A new insight, lacking in Ethiopia, may save conflict-ridden S. Sudan

25 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

There are signs that some IGAD member states may not be happy about peace falling on South Sudan. One of the suspects implicated in this is said to be TPLF’s Ethiopia, instigated by the economic and security interests of the regime in that country. For a while now, its agents have been accused of encouraging one side or the other, lately including allegations of secretly nodding to some Juba military leaders to get rid of Salva Kiir.

If that is not the case, why is it that the South Sudan embassy in Dar El Salaam had to engage in defense of its president’s legitimacy, conveniently attributing the questioning to the rebels, just days after signing of the latest accord by which they jointly owned responsibilities for the conflict?

South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L), Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete (C) and South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar (R) pose after meeting for talks on 20 October 2014 in the northern Tanzanian tourist town of Arusha (Photo: AFP via Sudan Tribune)

In the last few days, some TPLF ‘experts’ have also begun injecting distortions into the statement made by the Chief of UN Mission in South Sudan Ellen Margrethe Loej, after she updated the Security Council on Oct 22 on the conflict situation in that country. However, what she emphasized in her briefing was about the need for silencing the guns. No where could we find in her statement the words “even a political agreement may not stop the fighting in South Sudan”, as alleged by a TPLF page, especially after the signing of the Dar Accord. Here is what the Secretary-General’s representative stated in her own words:

    “There is no alternative to silencing the guns and concluding, without further delay, a comprehensive peace agreement in order to return the country towards the path of peace and stability. I have told them [President Kiir and opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar] that the guns must be silenced; peace cannot be delayed even for one more day. The untold suffering of the people of South Sudan must stop. After 6 weeks in South Sudan, I am convinced that every day without a political agreement contributes to a further deterioration of the situation on the ground. This complicates the work of the Mission and risks negatively impacting the region. I therefore call on the Council, regional leaders and all friends of this young nation to remain fully engaged with the warring parties so that they make the necessary compromise required to translate their public statements of commitment to peace into actions on the ground. The people of South Sudan deserve no less.”

Fortunately, at least at the political level, splintered and conflicting South Sudanese parties under the SPLM variations have come to their senses, although peace in South Sudan is still far away. However, thanks to Tanzania’s quiet and disinterested role, all of the leaders have realized continuing the fighting as SPLMs would only destroy the young nation.

They signed an agreement in Dar El Salaam, which clearly put their realization:

    “A divided SPLM will automatically fragment the country along ethnic and regional faultlines,” the Arusha document says, calling for “genuine and honest dialogue that puts the interest of the people and the nation above all”.

As the most effective measure toward that goal, according to wire services, “The parties acknowledge a collective responsibility for the crisis in South Sudan that has taken a great toll on the lives and property of our people,” said the text of a deal signed by Kiir and his sacked former deputy Machar in the Tanzanian town of Arusha.

There is an unmistakable lesson for the opposition in Ethiopia, as well as the 23-year old TPLF regime, which strongly believes that it can continue in power through repression, imprisoning and killings!

The TPLF regime ought to see that it has long been rejected by the people, including by some of its sensible card flaunting members! As Obang Metho recently invited the TPLF in an open letter, the time is now, while the chances to salvage badly broken ties, to make peace with the Ethiopian people!
 
*Updated.

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