IGAD: Artificial solution on South Sudan conflict by putting the cart before the horse

BY: James Gatdet Dak, SPLM/A-in-O Spokesman, January 30, 2015, SSN;

On Thursday, 29th of January, 2015, heads of states and governments of the African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), served the warring parties in South Sudan with a principle agreement document.

The text drafted by IGAD leaders on the sideline of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa “dictates” a solution for formation of a transitional government of national unity by imposing a leadership structure and personalities as well as proportionate power-sharing arrangements.

The take-it-or-leave-it document has provided key artificial arrangements and warned the South Sudanese warring parties of consequential action should there be non-full compliance.

In summary, the document has endorsed the incumbent President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, to lead the transitional government, deputized by first vice president and vice president.

This is in reiteration of the body’s long held decision that General Kiir is an elected president, although his legitimacy term ends in May or July this year, whether it is derived from the last April 2010 elections before independence or July 2011 constitutional legitimacy after independence.

In this it is to be noted that IGAD has imposed on the parties a leadership structure which this time round should be of presidential system, throwing out other ideas and proposals which suggested it should be a parliamentary executive leadership structure composed of President and Prime Minister, or with deputies to the Prime minister, and Council of Ministers.

The regional leaders now dictate that while the first vice president should be a nominee from the SPLM/SPLA led by Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, the vice president should be the incumbent, James Wani Igga.

The IGAD leaders went further to pledge that the speaker of the parliament should come from Greater Equatoria region.

IGAD has also imposed a power-sharing ratio, giving General Kiir’s government a lion share of 60% at all levels of government, SPLM/SPLA 30%, and other political parties and former detainees, 10%.

It has rejected the idea to dissolve and reconstitute membership of the legislative assembly and only agreed for an additional 68 new members to be appointed in accordance with the proposed sharing ratio, topping up to 400 lawmakers from the current membership of 332.

Further, IGAD has pre-empted how succession of executive leadership should be handled in South Sudan at least during the would-be transitional period under the proposed government of national unity.

In this, IGAD has contradicted the traditional leadership hierarchy in the presidential system and also shunned application of seniority in the SPLM party’s would-be leadership.

These are some of the observations in the latest round of what has become an IGAD-led, not IGAD-mediated talks in Addis Ababa.

A question that comes to mind is what does IGAD want to achieve in this dictated and prioritized irrelevant arrangement?

To me, the answer is a mere pursuit of a short-lived credit….

I say it is about pursuit of a short-lived credit because it seems the regional bloc is not guided by the importance of reaching a lasting peace in South Sudan.

It is rather urged by the desire to say it has made the warring parties to sign an agreement on leadership structure and power-sharing arrangements, in case the parties agree, despite lack of important proceeding resolutions on the underlying fundamentals that are key to a lasting resolution of the conflict.

This dictated document has unveiled a grave weakness and lack of seriousness in the mediation efforts and strategies IGAD employs in trying to resolve the 15 December 2013 crisis and uproot it from the roots.

Many would have thought that IGAD should be building on the intra-SPLM agreement on reunification in Arusha. In Arusha the parties agreed to reunify their ranks and file by first revoking General Kiir’s decision which dismissed party leaders.

This should have been followed by further dialogue on introduction and implementation of reforms and the fate of top leadership within the party while IGAD in Addis Ababa imitates the consensus reached in Arusha in resolving other non-party contentious issues.

The Arusha accord provided an opportunity for IGAD to address the root causes of the conflict which would inform and educate the mediation body about the genesis of the crisis and guide it towards resolutions and achievement of a lasting peace in South Sudan.

By now imposing that General Kiir shall be the president of transitional government in an attempt to provide him with a leeway to escape from the Arusha process, and by also pre-empting that the incumbent vice president Igga shall succeed Kiir, in case, IGAD has devastated the gains from the reunification initiative and dragged the peace process back to square one.

The regional bloc has set a precedence of intransigence in the SPLM reunification process on the part of the government.

Arusha agreement was supposed to be a healthy model for the Addis Ababa peace process because it addressed the root causes and committed the parties to resolving them through that roadmap.

The long held belief in IGAD’s failure or difficulty to mediate and resolve the conflict mainly emanates from its reluctance to recognize the importance of addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.

IGAD has been on impossible mission to quick-fix the problem by seeking to dress the surface of the infected deep wound with bandage rather than first diagnosing and treating the wound.

The regional body has been unfortunately responding to the impact of the conflict and urgent need to give it a temporary solution rather than addressing and resolving it based on its root causes.

IGAD leaders should generate an enthusiasm to study reasons why political conflicts within South Sudan always occur and recur within the SPLM for the past 32 years. This will provide them with a clue and understanding on how the current conflict came about and can be addressed thoroughly so as to avoid future recurrence.

For the results to be sustainable, the mediation effort should address the root causes of the conflict!

It is in the understanding of the root causes that a solution towards a lasting peace and stability in South Sudan can be achieved and sustained.

IGAD should instead press on the parties to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement. It should also persuade its member state, Uganda, and make it withdraw its troops from the war in implementation of the agreement.

The regional body can now prevent violence from escalating and focus on addressing the root causes in order to come up with the best remedy. The mediation should, of course facilitate and advise, but allow the parties to negotiate a lasting solution and not dictate a short-lived solution.

To utter threats of action against both parties collectively irrespective of who did what or how the crisis came about will not help the situation. The fact that IGAD attempts to push president Salva Kiir down the throats of his victims, rewarding him to continue as the leader, is a wrong strategy that will likely face resistance.

However, if IGAD wants to test imposition of solution on the parties as an experiment in the region, this should be based on an informed wise decision by taking into account the genesis of the conflict. People of South Sudan would expect IGAD leaders to be courageous enough to thoroughly address the root causes and call spade a spade.

This is also to say if democratization of politics and introduction of various reforms matter in the SPLM party and in the institutions of government – to bring about a lasting peace and unity of the people in the country and to usher in development – then a competent visionary leadership that will realize these fundamentals equally matters.

Finally, making responsible leaders to account for the genocide or committed war crimes and crimes against humanity is an important element in achieving justice and reconciliation.

Thus, it is important for IGAD to advise AU to make public the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the atrocities committed in this conflict.

Information on the magnitude and extent to which the damages have been done will further guide the warring parties in tackling the issues on compensation and reparation of the victims, which are yet to be resolved under the IGAD mediation.

Hence, putting the cart before the horse is a recipe for another disaster to recur, which is a disservice to the ever suffering people of South Sudan.
IGAD, address the root causes of the 15 December crisis…

James Gatdet Dak
Spokesman, Office of the Chairman
SPLM/SPLA
The author is a Spokesperson in the Office of the Chairman, SPLM/SPLA. He can be reached at: gatdetdak2013@gmail.com.

8 Comments

  1. Gatdet Dah,

    Please tell Riek and his group to stop talking about the position. Instead let them focus on Kiir must step down and Uganda military must leave South Sudan no less and no more than that powerful message. After Kiir has stepped down, then South Sudanese must decide who will be their leader. You see IGAD is generating more problems than what we have in South Sudan. Salva Kiir must step aside because he indulged genocide against innocent civilians. Kiir divided South Sudanese along the ethnic line.

    According to the international laws, whenever a president instigated violent and killed civilians for no reason, that president lost his right of being legitimate leader. For instance, the president of Ukraine lost his legitimate presidency when he killed only 20 protestors, the president of Egypt lost his legitimacy when he killed 8 protestors, the president of Tunisia lost his legitimate presidency when he killed protestors, the president of Liberia lost his legitimate presidency right of being president because he instigated violent against civilians. Bill Clinton, the former president of United States nearly lost his position because he allegedly had sex outside of marriage, but did not kill anyone.

    Salva Kiir cannot be rewarded with presidency when he ordered the killing over 20,000 civilians in the first two weeks of December 15, 2013. Among the over 20,000 killed in Juba alone are pregnant women, one day old children, 1-6 months old children, blind women, blind men, women, and men who did not protest against Kiir’s leadership. Why rewarding Kiir when he killed the very people who voted him to power? In addition to the killing of over 20,000, Salva Kiir has done several destruction to the maximum in Nuer towns. Let Kiir finish Nuer first, then he can become permanent president for the rest of life in South Sudan.

    • Dinka Union says:

      Bentiu

      if I were you I would have to go to battle field and fight Kiir Mayardit soldiers. now you just post comment and you are very far way Mayardit will never Never Never Never step down my friend if foolish Riek don,t want peace, he will came a lone like in 2002 he came a lone without peace negotiation same thing will happened to him. you know if i were Mayardit would have not even have time to talk to him because it is waste of time and he will come a lone later.

    • johnjerry says:

      All that you have stated above are true and a fact of life. In Arusha- Tanzania kiir agreed before his counterparts of what had taken place in the Country and the the people of South Sudan are waiting for the apology that his government was going to air out. Both Kiir and Machar are not fit to rule the people of South Sudan because both of them are blood thirsty leaders in the name of SPLM/A. The SPLM is the most corrupt party it must go when an election is called. Let another party not bearing the name SPLM try. We can not keep recycling the same people over and over again following their bad track records.

  2. Isaac Deng says:

    What is wrong with these so-called IGAD leaders? Why are they introducing new agenda in every new round of peace talks rather than building on the agreed upon principle while implementing what had been signed on the paper previously?

    The last time I checked they send back both president Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar to their constituents and supporters for further consultations with the aim of letting them be being blessed, and to report their findings back to the mediation team in Addis Ababa. It was all about power sharing between the president and the proposed prime minister post, governance and the SPLA reform that could have been the starting talking point of references to iron out the remaining sticking 5% points of contentions item or disagreement.

    However, I am now becoming suspicious about this whole IGAD-led mediation thing because I think president Museveni does not wish to see South Sudan a stable country in the East Africa region to also enjoy peace, security and economic development. My gut tells me that president Museveni is an evil man who has invisible hand in the tragic death of the late hero Dr. John Garang, therefore, Museveni is now responsible for the ongoing confusing in Addis Ababa peace negotiation. Museveni wants to see South Sudan in a constant conflict and chaos so that South Sudanese will only depend on Uganda for military assistant, counterfeit goods, rotten food supplies from their unemployed Ugandan famers to boots the poor Uganda economy. Moreover, we have to pay millions of US dollars every month for the up keep of the useless UPDF presence in the country when they are actually doing nothing in the frontline. Yet, some our young men in uniform fighting this senseless war are going for six months without the 600 SSP per month salary payment.

    The million dollar question is it worthy to kill each other in thousands and destroy this country we all liberated and sacrificed our precious blood for?

    President Kiir and Dr. Riek must know that a genuine peace cannot be imposed by outsiders with vested interests in this conflict, and it is time the gentlemen look straight into each other’s eyes, apologize to the suffering people of South Sudan, then put their differences aside and egos away by addressing the real causes of this civil war which came about as a result of unresolved power struggle within the SPLM party. If president Kiir and Dr. Riek cannot iron out their personal differences and acknowledge their greed for power is the reason why thousands innocent people dying every day, it is high we the people start challenging these two greedy power hungry gentlemen to get loss and let other capable patriotic South Sudanese to lead and safe this bleeding new nation from further disintegration and total collapse.

  3. mindra says:

    Am tired and fed up of so called IGad,let war continue instead of useless peace imposed on us by outsider especial president museveni,he is not happy to see southsudan moving forwards for the good of its people,
    shame on president kirr and museveni,peace without justice and reconciliations is baseless.instead of peace better war,let Dr Reick should not answer anything he finished other tribes in southsudan,
    we are not happy of kirr for having killed civilians without any cause,
    let him resign and get back to school to receive further education,a gun is not a degree,certificate and Diploma….ha ha mr kiri,
    Mindra from loa local pageri -madi corridor EE state

  4. James Gadet,

    It is not imposition of solutions to south Sudan problems by IGAD. The IGAD leadership see that the south Sudanese leaders can’t come up with a viable solution to their own country. The effect of the war and unstable government in south Sudan has affected the neighboring countries significantly, so IGAD wants to find way to stop the carnage in the region. It is not the position of the vice president or of the speaker of parliament that matters, the contest will be there, and IGAD cannot imposed anything on the SPLA party. But if peace is to reign in the country, the neighbors must help (but not in the way of Mr.7), and that is why they have decided to draft some solutions. It will be up to south Sudanese or SPLA to adapt those solutions or reject them. As Isaac Deng said, “President Kiir and Dr. Riek must know that a genuine peace cannot be imposed by outsiders with vested interests in this conflict.” They must find out solutions and what is best for south Sudan.

    IGAD should not be blame for our problem, they are just trying to help south Sudan. The deep wound in the conflict in south Sudan is obvious: Dinka and Nuer tribal problem, poor leadership, and corruptions. These are the root cause of our problems in south Sudan and if these problem are not well handled, even if the whole world comes to our aid, it will not bring peace. That is why federalism is a better solution, it will solve tribal problem because each will be in their region. And if that works, presidency of south Sudan should be rotational: so that the issue of the presidency, vice president, and speaker of parliament are solved. If federalism does not work, I think one region needs secession from the rest, we are tired, we need another independent state.

  5. Alier Gai says:

    Bentiu,
    Macher is already a killer than anyone mentioned with dirty records from the above. You should have stated it positively from the beginning that, Macher has no right to even talk about our national affairs this time, as you know, that the man had prodigous records of cumulative guilts from his self-created past. Let alone seeking the power and the second killing he planned besides 91. This statement has disqualified anything of your point to say about kiir. It would better to have a moral judgment than the interest ignited by self-loved which rejects others’ right. And with that in the place, it is very difficult for us to condamn kiir’s criminal activities while leaving macher as a savior to nuer community with those unforgiving crimes he committed without reason why. Stop following macher and from there we will be able to see you being honest with national interest in its place. Or let peace be the way it is, otherwise no macher at all in our lives. Period.

  6. Martin says:

    South Sudan is our Country not for individual

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