Africa: South Africa's David Mabuza Irks Both Sides in South Sudan Mediation

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(File photo).
analysis

Analysts say Mabuza's proposal for external arbitrators to decide how many federal states the nation should have is 'dead on arrival'.

Deputy President David Mabuza, President Ramaphosa's Special Envoy to South Sudan, has displeased both sides in his efforts to resolve the country's bitter civil dispute. The opposition has accused him of bias towards the government of President Salva Kiir.

Yet the spokesperson for Kiir's government is also unhappy with a proposal Mabuza made last week to get external arbitrators to decide on the most contentious issue between the government and the opposition, the question of how many federal states South Sudan should have and what their boundaries should be.

It is mainly this dispute that has been preventing the government and opposition getting together to form a transitional government of national unity (TGNU) over the past year.

The opposition, as well as analysts and diplomats, sharply criticised Mabuza for proposing that the TGNU be formed by the agreed 22 February 2020 deadline, while arbitrators would have 90 days to decide on the number of states. The opposition says this favours the Juba government.

Last week the government did seem to support Mabuza's proposal. But on Sunday government spokesperson and...

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