OpEd, Politics

The Log in South Sudan’s Eye: Mediation Dilemma in Sudan’s Conflict

By Gama Hassan Oscas

In a world marked by continuous conflicts and humanitarian crises, the Biblical verse from Matthew 7:3-5 holds a timeless truth that resonates even in the contemporary context of South Sudan’s efforts to mediate or resolve the ongoing conflict in Sudan. As the strife between the warring generals of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stretches into over a thousand days, the analogy of speck and log rings true. It calls attention to the apparent hypocrisy of South Sudan, which seeks to mediate Sudan’s conflict while struggling to address its own internal challenges and divisions.

To appreciate the complexities of this issue, one must understand the prevailing situation in both South Sudan and Sudan. The similarities between the two nations’ challenges cannot be overlooked. Parallels are drawn with the existence of parallel armies, militias, and holdout opposition fighters in both countries, illustrating the deeply rooted conflicts that plague the regions. South Sudan’s inability to resolve its own internal power struggles and unify its armed forces, as mandated by the 2018 peace deal and extended roadmap, adds further weight to the debate on its capacity to mediate Sudan’s conflict.

The question arises: Is South Sudan’s intervention a credible solution to Sudan’s ongoing strife? The answer, based on a careful assessment of South Sudan’s current state, is an ambiguous one. While there may be genuine intentions to assist its neighbor, the practicality of this endeavor is questionable. South Sudan itself is still grappling with its post-independence struggles, including the formation of a unified army and the integration of holdout opposition groups. These unresolved internal issues raise doubts about South Sudan’s ability to effectively mediate in Sudan’s complex conflict landscape.

South Sudan’s internal strife has brought about a humanitarian crisis marked by economic collapse, widespread corruption, and deteriorating living conditions for its citizens. The situation exacerbates the credibility of South Sudan as a mediator, as it is expected to deal with its own problems before stepping into the arena of resolving another nation’s conflict. To be effective mediators, South Sudan should first put its house in order and address its own shortcomings.

Another key aspect that warrants examination is the potential underlying motives behind South Sudan’s interest in mediation. Political agendas and strategic interests could influence the country’s involvement in Sudan’s conflict, raising questions about the authenticity and neutrality of its efforts. To be an impartial mediator, South Sudan must demonstrate a genuine commitment to peace and not use mediation as a tool to further its own interests.

Moreover, the fact that South Sudan is gearing up for an election while the groundwork for credible elections remains unaddressed poses further challenges. A nation grappling with internal power struggles and electoral uncertainty may lack the necessary stability and credibility to mediate a conflict in a neighboring country. A mediator should inspire confidence in all parties involved, and South Sudan’s election-related uncertainties could undermine its credibility in this role.

The suffering endured by the people of Sudan due to the prolonged conflict demands genuine and credible mediation efforts. While South Sudan might be eager to extend a helping hand, it must first prioritize its own internal healing and unity. Rather than offering a half-hearted attempt at resolving Sudan’s conflict, South Sudan should take this opportunity to address its own shortcomings, implement reforms, and genuinely work towards national reconciliation and lasting peace.

The Biblical message serves as a poignant reminder to South Sudan that it must focus on “taking the log out of its own eye” before attempting to remove the “speck” from Sudan’s eye. South Sudan should be cautious not to fall into the trap of hypocrisy by attempting to mediate a conflict while its own house is in disarray.

To bring a meaningful resolution to the Sudanese conflict, South Sudan must undertake the following steps:

Prioritize Internal Reconciliation: South Sudan should initiate genuine efforts to reconcile different factions within the country and address the root causes of its internal conflicts. Establishing a unified professional army as per the 2018 peace deal and extended roadmap is essential to establish stability and credibility.

Tackle Corruption and Economic Collapse: Combatting corruption and implementing economic reforms is crucial to alleviate the suffering of its people and enhance its credibility as a potential mediator.

Level Grounds for Credible Elections: South Sudan must create an environment conducive to credible elections, ensuring transparency, fairness, and inclusivity to avoid any skepticism over its election outcomes.

Seek Regional and International Support: Engaging regional and international partners with experience in conflict resolution can provide valuable guidance and support in South Sudan’s journey towards stability and potential mediation efforts.

In conclusion, the Biblical message in Matthew 7:3-5 stands as a potent reminder for South Sudan that genuine and effective mediation requires self-reflection and the willingness to address its own internal struggles first. While the intentions to assist Sudan might be noble, the road to successful mediation is paved with internal unity, transparency, and credibility. South Sudan should seize this moment to heal and unify its own nation, thereby becoming better equipped to extend a helping hand to its neighbor in their pursuit of peace and stability. Only then can South Sudan truly embrace its role as a credible and effective mediator in Sudan’s conflict.

The author of this article is an advocate and can be reached on email at:oscarsgama@gmail.com

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