Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Pros and Cons of President Museveni’s 'intervention' and the lessons we can learn from it


photo: http://www.personal.psu.edu/
Ugandan, or rather, Museveni’s ‘intervention’ in South Sudan’s conflict has caused various reactions in Africa and especially in South Sudan depending on one’s political allegiance. There are those who oppose or support the ‘intervention’ on principle and there are those who support or oppose it given their political colors.

Like always, I support or oppose any given political incident given the valuation I give it. For me, Museveni’s intervention has both negative and positive aspects to it. And both of these have something to teach not only the South Sudanese people but the Ugandans themselves; who seem to be in a deep political slumber; or a hypnotic semblance of democracy.
While there are positive sides to this ‘intervention’, the ‘intervention’ is largely negative because it’s self-interest motivated and unintelligibly pursued.

Pros of Museveni’s Intervention

The White Army and the Nuer soldiers who joined Dr. Riek Machar in his Rebellion didn’t do so because they wanted to per se. It’s very clear that they did so as a response to the reported massacres of unarmed Nuer civilians in Juba. This tells me that had the ‘White Army’ advanced to Juba or captured Juba, the city would have been a grotesque scene of massive tribal genocide. My reasoning rests on the fact that the White Army had and still has no clear political agenda. With no doubt, they only wanted to take revenge regarding what they heard coming out of Juba.

This is manifest in what they did in Bor, Malakal and Bentiu and other areas they mindlessly ravaged.
Museveni’s ‘intervention’ therefore helped prevent the capture of Juba and the avoidance of what would have been a massive genocide.

We also need to remember also that had Riek and the White Army captured Juba, President Kiir wouldn’t have just given up and leave Riek Machar to assume presidency. Having seen how the president relies so much on his Jieeng tribesmen, it’s conceivable that the president would have actually mobilized the Jieeng tribe to reclaim his presidency or wage a guerrilla-style war.
Whatever the case would have been, the capture of Juba would have been a disaster for South Sudan because the WA would have done what they did in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal by going on a killing rampage!

Another positive consequence of Museveni’s ‘intervention’ is the fact that it showed South Sudan’s leadership that a strong, cohesive, well-trained and always-paid-on-time army is crucial for national defense.
The Cons of Museveni’s Intervention

Museveni and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) made a mockery of not only the South Sudanese national army but also, South Sudanese generally. Had President Museveni been a conscientious leader who’s helping out a fellow president, Museveni would have put his UPDF forces under the solid command of the SPLA without any exception.



When the government forces recaptured the state capital town of Bor from the rebel forces in January, the indiscipline Uganda commander, one Paddy Ankunda (or whatever his name is) unashamedly announced that “UPDF has captured the town of Bor in S. Sudan. Big relief to trapped Ugandan, international community.”  How about the SPLA acknowledging UPDF instead of UPDF unashamedly claiming credit in a war that’s not theirs! You’re only helping! Duh! Whatever happened to humility among Africans?

This was for one a great insult to the President of South Sudan (who asked for UPDF’s help), the SPLA as the national army, and the general spirit of building bilateral relations. If this is the best discipline the UPDF top brass can offer then good luck to dear Uganda populace!
Embarrassing the nation you are supposedly helping is naïve at best and imbecilic at worst.

A good lesson is this: Get a real friend next time; a friend who’d not embarrass you and selfishly call it ‘intervention’.
Besides the fact that UPDF, the supposedly brotherly force helping a good neighbor, were nothing but hired mercenaries who were paid by the government of South Sudan as the average South Sudanese died of hunger and diseases, they did nothing if little to save the lives of innocent civilians.

Civilians were butchered in Bor, Malakal, Bentiu and other areas of South Sudan in their presence and they had the nerves to brag about capturing the town of Bor? They captured ashes and dead civilian bodies!
As if it wasn’t immoral enough for Uganda to delve into the coffers of a poor nation at war and whose citizens were dying through guns, hunger and diseases, they took the money but did nothing to protect the civilians. South Sudanese died in their thousands as UPDF took the SPLA money! SPLA wasn’t paid as UPDF took the money!

The moral lesson: Next time you need a friendly force, get us someone who actually cares about civilian lives not just money!
And we also know that any leader who thinks he’s the only person capable of leading his country is delusional and cares less about his own people. A good leader knows that each and every citizen is an equal and that a host of citizens is capable of leading the country. This latter sentiment fosters self-esteem among the citizens and a sense of equality. However, Museveni believes he’s the only man capable of leading Uganda.  Why would we allow such a mind to be a close ally when he doesn’t care about his own people?

 I’m sorry, Uganda, but President Museveni is treating you like idiots and that’s the same way he’s treating South Sudanese leaders. Think for yourself for once! Vote Museveni out!
I know some South Sudanese and Ugandans will rush to say: “But Museveni helped you during your liberation war! You’re being such an ingrate!”

The average Ugandan is the friend of South Sudan not President Museveni!
Well, if you know what politics is then know that nations and leaders don’t ‘care’ about other nations and their leaders. They show interest as long as there are tangible and visible benefits obtainable from such an ostensible ‘care.’ Museveni never cared about South Sudanese. He had high stakes in helping late Dr. John Garang de Mabior succeed! America of course!

But remember, I’m not aiming this at the average citizens of Uganda (who are our actual friends) but National Resistance Movement and UPDF. (I don’t know what Museveni is still resisting!)  Resistance against Democracy, Human Rights and Freedom?
And worst of all, President Museveni either has a mental problem or is utterly and blindly arrogant. How on earth do you say you’re part of a bloc (IGAD) that wants to end the war in South Sudan but then you take side? How on earth do you declare yourself part of the mediating body and then take up guns and shoot at one side of the two parties you’re supposed to bring together? Maybe NRM has a different definition of a ‘good leader’ or ‘Intervention’! This man is way worse than Goodluck B. Jonathan of Nigeria and Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan.  

The same Museveni, who had to get help from South Sudan, Central African Republic and Congo to go after a weak rebel group under another delusional and murderous man, Joseph Kony, is making fun of leaders facing crisis! Wasn’t Lord Resistance Army (LRA) killing people in Northern Uganda, abducting girls and boys, cutting off people’s limbs and terrorizing the whole population? Why didn’t Museveni hang himself then?
Why did it take years for Museveni to reduce the effect of LRA in Northern Uganda? Why are UPDF and NRM unable to capture Joseph Kony even when Riek Machar was able to meet him! Isn’t UPDF such a mighty army?

Lesson: A man who can’t put his house in order can’t put another man’s house in order. Thousands of Ugandans were terrorized, maimed or killed by Kony while UPDF and Museveni were there! Why did we think Museveni and UPDF could prevent our civilians from being killed?
And lastly, South Sudan, as a new nation, wants to develop as a democratic and human-rights-conscious state. President Museveni is a grotesque figure to even think of as a role model. Besides his shameful treatment of opposition figures like Dr. Kizza Besigye, his determination to remain in power for eternity is a good but scary example! He’s a scary figure to run away from!

To recap, Museveni showed no respect for South Sudan and its leaders, has no heart as he allowed his UPDF to be paid by the struggling South Sudanese government, failed to protect civilians, and he’s not a person to be emulated at all. Human rights are just like Britain in the 15th century. Freedom is regarded as anti-NRM and Museveni thinks there’s democracy in Uganda!
While Museveni has helped in keeping Kiir in Power, his name should be considered incompatible with humane care, freedom, democracy, human rights, honesty, human decency, and respect for one’s friends! Sorry Beny Museveni, it looks like Kiir isn’t going to hang himself anytime soon!

Unless Museveni democratically and peacefully transfers power, and actually democratizes Uganda, South Sudan should stay away from this mad man! Seriously, what good can we possibly learn from President Museveni? Many bad things: Stay in power for eternity, intimidate and make opposition figures’ lives hell on earth, assume regional supremacy, stifle human rights and freedom, spend the money on the army not development, hoodwink the civil population…oh man!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet and author living in Canada. He’s the author of ‘South Sudan Ideologically’and 'Is 'Black' Really Beautiful?' For the contact visit www.kuirthiy.info

 

ON CULTURAL IDENTITY & BELONGING

Dear Melbournians, the South Sudanese people to be precise. Do you think we have seen it all? Do you think we have seen that: I mean in the aftermath of yesteryears, in regard to our culture and the notions around identity and belonging? Do you think we have seen the true reaping of what we sowed years ago? Do you really think so? After all, did we really sow anything like seeds and that there’s something to be reaped? Did we really live it out well to be seen today?

I am sorry to have bothered you, my potential readers, with questions regarding our social, economic, and political location in our host society: Australia. I think we have not seen it all and as a whole: The idea that people are bound by certain values and beliefs of significance to them. This requires cooperation and role-specific obligations on the roles of every man and woman across a given people and their society.

TOLERANCE & INCLUSION


While it is possible for us to racially discriminate or judge people we know, the chances of judging people we know diminish significantly the more we know them. An easy example of the importance of understanding others is the attitude people develop when they want to harm others or when they want to deny them something valuable. Essentially, before you fight someone, you insult them. Insults are attempts at diminishing the value of people, an attempt at estranging them, as Toni Morrison argued in The Origin of Others. It is easy to discriminate against strangers or make others strangers or dehumanized in order to discriminate against them.

Transformational Leadership, Inclusive Institutions and Service Provision

Leadership, given what is happening now in South Sudan, and generally in Africa, fascinates me. And it fascinates me not in a good way but because of the sociopolitical and socioeconomic ills facing the African continent and most of the so-called 'Third World.' To me, South Sudan, now, is a classic case.

Rebellion by disaffected politico-military leaders and repression by the government of South Sudan in Juba have stunted institutional development and leadership growth. This has made service provision almost irrelevant as political survival has taken primacy and supremacy. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.