Analysis and observations about August 17, 2015 peace talks on South Sudan in Addis Ababa Ethiopia,

Analy­sis and obser­va­tions about August 17, 2015 peace talks on South Sudan in Addis Aba­ba Ethiopia, regard­ing IGAD-Plus Com­pro­mise Pro­pos­al and Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion on the Repub­lic of South Sudan.
By Lul Gatkuoth Gatlu­ak
Tues­day: August 25, 2015
On the week­end of August 15–16, 2015, South Sudan polit­i­cal cli­mate reached its boil­ing point at 212 degrees Fahren­heit or 100 degrees Cel­sius. The atmos­pher­ic pre­cip­i­ta­tion ele­vat­ed as the pres­sure mount­ed from world’s pow­er­ful nations arrived at a high­er fixed ref­er­ence point on South Sudanese lead­ers to sign Peace.
While thou­sands of South Sudanese, fel­low African region­al play­ers and inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty part­ners were enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly hus­tling to con­verged in the cap­i­tal of Ethiopia Addis Aba­ba aim­ing to wit­ness the sign­ing of the pro­posed com­pro­mise Agree­ment on South Sudan con­flict. Oth­er Bil­lions of the world com­mu­ni­ty, ordi­nary South Sudanese in towns, vil­lages, bush­es, Refugee camps both at home in the Unit­ed Nations’ con­cen­tra­tion sites and neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, in addi­tion to those of them in dias­po­ra; were high­ly alert­ed full with hope that the peace will final­ly be signed on Mon­day August 17, 2015.
South Sudan pres­i­dent was drag­ging his feet to defy the world­wide call for peace­ful com­pro­mise. In regard of that hope for peace, many South Sudanese liv­ing abroad in var­i­ous coun­tries work­ing under dif­fer­ent capac­i­ties, had either called in sick that day from their jobs or quit sleep­ing. Friends con­nect them­selves with phone con­fer­ences and social-media to dis­cuss some con­tentious issues par­ties to the con­flict are still dis­agree­ing upon and oth­er chal­lenges lay­ing ahead.
Like oth­er thou­sand South Sudanese-Amer­i­cans, one stay up all night chat­ting on “Social-media” with friends who are present at the scene of the peace talk since the day coin­cid­ed with one’s day off from work. In this arti­cle, the author is intend­ing to high­light some push fac­tors that cul­mi­nat­ed to force indi­vid­u­als like Oba­ma to act on pres­sur­iz­ing South Sudanese par­ties to the con­flict sign peace and one’s obser­va­tions dur­ing the day of Mon­day August 17, 2015. But first, it’s worth­while to men­tion some his­tor­i­cal facts per­tain­ing South Sudan cri­sis.
When the dis­agree­ment between South Sudan’s rul­ing par­ty (SPLM) mem­bers explod­ed into vio­lence in Juba, thou­sands of peo­ple have been killed and mil­lions were dri­ven out of their homes to either Unit­ed Nations peace­keep­er bases or neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.
Since then, Vio­lence had spread across The Greater Upper Nile region, includ­ing Uni­ty, Jon­glei, and Upper Nile States, fol­low­ing mass defec­tions of the nation­al army of the Sudan People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (SPLA).
In that ear­ly stage of con­flict igni­tion, mil­lions were faced with food short­ages that force human­i­tar­i­an donors around the world to pure in food aid in order to pre­vent famine or human­i­tar­i­an cat­a­stro­phe. In order to block such man­made cri­sis, South Sudanese and friends of South Sudan alike, took it upon them­selves and fre­quent­ly com­muned between their respec­tive res­i­den­cies and gov­ern­ment cen­tres around the globe to request world’s pow­er­ful lead­ers to act accord­ing­ly on solv­ing South Sudan mat­ter.
Some promi­nent out­stand­ing calls for action were made by form­ing ral­lies in Aus­tralia, Cana­da, the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca and many oth­er coun­tries. The tone was, “We need Peace in South Sudan”. One out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion was made by a patri­ot­ic South Sudanese named Simon Deng, who led a hun­gry strike to White House for one month ask­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to act now. His call coin­cid­ed with Oba­ma sched­uled offi­cial vis­it to Africa, which sub­se­quent­ly cor­re­spond­ed with fourth anniver­sary of South Sudan inde­pen­dence. In his Address to African Union, Oba­ma called on South Sudanese lead­ers to sign already pro­posed IGAD-Plus com­pro­mise pro­pos­al to res­olute South Sudan’s con­flict one and for all oth­er­wise the war­ring par­ties will face sanc­tion if they are not going to meet the date­line. Behind the scene, he also met with impor­tant indi­vid­u­als urg­ing them to play pos­i­tive role come sched­uled date of August 17, 2015.
As the day was draw­ing near, South Sudanese both in gov­ern­ment and rebels, in addi­tion to IGAD medi­a­tors had con­gre­gat­ed to sen­si­tize the doc­u­ment. Some IGAD heads of State shut­tled to Ugan­da to see how Pres­i­dent Musev­eni stand on pro­posed com­pro­mise doc­u­ment.
Mr. Musev­eni was not only rigid he also came up with a par­al­lel pro­pos­al that erased pro­vi­sions which give rebels 53% upper hand in Greater Upper Nile region. A move that rebels’ chief respond­ed by writ­ting an accu­sa­tion let­ter to IGAD-Plus medi­a­tors; say­ing, “the out­come of the Kam­pala sum­mit not only con­tra­dicts but also com­plete­ly under­mine the IGAD-Plus Pro­pos­al that was pre­sent­ed to the stake­hold­ers in July as basis to nego­ti­ate on.”
On Thurs­day and Fri­day August 13 and 14 respec­tive­ly, voic­es to per­suade Sal­va Kiir to attend Peace talks were roar­ing giv­en that the lat­er ruled out he will only del­e­gate his Vice Pres­i­dent James Wani Igga to Addis.
Instead of board­ing the shut­tle, Sal­va resort­ed of call­ing a spe­cial Coun­cil of Min­is­ters’ meet­ing on Fri­day August 14, 2015 which have been attend­ed by Pres­i­den­tial Advi­sors, Mem­bers of the SPLM Polit­i­cal Bureau, some heads of South Sudan Polit­i­cal Par­ties he has con­fi­dence in, South Sudan ten (10) States gov­er­nors, Heads of inde­pen­dent Com­mis­sions, Chief Admin­is­tra­tors of Abyei & Pibor, Senior mem­bers of the Nation­al Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly and mem­bers of the Coun­cil of States.
Their meet­ing res­olute that, all gov­ern­ment nego­ti­at­ing team must be called back to Juba, Sal­va Kiir must not trav­el to Ethiopia and del­e­gate James Wani, they also want­ed to know whether Yow­eri Musev­eni pro­pos­al of dis­card­ing IGAD-Plus has been accept­ed and final­ly, the argu­ment that Peace could not be signed while the rift occurred in rebel camp. Out of all these five points, the promi­nent of all is that, the tyran­ny regime devel­oped a nil hope prop­a­gat­ing that above men­tioned rift is a heck of a big­ger deal.
Final­ly on Sun­day August 16, Sal­va Kiir gave in out of region­al pres­i­dents’ intense diplo­mat­ic pres­sure espe­cial­ly the voice of Yow­eri Musev­eni who have a great link­age with him than the rest; and flew to Addis Aba­ba to join already over­crowd­ed com­pa­tri­ots and the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty observers who had hoped South Sudan’s rival fac­tions would final­ly reach polit­i­cal set­tle­ment to result almost two years con­flict that torn the coun­try des­per­ate­ly. Hence, ear­ly on Mon­day August 17, 2015 at 9:00 A.M, all del­e­gates con­gre­gat­ed in Sher­a­ton Hotel in Addis Aba­ba Ethiopia full with euphor­ic expec­ta­tion to chant after the peace is signed. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, such an expec­ta­tion fade away when Sal­va refused to bro­ker a deal, cit­ing loom­ing rift in the rebel camp. He warned the func­tion that, it would not be pos­si­ble to sign a last­ing peace while oth­er oppo­si­tion fac­tions are exclud­ed. While dis­cus­sions were under­way, and sig­na­tures were expect­ed, Musev­eni pull-out from the venue of the peace talks in Addis Aba­ba and the media rea­son­ing that he has had clash­es with oth­er region­al lead­ers which get in his nerve and expelled him before Dr. Riek, Pagan Amum and the rest of sig­na­to­ries signed their part on the peace doc­u­ment. It has been stip­u­lat­ed the chair­per­son of IGAD region­al body Prime Min­is­ter Haile Mari­am Desalegn told Musev­eni Uganda’s sup­port to Sal­va Kiir was com­pli­cat­ing region­al efforts to per­suade Sal­va to sign the peace and angered Musev­eni to walk out before the peace agree­ment is worked out by the IGAD-Plus medi­a­tors and South Sudan par­ties to the con­flict. When Kiir saw Musev­eni retreat­ed, he as well made an attempt to evac­u­ate the talks. Such move prompt­ed Kenyan Pres­i­dent Uhu­ru Keny­at­ta to engage him in the hall­way. Pres­i­dent Kenyatta’s ges­ture tell it all. He was ver­bal­ly telling Kiir to come back and sign the doc­u­ment. After Sal­va Kiir set­tled to asked for 15 more days to con­sult with his syco­phan­tic mass­es in Juba and only ini­tialled the doc­u­ment, Madam Rebec­ca Nyan­deng De Mabior wid­ow of the SPLM/A founder Dr. John Garang, broke down and shed tears, which she lat­er rea­soned in an inter­view that, she cried for all peo­ple of South Sudan, whose suf­fer­ing is being extend­ed by Sal­va Kiir. To her, peo­ple of South Sudan do not need more con­sul­ta­tions, they need peace and delay­ing peace may have seri­ous con­se­quences for the civil­ians who have suf­fered for 20 months of a bru­tal civ­il war. By the end of all these cycle, Riek went to press and declared that “he was sur­prised by Kiir’s deci­sion.” “I didn’t know that he was not going to sign,” he said. “I couldn’t find any expla­na­tion for this because he had it all. There is no rea­son why he request­ed for more time. We had already been giv­en enough time to con­sult our enti­ties, this is a good agreement—–he had a lion’s share on many areas.” Then, the Unit­ed States’ envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, described Kiir’s deci­sion as “unex­pect­ed,” say­ing, he hope the pres­i­dent will sign the agree­ment soon.
What are some of the rea­sons Sal­va Kiir refused to sign the peace for?
Accord­ing to the IGAD-Plus Com­pro­mise Peace Agree­ment Pro­pos­al (CPAP) Pres­i­dent Kiir is required to con­sult First Vice Pres­i­dent on most secu­ri­ty issues, Sal­va and his cronies are not pleased with that pro­vi­sion. They also have sub­stan­tial dis­agree­ment over num­ber of oth­er con­tentious issues rang­ing from pow­er shar­ing, demil­i­ta­riza­tion of Juba dur­ing the tran­si­tion­al peri­od, sys­tem of gov­er­nance, hav­ing sep­a­rate armies dur­ing the inter­im peri­od until when a full amal­ga­ma­tion and trans­for­ma­tion of the army is final­ized. These above issues threat­en Kiir and pre­vent­ing him from run­ning the coun­try as his own prop­er­ty through so-called Pres­i­den­tial decrees.
What are some pro­vi­sions SPLM/A-IO and for­mer detainees signed on Mon­day August 17, 2015?
Although there had been changes, the agree­ment that was signed on Mon­day August 17, pret­ty much orig­i­nat­ed from July 24 Com­pro­mise Peace Pro­pos­al IGAD-Plus had availed to the par­ties to the con­flict for fur­ther study. Dur­ing the recon­vened of the nego­ti­a­tion after par­ties were called back from Pagak and Juba, IGAD medi­a­tors saw some changes when the par­ties engaged in a dia­logue. Base on new IGAD obser­va­tions, Pres­i­dent Kiir’s gov­ern­ment will no longer con­trol 100% on pow­er shar­ing of sev­en States. The new arrange­ment give Kiir 85% while SPLM/A-IO will get away with 15% share in each of the sev­en States. On the oth­er hand, SPLM/A-IO will no longer con­trol 53% as the pro­pos­al sug­gest­ed from the first place. In the three States, gov­ern­ment will take 46% while SPLM/A-IO will take 40%, then, for­mer detainees and oth­er polit­i­cal par­ties will get 7% each.
At the nation­al lev­el, the pow­er shar­ing ratio remained as the orig­i­nal pro­pos­al indi­cat­ed with gov­ern­ment con­trol­ling 53%, SPLM/A-IO will get 33%, then, for­mer detainees and oth­er polit­i­cal par­ties will again get 7% each.
The doc­u­ment has fur­ther indi­cat­ed that, the cur­rent 325 mem­bers of the nation­al par­lia­ment in Juba will be main­tained and those who defect­ed to rebel dur­ing the cri­sis will be rein­stat­ed to their pre­vi­ous par­lia­men­tary posi­tions like it was before Decem­ber 15, 2013. Then, SPLM/A-IO will appoint 50 addi­tion­al mem­bers to the nation­al par­lia­ment while the for­mer detainees will appoint one addi­tion­al mem­ber and polit­i­cal par­ties will appoint 17 addi­tion­al par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. The fact that some stake­hold­ers had signed the doc­u­ment, IGAD-Plus offi­cials said, the peace deal signed by the two lead­ers on the August 17 was the final doc­u­ment, there will be no more dis­cus­sion; when Kiir make­up his mind, he will sign it with­out fur­ther rene­go­ti­a­tion to the deal.
What’s makes Kiir agree to sign the agree­ment?
Many fac­tors attrib­uted in forc­ing Kiir to sign. First, fol­low­ing his refusal to sign on Mon­day August 17, many impor­tant world lead­ers per­suad­ed him to reverse his deci­sion. Sec­ond, his god­fa­ther—- Yow­eri Museveni’s influ­ence had fad­ed away. Region­al lead­ers had back down and start to oppose his rigid stand on South Sudan. That was the rea­son why urged Kiir August 18 to sign peace, say­ing “he will not be able to reverse world­wide pop­u­lar call of peace.” At that junc­ture, Sal­va Kiir who was in lim­bo and set him­self on the boil­ing pot by refus­ing to sign is left with no choice oth­er than agree­ing to the peace with all pro­vi­sions he refused to sign on Mon­day August 17. If Sal­va would have kept his word of oppos­ing the sig­na­ture, sanc­tion would have been imposed on his rot­ten mur­der­ous regime. Then he and his god­fa­ther Musev­eni could have been cor­nered from main­stream world order, despite the fact that the world would with­draw its neu­tral­i­ty stand and throw their sup­port on oppo­si­tion.
As we are now tran­si­tion­ing, IGAD, AU and their part­ners, need to set up a com­mis­sion of inquiry to inves­ti­gate human rights vio­la­tions and oth­er abus­es com­mit­ted dur­ing the armed con­flict in South Sudan and make rec­om­men­da­tions on the best ways and means to ensure account­abil­i­ty, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and heal­ing among all South Sudanese com­mu­ni­ties. Those who ordered mili­tias to kill inno­cence civil­ians need to be held account­able with­out delay. A truth com­mis­sions that rec­om­mend seri­ous cas­es amount to tri­als, repa­ra­tions, and hybrid or inter­na­tion­al courts are all pos­si­ble means of achiev­ing account­abil­i­ty. African Union alone could not car­ry­out this fact find­ing inves­ti­ga­tion giv­en that AU has been dou­ble stan­dard on per­vi­ous crime inves­ti­ga­tion. The fact that it failed to avail atroc­i­ty report has a bit dis­qual­i­fy it to act solo on that mat­ters.
Last­ly, one would not miss to express a sin­cere grat­i­tude to IGAD and its part­ners for bring­ing the peace to South Sudan. We can’t wait to see an imme­di­ate estab­lish­ment of the tran­si­tion­al Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment of Nation­al Uni­ty with clear man­dates and pow­ers to imple­ment the agree­ment on the bases of a fed­er­al sys­tem that pri­or­i­tized good gov­er­nance that vest pow­er on ordi­nary cit­i­zens rather on elites. Thank You!
Very respec­tive­ly
Lul Gatkuoth Gatlu­ak
The author can be reached at either lulgatluak7@gmail.com or simonlul2000@yahoo.com