South Sudan

Kiir joins league of regional dictators, asks more 7 years in power

kiir

Presidents (from L) Salvar Kiir of South Sudan, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda stand during a photo opportunity before the start of the extraordinary summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) head of states emergency summit in Kampala, September 5, 2013. (Reuters/James Akena)

The “president-for-life syndrome” that was conceived in Uganda, born in Rwanda, bottle-fed in Burundi and fostered in Congo, has now crawled up to the youngest East African nation of South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir is considered a protégé of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for over 30 years now—and counting.

Kiir is quoted by Radio Tamazuj that he would love to be given a second term in office “but not a third time”.

This means that he is likely to rule at least seven more years, though the exact amount of time is not clear given uncertainty about the length of a term.

Kiir spoke before an audience of SPLM state chairpersons at a party induction event on Monday. During his address he said that he wanted a second term but would not seek a third term.

Kiir has been president of South Sudan for more than ten years since the death of SPLM founder John Garang in mid-2005, but he has won only one election, in 2010.

The president’s term ended last year but the parliament amended the constitution so that he could rule until 9 July 2018. The current peace deal calls for elections that year.

This means that Kiir plans to rule at least five years beyond 2018, until 2023, provided that elections are held on time. He would be 72 years old.

Notably, Kiir’s counterpart in north Sudan Omar al-Bashir also said that he would not seek re-election prior to the 2015 elections but he did so anyway.

If Kiir breaks his promise as his regional counterparts have already done and seeks a third term, he will have officially sat at the table of regional dictators.

Museveni—the grandfather at the table of elders–

Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak, a member of Minnesota South Sudanese Taskforce, writes that “for twenty-nine years, Museveni has been involved in a systematical destabilization of the number of African countries, which include herein: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Central African Republic, Sudan, Somalia and now South Sudan”.

“His involvement in all of these countries have resulted in a horrific human suffering. African nations whom he destabilized view him as a Great War Criminal (GWC), who should be indicted to international criminal court,” Gatluak further writes.

He says even Charles Taylor had to been indicted for involving in Sierra Leone, how come Museveni can’t be held accountable for interfering in these African countries’ affairs, particularly South Sudan, where he had used poisonous cluster bombs.

“The same indictment would be issued to his counterpart criminal Salva Kiir Mayardit, who ordered the killing of innocent Nuer civilians last year in Juba.”

Unfortunately for Gatluak, Museveni is in the process of withdrawing Uganda from the International Criminal Court [ICC] as Burundi, South Africa and Gambia have already done.

Kagame

A Black Star News Editorial says in the bad old days, African dictators and their generals could kill countless innocent civilians and avoid prosecution which still “happens when a president has “special protection” such as the case of Uganda’s dictator Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni and Rwanda’s Gen. Paul Kagame; both are protected by Washington”.

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Kabila and Kagame

Recently leaked U.S. diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks, showed that the Americans wanted Gen. Museveni to be voted out of office in elections in February, Black Star wrote.

In Rwanda, Gen. Kagame has been exposed as a director of genocide since the publication of the so-called “mapping exercise” by the United Nations.

The report documents the massacres of Hutu civilians who had fled to the Congo shortly after Kagame and Museveni seized power in Rwanda.

A French investigative judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, later accused Kagame of masterminding the assassination of then Rwanda president Juvenal Habyarimana, leading to the ethnic conflagration that provided him with the cover to seize power.

The case moved forward because Habyarimana’s crew in the downed plane were French nationals but the same Kagame says seeking a third term in 2017 is not his personal project.

“It’s not about me manipulating things. It’s a healthy thing that any society should be able to make decisions for itself,” said Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum on Africa in May 2016.

He was answering a challenge to his decision to run for a third term in office in 2017, a decision that has been viewed as controversial by some in the West, while winning near unanimous approval from the Rwandan people themselves.

In a referendum, 98% of voters were in favour of the president making changes to the constitution that would allow him to stay in office.

Nkurunziza

Pierre Nkurunziza was elected president of Burundi after the end of the country’s civil war in 2005.

A decade later, opposition parties say the president is threatening to violate the principles that brought him to power.

The country’s constitution sets a two-term limit.

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Museveni and Nkurunziza

While he has been in power for 10 years, his allies say the first five years do not count as he was elected for that term by parliament, not in a popular vote.

His regime suppressed riots and reinstated him for a third term in office through fire.

Kabila

President Joseph Kabila has been in power since his father, Laurent, was assassinated in 2001.

He is serving his second term, and the country’s constitution does not allow him to run for a third in the 2016 elections.

But government spokesman Lambert Mende said that the poll could be delayed because of a nationwide census that could start this year and take three years.

The opposition has protested about the bill to mandate the census, calling it a ploy to keep the president in power.

Kabila too is bent on grabbing a third term with commentators predicting a war in Congo very soon.

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