The World Today for October 12, 2021


Going Nowhere Fast


Recent fighting over cattle rustling, kidnappings and revenge killings has claimed scores of lives and injured many more in South Sudan’s central Warrap State over the past few months.

Such violence has surged throughout South Sudan in the past two years, wrote Xinhua, China’s state news service. The Catholic Church, for example, recently expressed frustration over investigators’ lack of progress in solving the murder of two nuns, Catholic News Service reported.

Ten years after the country voted to secede from Sudan and three years after a peace agreement ended a bloody civil war between ethnic forces led by President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, unstable South Sudan is on the precipice of collapse.

The unity government that emerged from the peace agreement is cracking. Rival groups within Vice President Machar’s political party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, for example, have been battling over appointing a new leader, the New York Times wrote.

Meanwhile, food insecurity is reaching catastrophic levels and four million of about 11 million South Sudanese are still displaced from the civil war. Floods have washed away the shelters that hundreds of thousands had erected in the country and also in neighboring ones to start new lives, wrote Agence France-Presse.

Meanwhile, corruption in government is rampant. The United Nations recently said that officials had absconded with more than $73 million over the past three years. In a two-month period, they allegedly stole $39 million, Al Jazeera reported. South Sudanese leaders say the allegations are unfair.

The peace deal was supposed to create mechanisms to prosecute fighters who committed atrocities and promote national healing after the death of 400,000 in the civil war. But, as the Washington Post discussed, none of the agreement’s “transitional justice mechanisms” are functioning.

Journalists trying to report on these issues face roadblocks. South Sudanese lawmakers, for example, have proposed curbing the rights of the press if they insist on reporting on legislative spending without the permission of the chamber’s leaders, according to Voice of America.

The citizens of South Sudan, especially those who fought in the country’s war for independence and civil war are understandably disappointed. “The freedom fighters and families of martyrs who saw South Sudan’s statehood as the ultimate prize of their selfless sacrifices, are likely to feel betrayed,” ​​wrote economist Luka Biong Deng Kuol in an Africa Center for Strategic Studies analysis.

But then, the South Sudanese are likely used to that feeling.

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