From plotting a failed coup to ending in foreign land
By Steve Paterno
August 20, 2014 - After failing to ascend to the helm of power through party structures, the overly ambitious Riek Machar turned into violence as a means to an end.
The violence that Machar unleashed, plunged the country into abyss. Worst yet, there is no any viable political ideology behind that personal ego, which caused this carnage. So, to sustain the blood thirst, Machar embarked on "ideology of revenge" as a tool to mobilize his tribal Nuer militia also known as the White Army to avenge and kill on his behalf.
When some quarters within South Sudanese intelligentsia started discussing ’federalism’ as an alternative to the current ’centralized’ system of government, Machar quickly jumped in a bandwagon, claiming that ’federalism’ is actually the real ideology behind his rebellion. As he tried to articulate ’federalism,’ he ended up patching tribes, clans, families, totaling them to twenty something "Federal States of South Sudan," a euphemism for Somalization.
Unfortunately, for Riek Machar, it seems it is too little too late. His once military might that he banks on is crumbling on the onslaught of SPLA. Machar himself is forced for exile, perhaps perpetually. The negotiations for several times is once again stalled. Both principal warrying parties already boycotted the talks, with each issuing new demands as preconditions to resume the negotiations.
Now it seems the government strategy will likely look like the following scenarios.
First, the government will maintain in theory the Addis Ababa talks for diplomatic cover as well as a delaying tactic so as to score military victory as a result.
Secondly, the government will likely step up its military operation in an attempt to score military victory. Along the same line, there will be efforts to encourage mass defection among military ranks.
Thirdly, there is going to be doubling of efforts to lure opposition leaders back to the fold, follow by defections. This will eventually weakens opposition resolve.
If the current trend continues, the above scenarios may likely prevail.
Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org