South Sudan peace revitalization is priority
The SPLM political detainees (FDS), and SPLM in Government (SPLM-IG) holds to views of achieving peace through the reunification of the SPLM party, and through the national dialogue. In a joint meeting in Cairo from November 14th -16th 2017, the FDs and SPLM-IG deliberated on the implementation of the reunification of SPLM. They resolved that “SPLM reunification is of utmost importance and bearing for a speedy end to the crisis in the Republic of South Sudan and cannot be delayed any further”.
While in Kampala from 15th -16th Nov 2017, the national dialogue subcommittee on refugees headed by the Deputy Chair of the JCE met in an impromptu manner at the Imperial Royal Hotel, to collect views of South Sudanese about the national dialogue. They did not invite the intellectuals and politicians to participate in the discussion, but they confined themselves to the women and students.
The government frequently accuses the South Sudanese in Kampala as rebels, and they thought that by conquering the minds of the women and the youths would enable the national dialogue to succeed. Unfortunately, the Co-chair of the JCE and his team did not have what they want; instead, they heard what they do not want to hear because the South Sudanese in Kampala are like the meat of the head (Laham al ras).
The Arusha agreement and the national dialogue are dovetailed approaches with two faces and two opinion groups. The Cairo meeting was facilitated by Egypt and Uganda whose interests are clear only to the two parties. We have known that the IGAD member countries mess-up the conflict in South Sudan, and Egypt is adding a voice to meddle further instead of looking following the quickest approach to ending South Sudan’s crisis.
The two political actors (SPLM-IG and FDs) think that the reunification of the SPLM and the national dialogue takes precedence over the revitalization of the ARCSS. But the people of South Sudan think that the revitalization of the ARCSS is a priority.
Both reunifications of the SPLM party and the national dialogue are good ideas, but their timing is wrong. Holding on them in such a time when the people are in dire need of peace is driving people’s minds into a quagmire.
The Government and FDs should drop their approaches and unite with the citizens who are paying the brunt of the current war, to stop it first and address the revitalized ARCSS, a fair roadmap to reach for a lasting peace in South Sudan. The national dialogue and reunification of the SPLM shall automatically be conducted after peace is achieved when all citizens are in the country.
The time of reunification of the SPLM party has elapsed; it could have happened in 2016, right after the landing of SPLM-IO and the other political actors in Juba to form the Transitional government of National unity (TGoNU). But all the SPLM factions, whether SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO and SPLM-FDs were not interested to reunite, because each faction has vested interest, what miracle will the Kuol Manyang-Pagan approach in Cairo will bring to end the conflict without Riak Machar whom they have confined in South Africa?
This early reunification of the SPLM could have prevented the violence and build confidence among all members of the SPLM party to implement the failed ARCSS in good faith. The delay spurs the violence to catastrophic state, and, such attempts now by the FDS to reunify SPLM party; and government’s insistence on the failing national dialogue is like chasing a mirage.
What is important and very urgent now is to cease fire, and all the warring political actors, immediately engage in the implementation of the new version of the revitalized ARCSS, in order to achieve peace in South Sudan, then holding onto approaches which are obsolete. Other than that, the SPLM factions are dragging the country to a situation similar to that of Zimbabwe.
If the SPLM giants have come now to the realization that they are the ones responsible for the current state in the country, it is good if they should swallow their pride and arrogance, embrace each other to reunite like what Paul Malong did with Salva Kiir recently. And this new spirit of reunification includes Riak Machar Teny and the other SPLM political actors who took arms against the government. If not, then all of them will go to Abyss like the stark members of Robert Mugabe who wanted to create Zimbabwe a new colony of dictators. Yet, this view should not override the implementation of the revitalized ARCSS.
The author is a former Deputy Governor, currently an Independent Researcher, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in ‘opinion’ articles published by Radio Tamazuj are solely those of the writer. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author, not Radio Tamazuj.