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Is Bahir Dar starting to reverse Addis’s Failures?

On 26th of June 2014 a young bright analyst with IGAD asked us” I am just wondering why you are in Ottawa and not here, and why your name doesn’t come up when we are looking for people?” 

We replied on June 26th “May be an additional answer to why my name does not come up is that I do not lobby outside the limits of dignity for work and do not solicit aggressively to prove my presence or value. In the long run, doing such things does not pay. I would not be happy to be a “Likely Suspect” whenever names or issues come up.” 

That has not changed. We are still in Ottawa and the Process has only moved from Addis to Bahir Dar “horizontally” and we are waiting for it to move “vertically”. 

On August 28th 2014, an active member of the IGAD team wrote to us in response to our article # 41 of 23/09/14 “....your article about the Envoys “dismounting”, circulated around the Leaders Committee meeting and caused a lot of chuckles. The parties saw it and had a field day….. “ 

While we were glad that our articles are re-circulating, and certainly happy that we amused the leaders, we were dead serious that if the Mediators do not deliver they should go home. 

That will not be the first time for Mediators going home: 

1. Eritrea and Ethiopia before and after independence of Eritrea moved from Yemen, to East Germany, to Russia then to Carter, to Algiers among others. 

2. Burundi moved from Nyerere to Mandela 

3. Sudan/SPLM/A moved from Ethiopia to Nigeria to IGAD/Kenya 

4. As for Palestine/Israel: Who can keep track? 

Either through some impact of our articles now standing at 48 with the Who is Who, or through newly acquired sense of dignity and esteem, the GRSS represented by Maulana/ Michael Makuei did two very admirable things: 

1. In his opening address to Stage 2, Round 6 in Bahir Dar on 22nd of September he concluded “telling” Mediation to do or not do 10 things: Listen, listen, listen; Build trust 

2 between parties; Build confidence in the mediation process; Focus on parties’ needs, not positions; Not lecture nor preach; Not threaten nor bully; Be fair and supportive; Be patient and persistent; Ensure parties own the agreement; OR Be ready to withdraw. Brilliant! That is his right. That is the right language. What he needs to do is to keep at it. Insist on it. Always put Ato Mesfin and company where they belong: No more than “Mediators” paid to serve the two parties. Do not buckle Maulana! 

2. On October 1st 2014, and as reported by Capital News from Nairobi, Makuei said” “For Lazarus to be put under somebody who never mediated any process even in his homeland that was wrong, this is a misuse of the seat of the IGAD. And this is why we are unable to achieve peace is South Sudan up to now.” Lueth says that Gen. Sumbeiywo is better suited, explaining he previously mediated talks between Al Bashir and John Garang to sign the Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended two decades of civil war. “We are appealing to the region and especially the Kenyan Government. Kenya is the centre for everything here in the region. This is where our message should be carried from,” he said. “We want peace for our people, not other interests. The problem of South Sudan should not be used for serving others interests. Those who want to overthrow the Government of South Sudan should seek other avenues but not through the mediation.” 

That is serious stuff from a Dinka ranking as one of the two strongest Dinka ministers of Dinka Bor in the Government. Some winds of change are blowing! 

But then we were rather surprised to hear the SPLM/A-IO having a totally different tone: 

1. Next day on October 2nd 2014 as reported by Tesfa Tekle of Sudan Tribune from Addis Ababa, the SPLM/A-IO comes out through a statement issued by Mabior Garang stating that they were happy with Seyoum Mesfin. Yes sir! 

2. We quote” “The SPLM/SPLA [in Opposition], though deeply shocked by these statements, is not surprised by this lack of seriousness from the other party to the conflict (the South Sudanese government), as this is part of their modus operandi,” said the statement signed by Mabior Garang de Mabior, chairperson of the rebel faction’s national committee for information and public relations. 

3. The group has also accused the government of deliberately delaying the ongoing peace process aimed at finding a durable political settlement to the more than nine-month-old crisis. It said such tactics were an indication that the government is not serious about reaching a peace deal and is an abuse of the goodwill shown by IGAD, the AU and Troika states. 

4. The rebel statement said that since January the South Sudanese government ““has continuously been undermining the peace process in Ethiopia, and this is just the latest delaying tactic in a strategy to ensure the failure of the peace process”. 

5. Moving the peace talks from Ethiopia, the group said would cause unnecessary delays to negotiations and only prolong the suffering of the people of South Sudan. The opposition group expressed its full confidence in the IGAD-led peace process in Ethiopia and in the leadership of the current chief negotiator. 

6. It has called on the international community to condemn the latest actions of the government and exert further pressure against Juba to continue with negotiations in good faith. 

To be continued tomorrow 

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