AU should mediate the next peace talks
By Omuno Mogga Otto
A certain South Sudanese woman in her mid-fifties who only identify herself as Mama Khamisa angrily said she has lost interest about the commitment of the government to bring peace in the country. She added that if the system of governance in South Sudan was changed to federalism before the country fell into political chaos in 2013, the ethnic tension will have diminished; peace and unity of the nation would have prevailed.
Another young gentleman who only called himself Tombe said what IGAD is doing will not bring peace in the country. He said the presence of IGAD as the main mediator of peace process is not profitable. With anger and frustration he further mentioned that their struggle to liberate the country had benefited very few people.
The IGAD Council of Ministers met last Tuesday. The aim of the meeting was to review the recent second phase of the peace talks which had ended without a major step forward on outstanding issues in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. I am sure the outcome of the meeting of IGAD will not meditatively change anything on the ground. The reason is simply because nearly half of the members of IGAD are not diplomatically independent and transparent to solve the political dispute in South Sudan. IGAD is part of the reason contributing to the delay in achieving a lasting solution in South Sudan political crisis. IGAD will continue to meet, but anything good from all the meetings which they will conduct would not support real peace to our people.
Recently, the team from Troika had repeatedly threatened to penalize any party or individual who would violate the agreement on cessation of hostilities. This is not the first time for Troika to renew its commitment focusing on supporting and standing with the people of South Sudan. In most occasions, only little action is being materialize from all the promises made by Troika. Renewing commitment with tougher actions is better and acceptable. Troika must do more so as to support in improving the chaotic political situation. Whether the country is going to remain in unity or not, Troika should use its special and robust diplomatic weight to give more pressure for peace to come to our people.
The international community in general and the United States (US) in particular should seek a quick and best option so as to end the war and the suffering of the people of South Sudan. The US should know, understand and believe that there are few hardliners in Juba who are against peace and political stability. The club of the hardliners is playing a game against the dignity of the majority of South Sudanese who are suffering from what they are going through. If the current government cares about the needs and the welfare of the public, the game of the hardliners which focus on war and political instability would not have existed up to today. In a democratic system a leader cares about what its people want. A system that does not care about the suffering of its people is a system that cares little about peace and democracy. A nationalistic leader does right things for the welfare of his/her people.
I don’t believe that IGAD is committed to support the warring parties to stop the fighting. Dr. Remember Miaming, one of the human rights activists in the country was fully correct when he said that the bridge proposal of IGAD which was meant to balance the difference is not valuable and fair.
The political foundation of the SPLM was not built strongly right from the time when the movement started its activities in 1983. It was built on the basis of tribalism, administrative corruption and other unsupportive political ideology. What has caused war in the country has come from the era when a weak, miserable and questionable establishment of the movement more than three decades ago started to appear. These are some of the root causes of war the AU should consider and find a way to solve it.
The African Union (AU) is an alternative solution. The AU should immediately take the responsibility of mediation of the peace talks in the upcoming round. IGAD is not a weak mediation body. But the issue of self interest of some of the members of the bloc is the main reason that has led and might probably continue to lead to a failure of reaching a fair and final deal anytime in the near future. Therefore, I believe there is no need for the AU to delay in intervening so that South Sudanese will enjoy real peace and freedom before the end of the year.