Archive for: November 2012

National leadership insanity: Should Pres. Kiir & others abdicate?

Editorial Analysis, NOV. 30/2012, SSN; Lord have mercy! Now that the country’s president, Kiir Mayardit, has publicly confessed to the entire nation that he also is afflicted by and suffering from the mental disease recently diagnosed by his vice, Machar, it is definitely conclusive that South Sudan is being mercilessly ruled by a leadership with sickened mental capacity.

What has surprisingly and shockingly surfaced in Juba, which is no longer a secret, is that both President Kiir and his vice, Machar, along with most SPLM/A current and former liberation war veterans who are also now in top positions of the SPLM-dominated government, are morbidly mentally traumatized, with obvious clinical symptoms and signs of the affliction commonly diagnosed and known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Echoing his vice president, President Kiir blandly reiterated, while addressing a conference on agriculture and food security in Juba on November 28, that indeed, South Sudan “leaders were mentally traumatized by decades of war and are in need of counselling.” He acquiesced that, “Even me I need people to come around me and talk to me.”

A few days earlier in the week, Dr. Machar (no medical doctor) had brought the whole problem of PTSD into public scrutiny when he was launching a national reconciliation preparatory meeting in Juba which purportedly would seek to heal what he described as serious ‘mental wounds that have visibly divided communities’ due to the ‘prevalence of trauma which is still haunting leaders and communities in the country locking them in mental wars in their minds.’

Presuming that both Dr. Machar and President Kiir are correct in their prognostication of the prevalence and morbidity of PTSD among the top leadership, mostly SPLM/A leaders and the population at large, clearly this potentially doesn’t bode well for the good image and governance of the nation.

Though Machar himself had publicly apologized for and taken complete responsibility for the alleged ‘war crimes’ he personally commissioned and committed against a particular community (Dinka-Bor), his main overriding worry currently is that his repentance and capitulation to Dinka-Bor community in general, and especially to the widow of Late Dr. John Garang in particular, has opened up a dangerous precedence.

Every community (tribe) has the right now to also demand some apology for similar war crimes egregiously inflicted on their people and furthermore, individuals or their relatives, who underwent illegal tortures, imprisonment and other human rights abuses by people now in positions of power during the liberation war, also have the right now to demand some forms of redress.

Certainly, this must include those who worked for the enemy jellaba Arab Sudan also, as many were unquestionably involved in the killings or complicit in the arrests and torture. Some of those jellaba sell-outs are now ministers or top advisers in Kiir’s government.

Understandably, from president Kiir to Machar, down to ministers and commanders, there is genuine anxiety associated with rumination, flashbacks and apprehensions about the probabilities of scenarios of retribution and vengeance unraveling in the country, hence, this explains Dr. Machar’s urgency for the so-called national reconciliation.

Since he has been severely enfeebled and blackmailed by the Dinka-Bor community, Machar is now on a wild goose chase to resuscitate his ambition of becoming the next president even though he is precipitously sliding down a slippery rope.

It isn’t surprising to most citizens and foreign observers of South Sudan that Dr. Machar is practically a lame-duck in Kiir’s government. People once hoped that Machar would stand apart from president Kiir by standing up against the multi-billion dollar corruption, the on-going arbitrary arrest and torture of journalists and human rights campaigners and other unlawful actions.

Enigmatically, Dr. Machar has instead come out vehemently supportive of his boss by minimizing the extent of the corruption and the arrests; he’s practically condoning these unpopular actions of the president’s misrule.

Anyway, what is shocking is that although president Kiir and the others had eight long years to seek the best treatment abroad for their mental affliction by PTSD, the president instead only resorted to some unorthodox and animistic palliation such as relying on the aura of those ‘around him.’

It is very uncommon, for the record, to have top leaders of guerrilla or major wars between nations, e.g. Uganda’s president Museveni or president Bush senior and legendary General Schwarzkopf who launched the US Kuwait liberation from Iraqi, or Israeli commanders like Moshe Dayan, have ever been reportedly suffered or manifested symptoms of PTSD.

In well-documented studies in advanced societies, e.g. USA, the preponderance of PTSD is often among the lower members of the army who supposedly are directly involved in the real physical acts of the battles, such as firing the guns on the front lines, directly committing acts of killing and torture, rape and other egregious crimes. Why president Kiir?

More importantly, however, it must be strongly pointed out at this juncture that PSTD or whatever anxiety disorders these leaders are oppressed and obsessed with, they can’t be taken as lame excuses for the serious failure of governance, absence of the rule of law, rampant corruption and generalized decay now destroying our country.

What should be of urgent significance in the country and a concern to the leadership is the immediate cessation of localized violence between or among the various tribes which are mostly politically motivated by the leaders themselves which is causing unnecessary deaths across the states.

Our kind of politics today under the Kiir-Machar dictatorship is shamefully organized along ethnicity or tribalism; it doesn’t need a rocket scientist to ominously predict that given the way things are being handled, another major fratricide of the 1991 magnitude or worse, might reignite sooner if the current targeted incarceration of top Nuer generals persist, a war that will polarize and engulf the whole nation.

As a consequence, the Kiir-Machar regime has evidently lost confidence even among its supporters as witnessed by the inexplicable absence of the majority of governors from the so-called Governors conference. Perhaps the governors have reasonably sensed the utter futility of supporting a regime that’s not delivering!

The so-called national army, the SPLA, is still much visibly tribalized, badly polarized and practically operates above the law; its appendage, the so-called national intelligence and security service is nothing but a personal security and political tool for one tribe and one leader to intimidate, oppress, incarcerate or even eviscerate any person on command from a tribal hierarchy.

Corruption, the bane of Kiir-Machar reign, is unstoppable and being committed with absolute impunity, while the generalized immiserization of the majority of the population continues unabated.

The economy is in utter ruins, with or without oil revenues. National resources are cheaply on sale to foreigners and the corrupt leaders, the commercial and economic sectors have been taken over by Somalis, Ethiopians, Eritreans, all to the detriment and oppression of the local people.

Embarrassingly, the national police service is nearly dysfunctional, with crime and killing, exacerbated by the appalling economic situation, is rampant and uncontrollable despite the massive recruitment and support from the UNMISS. Citizens are literally paying exorbitant sums of money just to get any service from the police.

Diplomatically, the nation is, for all practical purposes, back into jellaba Arab Sudan suzerainty, not unsurprisingly. The oppressed and impoverished South Sudanese are asking if this is the independence they were promised.

Culturally, as the often sincere and blunt State minister of interior, Salva Mathok, painfully remarked recently, “our younger generation, the hope of the South Sudan nation, is finished.”

The tragedy is that they are becoming morally decadent, uneducated and practically and hopelessly lost in the immoralities engendered by the foreign sex-workers who infested prostitution lodges everywhere in the city, ostensibly licensed by the government and owned by many of the top leadership.

Already a failed state, is it any wonder that the young are now either into drugs and diseases or engaged in cattle raids and recruitment as proxies armies?

Finally, if indeed the nation’s leaders are severely afflicted mentally, psychologically or physically, be it with PTSD or other mental afflictions during the liberation war, that might retard or incapacitate them in carrying out their national functions or duties, some forms of treatments, if not already too late, might just be helpful.

Otherwise, the best thing for the nation’s good is that Kiir must thoroughly scrutinize and cleanse his government. If the prospective patients must be kicked out, that’s acceptable.

Otherwise, if all must abdicate, including the president or the vice, either on their own volition or forcefully ejected due to insanity or some manifestations of the same, that would be still better, as our young nation can’t be efficiently run by mentally tormented leaders! Amen.
By Website Editor

How to redress the violent past in South Sudan

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, SWEDEN, NOV. 30/2012, SSN;

In recent days, there is much discussion about a ‘first-ever comprehensive peace and national reconciliation conference’ to be convened in South Sudan in April 2013 (Sudan Tribune, August 24, 2012). Credit is due to those who have finally picked up on this long overdue but integral exercise to the service of sustainable peace in South Sudan.

To be sure, there is no peaceful transition where atrocities and egregious human rights violations have been committed against a political community, or in countries transitioning from authoritarian regimes, without transitional justice and redressing the past. In light of this, the imperative question is: how to redress the violent past in South Sudan?

While addressing the significance of a national reconciliation, both President Salva Kiir and Vice-president Dr. Riek Machar pointed to trauma as the reason behind organizing this event. For them, South Sudanese are still waging wars in their minds as a result of trauma caused by decades of violent conflicts in Sudan. The President is even reported to have cited himself as leading the pack of the traumatized South Sudanese. “Even me I need people to come around me and talk to me,” acknowledged our “social” President (Sudan Tribune November 28, 2012).

The Vice-president on the other hand, appealed for the acknowledgment of the past to right the current wrongs, which he attributed to popular trauma in South Sudan. “People should accept the past even if not necessarily forgetting it and come to terms with it,” the Vice-president is quoted as saying (Sudan Tribune, August 24, 2012).

Consequently, it is not far-fetched to suggest that both the President and his Vice are appealing for psychological counseling and help. They see a national reconciliation process as presumably the remedy for the popular trauma and alleged warfare in the minds of South Sudanese and the overall violence in the country.

However, though one of the rarest commendable moments during their more than seven years of dark tenure in the first and second offices respectively, what Kiir and his Vice do not seem to be informed about is that there is much to a reconciliation practice than simply accepting the gloomy past, or merely addressing individual incidences of trauma, as important as these may be.

In addition to uncovering and acknowledging the truth about past political atrocities to bring healing and closure to an atrocious history, first of all, reconciliation is primarily a democratic project, which must be calibrated with other equally important democracy-building issues. This must entail issuing reciprocated public apologies by our political leaders involved in previous human rights infringements and meting out of political injustices and violence against those perceived as political opponents.

Then there must be visible respect for freedom of expression without physical suppression or intimidation, while the rule of law and the constitution must be upheld through impartial law enforcement on all. Furthermore, human rights and human dignity must be safeguarded, just to mention few examples none of which are seen to be practiced in South Sudan at the moment.

In other terms, the current rampant attempts to silent critics through physical coercion, and the violation of the rule of law and the constitution through rigorous practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention without pressing charges and without due process, as well as intimidating, eliminating or isolating political opponents, civil society leaders and human rights activistS, cannot be reconciled with a reconciliation exercise.

The two practices are diametrically opposed, and therefore, any discussion of the latter must be preceded by the undoing of the former.

In order for reconciliation to be a genuine, effective and meaningful effort, therefore, opposition political leaders like Peter Sule who is regarded as one of the heroes and early advocates of South Sudan’s separation must not be punished by being arbitrarily thrown in prison without charges or due process for more than one year running but be rewarded for his contribution to the independence of South Sudan. He must be immediately released or conversely prosecuted, if he has violated the law.

Others like Dr. Lam Akol must not continue to be held in political pariah in the confines of South Sudan nemesis up north, because certainly this will not serve the interest of South Sudan. Instead, he must be invited for a genuine political dialogue to examine what role he can play in promoting peace and building our nascent nation-state. After all, like it or hate it, the man is revered in his community, and is hailed as a hero by some South Sudanese.

Likewise, the grievances of the David Yau Yaus and co, whether legitimate or not must not be easily dismissed, and useless and more costly attempts be made to crush him militarily, because this only leads to violent escalation and civilian suffering. Moreover, as the history of the north-south civil wars and indeed most incidences of civil wars across the world suggest, it is impossible to crush an armed dissent that boasts popular support militarily.

If this were possible, the north-south conflict in itself would have been settled through a decisive military victory probably in favor of Khartoum’s military might. But despite its fire power, Khartoum was not able to bend the will of South Sudanese from wanting to be free through physical coercion.

As result, a negotiated peaceful settlement in the shape of the CPA came to be the only viable solution to resolve the conflict, as ill-fated and counterproductive as this agreement may be.

It is therefore incumbent upon the political leaders of South Sudan to pursue a different policy of peaceful negotiation rather than armed confrontation to address the grievances and end the violence perpetrated by armed groups in South Sudan, if a reconciliation exercise is to be a meaningful one.

In short, forgiveness or amnesty is another ethical practice of a genuine reconciliation attempt aimed at healing public trauma to ensure closure to atrocious episode of a violent political past.

The President is, therefore, advised to extend amnesty to all his political opponents, before the hosting of the national reconciliation conference, if this is to be a holistic and a political turning point event in his negative legacy thus far.

Second, as a democratic project a reconciliation exercise must equally entail reparation mainly paid to the victims or relatives of the victims of past political violence in the event that the victims are deceased. But in South Sudan, everybody bears the scars of the past or has lost someone as a result of past political violence. We are all victims, though some of us might be perpetrators. As victims of violence, marginalization and unmet expectations, we all need reparations.

A more assured and cost efficient way of distributing reparations in South Sudan is by providing access to existential livelihoods through effective social and economic service delivery. Widows and orphans who are directly affected by past political violence must be given priority in having access to social and economic benefits as reparations for their lost.

But ultimately, more schools need to be built and quality education provided to the South Sudanese victims of marginalization, impoverishment and underdevelopment in an effort to secure the future of the children of those who have been less fortunate over the course of the north-south divide. Public hospitals must be rapidly erected and multiplied, and affordable life-saving health services must be made available to the general public.

If our ruling elite do not go to our hospitals that means our hospitals are not good enough, and therefore must be improved. After all, the political leadership is voted in the public office to serve the public by enhancing the quality of life; they were not sent to the parliament and the ministries to serve and enrich themselves at the expense of the general public.

Effective service provision is, therefore, long overdue.

Roads must be urgently constructed to connect major towns and ease mobility and trade. Employment opportunities must be made possible on the basis of credentials and competence, and not on the basis of clientele and kinship relations. Indeed I have met people with master’s level qualification for a position at the ministry of foreign affairs, for example, but who have been turned down, because they do not hail from the right tribe or know the right patron.

This policy must end immediately, because it is not in the service of state and nation-building or peace-building and reconciliation for that matter.

In short, there is no reconciliation without reparations and addressing existential issues through effective service delivery and social and economic development, which effectively means there is no place for nepotism, corruption and misappropriation of public funds. The chorus of zero tolerance to these practices must be enacted in practice before there can be any genuine discussions of reconciliation in South Sudan.

Reconciliation simply put is administering justice in all its forms, to restore right relationships in a society.

Lastly, following the acknowledgment, apology, forgiveness, and reparation, a reconciliation exercise cannot be complete without building memorials for those lost during past political violence. Simple gestures of naming roads and bridges after the victims can go a long way to bringing the atrocious past to a closure, leading to healing and restoration of dignity and civic rights of the aggrieved.

In all this, however, it is important to point out that reconciliation is not guaranteed to happen, because it still remains an individual choice, which must be respected. What can be guaranteed is that the politics of reconciliation is the morally right thing to practice in South Sudan if sustainable peace is to prevail in this country that has known little but violent conflicts.

Regardless of the consequences and the differing premises on the importance of reconciliation in South Sudan, what is important is that at long last two of the most powerful individuals in the country have now simultaneously acknowledged that a national reconciliation effort is integral to a peaceful transition in South Sudan.

The discourse on reconciliation between South Sudanese is always a re-assuring conversation that provides a glimmer of hope that reconciliation is being rightly perceived as one of the pillars upon which a peaceful and prosperous nation can be built following a major violent political transition.

However, this initiative can only generate the intended effect, namely healing, closure, and a sense of national unity and cohesion between the diverse tribes of South Sudan, if it is perceived as a democratic project, intricately linked to other issues of good governance. Without this, the touted comprehensive national reconciliation project is as good as dead even before it is born.

The author of this article is a South Sudanese currently residing in Stockholm, Sweden, and is reachable at tloloyuong@gmail.com.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are those of the author and not of the website)

South Sudan’s new laws offer a blueprint for a transparent oil sector

For immediate release: 29 November 2012: GLOBAL WITNESS

NOV. 29/2012, SSN; Amid reports of endemic corruption, escalating security concerns, and delays restarting crude oil production, South Sudan’s new oil laws offer grounds to be optimistic about the prospects for development and stability, said Global Witness in a report released today.

The report, ‘Blueprint for Prosperity: How South Sudan’s new laws hold the key to a transparent and accountable oil sector,’ outlines the major opportunities and challenges the government faces in ensuring that management of the country’s oil wealth is responsible and open to public scrutiny.

“South Sudan’s new oil legislation contains strong public reporting, revenue management, and contract allocation requirements,” said Global Witness campaigner Dana Wilkins. “But laws are only as good as their implementation. The real test will be in whether or not the government follows through with these commitments.”

In July 2011, South Sudan became both the newest and the most oil dependent country in the world. With the oil sector bringing in more than 98% of the government’s revenues, South Sudan halted all production following a dispute with Sudan over confiscated oil shipments. The two countries have now agreed a deal for the export of South Sudan’s oil via Sudan’s pipeline infrastructure and operations are expected to restart shortly.

Since independence, there have been concerning reports of new oil sector deals being negotiated and awarded apparently outside of transparent bidding processes. No oil production data has been published, and it is not yet clear if exploration and production sharing contracts will be made public.

Building a transparent and accountable oil sector in South Sudan will require serious political engagement from the government, major capacity building, and consistent implementation of the blueprint set out in the new legislation. The report released today seeks to support such efforts by providing an analysis of the new requirements and making recommendations to address major risks and challenges. Key recommendations include the following:

The government should pass the draft Petroleum Revenue Management Bill without delay and ensure that strong provisions for the collection, management, auditing, and public reporting remain intact. [1]

The Ministry of Petroleum and Mining and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning should immediately start implementing the requirements for transparent contract allocation, and for the publication of production data, contracts, and quarterly and annual oil revenue management reports.

The government and international donors must ensure that South Sudanese civil society groups, and oversight bodies like the Audit Chamber and parliament, have the resources, access, and technical expertise necessary to carry out effective checks on the oil sector.

“South Sudan’s new petroleum laws are a major achievement which, if implemented effectively, could ensure that South Sudanese citizens are able to see and trust in how their oil is being managed,” said Wilkins. “Accountable management of the oil sector will be critical for the long-term development and stability of the nation.”

/ Ends

Contact: For more information contact Dana Wilkins on +44 (0)7808 761 570, dwilkins@globalwitness.org and Faraz Hassan on +44 (0)20 7492 5848, fhassan@globalwitness.org.

Notes:

[1] This bill has not yet passed the parliament but is expected in the next few months.

_________________________________

Dana Wilkins

Global Witness

+44 (0)20 7492 5828

+44 (0)7808 761 570

dwilkins@globalwitness.org

twitter: @dwilkinsgw

Nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Global Witness is an international NGO campaigning to prevent natural resource-related conflict and corruption.

A radical approach needed in South Sudan national interest

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, RSS, NOV. 27/2012, SSN;

South Sudan, up until 9 July 2011, was an integral part of the Sudan. Precisely on the 9th July 2011 it became the independent Republic of South Sudan, the newest country on planet earth. What was left was North Sudan which decided to retain the name Sudan. It was not clear why South Sudan did not adopt another name as a new independent country to break with the negative past of having been a part of Sudan. Probably the hope was for a mutual unity in the distant future. However, North Sudan was not interested in the kind of unity perceived by South Sudan. Hence instead of adopting the name North Sudan as an equal to South Sudan, the name Sudan was adopted for the northern part. The old Sudan is now composed of two distinct independent countries, the Republic of South Sudan and of Sudan.

Challenges independent South Sudan faces
To many, independence to South Sudan was the beginning of an era of prosperity to the people who had suffered so much. In particular, people had yearned for security, protection of human rights or civil liberties and accelerated socio-economic development for a high standard of living. Naturally there would be enormous challenges as the new nation was starting from the scratch. However, with in-depth analysis of the challenges, prioritization and a pragmatic approach in nation building people could have moved forward with confidence.

Nevertheless, the new nation inherited challenges and with complacency it would be an uphill struggle in nation building. Rebellions, security, human rights and food security were some of the challenges that the new nation would have to face. However, barely within a year of independence challenges seem to have been mounting with hardly any solution in sight. In view of this it is appropriate that in the national interest of South Sudan there should a new chapter opened and a radical approach adopted.

A radical approach in addressing challenges
As already hinted the challenges South Sudan faces are enormous that people must be patient but creative in search of an appropriate approach. To be creative people must be experimental and flexible in search of a better way forward in addressing challenges. Since 2005 the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has been the lead party in government in South Sudan. It is therefore natural that as the lead party in government the SPLM will be associated with all that is happening in South Sudan whether positive or negative.

On the positive side the SPLM steered South Sudan resolutely towards independence that has freed the people of South Sudan forever from marginalization by discriminatory black Sudanese Arabs.

On the negative side the SPLM increasingly grew complacent, lacking in pragmatism in addressing challenges.

Corruption was so rampant but the SPLM as the lead party in government was nowhere seen taking a drastic action against those members responsible for the loss of billions from public coffers. Human rights violation occurred with impunity and the frequent declaration that no one was above the law became nothing but empty rhetoric.

Land grabbing was and is a common occurrence especially in Juba, the capital of South Sudan and also of Central Equatoria State. Land grabbers have become so arrogant that they appear more powerful than law enforcement agencies and this is happening where the SPLM is the lead party in government. The SPLM must be very naive if it thinks it will still enjoy popular support while it appears to turn a blind eye to corruption, human rights violation and land grabbing.

Other challenges, that the SPLM could have done better, were the post independence negotiations with the Republic of Sudan. The SPLM wanted to do it alone without being inclusive probably to claim all the credit for any success. This is, however, not nationalism. Nationalism calls for inclusiveness as a broad base participatory approach in nation building.

In addressing challenges a radical approach is needed. The radical approach must be seen to be inclusive of all stakeholders in promoting unity in nation building. The SPLM is only one stakeholder and cannot claim to be the sole representative of all stakeholders who include other political parties, youth and women organisations, professionals, trade unions, farmers’ organisations and so forth. In the national interest it is important that challenges are addressed through the active participation of the representatives of all stakeholders. For example, in the national interest the post independence negotiations in Addis Ababa should have included representatives from the other political parties and other groups of importance.

Challenges such as corruption, security, human rights and land grabbing can best be addressed through the joint efforts of all stakeholders in promoting unity and cohesion in the national interest.

Since 2005 the SPLM approach of doing it alone as a lead party in government seems to have made the SPLM on the verge of utter failure. The SPLM even does not seem to be keen on upholding the constitution. People disappear or are killed yet hardly any action is taken for the law to be seen taking its course. Suspects may be arrested but convictions are unheard of.

Land grabbing is savagely carried out with impunity, making land grabbers as people who are above the law but the Arab style unity is preached.

The Republic of Sudan is making unnecessary demands on South Sudan in post independence negotiations yet there seems to be hardly any involvement of other political parties and professional groups in the negotiations as to what is the best way forward in the national interest of South Sudan. One radical approach is for the SPLM to adopt a consultative approach with the other stakeholders including the public at large as a sign of solidarity in the national interest.

The SPLM cannot be seen as the only stakeholder. Arguably the SPLM cannot claim to have all the experience, knowledge, skills and solutions to problems South Sudan faces. Diversities when well managed strengthen.

Conclusion
The SPLM preaches unity but it does not seem to understand how unity is promoted. If the SPLM understands how unity is promoted then it may be the lack of practical action that is the problem. However, among other things unity is promoted when no one in the society is seen to be above the law. In this area the SPLM is complacent.

For example, land grabbers are criminals and a menace to the society but the SPLM has been dead silent. The silence is like a licence to the savage land grabbers who terrorize people in grabbing their land with impunity. The SPLM should have been in the forefront to bring land grabbers to justice in line with the liberation struggle that was for justice. However, the lack of the SPLM input on land grabbing seems to show that the SPLM does not care about justice to law abiding citizens.

The SPLM is hardly seen as proactive against human rights violation. People are arbitrarily arrested sometimes without an arrest warrant and without clear offenses spelt out to those arrested. Strangely all this is happening when the SPLM is the lead party in government. How does this reflect on the SPLM? Unfortunately this all reflects badly.

Finally, the way forward is for the SPLM to be more proactive and practical. The SPLM should be seen as proactive and practical in addressing challenges. In independent South Sudan people are not daft. People have heard more than enough. They now want to see something in practice that improves the quality of their lives. The poor attendance in the 2nd Governors’ Forum may be one explanation of people’s apathy.

Resolutions and recommendations were made in the 1st Governors’ Forum but it is not clear how far those resolutions and recommendations were implemented to improve people’s living standards. People want basic services to feel secure in their homes.

Nevertheless, for the SPLM to sustain its popularity, it must come out and declare openly the catastrophic failure of basic services delivery as peace dividends to the people. People will hear and may even be sympathetic to the SPLM when the SPLM is ready to open a new chapter. What is needed is the strong will to make things happen in order to make the difference between the era of 2005-2012 and the era of 2012 onwards.

He author can be reached at jklupai@googlemail.com
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)

Open Letter To Pres. Kiir: Is this current South Sudan the Country we fought for since 1955?

BY: Bol Garang de Bol, CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, NOV. 27/2012, SSN;

Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, as you may be aware, although our request, advice, opinions seem to be ignored by you and your Ministers, we will not abandon our responsibilities as citizens of South Sudan to let our voices be heard. I write to you or about you not to attacking your policies or interventions either in the present or in the past.

However, on this occasion, I am writing to you to let you know that many South Sudanese including myself still believed that there was still South Sudan, our country, which we had once fought for, our freedom, democracy. But where is it now?

The aim of this article is to ask you to use your powers and position to tackle the issue of ethnic cleansing through parliament and in your cabinet. There are two distinct issues in connection with political turmoil in South Sudan that has claimed at least an estimated 120,000 lives since 2005 and displaced more than 250,000 people.

The failure of government to address corruption and violence that has transmuted into ethnic cleansing across the country are the biggest issues facing South Sudan. The second issue has alarmed the entire international community because the world views it as the way Rwanda genocide began.

Your Excellency, President Salva, over the last seven years, I have always dreamt that one day, a single God or a group of gods will come and solve South Sudan’s problems. In the process of waiting for these gods, I have realized and even learnt that the New Nation’s
biggest problem is the dangerous mind-set of our people, yours and mine inclusive which needs no superman to solve because I/we and you can do it.

Ending the political violence and ethnic cleansing must be accorded the top priority for two reasons or more. First, a stolen verdict can be fixed in a year or two but it will take decades or a generation to fix a country destroyed by ethnic violence. If, I may recall that the collapse of South Sudan began in 2005 immediately after the death of Dr. John Garang de Mabior. The country used to be part of old Sudan has not recovered socially, economically and politically and it needs an estimated number of years to be rebuilt. It is so easy to destroy but formidable task to rebuild.

Second, ignoring ethnic violence is the major threat to nation security in our country and contributed to the failures of our country. The failure of government to delivery services to the people proved that the Republic of South Sudan is not the country we had fought for.

Mr. President, General Salva Kiir, during the 22 years of SPLA struggle, you, late Dr. John Garang, William Nyuon Bany, Dr. Riek Machar, Dr. Lam Akol, Commander, Arok Thon Arok, James Wani Igga, Kuol Manyang Juuk and many more always talked about an important country deserve to be liberated. Shall we wait for that country? Or you mean, the current South Sudan under your leadership is the country we had fought for?

If this newly independence South Sudan is the country we had fought for, the past years since our country signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) are characterized by a pile of disappointing experiences such as failures, let downs, state/rebel sponsored murders, torture, rape, forced-sodomy, social neglect and other awful experiences which many South Sudanese have had to endure, have caused a great deal of anger, hate, revenge-motives and the dangerous social divisions which exist in our societies.

These negative experiences have and continue to re-affirm old suspicions, doubts in the future, deepen mistrust, shatter hope and have now started producing even greater despair and this is not the country we had fought for or we proud to be citizens.

You and many politicians point at social capitalisation as the only way to redeem this country out of the dark abyss in which it is. And I agree that social factors most especially those which are negatively associated with health, cause disorganisation and disruption, perceived helplessness and lack of support, low educational attainment, and poverty.

In the same reasoning, I also posit that you cannot achieve these development goals when the majority of the people in our communities are angry, revengeful, hateful, and are waiting to carry-out their unfinished business.

In my opinion, I would argue that whilst there is a need for massive development projects which we all think that will develop our country, there is a need for all sections of the society to develop a new relationship which can take account of our importance to each other and which will also inculcate a reciprocal nature of our connection that will help to avoid a repeat of the painful past experiences which our people have endured.

Since June 12 1947, at the time of Juba Conference, South Sudan has not had the opportunity to address their past, neither have they ever addressed the pains it causes them. Our people have never healed because they have never been given the opportunity to heal. All they get is the threats of revenge, genocide, and hate by different aggrieved parties.

How can a society with hidden dirty feelings forge a united future without any remorseful spirit being coached between and amongst them?

President Jaafar Nimeiri used a wrong approach since he took over in a military coup in 1969 by only focusing on security and development and forgetting to help the nation to heal. President Nimeiri never gave the Sudanese the opportunity to bury the hatchet and to start a new emotional chapter since the signing of Addis Ababa Agreement in 1972.

The same mistake done by President Nimeiri is facing President Kiir Mayardit. By so doing, the current development in South Sudan may turn into dust.

Mr. President Salva, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that South Sudan needs an amnesty law which will help those who have perpetrated injustice to fellow South Sudanese to apologies and be forgiven unconditionally. This will help South Sudan to draw the line with their past, open a new chapter in their history and start re-building the nation all over again. I am fully aware of the expired amnesty law but this law only catered for recent events yet, the grievances of our people predate this period.

President Mayardit, to me and other advocates of social justice, it is very challenging, to sort out and work through the barriers which exist between the perpetrators of injustice, their victims, and the social political environment that inhibit progress. This has increasingly made it difficult for us to turn the painful experiences of our people into opportunities for growth and change.

However, I do have hope that this can happen because it occurred in South Africa and Kenya during Mau Mau War.

The positive experiences which this amnesty law shall bring will engender hope and trust, to the people of South Sudan. It will also convey a comforting sense of being understood and accepted to the changed-perpetrators of injustice. Mr. President, this desire is also true for people of South Sudan who keep asking questions about their experiences and getting no answers from the perpetrators of injustice.

At the same time, the perpetrators of injustice are very insecure and in one way of the other, their insecurity even drives them to carry out more injustice out of fear that people are out there waiting to kill them.

I do have a strong belief that healing will be brought about by the kind of forgiveness which will be protected by the amnesty law. By making such a huge political intervention, we will be able to address other issues such as health and social inequalities.

At the same time, we have to be mindful that if we do not support healing through forgiveness, we shall be fueling the continuous cycle of political and military abuse of our people’s human rights.

It will of paramount importance for our country and for all men and women of good will if my request meets your consideration. As such, the outright denial of bail for certain offences would constitute a fundamental breach of human rights which accord equal protection of the law to all.

Lastly, your Excellency, to add rioting to the list of the category of offences that should not be granted bail, assumes that all persons who may choose to peacefully demonstrate and voice opinion on matters affecting them are criminals. This will have the net effect of deterring South Sudan from exercising their fundamental human right to freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully.

The Executive arm of government, in simple term, your Ministers must respect and uphold the rule of law and that all organs of the Government are independent and free from interference.

The Government has to ensure that all criminal cases are dully investigated, prosecuted and that individual criminal responsibility is apportioned impartially without undue regard to an accused person’s political inclination. This will go a long way in eliminating impunity and will deter the wanton abuse of human rights by State and non-State actors.

Bol Garang de Bol is a South Sudanese living in Canberra, Australia. He can be reached at nicetobeme05@yahoo.com

Khartoum has a case against Juba on SPLA-North activities

BY: ISAIAH ABRAHAM, JUBA, NOV/26/2012, SSN;

Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to disagree. The two countries were made to sign an agreement known as Cooperation Agreement two months in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the very agreement sponsored by the African Union. The agreement at the moment is running into trouble when the devil(s) emerged in the details. The Security Agreement in particular is overshadowing others in the process of implementation.

Each country has stuck to its old school of finger pointing. The euphoria that was created as a result of the deal (Cooperation Agreement) is quickly turning into anxiety, apprehension and uncertainty.

South Sudan is being denied oil transportation through the Republic of the Sudan as there are reports of aerial bombardments by Khartoum against South Sudan. The United Nations Mission on the ground is conspicuously in the hiding, while the African Union is lip tied on accusation and counter accusations between the two countries of the Sudan.

Chronically, the Sudanese leaders from day one have charged that South Sudan is supporting and harboring their dissidents and are arming rebels fighting their government. The world has all along stack odds against Juba on this matter of SPLA-North; that Juba should sever its link with the rebels fighting Khartoum regime. The United States of America in (USA) in particular was critical, a confirmation of which that led to scandalous alleged apology written by President Salva to President Obama Hussien of the USA.

South Sudan Information Minister has since attempted to undo the damage to no avail. What on earth could it be that a leader of another country will have to kneel down to another leader in another part of the world? South Sudanese conscience was wounded if the purported letter was indeed written and dispatched to Washington.

But the sequence of theories helps us understand where did things go wrong in the first place for the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. Before anyone jumps to poke blame against the Republic of the Sudan for A and B matters and condemn it, there is an compelling need to reexamine our approach toward Sudan and see whether there is somewhere we can find accommodation for our good relationship.

We should also be an active solution-oriented partner than being stuck in our comfortable closet of being dismissive of Khartoum. Therefore the charge that our country is supporting SPLM/A-North must not be thrown out of the window just because Sudanese were our enemies.

By the way, I don’t like this name call ‘South Sudan,’ it confuses us with the Sudan. Who are the Sudanese and who aren’t? After July 9, 2011, I should have named my country something else. Nile or Azania remains my favorites names, not an amorphous thing call ‘South Sudan.’. Anyway we are straying.

Our differences with Khartoum were all about our political destiny and that was squarely achieved on July 9, 2011. It was the hardest part of it all! The Sudanese to their credit made a bold move to recognize us, and the rest of the world joined them. We parted ways in a civilized manner something that surprises many. We are no longer enemies with the Republic of the Sudan but just neighbors.

They need us and we need them. Differences that are there are normal between and among neighbors. Neighbors quarrel and still maintain their socio-economic ties. Even Israel is doing the same with Egypt and others.

We must not let SPLA-North spoil our relationship with the Sudan. For the sake of peace at the border, it’s time to ask the rebels fighting the North to stop their activities now. We want borders open and movement of goods, people and services to flow. We need South Sudan and Sudan relations so urgently.

The argument by South Sudan leaders that the matter of SPLM/A-North is an internal matter doesn’t hold water. It is not enough in itself. How about our charge that Dr. Lam Akol of the Democratic Change and Major David Yau Yau are supported by Khartoum, isn’t that not an internal affair of our country?

Why do we call their differences with their rebels ‘internal affair’ and never call ours the same?

We must choose between peace and war and not both. Peace is what our people want, not war. Khartoum will continue to find a reason to disturb our hard-won peace. They will go for feeble-hearted and apologists like Dr. Lam to press their case against us.

Khartoum might not be realistic in their demand on disarmament of their dissidents, but we aren’t being truthful. One of the Azania’s (South Sudan) strategic goal is peace and development so as to improve the living standards of our people. Our leaders must demonstrate to Khartoum their willingness to open a new chapter, so for our people to enjoy peace and development after ages of neglect.

Denying must be flavored. South Sudan isn’t doing its diplomatic responsibility. Khartoum has stolen the show there. Everything is upside down as we chase after rotten image. The United Nations Mission in our land is breathing fire on our necks. They are everywhere wiring nasty things against us.

When it comes to issues like the bombardment of South Sudan, unfortunately they are nowhere and when it comes to negativity on anything against South Sudan they’re in hand to report to New York and Brussels. I suspect they have given a word that South Sudan is indeed supporting SPLM/A-North. The United Nations Humanitarian Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) decried one moment when they spotted soldiers of Revolutionary Forces in Yida Camp. No single leader from South Sudan came out to deny or refute what the UNHCR was saying, a proof that something is indeed going on right there.

Our leadership in Juba should not live the lie that the world doesn’t know who arms rebels fighting Khartoum. UN Mission is informing them about every activity in our land. Moreover Khartoum has their own informers, Southerners whose loyalty is divided, especially those on the payroll of Khartoum, those that claim to be opposition groups but they aren’t. The Democratic Change of Lam Akol is on top of things.

We have also many Northerners around and they could provide relevant information about the presence of some rebels around some cities in the country. May be there is no hard proof that Juba is in indeed supporting rebels, but the simple truth that we never severed our links with the SPLA-North more radically keeps some doubts hanging that South Sudan is backing the rebels fighting the regime in Khartoum.

It will be painful to do just that radical move, however; these people (Nuba Mountains, Fur, Masalit, Zangawa, Funj, etc) are closely associated with South Sudan. We will help them on matters of peace and development. The world should have helped them in their political predicament.

But we are also not any better; we ought to talk to Northern rebels to join the march for peace and stop using our territory as spring board to topple our neighbor. We can go further to pledge material support for their development and not guns and ammunitions. Through force a change will not be meaningful in Khartoum, after all, the rebels have no unified agenda for change there.

Dr. Khalil Ibrahim’s outlook was more unifying than our current tribal warlords. South Sudan would have been available then if they had joined our struggle to effect change in Khartoum. After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), particularly after independence of South Sudan, we have evolved into a different entity.

As for Khartoum, they must show maturity and patience against the Republic of South Sudan. They got to kick out Lam Akol and stop supporting David Yau Yau or any other clandestine groups. Time for injecting new spirit and cooperation is here. They got to respect the agreement they have signed with the Republic of South Sudan. They should cease fire on the air against innocent civilians.

Their rebels aren’t Southerners and our people can’t going to die again like that. They should allow oil production to resume and stop their rogue media from making inflammatory remarks against South Sudan leaders or the ruling political party in the country (the SPLM).

If Juba is wrong Khartoum must not go wrong also.

Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba; Isaiah_abraham@yahoo.co.uk

History of Panthou repeating itself in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State

By: Garang Kuot Kuot, JUBA, NOV. 25/2012, SSN;

Prior to installation of oil facilities in Panthou/Heglig in 1999, Khartoum carried out scorch-earth policy against civil population in the area, mostly Pan Roou Dinka community, in a deliberate attempt to depopulate the area. The inhabitants of the area were forcibly and permanently displaced from their ancestral lands.
The same painful history is about to be repeated in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State by Khartoum regime.

The unfortunate inclusion of 14 Mile in the Cooperation Agreement by Khartoum was a pretext to execute its policy of forceful displacement that will pave a way for annexation of this resource rich region of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. In order to put this into context, Khartoum regime ordered its air force to carry out indiscriminate and intensive aerial campaign targeting villages and market places in and around Kiir Adem Payam on 20th, 21st, and 22nd November, 2012.

On 20th November, 2012 when this unprovoked bombardment began, Khartoum mercilessly murdered seven civilians and wounded eight others. On the second and third days of bombardment, Khartoum similarly targeted villages and market places in the same area, severely wounding one woman on 21st November. On 22nd November, 2012, the fourth day of Khartoum’s aggression, the regime sent its war planes to hover over the area for many hours in an obvious attempt to terrorize the residents.

Now, one must ask: why is Khartoum targeting the civil population? To get answer to this question, we must revisit the painful history of Panthou.

Today, Panthou is firmly under the control of Khartoum after its rightful owners were forcefully and mercilessly evicted from their ancestral home lands. As we speak, the owners of Panthou are made to become permanent Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Unity State. It’s this very policy of permanent displacement that Khartoum wishes to execute in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State and it has already begun.

After three days of consecutive, indiscriminate aerial bombardment, there was, and still is, wider panic amongst yhe civilian population in the area. And indeed, causing widespread fear amongst the civilian population is the ultimate aim of Khartoum Government. The most likely calculation among Khartoum planners and strategists is that yhe civil population will eventually be forced to leave their homes, paving way for Khartoum to entrench its control over the area and eventually settles its Messeria and Rezeigat nomads there.

When this goal is achieved, Khartoum will easily exploit our resources without hindrances as it is doing in Panthou today. This is an eventuality that must not come to pass under any circumstance.

Besides, Khartoum regime is also calculating that it should forcefully evict the residents of Kiir Adeem Payam or “14 Mile” area – as it being called today – in preparation for future visit by the Joint Demarcation Committee (JDC) and Joint Technical Committee (JTC), both of which are tasked with demarcating Sudan and South Sudan borderline.

The plan is that once the civil population is displaced, Khartoum regime feels, it will have better chances of annexing the area and this explains why the unprovoked bombardment kept increasing in intensity. But this calculation is not thought out well by Khartoum strategists. Targeting civilians only discloses the true colors of the regime to the wider world as having lost every element of legitimacy to lead the Sudanese people.

Recent failed coup plot is a case in point and it explains the frustration of the Sudanese people with this murderous regime. The residents of Kiir Adeem Payam will never ever leave their homes no matter how long Khartoum wishes to continue with its aerial campaign.

Having witnessed what happened in Kiir Adeem Payam of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, it is important to reexamine the many scenarios that come with sudden inclusion of 14 Mile area into the claimed and disputed territories. In my previous article on the subject, I cited five likely scenarios that could easily play out following the designation of 14 Mile as disputed.

The recent aerial bombardment constitutes the sixth scenario in which Khartoum will try to forcibly evict civil population in 14 Mile. However, any attempt to repeat the history of Panthou in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State will be resisted and will eventually fail.

This act of aggression comes in less than two months after the signature of September 27th Cooperation Agreement which was hailed as a new beginning for better relations between the two countries. As it was widely expected, Khartoum has already begun to undo the accord in the same manner that it has dishonored previous agreements as correctly observed in the book of a distinguish Statesman, Abiel Alier Kuai: “Too Many Agreements Dishonored.”

Just to underscore Khartoum’s resolve to undo the agreement, it has not only began its usual act of aggression against a sovereign nation as seen in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, but in its wild attempt to renege on the agreement, Khartoum is already giving impossible conditions to be met by the Government of South Sudan before oil production could begin.

At the moment, the dateline for resumption of oil production has long passed and it looks like we may not see the resumption of oil production any time soon. It is not surprising that Khartoum is doing this in direct contravention with oil agreement provision in which Sudan had committed to granting the Republic of South Sudan “…access rights to the processing and transportation facilities…” as clearly stipulated in Article 3 (3.1).

Khartoum regime is known for not keeping its word, a fact that prompted Late Dr. John Garang to describe it as “too deformed to be reformed.”

Khartoum has insisted that its bombing campaign is being conducted in Sudanese territory and this misplaced propaganda seem to be getting some listening ears in the international arena. If Kiir Adeem Payam or 14 Mile area, for that matter, was a Sudanese territory, why was it designated as disputed area in the agreement? And if it is a Sudanese territory, why are all casualties of recent aerial attack South Sudanese?

African Union and International community should condemn this act of aggression and hold Khartoum responsible for the death and wounding of innocent civilians. The silence of the International community over this matter is worrying South Sudanese masses.

Since Khartoum is clearly reneging on the agreement, it would be advisable that the Government of South Sudan reconsiders its commitment to pay a sum of USD 3.028 billion to Sudan as Transitional Financial Arrangement. It will be pointless to continue committing to this provision since the other party is not living up to the provisions of the accord.

Finally, I can’t end this article without expressing my utmost outrage with South Sudan Television (SSTV). SSTV has failed the nation many times in the past and continues to do so now.

For instance, back in April when our gallant forces (SPLA) took over Panthou in response to Sudan aggression, SSTV failed the nation very badly. While Sudan Television was busy all day long propagating lies about the war and demeaning, in the worst way possible, the Republic of South Sudan and her people, SSTV was either off air most of the time or was busy with its absolutely meaningless programs.

While SPLA was demonstrating greater level of professionalism and bravery in their confrontation with Sudan Armed Forces during April episode, media war between the two countries was largely one-sided. It was, for the most part, dominated by National Congress Party (NCP) propaganda machine. The world was manipulated and misled by the NCP through its Sudan TV. At the same time SSTV failed to provide an avenue to counter NCP propaganda which, in my opinion, was unforgivable.

We had a just cause for going to Panthou (Higlig) but the world was not fully educated about that cause because SSTV did not do its job.

I had expected that SSTV would stage a more robust but positive propaganda to educate the world about how much South Sudan endured throughout Pre and Interim Period of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and during one year and four months now since it attained independence. Discussions and analysis on SSTV would have contextualized and justified the Republic of South Sudan’s military and political position in April.

I had also expected that SSTV would give ample time to both military and civilian experts to discuss, evaluate and analyze military operations along the border so that the citizens of this country became part of what was happening instead of being kept in the dark as though they had no stake in the crisis.

The same failure that we saw in April and in many other incidences are being repeated now. While Sudan Armed Forces was busy bombing villages in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, it was business as usual on SSTV. All we saw and continue to see on the television is monotonous music and absolutely meaningless programs. SSTV is paying very little attention to this open act of aggression against the Republic South Sudan. This barbaric act of aggression against civil population by a foreign army was not even an item on the headlines.

In my opinion, SSTV is indeed a disgrace to the young nation. I hope some listening ear in the ministry will do something about this ineptness of nation’s television.

Garang Kuot Kuot can be reached at nbgsgov@yahoo.com

Urgent solution needed to Sudan, South Sudan conflict

EDITORIAL: STANDARD DIGITAL NEWS, NAIROBI, KENYA, NOV. 20. 2012, SSN;
It is unfortunate that the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan has dragged on to the extent that the South can no longer meet its international obligations. But probably the worst hit foreigner in this conflict is Kenya, which also happens to the largest trading partner in this region.

The importance of South Sudan to Kenya and the regional East Africa Community (EAC) is too critical to be left at the whims and tyrannical tendencies of the Khartoum Government. After participating in the birth of South Sudan, Kenya has been exploring the possibility of linking the rich oil fields of South Sudan to Kenya`s yet to be built Lamu port, providing this landlocked country with a vital route to the sea.

This is if a railway line linking the city of Juba in Sudan to Lamu, an idea first sold to the Kenya Government by the late John Garang de Mabior then leader of the Sudan People`s Liberation Movement (SPLM), becomes a reality.

The discovery of commercial oil deposits in South Sudan has created renewed vigour on the Lamu Port and Lamu Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET).

It is against this background that the ongoing forex shortage in South Sudan should be seen.

Sudan President Hassan Omar Al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit are old warhorses and commanders, but above all else, friends that know each other very well having been Head of State and Vice President of a United Sudan.

These statesmen stand on the threshold of history should they move fast to settle their differences on sharing of oil revenues before further damage is done to regional trade and the economy of this region.

We urge leaders of the two countries to iron out their differences over borders, oil revenues and the disputed region of Abyei.

Restore sanity

Kenya has remained a passive bystander in this conflict so far but should now step in, if only to protect Kenyan businesses operating in the Sudan, including airlines, commercial banks and other private enterprises.

The hardline stance taken by extremists on both sides of the negotiating table, should not only be discouraged but that other regional wellwishers, including Kenya should also weigh in, just as it has done to restore sanity in neighbouring Somalia.

We urge for speedy resolutions on such sticking points as the region of Abyei, which is claimed by both sides, how much South Sudan should pay Khartoum for transporting its oil and demarcating the common border.

In January 2012, the South shut down oil production, accusing Sudan of being somewhat economical with the truth about its oil, and the two countries` economies have been seriously damaged as a result.

The fact that the Sudans are reliant on oil revenues to drive their budget means these disagreements cannot be allowed without causing severe damage not only to the economies of the two but the entire East Africa region.

Interesting some 75 per cent of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north. This means that the Juba administration must begin to think seriously of how they will build their own oil pipeline, probably through Kenya to the sea and still retain the Sudan line.

We hope that South Sudan will resume exporting oil through Sudan on by the end of this month if recent announcements by the country`s Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu, is to be believed.

In the meantime, we also hope that Kenyan business affected by the forex crunch will not pull out from the territory as preparations are being made for oil production to resume.

Eighty per cent of the oil preparations in the Republic of South Sudan are said to be in place and that oil production could resume any time soon.

Oil production

We expect the two governments to keep their word on the deal signed in Juba to discuss strategies for resumption of the production, which included modalities of operation both between the two governments and the oil companies.

This will bring an end to South Sudan`s economic problems especially the pressure as a result of the shutdown of the oil production early this year after failing to agree with Sudan on transportation fees among other issues.

Kenya stands to benefit greatly if there is a resumption of oil production in Sudan as this event will assure the country`s investment and business in Sudan of stability and returns.

There is a lot at stake in terms of employment and contribution to the country`s economy, to allow the Sudan to slip back into chaos and retarded development. END

Sudan should allow South Sudan oil to flow!

BY: ISAIAH ABRAHAM, JUBA, NOV. 19/2012, SSN;
Sudan and South Sudan agreed on September 27, 2012 on many issues, one of which was oil. The two sides at the moment are closer to disagreement and a breakdown as Khartoum insists that the security for South Kordofan and Blue Nile must go hand in hand with the permission to let the oil from South Sudan to the market through their country.

The two ministers of the two countries met in Juba last week (10.11.2012) and have reached nowhere. Khartoum was/is wrong, and Juba was/right.
As things stand, there is not much desire to infuse and confuse things when the agreement was crystal clear on security and oil. Therefore Khartoum should re-examine its decision and let the oil companies start pumping oil to the outside world.

The delay isn’t wise and will not be in the interest of the two countries. The two leaders of Sudan and South Sudan were commended for their courage and determination to peace and harmony. President Omar Al Bashir would be received in Juba with pomp and dances if ever the well-publicized and politicized visit will take place. President Al Bashir is respected here and shall continue to enjoy being respected because of his Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with our hero Dr. John Garang de Mabior. No Northern politician has that gut like that of Gen. Omar Hassan Ahmed Al Bashir.

The current standoff over oil is a making of his hawks and radicals whose agenda then and now is to bring down the government in Juba. They are joined by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin of the Democratic Change. Dr. Ajawin’s invisible hand can’t go unnoticed. He’s a sworn enemy of the people of this republic and one of his card is deny Juba the hard currency so to satiate his egoism.

He went to the Arabs and European countries preaching hate that there is no leadership in the country and that hence he should be considered as an alternative. If he could then throw parties when Southern Army (SPLA) lost a garrison to the Northern army, what would prevent him for doing the same today?

We must rally as people of South Sudan behind our president and stop traitors from undoing our gains. We will not bow down to Khartoum’s moves. It is better we die in dignity than return to the wilderness under Khartoum. We are better off without food on our tables.

Dr. Lam must not deceive himself that our people will surrender to the North again. It is only here that we have a weak leader who is led, we couldn’t have given away Panthou, Hofra Al Nahas, Kafi Kingi, Warawar/Mile 14 and Abyei.

In light of the situation before our country, our leadership must gather pace and do the following urgent measures. The threat against oil production from the Sudan is real and must not be ignored. Signs are on the wall that Khartoum will not accept or honor its bargaining side of the oil agreement and thus anytime they might either confiscate or block the oil from flowing.

Our government must go back to the drawing board and if it needs another Addis Ababa talk so be it. Things will not be fair unless there is robust mechanism to be put in place now.

Our government must not be seen as desperate and helpless, after all, Dr. Marial Awou (state minister of finance) and Central Bank Governor, Cornelio Koryom, have assured the world of no liquidity issue. The government can’t be seen as helpless under its rich land.

Mr. President as a matter of urgency should reduce his government and go for a lean and efficient government. Disband the Council of States, remove the Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Commissions. Aggressively levy taxes especially on hotels and housing, while deploying Mobile Refineries to reduce and subsidize consumption goods. Urgent times require drastic actions.

Nothing will flow to the mouth of an African from the West or China unless it costs sweat and blood. Free things aren’t indeed free. The aid and assistance to the continent are nothing but baits by the rich and powerful to advance their interests. South Sudan must not catch the whims of the so-called developed world. We must be ourselves, work hard and stand to fight for our own survival.

The North can’t intimidate our people; we have every right to say it emphatically that it is not anymore.

Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba; he’s on Isaiah_abraham@yahoo.co.uk
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)

Juba & Khartoum : They want to be both Partners and Enemies at the same time and Expect Progress!

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, NOV. 17/2012, SSN;
To set the platform for the arguments that will follow, we would all want to assume even if only once, that there is no any slightest doubt in the back of our minds on the fact that the current Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) will deliver more solutions to the continent’s problems far more than her predecessors. This much will be wonderful.

We would also like to believe that Ms. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma must have come to office with the full knowledge of South Sudan and Sudan conflicts and that she too is also aware of Khartoum’s long records of dishonoring Agreements. It would also count as a bonus.

If all that is said above is true then the AU new boss’s comments made on Saturday 10th November 2012 will clearly go down as a true reflection of her anticipated expectation on the future of this African Union Implementation High Panel (UNHIP) brokered Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement (CCA) between President Salva Kiir and President Omer al Bashir.

Without much ado at this stage the right thing to do is obvious. We have to thank God that Ms. Zuma is quick enough to realize that things are not going well as far as the implementation of the so-called Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement (CCA) recently signed between South Sudan and Sudan is concerned.

She (Dlamini Zuma) too did well to recognize that the meeting between the South Sudan and Sudan committees that took place in Juba, the capital of South Sudan was nothing but a complete failure. That’s like keeping on top of issues, isn’t it?

So it was also a great move from her side when she explicitly expressed her concerns and frustration over the delay in the operationalization of the buffer zone between the two countries which by all means remains to be the centerpiece in the 27th September 2012 Addis Ababa Cooperation Agreement.

Nonetheless, for those of us who have meticulously followed the history of the countless agreements signed by Khartoum be it in Addis Ababa or elsewhere, we are not in any way surprised by the way how the delegations from the two countries concluded the first leg of their technical committee’s meeting in Juba. Failure to agree is what they do best. In other words they seem to have beforehand agreed to disagree!

Sadly enough though it’s only now that it has become abundantly clear to all including those that saw us as prophets of doom, that the whole meeting in Juba was an utter failure, for the simple fact that Khartoum which refuses to talk to its northern rebels of the SPLM-North had strangely enough tried to use the Juba meeting to forge an SPLM/NCP anti-SPLM-North front which would have then gone out to win the war in favor of this crazy Islamist clique.

In short the Juba Meeting can be summarized as a meeting where the two sides consumed all their time disagreeing on how to deal or not deal with the SPLM-North rebels who are now fighting the Khartoum regime. This if anything, it stands to tell you what the NCP Islamists intend to extract from this so-called Cooperation Agreement, and probably it may be their sole reason for wanting to normalize with South Sudan.

Ms Zuma also rightly responded promptly to her instinct that warned her of the possible collapse of this hard earned truce and she did well to remind both Juba and Khartoum that the whole world is watching their moves. Her emphases about the need for the full and timely implementation of the security arrangements, which will in turn enhance confidence between the two States is well placed.

However Ms Zuma will need to go yet another step further if the AU is to ever see a practical implementation of this so called Cooperation Agreement between the two Sudans take place on the ground. For as things stand it is indeed illogical to expect a full and timely smooth implementation of an agreement that was entirely sealed under external pressure without continuing to exert the same pressure throughout the course of events.

Reasons behind Khartoum signing the agreement in the first place:

Long time ago the author had warned about how Khartoum will change its stance in the last minute and sign any agreement proposed by the AUHIP of former President Thabo Mbeki with the sole aim of escaping the UN Security Council’s deadline. And it has come to pass just as speculated.

To further confirm what the author had written earlier, we are now face to face with Khartoum which has always dishonored truces. And what we are seeing now is that even before the ink on the Cooperation Agreement could dry, the old foxes of Khartoum are already back to what they do best and that’s to put hurdles on the way of implementing any agreement they sign, while at the same time pretending as if they are really serious about the implementation.

We all know that the Cooperation Agreement requests the two governments (Juba & Khartoum) to refrain from supporting rebel groups in the two countries. It can also mean that the two countries may also have to play positive roles in order to bring about peaceful settlements to each other’s problems.

So far so good, however Khartoum by the nature of its Jihadist orientation doesn’t in fact believe in a peaceful settlement in any of its countless rebellions with groups known to operate within the Greater Darfur and many others all along the nearly 2000 km border with the new republic of South Sudan.

This is obviously the case for while South Sudan has openly voiced its suspension of assistance to SPLM-North which is now a foreign organization or at least should be seen so, yet it is never denied its support for what it considers a just cause for which the northern comrades (Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and the various Darfuri rebel groups) are fighting for. On the same theme Juba went on to suggest its willingness to help mediate for a peaceful settlement for its northern neighbor’s crises, a role of course never appreciated by the Islamists who rule over the Republic of Sudan (North).

This same position would have been adopted by the SPLM leadership in Juba should the Islamist NCP government In Khartoum offer to mediated a settlement between Juba and the David Yau Yau’s rebels. At least this helps the reader to see the other angles of what in fact is a multi-faceted crisis.

At any rate it is equally worth stressing here that although Khartoum has long since made up its mind not to go in the direction of having South Sudan as a player that can help bring about a peaceful settlement in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains or the Blue Nile region, yet for purely propaganda purposes it continuously prefers to highlight the link between these rebel groups and the SPLM government in Juba.

As part of the NCP’s bigotry mind set it cannot and will not especially after its bitter experience with the Naivasha Agreement (the CPA) opt again for any truce where it will be requested to share power with other armed groups. The NCP is not ready to do that with any of the various Darfur rebel groups nor is it ready to do so with the SPLM-North and of course even more unthinkable with the recently formed the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF).

What President Omer al Bashir and his think tanks of the hardline Islamists in the other Arab countries the likes of Sheikh Yusuf al Qaradawi and the cohort want in the Sudan is a total military victory over all the rebel groups for the fact that these rebel groups are largely drawn from the indigenous Black African populations and are at the same time advocating for a secular Sudanese state.

For a keen observer it’s easy to see that Khartoum made efforts to conceal its main motive behind the signing of the Addis Ababa Cooperation Agreement. All that it sees it is yet another golden opportunity to replicate and establish in place another Idris Deby in Juba. If such a replica can be produced, Khartoum is dreaming for the joint assault on the rebels by the two neighboring countries. No wonder that the NCP is determined to drag South Sudan into what is realistically an all-North-North crisis.

But what do you as a concerned viewer think would be the response of the SPLM led government in Juba towards this weird position taken and adopted by the Islamists of the NCP? Of course as old time comrades the SPLM led government in Juba may find it somehow embarrassing to completely disengage with the SPLM-North, a choice they will have to weigh carefully against the backlash of continuing to lose the much needed Oil revenue that can only come by fully normalizing with Khartoum.

Again in the hope of achieving the New Sudan dream, the SPLM leadership in Juba is required by its ideology to stick to the total eradication of all the injustice in the center of power in Khartoum if they are to have the Sudan of their dream (united or fragmented) especially when the rosy dream of building the alternative oil pipeline to the Indian ocean is not easily forthcoming as initially and naively expected.

What do the cooperation agreements mean to different people?

Now for the SPLM led government in Juba this Cooperation Agreement with Khartoum should offer the much needed breathing space and financial relief for the regime in the face of the well-known self-inflicted economic suffocation that followed the abrupt closure of the country’s Oil industry.

President Salva Kiir who continues to suspect a military coup in the making will be very happy to have the inflow of the Oil dollars as it will enable him to continue buying the necessary and much needed loyalty within the military establishment and the other opportunistic politicians that his regime badly needs for survival at this particular moment in time.

In Khartoum it cannot be overstressed that the NCP dominated regime will want to get back to popularity by injecting the billions of dollars that it will get as a subsidy by Juba once the Oil resumes export through the Khartoum owned pipeline.

But as already mentioned elsewhere in this article, this Cooperation Agreement also provides the cunning NCP with what it considers as a golden opportunity … a rare one which it can exploit at wish in order to twist the arms of the SPLM in Juba to either accept and play “Idris Deby like role in the region” or languish under the already self-inflicted economic embargo!.

As for the opposition political parties in both South Sudan and Sudan, conscious of the fact that each group has to work within the frame work established following the Independence of the former from trhe latter, they both know very well that the future of the two neighboring countries depends on how peacefully the relationship between the two now separate entities can be maintained.

The two economies will obviously do better through border trading and free movements of people and goods. However they (the opposition parties) are also aware of the fact that any improvement in their individual countries’ economies will definitely translate into the two totalitarian regimes to not only cling to power, but also improve their chances of isolating the others even the more through the abuse of public coffers.

For the rebels of the Republic of Sudan (SPLM-N & the Darfur rebels), the Cooperation Agreement is indeed a thing to worry about especially when issues like the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone are considered central to its successful implementation.

But as the rebels claim that they are controlling more than 40 percent of what is known to be an ill-defined borders between the two countries, it even becomes more the point that the border issues can only be effectively addressed when Khartoum reaches settlement with these rebel groups.

The other group represents the Sudanese refugees in South Sudan, the Southern Sudanese and Sudanese populations living along the border areas and those South Sudanese living in the North and the North Sudanese living in the South. These groups do see in the Cooperation Agreement a rare opportunity for them to lead a decent life wherever they live at the moment given the “Four Freedoms” are packaged in the cooperation truce.

Where does all the above leave the Addis Ababa Cooperation Agreement (CCA) from being understood or being misunderstood – from being correctly interpreted or being completely misinterpreted – from being timely, fully and correctly implemented or to altogether end up in the extreme case scenario, but the most likely, whereby agreements after agreements share the common fate of being dumped in the dust bin without the least implementation (e.g. Malik Agar/Nafie Ali Nafie – Addis Ababa Agreement). This is where Ms. Zuma should concentrate her efforts, if she is to do anything different from what her predecessors did for peace in the Sudan(s)

However our generous advice to Ms. Zuma at this juncture is that, whatever reports she gets from her former South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki on the Sudanese Politics; she must take it with a pinch of salt. Mbeki quitted the Darfuri dossier without a clear break through, Abyei is another dilemma on his hands and God knows what he will do with the difficulty to implement Addis Ababa Cooperation Agreement between the two countries.

There’s no intention of the author of this article to undermine the AUHIP (Thabo Mbeki’s group) skills in mediating between SPLM and the NCP, however let the truth be told and be made known to the entire world that there is no room left for the two ruling parties (the SPLM & NCP) to cooperate on any issues of mutual benefit be it political or economic given the fact that the two just cannot work together.

The real PEACE in this region lies outside the domains of both the SPLM and the NCP and unless a true democracy prevails in Juba and Khartoum altogether under new regimes, the two countries will likely remain at loggerheads for decades to come.

These two countries are already the worst failed states in the world and the peace, security and development that they have failed to provide for their citizens, just doesn’t exist for them to provide to one another. This is a neighborhood where love has long since been replaced by hatred.

Let us also not forget that these two (the SPLM & NCP) regimes have long been fatigued by war and if anything they have both run out of ideas. Both are playing their cards now not that they want to win or to lose, but in fact their ultimate goal is just to remain in the game as long as possible regardless of what they are actually capable or incapable of delivering to their people.

Both the SPLM and the NCP must come to terms with this, “They cannot be both Partners and Enemies at the same time and expect any progress in the so-called Cooperation Agreement! But most urgently is that the UA under Ms Zuma leadership must clearly understand the true dynamics of the politics in this sub-region. Nothing here resembles the textbook stories and this is indeed a lesson overdue!”

Author Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. He is Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). Can be reached at: justinramba@aool.co.uk or justinramba@doctors.net.uk