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Flaws of External Forged IGAD Peace Process in South Sudan

The IGAD Peace Process 

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)’s involvement in the peace processes in the Sudans dates back to 1993. The first phase of this process was to accelerate in 2001, remarkably, following the attacks in the US leading to the infamous Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The signing of the CPA was deemed to be a milestone in regional peace process, and perhaps a pointer to the realization, in part, of the African solution to the African problems ideology. That is if it was African anyway. Within the framework of the CPA South Sudan effectively seceded from the Sudan in 2010. However, the county was to relapse into internal conflicts few years later when in 2013, only 2 years into self rule and state formation, a civil war broke out. The aftermath of the CPA has exposed the seriousness of the flaws that surrounded the first round of the IGAD peace process. Following the civil conflict in South Sudan, IGAD again came in with what I would call the second round of peace process leading to the recently (2015) signed peace agreement in Addis Ababa.

Security Regionalism 

The IGAD process is partly a promotion of security regionalism in eastern Africa. Drawing from a history of conflict in the Sudan and the peace processes in transition from the Sudan to South Sudan, I tend to think that there are interesting dynamics to the IGAD peace processes from which practical lessons on security regionalism can be drawn. Exploring the actors in this process and I can reveal that there are certain important flaws that should not go unnoticed. Fisrt is the dominance of the external actors in the IGAD peace processes. The IGAD peace process is generally deemed regional and African but it is largely externally dominated. In my view external dominance has led to an externally imposed peace and its repercussions are partly the underlying reasons for current peace challenges in South Sudan.

Inevitably there is a nexus between the CPA and the current ‘problematic’ South Sudan peace agreement. It is about time we critically gazed into the concepts of security regionalism and analyses of the local actors through the African solutions to the African problems agenda and critically evaluated whether or not this has really worked in the case of the Sudans. This rigorous analysis should delve deep into external actors’ involvement in both the first and second round of the IGAD peace process in Sudan and currently in South Sudan. It will be important to draw similarities and differences from the two processes. If they are more similar that different then obviously there is cause to worry. Probably this will help ring bells for actors to take an urgent turn around before it is too late; before we go into a third and...rounds.

Historical Perspectives 

By early 1990s the protracted civil war in Southern Sudan had raged for almost a decade with a series of failed peace initiatives resulting to some degree of pessimism in finding a solution to the conflict. However, suffering from the destabilizing regional impacts of the conflict and with the regional common interest curbing the growing Islamism emanating from Khartoum, an attempt to end the conflict emerged. And in September 1993 the then IGADD founded a Peace Committee under the chairmanship of the then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi joined by the heads of state of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Uganda. In 1994 the peace negotiations to resolve the Sudanese civil war commenced in Nairobi.

Whereas this was deemed to be an intra-regional endeavor to overcome the peace challenge within the security regionalism philosophy, something remarkable happened that robbed this process its regional autonomy. Following the establishment of the Standing Committee of Foreign Ministers of the IGADD member states in 1994, there was an endorsement from the so called Friends of IGADD and later IGAD Partners Forum (IPF) which joined the process. These included a number of European States, along with Japan and the US. Whereas the peace process was slow since this time up to 2000, a remarkable acceleration was to be witnessed from 2001 following September 11 attacks in the US. The said acceleration is a pointer to changing dynamics and external influence on the IGAD peace process in Sudan relating to the war on terror led by the US and its western allies.

The entry of external powers in the IGAD peace process greatly undermined the principle of African solutions to African problems, questioned the independence of the IGAD process from external actors touching the very heart of a belief in regionalism as a way for African states to emancipate themselves from external dominance. This jeopardized the security regionalism in the horn of Africa and quite tragically led to yet another externally imposed peace in Sudan.

The case of IGAD peace process in Sudan is good demonstration on how sub-regional mechanisms in Africa have continued to suffer from the influence and strategies of external powerful state actors. Consequently the CPA was contradictory, with largely incompatible aims of immediately ending the armed conflict and causing democratization. The CPA also effected power sharing which allowed the continued of the coercive power of the two protagonists which in turn hindered democratization and maintained grievances. Furthermore, the CPA’s top level power sharing perpetuated the exclusive concentration of political and economic power among sections of the ruling elites both in Sudan and South Sudan, who continued to provoke instability and armed conflict. The quick relapse of South Sudan into conflict just few years after its secession from Sudan is not devoid of the flaws of the CPA, hence cannot effectively be analyzed outside the framework of the CPA.

More of the Same?

The ongoing IGAD peace process in South Sudan with the agreement that was recently signed in Addis Ababa in 2015 is in many ways similar to the IGAD peace process that led to the CPA in 2005. Just like the first round of IGAD peace process which at some point included external actors in the name of IGAD Partners Forum (IPF) drawn from the so called friends of IGAD, the current South Sudan peace process by IGAD has a similar external influence from the so called friends of IGAD leading to the IGAD Plus. One of the pertinent questions, of course, is whether there are any lessons that were drawn from the first round of IGAD peace process in Sudan and how the IGAD Plus process is different from the IGAD and IPF. Have the past mistakes been rectified? If not what are the future prospects for peace in South Sudan and the region? What does the case of IGAD peace processes formerly in Sudan and now in South Sudan tell us about the whole concept of security regionalism in the horn of Africa. 

Money Over Reality?

We obviously have justifiable reason to think the way I am thinking. We have to agree that the aftermath of the CPA and more specifically the consequences of the flaws of the CPA are largely the causes for the current problems in South Sudan. Unfortunately IGAD seem to be repeating same thing if not similar thing. The proverbial act of doing same thing, same way and expect different result. Notwithstanding money received from external actors African peoples through IGAD must be courageous enough to expose the conflict in South Sudan as being, to a large extent, a result of flaws in the first peace process and the role played by external imposition of the peace. 
Flaws of External Forged IGAD Peace Process in South Sudan Flaws of External Forged IGAD Peace Process in South Sudan Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on February 09, 2016 Rating: 5

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