Saturday November 25, 2017

STEPHEN PAR KUOL: Making Sense of the High  Level Revitalisation Forum

NEBRASKA– The US-led and regionally coordinated policy of isolating the largest armed opposition, (SPLM/A(IO) since the breakdown of ARCISS on July 8, 2016 has triggered a disastrous trajectory of scorch earth military offensive whose hallmarks are the ongoing the refugee crisis, famine and ethnic cleansing. Having found itself in the hot broth of political and economic crisis that threatens its stolen legitimacy, Kiir’s regime has embarked on so many diversionary gimmickries since the year 2016. Some of those are National Dialogue, the Kampala Initiative for Reunification of the SPLM and the High Level Revitalisation Forum. In tandem with its strategic allies in the region, the international community is seriously blackmailed and left in the cold of a lackluster diplomacy without credible and impartial interlocutors to create a genuine political process aiming at ending the crisis. On the trail to sell this face saving gimmickries, a lingo with minted terms such as “revitalise” and “estrange” has been created to conceal the bloody hands of IGAD in the South Sudanese crisis.

It goes without informing the records that the glittering language of this conspiratorial diplomacy is loaded with two fallacious connotations: one is that the opposition parties have deliberately estranged themselves from ARCISS and resorted to violence. This is a malicious portrayal of the armed opposition as a negative force of destabilisation in the region. The other fallacious connotation it conveys is that the ARCISS is still alive but not inclusively implemented. The reason why it is not inclusively implemented is deliberated omitted.

 As a ploy to revive its tarnished reputation and rescue Kiir’s regime, the IGAD Head of States Submit held in Addis –Ababa, Ethiopia on June 12th, 2017 resolved to convene a High Level Revitalisation Forum on the Agreement to Resolve Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) mandated to discuss measures to restore permanent cease-fire, full implementation of the agreement and develop a revised and realistic timeline and implement schedules to democratic election at the end of the interim period. As stated by Salva Kiir in his address on July 9, 2017 and echoed by Festus Mogea of JMEC, the matrix issued on July 7th 2027 outlining the revitalisation and subsequent meeting of the IGAD Council of Ministers on July 23-24th 2017, the forum is not for renegotiating the ARCIS. With this  bias tone, it is abundantly clear that the High Level Revitalisation Forum is for legitimisation of Kiir regime and further estrangement of the very opposition they have already termed as estranged. In this discourse, Kiir’s offensive violence is condoned and all the estranged armed groups are asked to denounce violence before the High Level Revitalisation Forum is convened. This is another perilous fallacy to cover up the ugly truth on the ground that the agent of violence that has been on the mass killing spree since December 2013 is none other than the Kiir’s facist regime.

For the records, the IGAD foreign ministers made it a very clear  inference that the revitalisation forum is meant to close in on the so-called estranged groups for a coordinated or negotiated capitulation if you will. This has always been the position of Kiir’s regime since Addis-Ababa peace talks that lasted two and half years. The regime often reduces the grievances of the opposition to desire for political positions. Being a member of the club (IGAD), Kiir’s regime has undue influence in the whole process. So negotiating with the regime under IGAD means negotiating with some key members of IGAD, which are legally parties to the conflict. That is why IGAD must relinquish its controversial mediating role to the UN and the AU for a credible mediation to attain a negotiated political settlement with negotiated permanent ceasefire signed and internationally monitored in South Sudan . Any initiative short of that is a false start with lasting peace in South Sudan.

Stephen Par Kuol

Honorable Stephen Par Kuol is a former Deputy Ambassador of the Sudan to the United Republic of Tanzania and the State Minister of Education in the recently overthrown Government of Jonglei State by Dr. Riek Machar’s forces. He is also a researcher and freelance writer on academic topics pertinent to Human Right and Post Conflict Criminal Justice Administration. He can be reached via: or

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