Altaghyeer: Juba- Khartoum

The power-sharing agreement signed between the president of South Sudan Salva Kiir Mayardit and rebels’ leader Riyak Mashar didn’t trigger significant resonance in Juba, South Sudan, instead many in making their daily livings amid scarcity of commodities and skyrocketing prices ignored the event.

And what further angered people is the decision made by the president days after signing the agreement awarding each of the 450 members of parliament with 40 000 $USD to purchase a new car, leading Peter Agom, a government employee to describe the decision as “irresponsible” stating that government officials “don’t care about citizens, they care about their own interests” and he told “Altaghyeer” that he was shocked by that outrageous decision “ how come those MPs ask for such money to buy cars! And how come President Salva agrees to such demands!? The country needs every single dollar to build hospitals, roads, and schools and help people with their lives, they have already signed a flawed agreement and now they start this new phase with this disastrous decision”.

The Sudanese government, which is mediating between the political warring factions in South Sudan, employed the tactic of invitation and intimidation to convince them into signing the power-sharing agreement, which was ultimately rejected by some of the opposition political parties and armed groups turning it into a bilateral agreement between Salva and Mashar.

The agreement provided for the return of Mashar to his previous position as first vice president, in addition to 4 other vice presidents, along with 9 ministries from a total of 35 half of which will be appointed by the current president, and the few remaining positions would be shared by other parties and groups.

One of the leaders participating in the negotiations said that Khartoum used every possible means to convince us of signing a flawed agreement, adding after asking for anonymity, that “the Sudanese mediator offered sums of money to certain leaders for signing, whereas other leaders were threatened by being banished from negotiations in case they persisted in their rejection”. He went on saying “sometimes the intelligence chief Salah Ghush would come to the negotiation venue and threaten negotiators with grave consequences if they insist on their refusal to sign, and other times secretary of foreign affairs Aldirderi would step aside with some leaders after negotiations and promise them personal financial support if they accepted his demands”.

Moreover, Sudanese security services ordered newspapers published in Khartoum to refrain from publishing articles criticizing the bilateral agreement. They even- according to press sources- banned some materials revealing negative views, including an interview with the leader of the opposition coalition rejecting the agreement, Lam Akol who sat with Alsudani newspaper.

Despite all that, the government of South Sudan spokesperson Michael Makuei described the agreement as “good”, he even went further by urging the United States and international community to contribute in its implementation.

Political sciences professor Steven Malwal of University of Juba thinks that the agreement sponsored by Khartoum cannot hold for long because “it was achieved under pressure over all parties”, and stated through an email “the Sudanese government is not capable enough of implementing and following up the agreement with all its malfunctions” indicating that parties rejecting the agreement possess the ability to obstruct its implementation, he also went on to add that “some parties rejecting the agreement such as past detainees group and Lam Akol’s movement are capable of engaging in a political endeavor within the region and the rest of the world and convince countries in the region that the agreement is incomplete, also armed groups have margins of military maneuver in areas under their control such as troops of ex-leader of the army Paul Malong”.

Khartoum hosted negotiations of parties to conflict in South Sudan within a plan set up by IGAD countries assigning certain roles to neighboring countries like Ethiopia and Kenya. According to the strategy, Khartoum was given two weeks, after that negotiations would move to Nairobi for the remaining issues, but that didn’t happen, as the Sudanese government insisted on ending negotiations to the last detail under its sponsorship.