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The East African : July 21st 2014
18 The EastAfrican OPINION JULY 19-25,2014 PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY THE NATION MEDIA GROUP Kii≥, Macha≥ must go if they won’t talk THE INTERNATIONAL community must come in forcefully to prevent South Sudan from becoming a failed state. It is now evident that President Salva Kiir and his protagonist Dr Riek Machar are not keen on peaceful solutions to the political crisis and are only focusing on the military option. As Inter-Governmental Authority on Devel- opment Executive Secretary Mahboub Maalim said, it is futile to hope for a military solution because neither side has the firepower to vanquish the other. The only option is to negotiate for national reconciliation and healing. It is a serious concern to the suffering popu- lation of South Sudan that both sides have resorted to time-wasting tactics and trotting out lame excuses not to go ahead with the formation of the transitional government. The South Sudan crisis is bigger than the naroow selfnterests of President Kiir and Dr Machar because it has implications for regional security; the two should not be allowed to destabilise the whole region. The region and the international commu- nity must now push both President Kiir and Dr Machar to either be part of the solution or leave the scene. Countries like Kenya invested hugely in the peace process that culminated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and it would be wasted effort for the neighbours to continue to deal with refugees and the inflow of light weapons and small arms. We have seen the leaders inciting their fol- lowers to kill each other while they stay in comfort in Nairobi, Kampala or Addis Ababa. The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan has revealed that both sides have engaged in deliberate massacre of the population and there is a strong likelihood that many top politicians will end up at the International Criminal Court. The second option is to impose individual sanctions on the perpetrators of the war. Unfortunately, Igad does not have the muscle to force President Kiir and Dr Machar to meet the deadline for a transitional government by August 10. Nor will plans by the UN Security Council to recommend sanctions against selected individuals break the deadlock. South Sudan “celebrated” its third year of In- dependence in July. On the eve of South Sudan Independence in July 9, 2011, all its citizens stayed awake, dancing the whole night away in the street awaiting to receive their freedom after over 50 years of war and suffering. This has now turned into a mirage. The civil war is threatening to spread to more states, and South Sudan is facing a devastating famine due to disruption of farming activities. The UN Security Council must now find new ways of preventing massive humanitarian catastrophe. If President Kiir and Dr Machar are bent on bringing down a promising nation, then the international community must remove them from the scene. The bulk of Ugandan exiles who fought Idi Amin were based in Tanzania and Kenya.” Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo prime minister Raila Odinga, was holding its Saba Saba rally to call for a national dialogue with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta over what it alleged are a series of “national crises” that threaten the republic of Kenya. Fearing violence, most Nairobians O The grousing about Museveni at Saba Saba masked the fact Raila et al have also benefited from integration stayed home. The Kenyan media, especially TV stations, which had made a big meal of the events leading to the rally, blinked at the end and didn’t carry it live. The result is that most people didn’t get to know most of what was said at the rally. There was, however, stuff there that should be of great interest to those who are vested in the East African Project. Many speakers took to the stage to n July 7, most of Nairobi was a ghost town. The opposition Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) led by former You can’t host ≥ebels, but hey, you can build b≥ands denounce Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, accusing him of “interfering” in Kenya’s domestic affairs. The suggestion being that without support from Museveni, Kenyatta would be weaker and easier to extract concessions from. That is debatable, but a Cord leg- islator went as far as to allege that a bus carrying military uniforms had crossed into Kisumu from Uganda. The point scoring aside, Cord was saying something important about how East Africa has changed. If one compares relations between East African states today and what they were before Rwanda and Burundi joined the EAC in July 2009, they are as different as day and night. Consider this. The bulk of Ugandan exiles who, together with the Tanzanian army, fought and ousted Uganda military dictator Idi Amin in 1979 were based in Tanzania and Kenya. For most of the years between 1981 and 1985 in which Museveni fought the guerrilla war that eventually brought him to power in early 1986, the external wing of the now-ruling National Resistance Movement were based in Kenya. Prominent figures in Kenya were part of the infrastructure that supported the Museveni rebels, who used routes over Lake Victoria, and through Burundi and Rwanda to smuggle weapons. Lots of political d≥ama as PEV victims still fo≥gotten ty in power. Yes, the current demands from the Coalition for Reform and Democracy have been largely built reactively upon failures of governance to date rather a proactive proposition for the public. But it is now the Jubilants who are trailing after Cord in its series of nation-wide meetings and rallies, offering development goodies — that old and time-tested tactic — to stall its momentum. That said, the political agitation F and positioning has also had an effect that isn’t so positive. Which is to detract attention from pending issues from the past. Despite the “move on” mantra, the door is not yet shut. Certainly not for survivors and victims of the post-election violence. And no, this is not about the two A PUBLICATION OF THE NATION MEDIA GROUP LINUS GITAHI: Chief Executive Officer TOM MSHINDI: Acting Editorial Director PAMELLA SITTONI: Managing Editor Nation Centre, Kimathi Street, P.O. Box 49010-00100 G.P.O. Nairobi. Tel. 3288000, 2221222, 337710, Fax 214531, 213946. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © Nation Media Group Kenyan cases still before the International Criminal Court. What this is about is the continued needs of survivors and victims of the post-election violence. Despite the now concluded government resettlement and compensation schemes for recognised internally displaced persons. The limitations of those schemes are already in the public domain. The discriminatory effect of those schemes when comparing the treatment of IDPs in or the first time since last year’s general election, the opposition seems to have seized the momentum from the par- the recognised IDP camps with socalled integrated IDPs. The corruption in the distribution of compensation. The paltry amounts of compensation . Morover, not all survivors and vic- tims became IDPs. This is especially so in areas affected by the post-election violence outside of the Rift Valley — in Nairobi, Nyanza and Western. How many Kenyans are still living with bodily injuries from beatings or gunshot wounds received at the time? How many Kenyans are still living with all that potentially flows The past still lives among and with us. In the bodies and minds and livelihoods of all survivors of 2007/8 from sexual violence — psychological trauma, unwanted children from undesired pregnancies, venereal infections of one kind or another, desertion and stigma associated with HIV infection? How many Kenyans were economically independent at the time of the post-election violence who had to abandon small businesses and other investments that are now entirely lost — leaving them economically dependent, without dignity and livelihoods at all? Thousands of persecuted Rwandese refugees in Uganda fled to the bush and joined the Museveni rebels. In October 1990, they defected en masse to start their return-to-the-homeland war, taking power in July 1994 after the genocide in which nearly one million Rwandans were killed. It is well nigh impossible today for an organisation seeking to overthrow any East African government to find such sanctuary in any other EAC nation. Partly because of terrorism, security co-operation between EAC defence and intelligence agencies is extensive. That and economic integration have actually strengthened EAC governments. Moreover, the grousing at the Saba Saba rally masked the fact that leaders like Raila have also benefited from the coalescing of the region and expanded their brands. Raila has no shortage of admirers in Tanzania and Uganda. Still, while the presidents have been adept at capitalising on the new regional dynamics, the opposition has not figured out a way to cash in. It won’t be long before some opposition figure, possibly from Tanzania – they have some very clever young ones there – finds a way to build an East African brand too. Stay tuned. Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo is edito≥ of Mail & Gua≥dian Af≥ica (mgaf≥ica.com). Twitte≥:@cobbo3 Despite the ‘move on’ mantra, the door is not yet shut for them.” L. Muthoni Wanyeki A full assessment of the achieve- ments and failures of the resettlement and compensation scheme is long overdue, with accountability and action on its discriminatory effects. Political signalling from the highest possible levels is necessary to counter the climate of fear that survivors and victims now live in. How could they possibly come forward with criminal complaints when they no longer even dare meet over their concerns in some areas of the Rift Valley? Or when their criminal complaints are against the police themselves in Nairobi, Nyanza and Western? It is easy to say we must all move on. But the past still lives among and with us. In the bodies and minds and livelihoods of all survivors and victims of the post-election violence. Let the slow erosion from the public consciousness of the two cases before the ICC not blind us to that fact. L. Muthoni Wanyeki is Amnesty Inte≥national’s ≥egional di≥ecto≥ fo≥ East Af≥ica, cove≥ing East Af≥ica, the Ho≥n and the G≥eat Lakes. This column is w≥itten in he≥ pe≥sonal capacity.
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