Archive for: November 2012

Basic Salary Cuts for Government Employees: Who did it?

BY: Machien Luoi, BENTIU, UNITY STATE, NOV. 7/2012, SSN;
The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) shutdown its oil production earlier this year over dishonest distribution of the oil resource revenues with the Sudan. Oil revenues compromised over 95 percent of RSS budgets prior to the relationship breakdown between the two countries. Moreover, conflict between the two countries raged over contested border areas of neighboring states, particularly at Panthou in Unity State, a South Sudan territory claimed by the Sudan. Consequently, South Sudan economy went down drastically forcing the RSS to operate on austerity budgets.

In response to the austerity pressure, some states in the RSS immediately cut civil servants basic salaries. Western Bahr El Ghazel is claimed to have cut salaries by 50 percent while in Unity State basic salaries for civil servants were curved by 25 percent. What this meant was that a civil servant, who earned 600 SSP a month before austerity budgets, earned 300 SSP for 50 percent cut for Western Bahr El Gazel and 450 SSP after 25 percent deduction in Unity State.

Of late, citizens in some states began to ask why their small incomes were getting sliced. Questions arose on whether the policy that slashed their basic income was a national government initiative or respective states decided on their own austerity policies.

Latest exchanges between the national government and some state governments are a revelation that neither the national nor the state governments can clarify specifically where the decision to cut basic salaries for civil servants came from. They are now trading accusations.

According to the National Minister of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) in their recent statement dated October 24, 2012, the National Government did not order for *any cuts in the basic salaries of government employees whether at the state or national level. Any state authority that cuts the salaries/wages of its workers is not implementing the policy of the national government. It has nothing to do with the austerity measures undertaken by the National Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.*

According to the Mr. Kosti Manibe, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, the national policy of austerity reduced *housing allowances by 50 percent.* The states of course have no civil servants housing allowances. Conditional salary transfers were reduced *except for elimination of job specific allowances,* while Block Grants to the States were deducted by 25 percent, according to the Minister.

It is not clear from the MoFED and Mr. Kosti Manibe what *elimination of job specific allowances* implies. Were these eliminated *job specific allowances* to special civil servants, politicians or who?

Certainly this is confusing and ought to be clarified. Maybe the states took advantage of such unclear pieces to reduce basic salaries for government employees. Other states may have chosen to use Block Grants for basic salary payments to government employees in their respective states. This is not difficult to comprehend.

According to the Minister, *States are free to use their Block Grants in the way they want.* Thus, if 25 percent of the Block Grant to the states was cut by the MoFED, in response the states can also incise the basic salaries of employees paid on the Block Grant to adjust to the austerity reduction.

While the national government is not responsible for how states use their Block Grants, states did not choose to cut 25 percent of their Block Grants, the national government did. If the states and national government were not on the same page on the issue, states that are using Block Grants for payment of government employees may scapegoat the national government for the lost percentages of their Block Grants, after all they could use the Block Grants as they wish.

So far, there has been misunderstanding and confusion over who cut the basic salaries of government employees. National government is obviously not taking responsibility. The states are pointing fingers at the national government on the matter.

For instance, the Deputy Governor of Unity State rejected assertion by the National Minister of Finance and Economic Planning that it is not responsible for basic salaries cut calling it, *a clear accusation against state governments.* The Deputy Governor said that his government lost $ 500,000 in 2012 because of the austerity measures.

Unity State previously received $ 12 million from National Government. That means there is 4.2 percent of $ 12 million that is lost to the austerity policy. What is not clear from the Deputy Governor is whether $ 500,000 is from the eliminated *job specific allowances* or from the 25 percent deduction in Block Grant to the State or a combination of the two?

At this juncture into the austerity measures policies in the RSS, neither national government nor state governments have answers for the deduction of the lowly paid government employees in South Sudan states. But who has answers?

In the light of this article, the ball is back into the court of the National Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to make specific some of the issues they tried to clarify recently with regards to the basic salary cut for government employees in the states.

It is necessary to shed light on this subject. It is painful to use the austerity policies to disadvantage the very people who are most affected by the economic downturn and austerity policies of the country.

Something is wrong somewhere as accusations between national government and state governments are indicative of the mess.

The writer is a South Sudanese residing in Bentiu, Unity State and can be reached at dhuretingting@gmail.com
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)

As Pres. Bashir cries over Yarmouk Weapons Factory, thanks to whoever did the job!

BY: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, NOV. 6/2012, SSN;
In the last week of the last month of October 2012 the worlds audiovisual media was taken up by the news of the bombing of what came to be known later as the Sudan secretive weapons factory located in the heart of Khartoum south, in the Shaggara area. It was indeed breaking news of a special taste to the Sudanese across the political divide and the world community at large.

If you are from Darfur, the Blue Nile region, the Nuba Mountains or the Republic of South Sudan, then this must have been a happy day for you. After all the Yarmouk factory that specialized in the production of lethal weapons and munitions is no more. God must have heard and responded to the prayers of the millions who lost loved ones, suffered injuries and those displaced as a direct or indirect result of weapons, bombs and munitions produced in this once infamous facility.

Khartoum with the help of its allies in Tehran has for many years tormented the lives of women and child across the country. The fact that Sudan is a country at war with itself makes the very idea of building a war production facility with the sole aim of exterminating its own citizens totally unpopular not only with the rest of the peace loving nations, but it must have found no approval from God the Creator Himself as opposed to what the Islamist bigots would want us to believe.

The history of foreign air strikes on the Sudan is a long one. Following the bombing of the secretive chemical project in Khartoum North (Bahri) by the US during President Bill Clinton term in office, this embattled country under its vision-less leaders had suffered other attacks on its eastern coast. Since then every time an airstrike takes place against Sudan many covert activities, the government is quick to blame it on the Jewish state of Israel. This time around however it seems that the shock was too much for it took Khartoum many hours before it finally did what it normally does and that is by again pointing the finger at Israel.

Whatever sufferings the people of Darfur, Blue Nile, Nuba Mountains or even the new republic of South Sudan are made to go through, it can no longer be doubted that the Islamic Republic of Iran definitely has a hand in it. No wonder that Tehran is the hand and Khartoum is the glove!

The Israeli government on the other hand has decided to put a lid on this issue. It neither confirms it nor does it deny it. However many Jewish media outlets already glorified the raid and they see it as a warm-up to the bombing of the much controversial Iranian Nuclear Plants.

Sudan says that the bombing incidence will never stop them from supporting the Hamas led government in Gaza. However this is exactly what the Israelis want to hear. At least it justifies their hostility towards Khartoum and gives them a reason to bomb it again.

And again as if to push the Islamist regime in Khartoum into yet a deeper corner, the Iranians made no secret of their love affair with this criminal government. Israel got what it wanted as a proof for just a few days after the bombing of the Yarmouk munitions factory (widely believed to have been constructed by Iranian money and expertise and is in fact being run by them), two Iranian warships docked at the Sudanese port of Port Sudan. This if anything, it confirms the Khartoum-Tehran deals and love affair.

All these developments did not go well with the Sudanese masses who are predominantly Sunni Muslims and they find it extremely uncomfortable to put up with what has become a massive Iranian Shiite presence in almost each and every square inch of Khartoum City, the countrys capital.

The average Sudanese Sunnis are beginning to show concern about their government total dependence on Tehran, while risking the loss of relationship with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and rich Gulf States like Qatar.

But of course at the end of the day who am I to advise the enemies in Khartoum. After all the purpose of my writing this piece is in fact to remind the al Bashir regime that for every predator on earth, there is a tougher predators to keep it under control.

Ali Karti the Sudanese foreign minister, can now is heard shouting at the top of his voice like a rabid animal in condemnation of what he sees as a wrong decision when the Iranian vessels were allowed to dock at Port Sudan.

The senior Sudanese diplomat is obviously salivating to get financial support from Arab Gulf countries to help with his countrys ailing economy. He knows too well that with the exposure of the true extend of to which the Khartoum-Tehran cooperation has reached, no Arab Gulf State will be willing to retain any intimacy with Sudan under Bashir.

The time has also come for al Bashir and his National Congress Party (NCP) to acknowledge that the ill equipped army they seem to be betting on is only fit for killing innocent women and children since they are nothing but digitally programmed religious fanatics whose sole function is to indiscriminately drop barrels of explosive materials on any moving target in what is perceived by the bigot state as the Enemy Territory..

We all regret any loss of lives that might have resulted from the raid on the Yarmouk Killing Facility. However the truth be said and loud, for our people have so many suffered in the hands of al Bashir and his Mujahedeen (Al Qaeda in the Sudan), that the news of this bombing deserves nothing, but a national celebration.

And this is To Whom It May Concern, Please whoever bombed this notorious munitions factory in the heart of Khartoum, deserves a medal of the highest status from the people of Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile and the Republic of South Sudan.

As we sincerely endeavor to see peace reign in our region, it is our wish that sooner than later that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) fleets of Antinov which rains bombs day and night over our innocent brothers and sisters should also meet the same fate like the infamous Yarmouk weapons factory. Can someone do that for us?!

As for the residents of the Sudanese capital city, this is the first time for them to have a firsthand experience of what it means to be bombed from the air. At least now they are in a position to understand and appreciate the sufferings of their fellow countrymen who are exposed to this type of terror and horror on a daily basis.

The only difference between the two is that one group is forced to pay the price of their government wrong policies while the other group in the marginalized areas have theirs perpetrated by the Sudanese Army who on the contrary is supposed to protect them.

In the end do not you agree with me that those who suffered and continue to do so as a result of the indiscriminately aerial bombardments by the Khartoum regime have every right to celebrate the bombing of this notorious Yarmouk Killing Facility?

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

What is the future of education in South Sudan?

BY: Both Nguot Toal, SOUTH SUDAN, OCT. 5/2012, SSN;
When South Sudan became an independent state last year, many people hoped that the new nation will change the marginalization imposed on us by the Arab in the north when south Sudanese were not allowed to acquire education as their basic right. This resulted in mass immigration of many south Sudanese to East African countries as well as to the Western world to acquire knowledge, and some individuals went and studied in Khartoum. The few individuals who acquired knowledge were not allowed to work in government simply because they were south Sudanese and as result many students went to the bush especially the graduates. The others who accepted the remained in Khartoum were forced to work in the manual jobs such as building and farming in government projects such as Gezira schemes in eastern Sudan despite the fact that they (south Sudanese) have degrees and Diplomas.

On the other hand, some individuals who were discouraged by the situation left their studies and went back home for farming in south Sudan, others became Muslims just to get their daily services. Despite all these challenges facing south Sudanese in the old Sudan, the majority did not abandon their studies even though they were not allowed to get jobs in the government.

In those days, there were some missionaries schools operating in south, where south Sudanese to learn English since it was not accepted in the government schools in the old Sudan. From there some students were sent for studies abroad through missionaries schools and +acquired knowledge with excellence that they could compete internationally more than it is today.

Last year, South Sudan got its independence from the successive regimes of Sudan through a struggle which caused 2.5 million dead and displaced thousands to the neighboring states. That means southerners have been in war for 50 years. What are we supposed to do as an independent nation with its own sovereignty and as the country that has just emerged out from war?

Are we going to change the environment that we have been in for so many years or do we continue with the same situation created by Sudanese governments against our innocent people?

After the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) between the SPLM/A and the Sudan government, South Sudan as an autonomous region which had some powers to run its state policies without consulting the national government in Khartoum, was supposed to see the issue of education as its first priority so as to eradicate the rate of illiteracy from our huge population in south Sudan.

In this case, schools are to be built in every state rather than taking children to study in East African countries which cost a lot of money. Instead, government should have encouraged the citizens by constructing Schools and hiring teachers from abroad if the issue is because there are no teachers to teach in the country till we make our foundation.

Unfortunately, that did not happen as it was supposed to be. Instead, those responsible in government took their children somewhere else leaving the country without good education.

In south Sudan, the children of the poor families are the one studying in the country, why, because they do not have the ability of taking their children abroad, leaving the poor venerable.

For how long will our children continue studying in foreign countries while we are an independent nation? Is it difficult for government to construct Schools? If yes, what is its duty as a government? Who do you think will construct schools rather than government? Is it the responsibilities of UN, USA, EU or AU to continue supporting us even after we became an independent nation? I do not think so.

Therefore, as citizens of south Sudan who has been at war for a period of 50 years and who have seen all the events happening during and after the independence of south Sudan, we should look into the future of education in south Sudan and work hard for the goodness of our young generation to enjoy the fruits of our struggle.

If government is ignoring the system of education, what do we think the future education will be for the poor people who have no ability of taking their children abroad? What does it mean to be an independent nation if we are not able to promote education in our country?

Since we became an independent state, I do not see any reasons of continuing taking our children to east African countries for acquiring knowledge, instead, government must construct schools and train teachers from all educational sectors to teach our children locally rather than taking our resources to the neighboring countries without benefit.

The money you use for renting houses in those particular countries and the huge amounts you paid in dollars for the school fees of your children can educate twenty people from your relatives and build modern houses in south Sudan.

Since government officials are taking their children abroad, education in south Sudan will remain without any progress, simply because they are the ones running the affairs of this new nation. For instance, the minister of general and higher education, if his children are studying abroad, what do you think the minister will do in this country?

Even if there are no schools for so many years, they will not see it as a problem because their children are not here in south Sudan.

Therefore, for South Sudan to eradicate the rate of illiteracy in the country, the children of ministers who took our wealth to the foreign countries must return back to the country and study together with the poor families. That will be the time when we will see a change in the country. If not, South Sudan as a nation will never make any progress in any aspect whereby our country will continue with this spirit of tribalism, nepotism and other unlawful things that an educated people cannot do.

As a nation which has just come out from war, we have to consider education as our first priority so as to change the spirit of tribalism and to bring our people together for the development of this new nation and build a prosperous nation that respects the diversity, makes a stable state and lays the foundation for a united, peaceful and prosperous society based on justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Therefore, for South Sudan to be a free nation is to avoid ignoring education and to adopt a good system of government that can lead its citizens not to be the victims of others but to enjoy the everlasting freedom of this new nation, rather than too much greed for wealth and desire of becoming rich quickly due to low life expectancy.

Finally, for the coming generation to live free and to allow the development to take place, the leadership of the country must look into this problem; because in a country where education is ignored, tribalism, nepotism and instability will not end.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)

Appeasing local leaders on Abyei or the Mile 14 Area will come at a cost

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, NOV. 3/2012, SSN;
No wonder that the implementation of the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement (CCA) signed on 27 September 2012 between the two Sudans which includes oil exportation and security arrangement as well as trade border, is back in limbo following Khartoum rejection of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) unanimous position on Abyei.

The AUPSC in its bid to sort out things chose to give both Sudan and South Sudan a period of six weeks in which it is hoped that the two sides may be able to reach a negotiated settlement on the border demarcation but especially so on how to hold the referendum in Abyei come October 2013.

However what followed is typical of the Sudanese north versus south politics. South Sudan approved the AUPSC decision, while Khartoum chose to reject it.

The nomadic Messeiriya Arabs have already expressed their disagreement to Khartoum proposal of dividing Abyei into two parts between Sudan and South Sudan. Surprising though it is, Russia, an old ally to Khartoum, who supports the view to divide the territory, even when the Arab nomads oppose it. Probably it is time that Khartoum realizes that it is the Messeiriya Arabs and not the Russians who will be affected by any decision taken on Abyei.

If at all the Messeiriya Arab nomads are genuine in their demands for water and pasture, then an undivided Abyei will offer that for them on the condition that they do not lay any claims to the land. The current territory of Abyei has already been granted to the nine Dinka Ngok chieftains by the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

It beats any logic to hear that Khartoum and their proxies in the Messeiriya are still eyeing to have the post-PCA Abyei. Khartoum may want to have a part of this Oil rich territory because of its mineral resources and that is why it suggests the territory be divided.

However that might not be their sole aim, as the National Congress Party (NCP) of Al Bashir could as well just be putting hurdles in the way of finding any peaceful settlement to the Abyei Problem, for this is a regime that cannot exist without crisis. And as such they must create some.

As for the Messeiriya Arab nomads, dividing Abyei between the Sudan and South Sudan will only leave them with the northern part of the territory which is already witnessing desertification at the most unprecedented pace. They are aware that such a hasty policy will later on backfire when the real future of grazing lies deep in the South Sudan hinterland. Again, they also understand too well that the Ngok Dinka are no longer ready to surrender more land to them.

In fact when it comes to the politics of Southern Kordofan and Southern Darfur, it can be seen that Khartoum is literally walking on a tight but thin rope. The Baggara tribes of the Rezeigat and their cousins (though often fighting one another) the Messeiriya, are a group of people that can easily change loyalties whenever their local interests are threatened.

It is actually an open secret that there are many Rezeigat and Messeiriya recruits in the ranks and files of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement (Minni Minnawi and Abdel Wahid el Nur factions) as well as the Sudan People Liberation Movement/North (SPLA-N) rebel groups which are battling the NCP led government in Khartoum.

It seems that as Khartoum is afraid of the UN Security Council (UNSC) Chapter Seven on its head it is also worried about the fluid position of the Baggara tribes of Southern Darfur and Southern Kordofan. This is clearly demonstrated by the way that the NCP is easily forced to sign agreements with either the government of the neighboring Republic of South Sudan on issues of borders and Abyei on one hand or reach settlements with the SPLM-N as it happened in Addis Ababa (Malik Agar/Nafie Ali Nafie Agreement), but only to return home and renege on it in order to please its Baggara constituency.

The SPLM led government in Juba is no better either. For when the SPLM delegation to the Abyei PCA in The Hague failed to defend the South Sudans territorial right over Panthou/Heglig, the delegation and in fact the whole government came under intense fire from the grassroots. The people of Pariang did not especially take it well as they saw in it what they interpreted as an attempt by the government in Juba to trade Panthou in return for Abyei. These are sentiments of course, but they are real and deserve addressing.

Again there was the Abyei war, and then followed by the Panthou/Heglig war. How these wars begun and how they both ended remain an issue of huge controversial arguments amongst the South Sudanese people. This is even more so amongst the communities in the areas in question.

What is common between the two unfriendly neighbors (South Sudan & Sudan) in spite of the recently signed so-called comprehensive nine protocol cooperation agreement (better known as the September Agreement to remind people of the infamous September Laws of Neimeri), is that both countries are run by two totalitarian regimes.

This has been eloquently described by none but the outspoken opposition politician Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, leader of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement /Democratic Change (SPLM-DC), in one of his writings, when he said: *during the CPA interim period the Sudan was a one country with two systems, however following the 9th July 2011 independence of South Sudan from Sudan, we now have two countries with one system.*

Both the Khartoum NCP and Juba SPLM are notoriously known for presenting their views in the international fora or even reaching internationally binding agreements without consulting with their grassroots. And as such each and every agreement they sign in the name of their people are often rejected at home.

While the Agar/Nafie Addis Ababa Agreement represents an example of how things can go wrong in the Sudan, the recent inclusion of the Mile 14 Area in the demilitarized zone between the two countries and the loss of Panthou/Heglig during the Abyei PCA settlement are the South Sudans equivalents.

Nonetheless both ruling parties (SPLM & NCP) continue to struggle with how to appease their supporters in the disputed areas coupled with the buying of loyalties whenever a controversial deal is struck. As for Khartoum it is well known for not only dragging its feet when it comes to the implementation of agreements, but it even reneged the whole truce all together.

However, sooner than later some of these irresponsible behaviors are likely to do away with whatever little credibility is left for these political organisations. They can as well create a new tension in the already strained relation with the international community.

It only suffices here to say that any attempt by Khartoum to appease the Messeiriya warlords by blocking the Abyei Referendum, in the face of what is an unanimous decision by the AUPSC will definitely expose the regime to the wrath of the international community.

On the other hand Juba may face a similar fate should it attempt to stroll an extra mile trying to appease General Paul Malong Awan, Governor of Northern Bahr Ghazal State, as he and his people stand opposed to the inclusion of Mile 14 Area in the demilitarized zone.

The bottom line is that there will definitely be an inevitable cost should any of the two governments subscribe to satisfy the local leaders in either the Mile 14 Area or Abyei at the expense of the AUPSC brokered truce. And this must be clear!

(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website.)

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can be reached at: justinramba@aol.co.uk or justinramba@doctors.net.uk

People of South Sudan craving for good leadership in South Sudan

BY: SINDANI IRENEOUS SEBIT, NAIROBI, KENYA, NOV. 2/2012, SSN;
*I can hear them saying, I can hear them murmuring but their voice fail to become loud because of fear, intimidation, harassment, banishment, torture or imprisonment but they talk in their corners.*

South Sudan became independent on the 9th July 2012 following a long protracted war that claimed nearly 2 million lives. The declaration of the independence was welcome by all and was thought to usher in a long anticipated period of peace, tranquility, democracy, socio-economic development, transparency and accountability in addition to respect for individual rights.

However, the people of South Sudan are yet to begin reaping these products of independence. Instead what has emerged in the infant but resourceful country is unfortunate state of misrule, disunity, socio-economic stagnation and political upheavals. This is attributed to none other than the SPLM party that took the ruins of power following the rigged elections before the independence.

It is dreadful that in a young country like South Sudan, where the struggle for freedom took 23 years and claimed nearly 2 million lives, democracy and human rights, natural values and dignity have been stifled; corruption has become the order of the day creating few millionaires in Juba while the majority of the South Sudanese are wallowing in adjunct poverty.

Failure of the ruling SPLM party to lay good foundation for the progressive future of this young nation has left the people of South Sudan craving for good leadership; a leadership that can champion the future development of a united democratic South Sudan. It does not really matter where this salvation leadership comes from; be it SPLM itself, the opposition, the generals in the army, the civil society or the people themselves, it would be a welcome change.

The leadership the people are craving for is that which can bring unity and justice to the country and the people. The basic aim is to initiate reconciliation and harmony among the various tribes in South Sudan and to usher in democratic rule based on rule of law, transparency and accountability.

The people crave for leadership that can wrestle back South Sudan from the few elite and bourgeoisie in Juba who have used corruption, tribalism, nepotism and personal greed to exploit the vast resources of the country to enrich themselves while the socio-economic development of the country has stagnated.

The leadership that can give to the people of South Sudan the rights and voice to claim what is truthfully and rightly theirs and express themselves on issues affecting them and their society so that a country founded on democratic principles of unity, justice, equity, equality, transparency and accountability is firmly established and fostered.

It is my crystal ball strong perception that the overall motive of creating a leadership in a country lies on the belief that leadership should strive to foster socio-economic development of the people leading to material change in the lives of the people. This means the leadership must put in place and nurture policies that can raise the standards of the people of South Sudan instead of few individuals enjoying the resources.

As a result the people should then enjoy better living working conditions, better health and nutrition levels, good educational standards, reasonable income, more jobs and greater life expectancy. More so leadership should aim at expanding the range of economic and social services in South Sudan for the benefit of the poor and the entire population.

Due to the ineptitude of the government in South Sudan to realize these leadership qualities and attributes, the people have all inherent rights to crave for leadership that can focus on reduction and eventual elimination of poverty by equitably distributing the resources in South Sudan to meet the needs of all. A leadership that strives to provide health care for all, improve literacy levels in South Sudan and can spare no effort to make South Sudan a solidly united nation where insecurity becomes a thing of the past, freedom of ideas and expression is not suppressed.

Where strong self sustaining devolved government exists to serve the people, where the health system is strengthened to avoid the current health tourism practiced by the elite in Juba, where educational system is overhauled to ensure educational standards are improved and schools are properly managed to produce the much needed human resource of the future, where road, river and air infrastructure are built to facilitate fast movement of people and goods that can foster rapid economic development.

Where government is elected by the people, is for the people and managed by the people and where the parliament is not only independent but also works, judiciary is free from the executive manipulation and its independence is under the principles of checks and balances and indeed the separation of powers among the three arms of government is not perceived to exists but really exists and exercised.

This leadership that can usher in a peoples government that trusts the people, responds positively and promptly to their needs and cannot discriminate citizens according to tribe, race, gender, religion, age or political orientation; a leadership that lays emphasis on South Sudan nationalism, South Sudanese dignity, and their rights. These include the rights of the farmers, workers, the poor and the unemployed.

A leadership that can also focus on affirmative action to ensure equality and equity; a leadership that can work steadfastly to accelerate socio-economic growth that can be sustained and ensure that human resource development is sustained.

The people crave for leadership which is committed to guarantee freedom of expression, movement and right to live anywhere within the Republic and to own property legally; a leadership that can protect every South Sudanese and foreign national living within the borders of South Sudan.

Above all, the people crave for a leadership that can be inclusive, consultative, honest, transparent, accountable, progressive, open and accommodating.

The question is therefore, for how long can the people continue craving for this kind of leadership without realizing that they themselves can bring the leadership that they want? The time to stop craving is now and not tomorrow.

I think the coming elections should present the best opportune time for the people to bring a change in the country as you did during the referendum in South Sudan. Indeed your own destiny and that of the country is in your hands when you exercise your democratic right to choose the new leadership come the next elections.
(The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)

Sindani Ireneaus Sebit
Vosskaro2005@yahoo.com
Nairobi; Kenya

The first anniversary of Peter Sule’s indefinite imprisonment

BY: ELHAG PAUL, RSS, NOV. 02/2012, SSN; 3rd November 2012 marks the first anniversary of Peter Sules capture in Moruland. I am using the word anniversary here loosely to cover everything negative and positive. For those who are affected and those who are not, let them put it in their own context as they wish since the fact remains that he has been in detention for 12 months.

Peter was alleged to have rebelled against the government of South Sudan. At that time Sudan Tribune broke the news on 4th November 2011 by reporting that *SPLM spokesperson Philip Aguer said Peter Abdul Rahman Sule, the leader of opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) was arrested in Jambu payam, Mundri East County of Western Equatoria state, after a brief exchange of fire between his forces and the army*.

So far Peter remains in detention having reportedly been severely abused initially by the security forces. Presently there is no information about his health and general well being from credible independent sources.

At about this time last year the media was saturated with the story of Peters attempted rebellion. Most of the articles printed in newspapers, exchanges in the various internet discussion forums, exchanges in informal verbal discussions between friends and groups across the board had very unpleasant things to say about Peter. Peter basically became a punch bag for those who for one reason or another had something to vent their frustrations on. There was no rationality in relation to Peters case. It was believed that most of the vocal critics of Peter were people who grabbed the opportunity to pitch job application to GoSS by shredding him.

Peter was called a fool and stupid. He was not spared and assessed holistically as a human being with multifaceted personality. All of us have different sides to our characters and we are conditioned by the way we are brought up, by our cultures and the environment in which we live. Our different sides of character come out to play by events in our environment.

Against such a background, talking about Peter demands examination of all the factors that have led to him resorting to rebellion. That is another huge topic for another day and I will not delve into it. But to start with, we need to know (though I will not explain): who is Peter? What is his contribution to the liberation of South Sudan? What is Peters personality? What are his values in life? What is his political belief? What prompted him to take that route? Was he justified to take that action? Who would have been the losers and beneficiaries had he succeeded in his endeavors?

Such questions are important to ask in order to know something about the person and what motivates him. With such knowledge making comments can be within context and also fair rather than the spewing of venom we saw last year at the heat of the moment. Nobody is perfect and we are all fallible and thus we need to be considerate and fair of others in our assessments and comments.

Peter has now been in detention for twelve months allegedly for rebellion. During this period there have been many rebellions against the government of South Sudan. For example, David Yau Yau in Jonglei state declared war on the government of South Sudan. While violence is unacceptable, it seems many groups are gravitating towards that end.

Why? The fact that the government is controlled by one party, the SPLM serving interest of a specific group of people is not helping the situation, especially given that the SPLM is bent on enriching its members at the expense of the people of South Sudan.

Internally, agents of the state are taking a different non-democratic route in their attempt to change the system. Since July there have been a number of failed coups in Juba. Prominent among them was the one of 26th July 2012 allegedly spearheaded by the Bor group under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Paul Mach and the recent one allegedly led by Maj. Gen. Simon Gatwec. The former was very serious and it nearly brought the government down. Most of the coup plotters were arrested and detained in Yei garrison. However, due to tribal politics in the name of unity of the rulers, the culprits were swiftly released with some rewarded by being sent as representatives of the government to the talks in Addis Ababa.

This act is a blatant violation of the constitution of South Sudan.

The latter attempt which forced the president to return to Juba from a summit in Kampala/Uganda in the middle of October 2012 is reportedly not as serious as the earlier one but has the potential even now to snowball into something. It is still viewed as a smoldering gun. The alleged leader of the coup, Maj. Gen. Simon Gatwec, is now in detention in Juba.

Maj. Gen. Paul Mach and his group (unlike Peter Sule) and Maj. Gen. Gatwec appear to have received a lenient and favourable treatment from the government of South Sudan. For a group which is alleged to have attempted to overthrow the government violently to be rewarded is a new phenomenon in African politics and this can only be in RSS. The politics of tribalism in South Sudan may eventually destroy it.

For the president to ignore the constitution and *Fi ainak ya tajir* (meaning deliberate deceit in your face or what can you do?), he rubbishes the constitution in order to preserve the interest of his social group is breathtaking. Sadly, the president appears to have no idea that he is representing something bigger than all the tribes of South Sudan combined and the behaviour he is exhibiting amounts to negligence of duty.

What is amazing is that no politician or member of the parliament has raised a finger on this unfortunate and unacceptable discriminatory and repressive act thereby making themselves complicit. It is clear, one group, the rulers and only the rulers, are above the law while the rest are subject to harsh treatment.

Maj. Gen. Gatwec unlike Peter has the weight and unconditional support of his people in the form of the Nuer Youth behind him. Right from the time of his arrest the Nuer Youth beat the drums of notice so loud that everybody heard their message. It is most likely that Maj. Gen. Gatwec case may now be handled sensitively because he comes from a community that can protect their own in a country that fails to protect all its citizens as per constitution. It is also possible that Maj. Gen. Gatwec could follow Peters fate for the simple fact that not all the Nuer political actors have been protected by their community. Something that is puzzling but a reality.

The reason for this anomaly may lie in internal politics of Nuer community. An example can be drawn from the case of George Tang and others. Since their arrest their cases have been of low profile. To date nothing has been heard about them in terms of justice.

Peter comes last in the pecking order of political things in RSS and with it his own personal worth. The manner in which the people of his own region went silent on his rights and security buoyed the rulers and ensured that Peter is thrown to the wolves. But it is important to note that whatever is happening to Peter is not the first and the last and it is not the end of the story.

Any emerging effective and popular leader from Peters region from now on can be a fair game in RSS politics. Such a leader can be entrapped, framed and trashed in similar manner as Peter and nobody will raise their head in his/her support. For Peters experience will always be the precedent and point of reference to go by in the eyes of the tribal victors.

Equatoria subjugation The leaders of SPLM/A from its inception in 1983 have always sought to pacify and subjugate parts of South Sudan, especially Equatoria. Leaders from that part of the country have been targeted in many ways. The techniques mostly applied to subjugate Equatoria and its leaders include *divide and rule*, *isolate and kill* with terrorisation of the population. Now, it seems they may have succeeded.

For the majority of those who stood out thumping their chests in condemnation of Peter (a jurist of wide experience in life) were mostly short sighted Equatorians conditioned psychologically by SPLM terror.

The humiliation of Peter through Machiavellian intrigues and machinations is not only Peters problem. Peter is only an individual and for that matter a drop in an ocean. The humiliation carries a big political picture spanning four decades of internal politics of South Sudan. It is about vicious control of an entire region and its people.

The symbolism of Peters forgotten detention tells a lot about his region and its people. It depicts the disempowerment of a once proud and stout people whose dignity has been lowered to nothing. It is a statement that what Peter represents in terms of his identity, culture and freedom can be trodden upon with impunity by the tribal victors.

The basic acts portraying this reality in South Sudan can be found in the illegal but condoned practice of land grab, assaults on innocent men and women by tribal security force, marginalisation in civil service, denial of passports etc.

In contrast to this appalling situation is the fact that the crimes of the victors are at worst ignored or at best legitimised. Take for example, Arthur Akuen Chol who stole hundreds of millions from the government. When he was arrested and detained, his people (armed thugs) went to the prison and violently released him from detention. What followed is stuff of Alice in Wonderland.

No investigation on a prisoner breaking out from prison with help of relatives. No inquiry on the attack on state institution. No action taken against the escapee and culprits who stormed state property although they are known. All these violations and crimes are shrugged off and capped by Arthur being rewarded by a parliamentary appointment by the president. Wow!

Any wonder why RSS is a failed state? Just compare and contrast the actions of this administration to get the jest of what I am trying to say here in terms of oppression, discrimination and abuse of state power by the so-called heroes or should I say villains.

Maj. Gen. Paul Mach and group can violate the law and yet gain their freedom to move freely with rewards from the government while others like Peter are indefinitely incarcerated with the media unleashed to demonise them. President Kiir needs to be fair. During the independence of South Sudan he swore to uphold the constitution.

Now that he has broken it to free the *Machs* of this world, he needs to extend the same treatment to all the other political detainees. Granting amnesty to those languishing in the detention centres will help calm the political atmosphere. Bring fresh hope to the country and possibly lead to a new direction.

Things are not improving in our country. Everyday the sun rises and sets the situation gets worse. Corruption grows, insecurity spreads engulfing the cities, tribalism spreads like cancer, the leaders make blunders, no provision of services to the people etc. The rebellions we are facing and talking about here all started because of these very ills. The result now is that South Sudan has become a fertile ground for germination of rebels with coups popping up like mushrooms on wet ground. We can not go on like this. Some sense needs to prevail.

First and foremost, SPLM needs to reflect and accept that the country belongs to all the people of South Sudan and so the people have a stake in how it is managed. Currently, the direction the country is heading into is not good for anybody including the SPLM itself. Thus SPLM needs to take a proper democratic step by:

1) Granting general amnesty to all political prisoners, armed groups and opposition figures to equalise his release of the Machs so we start afresh.
2) arranging a conference where all the political parties, civil societies and independent stake holders are represented to deliberate on the issues afflicting the country.
3) forming a government of national unity to govern the country during an interim period and for that government to create a conducive atmosphere for general elections.

If president Kiir really wants to have a memorable legacy it will only have to be on his courage and confidence if he has any to pull back our country from the brink of disaster. He drove it to this dangerous position and he now needs to act like a real statesman to save what is left of it by initiating the proposed democratic actions. By acting he will end the unnecessary sufferings and divisions in the country and recover his name.

As stated, Peters humiliation symbolises something big. That something instead of it being destructive and divisive, it should bring us all together and here I want to end this article by quoting president Kiir himself.

*This is the time that we must cement the unity of South Sudan so that we are one country,* Gurtong 26th November 2011. Let us then cement the unity of South Sudan by treating every citizen equally as mandated in the constitution and preached by our church leaders.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and not of the website)
Elhag Paul
RSS
elhagpaul@aol.com

A Reply to an open letter by Kuir e Garang from ‘whimsical’ Dr. Lam

From: DR. LAM AKOL, OCT. 31/2012, SSN;

The Son of my Brother, Kuir E Garang,

Since you addressed me in your open letter as *uncle*, allow me to take the liberty of calling you the *son of my brother.* This is one of our good African traditions in contrast to Afronomy you mentioned in your letter. That is one necessary point to explain. The other is that it is not in my habit to respond to all what is written about me in the press, and there are many nasty such writings, but your presentation is different. Despite my disagreement with most of what you wrote about, as it will become clear in the following lines, your arguments are presented intellectually without being unduly abusive. This is why I believe engaging you in an honest debate would be useful both to you as a motivated young man, and to all and sundry who are interested in finding out the truth.

It is not a waste of time to respond as many will hasten to advise me. Our nation will not move forward by building walls between us but rather by opening bridges for communication between and among us. I assume that was your intention, otherwise, you would not have taken the trouble to put pen to paper.

I will overlook your description of me to be whimsical as the term is obviously an oxymoron in this case, for everything you said about me in the letter is antithetical to that epithet.

The Son of my Brother,

From the outset, I would like to point out that I will here only respond to those parts of your letter addressed to me personally or to both of us together. I believe Dr Riek Machar is capable of speaking for himself despite the aspersions that come out from time to time in your letter and elsewhere that he was just *used* in the Nasir Move in 1991.

Let me begin with your reference to what you call the *unfortunate, yet incoherent split of SPLA/M in 1991.* This characterization contradicts your assertion that you were *paraphrasing* the reasons behind the split which come out as a coherent stuff. In fact, you go further to say this: I have to confess, for those who have read the policy paper of the two of you in 1991; the paper was appealing on face value. If all the things narrated in the policy position were implemented in the manner they were documented, South Sudan could be a different place now; a peaceful, prosperous place.

Therefore, the split might have been unfortunate for some of its unforeseen consequences, but was never incoherent by your own admission. This is a central point to your argument and indeed to the current discourse.

In the same vein, in addressing Dr Riek Machar, you had this to say: *So Dr Riek Machar, your vision for South Sudan was thwarted by your disagreement with Dr Akol, your eventual split and your consequential tribalization of the national agenda*. This is an unequivocal admission that Dr Riek had a vision for South Sudan which got thwarted because of the reasons you gave. One, then, wonders where that accolade has gone when you said on addressing Dr Riek Machar again that *it appears to me that 1991 was orchestrated by Dr Lam Akol in its entirety and that you had nothing absolutely to do with the split. You were just used by Dr Lam as a question of numbers advantage*.

Are you not unwittingly risking sliding into the same pit of those who have been unscrupulously parroting such untruth without weighing their words? Dr Riek Machar is an intellectual on his own right and a capable SPLA/M Commander, and the people who say such things either do not know what they are talking about or are trying to be too clever to pass the buck to others. I am disinclined to describe you as such.

On being *the brain behind the 1991*, this is an honour I do not claim alone. There were many brains behind the Nasir Move far beyond the three SPLM/A Political-Military High Command members who made the announcement on the 28th of August 1991 in Nasir. If some people, for one reason or the other, are today afraid to admit so, this does not change the historical fact. I played my role and others did theirs. It is inconceivable that such a momentous event could be a work of one brain!

The Son of my Brother,

On my assignment as Sudan Minister of Foreign Affairs, you seem to be unaware of several obvious facts. You say: *you accepted the ministerial post knowing that you had to present the Sudanese position to the world; and that position was not for the interest of South Sudanese people.* This is the balderdash we hear on the streets.

In the first place, why should you assume that the Sudanese position was not for the interest of South Sudanese people? Be informed that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) stipulates that the SPLM and the National Congress were in partnership to implement the agreement. They were not enemies as some who entertained hidden agendas misled a good number of South Sudanese to believe. We were in a coalition government known as the Government of National Unity (GONU) that came about as a result of the CPA and whose main function it was to implement it. The SPLM was part and parcel of GONU, and not outside it, again, as some of you were made to believe.

I presume you know how coalition governments work. If so, are you saying that the CPA was *not to the interest of South Sudanese people*? The policies of that Government were formulated by the Council of Ministers with eight SPLM ministers and a Presidency where the First Vice President from South Sudan has a right of veto; the most powerful vice president in the world. If all these people cannot guarantee the interest of South Sudanese people, including in the area of foreign affairs, then perhaps it was not worth signing the CPA.

All the questions that followed in your letter are unfortunate redundancies because they were based on a wrong premise, and so is the conclusion that *It all comes down to one thing: you did it for your own political agenda; to present your face to the world. This makes me wonder if you used Dr Riek in 1991 in the same vain (sic): at the expense of the people.*

For your information, my face was well known to the world already as one of the leaders of the 1985 popular Intifadha (Uprising) that overthrew Nimeiri dictatorship, and afterwards as the SPLM/A Chief Peace Negotiator since 1988, the SPLM/A negotiator and focal point of the UN-sponsored and well publicized Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS), the SPLM/A Director of Coordination and External Relations 1988-1990, the Secretary for External Affairs and Peace 1991-1994 and as Chairman of SPLM-United 1994-2003. All these assignments entailed world exposure.

In all humility, I had a high international profile already and did not need to use Dr Machar or any other person or position to enhance it. On the contrary, it was all these assignments that benefited from my high profile including the ministry of foreign affairs. I hope you are not one of the victims of the intense propaganda that was waged against me then with the only objective to get me out of the ministerial post. I will touch on some aspects of this campaign shortly.

The Son of my Brother,

Your biggest flop came when you unfortunately averred that *when you were removed from the ministry of foreign affairs, you went ahead and formed a party in a country that still has a long way to go to embrace liberal democracy. Why did you not take one ministry and make it exemplary for the rest of the country? You could have asked Kiir to give you one ministry, reform it, and make it immutable to the rest.*

First, you seem to suggest that you do not believe that the time is ripe for liberal democracy. I will return to this point later on.

Second, I did not form a political party as soon as I was removed from the ministry of foreign affairs as you appear to suggest. Let me jog your memory. I was removed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2007 whereas my party was formed two years later in 2009. In between, I continued to be a loyal member of the SPLM. However, a number of events took place that drove me out of the party. There has always been a group in the SPLM who did not want me in the SPLM leadership since the reunification in October 2003 of the SPLM/A with the SPLM-United, which I led since I was dismissed by Riek Machar in February 1994. The group tried to influence Dr John Garang to place me in the Leadership Council as a junior to them which failed because I rejected it.

It is the same group that was unhappy because I was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and they have been spreading falsehood against me since then including the seeming incompatibility of the interest of South Sudan with that of Sudan that you delved in. The story is long. Suffice it to mention that it is the same group which engineered the Ministerial Strike in October 2007; the first in the world. We know how coalition governments are dissolved, but, anyway, this is beside our point now. The only reason for the strike was to remove Dr Lam Akol from the Cabinet. After the walkout, Salva Kiir reshuffled the SPLM component of the Government and moved me to the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs. The new lineup was announced by the President and a date for taking the oath of office was fixed and arrangements were in place in the Republican Palace for the occasion.

At the last minute the group persuaded Salva Kiir to postpone the occasion and insisted to continue the strike. It was only when my name was dropped from the lineup that the SPLM went back to the Cabinet. I continued as a member of the Political Bureau of the SPLM and a member of National Parliament representing SPLM. Again obstacles were put on my way. For instance, in April, my car was shot at near Malakal by unknown assailants resulting in the killing of my bodyguard and the driver. In the same month, I was denied getting into Kodok town by an SPLM Commissioner using the SPLA. After that I was refused to address the public in Kaka and Wadakona by the SPLM Commissioner (who was previously an SAF intelligence Sergeant when I was commander of the area) and the SPLA commander. I raised complaints to Salva Kiir on these incidences to no avail. I still keep copies of these letters of complaint. Can you imagine junior Party members preventing a member of the Political Bureau from interacting with the public without orders from above?

Then came the SPLM convention in 2008, and my name was left out of the members Salva Kiir appointed to the Political Bureau. This was as a result of pressure from the same group. Things did not stop at that. There followed a sustained campaign of character assassination against me in the daily newspapers and even on South Sudan TV. I again raised the matter to Salva Kiir as the Chairman of the SPLM, again in vain.

I am not complaining, only pointing out facts that you rightfully requested in your open letter. Thus, it is abundantly clear that I had no choice but to leave with my dignity intact, unless you want me to be like Dr Riek Machar who you are now complaining against as an opportunist. Was not the war about our dignity?

If we were all these years complaining about the Arabs treating us as *second class* citizens why would one accept it in a party that is presumably ones choice?

Dr John Garang used to lecture to SPLA soldiers that *oppression has no particular colour*; oppressors could be white, red, black or even your own brother. I and others with me refused to accept humiliation. Such was the birth of SPLM-DC in June 2009. If our country has still a long way to go to embrace liberal democracy, it has to start somewhere, and this must be done by some people who dedicate themselves to the cause of multi-party democracy regardless of the thorny road to be traversed. Even in the West, democracy came at a huge human cost. Shortcuts in politics could sometimes be more damaging.

By now you should be in a position to answer your own question whether, even if I were to stoop down to do that, I could ask Salva Kiir to pick me a ministry that I can make exemplary for the rest of the country. That is not only beyond idealism; it is wishful thinking to believe that President Salva, who succumbed to pressures to exclude me from a cabinet position in 2007 government reshuffle, would hand me a ministry to use as a prototype.

As to my absence during the flag-raising ceremony on 9th July 2011, I have said and written a lot about it. It cannot be isolated from the reason why I was not in Juba before then. Your rhetorical question that who the hell is Kiir? is what you did not think through more realistically. For starters, he is the President of the Republic and the Commander-in-Chief of the SPLA, among his other titles. In that capacity he has the control of the institutions that monopolize the instruments of violence.

Did you not hear that the Leader of the official Opposition was beaten by the security and lost his teeth on the 7th of July 2011 for no reason other than celebrating the independence of South Sudan? So I had to talk to Salva Kiir in Nairobi, not the other way round, to give me assurances on my security in Juba. I am thankful that he did. That is what took me to Juba and spent two months there. Nevertheless, the group had the upper hand and things relapsed, but this is a matter that does not concern us here.

The Son of my Brother,

Sincerely, you confuse me in what I see as conflicting pieces of advice you are giving me. In one breath you criticize Dr Machar, and rightly so, for being unable to do something in his position, but at the same time you advise me to join the deformed SPLM and its government. If I accept such an advice, this would be where really the SPLM will be right to see me as a selfish political opportunist after his own political agenda as you put it. Without changing the structure of an institution, individuals, however gifted they may be, cannot do much. The pragmatism you are calling for, is for me synonymous with opportunism.

Far from your assertion that my brain is being wasted on theoretical propositions just like some of you, I happen to believe in the infinite capacity of our people to understand their own situation and effect change. You are unfortunately absolutely wrong to think that our people cannot or have not been sensitized enough to size up the misrule meted on them by the SPLM. You yourself admit that the self-righteousness within SPLM is suffocating and disastrous for the country.

How many South Sudanese would have reached this conclusion three years ago or even a year ago? And if they did, how many will say so publicly? A few days ago there was a popular demonstration in Juba against the giving away to Sudan of Mile 14 Area. Was that not due to awareness? Could it have come without the other point of view?

Education is a slow process but because it is worth pursuing we never tire of doing so. And it obviously needs brains too! Do not forget that it takes 16 years for a normal student to earn a University degree! Achievement can only happen under a conducive environment.

Joining a deformed and suffocating SPLM, as you correctly described the unruly ruling party or its corrupt government would be the height of opportunism. This is why it is crucially imperative to acknowledge that the brains that strive to bring about change are not being wasted. Remember, the best practice is founded on well grounded theory(ies).

Stay well, the son of my brother, and keep the books coming. Some people will definitely read them.

Thank you.

Uncle Dr Lam Akol.