Northern Corridor Summit Silent on South Sudan

1326 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar is expected to return to Juba as First Vice President leading to the swearing-in of a new unity government, but there has been a delay, with the latest report, saying he may return to Juba this morning. South Sudan President Salva Kiir, who forms the Summit, was a no-show at the meeting and was represented by a much junior official, Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, his presidential adviser on economic affairs.

The situation in South Sudan was not part of the agenda at the just concluded Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in Kampala. The Summit, which brings together leaders from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, was expected to discuss the volatile situation in South Sudan where a unity government is delaying to take off as part of the Addis Ababa peace process.

 
 
Rebel leader Dr. Riek Machar is expected to return to Juba as First Vice President leading to the swearing-in of a new unity government, but there has been a delay, with the latest report, saying he may return to Juba this morning. South Sudan President Salva Kiir, who forms the Summit, was a no-show at the meeting and was represented by a much junior official, Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, his presidential adviser on economic affairs. 




All key officials at the level of minister were conspicuously absent. South Sudan, however, sent a bigger delegation of technocrats in the various clusters under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit. Salva Kiir was the only principal not at the Summit, which had Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni.

 
The Northern Corridor Integration Projects is an initiative to, among other things, reduce the cost of doing business and improve infrastructure in countries that use Mombasa Port and the so-called northern route or corridor. On Wednesday, the Permanent Secretary in Uganda's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, James Mugume, told journalists that the situation in South Sudan would be one of the top issues at the Summit. 



In 15-point communiqué at the end of the Summit, not a single one was specifically on the situation in South Sudan. The situation in South Sudan would have fallen under defense, peace and security cooperation. However, the leaders directed the ministers of foreign affairs, defence, peace and security to finalise the draft Accession Treaties to the Mutual Defense Pact as well as the Mutual Peace and Security Pact, Mechanism for Comprehensive Conflict and Dispute Resolution and the Draft Coordination Mechanism.

 
On the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Development, the Summit directed that the bankable feasibility studies for the remaining Northern, Western, Southern and Mirama Hills-Kigali sections be expedited. On Information Communications Technology Development, the Summit welcomed the development of a framework for regional data roaming with maximum retail tariff of 11 US cents per megabyte. 

The Summit also directed that the procurement of the traffic monitoring systems for detection of fraudulent calls, also known as grey traffic, be fast-tracked. On political federation, the leaders decided that the matter will be handled under the East African Community. On project financing, the leaders directed the ministers of finance to establish harmonized financing models to facilitate the private sector's participation in projects.
 

On power generation, transmission and interconnectivity, the leaders directed the ministers to address the delays in completion of transmission lines, acquisition of land and way leaves which has hindered the commencement of power trade. The Summit also directed the ministers of transport to continue engaging the airline industry and stakeholders to enhance competition and to reduce the cost of air travel in the region. The next Summit will be in Nairobi at a date to be communicated.
 

 

About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.


In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.


I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."