US Envoy: President Salva Kiir “privileges his own Dinka ethnic group”
Sept 09, 2016(Nyamilepedia) —– During his latest address to the congress, the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Amb. Donald Booth, criticized President Salva Kiir’s willingness to implement the Peace Agreement and share resources between his Dinka tribe and other tribes.
On one hand, Amb. Booth leans on Salva Kiir’s willingness to compromise to many provisions the United States is trying to smuggle into South Sudan’s systems but on the other hand, the Special Envoy, sees Salva Kiir tribal’s interests and those around him as a big roadblock to South Sudan’s stability.
In his long speech, Booth, who was trying to be as lenience as possible on many brutalities and intolerance of the South Sudanese leaders, and Mr. Kiir in particular, had this to say.
“In addition to the egregious action of militarily pursuing his First Vice President out of South Sudan, President Kiir has continued unilateral implementation of his 28 states decree from December 2015, stoking grievances in many parts of the country and among various tribes for the way it privileges his own Dinka ethnic group” Said Donald Booth.
The Special Envoy, who strongly reminds his listeners that he is not “naive” on South Sudan politics, did not condemn how Kiir’s government pursued the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, using Mi-24 Helicopters, drones and tanks after failed attempts to hunt him down within the capital, Juba.
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The Opposition leader, Machar, rushed his return to a heavily militarized capital against his will with less than 1, 500 troops in April, counting on the International Community, the region and friends like Donald Booth; however, the reaction of the American politicians like Donald Booth and John Kerry has surprised many.
On one hand it could mean naivety or frustrations on the Americans but on the other hand it shows lack of commitment from the US to return a meaningful peace to South Sudan with both Machar and Kiir in power.
Booth has said it would not be wise for Machar to return to Juba as First Vice President but also controversially acknowledged that the peace has failed and it is up to South Sudanese to choose their leaders.
“We are of course concerned about adherence to the terms and the spirit of the peace agreement, but at the same time it is not for us to tell South Sudan who its leaders should be.” Booth said.
Although it is not up to Americans to tell South Sudanese who should be their leaders, their many statements could fuel conflicts or peace in South Sudan.
“The United States supported Machar’s return to Juba in April of this year not out of support for him personally, but because we supported the peace agreement under which he was returning.” Booth continued.
“Now, given all that has happened, we do not believe it would be wise for Machar to return to his previous position in Juba. But this cannot become a justification for President Kiir to monopolize power and stifle” Booth Said.
While Booth’s statement on Machar seems to blame the leader of the opposition for the resumption of conflict in July, the US diplomat is also aware that President Kiir and those around him bear much of the responsibility for the failure of the peace agreement.
The envoy is also aware that Kiir is ruling the country on tribal bases, elevating his own tribe over the rest of the tribes in the country, and for that the US diplomat calls for rebalancing of powers if any peace is to hold in South Sudan.
“President Kiir and those around him bear much of the responsibility for the extent to which the Transitional Government has failed to become the representative body it needs to be, both before and after the recent return to conflict.” Both Said.
“He [Kiir] has reconfigured the Cabinet following his elevation of Taban Deng Gai into Machar’s previous position and demoted Nuer politicians loyal to Machar; and he has facilitated a zero-tolerance policy toward dissent both within the government, from fellow politicians, and without, from civil society and the media.” Booth continued.
Though the Americans have not been loud enough on Kiir’s transigence, political and tribal intolerances, Booth also cited Mr. Kiir calls for an earlier election as an attempt to consolidate powers and to violate the peace agreement.
“His recent call for early elections is an apparent attempt to circumvent the timeline laid out in the peace agreement, which calls for elections after a constitution has been drafted and ratified through an inclusive, consultative process.” Booth said.
The US envoy calls for reconstruction of powers based on inclusive political and tribal dialogue, however, Ambassador Booth sees this as a dead-end unless Kiir and “those around him” can accept to share power and resources.
“Only once the transitional government arrangements are reconstructed based on discussion among an inclusive and nationally representative group of South Sudanese leaders, and state resources are more equitably distributed, can South Sudan plausibly expect to escape further conflict.” Said the US expert on Sudan and South Sudan.
The US expert made many recommendations, however, his suggestions may remain on paper as most of the recommendations depends on Kiir’s willingness to share power and resources, and Machar’s return to the capital.