South Sudan

Opinion: IGAD Secretary Erred in Abusing Kiir, Machar


buy geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.

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Lamentably, the “stupid” controversial comment irately and imprudently uttered recently at the venue of the peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development’s executive secretary (IGAD), Mahboub Maalim is strikingly indecorous, tactless, outright invasive and utterly regrettable, given the timing and the ticklish configuration of the political ambience prevailing in South Sudan.

The woeful remarks while bereft of any constructive constituent and substance is manifestly reckless and undesirable. Such an inconsiderate statement probably represents the work of a less seasoned diplomat.

The choice of words is absolutely at the secretary’s disposal. He could either employ sagacity and supreme prudence at the IGAD’s mediated peace talks in Ethiopia in his capacity as the executive secretary in order to deliver substantive required outcome for attaining peace in the war-ravaged South Sudan by way of assisting the people of the country triumph over the current imbroglio, or become so reckless as has been the case and thus ruin all the prospects for an anticipated positive yield in the Addis Ababa peace talks.

Maalim should exhibit considerable exertion and work along the dimensions that create positive correlation and high degree of cooperation between the two warring leaders, but not to rush to the press and denounce President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar as being “stupid”.

Here both common sense and absence of cognitive approach are in short supply, as there could plainly have been a more unflustered method for Mahboub Maalim to present his highly doomed remarks about the two South Sudan’s leaders involved in the country’s conflict.

The executive secretary should realize that a positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes and it is likewise a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.

One of the affirmative focuses should be the need for IGAD to create some sort of a framework that could accommodate South Sudan’s civil societies alongside the country’s political parties and other stakeholders.

This process calls for the deployment of utmost dexterity by the mediators, hence, making a condescending remarks about a head of a sovereign state and an Opposition leader represents a marked departure from the realm of orthodox diplomacy to an inconceivable level of irresponsibility and discourteous demeanour on the part of the regional organisation’s secretary, who should certainly offer an instant apology to the offended parties.

Peace talks

The South Sudan’s conflict also calls for a political resolve derived from abstemious thinking that should involve the various stakeholders in the domestic arena as well as regional and international spheres.

The primary preoccupation for the East African regional body should be geared to ensuring that the warring parties silence their guns and then proceed to allocate a considerable period of time for healing the lacerated wounds caused by the six-month hostility.

These stages would then be followed by national reconciliation, to be followed by the formation of an all-embracing interim government of national unity that would probably have a lifespan of two to three years until the next general elections.

I think IGAD should be able to accomplish the task, but only in the absence of individual member country’s concealed agenda destined for egocentricities. It is not anymore a secret that all parties to the mediation of the conflict in South Sudan possess vested interests.

This stated, I have to applaud the statesmanship quality displayed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and current IGAD Chairman, Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, and would hardly hesitate to assert that the IGAD’s executive secretary should critically address and fix his somewhat overbearing temperament and acute shortage of political thoughtfulness and to further broaden his perspectives by developing some genuine political sensitivity and finally refrains from recklessness and voyeuristic drift in a bid to resolve future conflicts of this nature on the continent, if he is ever to remain in his current exacting position.

Peter Lokarlo is a Former Lecturer, Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL)

RMIT University, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia


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