The Prospects of Peace in South Sudan: A Case of Double Standards?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, DEC/16/2016, SSN;

The commemoration of the December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians arrived while peace remains elusive in our troubled country. In fact, since those terrible days, the country has slid deeper into violence involving communities that were not part of the initial conflict.

The regime has since committed atrocities against the Chollo people, the Western Bahr Ghazalians and now the Equatorians. The war has spread to all parts of South Sudan.

The international community has been warned by Human Rights organisations and the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, that genocide is indeed looming in Equatoria unless effective measures are undertaken to avert it.

The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) remains supportive of the regional and international efforts to realise a lasting peace in South Sudan. However, those endeavours thus far lacked consistency or direction and appeared chaotic.

The IGAD group of countries have been sending conflicting messages – on the one hand, they suggested that the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) could not be implemented without one of the principal signatories.

On the other, they indicated the contrary. Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae tenure as the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) failed to make an impression on the course of events. Apart from infrequent statements that were merely for public consumption, the JMEC was largely an outsider to conflict resolution.

The Troika group is no better either. To explain this, let’s shed some light on the US position or positions. It appears Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, are in one league. They are advocating continuing with the damaged ARCSS.

Princeton Lyman, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Institute of Peace and Kate Almquist Knopf, Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Department of Defense – seem to be in a league of their own. In a joint article, published in the Financial Times on July 20, 2016 – they came up with the idea of a UN/AU transitional administration for South Sudan for a period ranging from 10 to 15 years.

For the records, a UN Trusteeship is not a new idea. This author first suggested it in two articles on this website [ (UN Trusteeship is the best option to resolve the crisis in South Sudan on July 16, 2016) and (The Root Causes of Political Violence in South Sudan – What’re the solutions? on July 31, 2016 )]. They also suggested that Kiir and Machar should be offered immunity from prosecution and safe haven abroad!

It makes us wonder whether the US has backtracked on its stance regarding accountability. If the US on several occasions has emphasised the need for accountability, then who will be the individuals to face justice if the persons who issued the orders are to be left alone?

More confusing is that the views of the two officials are at odds with what their boss previously indicated. I quote what President Obama said while addressing the AU in Addis Ababa in July 2015, “The world awaits the African Union Commission (AUC) report because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace.”

At the UN, we saw Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN abandoning a plan to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposing arms embargo on South Sudan. It’s understandable that it wouldn’t have passed because of the Russian and Chinese Vetos.

But the US and its allies could have gotten the job done anyway. South Sudan is a landlocked country making arms embargo a lot easier.

The problem is that there appears to be some complacency and lack of political will to deal with the issue at hand once and for all. The US is the ultimate superpower until further notice, and we believe it could do more if it wants to.

In 2003, President George W Bush, formed the “Coalition of the willing” to circumvent the Russian and Chinese Vetos against the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein. It’s arguable that such a coalition though for a different purpose, does exist between the Troika countries, the IGAD group of countries and the regional powers.

The way Dr Riek Machar has been shut out from the neighbouring countries tells us that something of that kind is already underway. The question that begs for an answer is that – if an “embargo” has been successfully imposed on Dr Riek Machar, why can’t an arms embargo against the regime in Juba be imposed using similar means?

Are we witnessing a case of double standards?

The calls for an arms embargo from the numerous Human Rights organisations, the relief agencies and the UN relevant institutions were regrettably ignored. A dictatorial regime led by an illegitimate President is allowed to buy and increase its stockpile of weapons. The result would certainly be more atrocities against the innocent civilians in Equatoria and other parts of South Sudan.

The Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is damaged beyond repair. Pretending that it’s still workable is deceptive and a counter-productive exercise. It was inherently flawed because of exclusion of major players from the Peace Agreement.

The first mistake committed by the brokers of ARCSS was to think that striking a deal between those who possessed arms would solve the problem. They overlooked the overwhelming majority of the South Sudanese people who were indeed opposing the regime peacefully.

The second mistake was that they were not bold enough to exclude the two rival leaders from leading the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Again, it was the view of this author in an article published on this website (No Deal is better than a Bad Deal on July 31, 2015) that a neutral national figure, preferably a member of the clergy, should be made to lead the Transition.

That would have brought some confidence in the system as a starting point and hastened the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

The brokers have now learned it the hard way – you cannot exclude a significant constituency, in fact, the cornerstone of the country from power-sharing and expect the Peace Agreement to succeed. At best it would be a piecemeal Peace Process and never comprehensive.

Re-negotiating ARCSS by all the stakeholders won’t work because the government already has reservations and regarded it as an imposed Peace Agreement. Also, the newcomers to the negotiating table would certainly have issues with what was agreed upon by the two sides.

Furthermore, the brokers themselves have shown a lack of neutrality on numerous occasions. The two options that have better chances of success are the following:

(a) Broad-based Peace negotiations inclusive of all the stakeholders under the auspices of the UN and the AU. Choosing the right system of governance for South Sudan would be at the centre of the negotiations. Exclusion of Kiir and Machar from presiding over the Transition would be a pre-requisite. A government of technocrats led by a neutral figure preferably a clergyman would be the right option to lead the country in a Transition of 3 to 5 years.

A general election shall then be held at the end of the Transition with the participation of all the political parties.

(b) A UN Trusteeship in collaboration with AU for at least five years would set the country on track and bring about a lasting peace.

Similarly, as in option (a), general elections would be carried out at the end of the Trusteeship.

As things stand right now, the so-called international community (depends on which group of countries you refer to) appears complacent, and some countries are displaying sheer opportunism. Those who have been lecturing us about democracy and the rule of law, ought to redeem themselves as their credibility is on the line.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

7 Comments

  1. Abel Magok says:

    Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok,

    It is better to stick in one position instead of sending out mix messages and deceptive tactics driven by emotions promoting tribalism, hatred, violence and chaos in the country.
    In his last article on this website titled the SSDF vision for Equatoria and South Sudan, dated Nov. 28, 2016, he said there is no such thing as South Sudan nationalism at present. The SSDF believes that Equatoria is already a nation, South Sudan is not yet a nation but got the potential to become one and suggested Equatoria communities despite diverse ethnicities, they developed a unique common language (Arabi Juba) that brought a common psychological make-up or culture.
    South Sudan, as a country is much more than an individual named Lako Jada Kwajok and is not up to him to simplified vital issues of the nation in such divisive language and attitudes.
    Arabi Juba, never been unique for Equatorians alone in understanding themselves apart from other South Sudan ethnics, in meaning Arabi Juba is a non-classical or broken Arabic most Southerners who may speak or not speak classical Arabic could understand each other and making it by Lako Jada as special for Equatorians is far from the truth.

    Moreover, Dr. Lako Jada has been vocal citing Adama Dieng warnings about potential genocide in South Sudan, while he is currently leading rebellion in Equatoria region where targeted killings of innocent civilians in roads attacks based on ethnicity frequently occurring and Dr. Lako Jada in many of his articles and press release never mention anything about such terrible act which could simply be the essence of genocide he has been talking.
    Dr. Lako Jada has to choose one direction, being a tribal man pursuing issues of Equatoria as he declared it or come out clearly as nationalist leader wanted correction in the country. Yes, things are not going well in South Sudan and the country need a nationalist leader who could be trusted by all not a divisive or tribal individual like Lako Jada Kwajok.

  2. lodani rama says:

    Mr Kwajok,
    If you need genuine peace you can make it your self. Do not expect foreigners to force peace in your heart. Secondly talking of peace and you have declared war seems you do not know what you said yesterday. How and read you do call objectives when you was declaring your equatoria movement. Job hunting on people blood is evil.

    Secondly, Kwajok you are one of the people who encouraged ethnic violence. Reference your articles on this forum can proof your evil motives. Already the people massacred on Yei road falls under your responsibility.

    so blame yourself be cause if you want peace it is not difficult to come and say let us forgive each other and embark on building our country but what you want is to exploit the international community for your own ends. We should not be blaming any country or anyone for the lack of peace and suffering of our people. Let’s blame the greed in ourselves. If you and your children were to endure the current suffering, you would not be talking or blaming anyone. You should not expect those you are looking to , to force peace in our heart.

    Stop behaving like a kid who hit his brother and run to his father to accuse hid brother so that he can be punished. Keep on enjoying the suffering of your people because if it really matters you, you could not be wasting your time writing or accusing international community. These people are here to support us end the war by ourselves and do not expect them to side with anyone. Kiir has asked for forgiveness among ourselves, Kirr has asked for reconciliation, Kirr has asked for dialogue among S. Sudanese people and Kirr has given amnesty to all combatants so the ball is on the hands of the war mongers who are still wasting time like hungry dog expecting for a food from Americans or white people. You have become a curse and disappointment for S. Sudanese people.

  3. Bismark says:

    Lako Jada,
    I totally stand with you on those useful ideas. All that you have proposed could be a firm foundation on our way to found a just, free and independent country where no one should promote imperialism and tribal supremacy in our nation state.

  4. False Millionaire says:

    Trump on the seat
    Obama gone to the relic of history
    Brit Exit fragilizing the EU
    Russia and Iran crushing rebellion in Alep
    The US becoming a toothless sheer leader in a world it had long dragged in the mud
    Too many MTN to hunt
    The cross will never be so light to carry!!!

  5. Gatdarwich says:

    Mr. SSDF Chairman,

    You’re proposing a theocracy government in South Sudan, Right? Aren’t you out of your mind, Dr.? How many clergymen with the holy Bibles in their hands did killer nyankiir killed since December 2013 to the present? I personally know numerous priests, deacons, and deaconess summarily executed by killer nyankiir during this three years genocidal war. Maybe the clergymen massacred aren’t from those communities that you, and your likes wrongly assumed to be safe from killer nyankiir’s genocidal war! Frankly, Dr., the only , and possibly achievable way to have everlasting peace in South Sudan is to violently deposes killer nyankiir and the Jenges Council of Evils from power full stop. Any other proposals—such as the usual deceptive peace agreements, putting the country under the UN’s trusteeship or Dr. Kwajok’s clergymen’s leadership- is totally a recipe for prolonging killernyankiir’s genocidal war because implementing any of these proposals would definitely involves killer nyankiir or his demoniac disciples having inputs in the government. And that’s a big NO to foresees happening in a peaceful South Sudan full stop

    Peace and Ngundeng Bless,

    Patriot Gatdarwich

  6. mading says:

    Gatdarwich. You are preaching war in South Sudan while you are far a way, but think about those who are dying in our country now. Replacing Kiir with the most evil Riek Machar will not bring peace as that is what you want.

  7. A criminal thugs who were in hidden during struggling wants to create division and hatred among s. Sudanese tribe. Shame on them

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