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
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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs