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You are here:Home>>Stevie C. Chiakwelu>>Displaying items by tag: South Sudan
Displaying items by tag: South Sudan

 

"The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize 5,500 additional troops and more than 400 police officers to bolster its mission in South Sudan to protect civilians threatened by escalating violence there."Even with additional capabilities, we will not be able to protect every civilian in need in South Sudan," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said at the meeting, where he urged the clashing parties in the world's youngest nation to talk peace. "The parties are responsible for ending the conflict," Ban said.-CNN

 

On Sunday, December 22, the United Nations relocates noncritical staff from Juba to Entebbe, Uganda. Civilian helicopters evacuated U.S. citizens from the violent South Sudan city of Bor, capital of Jonglei state, which has had bouts of heavy machine gun fire. Some 3,000 citizens from Canada, Britain and Kenya remain trapped there, a top U.N. official said Monday. Escaping S.Sudan

A mother displaced by recent fighting in South Sudan rests on top of her belongings inside a makeshift shelter at the United Nations Mission in Sudan on Monday, December 23. Clashes between rival groups of soldiers in the capital of Juba a week ago have spread across the country.

 

 

 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 20:51

Why Is South Sudan Fighting?

Why Is South Sudan Fighting? How Leaders Squandered Nation-Building Effort

 

* Crisis between president and deputy long festered

 

* Bush war tactics trumping statesmanship

 

* Fighting exposes failure of national reconciliation

 

* Generous donors find limited traction over rivals

 

At a well-attended investor conference in South Sudan's capital just three weeks ago, President Salva Kiir declared that the world's newest country was "at last safe" and open for business.

 

It was a bold assertion from a nation that only gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades mired in conflict. It suggested the moment had come to cap a huge international effort to build a state. But it proved spectacularly ill-timed.

 

On Dec. 15, fighting erupted in Juba that has swiftly spread beyond the capital along ethnic faultlines, exposing the failure of national reconciliation efforts, the limited influence of generous foreign sponsors and the reluctance of rebel fighters-turned-statesmen to give up the tactics of bush conflict.

 

Whether South Sudan tips into a broader ethnic war or draws back from the brink largely depends on two men who have long tussled for power: the president from the dominant Dinka tribe and the ambitious deputy he sacked in July, Riek Machar, a Nuer.

 

Both ethnic groups, spurred on by their leaders, have clashed in the past, giving the latest spiral of violence an air of depressing inevitability for many South Sudanese, desperate for development in one of the poorest places in Africa.

 

"Neither cares much about their people," said Chuo, who repairs motorbikes in Juba. "Instead, they are focusing too much on personal grudges - the left-overs from their old days."

 

The United States and other Western backers of the new nation are scrambling with regional African states to broker talks, but have limited leverage to end fighting that has killed hundreds of people and driven 40,000 to U.N. bases for shelter.

 

Failure to halt the escalation could have wider fallout in an already volatile region. Sudan may be drawn in if there is a threat to oil fields from which it derives vital fees from pumping crude across its land. And other neighbours fret about a descent into chaos. Uganda has already sent troops to Juba.

 

Both leaders say they are ready to talk. But old habits die hard. Kiir said he was the target of a "foiled coup" and rounded up rivals. Machar slipped away and has mustered militia forces.

 

"I am in the bush, and I am trying my best to have a better negotiating position," Machar, 61, who holds a doctorate from Britain's University of Bradford, told Reuters on a crackly mobile phone line from an undisclosed location.

 


MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

 

The international community has poured in billions of dollars of aid and sent in a myriad of advisers to build the new state. But it has been unable to fix the dysfunction that has festered at the top of government and which came to a head in the summer when 62-year-old Kiir dismissed his vice president.

 

"Opportunities were certainly missed to engage in more robust preventive diplomacy over the past few months as the political crisis began gathering momentum," said John Prendergast, member of a U.S. group of intellectuals that cajoled Washington to back South Sudan's split from Sudan.

 

In spite of Kiir's confident comments launching the Dec. 4-5 investment conference, a showdown had long been brewing with Machar, who has made no secret of his presidential ambitions.

 

For almost a year before Machar's dismissal, the two men's relationship in office was defined by "miscommunication or mistrust or silence", said former culture ministry undersecretary Jok Madut Jok, who left his post in April.

 

The powerplay caused stasis in government, and most worryingly derailed crucial efforts to build a programme of national reconciliation between bigger ethnic groups, such as Dinka and Nuer, and the dozens of others that have long clashed over control of the south's scant resources.

 

Jok, now chairman of the Sudd Institute think-tank, described how Machar formed a committee to draw up a "practical, scientific" plan to rebuild ethnic relations, only to have it disbanded by Kiir, who put church leaders in charge to "focus on praying away the woes of South Sudan and nothing more."

 

Those who know the two men give similar accounts of the two characters on whose shoulders so much rests.

 

Kiir, largely educated in the bush, has patched up militia rivalries to hold together the brittle SPLM/SPLA that fought Sudan and now runs the south. But they say he lacks the vision of his predecessor, John Garang, who died in a helicopter crash in 2005, the year a peace deal was signed with Sudan.

 

Machar, his acquaintances say, is a highly intelligent rival whose political ambitions tend to trump any national agenda. He led a splinter SPLA group in 1991 and his Nuer troops massacred Dinkas in Bor town that year. In 1997, he signed a unilateral deal with Khartoum that gave him an official post in Sudan.

 

"Anything short of the two men sitting down and trying to work it out will not work," said Jok.

 

But bringing the two together for now has hit deadlock. Kiir's government has refused to release the group of rival politicians he detained. Machar says they must be freed as they are the ones who will handle any negotiations.

 

 

SHIFTING LOYALTIES

 

Much may depend on Kiir's reputation as a conciliator, often bringing in rival militias even though it could mean putting political influence before competence in government.

 

"Kiir has always said that he doesn't want his people to turn back again to war," said Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin, citing the president's past talks with opponents. "We talked to them and they were absorbed into our government."

 

Eric Reeves, a fellow American activist for South Sudan with Prendergast, said Machar needed to be convinced that prolonging any ethnic conflict would mean he would lose U.S. or other Western support. "But there is no real leverage," he said.

 

The United Nations plans to beef up its peacekeeping force in South Sudan, where the Akobo U.N. base was overrun and looted by Nuers who are blamed for killing 11 Dinkas sheltering there.

 

But the patchwork nature of the SPLA army and shifting loyalties means there is little chance of turning the UNMISS force into a robust intervention brigade like the one that quelled a rebellion in next door Democractic Republic of Congo.

 

"If you don't know where your enemy is coming from, or who your enemy is, it doesn't really matter how heavily armed you are," said Reeves.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday that any military effort to seize power would end U.S. backing. His envoy, Donald Booth, was in Juba on Monday talking with Kiir.

 

Fighting has already reached oil fields, near Sudan's border, cutting output by 45,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 200,000 bpd. That hurts flows that are the source of 98 percent of land-locked South Sudan's revenues.

 

It is also vital to Sudan, which lost the fields when the south seceded but relies on fees from oil going through its pipeline to the Red Sea. A row over undefined borders, oil fees and security brought the new neighbours close to war last year.

 

A South Sudanese academic, who asked not to be named, said Sudan could move on the fields if the fall in revenues started to bite and would worry about the deployment of troops from Uganda, which supported the south's SPLA in the war with Khartoum. Ugandan army sources said the troops would help secure Juba.

 

Jok said Washington and its allies might have steered South Sudan on a safer course if a pell-mell rush to support the new nation had come with more state-building conditions earlier.

 

"You might even say they (the international community) did too much to let these leaders off the hook from their responsibility to steer their country to stability," he said.

 

But like others, he said the blame largely lies with the leaders, who have failed to make the transition from liberation warrior to politician, squandering international goodwill.

 

"We thought our troubles were over after we won our freedom from Sudan," said Peter, a Nuer who gave only his first name as he sheltered in a U.N. base in Juba. "It's now a problem of South Sudanese people killing their fellow South Sudanese." (Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho in Juba and Drazen Jorgic in Nairobi; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Peter Graff)

 

Friday, 03 August 2012 18:43

America’s Friend in Need

 

I have spent over 40 years of my life at war.  I was born minutes before Sudanese soldiers gunned down the leaders of my village in South Sudan and I spent the first week of my life hiding in the jungle with my mother.  I became a child soldier thirteen years later and survived only by the grace of God.  In the years since, I have worked to seek peace as a chaplain for the Southern rebels and now as the head of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance and the Sudan and Uganda Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

 

Too many people have died in my country, but millions more would have died if the American people and churches had not sent aid and put pressure on Khartoum to negotiate peace with the Southern rebels.  The U.S. helped South Sudan gain independence about a year ago. But we need continued involvement from our American brothers and sisters to ensure our nation survives its infancy.

 

My life’s prayer is that we turn our swords into ploughs and instead of digging graves we dig wells and build foundations for hospitals.  But over the last year, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have remained locked in political disputes that have resulted in violence along our shared border and a growing economic crisis.  South Sudan has the majority of the region’s oil, but the pipelines to ship it pass through Sudan. This mutual dependence on oil revenue could help build cooperation between north and south after independence. Instead oil has become a weapon both sides use to harm the other.

 

After Khartoum unilaterally seized southern oil in lieu of transport fees that the two countries had failed to agree on, South Sudan decided to halt oil production in January. It was a bold move, but it was justified: Khartoum benefited from southern oil for years even as it marginalized the south.

 

But even when one is in the right, justice and revenge can become easily confused.  There must always come a point where we look forward and recognize the need to stop fighting over past wrongs so we can build toward a new future.  That time has come for South Sudan.  We must restart oil production and work out an agreement to transport it through north Sudan.  But we will need international support and pressure on Khartoum if that plan is to succeed.  This month, the two parties met in Addis Ababa to negotiate a new oil deal, but yet again could not reach an agreement. Without outside intervention or pressure from the U.S., it seems unlikely that the two sides will reach a settlement ahead of the August 2 deadline set by the United Nations.

Bishop Taban, left, delivers medical supplies to villagers in a South Sudan town.Bishop Taban, right, delivers medical supplies to villagers in a South Sudan town. Photo credit:Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Sudan

The cessation of southern oil production and export has hurt both countries and weakened our fragile peace.  The region has lost its primary funding stream. South Sudan has seen nearly 80 percent inflation. Families are struggling to get by, and half of the South Sudanese population faces food shortages. All the progress the country has made over the last year on education and health is grinding to a halt as funding runs dry.

 

This is not how it should be.  Both Sudan and South Sudan are blessed with fertile lands created by two rivers that join to form the Nile.  We should be the breadbasket of Africa and a model for cooperation between the Middle East and Africa.

 

The U.S. should use its leverage in Sudan and South Sudan to help the two countries come to an agreement on transparent oil transportation fees.  We also need international help in finalizing the boundary between Sudan and South Sudan.  And we need help from the government, NGOs, and church friends in the U.S. to ensure that the vast humanitarian needs in South Sudan are met as the world’s newest nation continues to develop its enormous agricultural potential. America has been an ally throughout our struggles, and I don’t think there is a country in the world that loves Americans more than South Sudan.

 

My faith teaches that suffering and strife may last the night, but joy and peace come with the dawn.  I still believe we will build schools, homes, and communities, and that my children can grow up without experiencing the violence and strife that have defined my life.  I am asking that America continue to walk this road with us as we seek a new dawn for our region.

 

Bishop Elias Taban holds a Diploma in Civil Engineering and an advanced Diploma in Theology. He works as a mentor to many in the South Sudanese government and was one of the few senior religious leaders to have stayed in South Sudan during the long north-south conflict.

Source: New York Times. This article first appeared in The New York Times

 

As South Sudan withdrew from Heglig, the dispute is far from over

The newly independent nation of South Sudan has officially withdrawn its determined but insufficiently equipped military contingent on the disputed Heglig oil field and the aggressive Khartoum government to the north, The Islamic Republic of Sudan has declared victory.

 

The Heglig oil field or Panthou oil field as South Sudan called it, is situated in the southern Sudan but the Islamic Sudan has laid hold of it even before South Sudan got her political independent and divorce from Sudan government last year July.

 

Heglig or Panthou is an oil rich field that Sudan depended for its wellbeing and its economic significant to Sudan cannot be overemphasized. Reuters reported that the disputed landstrip “The Heglig field is the key to the Sudanese economy because it contributes almost half of the country's output of 115,000 bpd. Sudan lost three quarters of its output when South Sudan became independent in July last year. Both countries are locked in a row over how much the landlocked new nation should pay to export its crude through the north. "

 

The Heglig oil field was operated by the Chinese as it was contracted to Chinese-led operator by Sudan government. The maximum output of 60,000 barrels per day was unaffected as South Sudan captured the peripheral of the oil field before its subsequent withdrawal.

 

The Khartoum government of President Omar al-Bashir was energetic in its response to the temporary occupation of Heglig oil field. President Bashir's Sudan mobilized its relatively equipped military force and attacked military troops of  South Sudan via land and air. Sudan government also engaged efficiently in a massive public relation strategy to bring the whole world on her side. And Sudan government this time succeeded in bringing the world to her version of its perspective and story on Heglig , this time around the world for the first time condemned South Sudan's President Salva Kiir.

 

United Nations and African Union did not hold back in rebuking the actions of South Sudan. Even the United Nations secretary Ban Ki Moon went further with its condemnation and labeled the action of President Salva Kiir's South Sudan ‘illegal’.

 

South Sudan withdrawal can be strategic in the sense that it has alerted the global village that its claim on the disputed oil field has not ceased. The critical issue is that the enmity between North and South has not diminished even with southern independent.

 

South Sudan has the burden that history laid on her shoulder; the land and the people has been deprived with poverty, humiliation and undeniable oppression from the Islamic Sudan government. Now the South Sudan is in the position to assert her independent and dignity. South Sudan since divorce from the north has never shy away from registering its past grievances through peaceful or otherwise.  The diplomatic breakthrough enjoyed by South Sudan was achieve  by negotiations and settlements  through part by fighting and sitting on the table. Therefore South Sudan do have a clear agenda for her actions, but she should adhered to established norms and standard for attainable of peace.

 

Bashir's Sudan and South Sudan'sKiir should recognized that military confrontation cannot be the only channel for dispute settlement but through a less destructive path of peaceful negotiation and comprehensive conflict resolution.

 

BBC reported that "Mr. Kiir said the South still believed that Heglig was a part of South Sudan and that its final status should be determined by international arbitration, Associated Press reported. Heglig is internationally accepted to be part of Sudanese territory - although the precise border is yet to be demarcated. The UK minister for Africa welcomed the news of the withdrawal and urged restraint on both sides."

 

Map showing position of oilfileds in Sudan, source: Drilling info international"Both Sudan and the South are reliant on their oil revenues, which account for 98% of South Sudan's budget. But the two countries cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. It is feared that disputes over oil could lead the two neighbours to return to war."- BBC

 

President Obama and his administration did a good job in seeing to the implementation of the verses of Sudanese accord and subsequent South Sudan independent. President Obama reiterating of peaceful negotiation for the both parties must be enhanced with urgency and effective backup by United States.

 

President Obama was in the right direction as he called for negotiated peace on the land. His words “We know what needs to happen -- the government of Sudan must stop its military actions, including aerial bombardments," Obama said. "Likewise, the government of South Sudan must end its support for armed groups inside Sudan and it must cease its military actions across the border."

 

Bashir‘s government must be made to understand that more violence begets more violence and everybody will become a loser. As an elder statesman in Africa, he must be gradual and easy on force and continue to exhibit the path he took for the South Sudan to realize its nationhood. At same hand the South Sudan with its heavy heart rooted on history of  depravity and destruction should exercise patient and show some goodwill by allowing peaceful negotiation to be the pathway to a peaceful and mutual recognized outcome.

 

The world must acknowledged the burden of history that was laid on the new independent nation of South Sudan and should be  fair on its approach  not by throwing raucous and overreaching condemnation when South Sudan stands up for her right. Quite diplomacy and logical appeasement may  deem inevitable and necessary when dealing with a new nation that is struggling to stand on her own.

 

 

Published in Emeka Chiakwelu

Pictures of South Sudan Independence Celebration

"July 9th is independence day for the Republic of Southern Sudan: a burst of glorious celebration in a region routinely reported in tones of gloom. This is a day that many Sudanese must have thought would never come. There was an interminable civil war with the north that began in the 1950s. When it finally ended with a 2005 peace deal, it was almost immediately threatened by the death of the south's leader, and Sudanese vice-president, John Garang, in a helicopter crash. But, finally, after a six-year disengagement, the climax arrived with the overwhelming vote for separation in January and now – with the grudging acquiescence of Khartoum – the birth of a nation. It is a significant achievement for the UN, helped by a little judicious arm-twisting from President Obama; and it is a great day for the South Sudanese, whose lives have been cursed by two generations of insecurity: 2 million dead, at least as many displaced. They have good cause to dance on the streets of Juba."   -   Guardian U.K

People celebrate South Sudan's independence day

  A tribeswoman takes part in Independence Day celebrations in JubaSouth Sudan declares independence

 

Supporters of the Platform of Peace and Justice

 

Wounded Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) veterans' march                                                                                         Wounded Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) veterans march during Independence Day ceremony in Juba July 9, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese danced and cheered as their new country formally declared its independence on Saturday, a hard-won separation from the north that also plunged the fractured region into a new period of uncertainty.

 

South Sudan declares independence

 South Sudan declares independence

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit (L) and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (C) attend a ceremony to declare the official independence of the Republic of South Sudan in Juba on July 9, 201

South Sudan players at 1st int'l soccer game

South Sudan secession from Sudan

 

South Sudan declears Independence, Recognize by African Union, US, others

South Sudan secession from Sudan

 Men sing during the Independence Day ceremony in JubaSouth Sudan's President unveils the statue of the late Dr. John Garang                                                                South Sudan's President Salva Kiir unveils the statue of the late Dr. John Garang before the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese danced and cheered as their new country formally declared its independence on Saturday, a hard-won separation from the north that also plunged the fractured region into a new period of uncertainty

 

 credit: reuters,

                                       

Published in Archive

A new nation is born in Africa

With these words, "We, the democratically elected representatives of the people, based on the will of the people of South Sudan, and as confirmed by the outcome of the referendum of self-determination, hereby declare South Sudan to be an independent and sovereign nation," James Wani Igga the South Sudan’s parliament speaker on Saturday announced and proclaimed the Independence of a new country in Africa.

The news network AFP reported the following from Juba, Souhern Sudan:

"The independence declaration was read out in front of dozens of heads of state, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and foreign dignitaries as well as tens of thousands of cheering southerners. South Sudan’s national flag was then raised, to wild applause, tears and song.

"We shall never, never surrender," the crowd chanted, as people whistled and wiped tears from their eyes."I should cry for the recognition of this flag among the flags of the world," shouted one tearful man. "We have been denied our rights. Today, no more shall that happen," he added.

The declaration affirmed the new state’s democratic and multi-ethnic and multi-confessional character, and its commitment to friendly relations with all countries "including the Republic of Sudan", Igga said.

The parliament speaker said that as a "strategic priority," South Sudan would seek admission to the United Nations, the African Union, the east African bloc IGAD and other international bodies.

Southern leader Salva Kiir then signed the transitional constitution and took the oath of office as the new state’s first president, swearing to "foster the development and welfare of the people of South Sudan."

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki, the first foreign dignitary to speak, declared that his country "fully recognises" South Sudan.

Southern Sudanese celebrate their first independence day in the capital city of Juba on Saturday, July 9, 2011. The southern Sudanese opted for secession during a popular referendum in January 2011. Saturday's declaration and recognition makes the Republic of South Sudan the world's 193rd country.AP

Egypt, another key regional power, also officially recognised the Republic of South Sudan, Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Oraby said on his arrival in Juba for the celebrations, the official MENA news agency reported.

President Barack Obama announced that the United States formally recognised the new state. "I am proud to declare that the United States formally recognises the Republic of South Sudan as a sovereign and independent state upon this day, July 9, 2011," Obama said in a statement.

The head of the visiting US delegation, Susan Rice, told the people of South Sudan: "Independence is not a gift you were given, but is a prize you won."

"We salute those who did not live to see this moment — from leaders such as Dr. John Garang, to the ordinary citizens who rest in unmarked graves. We cannot bring them back. But we can honor their memory," she said.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, also speaking at the ceremony in Juba, said it was an important day for the United Nations, which has been in engaged promoting peace in Sudan for many years.

"Today we open a new chapter when the people of South Sudan claim their freedom and dignity that is their birthright," he said.

Ban commended Kiir and Bashir for the "difficult decisions and compromises" but noted key unresolved provisions of the 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan’s devastating north-south civil war.

He called on South Sudan to build its nation, saying sovereignty was "both a right and a great responsibility." Ethiopia’s President Meles Zenawi said his country recognised South Sudan’s sovereignty and looked forward "to welcoming you as a full member of IGAD."

China’s special envoy extended President Hu Jintao’s "warmest congratulations" to the "young Republic" of South Sudan, while noting the ongoing negotiations between north and south.

He said Beijing, Sudan’s main trading partner and the largest investor in its key oil industry, hoped the two sides could be "good neighbours, partners and brothers forever."

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that London also recognised the new state. The World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick also congratulated South Sudan, pledging to be "a strong partner as we help transform a day of independence into a decade of development."