I wonder what really came out of the Entebbe State House meeting between President Salva Kiir Mayardit, SPLM-IO Chairman Dr. Riek Machar, Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni yesterday.
Why I wonder? There a no communique, no report or nothing official signed by the gentlemen who had photo-ops and more possible PR stunts from the State House. Because, there has been recently one Khartoum Declaration on the 27th June 2018 between these gentlemen and also the ‘Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Responsibility Sharing’ from the 5th July 2018, also from Khartoum. Not to forget the 25th June 2018 ‘Points of Framework Agreement’, which was also signed. They we’re built on the same premise and continues the pathway of the IGAD and stakeholders to find a middle-ground for ceasing of fire between them. That as well, as the need for peace to resume the production of petroleum. Certainly, by all of this the Republic of Sudan is getting a higher stake and more control of the oil-rich fields of South Sudan. Which is weird, as the independence was supposed to get control of that from Khartoum. That is why the whole month of smiles and holding hands seems strange from the points of independence, but also how to be sovereign from Khartoum for the Juba Administration.
Maybe, that is the reason for nothing coming from the continuation of dialogue between the parties, between the rebels and the government. They have all been together, followed the High-Level Revitalized Forum (HLRF) Negotiations, which was based by the IGAD and trying to figure out how to get relief and find ways to bring life back to the ‘Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan’ agreed upon in 17th August 2015. This agreement and the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), haven’t brought stability and just made sure the War-Lords has gone back to the fields shooting at each other, instead of finding reasonable ways of governing.
That is why the new meetings and the new dialogue is healthy for these leaders, however, you should be skeptical for the timing and the reason. As Sudan is flat-broke and has had both price-hikes and bread-strikes, while South Sudan is tinkering on rising inflation, combined with empty state-coffers. They both does this to get political goodwill and hopefully get new funds to eat. That is what it seems like, also making sure the war-lords can reload before finding time to blast the heads of their enemies. The hardships and these men have usually waited for their enemies to slip, before find new ways of trying to get rid of them.
It is nice that they have all these deals between the last few weeks, but the reality is that there are some underlining concern. It is still just on paper and not in the field. There have already been violations from the armies and militias. There have already been more casualties since the cease-fire of 31st June, into the 1st July 2018.
I am just awaiting it blow, when Kiir or Machar lose face, when one of them find out how the Sudan are using them as pawns to get control of the petroleum industry. Without even taking the territory, he has already gotten the golden egg without producing gold. The Khartoum government should be joyful, they have gotten a bargain and the Juba are being outplayed by their own will to fight each other for supremacy, instead of building a Republic.
Therefore, I am hopeful, but not naive. There are usually something underlining this sort of activity, especially from men like these. These men want power and control, they are not the types willing to give way. They are doing it because they have too or if they are doing it get more donor funds. Certainly, they would not challenge their own role or space without getting a cut.
I don’t believe that, do you?