Mogae’s South Sudan Mission Unaccomplished

  • South Sudan term expires
  • Mogae fatigued, disappointed by slow progress


The dull term of former Botswana president Festus Mogae as Chairmanship of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) of the Peace Agreement on South Sudan comes to an end this month (January) without much accomplished.
Mogae was appointed by the AU Commission’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in a peace agreement signed in August 2015 expected to last for 2 years 6 months.
Sources close to Mogae say the 79-year-old mediator has ran out of patience owing to “the non-progressive thinking” and “attitudes” of the warring factions of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar. The two parties have on several occasions violated the peace agreement, something which Mogae has repeatedly criticised, urging the parties to respect the peace deal. Well-known locally for his short-temper Mogae has on some occasions worn his heart on the sleeves, warning the perpetrators that the continued violations will prompt undesirable results.
In 2016, South Sudan’s Catholic Radio Network quoted Mogae saying notwithstanding the challenges in South Sudan, he is not giving up. “We will continue to push for the implementation of the peace agreement because there is no option to peace,” he said.
Mogae’s close associates however say he is now completely fed up. “He is not happy at all with the conduct of the two parties and repeatedly reminds them that it is the innocent lives that are being lost and displaced. Mind you, he is yet to find rest post his presidential term,” said one of his close associates. Mogae has called on all South Sudanese leaders and stakeholders to come to the table in search of a sustainable political solution, to renounce violence and demonstrate political will to compromise and accommodate one another but to no avail.
When Mogae was appointed, the AU said in a statement that the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission would be responsible for monitoring and overseeing the implementation of the Agreement for the Resolution of the South Sudan conflict, as well as the mandate and tasks of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU),
The committee was also to oversee the adherence of the parties to the agreed timelines and implementation schedule in the conflict resolution agreement which was signed in August 2015.
The then Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Mogae’s leadership and vast experience would go a long way in facilitating the implementation of the agreement.
She also pledged the AU’s full support to the statesman in the discharge of his mandate and urged the South Sudanese stakeholders to extend full cooperation to him.
In 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya when briefing the extra-ordinary session of the IGAD council of ministers, Mogae complained of poor support from the same AU warning that the African Union Peace and Security Council on the possibility of an eruption of war in South Sudan even though he was ignored.
“I expressed concern that the prolonged initial delay by the political leaders, coupled with the lack of implementation of the transitional security arrangements provided fertile ground for mutual suspicion which had the likely effect of, and indeed has triggered the current armed conflict,” he said.
At the time the deal was signed, Dr Dlamini-Zuma emphasised the AU’s commitment to fully supporting the successful conclusion of the ongoing peace process, including through the follow-up and implementation of the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS), which was adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) on September 26, 2015.
Mogae left for South Sudan yesterday (Monday) following a short Christmas holiday in Botswana. It is not yet clear what the AU and international partners will agree on going forward but Mogae will be making his final briefs soon to the UN security Council and other forums.