South Sudan : power to the most violent or survival of the crookedest ?

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What can we make from this comedy of errors where almost not one of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle seems to fit its supposed neighbour ? The possibility is of course of a grand replay of all the previous failed peace agreements , complete with massacres in the streets of Juba and a return to fighting in the three northern provinces.

On Monday December 21st the South Sudan “Peace Process” has moved into a new realm of managed unreality when an “advanced team” of 150 rebel delegates arrived in the country’s capital . Witness the attempt at marrying the IGAD-sponsored abstractions with the South Sudanese realities :

  • The August 17th “Peace agreement” is giving a military majority control to the three northern provinces – Unity , Upper Nile and Jonglei – where 90% of the fighting has taken place over the last two years . This could be OK for Unity where the Nuer dominate but it will be problematic in Upper Nile where Nuer and Dinka are balancing out and even harder in Jonglei where the Dinka are more numerous than the Nuer . And then how will the government (53%) to rebel (47%) troop proportion be worked out ?
  • Same problem in the capital Juba where not only the proportions are equally questionable but where the Government CoS General Paul Malong Awan refuses to demilitarize and has already threatened to depose President Kiir if his refusal is not accepted
  • Let’s not even try to imagine how the abstract arithmetics of the power-sharing – 53% to the Government , 33% to the SPLM/IO , 7% to the “Former Detainees” and 7% for the “other parties” – can be adhered to without cutting into pieces the MPs themselves to respect the % splits
  • Same thing for the governorates and the provincial assemblies where half governors and quarters of regional MPs will soon have to walk the streets to comply with the “Peace Agreement” proportions .
  • To make things worse President Kiir has just proclaimed 28 new states to replace the existing ten ones . Not only are the new states an intricate piece of ethnic Gerrymandering but their 28 Governors were chosen not by the President but by General Paul Malong who picked his chosen straw men so that he could rule the country over the President’s head . Salva Kiir was left with no choice : he had to comply or face a coup

What can we make from this comedy of errors where almost not one of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle seems to fit its supposed neighbour ? The possibility is of course of a grand replay of all the previous failed peace agreements , complete with massacres in the streets of Juba and a return to fighting in the three northern provinces (sorry : the ten new provinces created on October 3rd) where most of the military forces are concentrated . Or else a kind of gangsters’ agreement where the various actors of the drama which has been playing over the last twenty-four months cynically agree to share the shreds of power still flapping in the Juba winds and name each other minister of this or minister of that , ambassador to this country or to that country and try to continue the highjacking of the country’s finances denounced by participants in the December 10th Senatorial Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan in Washington . The American mood had swung into the exasperation mode . Republican Senator Bob Cork , President of the Foreign Affairs Committee , asked the South Sudanese delegates what government they thought they represented and former Special Envoy Princeton Lyman discreetly hinted at the possibility of a possible UN / UA “dispensation” , which could be shorthand for trusteeship . The civilian situation is so desperate that the choice between arrogant warlords pretending to be a government and a conglomerate of “rebels” and “democrats” preparing a new – leaner – sharing of the spoils , does not seem to be a very attractive prospect and definitely not one the ordinary South Sudanese citizens would welcome .

 

                                                                                    December 25th 2015

 

 

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