By Gatluak Ter Thach, PhD*
Nashville, TN, August 15, 2015 (SSNA) — South Sudan government and Uganda have quitted IGAD PLUS peace proposal scheduled to be signed on August 17, 2015. The two countries have created their own peace plan contrary to the IGAD PLUS proposal. Earlier this year, Uganda and South Sudan renewed their military collaborations that extended the presence of Ugandan armies in the war-torn South Sudan, which resulted to Juba’s recently renewed hostilities, as well as failed to concern about threats of sanctions proposed by IGAD PLUS partners. Under their renewed deal, thousands of Ugandan troops will remain in South Sudan for many months to assist Mr. Kirr and his cohorts fight Dr. Riek and his resistant forces.
Historically, since South Sudan attained her self-rule government before independence in 2011, South Sudan has emerged in recent years as the largest importer of Ugandan goods. Over 200,000 Ugandan traders have been operated across the border of South Sudan, generating an estimated about $1 billion in business for Ugandan revenues, according to Ugandan’s business fiscal report 2014-15. After the crisis in South Sudan, the Ugandan traders had reduced in sizes and incomes quite a bit, but their presence still significance. South Sudan relies heavily on its neighbors to provide goods such as construction materials and skilled services to encounter unskilled labor. Approximately 2,500 Ugandans work in Southern Sudan in the construction industry, while about 1,500 Ugandan professional are believed to be employed within non-governmental organizations, ministries and other industries.
Ugandan military has been provided military hardwires to South Sudanese armies. In addition to their joint coalition war in partnership with their South Sudanese counterparts, Ugandan military defense forces are also responsible for air defense and military logistics of South Sudanese arm forces which is why Juba does not worry about IGAD PLUS sanctions since Kampala is on her back! Ugandan is truly a part of the conflict in South Sudan. According to Dr. Riek, leader of opposition forces, “The Ugandans are partisan [s] in this conflict, their only agenda is to protect Salva Kiir’s government,” Dr. Machar told The Wall Street Journal. “We shall not accept Uganda’s imperialism.”
It is true tens of thousands of innocent South Sudanese civilians have been killed in this conflict which Museveni is believed to have sponsored in South Sudan. An established of more than 50,000 South Sudanese died since fighting erupted in Juba on December 15, 2013. A total of 2.2 million South Sudanese have been displaced since the beginning of the crisis, according to International NGOs’ report, with 800,000 of these fleeing to neighboring Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
In addition, as many as 4.5 million people in South Sudan (nearly one third of the population) face food insecurity. About 7.5 million people are at risk if situations remain unchanged. Though hundreds of thousands have crossed borders to nearing countries in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan, these people are lacking sufficient aids and other lifesaving items. Their children are still dying from preventative diseases. “People are fading daily because of war and shortages of food”, while Museveni continues to counsel Mr. Kirr to avoid IGAD PLUS peace process.
Museveni of Ugandan remains a real threat to a meaningful peace in South Sudan and the region. He wants to stay on the peace table as a neutral mediator to two warring parties under auspice of IGAD, which has tried to bring lasting peace but miserably failed several times because of the interest of negotiators, includes his interest but did not mean what he is there for. Uganda has now even attempted to marshal further military clout ahead of the talks to put in place a power-sharing government as he wishes.
Uganda’s new peace proposal is another setback to peace and would linger the suffering of South Sudanese people. Mr. Museveni’s newfangled power sharing contradicts the IGAD PLUS power sharing which was supposed to bring lasting peace for people of South Sudan. His proposal did not only fail to address issues that should have been tackled first for a good peace to come, but it lacks logics in basic mathematical methods, and it is uncertain why the world allows Museveni who does not have sympathies for suffering people of South Sudan to hinder peace to come in South Sudan! Museveni has to be stopped. Here are what he proposed as power sharing at the national Level for South Sudan:
- 53% GRSS.
- 33% SPLM /SPLA (IO)
- 7% FDS
- 7% PP
- No power sharing in states
- No demilitarization of Juba and other areas
- Security arrangements be decided by the Chief of Staffs of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda
- Troops be reintegrated in three months
To make a matter worse, Salva Kirr who invited Ugandan soldiers to fight alone side his militia armies have yet relied on Museveni for operational advices. World also knows Mr. Kirr and Mr. Museveni had used mass destruction banned weapons on civilian targets, the cluster bombs in several locations in Jonglei and Upper Nile States last year, but no one has yet called them to face charges for using banned weapons on civilian targets. Museveni is wrongly advising Mr. kirr not to sign IGAD PLUS proposal, and he is doing a way with it.
The source in Juba stated Museveni advised Mr. Kirr not to go to Addis Ababa auctioned him for consequences when Mr. Kirr would refuse to sign the IGAD PLUS peace proposal on Monday, August 17, 2015. It is astonished and dismayed to continue receiving the destructions of human lives and properties in hands of people as Yuweri Museveni while the world power has yet collectively decided what to do with him.
Museveni and Kirr prefer war instead of peace. They careless about sanctioned since Museveni believes Mr. Kirr can overcome the international sanctions as long as he is still ruling Uganda. The world must urge them to come to their senses and sign the desperately needed peace to the young impoverished nation. It is assuredly and blatantly clear that there is no swift military solution to this conflict. It is everyone’s belief that the solution to this conflict in South Sudan lies in the hands of the international communities, and if this IGAD PLUS deadline falls to similar category as previous ones, then it would be difficult if not impossible for a tangible peace to be achieved in South Sudan.
I would like to call on international bodies, especially US and the partners, as well as those of good wills, to positioning their weights to end this conflict without hesitations. Had it not because of the international community, especially the US and the partners that helped created South Sudan, there should have not been a sovereignty one proud to call South Sudan. The same should be true as well now. The signs of human sufferings are vividly clear indications that this war has already inflicted human destructions of historical proportions than any genocidal war previously engulfed the region including Rwanda, DRC or Somalia.
I personally appreciative role United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has been playing in protecting innocent civilians who escaped the ethnic massacres in various parts of the country, which began in Juba on December 15, 2013. UN agencies and international organizations are doing their parts to ensure humanitarian support reaches those in needs inside and outside South Sudan. Yet, many more people are dying, and this must have to be stopped. The followings points have to be addressed for a permanent peace to come:
1. Impose arms embargo immediately on the government of South Sudan in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 2206 for its role in orchestrating the targeted ethnic killings that began in December 15th, 2013 in Juba and its continued recalcitrance vis-à-vis the recommendations of the IGAD PLUS peace process.
2. Mr. Kiir’s speech few days ago in Juba indicated that he was hardening his position and reneging on some of the areas the SPLM in government and the SPLM in opposition had agreed on. May be it is time for deterring forces if Kirr prefers war.
3. Bring pressure to bear on the African Union to implement the findings of its Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.
4. Revised the role of Uganda in the IGAD-mediated peace process. Museveni is not there to bring peace… His new parallel proposal is counterproductive to the negotiating peace process in Addis Ababa. It is better for Kampala to join Juba on peace table.
5. TROIKA members must actively engage and participate directly in guiding the peace process. Though I appreciated the role IGAD countries under the leadership of the Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, His Excellency Ato Hailemariam Dessalegn, play, but I strongly believe engaging TROIKAs in cochairing the peace will append impetus it needs to end the war.
I can conclude by reiterating what Secretary John Kerry said lasttime about Sudanese leaders that, “Legitimacy is not a presumed right of any government. It is conferred by the people, and it is sustained only by demonstrating leadership to protect and serve all citizens – responsibilities the government has neglected.” The leadership in Juba has lost its legitimacy to lead people of South Sudan, meaning peace will not come unless international forces and people of goodwill acknowledge enough is enough for Museveni and his war partner in order for people of South Sudan to achieve a sustainable peace in South Sudan instead of pursuing a military solution to the conflict.
Dr. Gatluak Ter Thach lives and works in Nashville, TN, USA. He can be reached at: [email protected].