By Wesley Kosa
The Khartoum Peace Agreement was the result of the political manipulation by the governments of South Sudan, Uganda and Sudan. There were no extensive discussions and mediation but rather the coercion of the warring parties by Sudan and Uganda to sign or initial documents that were not thoroughly deliberated and agreed upon. The government of the Sudan and Uganda, which were supposed to be the mediators, became clearly supporters of Kiir’s government fulfilling what South Sudan government wanted. This is the problem of the Khartoum Peace Agreement which discouraged other warring parties from signing the document and it’s the very reason why the government of President Kiir is reluctant to implement it.
Upon arriving in, Juba from Khartoum after signing the Khartoum peace deal, President Kiir was received with jubilation by the citizens believing that peace is within their reach. What President Kiir didn’t tell South Sudanese people is that the very issues that caused the conflict such as the 32 states, the issue of federalism/confederation, the communal borders, accountability, reforms, demilitarizing of Juba not to mention but few had never been addressed. Though President Kiir claimed that he had finally brought peace, his actions showed a complete lack of commitment and seriousness to implement the deal. Instead of demilitarizing Juba, the government is militarizing Juba, recruiting and training new fighters, making the work of verification team almost impossible. The government has failed to disclose the number of the South Sudan Defense Force, granted no support to the internal Boundary Commission. Instead, the government paid money to an American lobby group to work against the establishment of the Hybrid Court to bring to account those who committed war crime and crime against humanity. President Kiir’s understanding of peace is the continuation of the status quo; he wanted to lure all the warring parties inside the Country and let business continue as usual. For the President and his coterie, addressing the root causes of the conflict may mean accountability and also other voices may emerge that would challenge his actions and motives.
South Sudan security forces are president Kiir’s instrument of intimidation that is keeping him in power because he knew he has already failed to lead the country. That is why he is not ready to give it up; all he wanted is to keep on requesting Dr Machar to return to Juba without implementing the provision of the peace and this is Kiir’s kind of peace. The mediators particularly the IGAD countries seem confused because they are part of president Kiir’s team, what all those countries forget to comprehend is that there is no way one can be a collaborator and at the same time a mediator. The warring parties And South Sudanese have long lost confidence in IGAD knowing and believing there is nothing good that will come out of it.
Recently Dr Machar formally requested IGAD to delay the formation of the government of national unity for six months. For Dr Machar, he wanted grant president Kiir benefits of doubt hoping he would have a change of heart and implement the peace deal in letter and spirit. Since then the government wanted to extend the delay period to a year, it’s not about the lack of time, but rather where the President’s mindset is. Even with this delay, the government never come up with a plan to utilize the time-bound matrix of the implementation phase. Instead, president Kiir has intensified the call for Dr Machar to join him in Juba, that he has nothing to fear because the South Sudan Defense Force would protect him. This is the same force that attempted to assassinate Dr Machar on President Kiir’s order more than once. It will be suicidal for him to ignore this and go to Juba without proper security arrangement in place. If president Kiir is serious about peace as he’s claiming, there is no reason why he would not implement the peace provisions. He is the head of the state and in the seat of authority. If he is for genuine peace indeed there would be peace.
Based on the above reasons and many others, the Khartoum peace deal is already dead and the pretext of the delay is just to deny this fact that, the Khartoum peace deal has failed to deliver peace. Any future peace talks must be inclusive; all the warring parties and other stakeholders must be in the discussion because leaving some groups out would not result in any permanent peace. South Sudanese must spearhead future peace talks because they all know why they are fighting. Once these are taken into consideration, there is no reason why there will be no peace in South Sudan, because we are a peace-loving people. While the delay continues, the loud and clarion clear outcry of the long-suffering people of South Sudan remains, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”.
The author is the Secretary for Information of South Sudan National Movement For Change (SSNMC)