Africa Opinion

South Sudan War: A Clear Sign Of Leadership Failure In Africa

By Benny Gudo,

South Sudan conflict gets complicated as more guns ends up in the hands of untrained civilians.(Photo: file)
South Sudan conflict gets complicated as more guns ends up in the hands of untrained civilians.(Photo: file)

May 05, 2017 (Nyamilepedia) —— As a concerned Zimbabwean, I saw it fit to share the war-endured pain with our fellow African comrades, particularly bona fide South Sudanese; for it is known that the war robbed millions of lives, property and livestock. Of significant concern is that the war is escalating and multiplying each day on the watchful eye of our continental body, AU as well as IGAD. The two, so far did very little to bring the warring parties to the dialogue table, let alone cessation of hostilities.

As of now, South Sudanese had torrid times day and night- heavy gunshots sound and smell come from all fronts. As such, it is no longer safe to be in South Sudan, be it in UN protected camps or in some regional countries, to some extent. Therefore, being South Sudanese is now a crime in some African countries for as long as you are a known opposition supporter. But albeit, those are not the wishes of our African icons such Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Josiah Tongogara, Nelson Mandela and most importantly Dr John Garang. When the latter decided to wage war against imperialism and oppression, the idea was not to establish and empower dynasty, chauvinism and stereotyping. Theirs was to install freedom, democracy and equal opportunities for all in Africa, not the contrary.

Despite their concerted efforts, and selfless sacrifices, what we see in Africa, particularly in South Sudan at this point in time raised eyebrows- more questions than answers. In fact, it exposes how avarice, intolerant, condescending and selfish the current crop of our leaders are.

July 2016 turmoil in Juba.

For starters, AU and Igad gave Salva Kiir the nod to dice with the peace accord by engineering a fake coup plot as a ploy to eliminate his rivalry, Dr. Machar. Before the incident, the two held separate interviews with al-Jazeera news correspondent in Juba (read excerpts online), where Kiir came out guns blazing, threatening and criticizing the agreement as he echoed that it was not made to be implemented. Thereafter, in some few days, war broke out in Juba. Hundreds of Dr. Machar soldiers and supporters were slain, while heavily armed SPLM soldiers with lorries, tanks and helicopters pursued the rebels chief day and night up until they noted that the perceived assailant escaped to neighboring DRC, where he was airlifted by the UN to a safe zone.

All this mess happened in the eyes of AU, IGAD, Troika countries and UN. Unfortunately, AU remained tight-lipped while on the other hand their messenger, Festus Mogae was globe-trotting singing from Kiir’s hymn book. At one time, he echoed that the peace agreement was still alive and moving at a slow pace. He reiterated that events of July 2016 will come to pass and those pockets fighting are works of criminals. In the end, Kiir decided to replace his first deputy by his former trusted lieutenant, Taban Deng, and as things stand right now, IGAD accepted his appointment though it was in contravention to the peace accord.

Although ideally, Taban Deng has no meaningful following on the SPLM-IO, this means that their conspiracy failed dismally.  For the reasons they know, some regional countries are colluding with Kiir to espouse his ethnic cleansing exercise. A case in point is that of Kenya which is abducting known opposition figures such as SPLM-IO spokesperson, James Gatdet Dak. On the same vein, we heard that Egypt is providing logistical support whilst Khartoum and Addis Ababa historically supported the rebels. In light of the aforesaid, this complicates the war big time, and l assume, if unabated, the war might spill into a regional warfare.

What to do to avert the war.

Without any shadow of a doubt, it is the prerogative of AU to make sure peace and tranquility prevail in all it’s member states. Turning to South Sudan, AU should play a leading role on compelling warring parties to cease hostilities. The top and leading voice to the conflict, Kiir should be forced to order, let alone his long time foe, Dr Machar. Whoever stimulating and exacerbating hostilities must be held accountable because South Sudan is bigger than individuals. Chief among them, the Dinka tribe must be taught to abolish Nazism since it has no place in today’s world. Hitler and Mussolini tried it but they bite the dust. Can Salva Kiir and Jieng Council of Elders get away with it? L have lots of doubt. That’s why they face stiff resistance in their own country.

Second, since Riek Machar is a signatory to the current peace agreement, it is unwise to sideline him the way some regional leaders think, whoever decides so is totally off the hook. This is due to the fact that Riek commands a huge following and is respected within the rank and file of the aggrieved party, SPLM-IO. Therefore, his presence and voice will assist water down the fires.

Lastly, for today, AU commission current chairperson must do everything in his power to stop the current atrocities. South Sudan should be his area of felt need unlike his predecessor, Madame Nkosazana-Dhlamini Zuma who buried her head in the sand when Kiir butchered hundreds of civilians. We are waiting to see how Africa can solve its problems alone with external interference.


The author can be contacted on gudobenny@gmail.com

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