IGAD’s High Level Revitalization Forum on South Sudan: A Review

Published on 1st August 2017

The Nuer Supreme Council (NSC) would like to take this opportunity to declare that Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is no longer a credible peace broker in South Sudan, but rather, a sham and hallowed financial profiteering institution driven by IGAD’s nation States political and financial gains. 

The recent IGAD)’s High Level Revitalization Forum on South Sudan is a Hoax, Deeply Flawed and Driven by Financial Gains. This is showcased by IGAD’s position on the SPLM/A-IO, the main opposition armed Movement in South Sudan.  

Due to IGAD’s deeply flawed and monies driven position on the South Sudan peace, the Council demands that IGAD relinquishes its mandate on the South Sudan Peace Agreement to the African Union. 

The IGAD’s approach is not genuine. The Revitalization Forum is high selective, ill-conceived and we believe such a method will fail. IGAD’s approach is an  “exclusionary initiative”  meant to prolong the war efforts and suffering of the people of South Sudan, while IGAD’s member States continue to get their paychecks in the name of unachievable peace. 

To recap, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is an East African regional bloc, mandated by the African Union (AU) in 2013 to oversee and mediate the peace negotiation efforts on South Sudan. IGAD is supposed to be non-partisan, genuinely honest and objective in all its approaches. 

IGAD came to such a prominent position when President Salva Kiir falsified a coup d’état against his own Government, leading to the death of  20, 000 innocent Nuer civilians and a civil war. IGAD was entrusted with responsibility to bring the warring parties to the negotiation table. 

The East African leaders and the African Union maintained that the path to peace in South Sudan be an African driven approach meaning – “Africans’ solutions to Africans’ problems.” The intent was to deny the international community’s involvement and influences on what African’ leaders called “Africa’s state of affairs.” The international community accepted the proposal in principle to avoid false accusation of imperialism or neo-colonialism intent by the West in Africa in the 21st century. 

Despite the African solutions to African problems approach, African nation States are bankrupt and lack financial muscles to ensure ownership of the process. Africa’s nation States particularly the IGAD have to ask for financial support from the West, particularly the Troika (USA, United Kingdom and Norway), EU and China to help facilitate the peace process in South Sudan. 

This contradicts the African solutions to African problems objective and creates financial dependency that turns IGAD into a beggar and hallowed financial profiteering institution meant to benefit no one but themselves. Today, the Council can state this with a straight face that IGAD is a sham and hallowed financial profiteering institution. 

In 2015, IGAD patched a weak Peace Accord on South Sudan.  IGAD did not and is still not protecting any peace accord in South Sudan. Its failure to protect the signed accord add to IGAD’s lack of sincerity and commitments. The weak Peace Accord brokered by IGAD for South Sudan collapsed on July 8th, 2016 and IGAD failed to hold to account the violators. Instead, IGAD continued with deafening silence even though people were dying and being displaced in their thousands all-over South Sudan. 

In June 2017, IGAD tabled the High Level Revitalization Forum and subsequently followed by timeline. The Forum aims at revitalizing the collapsed Peace Agreement on South Sudan. To achieve this objective, IGAD has initially declared that the process will be inclusive and transparent.  

To everyone surprise, the IGAD Executive Council, Workneh Gebeyhu of Ethiopia had this to say on July 24, 2017 in Juba, South Sudan: “revitalization forum is not a fresh negotiation or a renegotiation to implement the agreement, but rather an opportunity for all South Sudan stakeholders to return to the implementation of the peace agreement.” 

First, the Council would like to reinstate that the peace in South Sudan has collapsed and there is no peace agreement to be implemented by all South Sudan stakeholders. Instead, there is a raging war in the country. In our view, the first attempt must be to stop the war before IGAD’s rubbish talks of implementation of the peace agreement that does not exist. 

Second, for IGAD to say that “Dr. Machar will be allowed to send representatives to the Revitalisation forum which is due in September, but will not be allowed to attend the forum by himself” is deeply troubling and irresponsible. With that statement, the Council believes that IGAD has killed their initiative but secured some financial support for the initiative which the donors have no way of reclaiming. 

Third, it’s improbable to think and talk of peace in South Sudan when the SPLM/A –IO’s top leadership is excluded in the High Level Revitalization Forum. It must be noted with clarity, that the SPLM/A-IO is the main signatory to the Peace Agreement which is falsely being claim to be revitalizes and the only armed force on the ground fighting Salva Kiir’s forces in South Sudan. Their exclusion by the IGAD in the High Level Revitalization Forum means no peace and no genuine High Level Revitalization Forum for all South Sudanese, which is what IGAD wants. 

Fourth, IGAD cannot call for an inclusive forum of all South Sudan stakeholders and yet deny the SPLM/A-IO’s top leadership participation in the form. This is hypocrisy. 

Therefore, the Council calls on the African Union to take-over the South Sudan’s peace portfolio from IGAD. The Council also calls on the Western nation States, particularly the Troika, EU and other International body to defund the High Level Revitalization Forum under IGAD. The Council asks the Troika, EU and other International bodies to only fund genuine and inclusive initiatives whose goal is to bring lasting peace to South Sudan under the African Union. 

The Nuer Supreme Council is an independent think tank, whose objective is to advance peace, research and bottom-up development in the rural South Sudan. The Council is also an advocate for fair treatment and equal representation of all South Sudanese in the South Sudan state of affairs. 

James Nguen, 

Chairman of the Nuer Supreme Council 

Email; jamesnguen@gmail.com 

Courtesy: Nyamilepedia

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