To African Union & UN Security Council: The Composition of the proposed Regional Protection Force- from Equatorian Leaders

From: Equatorian Leaders in UK, NOV/11/2016, SSN,

To: The Chair, African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC)
The President, United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

CC: The Chair of IGAD-Plus, C/o H.E Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
H.E. Festus G. Mogae, Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC)

From: Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora
Mr. Federico Vuni, Chair, Equatoria Community Organisation in the UK
Mr. Kwaje Lasu, President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, USA
Mr. Joseph Modi, President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, Canada
Mr William Orule, Interim Chair, Federation of Equatoria Community Associations in Australia

Dated: 9th November 2016

Your Excellencies,

RE: THE COMPOSITION OF THE PROPOSED REGIONAL PROTECTION FORCE;

1. We, the Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora, continue to welcome the overdue deployment of a Regional Protection Force (RPF) to Juba, as mandated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2304. We urge that troop contributions must come from Western African and Southern African countries. Countries neighbouring South Sudan have conflicts of interest that will compromise their impartiality in discharging the mandate of the RPF effectively.

2. We acknowledge that the RPF alone will not bring lasting peace to South Sudan. But we believe the RPF is essential towards creating an environment in Juba that is conducive to the resumption of a credible and inclusive peace process by enabling all stakeholders to take an active role in its implementation. We also believe the RPF will be vital in providing the long suffering residents of Juba the opportunity to resume their lives free from the debilitating threat of insecurity, which the Government of South Sudan has been unable or unwilling to address.

3. We note the recent decision by authorities in the Republic of Kenya to extradite James Gatdet Dak, a prominent opposition spokesman and registered asylum seeker, to Juba. It must be assumed that his extradition was carried out in the full knowledge that detention and ill treatment at the hands of South Sudan’s security services would likely follow his arrival in South Sudan. We also note the decision by the Government of the Republic of Kenya to withdraw its peace keeper contribution from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with immediate effect and to disengage from further involvement the peace process.

4. We note the repeated diplomatic and military interventions in support of President Salva Kiir’s administration by the Government of the Republic of Uganda. Ugandan authorities have recently agreed to support the government of South Sudan in the areas of border security and highway security, signing a memorandum of understanding in October that enables the Uganda Police Force to deploy on Equatoria’s roads. We are also aware of worrying allegations that South Sudanese security agents are allowed by Ugandan authorities to operate with impunity in northern Uganda, targeting refugees who have sought sanctuary in the area.

5. We note the series of cooperation agreements, recently signed between the Government of Federal Republic of Ethiopia and President Salva Kiir’s administration, following the visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, to Juba in late October. In Prime Minister Desalegn’s own words, these agreements promise to usher in a period of “strong army-to-army cooperation” between Ethiopian and South Sudanese armed forces in mutual pursuit of internal and border security.

6. We note the Republic of Sudan’s enduring concerns over the support given to Sudanese rebel groups by Salva Kiir’s administration. These concerns were echoed by the US State Department who, in an October statement, warned South Sudanese authorities to “cease harbouring or providing support for Sudanese armed opposition groups, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 2046.” We acknowledge that the imperative to ending this support is an overarching priority for the Sudanese government and bilateral agreements have been entered to with South Sudanese authorities.

7. And although not a bordering country, we acknowledge the willingness of the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to actively participate in the RPF. We note the Egyptian authority’s interests in the contentious topic of the management of the Nile waters and their long standing engagement with President Salva Kiir’s administration in pursuit of these interests. We also take note of the Egyptian authority’s widely publicised aspirations for the resumption of the deeply unpopular Jonglei Canal Project, which promises to make more water available for Egyptian agriculture and inflict massive environmental damage while disrupting vital ecosystems and habitats, in South Sudan.

8. We acknowledge that each of these countries must prioritise their own national interest when approaching the regional challenge presented by the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan. It is precisely because of this consideration, that we feel they will be unable to exercise due impartiality as troop contributing countries of the RPF. Impartiality is essential to the effectiveness of the RPF in facilitating the implementation of the peace process to a genuinely sustainable conclusion, and addressing the shortcomings identified in the report of the recent investigation into UNMISS’ response to the July 2016 crisis in Juba.

9. Impartiality is also vital to the credibility of the RPF in the eyes of the people of South Sudan. It must be acknowledged that, irrespective of political affiliation, a significant proportion of South Sudanese remain deeply suspicious of the involvement of regional countries in South Sudan’s affairs. They are also highly sceptical of the efficacy of regional intervention in impartially resolving the conflict in South Sudan. We applaud the Governments of Uganda, Sudan and, most recently, Kenya for recognising the potential for a conflict of interest and excluding themselves from involvement in the RPF.

10. We, the Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora, would like to take this opportunity to advise both the AUPSC, as commissioners of the RPF, and the UNSC, as authors of the mandate of the RPF to:

a. Exclude all bordering countries from consideration as candidates for troop contributing countries to the RPF.

b. Exclude all countries with vested interests in supporting either of the major warring parties in the Republic of South Sudan from consideration as candidates for troop contributing countries to the RPF.

c. Consider Western African and Southern African countries for candidature of troop contribution for the RPF.

11. We acknowledge the very real challenges in mobilising and financing the RPF. We appreciate the efforts of the AUPSC and the UNSC in working towards the deployment of the RPF. It is our firm belief that, if approached and implemented correctly, the RPF can have an appreciable impact on the lives of the residents of Juba and help bring about lasting peace and stability to South Sudan and to the wider region.

THE EQUATORIA LEADERS IN THE DIASPORA:

Mr. Federico Vuni,
Chair, Equatoria Community Organisation in the UK

Mr. Kwaje Lasu
President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, USA

Mr. Joseph Modi
President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, Canada

Mr William Orule
Interim Chair, Federation of Equatoria Community Associations in Australia

For correspondence: Mr. Federico Awi Vuni; livi.hope@yahoo.co.uk

5 Comments

  1. lodani rama says:

    You people represented your own Interest. We talk a lot and give unnecessary conditions yet we do not know who get the money and from where. We need to know these friends who ate financing all these are using their tax payer’s money. The only solution is for we S. Sudanese to Abandon hate and divisions among ourselves. In these hard economic times in the world we should not expect these countries to continue to finances a war which we S. Sudanese are capable to stop. The only country we will not accept is Sudan.

    It time we threw away our greed, lies, hate, envy, suspicion and job seeking tactics in cover that we are a voice of Equatorians. It is our greed that has brought killing and suffering of our innocent people.

    • Eastern says:

      They presented the interest of Equatorians!

      Uganda wants to see the confusion in South Sudan to continue so that it benefits from the refugee management crises. Uganda is already attracting a lot of donor support to manage Bidi Bidi refugee camp, the third largest in the world. Employment opportunities to Ugandans working on refugee program means widening of the domestic tax base. This is what Museveni is keen on achieving through his cash cow, the Ugsnda Revenue Authority. Uganda is now helping Kiir to secure the Nimule to Juba road – just to keep trade flowing regardless of what it takes to do so.

      Ethiopian business communities in South Sudan beseeched their government to go slow with Kiir because Ethiopians invested massively in South Sudan especially in Juba. The current Ethiopian government is warming towards maintaining the status quo – hence the latest change of tact on Dr Machar.

      Kenya is similarly caught in the same hard ground as Ethiopia. There are Kenyan companies (KCB, Equity bank, etc) operating in South Sudan in addition to thousands of individual Kenyans raking in millions of USD annually. These companies and individuals are of more concern to Uhuru Kenyatta than what befalls any hapless Equatorian in Lasu, Tore, Kerepi, Pageri, etc.

      Egypt is just immoral. Egyptian governments have been courting Southern Sudanese/South Sudanese for a very long time through scholarships, waiver in tuition fees, etc. Egypt has a glaring vested interest in South Sudan.

      Let’s look further afield for a neutral African country.

  2. It is very strange for so called Equatorians leaders in diaspora to isolate themselves from the rest of South Sudanese external and internal.
    You claimed to be leaders in diaspora for Equatorians people, now you are talking on behalf of South Sudanese people who mandated you to talk on our behalf?
    Is it an Equatoria party or is it a tribe? or a Country?
    In my own thinking, you people in diaspora, you are they ones encouraging the tribalism and hatred in Republic of South Sudan and you are there enjoying in foreign Countries without shame.
    I don’t know what do the Equatorians want.
    You’re complaining like women instead of uniting as a whole people of South Sudan in diaspora.
    You isolate yourselves everywhere on the World, even those who go for the Hajj in Saudi Arabia put a flag of Equatoria and remove the flag of South Sudan.
    If you are really nationalists and patriotic, please unite among yourselves and work for the whole country not Equatoria alone.
    THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING, GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    • Eastern says:

      Akoon,

      You dinkas are really fired up whenever you see the word Equatoria. In Equatoria, we are united by the brand Equatoria; thrashing out the garbage of tribe. We have left the words tribes, clans, sections, etc to you the Dinka.

      These leaders in the diaspora are not talking on behalf of South Sudanese as you allege, but they are representing the views of Equatorians. By the way, who mandated the tribal grouping of JCE to meddle in state affairs on behalf of South Sudanese?

      Equatoria Region Now, Viva Republic of Equatoria!

  3. abai okwahu says:

    Folks, the Regional Protection Force proposed by the UN will be concentrated in Juba if it does arrive, and I believe it would still not make any difference to bring about peace to the country, just take a look at UNAMID (United Nations African Mission in Darfur), the troops consisted mainly of West Africans, they could not stop the Janjaweed militias from killing and raping Darfuris and the Nuba. Listen, IGAD should no longer be the arbiter of the South Sudan crises, the member countries have taken sides. Kiir and his thugs should be given enough time to consider sitting down with the opposition if the junta feels that it can no longer stomach ambushes on the roadways, widespread famine, diseases, the treasury is emptied, troops start to grumble for unpaid salaries, etc.

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