President Museveni of Uganda seeks Stability in South Sudan

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President Museveni of Uganda seeks Stability in South Sudan

Paul Joseph Nzeribe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern TokyoTimes


President Museveni of Uganda is seeking stability in South Sudan and this can be seen by the role of the armed forces on the ground alongside trying to find a political solution. South Sudan is a newly independent nation whereby developing the infrastructure and preserving the integrity of the nation state are areas of major importance. Of course, sharing the wealth created by natural resources, tackling corruption, strengthening the judiciary and democratic institutions are equally important. Therefore, internal tensions in South Sudan need to be solved quickly before the vacuum is filled with hatred and distrust within certain communities.

Uganda rebuked the Sudan in 2013 when elites in Khartoum made threats towards South Sudan. In other words, Uganda is acting like “a brotherly neighbor” based on the need to protect the people of South Sudan from the intrigues of Khartoum and other players who might gain from enormous instability. Museveni is clearly trying to find a political solution along with other regional nations like Ethiopia and Kenya because issues related to the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, are all casting a negative shadow over this part of Africa.

Currently it is known that you have approximately 1,600 soldiers from the armed forces of Uganda in South Sudan. However, Museveni could easily increase the number at the drop of a hat if he believed that Juba and other important areas were being threatened. Yet Museveni knows that a heavy-handed approach is dangerous because Uganda doesn’t want to isolate any segment of the community in South Sudan. Therefore, Uganda is focused heavily on a political situation in order to contain the crisis and then refocus on areas of weakness within South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir of South Sudan is also stressing the need for a political solution because he knows full well that enemies of this nation will gain from mass instability. People can point the finger at Kiir or rebel forces under Riek Machar – and other important players in the political scene of South Sudan. However, it is clear that plans were afoot because the speed-of-events show that opposition forces were well prepared to launch major attacks against the government based in Juba under Kiir. Also, from the very beginning Kiir notified the international community that he seeks a political solution.

Heavy fighting is being reported in Bor and Malakal but now the Ugandan element is gradually developing. Museveni recently stated: “Only the other day, 13 January, the SPLA [South Sudan army] and elements of our army had a big battle with these rebel troops at a point about 90 kilometres [55 miles] from Juba, where we inflicted a big defeat on them.”

This is clear evidence that Uganda is increasingly shoring up the government based in Juba. It also could be a gambit by Museveni whereby he hopes to crush rebel forces in order to force Machar into a corner. Also, the more Uganda involves itself then clearly it will become clear about who is really backing Machar. After all, it seems inconceivable that Machar would not bow down to regional powers unless he had an important backer. Of course, most individuals suspect the hand of Khartoum to be involved somewhere within the power play of Machar and other forces hostile to the government based in Juba.

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a regional bloc in East Africa and currently peace talks are being held based on the collective involvement of major players in IGAD. This notably applies to Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda who all favor a political settlement.”

“Ethiopia is also worried about regional instability and the intrigues of Eritrea and Sudan. At the same time, Ethiopia is trying to support the containment of militant Islamist forces in Somalia. Therefore, Ethiopia is trying to garner support alongside Kenya and Uganda in order to stabilize the situation in South Sudan. This can visibly be seen by ongoing peace talks in Ethiopia in relation to the current crisis in South Sudan.”

Machar is demanding the release of all political prisoners being held in South Sudan. However, Kiir is adamant that action was needed because a coup was being planned. Museveni tends to agree with Kiir because the leader of Uganda points to the reality of rebel forces focusing on strategic areas rather than mass political demonstrations.

Despite this, it is essential that Kiir, Machar, Rebecca Nyandeng Garang, Pagan Amum Okiech – and other powerful political players in South Sudan – all take a step back in order to safeguard the future of this nation. Only outside nations will gain from internal divisions and likewise despotism will strangle this new nation state. In this sense, all powerful individuals need to remember the enormous loss of life that took place in order for the people of South Sudan to break free from the tyranny of several Khartoum governments. The people of South Sudan deserve the chance to be free and for a new nation to emerge which gradually resolves all the complex issues faced by this new nation state. Therefore, it is essential that a political solution is found and that regional nations continue to safeguard South Sudan from outside intrigues and clearly Museveni fully understands this.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

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