By: JOHN NJAGI, DailyNation, MAY/16/2014, SSN;
A senior South Sudan government minister has blamed Western nations for helping fuel the conflict in the country due to their alleged interest in the country’s oil fields.
South Sudan Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said when the country got independence it was agreed the oil companies, mainly from China, Malaysia and India, operating in the country continue to do so, which, he claims, could have angered the West.
“Oil exploration in South Sudan is a Chinese affair and that may have resulted in an undeclared war from those who may have wanted a stake in it. South Sudan is a young country but we are sovereign and no one will dictate to us what to do,” he said.
Mr Makuei said the West may have felt left out, and blamed the international community for being dictatorial instead of diplomatic in pushing its agenda, which had further cemented his country’s move towards the East.
The minister, who is also lead negotiator on the government side in the talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to unlock the South Sudan crisis, blamed the international community for supporting the rebels by pushing for the removal of a democratically elected president.
He called for Kenya, the region and the international community to support President Salva Kiir instead of acquiescing to rebel demands that he stands down, which would set a bad precedent as any other democratically elected leader in the region could also be hounded out of office.
“We understand the Kenya parliament is preparing a motion to sanction the South Sudan government because of the ongoing crisis. We would persuade them not to go down that route because lack of peace in South Sudan would also affect Kenya which has huge investments and many of its people are also earning a living in our country,” he said.
PEACE DEAL BROKEN
Violence in South Sudan has continued unabated following an attempted coup on December 15 blamed on rebel leader and former Vice President Riek Machar, and has continued to date despite a cessation of hostilities agreement signed between Mr Machar and President Kiir in Addis Ababa on May 9.
Mr Makuei said the government was willing to continue with the negotiations despite what he said was violation of the peace deal by the rebel side.
The minister also castigated the international community and UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon, accusing them of rushing to slap sanctions against officials from both sides of opposition and government for violating the agreement, saying hasty decisions should not be taken without establishing who was responsible for the violation.
“We do not fear sanctions but let the decision not be done hastily because what is required is an informed decision,” he said.
Mr Makuei was speaking at a press briefing at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi accompanied by deputy South Sudan ambassador to Kenya Mr James Morgan.
The minister also blamed Igad for supporting the rebels, saying the regional body together with the international community compelled Mr Kiir to sign the agreement in Addis Ababa yet the government position was that the signing waits until over 2,000 stakeholders from the world’s newest country were present to discuss the deal before it was signed.
“The government agreed to the deal in principle because the President’s signature is on it and now it is up to Igad to transport the stakeholders from over 64 parties, religious institutions representatives among others to Addis Ababa so that they agree on the national unity government,” he said.
However, he said, Mr Kiir would remain the President and the government would not agree to another alternative. END
Kiir blames the West for election delay until 2017 or 2018
FROM The EAST AFRICAN, BY: MACHEL AMOS, MAY/14/2014, SSN;
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir says his country’s first General Election has been postponed for up to three years due to objections of the Western nations.
The world’s newest state gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 after more than two decades of civil war and was due to hold its first poll in 2015.
With widespread fighting, President Kiir said, it was essential to hold the elections on schedule, as an answer to claims of dictatorship that his rivals have labelled against him.
“I had said that we go for elections in 2015 as it had been scheduled. Let these people stand, let whoever wants to contest stand, we will all stand,” President Kiir said, referring to rebel leader Riek Machar and a group of 11 former political detainees.
“The Westerners know that their groups will all lose. No one will win votes. So they say ‘No, postpone it for three years’ because they know that within the three years, they will provide these groups with money to come and buy your votes,” he said.
“There is no problem. If you are given money, take it, it is your right. Take it and do the right thing. When we contested with the National Congress here in Juba and all over South Sudan in 2010, what happened? They brought money to the South here, but I told you then at the Garang Mausoleum that this money is yours.
“If it is given to you, take it and give us your vote. If the same thing happens, we will tell you that message.”
Former vice-president turned rebel leader Machar has described the election postponement as an embarrassment.
President Kiir says the three-year pre-election period will now be used to conduct a population census and hold national healing and reconciliation.
Kiir was elected in April 2010 as president of the then regional Government of Southern Sudan, and named Dr Machar, a controversial politician with a big ethnic backing, his vice-president.
At independence, Mr Kiir became the newest country’s president, with Dr Machar remaining his deputy.
However, differences between the two persisted.
Dr Machar, who was critical of the government and had reportedly launched a bid to oust his boss, was sacked in a Cabinet reshuffle in July 2013.
After five months of bickering within the ruling party, an attempted coup shook Juba on December 15, 2014.
President Kiir blamed the failed coup plot on Dr Machar, who denied the allegations.
A peace deal the two principals signed in Addis Ababa last Friday has so far faltered as fighting continued between the rebels and government troops on several fronts. END
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How Kiir and Machar fell out before independence:
The crisis that South Sudan is facing was destined to befall Africa’s newest nation. A chronology of events that preceded the December 15 alleged coup attempt indicate that President Salva Kiir had long fallen out with his then deputy, now turned rebel leader Dr Riek Machar.
The grudges went public well ahead of Independence, when Dr Machar circulated his version of a proposed transitional constitution to govern the country after Independence.
In his draft, Dr Machar proposed a maximum of two five-year presidential terms and lobbied for Mr Kiir to step down. He presented his draft at a ruling party meeting but was voted out. It was shot down both in the Cabinet and in Parliament.
“This shows that there is parallelism: You cannot identify, you cannot really say; is there one government or are there more than one government?” Kiir said at the sixth Speakers Forum on June 7, 2011. “There is no country that can be run by more than one government,” he said.
In the months that followed, the rivalry only intensified, with each building his own camp within the ruling party — the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.
In the wake of a deadly cattle raid, former elected Lakes State Governor, Chol Tong Mayai, was sacked on January 21, 2013 and a new caretaker appointed.
In reaction, Dr Machar wrote warning of a glaring Constitutional crisis. “I believe the main issue is the status of the care-taker Governor. I think your comradeship will either relieve him and re-appoint him or re-instate the elected governor Chol Tong Mayay to avoid the looming constitutional crisis,” he said in a letter dated March 13, 2013.
On April 15, 2013, Kiir withdrew all powers he had delegated to Dr Machar, and restricted him to only those duties stipulated in the transitional Constitution.
The transitional constitution gives the President the powers to sack an elected governor and/or dissolve state parliament when there is a crisis threatening national security and territorial integrity.
Dr Machar urged for the reversal of Mr Taban’s sacking, or else Kiir’s own legitimacy was in the line. Church leaders tried to reunite the two leaders, but failed.
In July, Kiir dissolved the entire cabinet, sending Dr Machar packing. Most of the ex-ministersunited with Dr Machar in a desire to regain their ministerial portfolios.
The group, in a press conference on December 6, accused Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies” and said there was a “shift in decision making process from SPLM national organs to regional and ethnic lobbies around the SPLM chairman when it came to appointments to positions in government; that membership of the SPLM and one’s participation in the revolutionary struggle became irrelevant,” the statement said.
The group also said that Kiir had directed state governors to name their preferred members for an impending national convention.
“The intention is to sideline and prevent SPLM historical leaders and cadres categorized as ‘potential competitors’ from participation in the convention,” the statement read.
The statement also recommended that a meeting of the party’s highest decision making organ — the political bureau — is convened to set the agenda for a national liberation council meeting.
Mr Kiir decided to call for the meeting of the latter. On the opening day of the meeting, Dr Machar stuffed up to 30 armed men into four cars and drove to the meeting venue at the Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba.
In the meeting, Rebecca Nyandeng Mabior, the widow of the late leader Dr John Garang, criticised Kiir, the party and government system. Dr Machar then spoke in a tone similar to Ms Nyandeng’s and walked out, followed by Ms Nyandeng and some of the now-detained 11 politicians.
On the closing day (December 15), Dr Machar and his group were absent. At about 6pm, after Kiir closed the meeting, gunmen, driving past in a car, shot at the venue.
The number of soldiers guarding an arms depot at Gieda military base near the town centre was increased from one to four.
Later, at about 9 pm, a colonel in the Presidential Guards Unit shot dead his deputy, a Major also shot his deputy.
A fight ensued over the control of the depot. The gunfire was echoed at the military headquarters in Bilpham to the north of the capital and spread to the presidential compound.
The fighting continued throughout the night until the next morning and spread to army garrisons outside Juba. The country and the SPLM were already plunged into the abyss. END