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Saving South Sudan

The UN Security Council met yesterday to discuss the South Sudan crisis and as usual they made what I often refer to as sweeping statements which carry with them little or no practical bearing. The council simply did what is reported as "pressing South Sudan's neighbors to help end renewed fighting in the capital, asking for additional peacekeepers." In a unanimous declaration, the council's 15 member countries on Sunday also demanded that "President Salva Kiir and his first Vice President Riek Machar do their utmost to control their respective forces, urgently end the fighting and prevent the spread of violence." The council further called for the two rivals to "genuinely commit themselves to the full and immediate implementation of the peace agreement, including the permanent ceasefire and redeployment of military forces from Juba." Well, I do not know what other people make of these but they are what I call impotent statements.  

As at Sunday evening it was reported that about 300 people had been killed in the new wave of violence that has hit Juba. The country is fast sliding back to war and all we can hear from the so called ‘international community’, through the UN, are empty statements. No commitment, no known practical intervention strategies to de-escalate the conflict and restore normalcy. Someone will tell me. Sovereignty. Well, it remains one of those vague terminologies. Just like the ‘international community.’ Often times empty terms, only carrying meaning in reference to what they refer to when, how, why and when. Just as the international community does not mean same thing to every entity, sovereignty means different things to different actors.

That said. I think for the peace of South Sudan, let us think and prescribe differently. One, let us agree that the so called international community does not have the solution; and if it has one, it is not interested in putting it on the table. Two, let us go and suspend the notion of sovereignty in South Sudan and deal with the crisis by not focusing on the concept of the nation-state but that of humanity; look at the people of South Sudan not a s a nation-state but as human beings both in their individuality and collectivity; from the innocent crying children to thousands of adults who have no slightest idea of what their so called ‘leaders’ are fighting over and for.  

As IGAD ministerial crisis meeting is set today in Nairobi, members should be courageous enough to separate a number of issues. Let talks get a bit more serious and focused. May they stretch to genuine and very specific, even disturbing, questions, for instance, on the meaning and interpretation of entities like the “Friends of IGAD.” What the “Plus” did during the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2015 the “Friends” will and have done in the 2015 agreement. This is recent history. Let us learn to draw lessons from history and deploy them for the good of Africa and humanity. South Sudan needs salvation from itself. But then, even some of those purporting to save South Sudan need to be saved from themselves as well. So let us save actors like Uganda from itself before Uganda can be used to save South Sudan. It is only important that IGAD does a good in-house self-cleansing first. It is never going to be easy but what easy solutions do we have for South Sudan?

Saving South Sudan Saving South Sudan Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on July 11, 2016 Rating: 5

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