South Sudan’s unwanted peace deal

African Arguments

James Copnall

Peace agreements, however difficult to conclude, are usually signed with smiles, hopes and even, in South Sudan, with ululations. But the atmosphere was rather different in Juba on Wednesday despite President Salva Kiir signing a deal that in theory ends South Sudan’s devastating twenty month conflict.

President Kiir made it perfectly and painstakingly clear how little faith he had in the agreement sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other international partners (known collectively as IGAD Plus). Salva announced he had serious reservations. In fact, a twelve-page document was handed out to the assembled dignitaries, intended to be an annex to the peace deal, though the US and others quickly made it clear they would not accept any changes to the signed text.

In his speech, the president also talked about “intimidating messages” – without specifying the source – and said these constituted “a designed roadmap for regime change”. The message, then, was clear: Kiir was signing under duress and signing a deal he believes to be an “imposed peace” rather than “a negotiated peace deal for a just and lasting peace”.

In those circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable to wonder how long the deal will hold.

President Kiir and his camp clearly had more to lose than former vice-president Riek Machar, another signatory to the deal. Salva’s group go from controlling the whole government to merely a majority of it – and not even that in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states, where the government will have only 40% of the posts in the state legislature. The rebels will also name the governor in oil-rich Unity and Upper Nile states.

Salva will have to manage the anger of those who will now lose their jobs and of those who felt a deal should not have been signed. Michael Makuei, the information minister and a hardliner, reportedly walked out of the signing ceremony in disgust. The chief of staff of the national army, Paul Malong, did attend the ceremony, and was the subject of intense scrutiny. He, other generals, and Dinka elders were believed to have been against the deal.

Salva’s period of consultations – and even his attempt to annex reservations to the agreement – might be seen as an attempt to overcome the misgivings of the powerful interest groups on his side who were opposed to the deal. But they will not all have been appeased.

The rebels have their divisions too. The recent defection of a dozen generals, led by Peter Gatdet and Gathoth Gatkuoth, highlights the possibility that Riek will not carry all his forces with him. It is not yet clear how many men the disaffected generals can count on. But a meaningful split in the rebel ranks remains a real possibility.

The permanent ceasefire – due to come into effect 72 hours after the signature of the agreement – seems likely to be tested. The arrival of Riek and his new ministers to Juba, in three months time, promises to be another tense day. Will Riek and Salva – and their more belligerent followers – be able to work together?

History suggests they might. After all, Riek came back into the SPLM’s fold after his 1991 breakaway, and worked as Salva’s deputy from 2005 until the summer of 2013. There was no sign the men particularly liked and trusted each other then. That unease will be compounded now, by twenty months of killing.

But trust can be built. “When they fight, Nilotics are tough, but afterwards they can come together as friends” – that, in substance, is what one rebel official, a Nuer, told me on the day of the signing. Riek and Salva may not like each other, but they can work together – as long as both feel this serves their interests.

All the same, it is difficult to imagine Salva or his inner circle permitting Riek to win the nomination to lead the now ruling SPLM for the 2018 elections, or of Riek letting anything stop his ambitions to one day govern the country. These though, are issues for the medium to long term.

One of the real problems with this peace agreement, inevitable though it may have been, is that it resembles a restructuring of the status quo ante. The SPLM house is being put back together again, brick by difficult brick. Yet the SPLM’s record since 2011 has been a disastrous one.

For South Sudan to become a more stable and prosperous nation, issues of bad governance, corruption and the militarisation of the political sphere must be addressed. This agreement will not correct the absence of democracy in the country. (Its creators may argue it could not have been expected to have done so.)

The creation of a hybrid court may go some way to fighting the impunity with which military and political leaders have acted. Following its progress will be one key sign of the viability of the whole deal.

So in many ways, this agreement is fragile, even incomplete. Renewed fighting could break out in the next few days or months, or the whole shaky edifice could tumble down over disagreements in the transitional government. The divergent agendas of the region could intervene once more in South Sudan’s affairs.

Or, quite simply, the agreement could be applied in full, but South Sudan would still have many problems to resolve. And perhaps the domestic and international willingness to push through this next, more difficult, step would have been exhausted.

That, then, is one assessment of this deal. But there is another way of looking at it. In its short life, South Sudan’s leaders have failed it. They have brought destruction rather than development, and chosen chaos and self-interest rather than the difficult path to improving the lives of their countrymen.

This does not have to be a permanent choice. Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, and the many others with the chance to shape their country’s destiny, can decide to change their ways. Redemption in the eyes of history would not be easy, but it is possible. If they are unable to implement this agreement, difficult though it may be, and bring a lasting peace to the country, then it is time for them to leave the political scene forever.

James Copnall is the editor of the African Arguments’ Making Sense of the Sudans. 

Tanzania – could Lowassa unseat CCM in coming elections?

Daily Maverick

Sub-Saharan democracy, continued: Tanzania goes to the polls


It will take a concerted effort to unseat the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi in the upcoming elections in Tanzania, but momentum appears to be behind the Ukawa opposition coalition, led by former prime minister Edward Lowassa. The outcome of what are expected to be the closest elections in the country’s history is sure to affect not just Tanzania, but the region and the African continent as a whole. By FRANK CHARNAS.

Tanzania will see its democracy tested on October 25, as the stable east African country heads to the polls. While democracy is more than mere elections, these will be the first Tanzanian elections in which the opposition may pose a real threat to the ruling party, testing the nation’s true commitment to the power of the people. Additionally, the new president, whoever he may be, will be key in repairing the country’s ties with its fellow east African nations, the results of which may have ripple effects throughout the region and the continent.

Following with the recent continental trend, the opposition have united behind a single candidate from the largest Chadema party. The amalgamation has been titled Ukawa, and will be headed by former prime minister Edward Lowassa. Notably, Lowassa was a long serving member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, and only joined the opposition after failing to gain the nomination as the CCM candidate, which was awarded to former works minister John Magufuli. Magufuli will share his ticket with Samia Hassan Suluhu, who is vying to be Tanzania’s first woman vice-president since independence in 1961.

The key battle lines during the campaigning are likely to be the battle to have a constitutional review accepted, and the fight against corruption, which is perceived to have become an increasing problem under the regime of incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete. This is especially true in terms of the high profile 2008 embezzlement scandal known locally as the Richmond Scandal, which centers on the illegal awarding of a lucrative government contract to US-based Richmond Development. The event ultimately led to Lowassa being fired from his job as prime minister, and it is likely that the CCM will continue to taint the opposition leader through his links to this scandal. However the Kikwete government has since been further mired by a multimillion-dollar “Tegeta escrow account scandal” in which funds from the central bank, the Bank of Tanzania, were distributed among government officials.

Years of perceived corruption are likely to work against the CCM and its efforts to regain power. That said due to the integral role of Lowassa in the Richmond Scandal, despite his claims that he was set up, it may be difficult for the opposition to display itself as the party fighting corruption.

If he is to succeed, Lowassa will need to further himself from the events of the Richmond Scandal and gain the trust of the entire Chadema apparatus, some of which resents his ascent to the top of the party, despite his history within the CCM. Additionally, Ukawa may find difficulty balancing the desires of its constituent parties, all of whom will want to maximise their positions and power within the coalition. This problem is most clearly notable in the case of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who months after his inauguration, has yet to name the members of his cabinet, partially as a result of the difficulties of governing from within a coalition of parties. Yet despite these challenges, Lowassa appears to be gaining momentum, and has attracted additional high profile CCM defectors, including former prime minister Frederick Sumaye and former home affairs minister Lawrence Masha.

Tanzania is an integral member of the continentally important East African Community (EAC), yet it’s relationship with fellow member states has become increasingly strained during the Kikwete years. Tanzania contributed troops (together with South Africa) to the United Nations (UN) Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), the first UN force mandated to take aggressive action in the campaign to rid the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo of its rebel militants. This created friction with Rwanda and Uganda, who are suspected to have supported and financed rebel organisations, including the M23, the first target of the FIB campaign. Tanzania was also criticised for its slow progress in implementing some of the steps toward regional integration. The new president is thus tasked with either repairing these relations, or continuing Tanzania’s tendency toward independent action in spite of regional pressures. In light of economic turbulence caused in part by the devaluation of the Chinese currency, regional integration will be seen as increasingly vital for economic expansion, and the EAC will be hoping for a more amenable partner. However, the existence of a brave and contrarian force in the regional bloc dominated by democratically questionable and instigatory strongmen, is vital for democracy in the region.

Put together, the upcoming Tanzanian elections are indicative of a continent becoming more at ease with democracy, and realising the power of a united and organised opposition. It will take a concerted effort to unseat the CCM, but momentum appears to be behind Lowassa and his coalition, thus setting up what are expected to be the closest elections in the country’s history, the outcome of which is sure to affect not just Tanzania, but the region and the continent as a whole. DM

Frank Charnas is co-founder and CEO of Afrique Consulting Group. He tweets @frankcharnas

Photo: Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete answers questions from the press after a meeting with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 21 January 2013. EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

US warns Kiir and M<achar over South Sudan peace deal


South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, and rebel leader Riek Machar
Salva Kiir (left) and Riek Machar are at the centre of the conflict

The US has warned South Sudan’s leaders not to violate the peace deal aimed at ending a brutal civil war in the world’s youngest state.

The US would “hold to account” leaders who breached the deal, and would support sanctions against them, said state department spokesman John Kirby.

The US did not recognise President Salva Kiir’s reservations about the deal, he added.

He signed the deal on Wednesday. Rebel leader Riek Machar signed it last week.

Fighting between forces loyal to the two men over the last 20 months has forced more than 2.2 million people from their homes in South Sudan, which broke away from Sudan in 2011.

The deal envisages Mr Machar returning to the government as vice-president.

His dismissal from the post in 2013 was one of the main triggers of the civil war.

Mr Kirby said the US did not “recognise any separate reservations made about the agreement”.

“To end the fighting we call on all parties to adhere to the permanent ceasefire within the next 72 hours and begin the process of implementing this agreement,” he added.

Mr Kiir listed 16 reservations when he signed the deal in front of regional leaders in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.

They included concerns over a power-sharing government, and control of the army.

Key points of peace deal:

South Sudanese soldier on patrol in Bentiu - January 2014
  • Fighting to stop immediately. Soldiers to be confined to barracks in 30 days, foreign forces to leave within 45 days, and child soldiers and prisoners of war freed
  • All military forces to leave the capital, Juba, to be replaced by unspecified “guard forces” and Joint Integrated Police
  • Rebels get post of “first vice-president”
  • Transitional government of national unity to take office in 90 days and govern for 30 months
  • Elections to be held 60 days before end of transitional government’s mandate
  • Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing to investigate human rights violations

Full PDF of agreement

Peace deal worth the wait?

Five obstacles to lasting peace

The US had proposed a UN arms embargo and more sanctions from 6 September unless the pact was signed by the 15-day deadline given to Mr Kiir last week.

At least seven ceasefires have previously been agreed and then shattered – sometimes within hours.

Fighting broke out in December 2013 after President Kiir accused his sacked deputy Mr Machar of plotting a coup.

Mr Machar denied the charges, but then mobilised a rebel force to fight the government.

Angola – relatives of political prisoners to continue protests

Maka Angola

Mr Graciano Domingos, the provincial governor of Luanda, has prohibited peaceful protests unconstitutionally.

The mothers, wives and sisters of 15 Angolan political prisoners decided to appeal against the decision of the governor of Luanda, Graciano Domingos, who banned the march organised to take place on 28 August. The women vowed to take to the streets anyway.

“We are not going to sit and wait for our sons [to be released]. We really are going to march. It is our right”, stated Adália Chivonde, the mother of prisoner Manuel Nito Alves, and one of the petitioners.

“The police can beat us and send in the dogs against us mothers. During the march on 8 August, the police broke one of my toes, this time they can break one of my legs, but the march will go ahead”, she vowed.

In the new petition, which was lodged with the governor’s office today, the organisers of the march gave notice of the decision to “hold a demonstration on 28 August around 15.00, in Largo 1º de Maio [Independence Square], but with no procession or parade”.

Last week the vice-governor, Jovelina Imperial, representing the governor, issued a banning order in response to the women’s earlier request to hold a march in support of their relatives. Ms Imperial referred to the Law on the Right to Convene and Demonstrate, using arguments that had never previously been used by the provincial government.

The document states that “Article 5 of the referred law sets limitations on the exercise of the right to convene and demonstrate, where timing is concerned, explicitly defining that ‘processions and parades may not take place before 19.00 on week days’”.

A legal expert told Maka Angola that the governor failed to see the difference between protest rallies and processions and parades, even though the law makes provision for demonstration procedures. The governor used this pretext to ban the protest, which was ,scheduled to take place on President José Eduardo dos Santos’s birthday, and which was set to culminate with a vigil in Maianga Square, a little over 2 kilometres from Independence Square.

However, by changing their plans from a march to a static demonstration, the petitioners hope to have “surmounted the legal objections preventing the demonstration taking place”. They request “that the referred ban on holding the demonstration be lifted”.

Those who signed the petition were Adália Baptista Chivonde (mother of Nito Alves), Elsa Caholo (sister of Osvaldo Caholo), Henriqueta Diogo (wife of Benedito Jeremias), Marcelina de Brito (sister of Inocêncio de Brito) and Sara João Manuel (wife of Nicola Radical).

The 15 detainees in the case are Afonso Matias “Mbanza Hamza”, Albano Bingobingo, Arante Kivuvu, Benedito Jeremias, Domingos da Cruz, Fernando Tomás “Nicola Radical”, Hitler Jessia Chiconda “Itler Samussuku”, Inocêncio de Britoo “Drux”, José Hata “Cheik Hata”, Luaty Beirão, Nelson Dibango, Nito Alves, Nuno Álvaro Dala, Osvaldo Caholo and Sedrick de Carvalho. Captain Zenóbio Zumba, who was detained a posteriori for supposed friendship with Osvaldo Caholo, is political prisoner number 16.

More than 60 days have passed since the activists were arrested while they were discussing non-violent protest methods (on 20 June past).

At the time, the attorney general, of the Republic, General João Maria Moreira de Sousa, publicly declared that the young men had been caught plotting a coup against President José Eduardo dos Santos. Since then, political-judicial authorities have found it difficult to bring any formal charges against the activists.

On 7 August, the deputy attorney general of the Republic, General Hélder Pitta Grós, held a meeting with the mothers of Nito Alves (Adália Chivonde), Mbanza Hamza (Leonor João) and the sister of Nuno Álvaro Dala (Gertrudes Dala) to discuss the case of the 15. The meeting was extensively covered by State social media, and used as a publicity stunt.

“The time the deputy attorney general gave us for the release of our sons, a week, has come and gone. He said there would be a green light within a week. We still haven’t seen this green light. It appears that the deputy AG lied to us”, said Adália Chivonde.


Somalia – Al Shabab attacks in south


Islamist al Shabaab militants killed at least seven people including a regional official and local police commander in an attack on a government convoy in southern Somalia on Wednesday, officials and the group said.

Al Shabaab attacked the convoy between Garbaharey and Baladhawo towns in the Gedo region, near the Kenyan border.

The al Qaeda-allied group frequently launches attacks on officials in its bid to topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam on the nation, which is struggling to rebuild after two decades of war.

The group now controls increasingly smaller patches of territory since an African Union force and Somali troops drove it out of major strongholds in an offensive launched last year.

“We ambushed them but it turned into a fierce battle later,” al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters. He said 18 people were killed.

Senior Somali police officer Elmi Nur said three militants and seven others, including a deputy district commissioner and a regional police commander, were killed.

“We have been launching operations to eliminate al Shabaab from the region. More police and military were sent after the ambush to chase the fighters hiding in the forested areas,” he said.

Al Shabaab often cites higher numbers for those killed than official figures.

Nigeria – anti-graft boss denies corruption


EFCC boss Ibrahim Lamorde
Image captionEFCC boss Ibrahim Lamorde said he was planning to publish an audit of EFCC seizures

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss Ibrahim Lamorde has denied allegations that $5bn (£3.2bn) has gone missing at the commission he heads.

A Senate committee is investigating charges that assets and cash recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were diverted.

Mr Lamorde told the BBC it was a smear campaign, as the EFCC was prosecuting the man making the allegations.

This showed that the case “should not be taken seriously”.

Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who is championing the investigation, was passed the petition by George Uboh, a security consultant.

Mr Uboh is currently fighting charges of stealing government property, which he denies.

Mr Lamorde said that even if all the money recovered by the EFCC was added up, together with its funding from government, it would not total $5bn.

“How can we divert an amount we don’t have?” he asked.

The exact figures of seized assets was in the process of being audited by a reputable firm, the EFCC chief told the BBC.

“We want to have a comprehensive report that could stand the test of time… from the day the commission was created in April 2003 to date… so that we can put it in [a] public space and any person who has issues with that can challenge it.”

Nigeria – arms deal investigation commission to start work


Arms and ammunitions

The 13-man investigative committee set up to probe the procurement of hardware and ammunition in the Armed Forces has started its sitting, albeit in camera, The PUNCH has learnt.

The committee has been meeting in the office of the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), a source in the Presidency confided in The PUNCH on Wednesday.

The source said, “I can confirm to you that the committee members have started meeting. They even started meeting before their appointments were announced. This is because they do not need any confirmation or any formal inauguration.

“Available information showed that members are getting the needed assistance and support from interested parties.

“It is the government’s belief that a lot of ground would be covered by the committee in its desire to ascertain what went wrong in the past as far as the procurement of arms is concerned.”

Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, had on Monday announced the composition of the committee, which is saddled with the responsibility of probing arms purchase from 2007 till now.

Adesina had said the President directed the NSA to set up the committee with the mandate of identifying irregularities and making recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the Armed Forces.

Members of the committee include AVM J.O.N. Ode (retd.) –chairman; R/Adm. J. A. Aikhomu (retd.); R/Adm. E. Ogbor (retd.); Brig. Gen L. Adekagun (retd.); Brig. Gen. M. Aminu-Kano (retd.); Brig. Gen. N. Rimtip (retd.); Cdre. T.D. Ikoli; Air Cdre U. Mohammed (retd.); Air Cdre I. Shafi’i; Col. A.A. Ariyibi; Group Capt. C.A. Oriaku (retd.); Mr. I. Magu (EFCC); and Brig. Gen Y.I. Shalangwa – Secretary.

Adesina explained that the establishment of the committee was in keeping with Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service.

He added, “It (the committee) comes against the background of the myriad of challenges that the Nigerian Armed Forces have faced in the course of ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the North-East, including the apparent deficit in military platforms with its attendant negative effects of troops’ morale.

“The committee will specifically investigate allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations, which, very often resulted in the acquisition of sub-standard and unserviceable equipment.”

No timeline was given for the committee to carry out its assignment.

Meanwhile, South Africa has said that it is not involved in the investigation into the purchase of arms by the administrations of late President Umaru Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan.

It described the arms probe panel as a Nigerian affair, saying it did not involve in the aborted botched $15m arms deal by the administration of Jonathan in 2014.

The South Africa’s High Commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, stated this in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Wednesday.

Mnguni was asked to react to a report that South Africa might be invited by the Buhari’s arms deal probe panel.

Also asked if his commission would appear before the panel if summoned, the envoy said his mission had nothing to do with the failed arms deals, stressing that it was purely a Nigerian issue.

He added that the South African mission would be guided by directives from the home government, noting that the embassy was a member of the diplomatic community which only follows official instructions.

“We don’t know anything about the arms issue; that is a Nigerian matter. We are not involved. You know what, we are guided by our government and you must also know that we are in the diplomatic community,” he said.

Copyright PUNCH.