Tension is high in South Sudan following government’s refusal to send a limited team to Ethiopia to hold talks with rebels while another exiled general declares war.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni who has been South Sudan’s guardian for several years has dispatched two of his high profile and trusted generals to deliver a special message to his counterpart Gen. Salva Kiir.
General (Rtd) Moses Ali (pictured above) who is also First Deputy Prime Minister, Deputy Leader of government business in Parliament and Military Intelligence Chief, Brig Abel Kandiho flew from Kampala and delivered Museveni’s letter to President Kiir at State house in Juba on Wednesday.
The message in this letter is still unknown. But it coincides with the flawed peace talks at the High-Level Revitalisation Forum in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Monday.
Also this development comes at a time of heightened tension in Juba following reports that exiled former Chief of Staff Gen Paul Malong was planning a rebellion.
The south Sudan Government had boycotted the peace talks saying mediators had blocked some members on the government team from attending the talks.
The IGAD-led mediation team refused to accept its extra participants having limited the seats of parties to the talks to 12 members each.
On the other hand, President Salva Kiir’s administration says it is not prepared to negotiate issues such as the restructure of government and army.
Museveni’s message could be of strategic military intelligence nature to convince Gen. Kiir to accept rebel demands of sharing some positions in the Army and government. Museveni would only trust such sensitive message with his Military Intelligence Chief, Brig Kandiho.
Uganda recently expressed its opposition to a United States arms embargo against South Sudan, saying it would weaken the state which is fighting an insurgency.
The forum seeks to have government and rebels to discuss implementation of a permanent ceasefire and deliberate on revised and realistic timeline for the general election.
South Sudan plunged into war in December 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
A peace deal signed two years later collapsed in July 2016 when fresh fighting in the capital Juba forced Machar into exile.