Sarova Whitesands Hotel banner | Coastweek


THE MOST FROM THE COAST !

..


 Coastweek website


XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Beware of spillover effect of South Sudan conflict: Expert

By Denis Elamu JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- East Africa should be alert to the escalating crises in South Sudan, which is fueling the influx of refugees and small arms that could destabilize the region, an expert told Xinhua in an interview on Sunday.

Jacob Dut Chol, head of political science department at Juba University, said neighboring countries must brace for spillover of South Sudan conflict, hence the need for them to back peace building initiatives in the world’s youngest nation.

“The entire East and Horn of Africa region should be wary of the spillover effect of South Sudan conflict. Already, refugees are flocking into these countries and crossborder movement of illicit arms is at an alltime high,” said Chol.

He regretted that ideological differences among members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has spearheaded efforts to end conflict in South Sudan, bode ill for regional stability.

“When you talk about international relations, the regional interests always vary. You may look at the East African Community (EAC) as committed to helping support South Sudan, but you may realize that within those countries there could be one or two that are sympathetic to the rebels,” he said.

“And you may realize in the greater Horn of Africa that Eritrea and Ethiopia were not very clear on support for the government. Even Kenya was not forthcoming in its position,” Chol said.

In the aftermath of the December 2013 conflict, some neighboring countries with security interest were sucked in the fighting and reportedly backed different warring factions.

Since July last year, renewed fighting have spread to the once peaceful Equatorial region and according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the conflict since 2013 has forced 1.5 million South Sudanese to flee into neighboring countries.

And in late February, the United Nations declared famine in some parts of the country, especially in Mayendit and Leer counties of northern Unity state, with already 100,000 people starving and 1 million on the brink of starvation.

Chol added that countries like China and the United States should continue engaging the warring parties to end the fighting that has triggered a humanitarian crisis.

“China has come on board to help on mediation ... China will continue engaging at very high level ensuring that peace must come through home-grown efforts,” he said.

“U.S. politics might change because they have a new government ... The old government was Democrat and you might have realized the sentiment among South Sudanese that the government of Democrats did not help them especially Barack Obama,” he added.

The scholar however was skeptical on whether the Trump administration with his America-first policy will consider the South Sudan conflict a priority.

“It is unfortunate Trump is not coming as an Ideologue Republican. So you may argue that the Trump government may not necessarily help South Sudan but it may not patronize South Sudan compared to the Obama administration,” said Chol.

.

EARLIER REPORTS:

Hike in work permit fees hampers humanitarian aid to South Sudan:experts

JUBA South Sudan (Xinhua) -- South Sudan’s decision to hike permit fees for foreign workers may hamper humanitarian assistance to millions of people displaced by conflict and natural disasters in the country, experts told Xinhua on Saturday.

The world’s youngest republic early this month increased work permit fees for foreign workers from 100 U.S dollars to 10,000 U.S dollars.

Experts decried exorbitant work permit fees saying that they bode ill for a country in need of massive humanitarian aid amid escalating conflicts and severe drought.

The United Nations in late February declared famine in some parts of the country with some 100,000 people starving in Mayendit and Leer counties of the northern Unity state due to fighting. And another 1 million people are on the brink of starvation with also 5.5 million in dire need of food assistance as conflict rages in what the UN described as man-made catastrophe.

The minister of information Micheal Makuei said the work permit increase was inevitable and wouldn’t be reversed soon as the country needs to widen it’s nascent revenue base in face of hyper inflation nearing 800 percent after the much depended upon oil revenue declined due to conflict.

“Here in South Sudan, our fees for work permits were the lowest in the region and we had to conform to what is happening in the region,” Makuei said in the capital Juba.

Oil production reduced from over 350,000 barrels a day (bpd) to less than 130,000 bpd.

However, Guiomar Pau Sole, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spokesman told Xinhua in an interview in Juba on Saturday that the new policy would divert resources meant to address critical needs.

“We are deeply concerned regarding the new circular which, if applied to humanitarian organizations, could mean that generously donated taxpayer money is diverted from the delivery of aid to people in dire need at a particularly critical time,” she said.

She added that “We are engaging with all relevant authorities to request an exemption from the order for aid agencies.”

Meanwhile, Jacob Dut Chol, lecturer of politics at Juba University told Xinhua that the work permit increase is both positive and negative as it would help government monitor humanitarian aid trickle down in the country.

“It is right if you look at the humanitarian operations and donations that have come in South Sudan. But for this money it is little that trickles down to the humanitarian work. You can argue that about 40 percent trickles down and 60 percent goes back to humanitarian workers,” he said.

“That means whatever goes to humanitarian work is peanuts, you see the talk of we need money because millions of South Sudanese are dying, and yet if you go on ground and ask exactly what people have gotten from the money it has gone back to those countries,” he added.

He also said the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are living in horrible conditions In Jonglei, Unity states and yet millions of U.S dollars in humanitarian aid have been provided to aid agencies.

“So the government says much of this money goes to humanitarian workers and it’s better to tax,” he disclosed.

James Alic Garang, lecturer of Economics at Upper Nile University, told Xinhua that despite work permit in South Sudan having been the lowest in the region, the increase may discourage international workers and investors.

“When you raise the fee this high, one discourages international workers or investors and that might lead to raising less revenue than expected. Second, the country has just declared famine and raising fees this high will feed into the external narrative that the transitional unity government (TGoNU) is not serious about anything, including social welfare of the people,” he revealed.

He said the work permit increase may have been motivated by the need to raise revenue to close the budget gap since South Sudan is financially constrained.

He added that there are better ways for government to deter foreign workers from entering South Sudan, especially those who take up local jobs.

South Sudan has in the past tried banning foreign workers from taking up blue collar and casual jobs arguing that majority of its citizens were unemployed, but the policy was not enforced as it faced criticism from the region.

“Besides, there are other ways of controlling migrant workers. These include intense vetting, denying entry to low-skilled labor or those with criminal records from their country of origins,” he said.

Chol also corroborated Garang when he disclosed that the war-torn country would lose even the little humanitarian aid trickling on the ground if the policy was implemented.

“On the other side it is wrong because a small thing (aid) is better than nothing. If you tax humanitarian workers (10,000 U.S. dollars), this money will not be paid by individuals but organizations. These organizations may decide to pull out in the country and the small aid that has been coming will be turned off and there will be more deaths,” he said.

Chol added that government should try to get the views of international organizations, experts, and the region to make a better policy on work permits.

“It needs a critical review to avoid losing organizations that are helping the country because entirely South Sudan is depending on humanitarian organizations,” he said. 

.

Ethiopia continues work to regain abducted children by South Sudanese tribe

ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Rescue mission to get back abducted children from Gambella region of Ethiopia by the Murle tribe of South Sudan is underway by Ethiopian forces, has said Negeri Lencho, Ethiopian Minister of Government Communication Affairs.

The Minister was speaking to the press conference on Saturday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, where he said six of the recently abducted children as well as robbed cattle have been returned.

Stating that the tribe from South Sudan has repeatedly attacked Ethiopians in Gambella region, Negeri said the government of Ethiopia has opted to resolve the problem sustainably by working with the South Sudanese government.

“Repeatedly, the Murle tribe of South Sudan have attacked our citizens in some woredas (district) in Gambella region. The government opted for resolving this in a sustainable way,” he said.

The government of Ethiopia started working with the South Sudanese government to change the attitude of the tribe that has carried out the attack, according to the Minister.

“The government started taking the immediate action; and security forces, the militia working in the region have taken appropriate action; now some of the children have been rescued, returned; so far, six of them. And among the cattle they took away, 185, all of the cattle have been returned and the security forces are still taking action. Some of these Murle tribe have been arrested; and also there were some who (were killed) in this,” he said.

.

UN peacekeeping chief to visit South Sudan

UNITED NATIONS South Sudan (Xinhua) -- The UN under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, on Friday kicked off his visit to Mali and South Sudan with his successor, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who was appointed to replace Ladsous next month, a UN spokesman told reporters here.

Ladsous “is travelling today to Mali for a two-day trip,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. “He is expected to meet with government officials, the UN Mission (MINUSMA)’s leadership and UN personnel.”

Ladsous, who has been the UN peacekeeping chief for six years, will then proceed to South Sudan on March 19, where he will engage with the government and the humanitarian and diplomatic community, Dujarric said, adding that he is expected to address the press in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, on March 21.

“The under-secretary-general-designate for peacekeeping operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is accompanying Mr. Ladsous on both trips,” the spokesman said.

On Feb. 14, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of Lacroix, a French diplomat, as under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations for one year.

Lacroix, 56, will assume the position on April 1, 2017 after Ladsous steps down. Lacroix is currently director for the United Nations and International Organizations at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

.

China trains South Sudan teachers

BEIJING South Sudan (Xinhua) -- A group of 60 teachers from South Sudan  started a training program in Beijing Friday under the China-South Sudan education cooperation project.

The teachers are mainly from primary and middle schools, and will be taught by specialists from UNESCO and Beijing Normal University. The program includes classroom teaching, discussions and leadership capabilities.

The education cooperation project’s main sponsor is the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

China will train another 200 South Sudan specialists in education management, course development and information technology.

             

 

Remember: you read it first at coastweek.com !


Diamond Trust Bank banner | Coastweek

 

TO ADVERTISE ON THIS WEB SITE:  www.coastweek.com
Please contact

MOMBASA - GULSHAN JIVRAJ, Mobile: 0722 775164 Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130 /
Wireless: 020 3549187 e-mail: info@coastweek.com

NAIROBI - ANJUM H. ASODIA, Mobile: 0733 775446 Tel: (+254) (020) 3744459
e-mail: anjum@asodia.co.ke

 
    © Coastweek Newspapers Limited               Tel: (+254) (41) 2230130  |  Wireless: 020 3549187  |  E-mail: info@coastweek.com