An analysis of the 39th Extraordinary Assembly of IGAD Heads of State and Government.
By Dr. Peter Nyaba,
June 13, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— As I predicted a few days ago, the IGAD summit ended without a meaningful resolution on the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan. This speaks volumes of how behind closed doors diplomacy works. The report of JMEC chair canes as predicted and therefore could elicit serious discussion as President Salva Kiir absented himself. Apparently, President Beshir came to shore up support for Prime Minister Haile Mariam Dessalegn suggestive of both men’s commitment to resolving the conflict in South Sudan, unlike Museveni’s public relations stint at the summit. President Museveni’s focus has been on SPLM reunification rather than on the escalating crisis in South Sudan.
The failure of the summit reflects IGAD’s lack of ‘unity of purpose’. As ARCISS’ mediators and guarantors, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan, respectively have national security, political and economic interests in South Sudan. These competing concerns have paralyzed their resolve collectively to find sustainable solution to the conflict in South Sudan.
The report of JMEC chair was the most laughable, if not despicable of the summit drama. President Festus Mogae insisted on telling the summit that ‘they’ are implementing ARCISS, while at the same time admitting the absence of ‘estranged parties’ definitely meaning SPLM IO, in the implementation process, and the continuation of the war. JMEC report begs the question about the ‘peace’ implementation President Festus Mogae is monitoring or evaluating.
The IGAD summit was indeed a drama. It reminisces the ‘small talk’, a kind of uncomfortable conversation forced upon individuals who otherwise would not have engaged under other circumstances. The atmosphere in the summit hall epitomized the relations between President Beshir and President Museveni on account of his involvement with the Sudanese rebels.
The summit decided to convene a High-level Revitalization Forum of the parties to ARCISS including, according to Mogae’s script, ‘estranged groups’ to discuss concrete measures to restore Permanent Cease-fire. The summit also directed the IGAD Secretariat to engage both the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Armed/Political Opposition in sterile discussion about full implementation of the Peace Agreement, and to develop a revised and realistic timeline and implementation schedule towards a democratic elections at the end of the interim period.
This is an oblique admission by the regional leaders that ARCISS had actually collapsed but fall short of initiating a new political process, which is the position of both President Salva Kiir and President Museveni. It is also a rare admission that ARCISS and the implementation matrix they imposed on South Sudanese parties in August 2015 in a ‘take it or leave it’ manner was not realistic. If that were the case, then it would have been better to start the mediation process all over again. This is because the collapse of ARCISS also meant the collapse of its implementation matrix and therefore it is not possible to speak of the transition period, which timeline is not being recorded.
Further, the talk of ‘democratic elections’ in South Sudan in a year’s time (2018) as per ARCISS implementation matrix is idle and senseless, suggestive only of sinister cynicism and malicious intention towards the people of South Sudan. This malicious intention obtains from President Salva Kiir’s perception of his people because instead of providing them the necessary social and economic development, he spends the county’s financial and economic resources on buying regional political and diplomatic support to keep himself in power.
It is about time the people, who pinned their hopes on the region and the international community to bring peace and sanity to South Sudan, eschewed those sentiments. This is because some of the leaders in the region view our predicament as an opportunity to harvest for themselves international aid or Kiir’s diplomatic bribes. The failure of the 39th Extraordinary Assembly of IGAD Heads of State and Government to come out with a strong resolution to address the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in South Sudan is a rude reminder that no external solutions to internal and national crisis.