Archive for: December 2012

Labour laws and private sector employment opportunities

BY: Panom Koryom, RSS, DEC/05/2012, SSN;

The high rate of unemployment in the youngest Nation in the world where literacy may be 20% or so is ridiculous. There has to be a correlation between job market competitiveness and skills supply but this isn’t the case in South Sudan. There seemed to be job market competitiveness and little skills supply, especially for South Sudanese who seemed not to fit the private sector employment requirements.

Before shifting the blame to policies or foreigners whose their characteristics seemed to match private sector job requirements, I want to briefly expound on who’s fit to be called unemployed.

Who is unemployed?
Unemployed person is a job seeker who is actively seeking for the job that matches his credentials or qualifications. However, the person who was seeking for the job but did not get it and therefore gives up that the labor market is not opening up for him/her is not called unemployed but the discouraged person. This means he/she has given up and does not have any interests in the job anymore.

So that means there are two categories of people, the unemployed and the discouraged person, that we have to blame the institutions or policies of not having created employment opportunities. For unemployed person, the Government has to be seen exerting better policies that would create or avail job opportunities in the private sector for unemployed persons to explore. However much job opportunities may be available or created by the Government in the Private sector, there seemed not to be the responsibility of the Government ‘to make the cow drink the water,’ so to say.

However, it might be the responsibility of the Government to educate the public about job market and productivity. People don’t have to stay idle and expect to eat for the food will not put itself into the mouth. You need to fetch water, flour, firewood and do the cooking.

Living in the village is characterized by hard work either; farming, looking after cattle and taking them for water and pastures before you could enjoy the milk and meat. Anywhere and everywhere in the world, there has to be efforts put in to survive. This means that discouraged persons don’t have to give up for if they do that, then they have given up living.

So whose responsibility is this? Both the government and public must respond to each other’s call if we are to make South Sudan a better place to live in or make our people appreciate the fruits of liberation, independence and freedom. The Government, through public services, needless to say, has to make a call and people have got to response. This call has to be enforced by laws like it is done in Jonglei State; calling citizens to pay taxes of 100 SSP per year.

The questions could be: is the Government only interested in collecting taxes? There may be no obligations for citizens to pay taxes if they are not getting any benefits – jobs creation, security, roads, health facilities and any other social benefit – in return. All these are possible only if the law and enforcement mechanism exist.

As the old slogan says: ‘you can take donkey to the river but you can’t make it drink water.’ That slogan is the Government slogan. The Government slogan is that; it can take donkey to the river and make it drink the water. So the river here is job opportunities and people have got to work. They must be made productive or else our blood would have gone in vain.

Do job opportunities exist?
There are plenty of jobs available for nationals in the labor market. The only thing that needs to be done is to create policies that make these jobs opportunities available for citizens. There are some labor sectors where jobs should only be limited to nationals, period.

In Hotel and restaurant industry, waiters and waitress must be South Sudanese. The question of attitude and laziness doesn’t have to arise in the first place. An employment is one of the major conditions or requirement in investment policies and prerequisite before business registration. Investment law clearly entails how citizens are going to benefit from this Hotel/restaurant investment.

Selling food is not a benefit but an act of generating profits for the owners but the benefit to the Nation is employment. These sectors must employ only South Sudanese people of various qualifications. That one has to be a law and it is in the interest of both parties – the government and the investor who needs money (but not to create job for his people in a foreign Country).

Of course, when you are investing in a foreign country, it comes with a cost for training staff who will staff your business. People don’t cook cheese here but you can’t import a cheese chef from abroad either. You have to train somebody here on how to make cheese.

Once that law exists, it is now the private sector that will be soliciting for employees and not employees seeking for jobs, for there will be more demand for labor than supply. And this means even those who are still in the universities would even get jobs before completing their studies.

Each and every business has its own culture and what they ought to do is to create their own brands by training their staff on how to provide the services, how to dress, how to pose, how to walk and so on. There is no way a business person says he doesn’t love South Sudanese but he wants to make more money here in South Sudan.

You either love South Sudanese people and love making more money here or you hate South Sudanese people and therefore quit go invest in a Country that you love its people, period.

Not only in hotel/restaurant industries but also in driving sector, shop attendants sector and NGOs sector where the skills can be sourced within South Sudan, it doesn’t have to be outsourced, and there should be no law that permits that.

Once all these jobs are availed to citizens, the living standard will improve and this comes with responsibilities of paying taxes and therefore more revenues for the Government to provide social benefits without borrowing from anybody else.

So the Government needs to make decisions on this and enforce it. And this finally means there is a relationship between labor laws and private sector employment opportunities.

The writer holds MBA, degree in Procurement & Logistics Management and BA.
He can be reached through mpkoryom@yahoo.com

Isn’t it too early to talk reconciliation in South Sudan?

BY: MAKER MAYEK RIAK, AUSTRALIA, DEC/03/2012, SSN;

Over the last couple of weeks, the Government of South Sudan has been drumming up efforts to chart a new chapter in the country’s bitter past. This new chapter is supposedly to be opened through national reconciliation – one that is akin to that of South Africa and Rwanda. Much of the credit goes to the Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, who has been working diligently to start a national healing process, one meant to address the bitterness of the past violence against each other, injustices of tribal establishments and the open chasm that continues to threaten national cohesion.

In fact, the Vice President is seen to be the first politician to come out openly and denounced his role in the infamous Bor massacre. Much as the Vice President’s gesture received mixed reactions across the country, a lot of commentary viewed his gesture as good leadership on national reconciliation. Now, the Government of South Sudan is looking into something bigger and more powerful: ‘Reconciliation.’

So far, this sounds good and definitely something that South Sudan should do at some stage. However, is this the right time to talk of reconciliation in our country? I think, it isn’t.

In my view, it’s just too early and there isn’t enough groundwork to support this ‘healing’ process. When talking about reconciliation, one thing is certain: it is an extremely messy and difficult process, sometimes, the goal of which may be impossible to achieve.

The reason for this is that, finding the right measure between justice and healing, retribution and forgiveness, or whatever is the premise of the reconciliation project is a very difficult task. It needs time and resources to support the project and much more than anything else, it needs popular consensus, that the society is ready, willing and able to create a new chapter.

This is not the case in South Sudan. There are so many challenges in South Sudan, that talking about national reconciliation is probably a secondary puzzle that people are interested in solving. It is such a risky business at the moment that, instead of healing wounds, talking about national reconciliation is likely to exacerbate bitterness and widen the chasm.

Mary Burton, a Commissioner in South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, had this to say: “We know that many South Africans are ready and eager to turn away from a past history of division and discrimination. Guilt for wrong doing needs to be translated into positive commitment to building a better society.”

It is evinced from Commissioner Burton’s statement that people must be willing and eager to turn the tables on the past and must be followed by commitment to build a better society. South Sudan isn’t ready and eager to undertake this process and commit to building a better society. At least, the status quo does not justify an argument in contrary.

As long as there are daily incidents of injustice that pervade across our society, no one honest person will be inclined to talk about the past and welcome the future. We need to know that reconciliation is an all-encompassing project. It’s not just limited to tribal or sectional problems or political issues.

In the present day South Sudan, innocent civilians are brutally beaten and tortured by the security forces and the army for no apparent reason. As long as we do not find ways to ensure that our national security forces treat citizens with respect and dignity, any national discourse on reconciliation is a waste of time.

As long as South Sudanese do not have equal access to opportunities and equal employment, a section of our community will always feel unequal and will always bear sentiments of injustice.

As long as our people remain embedded in deep poverty, illiteracy and neglect whilst a tiny fraction feasts on the national cake, a sense of injustice will always prevail and tribes will always find scapegoats in each other.

As long as we continue to practice politics of witch-hunt – ostracizing some of our brilliant and seasoned politicians because of their political convictions – any attempt to chart a new path in our country will be inadequate and a serious abuse of our resources.

Let me take the Vice President as the reference point on this as he is the chief architect in this debate. As recent as a few weeks ago in his speech to a South Sudanese community in the US, the Vice President launched a tirade against Dr Lam Akol, a leading opposition figure in South Sudan. The VP unleashed the usual but a very serious rhetoric that Dr Akol is involved with militia groups in South Sudan.

This is a grave issue of treason with serious implications that someone of the VP’s stature should be cautious in labeling against another politician. It is a matter only within the province of courts to make that call based on credible evidence not on aspersions. Such issues of fear-mongering do not help national healing.

First up, we need to know Dr Akol is a person and secondly, a politician, who represents a particular constituency, that is South Sudanese. Demonizing Dr Akol unnecessarily is tantamount to ostracizing his constituency from the national debate, thus a sense of injustice.

Amongst other things, the VP has also spoken about Kokora, which I understand to be an Equatorian engineered protest against the Dinka and Nuer back in the days of earlier administrations. I must mention a lot of South Sudanese of my generation do not know much about what transpired in that period to inspire this protest but so far as what has been written goes, land issues formed the crust of this event.

If that is the case, then the current land issues in Juba will not make it more favorable for reconciliation to take hold. If the government is indeed committed to this cause, then, I’d imagine enacting robust land laws and addressing land grievances should precede any talk of national reconciliation.

Looking at the conditions that helped foster the national healing projects in South Africa and Rwanda, it is clear these two societies had better conditions and institutions on the ground for national reconciliation to take place.

In all honesty, South Sudan has a long way to go to establish the right conditions for people to talk about the past, grieve, forgive and proceed with national healing.

If the Government of South Sudan, particularly, the Vice President, is serious and committed to this important national process rather than some short-term political expediency and opportunism, then we need to address completely or in part, some of the most obvious injustices that our people face every day. Let’s not be on the wrong side of history.

Maker Mayek Riak is a Lawyer and lives in Australia
Email: mak_may@hotmail.com

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

South Sudan: The Country needs responsible opinion writers at this stage and NOT the “Isaiah Abraham” type!

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, DEC/01/2012, SSN;

The absence of a free press in the new republic of South Sudan can’t be over-stressed while the incumbent totalitarian SPLM-led government continues to silence all its critics by openly beating them up in the streets and locking them incommunicado in the countless ghost houses run by state security agents.

The end result of living and writing under such environments where basic human rights and the freedom to express an opinion is simply not there, many weak-hearted opinion writers have chosen to write under some false names. A case in question here, is this prolific opinion writer none other but the so-called “Isaiah Abraham!”

What is this “Isaiah Abraham” who claims to write from Juba, the capital of South Sudan when he can go at length to bluntly point out some of the governments shortcomings? But obviously of course he only does it in well selected cases and in a style that confuses every reader? However there are times when “Isaiah Abraham” has said more than his share as compared to others who were arrested, tortured and even had their papers shut down for issues far more trivial.

So who is this “Isaiah Abraham” who is free to say anything about the SPLM-led government and even at times direct personal attacks at President Salva Kiir Mayardit himself and remain untouched by the security agents who are known for their zero tolerance for these kinds of issues?

One thing is for certain and that “Isaiah Abraham” is an agent of ‘political distraction’ and many theories have already been suggested and put forward to give a face to this “King of Distraction.” With the best possibilities, he the so-called Isaiah Abraham is a hired-pen recruited by the same corrupt regime to distract the peoples’ attention at certain particular times. Many might have noticed this as well!

But in another equally competing case scenario, Mr. “Isaiah Abraham” is nothing but a “media clown” and a one that suffers from acute dementia for as he writes, he too often than not forgets to link up his issues and ideas. Can anyone tell me that they had read any of this writer’s articles and never got struck by the too many inconsistencies that poked them right in the eye?!

Hence as responsible citizens, the so-called intellectual community of South Sudan and those concerned about the welfare of this young nation, you all have the moral duty to stand firm in the face of this weird writer.

Having said this, it’s indeed my deeply held personal belief that the freedom of expression should be granted to ALL for it is part and package of their human rights. In other words I am not in any way trying to silence “Isaiah Abraham,” but I would rather suggest that he commands some degree of courage and comes out to his readers with his true name and identity.

Whatever he is and wherever he comes from, this writer (“Isaiah Abraham”) needs to respect our collective minds by remembering this simple fact that his written opinions are being read by people who enjoy some degree of reasoning capacity. Let us face it since I haven’t doubted for even a single second that an average person who reads and follows up political opinions in the media is obviously a matured and a learned person! And they deserve every writers respect. Don’t you agree?!!

There are many issues of controversy in “Isaiah Abraham’s” opinion article that appeared under the title of ‘Sudan should allow the flow of South Sudan’s Oil,’ dated November 19th 2012, (http://www.southsudannation.com/sudan-should-allow-south-sud…)

In this article the author seemed to have intentionally chosen to confuse his readers in almost every line that he wrote. He also seemed to be having trouble struggling with how to appear balanced in the eyes of the authorities in the higher offices of the country given the ‘beat first then investigate later’ culture currently prevailing in the new country.

Whatever the reasons behind “Isaiah’s” weird attitude in that particular article and no doubt it also showed up in many of his previous writings, it’s not working well for him because by saying the positive and the negative at the same time in the futile attempt to appease those in power across the two Sudans’ political divide, everything in his articles was unfortunately watered down, if not totally compromised. Could it be that the writer is suffering from some kind of a deeply rooted hypocrisy or is it a manifestation of opportunism?

By trying to naively praise president al Bashir of the Sudan and flatter him by singling him out as a hero who facilitated the independence of South Sudan, that to me doesn’t in any way a patriotic gesture. To say the least if anything it only suggests the kind of behavior that constitutes the popular African adage of ‘colonial hangover.’

Before we go any further, please let me put this crucial question across: What does South Sudan stands to benefit from these kinds of writings full of flattery as it has always been the case with “Isaiah Abraham” when he compulsively misinforms and mis-educates our children to an extent that he wants them to believe that this very al Bashir who killed our people in their millions is also at the same time our Redeemer?

Is it not this same Al Bashir who solely joined the Sudan Armed Forces and graduated from the Sudan Military College with a Diploma as a qualified killer? He then went on to wage war in which well over three million South Sudanese and other indigenous African people from the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile Region and the Western Province of Darfur lost their lives, a crime to which he is still to answer in the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

My dear reader, I think it’s worth reading this quotation from the writing of this undoubtedly confused “Isaiah Abraham” and I quote:

“President Omar Al Bashir would be received in Juba with pomp and dances if ever the well-publicized and politicized visit will take place.” Isaiah wrote. (SSN 22 November 2012)

“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.” He went on to add!

As matured citizens of this new country, we already know that no future will be easy with our northern neighbors without me going into any specifications. It is our history and as we jointly made it, we too jointly own it.

What he (Isaiah Abraham) refers to as ‘the threat to South Sudan’s Oil exportation by Khartoum’ being real, is indeed true. But the real question is: Is it a new development that “Isaiah Abraham” has just come to understand now and only now? Or is Khartoum’s continued undermining of the South Sudan’s Independent sovereignty by any means a new phenomenon that has never become clear to him (Isaiah Abraham) up to now?

By Mr. “Isaiah’s” own confession the leadership in South Sudan is weak. Here I quote him again:

“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.” This what Isaiah wrote in his article? (SSN 22/November 2012)

This confusing, confused and partial columnist, although a prolific writer seems to behave as if he alone owns the sole right to opine in the whole of the republic of South Sudan. One wonders as to whether this writer as inconsistent as he is, does actually write independently or is he a pen in the market?

For how does “Isaiah” consider himself the rightful person to point out the weakness in the leadership in South Sudan as it clearly appears in the above quoted lines of his, while at the same time he smears all others as being traitors and thus non patriotic, whenever they choose to exercise the same rights? If this is what he and his type used to do during the bush-war days, then they better sober up for times have indeed changed.

The other argument here is how on earth this Mr. No direction wants to rally the people of South Sudan behind the very leadership that he has categorically designated as weak? In “Isaiah’s” own words the weakness in South Sudan’s leadership is so huge that it led to the loss of territories, the latest being the Mile 14 Area. But as if to confirm his hypocrisy and flattery, we can still read about Isaiah’s loyalty to the same system.

Where does this leave us, my dear readers? Does “Isaiah” take the people of South Sudan as his herd of goats that he can direct at wish? What our confused friend has seemingly dedicated his life to promote can only operate and be understood in the context of some secretly brewing political dispensation which his behaviors and writings are about to betray

To fully understand the above, we will need to jointly revisit these lines that I quote from the writer’s article:

“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 with dignity than return to the wilderness under Khartoum. We are better off without food on our tables.” Isaiah Abraham wrote!

Exactly if this what Mr. “Isaiah Abraham” wants the leadership in South Sudan to do, then all he has to do is to join the citizens of Northern Bahr Ghazal in their ‘No Recognition’ of the 27th September so-called Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement over the inclusion of the Mile 14 Area in the suggested ‘Demilitarized Zone’ and stop lecturing us that South Sudanese are ready to dance and sing for Omer al Bashir should this wanted criminal put his feet in Juba.

In his own obsession “Mr. Abraham” went on to claim that Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin of the SPLM-DC is behind the non-implementation of the Cooperation Agreement between Juba & Khartoum. In short he wants to rally public opinion to support his own laid and hatched theory that the main reason behind Khartoum’s unwillingness to allow the flow of the South Sudan Oil through its territory squarely rests with Dr. Lam Akol’s political aspirations and ambitions. What an oversimplification of issues solely driven by tribal politics?!!

This is exactly where he (Isaiah) got it terribly wrong and it only explains how he (Isaiah) and his types have become so paranoid of the so-called Dr. Lam’s assumed intentions to overthrow the incumbent government of South Sudan. Is it something that can happen that lightly and overnight?

If we are to put “Isaiah’s” proposition to test using his own logic as presented in his article then Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin should in fact be happy to see the Oil from the republic of South Sudan get exported through Port Sudan and not block it. For by the same logic a savvy politician of Dr. Lam’s caliber cannot be expected to bite the very hand that feeds him, assuming that he is indeed an NCP ally for that matter!!

Let me say this to you, my dear readers about Dr. Lam’s position on the Oil exportation issue; however before I do that I would like first to inform you about my own position on the issue, then we can make informed comparisons.

My position on the exportation of South Sudan’s Oil has since been made public through my many writings. I strongly believe that the true Independence of South Sudan can only come about through economic disengagement between Juba and Khartoum. I also maintain that for as long as Juba continues to depend on Khartoum, and how minimal that dependency maybe, then South Sudan is not yet Uhuru! I will continue to stand by my belief and continue to propagate for it, for it is indeed a noble stand!

Coming to Dr. Lam’s stand and I quote from the man’s mouth: “South Sudan’s Oil stands a better chance if it is to be exported through Port Sudan as the cost of doing that will by-far remain cheaper than if new pipelines are to be constructed either through Ethiopia to Djibouti or through Kenya to the Indian Ocean. This position is not any different from the ones reverted to by the ruling SPLM Oyee leaders in Juba. And now it even includes Mr. “Isaiah Abraham” who is more than willing to spend a whole day dancing and singing for Omer al Bashir in return for exporting South Sudan’s Oil through Khartoum.

On the other hand the realities on the ground have convinced the Western governments and those who call themselves the friends of South Sudan that the new country is on the verge of economic collapse if Oil export is not resuming immediately. Where many of them cannot even differentiate between the SPLM as a political party and South Sudan as a country, the drama becomes even too bigger to withstand.

The bottom line now is that the SPLM-led government in Juba due to its failure to raise the necessary funds is not capable of achieving the dream of constructing any alternate pipeline for exporting the country’s Oil through the proposed route of Kenya or Djibouti.

To save the already dire situation in both the Sudans, the US administration and the international community suggested that Juba and Khartoum should patch up their differences and amongst many other things should immediately resume the export of South Sudan’s Oil through the territory of Sudan.

In short, that was how the Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement [CCA] between SPLM and NCP came into being.

However, at this particular point in time the NCP-led government in Khartoum has other urgent priorities and that’s to crack down on the growing home brewed dissent within its ranks. Oil transit and normalization with the republic of south Sudan though import but is no longer the ideal panacea to stabilize the al Bashir’s wing of the NCP to hold fast on power as it could have done some few months ago.

Things don’t even stop there for today as it stands (the current political uncertainties and the imminent security threats from old buddies to the very existence of al Bashir in power, the 27th September 2012 Cooperation Agreement between SPLM and the NCP is even now seen by al Bashir’s loyalists as a ploy likely to aggravate the already volatile situation on the ground than help ease it.

The whole world is aware and especially so the US administration that Juba has better relations with the rebels of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (the new alliance formed from the SPLM-North and the different Darfuri rebel factions) than it has with Khartoum, just like Khartoum has better relations with the Hamas regime in Gaza than it has with Juba.

The two countries are now interlocked in what can be described as an ideological tug of war by design. Khartoum which clearly is not in any hurry to implement the CCA with Juba will continue to drag its foot on the agreement. It knows too well that Juba will NEVER sell-out its comrades in the Nuba Mountains or the Blue Nile Region, but this is one good thing that it [Khartoum] intends to use at will in order to disrupt any attempts to normalize with South Sudan.

Realistically speaking this latest Addis Ababa CCA was a still-born truce, and even the attempts by the AU or the UNSC or even the US administration to resuscitate it is definitely a waste of resources. It’s only a naive minded like “Isaiah Abraham” who will continue to raise people’s hopes that there will be an easy breakthrough any soon.

As things with the Sudan under the NCP Islamists and currently joined by ultra-nationalist like the ‘First State Uncle’ al Maybe Mustafa, of the Just Peace Party JPP), the relationship between Khartoum and Juba maybe not even improve within the lifetime of these current regimes across the two Sudans’ political divide.

Soon the two neighbors may enter a state of no-war-no-peace and then things may from there get frozen pulling the two countries into a propaganda war and subversive activities across the existing ill-defined borders for maybe some decades to come or even forever. It’s for this very reason that our pathetic leaders should be brought to understand that they better prepare themselves for a long economic drought and readjust accordingly by opening up to democracy and more freedoms.

But most importantly it must be remembered that throughout the human history failed economies are notoriously known for shortening the life spans of governments worldwide and neither Juba nor Khartoum will be exempted.

So instead of apologists like Mr. “Isaiah Abraham” wasting their writings in sub-standard spins, they will do much good to themselves and the country by propagating for a democratic system that can see a peaceful transfer of power as determined and thus necessitated by the evolving realities of the day.

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

Equatoria holds South together: Critique of Holland and Fletcher’s report on South Sudan

BY: ELHAG PAUL, RSS, DEC/1/2012, SSN;
Hereward Holland and Pascal Fletcher’s article, ‘Special Report: In South Sudan, plunder preserves a fragile peace,’ edited by Simon Robinson and published by Reuters on Tuesday 20th June 2012, involuntarily made me to scratch my head. I read it in disbelief. ‘Plunder preserves a fragile peace.’ Really?

The damage is done, not only by foreign reporters without insight into South Sudan contemporary history but also by the inept SPLM Oyee government of the miscreants. Product of politics of violence which pushed out decent, capable and experienced South Sudanese from governing their country competently. South Sudanese now have to pick up the pieces and here I take this imposed burden of the “idiots” or ‘Al rujal al bulaha,’ according to Mr Gerard Prunier to try to set the record straight.

Holland and Fletcher theorize that the mess of human rights abuse, corruption, and all the other ills taking place in South Sudan holds it together. In building up their case they list a catalogue of abuses supported by voices of government and civil society’s agents while weaving in monotonous SPLM Oyee propaganda on Dr John Garang, history of South Sudan and the distortion of demographics of the country.

This report is highly misleading to any person who is not familiar with South Sudan and also paints South Sudanese as people who only thrive in chaos. A little bit of careful review of South Sudan contemporary history would have made things clearer for the authors to avoid the pitfall of unfounded claims, bias and misinformation.

Contrary to what is asserted, South Sudan is not held together by either ‘plunder’ or ‘corruption and nepotism.’ These very forces are at the heart of the pressures creating cracks and fragmentation in its society. The numerous rebellions in Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei states since 2005 have categorically made it clear that their reason for taking up arms against the state is to end corruption and tribalism. This shows to some extent the fragility of South Sudan under poor governance of president Kiir and his SPLM Oyee party.

The authors refer to the appointments of people like Riek Machar, the vice president and Pagan Amum, the secretary general of SPLM from other tribes to the government as a careful balancing act from the president. On the surface, yes. It looks so but scratch deeper the reality is shocking because these people are not respected in their own tribes. If anything they are despised and are not seen as sons and daughters of their tribes.

In the general elections of April 2010, most of the SPLM Oyee apparatchiks now occupying high offices including Pagan Amum, Oyai Deng Ajak, John Luke Jok, Ms Nunu Jemma Kumba etc all failed to win any seats in the parliament. Their tribes rejected them. President Kiir could not stomach the choice of the people and going by SPLM Oyee dictatorship he imposed these losers on the people. He not only appointed them to ministerial positions but he also decreed them to the parliament duplicating representation of some constituencies in contempt of those constituents.

In a nutshell, most of the non-Jiengs in the government do not represent their people. They represent themselves and their tummies only. So the patronage in operation in South Sudan is strictly related to party membership and personal relationship as in the case with the members of South Sudan Democratic Forum. It is hardly conceivable that this kind of patronage can hold a country together and in any case the country is already on the road to self destruction. The fact that South Sudan is already designated as the fourth in line of failed states speaks for itself.

The authors of the report pointed out that, South Sudan’s charismatic liberation hero, Dr John Garang, often warned against replacing one set of kleptocratic rulers for another. Unfortunately Garang did not live to see independence and Kiir who succeeded him has struggled to exert the same kind of moral leadership.

While Garang in no doubt was a charismatic leader, he did not possess moral leadership and he was a man irresponsible with the truth. He used words and highly entertaining stories in his meetings with people to manipulate situations to build himself. He seldom meant what he said and this made him a contradictory figure. Garang was a captivating personality who had a way with his audience. His power of persuasion was immense and the influence it exerted captured and gained instant support of his audience. It was this ability and skill of his in social engagement that allowed him to get away with his lies. This savvyness gave him the cover to deceive and exploit the emotions and feelings of South Sudanese.

In his books edited by Dr Mansour Khalid, Garang lambasted the corruption of the rulers in Khartoum mercilessly. He portrayed himself as an alternative who would eventually bring good governance to the country. Being a highly persuasive person he easily pulled the wool over people’s eyes. Whereas in reality, Garang himself was the most corrupt leader South Sudan has ever produced.

Under his direct tutorship the current kleptomaniacs in Juba led by president Kiir were born. For a glimpse of the leadership of Garang please see the Minutes of Rumbek meeting of November 2004. The SPLM/A until that time was just an organisation in name. From the mouths of the horses who participated in the meeting it was clear beyond doubt that it was a chaotic joint.

This vindicates the senior development official in Juba quoted in the report as saying, “This is not a revolutionary (liberation) movement that has taken power; this is a rag-tag bunch of boys with guns that have never administered anything.”

The only thing that Garang remained honest to was his political conviction which was the unity of the Sudan under the project of New Sudan. To protect it, he ruthlessly mowed down any opposition. This ugly side of his personality came to light when he brutally oppressed South Sudan separatists. He famously gloated, “Our first bullets were fired against the separatists.”

Now that South Sudan has separated, his supporters are working hard day and night to anoint him as the father of the nation that he did not want to see born. Others are going to the extent of distorting facts to claim that Garang’s separatist conviction was evolutionary. In light of this how can Garang’s leadership be referred to as moral? His management of SPLM Oyee was shambolic laced with corruption through and through, and to make matters worse he was a closet tribalist who consistently structured the movement tribally. Please see http://allafrica.com/stories/201206250013.html

SPLM/A from 2005 sought to fool the world and they managed to a large extent. They hated the officials of the then Southern Region who did not go to the bush or exile and they embarked on lies that South Sudan was starting from scratch. They did this for two reasons.

First, they wanted to make sure that they replace the entire government employees in South Sudan despite the fact that they lacked capacity. Had they been vigilant, they would have learnt from the lesson of the American intervention in Iraq, where the coalition administrator, Lewis Paul Bremer, dismissed the entire Iraq army only to find himself lacking the ability to maintain security.

Secondly, for SPLM Oyee to embezzle the resources of the state, they needed a robust excuse to rely on and what a better thing to say than ‘we are starting from scratch.’ The international community who should have known better because they have always had representation in the towns of South Sudan since 1972 became an accomplice in this massive deception. I am not surprised why the authors of the report on South Sudan bought the lie. As long as this lie is perpetuated the discourse on South Sudan will always remain deficient of credibility.

The phrase ‘we are starting from scratch’ is a perfect cover for mismanagement and abuse of South Sudan. Please see http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/the-rape-of-the-rss-by-the-oyee-party. This takes me to the issue of demography of south Sudan.

For quite a considerable time now, the Jieng have tirelessly worked hard to distort the demography of South Sudan by claiming that they constitute 40 or more percent of the entire South Sudan population. The reason for this is because they want to justify or claim the right to rule the country. In fact one of the reasons that South Sudan tore itself to pieces in the late 1970s and early 1980s was because the Jieng asserted their right to dominate the government in Juba on the basis of their numerical majority. Now they are doing worse than before.

It is unfortunate that the authors of the report on South Sudan without any evidence have regurgitated a false tribal stance. The reporters write, “In many ways, corruption and nepotism hold South Sudan together. Many Sudanese have long believed that the Dinka who make up some 40 percent of the population dominate to the detriment of the other groups. Kiir, a Dinka like Garang, is credited with making a major effort to build a diverse cabinet.”

Yes, the Jieng dominate and this is because of the tribalism that they practise in the country. The emphasis on the diverse cabinet is misleading as this masks the reality and moreover the aforementioned explains. If the reporters were to examine holders of all the most important posts in the various ministries in South Sudan they would find out that over 90 percent of the positions are held by the Jieng with the majority unqualified for those positions.

However, the most important thing here is that the Jieng do not constitute 40 percent of the population. They only make up about 18 percent of the entire population of South Sudan. As a tribe, yes, it is a large one but in terms of the whole population of the country, the Jieng are a minority. All the other 63 tribes combined make up 82 percent and therefore the Jieng being 18 percent can not justifiably claim to be a majority over 82 percent for them to dominate the country. It would be good for foreign reporters to report fairly so as not to distort the reality of South Sudan to the world.

Having said all the above, what is holding South Sudan together? South Sudan is held together in the chaos of SPLM Oyee by greater Equatoria and the bogey of Arab Sudan. The people of Equatoria with their varied cultures have successfully gelled together and relatively live in harmony with each other. Their dislike of Arab arrogance made them pioneer the struggle of South Sudan freedom in 1955.

Where the interest of South Sudan is concerned the people of Equatoria have always made selfless sacrifices. Take for example in the 1990’s, SPLM/A abuses discouraged the Equatorians from continuing to participate in the movement. Most of them quit the movement and went to refugee settlements in Uganda, Congo and Kenya. When Khartoum almost defeated the SPLM/A by routing them to Nimule in the border with Uganda, the Equatorians abroad swallowed the bitter pill and came back to the movement to rescue the situation in name of South Sudan survival.

Had the Equatorians been selfish, by now the SPLM Oyee would be history with South Sudan existence in doubt. Presently the same situation is repeating itself with the chaos going on. The Equatorians, fearing collapse of the baby nation, didn’t abandon their interest to rescue the situation once again by not supporting any form of violence. Hence the peace in Equatoria.

The presence of the capital city of South Sudan and the seat of government in Equatoria has not only provided a nurturing environment to the nascent state but is vitally safeguarding South Sudan from any harm.

It is important to note that out of the ten states in the country, only the three states of greater Equatoria enjoy relative peace. Had the capital city been outside Equatoria any of the rebel groups might have overrun it long time ago or even Khartoum might have captured it with the excuse of Panthou war.

The other factor used constantly by SPLM/A which inadvertently keeps the country together is the bogey of Khartoum. The ruling party’s failures in diplomacy is fueling problems with Khartoum all the time and this keeps the people of South Sudan anxious pushing them to rally behind the government.

Although Khartoum as a factor plays an important role in unifying the people of South Sudan, the crucial stabilizer and provider of peace is Equatoria, the oasis of peace in a chaotic desert.

Finally, it is not the corruption, chaos, abuses of human rights, etc…. that keeps South Sudan together but rather it is Equatoria that plays that role.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com