South Sudan’s unity government formation and the different perceptions


By Peter Gatkuoth, London, UK

Six School of thoughts undertaking about the Formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU), in May 12th, 2019: South Sudan
South Sudanese leaders signed the Revitalized Peace Agreement(R-ARCISS) in September 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia(Photo: file)

April 20th 2019 (Nyamilepedia)The three big brothers and their sister Mama Nyadeng Mabiore went on for a retreat in Vatican, Rome, Italy on the 11-14th, April, 2019, an invitation called by Pope Francis to allow the leaders of the youngest country to have a self-reflect on forgiveness and peace as was once demonstrated by Jesus Christ, washing the feet of the disciples. This couldn’t be explained better than the Holy See himself started the meditation with president Kiir, kneeling down on his feet, kissed them, and the same function continued to Dr. Riek Machar, General Taban Deng Gai, all the way to Mama Nyandeng at the end of the line.

The youngest nation is engulfed with a tribal war erupted in December 15th, 2013 in the capital city, Juba, South Sudan. A peace agreement was reached in August, 2015 allowing the warrying parties to come back together in April, 2018 to form a new government that, ironically didn’t last long; rather the country plunged back to full scale war after what had been popularly known as the J1-War in July, 2018.

With enormous sufferings, displacement, mass killing, rapes and tortures, hereafter followed, the warring parties in September, 12th, 2018, were once again brought to the negotiating table to sign another round of peace deal.

Article 2.2: “The Pre-Transitional Period”: Talks about what are the thing to be done during this period before the formation of Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (RTGoNU), in May 12th, 2019:

Article 2.2.1: The Pre-Transitional Period shall start on D-Day and continue up to the completion of the training and redeployment of the necessary unified forces. However, training and redeployment of the necessary forces shall be completed within a period that shall not exceed eight (8) months. This provision prevails on any other contrary text.

Article 2.2.9: Training of the unified forces of the military, police and other security services shall start at the beginning of the Pre-Transitional period according to the requirement of each force or service. Forces shall be trained together to ensure coherences and harmony.

Article 2.2.10: On the completion of training the unified forces shall be redeployment at different levels and sizes (units, formations and commands).    

However, there is a lot of growing concerns whether the government would be formed in May, 12th, 2019, as has been stipulated in the document or what are the six school of thoughts the people of South Sudan do find themselves in at this point in time?

School of Thought Number One: This group are the innocent South Sudanese at the government control areas, Juba per say: they are candidly from their hearts longing for the peace to come as soon as in May 12th, 2019. They are so much tired of economics hardship, sky-rocketing market prices, etc. Their hope is on the upcoming government of National Unity that may bring a new down and resurrection to the already pronounced ‘dead economy’. This group needs something to revitalize their living-hood, and resuscitate their last-breaths. A call that is so genuine given this dire and worse living conditions they are facing.

School of Thought Number Two: This group are the previously once-time pro-Taban Deng Gai elements that is now divided and splinted under the banner of Gen. Gat-Hoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang. It’s their hope and day dream that, the sooner the RTGoNU is formed in May 12th, 2019, the faster the reign of Taban Deng Gai and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth who is squandering the petroleum money may come to an end. This splinted away SPLM-IO of Chi-Puar is suffering economically and the only way to see resuscitation and gain back their last breath is through the formation of this new government, and of course with some chances of getting few positions in the next upcoming government. Like the first group; they are praying day and night for the Messiah to return back to earth as soon as possible.

School of Thought Number Three: This group is spearheaded by NONE, but Taban Deng Gai and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth with few pockets of beneficiaries of the oil money. When they heard the interview of Dr. Riek Machar over the radio asking the international community for the extension of the formation of the government for another six (6) months, the latter (group three) became so exuberant and started praying God for this news to hold on to it, as to kept looting resources in the name of Petro-dollar deals, etc.   

School of Thought Number Four: This group is NONE, but some few elements in the advance team comprising of SSOA, some Generals and politicians sent to Juba by the SPLM-IO, as to disseminate the peace agreement. It’s their dream that the sooner the government is formed in May 12th, 2019, the better for them not to join the bush life again. This is the group that wanted to walk away from the poor leadership of Dr. Riek Machar, but wanted to use the ladder of peace as an exit gate from him, grabbing this peace driven opportunity.

School of Thought Number Five: This group is led by NONE, but President Salva Kiir and Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). According to Ateny Wek Ateny, the office press secretary of the president: they urgently need the formation of RTGoNU in May 12th, 2019, as part of trust-building, and pointing to the fact that, the opposition groups and Dr. Riek Machar in particular should just come to Juba as earlier as possible, hence security in the capitol is very much arranged. Ateny Wek Ateny went on and proven his stance by saying all oppositions in the advance team are safely walking, dinning, prostituting and breathing in Juba, so there is nothing a person like Dr. Riek Machar ought to fear for: Whether this call from Ateny Wek Ateny is genuine for meaning a real peace or some hidden ill-wishes are behind, whilst the government fails to expeditiously implement the security arrangements according to the peace deal, thus would allow a reunified force to safeguard the safety of all stakeholders, is something better known only to Ateny Wek Ateny and the masters.

School of Thought Number Six: This group is led by NONE, but Dr. Riek Machar and almost 99% of the SPLM-IO armies, members, and sympathizers. They categorically, made it crystal and clear that without a well-trained and reunified forces in Juba and other major towns, there must be no government formed in May 12th, 2019. Their leader Dr. Riek Machar made it straight to the news outlets that, there has to be an extension of six (6) months allowance time frame to reunify all forces.

Dr. Riek Machar and his group might have learned from the lesson of July, 2016 (J1-WAR) when he came to Juba with few forces with a hope that the international community would back him up, in case Salva Kiir staged a war on him. The lesson is there on the wall, so not to remind him about it. There is an on-going rumors that the JCE is almost in a process of graduating out a batch of newly recruited Mathiang-Anyor in couple of weeks. This force is drawn out mainly from Waraap state, the home of President Salva Kiir. And once they arrived to Juba, they would be stationed at the opposite adjacent to J2 (The old Fire Brigade compound). The last rain!

Now, questions remained as to whether: President Salva Kiir and the co-opted alliances like those of SSOA will heed to give training and reunification of the forces a chance or will they just go ahead and form the government in May 12th, 2019? What is the position of international community, IGAD, peace guarantors (Sudan, Uganda) given all the above mentioned scenarios?  

The writer is a concerned South Sudanese living in, London, UK. Views expressed hereafter are self-opinions. He could be reached at: kimduach@gmail.com

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