Why South Sudanese shouldn’t trust the Obasanjo Report on South Sudan Crisis?

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, RUMBEK, MAR/30/2015, SSN;

Is it out of love or mockery that Africa appears to care too much about South Sudan? From the first day the conflict erupted in South Sudan, Africa has been suggesting possible remedies to the crisis in the country.

Apart from hosting peace talks in Addis Ababa, the African Union (AU) also promptly formed a five member commission of inquiry to “investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.”

The commission of inquiry is composed of prominent and respected individuals with exceptional skills and experience. The Chairperson of the Inquiry Commission is composed of former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, other members include Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo who is the Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Makerere University (Uganda), Bineta Diop who is AU Chairperson’s envoy for Women, Peace and Security, AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security and Prof. Pacifique Manirakiza who is a commissioner at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, the Gambia.

No doubt, this is a team of well placed African leaders that equally possess huge experience and tested competence.

Now, one wonders why a series of very dirty wars were allowed to rage on in Sudan long before the separation of South Sudan the former O.A.U couldn’t take such a step. Until today, another bad war is raging on in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Darfur region and the AU instead of investigating crimes committed – genocide included – chooses to protect the main perpetrators of the crimes and conflicts in Sudan.

No investigative team of inquiry has been set for Sudan. And President Beshir stays insulated from the ICC by the AU. So, there are two AU’s: one that investigates crimes in South Sudan and the other one that shields Beshir from going to the court in the Hague.

But maybe for the AU loves South Sudan so much, there can be nothing else anyone can say than to appreciate such a concern.

The report of this Commission of Inquiry has not yet been made public. But there had only been a leaked report purported to have been prepared by AU. The ‘leaked’ report almost caused an outrage and misunderstanding both in the Government and the opposition camps. Not because it carried such weird and witty recommendations like the axing of both the President and the rebel leader Dr. Machar in the formation of a transitional government, but it also looks shallow, unprofessional and lacking content to match the jurisdictions and standards of a veritable inquiry.

The AU, in person of Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamina-Zuma, has already disowned the report. That has helped a bit fix the mess.

Regardless of the fact presented by the AU in delaying the report – for fear that it may obstruct peace process in Addis Ababa – the US, the EU and so many other affiliate NGOs, still call for publication of the official report.

That makes it quite perplexing how the same agencies and organizations that call for a speedy peace process also adamantly demand for the release of the AU Commission of Inquiry report when we all know that it could delay peace.

As seen in the leaked report, any document that carries coined stories and discrepancies may likely bang the door closed on the Addis Ababa talks.

The leaked report of the Commission of Inquiry, since it now lacks any official backing and rightful authenticity, can be assumed a bluff. But the question remains: can the current team of experts investigating into the country’s crisis produce an honest, credible and unbiased report? And can this commission be fair enough in their findings and recommendations?

Methinks No!

With due respect to each and every member of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan crisis with regards to ‘human rights violations, atrocities and so much more, not many South Sudanese believe that this commission of inquiry is one that they should trust to carefully and honestly analyze the crisis, make proper findings and suggest the right recommendations on the conflict in South Sudan.

This is not because we may suspect the competence of the team. Neither do we think they can be manipulated by some interest groups with stakes in the war in the country.

We all know who President Olusegun Obasanjo is. He is a well respected African statesman who made a name in the making of both modern and the old Nigeria. He handed over power peacefully in 1979 after he lost elections to Shehu Shagari.

In 1976, he ascended to power by the privilege of death as President Murtala Mohammed, who he deputized, died in assassination. But he could not hold onto power during the election. Nigeria, through him, saw a peaceful transfer of power.

That he handed over power peacefully made him a darling of the West, particularly the US, Germany and Britain. But just like Dr. Riek Machar he attempted coup in 1995. The coup failed and he was not as fortunate as Riek Machar who miraculously found his way out of Juba simply to embark on a rebellion in a matter of days.

Obasanjo was arrested, tried and jailed for life. The West, because they were the architects of his failed coup, pressurized for his release. Due to that pressure his sentence was reduced to 15 years.

By a complete twist of fate, he was again a beneficiary of death as his arch enemy Gen. Sani Abacha died of an illness in 1998. A year later Obasanjo contested elections and won comfortably. Like an American President who served two complete terms he led Nigeria for eight straight years.

That Obansanjo is a believer of coups is not the point of concern. Rather, the issue – and relevance to the case of South Sudan – is his concept of reforms. Nigeria, in so many aspects, does not resemble South Sudan. So, Obasnajo’s reforms for Nigeria cannot marry up with the South Sudan reforms.

Still one asks himself if everything has worked well for Nigeria. President Obasanjo’s homeland, just like South Sudan, is until today deep in crisis. It has for a long time been engaged in a series of insurgencies and is still held knee-deep in one of the worst corruption in Africa.

The Boko Haram poses a big threat to Nigeria the way Riek’s rebels are to South Sudan. That begs the question: has Obasanjo put right his home country to even dare look into issues of other countries?

There is a belief that Obasanjo holds experience and valid solutions to Africa’s problems as he is taken to be a symbol of reform and democracy. Yet, Africa has moved much more than Obasanjo. It seems Africa is still being driven by personality cult.

Much as we hail President Obasanjo’s huge experience, there is a question of his age. It is my personal feeling that Uncle Obasanjo has not very much energy left in him. The Obasanjo of 1998 cannot be the Obasanjo of 2015. He can easily be outwitted and asked to sign a blind cheque for South Sudan.

The commission of inquiry on South Sudan crisis can be manipulated under his watchful eyes by those that hold very dangerous views on South Sudan. And that might be the greatest fear of South Sudanese.

One such fear is the inclusion of Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Uganda in the same commission of inquiry. Like Obasanjo, Prof Mahmood Mamdani possesses an intellectual power but that cannot stop us from interrogating his inclusion into this important commission. This is because Prof. Mahmood has a long held view that Dr. Riek, South Sudan’s rebel leader, is a reformist.

At the Annual Retreat of the National Resistance Army (NRM) at Kyankwanzi on February 11th, 2014, which was later published by the New Vision of Uganda on 16th Feb, 2014, Prof Mahmood Mamdani delivered a lecture on South Sudan conflict titled “No power sharing without political reform.”

In the lecture, the well endowed Professor gave his analysis on the genesis of South Sudan crisis, its ripple effects and the way forward.

In some instances he made his views clear on Riek being a reformist – how he arrived at that only God knows – but there was never clear inclination anyone would easily put him in since he appeared spread all over and pointing the issues of the ethnicity between the Dinka and the Nuer.

True to his writing, the British heightened ethnicity in South Sudan. But he equally has his own views and one dangerous thing among them is his criticism of the independence of South Sudan.

Prof. Mahmood made it clear that he was against the independence of South Sudan. He said, “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 turned out to be a shoddy affair, rushed by those in a hurry to birth an independent South. The people of South Sudan are just beginning to pay the price for that haste.”

Poignant to the feeling of South Sudanese, Prof. Mahmood believes that South Sudan is a “child of the war on terror.” That explicitly means that South Sudan statehood was driven not from our own struggle but born out of the war on terror. There has been no abuse like this on the history of struggle of South Sudan.

In short, Prof Mahmud Mamdani is one guy that has long formed an opinion about South Sudan. He made his position clear that he is inclined to support Dr. Riek’s reforms. He continues to blame what he termed as ‘rushed’ independence of South Sudan.’

Therefore, there can be no reason he could have been appointed into the team of inquiry on the crisis of South Sudan. According to global criteria on choosing an inquiry team should not have been a member of the team of inquiry for south Sudan. It is like sending a sensitive case of a sheep to a wolf.

Looking already at the leaked ‘fake’ report of the commission of inquiry, one wonders if you don’t see the hands of Prof. Mahmud Mamdani. While Mzee Obasanjo leads by his good name, the dirt may continue to be done by the enemies of South Sudan.

Prof. Mahmud has also been fighting against the term limits of President Museveni of Uganda. His inclusion in the committee of inquiry on South Sudan crisis only helps him find another podium from which he could fight Museveni away from home.

So there goes the story of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan! South Sudanese have to waste not their time in laying hope on this commission. They should expect a bad report that is based on manipulations under the supervision of a helpless old man.

South Sudanese shall forever continue to give their respect to President Obasanjo as one of the living fathers of the modern Africa. But that people will agree with the report of an important inquiry committee may only come as a surprise.

Taban Abel Aguek is an MP in Lakes State Legislative Assembly – Rumbek. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

23 Comments

  1. Elhag Paul says:

    Cries of a manipulator and a lying beneficiary of the murderous system in Juba. Go away with your rubbish.

    • Majongdit says:

      You elhag Paul have been allowed to manipulate many things for a long time without regards to any reality at all. You are the biggest tribalist in South Sudan. You have preached tribalism until it went deep into the blood of our people.

  2. Defender says:

    Hey Taban, The question that you must answer instead of mixing apples and oranges is this: why do you feel that the commission of inquiry’s work should not be trusted? Is it because you did not like the end result of leaked report? If you are not sure about the AU, why did Kiir accepted their terms of reference and gave them the platform to do their work? Kiir did it with false hope that because he has legitimacy, that any report will indict others but not him. This reality of false hoped blew up on his face. This is called stupid strategy that those who orchestrated this war from Kiir’s Kitchen did not anticipate that their reality is moot and foolish to be accepted anywhere else but Juba. Even in Juba, there are people who did not believe the lies that Kiir and his tribal bigots were trying to sell. The proof is in the pudding–that those whom he trusted to sell his lies were the ones who sold him clean to the world.

    Now that the reality and truth of the matter is coming out, there is no way you can begin to argue that the AU report should not be accepted. However, If you are talking to yourself, then just believe yourself but do not, in this self falsehood, try to make an argument that no one is willing to buy.

    Using the examples from other situation to satisfy your intellectual speculation is good, but the world does not work the way you and many in the government are thinking these days. The village strategy that the Kiir regime has used so far is not working. He needs to dial back his approach and direct his effort to reclaim his lost legacy, instead of trying to make argument out of flimsy conjectures that leave a lot to be desired.

    South Sudan Friends, those people who worked tirelessly to see our independence recognized the world over have questioned our readiness to be a nation. Some even have questioned if our political entity can be called a state, given lack of institutions, rule of law and rights of citizens. The hope that inspired the drive for independence have been lost not because the people of South Sudan unable to protect their liberty, but it is because those who see themselves or their name as synonymous with South Sudan have sold our future to their egos, instead of moral consciousness, of sacrifice and common good.

  3. dau bol gak says:

    the two principles must exit and leave those top positions for other competent south sudanese, the report has surely hit the president and his relatives and the rebels.

  4. John Khot says:

    Taban Aguek, an MP from the lawless and blood thirsty people of Rumbek. What a ridiculous and out of touch question to begin an article with? Do you think Africa enjoys lawlessness and suffering of the innocent people like Agaar people do?

    I stopped reading your article from that stupid line of question. But in relation to the the title of your article, South Sudanese indeed welcome any report that reinforced the already known fact that this senseless war was imposed on them by two greedy and selfish men called Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. I hope they will be held accountable for the unnecessary death, displacement and destruction of innocent citizens livelihoods.

  5. Mawien Magol says:

    You can braking on author Taban Aguek but you will not denying or run away from the truth about your culture of violence through out in our history. Well, the former president of Nigeria was giving a full bribes by the organizations who have been trying very hard to bring brother in-law to power and they have donated 400 million dollars to former vice president to disoriented some African leader like Uhuru Kenyatta, Omar al Bashir, Ethiopian Prime Minister and chief Mediator of IGAD all these are fully bribes by agent of former vice president of South Sudan. The Inquiry committee did not even mention the phones called by former vice president on Nuers generals in the SPLA telling them to gets ready and we will started here in Juba, the Inquiry committee did not want to reports mass killing in Bentiu town on April22/2014, when 2600 death bodies found on the streets and inside shop, churches, mosques,among them 400 bodies were Sudanese citizens but Omar al Bashir is awarding Riek Machar because a beed or Black is killing another. the Inquiry committee did not talked about Peter Gatdet Yaka who had killed his deputy Br, general in Jonglei State, the Inquiry committee haven’t says anything about James Koang who murdering his deputy Br, general Gum Atoam in Unity State and 200 Students from Dinkas that were slaughters like Goat in Upper Nile University. These people were being directly hiring by agent of former vice president to cover up the rebels side and records only the government wrongdoing. The problems in South Sudan was generated by foreigners who are having interests for something in returned and the Juba has to prepare to deal with them diplomatically.

  6. Bol says:

    Taban,
    You got a point here. Professor Mahmud shouldn’t have been in this.

    • Eastern says:

      Bol,

      You clearly don’t understand Prof. Mamdani very well. Come to Makerere and attend one of his open lectures on politics and governance.

      Do you know why dispite his vitriolic critism of Museveni’s government, the latter still holds him as a gem? Mamdani is objective in his assessment of Dr. Riek Macher as a reformist.

      The situation bedeveling South Sudan must not be misinterpreted by Kiir’s sycophants as power struggle. That narrative has been discarded by the global community including Kiirs closest ally, Museveni.

      Bol and Taban Aguek should stop this futile attempt of spreading what is typically SPLM-Kiir lies!

      • Bol says:

        Eastern,
        Impartiality of all parties involved in any respectful inquiry is an intrinsic part of its credibility. According to the writer, Professor Mamdani has expressed some views that may be considered by an objective person as bias and thus, disqualify him from the inquiry membership regardless of his intellectual value. Judicial verdicts get quashed if there was a perception of biasness. ….Professor Mamdani is well beyond the perception of being bias, he is bias. Eastern, the vast knowledge you have accumulated over the years from being a Historian of Torit Incident in 1955, being a Lebanese Arabic Authority, Chinese Mandarin Expert, and Tourism Guide in Dinka land….This enormous knowledge is confusing you! The writer sees Professor Mamdani as being bias because of the reason he gave….I commented you: You have a point…..Which lie did we spread? If you disagree with his reason, please come up with your reasons. Attending Mamdani spectacular lectures is not the point…We are talking about what Mamdani wrote might have stained his impartiality in this particular inquiry. Happy Easter and please stop your futitle attemps to spread HATRED

  7. Deng Monymor says:

    Good job, Taban. We must analyze everything nowadays because there are lot of enemies who want to congolize our country for their benefits as there are many puppets among our citizens who can help them achieve their goal. Moreover, the death of Dr. John was not an accident. It happened at secret meeting organized by the so-called Troika countries that has been publicized as to what was it about. They thought President Kiir would make a prefect Mabuto of Congo after they killed Patrice Lumumba. Fortunately, that did not happen and that’s why we see frustrated as well as their so-called experts on Africa–Bakers and Livingstones of today.

  8. Chul Mi Bor says:

    Rubbish, Rubbish, Rubbish. Do not generalize South Sudanese. If you do not trust Obasanjo’s Report because it exposes the crimes committed by Selfish Kiir and his sycophants, that is your problem. For me any many South Sudanese, we support the report. If the report favors the Juba dictator, you would have supported it. Shame on hypocrites like you. The whole world has realized that there was no “Riak Machar Atem Kou, as members of a certain community say” which means “Riek Machar’s Attempted Coup.” Let the dictator and his sycophants enjoy the power and embezzlement of public funds for the time being. Eventually, they will be brought to justice and face the reality. Period.

  9. GatCharwearbol says:

    We told you on many occasions that truth has many ways of revealing itself. You didn’t believe and you will never believe us since you have closed your brain to only see your side of story and depict yourself as clean among the others. Building yourself up with lies will catch up with you any time. Let us embrace the truth and give credit to the former Nigeria president for the job well done. Place your tribal ego below national; this is what has torn this nation apart. Accept that you fail to rule and deliver. There is nothing wrong with failing. You just have to accept it and learn from it. This is what my Dinka people seem to narrowly missed to comprehend.

  10. J A C Ramba says:

    Dear compatriots

    No wonder this is how an MP at the Lakes State Legislative Assembly – Rumbek reasons up national issues. Who will blame him if he cannot even stand up to stop the ten years of an ongoing intercommunal killings in his state. What does he know about the massacre elsewhere in the country if not the ones he is paid to deny.

    We know those who are scared by the AU Report and why they wish it never comes out to the open. But my friend Mr MP, the 21st century is no place for you and your type. We are in a digital era.

    The world has since long become a single village and you should know that people in far Honolulu know much about your Lakes States’ insecurity issues probably better than you DO.

    What you have been paid to discredit here is an authentic report prepared by people of high standing who carried out the face to face interviews and investigations on the genesis of the ongoing civil war in South Sudan .

    Mind you the table has long turned on the way the igad initially intended to handle the whole lot and allow this government of criminals and ethnic cleansers walk free.

    Now its different. Justice must now come first . When it is all done and those who started the carnage are put behind the bars, only and only then can there be a genuine talk about reforms, peace, reconciliation, power sharing, and wealth redistribution.

    I take this opportunity to add my voice to the millions all across the globe who are now advocating for the immediate publication of the AU Report on South Sudan and see to it that all the recommendations therein are implemented to both the letter and the spirit.

    • Chul Mi Bor says:

      Truer words never spoken! You said it all brother Ramba. Those idiots who think that S Sudan belongs to them and treat other follow S Sudanese as second-class citizens, will one day, one time, regret it. Thanks for the comment.

      • Majongdit says:

        Chul Mi Bor,
        The country belongs to all of us, yes…but it is you people who are destroying it.

        • Chul Mi Bor says:

          Majongdit:

          I don’t understand your statement “it is you people who are destroying it”. This is so ludicrous! Who are we anyway? My brother let me tell you the truth I know and many honest follow S Sudanese: Dictator Kiir is the destroyer and the culprit. PERIOD.

    • Taban Abel Aguek says:

      Ramba,
      I don’t deny that there has been a series of conflicts in Lakes State, long before I made it to the Assembly. Many attempts have been made by many stakeholders, NGOs included, for many years but nothing much has been achieved in terms of peace in Lakes – and specifically the Greater Rumbek. Before 2010 there was a bad conflict between the people of Greater Yirol but we did our best to bring peace in Greater YIROL. I was personally involved in the peace work for Yirol because that is exactly where I come from.
      There is nothing we have not done in order to bring peace in Rumbek but the problem about Lakes State is the overwhelming presence of arms in the hands of civilians.
      That is that!
      But why don’t you want me to express my opinion on National issues simply because I am from Lakes. That is not fair.
      We shall never agree with any cooked report on a South Sudan. Stop lecturing me on what the world knows about Lakes State. How do you think I may not know that other people know about Lakes State when I did talk about President Olusegon Obasanjo and Nigeria, Mahmood Mamdani and Uganda and President Kenyyata and Kenya?
      Don’t tell me about those people that were interviewed by the AU team of inquiry. We will call a spade a spade, not a big spoon.

  11. False Millionaire says:

    Eastern,
    There can be no quarrel with you if you believe Dr Mamadani’s assessment that,”Dr Riak Machar is a reformist”.But if the assertion is credibly Dr Mamadani’s,he is forgiven for playing a witch doctor in prescribing a toxic lethal medicine for the sick RSS n it’s society.Our problem now is you n your likes.What prevents you from subjecting brother Riak’s social,political,professional n psychological mind set to a critical analysis before consuming foreigners’ rubbish who will not be here with us if our situation ever worsen further?

    Credit must be given where it’s due.Dr Riak is a party to the power struggle within the SPLM/A elites that led to the unfortunate events of 15 December 2013.But his role did not stop there.The nuer armed forces murdered,rapped,looted n inflicted immeasurable destruction on innocent dinka citizens in Bor,Akobo,Nasir,Malakal,Bentiu n every where in nuer land.What did he do as chairman n commander-in-chief of the SPLA-IO to stop them?Nothing.He allowed the carnage if he had not ordered it.But why?becouse he wanted to murder his way to the prsidency.He is a murderer and you owe to explain what is the sense of a refomer in him.

    Please read Dr Ramba’s comments here above n I hope that will help you get a sense of a sincere common sense.I favor the release of the report of the commission of the inquiry.If it appears contradicting n bias,a counter expertise by a different commission should be deemed necessary.According to Dr Ramba,”Justice now come first”.The commission must establish the truth in respect to those who are responsible for the killing of nuer citizens in Juba as well as those who murdered dinka innocent citizens in the places I have narrated.

    As there can be no peaceful south sudan with the sacrifice of nuers’ interests,so will never be a peaceful south sudan with the sacrifice of dinkas’ interests.The same argument applies to the rest of the citizens from the other ethnic groups.An acceptable solution must be had.Your false reformist Riak Machar must go home along with Kiir.A peaceful south sudan can be had without them!!!

    • Eastern says:

      False millionaire,

      Unless and until you dinkas do away with your double standards, South Sudan will continue to remain its current state or even in more deplorable state.

      Prof. Mamdani’s evaluation of Machar did not start after the December 15, 2013 carnage; he’s a scholar whose knowledge of South Sudanese politics is not new!

      That said, what followed the December 15, 2013 skirmishes in Juba where Nuers are alleged to have killed dinkas in Bor, Bentiu, Akobo, etc is the result of national leaders having strong following from their tribes; Kiir is at the moment using this tribal cards and no dinka has seen that as bad. Kiir is ruling South Sudan through his Dinka council of elders!

      Riek proposed a set of reforms within his party, the SPLM, something I considered was a good move even though I am not a member of the SPLM. Riek proposed review of key documents within his party for smooth running of the same to avert future parties, Kiir, his boss then, objected without providing any reasons for his action. Riek wanted the documents drafted during the liberation war days redrafted to reflect the operation of a political party in Nation within multiparty dispensation not the those of politico-military situation in the bush then. Kiir did not see the need for such reforms, amongst others, as necessary.

      Remember Riek was the one person who saw a problem in Iterim Constitution of the country, a constitution that gives a president exsessive powers to run the country the way the choose. Riek provided an alternative constitution.

      You need to read literatures by senior academics such as profs Mahmoud Mamdani, Yasphal Ghai, etc. you will see the yardstick prof Mamdani used to call Riek a reformist.

  12. Taban Abel Aguek says:

    False Millionaire,

    Credit must be given where it’s due.Dr Riak is a party to the power struggle within the SPLM/A elites that led to the unfortunate events of 15 December 2013.But his role did not stop there.The nuer armed forces murdered,rapped,looted n inflicted immeasurable destruction on innocent dinka citizens in Bor,Akobo,Nasir,Malakal,Bentiu n every where in nuer land.What did he do as chairman n commander-in-chief of the SPLA-IO to stop them?Nothing.He allowed the carnage if he had not ordered it.But why?becouse he wanted to murder his way to the prsidency.He is a murderer and you owe to explain what is the sense of a refomer in him.
    Well spoken bro False Millionaire. RIEK is not a reformist.

  13. Apuk says:

    If i were MP from Lakes state legislative assembly, i would have first published an article about “why Lakes state failed to curb the on-going inter-communal violence and other unresolved political issues before reaching outside the box” or i may be mistaken to say the article has a string attached.

    • majongdit says:

      Apuk,
      You have so many things to solve about yourself than what it takes anybody to do for Lakes State. What strings do you that are attached in regards to this article by MP Taban. You are a waste . If you have nothing to complain about then please keep quiet

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