QUOTE: “South Sudan does not belong to SPLM rather it is the other way – SPLM belongs to South Sudan and it is a small part of its constituent parts.” Elhag Paul.
BY: ELHAG Paul, APR/04/2015, SSN;
The collapse of South Sudan’s peace talks in Addis Ababa under the mediation of IGAD on 6th March 2015 comes with mixed emotions. The failure in reaching peace is painful because it means the suffering and the senseless war will continue further laying waste to the resources of South Sudan including its people.
On the other hand the failure may be a blessing in disguise to allow a genuine process under an impartial body (not IGAD) to deal with the real problem of South Sudan which is the diversification of power and holding the SPLM to account.
The failed IGAD talks erroneously preferred to again concentrate power in the hands of the SPLM, a criminal organisation, to the exclusion of all other stakeholders in the country.
Although its 9th May 2014 agreement clearly and rightly so opted for an inclusive approach, breaching its own brokered agreement, IGAD deliberately set out to sex-out all the other stakeholders from the peace talks in favour of the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO. Basically South Sudan and its people have been reduced to the property of SPLM.
Some of IGAD’s tactics for disenfranchising the people of South Sudan were very crude. For example, it invited the representatives of other political parties and civil society groups to Addis Ababa for the talks. Then it denies these groups of their per diem and travel expenses ensuring their expenses were impossible to meet.
On the other hand it pays the delegates of SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO thousands of dollars of per deim creating an unequal level playing field. Even things like stationery and support services for preparation of documents were denied to the others.
It is in this Dr Riek Machar’s advocacy of the exclusion of the South Sudanese people represented by the other political parties and the civil society groups, that Dr Riek Machar decimally failed the test of being a democrat.
In playing such a negative role, Riek just proved beyond doubt that he is not to be believed and trusted at all. He is not better than President Salva Kiir. Please see, ‘Like a leopard can not change its spots, Machar can not change’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201408080562.html
President Kiir and Riek with the support of IGAD were bent on amassing power to themselves repeating the grave mistakes committed during the negotiations of Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005.
The concentration of power in the SPLM then translated into creation of two dominant powerful tribes which is to the detriment of the country. Now these tribes are fighting it out using the state’s machinery and resources for a monopoly of power in the new country.
The leaked report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry in South Sudan (AUCISS) argues correctly that the CPA was responsible for the “creation of unchallenged armed power” in South Sudan.
Without doubt this is the problem of South Sudan and IGAD wanting to repeat the mistake it did a decade ago beggars belief. This is why the collapse of the IGAD peace talks may be a blessing in disguise.
Given the grand theft of public resources, the cleansing of the Nuer and the lawlessness of the tribal government in Juba, power of the state of South Sudan must be diversified if any meaningful peace is to be attained.
The failure of IGAD talks offers a golden chance for democracy to be appropriately built into the system that emerges after any peace talks, this is to be negotiated under any body taking the process over.
Thus it is critically important for the IGAD agreement of 9th May 2014 to be revived by the new body taking the talks over. All the stakeholders must be part of the talks to ensure diversification of the state power to the rest of the country.
Addressing this issue of power leads to another basic but vital problem relating to the foundation of South Sudan. The current foundation is laid on a very soft ground and that is why the country imploded in December 2013. For any country to survive, the foundation must be right.
So if South Sudan is to properly stand as a credible country that will withstand the storms and quakes of turbulent politics the foundation must be built on a solid ground.
The ingredients of a good foundation are a balanced constitution that accommodates everyone, bill of rights, fiercely independent judiciary and a truly self determined parliament. All these are things that exist in South Sudan theoretically but not practically.
A state can not be constructed on the tissue of a lie. For example, South Sudan under SPLM/A makes a lot of noise that it is a democratic country when visibly and practically it is a tribal dictatorship.
Another example is that SPLM/A falsely claims South Sudan is starting from scratch when the history of the country clearly shows the territory has since 1821 been under different administrations: Turko-Egyptian, condominium rule of Egypt/Britain, and the Sudan government.
SPLM/A fabricated this lie to allow them to mismanage the country while hiding their incompetence behind such a claim.
The importance of a good foundation must not be under estimated. Sudan broke into two and possibly it may break up into more countries because its foundation was faulty from the word go.
The elites in that country buried their heads in the sand and decided to give the country an identity that is not correct resulting in discriminatory policies and practices to fit the imagined false identity.
In contrast, even the United States of America which is founded on a solid Constitution to this date suffers from human imperfection. Issues of race, slavery and discrimination routinely surface as a reminder of human weakness in upholding noble principles in the US Constitution.
Nevertheless, it still progresses on a daily basis towards an ideal society because the majority believe and uphold those beautiful principles found in the Constitution of America. The US is able to withstand the cracks on its foundation because the principles and the practice to a certain extent balances out.
Please see President Barack H. Obama’s speech addressing the human imperfection of Americans when he was campaigning for the presidency, ‘A more perfect Union’ https://my.barackobama.com/page/content/hisownwords
In the mother continent Africa the late president of South Africa Nelson Mandela and former President Fredrik De Klerk laid a reasonably good foundation for post Apartheid South Africa in the 1994 settlement.
The racist Afrikaners with their Apartheid regime who came to power in 1948 nurtured a wrong ideology which undermined the concept of a state. Because of the wrong foundation of Apartheid South Africa crumbled under the resistance of the people.
Equally Dinkocracy in South Sudan like Apartheid in South Africa will crumble soon either by revolution or through the expected coming peace talks.
South Sudan has endured a lot of pain since 1821. It needs breathing space to recuperate from its traumas. The panacea for these traumas is democracy. The South Sudan of today as it is known is a product of a democratic process.
The choice of independence is a result of the people’s decision in a referendum in January 2011.
Although the SPLM usurped the power of the people and plunged it into chaos, the people have the right to have a say in its rebuilding.
The mediation set up under IGAD unfortunately was undemocratic. It pushed away the people of South Sudan (stakeholders: other parties and civil society) from the process. IGAD was happy to concentrate power and hand it on a silver platter to the SPLM to do whatever it wanted to do so long as it would stop the war.
IGAD appeared to have no intention of bringing real peace to South Sudan. That was not right at all because practically their approach meant postponement of the war to some future date.
South Sudan as a young country made its choice in January 2011 through the provision of the CPA to be a democracy.
The people of South Sudan believe in this ideology except the SPLM party which trumpets the ideals of democracy but brilliantly practices Dinkocracy, a tribal form of totalitarianism.
Although it is very sad that the SPLM plunged the country into chaos, good should be harnessed out of this tragedy to entrench democratic principles and practices in the country. This should start with the coming mediation process wherever it would be.
For democracy to take root the talks needs to be conducted by the “people” and it must not be made an SPLM affair.
South Sudan does not belong to SPLM rather it is the other way – SPLM belongs to South Sudan and it is a small part of its constituent parts.
Thus all the people must have a say in stopping the war and what the transitional government should be like. Which means all the stakeholders must be part of the coming talks without discrimination.
Ultimately if South Sudan is to overcome its ills including tribalism to achieve full security and stability it must whole heartedly embrace democracy with its element of free speech to act as a balance against the excesses of state.
Democracy provides safeguards against violence in all its forms because in situations where anger and frustrations builds up to a boiling point, it regulates the building pressure by releasing it through the in-built safety values and practices: routine elections based on the constitution; freedom of press and speech; and the rule of law.
These ensure security and stability which are important for economic and human development.
When the government of the day becomes a problem it is safely replaced/changed without traumatising the country. The beauty of democracy is that its structures are adaptable to various political opinions.
In contrast just see what Dinkocracy has done to South Sudan in only three years of independence. The reason the country imploded is simply because Dinkocracy unlike democracy has no safety valves.
The ideologies of totalitarian regimes usually have an assured end in self destruction no matter what development they achieve. Observe the destruction Iraq, Libya, and Syria are facing now. All those sky scrapers and magnificent buildings developed in those countries are being torn down in anger.
Will the wretched development in Juba survive the brewing anger now developing in people’s hearts? The virtues of democracy are proven by the stability and real development seen in the Western world.
In the IGAD peace talks the SPLM/A warring factions of President Salva Kiir, Dr Riek and Pagan Amum were treated favourably and lavished with gleeful per deim in thousands of dollars daily.
Worse still these murderous groups were allowed to dictate the terms. SPLM/A must not be allowed to monopolise power through the process of peace talks.
The failed IGAD talks had again like the CPA negotiations tried to concentrate power in the hands of the criminals of South Sudan. They pretend by claiming that they can bring peace.
This is nonsense. They are the very people who manufactured the catastrophe in the country and therefore they should not be rewarded by being listened to.
Where on this earth are criminals considered as negotiators in solving their crimes? What was happening in Addis Ababa is akin to asking accused foxes who ransacked a chicken pen to bring safety to the remaining traumatised chicken.
If the Hutus who committed genocide in Rwanda were not listened to; if Dr Radovan Karadic and General Ratko Mladic of the Bosnian Serbs who committed ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia were not listened to and made part of their respective peace talks, why then is President Kiir and his SPLM allowed to be part of the talks and treated like decent people?
Does the leaked AUCISS report not make clear that the Juba regime is responsible for the ethnic cleansing?
What is the difference between the ethnic cleansing of the Croats and Bosnians by the Serbs and the one of the Nuer by Jieng controlled regime of Juba?
The only difference as far as can be seen is that the former involves Europeans and the latter involves Africans. It may be this difference that blurs the eye with which the UNSC sees the problem of South Sudan.
The rush and desperation of the international community to broker peace before the expiry of the mandate of the President Kiir on 9th July 2015 does not bode well for South Sudan.
What is important should be identifying the right body and personalities to lead it rather than leaving the process yet again to the failed IGAD to try to revamp itself under their declared new – IGAD Plus body which seeks to incorporate the Troika with some other countries.
Please see ‘IGAD unveils new process to end South Sudan crisis’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article54254
The failure of IGAD simply is based on the fact that their strategy was wrong and unjust, and as long as it continues with this strategy they will never succeed in bringing peace with Troika and others or without.
IGAD’s hurry to rejuvenate itself appears to indicate anxiety, confusion and the poor thinking on the matter going on in the mediation team. They seem to be more interested in salvaging their already damaged reputation than getting the right and workable peace deal.
All along IGAD appears to focus on the short term rather than the long term. Like their already failed strategy they look certain to commit the same mistake, because they have not learnt anything from their failure.
Lesson number one for IGAD and the international community is that the talks must be an affair of all South Sudanese and the South Sudanese should be the ones to decide the agenda.
The importance of this point can not be overstated because ownership of the peace will translate to a lasting peace for South Sudan and the region.
Lesson number two is that Uganda must not be part of the talks because it is belligerent and on the government’s side, with Uganda’s troops on the ground involved in the war.
Lesson number three is that IGAD should not make threats that they are not ready to follow through.
Lesson number four is that IGAD must strictly follow the rules of mediation.
Lesson number five IGAD must treat all stakeholders equally.
Lesson number six SPLM must not be given any preference – It must be treated like all the other stakeholders.
Finally, it is unbelievable that the international community is bent on continuing with empowering the monstrous SPLM/A. The leaked report of African Union Committee of Inquiry in South Sudan (AUCISS) which IGAD is struggling to keep under wraps identifies the source of the current problem in the country.
In clause 89 the report argues that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement created SPLM/A as “unchallenged armed power in South Sudan” Please see, ‘Draft Report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.’ http://nyamile.com/2015/03/07/draft-report-of-the-au-commission-of-inquiry-on-south-sudan/
Therefore, the simple strategy for bringing peace to South Sudan should involves the diversification of power to all its constituent social groups through a democratised peace talks.
This entails the international community starting the whole process anew. Just as agreed and accepted on 9th May 2014 agreement in Addis Ababa, the new body without IGAD should invite all the stakeholders of South Sudan to hammer out a lasting deal.
The shenanigans of IGAD which favoured the culprit and discriminated against the victims (the people) should be thrown into the bin.
[Truth hurts but its also liberating]