News / Africa

    South Sudan Officials on 'Coup-Convincing' Tour

    South Sudan President Salva Kiir tells reporters at a news conference in Juba on Monday, December 16, 2013 that the government has "full control" of the situation in the capital after what he says was an overnight coup attempt.
    South Sudan President Salva Kiir tells reporters at a news conference in Juba on Monday, December 16, 2013 that the government has "full control" of the situation in the capital after what he says was an overnight coup attempt.
    Lucy Poni
    South Sudan has dispatched a three-man team to try to convince African leaders that months of fighting in the young country were triggered by a botched coup bid led by former vice president Riek Machar -- a message Juba has had difficulty convincing others is true.

    The delegation led by Ateny Wek Ateny, President Salva Kiir's spokesman,  has already travelled to Cairo, Kampala and Khartoum and was in Nairobi on Wednesday, where Ateny briefed reporters on the message South Sudanese authorities are trying to get across.

    The government of South Sudan is not happy with media coverage in neighboring countries of the events that triggered the conflict, he said.

    “What happened on the 15th of December, in our own definition and what we believe to have happened, was a mere military coup that failed," Ateny said.

    "The definition that was made outside seems to be gaining momentum, simply because the world of today has become where the truth is bought and sold,” he said.

    The government  has insisted since December that Machar, whom Kiir fired along with the rest of the cabinet in July, led a failed bid to oust the president, which snowballed into months of unrest across South Sudan, resulting in thousands of lives being lost and some 900,000 people being forced from their homes.

    Machar, who went into hiding shortly after the fighting broke out, has denied having anything to do with a coup bid, although he has said since the violence erupted that he is in open rebellion against Kiir's government.

    As part of its mission to convince others that the government's version of events in South Sudan is the correct one, the South Sudanese delegation has been handing out booklets entitled, "The truth about the aborted coup of Dr. Riek Machar and his group."

    Ateny told reporters in Nairobi that the fighting in South Sudan was sparked by a political rift, and was not a tribal war, and they should report it that way..

    The officials will continue their tour for several more weeks, with the next stop an undisclosed country in West Africa.

    Opposition calls tour 'last kick of dying horse'


    Goi Jooyul, an anti-government delegate at peace talks for South Sudan in Addis Ababa, which are currently adjourned but due to resume in two weeks, called the tour a waste of time and "the last kick of a dying horse."

    "Selling the idea of a coup... Everybody knows that there was no coup," he said, adding that the tour could disrupt the "conducive atmosphere for the peace talks" at a time when the two sides are "moving towards reconciliation... towards an SPLM leadership meeting... towards governance issues to be solved in the next round."

    Jooyul said the opposition has no plans to hold a similar tour to win over media to their way of seeing the events in South Sudan.

    Meanwhile, as Ateny and his team pursued their efforts, ruling party officials in South Sudan said Kiir has set up a committee to charge several officials with treason if a court finds them guilty of taking part in the alleged coup.

    Among those the committee has in its sights are Machar, Taban Deng Gai, former governor of Unity state and the lead negotiator for the opposition at the peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, and Pag'an Amum Okiech, the former secretary general of the ruling SPLM party.

    Amum is one of four SPLM political figures who are still  in detention in Juba, months after they were taken into custody after fighting erupted in the capital in December.

    The other three, who could also face treason charges, are former deputy defense minister Majak D'Agoot; Oyai Deng Ajak, former national security minister, and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who served as head of the government liaison office in the United States.

    Machar, Gai and former environment minister Alfred Lado Gore fled South Sudan or went into hiding and will be tried in absentia.

    South Sudan Justice Minister Paulino Wanawilla said in January that government investigators have found enough evidence to charge all seven men with treason for their part in what the government insists was a coup attempt that the accused say never happened.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kuol Kum from: Addiss Ababa
    March 07, 2014 3:35 PM
    it is the wasted of moneys by the govt for nonsenses things, what happened actually is not a coup as many countries commented on, it is failure of Administration by the head of state for mismanagement and lack of the democracy within the party SPLM where is the evidences of coup? what I know so far the delegation has cooked their mind on how they can get the money does not mean that they are going to achieve an things on their touring, the states which they have mentioned above are already knew what was happened is not a coup in the first place and also they have a experienced on the dictatorial way of Kiir Administration.

    by: Lual peter from: Nairobi
    March 07, 2014 1:55 AM
    This is nonsense tour for the gov't. It seems as Ateny is showing to president how actively he is doing in this matter. It would be shameful, if gov't is the one planning this tour; since it will not bring any effect while money, time and energy is wasted.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora