South Sudan warring factions no longer at ease as details of power-sharing emerge

Posted: January 28, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Deng Vanang, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

Why South Sudan armed factions no longer at ease as hidden details of revitalization forum slowly emerge in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

By Deng Vanang, Juba, South Sudan

IGAD plus President Kiir, 25 July 2017

IGAD plus President Kiir, 25 July 2017

January 28, 2018 (SSB) — When plunging into the crisis since the last four solid years, South Sudan’s government was from the onset hoped would have an immediate upper hand against its armed opposition. All thanks to the resources, strategic regional backers and 63 tribes, but one rebellious Nuer it pulled behind its war chest.

The opposite became true instead and hence, the need to head the armed opposition to negotiating table on time before the government crumbled. The talks were never in good faith as they were meant to buy time for the beleaguered regime to subsist and eventually prevail against stiff opposition.

2015 Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) provided such rare opportunity to head home grudging and still isolated armed opposition. But even still, with an underlying conspiracy to be outwitted midway into submission militarily by its rival side.

The international conspiracy not only fell flat on its face but equally turned out a monumental embarrassment to its plotters in ex-President Barrack Obama’s administration in cohorts with some bankrolled regional partners.

Followed by the backlash of more infrastructural damage, deaths, starvation and wanton displacement of civilians never seen beforehand. With rounds of international calls creeping in to end violence, if to salvage what has remained a modicum of state authority from its self-inflicting ruins.

Since the previously touted popular government supported by all and sundry, but one tribe is no longer the case. Coupled with increasingly depleting resources and diminishing foreign allies as the main backer, Obama exited scene for Donald Trump who is more inclined to resolving conflicts than funding them.

He is also quicker and clear-cut than flip-flopping Obama in defining causes driving conflicts and trouble rousers behind their refusal to be turned around.

A reason his new administration sent its UN envoy Nikki Haley last year to South Sudan and witness horrors of war first hand.

More to the delight of combined opposition forces and annoyance of President Kiir’s government.

Which she clearly blamed for causing war and perpetuating its existence in order to maintain ethnic hegemony in the ever crumbling country.

Obviously under the weight of politically treacherous unholy trinity: violent culture, negative ethnicity and endemic corruption.

And in whose return left warning shots to end the conflict as immediately as possible. Or else will suffer the humiliating consequences of his regime change and himself he so much detests.

Upon jetting back to Washington, has been the proposed re-invigoration of the collapsed Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).

The new peace proposal railed IGAD out of control of the process and money.

Since the regional body has been accused by TROIKA, which includes the United States, of being manipulated by one side of the conflict against another.

In addition to delaying process in order to continue eating big from the crisis some of its lead member states partly encouraged and in which they overtly participate.

In response, parties manipulating IGAD to either delay or gain leverage at the negotiation feel they have run out of options unless they use military might to remain on top of things and politically afloat.

Something that is more evident in President Salva Kiir and his First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai’s camp.

For Kiir, he demanded in a letter in the 2nd week of December last year urging IGAD reveal to him the drafted proposal, suggesting he wouldn’t be part of the incoming transitional government.  President Kiir referred to a meeting convened in Abidjan, Ivory Coast that locked his representatives out and clueless.

While various opposition groups including former detainees’ faction, whose views he said are prominent in the draft document, were conspicuously represented.

In as much as he battles to re-unite a fractured Bhar el Ghazal regional backyard where a new armed group cropped up.

Being none other than South Sudan Patriotic Movement/Army led by Hussein Abdelbagi Ayii Akol that is alleged to be leaning towards restive former Chief of general staff Paul Malong Awan.

In order for him to hold together an inner sanctum that is slowly falling apart in the face of an incoming stormy hurricane, read the watershed revitalization process.

As his ally Taban Deng Gai was recently accused by Former Detainees’ faction of mobilizing forces and waging dry season military offensives. Just in belated attempt to render the already logistically weakened armed opposition irrelevant. So that the question for peace talks that challenges his relevance in the post-war is out of equation.

To counter the move and show off a semblance of military relevance so as to recapture some diplomatic lost ground, the SPLM/A-IO’s Col. Chan Garang Diing Lual led military contingent moved into capital Juba overnight.

Which according to him, he rolled in to tame what he termed unnecessary government’s provocations in the face of silent mediators who brokered cessation of hostilities agreement a week earlier.

All these war games happen as TROIKA apparently warned rival parties and IGAD that no wheeler-dealer at negotiations any more to deliberately delay or stonewall the process of ending the dilapidating war.

What is on the table, according to Troika, is road map on issues that will be thoroughly discussed in this first week of February and implementation matrix rolled out within shortest time possible.

It also transpired that the process shall be carried out not on who has more territories and people behind to get a big chunk from the renewed power sharing arrangement.

But all participating parties shall be treated equally with the view of bringing to stop the nagging crisis and resolving the suffering of innocent South Sudanese civilians now crowding internal displacement and refugees’ camps at home and away respectively.

Meaning to say, any side trying to gain ground from another is both waste of time and invaluable human resources without requisite benefits to gain.

In earnest shall come the deployment of Western troops to man and secure all the country’s borders against any smuggling of dangerous arms and ammunition into the country by any rival faction, particularly capital Juba following the permanent ceasefire declaration.

All the suspected arms suppliers of warring factions are already put on notice not to supply arms anymore or else face both smart and blanket sanctions.

With some neighboring countries sternly warned not to either encourage or host the internationally marked war criminals on all sides as they wait to be dragged screaming to the proposed hybrid court for trail as soon as peace agreement is inked.

Which according to impeccable sources, will be followed by general disarmament of armed and civil defense forces the politicians use as fodders to violate too many agreements that were previously signed.

So that shall be implanted in their places a sizable national army and non-blotted civil defense forces in the country.

It is animated the disarmament financial package is already packed and placed on the table by Americans to be doled out to the assembled commanders and their soldiers before they are told to disappear into normal civilian life and never to look back.

Proposed too, is the return to old ten states and full pledged introduction of federalism. One in which the top will be narrowed, while the base is broadened for an effective services delivery to the long suffering South Sudanese.

In which case, current legislature to be dismantled for a proposed transitional one that will not be dominated by one political group.

Not to be spared too, is the present imperial presidency and speaker-ships of bicameral parliament which must be shared out among key actors. Such that not only balance of power is installed, but also rule of law, accountability and transparency in governance.

It is in the same context that there will be development and reconstruction board composed of at least seven highly respected and competent local and foreign technocrats.

Whose purpose is to oversee the country’s revenues gathered in one pool during transition.  While select credible foreign companies will be vetted to take the role of construction from the received project proposals of both national and state authorities.

Simply to minimize, if not eradicate, past corruption that conspired in knocking down the country to her current death kneel.

Within transitional period, process of repatriation, reparations, drafting people centered-constitution, conducting credible population census and consummating national reconciliation and healing shall consecutively begin in earnest and go on hand in hand.

To be concluded with an internationally conducted and supervised post-war general elections. Which as a matter of principle ensure an inclusive, free, fair and non-violent electioneering process, with acceptable results by all its participants and observers.

That is Addis for you guys. Take it or cast it.

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 got awarded with undergraduate diploma in public relations and management at Kenya school of exports and imports in Kenya. And in later years secured 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 the columnist with various newspapers before and after the December 2013 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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