By: Deng Vanang
Since its signing back in September, 2018, the revitalized peace deal has been both a centre of sustained criticism by holdout factions and intrigues between its principal signatories, the SPLM -IG and SPLM-IO. Groups taking a swipe at the deal in the name of several opposition groups, SSOMA and SPLM-IO Kitgwang mainstream faction led by Lt. General Simon Gatwech Dual termed the deal non-inclusive and one that failed to address roots of conflict.
This is clearly evidenced by rise in sub-national violence on edges of the country. While the centre isn’t folding up just yet into a single unified unit. Reconciliation is still receding as people are still reserved and digging further into their dark past.
On each passing day SPLM-IG takes no chances in advancing advantages handed to it by the agreement during negotiations in Khartoum, Sudan in 2018. Particularly on provisions restraining it from pursuing its vested interests at the expense of its partners: the SPLM-IO, SSOA and OPP in the four- year old National Unity Government.
In one way or another SPLM-IG is either tearing up sections of the rule book or dragging feet in implementing the deal with two target objectives: delaying mandatory elections and increasing transitional term limit to keep General Salva Kiir as the de facto life President of the world’s youngest country.
The SPLM-IG in its calculative move is slowly relapsing from collegial decision-making as necessitated by the peace deal and returning to old democratic centralism of lesser public consultations as witnessed in a number of recent presidential decrees that disregarded prior consultations with other peace partners.
The introduction of the New Road Map in place of an expired Revitalized Peace pact of 2018 brings more challenges in coalition governance management in Juba. The move currently excluded if not limited the input and to greater extent future intervention of external partners to the soon to be concluded RTGONU in the name of IGAD and Trioka should anything go wrong as usual.
It is a relapse to bad old days that handed over the country back to one strong man rule, with partners counting their survival on his Almighty Kiir descretion. Excluded interest groups from spoils shall have their agenda strengthened to take hold of the peripheries and make the country ungovernable in a much renewed political violence, at least to make their voices heard.
The extension through New Road Map is even more characterized by state of parties’ grass root base exclusion in exchange for an elite boardroom deal to safeguard personal power interests. Subsequently with Kiir’s SPLM-IG superlatively exerting command and control, opposition will be correspondingly weakened to even executing the minor tasks of challenging SPLM-IG and him in governance, let alone doing so in more complicated matters such as those of election, if in case is bound to happen.
President Kiir in an election battlefield alone shall in the consequence run himself out of desired credible election democratic world needs, handing him a pariah status to the benefit of the internal opposition paternity.
SPLM-IG and Kiir’s plan to make peace with holdout opposition factions and get them aboard the New Road Map government rather as different groups than as one solid bloc genuinely questions his behind – the scenes-motive the latter indirectly help them achieve by not uniting their ranks and files at least for the unity of purpose, if not organically.
In conclusion, the internal opposition partnering an IG in a new deal called New Road Map needs to be more strategically wiser than it is currently. Thereby looking more out side the box in search for allies than putting their trust in rival determined to undermine their very existence before too late.
On the other, President Kiir and his IG faction need to stop pushing their luck too far in subduing opposition, both within and out, lest their little peace gains are rolled back to their own detriment than good. With all of them pursuing mutual gain as the renewed opportunity to saving the country from dire state of affairs through Round Table Conference at a favorable venue.