IGAD peace plan and the exclusion of Gen. Paul Malong
By Tor Madira Machier
June 30th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in May unveiled a peace plan for the war-ravaged South Sudan. The peace proposal, which is expected to be signed by the parties this July seek to create a three-vice-presidents government that would possibly be led by the current incumbent, President Salva Kiir Mayardiit and the former First Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar.
The peace plan which seems to be a revised version of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) signed by Kiir and Machar in August 2015, although it looks as if it address concerns of most demands by each party, does not provides for the inclusion of the former SPLA General Chief of Staff Gen. Paul Malong Awan in the would-be transitional government of national unity.
Malong, for his part, has not yet come out to either agree or disagree with the proposal. Currently, Malong and associates are extending the membership of the so call South Sudan United Front (SSUF/Army). Troops previously loyal to the government of President Salva Kiir’s faction of the SPLA in northern Bhar Al-Ghazal region are joining the newly created movement.
The extension of Malong’s membership of his movement provides for a prove to the regional and international community that yet after the signing of the would-be peace agreement, rebellion will be still in place in some parts of the country similar to the post-independence era which saw rebellions in some parts of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile. Prominent Dinka politicians and previous hardliners in the government of President Salva Kiir are also joining Malong’s movement and the good example is the Secretary General of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) Ustaz Lews Anei who was previously the governor of Kiir’s home state, Warrab.
Based on the current state of events and developments, excluding Malong doesn’t change the situation and doesn’t help too. Having peace in some parts of the country and war in Bhar Al-Ghazal looks the same as the current situation where the war is mostly ongoing in Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria.
The IGAD, as a peace sponsor and a mediator, should focus on achieving peace across the Republic of South Sudan and not to repeat the same mistakes it committed when a peace agreement, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed and partially led to peace in the southern Sudan but the war continued in the Sudan’s region of Darfur.
Malong in the past applied to join the South Sudan peace talks but was denied to by the regional body after the government made clear its rejection to the participation of the former army chief. This angered Malong and embarked on developing his movement’s military and political wing monitoring and waiting for what would be the end of the ongoing peace talks whether it would include him or not.
Should IGAD meant to bring lasting peace in South Sudan, it must reach out to the hide-out groups fighting the South Sudan government and try to convince them to join hands, although the peace doesn’t provide them with positions, with the government and other opposition groups to bring peace to the world’s youngest nation.
A lasting peace mean a peace that would signify the end of the war but not the one that would partially end the war in some parts of the country because citizens in these parts of the country also belong to the suffering South Sudan population.
Tor Madira Machier is a South Sudanese journalist, columnist and the Nyamilepedia Editor-in-Chief. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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