Peace without federalism won’t end South Sudan’s conflict

By Omuno Mogga Otto

The recent visit by the Ethiopian and Sudanese Foreign Ministers to meet to the former First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr. Riek Machar in South Africa is vital towards the effort in ending the four- year conflict in the country.

Since the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) was signed in August 2015, the renewed fighting between the bodyguards of Dr. Riek Machar and the bodyguards of President Salva Kiir at the State House (J-1) in Juba in July 2016, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is struggling to bring peace back to South Sudan.

However, IGAD Member-States are not mounting enough pressure on the parties to the conflict in South Sudan so that they end the conflict. I believe not all IGAD-member States are serious to deal with escalating political tension in South Sudan, simply because the economic and political interest by some of these member-states in South Sudan is something that needs to be addressed.

Sincerely speaking, some countries from IGAD bloc are benefiting from the current political crisis in South Sudan. I believe that is why the process and arrangements for the revitalisation of the August 2015 peace agreement are going very slowly.

In December last year, the government initiated the idea of organising a national dialogue. The aim of the national dialogue is to bring together the warring parties so as to discuss issues pertaining to bringing lasting peace and reconciliation in the country.

The idea of the national dialogue is widely accepted by most opposition figures in the country. But whether the outcome of the national dialogue is going to contribute in ending the conflict in the country or not, the only solution that will bring a permanent peace is federal system of governance.

Federalism is the term. A new system of governance based on federalism is vital to resolving the conflict in South Sudan. The current system of governance has partly contributed to the ongoing political conflict in South Sudan.

Previously, I came across a wonderful statement made by Dr. James Wani Igga, the incumbent Vice President, urging the need for establishment of federal system of governance so as to end the political crisis in South Sudan.

Federalism is the only available political option now. It is the only system that would help end the political tension driven by the outdated political attitude created by the political mentality of tribalism. Ethnic politics or political tribalism has generated more problems in South Sudan.

If the peace agreement is revitalized and the campaign of the national dialogue succeeded through inclusivity, then the focus on creating a new system of governance based on federalism to replace the current system must be implemented.

Federalism is not a bad system. It is good and will remain to be good for the sake of peace and unity in South Sudan.  It is the best system that could possibly work very well in our country. It would possibly lead to a permanent peace and makes unity amongst us “attractive”!

Peace alone without inclusion of a new system of governance based on federal system will not end the current political crisis in the country. The current political system in South Sudan is not good and it will not favour the interest of building a strong united country.

It will only be good if it is replaced by federalism. Federalism will create more development, and it will lead to peace, equality and stability. It will also trash out the traditional mentality of ethnic politics. So Let us work and put our hands together and establish the federal system of governance for the sake of restoring peace and rebuild the broken social fabric.

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