching the very organization. Opportunity for them to toy with your minds you suckers! Dirty game of politic is unreal.

    If you are still sleeping that peace will come through IGAD, I am very sorry for you.

    • info@southsudannation says:

      GatCharwearbol,
      You’re the first ever to bring out the truth about IGAD’s duplicitous role in it’s fake attempts to so-called ‘resolving the problem’ in South Sudan. Indeed, the big money given to IGAD by the Troika and AU is a god-sent luck for those suckers to loot freely and develop their own countries.
      How do you trust those ‘hyenas’ in Kenya with free money to easily steal?
      For as long as possible, IGAD will keep the so-called ‘peace talks’ going on FOREVER while they fill up their pockets and the stupid Kiir and Machar and company keep dillydallying with our fate.
      Oh…. Cry our beloved country of South Sudan!!!!!

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