Thursday, March 28, 2013

Central African Republic: South Africa fails.

The Zimbabwe Mail reports

South Africa troops in Uganda for Central Africa "mission"

                                                               South African Army

KAMPALA (Reuters) - South African soldiers gathered in Uganda on Thursday for a "new mission" to the Central African Republic (CAR), where 13 of their comrades were killed in a rebel coup at the weekend, South African media and a senior Ugandan officer said.
"The intention of the South Africans is to reorganize themselves and then redeploy massively in CAR and topple these rebels. They were humiliated and they want to avenge," the officer told Reuters, asking not to be named.
The South African Army deployed to CAR to prevent a rebel takeover. They did so when it became apparent that France was not interested in any intervention other than the protection of French interests and citizens.  

" Hollande might therefore be arguably in cahoots with those armed bandits!... 

But beyond the insult to Bozizé and the lack of concern for Central 
African residents whose lives are disrupted by these armed plunderous 
hordes, Hollande's callous statement evinced a total contempt for 
Africa and Africans. 

Fortunately for CAR citizens and Africans at large, enter South Africa 
and Jacob Zuma, whose intervention will be hailed in the years to come 
as the watershed in new African responsibility and leadership. 

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has entered the fray 
in CAR and Zuma wants them to stay there till 2018! 

France could still attempt to hang around, but the wrath expressed by 
Central Africans these past weeks against it has clearly shown it that 
it is no longer welcome in that neighborhood. 

South Africa and Zuma are now leading the way and showing the world 
that Africa could protect its own interests and its citizens without 
begging the likes of France and Hollande! " 

The South African intervention has clearly failed, this is blow to the aspirations of Zuma to become the regions power broker short term however I wouldn't bet against Engwete's analysis in the longer term. I also do not applaud it.  

The deaths were Pretoria's heaviest military defeat since the end of apartheid in 1994, and President Jacob Zuma has drawn fierce criticism for reinforcing 26 military trainers in the capital, Bangui, after an initial rebel advance in December.
A spokesman for Zuma, who sent 200 troops to the Central Africa Republic in January, referred inquiries about the new reported mission to defense officials. Spokesmen for South Africa's armed forces and defense ministry declined to comment.
The lack of comment is not surprising. Domestically in South Africa do not expect the ANC to ask for accountability and that in reality leaves only the opposition Democratic Alliance to demand accountability. Lindiwe Mazibuko has done just that pointing out the obvious.
                                                                 Lindiwe Mazibuko
" I have written to President Jacob Zuma to request that he calls both houses of Parliament to a joint sitting as a matter of urgency so that he can provide a detailed briefing on the events currently unfolding in the Central African Republic.

In terms of Section 7(1)(b) of the Joint Rules of Parliament, the President is empowered to call a joint sitting of Parliament at any time to conduct special business (Section 42 (5) of the Constitution of the Republic).

The fact that 13 soldiers were killed and 27 were wounded in what was described as a "high tempo, high intensity battle" in the Central African Republic, is reason enough for the President to brief the members of both houses of Parliament.

It is particularly worrying that the South African troops were deployed in the Central African Republic in the first instance. The record of President Bozize speaks for itself:
  • President Bozize first came to power through a military coup in 2003
  • His cabinet has been filled by close family members
  • His leadership has been plagued by corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism
  • His security forces have been accused of torture and stifling free speech
  • The Central African Republic remains one of the most corrupt states in the world, with one of the lowest ratings for good governance
The key question that needs to be asked is: why did South Africa need to lose lives to defend this President?

It appears that the decision to deploy troops was linked more to President Zuma’s own close relationship with President Bozize, than the best interests of South Africa or the continent. The President must answer for this."

While I admire the Democratic Alliance immensely this is in reality a side show. South Africa will become the major regional arbitrator but it will not be as easy to achieve as they seem to have thought. France was well aware of this. 

The Ugandan officer said 200 South African soldiers had assembled at Entebbe air base near Kampala with plans to hit back against the Seleka rebel coalition that toppled President Francois Bozize in the mineral-rich former French colony.

To what purpose, this is bloody amateur hour stuff. South Africa needs to take a step back and think. The CAR republic is now under rebel control. Reuters reports. 

(Reuters) - Central African Republic's army chiefs pledged allegiance to the country's self-proclaimed president Michel Djotodia on Thursday as the ex-rebel leader consolidated control four days after his fighters seized the capital.
Djotodia seized control of the resource-rich nation after thousands of his rebel fighters swept into the riverside capital Bangui on Sunday, ousting President Francois Bozize and triggering days of looting.
"The former FACA (national army) officers wanted to meet with President Djotodia to tell him they recognize him as the new president," said Maurice Ntossui, a commander of the African peacekeeping force in the country who attended the meeting.
"All the former chiefs of police, gendarmes, the head of the armed forces and other senior officers came to the meeting. This was a form of surrender," he said.

South Africa's first real roll of the military hegemonic dice has failed.  
"Over the weekend South Africa requested Uganda for use of its Entebbe Airforce Base for evacuation of their personnel after they were ordered to withdraw temporarily from CAR," the officer said.
South Africa's ENCA television channel also reported that the soldiers were grouping in Entebbe for a "new mission" into the Central African Republic. It was unclear whether they were new deployments or included evacuees from last week's clashes.

I think it is probably time for the South African troops to return to Pretoria. This deployment has been a monumental failure.

A commander of the five-nation FOMAC regional peace-keeping force in Bangui told Reuters South African soldiers remained in the country. The dead and wounded have been flown to Pretoria.
Rebel forces and international peacekeepers mopped up pockets of resistance in Bangui on Wednesday as life returned to normal after three days of looting after the coup.
The Seleka rebels had struggled to stamp out the chaos and were forced to appeal to peacekeepers from neighboring central African states to help control gunmen looting houses, businesses, United Nations offices and even hospitals.

This was the mission that the South African forces should have taken. Protecting civilians from criminals taking advantage of the situation was one that would have won them enhanced prestige. Lindiwe Mazibuko accusation raises even more questions.

"It appears that the decision to deploy troops was linked more to President Zuma’s own close relationship with President Bozize, than the best interests of South Africa or the continent."

Ouch. Zuma clearly belongs in the ranks of the crocodiles. 

Keeping his promise to honor a power-sharing deal signed in January, self-proclaimed president Michel Djotodia officially reappointed Nicolas Tiangaye, a civilian opposition figure, as prime minister to lead a transitional government.
The United States, France and regional powers have insisted the rebels must honor the Libreville accord, signed in January in the Gabonese capital, which called for a transitional unity government until elections in 2016.
South African media and the opposition have questioned why Zuma had sent troops to a country 3,500 km (2,200 miles) away, with some suggesting they were there to protect business interests linked to the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
The Mail and Guardian newspaper said the ANC's investment arm, Chancellor House, was involved in company called Inala Centrafrique set up in 2006 to buy diamonds from the Central African Republic's small-scale artisanal miners.
"The plan had two other elements, which, if implemented, would give Inala and its ANC-linked shareholders complete dominance of the CAR's diamond market," the paper said.
A spokesman for the ANC declined to comment.
Despite the South African troop build up in Uganda this scrap is over for the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment