South Sudan: Pursuing artificial deadlines will not create peace
The Revitalized – Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) was supposed to be formed by 22nd February 2020. This after a 100 day extension of the last deadline. Both major parties like Dr. Riek Machar of Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army – (In-Opposition) (SPLM/A-(IO) and President Salva Kiir Mayardit of Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army – In Goverment (SPLM/A-IG). There is now talks of another 90 days extension.
The Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) had an original deadline that was on the 12th November 2019. That is why R-ARCSS needs time to be fixed and worked with. The Khartoum Declaration of 27th June 2018 was the start of this process, but clearly, the South Sudanese stakeholders needs time. They need more than small visits of SPLM/A-(IO) delegations. It needs more than tokens of hope from the Rome Declaration of 12th January 2020. It gives hope from the South Sudan Opposition, but it doesn’t stop the needed dialogue.
Kiir and Machar needs more time together. They need to sit with the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) and others. So, that their grievances get met. That people are not using the uncertainty to fuel internal conflicts in various of states. This is what is happening. While the last train is going away.
What is bugging me, while following it. Is to see how the European Union, the Troika and United States are pushing hard for finishing it by the artificial deadline. The date of 22nd February 2020 shouldn’t be the final nail in the coffin. Especially, if they prolong the cease-fire, push for more negotiations and actually leads to something positive on the ground. That should matter than a put up date. Especially, after such a long and bloody conflict the South Sudanese has been through. Its like that is water under the bridge after the Independence from Khartoum.
Let’s be serious for minute. If it was fine with a 100 days in November 2019. What’s the big difference now in January 2020? Not so much right? 90 more days will not solve it, just like the 100 days before. However, it gives the party more time and actually do things that matters. Hopefully not just buy time for recruitments, but sit together with IGAD and Special Envoys to iron things out.
The R-ARCSS follows the previous deal, the ARCSS. It is many of the same players and stakeholders. They are all playing this as a way of gaining power. But if they get this done with whatever time it takes. It is better, that the parties are formal and conducting manners like this. Instead of going back to the battlefield and hunting each other. Another civil war will not be in anyone’s interest, unless they are merchants of death.
The international community are focusing on a date, instead of the results. The ones whose supporting this must see this flaw. They should instead facilitate and ensure the parties get to talk, get to walk through the steps of the R-ARCSS and get the TGoNU in order. Instead of forcing a marriage without the preen-up in order. The bride and the groom will get into a brutal divorce if so. That is at least what I see coming.
Last time it went bad. It was tanks in the streets of Juba. Machar fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest is history. However, with the knowledge of that. The dates where the negotiations ends shouldn’t be the focus, be the aim, but the progress and opening up more avenues for the stakeholders to actually succeed. That is if they care about the fate of the Republic.
No process is perfect, because we as people are not perfect, but humans with defects. That is why we need measures and mechanisms to secure our flaws for a better outcome. The International Community and the ones supposed to cheer on the stakeholders are not seeing this. They want the grand results without the needed work behind it. That’s not how they do it themselves, neither how any of them would allow being pushed to finish reforms at home. Therefore, they should give them more time. Not being locked to artificial dates, but instead salute progress and hope that each step is getting closer to the outcome everyone wants. Sustainable Peace, not a “fake peace”. Peace.