South Sudan

Opinion: Why Kiir Should not Share Power with Machar


stomach geneva; font-size: small;”>Riek Machar – a controversial figure in S. Sudanese’ politics – has in the last few months made a series of demands. Among them is a power-sharing government in an attempt to end his seven – months old rebellion, but finding a workable solution appears to be a mind-blowing exercise for concerned leaders.

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This article seeks to explain why power-sharing deal which now hangs on IGAD’s lip is not an ideal solution to solve S. Sudanese’ crisis.

As the crisis reaches a tipping point as we speak, the regional leaders under the banner of IGAD are now considering the power-sharing government between Kiir and Machar’s rival groups , but does this deal hold weight to end the crisis?

The answer depends on which side of equation you’re in, but in my view, it doesn’t. The two men – Kiir and Machar – have recently put on the latest fashion of power-sharing deal.

They have agreed on Tuesday this week to forge a transitional government within a 60-day deadline as well as completing the dialogue process within the coming 60 days on what, how, when and who would participate in the up-coming power-sharing/transitional government …. whichever way you can call it.

While IGAD’s leaders are considering to give a portion of power to Riek Machar and his loyalists so they can quench their leadership’s thirst in a well-intentioned agreement, “power-sharing”, this move contradicts the principles of democracy and it adds salt into a fresh wounds.

IGAD’s leaders seem to be unaware that power-sharing is not something new in S. Sudan. It’s been tried many times and it produced no results. For example, most of current rebels’ commanders including rebel chief Riek Machar who now marshals rebellion have in the past been integrated into the government under the power-sharing deal, but has anything changed in S. Sudan as a result of their integration into the government? No! Their integration has in turn pushed the country into abyss.

Power-sharing has been widely used in Africa over the past two decades as a formula to managing political conflicts and crises.

It has been rolled out in many African countries such as Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros Islands, Congo, Cote d’Ivore, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

It has been accorded with special status to the extent that discussions of potential power-sharing are carried out event before the elections that are expected to be controversial are conducted, but despite its popularity as a conflict resolution instrument, its effectiveness is questionable.

Most countries that have used power-sharing to resolve their conflicts have not achieved any long-lasting stability nor have they been able to establish a credible system of multiparty politics.

Power-sharing shouldn’t be on IGAD’s list of solutions. IGAD leaders need to be crystally told that they should find a better solution than power – sharing.

Riek Machar’s political thuggery and slaughter of innocent people should not be rewarded with power-sharing of any type. Doing so equates to creating a blue print for thugs/murders ascension to power.

IGAD doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that S. Sudan is a baby nation and it needs a strong democratic foundation which shouldn’t be done on a basis of power-sharing – and rewarding coup staging- power hungry individuals like Riek Machar with “power sharing” is a gross mistake.

Dangerous precedence

What if other leaders put on Machar’s shoes and threaten a civil war unless they’re given some power… then what? That’s a dangerous path. IGAD is setting a dangerous precedence in Africa when it decides to go for the power-sharing route…why should Kiir – who’s a democratically elected leader shares power with Riek Machar who cannot contain his greed for power?

Since IGAD’s historic adoption of a co-presidency to end the post – election violence in most of African countries, there have been calls in other parts of Africa for the same. My contention is that this is not only the easy way out of a political problem but also the wrong solution.

Riek Machar staged a coup against a democratically elected government and he brands a coup’s accusation – a fake and then insisting on a coalition presidency.

A mutiny has taken place. Riek Machar has more or less claimed partial responsibility by calling on soldiers to bring down Kiir-led democratically elected government. Riek Machar has a history of mutual tribal hatred and mistrust and expecting him to share the presidency with Kirr – who ranks top on his death list, consigns S. Sudan into a perpetual political limbo.

If Machar has some specific issues, he should bring them to the table or else he must be told, in no uncertain terms, that he has to wait for the next elections. Machar should not get any “inch of power” when he doesn’t deserve even a crumb. For now, what IGAD should be pursuing is how to convince Kiir to pardon Riek Machar or allow him safe passage into exile.


It’s wrong for individuals who feel aggrieved to cause chaos in the hope of getting power. It’s wrong to seek power using selfish means at the expense of ordinary and innocent civilians. It will never be right for the so-called African leaders to kill people en-mass to satiate their greed for power.

In conclusion, power-sharing deal is not encouraging news to democracy in S. Sudan and in other African countries. IGAD has set a wrong precedent by encouraging power-sharing deal in S. Sudan.

IGAD need to make a U-turn and support people’s government of S. Sudan since cohabitation between Kiir and Machar under the proposed power-sharing government is a recipe for more troubles.

Power-sharing is killing democracy in S. Sudan and to encourage democracy, IGAD’s leaders should discourage this trouble-prone deal and back the government and this is the only way democracy can take hold in S. Sudan as a new country.

IGAD should abandon its current push for power-sharing and instead use a dual approach “using both negotiations and military intervention” in the form of peacekeeping mission to end the crisis.


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