EAC Calls For Immediate Ceasefire In South Sudan

1762 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
The East African Community—EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera has called for an immediate ceasefire as South Sudan’s conflict enters its fifth day.

The East African Community—EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera has called for an immediate ceasefire as South Sudan’s conflict enters its fifth day.
 
The secretariat in its communication stated that the current internal crisis in South Sudan does not augur well with its bid for membership in the EAC.
 
Sezibera said the matters to be taken into account by the Partner States in considering the application by a foreign country to become a member of, be associated with, or participate in any of the activities of EAC, shall include that foreign country’s adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice.
 
He appealed for an immediate restraint and dialogue in the on-going conflict in South Sudan as it is threatening the admission of the new nation into the East African Community. The new nation, which attained independence in July 2011, is aspiring to join the membership of EAC. But internal conflicts are threatening to tear it apart.
 
More than 500 people have died since Sunday night, where fighting broke out in the capital city, Juba. President Salva Kiir has since blamed his sacked vice president, Dr Riek Machar, of organising a coup, a claim Machar dismisses.
 
Fighting has since spread to at least three other states including Jonglei and Unity. Currently, Bor town in Jonglei state is under the rebel forces and fighting being reported in the Western Equatorial province and Unity state. The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has asked Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to mediate in the South Sudan crisis.
 
Sezibera says the EAC has already scheduled for the first Negotiation meeting with South Sudan from 13th to 22nd January 2014 in Arusha, which will be followed by the second and third meetings in March and April 2014 respectively. He added that the outcome of the negotiations shall be reported to the Summit of the EAC Heads of State in April 2014 noting that the programme could be jeopardized by the ongoing internal conflict in Sudan.
 
Owora Richard Othieno, the EAC Communication Manager, says the current situation in South Sudan is rather worrying to the integration process. He says the EAC will do its best to ensure that Sudan not only joins the community but also becomes a peaceful and democratic nation.
 
The Council of Ministers at its 28th meeting held on November 29 in Kampala, Uganda, adopted a draft negotiation framework and programme for the Republic of South Sudan to join the East African Community. The Council also directed the Secretariat to invite South Sudan to the first negotiations meeting in January 2014. Prior to the Council meeting, the government of South Sudan undertook a high level mission to the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania in early November 2013.
 
A High Level Negotiation Team on admission of South Sudan spearheaded by Ministers responsible for EAC affairs in the Partner States has been formed. 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.