Intergovernmental Authority On Development (IGAD)’s Mediation on South Sudan Conflict will Bring No Peace: It Is a Waste of Time.

By Gatwech Deng Wal

Melbourne, Australia.

Chief Negotiators for the two warring factions, Nhial Deng Nhial for SPLM-Juba and Gen. Taban Deng Gai for SPLM-IO(Photo: file)
Chief Negotiators for the two warring factions, Nhial Deng Nhial for SPLM-Juba and Gen. Taban Deng Gai for SPLM-IO(Photo: file)

Dec 25, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Factually IGAD’s mediation on South Sudan’s conflict will produce no peace; it is just a waste of time. The reason behind the scene is that IGAD’s leaders or mediators are not neutral. As well, they are not respecting the two South Sudanese’s warring parties, that is, SPLA/M Juba and SPLA/M in Opposition. They neither care nor measure the feelings, reactions, ethical and moral values of the two warring parties.

In addition, the two warring parties are being mediated without an understanding of the underlying causes, primary actors, disputed issues and effort that should be made towards conflict resolution. Thus, I feel it is a waste of time and resources, as around the globe there has never been mediation like what IGAD’s leaders are doing on the South Sudan’s conflict.

Mediation is not an easy task. Trying to be a mediator while not knowing your role as a mediator often brings problems such as misunderstanding, loathing and lack of trust between the parties and mediator. Based on my knowledge in mediation, being a mediator does not need to be emotional, arrogant, take sides or work in favour of one party or the other. It just needs full responsibility, accountability of management of interruptions during and after the talks. But I doubt IGAD’s mediators’ knowledge in those areas.

In an essence and real practice of mediation, there are two phases in the mediation process and conflict management. That is, problem defining and solving. These two phases are important in all areas of mediations, no matter which conflict mediation a mediator is dealing with. Furthermore, these two phases have different stages and tasks which can be identified. Within each phase and by all means the mediators have to know and follow without pressure from bystanders. For example, in phase one of problem defining there are more than three stages a mediator should go through in the course of the mediation process. These stages include intake. In another word, this is the first stage where a mediator should determine appropriateness to mediate. Other layers are such as orientation, storytelling and identification of main issues, agenda setting and so on. Yet, among these stages, zero is being followed by IGAD’s leaders.

Moreover, in phase two of problem solving, there are some steps that should be followed in the mediation process. These steps include developing options or mapping conflict, selecting options or negotiation and decision making, agreement, and implementation or follow–up plus many more. All those mentioned phases are by virtue of the steps that should be followed in any conflict mediation, whether it is between a wife and a husband or a situation like the South Sudan one.

Did IGAD’s mediators follow any of above mentioned steps? The answer is no! IGAD’s leaders did not follow or apply any single step on South Sudan’s conflict. Personally, as a person who often follows the peace process online and over the phone, there is not even a little chance for IGAD’s leaders to bring solution to South Sudan’s conflict. This is because they are using neither normal mediation processes nor other options in bringing peace to South Sudan and its warring parties.

IGAD’s mediators are looking for benefits not peace, overwhelmed by their interests and gains that they want to get in this time of South Sudan’s dark days. They do not want peace to come sooner in South Sudan due to the fact that much of the incomes they are getting would cease if peace came into place. Also, their being part of the conflict would not help them bring peace between the two South Sudanese’s factions. Mediation is always neutral but IGAD’s mediators are not neutral, thus South Sudanese’s warring parties are wasting their time in asking IGAD’s leaders to mediate with them.

Nevertheless, another failure is that IGAD’s mediators have limited talents and skills in the mediation process management, strategic intervention, investigation, presentation and discussion in relation to what can and cannot bring peace in the young nation. Absence of those talents and skills is what makes them keep adjourning the peace talks because they do not want to tell South Sudanese, other African leaders and the whole world that they know little in the mediation process. To me, I think it will be up to the South Sudanese to make a wise decision or think outside the box to bring peace, stability and prosperity in their young nation.

The author of this article is a student who is studying postgraduate/Master Degree of Justice and Criminology. He studied mediation and conflict management and is waiting to be accredited to be mediator. He can be reached by email. His email is gatwechdeng@gmail.com

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Francis Amayo December 26, 2014 at 1:41 am

I would like to take a different stand as regards the role of IGAD in the peace process which is at a standstill because of two antagonistic camps,who believe military victory is the only option available,its true they weakness in IGAD just like any other regional body,ECOWAS has more problems in west Africa,alot of geo-politics is at play,they are alot of actors in the Conflict in South Sudan,so blaming IGAD is not fair,honestly where is the neutrality of Ethiopia,yes its the venue for the meetings,but suprisingly all the rebel commanders,leadership of SPLM/A IO stay in Ethiopia so who is neutral,we all know that SPLM/A IO is making difficult demands because they have a backer who is coaching them on what to say,we are not stupid we all know silently the Rebel movement is backed,financed by Troika Countries,USA to counter the influence of China,Russia,Uganda one side,we all have to remember whether Uganda intervened for whatever reasons,it was inevitable,we saw how people slaughtered themselves in Rwanda.There is this colonial hangover within the ranks of the leadership of the opposition,they believe peace process should be handled by the UN or Western Countries,that is indirect colonisation,why can’t africans solve their own problems,if you have a problem with your wife at home in Juba,do u have to go and get someone from London to solve your problems.The fact is both Salva kiir and Reik Machar are not alternative for South Sudan to move forward,we need a new breed of leaders not those who see this country from an ethnic line,but see us as one people this is a bitter fact

mondook December 27, 2014 at 5:19 am

@Francis Mayor, You are not optimistic of saying what you said. Showing side does not seem to be the right way forward. On your comment stating that “we are not stupid” who are you??? Are you supporting the government? Why would you blame Ethiopia of hosting SPLA/ IO..?? Why not blaming Uganda of interfering on our affair..?? I believe you do not understand what you are saying mate. In fact, referring to your example, Yes, you wouldn’t invite others in case you have an account with your family, but why Uganda. ??? Who invited them..?? Besides, You wouldn’t have an evidence or a source for anything you said that support what you said. How do you know that the troika countries are supporting the rebel as you mention..??? Please People of South Sudan do not feed our people with lies, Let stop lying and come to the truth, Truth must be told and the same truth will give us peace in Southern Sudan.

The government lies about coupe is rejected world wide. You wouldn’t give evidence of saying Ethiopia is supporting rebels too. If Uganda is supplying armies and supporting the government with firearms, why would you blame Ethiopia who has just hosted the rebels..?? African tried long time ago to handle their problems but I doubted it hardly happened. I would be glad if it would happens . Start from yourself if you would handle this problem of our country. Would you…?? I doubt that. Your view represent whatever you think is right but its all wrong.

South Sudanese, stop lying and pursue truth and that truth will save our country

Melbourne , Australia


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