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South Sudan Leaders Sign New Peace Agreement. The Question Is: Will It Hold?



If it holds, the deal on power-sharing signed on August 6 by President Salva Kiir and his now reinstated Vice President Riek Machar could end a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions in the world’s youngest country. But there have been ceasefires and agreements before that were not worth the paper they were written on. DW talked to Douglas Johnson an author of books on South Sudan, about the chances for the new deal.
This isn’t the first agreement signed by Kiir and Machar. What are your expectations concerning the present deal?
Douglas Johnson: The problem, of course, is implementation. Who is going to monitor and guarantee implementation? We’ll have to wait and see. Part of the problem, of course, is that it’s a power-sharing agreement, not really addressing the fundamental political and constitutional issues of South Sudan. You now have five vice-presidents, you’ve got an expanded assembly, you’ve got attempts to give people positions from the very top to the local states. The whole issue of the constitutional powers between a central government and state governments hasn’t been addressed. If this agreement gives South Sudan some time in which to have a full-scale, proper constitutional consultation that leads to a stable peace agreement, fine. But right now I think that there are some real questions about whether this formula will work.

Among the problems that need to be addressed what would be the priorities?
There are the security priorities as well as the political priorities. Right now there has been a proliferation of armed groups throughout South Sudan. You have within the SPLA itself – the national army – a number of units that are very poorly disciplined, very poorly trained, and have been involved in some of theworst atrocitiesin the war. Something has got to be done about them. To disband them may be one thing that could give people a sense that maybe security was going to be reestablished. But a lot of the other groups are not organized military groups. They are armed civilians. Some of them have been represented in this peace agreement. But we don’t know whether the people who have signed on behalf of armed groups really represent them. And as long as the armed groups are there as autonomous units that have been set up for their own self-defense or for their own offense against their neighbors, we don’t quite know how security is going to be reestablished. It is not going to be established by incorporating all of these armed groups into a national army. The national army is far too big, it is far too poorly trained and it is far too ill-disciplined.

I’ve mentioned the political issues. We’ve got now both by Riek Machar’s main opposition and the government’s proposals to divide up South Sudan into smaller states. This is not the right approach to a federal system, because it leaves the power of the central government supreme in creating the states, with no real examination of the viability of each of them. For instance, just a few months ago, a minister in one of the newly created states announced that he had no office, that his office was a desk underneath a tree. Creating states and appointing people into positions doesn’t actually solve the administrative and political issues. And I think that has to come about by a more far-reaching set of consultations, leading to some sort of constitutional convention.

Some of the African leaders who witnessed the signing of the new peace deal

If the peace agreement holds, what will it mean for the region especially taking into account the recent peace deal between neighboring Ethiopia and Eritrea?
If this peace agreement holds, it can only be good news for the region in general. Insecurity in South Sudan has affected the neighbors, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan. There are South Sudanese refugees in all of those countries. I wonder to what extent it will actually lead to greater security in Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended with the independence of South Sudan has not brought peace to Sudan. They are still fighting in the Blue Nile area and in the Nuba Mountains with groups that were formerly a part of the SPLA. I think that what Khartoum wants and what South Sudan now probably will have to do is to cease to give any kind of support to the insurgencies in those two areas. But that by itself won’t necessarily bring peace and stability to Sudan. So certainly this is good news for Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, and, I suppose – to a lesser extent – the Democratic Republic of Congo, but we’ll have to wait to see what sort of an impact this has on Sudan’s own internal insecurity.
Why this agreement at this time? Is it a result of international pressure, even if Kiir says it is not?
I really can’t answer that, I don’t know exactly what has gone on behind closed doors between the government in Khartoum and the government in Juba. The excuse that Salva Kiir used for the failure of the previous peace agreement was that it had been imposed on him by IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development). It is interesting that he is saying that there is now no international pressure on him, because of course there has been quite a lot of international pressure. What this seems to indicate is that he has decided not to use the excuse of an imposed peace to jettison it at a later time. I think that what we have to realize is that the coalition that has kept Salva Kiir in power in Juba, has fractured. He is not in as strong a position as he thought he was back in 2016 to break that peace agreement.

Under the present scenario it also seems unlikely that either side will be taken to task anytime soon for the atrocities they’ve committed.

I think what we have to see here is the growing power of public opinion in South Sudan. There is of course repression by the government of its critics. There is no press freedom. The national security operates pretty much independently, without any sort of control over them. But I‘m beginning to see not only in youth groups, but in women’s movements and other civil society and civilian organizations a growing demand that there must be some sort of accountability for the atrocities that have taken place since 2013.
Written by DW


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We Will Kill You, Your Wife And Children – Burundi Police Chief Warns Opposition Members



A senior Burundian police official has publicly threatened the lives of members of the main opposition party and their families, if they organise “clandestine meetings”, according to an audio recording heard by AFP Friday.

A senior Burundian police official has publicly threatened the lives of members of the main opposition party and their families, if they organise “clandestine meetings”, according to an audio recording heard by AFP Friday.

The threats were made by a provincial commissioner as the opposition National Congress for Freedom (CNL) party — the country’s second biggest political force — denounced “ferocious” repression suffered by its members since February.

“I would like to say to anyone who holds a clandestine nocturnal meeting at their home that… you will be attracting misfortune on your entire family,” Jerome Ntibibogora, commissioner of eastern Muyinga province, allegedly said at a public meeting in Gasogwe on Wednesday, according to the recording.

Several witnesses present confirmed the authenticity of the recording to AFP.

Ntibibogora said he had “explosive devices” and that it was “enough to throw two of them” into a house.

“If you want to disrupt security, I’ll finish with you there, and if you’re with your wife and children, you’ll go together,” he said in response to questions about a crackdown on CNL activists.

Contacted by AFP, the National Police and Interior Ministry declined to comment on the alleged remarks.

A government official, however, criticised “an excess of zeal” on the part of the commissioner.

“A police officer cannot make such comments because they do not correspond to government policy,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Ntibibogora led the police in the southern districts of Bujumbura — the country’s capital until February — at the height of a 2015 crisis.

He was one of the leading figures in the crackdown on protests against the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza for a controversial third term.

Burundi has been in turmoil since the president announced in April 2015 that he intended to stand again for the presidency. He was re-elected in July of that year.

The violence has claimed at least 1,200 lives and displaced more than 400,000 between April 2015 and May 2017, according to estimates by the International Criminal Court which has opened an investigation.

CNL spokesman Aime Magera condemned a “real manhunt” against party activists, claiming that 135 had been arrested since mid-February, mainly “on the pretext of holding unauthorised meetings”.

“Many of them were tortured including one who died of his wounds” in northeastern Kirundo province, while four others have been reported missing in central Gitega province, he said.

The incidents were confirmed to AFP by police sources, witnesses independent local media.

The CNL is due to hold a congress on Saturday in Bujumbura to appoint local officials.

“We want to remove the excuse he has put forward to explain these arrests, namely that our activists hold unauthorised, clandestine meetings because we do not have officially recognised local officials,” the spokesman added.

Source: AFP


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Kagame Critic Found Dead Mysteriously



The deceased was Victoire Ingabire's (pictured) spokesperson. Courtesy photo

The spokesman for leading Rwandan opposition politician Victoire Ingabire has been found dead, a government official said on Sunday.

It was not immediately clear how 30-year-old Anselme Mutuyimana had died.

Twenty-five years after a genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus, Rwandan President Paul Kagame has won international praise for presiding over a peaceful and rapid economic recovery

But he has also faced mounting criticism for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, a muzzling of independent media, and suppression of political opposition. He denies those charges.

Several dissidents have been found dead inside Rwanda and in exile in unsolved cases in recent years.

Rwandan authorities said they were investigating the death.

“The investigation has started. No suspects so far,” said the spokesman for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau, Modeste Mbabazi.

Mutuyimana’s elder brother Augustin Tubanambazi told Reuters that the body had no visible wounds, but had blood in its mouth.

In 2010, the Democratic Green Party’s vice president, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, was found dead.

In 2014, exiled former Rwandan intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya was found murdered in a Johannesburg hotel room.

Ingabire, who returned from the Netherlands to contest a presidential election in 2010, had previously served six years of a 15-year sentence for inciting insurrection.

She said another official from her FDU-Inking party, Jean Damascene Habarugira, had been found dead two years ago and the crime had never been solved.

“We need justice,” Ingabire said.

She said witnesses had described men in police uniforms in a red car detaining Mutuyimana in the western Mahoko area.

Police did not return calls seeking comment on that report.

By Reuters


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Man Dies After Seventh Round In Sex Competition



A middle-aged man, simply known as Davy, has died in a popular hotel in Ikotun area of Lagos State Nigeria during a sex competition with a lady identified as Loveth.

It was gathered that the late Davy had argued with Loveth on who can last longer in a sex bout.

Both claimed they were stronger and refused to admit defeat.

During the argument, Davy staked N50,000 on the condition that if Loveth defeats him during the romp, she will take the money.

Loveth agreed, moved into the hotel and booked for a chalet.

It was gathered that while the marathon sex lasted, Davy pulled through to the sixth round but Loveth was unshaken till the seventh round when he collapsed and died on top of her.

She then raised the alarm and contacted the hotel management, who handed her over to the Ikotun Police Division while the body of the deceased was deposited at an undisclosed hospital for autopsy.

Loveth was later transferred to the SCIID Panti, Yaba, where she told investigators what transpired between her and the late Davy. Thefate of Loveth will depend on the outcome of the autopsy.


Source: Guardian Nigeria


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