@TheEastAfrican

Why doesn’t South Sudan's refugee exodus spur East Africa to action?

11 months ago, 7 Dec 15:24

By: Aly Verjee

Migration crises in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa reconfigured global politics. So why — as the millionth South Sudanese took refuge in Uganda earlier this year, and with the total number of South Sudanese refugee and asylum seekers now more than two million — is there no comparable shift in the political posture of East African states? Uganda hosts by far the greatest number of South Sudanese refugees, but Sudan also hosts nearly half a million, Ethiopia more than 400,000, and Kenya over 100,000. In 2017 alone, the number of refugees increased by 500,000, and there’s no sign the massive and rapid depopulation of South Sudan will abate any time soon. All four host countries are crucial to sustaining, or spoiling, any conflict resolution effort in South Sudan, but it’s time to end the presumption that the refugee exodus is sufficient to alter regional geopolitics. There’s little evidence that the mass movement of South Sudanese across international borders has mobilised the country’s neighbours to act positively to address and resolve the multiple political, security, and humanitarian crises in South Sudan. It would be a mistake to believe there is a migration tipping point at which the region, accustomed to tolerating refugee populations for decades, will suddenly unite or work collaboratively to address the conflict. For the most part, the presence of South Sudanese refugees doesn’t affect core national or regional political or security interests. Opportunity to raise money Other interests explain bilateral and regional behaviour. These include economic ties and pecuniary relations; the belief in maintaining a regional balance of power; ongoing jockeying for regional hegemony between Ethiopia and Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, and Ethiopia and Egypt; historic antagonisms between Sudan and Uganda (even if that bilateral relationship is currently improving); the belief that stability in South Sudan is best served by a continuation of the current regime; or, conversely, that a degree of instability in South Sudan is necessary to ensure Juba is never strong enough to again threaten its neighbours. The bottom line is this: The prospect of the systematic depopulation of the world’s newest country doesn’t motivate action by the region. Further, wider international preoccupation with the refugee crisis may only reinforce regional political complacency. To unconditionally commend neighbouring countries for their generosity in hosting civilians fleeing conflict or starvation overlooks the cynical reality that hosting refugees is an opportunity for some states to raise money and burnish reputations. Even worse, it risks sending the message that as long as sanctuary is provided to civilians, there’s little expectation that the neighbours need do anything more to tackle the conflict. Depending on the neighbour, different factors account for the false logic that refugee flows matter. In the cases of Kenya and Uganda, South Sudanese refugees are hosted in the most marginal, distant parts of both countries, far removed from the politics of Nairobi and Kampala. The Turkana of Kenya may be upset by the influx of refugees into Kakuma refugee camp, but Kenyan political elites do ...
Read More


Category: topnews news oped opinion

Suggested

1 hours ago, 10:26
@StandardMedia - By: Jacqueline Mahugu
Babu Owino: Is he a revolutionary or a rebel without a cause?

He is the quintessential bad boy of politics. He can also be counted on to say exactly what is on his mind, even at inopportune times ...

Category: topnews news
1 hours ago, 10:16
@DailyNation - By: Sunday Nation Tea ...
Doubts over peace deal and succession talks rock Jubilee

Duale says the union is stronger than it ever was. ...

Category: topnews news
Now
@CapitalFMNews - By: Agence France Pres ...
Saudi account of Khashoggi’s death meets growing scepticism

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Oct 21 - Saudi Arabia faced a growing chorus of incredulity Sunday over its belated explanation of how critic Jamal Khashoggi - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | Ca ...

Category: topnews
1 hours ago, 10:26
@CapitalFMNews - By: Agence France Pres ...
Fifty-five dead after market row in northern Nigeria: presidency

Abuja, Nigeria, Oct 21 - Fifty-five people were killed this week in clashes between young Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria following a dispute - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | Capi ...

Category: topnews
1 hours ago, 09:55
@DailyNation - By: Afp
Doing time in 'Hell': Life in Sierra Leone's rundown prisons

More than 85 percent of prisoners are aged between 15 and 35. ...

Category: topnews news
25 minutes
@TheStar - By: Calistus Luchetu
Uhuru directs police bosses to step up war on bribery

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told the Kenya Police Service to combat the culture of bribery among officers. He unroadworthy cars remain on the roads because of bribe-taking, resulting in needless loss ...

Category: topnews news

@TheEastAfrican

Why doesn’t South Sudan's refugee exodus spur East Africa to action?

11 months ago, 7 Dec 15:24

By: Aly Verjee
Migration crises in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa reconfigured global politics. So why — as the millionth South Sudanese took refuge in Uganda earlier this year, and with the total number of South Sudanese refugee and asylum seekers now more than two million — is there no comparable shift in the political posture of East African states? Uganda hosts by far the greatest number of South Sudanese refugees, but Sudan also hosts nearly half a million, Ethiopia more than 400,000, and Kenya over 100,000. In 2017 alone, the number of refugees increased by 500,000, and there’s no sign the massive and rapid depopulation of South Sudan will abate any time soon. All four host countries are crucial to sustaining, or spoiling, any conflict resolution effort in South Sudan, but it’s time to end the presumption that the refugee exodus is sufficient to alter regional geopolitics. There’s little evidence that the mass movement of South Sudanese across international borders has mobilised the country’s neighbours to act positively to address and resolve the multiple political, security, and humanitarian crises in South Sudan. It would be a mistake to believe there is a migration tipping point at which the region, accustomed to tolerating refugee populations for decades, will suddenly unite or work collaboratively to address the conflict. For the most part, the presence of South Sudanese refugees doesn’t affect core national or regional political or security interests. Opportunity to raise money Other interests explain bilateral and regional behaviour. These include economic ties and pecuniary relations; the belief in maintaining a regional balance of power; ongoing jockeying for regional hegemony between Ethiopia and Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, and Ethiopia and Egypt; historic antagonisms between Sudan and Uganda (even if that bilateral relationship is currently improving); the belief that stability in South Sudan is best served by a continuation of the current regime; or, conversely, that a degree of instability in South Sudan is necessary to ensure Juba is never strong enough to again threaten its neighbours. The bottom line is this: The prospect of the systematic depopulation of the world’s newest country doesn’t motivate action by the region. Further, wider international preoccupation with the refugee crisis may only reinforce regional political complacency. To unconditionally commend neighbouring countries for their generosity in hosting civilians fleeing conflict or starvation overlooks the cynical reality that hosting refugees is an opportunity for some states to raise money and burnish reputations. Even worse, it risks sending the message that as long as sanctuary is provided to civilians, there’s little expectation that the neighbours need do anything more to tackle the conflict. Depending on the neighbour, different factors account for the false logic that refugee flows matter. In the cases of Kenya and Uganda, South Sudanese refugees are hosted in the most marginal, distant parts of both countries, far removed from the politics of Nairobi and Kampala. The Turkana of Kenya may be upset by the influx of refugees into Kakuma refugee camp, but Kenyan political elites do ...
Read More

Category: topnews news oped opinion

Suggested

1 hours ago, 10:26
@StandardMedia - By: Jacqueline Mahugu
Babu Owino: Is he a revolutionary or a rebel without a cause?

He is the quintessential bad boy of politics. He can also be counted on to say exactly what is on his mind, even at inopportune times ...

Category: topnews news
1 hours ago, 10:16
@DailyNation - By: Sunday Nation Tea ...
Doubts over peace deal and succession talks rock Jubilee

Duale says the union is stronger than it ever was. ...

Category: topnews news
Now
@CapitalFMNews - By: Agence France Pres ...
Saudi account of Khashoggi’s death meets growing scepticism

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Oct 21 - Saudi Arabia faced a growing chorus of incredulity Sunday over its belated explanation of how critic Jamal Khashoggi - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | Ca ...

Category: topnews
1 hours ago, 10:26
@CapitalFMNews - By: Agence France Pres ...
Fifty-five dead after market row in northern Nigeria: presidency

Abuja, Nigeria, Oct 21 - Fifty-five people were killed this week in clashes between young Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeria following a dispute - Kenya breaking news | Kenya news today | Capi ...

Category: topnews
1 hours ago, 09:55
@DailyNation - By: Afp
Doing time in 'Hell': Life in Sierra Leone's rundown prisons

More than 85 percent of prisoners are aged between 15 and 35. ...

Category: topnews news
25 minutes
@TheStar - By: Calistus Luchetu
Uhuru directs police bosses to step up war on bribery

President Uhuru Kenyatta has told the Kenya Police Service to combat the culture of bribery among officers. He unroadworthy cars remain on the roads because of bribe-taking, resulting in needless loss ...

Category: topnews news
Our App