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December 16, 2018

Enough is enough; effect sanctions against South Sudan leaders

President Uhuru Kenyatta with South Sudan's Salva Kiir and other officials during the meeting of IGAD heads of state on the South Sudan peace process, June 21, 2018. /PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta with South Sudan's Salva Kiir and other officials during the meeting of IGAD heads of state on the South Sudan peace process, June 21, 2018. /PSCU

Well, I thought I am the only one tired with the protracted South Sudanese conflict. Seems not. On Thursday, the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation said enough is enough, and called on the parties to end senseless killings in the country.

JMEC called on the warring parties to embrace the spirit of compromise at the revitalization forum and ensure peace. I understand their frustrations.

On the very day parties signed another of the many agreements in Khartoum last month, which called for cessation of hostilities, there was an attack on United Nations Mission in South Sudan and humanitarian providers in Yei River state. A peacekeeper from Bangladesh died. JMEC condemned this attack. And JMEC deputy chairperson Ambassador Lt Gen Augostino Njoroge had this to say, which I have written before in this column: “The achievement of peace in South Sudan is a collective process. You must all make the decision that the conflict, and especially the senseless killings need to stop and say enough is enough.”

“It is critical for all parties to fully abide by the agreements they have signed to date, including the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access of December 2017 (ACoH) and particularly refrain from all acts of violence,” he said in Juba. Another person who shares these frustrations is the UN Under Secretary General for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix. The top UN official in May told the United Nations Security Council that leaders, or, as I call them, politicians, in the country are still ‘bent on armed confrontation’.

He lamented to the Security Council that despite work done by the regional organisations, including IGAD, to facilitate an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, the ‘parties remain far apart on the issues’. He also expressed disgust towards the scale of sexual violence and increasing cases of aggression against humanitarian agencies and their staff.

“There must be consequences for blatant violations of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement and broken promises to protect civilians,” he said.

Soon thereafter, the US, AFP reported, urged Kenya to investigate properties and assets owned by elite families from South Sudan, including its President and his rival, “who have enriched themselves in their country’s civil war raging since 2013”. Kenya seems to have restrained, probably to allow give time to the negotiations. It doesn’t seem to work.

On Thursday, unconfirmed reports indicated that parties fail to sign the power-sharing agreement again in Khartoum, due to absence of government delegates and on Friday made new demands for new positions. This is despite President Salva Kiir committing himself. This doesn’t leave many options. It is, I think, time to effect sanctions against these so-called leaders.

The people of South Sudan have suffered enough, as the profiteers of war continue to live lavishly in Kenya and abroad.


Kibii comments on foreign affairs



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