QUOTE: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” ~ Desmond Tutu
BY: Chuol C. Puoch, JUBA, AUG/14/2014, SSN;
After the eruption of fighting in Juba and later to other areas of South Sudan, the region had in the first place made a “look-on” moment, before their intervention was prompted by the visit of other outside world especially the visit of US and Nigeria on the 22nd December 2013, few days after the outbreak of the fighting.
While the region was wondering, looking on and confused with evil plans on how to utilize the conflict in South Sudan, Uganda (as part of the region) intervened and sided with the government of Kirr warning the opposition leader to surrender or else be hunted and destroyed within a period of four days.
Other Countries in the region including Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan were reached and asked for their interventions by the world, while they were also interested in formulating some ideas to utilize the situation not merely involving to stop the war.
Due to the international pressure on them to impartially intervene, they came up, at last, to try and contain the situation and bring the warring parties to a negotiating table through their organization, IGAD.
After the intensification of calls and demands from the world in trying to restore peace, Machar stated it clearly that he would accept negotiating with government if they release his comrades in prison in Juba accused of attempted coup alongside Machar himself.
The region was likely in support of the idea of releasing those political prisoners, while holding their hidden agenda of forming a government of national unity under the leadership of those in prison. No one knew that the former detainees would attempt to turn their back to Machar after advocating and demanding their release through many regional and international leaders and institution.
However, it has been made clear by the action of IGAD after the release of the former detainees, that they want those former detainees abandon Machar and form their own block, and the IGAD will help them succeeding their objective of leading the interim government that is in the plan to be formed.
Why IGAD is a part of those obstructing peace in South Sudan:
In their roles and capacity as mediators, they are not, in any case, capable or mandated to impose any idea that is not in the interest of both parties; Their roles is to mediate and push the warring parties to come to comprising solution and define and agreed on the ways forward. It’s also the role of the mediator to control the external factors that are escalating the conflict as well as ensuring what is agreed upon on the table is implemented on the ground.
In the process of mediating generally, the mediators take the following responsibilities while mediating the warring parties:
(1) The mediator may assist in contacting the other party (ies) to arrange for an introductory meeting.
(2) The mediator act as an educator and educates the parties about the mediation process, other conflict resolution alternatives, issues that are typically addressed, options and principles that may be considered, research, court standards, etc.
(3) The mediator seeks to ensure that each party is fully heard in the mediation process by facilitating it.
(4) In the event that there is need for translation in the mediation, the mediator can help by rephrasing or reframing communications so that they are better understood and received. (5) The mediator probes issues and confirms understandings to ensure that the participants and the mediator have a full understanding.
(6) The mediator comes to be trusted to suggest procedures for making progress in mediation discussions, which may include caucus meetings, consultation with outside legal counsel and consultation with substantive experts, and not attempt to impose those suggestions to the parties but suggest them.
(7) The mediator can act as an Angel of Realities by playing devil’s advocate with one or both parties as to the practicality of solutions they are considering or the extent to which certain options are consistent with participants’ stated goals, interests and positive intentions. And some other minor responsibilities like setting the rules, arranging the venue and availing the needed resources for the mediation.
Hence, IGAD have been acting out of their duties and mandate and have tried several time to impose their own wills on the parties, they have failed to ensure the implementation of what is written and agreed upon by the parties in the conflict.
For instance, on 23rd of January 2014, a CoH agreement was signed and the part of that document was the withdrawal of foreign fighter invited by either side in the conflict.
It was a role of IGAD to ensure the implementation of what is written and agreed upon. Up to this time, IGAD failed to ensure the withdrawal of forces invited during the conflict: UPDF are still in South Sudan up to now, many other Sudanese rebel factions are up to this date present in South Sudan.
If that is what IGAD is supposed to have done, why is it not done?
In the ground of finding the truth by analyzing it, we always differ and each and everyone come up with almost completely different opinion and analysis of the situation. But I guess with the case of IGAD, truth is obvious and doesn’t require more analysis that may result differently.
The simple and obvious reason I can give is that, IGAD is planning by all mean to solve the conflict of South Sudan by imposing their own wills. If UPDF withdrew from South Sudan those days back, Salva Kirr’s government would have collapsed and the opposition forces under Dr. Riek Machar would have taken the leadership and the conflict would have come to an end.
However, despite public interest on Dr. Riek to become their leader, IGAD wants to impose the disgruntled politicians currently known as G10 (former Detainees) to take over the leadership of the expected GoNU, a plan that will never succeed.
It was last month when IGAD unnecessarily postponed the peace talk for one month, simply because both parties do not want the other stakeholders, including the former detainees, to be part of the peace agreement. Both parties accepted that the other stakeholders would get involved later when it comes to the drafting and formation of the GoNU – a demand which is clear and realistic.
IGAD are no different with the warring parties; in fact, they are part of the political struggle in the conflict of South Sudan because they have their political agenda – bringing the person of their own choice to lead the interim government, just like the two warring parties who are also struggling to lead the interim government.
How will the problem be solved, when IGAD has chosen to be an opponent of both side and deceiving the world that they are mediating, when in fact they are struggling for power?
US has been badly deceived, both by the mediators and the government of South Sudan, that the SPLA – IO are violating the signed CoH by attacking Nasir town. During the attacks, the MVT of IGAD were in Nasir and condemned the attack, while in fact, they had given the SPLA – IG a go ahead to destroy the base of Gen. Gathoth Gatkuoth in Jigmiir.
John F. Kerry forgot the massacre that the innocent Nuer civilians and others have gone through, by calling Salva kirr a legitimate president! By the way, I should say John Kerry was in the ground of telling nonsense that day. He recognize how militarized his warlord friend (Kirr) is by saying “the cameras are sounding like machine guns” (Kirr’s machine guns).
And still, he is condemning and warning those who had volunteered and sacrificed themselves to prevent the innocent lives that Salva Kirr would have maimed after finishing many in Juba in December.
Chuol C. Puoch is a South Sudanese living in South Sudan and can be follow/added on his facebook with his name above, on twitter @chuolchot and via email: email@example.com