How Team Kiir-Museveni Lost To Team Machar In Addis Ababa,
By Deng Elijah.
August 19, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — The recent South Sudan’s Peace Agreement has revealed many personalities, leadership, frustrations and conspiracies in the IGAD-led peace mediation. It has also shown the big political and diplomatic gap among the South Sudanese leaders, specially between Dr. Machar and Mr. Kiir. Nonetheless, it has demonstrated the influence of regional leaders and their alignments in regard to South Sudan conflict.
For the past twenty months, the region and their international partners have had many reservations on South Sudan conflict and the warring leaders, however, as more people are dying and the mediating fund dries up, IGAD, TROIKA and the international donors do not see any significant benefit of wasting billions of their tax-payers’ money and their precious time on an endless process that is full of political pretense and war egos.
For this reason, a more inclusive mediation with broader representation had to be established to immediately end the conflict and allow the people of South Sudan to resume their live. IGAD-Plus which includes representatives of African Union, European Union, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States, Norway and China was thought to be the right catalyst at the right time to end the deadly civil war. Now, the fully reinvigorated mediating bloc is at the crossroad as Mr. Kiir remains at large!
Unfortunately, Juba did not see that coming, and therefore the regime continues with its war rhetoric, killing of civilians, castrations of boys, many cases of rapes, burning of civilians property, raiding of cattle, starving IDPs and other pervasive violations of fundamental human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Instead of aligning with the direction of wind and working toward achieving peace, Juba continues to threaten the “west” when Kenyan, Ugandan and Sudanese forces are evading South Sudanese territories in a broad day light. However, this may not escalate any longer, a solution has be found.
In this spirit, a profound compromise peace agreement was wrapped up and distributed from July 24th to all the respective parties, which were then expected to consult their constituents and accordingly send their delegations to negotiate and revise the draft from August 6th-12th. It was intuitively assumed that two weeks of consultations and another one week of negotiations among the stakeholders would have been enough, however, if this time frame would not have been enough, which particular party should have asked for more time?
Considering areas of control and resources, it should have been the SPLM/SPLA[IO] of Dr. Riek Machar that would have needed more time to fetch their generals from Greater Bhar el Ghazal, Equatoria and far ends of Greater Upper Nile, and also to book their politicians from Khartoum, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Diaspora. This would absolutely make a lot of sense. In addition, Machar would have needed more time to calm down situations around Pagak headquarters following the internal differences that Juba was eager to capitalize but unexpectedly, Machar boldly convened his consultative conference on time, and nevertheless it went with a great success. What was Juba possibly doing at this time?
Juba was busy organizing all-out protests against peace, decisively convening governors in Juba, running underground campaigns to unconstitutionally remove or arrest elected governors, preventing opposition parties’ leaders from traveling to attend the peace talks, launching attacks and forming pseudo committees to “study” the proposed peace document. However, it is worth mentioning that the committees in Kiir’s deformed-to-reform systems never report their findings, instead they join the protests from the army chief, Mr. Kiir and other negatively compromised die-hard supporters and yes-men politicians.
While Juba continued dancing to the tune of war, Machar finalized his consultations, sent his delegations to Addis Ababa to close the gap on contentious issues with hopes to sign the final peace agreement on the dateline. To utilize the small window of time and resources, Machar led his second delegation to meet the South African president, and further returned to Addis Ababa on August 11th, before the dateline, to meet his counterpart. Sadly, Mr. Kiir was still shuttling between Juba and Kampala, counting on brother Museveni to impose a rescue package on IGAD-Plus. But how did that end up?
Museveni managed to convene the “front-line” nations [Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and Uganda] to manipulate the proposed document, which he terms as a “white man” peace agreement. To make it easy for the elder brother, despite his sardonic attitude, the three leaders acted “stupid” and allowed Museveni to change all the “deal-breaker” provisions in the original document to suit the interest of one party, Juba. This was completely farcical to say the least. As witnessed a few days later, what then followed was another nightmare for both Juba and Kampala.
The Ethiopian leader confided the Kampala deal to what would have been the victim of the “front-lines” nations if the rest of IGAD-Plus would have succumbed to Museveni. This was a stout and imperative step in the right direction that we have not witnessed much of for the past 20 months of South Sudan peace mediation, and for once, this must have restored a lot of confidence in the IGAD led peace mediation. This gave Dr. Riek a better chance to timely respond to the Kampala conspiracy. And undoubtedly, it was a big slap on the face for both Juba and Kampala. An embarrassment indeed took place!
“It might be better off if they call off the whole process because embarrassment will take place, and we do not want to embarrass any body” Machar protested to Kampala text.
The Kampala’s meeting was all a waste; wasted efforts, time and resources. After Dr. Machar spoke out, Juba and Kampala knew that their ill-strategies would not materialize and therefore, Kiir was obliged to protest against meeting Dr. Machar and the IGAD-Plus forum, as proposed in the timeline. Instead Kiir and his councils sent the little yes-man, Mr. James Wani Igga, to take up the big shoes to meet Machar and IGAD-Plus mediators. In any diplomatic sense, this was a big embarrassment and again a waste of the scarce resources. If Kiir cannot sign the document, Wani can’t even dare to initialize it and the consequences would remain the same!
Given the pressure from all over, and in spite of sending James Wani, the nightmare was still inevitable. Hovering over Salva Kiir’s hotel room in Juba, a voice was calling that “the dully elected president” did not only have to travel to Addis Ababa but he had to do so without further delay. By Friday evening, Kiir called an urgent meeting to brief the governance and to seek their blessings. The council unanimously defied to yield into giving Mr. Kiir a green light to travel to Addis Ababa. They were halfheartedly determined to helplessly wait the consequences!!
One day to the dateline, however, Salva Kiir was still battling his own conscience. While his subconsciousness was propelling him to do the right thing, or just pretend that he was, his superego was burdening him, urging him not to give-in to external pressure. But eventually, on Sunday morning the subconsciousness won on the pretext that the “democratically elected president” should just man-up and travel to Addis Ababa to “show his face” in pretense that he needed peace for his country; little did he know that the reality would ultimately kick-in to unmask his indecisiveness and superego.
“Well, even if I’m not happy, I must show my face because if I don’t go negative forces will take me to be the one against the peace that is going to be signed” Salva Kiir while traveling to Addis Abab on Sunday..
By the dateline, it began to rain on Mr. Kiir and his counterpart. The well prepared Machar and his delegation were the first to arrive at the peace venue, hoping that his rival understands the prisoner dilemma and therefore he would sign the agreement, given the luxurious powers that were to be again vested on a leader that his being remote controlled. However, it never took long for the region behind the Ethiopian Prime Minister to dismantle the Ugandan dictator, forcing him to overwhelmingly dash out of the peace venue. It was such a big relieve for the SPLM/SPLA and the people of South Sudan.
The Ugandan president, for the first time, was exposed for being such a pain in the eye for the region and the international community, obstructing all efforts to persuade the troubled president to sign the peace agreement.
Kiir was left all alone, confused, embarrassed, stranded, helpless and speechless. He had just been betrayed and wished Museveni never exit that door despite how unbearable the atmosphere might have been. Even worst, his Secretary General, Pagan Amum, other FDs, Religious Leaders, Civil Society, the region, other African nations, TROIKA [US, UK, Norway], China and other international actors were all cheering behind Machar and Pagan. Peace for the people of South Sudan was all they longed for!
In sum, there are only bad and good deals. Peace is good and it can be improved by improving the terms and conditions – the “contentious issues” or “reservations” – to suit the interest of the players and the people. The current is one of the best deal that Salva Kiir would ever have in history. Regrettably, he will sign the document sooner or later not because of the quality of its peace content or his lion-share powers that are enshrined in this peace document but cowardly due to pressure from the region and the International Community.
The author of this article, Deng Elijah, can be reached at dengsimon 2000 at yahoo dot com or at exec at nyamile dot com