News / Africa

    Obama Signs Executive Order as South Sudan Accuses US of Meddling

    President Barack Obama speaks at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (not pictured) in Rome March 14, 2014.
    President Barack Obama speaks at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (not pictured) in Rome March 14, 2014.
    James Butty
    South Sudan’s minister of information says the United States is meddling in South Sudan’s internal affairs by trying to influence the outcome of ongoing peace negotiations.

    Michael Makuei was reacting to an executive order issued Thursday by President Barack Obama clearing the way for U.S. sanctions on anyone threatening the stability of South Sudan, as well as those committing human-rights abuses.

    Makuei denies that anyone in the South Sudan government is impeding current peace talks being held under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

    Makuei says the executive order will obstruct the ongoing peace process more.
     
    “In the first place, I don’t know what are the criteria used by him (President Obama) to decide whether X or Y has committed human rights violations or abuses,” Makuei said.
                       
    Makuei said the East Africa regional group Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has already decided to set up a committee to investigate allegations of rights violation in the South Sudan conflict.
     
    He said it would have been better had Mr. Obama waited for the outcome of an IGAD investigation before authorizing sanctions.
     
    “The investigation has not yet started, and based on that investigation, this would have been the most appropriate time for him (Obama) to decide as to who violated and what action should be taken against them,” Makuei said.
     
    Makuei said while many were killed and tens of thousands displaced by the December 15 conflict, the government of South Sudan did not commit any human rights violation.
     
    “A lot of people died, but did you investigate so that you decide as to who committed what, or are you basing your claims on individual reports submitted people who decided to give misleading reports,” Makuei said.
     
    Though South Sudan’s warring parties signed a permanent ceasefire agreement in January, ongoing peace talks in Ethiopia have stalled.
     
    The South Sudan government said late last month that it will not take part in the peace process if a group of former high-ranking political leaders - whom the government detained after fighting broke out in December – join the talks as a third party.
     
    Makuei said the government is not obstructing the peace process but simply stating the position of South Sudanese.
     
    “We are negotiating and in the process of negotiation. There is no question of obstruction as long as you continue to state what you believe to be the position of the people of South Sudan,” Makuei said.
                       
    He said “foreign intervention” in the negotiations between the government and rebels was responsible for obstructing peace in South Sudan.

    “This excessive intervention with the objective of driving the peace process in the direction people want, this is what is causing us problems. Not the rebels or the government,” Makuei said.
     
    Asked to be specific in his allegations of foreign intervention, the South Sudan government spokesman said the United States was meddling in South Sudan affairs and gave an example that he claimed came from U.S. Ambassador Susan Page.
                       
    “From the side of America, this has been clearly confirmed by Susan Page in a lecture which she gave at one of the universities in America and she confirmed the position of the people and government of America because she clearly stated that they support the rebels, and that the rebels are fighting a just war,” Makuei said.

    There is no record that Page made those comments.

    Page said in an interview with VOA last month that the South Sudan conflict was not winnable “through the use of force and weapons.”
     
    “We reiterate there cannot be a solution militarily to this conflict that is first and foremost political and where demands of people need to be heard,” she said.

    In its 2012 human rights report, the U.S. State Department said the most serious human rights problems in South Sudan were security force abuses, including extra-judicial killings, torture, rape, intimidation, and other inhumane treatment of civilians as well as the lack of access to justice.
    Butty interview with Makuei
    Butty interview with Makueii
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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: No to Democracy
    April 11, 2014 7:48 AM
    South Sudan is too diverse. A criterion of a successful country is that be ethnically homogenous, or have one major ethnic group and a few minority groups who are tolerated and given their rights. South Sudan has dozens of ethnic groups. The Dinka is the largest at 15%, the second Nuer at 10% and the Shilluk at 8% and so forth. And its mostly the ethnic group most developed in military and trade that assumes the leadership of a new country. John Garang was a Dinka. His follower Salva Kiir is a Dinka. Salva Kiir barely developed the country. He did almost nothing in the last 3 years. And he gave preference to his own ethnic group while excluding the rest.

    South Sudan has probably the world's largest per capita of race wars. While the second Sudanese civil war was in full rage, the Dinka crushed an ethnic group called the Bor, and I've seen a Dinka boast about it. All through 2012, there was a race conflict between the Murle and the Nuer. The army did almost nothing. Ideas like human rights and democracy belong in Europe and are inapplicable all throughout Africa. Democracy requires tolerance between ethnic groups, which is never guaranteed. Africans think purely in terms of race. They resent entire races, punish entire races, and empty their rage on entire races. Black Americans resenting White Americans comes to mind (search "black men white women").

    Democracy also requires an educated populace. Most Africans have either completed secondary education, did not complete their education or are illiterate altogether. Few go to university, and intellectuals are fewer. And most of the rural or recently urban Africans do not understand the voting procedure. (And dictators do not step down; the manipulate the voting process to their own benefit.) Human rights like freedom of religion is guaranteed, as religion is not as important to most Africans as race. However freedom of speech and the right to addressing grievances is foreign. It is always brave to criticize the powerful directly and openly, as the repercussions have always been painful.

    These ideas come from the former colonizers from Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and Portugal. These are European countries built on European ideas and traditions. European ideas belong to Europe as black skin belongs to Africans, and they belong to Africa as much as zebras belong to Europe. And the only reasons that Europeans colonized Africa was that Europe was infinitely stronger in military and had material wealth that was astronomical in comparison to the African kingdoms.

    by: Kang from: JJ
    April 06, 2014 5:06 PM
    PEACE is what we want now not accusations and complaints
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    April 29, 2014 9:50 AM
    South Sudan will never have peace because everybody want to be a leader
    This is a failed state. If Riak Machar comes to power, he will only favor his Nuer group and Dinka will again rebel. This is a very useless and totally failed state.

    by: brook from: ethiopia
    April 06, 2014 11:57 AM
    Kirr and Machar or etc must stop killing innocent people at South sudan
    In Response

    by: nyok Abraham from: juba
    April 08, 2014 10:58 AM
    Did Kiir and Machar or etc stop killing of innocent people from south sudan ?

    by: Jom from: Juba
    April 06, 2014 12:40 AM
    Thank you president Obama we are searching of peace.

    by: D lol from: Juba
    April 05, 2014 8:46 PM
    Makui must go with salva all together

    by: zabib from: juba
    April 05, 2014 11:43 AM
    The confussion is at a very high level in the south Sudan.

    by: walgatwechrik from: pagak
    April 05, 2014 11:39 AM
    usless makui do you think to fight with u.s gov,t

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