South Sudan: A Case of Misunderstanding Juba

Analysis. By GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Staff in Juba. On April 15, 2013, South Sudan President Salva Kiir issued a decree which removed some of the executive powers delegated to Vice-President Riek Machar. The Presidential directive decreed “the withdrawal of all duly delegated powers assigned to the Vice-President” and restricted him to “discharg[ing] only his powers as stipulated” under the draft con-stitution.
Vice-Pres. Machar was to continue acting for the President when the President was out of the country, and, under the new decree, remained a member of the Cabinet and National Security Council. Hence, Machar was still the Vice President; albeit with significantly less power and authority. As well, Pres. Kiir issued a decree dissolving the National Reconciliation Committee which was to be chaired by Vice-Pres. Machar, and cancelled the entire process which was to have been overseen by Machar.
The US Barack Obama Administration immediately urged the human-rights NGO community in the US and Western Europe to condemn and denounce the move as “undemocratic”. It did not take long for South Sudanese organizations such as the South Sudan Human Rights Society For Advocacy (SSHURSA) to join the criticizing choir.
The reality of the situation, however, was exactly the opposite of what was being portrayed. Read more…

South Sudan Pres. Kiir Moves to Stop Arab-Backed Initiative by Vice-Pres. Machar to Polarize and Split the New State

By early April 2013, the Machar camp was abusing the national reconciliation process as an instrument for removing Kiir in the SPLM convention by stocking internal rifts and tribal-based tensions. The Machar
camp has argued that leadership should be transferred from the Dinka to the Nuer because, in the words of a Machar key supporter, “it’s our turn to eat”. SPLM political leaders are not oblivious. However, they
trust the common desire of all South Sudanese, irrespective of their tribal roots, to consolidate and build their independent state. “The Nuer in the SPLM will not vote for Riek Machar,” these leaders opined. “We are working very hard to save our country from him [Machar] because his campaign for tribal war will not benefit anybody at all. … South Sudan cannot be a country if it is a turn of each tribe to eat.” Read more…

South Sudan’s Dilemma: Instant Gratification or a Longer-Term Sense of Identity

Analysis. By GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Staff in Juba. Early May 2013 found South Sudan ready to move forward to start a new phase in the nation’s building and development, but facing schisms based around short-term tribalism versus longer-term national interests.

Several major events which took place during April 2013 clearly demonstrated that a major threshold had finally been crossed. Among these events was Sudanese Pres. Omar al-Bashir’s visit to Juba in which he
formally accepted the reality of an independent, sovereign South Sudan. Also of significance was the agreement on the resumption of oil exports under conditions guaranteeing revenues for South Sudan (unlike the Sudanese embezzlement of revenues during the autonomy period and soon after independence). Read more…