Home | News    Tuesday 31 October 2017

South Sudan spent $2.1m on U.S firms to boost image: report

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October 30, 2017 (KAMPALA) – The South Sudanese government may claim it lacks enough money to address its current problems, but the war-hit African nation was able to spend $2.1 million United States-based lobbying and public relations firms between 2014 and 2015, the Center for Public Integrity said in its latest report.

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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (L) looks on as she meets President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir at The President Office in Juba on October 25, 2017 (AFP)

The money, it said, boosted South Sudan’s bad image, kept US aid flowing was able to avert US-backed sanctions over its atrocities.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions displaced in less than five years of the violent conflict in South Sudan. The war, caused by divisions within the ruling party, took a tribal dimension, involving the Dinka and Nuer, two of the country’s largest tribes.

Series of United Nations reports accused both the armed opposition forces and pro-government troops for the killings that took place in the country. South Sudanese government forces, the UN said in a 2015 report, “bore the greatest responsibility” for human rights violations in 2015, citing rape, murders, recruitment of child soldiers and lootings.

Also, as the country grapples with its civil war, more than 5 million people in South Sudan are in need of humanitarian assistance, recent estimates from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has indicated.

According to the Center for Public Integrity’s report, the $2.1m South Sudan spent mainly benefitted R&R Partners, the US firm well-known for the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” campaign, while other fund from South Sudan’s coffers went to lobbying giant Podesta Group, led by Democratic Party fundraiser Tony Podesta.

Podesta’s brother, John Podesta, was Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, and led President Obama’s transition team and served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, says the report.

“Among the Podesta operatives who worked on the South Sudan account: former high-level officials of Bill Clinton’s Defense Department and Hillary Clinton’s State Department,” it added.

Questions have, however, been raised on whether South Sudan complied with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires foreign governments and other foreign actors to detail how they’re attempting to influence U.S. public opinion, policy and laws.

“Beyond that, though, a variety of critics contend that South Sudan’s relationships with U.S. power brokers are just the latest distasteful symptom of how Washington really functions,” stressed the report.

South Sudan government has not officially reacted to the report, which is likely to put President Salva Kiir’s administration on the spot.

In March 2014, faced with the seemingly deteriorating relation between its government and Washington, war-torn South Sudan hired a Washington-based public relations firm to improve its diplomatic ties with then US administration under Barrack Obama.

Juba’s decision followed government’s tainted image with the US, as optimistic developed that KRL International would help communicate its viewpoint on negotiations with the country’s rebels.

President Kiir, sources then told Sudan Tribune, believed the firm would develop communication with the Obama administration, international donors, the media, non-governmental entities as well as multilateral institutions in order to provide support in efforts to consolidate peace, reconciliation and development priorities.

The firm was mainly tasked to advocate for direct communication between authorities in Juba and key officials close to President Obama and the Congress in Washington.

Established by L. Riva Levinson in 2007, KRL International reportedly strives to meet the growing demand from decision-makers looking for comprehensive services to bridge the divide between the US and global emerging markets.

(ST)

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  • 31 October 2017 14:15, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

    No wonder Kiir is a killer. He does not care about the country. he is deleting state coffers to ro his tyrannical leadership.

    repondre message

    • 31 October 2017 16:14, by jubaone

      Sugar-coat human shit 💩 with peanut butter, it still stinks and can’t be eaten. Kin ko kak koimot ko lo ki. These tailless monkeys may try to polish their image, but they still remain the same savages. The Kiirminal would have better used this money to scrap off his forehead scars or fix new dental prostheses (teeth) or food for his starving relatives.

      repondre message

  • 31 October 2017 19:04, by Naath

    The Dinka tribal gangs leader and war criminal chief (Kiir) has been paying United States firm to cover up the crimes he has been committed in South Sudan. However, the crimes that have been concealed by John Kerry, Susan Rice and the whole Obama administration are now being revealed by Trump Administration. Kiir and his JCE gangs are big trouble.

    repondre message

    • 1 November 2017 14:56, by Don-Don Malith Rual

      Naath: this is to notify you that there’s no rooms for bribery in the western world 🌍 countries, secondly where should President Kiir got such a huge money 💵 to buy in his counterparts foreign burgorise to settle any atrocities he might have made if there’s any according to you folks, don’t just chiept blame from where it was to innocent servance of the people.

      repondre message

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