IGAD & International Community (TRIOKA) aren’t doing enough to end Conflict in South Sudan

BY: Juma Mabor Marial, JUBA, JUL/08/2014, SSN;

From the very outset, I want to lay a renunciation that the above title shouldn’t be construed to mean I am against the international community or the IGAD mediators in particular. As we recite along, you would realize that my objective is to address the loopholes and incongruities that both the IGAD and the international community have committed since the crisis in south Sudan began.

IGAD and TRIOKA Countries (i.e. Norway, United Kingdom and the United States of America) are some of the important and long-time allies that have been with South Sudan since the years of freedom struggle and their pivotal role in the CPA was outstanding and that is why, up until today, south Sudanese appreciates them for the incredible contribution towards freedom and eventual independence that they have helped them gained.

It is also on this basis that many south Sudanese sees the two organizations as their alternative avenues for resolving any socio-economic and political challenges that befallen their nascent state.

This is why soon after the crisis broke out in south Sudan, subsequent attempts to arrest the situation and return the country to normalcy were suggested by the IGAD Heads of states supported by the international community and especially the TRIOKA countries.

The warring parties were too enthusiastic about the determination of these parties to bring an end to the crisis although there were reservations from SPLM/A in Opposition over the participation of Uganda in the mediation as the latter was being accused of supporting the government and therefore partial.

Soon after the endorsement that the peace process is imminent, it was resolved that the regional body-IGAD would now lead the process with donor support from the international community and TRIOKA countries.

It was almost unanimous that IGAD would do it best to bring peace and stability to south Sudan in the spirit of “African problems need African solutions”. Museveni factor was still contentious but at least IGAD managed to persuade the parties to sign the cessation of hostilities agreement and allow humanitarian access to the affected areas.

This was a positive phase although it was characterized by accusation of violations by both belligerents. In fact there wasn’t any implementation of the agreement as the incident of Bentiu and other occurrences across greater Upper Nile would confirm.

A month later, Kiir and Machar met in Addis and as they claim, signed “under duress” another cessation of hostilities agreement but this time reiterating the need to absolutely cease hostilities, allow humanitarian access and most importantly signed a road map and framework for the next round of talks which would discuss among other reforms agenda, formation of transitional government of national unity.

It is also here that the involvement of other stakeholders and across- section of the south Sudanese society would be required and the two leaders appended their signatures to it.

Whereas the government had continued to oppose any involvement of other stakeholders including the group of the SPLM former detainees. The opposition was of the contrary view and this fact persuaded the IGAD to convince the government to allow for the involvement of the stakeholders on consultative basis.

The altercation that follows the nomination of delegates among the stakeholders apart from the group of the SPLM former detainees became too chaotic but I felt it is insignificant to discuss it in details here.

Despite the battle over the selection of the stakeholders from political parties to faith based groups, academia to civil society organizations, youth to women representatives, disabled and other interested groups, a symposium that was scheduled to take place three days prior to the next round of talks failed for two days because of failure by the main warring factions to attend over one reason or another.

The symposium eventually kicked-off and another arrangement was made by selecting representatives from these groups to participate in the negotiation. This procedure despite the hitches was a step towards peace.

However, as the main discussions on the substantive aspects of the peace were expected to resume, the real troubles began and here comes the mistake and this gaffe is what I blame the IGAD and of course the international community of.

First, during the initial stages of the crisis, the government was at loggerhead with the UNMISS, an international body that is known for its impartiality with regard to the internal affairs of any country that it’s operates at.

The grievances presented by the government were that the UNMISS is pro-rebels and their evidence ranges from the arguments with government minister in Bor to the impounding of arms caches in Lakes state.

The explanation given by the UNMISS officials didn’t help the situation and this consequently resulted in the country-wide demonstrations undertaken by the pro-government supporters against Hilde F. Johnson, the head of UNMISS in South Sudan.

The fact that Hilde is a citizen of Norway, one of the TRIOKA member states was also inseparable from her position and so was the locus of the international community.

Apart from UNMISS misgivings, the United States, United Kingdom, China have not said much to pressure the parties to reach at the convenient time, a solution to return peace to south Sudan.

The best these countries did was advocate for the release of arrested politicians and call for speedy formation of transitional government of national unity.

The circadian sufferings that the people of south Sudan goes through is not a priority for them talking about it being another thing perhaps because they have not been to the grassroots and experience the plight of the helpless women and children in the camps.

This is not to say that international community has not done it best in supporting peace but there is still impartiality question that hangs in the balance about America in particular and its opinion with regard to the conflict as it and most of her allies cogitates that the conflict in south Sudan is more about political reforms and democracy but less of any other issues.

Secondly, IGAD as a regional body that has positioned itself in epicenter of the problem with the intention of resolving the conflict is now getting confused with the many advisers that are behind the scene trying to advance private interests through it mediation position.

These interest groups have instilled doubts and challenged the neutrality of IGAD and as such, the parties to the negotiation are gradually withdrawing their confidence over this body.

A scenario that is not good for the ordinary citizens of south Sudan who are eagerly waiting for peace.

The reasons behind this mistrust are, one, on the government side, the IGAD Executive Secretary called their President “STUPID” while to the rebels, the question of stupidity is taken lightly but the complaint about the selection of stakeholders became their priority.

So, looking at these two sides of the same coin, it is apparent that the credibility of the mediator (IGAD) is already in question and the parties’ maybe reluctant to listen to its proclaimed neutrality.

The rebels leadership has already complained about IGAD trying to impose on the parties and trying to take decisions on their behalf which in other words, means IGAD seemed to have the outcome of the problem that is going on in south Sudan but only disguised to negotiate in an attempt to portray to the south Sudanese and the parties that, it has indeed done something.

This preferred outcome is most likely suspected to have been cooked by the western or for that matter, TRIOKA countries.

It also means that IGAD has just been informed of the ingredients of the food that the TRIOKA has already cooked perhaps to help the former know how to prepare its meal next time there is similar crisis in the Dark Continent, Africa.

I wouldn’t want to captivate so much into that imagination but look at it critically, the basic techniques of mediation as one of the main types of disputes resolution mechanisms that I was taught in school are that, the mediator should be a facilitator, a moderator, a peace-maker, a tempers calmer, a neutral person and all that translates to impartiality and honesty.

IGAD, as the parties tells us, does not fit these features and therefore, its ability to bring peace to south Sudan is now showing signs of shrinking as recently observed when it indefinitely adjourned the talks without consulting the concerned parties.

It has also emerged, through the reaction of the warring factions after the adjournment of talks that, the question of stakeholders inclusion was not a fundamental wish of the parties but a project that IGAD had conscripted to widen its activities in as far as the south Sudan conflict offered that opportunity.

Why do I certify these verdicts, simple, at the beginning of the negotiations, the government had made it abundantly clear that, there shall be a national dialogue conference that would bring on board all the stakeholders and here, the issues on state cum nation-building would be exhaustively discussed.

This I hope was made on the vantage point that, the negotiations in Addis were to be restricted to the warring parties with specific issues to be discussed after which a roadmap would be put in place for the national dialogue which could be held in the country.

This was a great idea that the government failed to defend but it was worth fighting for.

Furthermore, the SPLM/A in Opposition that advocated for the inclusion of civil society now turned around and says that all the selection was one–sided and therefore wanted the civil society from outside to be involved in the talks thus complicating the resumption of the next round of talks and eventually led to the boycott and ultimate adjournment of the talks.

This scenario shows too the nature of our civil society and other stakeholders. The concerns raised by the opposition tells us that, the civil society that we have in south Sudan together with their political parties colleagues are either pro-governments or pro-opposition leaving the page for neutrality completely blank.

This means and as most citizens believe that these so-called civil society organizations and political parties are a group of self-proclaimed network of individuals who seek self-fulfillment instead of advocating for the general rights of the voiceless public and act as an oversight to both the government and the opposition.

It is known that, some of the stakeholders that went to Addis had one or another MOU with either the government or the opposition for rewards with positions in the upcoming transitional government of National Unity.

This guess is too fascinating to be rubbished aside as history has shown that those who disguised as civil society activists shut up as soon as they are appointed to either side of the divide.

It is because of this peculiarity of having your own political parties and civil society organizations to support your stand in the issues being discussed that has subjugated the opposition as they thought the government has pocketed the support of the political parties and civil society that it had left in Juba and therefore, it felt that it would only rely on the civil society organizations and political parties that it has planted in the diaspora.

Quite unfortunate endeavor to ponder about but my analysis of the war over the selection of stakeholders to join the peace talks in Addis begins and ends at this point but it still all goes down to IGAD idea of supporting the impression of including the stakeholders in the negotiation as some of these stakeholders were just fighting over nominations because one want to fly and see Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ally itself to either party and at the end of the day, derive political benefits through appointments into political positions or other accommodative opportunities.

Ways Forwards:

After it has been proven that, the whole idea of involving stakeholders was an exercise in futility, I now advise IGAD to:

1. Confine the talks to the conflicting parties i.e. the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and SPLM/A in Opposition.

2. Stick to its 60 days ultimatum, recent adjournment notwithstanding.

3. Reclaim and reaffirm its neutrality and allow the parties to take charge of the negotiations while its role should be to act as a moderator/facilitator until the much needed peace is achieved in south Sudan.

4. Stop wasting time in the procedural aspects of the negotiations but should instead, go straight to the substantive aspects to bring peace to the people of south Sudan because more delays mean more suffering for the citizens of south Sudan.

5. Make it clear that the involvement of stakeholders would be needed at the national dialogue conference and this should take place in Juba, South Sudan after the peace is signed. It should be one of the terms of reference for the transitional government of national unity and this is where a wide range of issues can be discussed.

6. Advice the opposition to drop their demands for the inclusion of stakeholders because as the experiences in the symposium have shown, these stakeholders are more confusion than being part of the solution.

7. Advice its officials particularly the Executive Secretary to mind their language and at least research on diplomatic issues before they release any words that would chase these parties away from the negotiations. As a mediator, you must know how to handle the parties because controlling the warring parties is as fragile as carrying an egg.

Conclusion

As I had earlier mentioned in my opening remarks, I am neither against IGAD nor the International community but I just felt that, it would be helpful to fix the gaps that the mediators might have knowingly or otherwise missed to incorporate in their pursuit to bring peace to the people of south Sudan.

It is equally crucial for our leaders from both sides of the divide to let go of their pride and reach a compromise by owning the peace process and heeding to the calls of bringing back peace to their country and their people.

IGAD and TRIOKA cannot and shall never bring us peace if our leaders are unwilling to bring it themselves.

With this, allow me to say, do all have a happy 3rd independence anniversary by embracing the Theme: South Sudan, One Nation, One People!

Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate based in Juba, South Sudan
Reachable at: jummabor@gmail.com

6 Comments

  1. Kong Puok Tongluot - Finland says:

    Mr, Juma Mabor Marial
    I would like to advise you of being said that, IGAD and International Community ( TROIKA ) aren’t doing enough to end conflict in South Sudan. My brother, make sure of warring parties, I was a one SPLM campaigners in Upper Nile State, in 2010, but I regretted being SPLM*s member due lack of fair and transperency which the resulted George Athor’s rebellion, David Yau Yau, Gatluak Gach and finally a huge humanity catasdrophe Dec15, 2013, we have been yet blaming the Foreigners’ Peace Makers, How come?

    Do you will more mercenaries, like Uganda, JEM, and SPLM North to takeaside of war as non – Human rights countries, China, Russia and others to be involved with their guns. Please cite that you have to be a suitable state not anarchical statement. You new better what was gone of killing Nuers, there had no your single lip saying critic Salva Kiir’s failure, you just criticised TROIKA and US that’s ashamed! ! !. Thanks

  2. Ambago Ramba says:

    Mr, Juma Mabor Marial

    I can see that you are not only bent to seek foreign solutions, but also blaming others for SPLM’s lack of interest in peaceful solutions to a crisis that it and it alone created in a country it claims to have liberated.

    Well to say the obvious, South Sudanese are squarely responsible for their governance problems which in fact begun way back in 2005. The whole lot was started on a wrong footing. The current crisis was long seen coming,yet the so-called leaders were more interested in spending the oil money than heeding to those writings that were all over the wall.

    The ongoing war and destruction in properties and human lives is likely to continue taking its toll until such a time that South Sudanese are willing to adopt good governance and the rule of law.

    The international community has already done enough for South Sudan, and all that the people do is to kill one another, steal public funds and preach tribalism and tribal monopoly.

    What the country is facing now is a total failure in leadership. and while the only way out will undoubtedly involve a complete and general overhauling of all the institutions, the truth of the matter is that only a few seem to see it that way.

    Can’t you we all the sad paradox in the way the government is Juba sets its priorities?

    While there is a forecast that millions of south Sudanese citizens are likely to die of hunger and disease in the coming weeks, yet the government when for no less than billion US dollars worth of weapons and ammunitions from China instead of securing food for its starving people!

    The solution to the current crisis can only be realised by the people of south Sudan, otherwise why do we always cause problems among ourselves and expect outsiders to reconcile us ?

  3. Dear Dr.Ambago Rama:

    Good comment!It is shame to see our felloe citizens are suffering both at home and abroad! Both President Salva Kirr,and Riak Machar,they are good people at all!They playing a fuckin game between a mouse and a cat!

    Remember that Riak Machar,has supported the sanctions from European Union against the generals both Peter Gadet and Marial Chol.He thought European Union in Europe and USA,they will bring a golden plate on the peace ongoing internecine in the country! Why he supported?????!!!! He is very cheap!!!!!!!!!!Take care! Wait patiently for a better country in the whole Sudan! Get yourself prepared well! Mr.Garang Gatkouth Ladu is now preparing himself for the better Sudan! Do have a wonderful day in UK.I hope to meet some of your in person sooner or later when I am going to Sudan in the village in the South for my mother funeral!

  4. monychol says:

    This is a Dinka Bor County of Kuol Manyang and Makuei Loueth war.As all Dinkas,Nuers, Equatorians knows their malicious conspiracies, tricks,cunning and dishonesties from the likes of Abel Alier and current Makuei and Kuol.There will be no truth finding as long as the Bor county crooks are surrounding the president

  5. alex says:

    The writer was clear in his writing. He was giving in some useful input to the peace process. He is not blaming IGAD and TOIKER but he is trying to tell these institutions to listen carefully to the concerns of the two parties and make them to follow the commitments they have sign. At first the government want the talks to be between the two parties but the rebels want inclusive talks. Now they are turning away from what they have first called for. The international community were wrong to listen to the writings of the South Sudanese in Diaspora. The group are not contributing positively instead they are fighting for their own positions. The diaspora could have been included in the talks when the government and the rebels have completed the talk on their differences. Now the only support for the rebels is from the diaspora who are writing day and night that they are contributing to the peace talks. Let the rebels and the government first finish the talks and after that all the stakeholder will be included on the question how we are going to govern ourselves.
    The diaspora should be given a choice either to be with the rebels, government or the SPLM detained than messing up and prolonging the suffering of our people. The rebels are motivated with level of the support of writing from the diaspora but they are mistaken these people are just writing to gain something. When it come to reality the rebels will not be able to provide positions to all those people writing day and night. This will create another problem for the opposition and these is one problem they never fore see. For now since they are desperate for support they want to take everybody the problem will come the day of giving positions should peace agreement be sign.

    thanks

    Alex

  6. cos says:

    Hi Alex!
    Do your real use your brain before you give out comment or you hear from SOME one ignorant about governorship then you implement?
    Be informed that,our leaders are the problem and the solution.
    The international community has already done enough for South Sudan by funding,training,sensing us in all ways but unfortunately we turned to be deaf and blind for what they have done.
    Ask yourself when did the CPA peace negation begin,and there your find the answer that we are the problem.
    Otherwise you might be a half bagged graduated or you might have offered a wrong curse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.