A Resurgent Kiir Celebrates Peace Agreement in Juba

Posted: October 24, 2018 by aljokd in Junub Sudan

By Malith Alier, Perth, Australia

President Kiir & Dr.Reik Machar

President Kiir & Dr.Riek Machar shake hands after signing the agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopa

Wednesday 24, 2018 (PW) – Nobody keeps tract of these events because it’s gone so quick. The long journey to peace or say lull before another possible break out proved overwhelming. The trots between Addis Ababa, Khartoum or Kampala made it impossible to keep proper diaries for the search for peace in the nascent republic.

Invitation letters are already exchanged that the just signed peace agreement celebrations will take place on the 30 October 2018 in Juba, South Sudan. Top on the list of invitees are those who worked tirelessly to make it possible that the elusive peace agreement was signed before the end of 2018.

Well, you know, Omar (Umar) Bashir, Yoweri Museveni (Mosivini) and then the exiled rebel head, Riek Machar among other dignitaries will converge on John Garang Mausoleum to usher in a new era peace and prosperity for the new nation.  We have been here before except that no celebrations were planned for the 2015 dishonoured agreement known as Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA).

The parallels between the agreements would be in order. Lots of water passed under the bridge but we may still look behind us and see the differences and similarities at varying angles. Prior to the war of 2013, the political environment in the new nation was poisoned by struggle over the power in the SPLM. SPLM is an old idea that emanated from the concept of one Sudan free from ills of religion, ethnicity and other ideologies such as Arabism.

Coming forward to upheavals among the reunited (broke up in 1991) SPLM bigwigs, the challenges of managing the affairs of the country spilled into the party and verse versa. That was how the unfortunate 2013 was incarnated! The Deputy Chairman accused his boss of tribalism, corruption, foreign policy failure, dictatorial tendencies, lack of democracy and transparency in the party. The Chairman in turned reacted by sacking the deputy ushering in concatenation of political hostilities. On December 6, 2013 Riek Machar, Nyandeng, Pagan Amum, Deng Alor among others announced that chaos would result if the SPLM Chairman did not act on their demands. That was about nine days before the hell broke loose.

The two SPLMs backed by their SPLAs quickly ducted in to defend their positions and those of their leaders. The SPLA – IO lead by Riek mounted what may be termed a near suicidal battle to advance toward Juba to take charge of the seat of the government in a short time possible. In real terms the government was ill-prepared for counterattack and had to called in the assistance of Yoweri’s army known as UPDF or Uganda People’s Defence Forces.

After all was said and done, the CPA was concluded in 2015 and the rebel Riek Machar was to return to Juba with his military contingent to protect him as they implement the agreement. The pre-transitional period was three months compared to eight months this time round with no military protecrtion for Riek.

How can one explain the climb down for Riek and supporters? It comes down to what Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba called Nuerism. This author has no clues on how to define the term however, Riek and his supporters always think that there’s a short cut for everything. That was why he rebelled against John Garang and ended up in Khartoum. There is a similarity to ending up in South Africa after 2016.

Taban Deng Gai, the current VP of the country immensely weakened SPLM – IO when he remained behind to take the position of his boss after the second fall out.

The two peace agreements are far apart in terms of what they envisaged to achieve for the the country. The 2015 agreement was strong on reforms while this agreement is done on the terms of the government and the interest group of countries neighbouring us.

In this agreement Riek is simply reduced to a yes man. He’s well aware that the strong forces he used to command no longer exist in any shape or form. The resources he had dried out perhaps in 2015. And the external support he may have had run out the following year.

We no longer hear from Riek’s able field commanders even his chief of staff after leaving Juba towards the end of 2016. His former spokesman, James Gatdet is in jail in Juba awaiting execution according to the judgement passed on him earlier in the year.

Riek after the invitation to take part in the celebration is now demanding that Kiir; lifts state of emergency, releases political prisoners including his spokesman and allows free operations of political parties in the country. This is what he can at best demand or otherwise he can stay mute until eight months of pre-transition period elapse. Only than can he come to the country or stay away for life.

For Kiir, on the other hand, his will and that of his friends has been safeguarded. And to celebrate all this he awarded himself non-existent medals last week. It was a brouhaha for his supporters inside and outside the country.

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