About two weeks ago , when I was sleep-deprived and about to fly to the US I posted a comment on the document jointly issued by the whole opposition . It was marred by several errors . Sorry . Here are some points to be corrected :
- It was Mr Henry Odwar and not Mr Peter Regbigo who signed the document for SPLM/IO
- Mr Bakosoro’s first name is Joseph , not Henry
- General Thomas Cirillo is a Bari , not a Madi
This being said the situation remains terrible and even though this united opposition document is a step in the right direction , it is only a half-way progress . It is so needed that the signatories have re-issued the document in slightly modified form on April 30th . The point of re-issuing this appeal is that in the meantime President Salva Kiir had issued another “Republican Order” (n° 08/2017) pretending to revive the peace process and re-open the dialogue . The opposition refused to take this seriously since the head of the collapsing state kept insisting that he was the one who was going to set the terms of dialogue and appoint its steering committee . This is a bit like the process where “my right hand shakes my left hand in friendly congratulation” . Not much of a result can be expected from a situation where the dialogue would in fact be reduced to a monologue . Mrs Rebecca Nyandeng , Chairman Garang’s widow , who had been appointed by Salva Kiir as a Committee Member (without being consulted or even notified of her appointment , a style which in itself speaks volumes about respecting the opinion of political actors) refused to be appointed on April 27th , explaining that the conditions for a free and honest dialogue had not been created . Salva Kiir is desperately pushing for some kind of a diplomatic/political process as his grip on power is increasingly sliding . Not so much under the attacks of the armed opposition (even though it remains active) but because all other actors seem to be increasingly pursuing their own aims and agendas , without any government discipline
- The Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) publicly announced that it refused the deployment of the RPF international force , even though Salva had (reluctantly) accepted it and even though the first elements of the force (Banglaseshi technicians) had arrived
- The UN is now discreetly discussing the possibility that Juba has lost control of its own Army . The frequent attacks by SPLA forces , followed by immediate denials , suggest the fact that the Army runs to the music of a different drummer , and perhaps even of several . What is Juba’s Army doing with its continuous attacks ?
- Members of civil society seem worried that the Army is now on a global offensive , even as the President keeps talking about peace and dialogue , and that this attack might go all the way to replacing Salva Kiir himself , perceived as “weak”. Many troops are deployed in the streets of the capital , with tanks back-up . Whether they are there to protect the government or to overthrow it is unclear . General Paul Malong Awan is particularly worried about the situation in Bahr-el-Ghazal after the fighting in Wau and Raja a week ago . He seems to think a firmer hand is needed at the helm . His , perhaps ?