The politics of UN intervention in South Sudan: Making Sense of President Kiir’s speech to parliament

Posted: August 26, 2016 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Columnists, Featured Articles, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers, Simon Yel

By Simon Yel Yel, Juba, South Sudan

RSS coat of ARMS

South Sudan’s coat of arms, in which the eagle symbolizes vision, strength, resilience and majesty, and the shield and spear the people’s resolve to protect the sovereignty of their republic and work hard to feed it.

August 26, 2016 (SSB) — It was bound to happen sooner rather later. For the government supporters who were holding their breath, waiting to hear what is on president’s mind about the recent adopted United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions on the renewal of UNMISS Mandate and approval of 4,000 strong protection or intervention force; they got what they were waiting for on Monday 15th August when President Salva Kiir officially inaugurated the Transitional National Assembly.

The business remains as usual; and the pessimists who were speculating the business to be as usual got away with right prediction as the winners of political prediction. To their dismay, the supporters of the government who were expecting their government to be “born again” and look forward to seeing their President firing verbal missiles and incendiary rhetoric Like Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth against the UN, IGAD and US regarding the recent adopted UNSC resolution on sending 4,000 protection or intervention force to South Sudan and the renewal of the mandate of UNMISS, didn’t see any change in business.

In English Premier League as it should be in South Sudan politics, when your team’s head coach or manager draws a wrong line up and your team ended up undeservingly being beaten, some diehard supporters especially Arsenal supporters usually commit suicide for losing the match.

With the current state of affairs, it is up to the government supporters who were expecting something different from what the President said on Monday during the official opening of the parliament to whether they should commit suicide, politicide, maleshcide, whatever cide it is; or they should solace themselves with bottles of beer and Kombo Lam and say “happy days are ahead”.

 In fact, government supporters were prognosticating the seditious rhetoric that often stems from “former rebel leaders” mentality of “resistance” from the President Salva Kiir. Nevertheless, he spoke.

Let’s have some quotes from the President’s speech on Monday regarding United Nation Security Council adopted resolutions on 4,000 protection troops, renewal of UNMISS Mandate and what he thinks on South Sudan relations with the United States.

On the renewal of the UNMISS mandate and IGAD communiqué on 5th this month, President said: “it is true that TGONU have very serious concerns about the decision taken by the IGAD in its communiqué on the 5th August, 2016, and on the renewal of UNMISS mandate based on the proposal advanced by the United States of America, which was adopted last Friday 12th 8/2016 by the UNSC. But we will discuss the details with those UNMISS, the UN and its partners to find the best way of implementing and achieving our mutual interest”

Contrast to his earlier speech on 14th  July 2016 in which he said “On the intervention force, there are over 12,000 foreign troops here in South Sudan, what do you need more forces for, what will they come and do?”, he went further and add, “ UNMISS has many foreign troops. So we will not accept even a single solider, we will not accept that”

For the benefit of readership, let’s have abstract from the renewed UNMISS mandate on 12th August 2016. The UNSC adopted the following resolutions for the renewal of the UNMISS Mandate; “the UNSC decides to extend the UNMISS mandate, as set out in resolution 2252 (2015), until 15 December 2016, and authorize UNMISS to use all necessary means to carry out its task;

Emphasizes that protection of civilians must be given priority in decisions about the use of available capacity and resources within the mission, stresses that UNMISS’s mandate as set out in paragraph 8 of resolution 2252 (2015) includes authority to use all necessary means to protect United Nations personnel, installations and equipment to deter violence especially through proactive deployment and active patrolling to protect civilians from threats, regardless of source, to create conditions conducive to delivery of humanitarian assistance by international and national actors, and support implementation of the Agreement, and stress that such actions include, but are not limited to, within UNMISS’s capacity and areas of deployment, defending protection of civilians sites, establishing areas around the sites that are not used for hostile purposes by any force, addressing threats to the sites, searching individuals attempting to enter the sites, and seizing weapons from those inside or attempting to enter the sites, removing from and denying the entry of armed actors to the protection of civilians”

Now the question is, is there any possibility of achieving our mutual interest if South Sudan discusses the details with UNMISS, the UN and its partners when it already failed to secure its national interest in IGAD and the UN?

On 8th August, just four days before the UNMISS mandate has been renewed and adopted, Hon. Michael Makuei reacted furiously to the US proposed new mandate of UNMISS and said “nobody has the right to take away our sovereignty. Whatever is brought here, the government of South Sudan is against it. It does not accept it, it is rejected. If it is to be imposed, then that would be a different language all together.”, he went further and said “If South Sudan is turned into a U.N. protectorate, then this is not the end of the game but the beginning; It will begin with South Sudan, but it will end up with all of us being turned into new colonies.” He questioned “what does the use of “necessary means” and the “establishment of areas around the sites that are not used for hostile purposes by any force” mean, what is the real intention of all these?

With the current state of affairs, the questions now are, Is South Sudan a UN protectorate now; what happened to the government for not rejecting what is brought to it from the New York; Is our sovereignty now being taken away (subtracted), multiplied, divided, squared, increased or remained as it was; what is other jurisprudence literature of the use of “necessary means” rather than what Makuei had on his mind on 8th August 2016?

To go further, let’s have abstract from the document written by the government selected respond committee on the US draft UNMISS Mandate Renewal. According to Sudan Tribune, the document reads United States of America, Draft UNMISS Mandate Renewal’ seriously undermines the Sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan as a UN Member State and that Transitional Government of National Unity strongly objects to these propositions,” it reads further “The UN Secretary General [Ban Ki Moon] has constantly advanced negative views against the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and its leadership, including his recent intrusion in the 27th African Union Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, with the obvious intention of influencing the AU’s decisions in favors of his “regime change strategy”

Now the US Draft UNMISS Mandate Renewal has been adopted by the UNSC and it will work; the questions are, does the adopted renewal of UNMISS mandate seriously undermine the sovereignty of South Sudan? What does the government think of the UN Secretary General with the current circulating rumors that he personally authorized the airlifting of Dr. Riek Machar to Congo? Is it another intrusion like what he did in Kigali or he acted in the areas of the UN mandate?

In President’s speech to the parliament, he also denounced the views of government officials who had earlier reacted to the adopted UNSC resolutions as “personal views” and not certainly mandated by the government to speak. President Kiir said: “Already there are people who are accusing the TGONU of refusing and fighting the UN. I want to confirm on this great day that this is not accurate appraisal of our position. TGONU has not met to deliberate on the final position taken by the UNSC. If there are voices out there expressing their views on the subject, these are individuals who don’t represent the TGONU and have certainly not been mandated to speak on the behalf of the TGONU.

Contrary to the speech he gave on Saturday 13th August during the reception ceremony of First Vice President Gen. Taban Deng organized in his house (President’s house) in which he said” Now these whites [foreigners] are saying they want to bring a protection force; to protect who?” he further and add “For us, we don’t do anything bad to anybody, but if somebody has interfered into our right, I don’t think we will allow them to go without us touching them”. He also went ahead and said “This person of JMEC went and gave bad reports about us says we are vulnerable and we need protection. And also this woman of UNMISS [The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan] needs protection. Protection from what?

On the same occasion, the President of South Sudan National Youth Union, Dr. Albino Bol Dhieu said “If the UN and IGAD continue to resist our appeal against deployment of regional troops, the youth of this great nation will all lie down in the airport for planes carrying those troops to land of them as a sign of rejection”

On 14th August, Presidential spokesman Molana Ateny Wek Ateny was quoted by media to have said “South Sudan will not cooperate with the United Nations approved force because we will not allow our country to be taken over by U.N. Any force that will be called Juba Protection Force will not be accepted”

Now all these views are individuals, one week gone now and still government didn’t meet to deliberate on the final position taken by the UNSC. Can anyone predict what is brewing in the Council of Ministers and when will it be out?

On the relations with the USA, President Kiir said “the support and friendship of the US is invaluable to us. The US and President Obama stood by us before, during and after independence and I hope and pray the USA remains our ally and friend.

Anyone who has been following crisis in South Sudan from the start can remember very well that all the UNSC adopted and vetoed resolutions against South Sudan were initiated or proposed by the Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UNSC.

For records, let us revisit what President Obama, Susan Rice, Susan Page, Samantha Power and John Kerry once said about the government of South Sudan since the genesis of this rebellion and gauge whether the U.S.A is worthy to remain as our friend and ally.

When president Obama toured Africa in 2015 and met with the regional leaders in Ethiopia, he refused to meet South Sudan government officials in Ethiopia to discuss peace with them but selectively met with leaders of Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia and discussed the peace of South Sudan with them. In that meeting, Obama acted more like the colonial headman; he said “if we (US) don’t see a breakthrough by the 17th August, then we have to consider what other tools we have to apply greater pressure on the parties”

Also on the 4th of August 2015, Obama told the VOA news after his meeting with Ban-ki Moon, he said” “If they miss that target, then I think it’s our view that it’s going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required.”

On 9th July 2015, the National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice issued and posted what she called “her message to the people of South Sudan” on as her gift on the 4th anniversary of South Sudan independence to South Sudanese. In her 10 minutes video, she brazenly said “Over the past 19 months, the government of South Sudan has abdicated its responsibilities, failed to protect its citizens, and squandered its legitimacy.  Instead of negotiating a resolution to the conflict, it has subverted democracy and unilaterally extended its mandate.”

On 3rd June 2015, when South Sudan government decided to expulse Toby Lanzer because of his involvement into politics; the US ambassador to the UN, Mrs. Samantha Power tweeted that “South Sudan UN humanitarian coordinator, just the latest in a series of outrages by Kiir gov’t, I join the UN Sec-Gen’s call for reversal”.

In 2014, the former US ambassador to South Sudan Mrs. Susan Page has been quoted saying “the rebels in South Sudan are fighting a just war; it is a war which was enforced on them by Kiir”

On Monday 22nd August, United States secretary of State John Kerry said “there is absolutely no question that we need to move forward with the deployment of the regional protection force authorized by the UN Security Council, South Sudan must accept the deployment of the regional protection force or face UN arm embargo” after meeting with five regional foreign ministers in Nairobi.

Having read the above statements issued by the President of the United States, Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Former United States ambassador to South Sudan, and the United States ambassador to the UN, Secretary of the State; the question is, does the United States qualify to remain as “ally and friend”? Does ally and friend threaten you at gun point? There is something sinister in this friendship.

In conclusion, it is very worrisome that the sovereign state of South Sudan is fast becoming a subordinate of the US, IGAD and UN, who never fail to dictate their plans on South Sudan government. Our leaders must be mindful that South Sudan is neither a donation of the USA nor UN. Government should look back and correct its mistakes and “give therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.

Simon Yel Yel can be reached via or +211955246235

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing.

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