Philosophy Politics

The IGAD High Level Revitalization Forum: Wounded but still alive?

From: Peter Adwok Nyaba , South Sudan, DEC/15/2017, SSN;

Today, Friday, 15 December 2017 marks the fourth anniversary of mutiny in the Presidential Guards contingent of the SPLA, which turned out to be a trap into a well planned targeted killing of ethnic Nuers. The fighting in Juba that night and the following four days heralded the beginning of the civil war. Lest we forget the memory of all those who perished in that and the subsequent revenge genocidal actions in Bor, Bentiu, Malakal, etc. The killing is still continuing.

On Monday 18 December 2017 will be the beginning of the hyped IGAD ARCISS High-Level Revitalization Forum, whatever it means. On the surface, it is meant to revitalize or re-activate, resuscitate, revive the agreement on resolution of conflict in South Sudan, which the JMEC Chair, Mr. Festus Mogai diplomatically described as wounded but still alive.

But deep down the diplomatic and political brinkmanship, it is nothing more than to keep up the hope that some miracles will occur, and some international diplomats and civil servants keep their employments while the broad masses of South Sudan wallow in misery created by war.

The fighting in J1 (Presidential Residence) and Jebel Kujur in July 2016, which witnessed SPLM/A (IO) dislodgement from Juba and Dr. Riek Machar pursued to the borders of Congo not only wounded ARCISS but indeed killed it and collapsed the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU) that was its offspring.

If not because of intrigues driven by security and economic interests in South Sudan, ARCISS should have been declared dead when the fighting involved tanks, howitzers, helicopter gunships and drones broke out in Juba.

One year later, after pretending that he was monitoring and evaluating ARCISS implementation, Mr. Festus embarrassingly admitted half-halfheartedly that ARCISS had died but something could be still be undertaken to revitalize it; hence is the proposal for a high-level revitalization forum (HLRF) patterned on AU High-level implementation panel on Abyei, which produced nothing to date.

By the look of things, the HLRF trends to what Beshir Mohammed Saed said in March 1965 describing the Round Table Conference on the Problem of Southern Sudan as ‘a mountain that gave birth to a dead rat’. The government of Salva Kiir has already declared it is not for revitalization.

President Kiir’s undiplomatic letter to Prime Minister Desalegn is indicative of his ‘don’t care’ attitude towards the humanitarian disaster unfolding in the country. In fighting Riek Machar and the opposition groups Kiir wouldn’t mind South Sudan and its people going down the drain.

The HLRF is doomed to failure because, in my opinion, the South Sudan political leadership lacks the national instincts to let go personal agenda for power. I believe there was nothing terribly wrong with ARCISS and it could have satisfied all and sunder, return peace to the country such that our people could recreate their lives in peace and harmony.

Something went wrong with the implementation and the missing component of the peace mediators, guarantors and the international community in the form of enforcement mechanism. This enabled one party to play with the ARCISS.

The responsibility for the collapse of ARCISS lies with President Salva Kiir and in part with the SPLM/A (IO) leadership on account of its failure to mend its internal fences.

Taban Deng Gai’s unbridled fury and anger against Dr. Riek Machar for denying him the petroleum portfolio in the TGoNU which ignited the July conflagration leading to the collapse of ARCISS, remains a shame and speaks volumes of how some South Sudan leaders’ power ambitions and greed for wealth threatens the very existence of South Sudan.

It is possible that the government may not send a delegation on Monday. The fact that Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro and not the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Deng Alor, will be attending the IGAD Council of Ministers today already shows the government is divided with one leg in the opposition in the form of Former Detainees.

The opposition should therefore exploit the opportunity afforded by HLRF in Addis Ababa to forge a unity of purpose. Only the unity of the opposition will make the government of Salva Kiir and some of its elements who have become fabulously rich because of the war, to feel pressure for peace.

Short of that it will just be another talking shop.

Peter Adwok Nyaba

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