What Does the IGAD Peace Agreement Means to South Sudan?

May 10 (Nyamilepedia) — The South Sudanese leaders, Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, unexpectedly reached an agreement within a few hours in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday.

The leaders have agreed to form an inclusive interim government of national unity, draft a permanent constitution, reconcile the South Sudanese, implement critical reforms and guide the country to new elections.

The leaders have agreed to allow other stakeholders, including the former political detainees and civil society to participate in negotiations and other processes.

The interim government is expected to oversee the government functions during the transitional period, however, the agreement did not mention how the transitional government would be formed.

Worrying Signs

Despite that the leaders have signed an agreement, it remains unclear if the leaders would obey the document. The two leaders have shown the region and the international community that the agreement they signed was premature.

President Salva Kiir was quick to pronounce himself as the president and “must always remain” the leader.

“I’m the president of South Sudan. And I Must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that Country” Salva Kiir forcefully said.

Although Machar didn’t directly respond to his rival’s remarks, he hinted that he would commit to peaceful resolution if the other side follows.

“By signing this agreement, I’m sending the signal that this conflict Must be ended peacefully. I hope the other side will also be serious” Dr. Machar hinted.

The two leaders, while exchanging the documents, did not smile or reach out to one another but just the document to be signed.

The Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn issued a tough warming that the region will not sit back as the two men fight.

“Make no mistake, that the region and the international community will not sit idly by, while killing scores” Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister, warns.

Many Eastern African countries are directly or indirectly participating in the conflict that has claimed over 10 thousands lives.

Uganda, which is very influential in the region, is among the reasons Salva Kiir “must always remain in that position as the president”. Other countries and their rebels have been accused of supporting either side.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn warns of regionalization of conflict and calls for withdrawal of Ugandans troops in February, however,  such efforts were never rewarded.

The 5 months long peace process has achieved very little since January. Some of the elements re-signed by Salva Kiir and Dr. Machar were part of the earlier agreements.

The document addresses humanitarians affairs, however, it mentions nothing about the “Deterent” or “Protection” Force. It does not address the Ugandans and other foreign troops, fighting alongside the government forces.

Violation of the Agreement:

The agreement signed on Friday requires that the leaders must separate troops and freeze aggressive military offensives within 24 hours. However, the SPLM [in opposition] has reported attacks on its positions in Unity state, a violation of the truce.

This morning we have received an offensive attack on our positions by the government troops. They have penetrated in Rubkotna county [and] we have withdrawn peacefully without responding to them,” Brig. Gen. Makal Kuon said.

“We fear [for the] thousands of lives of people in the UNMISS camp. We could not respond to their (the SPLA) bombardments and we tactically withdraw from the area,” Kuon added.

The government troops are trying to retake areas under control of Machar forces. More than 70% of the national army has defected to Machar, however, the allied government forces have recently gained momentum. Sudanese rebels, Ugandans and Egyptians are accused of fighting for the South Sudanese government.

The recent government offensive were launched as the government promises the Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations’ Secretary Generals, Ban ki Moon. Other UN and western diplomats have visited the country in the last few months to persuade Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek to end the violent.

Public Reaction:

Salva Kiir and Dr. Machar exchanges documents after agreeing to form an interim government (photo: via N. Koryom)

Salva Kiir and Dr. Machar exchanges documents after agreeing to form an interim government (photo: via N. Koryom)

Although the mediators may perceive the body language of Mr. Kiir and Machar differently, some concern South Sudanese cast doubts on the agreement.

It seem like we the poor nation are free, but the word of Mr Kiir Mayardit will take the country back to the war. Saying I am the president of South Sudan and I will remaint as president of this country. What i believe Kiir need to leave us in pain we the Dinka communities of being hated by others tribes like what happen to Gadafi who left his own communities in trouble in Libya. TRUTH MUST BE TOLD.” N. Koryom, a member of SSCDF.

“The IGAD leaders are either bribed by the US government or are too naive to force the two leaders to sign their document. This is not a peace deal at all. Machar and Kiir are forced to sign the documents because whoever refuses to agree would be consider the enemy of peace. This is why they IGAD form their army to be deployed in South Sudan to monitor this forced piece document. This is the beginning of regional conflict.” Patric Green.

The conflict began in December after members of presidential guards resisted being disarmed by their colleagues for unspecified reason. Military generals defected the army after their family members were targeted in Juba massacre, led by the presidential guards.

Ethnic targeting and crimes against humanity have been reported in many parts of the country. More than 10 thousand people have been killed and more than a million have been displaced.

Related stories:

Executive: Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan -IGAD

S. Sudan rebels accuse army of occupying Rubkotna despite truce agreement

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