By Ann Garrison
KPFA Weekend News: Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
KPFA Evening News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. The civil war which began in December of 2013 has cost more lives than anyone can precisely estimate now and uprooted over 2 million South Sudanese people.
However, seven previous ceasefire agreements have already failed. Dr. Horace Campbell is a Syracuse University Professor of African American Studies who spoke with KPFA’s Ann Garrison.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: When President Obama sat down to talk about bringing peace to South Sudan with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ugandan President Yoweri Museven, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour and … Nkosazana …
Horace Campbell: Dlamini-Zuma.
KPFA: OK, thank you. … chairwoman of the African Union, you said, on Democracy Now, that everyone at the table, except Mrs. Zuma, was compromised. Can you elaborate on what you meant by that?
Horace Campbell: What I meant by that is that the looting of South Sudan has gone on since independence, in the past four years. When the economy of South Sudan was part of the Sudan, the oil revenues were about $50-100 billion per year.
The reporting we have from South Sudan is that the economy is now based on $5 billion. That $5 billion from the oil – and 90 percent of the economy is based on petroleum resources – is not being used in South Sudan for the health, welfare, water supply and education of the people.
It is being looted in collaboration with the regional leaders of Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and members of the Sudanese elite. Ethiopia is heavily invested in hotels, Uganda in food, Kenya in banking and telecommunications.
And so the situation in South Sudan is one where the leaders have no accountability to the people of the South Sudan and they have money and property in Uganda, in Nairobi and in Addis Ababa. And the resources for the South Sudan should be used for the people of South Sudan so that they can have a better quality of life.
KPFA: This is what I’ve noticed from the very beginning. When I first started reporting on this in December 2013, I tried to figure out what was going on and I spoke to Mabior Garang de Mabior, the son of John Garang, and he said that the conflict had turned attention to the suffering of South Sudanese, but that they had been suffering like refugees before the conflict, because the oil revenues were not reaching them.
Horace Campbell: And it will not reach them now, because the institutions in the South Sudan are not organized for the well-being of the people. South Sudan is run by the military; it is run by international NGOs and a Parliament that does not have real power.
The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan says that oil resources must benefit the people.
And that is why I am in agreement with the recommendations of the African Union, which recommended a transitional period with three distinctive features:
- a high level oversight panel to guide the period of transition,
- a transitional government that excludes those politically accountable for the crisis, and
- a transitional government that addresses the questions of justice in different forms. And one of the key areas they spoke about in terms of justice in different forms was that oversight of the resources from the African Development Bank, so that the infrastructure, the health and the well-being of the people of South Sudan is taken care of.
KPFA: That was Syracuse University Professor Horace Campbell, the author of many books and articles on Africa, most recently “Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity.”
With regard to the international NGOs running South Sudan in a way that deprives the South Sudanese people, Campbell cited, in particular, the ENOUGH Project to “End Mass Atrocities and Crimes Against Humanity” founded by security state professional John Prendergast and USAID chair nominee Gayle Smith.