kabaziguruka

Let’s talk South Sudan

According to the BBC, this is a concise statistic about South Sudan:

  • Country: South Sudan curved out of former Sudan.
  • Independence Day: 9th July, 2011.
  • Ethnicity: Over 60 ethnic groups.
  • Religion: Predominantly traditional religions and Christianity.

  • Displacement: Civil War (over 2.2million displaced between 2013-2015).
  • Tribes: Dinka, Nuer, Mandari and many others. Yes, many other tribes in South Sudan are suffering at the hands of their kin!
  • Estimated no. of deaths before independence: About 1.5million dead since 1983 when the South People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and its armed wing South People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) declared war against the main Sudan.
  • Major Political Events: *The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement where main Sudan granted regional autonomy and some representation, presumably in a ‘national power-sharing government’. This Agreement guaranteed a 50%-50% sharing of oil profits on condition that South Sudan remained part of the main Sudan.
  • *The Referendum of 2011 where 99% of the South Sudanese population voted for a cessation from the main Sudan, a result of a provision under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It also ended the previous agreement of 2005.
  • Major mineral Resources: Oil. Over 75% of the former main Sudan’s oil reserves estimated to be in South Sudan. This mineral is also a pivotal reason for the conflict and unjust enrichment in South Sudan.

Following his yield to pressure from regional leaders to deploy in South Sudan, President Salva Kiir is yet to contain the fragile political atmosphere in Africa’s youngest nation.

Many innocent civilians: men, women and children have been displaced in their own home because of the civil conflict. South Sudan, especially in the capital Juba and other affected areas also pose a great danger against the stability of the neighbouring countries because of the influx of thousands of refugees and the continuing pursuit of civilians in places of refuge by the fighters!

As to whether the presence of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Union Special Forces will reinstate peace is moot. It looks like another attempt at poking at adults with a fragile ego.

South Sudan must give itself a chance to resolve its conflict (thanks to a group of South Sudanese women at the front of fostering peace in their country). If not, she and her neighbours shouldering the responsibility of aiding her refugees while maintaining their national safety will soon fall out and maybe play the blame-game. This is not what the East African Community should be.

On Monday, 11th September, 2016, The Sentry, an investigative unit co-funded by Hollywood actor George Clooney and activist John Prendergast released its report on corruption and war-profiteering in South Sudan. Two years after following the money trail as it flourished among militants, leaders and other extraordinary elite with a hawk eye for the paper, we can safely say that war profiting to those mentioned: a business venture of sorts. But the report reveals some disturbing facts about top leadership being some of the beneficiaries. To read the entire report, click here.

 Alas!

Given the response from her citizens across the globe, within her borders and her neighbours, South Sudan has hope. Suffice to say that ‘hope’ ought to lead to positive results. Regrettably, this situation seems to follow up states with some sort of national unity government where two leaders commanding major support from large groups assume the fore lines of leadership, especially in an already delicate state.

Should the leaders step down? Maybe, maybe not. Power sharing has proved that political rivals cannot co-lead. They can only co-exist.

If The Sentry’s report findings are to consider, we ought to take precaution against two bulls in a kraal because the calves learn greatly from the bulls.

BY ATUHAIRWE AGRACE

This article appears in our newsletter, The Deuteronomy Vol 6, Issue 3 of September, 16th 2016.

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