President Kiir and Riek Machar should transcend the mirage of total victory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Posted: June 19, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Editorials, HLRF, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, PaanLuel Wël

By PaanLuel Wël, Juba, South Sudan


President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, Addis Ababa, 2015

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 (PW) — President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar are reportedly conducting their long-awaited face-to-face meeting tomorrow in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This crucial meeting – their first contact since the infamous dogfight at J-1 in July 2016 – comes against a backdrop of the dismal failure of the IGAD-led Intensive Interlinked Consultation (IIC) in Addis Ababa, which collapsed yesterday without any major breakthrough on the main outstanding issues pertaining to chapter 1 and 2 of the 2015 ARCSS.

The main point of contention among the warring parties appears to be the spirited attempt by opposition parties to change the status quo in Juba by demanding the total dissolution and reconstitution of all state apparatus, and the strong determination by the government to maintain and perpetuate the status quo as presently constituted, with few changes here and there to placate the opposition and international community.

Various attempts by IGAD to break the deadlocks, including the introduction of a revised abridging proposal of the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) of the 2015 ARCSS fell flat on its face. The revised bridging proposal of the HLRF is not a great improvement from its predecessor, however.

IGAD, like all of us, is groping for a feasible solution, a possible consensus, a potential compromise, which is not on the horizon. Both parties are likely to reject this revised power sharing proposal, not because it is not a “middle ground” enough, for there is no middle ground in the South Sudanese conflict, but because each of the warring parties still hope for a total, verifiable and irreversible victory at the negotiating table.

The government thinks the SPLM-IO and her bands of brothers outside the country will soon run into total and irreversible political and military irrelevance. On the other hand, the SPLM-IO pride itself on its conviction that the government will soon collapse under the mighty weight of the current debilitating economic crisis in the country.

The other opposition entities, both inside and outside Juba, have convinced themselves beyond reasonable doubt that the government and SPLM-IO will soon finished themselves off militarily and, bereft of their military forces, would, sooner than later, banish into irrevocable political and military wilderness.

The so-called innocent suffering civilians and silent majority of South Sudan, who are actually active foot soldiers of the warring camps, are actively cheering on their respective factions in Addis Ababa to come home with nothing less than the ultimate prize – total, irreversible and verifiable victory at any and all cost.

This is the impossible quandary IGAD has (1) totally fail to grasp (2) been entrusted to unravel, peacefully.

As much as IGAD appears clueless at every turn of this winding peace process, we should all bear in mind that there is no any conceivable “middle ground” that they have not thought of and presented to the “warriors” of the South Sudanese conflict.

The other option, frequently fronted by and from some quarters, of handing over the peace negotiation process to the warring parties is nothing less than a sheer demonstration of total ignorance of the very fundamental factors that contributed to and heralded the outbreak of this civil war in December 2013.

To put it minimally, this war was triggered by the utter inability of the SPLM party elites – the “warriors” of this raging conflict, then and still under the twin leadership of President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar – to negotiate a peaceful mean of choosing a chairman of their own party.

To think that the very “gun class” who miserably failed to amicably settle internal party squabbling over leadership position would be entrusted to peaceful negotiate and resolve a national wrangling for power and access to resources smack of a steep ignorance of the genesis and evolution of this destructive and distractive war.

Sheer necessity compelled John Garang and Riek Machar in 2002, John Garang and Salva Kiir in 2004, John Garang and Omar Bashir in 2005, Salva Kiir and Paulino Matip in 2006, to reach a lasting political and military compromises.

Necessity also obliged Nuer and Dinka communities to embrace peace and reconciliation in 1999 during the famous Wunlit Conference under the auspices of Commander Salva Kiir.

Perhaps, IGAD, and all of us, should fish for such – magical but elusive – kind of absolute necessity to make President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar see to it that it is within their mutual interest not just to reconcile and conclude a peace accord during their face-to-face meeting in Addis Ababa, but also to strike the essential working comradeship necessary for the success and sustainability of such peaceful interaction and coexistence under the revitalized transitional government of national unity in Juba, South Sudan.

PaanLuel Wël, the managing editor of PaanLuel Wël Media (PW) website, graduated with a double major in Economics and Philosophy from The George Washington University, Washington D.C, USA, and currently works as a Project Coordinator for one of the international NGOs in South Sudan. He is the author of Pioocku Thuongjang: The Elementary Modern Standard Dinka (May, 2011), The A.B.C.D.: An Introductory Book into the English Alphabet (July, 2011) and  Who Killed Dr. John Garang (July, 2015). He is also the Editor of The Genius of Dr. John Garang, vol. 1-3 (November, 2013), including Dr. John Garang’s Speeches on the War of Liberation (November, 2015) and Speeches on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (November, 2015), Salva Kiir Mayaardit: The Joshua of South Sudan (with Simon Yel Yel, February, 2011), as well as The Customary Laws of the Greater Bor Dinka Community: Legal and Basic Rules for Self-Administration (July, 2017).

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.

  1. Emmanuel Ariech says:

    Great piece that both principals should invest in it and change the history of the country from the current status quo, restore the hopes of the suffering populace, refugees and IDPs from the war convincingly believed to have been manufactured by them.


  2. Deng Afrika says:

    WE need peace
    thanks you Paanuel for the update


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