Contributor's Opinion

Opinion: Machar negotiated peace while in detention.

By Nhial Gatkuoth Chung

SPLM-IO chairman Dr. Riek Machar Teny (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

November 28th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – The country’s main armed opposition, SPLM/A (IO), leader Dr. Riek Machar has been in confinement for the last two years and half on the orders of the  government of South Sudan with the connivance of the US  in pretext that the war that erupted in 2013 following SPLM political power wrangles will come to an end , his placement in house arrest was reinforced and underpinned  through action  by the international community, the TROIKA in particular  and the  regional body  inter- governmental Authority on development (IGAD) , the idea of his arrest was swiftly utilized and executed with immediate effect to attain what they thought was a workable mechanism to arrest the chaotic situation in the country as a result of the ongoing  senseless war, regrettably, his confinement never brings the peace and stability as expected, instead things got out of frying  pan to the fire as widespread insecurity engulfs the country entirely.

The war has never stopped, the security situation has never improved and the socioeconomic indicators are pointing down every day.

Many South Sudanese have been calling for his release including civil society organizations and church leaders but their calls went unheard, until when the IGAD head of states and governments convened an emergency meeting In Addis Ababa and came up with the idea of South Sudan’s high level revitalization forum as a mechanism to re-evaluate the peace agreement that had collapsed in 2016 as a result of J1 dogfight. The forum adopted a communique as a roadmap to revitalize the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).

Immediate consultations were made and direct negotiations promptly commenced in Sudan under the auspices of the former president of the republic of Sudan field Marshal Omer Al Bashir and the current President Museveni of Uganda as guarantors and eventually, the signing of the agreement on the 12th of Sept 2018.  Retrospectively, the negotiating team on the side of SPLM/A in opposition also tried to include the release of Dr. Riek as a priority in the negotiations but wasn’t given consideration.

As a well-known open secret, Dr. Riek was cunningly released from South African by the same group with the help of Sudan and Ethiopia respectively, he was flown to Khartoum to get involved in the negotiations but later on,  restricted him from moving freely, denied him access to media  and continuously placed him again under house arrest in Khartoum.

A good peace cannot be attained when our leaders still don’t compromise for the sake of the poor South Sudanese if the real peace is not practically visible on the faces of the leaders, South Sudanese need a genuine peace that will address the root causes of the war, the peace that will bring total stability in the country, a peace that will bring back the people who are living precarious situation in the camps, peace that will make bring the trust and the love of the love country. We want South Sudanese leaders both inside and outside the country to swallow their prides and stop the war once and for all and fully implement the revitalized peace agreement in letter and spirit.

The implementation of the agreement is lagging behind because of intransigence and lack of political from the peace partner and her allied, the government in Juba is in the central power to abrogate the agreement at will anytime with the help of regional leaders who connived with the regime to unlawfully detain Machar, as a matter of experience, his deportation to Juba can clandestinely be done.

Dr. Riek on several occasions has been very vocal about his status which is yet to be determined by the IGAD’s head of states and government soon or later.

The agreement that was signed in Khartoum September 12th last year would have served as a springboard to question the reason why the regional leaders are advocating for peace in South Sudan  and at the same detaining the leader of the movement who supposed to negotiate peace with rival party, the first condition of the initial talks should have squarely focused on the unconditional release of Riek Machar in his confinement in Khartoum so to allow him engage freely with the region and the people of South Sudan on how peace can be realized and to pave the way for smooth negotiation and implementation of the agreement,

The recent extension for 100 days was supposed to outline a clear road map on how the 100 days will make difference in term of implementation of the outstanding issues (the security arrangement and the number of the states and their boundaries), up to now South Sudanese are still darkness not knowing the mechanism and the progress that has been made so far. South Sudanese are still hoping to enjoy a lasting peace in the country.

The author is a concerned citizen and can be reached via: nhialnyarok@gmail.com

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