A Letter to: H. E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairman of the IGAD, Office of the Prime Minister,
Po Box 1031
Date: 15 April 2016, SSN,
Subject: Lack of Willpower and obstruction of the Peace Accord by the Juba Regime;
The South Sudan’s Peace implementation process would most likely be doomed in the face of what plainly amounts to an established lack of willpower on the part of the regime in Juba to ensure the timely execution of the peace accord concluded between the contending parties to the conflict in South Sudan given the indifferent and the familiar lackluster stance adopted by the IGAD and Troika pertaining to their collective de jure role that calls for the non-obstruction of the implementation of the South Sudan’s Peace Agreement by all parties to the conflict.
Today the peace process is hanging by a finger nail, as the tribal regime in Juba continues to infringe on and obstruct the peace execution process on a consistent basis. We cite the following matters and violations by the Juba tribally-constituted and orientated authority as blunt indications of the regime’s unwillingness to put a halt to the civil war in South Sudan:
a) A number of humanitarian organisations rendering assistance to the displaced population in various parts of South Sudan bear first hand testimony to the regime’s insensitivity to the plight of the suffering civilians in the rural areas of the country. Thousands of civilians have been murdered, raped, and had other grave abuses meted on them on account of their ethnicity or perceived political bonds with the SPLM-IO in the rolling conflict in South Sudan as confirmed by HR Report Designated “South Sudan: Army Abuses Spread West”, 6 March 2016. The country’s Minister of information who is the official spokesman of the tribal regime justifies those indiscriminate attacks and awful abuses on the civilians as necessary operations against criminal elements. Neither the IGAD-mandated Joint Monitory Evaluation Commission (JMEC) nor the neglectful Troika and the inattentive African Union have condemned this oafish conduct of the callous regime in Juba.
b) While the peace agreement calls for both parties to the conflict to embark on Permanent Ceasefire Arrangements including cessation of hostilities, disengagement, separation and withdrawal of forces including allies of both parties (forces, militias) in the theatre of operations on the basis of the 23rd January 2014 CoH Agreement, and report compliance to Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (MVM), the Government in Juba still maintains its allied forces from the Justice and Equality Movement and SPLM-N that are currently engaged in fighting the government of Sudan. In a blatant disregard of the permanent cease fire, Juba consistently launches attacks on civilian settlements in Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal states and simply gets away with all these crimes.
c) In the past few weeks the regime has fully demonstrated that it does not recognise the SPLM-IO as a vitally important and indispensable stakeholder in the peace accord in the country. The arrival in Juba of the Deputy Chairman of the opposition SPLM-IO was never mentioned in the regime’s controlled media. Furthermore the so-called National security services of South Sudan prevented the population of Juba from thronging the airport to welcome the deputy opposition leader Lt. General Alfred Ladu Gore at the airport. Infuriatingly the members of the secret services went further to arrest, detain and torture the members of the press team of the SPLM-IO. Absurdly, the government has decided to dictate what the Chairman of the opposition leader the SPLM-IO, Dr. Riek Machar would and would not be permitted to do once in Juba. In effect this draconian conduct of the Police state would be likely imposed on him, which would literally extend to severe restrictions that include barring the Vice President from making public comments or he might even be put under detention as his body guards are lightly armed and would definitely not be able to withstand encirclement by battle tanks. Again the JMEC is muted and merely focuses on the formation of the Government of National Unity as it upfront fixation, as Festus Mogae hardly understands the twisted philosophy and perceptual configuration of the tribally-constituted regime in the country that solely believes in the total domination and subjugation of the rest of the other remaining 63 ethnicities that reside in the Republic of South Sudan.
d) The demilitarization of Juba and the others cities of Bor, Malakal and Bentiu as stipulated in the peace agreement has simply been given a cosmetic treatment by the government. It is also a blatant lie that there are currently only 3,420 government soldiers garrisoned in Juba (Sudantribune, 13 April 2016) in accordance with the peace accord. The government has never honoured the peace agreement as it claims and would not respect it. The government had earlier maintained that it would be difficult to demilitarize Juba because it lacked funds. Later the same regime claimed that it was negotiating with the natives and the custodians of the land and areas to be used for deployment of its soldiers. It now so sounds frivolous and downright eccentric to declare that the demilitarization of the capital city of Juba has been accomplished. To the contrary, thousands of additional armed tribal soldiers have been moved from Bahr el Ghazal state to Juba in what could evidently amount to a brazen disregard for the accord in that respect. The reality is that few soldiers were redeployed to a few locations around Juba on a rotational and camouflage fashion just to hoodwink the world into believing that demilitarization has indeed been accomplished.
e) The outlandish assertion of the repressive police state and its bureaucracy in South Sudan that the creation of the 28 states in the country was a popular demand by South Sudanese, is futile, deceptive and an idealistic postulation that does not have a counterpart in the realm and confines of paranoia integrity. Thus far, there has been no plebiscite or referendum conducted in the country to determine the size of South Sudanese for and against the 28 states. This is simply a hoopla campaign mounted by the government and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) to impose their unidimensional and narcissistic philosophy on South Sudanese. If the 28 states decree is implemented, it would create another civil war, as millions of South Sudanese mainly the Nuer, the shilluk in Greater Upper Nile,and the Fertit group in the Greater Bahr El Ghazal States would have had their ancestral lands stolen by the Dinka in the name of what the government in Juba absurdly refers to as “The demand of the people”. Besides, the power sharing ratios in the conflict affected States of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile as well as in the remaining seven (7) states as enshrined in the peace accord would be slanted in favour of the Dinka government.
The SPLM-IO would certainly not accept this apparent risk of rushing into forming the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) without clear safeguards that ensure the viability of the government and stability of the country once it is constituted for the next 30 months’ period.
A full blown civil war could likely occur in South Sudan at a scale far larger than the government’s feigned coup which was designed to liquidate its political opponents that finally sparked the civil war back in December 2013, unless the superintending parties, namely, the IGAD, the Troika the UNSC and the US government that has invested so lavishly in the creation of South Sudan as a sovereign nation, through the sustained efforts of an individual politician like Dr. Susan Rice move back to the drawing board to chart out a painstaking strategy that ensures the prevention of violence that could conceivably be created by the Juba tribal regime that has vowed to remain in power for eternity.
Given this grim scenario the 1,370 police units and lightly armed body guards of the SPLM-IO deployed in Juba would not be able to withstand a combined government and mercenary coordinated force more than twenty times the thin figure of the SPLM-IO soldiers, unless A more credible deterrent force from the SPLM-IO replete with defensive paraphernalia including tanks, antitank and aircraft systems are equally deployed in Juba. Such would guarantee the viability and sustainability of peace until the end of the period for the interim government of National Unity.
On a parallel note, a neutral force from either the African Union or from other parts of the world and duly sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council should be deployed in Juba and other cities in South Sudan as suggested before, and the demarcated mandate and role of such a contingent would be to restrain the Juba regime from creating another civil war in the country as it did in December 2013 against the opposition that the government had earlier vowed to extinguish altogether.
It is long overdue that the IGAD has yet to recommend the regime’s firebrand like Paul Molong and “others” who had instigated mass murders in Juba from 15 December 2013 to the 31 December 2013, for international sanctions and possibly to the International Criminal Court for further investigations for war crimes and gross abuses of human rights committed in South Sudan as documented in the Final report of the African Union commission of inquiry on South Sudan that designates the mass killings in Juba as “coordinated state policy”. (https://radiotamazuj.org/sites/default/files/auciss.final_.report_0.pdf).
Apparently, the external stakeholders that include the Troika, the IGAD the African Union and other parties have no inkling about the nature of the regime they are dealing with in Juba. It is highly advisable to primarily fully grasp the political and tribal contour of the South Sudan conflict before leveraging Dr. Riek Machar to travel to Juba and form a government of National Unity with a party that intensely believes in the opposition leader’s outright demise and the comprehensive destruction of all opposition elements in South Sudan.
The Chairman of the opposition risks having his residence surrounded by government tanks on his arrival in Juba and he inevitably becomes a hostage to the tribal regime that could fancifully dictate to the opposition leader new terms on the realization of the 28 states’ decree and other matters central to the supremacist tribal cartel ruling the Republic of South Sudan.
Peter Lokarlo Ngrimwa
Former Lecturer, GSBL, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
On behalf of South Sudanese Nationalists in Australia.
1) Ambassador Susan Rice, US National Security Advisor;
2) H. E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, State House, Nairobi;
3) The British Embassy in South Sudan, Juba;
4) Embassy of the Republic of Sudan, Juba;
5) Representatives of Troika member countries;
6) Alpha Oumar Konaré, the AU high representative for South Sudan;