By William Ezekiel
H. E. Festus G. Mugae, Head of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, an IGAD institution overseeing the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan signed 2015 said to have express intention to quit the job as peace process underway is gaining momentum.
H. E. Mugae is a well known African leader for great achievements he underscored during his ten-year-tenure from 1998 to 2008 as a democratically elected President of Botswana.
He voluntarily step down, as President, to pave way for other new blood of political leaders to take-up the mandate of driving Botswana on the right path.
Based on the achievements and many other, H. E. Mugae laid to his nation, he received many prestigious prizes, among others the 2008 prize of Achievement in African Leadership, worth $5million.
In this regard, President Festus G. Mugae had left a legacy of excellence to be remembered generation after generation throughout history in Botswana.
And, H. E. Mugae wasn’t under any circumstances, nor in the position to seek mammon or any material gains like some of the African heads of state and government are used to, when he accepted the offer by the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to head the position of monitoring the smooth-run of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS).
But, it seems that President Mugae had accepted the position of leading the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JEMC), without considering its accompanying enormous challenges, and that’s why he miserably failed in ARCSS test No. 1.
And majority South Sudanese were wondering what’s happening to the 2008 winner of Achievement in African Leadership, some went as far as attributing it to Juba regime petro-dollars which probably could silence mouths, others found it hard to answer.
For sure, H. E. Mugae is vacating the office amid strong sense of guilty, and he is doing so after he badly realized that he has never done anything good to the people of South Sudan since he assumed the office, except for his recommendation during the 31st Extraordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government on South Sudan held 12 June 2017 in Addis Ababa to revitalized the very agreement he allowed the enemies of peace to violate in 2016.
President Festus G. Mugae had very gravely led down the 2015 peace deal.
No doubt, he accepted the abrogation and violation of the agreement by President Salva Kiir and obviously blessed installation of Taban Deng as First Vice President to replace Dr. Riek Machar as provided for by the deal.
H. E. Mugae had frequently kept changing his statements on 2016 Kiir-Taban coup d’etat whenever and wherever he may go.
He green light President Kiir 38 days hunt down of ousted FVP in Equatorial thick jungles.
He lobbied up with regional and international forces to demonize and criminalize the leader of the SPLM-IO and subjected him to more than a one year exile in South Africa, had been Sudan, Ethiopia and South Sudan opposition parties and others mounting pressure, Dr. Machar would have had been still in detention there.
It’s because of H. E. Festus G. Mugae failures, that the war intensified and engulfed almost every corner in South Sudan, and the degree of atrocities were unprecedented, death toll was appalling and genocide was almost knocking at the door step.
Besides rape of women and young girls, looting, land grabbing, systematic displacement of local inhabitants and subsequent migration to neighbouring countries all have been committed in the eyes and hears of JEMC officials including President Mugae.
H. E. Festus G. Mugae is leaving peace desk with nothing good to remember him, and no single South Sudanese whether male or female to shed blood for such an abrupt decision to quit, instead this intent to vacate the post has been the demand by most if not all South Sudanese after his complete failure to lead the peace implementation process.
It’s very clear that the new phase of peace implementation, requires leaders with vision, mission, determination and will to guide the process, not lean or soft ones like President Mugae.