Dr. Reiek’s Delayed Return to Juba: A Prelude to Resumption of War And Declaration of a Parallel Government In South Sudan

By Joseph Oreste Odhok

FVP, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and SPLA-IO CoGS, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual salutes officers during an assembly in Pagak, South Sudan(Photo: Nyamilepedia/File)

FVP, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and SPLA-IO CoGS, Gen. Simon Gatwech Dual salutes officers during an assembly in Pagak, South Sudan(Photo: Nyamilepedia/File)

April 22, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– There were high hopes and jubilant mood in Juba city by the citizens as the government and the armed opposition members of the advance team were engaging in preparations for reception of the SPLA/M-IO Leader and the 1st VP designate Dr. Riek Machar. But it appears these hopes are now being dashed because of the government refusal to grant flight and landing clearance for the armed opposition general chief of staff plane. Traded accusations by the opposing parties is seen by observers as lack of political will and commitment by both parties to implement the agreement.

With this new development in the country’s politics, the future of South Sudan looks grim and gloomy. Realistically, since the eruption of conflict in 2013, and what accompanied it of violations of human rights and crimes committed against humanity, there has never been a genuine dialogue between the warring parties to resolve the conflict peacefully. Both parties had sought military solutions which further exacerbated the situation on the ground and led to more sufferings and displacement of the civil population. This reality increased the rift and polarized the masses along political and ethnic lines.

Regrettably, the government continued to pursue a divisive policy line being led by it tribal wing referred to as JCE. It put to use the state resources in an attempt to crash the rebellion and silence its real and percieved political opponents. It also used and continue to use the mercenaries from Sudanese rebels of SPLM/A – North and the Darfuri rebels of JEM known as TORABORA. Reports and forensic evidence confirm the participation of those groups alongside government troops in battles fought against the Opposition forces for control of Malakal and Bentieu cities. To date the SPLA/M – N rebels of Southern Blue Nile of Malek Agar still maintain heavy presence in areas of Melut, Renk and Maban counties of Upper Nile State. They are used by the regime as a mobile force and readily available on request .

While government strategies to put down the rebellion proved futile as they could not bring about the desired goal according to plan, the SPLM/A –IO was gaining more territory and following and the war continued to rage indefinitely at the expense of human suffering.

At this hopeless situation, ARCISS was the best thing the International Community and the Regional Groupings could offer to South Sudanese as a means through which the hostilities could be arrested and peace eventually realized.

Although signing peace is an important step in the process of realizing peace and security, implementing it is equally the most crucial and the most difficult step in the process.

Judging by similar instances where signed peace agreements between opposing parties did not see light or endure, it could be deduced that the foot-dragging in implementing the security arrangements with regards the demilitarization of the capital among others are indications of lack of commitment and political will by the government to implement peace. The agreement is therefore doomed.

Even if more pressure is exerted on the government to respect the agreement and allow for transportation of weapons and military personnel as required by the agreement, the government is likely to put new obstacle in the way of implementing the peace agreement in letter and spirit. Issues such as the question of the 28 states that it unilaterally created and went ahead to put into effect, could be one of such standoffs.

Despite all attempts by the government to block the return of Dr. Machar to Juba , Dr. Riak remains morally responsible to join his fellow comrades on their “ Mission Impossible” errand in Juba. The armed opposition VIPs including Riek’s deputy, Alfred Lado Gore and Its Chief Negotiator, Taban Deng had arrived in Juba on different dates ahead of Dr. Riek’s anticipated return and are now taken hostage with restrictions on movements and assembly sternly imposed on them. A situation that makes one wonders if this peace is not a farce.

In the light of the foregoing facts, it is apparent that war is imminent even after the formation of the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU).

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Possible Reactions of Sudan and Ethiopia to the Renewed Armed Conflict in South Sudan:

South Sudan Northern and eastern neighbours, Sudan and Ethiopia are currently hosting more than half a Million South Sudanese refugees fleeing the war in their country. And with the renewed armed conflict in South Sudan, more refugees would be expected to cross the border into Sudan and Ethiopia, thus increasing the already existing burden on resources and services on these countries at the time when there were high hopes of peace to prevail and subsequent repatriations. Apart from this, there are security and economic concern that would surely be put under jeopardy by resumption of war.

Logically, each of these countries is expected to handle the new development in accordance with its national interest and would be ready to devise strategies that better serve this purpose. It will cooperate with any of the warring parties that would respect and work together towards addressing these concerns.

Resumption of War and Declaration of Parallel Government in South Sudan:

As has been explained in the proceeding paragraphs, war will erupt as a result of partners in the newly formed Transitional Government of National Unity failure to resolve any of the contentious issues as provided by the ARCISS. It could also happen as a provocation by the SPLA/M – IG as it is currently doing in Western Bahr El Ghazal, Greater Equatoria Region, and some parts of Upper Nile.

It appears the war will be long as it would include new territories and new elements from some ethnicities. These ethnic groups have their land forfeited and carved to President Kiir’s Jieng ethnic group.

It remains to be seen whether the Opposition forces would stick to their previous strategy and fight on till they capture Juba or may change their vision and mission to a Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound before they finally march to Juba.

If the opposition forces were to speedily capture the remaining major towns from Kiir’s government in Greater Upper Nile as the situation on the ground suggests, he would likely establish a functional civil administration in order to consolidate the power of the revolutionary forces among the civil population and help them rebuild their lives. To achieve this he would declare a parallel Government with one of the major town of Upper Nile as its capital. This step will boost the political standing of the opposition and win him sympathizers and friends from the regional and international circles. The opposition has the necessary civil service working force with qualifications to run all various civil institutions in territories under the opposition forces.

It would be up to Riek and his envisaged government to use their PR and diplomatic experiences skillfully with the neighbouring countries as well as countries across the globe to establish ties and relations for the common good. Having firmly established its political system with functional civil and military structures, the opposition will be in a stronger position than before to wage a full and decisive war for total liberation of the country.

The author, Joseph Oreste Odhok, is a concern South Sudanese who can be reached at josephodhok@yahoo.com


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4 comments

  • Lualdit

    This is a great article. This peace deal is already dead. JCE been testing water to see how the international community would react. And so far, no one been reacting to any of their crooked ways. First, they started with their list of reservation against the peace deal, then 28 problems, the UNIMSS attack in the Malakal, the attack on the contentment site in both equatorial and bare gazel, the refusal to demilitarized Juba and now the obstruction of Gatmachar carrying weapon in Juba. Only the naïve and blind would think this peace deal has a chance. I like your narrative that a complete mobilization for war would be in a plan from the opposition, but leadership in the opposition has no ball as I can see to stand up to this craziness. They listened and fear the international community then they care to bring about change in the country. The advanced team along with Dr. Machar will be hostage in Juba without a workable military plan. They will be useless in Juba. As I can see Dr. Machar seem to be waking up too late to the reality that will be unfolding in Juba that is why is now want to bring weapons. People was writing and complaining on the internet about how he should stay firm against the violation of the peace deal by the government such as 28 problems and the failure for JCE armies to vacated Juba as stipulated in the peace deal, but instead, he labeled everyone on the internet as internet warriors. Let see what he will be capable to do in Juba without a strong hands. Continuation of wars is far better than what will take place in Juba soon. It’s a known fact that Dinka in civilian clothing in Juba are armed even if the uniform army is forced out of Juba. Lack of preparation and coordination was the reason why all the opposition forces has to deserted Juba and equatoria after the massacred in 2013. This time, there has to be some planning and to be vigilant as ever.

  • Eastern Equatoria

    Dr. Machar should think twice before coming to Juba with three reasons:
    1. He has gain the popularity in greater Equatoria.
    2. He must to come and fight with JCE in Juba.
    3. he should send good weepons to his millitary in Equatoria to block the boarder and make engage strong relationship with neibouring countries like Ethopia,Sudan and Kenya this Uganda will stop naturally.

  • Lual and Eastern,
    Dr. Riek Machar has not succeeded in the management of his two rebellion leave alone the governance of the country.
    Let me advise you to preach peace and stop unnecessary articles that endanger the implementation process. Peace is the only tool that remains now to achieve our unity and reconciliation.
    If you think that Dr. Riek Machar is coming to fight Jieng then you are not only lying to yourselves but you are also creating problems to Dr.Riek Machar.
    Bear in mind that no leader can be able to govern this country without participation of Jieng.This’s the reality you should accept and reconcile with whether you like it or not.

  • Lualdit

    Hey Akot,
    No one want a government of South Sudan without Dinka. It’s your Jaang Demon of Council that are devising a plan of Jaang domination of South Sudan. Everyone in South Sudan including sensible dinka want equality because we detest the way Jalaba has treated Southern for Century, but your Demon Council along with your shortsighted individuals completely forgotten the reason why Southern toke arm against Jalaba to begin with. My assertion that war is better is because your type will not yield to the reality unless force is exerted. My wishes are that your old men of yesterday would stop misleading you guys into thinking that South Sudan can only be ruled by dinka. That notion my friend, unless it’s removed from your thinking, then don’t expect peace nor dinka domination in South Sudan. It will be Dinka that will have to back down for peace to prevail in South Sudan. If you don’t backdown from your false pride and belief that you are born to rule, then expect revolt. Not just only from Naath, but from every corner of South Sudan. Oppress always overcome as you already seen across the world including our struggle against the Jalaaba. In regard Dr. Machar, you should be very happy that is the one leading the opposition. If it was not of Dr. Machar, this current war would have been in Bare gazal already and Paloich oil field would have been destroyed. So be thankful for his national and visionary stand. I agree with you that peace is the only tool remain, but it will not be on dinka term. If your old men of Satan don’t acknowledge that the false claim of dinka dominion, than my friend expect worst war than the one that just stop.