To keep Restive Kiir in Check, Machar Must Forge Alliances

By Deng Vanang,

President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar greet after a peace talk in Arusha, Tanzania.(Photo credits: Muhidin Michuzi )

President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar greet after a peace talk in Arusha, Tanzania.(Photo credits: Muhidin Michuzi )

June 28, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —— Getting peace implemented is quite central to the country’s broader agenda for political reforms that aim at improving citizens’ general well-being.

Hero to let that happens shall certainly get some credit while one that opposes shall have price to pay come 2019 general elections, should they ever happen as scheduled.

With correct implementation of the accord as previously negotiated and signed, begets full implementation of political reforms many are desperately in need.

And only possibly within reach if people stop thinking peace is either Machar or Kiir’ s possession to implement at their own leisure, but treasured property of all South Sudanese including political parties within TGONU.

These junior partners in TGONU can’t go it alone but to laisse with one weak side in the cabinet against one considered strong and intransigent.

These junior partners already up for grabs, Kiir is having Martin Elia’s National Agenda on his side as Machar is informally with Dr. Lam Akol’s National Alliance Parties.

Thomas Wani Kundu who led 75 MPs out of parliament against Kiir’s unilaterally decreed 28 states last October could be Machar’s auxiliary force in addition to Lam.

Two strong camps healthily competing to implement peace connote a promising political maturity, which is not presently the case.

For choosing real politick over peace implementation is what Kiir and his political allies have so far flaunted in their big man’s posturing.

Mainly through recent refusal to sign the previously agreed Presidential consensus document meant to establish SPLA-IO cantonment sites in Equatoria and Bhar el Ghazal.

Also included in the rejected consensus document is the derailed formation of 15 – man – technical committee to debate and rectify the contentious issue of 28 states.

This belligerent attitude is rather a blessing than misfortune to Machar and company if interested in implementing desperately needed peace process by long suffering South Sudanese.

One to lead the way is Machar to rope in Lam and Kundu in a wider scheme to loosely form Pro-Peace Allied Group, PPAG in the cabinet and yet to be installed transitional August house.

The strategy is to counter Anti-Peace Implementation Movement, APIM under President Kiir’s SPLM wing in TGONU.

In consolidating pro-peace force, Lam’s intellect and negotiating skills are even more demanding to become Chief negotiator of PPAG on contentious issues ailing the agreement.

As well as becoming a representative of all pro-peace forces in JMEC in place of Taban Deng Gai who voluntarily resigned all those positions in IO following the formation of the cabinet.

Thomas Kundu to head one key Parliamentary committee, should Transitional National Legislative Assembly be established, in order to unreservedly probe up IO’s nominated candidate for speakership, Henry Odwar.

Provided he still commands the loyalty of 75 rebellious MPs and in part to make rebellion more rewarding in Kiir’s wing of SPLM.

Further complicating matters for Kiir, is Machar sending into parliament General Dau Aturjong as an MP where he will vie for deputy speakership that represents Greater Bhar el Ghazal. Should that fail, he is to be made PPAG’s Chief whip.

IO is to allow Dr. Lam Akol’s led National Alliance or his DCP’s parliamentary caucus to nominate Deputy speaker for Greater Upper Nile region. Three candidates have to be tied together to ensure their supporters vote as a bloc for one another.

Warningly, the more Kiir relaxes without facing counter offensive, the more he will have breathing space to undo the whole agreement, unless he is pushed to the defensive position from which he will only fight to survive than tempers with it.

Leaving Kiir at liberty to flaunt his big man posturing only rekindles his supporters’ previously dwindling hope to rally behind him and consolidate the publicly dreaded status quo.

The same grand standing, if left unchecked, reduces Machar to the demeaning junior role in public eyes, a laughing stock and enough to ignite rebellion in his IO’s camp {whose members are redundant while IG’s people are productively working} in favor of Kiir who is dictating terms on whether or not peace agreement is implementable.

Machar should as well organize the biggest week long pro-peace work boycott ever in Juba to achieve two goals.

One is to protest against stalled implementation of the August peace agreement. Another is to dispel the mist Kiir created that he is too unpopular to the South Sudanese masses. If it means the heavens fall, so be it.

If derailment of peace implementation is rewarding under the watchful world, then Machar should instead confront Kiir against any further violations of the agreement even if it means to the breaking point and the earlier it happens, the better.

For by derailing and violating the agreement Kiir has scored four goals in a row.

His Presidential term has been extended by 9 months {three months for pre-interim period and six months lost due to lack of implementation of peace itself} while bogging down Machar to only discussing his stream of violations and set political agenda with him than the implementation of an agreement in which SPLM/A-IO’s reforms program is vested.

Apart from stalling what is left to be implemented while his so daring acts attract no serious dire consequences for him to face.

With the likelihood of his yet to be engineered implementation backlogs to give him illegal more years in power beyond 2019 and enough to make him the Ivory coast’s former President, Laurent Gbagbo in South Sudan.

When he Gbagbo held onto power that would have earlier gone to Alassane Ouattara {political mentor of ex- New Force rebels} if Presidential elections weren’t postponed by the former three times as scheduled, making him decked in the office illegally for five good years till 2011.

When French intervening forces had enough of his cat and mouse game and smoked him out of Presidential bunker nearly naked, profusely sweating and fearfully trembling.

Keep watching this space for the next topic: Why Women Affirmative Action is Devaluating, mediocre and undemocratic.

Deng Vanang is a political scientist, journalist and author. Reachable at:dvanang@gmail.com