South Sudan must end “personality politics” – Envoy

South Sudan must end "personality politics" - Envoy
UN Peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. Courtesy Photo.

The people of South Sudan have been held hostage to personality politics for long enough and accountable institutions must be allowed to take over, UN Peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix has said.

Lacroix observed that the conflict in South Sudan is a man-made conflict and urged that the international community builds institutions so that politics shifts from ownership by individuals to those institutions that must be accountable to the people of South Sudan.

“The conflict in South Sudan is a direct outcome of a prolonged disproportionate access to power and wealth in the country. All future dispensations, therefore, must rest on the principle of inclusivity that leads to equitable power and wealth-sharing,” he said.

He underscored a need for a genuine political will to halt military operations, peacefully negotiating and making the compromises necessary to achieve sustainable peace in the country.

The appeal was part of his report to the United Nations Security Council. He called on the international community to demand that the country’s leadership act in a manner that is expected of them.

Over two million people have fled since the start of the conflict in 2013. More than one million of these are in Uganda. Another 1.9 million people are internally displaced.

During the past month, the country has seen rising insecurity because of numerous clashes in many parts of the country, as well as the presence of armed groups and soldiers that continue to drive tension. The insecurity has also led to shrinking space for humanitarian action as well as restrictions on the movement of relief actors and the UN Mission in the country (UNMISS).

The human rights situation to also remains delicate with alarming reports of extrajudicial killings of civilians, arbitrary arrests and detentions, repression of free speech and harassment of political opponents.

Lacroix said that while dialogue remains key, the credibility of the National Dialogue process remains in question due to the unwillingness of significant opposition groups to join.