South Sudan exposes Presidents’ hypocrisy
African presidents wanted ‘justice’ and ‘respect’ for President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto – men of their status – at whatever cost. They do not want sitting presidents tried at the International Criminal Court, but they have watched South Sudan fall. The two sides to the South Sudan civil war – one led by President Salva Kiir and another by former vice-president Riek Machar – are destroying their country with power-crazed impunity.
African presidents cheer as the continent burns, with South Sudan as the epicentre of the inferno. The Central African Republic is on fire. Somalia has been demolition-in-progress for 24 years now. Democratic Republic of Congo is aflame. Nigeria is helpless in the face of assault by Islamic terrorists. Uganda needs US help to trail its rebels – Lords Resistance Army, which is causing havoc in the north.
Instead of showing leadership, African presidents are blaming the international community for ‘slow’ response to the South Sudan crisis. They do not want ‘fragmented’ peace talks, just when the US is interested in ending the five-month-old war in their backyard.
Africans are blaming the US for ‘indifference’ to the genocide in the continent’s youngest state. But South Sudan has big brothers in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sudan, and South Africa.
Africa had to wait for the US Secretary of State John Kerry to persuade South Sudan co-genociders Machar and Kiir to discuss – face-to-face – how to end the mayhem.
Sanctions against the two are overdue, but Kiir was in Kenya last week visiting with other presidents, including Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. Kiir sauntered in with presidential security, despite the genocide in which he is a co-warmonger. Instead of censure or isolation, he gets VIP treatment.
The African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, and the East African Community have watched as millions of people are displaced, thousands killed, raped, and maimed.
The response of African presidents has been the usual demand that the violence stops, without saying how they intend to end the genocide. They call for peace-keeping amid the war while waiting for the US to determine the size and time of deploying the force.
Kenya Parliament last week authorized the deployment of 310 more Kenya Defence Forces troops to help keep the peace amid swelling tribal violence between President Salva Kiir’s Dinka-dominated army and rebel leader Riek Machari’s Nuer militia. The call for further deployment followed the collapse of President Kenyatta’s attempt to broker peace over months of harrowing murders.
Uganda entered the South Sudan rampage when the war started. The Uganda deployment was marketed as an attempt to help Juba sort out a coup. Rebel leader Machar was supposed to have plotted the running coup in mid-December last year.
Khartoum’s place in the equation is not clear, even though President Omar al Bashir rejected the deployment of Uganda forces to support the Kiir government.
With a coup graduating into a civil war, there is a likelihood of a third force fighting alongside the rebels to destroy South Sudan that cut links with Sudan in 2011. The third force may have made it possible for the rebels to take on the united forces of South Sudan and Uganda for this long.
The result is a deadly toll that claims members of Kiir’s Dinka community, with as much fury as Machar’s Nuer ethnic group. The power struggle has exposed the African Union’s inability to lead when it is most needed.
A failed South Sudan would likely come under the protectorate of Khartoum. Which is why the African Union should establish the identity of the third force in the genocide. But the AU may not have the will or the wherewithal to go this far. Which is sad for a continent that blames the West for its challenges.
In Nigeria, President Jonathan Goodluck is in bad luck. Recently declared the continent’s richest economy, Nigeria is down with Boko Haram terrorists running the show.
Meanwhile ordinary Nigerians are asking, where is the Federal Government of Nigeria? where is the military? Parents of 187 of 230 school girls kidnapped three weeks ago, are asking these questions without Borno State or federal government giving the right information.
The girls were driven away in a huge convoy yet the federal and state security agencies have failed to rescue the victims. The military, which claims to be working 24/7 has not trailed the kidnappers and their victims. Protests by parents have not persuaded the government to show leadership.
‘A Million Woman March marketed on Twitter under the tag line, ‘BringbackOurGirls’, has not yielded the results the parents expected. The official silence has created rumours that expose the government’s shoddy intelligence. The quest for a coherent search and rescue plan has failed.
AFP quoted a leader of an elders’ forum claiming the girls were taken to neighbouring Cameroon and Chad and sold as brides to insurgents for $12. It won’t surprise if Nigeria seeks international assistance in the search.