At the IGAD-led HLRF, Entrenched Political Interests Won the Round in Addis Ababa

Posted: May 25, 2018 by aljokd in Junub Sudan, Malith Alier

By Malith Alier, Perth, Australia

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Friday, May 25, 2018 (PW) — What to say about the High Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) of the dead 2015 South Sudan peace agreement defies the tongue if you are the grass being trampled by the elephants. you can’t dare to remember the dates, when it started and ended. Lots of things have been going on since 8 July 2016.

Taban faction lingered behind and got absorbed in the cauldron. SPLM mini reunification took place in 2018. And finally came the second HLRF consultation. The so-called National Dialogue consultations may be out soon. National dialogue is considered to be one of the homegrown fronts. The attempt to give another “home grown” solution a chance failed before religious leaders prior to IGAD takeover of the HLRF.

The complexity of the negotiation trajectory is beyond comprehension both nationally and beyond the borders. on many ocassions, the South Sudanese elites insist on the untested home grown solutions to the country’s political and security predicaments. It happened that some traditional leaders in the past resolved inter communal feuds facilitated by UN and NGOs with partial involvement of the SPLA commanders long ago.

This may not be the case now considering the fact that the traditional conflict did not suffer from the current elitist problems of wanting power and all the influence that comes with it. The SPLM party powerwigs are not ready to give anything away just yet.

The IGAD “Abridging proposal” failed with the usual blame game among the parties to the conflict. It looks like at this point postions and view points seeem to shift at every second. The main focus of all parties is transfixed on the governance and the slice of the cake in form of higher percentages for the claimants. Above all there are permanently entrenched positions on top of the food chain that cannot be touched.

The way forward

Continuing the war path is now the reality after the Addis Ababa disembarkation. The usual propaganda and the field combats. The road ambushes. The cross movements from government to rebels and vers versa. The famine. The refugee and IDP phenomina. And the international community will as usual continue to apportion blame on those who are intent to tear the country apart.

There is a possiblity of coming to the negotiating table in future. This is one of the things the belligerents seem to agree in order to come and disagree. The suffering of the population and the cost of hosting negotiations year in year out seem not to trigger soul searching among the parties. Being reminded of the suffering of People makes no meaning any more. Instead, delegates are transfixed on positions and incentives for their sides.

According to Dr. Luka Biong article posted on this website on May 19, the three trajectories make a trove to choose from for the warring parties. The status quo, the Hobbesian state and pathways to stability, it seems like dangling in between is their chosen path as we speak. The leaders in government and the burgeoning opposition are adamant that only their position is the only way to go. Therefore, what each group takes to Addis to the negotiating table causes more confusion than clarification.

This is evidenced by the subdued IGAD voice emanating from mediators after the collapse of the negotiations. Before the start of the talks the regional mediator issued unfulfilled threats of sanctions to peace violators and obstructors hoping that they may be swayed.

IGAD has been placed between the rock and the hard place by the actions of the sworn enemies of the former splintered SPLM factions. For the sake of truth, IGAD should simply give up the process and perhaps call for help from other regional actors such as African Union. IGAD should sincerely acknowledge that its drawing board is clogged and cannot in the circumstances be useful for the purpose. This is one area where the regional body cannot ward off blame. Pass the issue of South Sudan conflict on to the next level where recalcitrant leaders should face stronger push to achieve desperately needed peace in that country.

You can reach the author via his email: Aljok Deng <alierjokdeng@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 Media (PW) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website 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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