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The East African : Sep 19th 2015
18 KAMPALA, KHARTOUM OLD PROXY WARS AWAKENED The EastAfrican NEWS SEPTEMBER 19-25,2015 Uganda opposition unity at c≥oss≥oads By GAAKI KIGAMBO Special Correspondent IF THE Democratic Alliance (TDA) had a tough time arriving at a joint candidate for next year’s general election, an equally difficult situation presents itself — that of reconciling the winner and the loser of the hotly contested race between Amama Mbabazi and Dr Kizza Besigye. And if the Alliance fails to emerge out of its threeday candidate caucus stronger and united, there is a chance its followers could become disillusioned and support the ruling National Resistance Movement. “Both candidates are South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his former Vice President Dr Riek Machar in Addis Ababa early this year where they signed a peace deal. Picture: PSCU Hope for Juba peace deal as Machar, Museveni finally meet The success of the deal hinges on the extent to which Uganda’s long held fea≥s of Sudan a≥e add≥essed, analysts say By MICHEAL WAKABI The EastAfrican Khartoum this week and his subsequent meeting with rebel leader Dr Riek Machar underscored ongoing efforts to defuse the residual tensions surrounding the peace deal that South Sudan’s combatants finally inked at the urging of international mediators. According to analysts, U while the main protagonists eventually came round to endorsing a peace deal that seeks to end the 20-month conflict that has awakened old proxy wars between Kampala and Khartoum, its success hinges on the extent to which Uganda’s long held fears of Sudan are addressed. “The old differences be- tween Kampala and Khartoum have never been resolved and Kiir signed the peace deal with reservations, an indication that there were issues outside the public domain that remain unresolved,” one analyst said. “But on the other hand, Kiir and Kampala cannot afford to be at odds with an international community eager to get the South Sudan crisis out of the way.” President Museveni’s sur- prise two-day visit to Khartoum on September 15-16 dur- gandan President Yoweri Museveni’s rare visit to ing which he also held talks with SPLM-IO leader Dr Riek Machar is being seen as part of ongoing efforts to achieving convergence over lingering concerns by Kampala about the post-conflict security arrangement under the deal that President Salva Kiir reluctantly signed on August 27, 10 days after deferring the decision. In official statements, the government said the two leaders had agreed that their countries had a crucial role to play in resolving the conflict by contributing to the stability of South Sudan. While the trip was being seen as a positive development for the fragile South Sudan peace accord, it was not immediately clear what Kampala secured in terms of its own reservations over a requirement to pull its troops out of Juba, where they have been supporting President Kiir’s administration against a breakaway faction of the “Kiir signed the peace deal with reservations, an indication that there were issues outside the public domain that remain unresolved” Analyst ruling Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement. Media reports quoted Ma- char’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, as saying President Museveni and Machar met in Khartoum on Wednesday and discussed the implementation of the security arrangements proposed under the peace deal. It was understood that the discussions centred on the proposed withdrawal of all foreign forces from South Sudan within 45 days from the date of the signing, a proposal Museveni was reported to have committed himself to. Demilitarisation Kampala is said to have been opposed to the demilitarisation of Juba and the maintenance of two commands during the transition period. Both Machar and Kiir have signed a compromise agreement under which they will share power and retain control over their respective factions of the armed forces. President Kiir’s government will cede 15 per cent of seats in each of the seven states of Warrap, Lakes, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Central, Western and Eastern Equatoria states to Machar’s faction. In return, government will control 46 per cent of the seats in Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei states while the SPLM-IO will take the other 40 per cent and former detainees and political parties, 7 per cent each. The SPLM-IO will nomi- FROM 1950s The Sudan- Ugandan relations have been strained since the early 1950s. Tensions between the two countries escalated in 1982 when Uganda chose to support the rebel movement in South Sudan, led by the late John Garang, then leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). President Museveni continued the hostile policy against Sudan when he took power in Uganda in 1987. In 1995, the two countries severed their diplomatic ties. nate governors for the two oil-rich states of Unity and Upper Nile, government will nominate governorship position for Jonglei state. On security, Juba will be demilitarised to a radius of 25km, with foreign troops from the Intergovernmental Authority on Developmentcountries, and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) supposed to secure the capital during the 30 months transition period until elections are conducted. President Kiir will remain commander-in-chief of the South Sudan army (SPLA) while rebel leader Machar will also retain command over his forces until the unification process is completed. Supporters of Kizza Besigye celebrate near the Forum for Democracy Change offices in Kampala on July 1, after the former was nominated as the party’s flag bearer in the forthcoming presidential elections. Picture: AFP strong and each has his advantages. If it were simply about a strong candidate we would have announced one by yesterday,” said a secretary general of one of the parties at the retreat. He added: “It is about consensus. It is about moving together as a team. It is about compromise. We need to give and take and that is what we are working towards. I can assure you that is achievable. Wait and see.” The summit was not expected to announce its eventual candidate until late Friday, September 18 after press time. Among those attend- ing the retreat are party presidents, their secretarygeneral and two representatives of each pressure group (there are two in the Alliance) or citizens’ formations. Until Mbabazi, a former secretary-general of the ruling NRM joined the Alliance formally late last Friday, it seemed the TDA would endorse Besigye, who had been elected flag bearer of the Forum for Democratic Change, Uganda’s largest opposition political party. His competitors at the time were Norbert Mao, president of the Democratic Party and Gilbert Bukenya, former vice president — were not perceived as being stronger candidates than Bisigye. Bisegye is a three-time presidential contestant,who has consistently polled two million votes on average. In 2011 when Mr Mao participated in the presidential election, he garnered just 147,917 votes. Although the TDA terms require a contender for its flag to make a public pledge to back whoever is eventually selected, there are concerns that the candidate who loses may find it difficult to do so. The thinking is based on how self-assured each of the candidates apears, and their divergent political strategies. Suspicion These concerns became apparent on September 17 when a group of FDC supporters stormed the retreat venue and demanded that Besigye withdraw from the nomination because, “it lacked transparency and fairness.” They said the convention was meant to crown Mbabazi whom they claimed still identified with NRM. The difficulty in rally- ing behind one candidate over the other rests on how deeply each of the men is interested in being on the ballot in 2016. Mbabazi, for one, has made no secret about it. He said as much in July as he announced his independent candidature. Besides, both men have already picke up presidential nomination forms from the Electoral Commission. What is more, Mbabazi has reportedly concluded collecting signatures apparently in excess of what the EC requires to nominate someone.
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