By Emmanuel Turo Evans,
Nov 4, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– The 12 September 2018 Revitalize Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan is a good step towards realization of peace in the country and South Sudanese need to ask themselves fundamental questions, instead of playing blame game and finger pointing to those who signed the agreement and those who did not sign it. i.e. is this the type of agreement we want in south Sudan?, why the muwatinin ( citizens) jubilated after the initialing of the agreement?, are they just happy because South Sudan need whatever type of peace to salvage the situation they are in?, so that the refugees can return to the country, and the IDPS can go back to their homes, or because they are expecting the price of food commodities to drop, and South Sudan currency to gain value so that life will return to normalcy where children giggling can be heard under a shade of a tree as they play happily in their towns and villages while people in Lologo, Gurei, Gudele, and Mia Saba can be seen dancing and rejoicing as they embrace each other recalling and cursing the old days of 2013 and 2016 never to come again.
South Sudanese are desperate today as they are caught between a rock and hard ground, they are desperate because of the difficult life they are in now and are confuse because they doubt whether the agreement will not return the country back to square one again as the pessimist of the agreement are predicting.
South Sudanese celebrated in Juba, and in some parts of Kampala, and other towns within the region in the evening of the initialing of the agreement as they are heard jubilating to the new rhythm of hope in the country, because the ugly face of the war that devastated the country is on its way out, and with that at least their children who dropped out of schools due to fees issues can be able to go back to school after normalization of the economy. But one can pose here, and ask whether the agreement will really fulfill the hopes and wishes of South Sudanese as they are anticipating?. Well, it is possible that the agreement if it is implemented to the letter and spirit of it by the partners who signed it, and proper reforms of the country’s system and institutions are done, South Sudan will witness a real tranquility and development which the citizens and the founding fathers aspired and yearned for a very long time, but the elephant in the room is the issue of the five Vice presidents, this is the thorn in the throat of the agreement and if it is not well handle, it makes the agreement lame-duck. Fen Osler Hampson in his book nurturing peace, why peace settlements succeeds or fail, wrote ” peace agreements sometimes contain the seeds of their own destruction”. Although many of those who support the idea of the five Vice Presidents are trying to vindicate themselves by giving example of countries such Iran, Cuba, Comoros, among others who have more than three Vice Presidents, I think it is important to look at the circumstance which led this countries to have more than three Vice Presidents, here you will realize that this countries vice presidents positions are stipulated in the constitution of the country, not like in South Sudan where it came out of political settlement, hence my concern regarding the issue of the five Vice President and its effect on the peace agreement is basically centered on this:
The issue of consensus in decision making regarding important matters like foreign policy, trade, and national security since some of the guarantors of the agreement like Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya have vested interest in South Sudan, it would appear South Sudan is heading for a proxy transitional government , and the biggest challenge is with those who are going to form the Presidency, I mean the President and the five Vice Presidents, are they really having the interest of the common citizen in their agenda’s?, this question will remain to be answered by them during the transitional period.
Political differences among the leaders, and their personal ambitions regarding the next elections in the country especially among those who will be the occupants of the presidency, remember Taban Deng Gai is going to be demoted from his current position to vice president or whichever position the president is going to appoint him, and for the first time since the split of SPLM-IO in 2016, Dr. Riak Machar and Taban Deng Gai will be working together as partners of the agreement, but leading/heading different entities, this is going to be interesting and one does not need to a prophet to anticipate clear wrangle between the two, especially from their lieutenants concerning what happened in 2016 and the betrayal theory associated with the incident, as who betrays who?. Personal political ambitions of this ”leaders” is a time bomb waiting to explode if not well defuse.
The success of the Revitalize Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan also known as Khartoum Peace Agreement solely depends on the sincerity of the partners who signed the agreement, but three personalities takes the lion share, and needs to demonstrate their utmost and sincere commitment to the agreement, and to the suffering and dying people of South Sudan and reassure them of their full heartedly support to implement the agreement if they really care about the citizens. President Salva Kiir, Dr. Riak Machar, and Taban Deng Gai need to show leadership rather than jostle for power in the cost of the poor citizens. the three personalities need to demonstrate leadership this time around, because of the recent and past history of violence involving them in one way or the other, for example I mention above the issue of the 2016 fighting and the split of SPLM-IO into two which has created mistrust between Dr. Riak Machar and Taban Deng Gai, while recent statements made by President Salva Kiir concerning working with Dr. Riak Machar before the latter being released from house arrest is appalling, although President Salva said they have forgiven each other during the peace celebration day in Juba, this still remains a political statement made just to show the public that he is serious about the peace, but the reality will be seen during the transitional period.
I am a South Sudanese student, currently studying at Cavendish University Uganda, pursuing master of arts in International Relations and Diplomatic studies. I can be reach through: email@example.com.