(Article by Major Gen. John Sunday Martin)
September 8th, 2019
“If we need peace, then we must save it; but if we failed to save peace, Then we must embrace war”.
Since the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on Resolution of conflicts in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in 2018, South Sudan Government has systematical demonstrated unwillingness to implement R-ARCSS on pretext of lack of resources to delude the world, and foil the implementation of the R-ARCSS through employed impediment tactics. The Government has shown reluctance in implementation of:-
a) Security arrangement where the last ten (10) months of the pre-transitional period elapsed without amalgamation of forces and,
b) Addressing the issues of the number of states which is paramount for resolving inter-communal conflicts over land issues.
Hence the government has failed to reason again that, the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGNoU), and the accommodation of the opposition politicians in the government will never grant a peace as long security arrangement that is vital for reforms in security sectors to warrant safety of people, and the issues of states that is paramount for peaceful coexistence are overlooked.
Of course for a Government that is not interested in peace, the rush to form R-TGoNU in November without completion of security arrangement and resolving the issues of the number of states, it can be termed as another big game to foil the world, and creation of situation for more conflicts to give it another opportunity for looting the nation, as well for oppressing of opponents to keep it on power, because without reform in security sectors, Government can still remains above the rule of law and use the security apparatus to intimidate opponents in R-TGoNU which will make this peace unsustainable.
The Government has demonstrated a lack of political will for peace, and implementations of the R-ARCSS through:-
1) Failure not only to agree on the issues of cantonment, but also to release funds for the cantonment on time and now the Pre-Transitional Period remained less than two months, the registration of the forces in the cantonment areas has not covered even quarter of 25 cantonments sites of the SPLA-IO - while not talking of time required for the screening and selection of personnel, their transportation to the training sites, and then required training period and deployment of Eighty Three (83) thousands Necessary Unified Forces (NUF) of which 41,500 are supposedly to be from opposition forces as indicated in security arrangement to allow formation of the R-TGNU. Therefore, taking this into considerations, the remaining two (2) months may slip away without completion of the security arrangement and since the government and the Region seem not willingly for extension of the Pre-Transitional Period beyond November 15th,2019, then pressure definitely amounts on SPLM-IO and the person of Dr. Riek Machar to risk acceptance of the formation of the R-TGNU for the sake of positions and inclusivity in R-TGNU; or rebuff the formation of R-TGoNU, and be excluded.
2) The failure to resolve the issues of states before the formation of R-TGoNU in November is dangerous for sustainability of the R-ARCSS because this may create space for further conflicts. the issue of states is vital since it has proven to be much on land than power for communities whose lands are annexed to other communities by the government through tribal inspired policies of new state creation to bring government and services to the people.
Of course, if SPLM-IO accepts the formation of R-TGoNU without security arrangement as well as resolving the issues of the states; then its’ implication may be (a) On safety and security of the SPLM-IO leadership, members and supporters nationwide; (b) Political where SPLM-IO will lose trust, and the supports of the suffering population because it will be perceived by ordinary citizens as political organization whose interests is power and positions only. Hence those, whose lands are annexed through policies of creation of new states, may resolve to remain out to continue with armed struggle which will be another split of the SPLM-IO just as that of 2016. Consequently, any split in movement may be good for the government because its’ will prolong its’ reign while ordinary citizens will continue to suffer.
Therefore, the hurdle ploy of the government in implementation of the R-ARCSS is meant to trap SPLM-IO and the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar who is considered by the marginalized, and sufferings South Sudanese as “hope, because if the SPLM-IO reject the formation of R-TGoNU, then SPLM-IO and Dr. Riek Machar won’t only be excluded from the R-TGoNU, but may also result in lingering of Dr. Riek Machar in confinement. Of course, the Region seems to be calculating for that, thus it is unwilling to release him even after signing the R-ARCSS in 2018. Hence one is compelled to conclude that, continue confinement of Dr. Riek Machar is meant to subject him to sell out South Sudanese for Regional interests of swindling peace that the Government is spearheading without re-addressing the root causes of the conflicts that has been too destructive to peaceful coexistence and development of South Sudan.
The “snag gambit” of the government in the implementation of the R-ARCSS means Government is not for peace. Hence whatsoever peaceful means are taken resolve temporary political crisis facing south Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005; the Government always becomes factor of frustration - forging genuine peace with fake peace. This lack of political will is one of the factors that led to the collapse of Agreement on Resolutions of Conflicts in South Sudan (ARCSS) in July 2016. The same gesture of the government seem to be now leisurely yanking R-ARCSS to collapse, while IGAD and TROIKA residue silently, and not doing much to save the peace that is much needed by sufferings South Sudanese.
Therefore, if the Government and Region is willingly for genuine peace in South Sudan:
a) Government must stop playing political games but, (a) Demonstrate good political will by releasing required funds for alacrity implementation of the R-ARCSS, and (b) Consider possibility of extension of the pre-transitional period to give more time for completion of the security arrangement as articled in the R-ARCSS, (c) resolve the issues of the number of states, and
b) The Region needs to release Dr. Riek Machar from confinement to demonstrated commitment of the Region for peaceful settlements of the conflicts in South Sudan because the release of Dr. Riek Machar will install confident amongst his supporters and SPLM-IO as movement that this peace is genuine and the region is not taking side with Government.
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