Egypt—As reports of food insecurity and malnutrition set off alarm bells, the Egyptian government has donated tons of powered milk in an effort to combat child malnutrition in the country.
In a press briefing at the Juba International Airport, the South Sudanese Minister of Peace-Building, Stephen Par Kuol, noted that the donated powered milk will will be distributed to lactating mothers with undying health conditions.
“We are here to receive these donations from the Egyptian government. These are powder milk for young women who can’t breastfeed their children due to some health problems.” Par told journalists at JIA.
On his part, the Egyptian Ambassador to South Sudan, Dr. Mohammed M. Kadah reiterated his government’s commitment to helping malnourished children in South Sudan.
“We are here to handover powdered milk to our friends in the Republic of South Sudan. The donation includes 15 tons of powder milk which will help malnourished children,” he said.
A new report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs predicts that over 7.2 million people are expected to face severe food insecurity by the end of the year.
Shame on our leaders who have failed to put the interests of their citizens above their personal needs..
Opinion | By Mary Nyibol Maker
To my fellow South Sudanese across the globe. It’s with deepest regrets and a ton of frustrations that I write to you. My heart is heavy as I jot down what I am about to reveal to you all.
As we all know, we are all scattered throughout the world. Some are fortunate enough to be exposed to a less toxic environments but many are caught up in the hands of people with bent rules where those in power tend to use those rules to suit their interests.
It’s obvious that, over the years, our people in Egypt have been going through a hell of time in the hands of Egyptians and yet our government has done absolutely Nothing to intervene. This is a shame, isn’t?
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Africans were thrown out of their residential apartments and beaten almost to death in China. It’s certain that our own people were among this group being humiliated and tortured by the Chinese, yet there’s something called “China-South Sudan relations” and the Chinese of all the people have come, exploited and exhorted our God-given resources, and our leaders just watched on. Isn’t this a shame, too?
Again, 2020 in Uganda, some of our young people were found not far from their home and the police stomped towards them and beat them like animals for no apparent reason. What is Uganda to us, a brother or sister right? The president of Uganda is the foster carer of our own president and yet, the children of the client are being mistreated in the watch of their parent by the foster father/carer, Mr. M7. Isn’t this just too shameful guys?
Nevertheless, just this Saturday gone, the 30th of January 2021, a bunch of our young people who were eating out like any other young persons, were again stomped towards by the Kenyan police, rounded up and asked to pay TKK( Toa Kitu Kidogo. Which means give whatever little you have. In other words, bribe us so we can let you go).
This is the reason as to why they were caught. Kenya has its curfew starting at 10:30pm( I was informed). The boys left home just before eight in the even to buy food. They met their friends and they decided to chit chat a little. At 21:00 pm, they decided to go home because they were mindful of the curfew time.
While approaching their house, a police car pulled up and the police officers (Affande) stomped towards the young people and immediately handcuffed them. When the young people asked why they were being handcuffed while the curfew time was still, the police offices asked for TKK.
The young people told the officers that they had no money. The officers got bitter and demanded for five thousand Kenya shillings each, otherwise, they threatened to drag the young people to the prison, and if by morning they hadn’t paid, the young people would appear before the court and explain why they were before the Judge.
As if that wasn’t enough, our young people were tortured through beatings, thrown into a dark room filled with urine and bad odour. On top of that, they were abused that they needed to go back to their country(SS) where there were no rules and where people do whatever each one pleases. “Go back to your country”, they were told. What kind of humiliation is this my people? Isn’t this too shameful ?
Kenya, like Uganda is a sisterly country with a head of state that has been initiating the return of peace to the people of South Sudan. If our people are being mistreated in Kenya, it’s because our leaders have failed us. Kenyans don’t see us going back to our country anytime sooner, hence, the reason they see us as a burden on them.
My people, the equation the other countries are using to arrive to their answers is simple: “If South Sudan is mistreating, torturing, dehumanizing her own people, who are we not to do the same?” This is the reality and it’s a sad reality!
The question is, how much longer should the people of South Sudan continue to suffer in the hands of people who are not even close to them by all means? If it’s intelligence, we have it! If it’s education, we have highly educated, highly qualified professionals who could do so exceedingly well. If it’s resources, we have a country that flows with milk and honey! And if it’s hardships, sufferings and struggles, our forefathers and present fathers and mothers have bitterly experienced it. What exactly don’t we know or have really for us to be treated like a piece of “sh**t?
What we need is simple so that all this humiliation can stop! We need a stable, peaceful and secure country. Please give us back our country!. We want to go back home!!! South Sudan is the only home we can walk freely and proudly.
The writer is a South Sudanese activist and human rights defender.
The views expressed in this “Opinion Section” belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The South Sudan Herald.Should you wish to submit your opinion piece or analysis, kindly contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec 23, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Egyptian government has issued a statement expressing concern over South Sudan’s close diplomatic relations with the government of Qatar, as evidenced by the recent visit of Tut Gatluak Manime, security advisor to President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
“Egypt has followed with great concern Tut Qalwak’s [Gatluak] recent visit to Doha. Qalwak is the security adviser to the president of South Sudan, and his visit has raised suspicions about Qatar’s next moves in the region after the fall of its ally in Sudan, Omar al-Bashir. It seems that Doha is turning to Juba to build new influence there,” the statement said.
“Political sources in Cairo said that Doha was keen during Gatluak’s visit to know the limits reached by relations between Juba and Cairo, and whether or not South Sudan had promised Egypt to let it build a military base on its territory.”
Since 2017, Egypt – along with other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on suspicion of supporting terrorist activities in the region.
Amid shifting dynamics in the Horn of Africa, South Sudan finds itself caught in the middle of regional rivalries.
Opinion | BY DANIEL AKECH THIONG
Dec 3, 2020 (Thessherald)–Opinion | On 28 November, Ethiopian federal forces claimed to have captured Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region. This may be a decisive moment in a conflict that could shape the country and broader Horn of Africa region for years to come.
No doubt recognising this, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was also busy that day. He flew to Juba to hold bilateral talks with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir. The timing of the meeting raised suspicions that Egypt is exploiting its rival’s internal crisis to assert itself more strongly in the region, particularly regarding its dispute with Ethiopia over the Nile waters.
There have been plenty of changing geopolitical dynamics in the region recently. These have been prompted by a variety of bilateral rivalries, internal conflicts, changes of government and growing external influence.
For South Sudan, these shifts provide both risks and opportunities. They involve several different relationships and uncertain developments, but they ultimately present Juba with two critical decisions to make.
Uganda or Sudan?
Historically, South Sudan has tended to have a hostile relationship with Sudan and positive relations with Uganda. Before South Sudan gained independence in 2011, rebels in the south got help from Uganda in their fight against Sudanese government forces. Following independence, relations between Juba and Khartoum quickly broke down and, when a civil war broke out in 2013, Uganda again provided crucial support to President Kiir’s forces.
More recently, however, some key dynamics have shifted. In 2019, Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir was overthrown after three decades in power. Since then, Khartoum has moved closer to the triumvirate of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, and away from Turkey, Iran and Qatar. It is in the process of normalising relations with the West and Israel. Moreover, relations with Juba have also become much friendlier. This September, South Sudan even hosted and mediated Sudanese peace talks.
These changes have coincided with the fighting in South Sudan subsiding too. After seven years of conflict and repeated attempts at peace deals, former rebel leader Riek Machar returned to Juba this February to be sworn in as vice-president once again.
Juba’s improved relations with Sudan and the end of its civil war significantly reduces Uganda’s importance. South Sudan’s trade is likely to flow more freely northwards now, rather than through its southern neighbour, and Kampala’s influence looks set to wane.
It remains to be seen how much President Yoweri Museveni attempts to reassert his influence. Several South Sudanese elites have invested heavily in Uganda, offering him some leverage. Meanwhile, Ugandan forces attacked South Sudanese soldiers in a border town in late-October, killing two people and capturing one. This assault could be interpreted as punishment for the military cooperation agreement Juba had signed with Khartoum days earlier.
South Sudan’s government thus faces a challenge in balancing its relations with Sudan and Uganda. On the one hand, Museveni remains a powerful and historically strong partner who could provide a rear base for armed rebels if relations deteriorate as he tries to assert regional hegemony. On the other hand, closer relations with Sudan could help both countries address their security challenges and help South Sudan’s economy, which relies on oil transiting through its northern neighbour.
Egypt or Ethiopia?
The other key balancing act facing South Sudan in its foreign relations is between Egypt and Ethiopia. These dynamics have also shifted recently. Historically, southern Sudan’s rebels were supported by Ethiopia, while Egypt backed the government in Khartoum. But since South Sudan gained independence, calculations have changed.
In the past decade, South Sudan and Egypt have significantly improved relations. Egypt has increased its investment in South Sudan and provided military training to the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). A branch of Alexandria University is set to open in the town of Tonj in 2021. And President al-Sisi flew to Juba for talks with President Kiir last month.
Unfortunately for South Sudan, these links are not distinct from broader regional dynamics. Egypt is currently locked in a dispute with Ethiopia regarding the latter’s construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam upstream on the Nile river. President al-Sisi’s overtures to Juba may well be designed to persuade it to side with Egypt or at least remain neutral in the Nile politics. It may have been timed to capitalise on the possibility that Ethiopia will descend into further instability amid the civil war in Tigray.
This presents Juba with a difficult challenge. On the one hand, closer ties with Egypt could bring political and economic benefits. Moreover, Egypt’s close ties to Sudan may make it difficult for South Sudan to disappoint Cairo without upsetting Khartoum too. On the other hand, closer relations with Egypt could anger Ethiopia, a historically close partner and one that has significant support among the South Sudanese public. It is also the case that a frustrated Addis Ababa could retaliate by providing support or refuge to South Sudanese rebel groups, endangering the country’ fragile peace.
A balancing act
Recent geopolitical shifts in the Horn of Africa have created flux and uncertainty in the region. For South Sudan, this provides both opportunities and dangers. In particular, it finds itself in the middle of rivalries between Sudan and Uganda, and Egypt and Ethiopia. Relations with each of these countries could bring great political and economic benefits to South Sudan, yet each also has a history of supporting different armed forces in South Sudan and could do so again if it wanted to punish Juba or encourage regime change.
For the South Sudanese people, good relations with all four countries and neutrality in regional disputes would likely bring the most sustainable advantages. Juba could enhance this possibility by pushing for regional intervention to deescalate tensions and resolve the conflict in Ethiopia.
It remains to be seen, however, whether this kind of balancing act is one that Juba can walk and one that its partners will allow it to take.
Nov 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan and neighboring Ethiopia are locked in a diplomatic row over the recent visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to the Republic of South Sudan.
Speaking to Thessherald this morning in the capital, Addis Ababa, a South Sudanese diplomat made it clear that they had been given 72 hours to leave the country or risk being expelled from the embassy.
“Without following due process, the Prime Minister’s Office through the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given us an ultimatum, informing us to leave the country within 72 hours or face immediate expulsion,“ said a South Sudanese official in an interview with Thessherald.
On Saturday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi paid a one-day visit to South Sudan. According to the Office of the President, the “two leaders agreed on the need to enhance mutual cooperation in areas of education, healthcare, media, energy, trade and investment, and infrastructural connectivity especially with respect to road and rail links.”
“On regional matters, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi commended South Sudan mediation of Sudanese conflict. President Sisi also explained Egypt’s position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),” the Office of the President said in a statement.
On his part, President Salva Kiir Mayardit underlined South Sudan’s position on the importance of dialogue in dealing with issues affecting regional stability.
For years, Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have been unable to agree and resolve the GERD dispute despite numerous international attempts for a win-win solution in the region.
Nov 28, 2020 (Thessherald)–South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will discuss a wide range of regional issues including the ongoing crisis in neighboring Ethiopia, according to a senior government official in the presidency.
“The ongoing instability in Ethiopia, particularly, in the Tigray region, among other pressing issues, will be at the centre of discussion between the two heads of state,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
On Friday, the Office of the President confirmed that President Kiir and the visiting Egyptian leader, Al-Sisi will address a number of regional issues, but stopped short of giving more details about the main agenda.
“They will discuss bilateral issues and exchange views on regional stability as well as deepening South Sudan’s and Egypt diplomatic ties,” the Presidency announced ahead El-Sisi visit on Saturday.
Egyptian leader El-Sisi arrives in Juba
A plane carrying the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and his accompanying delegation has finally touched down at Juba International Airport, the first Egyptian head of state to visit the Republic of South Sudan.
Nov 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi, and his accompanying delegation, are expected to visit the Republic of South Sudan for the first time tomorrow, Saturday, the Office of the President announced on Friday.
“The Office of the President is delighted to announce that, His Excellency Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and his accompanying delegation is paying a visit to South Sudan on Saturday, November 28, 2020,” the Office of the President officially announced this afternoon.
According to the Presidency, the visiting Egyptian leader will be formally welcomed by his South Sudanese counterpart, President Salva Kiir Mayardit at Juba International Airport.
“H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit will welcome his Egyptian Counterpart, President Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi upon arrival ar Juba International Airport. The two leaders are expected to hold bilateral talks which will include State Lunch.”
The President’s office confirmed that the two leaders are scheduled to discuss a wide range of regional issues and to cement bilateral relations between the two countries.
“They will discuss bilateral issues and exchange views on regional stability as well as deepening South Sudan’s and Egypt diplomatic ties.”
The Office of the President extended an invitation to media houses to cover the arrival of the Egyptian head of State.
“Therefore, The Office of the President invites the general public to come to Juba International Airport beginning from 8:00 am for the reception ceremony of the historic visit of His Excellency Abdel Fattah AI- Sisi. We would also like to reiterate that only the invited media houses are allowed to cover this event.”
This is a developing story, check back in a few minutes for more updates on the visit of the Egyptian President.
Oct 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ethiopian government has expressed deep concern and blasted US President, Donald J. Trump over his inflammatory comments, suggesting that Egypt could ‘blow up’ the Nile dam if Ethiopia continues to drag its feet on ending GERD dispute.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, in a strongly worded statement, that it was seeking clarification regarding the inflammatory comments made by Trump during his telephone conversation with the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok.
“The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia summoned today (October 24) the United States Ambassador H.E. Mike Raynor to seek clarifications on the remarks the US President made regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) during his telephone conversation with the Prime Ministers of the Republic of the Sudan and the State of Israel,” the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
The Ethiopian government has accused Washington of inciting and fueling an already-ongoing regional war between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
“The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting US president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in International Law governing interstate relations.”
“The Minister further informed the Ambassador that Ethiopia has never and will not in the future succumb to threats to its sovereignty and will be committed to continue the trilateral negotiations under the framework of the African Union.”
Since 2011, there has been a long-standing dispute between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, revolving around Ethiopia’s unilateral decision to build the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam along the Blue Nile – some 20 kilometers upstream from Sudanese territory.
Oct 24, 2020 (Thessherald)–Ethiopia vowed Saturday not to “cave in to aggressions of any kind” after U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out over the country’s Nile River mega-dam and suggested Egypt might destroy it.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office defended the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to become Africa’s largest hydropower plant, and said Ethiopia was working to resolve longstanding issues over the project with downstream neighbors Sudan and Egypt.
“Nonetheless, occasional statements of belligerent threats to have Ethiopia succumb to unfair terms still abound. These threats and affronts to Ethiopian sovereignty are misguided, unproductive, and clear violations of international law,” his office said in a statement.
“Ethiopia will not cave in to aggressions of any kind,” the statement added. A separate version of the statement issued in Amharic featured more muscular language.
“There are two facts that the world has certified. The first is that there has been no one who has lived in peace after provoking Ethiopia. The second is if Ethiopians stand united for one purpose, it’s inevitable, they will triumph,” it said.
Abiy’s office did not explicitly mention Trump, but its statement came the morning after the U.S. president weighed in on the dam dispute in support of Egypt.
“It’s a very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office Friday during a ceremony marking a breakthrough normalization deal between Israel and Sudan.
“They’ll end up blowing up the dam. And I said it and I say it loud and clear – they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something,” Trump said.
Egypt depends on the Nile for about 97% of its irrigation and drinking water and sees the dam as an existential threat.
Ethiopia, meanwhile, sees the dam as essential for its electrification and development.
Washington’s attempt to broker a deal to resolve the dam issue ended in failure earlier this year after Ethiopia accused the Trump administration of favoring Egypt.
Negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are now being overseen by the African Union.
The U.S. announced last month it was suspending a portion of its financial aid for Ethiopia, citing lack of progress on talks and Ethiopia’s “unilateral decision” to start filling the dam’s reservoir.
August 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Dina Mufti, has said that the Egyptian government’s intention to establish a military base in the East African region, particularly in Somaliland, will not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s interests and safety.
Addressing a weekly news briefing, Mufti stressed that, “Egypt as a sovereign country reserves the right to establish relations with any country [in the region]. But this should not come at the expense of Ethiopia’s stability.”
Recent reports have said Egypt is trying to establish a military base in Somaliland, a breakaway state in northern Somalia not recognized as an independent country.
Late in July, a delegation from Egypt met with Musa Bihi Abdi, Somaliland’s self-declared leader, and reportedly proposed setting up a military camp in the northwestern part of the territory.
The Ethiopian government said it was following developments very closely. “That is a red line for us,” he said, adding that Ethiopia wants friendly relations with Somaliland, despite its non-state status.
Some analysts see Egypt’s move as retaliation against Somalia, a country that supports Ethiopia’s rights on the Nile as Ethiopia and Egypt continue to wrangle over Ethiopia’s $5 billion hydroelectric Nile dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
After the failure of US-sponsored talks this February between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, the African Union brought the three countries together for continued negotiations in June.
Last week, Ethiopia submitted a proposal on the filling of the dam – a proposal met with misgivings by Egypt and Sudan, which asked for time to review it.