IGAD’s Member states Need to Put Pressure on South Sudanese Government

July 08, 2016 (GMN) - The looming insecurities in South Sudan, many fears, might plunge the country to full scale civil war. Although many praised the regional body, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), for facilitating  the cease fire that pave the way in safeguarding the people from scorches of the devastating intrastate conflicts in South Sudan,  lack of concerted and consistent pressure on the warring parties is about to puncture the loosely maintained peace

Some of the regional power house like Uganda has been leveled by many as a force supporting the government while at the same time seating on negotiation table to mediate as a neutral body. Many recently note that the government of Uganda still has been working in tandem with South Sudanese officials’ efforts to acquire more arsenals.  Inter alia conditions; South Sudanese government officials persistently denial of cantonment sites for opposition forces and  Unilateral decision of the president Salva Kiir to expand the current 10 states to 28 federal have been  hampering the progress of the implementation of the peace accords.

One can question the intentions of the president of South Sudan to unilaterally split the current 10 states to 28 federal states against the backdrops of the peace accord signed in August last year.  So far, the so called elders’ council from one ethnic group has been vocal about the viability of the 28 states option. Whereas many those particularly who are on the verge of losing their land have been surfacing their concerns on divisions and demarcations of the newly unilaterally created states.  The proponents have been painting the unilateral decision with the intention of devolving governance structure and service to the people in the villages. But many question the sincerity of this claim as recently one of the members of advisory council explicitly indicated that their intention to divide the country into 28 states has been rooted in the fear that a certain political entity (particularly the opposition blocks led by Machar) will come to dominate the South Sudanese political platform.

The opposition blocks and many from regional political players questioned the rationale behind the initial rejection by president Kiir the demand to adopt federal system of governance which initially sought to create 21 states based on colonial districts which had clear boundaries. If it was not because of rejection of the government during the negotiation processes, the expansion of the states could have been incorporated into the peace agreement.

Many hoped the meeting of the three top leaders can resolve the outstanding issues. South Sudan's President Salva Kiir, First Vice President Riek Machar, and Vice President James Wani Igga met the first week of June to talk about the remaining stumbling blocks impeding full implementation of the peace agreement. Unfortunately the leaders have been unable to resolve the stalemate so far.  The recent shootings in Juba and sporadic confrontations in the different parts of the country can only wane the hopes for the implementation of a repeatedly broken peace deal to end the miseries of the people of war ravaged country.

The United States and other western countries have roundly criticized the Transitional Government of National Unity's failure to fully implement the August peace agreement. But criticism seems to be reciprocated with deaf ears. Based on empirical assessment of the situation, one may question the role of IGAD’s member states. On one hand, they have been mediating the peace processes, on the other hand, some countries like Uganda publicly has been supporting president Kiir’s factions. Hence, the international community needs to pressurize the member states to help South Sudanese addressing the thorny issues impeding the implementations of the peace accord. The author can be reached @Samuel Zewdie Hagos