Last days of conflict see warring parties go for broke

By Deng Vanang, Dares Salaam

South Sudan's warring President, Mr. Salva Kiir (C) attends a ceremony marking the thirty fourth anniversary of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) at the military headquarters in Juba, South Sudan, May 18, 2017(Photo: REUTERS/Jok Solomun)

South Sudan’s warring President, Mr. Salva Kiir (C) attends a ceremony marking the thirty fourth anniversary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) at the military headquarters in Juba, South Sudan, May 18, 2017(Photo: REUTERS/Jok Solomun)

April 10th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – With government deprived of lethal weapons and petro-dollars to revamp its war chest, thanks to recently slapped American oil sanctions, South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) walking up from slumber to reality of bounding together in the face of biased mediating IGAD in favor of the regime and SPLM/A-IO’s mortal fear for SSOA to steal what it dubbed spoils of its own instigated popular revolution, the war games are changing pretty faster.

All informed with the fact that government is no longer militarily bullish as it previously was. Reasons for it recoiling into its protective shelf are three-pronged. An avalanche of American sanctions effectively denied it the resources and goodwill to further its degenerating war efforts. While diminishing regional allies is the painful straw to break its camel like hunch back. With Kenya and Uganda already and sternly warned to keep off meddling in South Sudanese conflict, Ethiopia is now preoccupied with putting her messy house in order as she stands guard against Egyptian possible invasion over controversial renaissance dam, allegedly on the back of South Sudanese government.

Lastly followed by the stark reality that next round of peace talks is the last ditch effort for IGAD to either successfully or unsuccessfully broker or else AU and UN take over with unpredictable agendum that is too much for government to manipulate.

Pilling up on this weighty pressure, is the newly launched opposition alliance meant to plow into power sharing inner sanctum, with shared mortal fear by SPLM/A-IG and SPLM/A-IO to slice off a big chunk of their established powers that be. The new détente, so to speak, sent both government and its main armed opposition underground, in order to debate common turbulent future and ward off opposition alliance’s intrusion into their own political turf.

These emerging political developments make Machar more of an endangered species than Kiir himself. Since in the event of his absence when peace agreement is consummated, he faces a possible elimination from South Sudan political scene for ever. In as much as his SPLM/A-IO risks experiencing internal power struggle and resultant split.

For if Henry Odwar, his current deputy and Equatorian, takes the slot to be allocated to the movement in the upcoming transitional government, Nuer will feel their movement is hijacked in the eleven hour by Equatorians. But should any Nuer nominee jump queue and undercut Odwar, Equatorians shall likely feel slighted by Nuer tribalism and with dire consequences walk out of the movement enemas. Even within the Nuer community, Machar’s succession politics is such a closely guarded and divisive affair to debate.

Hence, a realization there is some safety in Raila Odinga’s style tactical surrender when the word reportedly has it that Machar’s inner circle is reaching out below public glare to Kiir’s trusted cronies so that the latter ends the former’s agonizing incarceration of nearly two years old in South Africa.

In return, Machar has to eat the humble pie and accept ongoing peace process on Kiir ‘s dictated terms and conditions. In addition to giving up all his fangs and claws for a more moderate approach to democratic reforms agenda, provided he is re-instated to First Vice Presidency he lost to Taban Deng Gai.

The above mentioned underhand deal will subsequently pave the way for two gentlemen to face the next round of peace talks as a united front in silence of their hearts against the surging opposition alliance.

A fatal body blow to democratic reforms agenda running a ground and rolling back hope for much desired regime change, with conflict occasioned bloodshed, massive displacements and long suffering accounting for nothing, now that the change crusade has turned into a maiden matter of personal survival.

The author is a columnist and can be reached via dvanang@gmail.com

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