Albert Einstein: You cannot solve the problem by using the same consciousness that created it, you must learn to see the world anew.
Born in 1986 with an initial target on environmental degradation, the IGAD member States then revitalized it in 1996. The major target now was to resolve conflicts within the geography of the member States. Since then, IGAD has consistently maintained records of apparent failures. The Somalia’s political rhetoric that has been heating for decades, the ruthless LRA which, until the U.S marine intervened years later, had been terrorizing the whole of Northern Uganda and the nearby sister States, the diplomatic rifts between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Djibouti and Eritrea, proxy war between Khartoum and Kampala, and the Ogaden Region war between Somalia and Ethiopia. The list is virtually endless. Whose responsibilities are these? IGAD would be terribly misleading to say that such matters are beyond its scope. The magnitudes of IGAD’s political and diplomatic weaknesses are raw facts. Historically, it has had a bomb-ticking virus of political fragmentation. Member States have always stood divided. This consequently leads to poor conflict road maps. Final deals therefore usually become subjects of dire confusion. (Refer to Djibouti’s Arta Conference of 2000 on Somalia)
On January 23 last year following an outbreak of a brutal civil war, South Sudan, a young and shaky member found itself at the notorious roundtables of the IGAD mediation. Moving at a speed slower than tortoise’s, IGAD has had the negotiations for twelve months. The IGAD has since then proposed a series of peace deals to the main protagonists, have them signed, then hours later dishonored. Ironically, at the mediating Table, are IGAD member States who fight, negotiate, while mediate at the same time? The organization is too toothless to bite. Many a deal have remained on papers. Too lenient to face the wrong characters, those that actually work hard to ensure South Sudan retain the status quo, the IGAD member States thus resort to some dubious resolutions. One of such resolutions was of February 1st, 2015. Much as the arrangement died at initial stages, it is worth noting that the recent IGAD stands ready to place South Sudan where it desires. The deal would run as follow:
1. Presidential post(the incumbent, Juba faction)
2. First Vice President(SPLM/Bush
3. Vice President(the incumbent, SPLM/home
The power-sharing matrix
1. 60% Juba-faction
2. 30% SPLM/IO
3. 10% would go to Former detainees and other political parties.
NOTE: The IGAD had actually this proposal annexed to the dedication peace deal signed in the mid night on February 1, 2015 for serious study.
By critically analyzing such power-sharing structure, one could conclude that it was either tailor made in Kampala or prepared in Bhar El Ghazel, precisely Warrap State! Awarding a 60% of powers to SPLM-Juba indicates that IGAD has meticulously prepared to position South Sudan on the Landmine. Logically, reforms could not survive in whichever system of governance that shall have been formed. The same government that ignored them for close to a decade now has 60%. How do you reform a system when the architects only have a 30 or 10% powers, by guns again? The SPLM-Juba under Salva Kiir is quite good only at signing papers. However, it takes just a second to ascend one’s signature but implementation is another complex job. By awarding Salva Kiir 60% powers, maintaining him at the highest helm of power in the Land, IGAD is delivering a message that it does not care about this Nation. It only concerns about Salva Kiir as an individual, period. Realistically, for any democratic-based reforms to survive, the engineers who want the system amended ought to be equipped with every necessary tool. Such tools would have of course, include powers to execute their duties. That should be a pragmatic approach without any sensible doubt.
The IGAD member States, with these recent approaches are actually paving ways for Somali scenario in South Sudan. Since 1991, the Somali people have been suffering because of IGAD’s grievous blunders. The records have been straight, IGAD, since its inception has never passed a unanimous decision without retract, Somalia consequently, has always become a victim of a failed system of IGAD mediation. The Somalia’s political disintegration at the watchful eye of IGAD suffices to give everyone a glimpse within the region. Somalia, over a long decades of complete instability, has slipped into visibly one of the collapsed States in Africa. Shaky federal government of Somalia that IGAD put in place has remained almost insignificant. Juba State does not recognize it, nor does Puntland. The IGAD has, with purpose cut off most of the Northern States such as Khatumo, Sool, Sanaaq and the Cayn. As a result, these States have decided to sit behind while peace mediations go on. The effects obviously, are quite deadly. Al Shabaab’s proliferation has dramatically skyrocketed. As the toothless grouping tries to salvage matters, the Al Shabaab’s activities already transcend Somali’s frontiers. Innocent East Africans die at a hundred of miles as far as Kampala. Heinous Al Shabaab terrorist- related attacks have continued to test Kenya’s security progress. Thus, the whole of the Horn of Africa drowns. Should this be the IGAD’s dream on South Sudan?
Pessimistically, South Sudan has a lengthy way to travel in order to achieve true, viable, and meaningful harmonious settlement under IGAD. One should close without a little doubt in mind that March 5 deadline will also pass by. There is need of a diplomatic shift to have the matters arrested before South Sudan branches off the Somali direction. The South Sudanese leadership under Salva Kiir has completely lost track of the Country’s direction. Everyone is quite aware of this. The international community knows about it. The region, including Kiir’s best ally of Uganda has also learnt it. The People of South Sudan will not rest until a system that warrantees their fundamental human rights is installed. A South Sudanese here and there wants peace. It is a fact beyond debate. War for many South Sudanese is never a choice but fate. The Nuer, who carries the brunt of the war want peace, the Equatorians (The neutral group?) want peace, the Shilluk of Dr. Adwok Nyaba, and Dr. Lam Akol want peace, the Dinka, too, want peace. The debate is simple but the details are complex. Peace is a very beautiful vocabulary but sometimes it is better to be alone than having shaky peace. Dictated peace that carries more embedded future recipe for violence is no peace but disaster in waiting.
It is truly a desire for every true South Sudanese to have a long lasting peace. December 15 should never occur in South Sudan again. In spite of the magnitude of damage the war brought, the Nation is ready to bury the hatchet. However, the mediation process currently at hand leaves everyone confused. IGAD is clearly steering this Country into the deepest seabed of Mediterranean. Nations recover quickly from civil mess when only there is a committed political leadership. Rwanda should serve a perfect example to South Sudan. Only two decades after the nerve-racking genocide, Rwanda continues to break records on the continent. As a matter of precision, the World Bank Global Index slated the Country to reach a middle-class position by 2030. Why would South Sudan be of any difference? It is never about how many people died, where they died from, how they died or what made them die. If it were about the statistics, one would wonder how the Tutsis and the Hutus would be happily mixing on the Kigali Street. It is about committed, well-informed leadership, and people-centered that such nations make distinctions. IGAD should therefore stop imposing biased resolutions, and start working out dogmatic conflict road maps, that could ultimately bring genuine peace to the People of South Sudan. Is it ready for this? March 5 will tell.
Matai Muon is a South Sudanese student in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a regular blogger, and an active moderator on nyamilepedia, a Canadian based-blog that publishes on South Sudanese current affairs. You can interact with the author on: