Is power sharing, number of states becoming another stumbling block?
By Omuno Mogga Otto
The recent failure of the warring parties to reach a peace deal in the five years political crisis in the country is not very good news to our people. It is news that would continue to increase anger, frustration and economic pandemonium to the public. It has indicated that there is a problem somewhere.
The problem is hanging between the issue of power sharing and the number of states in particular. The delegations from both the government and the opposition went to Ethiopia for peace talks. But their trip to discuss peace has ended without achievement. Anything achievable from the recent round of peace talks is not achieved and it would not be possible to achieve something good for our people if the United States (US) and the AU do not put a substantial diplomatic pressure about the current inflexible political situation in the country. After the warring parties had taken three days without agreeing on key issues on the agreement, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) decided to come up with a bridge proposal. In the cluster of the power sharing at the national level the draft has given the government a total of 55% and 25% to the SPLM/IO under Dr. Riek Machar and the rest for other political parties were given 10%. On the issue of the number of states, the draft specified that the current 32 states will remain until the interim period is over. Then after the interim period a committee will be formed to study the issue of the 32 states. The opposition has refused the draft of the IGAD. IGAD believes that its draft is a solution. But the opposition is saying the draft is adding more problems rather than solving the ones that are crucial such as the power sharing and the number of states. The opposition is saying the draft of IGAD is in favor of the government. The opposition had seen, analyzed and came up with the outcome lamenting that the bridge proposal of IGAD has no good, strong and balanced political value.
The collapse of the peace talks without positive results would show that the effort in the political journey to end the brutal war in the country is still far away. Our people are not seeing it. They are not feeling anything about it and they do not believe in it simply because IGAD is proved to be not fully serious and committed to solve the problem in South Sudan. Many people are losing hope and are questioning the credibility of both the mediating body called IGAD and some of the delegates who are participating in the peace talks.
Diplomatically the International community is doing very well when it talked about the effort to restore peace in South Sudan. But on the ground they are not doing enough putting to end the war which has led to an alarming humanitarian and economic catastrophe in the country. The targeted sanctions which were given to the individuals who are obstructing peace process are not a solution.
What will be the solution then? What are the Africans waiting for? The AU should not wait until for more suffering of the people of South Sudan in the near future. Since what IGAD is doing is not enough, the AU should not delay to put more serious measures against those obstructing the peace deal. At this challenging moment, a serious intervention of the AU to support in solving the political crisis in the country is very much preferred.
A good and fair deal on the matter of power sharing and the number of states is what is needed. The influence of AU with support from the International Community can make a big difference. It would lead to a fair deal on the key important issues as mentioned above. The mediation of IGAD is not convincing the side of the opposition. What is the step forward?
I believe the half-half share of the cakes area of power sharing would be reasonable. A fair deal in power sharing will help a lot in the objective of transforming South Sudan from the current era of war, ethnic division, ethnic tension, political marginalization, injustice to a new era of building a workable democratic nation based on federalism. Let’s pray and hope that things will be okay in future.