29 July 2017

East Africa: No End to War in Juba As IGAD Postpones Review of Agreement

Photo: J. Patinkin/VOA
Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar

Hope for an end to war in South Sudan faded when the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development last week pushed the revitalisation programme to the end of September.

The Igad Council of Ministers held a three-day meeting in Juba beginning July 24, but failed to come up with solutions.

The ministers met to discuss how to implement the High Level Revitalisation Forum that was mooted by Igad on July 2 in Addis Ababa, which involves revising the August 2015 peace agreement to come up with realistic timelines for its implementation.

According to Brazille Musumba, the Igad communications and media advisor, the meeting came up with various activities to be conducted simultaneously, which will lead to convening of the forum by the end of September.

"While the parties to the agreement remain the same, the dynamics have changed with many splits within the government and the rebels since the signing of the agreement in 2015. We have to address how to accommodate the new players who have so far come to the scene," he said.

Mr Musumba said the objective is to overlook some of the timelines that have been overtaken by events and devise new strategies that can enable South Sudan to hold election by the end of transitional government in 2018.

These include the ongoing efforts by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to re-unite the three factions of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), as part of the Arusha Accord of 2015.

However, most South Sudanese intellectuals are sceptical that the new initiative will achieve much given the fresh outbreak of fighting in Upper Nile -- with the government trying to overrun rebel headquarters in Pagak. Fighting is also continuing in Bentiu in Unity State and Yei in Central Equatoria.

Prof Jacob Dut Chol, a lecturer of Comparative Politics at the University of Juba, told The EastAfrican that the new initiative is a waste of resources.

"We are seeing instances where those concerned are only interested in earning allowances in meetings, which is not going to bring peace to South Sudan. We have to accept that Igad is a toothless bulldog that has lost control of the implementation process," said Prof Chol.

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