South Sudan youth target Kiir ouster in mass protests


A man carries the South Sudan flag at Magateen Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) centre during the visit of the country’s vice president in Juba on November 17, 2018. South Sudan youth led by South Sudanese for Change are mobilising for nationwide protests starting May 15, 2019 to unseat President Salva Kiir.

Emboldened by sustained mass protests that ousted long serving presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria and Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, South Sudan youth plan similar action in Juba next week with the stated aim of unseating President Salva Kiir.

In a mobilisation that is gathering pace on social media the youths plan to turn out in Juba on May 15 and 16 to launch nationwide protests against the government which they accuse of failing to restore permanent peace and stability in the war-torn state.

They also accuse the state of killing activists, journalists and civilians deemed critical of the government.

Other grievances include corruption, poor governance and gross human rights violations committed by government soldiers and rebels during the war.

Responding to the threats South Sudan Information Minister on Tuesday Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth warned that any protests in the city will be resisted by the government.

He said the agitation by the youth was part of a plot by foreign instigators who he did not name to depose President Kiir’s government.

“Let the youth not copy what is happening in other countries,” said Mr Makuei before poignantly adding: If they are ready to die we will see,”

He said there were companies and organizations, including embassies of foreign countries, who were giving the youth money to protest “like what happened in Sudan.”

“We have an idea about this and we know who they are. If people return to war, they (youth) will die. So, we don’t want them (youth) to die again,” Mr. Makuei told the press in Juba.
Messages spread on social media from Monday with activists calling for all youths in the country to stand up for their rights and those of South Sudanese people.

The mobilisation is led by a group calling itself the South Sudanese for Change.

The calls for protests came after South Sudan arch-rivals President Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar agreed to delay the formation of a unity government by six months to November.

The outrage grew after a UN Panel of Experts reported two prominent South Sudan activists Mr. Dong Samuel Luak, a human rights lawyer and opposition politician Aggrey Izbon Idri were killed in January 2017 after they were abducted in Nairobi, Kenya.

Intelligence sources later told Africa Review that the activists bodies were dumped in Achwa River. The UN team blamed the National Security Service (NSS) for the killings.

The incident has attracted fierce condemnation from human rights groups locally and abroad while the international has urged President Kiir to end impunity in South Sudan.

That is not to say such groups and the international community would back the youths in their protest.

The world appears increasingly focused on finding lasting piece in the country by reconciling President Kiir and Dr Machar, who also condemned the activists killings.
The Special Representative of the UN secretary general in South Sudan David Shearer said the two rivals should meet regularly to earnestly supervise the implementation of the pre-transitional issues within the extended six months.

The United Nations (UN) has suggested a regular meeting between South Sudan arch-rivals (President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Dr Riek Machar) to salvage and show hope of assurances to South Sudanese people on the sustainability of peace.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in South Sudan Mr. David Shearer said the two leaders should earnestly supervise the implementation of the pre-transitional issues within the extended six months period by holding regular meetings.

“There is need to have regular meetings between President Kiir and Riek Machar to review the progress. That will build trust and confidence and extend a signal to South Sudanese that the agreement is on track,” he said in a statement.

He said the unanimous agreement on the delay was “a sign of goodwill between the parties to end the suffering of their people.” he added.

Insight: Picturing the dreams of South Sudan’s new generation

By The Washington Post

Last fall, The Washington Post partnered with Visura in an open call for submissions of photo essays. The Post selected five winners and three honorable mentions out of almost 300 submissions. We are presenting one of the honorable mentions today here on In Sight: Esther Ruth Mbabazi and her work “This Time We Are Young.”

At the heart of Esther Ruth Mbabazi’s work is a desire to combat the usual tropes she has seen used in the coverage of her native Uganda and in Africa as a whole. “Many of the images out in the western media about Africa are not representing a fair amount of the reality of daily life here,” she told In Sight. Coupled with her desire to show her peers — the young ones who are growing up on a continent that, she said, remains stubbornly inhospitable to her rising generation — Mbabazi started “This Time We Are Young,” a long-term project that explores what it means to be young in Africa today.

“This project is a way of both collaborating with my peers and exploring my own reality of growing up in Africa — our hopes, our challenges, our future,” she said. “After all, we will be the ones to define the next chapter of this continent’s story.”

In South Sudan, which Mbabazi reported on with a fellowship with the International Women’s Media Foundation, the photographer sought to show how “young people manage to stay sane amidst all the insecurities found around them,” she said. “Many of these youths have been born in conflict, they have grown up amidst conflict, they have lost a lot, and it’s what life is made up of for them.”

Her images show young men learning karate, boxing or break-dancing. They show moments of happiness and normalcy, like a graduation ceremony at an aviation school or a dancer rehearsing before a performance. They portray aspiring rappers or medical students going about their day. “Life is happening as just about anywhere else in the world,” Mbabazi told In Sight. The tension of war exists, and it shapes people, she said, but it doesn’t define them.

Mbabazi has so far photographed youth in Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan. She plans to expand the work to western, northern and southern Africa in the coming months, but first she wants to look at the young Africans who have emigrated to Europe. “How are they integrating in societies and cultures new to them? The relationships they’ve formed, the fun, the solitude, the success, challenges and sense of responsibility for the people back home,” she said.

With this chapter, she hopes to address the misconceptions young people in her country often have about the ones who made it to Europe. “I’ve personally had conversations with youths who believe that if one went to a European country or to North America, even if for a week, they’ll return home rich.” That’s another stereotype Mbabazi will challenge this year.

Source TWP