By Tugul Nyak Diew,
March 28, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— South Sudan, the world youngest nation has witnessed unprecedented challenges ranging from war, corruption, nepotism, and famine since its creation on July 9, 2011, but the international community, especially the United Nations with the support of the United States has used the wrong medicine, the so called Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which made up of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, and South Sudan itself, to resolve the conflict in South Sudan. Since the conflict erupted on December 15, 2013, the United Nations has groomed the IGAD as a legitimate organization to mediate the peace process between the two warring parties, famously known as SPLM/IG and SPLM/IO.
In theory, there is nothing wrong in empowering the region to deal with its own problems. The danger here is that most of these east Africa countries deeply involved in South Sudan conflict, one way or another. For instance, one of the member states, Uganda has openly involved in the conflict, fighting alongside the government of Salva Kiir. Just last year alone, the government of Kenya with the collaboration of the government of South Sudan started to do dirties business in the face of the earth by kidnapping prominent members of the SPLM/IO’s leaders and handed them over to Juba regime. In return, the Kenya government receive a ransom payment from Juba government for their dirty work. On the other hand, Ethiopia, which supposed to be the only trustworthy in resolving the conflict is pursuing its own agenda. The prime minister of Ethiopia fears that his political opponents may seek sanctuary in South Sudan, which many countries believe it become a lawless country. For this reason, he is desperately try to find a quick fix to the conflict in South Sudan, even if it come at the expense of other marginalized groups. Moreover, Ethiopia does not want Egypt to have greater influence on South Sudan due to the issue of Nile River Dam. The only country, which can be honest broker due to it familiarity with the culture of South Sudan would be Sudan and, too, is being isolated by the international community and the leaders from the region who have enormous interest in South Sudan and have no intention to end the problem of South Sudan soon, since the suffering of the people of South Sudan has become a lucrative business for them.
In the midst of all these undisputed evidences, what in the world the international community still believe IGAD to be an honest broker and think it should bring the conflict of South Sudan to an end? The last time I checked, honest broker is someone neutral to the conflict, or impartial who has not been influenced by anyone, and whose main purpose is to mediate both sides of the parties involved in the conflict. In this case, can anyone with open minded sincerely believe IGAD can bring a lasting peace in South Sudan, while at the same time is in bed with the government of Salva Kirr? You be the judge. If the international community, specifically the UN is serious and genuinely concern for the wellbeing of the people of South Sudan, it must come up with different mechanism to resolve the problem between the two warring parties.
The IGAD mediated peace plan proven to be irrelevant and outdated, because of it misguided strategy of isolating Dr. Machar, chairman and commander in chief of the SPLA/SPLM-IO. The plan of eliminating Dr. Machar once and for all, or excluding him from South Sudan politics has been at work for quite some time now, but this is a very, very dangerous game , to say the least, which will only increase the suffering of the people of South Sudan. Frankly speaking, if the IGAD and the international community have the best interest of South Sudanese at heart, as they are advocating, they should never attempt to sideline a person, Dr. Machar, who has over half of population of the country behind him. SPLM/IO is bigger than one man. It is a bunch of people with the same mission, vision, goals and objectives. Even if the regime of Salva Kiir had succeeded in its plan to kill Dr. Machar at J1 on July 8, 2016 and beyond, the movement would still exist as it is now, and continue to engage the government militarily and politically till it accomplish it goal, which is to establish a federal republic of South Sudan for all of her citizens.
As things stand now, there will never be peace in South Sudan unless the IGAD change it behavior and come to realization that abandoning Machar is not the best description to the problem and that the country would be well served by resuscitating August, 2015 peace agreement, bring all armed groups to the negotiating table, and launch a fresh and genuine national dialogue, not the one-sided national dialogue the government is now forcing on people. To me, the best alternative would be for the international community to have a gut and tell the IGAD to step aside and have other countries such as UK, and Norway, who do not have appearance interest in South Sudan to take the lead and bring about lasting peace to the country.
The author of this article is a concern South Sudanese citizen and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.