Open Letter to IGAD on South Sudan

Published on 23rd November 2015

IGAD meeting graced by US President Obama. Photo courtesy

A Letter To: H. E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairman of the IGAD.

IGAD and Troika’s Absence of Sagacity in Shepherding the Peace Agreement in South Sudan is unaccommodating and dire

Your Excellency,

It is indisputably a regrettable development that the peace rapprochement arrived at between the government of South Sudan and the SPLM–IO after so much drudgery exerted by members of the international community would likely collapse sooner than later. It increasingly appears unlikely that the realisation of peace would ever be accomplished in view of the inactivity and imperturbable disposition of IGAD and the Troika group specifically in the face of the recent blatant breach of the Peace Agreement by the government of South Sudan represented in the creation of the 28 states in the country.

Your Excellency,

For the benefit of executing the Peace Agreement between Government of South Sudan and the SPLM-IO, the following points could probably assist in this regard:

•The IGAD and Troika, apart from expressing mere reservation about the illegal move adopted by the regime in South Sudan, have never expressly cautioned President Kiir about the unconstitutionality and inoperability of his order number 36/2015 that created the 28 states in the country from the licit 10 states enshrined in the interim constitution of the country. It is essential to note that the creation of the 28 states in South Sudan is the handiwork of a tribally constituted assemblage known as the Jeng Council of Elders (JCE) – the de facto Parliament of South Sudan and handed over the final draft to President Kiir to formally proclaim to the nation. Worringly, the 28 states was designed with dual sadistic intent as follows:

•To create machinations and consequently violence and ethnic cleansing among the other 63 tribes in South Sudan and prepare the ground for a tribal hegemony in South Sudan. The case of the former Tutsi ethnic group in Rwanda before 1994 is nevertheless ripe;

•To execute consistent land-grab policy, particularly from the Shilluk tribe in Upper Nile state, as illustrated in the new map of the country.Such intrigues and fascistic philosophies must be exposed and prevented from being realised in South Sudan if the country must attain peace and prosperity.

Your Excellency,

In this regard, the SPLM-IO would certainly not be expected to relocate to Juba and form a government of national unity with President Kiir when the latter has already decreed the establishment of 28 states and which has significantly impacted undesirably on the recognized power sharing format among the pertinent parties. Changing the goal post in the middle of the game would emphatically cause altercation and instability. Hence IGAD and Troika must address this issue promptly to prevent the resurgence of conflict and bloodshed in the country.

The claim of the withdrawal of the UPDF troops from South Sudan has never been verified by IGAD’s monitoring team and every concerned party would like to know whether or not the UPDF troops have been pulled out from the country, albeit Uganda and South Sudan have both declared that the withdrawal has been accomplished. IGAD and the Troika should constitute a team to establish the fact on the ground. Not doing so would amount to an apparent absence of Sagacity in shepherding the realisation of Peace in South Sudan and that could derail the Peace Agreement with a potential for further renewed violence. Moreover, reliable sources contend that the UPDF soldiers have not been withdrawn from South Sudan because Uganda and South Sudan have reached yet another secret agreement that calls for further deployment of Ugandan forces in the troubled country. Furthermore, a sizable opinion in South Sudan does not agree with the tale of the “accomplished withdrawal”. Thus the onus now rests upon IGAD and the Troika to ensure that Peace is ushered in South Sudan by swiftly enforcing the implementation of the Agreement.

The demilitarization clause of 25 km stipulated in the peace accord must be fully honoured by the government of South Sudan. There must not be any further excuses to this imperative section of the agreement. It was an unfortunate scenario that IGAD was not aware at the time that it was critically important for the East African body to designate the precise numbers of combatants from the two contesting parties that would be deployed in Juba during the transition period. IGAD simply requested the divergent parties to negotiate the matter amicably. Furthermore, the term “Demilitarization” as plainly understood in the military parlance means, the shifting of military units from one location to another. This is not the case with the government of South Sudan that believes in maintaining an excessively large numbers of troops in the capital city of Juba. Another worrying development is that the government in Juba could camouflage thousands of army units as police force in police uniform in order to evade and undermine the demilitarization process.

Again the IGAD is saddled with the responsibility to ensure the execution of the entire Agreement as envisaged. The SPLM-IO and the former G10 should not be urged to move to Juba without sufficient guarantees on their physical safety and it would sound utterly naïve to maintain that the government would honestly provide the former with security. Furthermore, the government in Juba should not be expected by IGAD to likewise provide physical security to SPLM-IO officials when the latter finally move to Juba, for fear of some sort of a shady game perhaps in the offing – a customary phenomenon in Africa. It is worth remembering that in December 2013, the government of South Sudan falsely claimed that an abortive coup had occurred and was organised by Dr. Riek Machar alongside the other detained politicians, but the verity remains that no coup has ever occured in South Sudan, as contained in the AU Report. President Museveni had also disputed the coup story. The wild allegation was simply a malign exploit by President Kiir to liquidate opposition within the party and country-wide.

IGAD should earnestly cogitate on the following matters:

•For the peace agreement to gain traction, President Salva Kiir must unreservedly rescind the order 36/2015 that established the 28 states in South Sudan;

•IGAD should verify a complete withdrawal of the Ugandan troops fighting in South Sudan on the side of the government of that country and make a public proclamation that indeed the UPDF soldiers have pulled out of South Sudan and to further ensure that these troops are not redeployed to the country under the cover of darkness or allowed to wear South Sudanese army flag patches on their combat fatigues to appear like SPLA government soldiers after their departure to Uganda. Those UPDF troops deployed in Western Equatoria state to hunt down the Lord’s Resistance Army of Joseph Kony must not be allowed to move to any part of South Sudan;

•The IGAD and Troika should supervise the demilitarization exercise and ensure its accomplishments and designed outcome;

•The SPLA-IO and the former detainees, known as the G10 should not be urged to relocate to Juba without the execution of the clause calling for the relocation of government troops within the distance of 25km radius.

Thank you

Peter Lokarlo Ngrimwa
Former Lecturer,Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL),
RMIT University

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