Who Killed Peace and Promoted Culture of Impunity in South Sudan?

By J. Nguen Nyol

February 1, 2015 (SSNA) — Of course, the sheer ignorance of the IGAD’s member States and the so –called African Union Peace and Security Council have obviously killed the prospects for peace in South Sudan and also promoted culture of impunity.  

For the past few days people of South Sudan around the globe have been hopeful and excited that peace might come to their home country after more than 13 months of all-out war instigated by the ethnic killing of more than 20, 000 innocent Nuer civilians.

The IGAD’s member States and the African Union Peace and Security Council have once again chose the wrong model of peace process. A useless model which in the recent past prompted South Sudan’s civil war despite euphoric hopes of the victims of the senseless civil war.

On January 21st, 2015, the SPLM warring factions signed the party unification pact in Arusha, Tanzania. This agreement provided hopes and was positively acclaimed by most world leaders including IGAD’s member states. However, those who are familiar with the Eastern African countries’ politic of fill my plate first or bride for that matter were quite aware that reaching peace deal in South Sudan through the blessing of IGAD was a distant memory. 

This brings me to the details about who killed South Sudan’ ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and those who resorted to promoting culture of impunity. As the saying goes, “too many cook spoiled the brow.”

I agreed. South Sudan’s peace talk is spoiled by too many cook. None of them acted in good faith. Many of these heartless foreigners, particularly the Eastern African folks, were involved simply because there was money to be made while mass killings continues unabated in my home country, South Sudan.

Out of deceitful thinking, these actors acted as though they know South Sudan’s cultural values and its peoples’ political aspirations than the South Sudanese themselves. This is a fallacy and profound disappointment to those of us who wanted peace and know clearly what need to be done to bring peace this suffering nation.

This false claim of knowing what people of South Sudan want by the IGAD’s member States, when they don’t is a flaw in thinking, if not put to rest it will certainly prolong suffering and total collapse of South Sudan.

This behavior is precisely what cause the collapsed of South Sudan peace negotiation last year, 2014. It’s the same hypocritical thinking which has just killed possible prospects of peace and sadly blessed culture of impunity on human rights violation, war crimes and crime against humanity by South Sudan government and rivals.

On August 25th, 2014, IGAD’s member states crafted a fake document in Uganda and smuggled it to Ethiopia to be use as the basis for negotiation for south Sudan’s peace. The IGAD’s member States were successful outwitting President Salva Kiir but remarkably botched to outsmart the SPLM/A chairman, Dr. Riek Machar in luring him to signing a well devised fake document.

That drafted proposal failed because it stated that President Salva Kiir Mayardit shall be the president of the republic, commander –in –chief of the Army Forces, and shall also have the power to endorse the supposed Prime Minister nominated by the SPLM –IO, a partner in peace.  

Hence, learning from past mistakes is always critical in any decision making process, but IGAD’s member States didn’t learn from their past mistakes. On January 29th, 2015 IGAD’s member States proposed a poorly thought-out proposal on the structure of leadership of would be Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU) for South Sudan.

The bloc tabled a new proposal which states that “the incumbent shall be the president of the Transitional Government of National Unity, and this is a non-violating principle.” This is problematic and it showed a profound lack of knowledge in conflict resolution. It’s also a self-evident of sheer ignorant on the IGAD’s member States part.

Another point that watered down any possibility of peace in South Sudan in recent round of talks on the structure of Transitional Government of National Unity is a clause which stated that there shall be “First Vice and Second Vice President.”

And the supposed “Second Vice President must come from the Equatoria region.” Furthermore, with any succession, both the “President and the First Vice President shall be succeeded by persons from their respective parties and the Speaker of National Assembly shall always hail from the Equatoria region”.

Considering these “imposed” dishonest attempts, I wonder why on earth partners to the peace process for South Sudan would still recognize IGAD as a credible platform to bring peace, yet, time and time again, it shows its obvious prejudices. To my readers, if I may, none of these tactics by IGAD’s member States shall never bring peace to South Sudan if people of South Sudan don’t stand up and own their destiny.

In addition, IGAD’s actions are clear insults to all South Sudanese’ intelligence and I like not to comment again on poor power sharing ratio put forward. Sadly, the whole fiasco of peace proposal followed the primitive trend of the Dinka and Nuer leading the show every step of the way. A backward thinking which point the fact that the former must hold the presidency and the later deputizes.

This thinking is doomed and must be condemn strongest term possible by all South Sudanese. Our people didn’t fight for 192 years just to be told by crooks that the Dinka and the Nuer must always top the list in running the country. Merit must be the principle for which we should govern ourselves and not otherwise.

The Last point I like to make is promoting culture of impunity in the part of African Union’s (AU) Peace and Security Council, particularly, its Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.

This body was formed and mandated to investigate human rights abuses, war crimes and crime against humanity committed in South Sudan in the past 13 months by rival groups.

The Commission of Injury was led by non-other than Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, as its Chair. The Amnesty International reported that Mr. Obasanjo was “scheduled to present the report to the AU Peace and Security Council” on January 29th, 2015 but failed to do so.

The Amnesty International called this failure as a “African Union Peace and Security Council stands in the way of justice in South Sudan.” I agreed and concurred with the Amnesty International that IGAD’s member States and the so –called African Union Peace and Security Council failed millions of South Sudanese and all peace human rights advocates around the globe.

First, as mentioned by the Amnesty International, the “Commission of Inquiry’s findings and its recommendations on accountability could be a critical step towards ending the impunity that continues to fuel the conflict in South Sudan.” 

Because the Commission of Inquiry failed to make the report public, this is troubling and sad to note that the suffering of innocent civilians in South Sudan shall continue unabated. This is profoundly regrettable seeing the African Union retreating from it responsible duties.

Second, if accountability and culture of impunity cannot be uphold to it true intent by those tasked to investigating war crimes and crime against in South Sudan, particularly the AU’s Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, I find it paradoxical to hold parties to the conflict accountable to anything.

Finally, if IGAD’s member States and the African Union Peace and Security Council failed to respect their own mandates, therefore it’s delusional to think that parties to conflict in South Sudan will succumb to any measures tabled by IGAD’s member States or the African Union.

Undoubtedly, trust is already eroded between IGAD’s member States and parties to the conflict in South Sudan. Honesty and trust are key in any conflict resolution. These secret code of conducts ought to be respected by all sides. If this principle is lost and severely debased beyond repair, it’s impossible to amend in a week or months and even years.

In this regard, I find it ironical and unbecoming that IGAD’s member States and the African Union Peace and Security Council’s Commission of Inquiry expect peace to return to South Sudan when they clearly failed to commit to their mandates.

Their behaviors is/has been contradictory. There are responsible for killing the prospects for peace and also endorsed culture of impunity in South Sudan driven by greed.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at [email protected].

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