Democratise or disintegrate: how the AU can help South Sudan

The excerpt below is from a recently published report by Amanda Lucey and Liezelle Kumalo at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). It is part of a broader project called ‘Enhancing African responses to peacebuilding’ by three partner organisations – ISS, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC). The publication was made possible in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


The implementation of South Sudan’s latest peace agreement appears to be at a standstill. Insecurity, food shortages and the breakdown in governance have forced more than 1.5 million people to flee the country. President Salva Kiir’s announcement of a forthcoming national dialogue offers some hope. Yet people are divided on the legitimacy of the process: is this a ruse to detract attention from important reforms, or is it an opportunity to finally broaden the political process in South Sudan? External actors, including the African Union (AU), are also at odds with one another. This report looks at how the AU can enhance the prospects for peace in South Sudan


To read the full report, click on the link below

This Week in South Sudan – Week 11

Monday 13 Mars

  • Conflicting reports of alleged clashes in Leer town, Unity State, and Yuai area, Jonglei State.

Tuesday 14 Mars

Wednesday 15 Mars

Thursday 16 Mars  

  • Unknown gunmen attacked an aid convoy near Yirol, Lakes State, killing two people and wounding three, according to the International Organization for Migration.
  • In a series of decrees, President Salva Kiir made several government reshuffles. These include what is tantamount to a demotion of the Murle militia leader David Yau Yau from Deputy Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs to deputy Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development.
  • New report by John Prendergast, The Enough Project: “How The World’s Newest Country Went Awry: South Sudan’s war, famine, and potential genocide”

Friday 17 Mars

Saturday 18 Mars

This Week in South Sudan – Week 10

Monday 6 Mars

Tuesday 7 Mars

Wednesday 8 Mars

Thursday 9 Mars

Friday 10 Mars

Sunday 12 Mars

  • The Guardian: “The Guardian view on South Sudan: don’t punish the starving”

This Week in South Sudan – Week 9

Monday 27 February

Tuesday 28 February

  • President Salva Kiir dismissed two state governors, Abraham Makoi of Western Lakes State and Rin Tueny Mabor of the Eastern Lakes State.
  • Al Jazeera: “South Sudan famine: Eating water lilies to survive”
  • Al Jazeera: “Dying of hunger: What is a famine?”

Wednesday 1 Mars

  • The Deputy Minister of Defence, David Yayau, dismissed reports purporting his resignation.

Thursday 2 Mars  

Friday 3 Mars

Saturday 4 Mars

Sunday 5 Mars

This Week in South Sudan – Week 8  

Monday 20 February

  • Further international reporting on the declared famine in parts of Unity State, South Sudan:
    • Al Jazeera, Inside Story: “Who is to blame for famine in South Sudan?”
    • Al Jazeera: “UN: $4.4bn needed to prevent ‘catastrophe’ of famine”
    • New York Times: “Millions in South Sudan in Urgent Need of Food, U.N. Warns”
    • The Guardian: “Famine declared in South Sudan”
    • Foreign Policy: “‘Our Worst Fears Have Been Realized’: The Famine We Could Have Stopped in South Sudan”
    • Reuters: “South Sudan’s Kiir promises safe access to starving civilians as famine bites”
    • Voice of America: “South Sudan Accused of Blocking Aid, Despite Famine”
    • BBC: “South Sudan declares famine in Unity State
    • Time: “By the Time We Declare a Famine, It’s Already Too Late

Tuesday 21 February

Wednesday 22 February

Friday 24 February

Sunday 26 February

This Week in South Sudan – Week 7

Wednesday 15 February

Thursday 16 February

Friday 17 February

  • The Government of Uganda warned its resources are strained by the hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese refugees that have crossed its border in recent months.
  • The Minister of Labour and Public Services, Gabriel Duop Lam, resigned from the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).
  • A U.N. group of experts believes security personnel from both Kenya and South Sudan were involved in the abduction of human rights activist Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri Ezibon, chairman of the SPLM (IO) Humanitarian Affairs Committee, in Nairobi last month.

Sunday 19 February

  • Two top SPLA officials overseeing South Sudan’s military courts have resigned, saying high-level interference made it impossible to discipline soldiers. International media reports:
    • Al Jazeera: “South Sudan military officials quit over ‘war crimes’”
    • Bloomberg: “2 More South Sudan Officials Resign, Alleging Graft, Bias”
    • Deutsche Welle: “Two top South Sudanese army officials resign”
    • Reuters: “Two top officials in South Sudan’s military courts resign, rebuke government”
  • Salva Kiir has formed a high-level committee to make the necessary preparations for relocation of the nation’s capital city from Juba to Ramciel.
  • The SPLA (IO) warned national and international oil workers from re-opening oil facilities in Unity and Upper Nile State, saying they risk losing their lives.
  • GOSS and UN agencies declare famine in Unity State the first famine to be  be announced in any part of the world in six years.
  • Al Jazeera: “Building peace through video games in South Sudan”

This Week in South Sudan – Week 6

Monday 6 February

  • President Salva Kiir dismissed the chief administrator of Abyei, Chol Deng Alak, and replaced him with Kuol Alor Kuol Arop, better known as Kuol Alor Jok.
  • A delegation of Sudanese lawmakers visited Juba for talks with their South Sudanese counterparts on bilateral cooperation.
  • According to an official state report, at least 46 children were abducted in Jonglei State in 2016.
  • Al Jazeera Op-ed: “South Sudan not facing ‘genocide’, but violence is constant”
  • The Enough Project: “Missing the Point on South Sudan”

Tuesday 7 February

  • Salva Kiir, in an attempt to quell increased local and international outrage, said soldiers who rape civilians should be shot during a speech in Yei. He also announced that the national dialogue will commence in early March.
    • The UN Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, claim the national dialogue could be undermined by the ongoing violence.
  • South Sudan’s former military attaché in Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, Gai Chatiem has defected and joined the SPLA (IO) led by Riek Machar.
  • The SPLM (IO) dismissed allegations that the group is preparing to replace its leader, Riek Machar.

Wednesday 8 February

Thursday 9 February

  • South Sudan is seeking financial support from the donor community to help close a USD$ 200 million budget deficit.

Friday 10 February

  • The number of refugees who have fled South Sudan has crossed the 1.5 million mark according to UNHCR, making it the world’s third largest refugee crisis.
    • At least 52,000 South Sudanese have fled into neighbouring Uganda in January alone.
  • Salva Kiir issued an executive order dismissing the governor of the newly created Imatong State in Eastern Equatoria region. The announcement led to fighting between government soldiers and Imatong state bodyguards, killing two people and injuring three others.

Saturday 11 February

Sunday 12 February

  • South Sudanese internally displaced persons (IDPs) petitioned the UN against the re-deployment of Kenyan peacekeepers, accusing them of being involved in fuelling the July 2015 clashes in Juba.
  • Reported clashes between government and SPLA (IO) forces in various areas on the west bank of the River Nile, Upper Nile State.

This Week in South Sudan – Week 5

Monday 30 January

  • The Government of South Sudan says establishing the proposed hybrid courts would undermine the peace process. 

Tuesday 31 January

Wednesday 1 February

Thursday 2 February

Friday 3 February

  • According to diplomats, UNMISS may be targeted early in an upcoming review process as U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is under pressure to cut US contribution to UN peacekeeping operations.
  • Voice of America: “‘Mother’ of South Sudan Says Genocide Looming”

Saturday 4 February

Sunday 5 February

  • Several experts have cautioned against placing South Sudan under UN trusteeship, saying the country is not yet at the level that calls for international custodianship.
  • Government and opposition forces have traded accusations over attacks on various positions in Upper Nile State.
  • Al Jazeera: “Thousands killed in cattle raids since 2011”

This Week in South Sudan – Week 4

Monday 23 January

  • The New York Times: “Quandary in South Sudan: Should It Lose Its Hard-Won Independence?”

 Tuesday 24 January

  • South Sudan’s ambassador to Ethiopia dismissed reports that relations are strained between the two countries after President Salva Kiir visited Egypt and met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi earlier this month.
  • A senior SPLA (IO) general, Brig. Gen. John Goarguen Gai, reportedly defected together with over 170 soldiers to the SPLA (IO) faction led by Taban Deng Gai.
  • The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) urged the U.N Security Council to quickly deploy the 4,000-strong Regional Protection Force.
  • Norwegian Refugee Council: “More refugees flee to Uganda than across Mediterranean”
    • The Guardian: “Uganda’s sprawling haven for 270,000 of South Sudan’s refugees”
    • Voice of America: “Uganda Welcomes More Refugees Daily Than Some in Europe Annually, Charity Says”

Wednesday 25 January

  • The Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM) reported that one of its Opposition Liaison Officers had been killed near Wau town.

Thursday 26 January

  • Former SPLA Chief of Staff, General Oyai Deng Ajak, denied allegations that he has rebelled against the SPLM/A. It remains unclear which rebel faction he has allegedly joined.

Friday 27 January

Saturday 28 January

Sunday 29 January

This Week in South Sudan – Week 3

Monday 16 January

  • The UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) vowed to find a solution to the issue of armed SPLA (IO) soldiers in eastern DRC.
  • Salva Kiir has formed a committee to visit Maban area and investigate the recent clashes between the host community and Sudanese refugees that killed 30 people.

Tuesday 17 January

Wednesday 18 January

Friday 20 January

  • The UNHCR increased its funding request for aid operations in South Sudan by more than 60 percent, to a total of USD $781.8 million, due to surge in violence and food shortages.
  • Salva Kiir has refused to place Juba International Airport under the Regional Protection Force’s mandate and control.
  • The New York Times: “South Sudan Cannot Be Allowed to Collapse”

Saturday 21 January

  • The new head of UNMISS and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in South Sudan, David Shearer, has arrived in Juba.