Opinion: The clandestine meeting between President Kiir and Dr. Machar

By Wesley Kosa

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Dr/. Riek Machar (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)
South Sudan President, Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Dr/. Riek Machar (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

September 8th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – From the beginning, the Khartoum peace negotiations brought together all the political and military forces with expectation and anticipation that, it presented an opportunity and platform to search and achieve a permanent solution to end the senseless self-inflicted conflict. Unfortunately this was not the case as it turned out that both the governments of Sudan and Uganda were not for the mediation of the negotiation but rather for promoting the status quo. This made some stake holders not to sign the Khartoum deal.

No serious attention was given as to why those parties refused to sign. Both Khartoum and Uganda sped up the final signing and celebration of Khartoum peace deal. Universally the gesture for peace celebrations of a genuine peace agreement starts with the hand shake amongst the parties involved, but unfortunately when Dr. Machar reached out to greet President Kiir, he refused to shake Dr. Machar’s hand. Perhaps President Kiir knew this deal would never deliver peace to the people of South Sudan. It is also possible that the kind of peace that he expected was for Dr. Machar to join the government in Juba and that is where he would also meet his fate. Whatever in President Kiir’s mind, both IGAD and International community should have seriously considered mediating a genuine and inclusive peace negotiations.

Since signing of the Khartoum peace agreement, the government of South Sudan strategically resorted to selective implementation of R-ARCSS. As a result the key provisions of the Peace Agreement such as the demilitarization of Juba, cantonment of forces, formation of the joint national army, President Kiir’s controversial 32 states and the demarcation of the internal boundaries were not resolved. These issues were the bench-mark not only for the preparation for the return of Dr. Machar but also to reflect government’s seriousness to bring about durable peace. These are the indications that the government is not ready for real peace, and is unfortunate that both the IGAD and International community have deliberately chosen to ignore these signs of gathering storm as they have done it previously.

Recently the IGAD extended an invitation to President Kiir and Dr. Machar to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Machar honored the invitation but unfortunately President Kiir rejected the invitation instead he traveled to Uganda. Upon his return to Juba, he requested that Dr. Machar should meet him in Juba. If President Kiir is serious about the peace as he claims, then the venue of such a meeting would never be a problem. This is a clear message to IGAD that President Kiir has succeeded to manipulate and control the organization and he is not afraid to stand up against their decisions. Instead he invited Dr. Machar to meet him in Juba claiming that the government of South Sudan would give security protection to Dr. Machar. This is the very security apparatus that President Kiir allegedly ordered to eliminate Dr. Machar more than once.

For whatever reason Dr. Machar decides to ignore the signs of danger and travel to Juba to meet President Kiir or even choose to join the raw government of national unity, he have to be ready to deal with the uncertainty and unpredictable calculations of Kiir’s most powerful and misleading Jieng council of elders (JCE). They have tried to eliminate him few times, and none of the peace grantors condemned their barbaric acts, it is certain that they would try again.

The government’s lack of commitment to a inclusive peace negotiation and they continuous block to include all the stake holders in peace discussions are signs that President Kiir is not ready for a genuine peace. Unfortunately, the storm is gathering but both the region and the international community seem silent and deliberately ignoring these signs that will lead to more bloodshed in South Sudan.

The author, Wesley Kosa, is the Secretary for Information for South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) and is reachable via: wbkosa@hotmail.com

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