By Elhag Paul
April 4, 2015 (SSNA) -- 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 alll. He is not better than President Salva Kiir. Please see, ‘Like a leopard cannot change its spots, Machar cannot 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.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]