By John Prendergast
South Sudan’s principal rebel leader, Riek Machar, is finally going back to Juba and his post of vice president this week, giving a boost to hopes for peace after war has raged in the world’s newest country for over two years. But his return to a country facing economic implosion and famine provides a reminder as to why this war began, what the biggest obstacles to peace are, and what must be done to overcome them.
Not just in South Sudan but throughout Africa, peace efforts aren’t zeroing in on what is emerging as the leading accelerator of most conflict: greed-fueled kleptocracies in which states have been hijacked for personal enrichment by a small group of their leaders and international accomplices. The missing ingredient in every one of Africa’s peace processes today is sufficient leverage to shift the calculations of these violent kleptocrats from war to peace.