Mamdani Proposes AU Caretaker Govt For South Sudan

3142 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Professor Mahmood Mamdani, the Director Makerere Institute of Social Research says the solution to peace in South Sudan requires a political process under which the political transition would unfold, and this cannot happen under the same people who are political responsible for the conflict.

Renowned scholar of African History and Politics, Professor Mahmood Mamdani, has said a caretaker government should take charge of South Sudan as a way to end war in the country.

Mamdani, the Director of Makerere Institute for Social Research--MISR, proposes that the African Union high level panel headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki takes over to kick-start peace efforts.
Mamdani says the solution to the fighting in South Sudan requires a political process under which the political transition would unfold. He however notes that the political process cannot unfold under the same people who are responsible for the current conflict.

Under a trusteeship, the African Union would take care of the Government of South Sudan instead of the two warring parties as it would have a clear political object of stabilisation.
Mamdani says the AU would ensure the country is administered in the best interests of the citizens and for international peace, adding that those in the cabinet now should not be allowed to run for public office in South Sudan at least for the next five years.  

He says the Panel is well experienced and equipped and placed to provide leadership for this kind of political supervision. 

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Mamdani says the war-torn country now needs another five years of carefully planned political transition.

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The Africa Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan and South Sudan was established in 2009 and is headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Mbeki is assisted by former presidents  Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Pierre Buyoya of Nigeria and Burundi respectively. Its major mandate was to see the growth in the North and South after the referendum through implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005.

Mamdani adds that the process of South Sudan stabilisation cannot be military but political. He says that the two leaders signify a militarised process which should be dismantled. 

He says the problem lies in the comprehensive peace agreement which gave the power to militants.

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The political science scholar says South Sudan is the only country that attained independence with a UN peacekeeping force still in place, a situation that makes nation building difficult.
Mahmood Mamdani is also the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at the Department of Anthropology and Political Science and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

In June, Prof. Mamdani presented a paper at Oslo University in Norway in which he emhasised the need to distinguish between political and criminal violence in South Sudan and the centrality of the political in addressing civil conflict and war.

Commenting on Mamdani's views, Philip Kasaija Apuuli, an associate professor at Makerere University's department of Political science said the situation in south Sudan has worsened because there is no leverage to hold the parties accountable.
Kasaija says that if the United Nations or African Union troops are deployed as leverage, it can take on anybody who is considered to be a 'negative force' when it comes to peace-building.
He says the current situation gives both President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar room to do anything and get away with it.  Having leverage, he says, would make it expensive for the duo if they failed to implement the peace agreement.

Professor Tim Allen of the London school of Economics with expertise in ethnic conflict and East Africa says that the major solution to the situation in South Sudan is a peace-keeping mission.

Major General Pecos Kutesa, head of doctrine in the Ugandan army--UPDF-- says that in his own view, the solution to the conflict is evacuation of civilians from the danger zones to deny the warring parties opportunities to recruit. Kutesa states that as it stands, the fighters are using civilians as shields for their fighting. Using his experience of the 1981 - 1986 Luweero war that brought President Museveni to power, Kutesa says the then NRA rebels did it as a strategy to engage the enemy without harming civilians.
Kutesa also states that it is important to know who the real enemy is in the war and that would now lead to proper problem-solving. He says in many cases wars do not end if either of warring parties lacks the capacity to subdue the other.
On July 7th, fighting resumed between forces loyal to President Kiir and First Vice President Riek Machar. Up to 1.6 million people are now displaced, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.


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.