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Stop the nonsense! How Ruto’s threats to Sudan Generals cost him diplomacy role

The decision by Sudan to reject the appointment of President William Ruto to head the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) mediation team for  resolution to the Sudan conflict could have been informed by the Kenyan Head of State’s recent remarks about the situation in the country.

In a statement issued on June 14, 2023, Sudan opposed the replacement of South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit with President Ruto, saying they had not been consulted or the matter discussed and agreed upon.

The Sudan conflict erupted over power struggles between General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the Sudan Armed Forces and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo of the Rapid Support Forces following the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir, the dictator who ruled Sudan for years. More than 1,200 deaths have been reported with 800,000 people internally displaced.

Also read: Sudan rejects Ruto as head of IGAD mediation team

President Ruto’s first assignment was to mediate between these two Generals. Nairobi News samples some of President Ruto’s remarks about the conflict in Sudan that may have led to his rejection by the warring factions.

April 20, 2023 – President Ruto lamented how the Sudan conflict was a real danger and showed signs of erupting beyond its borders into other countries, therefore making the region unstable.

“Kenya is alarmed that a misunderstanding over a single outstanding item in the political framework agreement, namely the integration of the Rapid Support Forces into the Sudan Armed Forces, had degenerated into violent conflict,” began President Ruto.

He also accused the warring Generals of disregarding the resolutions agreed upon and a lack of commitment to ending the Sudan conflict.

Also read: Ruto warns warring Sudan factions

President Ruto pointed out that the attacks on various institutions including diplomatic missions and their personnel showed that the Generals were being deliberate, systematic and committing atrocities against humanity.

May 2, 2023: President Ruto said: “We want to send a very clear signal to our brothers in Sudan that this continent will not entertain any military rule in Sudan. As a region, as a continent, and as the people, our message to the generals in Sudan is clear and unequivocal. They have no business whatsoever destroying the hard-earned many years of developing Sudan.”

On May 3, 2023: President Ruto called on the Generals to “consider where the country was coming” from and immediately stop “escalating war to nasty levels.” He said this as he received a report on immigration within East and the Horn of Africa; and went on to say the Sudan conflict had “affected the region and the continent, and as a people, our message to the Generals in Sudan is unequivocal.”

May 4, 2023: President Ruto yet again warned the warring Generals that they will face dire consequences if the conflict did not come to an end. The City Review also reported that he said the Generals will have to pay for the crimes meted out to Sudanese civilians.

May 18, 2023: President Ruto called on the African Union to rethink how they handled conflicts in Africa.

“We need to tell those Generals to stop the nonsense. As it is, we have no capacity to stop this nonsense in our own continent. We need to rethink the Peace and Security Committee,” he said.

It is important to note that diplomacy plays a crucial role in fostering understanding, preventing conflicts, facilitating cooperation, and promoting mutual benefits among individuals, groups and nations.

Also read: Ruto: Kenya ready to host Sudan’s peace talks