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The African Union should help to end this South Sudan madness

By Kungu Wanjiru | July 10th 2016

South Sudan has just celebrated its 5th independence anniversary in its usual fashion. Instead of faces being filled with hopes and promises of a brighter future, there was pessimism, cynicism and despair. Apparently, as Riek Machar was meeting Salva Kiir in Juba, fighting broke out between their respective army factions leaving scores dead and others wounded. Unconfirmed reports put the death toll around 100.

This newest republic has hit news headlines for all the long reasons. Its neighbors have borne the brunt of roguish, narcissistic behavior of its leaders. Everyone thought that with self-determination this country would rise.

There were promising prospects of businesses given that the country is landlocked and a heavy importer of food and consumer goods. Donors were willing to commit funds to build this wasteland that had missed the train of urbanization.

Thousands of Kenyans relocated there to help build S. Sudan which lacked the necessary skills and expertise to manage herself. Civil servants with little formal education needed orientation and induction to be able to run the affairs of this new republic.

As the new country’s flag was hoisted which surprisingly resembles the Kenyan one, it evoked memories of liberation hero, John Mabior Garang’, who led two decades war of liberation. The citizenry have never seen a peaceful dawn that they envisaged.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) rebels formed part of the army and police. These were a bunch of lads recruited as child soldiers who fought the Khartoum government. Their only qualification was being Christian and being able to fire a gun.

With such an ill-disciplined ragtag army and police force of former rebels, peace could not hold for long. These were a bunch of trigger-happy, battle hardened and belligerent characters that needed some action.

Since action was not forthcoming, and the process of training them to be professional servants was slow, it was only a matter of time before they stoked the embers of a fire

Two years into independence, conflict erupted after Salva Kiir sacked Riek Machar. The ensuing ethnic clashes pitted Nuer and Dinka tribes. Eventually a compromise was hammered out resulting into a ceasefire Riek Machar assuming the post of 1st Vice-president and returning to Juba from his Kenyan sojourn.

S. Sudan’s conflicts have a spillover effect in Kenya as most of those fleeing end up in Kakuma Camp and eventually in Nairobi. This in turn stretches Kenya’s resources which are grappling with Al Shaabab menace exacerbated by the Somali conflict.

It’s the high time that African Union stopped being complacent and profligate and decisively deal with the belligerent, cantankerous and pugnacious administration that sits in Juba. The more these losers continue to be pampered in five-star hotel in Addis and Nairobi the more value they see in their conflict.

They should be shown some tough love. It’s encouraging African jailed one of its former strongman, Hissene Habre. These two impostors should suffer the same fate.

It will be immoral and unethical to allow such a poor country which has no control over its own resources and imports everything including labor to self-implode. The costs will be too much to bear for its neighbors.

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