Ethiopia Finally Restores Telco Services In The Tigray Region

     By: Buay Kapduel Buol 

Dec 14, 2020 (Thessherald)–After more than 40 days of power outages and sudden telco service interruptions in the entire Tigray region, the Ethiopian federal authorities have finally resolved to restore telecommunications services in the regional capital, Mekelle.

“Following destruction to infrastructure by the criminal clique’s militia, which resulted in a communication’s and electricity blackout in the Tigray region, the relevant Federal stakeholders have been on the ground since Mekelle came under Federal command, repairing heavy damages sustained. On December 10, 2020 Ethio Telecom shared in a media briefing the details of infrastructure damages caused to the Mekelle Core Site which resulted in telecom service disruptions in the region as of November 4, 2020,” the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office partly reads.

“As of December 12, 2020, Ethio Telecom shared that mobile voice services in Mekelle city and Maiychew have been restored, in addition to Dansha, Humera, Maikadra, Turkan, Maytsebri, Korem and Alamata”

The federal government also announced the restoration of power and telephone phone services in other areas around Mekelle that had been cut off from the rest of the world since the ENDF and its allies launched large-scale military operations in the Tigray region.

“As it pertains to electric power services, on December 13, 2020 Ethiopian Electric Power announced that electricity has been restored to Mekelle city and its vicinity. Cities and towns between Mekelle and Alamata have had power disruptions due to conductor and insulator damages sustained to transmission lines.”

“Through the coordinated efforts of two technical teams, in addition to Mekelle and surrounding towns, power has also been restored in the north eastern part of the country – specifically Metema, Humera and Welkayit. Both service providers continue to undertake repair work to enable unhindered service provision in the region,” the statement further added.

Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, has rebuffed international calls for a peace dialogue between his government and leaders of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front who are currently in their hideouts in mountainous areas around Mekelle.

Prime Minister Abiy rejects AU mediation efforts

Last month, the Chairperson of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, sent 3 special envoy to Ethiopia in an effort to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table, however, the Ethiopian premier refused to negotiate with the TPLF leaders.

Ethiopian refugees fleeing violence in the northern part of Ethiopia |Photo: © AFP

Currently, more than 50,000 people, predominantly from the Tigray region, have crossed into Sudan in search of safety – and are being sheltered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees under the supervision of the Sudanese government.

In the wake of the endless influx of Ethiopian refugees into Sudan on an almost daily basis, a high-level delegation led by the Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, visited Ethiopia on Sunday and had lengthy discussions with Abiy Ahmed on a number of issues ranging from the GERD-related negotiations to regional security.

South Sudan’s two big foreign policy questions

Amid shifting dynamics in the Horn of Africa, South Sudan finds itself caught in the middle of regional rivalries.

(1-4) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Salva Kiir, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael|Photo Design: © Thessherald
(1-4) Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, President Salva Kiir, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael|Photo Design: © Thessherald


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.

This article was originally published on African Arguments

S. Sudan, Ethiopia at diplomatic loggerheads, officials kicked out

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.

Kiir, Egyptian President AL-Sisi to discuss ongoing instability in Ethiopia

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi upon arrival at Juba International Airport |Photo: Thessherald

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.

Ethiopia lashes out at Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks on Nile dam

US President Donald Trump and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali |Photo: Thessherald

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.

Trump orders Egypt to blow up Ethiopia’s dam if it fails to accept deal

US President Donald Trump | Photo: File

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.

Click on the link to watch the video

Ethiopia issues chilling warning to S. Sudan over its close ties with Egypt

African map features Ethiopia.

Sept 29, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Ethiopian government has issued a chilling warning to South Sudan about its close diplomatic ties with the Egyptian government, an Ethiopian diplomat wrote on social media on Tuesday.

“South Sudan is playing with fire,” the Ethiopian official said in a brief statement in response to a post on social media.

Since June, South Sudan and Ethiopia have been locked in a diplomatic row over alleged reports that the Egyptian government asked South Sudan to allocate a plot of land for the Egyptian Armed Forces in Pagak, a claim that the South Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs refuted.

In 2014, the Government of South Sudan and the Egyptian government signed bilateral military cooperation in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

In 2019, the two countries reached a memorandum of understanding agreement on oil and gas – at the 2019 South Sudan Oil and Energy Conference.

In August this year, the Egyptian government opened a new medical facility in Juba – and was inaugurated by Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed and Head of General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamel.

In recent months, there has been intense tension between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), after Ethiopia announced that it had begun filling the GERD’s reservoir, without a legally binding agreement over the equitable allocation of the Nile’s waters.

Egypt seeks military base in Somaliland, Ethiopia draws redline

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.

The Stalemate between Ethiopia and Egypt over the GERD is being exaggerated by rumors

The Stalemate between Ethiopia and Egypt over the GERD is being exaggerated by rumors of Egyptian Army Base establishment at the town of Pagak in Maiwut county South Sudan.

Opinion | By Lul Gatkuoth Gatluak

June 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–The stalemate between Egypt and Ethiopia over the project of the Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam is now being exaggerated on Social Media. In the past three weeks; last week of May and the first two weeks of June, one of the pressing newscast has been the establishment of the Egyptian Army Base in South Sudan’s Ethiopia border at the town of Pagak in Maiwut County South Sudan. The issue has gone viral day after day.

Whenever one retired from daily engagements and fined himself scanning and skimming the news media, it is easy to come across exchange messages between individuals whose tone is always torn apart. Some people describe the establishment of the Egyptian Army base as a mere propaganda and fabrication, others describe and deem it as a rumors which might develop into reality.

Yet the rest seem to be authentic that, Egyptian Army bases are already been established and currently operational inside South Sudan in places such as Paloch and Mabaan, and the establishment of the new Egyptian base in Pagak is the way to get closer for an actual war confrontation with Ethiopia. Nevertheless, all above school of thoughts are taken into account as far as the subject matter is concern.

Speculators still emphasizes the truthfulness of Egyptian army base establishment as an irresversible move. Thus, one’s aim in writing this article is to enlighten general public about historical relation between South Sudan and both Egypt and Ethiopia, focusing on which country between the two has mutual beneficiary relation with South Sudan and which one has a bitter relation.

Initially, it is impossible to distinct South Sudan history out of the broader Sudan history without generalization. The relation between Sudan/South Sudan and both Egypt and Ethiopia goes back to ancient times. During that times, invaders that always intruded to Sudan team up with Egypt aiming to control Sudan/South Sudan. For example, Right within the generation of Muhammad’s death in 632, Arab army immediately began the mission of carrying Islam into North Africa.

This Muslim army inaugurated the idea of imposing political control over conquered territories in the name of Islam. Their first victory in North Africa was in Tripoli, present day capital of Libya.

The coming of Islam to Sudan changed the nature of Sudanese society forever. This by far engendered the division that engulfs the country into north and south, with the conflict that existed even today. Among many reasons, Arabs came with the notion of Arabizing and Islamizing Local African communities. Before doing so, they wandered into the region in search of fresh pasturage, merchants, and a designed intermarriage way of assimilation.

Following the French withdrawal from Egypt in 1805, Muhammad Ali who was send by Ottomans Empire to influence Egyptian Mamluks soon filled the political vacuum. After assuming the power, Ali transform Egypt into the most powerful military state and modernizes it economically and educationally. Thereafter, in1821 Muhammad plans the conquest of the Sudan adding it to his domains for the sake of valuable natural resources including human. The invasion brought huge or greater transitional change to Sudan started by northern Sudan. This policy had later on expanded and intensified by his son Ismail. When Mahdi had risen, combined Turk-Egyptian army were in danger and that brought forth British colonization especially the death of Charles Gordon.

After the death of Mahdi, his successor Khalifa began to organize workshops in order to renew the military. This organization resulted into an invasion of Ethiopia. That invasion was a response to one of a raid Negus Tekle Hymanot of Ethiopia has led to Sudan a year earlier. The campaign resulted in capturing towns including Metmma. Six month later, Ansar penetrated deep inside Ethiopia as far as in the town of Gondar.

The war continued until when Ethiopian king Yohannes was wounded in battle and died the next day; this caused Ethiopians withdrawal from war field. When British had full control of Sudan, the new master decided to explore the country especially the areas of Nile Basin tributaries.

British’s primary goal was to secure the waters of the Nile, for the major tributaries to the Sobat River, Blue Nile and Atbara. When British left the country, the state of affairs and the pattern of political landscape changed when the Government of the Sudan started to support Eritrean secession movement on ideological ground (Pan Arabism). The Ethiopian government has reciprocated by supporting the rebel movements in South Sudan started in 1960s-70s. That support increased in 1983 when Derge regime threw its support behind John Garang to establish a movement that should fight for the creation of a socialist oriented united secular Sudan.

That support contributed to numerous military achievements in South Sudan liberation. The modern history of hydro politics in the Nile basin is very complex and had had wide ramification for the region. One of the very good example is the unfinished Jonglei Canal project in southern Sudan which appears to stretch for endless miles. The Jonglei Canal was jointly financed by Egypt and Sudan and built with French assistance.

The canal’s excavation began in earnest in 1978. A huge earth-moving machine dubbed the “Bucket wheel” then the largest excavator ever built a carved out ditch which is 75 meters wide, progressing 2 km a week. At the time, the Jonglei Canal was Africa’s boldest and most daring water works scheme, envisioned as a novel way to divert the White Nile’s waters to bypass swamps and reduce evaporation losses. In a region with an unquenchable thirst, the result would have made an additional 4.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water available annually, to be equally split between Sudan and Egypt.

Today, the fabled excavator lies abandoned and rusted in the wetlands of southern Sudan. In 1984, civil war froze the ambitious canal project in its tracks. By then, 250 km of the navigable canal was dug, with another 110 km to go. The artificial waterway would have spanned more than twice the length of the Suez Canal.

In southern Sudan, the White Nile flows into the vast wetlands of the Sudd, a network of channels, lakes and swamps flooding an area the size of England. Cutting through southern Sudanese provinces, from Bor to Malakal, the Jonglei Canal was designed to circumvent the Sudd, where as much as half of the inflowing water evaporates.

The Blue Nile originates from the Ethiopian highlands and carries roughly 85 percent of the water that reaches Egypt. The White Nile, which streams from the equatorial lakes of Central Africa and snakes through southern Sudan, carries the remaining 20 percent. The river’s two branches meet in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum. Under a 1959 water-sharing agreement between Egypt and Sudan, 18.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water is allocated annually to Sudan, and 55.5 billion cubic meters to its downstream neighbor.

The Jonglei Canal would shorten river travel between Khartoum and Juba, southern Sudan’s main urban center, expand farmland and constrict the breeding grounds of mosquitoes. Yet environmentalists have warned of the canal’s ecological consequences. Reducing evaporation in the Sudd swamps would likely lessen rainfall in West Africa. Draining the marshes would alter fisheries and grasslands, a delicate ecosystem the indigenous Anyuak, Dinka, Shilluk and Nuer tribes of southern Sudan have come to depend on.

Construction of the Jonglei Canal began under Sudan’s ruler, Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri, who understood that development could only move forward if the civil war was brought to an end. With this in mind, Nimeiri signed the 1972 Addis Ababa Accord, granting the south a measure of regional autonomy, and effectively ending 17 years of civil strife between north and south Sudan for a short period. Nimeiri had ambitious plans. He sought to build oil and sugar refineries and increase cultivated land by 3.5 million acres. Yet grand development expectations soon gave way to corruption and a ballooning foreign trade deficit.

In 1983, Nimeiri imposed his brand of Islamic law (Sharia) across the entire country and revoked southern autonomy. Southern Sudanese factions took up arms in yet another civil war. Early attacks by the newly formed Sudan People’s Liberation Army, led by John Garang de Mabior, were against the Jonglei Canal and oil exploration projects. By drying out the swamps, the canal would not only open up the entire Sudd area for mechanized farming, making Sudan what Nemeiri termed the “breadbasket of the Middle East and Africa,” it would allow government troops from the north to quickly move military equipment and troops into the south Sudan.

Similarly, the same dejavu is repeating itself, Egypt want to avoid taking necessary majors that would help deescalate the stalemate. The stalemate between Ethiopia and Egypt increase when Ethiopia had decided to construct a Dam in 2011 on the Blue Nile tributary in the northern Ethiopia highlands from where 85% of the Nile Waters flow. The mega Dam has caused disagreements between Ethiopia and Egypt, with Sudan and South Sudan caught in between. The issue is worrying the region, but as Africans are concerned, Egypt, Sudan and all regional countries that are attached to Nile basin might engage in a constructive dialogue to discuss a potential environmental issues associated with the Grand Renaissance Dame. It is not bad idea for Ethiopia to build a Dam but it is bad for Egypt to aim for confrontation.

As sisterly country in the region, South Sudan could avoid allowing Egypt to establish an army base in its territory for the sake of maintaining peace in the region. On the other hand, South Sudan could look at both countries relation to them both ancient and modern historical relations. Inform individuals would understand that South Sudan relation with Egypt is more negative than South Sudan relation with Ethiopia. Ethiopia contributed effectively in the freedom of South Sudan while Egypt was supporting South Sudan foes fully. On that reason, one would see South Sudan to be the last nation that could accept Egypt to establish a base on its soil.

In summing, all countries that enjoy the gift of the Nile need to sit in solidarity to find the way to share the Nile water. The Nile water treaties were agreements between the British on behalf of its colonies, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in addition to Egypt. Although the main purpose of the treaty was to determine the boundary between Ethiopia and Sudan, Ethiopia have never undertook any constructive majors regarding water flow from Blue Nile, Lake Tana or Sobat, which would arrest the flow of their water. Today is the right time to revisit the 1902 agreement and South Sudan need to remorse to allow Egyptian government to establish army base. Social media news outlets, should cease assimilating or beating war drums between Egypt and Ethiopia. Let learn how to calm, reason and discuss prominent issues constructively rather than exaggerating issues unconstructively.

The author is a political commentator. He could be reach at or

Note: The views expressed in the ‘Opinion’ section are sole responsibility of individual authors and will take full responsibility, liability and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The South Sudan Herald is not liable for any comment submitted by individuals authors and reserve the right to delete any opinion piece for any reason whatsoever.

Should you wish to submit your opinion piece or analysis, kindly contact us at:

RAF dismisses an alleged deal between South Sudan and Egypt

Red Army Foundation (RAF)

June 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Red Army Foundation (RAF) has denied allegations on social media, claiming that there is an ongoing arrangement between South Sudan and Egypt to establish a military base in Pagak to host Egyptian army, if the two countries, [Egypt and Ethiopia,] go to war over the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

“In recent weeks, we have observed circulation of news on social media and official outlets in respect to our country collaborating with Egypt in its endeavor to set up a military base to be used in the event of war against Ethiopia which is our second home now and was our only home with few other neighboring countries during our childhood,” said the Red Army Foundation in a statement obtained by The South Sudan Herald.

The RAF applauds the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for clearing up doubts in a timely manner.

“For this reason, we are very pleased with our government which vehemently refuted the news as baseless fake news and far from truth by asserting that Ethiopia is our own and South Sudan has no land spared for use for war against any country let alone Ethiopia that stood along with South Sudan since time immemorial despite changes in governments from time to time.”

The RAF leadership appreciated the Ethiopian government for its unwavering support during the country’s liberation struggle.

“The idea of the Red Army was conceived in Ethiopia where over 50,000 Red Army were raised, educated and trained in inducted into the political and military ideology of the SPLM/A. We, the seeds and bridges of South Sudan, spent precious time in Ethiopia during which we grew up with love and respect for equality and freedom and that foundation has led us to realize our current status where we have a Nation with our own leadership to decide on our destiny. The past is essential for the present and the present is crucial for the future. Our past was founded in Ethiopia and we cannot be ignorant to overlook or forget and find ourselves in contradiction.”

The official statement called on the Ethiopian government and Egypt to find a win-win solution to the ongoing dispute over the GERD.

“With this said, our humble appeal to both Ethiopia and Egypt is to resolve the differences by only negotiation based on principles for mutual benefits. The drum of war has helped no one in the history of mankind and the issue of Nile Waters should rather be used as an opportunity for collaboration and love not destruction, and conflict. Nature has given enough for all but greed is the main defeat in human.”

“We, the Red Army of South Sudan fondly and purposefully referred to as “Seeds of the Nation” by the SPLM/A therefore calls on our government, African Union and the International Community to exert maximum efforts to uphold cooperation and avert conflict in the two prominent and friendly African Countries.”

1 2