The IGAD Proposed Kiir-Riek Summit is a Chance to Listen to Each Other’s Story

Posted: June 14, 2018 by aljokd in Junub Sudan, Malith Alier

By Malith Alier, Perth, Australia


Thursday, June 14, 2018 (PW) — Five years of war and counting, in terms of human suffering and lack of development is a period like half a century of drawback to stone. While in standard five in Kakuma Refugee Camp (KRC), one of my greatest teachers (now deceased) whispered to us that war and conflict take humanity by centuries back to the stone age.

True. My generation and I have first hand experience of what war actually brings on humanity. We have had heard about the World Wars I & II in the distant past. The Vietnam war in the seventies. The Iraq war and the Afghanistan Taliban war with the Americans during the George and Tony Blair era.

The war wary world was dragged into Iraq by the Bush’s coalition of the willing. The US Marines entry into Iraq through Kuwait and began raining bombs down from the air and ground is etched into our psyche till the forever.

The Sudan civil war started in front of our young eyes in the similar fashion but a bit earlier than the Iraq and the afghan ones. During that day in Bor, bombs were heard early morning to midday and dying in to the evening.

Never, did some of us envisaged that we will be involved in that war for over twenty years and traveling through numerous neighbouring countries and finally across the oceans to new worlds.

When it was brought down in 2005 no one ever thought that this time, the war of brother against brother or neighbour against neighbour would result in a frenzy so soon while the past suffering was still fresh.

Something terribly wrong happened here, where SPLM leaders by default embarked on self-aggrandisement in the new world of materialism. The petrodollars and the Multi donor trust funds and the good will of the international community were squandered in a jiffy.

Peace did not seem to matter for everyone wanted to assert their authority and influence over everyone else. This explains the rapid descend to 2013 when the first civil war in a new independent nation started.

The early outbreak of war in the nascent state made some people to believe that reunifying this party was key to stopping the carnage and bring back the short-lived normalcy. The reunification of the SPLM was cradled in Arusha, Tanzania and has since been sung in other capitals without success. Many leaders are involved but their efforts seem to fall on deaf ear either.

The 2015 peace agreement also known as Compromised Peace Agreement (CPA) fell sick in April when Dr. Riek reached Juba. CPA unfortunately, died in July three months later when the atrocities resume at the heart of the presidency.

The reasons for the sustained tragedy are deeply rooted in the 1991 rebellion by the current SPLM IO leader against the founder of the SPLM, Dr. John Garang. That was the time when the seeds of tribal hatred were incubated and sawed.

South Sudan has attracted many would be players in the region and beyond. IGAD unsuccessfully tried to mediate since 2014. Sudan has taken it up on itself to host the perennially antagonistic South Sudanese leaders’ summit in Khartoum not later than July 2018. Three possible venues ate on card: Sudan, Kenya or Ethiopia. It is yet to be seen weather something will come out of it at all.

One good thing is that, the fierce rivals are brought face to face to hear each other’s story. The Audi alterum partem or hear the other side rule can sometimes be effective in solving personal and other problems in medium to long run. This couldn’t come at a better time. Donald trump and Kim Jong Un have shaken hands. Next door, Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have reconciled.

It is already reported that the new Ethiopian PM who also doubles as IGAD chairman, Abiy Ahmed is going to be on hand during the long-awaited meeting. Both leaders should be clear about political and security issues prevalent in the country. In case to cover up, IGAD and the region should join and whip the rivals to the path of peace.

Citizens wonder why it took so long for SPLM leaders to realise that what they are doing is only catastrophic but also futile. Personal ambitions aside, both leaders should ignominious tag of being the ones to lead South Sudan out of the war and bring it back to the war.

The toxic relationship between Kiir and Riek may at the moment be cured by face to face meeting where they can tell each other about why South Sudan to die in their names. There is no need to dwell on who or what started the war.

Why continuing the war is a relevant topic for now? With tens of thousands killed, millions displaced and more millions facing acute food shortages. The reports about food insecurity in 2018 are something to worry about.

We’re aware that the masses back at home are paranoid about the war. Each side believes that its right and their supporters are greatly influenced by this thinking. These supporters on either side can’t therefore challenge their leaders on the continuation of the war.

The only apparent reaction is changing sides on occasion to join government or rebels at the time of one’s choosing.

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 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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