IGAD leaders buried their heads in the sand
Written by JOSHUA OSBORNE-PWOD
Ethiopian Minister for Foreign Affairs Tedros Adhanom reads communique of the Extra Ordinary Session of the Igad Assembly of Heads of States and Governments on the situation in South Sudan at the Kenyan State House in Nairobi on the 27th of December, 2013. The statements issued by the leaders and the resolutions arrived at cannot augur well for the country. Instead of addressing the real issues and thereby tackling the genesis of the crisis, they buried their heads in the sand. PHOTO/FILE
December 2, 2013[Daily Nation, Kenya] — IGAD leaders recently concluded an impromptu special session meeting convened to explore ways to halt the conflict unfolding in the Republic of South Sudan (ROSS), which left a great deal to be desired.
The statements issued by the leaders and the resolutions arrived at cannot augur well for the country.
Instead of addressing the real issues and thereby tackling the genesis of the crisis, they buried their heads in the sand.
They failed to strike a balance and hence squandered an opportunity to show neutrality—the only way to mediate.
One need not be a rocket scientist to know that, to preserve their peer’s damaged reputation, they castigated Dr Riek Machar as the aggressor.
They did not condemn President Salva Kiir’s killing of Nuer and other communities, the sole act that sparked the war spreading from Juba to other parts of South Sudan.
Dr Machar himself is in hiding because he knows what his fate is likely to be in the hands of President Kiir, the ever vengeful guerrilla fighter, who has refused to morph into a statesman.
Unless IGAD and the East African Community are suffering from memory loss, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Juba and Khartoum was not built on threats and taking sides with the principal antagonist.
The Kenya Government, save for its petty internal politics, should have sent Mr Kalonzo Musyoka to fix that problem because he is among the people who ensured the CPA’s conclusion.
He is alive to the reality that threats of violence in such a delicate situation would beget more violence.
Not a single Igad leader condemned the unlawful arrests and detention of SPLM leaders, whose only offence was to seek to enjoy the political freedoms and rights to choose and be proud of their choices.
Their resolution to oppose the “unconstitutional removal of a democratically elected government” was a thinly-veiled threat directed at Dr Machar. That is not the language register of conflict resolution and diplomacy.
Did they care to find out why Dr Machar, a scholar, would call President Kiir a dictator and then flee to the bush?
The mediators’ conclusion that Dr Machar and his group are guilty of the alleged coup plot is contrary to the opinion of experienced conflict analysts.
The IGAD and EAC leaders failed to tell the world their opinion of a “democratically elected ruler”, who uses brutal, naked military force to assassinate, arrest, detain, torture, and kill political opponents over a political disagreement.
VIOLATIONS BY THE STATE
Dr Machar was actively involved in the creation of the world’s youngest state and for anyone to even dream of hounding him out of government, just because he rejected excesses, is unconscionable.
Instead of rhetoric at a time of great human rights violation by the state, answers to the following critical questions should be sought:
Why has war broken out and threatened to engulf such a young nation? How do we stop it immediately?
Who are the parties involved, and how can similar wars be avoided?
Let one IGAD club member stand up and tell Africa that, by pushing for reforms within SPLM, Dr Machar and his colleagues acted unconstitutionally.