South Sudan: A “deadlock” which isn’t a “deadlock” between the President and the FVP…

The Presidential Press Unit would like to inform the public that the meeting held yesterday between His Excellency, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny did not end in deadlock as reported by some media houses. While the two leaders did not come to an agreement in the meeting yesterday, the consensus among the parties to meet at a later date was a positive commitment to resolve the issues at hand in the spirit of cooperation. Therefore, any attempt to portray this as an impasse threaten to jeopardize the spirit of the meeting” (Office of the President – Presidential Press Unit, 11.03.2023).

The Office of the First Vice President would like to briefly clarify that the usage of the word “deadlock” is not and never meant to “sensationalize” issues of national importance as incorrectly perceived. It is rather a correct description of a situation in which an agreement has not been reached on the substantive issues under discussion, thereby “no agreement reached.” Deadlock means no agreement reached yet on the issues concerned and being discussed, or postponed to another time. It doesn‘t prevent an appointment to discuss the same issues again at a later date, and therefore not sensational at all. It has been normally used over and over again in our political or peace making history” (…) “The staff of the Press Unit in the office of the First Vice President are well aware of the importance of peace in our country. This is the reason we honestly issue statements decrying violations of the Peace Agreement as a concern and also point out how they occur in respect to provisions of the Agreement with the hope to avoid any violations by any Party. This is professionalism!” (Office of the First Vice President – Press Unit, 11.03.2023).

Well, what can I say… we have been here before right? It’s a stalemate and nothing substantial has happened. Yes, the President and First Vice President held talks, but nothing profound came out of the meeting. This was just a first gathering after the Presidential Decree, which sacked one vital representative and minister from the SPLM/A-IO. That’s why the meeting was happening in the first place, as that is a direct violation of the R-ARCSS. If it wasn’t and such, the meeting wouldn’t be necessary.

However, here we are and it just shows how ineffective and insufficient the whole government is. When it does things this way and it leads to nowhere. It is a stalemate between the two parties. One is aggrieved and another is at ease. The checks and balances aren’t there. That’s why the President could just decree it and let bygones be bygones.

Now we are seeing them together, but nothing is resolved. Just like the slow implementation of the R-ARCSS. It takes ages to institutionalize or even follow up formalities in the Peace Agreement. This is just a deliberate stalling and a technique to stay in office. It is a simple excuse and waste of time. When the President and his allies knew it would cause a headache and a stir. You don’t need to be rocket scientist to get this under wraps. When you sack a certain someone’s wife and signatory of the R-ARCSs, which happens to be the FVP. You know you are endangering the whole agreement. That is simple math…

The President and his team can talk about honouring the agreement and wanting to implement it. Nevertheless, it is a waste of words… when the President makes a decree like this. Especially, when the R-ARCSS is already on “overtime” and far beyond the original deadline. A deadline that has been extended and again extended without any or significant progression.

President Kiir can take people for fools. The FVP can do the same, but we all can see the game here. Kiir has given himself time and a controversy to skip time. He can patch this one very easy, but intends to push the boundaries instead. Peace.

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