Tag Archives: South Sudan peace talks

South Africa – Captura Continua: Will the Guptas determine the ANC succession race?

Daily Maverick (South Africa)

    • Ranjeni Munusamy
      ranjeni munusami BW

 

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Three weeks after the Guptas’ private email correspondence began cascading into the public domain, revealing the depth of the capture of the South African state, we are yet to see outrage and a fightback from the ANC. The party elected to govern by South African people, but now essentially cuckolded by the Guptas, has shown it is powerless against the family. The Guptas appear to be still pushing buttons behind the scenes and their main focus is to ensure that they stack the deck at the ANC’s 54th national conference, mostly to secure their new Number One. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. 20

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has publicly accepted nomination for the position of ANC president, making her the first woman in the history of the 105-year-old organisation to contest the top leadership post. But far from this being a notable moment in history, it is the occasion for despair. Dlamini-Zuma has, without reservation, consented to becoming top of the ticket sponsored by the Gupta family. 31

Up to this point, one could still give Dlamini-Zuma the benefit of the doubt that she was simply riding the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) wave and would distinguish herself from the Gupta herd. But last week the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) announced its leadership slate, the first ANC structure to do so formally. 27

“Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is the president of the ANC, comrade David Mabuza as the deputy president of the ANC, Comrade Ace Magashule as the secretary general of the ANC, Comrade Nathi Mthethwa as the national chair of the ANC, DSG for monitoring and evaluation Comrade Jessie Duarte, DSG for organising and campaigns Comrade Fikile Mbalula and the treasurer general Comrade Maite Nkoana-Mashabane,” ANCYL secretary general Njabulo Nzuza announced at a media briefing following their national executive committee meeting. 29

The ANCWL’s endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma and declaration that it wanted more women in the top leadership of the party at least had the veneer of punting the gender ticket. There was no such effort by the ANCYL. Mbalula, a former ANCYL president, was nominated for a position that does not even exist constitutionally in the ANC. Besides, Mbalula is now 46 years old and can hardly qualify as a “youthful” candidate in the leadership race. The second youngest person on the ANCYL slate is Mthethwa, who at 50 years old is hardly a spring chicken himself. 24

So what is the Youth League up to? And why is Dlamini-Zuma such a willing participant in this agenda? 7

In January ANCYL president Collen Maine indicated that their choice of presidential candidate would send “shockwaves” throughout the ruling party. 12

“These candidates who have been mentioned are part of the system. They have been part of the system we want to change. We need bold leadership. We need a second revolution that will cause ruptures in the economy,” Maine told Reuters back then. 36

Either Maine overestimated the impact of their endorsement of Dlamini-Zuma or their hand was forced to change the “shockwave” candidate they had in mind. There was also talk a few months ago that the ANCYL slate would include Malusi Gigaba, now the finance minister, and Mbalula, for top posts. Clearly that did not materialise. 19

The #GuptaLeaks exposed that Maine was being scripted by the family’s PR firm Bell Pottinger to further their manufactured white monopoly capital narrative. 29

So what else are Maine and his organisation doing on behalf of the Guptas? 19

Since the release of their emails, there have been no public moves by the Guptas. They have gone to ground and not responded publicly to any of the revelations against them. Clearly the family does not believe their ecosystem has been significantly disturbed by the revelations or the reaction to them. 25

While Gigaba and his public enterprises counterpart Lynne Brown are floundering to keep their heads above water, the people who should be most affected by the leak of the tranche of emails are manoeuvring from their place of seclusion. They are doing what they do best – arranging the political playing field to protect themselves and advance the interests of their business empire. 37

There are two positions in the ANC leadership that the Guptas need in particular to keep their project on track: president and secretary general. The ANCYL slate stitches that up for them. 21

President Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzane have been worthwhile investments for the family – both performing as lead marionettes in the Gupta extravaganza. But when Zuma ceases to be ANC president, his power diminishes and he would become a lame duck in the state. Duduzane will then be expendable – unless he is able to act as middleman to the successor as well. 19

Enter Dlamini-Zuma, his stepmother and willing advocate of the “radical economic transformation” narrative that Duduzane and Bell Pottinger conjured up. 26

There have been many moments in the chaos of this year when the former African Union Commission chairperson could have distanced herself from the chaos of the Zuma presidency. If hers was to be a clean, capture-free presidency, the most obvious move would have been to put fresh air between herself from Zuma’s disastrous midnight Cabinet reshuffle. After all, as a potential president, Dlamini-Zuma would inherit the consequences of that suicidal move – a downgraded and junked economy. Surely it would make sense to separate herself from that mess. 32

It would also have been logical for Dlamini-Zuma to distance herself from the stench of the Gupta emails, especially considering they had nothing to do with her. The campaign of her main competitor, Cyril Ramaphosa, has been significantly strengthened by him speaking out against state capture and repeatedly calling for a judicial commission of inquiry into the mounting allegations. Ramaphosa’s campaign has morphed into an anti-corruption ticket basically by him stating the obvious: a full-scale, credible investigation is required. 30

But Dlamini-Zuma is doing no such thing. She is not making any effort to separate herself from the capture contagion. Clearly it serves her agenda. 41

The secretary general position is essential to control the functioning of the ANC. While the Guptas might not have captured Gwede Mantashe, his erraticism and volatility did not do much to protect the ANC from their influence. But the Guptas did have a handy insider in the office of the ANC secretary general in the form of Mantashe’s deputy, Jessie Duarte. She is entangled in their network and also exposed as talking to their script. 32

The Guptas are now looking to seize control of the office of the secretary general entirely. Free State Premier Ace Magashule is the candidate who will deliver the ANC in its entirety to the family. 34

Magashule has already been a handy asset for the Guptas, delivering massive provincial deals and feeding their media entities through the provincial coffers. His sons, Tshepiso and Thato, were exposed in the emails as having been ensnared in the Gupta network for some time. Magashule clearly has ambitions and a higher calling now. 33

Opposition to his candidacy came from a surprise source in the past few days. Mbalula indulged in a spontaneous Twitter blast in which he recommended Gauteng Premier David Makhura for the position of secretary general. 25

“Ace Magashule a definite no no no the man will finish what is remaining of our movement he will kill it inffect #Thinkingaloudbeyond,” Mbalula tweeted. This was followed by: “Ancyl let’s rally behind David Makhura as a replacement to Gweede Mantashe #ThinkingBeyondFactions”. 12

Mbalula reaffirmed his sentiments to the Sunday Times, saying he had nothing against Magashule personally but believed the secretary general position was essential to the ANC’s survival. 16

“The office of the SG comes with a lot of integrity. It must not take sides and annihilate people and run comrades to the ground,” said Mbalula. Clearly the police minister does not think too highly of the candidate nominated by the ANCYL. But Mbalula’s tweets do open the debate beyond the Gupta-endorsed slate and the faction rallying behind Ramaphosa. 12

This weekend, Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile threw his weight behind Ramaphosa, saying he could protect the country from all forms of capture. He told the ANC’s West Rand regional general council that the ANC did not need cowards who would put the country up for sale. He also dispelled the debate over a woman president, saying the ANC needed a capable leader of whichever gender. 28

While Mashatile’s endorsement is indicative that Gauteng is likely to rally behind Ramaphosa, the province might be disorientated if there are more calls for Makhura to be deployed as a consensus candidate for secretary general. Gauteng is resolved that Mashatile should occupy one of the top six posts and has been negotiating with other provinces in this regard. 13

But all the debates and negotiations around succession might come to nothing if the ANC remains powerless to the interference of the Guptas in its processes. The infusion of dirty money to influence the votes of branch delegates has been a successful lobbying tactic in the past and will no doubt be used again. The Guptas have sufficient resources to splurge on this project, particularly as they have a massive vested interest in the outcome of the leadership elections. 28

Buying off a president has turned out to be a boon for the Guptas. Even though the state capture edifice is cracking, the Guptas know that capturing the top leadership of the ANC in December will allow them to regain their foothold and have unrestricted access to the state machinery and resources. 31

There is nothing to indicate that the ANC has the ability or willingness to stop them. The party has six months to fight off the biggest demon since apartheid – or be conquered by it. DM

  • Ranjeni Munusamy is a survivor of the Salem witch trials and has the scars to show it. She has a substantial collection of tattered t-shirts from having “been there and done it” – from government, the Zuma trials, spin-doctoring and upsetting the applecart in South African newsrooms. Following a rather unexciting exorcism ceremony, she traded her femme-fatale gear for a Macbook and a packet of Liquorice Allsorts. Her graduation Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks means she knows a thing or two about telling the South African story.

  • South Africa

South Sudan – Kiir says he will sign peace deal

BBC

South Sudan President Salva Kiir waves at members of his cabinet as he boards a plane in Juba to attend an African Union (AU) summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on 25 June 2014
Mr Kiir has ruled South Sudan since independence in 2011

South Sudan’s president has promised to sign a peace deal he had earlier snubbed, the US State Department says.

Salva Kiir told US Secretary of State John Kerry he had decided to sign after “a couple more days of consultation”, a State Department spokesman said.

His refusal on Monday to sign the deal to end an 18-month civil war was described as “mind-boggling” by the chief mediator.

The US said the latest developments were “encouraging”.

But it has submitted draft proposals for a UN arms embargo on South Sudan.

The UN Security Council blacklisted six generals – three from each side – in July, but member states were at the time unwilling to impose further sanctions.

Fighting between government and rebel forces resumed following Mr Kiir’s failure to endorse the deal on Monday.

Nearly two million people have been left homeless since conflict broke out in the world’s newest state in 2013.

Fighting erupted in that year after Mr Kiir accused rebel leader Riek Machar, his former deputy, of plotting a coup.

Mr Machar signed the accord in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday – the deadline set by mediators.

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South Sudan’s elusive peace

  • At least seven ceasefires agreed and broken since conflict started in December 2013
  • Nearly one in five South Sudanese displaced by the current conflict, from a total population of 12 million
  • Former rebel leader Salva Kiir became president of South Sudan, the world’s newest state, when it gained independence in 2011
  • South Sudan has been at war for 42 of past 60 years

Five obstacles to peace in South Sudan

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Mr Kiir’s chief negotiator had said the deal was a sell-out that could not be implemented as the rebels were split.

But Seyoum Mesfin, a negotiator with the regional body Igad, told the BBC that all the government’s concerns had been addressed.

He said the UN and African Union would be asked to “take over” if Mr Kiir failed to sign in 15 days.

A woman carrying a bucket of water on her head looks on as refugees gather water at the Tomping Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Juba on July 2, 2014.
The conflict has forced people to move into camps

Rebel general James Koang Chuol said his troops had seized the key town of Pageri, near the border with Uganda, after beating back government forces, AFP news agency reports.

Fighting also took place in the Manyo district in oil-producing Upper Nile state, where government troops repulsed a heavy attack by rebels, army spokesman Philip Aguer told AFP.

The claims of both sides could not be independently verified.

South Sudan – Kiir denies reports he will resign over ill health

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese presidency on Sunday dismissed as “unfounded” media reports that president Salva Kiir has been ill and was secretly preparing outside party structure to hand over power to defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, in violation of constitutional provisions sidelining the serving vice president, James Wani Igga.

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Salva Kiir attends the signing of the standard gauge railway agreement with China in Nairobi, Kenya, on 11 May 2014 (Photo: AP/Thomas Mukoya)

Reports said confidential discussions about the health of the president and plans for his replacement in case of deterioration have been going on behind the scene by selected inner circles in which defence minister was recommended by many to take over.

The speculations said the discussants rejected succession by Igga, describing him as a weak personality with no vision for the country.

It was also alleged that a power struggle ensued as chief of general staff, Paul Malong Awan, also disapproved of the defence minister and nominated himself to replace the president.

But senior officials in the office of the president dismissed the widely circulated allegations, saying president Kiir was healthy.

“These are fabrications which you people in the media should not even ask for comments. The president is not sick. He is healthy,” presidential advisor on decentralization and intergovernmental linkages, Tor Deng Mawien, told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

“All that is reported on the social media is just about character assassination. They are unfounded allegations,” he said.

The denial came after several social media forums carried reports purporting to have been confidential information from the presidency that the president might soon resign from the office on grounds of poor health.

The speculations claimed that president Kiir, who was recently in Luanda, Angola, to participate in the international conference on Great Lakes region, purportedly sought a medical check-up during which he was diagnosed with kidney and liver diseases and was advised to reduce working hours on account of “poor health.”

The rumours surfaced particularly when president Kiir delegated defence minister Kuol Manyang Juuk to represent him at the recent Northern Corridor meeting in Kampala, Uganda, where East African heads of state attended, instead of delegating vice president, James Wani Igga.

Mawien denied any knowledge of secret plans and arrangements to hand over power to defence minister Kuol Manyang, saying it was the making of enemies of peace and unity.

The presidential aide explained that defence minister was delegated by the president to represent him at the Northern Corridor meeting in Kampala because vice president Wani Igga was outside the capital, Juba in Nigeria, attending inauguration of the new Nigerian president, Mohamed Buhari.

“All these are the machinations and making of enemies of peace and unity of our people. The president is not sick and there is no such arrangement. I am not aware,” Mawien added.

Mawien did not however explain why the president failed to attend the Northern Corridor meeting of heads of state and government and had to delegate someone else.

President Kiir in March suddenly felt weak and experience nose bleed in Addis Ababa where he was rushed to hospital while on mission to Ethiopia for direct talks with the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar.

Commentators on the social media however argued that the defence minister was not by protocol the next official after president and vice president to represent the government at the summit of heads of state and government.

(ST)

South Sudan – Kiir rejects rebel attack on his legitimacy

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, has strongly rejected a declaration by the armed opposition faction led by former vice-president, Riek Machar, who described him as illegitimate head of state and called for dissolution of his government.

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (AP)

A resolution passed by the opposition leadership conference in the rebel-held town of Pagak on Wednesday revealed that the opposition faction declared president Kiir illegitimate as his terms of office expires on 21 May 2015.

The resolution also urged regional and African leaders and the international community at large to proclaim Salva Kiir’s regime illegitimate and to demand its immediate dissolution in order to give peace a chance.

The rebel group; which rejects the recent extension of the presidential term; said if elections were not conducted due to the ongoing civil war, then the only alternative to renew leadership in South Sudan was to reach a peaceful settlement to the conflict and form a transitional leadership and government.

But a presidential advisor quoted president Kiir’s reaction on Wednesday, saying the head of state described the declaration of the opposition as “nothing new” from the previous demands which asked him to step down.

He also warned that any plan by the opposition group involving foreign powers would be “a blatant interference in the internal affairs and would be resisted.”

Speaking to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, the presidential advisor on decentralisation and intergovernmental linkage, Tor Deng Mawien, said such calls on the president to step down were “non-starter.”

“South Sudanese people who elected president Salva Kiir and bestowed upon him the trust and confidence reject such calls and the president of course has the obligation to accept their positions, because he did not elect himself but obtained the legitimacy from the people who now condemn these divisive and destabilising demands from some of our self-centered, disgruntled and misguided people,” a visibly looking angry Mawien told Sudan Tribune Wednesday.

Mawien said any decisions taken outside the current process of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) working plan would be considered an attack on the national sovereignty and a flagrant interference in internal affairs.

The official said such demands were not in the interests of South Sudan and would not prevent the country from “advancing its political reforms and bringing security and stability to its people.”

International and local humanitarian organisations estimate that hundreds the Nuer ethnic community were killed in the Juba events in December 2013, and forced several others in hundreds of thousands to seek sanctuary at the camps manned by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

President Kiir and members of his government said the events were triggered by an attempted coup masterminded by former vice president Riek Machar and his colleagues.

Machar dismissed the charges and accused Kiir of the plan to cover a plot aimed at targeting his critics in the leadership in order to silence them with a view to muzzle calls for internal reforms in the party.

In Juba, president Kiir on Tuesday addressed graduating students from Juba University, where he said he wanted to bring peace back to the country so that the nation could focus on development.

He appreciated the parliament for amending the transitional constitution and extending his term of office for the three more years.

(ST)

South Sudan – rival leaders vow to end conflict peacefully

Sudan Tribune

(JUBA) – South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned armed opposition leader, Riek Machar, have reiterated their respective commitments to end the 15-month long civil war in the country.

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Ethiopian prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn (C), South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir (L) and South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar (R) attend a meeting on 3 March 2015 in Addis Ababa (Photo: AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

The two principal leaders made reassuring separate public messages during this Easter season as final round of peace talks aimed to strike a final deal between the two warring parties is expected to resume this month in Addis Ababa.

President Kiir in his weekend message wished that the citizens celebrated the festival in peace and harmony and expressed regrets for destruction, loss of lives and stunting development projects brought by the conflict.

He said the war was “uncalled for” but came due to “greed for power” against the wish of everybody.

“It is the wish of everybody in this country, Christians and believers of other faiths that we celebrate this important moment in peace,” he said.

The president assured that he would do all that was in his reach to bring peace to the country by reaching out to those he said “went astray and took up arms against the state and the people of the republic of South Sudan.”

Meanwhile, his former deputy, Machar, who leads the rebel faction of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO) similarly assured the South Sudanese people of his leadership’s commitment to restoring peace.

However, he said he wished the citizens of the war-ravaged country celebrated this year’s Easter festival in peace.

“It has been our wish that peace would prevail in our country during this Easter. However, we are still hopeful that peace comes soon,” Machar said in his Easter message.

Face to face negotiations between the two leaders collapsed on 6 March when they disagreed on almost every contentious issue.

They disagreed on fate of federalism as president Kiir refused implementation of a federal system of governance as part of a peace agreement. This is against Machar’s demand to establish the federal system during the interim period.

The two leaders could not also agree on the fate of the two rival armies when the opposition group proposed separate armies in the transition prior to gradual transformation and amalgamation.

Government wants reintegration of the formerly regular forces that defected minus their new recruits and the White Army which composes bulk of the rebel fighters.

Other outstanding issues included leadership structure, power and wealth-sharing, reforms in public, economic and security sectors as well as accountability and reconciliation.

The East African regional bloc of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) which has been mediating the peace talks in vain for the last 14 months, said they would this time around try a new expanded IGAD-Plus mechanism to end the war.

The new mediation mechanism will include Troika countries (USA, UK and Norway), African Union (AU), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and China.

The regional mediators hinted that negotiations may resume in mid-April amidst speculations that a draft final peace agreement may be imposed on the warring parties.

UN and Troika countries have warned of punitive measures against those who will be seen against peace agreement including targeted sanctions of travel bans and assets freeze as well as arms embargo.

(ST)

South Sudan – Kiir and Machar oppose AU efforts to exclude them from transitional government

Sudan Tribune

March 10, 2015 (JUBA) – South Sudanese rival leaders involved in the country’s 15 months-old conflict are against the move to have them excluded from the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU).

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South Sudanese president Salva Kiir (L) and former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar (AFP)

A draft report of the African Union inquiry into crimes committed during the South Sudanese conflict recommended, among others, that president Salva Kiir and those who served his government prior to the July 2013 reshuffle be excluded from the TGNU executive.

Awan Guol Riak, South Sudan’s minister for the presidency, said the mandate of the five-member African Union commission of inquiry was to investigate crimes committed and make recommendations.

“We must also remember that president Salva Kiir was elected by the people and it is the people who have the ultimate choice and decision to make. Because we are a democratic country, we get power through votes of our people in elections,” said Riak.

“The people are the ones who give the president the legitimacy he still has today and will continue in this capacity”, he further stressed.

The minister also downplayed the significance of the United States-initiated sanctions against individual perceived to be blocking the ongoing peace process, stressing that punitive measures would not only undermine the process, but also the best approach.

Last week, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for the formation of a sanctions committee geared towards South Sudan.

Meanwhile, the armed opposition leader, Riek Machar expressed his disappointment over failure to reach a peace deal during last week’s direct negotiations with president Kiir.

Machar, in an interview with the Washington-based VOA, said peace would only be achieved in reality if he and president Kiir are allowed and encouraged to participate in the TGNU.

He further explained that their removal would depend on the people of South Sudan and that nobody be allowed to decide on the young nation’s political future.

(ST)

South Sudan – peace talks resume under IGAD auspices

Sudan Tribune

(ADDIS ABABA) – Leaders of the South Sudan’s government and rival factions of the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) on Tuesday afternoon began face-to-face talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, as deadline for peace set by regional mediators approaches to dead end.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (C), South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (L) and South Sudan rebel chief Riek Machar (R) attend a meeting on March 3, 2015 in Addis Ababa (Photo AFP/Zacharias Abubeker)

Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African regional bloc mediating the two conflicting parties, has given both sides until Thursday, 5 March, to reach a comprehensive peace agreement to end nearly 15-month long conflict in South Sudan.

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir and his former deputy and current rebel leader, Riek Machar, resumed the direct negotiations on Tuesday on the key contentious issues which had been slowing the peace process.

The two principals held the closed door meeting till late night hours discussing critical issues particularly on the structure of the transitional government, power sharing ratios, as well as on the composition of the national legislature and transitional security arrangements.

A rebel source close to the meeting told Sudan Tribune that the gap was still wide as president Kiir continued to reject adoption and implementation of federal system of governance and separation of the two rival armies or phased amalgamation during the transitional period, which he said were fundamental issues in the peace process.

After meeting Kiir and Machar earlier, Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam desalegn, urged the two leaders to expeditiously address the outstanding issues and take tough decisions to strike a final peace settlement to the crises.

“Very little time remains,” Desalegn said, urging both sides to take difficult compromises further noting them any more failure to reach a negotiated settlement would mean prolonging the crises against the wishes of the South Sudanese people.

While noting a resolution now being considered by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in New York, the Ethiopian premier who also chairs IGAD told Kiir and Machar to be courageous to swiftly make “compromises and alternatives rather than only reiterating old positions.”

“This is a sign of the frustration that the international community feels in relation to the parties in South Sudan, and their continued intransigence in resolving the crises.”

“The region is also frustrated. The solution is in your hands. Don’t throw it away any longer,” Desalegn further advised the two principals.

With deadline to reach final peace accord less than 48 hours away, and considering wide gaps remaining for both sides to agree, observers speaking to Sudan Tribune doubt a final agreement would be reached before the deadline on Thursday.

Also, considering previously failed deadlines and existing gaps on contentious issues observers suspect that the parties may instead ask IGAD to extend the 5 March deadline in which failure may lead to sanctions threatened by the IGAD, AU and the international community.

IGAD Chief mediator, Seyoum Mesfin, also urged the parties to in no time accelerate the final peace deal.

He also appealed on IGAD leaders, the UN, African Union and the international community at large to join the IGAD calls and exert pressure on the warring parties.