Are East African leaders taking advantage of South Sudanese by prolonging the civil war?

By James Tot Mathiang


African leaders at the official opening ceremony of the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on 28 January 2018 (File photo)

September 9th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – While South Sudanese Citizens worry about the brutal civil war in the country, it has now been shown that they must also keep a watchful eye on those who have been given the responsibility to serve as mediators.  Even though the president of South Sudan is maintaining his relationships with East African leaders, Uganda, Kenya, and Sudan are taking advantage of his vulnerable country by annexing the parts of South Sudan land to their owns.

Why did the South Sudanese leaders fail to notice the East Africans interest behind the civil war? The obvious explanation may be seen as a power struggle or tribalism. But the reason might be that the so-called leaders are too inexperienced and bigoted to look beyond their yard.

Ever since the war began in South Sudan, East African countries are beneficiaries. From the time when the CPA was concluded, South Sudan has been a home to millions of East Africans whom millions of them do businesses without proper documents.

This article will argue that South Sudanese leaders, especially those in the current government are incompetent and that young South Sudanese and intellectuals must unite and fight against toxic tribalism, but work for the betterment of all.

“Free-for-all” immigration policy

When the current situation in South Sudan, is taken in a broader sense to highlight the fault and the failure of Salva Kiir government, the first mistake was a “free-for-all” immigration policy in the country. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is concluded and signed in 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya, the circular migration began in some East African countries as the current immigration policy in South Sudan does not take into account the negative outcomes of unregulated migrants.

Instead of resettling its citizens who have been refugees for more than 20 years, the government of South Sudan has started giving all the businesses to foreigners, while government officials embezzled billions of dollars of oil revenue and foreign aids.

As a result of “free for all” immigration policy, millions of the East African people, including the prostitutes of Nairobi, Kenya, Kampala, Uganda and Addis Ababa Ethiopia, came to South Sudan and took over all the businesses. Ever since the Sudan government gave South Sudan, self-government, the life of ordinary South Sudanese who live in big cities like Juba, Malakal, Bor, and Bentiu, has become harder because all the businesses were run by the foreigners and they increase prices every day. Commodity price increases, disease prevalence was astonishing.

Everything, including Food and clothing in the country, was increased in an astonished fashion. The hotels in Juba became more expensive, almost close to hotel room price in Toronto, Canada, and New York, in the United States.

Inception of corruptions

Despite the ill behaviors shown by foreigners working in the country, the people of South Sudan were still hoping for a bright future after the decades of chaos. But following the independence, the number of foreigners who were doing businesses in South Sudan has begun to increase due to the South Sudan strong economy and currency. By the time $1 US Dollars was equivalent to 2.5 SSP (now $1 US is equal to 130.25 SSP).

While the life has become too expensive for ordinary citizens, massive corruptions, nepotism and patronage politics began to skyrocket.  The former guerrilla fighters who want to become rich in a short period of time started to partner with foreign traders who operate illegally in the country.

As a result, of that partnership, billions of dollars were smuggled out of the country through foreign businesses. A large number of scams involving national ministers, administrators and state government officials came to light. For instance, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and many national ministers bought luxurious houses in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, UK, USA, Australia and Canada.

In the Sentry report by Enough Project (2016), Salva Kiir family, including his 7-year-old son was found to be the major shareholder in big businesses in the country including oil and mining industries. Salva Kiir has bought many houses in East African countries, such as Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Sudan.

On top of that senior officials in the government have residences in South Africa, Canada, USA, UK, and Australia. Consequently, the Transparency International report (2017), ranked South Sudan as the world’s second most corrupt country behind Somalia.

East African countries are taking the South Sudan over

The East African leaders are pushing the violence to go on so that they can enrich themselves with South Sudan oil revenue and golds. Somebody like Museveni has been an impediment to any kind of lasting peace in South Sudan because he persistently proposes things that would never bring peace to the country.

The South Sudan current peace agreement that consists of 4 vice presidents is a Museveni’s copycat of DRC peace agreement between Kabila and former rebels that resulted in the loss of too many lives.  Although Salvs Kiir regards Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyata as partners in the war against oppositions, Yoweri Museveni is still doing his treacherous and cunning business in South Sudan.

Even though Museveni has become a wild consumer, Salva Kiir still seeking military support from Uganda because he wants to be in power beyond 2022. That means the suffering of millions of people inside and outside the country is not president Kiir’s first priority.

First Museveni was given an oil deal by the Juba government to keep Salva Kiir in power, but Museveni is now taking more than oil revenue. For instance, the gold mining in Kapoeta, South Sudan is partially owned and run by the Uganda government. Besides, part of the land in Yei River has been annexed to Uganda by Museveni. On the other hands, Kenya and Sudan are taking some land from the South Sudan border towns.

Sadly, for the last two weeks, the Kenyan government has been busy jailing and robbing innocent South Sudanese despite the East African membership that was supposed to allow a free moment for all East Africans. Instead of condemning the Kenyan government’s ill behavior toward the South Sudanese living in Kenya, Salva Kiir asked Uhuru Kenyatta to talk with President Donald Trump on his behalf.

Stop! Tribal Mindset “Us vs. Them”

All the atrocities have already been committed, and South Sudan and its resources are being sold out. Now what? Is it not a time for South Sudanese intellectuals and youth to clearly and consciously think about their future, rather than tribal domination?.

If the South Sudanese want to change the course and live productively in this political bewilderment, they must understand what being a free person means in one’s own country.

It is great and beautiful to have 64 tribes in South Sudan, but South Sudanese should put great emphasis on the idea that they are all South Sudanese regardless of their tribal or political affiliations. Everyone knows there have been the division basis on tribes, the numerous losses of lives, and property damages, but it is not too late for South Sudanese intellectuals and youth to repair those damages and live together once again.

Together, South Sudanese can take their country from the human dealers.

Mr. President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, I have three important questions for you:

  1. It is no longer a secret that your right-hand man Mr. Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is annexing some land in South Sudan, especially in the Yei River state. Besides, both Kenya and Sudan are taking South Sudan land as well. What is your defense of this land claim?
  2. The civil war has been going for more than 5 years and there is no clear winner between you and the rebels. So do you still think that you can still defeat the opposition forces?  
  3. The government of Kenya has cracked down on South Sudanese living in Kenya, and you as the president did not release any statement regarding Kenyan’s bad behavior toward your citizen. Who do you think would intervene? And where is the East African membership that supposed to protect our citizens like it protects Kenyans living in South Sudan?


There is no doubt that East African countries are taking advantage of the war in South Sudan. Besides, the South Sudan President and other associates have sold the land of South Sudan and its resources to East African Nations at the expense of the citizens. The general public, including this writer, must work for the common good of all.

Therefore, this writer is encouraging South Sudanese intellectuals and youth to get out of their comfort zone and make a positive difference in the country. Let South Sudanese reclaim their country back, from those inexperienced and voracious politicians who innocently sold the country out.

The Author is a South Sudanese Canadian, who has written a lot of articles pertaining to South Sudan Civil-War. You can reach the author at jamestot20032003@yahoo.com

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were sam September 10, 2018 at 2:07 am

You are entitled to your opinion since you live and enjoy life in Canada. Kenya and Uganda are hosting Sudanese refugees outside the norms of UNHCR scope of restrictions, many are not in refugees camps, they go to schools and do business as equal citizens which am sure you can’t reciprocate. No land of SS has been annexed from the record since international borders don’t shift on wishes alone. Stop misinformation with your speculative thinking and without any iota of truth, but rather own self centred imaginations. The situation in SS is so devastating, the reason you are an economic asylum guest to the Canadian taxpayers.

Tod September 15, 2018 at 8:57 pm

Both Kenya and Uganda are benefiting from South Sudanese present. I meant South Sudanese create job opportunities for those countries because are renting houses, pay high tuition fees, some hire locals to work in houses. And most importantly the UN agencies hired thousands of people in both Kenya and Uganda . I think you just don’t know what you are talking about


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