The Relevancy of Riek Machar’s Confinement to the High Level Revitalization Forum

Posted: February 9, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, HLRF, Junub Sudan, Longar Mathiec Wol, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

What Does Dr. Riek Machar Confinement In South Africa Means To The High-Level Peace Revitalization Forum?

By Longar Mathiec Wol, Juba, South Sudan

South Sudan in Turmoil

South Sudan in Turmoil, courtesy of the Gov’t, IO, G-10, other opposition groups and UNMISS

February 9, 2018 (SSB) — When the war broke out in December 2013, and the two camps emerged one supporting the government and other one supporting Dr. Riek Machar turn Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO). That painful division caused indiscriminately ethnics target and killing suspected to be on both sides. It is a war that caused South Sudan pain, the hope that we were independence state seems to have been chattered and look like a dream; people got back to the struggle they recently emerged out of and they dark days returned.

People with spinelessness starting dubitating themselves why they voted for independence state. To tell you, you made no mistake you are a hero or heroine because you made the independence of South Sudan possible; the one that we had been fighting for almost 50 years. 9th July 2011 was the day millions of South Sudanese were longing to see, the day they have never dreamt of has come during your lifetime. You should be proud of being part of that historical moment in the history of our country.

Whatever happened, our leaders took us back to that closed dark chapter of war and suffering. When August 2015 peace was signed, it cooldown the conflict of 2013. The two camps signed the peace agreement; H.E general Salva Kiir Mayardit and the opposition led by H.E former first vice president Dr. Riek Machar respectively signed the agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That hope was almost washed away when the other war broke out at president palace 2016. Another challenging moment in the history of our country emerges again. Dr. Riek Machar left the country with some of his troops till he appeared in DRC in one month and a half later.

The dilemma whether the new peace should be remediated, renegotiated or continues with the old one becomes a challenge to the warring parties. The opposition in the bush favor renegotiation of the deal while the opposition within wants the status quo to continues. The continuation of the old peace agreement according to the opposition in the bush is seen as a sign of surrendering and they pronounced the peace as dead. In the dispute, citizens are left to watch without a choice but to accept the idea of whoever in their doorstep. People in the government control areas I assumed believe continuing with that fragile peace is the better option and vice versa from the opposition.

But one question we need to ask ourselves; is whether this peace is benefiting the people of South Sudan or is just a deceit from elites? This question can attract many explanations depending on who is giving the answer. Other people would say it’s benefiting, others will say it has never brought any real changes that the people of South Sudan want to see, and the real change I mean here is stability.

Many people in opposition, let say the opposition in the bush might think that H.E general Taban Deng has hijacked the moment for his personal benefit. The opposition within government believes that they are doing the right thing. They are implementing peace. But are we really honest to ourselves? Who is telling the truth or who is misleading who? For me, the tangible results may come through commitment. The opposition whether from the bush or in Juba should put their house in order.

The opposition in the bush sees the opposition in the government as hijackers. However, the concern is whether the perceived hijackers are in control or not? These concerns from the citizens by unusual scenarios that Dr. Riek Machar is still remotely controlling the minds of some from international community arena is worrying and shows that the man is yet out of the country politics.

One of the tangible examples is the continuation of Dr.Riek Machar unnecessary demands in his house confinement in South Africa and the recent arms embargo though no proof that Dr. Riek group is behind it. But the open eye sign is the timing, it likes the government is being coerced to accept any kind of demands put on the table by the opposition. These events made many people question themselves of what does Dr. Riek Machar confinement means to the ongoing High-Level Revitalization Peace Forum in Addis Ababa.

There is no doubt that Dr. Riek Machar is a shareholder in South Sudan’s politics, crisis and for the real peace to come he has to be a part of the solution; regardless of how you look at it. It sounds sarcastic but it’s not my view only even as I write this, Dr.Riek is still being consulted in every step of the way in the revitalization negotiation. That’s enough to validate that the man under confinement still has upper hand in what is happening millions of miles away from him.

Due to that fact, people are wondering whether the opposition in government is really in control. If they were/are to be asked whether they are in control. The presumptive answer would be they are in charge and they will continue to build trust between them and the population on the ground.

As the peace process continues in Addis Ababa we hope God will touch each one of negotiators hearts to think of the suffering the population in the country is undergoing and do something practical to bring permanent peace. However, with the doubt of how much is the opposition in the government is in control of the events that happen on the ground we hope they will also play their part to win the trust of the people.

What is missing and many people think of, is that; even if the peace is signed chances of it being violated are high since many opposition figures are no confidence with their current opposition’s leadership in Juba under H.E Taban Deng Gai. In the minds of opposition fighters they think if the government wants peace it has to include Riek Machar in peace process without knowing that Riek Machar views have been incorporated in every decision taken in negotiation;

I assumed since there is no one wants war every idea should geared toward peace and any positive idea should be put into consideration. Denying Dr. Riek Machar a space in South Sudan politics is something that we will not see anytime soon and it will remains a painful fact most of us refused to accept.

Many people may think I am advocating for the man’s returns but the truth remains as it is. The problem with the man is that he is too ambitious to get into power. He will do anything to make sure that he got to power but with this current situation in South Sudan I don’t think there is any one ready for another presidential palace battle again.  Many Riek supporters think excluding the man who led the rebellion is nothing but hijacking.

But the bitter question the refused to themselves and is whether their leader loves peace. Some of them think those of Taban Deng Gai are follower and they should not make any decision on behalf the leader who’s Dr. Riek Machar. But the different between Dr. Riek and Gen. Taban Deng Gai is that Taban loves peace and is working for it though there are numerous challenges on the way.

The bitter truth confronting SPLM_IO in the government today and they don’t want to talk about is the lack of support and control on the ground. Regardless of isolation of Dr. Riek he still commands the support of the people on the ground but that cannot be hindrance toward search for peace. He might still control the foreign relations of the SPLM/A-IO but that is of no use currently since he has been detached from the real situation on the ground. But still his involvement will ease the peace and national dialogue processes in the country.

Dr. Riek Machar till date still has recognition from international community and that is what is killing or complicating the situation in south Sudan. The international community sees what is going on in Juba as a friendship between H.E Gen. Taban Deng, the first vice president and president H.E Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit. They are seen to have been doing what please them, but the international community think for real peace to be achieve a painful steps toward reform must be taken.

For our president and the first vice president to proof the international community wrong is to work toward everlasting peace. They should be selfless and should not expect thing to favor them when they need real peace to come. They should accommodate every one idea in this revitalization forum that is going in Addis Ababa.

As citizens our concern is stable country who is who in the government will come later, what we want is peace and in this case the bitter enemy that could bring peace to the country is better than a friend who won’t make any changes. That means the revitalization should be an avenue of inclusiveness. The situation and the level of insecurity in our country is dire unless the SPLM_IO in government and the government do something tangible that will make people think otherwise.

We hope the revitalization forum this time will bring lasting peace to the people of south Sudan. That peace process can only bring a genuine peace through proper consultation with all the groups that took arms against the government. But without open minded chances of people coming back from Addis Ababa empty handed are high. As I have been monitoring the progress on the revitalization negotiation, it like Dr. Riek is addictive to many other opposition groups and parties in the country. They perceived Dr. Riek survival politically as their survival, because he is a big voice in South Sudan political game. When he goes silence everything else goes silence.

All in all what I am trying to say here is that there are two men here, one man by the name Dr. Riek Machar and the other by name Gen. Taban Deng Gai both from SPLM_IO the only differences between these two men is one is still in his chimerical bus in South Africa, a warmonger and popular while, other one in government, peace lover and political manipulator. Here, I mean Dr. Riek Machar and Gen. Taban Deng Gai Respectively.

To start with Taban Deng, he is a peace lover in a sense that he continues to preach peace and work for peace regardless of the challenges the transitional government of national unity is going through. He also manage to convince many people to come back to government and work closely with the president toward the normalization of the country instability he should be given credit for that.

He is peace lover and political manipulator, because when Taban Deng was sack from position of governorship in the defunct unity state by then, he joins Dr. Riek and seek sympathy from him. He continues to pressure Riek to do something when he was vice president. When Dr. Riek was finally sacked the two gang up against the government and duos plus the rest plan a coup and when it failed they rebelled and they went together.

With Riek trust in Taban he nominated him a chief negotiator and negotiated peace with the government and when they came back to Juba he wasn’t given what he expects and that mistake cost Riek another war in 2016. In other word he manipulate Riek to start war against the government in 2016 in order to put Riek in precarious situation to leave Juba and takeover from him. This man politically is dangerous and the president has to be very careful.

While Dr. Riek on other hand is warmonger who think everything should be done militarily when diplomacy failed and that what costed him his bright political career that he has worked hard to establish in many years. He simply likes war. Regardless of his popularity he is tribal in nature. He is only popular in upper Nile and if I am not mistaken then in his own tribe Nuer. But in this scenario of South Sudan let work for the interest of the people of South Sudan. I know how painful it’s to work with your opponent but for the sake of your people learn to work with them.

Incorporate their different views and you become wiser than you think because you will learn from them based on what they say and do. Therefore, the revitalization forum without of Dr. Machar and the lack of proper mechanism put in place to encounter any eventuality in SPLM_IO in government side is shambolic and we still have long way to realize lasting peace. It’s time for the people of south Sudan to leave this belligerent characters and reconcile among themselves for the peace to reign.

The author, Longar Mathiec Wol, is a South Sudanese concern citizen. He can be reached through email address:

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 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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