Is IGAD simply a club of political prostitution?

By Gatluak Puoch Puoch

IGAD ministers speaking to the media shortly after the 28th Extraordinary summit in Mogadishu, Somalia  13th September 2016 (File photo)

IGAD ministers speaking to the media shortly after the 28th Extraordinary summit in Mogadishu, Somalia 13th September 2016 (File photo)

April 15th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – The answer may appear affirmative. However to answer this question in my own personal perspective, I will use South Sudan as a case study to examine the IGAD’s roles in mediating the parties to the conflict. I will do so by drawing onto internal sources, external opinions and other relevant evidence, which expressly prove an absence of coup attempt that President Salva Kiir and his spin-doctors manufactured to eliminate their political opponents.

To begin, on 15 December 2013, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, reported to the world that his army spoiled a coup d’état staged against him by his former Vice President, Dr Riek Machar. Thousands of Dr Machar’s tribe members, Nuer nation, were massacred. The conducts resulted in retributions and escalation of violent to other regions of the Republic of South Sudan. In the supreme eyes of the law, this is the fault element and causation of the current war unless proven otherwise.

Tests or sources administered to identify the absence of coup:

Internal sources: President Kiir’s coup attempt report, was proven untrue by his high-ranked military officials. Among these officers were General Mai Paul and General James Hoth Mai. Gen. Paul was the Chief of Military Intelligent (MI) and Gen Mai was the General Chief of Staff at the time. Both generals denied any knowledge coup in their testimonies. The regime accused them of not covering the President’s deceptive report and consequently stood down from their positions.

Mama Rebecca Nyadeng, Professor Odwok Nyaba, Group of ten political detainees (G10) and to name a few, were also living witnesses to President Kiir’s self-claimed coup. Their testimonies have gone at length, assuring the world that the regime was attempting to rather silence people’s freedom of press and God given constitutional rights in the name of coup attempt.

External sources: regional political commentators and international political analyst have delivered their verdicts on President Kiir’s version of event. None of these identified groups’ reflection has confirmed the likelihood of coup attempt orchestrated by Dr Machar as claimed.   .

In 2015, a Fact Finding Mission (FFM) team led by the African Union (AU) was sent to South Sudan to investigate the evidence of coup. The FFM confirmed none other than President Salva Kiir using the state resources to massacre an ethnic Nuer. In other word, the finding concludes the liability of this war to be lying on none other than President Kiir.

Given the above evidence presented, the live questions, which any reasonable persons could ask are: what is it that makes IGAD still believe Dr Machar has made a coup attempt in spite of physical evidence presented? Is it about fearing for Dr Machar’s reform national and regional agenda for South Sudan and the region as a whole? Is it about the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, intimidating IGAD members so that his partner in crime could wins the war he assisted him executed? Is it about scratch my back and I will scratch yours, or is it about having the regional interest accommodated in the Republic of South Sudan through President Kiir’s reign?

Whichever factor it is, one thing for sure is that IGAD’s conducts have proven not to be insignificant. The club missed the point, turning the ordinary South Sudanese’ call change to personal hatred against Dr Machar. Despite no evidence of coup, IGAD has continued to isolate Dr Machar for a reason only known to them.

Evidence of this intended isolation are as followed:

  1. IGAD confined Dr Machar to South Africa without proven charges. In the rule of law, a suspect is innocent until proven guilty. For a suspect to be proven, the police must apprehend him/her. After apprehension, the police must charge the suspect. After charges have been laid, the suspect must appear before the court of law to answer his or her charges. It is this final stage of justice where the court delivers its verdict on the suspect. However, to the surprise of the community of legal system, none of these procedures have been compliance with by IGAD.

 

  1. IGAD includes President Kiir and President Yoweri Museveni of Ugandan in deciding matters relating to Dr Machar’s confinement. Any reasonable person would be aware that an ally to a defendant couldn’t preside, or become a member of team mediating a conflict that he or she has taken side. President Museveni has assisted President Salva Kiir to plan and weigh war against his own people. He did so by intervening militarily and politically, guarding and supporting President Kiir to crash his opponents. During the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) negotiation in 2015, the SPLM In Opposition (IO) under Dr Machar informed IGAD and protested Museveni’s present among the mediating team; however, IGAD furiously resisted this concern without legitimate justification. The IGAD forced the IO to swallow its complain. For the last four and half years of conflicting raging in South Sudan, IGAD has been aware of the negative role Uganda played, yet only few, if ever in the club, condemned this unjustified act.

 

  1. The Republic of Kenya has repeatedly breached its human rights obligations, abducting opposition members and returning them to Juba to face their fade. James Gatdet Dak, Idris Aggrey, Dong Luak, Marco and to mention few, are examples. This ash reality of taking side intentionally and brutally on citizens of a sisterly country is verified by famous statement of the Member of Kenyan Parliament, Honourable Weston Wanjohi. Hon. Wanjoji wrote on his Facebook, “I never thought someone could sweat in cold weather. Safe journey back home and say hi to Mathiang Anyor!”. The victim in this statement is James Gatdet Dak, a then spoke-person for the IO under Dr Machar. As signatory to human rights conventions and a member of IGAD countries, Kenya has intentionally and expressly breached her non-refoulment commitments to human right law. However, IGAD sew its lip.

 

  1. IGAD undervalues every effort made by Dr Machar to end the war. Dr Machar signed several ceasefire accords including being the first leader to sign the CPA in 2015. President Salva placed several reservations on the agreement and justified his resistance to the text by attempting to kill Dr Machar on 8 July 2015. President executed implemented his reservation to CPA openly; however, IGAD did not condemn President Kiir’s action let alone imposing consequences for breaching text.

 

  1. In February 2018, Dr Machar released all political detainees in his custody in compliance with IGAD’s peace accord. President Kiir has not compliance with the terms and conditions of the text as required. Instead, he invades Machar’s positions across the country. Yet, IGAD had not taken President Kiir seriously.

 

  1. In March 2018, IGAD yet again emerged from their political machine, in Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa, showcasing nothing else than supressing Dr Machar and the IO’s family’s voice. The club humiliates the rather victim of injustice, Dr Machar, demanding that he unless he denounced violent, IGAD would not free him.

Reflecting on the above evidence, any reasonable person would conclude that IGAD’s statement should be directed to President Salve Kiir instead of Dr Machar.

Adolf Hitler of Germany once said, create a lie, make it bigger, believe in it and continue to preach it until other believe it. President Kiir’s regime adopted this proverb wholly. By creating unfounded coup attempt, President Kiir’s administration created a lie. By falsely using the press to inform the world that he spoiled a coup attempt and that he seeks both internal and external support, President Kiir made his lie bigger. By continuing to preach the lie to IGAD to the point of confining Dr Machar to house arrest without legitimate justification, the region has believed President’s Kiir’s misleading and deceptive coup attempt and ultimately has taken side.

I wish to conclude that IGAD representatives’ conducts on the resolution of South Sudan conflict is rather an insult to the dignity of South Sudanese, reflect negatively on the region’s reputation and defame the integrity of the Mighty Africa.

To undo this rather bad deed, IGAD should stop turning this house of law into club of prostitution where perpetrators committing atrocities on their own citizens are praised and hail high instead of facing the full force of the law.

IGAD representatives should understand that leaders come and go; however, nations and continent remain.

History has proven beyond reasonable doubt that leaders are not born but made and nurtured in an effort to play a positive role helping their nations to learn to resolve their differences in respective and civilised manner.

If IGAD leaders embrace this path, it is possible Africa can become a civilise continent.

The author lives in Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached via: mccluak@hotmail.com


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