17 Nov 2018

 

Game Change For The EAC On South Sudan Peace?

"...the whole relationship can change very quickly, just as quickly as it has just done overnight for SPL-IO in Kenya. South Sudan itself can even face suspension from EAC until it has sorted out her internal chaos."

By Jacob J Akol

The expulsion (if confirmed by Juba) of James Gadet, spokesman for SPLM/A-IO from his base in Nairobi, must signal a game change, if not yet from East African Community member countries as a whole, certainly from Kenya. Any opposition to Juba from Nairobi will, from now on, remain less vocal and less vitriolic than we have known it in the recent past.

And while opposition residents of far away democracies may continue their vitriolic opposition to Juba through social media in particular, member countries of the East African Communities will find it difficult to host those openly hostile and planning an overthrow of the government of a member and neighbouring country such as South Sudan. The laws of the community are likely to prohibit such hostile activities from their territories.

Countries like Ethiopia and Sudan, who have their own internal rebels and may use South Sudan as a base, may not find it beneficial to host anyone openly opposed to Juba.

However, should war continue to destabilise South Sudan, displacing huge populations, as it is now doing, internally and externally, without a viable peace initiative on the table; and a collapsing economy; while Juba remains on the war path with uncompromising attitude, the whole relationship can change very quickly, just as quickly as it has just done overnight for SPL-IO in Kenya. South Sudan itself can even face suspension from EAC until it has sorted out her internal chaos.

So, what may seem like an encouraging news at first glance for the government of President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his First Vice President Taban Deng Gai, can only be sustained by genuine accommodation and implementation of the current peace agreement, jointly modified or otherwise.

The reality is that such a peaceful solution of the conflict cannot be reached without full participation of the forces currently opposed to Juba. It calls for serious compromises – again - not short of what are contained in the current Compromise Peace Agreement, with or without Riek Machar.

Posted in: Opinions
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