By Ann Garrison
The U.S. considered sending its Ugandan and/or Ethiopian military partners into South Sudan to support President Salva Kiir, while South Sudanese called on the world to get Ugandan President Museveni, his troops and his high tech weapons out of their country. The South Sudanese Human Rights Society for Advocacy also called the international community’s decision to offer Museveni a seat at South Sudan peace talks “an unforgivable betrayal of the people of South Sudan.”
However, the South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy published a critique of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s role in destabilizing South Sudan during the past year. Museveni, they wrote, has encouraged the South Sudanese government to put their faith in the Ugandan army’s military might to back up their own forces against internal political critics. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
KPFA/ANN GARRISON: The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy, is based in both Juba and Kampala, the capitals of South Sudan and Uganda. In a statement published in the New York City based Black Star News, they called South Sudan’s President Kiir and Uganda’s President Museveni an unholly alliance and called on the international community not to let Museveni destroy South Sudan.
The NGO also called the designation of Museveni as one of the central mediators in the Addis Ababa peace talks, quote, “an unforgivable betrayal of the people of South Sudan by the international community.” The US, UK and other nations, they wrote, should, quote, “rise up to prevent more bloodbaths fueled by Mr. Museveni in South Sudan.”
Two South Sudanese diaspora groups, one based in Washington D.C., another in Toronto, issued similar statements and representatives of each spoke to KPFA.
Gateluke Reet, of the Toronto-based North American Nuer Congress, said that the UN Mission in South Sudan ignored the progressive destabilization of the country as Salva Kiir violated the Constitution and became more and more dictatorial with the backing of Yoweri Museveni and his army.
GATELUKE REET: Uganda, with Museveni, has a history, in the Great Lakes Region, of destruction. Had it not been the case that the Ugandan army was in South Sudan, all this kind of thing would never happen, because Salva Kiir himself will not order the killing because he knows, if he does, he will be the first person to die. But he has a back-up from Museveni and he has a back-up from the United Nations. Essentially the head of the United Nations doesn’t care, doesn’t care about the people die every day. All she cares is to see Salva Kiir being in power.
KPFA: Gatluak Peter of the Washington D.C. based Alliance for South Sudanese in Diaspora said that he does not want South Sudanese to keep killing each other, but that the only way to stop the war now is for Salva Kiir to step down and make way for a transitional government.
GATLUAK PETER: We don’t want people to kill each other. We don’t want people to kill themselves. The only why people are fighting is to remove President Salva Kiir, who was elected, but violated the Constitution that gave him the power. And then the people demand him to step down. And then he went and pulled a gun and killed his own people Now, what would you do? People are resolving to take him out from the power. If he’s now agreed to leave the power, there’s no reason for people of South Sudan to kill themselves. These are brother and sister and there shouldn’t be any reason for them to kill. And what the world should do is to come in and tell the president to leave. He has been in power since 2005. This is a long time for President Kiir, and he should leave the power.
KPFA: Despite his designation as a mediator in Addis Ababa, President Museveni threatened to cross the border and come after opposition leader Riek Machar, the deposed Deputy Vice President now commanding forces fighting Salva Kiir, which are reported to include divisions of the national army that have defected.
Members of Uganda’s own Parliament called on Museveni to stop recklessly warmongering and recuse himself as a mediator at the peace talks in Addis Ababa.