When a recent article reflected the broad opposition to the admission of South Sudan to the East African Community, by businesses hurt through non-payment of invoices, Ugandan and Kenyan traders upset over constant harassment and by more level-headed technocrats pointing at South Sudan’s patent unpreparedness to join due to lack of any harmonization of policies, legislative, and regulatory alignments, besides lack of good governance and transparent accountability, reactions were swift and at times sharp.
Regime critics came up with complaints for allegedly glossing over the massive human right violations of the regime and not going deep enough in opposing the East African Community (EAC) membership seen by them as an award for impunity.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays just sent out his report on South Sudan from Geneva and his words could not be clearer. Children and the disabled in South Sudan have been burned alive and pro-government militia allowed to rape women as a form of payment, a new UN report has said. As many as 50,000 have died in the two-year conflict, one official says, with violence continuing despite a peace deal.
The question now is how such revelations will impact on South Sudan’s ability to integrate into the EAC and become a partner with equal values as the rest of the community has them, where Burundi has already become an outcast as a result of the draconian crackdown on democracy by the regime in Bujumbura.