By Deng Elijah,
May 13, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — The peace deal that was signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by Salva Kiir and his former deputy was unexpected for so many reasons, however, the two principles couldn’t help signing it for a reason Kiir believes was a threat.They did, which was a good news to many people, however, not to the president and the team he represents.
The deal has to be implemented, as demanded by the Ethiopian Prime Minister. The IGAD and the international community are watching!
The major components agreed upon by the warring parties are:
- Forming an inclusive interim government as preconditioned by IGAD, TROIKA, G7, G4 and SPLM-IO. Based on the earlier reports, neither the president nor his deputy would either want to step down or give powers to a Prime Minister or a co-president. The item does not favor the government.
- Cease Hostilities as partially accepted by SPLM-IO and demanded by IGAD, G7, G4, TROIKA but not the South Sudanese government. The government has temporarily gained momentum and is determined to fulfill its promises of “crushing” the rebellion.
- To open humanitarian corridors; a demand set forth by all the parties except the South Sudan government. The government denied humanitarian access to parts of Unity and Jonglei state. Other reports alleged that government officials have physically harassed the aid workers in the town of Bor and other areas. The government has denied UNMISS access to investigate the reported destruction of Leer, Machar’s home town. The latest reports from Leer are disturbing.
- Reform the country as demanded by Dr. Riek, his colleagues and other parties. The government has tries to reform the country but differently.
- Write a new constitution; a shared dream to many parties but a nightmare to the current government. Kiir’s forces claim to fight in defense of the transitional constitution despite the rampant violations of the constitution. A new constitution would curtails the powers of the president.
- To ensure the inclusion of all South Sudanese stakeholders in the transitional process as called for by many political parties and civil societies but impeded by the government.
- To prioritize national reconciliation; a case that was attempted by Machar in 2013 but dissolved by the Kiir.
The above items are the main objectives of SPLM [in opposition] and other stakeholders. The agreement favors all the parties, including the civil society, religious groups, other political parties, and Machar’s SPLM; however, it hurts the current government. This begs the question of whether the government will commit to its implementation.
The document takes away the extra powers that are endowed on Salva Kiir, leaving the regime with no other objective to fight for, other than power. The regime will only be defending its status quo, the powers of Salva Kiir as the elected president.
According to Salva Kiir the two leaders were threatened and forced to sign the document, however, the document gives Machar’s SPLM-IO an upper-hand. Therefore, it is very unlikely that Machar was threatened like Kiir.
With the exception of withdrawing the foreign troops, Machar’s preconditions were all met. Besides, the allied foreign forces would have no influence in the internal affairs if the warring parties commit to this agreement. Mercenaries are only needed to fight wars. When the peace returns, they would have no mandate to occupy the country.
Both parties have alleged to commit to obey the document they signed, however, they continue finger pointing at one another. Machar reiterates his commitment to implement the agreement on the BBC Hardtalk and urges the government to show similar commitment.
Kiir signs the agreement to avoid Prison:
As Kiir said in Juba, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told him that “I will imprison you here” if he doesn’t sign the ceasefire.
Although Salva Kiir throws his opponents to jail, a threat of prison was enough to force him signs a document that trims off his 21 powers. The prime minister, all of a sudden, turned brutal against Salva Kiir. So Kiir cooperated, at least, to avoid prison.
As seen in his speech, the president had no other option, even “inu” was not quoted in the transcript, one of his best speeches in years.
Kiir only had to remind the prime minister that in “the country called South Sudan, he is [i am] the president to everybody,” which is true but not to Ethiopians.
To persuade the prime minister, Kiir added that, in fact, he is a president to those who are against him as well. Another truth, but was still irrelevant.
“Those who are against me, and those who support me. I am the president of South Sudan, and I must always remain in that position as the president. The leader of that country.” Kiir said.
He believes that he has no term limit and must always remain in that position, contrary to the agreement he just signed . A new constitution would be drafted against the will of Salva Kiir. The new constitution, although it is yet to be written, will have term limits.
All these developments worry the government of South Sudan, however, the hard-earned agreement comes at a threat.
The prime minister sends off the warring parties with “make no mistakes,” the world is watching!
“Make no mistake, that the region and the international community will not sit idly by, while killing scores” Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister, warns.
Whether the world watches or not is yet to be seen but the United States has threatened to impose more sanctions.
The Way Forward:
On his arrival at Juba, the president released very intense pressure accusing the west of supporting “rebels”.
“we thought we had friends in the west but after 15th we learned they’re friends only to certain sections.” Kiir reiterates his usual blame game.
The west has been accused on other occasions, including government planned policies like delaying elections.
The president was right. South Sudan government has invested many resources to gain western support but bears very little. The government of South Sudan has hired US firm and constantly sends diplomats to the west to improve foreign relations but that didn’t help either.
The government has approached the Arab Leagues and many African countries to gain support but also did very little. After all these options dwindled, the government had its last hopes in the mediating IGAD, however, the latest development is disturbing.
The government of South Sudan double deals IGAD members among themselves and as well against their regional rivals. The principal examples include Uganda against Sudan, and Egypt against Ethiopia.
South Sudan government has also tries to fit China and Russia against the United States and her allies like Israel. The government sends delegations to China during the 2012 Heglig war and also last month.
South Sudan is, of course, a sovereign state to choose her partners, however, mending relations that inflict conflict of interests is very controversial.
Sources that include the mediating Prime Minister of Ethiopia have warned of rationalization of conflict, however, the latest developments reduce the chances of regional conflict.
It is yet to be seen if the South Sudan government will work to improve her foreign relations with IGAD members despite the imminent threats.
Other than committing to IGAD mediation, Juba may resort to military solution. However, with the looming rainy season, the government has a limited chance of securing a military victory.
The combined governments forces have failed to defeat the armed opposition before its establishes its ground. Today, more than 70% of the national army has defected, foreign forces are exhausted and aiming to defend only Bor and Juba or withdraw. Yet the conflict has affected 8 of the 10 states despite the advantage that the government had during the dry season. The military option for the governments may not be that optimal either!
Deng Elijah, Vancouver, British Columbia, is a concern South Sudanese. He can be reached at dengsimon2000 at yahoo dot com