Peace with Shared Sovereignty: IGAD has Finally Decided

Posted: June 25, 2018 by mayendengdit in HLRF, Junub Sudan, Mayen Ayarbior

By David Mayen Dengdit, Denver-Colorado, USA

Strutural Complexity for South Sudan Peace Process

Sunday, June 24, 2018 (PW) — In the last couple of weeks the citizens of South Sudan have been taken through hope and despair by the country’s politicians. After the abysmal failure of IGAD Revitalization Forum (and its unscrupulous envoys) to build a consensus among bitter members of the warring parties, heads of state have now taken over. Instead of those useless talks, the new initiative by IGAD’s heads of state and government decided to force a face-to-face meeting between the main protagonists in South Sudan’s senseless civil war, President Kiir and Dr. Riek.

Before the face to face meeting was held a few days ago, IGAD countries had bizarrely scrambled over which of them should have the honor of hosting that “breakthrough” meeting.  Addis, Khartoum, and Nairobi all had sought to host the meeting which eventually fell to Addis first, Khartoum second, and Nairobi third, in that precise sequence. Kampala, where final decisions are taken, has hosted the two leaders before, so it is not in the race.

While that sequence of hosting Kiir and Riek might be diplomatically important to the three capitals mentioned above, it is totally irrelevant to the citizens of South Sudan who just want to see the two leaders coming together in Juba once again- as soon as possible. Since President Kiir has no incentive to leave power, it is practical that the opposition and citizens of the country may have to cut their losses by accepting to work with him and his regional backers. Or alternatively fight a just war, but with a real potential of destroying the country beyond recognition.

As the suffering citizens favour a peaceful settlement between oppressors, to a war of attrition, they prayed for a positive result from the much hyped “face-to-face” meeting. But, disappointingly, news trickled out of Addis that Juba refused the idea of sharing power with Dr. Riek again. Some Jieng supremacists who claimed to be pragmatists (joined with Taban (1st VP) loyalists) warned that the presence of Riek Machar in Juba would depopulate the town and plunge the country back into the Abyss, as if it were out of it by any measure.

New realities, however, have now convinced the region to work towards forcing some of what was already agreed by both Kiir and Riek in the last agreement, especially accepting regional forces into South Sudan to save the country and region at large from further disaster. After all, not so long ago, many of their sons and daughters fought and died in defense of South Sudan against Islamic Jihad and forced Arabization. They have become stakeholders by default.

In addition, it seems Riek has forced himself back as a genuine force to be reckoned with. One fact is now clear like the sun: Since he (Riek) was sold to the region like a nuclear waste and shipped to South Africa two years ago, the region could not strip him of huge fanatic loyalty in the country. Unless he was killed in those biblical-like forty days and nights of futile pursuit in the jungles of Equatoria- which did not materialize (to the heartbreaking disappointment of Juba ) –  IGAD is now convinced that there is no way that any peace can be realized in the country without a living and kicking Dr. Riek Machar.

Hence, in the aftermath of such diplomatic failure in Juba which claimed (now practically defined by IGAD as lied to them) that Riek’s imprisonment and replacement by Taban would expedite peace; he is now accepted by IGAD as an inevitable element of the much needed solution, not just a problem. Consequently, preparations are now underway for full deployment of the much awaited Regional Protection Force (RPF) in the capital city.

While this involuntary shared sovereignty looks shameful (after 38 years of glorious revolutions that made us all proud in Africa), the region has decided that since the country’s leaders have lost their minds and went on killing tens of thousands of innocent citizens, what sovereignty can any of them talk about? They have, shamefully, lost legitimacy to rule and work alone as leaders; hence they must be protected from themselves and prevented from taking the death toll of this regrettable civil war to beyond a million, if it is not already way beyond that number.

The RPF will soon be up and running, working with UNMISS to protect leaders and installations as an attempt to provide a conducive environment for implementation of a new (revitalized/abridging) peace agreement. Juba no longer has a say in that decision – no matter how loud its Jieng chauvinist war mongers may sound.

Finally, unfortunately, it would seem logical to conclude that the awaited accountability, which is only used privately by IGAD as a stick to scare Salva and Riek, is no longer in the region’s interest; at least in the short run (no one knows the meaning of short).  It (accountability for documented war crimes committed by both sides) has now become a commodity to be bartered for a marriage of convenience between the two and the formation of another bloated “transitional” government in Juba which includes everybody and more.

After all that is being cooked, the citizens of South Sudan hope that both President Kiir and Dr. Riek show true leadership once in their post-independence lives, or at least pretend to be true leaders for the sake of the people who have suffered in their hands more than enough and continue to die every day. They should shut-up (or lock-up) peace spoilers and heartless tribal bigots in their factions, those who cannot differentiate between the language of national peace agreements and the language of traditional weddings – those who boldly say that Salva “cannot” work with Riek.

The downtrodden citizens of South Sudan (in towns, UN concentration sites and refugee/IDP camps in and outside the country) seem to have given up hope in seeing a new era of peace and prosperity, but they just dream of going back to their fertile villages and homes soon. While they will neither forgive nor forget (no one can) it is now inevitable that they will have to forgo accountability for the “short” run in exchange for a chance to return home. Like hostages, they have no choice, especially when greater powers have decided so and sided with the culprits as a matter of expediency.

The author, David Mayen Dengdit (Mayen D.M.A Ayarbior) is the former Press Secretary in the Office of Vice President James Wani Igga. He is the founder of the Free Citizens Red Flag League (FCRFL), a citizens-based non-violent revolutionary organization. He can be reached at 

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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