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Editorial: With peace deal, will Gen. Museveni’s expansionism vision in South Sudan come to an end?

By Milton Allimadi

New York, August 27, 2015 (SSNA) -- The biggest loser with the South Sudan Peace Deal is Uganda's Gen. Yoweri Museveni.

Salva Kiir has not been ruling South Sudan since December 2013 when his power struggle with then Vice President Riek Machar started. Museveni is the real power.

Terms of the peace deal call for Uganda troops to be pulled out of the country in 45 days. Many students of the South Sudan conflict don't believe Kiir can survive long without Uganda's army, which has been doing the fighting for him and has sustained heavy casualties.

Many Ugandan dead are believed to have been buried in South Sudan so as not to create turmoil from their relatives within Uganda if the true magnitude of the losses were to become clear.

South Sudan opposition leader Machar has for long claimed that the conflict was instigated and sustained by the Ugandan dictator of 30 years Gen. Museveni. It's believed Gen. Museveni advised Kiir to "neutralize" Machar.  Kiir sent elite troops against his then Vice President in December 2013 at his official residence in Juba. Machar, a wily veteran of many of the conflicts, first in Sudan and now in South Sudan, somehow fought his way out.

Within weeks his own loyalists defected from the army and joined him in his strongholds in the northern part of South Sudan. Machar declared in January 2014 that his forces would soon capture Juba.

Gen. Museveni quickly stepped in. Thousands of Ugandan troops rolled across the border with trucks and tanks. Uganda's air forces also started bombing Machar's positions and reportedly killed many civilians. A few planes have been shot down. Human Rights Watch and the U.N. also condemned Uganda's use of cluster bombs.

Horrific war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed by all the combatant forces: Salva Kiir's anemic army; Uganda's robust intervention force;  Machar's opposition fighters; and the assortment of militias that have emerged since fighting broke out.

Why has Gen. Museveni intervened militarily in South Sudan? Because military expansionism has always been his nature -- to control neighboring countries, plunder resources from those countries, while also keeping his over-sized army busy less it turns on him domestically.

In 1990 about 5,000 soldiers of Uganda's army invaded neighboring Rwanda disguised as a guerrilla army called Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).  Gen. Paul Kagame at the time was a senior officer in Gen. Museveni's army, as head of military intelligence.

Gen. Museveni's ambition was to install Kagame as a pliant ruler in Rwanda and eventually annex the country.  The invasion and war culminated in the 1994 massacres when the plane carrying then Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana, who belonged to the Majority Hutu ethnic group, was shot down.

For years the popular narrative was that the plane was downed by Hutu hardliners opposed to a peace deal. Last year the BBC aired a ground-breaking documentary "Rwanda's Untold Story" in which former Kagame senior military and political associates say it was actually Kagame himself who ordered the plan downed. The conflagration that Kagame knew would ensue would then give him the excuse to seize power, which he did, according to the former aides interviewed in the documentary.

In 1998, Bernard Debre, a former French minister said the missiles used to destroy the plane, which was also carrying Burundi's president Cyprien Ntaryamira was provided to the RPF by Uganda, which in turn obtained them from the United States, according to an article in The New York Times -- which the U.S. denied.

Kagame, an ethnic Tutsi, had the most to lose in a peace deal; elections would have resulted in the majority Hutus, 85% of the population, retaining power.

Once in Rwanda power, Gen. Kagame then helped Gen. Museveni invade Congo in 1996. Mobuttu Sese Seko was deposed. Gen. Museveni and Gen. Kagame installed Laurent Kabila in power.

But Kabila soon resented his domineering patrons, Museveni and Kagame. Not surprisingly, he was mysteriously assassinated.  Kabila was succeeded by his son Joseph Kabila.

Then Kagame started resenting Gen. Museveni's domination. Their armies fought two bitter battles in 2000 and 2002, not on their own territories, but in the city of Kisangani, in the Congo, the country they occupied and from which they plundered billions of dollars in mineral resources. The armies clashed over the right to steal Congo's diamonds; the 2002 battle left more than 1,200 civilians dead and destroyed 4,000 buildings.

Gen. Museveni and Gen. Kagame eventually came to a truce; they turned their energy to something more lucrative -- continuing to loot the Congo. Meanwhile the body counts from their militarism mounted; estimates of Congolese dead exceeds six million.

Some of the dirty work --killing Congolese civilians and plundering resources-- was done for Gen. Museveni and Gen. Kagame by militias they trained, including the notorious M23, which was also commanded by senior Rwanda military officers, including the minister of defense Gen. James Kabarebe, according to the United Nations.

After atrocities committed by M23 in the Congo city of Goma, U.S. President Obama personally phoned Gen. Kagame and warned him of consequences if he didn't pull back his proxy army; meanwhile, the United Nations deployed an intervention force spearheaded by Tanzanian and South African troops.  M23 was defeated and many fighters and commanders fled to Uganda and Rwanda in December 2013.

By December 2014 Gen. Museveni was already eyeing South Sudan. He knew that Kiir was much more pliant while Machar has always been mercurial with a very independent streak. Salva Kiir would be a better partner for the long run; by controlling Kiir, Gen. Museveni  would also control and dominate South Sudan with its oil fields and other riches.

This could only be done with Machar out of the way.  That's why Kiir attacked Machar in December, accusing him of plotting a coup, which even the U.S., not a big fan of Machar, dismissed as fantasy.

Unfortunately for both Gen. Museveni and Kiir, Machar survived; so far.

That's why for the last 20 months South Sudan has endured horrific warfare. Gen. Museveni has been trying to eliminate Machar.

There's also another profit-motive. The airport in Juba, where the U.N. ships relief supplies and those for U.N. peacekeepers is operated by ENHAS the private company owned by the notoriously corrupt Uganda foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa who is now ending up his post as President of the U.N. General Assembly; his company acquired the U.N. contract illegally since he didn't disclose his ownership when ENHAS bid for it. Kutesa's daughter is married to Museveni's son Brigadier Muhoozi Kaenerugaba. When The Black Star News brought this fraud to the U.N.'s attention rather than revoke the contract the world body engaged in covered-up by disabling links on its website showing payments to Kutesa totaling almost $30 million.

Without Gen. Museveni's expansionism and Kutesa's profiteering in South Sudan, Kiir and Machar would have long ago concluded a peace deal.

Now with the eyes of the world on the South Sudan conflict after President Obama personally addressed it during his recent Africa trip Gen. Museveni's space for maneuvering has disappeared.

It's believed by many observers of the conflict that it was Gen. Museveni who advised Salva Kiir not to sign the peace deal when all the parties met in Ethiopia last week. He wanted Kiir to insist on revising the deal to allow Uganda's army to remain longer in South Sudan. Even when he finally signed the deal Thursday, Kiir complained and voiced doubts that it would endure.

Many believe he's speaking on behalf of Museveni.

The obstructionism last week had backfired. The White House in a statement released by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, gave Salva Kiir a 15-day ultimatum to sign; but in reality Rice was speaking to Museveni.  Reportedly President Obama had said "enough is enough."   While in Ethiopia Obama had also pointedly said any African ruler who claims he's the only one who can hold his country together means the leader hasn't done a good job.  Museveni has in the past made that statement in Uganda.

Now that the deal is signed Gen, Museveni has 45 days to pull his troops from South Sudan. Some observers believe he will try to disguise some Uganda troops and some former M23 fighters also shipped there by Uganda as Kiir's fighters. However the verification mechanism created by IGAD, the regional body that handled the negotiations should be able to prevent this.

Gen. Museveni himself faces domestic political heat during elections next year  -- he will need his troops back home if he wants to successfully rig the vote again.

If Uganda troops leave Machar himself should not be tempted to again march on Juba to seize power.

The South Sudanese have suffered immeasurably.

Give peace a chance.

Editorial: Greenhorn Generals are the Weakest Links in Chains

By Kuach Tutkuay

August 12, 2015 (SSNA) -- In the last two weeks, defection of some of the generals from the SPLM/A-IO has dominated the media and perplexed the minds of concerned citizens who are probing the motive of the whole fiasco whether it holds any benefits for South Sudan. The move I categorically termed as an “ego showcase” sufficed at the sideline of the seemingly progressive IGAD+ peace process that aims to bring to an end the conflict in South Sudan. It hurts the Moment so much that the generals who gave their alls in pursuit of a just and peaceful South Sudan would fall short of maintaining the goodwill of their supporters.

In the words of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi, “for any patient to be worth anything, it must endure to the end.” The generals could not hold any longer despite having smelt the breeze of peace brought about by the north-east monsoon of the East Africa region aided by the superpowers of the Occident. The generals wants a visionless and endless war, they forgot that we were never mean for Bushmen or Bushmen’s way of life; we went to the bush to search for lost rights, to fight for justice for the Juba massacre, to fight for dignity and equal representation of all tribes in South Sudan whether big or small. To fight for good governance based on the principles of federalism, to end South Sudan’s subjugation by the Uganda and to end a brooding dictatorship. If the IGAD is giving us that, we are willing to grab it and will not mind dropping behind any disgruntled general so long as we achieve South Sudan of our dream. When a snake dropped it slough, it shine even much better, so shall we by dropping these career combatants.

When war becomes a hobby, taking life, too, become a duty. These generals have forgotten the price they paid in terms of human lives; they thought these are people who just have to die because, in principles, they don’t know the cause of their death. It seems they fought because they want to, not because they have to. The motive is an absolute doom for the Naath society as well as for the South Sudan. I want the youth to blatantly disown these bush Mongols; their grey hair symbolizes their nearness to the end. Why would we, the young generation, throw all our might and main to people who will take it to grape tomorrow? We have done a great deal of the fight—physically in the frontline as well as politically on the media—we are capable and willing to fight much longer but not under disguise and vague objectives.

In everything a man does, there are always two reasons: a good reason and a real reason. Among the manifold of reasons provided by the generals, I could only pick three: (1) that Dr. Riek can’t supply more ammunition, (2) that they don’t want peace that retains Kiir and Machar, and (3) that Dr. Machar has been bribed by Chinese government not to capture Paloich. In my book, these are their good reasons, but their real reason, perhaps, is that their ring leader, Mr. Changson Chang, being a war profiteer, got interested in the international community’s habitual bashing of the two sides to the conflict and thought that this is a political niche he should capitalize upon. Now the illiterate generals and old mafias of retired politicians sit with their mouth agape and arms akimbo waiting for Mr. Changson to name their movement and draft their manifesto. I just hope it pass muster—phew!

It amuse me to think of where these generals will get arms supplies from, just out of cocoons in the forest of South Sudan and they think it would be a walk in a park to win international community’s admiration—poor me! A very bad gesture has already been shown them by Kenyan government who is currently tracking them down. They had to escape for Khartoum and some who cannot make it that fast had to run to Naivasha. It is so shameful that these elders, with their less number of years left, could not even think of what they will leave behind for their children. If elders are like this, it would have been better to have no elder at all. Whatever they are doing currently is painting dirt on the image of the young generation of Naath community and this is something we cannot easily allow.

It is an utter confusion they are creating by claiming that they are forming their own movement. This is the same way comrade Lul Ruai disguised himself, he claimed he is forming a separate resistance and later fall under overall command of Paul Malong. Our generals will soon take directives from Malong and his rotten Juba regime. This should ring at the back of our minds. Except for the confused Monytuil brothers, we rejected any move that turn Nuer against Nuer and surely this will not happen. Most of the defectors, like Changson Chang and Michael Mario among others, are survivors of the massacre. They were firsthand witness of the whole brutality and they should not forget that if fate gave them a first chance to survive, it won’t give them a second chance if they decided to join the Juba government. Some of them, according to the Juba government, are moving corps who deserves nothing else but a wooden coffin.

In lieu of conclusion, I want to assure the Movement and the general public that this is a good subtraction. They have actually been occupying positions that would have been occupied by the educated, young and energetic South Sudanese. I urge the leadership of the Movement to replace them with immediate effects from within the rank and file of the party. Just because one woman turned back and got changed to a mountain would not destruct the whole journey—aluta continua!!! And let’s sing this together. We are matching in pursuit of justice and peace; when a hero fall, another hero steps in; when a coward run away, a hero replaces until we achieve the course.

The author is a South Sudanese youth activist and independent blogger, you can reach him on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , follow him on twitter @kuach444. For more articles from this author, please visit his blog at http://tutkuay.blogspot.co.ke/

Editorial: Kiir’s end term best chance for a new beginning

By Deng Vanang

August 3, 2015 (SSNA) -- What became 15th December, 2013’s ethnic violence pitting the Nuer and Dinka was not the two groups’ exclusive political affair. If any, is the microcosm of a wider national issue, personalized by two major ethnic groups.

Due to their history of hate and power struggle in South Sudan, the two took the matter up on themselves. Otherwise, core issues driving the wedge between Kiir and Machar are socio-political and economic malignancies ailing the whole country.

These differences, as always stated, are tribalism, corruption and inequitable distribution of power and resources among all ethnic groups. All these ills have been complicated by dysfunctional institutions of good governance.

While running an autonomous region as well as independent South Sudan, Kiir had been above board to be advised by his principal deputy in both party and the government, Dr. Machar. Other eminent South Sudanese offered their pieces of advice to Kiir on how to best to run the country to no avail.

He either used to pretend to have taken heed of all these advices without putting them into action. Or his delusion has been that he is the elected President with the free hand to rule the country as he so wishes. With the end of his term, all these defense mechanisms should have been over and country returned to its owners, all South Sudanese, in order to debate its future.

In pursuant, Machar should as well own up from personally pushing for what are deemed to be public demands, now that Kiir from whom he has been trying to wrestle peoples’ power is no more a leader.

IGAD and its partner Troika should as well stop forth with from running this scam of viewing South Sudan as Nuer – Dinka’s entity whose spoils should be divided between two ethnic groups solidly standing behind the two leaders.

What many expect of IGAD and TROIKA is one of the followings: to re-instate the past peace formula of President and Prime Minister on equally shared power. If it is not the case, UN should instead take over South Sudan for five years until required reforms are all carried through. Or tell Kiir to vacate for a new leader, presumed to be none Dinka, Nuer and Shiluk now the apparent contesters for country’s leadership, for a consensus leader from either the Church or an eminent person from minority ethnic group as the transitional and transformative leader tasked with steering the country through required reforms till the UN’s supervised and monitored elections.

Meanwhile Kiir and Machar to go to The Hague where they will answer  legal cases against each other and people of South Sudan. Whoever comes out clean shall contest in the next Presidential elections with other interested contenders except the yet to be slated transitional leader.

Reason being, one of the two having an edge over the other in power arrangements or all remaining at the top during transition, there shall be friction with each trying to influence the direction of required reforms, ending with yet another more disastrous conflict than IGAD and TROIKA are trying to resolve now.

Without considering this formula IGAD and TRIOKA could be prolonging the crisis and continuous suffering of South Sudanese. Why? They are imposing Kiir on the country, leave alone Greater Bhar El Ghazal and Equatoria for a few more years. The same applies in the case of Machar on people of Greater Upper Nile.

Again, their current peace plan is the way of belittling a wider national agenda to a narrower ethnic one. With the isolation of Dr. Riek Machar and his Upper Nile constituency from main stream politics, while it gives unfair advantage to Kiir or whoever will be his successor in the next Presidential elections after the end of transition.

This is not without saying the peace plan encourages rebellions in other regions by those who will feel left out from proposed political dispensations. Should Machar and his Upper Nile constituency, especially the Nuer, fail to win Presidency by default, the current reforms agenda shall translate into secessionist quest of declaring Greater Upper Nile region as new independent state from the rest, a Nigerian Biafra in the making.

Greater Equatoria too, will echo the same separatist sentiments than join with Greater Bhar el Ghazal against secessionist Upper Nile. This view is based on concrete evidences than far-fetched notions. For Kiir, like Ivory coast’s former President, Laurence Mbago, has perfected the fine art of Presidential term’s extensions.

In 2010 he cruised through bungled mid-term presidential elections. A day before independence declaration on 9th July, 2011, he cajoled parliament into extending his term to 2015. Fearing a likely defeat in 2015 elections, he created 2013’s violence that made it unconducive to hold an election as scheduled. The current peace’s proposal giving him three more years in office is what he exactly wanted when he instigated the same 2013’s ethnic violence. And there is no guarantee the next elections won’t go according to his usual unorthodox plans of continuous presidential terms’ extension.

Simply because IGAD –TROIKA handing him two regions 100% while he shares Upper Nile with Machar is the hidden strategy already meant to help Kiir regain the lost ground, the Upper Nile region. That will be in dividing Machar’s loyalists through either political manipulations or financial bribes and eventually kicking him out of the region politically or military.

Since Kiir, according to current peace plan, has indirectly regained his imperial presidency in appointing to and relieving from public offices Machar and his people top down. With three individuals nominated to a single position by Machar for Kiir to appoint one, is enough to stir series of lobby for positions and drive a wedge between Machar and those appointed or left out.

Without federalism being automatically implemented during transition, Kiir shall still have control of country’s oil riches in Greater Upper Nile to continue influencing the situation in his own direction. The same grip and manipulation will be replicated in two other regions since security arrangement gives him full control of all security forces there, which is enough to intimidate electorate against voting for his rivals, Machar and the rest.

In re-uniting and professionalizing the two armies into one regular national force, Machar is at a disadvantage since bulk of his armed loyalists are illiterate Nuers who will be demobilized to civilian life while Kiir since 2005 has been sending his Dinka’s soldiers for language courses and routine military trainings. The latter no doubt will be in control of the army against the former and dictate through military might and means how should remain in power.

In constitution – making, Kiir will put a simple majority clause to pass the constitution in referendum and in parliament he knows he has the majority of MPs according to current peace plan. This will include elections being run by local National Elections commission he controls supervised by the international community. Every wise person knows international observers always don’t have enough presence on the ground during referenda and elections and fear damaging their credibility by declaring such processes as unfair as well as not free.

Using all the above numerated advantages, Kiir will win while Machar and others trying to cry foul will be fought by international peace keeping force on Kiir’s behalf.

All these ill game plans make Kiir a serial war criminal locally and internationally. While Machar getting clawed back always to the system he leaves since the time of Garang paints him a political weakling and irredeemable failure locally and internationally.

For it all shows he is only capable of reforming his rivals and systems of governance against himself, making him to be used temporarily and dished eventually after a job well done. Machar by always returning to SPLM/A he either storms out voluntarily or chased out forcefully also confirms the long held belief of Dinka political elites and SPLM/A that they are indeed invincibly irreplaceable.

Such notion of mystery or sheer invincibility as created by internal weakness, by either Machar or his camp since 1991, shall live to demoralize the Nuer and other potential reformists forever from raising a finger against any persistent wrongs in the country in future.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and Author. He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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