The Igad driven Addis Ababa peace talks towards restoration of peace and normalcy in South Sudan has, so far, utilised more than USD 17 million without achieving much substantial progress. The mediation process has, instead, been mired by episodes of mistrust, stalemates, breach in cessation of hostilities agreements, and postponement of the talks, a situation that only protracts instability.
The conflict in South Sudan is not a unique catastrophe that human beings cannot solve. In fact, the conflict bears a similar pattern to the infamous Dafur crisis that took years to resolve and eventually led to the independence of South Sudan.
Though every conflict resolution mechanism has its own distinctive dynamics, highlights of mistrust between the government and rebels, fragmentation of rebel movements, hesitation of the main actors to negotiate in good faith, increase of violence after signing a ceasefire agreement, and lack of homogeny in an all-inclusive approach, illustrates a situation of ‘same script - different casts’.
Involvement of multi-stakeholders in a peace process in Africa is certainly a key strategy to accelerate attainment of sustainable peace. However, Igad seems to have ignored the point that the process of identifying and engaging multi-stakeholders can only be meaningful if it is kept independent of Western influence.
Western influence on conflict resolution processes in Africa and other parts of the world is usually associated with anarchy and regime change. According to the grapevine, US foreign relations agenda is driven by the CIA whose main aim is to puppetise political leaders in the world to embrace and advance American interests. Where such efforts are rejected, the US cunningly orchestrates regime change to either cause total chaos in a country or ensure a leader of their choice gets to the helm of political power. The modus operandi involves luring targets with cash handouts and/or pledges of donor funding.
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President Salva Kiir may seemingly be aware of this and as such, may not be too keen to participate in mediation efforts that have signs of US operatives whether disguised as special envoys or interest groups.
Conversely, Dr Riek Machar may be cautious of being lured into becoming a CIA stooge thus, may not fully trust or meaningfully engage mediation initiatives that have signs of US operatives. One can only hope that the August 10, deadline that Igad has set for both sides to agree on a transitional government and implement a ceasefire will be achieved.