Dr Riek Machar Is NOT Arrested But Is IGAD Still Trustworthy?

Analysis,

SPLM/A-IO leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, holding JMEC Chairman, Festus Mogae, to account for failing to resuscitate the peace agreement to end the conflict in South Sudan(Photo: file)

SPLM/A-IO leader, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, holding JMEC Chairman, Festus Mogae, to account for failing to resuscitate the peace agreement to end the conflict in South Sudan(Photo: file)

March 26th, 2018(Nyamilepedia) — Notwithstanding the immerse suffering of the South Sudanese people, the flight of the refugees and internally displaced persons, the relentless killing and displacement of civilians, war crimes, famine and economic downturn, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development(IGAD) has turned South Sudan crisis into a lucrative project with intent to suck up the oil revenues and  gain more influence in South Sudan’s governing. Their recent communique, which clearly spelled that IGAD has fully taken side in South Sudan’s conflict, is a biased manuscript that do not only intent to arrest and control Dr. Riek Machar Teny but also to embolden Salva Kiir’s regime and weaken armed and political oppositions within and outside the country. Let’s me break it down!

Background

The major root cause of South Sudan crisis was due to poor management and enforcement of how to prevent Dr. Riek Machar Teny from becoming the next president of South Sudan. The Jieng Council of Elders and their supporters, who were incited through tribal idealogies, Bhar el Ghazal dominant factor and past split of the SPLM/A, knew without a doubt that Dr. Machar would win the SPLM Chairmanship if the convention of the SPLM Liberation Council was held in Juba in 2012 or 2013. It was also clear that if Machar won the SPLM chairmanship, then he would win the 2015 elections with a landslide.

The fear of losing power to Machar, which became known as the Macharphobia, drove Salva Kiir, the Jieng Council of Elders and their supporters psychopathic. It is this phobia that brought the then governors of Northern Bhar el Ghazal and Jonglei States, Gen. Paul Malong Awan and Gen. Kuol Manyang Juuk to power and forced those of Chol Tong Mayai of the Lakes State and Taban Deng Gai of Unity State out of power.

When Kiir was sure enough that he had concentrated powers after several decrees — firing politicians and military generals one after another — he moved on to fire Machar and the entire cabinet suffered collateral damage. Machar had a huge support in the cabinet, political bureau, liberation council and also in the parliament. Therefore, Kiir was left with not an optimal option but to use military violence with hopes to arrest, kill or oust his one and only main rival, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. The rest of the politicians were not of a threat to Kiir’s seat and would have been tolerated or eliminated without making a headline!

It is also true that even in the army Machar had a dominant support and this was the main reason Kiir had a plan B to contract mercenaries from Uganda, Darfur and any other country that would contribute troops. The region and the African Union were fully aware that a civil war was brewing in South Sudan but as usual, they laid back and barely made any attempt to contain the political tension from exploding into a full scale war.

Nevertheless it is worth mentioning that the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni,  who became a very close friend of Salva Kiir following the death of Dr. John Garang in 2005, was among the architects that remote controlled Salva Kiir behind closed doors and he is therefore believed to have been the brain of Kiir’s brutal operations that unearthed the civil war on December 15th, 2013 and continued to date.

Dr. Machar Is Not Arrested!

Despite bloody attempts in both December 2013 and July 2016, Dr. Riek Machar was not arrested by the Salva Kiir government. Although it remains the dream of Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders to kill or arrest Machar, after he made it to Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest of the region had no right to arrest him. Any diplomat or official of another country has rights and privileges that include  immunity from arrest or prosecution. Therefore, IGAD which acts only as a peace mediator, has no single right to arrest Dr. Riek Machar even if the mediators believe that he is the cause of the violence.

IGAD does not have any power to issue arrest warrants and as such they cannot claim to have arrested Machar or any diplomate of another country. Such a ruling can only be made by a regional or an international tribunal but such a decision cannot be taken without a proper legal procedure.

For IGAD to claim that Machar is violent, the regional bloc would have to prove its claims beyond reasonable doubt by justifying that Machar was “stupid” enough to leave all his troops and weapons behind in Pagak only to stage a dogfight at the Presidential Palace in the heart of Juba where his opponents had both aerial and ground advantages in terms of personnel and military hardware. IGAD would also have to prove that Machar was responsible for December 2013, however, that would be contrary to the established facts and reports by the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations.

It is also known that when Dr. Machar left Khartoum in September 2016, he left as a free man without imminent threats of arrests, however, after the region was brainwashed by the US Secretary of States, John Kerry, who claimed that Machar’s replacement was legal, the members of IGAD and countries that are friends to the Obama Administration came up with possible means to bare Dr. Machar from accessing their countries and that is the only right every country has against foreigners.

The region decided to deny Machar the “Right to Abode”, which means they took away Machar’s freedom from immigration control. For Machar to pass through such countries he would need special permission or otherwise he would be deported to where he came from, in this case South Africa like it happened in November 2016. In the worst case scenario a reckless country may submit Machar to his enemies in Juba.

These countries have made their agreement in such a way that they won’t allow Dr. Machar to use their territories to access his headquarters or strongholds for they falsely believe that if Machar is not present on the ground his forces would be weaken and defeated. In other words they have chosen the side of Salva Kiir and such decision is not surprising since IGAD is controlled by President Yoweri Museveni.

South Africa, on the other hand, given that it is not a member of IGAD but a special friend is left vulnerable to accommodate Dr. Machar until he finds his means home to South Sudan. In this regards it is upto Dr. Machar to find his own channels to South Sudan, however, it would be equally difficult for Machar to get out of South Sudan should he need to do for medical emergencies or when needs arise. The question that the opposition needs to tackle is whether the SPLM/A(IO)  need the chairman on the ground in South Sudan or not, and how?

Is IGAD Still Trustworthy?

As severally mentioned by critics and members of the International Community, IGAD is a club of dictators with glaring personal interests. Each president needs opportunities from South Sudan for himself and for his people for them to sustain their grip on power. Countries like Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia depend on South Sudan to grow their economies. Therefore, having a vulnerable and incompetent leader in power in South Sudan give these neighboring countries a fair advantage to exploit South Sudan resources and oil revenues. It is mainly for this reason that the regional leaders preferred Salva Kiir over Dr. John Garang de Mabior after the signing of the CPA in 2005 and it is the same purpose that has now united them to support Salva Kiir against Dr. Riek Machar.

Taking advantage of Machar’s vulnerable position despite that they do not have legal power to arrest Machar, IGAD designed its communique fictitiously to confuse the general public in attempt to claim unjustified powers. Their claim to have arrested or be lifting Machar’s “house arrest” is belittling and lacking justification. As a mediating body, IGAD can call on parties to renounce violence. They can also choose to allow a principle or a party to attend the forum or to not attend their forums.

“Decides the house arrest of SPLM/IO Leader Dr Riak Machar be lifted as soon as possible, on conditions that ensure he will renounce violence and not obstruct the peace process and he be allowed to relocate to any country outside the region and are not neighboring South Sudan; designated IGAD Ministers will propose and decide a possible location” Reads IGAD Comminque

It is recognizable that the language used in this communique is a language that is frequently used by Salva Kiir and his supporters, and it is most likely that the document was drafted by Salva Kiir government representative or a South Sudanese national. The communique also spelled Machar’s first name as Riak (Dinka pronunciation) instead of Riek(Nuer pronunciation) proving that the communique was not genuine.

It is also mostly likely that the South Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs at the 61st Extra-Ordinary Session of IGAD Council must have had  a dominant position given that Kenya was represented by a new face and a good friend of Hon. Taban Deng Gai, Mr. Ababu Namwamba, the Chief Administrative Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Ababu led a technical team of 15 MPs to meet Taban Deng Gai in Juba in October 2016 and some of those MPs have been suspected of terrorizing SPLM/A(IO) officials in Kenya.  

In addition, the Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Oryem Henry Okello, is a well known critic of Dr. Riek Machar. The rest of the foreign Ministers from countries like Somalia, Djibouti, Rwanda and Burundi are less influential. Some cannot even express themselves very well in English. Even worse, The 61st Extraordinary Session was chaired by H.E Hirut Zemene, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia who was only representing the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers. Therefore, the trio from South Sudan, Kenya and Uganda were likely to foment a stronger coalition within the IGAD council of Ministers and drive the Agenda in a path that would suit the Interest of President Salva Kiir more than that of Machar.

Strongly Recommends;

The SPLM/A(IO) should call a Liberation Council meeting immediately to deliberate on the release of Dr. Machar, their participation in IGAD forums and their coalition with other opposition groups. The peace revitalization process delaying tactics, shifting neutrality among IGAD member states and indecisively of the IGAD Council are setbacks that cannot be ignored in the peace process. IGAD should be brought to its knees to relinquish its responsibilities to a more transparent and impartial mediator that would independently and honestly mediate the peace process!

The author of this article can be reached through email at executive@nyamile.com or through nyamilepedia@gmail.com


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