Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 28 November 2017

Just how flaw the ARCSS Revitalization process is

By Steve Paterno

The IGAD mediators are already creating hurdles in their desperate attempts to revitalize South Sudan peace agreement.

First, they ran out of credible opposition leaders, hence, they have to either invent new such leaders or resuscitate the most irrelevant ones to bring them back to life. They are going just after about anyone, particularly those they find to be opposing the government and assigning them to stakeholders. It is so funny that it looks as if they are intending to conduct a referendum or some sort of a national dialogue.

Unfortunately, though, those mediators have just found out the armed militias they randomly collected hold as many divergent views among themselves than they share anything in common. Since there is no unified leader among those armed groups, the mediators attempt to hand pick a new single leader for these splinter armed groups is seriously backfiring. Each one of those warlords stands for himself. After all, it is IGAD, which propelled them as individuals to have high seat in the front table. Why give up such a suitable seat after the elevation?

As things stand, the IGAD mediators also found out that the armed groups have no real headquarters after they lost Pakak. The mediators are trying to establish Akobo as the headquarters of the armed militias, but the divisions among the groups are not making such attempt as an easy feat. So, some of those armed militias may just have to be accommodated at the hotels in faraway foreign lands.

Even more fraudulent in this process is that IGAD mediators went out of their ways and audaciously invented fake opposition groups. The case in point is that of Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang. Hothnyang was formerly a general under Riek Machar’s rebellion. He then split from Riek Machar, citing lack of leadership and direction. He went on to form his own opposition outfit known as Federal Democratic Party (FDP). As a result, he negotiated his way back to the government and subsequently joined SPLM-io under the leadership of First Vice President Taban Deng Gai. Since, then Hothnyang has been serving as Minister of Labor under the Transitional Government of National Unity. Despite these glaring facts, the IGAD mediators yet, picked Hothnyang out and want him to represent a different opposition group, which is virtually non-existence.

Such egregious acts call into question the credibility of the revitalization process. Therefore, the IGAD mediators need to review its approaches and adopt a more practical means in resolving the conflict in South Sudan. Unless they are not serious.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com