South Sudan’s Machar Turns Down Museveni’s Offers
May 25, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Dr. Machar has turned down president Yoweri Museveni’s attempts to lure him into discussing political settlements over the conflict while the Uganda’s UPDF remains in the battle fields of South Sudan.
Sources believe that Museveni’s calls to meet his fierce rival, Machar, came after Rebecca Nyandeng, the wife of late John Garang, approached the former to discuss political settlements with Machar. Mama Rebecca has reportedly held talks with Museveni about nine times in the last five months.
Museevni’s pressured stretch came after Machar and Salva Kiir signed a ceasefire agreement in Addis Ababa, on 9th May, 2014.
“The first effort from President Museveni to reach out to Dr Machar was immediately after the Addis Ababa talks where he signed a ceasefire agreement with President Salva Kiir,” said security sources involved in the efforts.
Sources believe that this attempt to reach out could be due to international and regional pressure on Museveni to withdraw his forces from South Sudan.
“The phobia Uganda has of Dr Machar since the 1991 incident (when he defected from the mainstream SPLA to join Khartoum) is still strong but maybe Uganda has realised they cannot easily do away with him or they want to engage him and gauge his strength by holding talks with him. Also the war is not ending,” a source said.
Machar, however, did not hesitate to urge Museveni to first withdraw his forces if he [Museveni] is looking forward to meet him.
Machar has severally urged Museveni to withdraw his forces from South Sudan and adopt neutral position on ending the current conflict. However, Museveni responds by reinforcing and promoting the troops in South Sudan, an attempt seems to convey the contrary.
Museveni continues to ensure that his soldiers at the front line are well paid and their commanding generals promoted while leading the operations in South Sudan. The latest in the ranks is Brig. Kayanja who was appointed on Thursday to command 4th division in Gulu, in Northen Uganda, although he remains at the front line in South Sudan.
Although Machar has not explore Museveni’s interest in South Sudan, he has accused Museveni of fighting for his own self-interest stating that “murderers have stain our cause” during a meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay in April.
“We don’t have problem with Uganda as a country but we’ve a problem with its leader who uses innocent soldiers for his personal interests,” Dr Machar tweeted at one time.
Machar believes that the “illegal president” Salva Kiir has no army to sustain him in power, urging the Ugandan army to leave the country.
“Dr Machar strongly believes that the arrogance of President Kiir is because Uganda is bolstering his position in Juba,” said security analysts David Pulkol.
Machar is, however, confident that his forces would overrun the Ugandan mercenaries and match to Juba if Salva Kiir continues to violate the ceasefire agreements.
Uganda army has reportedly inflamed the conflict in South Sudan and destroyed enormous property, especially in the town of Bor. Museveni’s warplanes razed down the town of Bor in January, through aerial bombardments, in attempt to drive out the anti-government forces, led by Maj. Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka.
Although the Ugandan army has done very little to end the conflict, they have been accused by the United Nations of bombing civilians with the internationally banned cluster bombs. The bombs could have long term effects on the populations if not properly handled. Such bombardments have not spared civil populations and even cattle in parts of Jonglei state.
Ugandan army has faced fierce battles in South Sudan, losing some of their commanding generals and military equipments. The army is exhausted from over 5 months of confrontations. Now, the UPDF has resorted to defending only the town of Bor and Juba, while providing limited aerial supports alongside Salva Kiir’s forces.
The army spokesperson, Paddy Akunda, has constantly reported that his forces will withdraw from the conflict if a regional force is deployed in South Sudan but no luck so far.