What next for South Sudan and its struggling peace process in 2018?

Posted: January 18, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Deng Vanang, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Deng Vanang, Juba, South Sudan

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January 18, 2018 (SSB) — The current crisis may still drag on for a long haul than to end anytime soon, at least for the pessimists no matter hardcore or moderate they may be in thinking. Series violations within days the cessation of hostilities was declared is the clearest evidence yet, with each side accusing the other of responsibility.

Also of common concern is the fact that warring parties still muster the combined will, zeal and resources to rumble on with the illicit trade despite the war-weary, suffering and dying civil population in urgent need of peace and valuable property already laid to waste.

With compromised peace mediators and monitors no longer being seen as the honest arbiters to bring about much desire amicable and sustainable solution to the five-year-old crisis in the eyes of South Sudanese pawns of war on all sides. Since some IGAD member states doubling as mediators still view opposition – armed and unarmed – as the threat to their largesse in the war-ravaged country than part of the much required solution.

For in case the opposition wins over the country whether militarily or diplomatically, these unnamed member states of Igad foresee loss of opportunities in terms of lucrative employment, trade, illegally curved out juicy territories and relative stability along common borders with South Sudan, an achievement they only attribute to sitting government in Juba than the goodwill of all South Sudanese.

As peace monitoring, JMEC’s individual employees see the war-torn country as a greener pasture full of economic opportunities the war has bequeathed. While Kiir decries any proposed solution to the dilapidating conflict as an opposition’s agendum for regime change that is indirectly promoted by those he calls enemies of South Sudan.

Unlike Machar who is in dilution of the diplomatic solution, albeit its continuous impracticality in his own way. Meaning to say Kiir is on the warpath if his recent utterances against an imposed peace are anything to go by, in order to reclaim more territories and repair an already bartered legitimacy in the likely upcoming dry season’s military campaigns.

A move which is against strict adherence to the cessation of hostilities that he regards as more helpful to Machar’s SPLM/A-IO many sees as being on its back foot ever since midst 2015 before the currently collapsed peace agreement was signed. With 2018 being the likely toughest 5th birthday, if not death date for the armed opposition with which to grapple.

But the more government invests in the war to win over more territories, the more it will court the international community’s wrath since innocent South Sudanese will die while the survivors shall flee the country in their millions. In face of the aforementioned stark realities, South Sudanese hope lies only up in the skies with Almighty God and what could be the commitment of peace sponsors, the Troika to immediately resolve the crisis through what may be the most popular opinion of South Sudanese people against the dictate of guns wielding rival factions.

However, to remain serious hope South Sudanese should still look up to, Troika alike Igad and JMEC must overwork to redeem itself from its once discredited reaction to 8th July 2016 that legitimized Kiir-Taban ‘s bloody coup against relative sanity the 2015 peace agreement temporarily brought forth.

The same partial diplomatic reaction moreover confined Machar in chains and chuckles in far flunk South Africa in as much as it boosted the government’s international grandstanding.

Although the conspiracy never seemed to secure its target goal in eliminating Machar and realizing peace at the same time without him. Since he didn’t only successfully dispel his wrongful accusation of being anti-peace, but also ignominiously disapproved of both coup and incarceration, given the present clamors from many quarters urging his release.

Instead, the foiled conspiracy turned into Machar’s advantage by placing him in much control of Greater Equatoria with an elevated position in Fertits’ dominated Western part of Bhar El Ghazal region.

With the country becoming more ungovernable for President Kiir and his First Vice President Taban courtesy of newly formed rebel groups advancing even more sinister agenda for the pair than against Machar’s ambition.

As ongoing high scale starvation and massive displacement of the civil population of which Donald Trump’s United States administration already accused the government conspire to paint the pair as heartless warmongers, while a resultant vindication of Machar as a man of peace than previously thought otherwise.

The author, Deng Vanang, is a graduate of the Catholic University of East Africa in Kenya with a bachelor degree in Philosophy and political sciences. He also has a post-graduate diploma in print media journalism from the University of Nairobi as well as a post-graduate diploma in peace and development studies at the University of Juba, among several short courses certificates in both information and governance from East African region and Republic of South Africa. He once served in SPLM/A during the war of liberation as political commissar and other political groupings in the post-war period. He became a Director in GoSS’ Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in Juba until 2010 while serving as a columnist with various newspapers before and after the December 2015 conflict erupted. He can be reached via his email: dvanang@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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