Archive for: January 2013

South Sudan does not need ‘strong leaders!’

Quote: “Wisdom is knowing when to speak up your mind and when to mind your speech!” Source: Unknown

By: Deng Riek Khoryoam, RSS, JAN/24/2013, SSN;

Since South Sudan gained her independence from the mother Sudan more than a year ago, a lot of fascinating stories have been told over and over again, and I think we’ve had enough of such stories, good or bad. Since then, there has been a lot of cheap talk and political lip-service by the so-called ‘strong leaders’ in an attempt to woo, (if not to confuse) the citizens so as to win confidence and trust. Needless to say that the contrary has been true! The leaders have one time or more promised to move mountains where there never existed any single mountain since ancient times.

It’s an incontestable fact that some leaders are known to have used the aura of democratization (however young it may be) to become kings to themselves without the slightest sense of accountability to any authority: all in the name of freedom. Yet experience has repeatedly shown that freedom with checks and balances is like claiming for rights without acknowledging the responsibility that goes along with those rights. The result could be anybody’s guess!

That brings to mind these critical questions: does South Sudan need strong leaders? Does it not need just strong institutions? You might recall that this was one of the key points of President Obama ‘speech in his keynote address to African leaders and despots, who overstayed in power for as long as nobody could remember. He said that “Africa does not need strong leaders but needs strong institutions of governance and democracy.” I may beg your pardon if I am boring you with my reminiscences of the past!

May I also add that South Sudan does not need strong leaders but strong institutions of governance; the kind of institutions that could nurture and grow our young and crazy democracy into a matured and real democracy, not what we see as camouflage to human rights abuses, killing and threatening of opinion writers, detaining and torturing of journalists and civil society activists/advocates – all in a desperate attempt to silencing of political dissents and public opinion.

What is and has been happening in South Sudan is sheer craziness and hypocrisy at best. If we took up arms against Khartoum for oppression, marginalization, underdevelopment, gross human rights abuses and all that we could remember, then how can our so-called liberators-turned-leaders behave and do the same sorts of things to the people they helped free from slavery and bondage under Khartoum?

How can Juba suddenly go the Khartoum’s way in terms of not respecting the constitution and the rule of law? Are we not condemned to death by those who died in the struggle for justice, liberty and prosperity when we don’t do or practice what we fought for over two decades?

How different is Juba-based government now from that dictatorship government in Khartoum?

I may conclude this piece by emphasizing that what South Sudan direly needs currently are strong institutions of governance deeply rooted in the respect for rule of law and good governance. It’s indisputable that leaders come and go and the nation or country remains.

We need institutions that could hold constitutional post-holders to account for their actions and inactions!

We need a country where freedom of expression and media thrives; the dream republic of South Sudan where nothing is left to the whims of the rulers, a nation where political pluralism is cherished and embraced! We long for South Sudan where the leaders are accountable to the people who elected them into those offices and get in touch with the common man and woman in the periphery.

Currently, our so-called ‘strong leaders’ have lost touch with the ordinary people of South Sudan and I can tell you that this isn’t a good picture of the country we intend to build.

We envisage a South Sudan where corrupt and dictatorial practices done by now the ‘strong leaders’ are condemned and shunned by the civil society and the people of goodwill.

We need South Sudan where the national parliament is not used as a rubber-stamp and easy-passing of unpopular and useless policy statements disguised as laws. We need the national parliament that can play its crucial role of watchdog and supervisory and to reprimand the executive branch if it misbehaved in carrying out its constitutional duties and responsibilities.

We want corruption to be minimized, if it cannot be stamped out completely. We want a decentralised system of governance, which should not only be written smartly in the constitution but put into practice by the state.

Decentralization system of governance cannot be mistaken for abdication of one’s responsibility nor is it synonymous with the misconceived ‘powerlessness!’ It’s a strong ingredient of democracy and good governance.

We need South Sudan where any dissatisfied group in the society can be allowed freely to go onto the street to stage a peaceful protest against any ill-intended decision or action by their leaders.

We need South Sudan where intellectual discourse freely flows and the opinion writers aren’t threatened for speaking up their mind (s).

We long for South Sudan where press freedom is guaranteed and protected within the parameters of the constitution and other legal bodies! Happy new year, 2013!

The writer is a former Chairperson of Fangak Youth Union and a civil society activist. He could be reached for comments at: driakfangak@hotmail.com

Presidential decrees as a weapon to silence the opponents

BY: Kabarika Lokang Loliha, TEXAS, USA, JAN/23/2013;

History teaches us that the men of power are feared but not respected. To bestow your interest in the country as a leader, one must have an able hand to do the impossible. In the current world democracies, the decrees issued by leaders are not to collide with the country’s constitutional laws. Unless in a country like South Sudan where the President is both the head of the constitution and the head of state as well, where the use of degrees is regarded as legitimate in the eyes of those whose interests have been served.

The uses of Degrees as recently seen used by the President of the Republic of South Sudan is nothing but an ambitious mind control politico-ecology aimed at silencing those who would have risen to challenge his authority. The relieving of many Generals by the President portrayed how Kiir and his cronies have become fearful with the military leaders following last year’s attempted coup by the rogue military personnel.

Who would have thought that long-timer military fellows would abruptly be discharged without a clear warning from the Commander-in-Chief? Unless there are reasons hidden somewhere away from the public, the President should come forth to clarify the entangled incident to the citizens.

As the already decreed relieved Generals may be thinking of what they will be doing next, it’s now clear that the people of Lakes State are in public dismay thirsty for explanation on how their democratically elected Governor was sacked. The news flies across the globe in seconds, but the mistakes one person took to deprive the citizens their right to hear what is due to them will be a permanent stamp in the leaders resume on how he/she uses this leadership power.

If the people put a person in power, the same people have the right to be convinced on how their elected leader was fired from his active duty. The president may have the ultimate right to demote or relieve generals from their active duties, but his executive power is a breach of law to authoritatively remove democratically elected leader from his post.

What differences would it served if the president has all power to appoint, discharge, or to demote the person he doesn’t share goals with if we call ourselves Democratic Nation while practically using authoritarian power to dismiss people at will?

The selection of those constitutional articles was a big time process the nation of South Sudan ever faced. Drafting the constitution on the interest of high ranking members of the party was an idiotic thing our beloved Republic of South Sudan would live to regret.

We have just emerged from a period of more than two decades war but to find ourselves being intimidated by the very same politician we entrusted to safeguard the rule of law and implementation of our country’s constitution. These recently decried degrees did not happen by accident, but because the administration might have gotten into politically uncomfortable situation.

Their relief from their duties was a systematic political calculation the president has used to gain a fresh favor from those juniors promoted to hold those big posts.

The rule of an authoritarian government is simple, punish those you don’t get along with and reward those that are sympathetic to your course of action. The world did it and Mr. Mayardit is no exception to refrain himself from this politically sensitive scheme.

This current administration being embroiled with numerous tribal and regional conflicts with Sudan, the very first thing that Mr. President needed to do is to maintain security and encourage development in the country. The leaders will be judged by what they stood for and what they have achieved in their lifetime leadership.

To lead without a challenge is not good for democracy. With political challenge comes determination to do better on how the country ought to be governed. Mr. Kiir has to acknowledge that whether he is advocating for totalitarian or authoritarian government, it is impossible to please everyone even if you are effective or ineffective. But to maintain the minimum support of the majority is a paramount concern of becoming a People’s leader.

Machiavelli once asked: Whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? The real leader may wish to combine both though it is much seen as good to be feared than respected.

The sacking of democratically elected governor underscored the rule and the process on how democracies function. Should the cause of his dismissal be as a result of recent tribal clashes, or is it true that the Lakes State is the only current tribally challenged state in the Republic of South Sudan?

Do the numbers of deaths from Lakes state outnumber those Killed by the Cattle rustlers in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria states?

There is more into this unexplained fiasco. So long as the public, and especially the citizens who elected the governor to the position don’t get satisfactory reasons, the number of protests might not come to an end. END

Media Legislation: A litmus test for democracy in South Sudan

BY: Beny Gideon Mabor, SOUTH SUDAN, JAN/19/2013, SSN;

The long overdue pieces of media legislation in the Republic of South Sudan has for the first time in eight years seen light of the day in what I may describe as a serious policy and legislative developmental process. The completion of Media Authority Bill 2012, Right of Access to Information Bill, 2012 and Broadcasting Corporation Bill, 2012, respectively, was a great job well done.

The Bills are already scrutinised by the line institutions and other relevant stakeholders and in particular private media houses, advocates and civil society organisations. The public hearing organised by the Specialised Committee of Information in the National Legislative Assembly laid a foundation for teamwork and the heated debate shown the importance of media legislation in South Sudan.

As a result, the Bills are now before the Honorable August House for deliberation and of course a gesture of goodwill that the
beneficiaries are now waiting the birth of media legislation in South Sudan.

The public hearing forum was so important not only for the media legislation but should be adopted a practice in all subsequent
legislation because it is the only platform that brought all views and witnessed the legal form and content of the Bill in order to satisfy all users before it is tabled before the National Legislative Assembly for deliberation and would-be enactment into law. If the National Assembly passes these media law quickly, it will mark a cornerstone for young nation in its promise of constitutional governance.

However, the action of the government is expected to be within the ambit of the law and above all practice of democratic principles which started with fundamental freedoms. The absence of media legislation may discredit this promise and urge the government to turn over a new leaf.

Article 1 (5) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011, says “South Sudan is founded on justice, equality, respect for human dignity and advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

In other word, such freedoms are mandatory and must be realised by the implementation of Article 24 (1) of the same constitution which states, “every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to public order, safety or morals as prescribed by law.”

And finally, “all levels of government shall guarantee the freedom of the press and other media as shall be regulated by law in a democratic society.”

The three Media Bills hanging in the balance are the media laws which are missing in our society. It is very unfortunate that there is legal vacuum on media industry in South Sudan and therefore a serious violation of the constitution and the law. Yet, it is not too bad that we now receive the news of media laws though at late hours.

I hope the relevant stakeholders will not regret but rather take courage and urge the National Assembly to pass media laws. This has always been the notion for instance a tailor wears shattered clothes despite being the maker. The line institutions and private media houses despite their rich experiences and expertise knowledge fails since 2005 to date even to pass a single legislation on media, leave alone lack of unifying body to follow up issue of media and journalists concerns.

In a three day hotly debate on the said Bills from 1st November to 3 November 2012; the failures clearly came up as a result of
conflicting interest over ownership of the law between the government and private media industry. The latter wanted to own and independently run the media industry but the former strongly resisted and wanted to be the regulator. Indeed, we ended up somewhere with compromises from both institutions and the actual referee shall be seen when the law comes into force.

Last but not the least, the protection of freedoms of expression, association and assembly remain very weak due to lack of legal framework and low enforceability of existing national legislation such as Political Parties Act 2011; the Human Right Act 2009 and the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 to mention a few.

However, the Press freedoms amongst other rights are more specifically fundamental because it is the very right that triggered violations from the government worldwide. It embodies right to information, right of access to existing information, and finally the right to enjoy public broadcasting services, which are covered now under the media Bills, yet to be seen on unknown date.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Council Report on South Sudan in its Twenty-first session dated 29 August, 2012, paragraph 27 of the report, the Council said “that Journalists and human rights defenders in South Sudan face intimidation and arrest in the conduct of their activities. State security forces have been reported to subject journalists to harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention for publishing stories critical of the Government.”

In reality, the report is not out of blue since there is no smoke without fire. The UN report is supported with some topical examples in South sudan. The cold-blood murder of late Diing Chan Awuol pen-named Isaiah Abraham; the kidnapping of Advocate Ring Bulebuk and Civil Society Activist Deng Athuai Monywiir, all cases in Juba dated 5 December, 2012, 22 December 2012 and 4 July, 2012 respectively confirmed the UN Human right report.

It is very sad news and the government of South Sudan at all levels must clean its face quickly to prove the contrary in the field of human rights and specially allow the press freedom. The said incidences may not be directly known or sponsored by the government as the case may be, but lack of absolute security provision is accountable to the government.

Finally, we are all aware that without media laws in place and strong civil society that advocate for human rights and monitoring of human rights violations, yet there will be no any progress. Many civil society organisations tried their best to do the job but impacted by lack of training, expertise knowledge and resources to contribute to the process of democratisation and the advancement and protection of human rights as enabling component of media industry.

Therefore, the Non-governmental organisations be the local, national and international bodies and the Government of South Sudan need to support civil society in order to deliver competent public services without fear or intimidation.

Beny Gideon Mabor is an independent opinion writer on governance and human rights. He lives in South Sudan and can be reached at benygmabor@gmail.com

How can South Sudan reconcile its bitter past when the present is even more worse than ever before?

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, JAN/18/2013, SSN;

National reconciliation and healing processes are undoubtedly vital for the reconstruction of an often damaged inter-communal bridges associated with prolonged civil wars as is the case with South Sudan. Inevitable as they are these concepts can only yield the intended results of consolidating an everlasting peace when and only when they are conducted under ideal political and socioeconomic circumstances and not when everything is chaotic as is the case today in the country.

It is vitally important to mention here that the ruling SPLM party has missed so many golden opportunities where it could have initiated this national reconciliation and healing process. One such opportunity was immediately following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 and another was immediately following the official declaration of the country’s independence from Sudan in 2011.

This brings us to the central question which is: “why has it taken the South Sudanese leadership all this long to realize the importance of reconciling its communities in order to hasten the healing process when they (SPLM leadership) know very well that it is they who traumatized their own civilians, and unfortunately still continue to do so in a fashion may be only second to the Khartoum ‘Jallaba’ regime?”!

Those who do not know why the SPLM leadership was insensitive to the citizens’ plights will now have the opportunity to get the right picture of how this leadership operates. Unfortunately we will have to accept one bitter fact for throughout the liberation war and all along the years that followed it, South Sudan has been plagued by large scales of inter-communal conflicts. This far no one is surprised when the top leadership came up with the idea to reconcile the country’s various communities who remain locked-up in inter-tribal conflicts, albeit very late and after some of the damages have become irreversible.

However it is considered as good politics to give any initiative the benefit of the doubt, but nonetheless to call for national reconciliation and healing process is one thing and to actually achieve and translate it into a livable reality is another. Furthermore judging by the many reactions from the grassroots, it is obvious that for all kinds of reasons many people across the country do not believe that the current leadership is any competent to achieve such a major national goal.

It doesn’t really call for any over-stressing that in South Sudan many people today including the country’s top politicians and senior government officials still harbor ill-feelings and bitter grudges against one another over negative policies, events and incidences which dominated the two decades of the liberation war.

It is in the background of such disturbing facts that people continue to have no faith in this half propaganda and half PR initiative on the so-called national reconciliation.

South Sudan’s political wobbliness is deeply rooted in the country’s ethnically driven politics, nepotism, and favoritism. Ironically all of these are not new to this part of the world as they have always been there even during the colonial rule and was in fact designed and promoted by the colonialists primarily to promote their policy of divide and rule.

However these three deadly vices [ethnically driven politics, nepotism, and favoritism] became the official way how the various government departments were manned and run from the very day South Sudan gained its first ever autonomy in 1972 following the Addis Ababa Agreement. It will suffice here to recall how by then the former Sudan’s Southern Region’s police force was practically dominated by one ethnic group.

It wasn’t too long before the what used to be known as the Regional Government of Southern Sudan was brought down on its knees by none other than these malpractices that went on to spread like wildfire all over the region. Undoubtedly it was these malpractices that invariably contributed to the dissolution of the Addis Ababa Agreement and together with it went the Regional Government under which these very vices were nurtured and promoted in the first place.

Once back in the bush, the South Sudanese leadership under the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement [SPLM] was vocal about the realization of a New Sudan that is free of all the three vices. However paradoxically as time went it became apparent that even this new leadership was in fact not only deep in, but was actually swimming comfortably in what it sets out to correct.

At this juncture it must be reiterated that almost All the different mutinies, counter-revolutions, disappearances, assassinations, targeted eliminations, court marshaling, the massacre of civilian populations – all were in fact motivated and driven by tribal and clan politics. This kind of revelation leaves no one with clean hands amongst all the combatants, from their top man to the last soldier in the bottom of the hierarchy.

Nonetheless, following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA], the civilian population was temporarily made to believe that a true new dawn of peace and the rule of law have in fact finally arrived. However the sad events that immediately followed the beginning of the interim period gave the entire structure of governance in South Sudan its life time’s blow and shock, for the man who led the people throughout the war and finally signed the peace with Khartoum on their behalf had unfortunately died in a tragic plane crash.

Commander Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s untimely death did generate a lot of speculations and still continues to do so up to now. Many conspiracy theories came and went, yet the true story lies far away from everyone’s reach. At least that’s what we the down-trodden are left with.

Dr. John Garang de Mabior who never lived to witness the kind of government that was formed in Juba and the other ten state capitals of South Sudan indeed left behind him an organization that failed to lead by the ideals he had put on paper or even referred to in his many speeches that he delivered in the International Conferences or while addressing the men and women in arms who served under him or to the South Sudanese intelligentsia in the Diaspora.

Yet the question is: ‘Had he [John Garang de Mabior] lived, would South Sudan have now embraced democracy and pluralism?!! Had he lived would our politics by now have become non-tribal? Those who served under the man and have come to know him well will do to answer these questions.

From August 2005, it did not take too long before the SPLM led government in Juba fell back to the days of the Regional Government under the High Executive Council. All the deadly vices that destroyed the unity of the people of south Sudan under both Abel Alier and Joseph Lagu were soon brought back to life by the new SPLM leadership and their benefactors.

But this time around the new leadership decided to go an extra mile and added yet a new dimension of mega corruption and unprecedented financial mismanagement into the mix, a thing which can only be clearly explained by referring to it as ‘an open act of theft.’ From day one senior government officials and SPLM party loyalists immediately went on stealing spree.

This is evidently documented in the Auditor General’s Reports as well as the personal confession of the country’s president in which he declared that no less than $4 billion has so far been stolen from the public coffers at his watch.

As such drawing parallels from the above realities it can be concluded that the only positive thing which the people of South Sudan succeeded to do during the two decades of the liberation war was to militarily and diplomatically stand in the face of the enemy. This they did well, however there was and still is the negative side of the story since it can be seen that all the previous tribal differences were sharpened and made to thrive in the bush.

Worse still alien cultures like political intolerance, physical elimination of opponents and kleptocracy were all adopted as tools for running the liberation struggle.

As eloquently put by the editor-in-chief of the online southsudannation.com media outlet and I quote:

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

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

Now let’s move to consider the state’s contributions in the general negativism that currently engulfs the country. It is an established fact that the government security and secret agents all across the country are out to eliminate anyone who doesn’t agree with the government or criticizes any of its countless sub-standard performances.

Opinion writers who toe the state line are tortured, harassed, intimidated or out rightly eliminated. How does the population reconcile with such behaviors and rotten attitudes?

Worse still is that how do we reconcile as a nation when we don’t even have a freedom of speech where we can freely express our discontents to make them known to the authorities?

How do we as nation reconcile with people who have stolen well over $4 billion from the public, an amount of money which could have been used to build roads, erect the much needed schools, hospitals and provide clean drinking water to our people?

Last but not least, how do we reconcile with a system of governance that resists democratic transformation in the country while it continues to display the worst type of hypocrisy by paying a lip service to pluralism and multiparty democracy?

In a hugely deformed society like South Sudan, national healing and reconciliation can only come about after a through political reform and the establishment of viable and functioning democratic institutions.

It isn’t about how many Desmond Tutus or Tony Bliars we invite to attend our conferences that can make us what we are not. As it cannot also be overemphasized that unless we change what is in us no any external power can do that for us.

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

President Salva Kiir’s Death List

BY: ElHag Paul, RSS, JAN/17/2013, SSN;

The title of this article, ‘President Salva Kiir’s Death List’ is frightening and emotionally draining. The reality demands that the title be presented exactly as it is because the truth and reality must prevail. In our struggle to develop a good country the truth is the only weapon available to us to disarm the SPLM Oyee. Objective truth as the enlightenment philosophers have proven can not be destroyed by any form of lies. So this must be the only tool left to confront SPLM Oyee lies and confronting this murderous organisation we will without flinching. SPLM Oyee will not for sure be able to destroy the truth. The truth will bring them down whether they like it or not. It is just a matter of time.

Wandit, a member of SPLM Oyee security organ disclosed the following on 5th December 2012: Quote, “As a member of security service, there is no organization of information in the security organ. No secrets, we all know and those people with connections know secret information too. Isaiah’s death come as a shock to many people all over the world but those in security, it was made with deafening silence.

However, for those with knowledge and know it was clear he either shut up or be eliminated. What is responsible for his death is his article in which he wrote saying the president must step down. That was the last straw and it was decided to eliminate him.

Once the decision was approved by the big people, those of us with an idea tried to convince otherwise but was difficult without risking my life. I am a small man.

So how was Isaiah killed? Those who know have gone overseas now but we in the security job usually take a person’s number from the phone companies, Vivacell or Zain or MTN, and then we see who you talk with or to often or every time and then we get that person.

That person is then used by the security to get its victims by telephone call or we go to their homes.

In the particular case of Isaiah Abraham, he was killed by members of a special protection of president guard unit, called ‘Tiger.’ It is open secret known to all that they have jails in their compound next to the president’s official residence, J1. They have killed many people and buried them there, even including a guy who used the First Lady’s name for business.

So, on that fatal night, Isaiah Diing was called out from his home and was made to sit down and then shot in the head. Only one bullet. He was killed by another Dinka, his tribe people. The murdering people made sure that national security was not patrolling at night in that particular area of Gudele.

So, my brothers, watch out. Security people say the following people are next because of too much talking against the government and ministers.

So, please, brothers watch out. Mabior Garang, Kuir e Garang, Deng Dekeuk, Mading Ngor, Zachariah Manyok Biar, Elhag Paul, Justin Ambago Ramba and James Okuk.” unquote http://www.southsudannation.com/who-killed-isaiah-abraham/

This is the message from Wandit, a member of the security group that sadly ended Isaiah Abraham’s life on 5th December 2012. It is chilling, painful but the reality to be dealt with. We can not bury our heads in the sand in the face of SPLM Oyee brutality and terror. What does this list of death mean? There are a number of things that come to mind.

First, it indicates the paranoia plaguing Kiir’s regime of terror. They are afraid that by educating the South Sudanese population about the crimes they have committed this could raise the consciousness of the people thus leading into their overthrow.

Secondly, it exposes the true nature of Kiir as a murderer, an experience he gained when he was a security officer of the Arabs in the Sudan army and then a Rottweiler of Dr John Garang for 22 years in the bush. Kiir is responsible for the murder of all the South Sudanese intellectuals and politicians during the war of liberation.

Thirdly, it proves beyond doubt that president Kiir wants to rule South Sudan with terror in order to secure their loot of the country even when he is not providing any services to the people.

Since 1983, the SPLM mercilessly has been killing people of South Sudan with impunity. The murders started with elimination of Benjamin Bol, Akout Atem, Samuel Gai Tut…etc and continues to date with the latest being our brother Isaiah Abraham. They will certainly continue to kill unless they are stopped and this is now an urgent task for all South Sudanese.

How can SPLM be stopped? A number of things can be done as a start to weaken it severely.

First South Sudanese who value our cultures of consensus need to vote with their feet. They need to desert this criminal organisation. There are no more reasons or need to continue being a member of an organisation that is depleting South Sudan of intellectuals, journalists and capable people via assassination just for it to remain incompetently in power.

There are no more reasons to continue being a member of an organisation that does not provide any services whatsoever to the people. It abdicated its duties of provision of service by default right from the day of independence outsourcing it to the aid agencies and the United Nations. Even with this glaring fact, president Kiir shamelessly goes to Wau in support of the incompetent governor of Western Bahre Ghazal Rizik Zakariah Hassan who wantonly massacres civilians. He falsely claimed the governor’s action was to implement a policy that would take services to the people. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article44974

There are no more reasons for being a member of an organisation that is run and controlled by a tribal cabal including foreigners in the likes of Ahmed Alor, people who are technically not South Sudanese. There are no more reasons to continue being a member of an organisation that is bringing shame to South Sudan daily.

There are no more reasons to continue being a member of an organisation that is committing heinous crimes against its people. For instance, the killings and land grab in Chollo land, Balanda land, Equatoria, the systematic state sanctioned targeting of the Murle people in Jonglei, the wanton shooting of peaceful demonstrators in Wau. Is what is going on under the leadership of SPLM Oyee the true reflection of South Sudan?

The beauty of South Sudan is in its diversity. We cannot just sit down and allow this beauty to be shredded by visionless villains claiming to be liberation heroes. All the people of South Sudan represented by the various tribes are precious and their rights as human beings override everything and must be fully realised, protected, respected and guaranteed.

Secondly, all those South Sudanese in the Diaspora urgently need to get in touch with their respective local MPs to update them about the tyrannical regime in Juba on what needs to be done. Our brothers and sisters in Australia have already started this process and they are in the fore front. The rest of us need to follow suit to complete the process so that SPLM government in Juba can be properly exposed for who they are.

The Diaspora also need to consult their personal solicitors regarding the open threat posed to their lives by the SPLM Oyee terrorist system so that protective measures are put in place and should anything happen to a Diaspora member the responsibility must squarely rest with the government of South Sudan.

Thirdly, a concerted campaign for democracy in South Sudan need to be urgently mounted just as South Sudanese did in early 2000s which resulted in Machakos Talks and eventually the CPA. We need to act collectively in our respective countries of residence by writing to European Union, British government, American government, and Australian government to support the UN to make use of the mandate granted to it by the Security Council under section 7.

United Nations has the authority and the power to ensure that RSS does not become a danger to itself and risk to regional peace. With South Sudanese asking them to act their power will be invigorated and they therefore will have no reason not to act. SPLM Oyee does not represent the people. They have forfeited that right by their criminal acts against the people of South Sudan and that cannot be allowed to continue.

We have the power to organise and do something to stop president Kiir and his murderous security men from committing further crimes. Let us make use of it for the sake of future generations. The struggle to take back our country starts here. We will prevail because we are a force for good.

Finally let me end this call with Albert Einstein’s inspirational quote: “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

November10, 2012

What’s is our national government approach on Agriculture investment?

BY: Bol Mathiang, RSS, JAN/13/2013, SSN;

First and foremost, I would like to extend my appreciation to the publisher of this website because he allows us those that are not journalists and have no access to the media here in Juba to express their views to south Sudanese readers.
In regards to above question (heading), I would like to elaborate to you that the recent speech given by our president prioritized agriculture and that it would be agriculture that will put some dime into the pockets of poor south Sudanese who happen to be farmers.

But, however, what perplexed me is, which approach will the government use to achieve that objective of getting poor south Sudanese out of Poverty without heavy government investment in agriculture?

Because there are two important approaches in which that goal can be achieved, they are:

1. Government investment directly in the sector: this embodies establishment of irrigation schemes to complement seasonal agricultural system where farmers rely on natural rainfall. I viewed this approach as the one in which government does everything alone from the start to the end, i.e. securing land, recruiting workers, cultivation, wedding, harvesting, storage and selling of the realized output within and overseas as exports.

2. The second approach would be, subsidizing the local farming by availing them with subsidized agricultural equipments like tractors, fertilizers, offering agricultural advice to farmers, availing them with relevant seedlings that are suitable to their climate like drought-resistant crops… etc, training them, and securing them markets both locally and internally.

if you have been observant, you would have asked the similar questions like I do, because, I have seen the ministry of Agriculture last two year ago bringing tractors but I failed to understand whether the tractors were given to farmers just like that or whether the services mentioned in either of the two above were provided.

I cannot even mention option one above because I have never heard of any agricultural scheme that our government has established ever since they assumed office in 2005. We very well know that the overriding aim of the government had been to reach the promised land (independence), but since we have already reached the destiny, the focus should immediately shift to agriculture.

I view all states as potential agricultural areas. What the government needs is to study each state in line with what crops can do well there, so that each state can specialize in the production of crops they can do well on. That is the only hope for this illiterate poor population of republic of south Sudan.

Moreover, for any of the approaches to be successful, there must be peace all over south Sudan. If you critically review the states with instability, you can find that the states with unrest are those with cows, those without are peaceful and development is visible in those states.

The states with cows and unrest are: Greater Bhar el Ghazal, Greater Upper Nile, but Greater Equatoria is somewhat peaceful although there is some unrest in Eastern Equatoria. In order to achieve peace as a prerequisite for achieving interstates trade and flourishing of agricultural sector.

Furthermore, the government needs to deploy permanently the military between the borders of states so that whenever cattle rustling occurs, the army can easily intervene, rescue the cows and return them to the owners of a given state.

To foster the unity and political stability further, the greater Upper Nile and greater Bhar el Ghazal need to encourage inter-marriages so that unity is achieved, this is possible because all of them keep cows and pay dowries in cows.

The last step in which unity can be achieved is through making friendship with friends of different states, by this I meant, Nuer young man/lady can make friendship with another fellow in either grater Bhar el Ghazal or greater Equatoria, the writer is doing that already.

From many places I have been in Juba, I have never seen those who did exactly what I have mentioned above. The upcoming peace and reconciliation campaign can never bear fruits if the above political stability factors are not put in place.

Our government should stop talking but do more actions in agriculture so that our imports can decline, and so that South Sudanese can benefit directly from agriculture. It should be noted that agricultural transformation is one of the ways in which government of Uganda is achieving its long term goal of poverty eradication plan, now it is already getting people to the poverty line.

My last message is that the state governments should use radios, open agricultural training centers similar to the one that BYDA (Bhar el Ghazal youth development agency) was doing, to spread relevant agricultural information to every common South Sudanese. Besides that, there is a need to avail actual financial support to farmers that is if the government has chosen the second option, but if it has opted for option one, the real and quick investment is needed to avail employment in various states, and reduce food stuffs importation so that our hard currency that has been flowing out to our neighboring countries is reserved to meet importation of what we cannot produce locally.

Bol is an Economist and a concerned south Sudanese. You can reach him by phone: 0956440402 or mail through bolmathieng2011@hotmail.com

How Aid Agencies cheat donors in the name of South Sudan

BY: Holy Crook, JUBA, JAN/13/2013, SSN;

“100 children die of hunger-related diseases every single minute in Jonglei. Save a starving child, donate a dollar!”

“Four million people will starve to death in South Sudan in the next one week. Reverse the situation: donate a dime!”

“A million people have lost sight to trachoma in Jonglei and Eastern Equatoria and another million is at risk. Help! Donate now! Every penny counts!”

“No one has toes anymore in Warrap; an army of jiggers have eaten them up. Help stop the spread to the neighboring states, donate now! Send your donations to 12345…”

“UN needs 3 trillion dollars for its overall operations in South Sudan this year!”

Those are some of the horrifying stories that frequently make headlines on local TV and FM stations and in newspapers in Europe and the Americas. The alarming headlines are backed up by eloquent young attractive women who claim to have just returned from the world’s newest country. They tell untold testimonies about the alleged dire conditions on the ground:

“You’re not going to believe what I am about to say: I went to some area deep in Eastern Equatoria. As most parts of the country are impassable by road, we trekked. We negotiated a footpath through thick forests and valleys and rivers for days. On the fifth day, we bumped into this village. The village is inhabited by pastoralists. In this community of about 1000 people, only seven have sight. Just seven people! The rest are blind! Thanks to trachoma,” tinged a female voice on radio recently.

Another visiting NGO agent, a middle-aged woman spoke on a national TV: “In a place called Akobo, women told us of how they go for days without food. They eke out the little food they gather during poor harvests. I saw them with my own eyes, eating grass like goats! They have turned into herbivorous. The situation is really bad. They need urgent help.”

A number of groups of ‘humanitarian’ souls move from door to door, city to city – campaigning, generating money by showing graphic photos of hungry skeletal elderly people; photos of Dinka, Nuer and Murle children with swollen limbs and stomachs. They tell and tell and tell the same horrible stories about South Sudanese people in the media in their insatiable quest to win philanthropists. They target filthy rich business-people and celebrities. Touched by such stories, the generous rich Whites pour billions of dollars into the accounts.

In Juba, heads of such agencies spend much of their time working on reports that show how they spent the previous budgets, why they need more funds and what they plan to do next. They write success stories in which the alleged beneficiaries praise them: “A million thanks to NGO X, it saved my life and of my children. It gave me a kilo of maize, a quarter kg of beans and a packet of table salt. This will take me a month before I resume grass eating.”

While the effort exerted by these NGOs in order to stabilize the country is highly commendable, do you think they are doing South Sudan any good? Are they really humanitarian organizations or are they commercial business entities?

Well, let’s do some brainstorming.

In reality, some, if not all of the aid agencies operating in the country, have an obligation to empower the local people. They are on the ground to – among others – impart knowledge and skills to teachable South Sudanese; be it in the health, education or business sector. They are here to redesign doctors, nurses, administrators and so on to fit the world standards. Aren’t they?

However, it seems that these agencies have ulterior motives. They do little or nothing at all to upgrade the local workforce. The managers hire foreign nationals at will. Some come from as far as Madagascar and Sierra Leone. Don’t even mention Kenyans and Ugandans because they’re locals nowadays. They’re in possession of South Sudanese nationality documents. We will talk about that some other day. They give them long-term contracts. I repeat, long-term contracts. The NGOs pay for their accommodation in Juba’s ‘seven-star’ hotels. The NGOs foot their food and drink’s bills.

With the funds raised from the West to supposedly combat jiggers in Warrap or feed malnourished children in Jonglei, ‘Kenyans and Ugandans have grown so fat such that some have necks the size of hippopotamus.’

Some walk with the help of crutches not because they got wounded in any war but because food… South Sudanese’s… has deformed them!

The NGOs have turned Juba into a kind of a holiday camp. They wine and dine every single day. If anyone blindfolded you and placed you in one of their favorite joints in Juba, you would probably think that you were in London or New York. It’s all White!

Monthly, the bosses reward themselves with huge amounts of dollars, a sum equivalent to the salaries of all the employees of an organization, ten times! They’re renting first-class residences in the city. The offices pay that. They ride chauffeured Bentleys, Coups and Jeeps.

On the other hand, the national employees take home only a few hundreds of pounds. Some of them have even become mathematicians as they divide their monthly salaries by monthly problems such as rent, food, school fees and miscellaneous of many other needs. And you always find someone who is quick to try to cheer you up with a crap like, “Be good. You’re a decent promising young man. You’re just twenty-something and you’re working in a decent office, decent job and you get decent salary.” Decent, my foot!

Do you see how the donations find their way back to the West?

Ideally, the number of the international employees in an organization should be lessened. The few White folks should be there to overlook the project. The brothers from the East Africa and beyond should be given short-term deals. They should be recruited as consultants and work with the locals. Make them ‘transfer’ their know-how to the locals. That’s it.

Anyway, for how long will this relief aid culture continue in the country? Don’t you think it’s fanning the fire of over-dependence in the country?

Free food. Free medicines. Free water. Free this. Free that. Don’t you think this is the very reason the government is reluctant to deliver basic services to people because it feels that there is no need since the agencies are ‘helping?’

MSF is there, providing healthcare. ADRA is busy digging boreholes. WFP planes still airdrop food items. USAID just built Juba-Nimule road and it looks like it is going to tarmac more roads. UNICEF builds and runs schools. Even some NGO is currently digging pit latrines in the country. Another agency distributes mosquito nets.

The more the aid agencies offer these free services, the more the South Sudan government sleeps and the more the country of South Sudan gets addicted to free things….. and more importantly, the more they spoon-feed South Sudan, the more they divert the donations. What a thriving business!

Holy Crook is a South Sudanese based in Juba. He can be reached via: holy_crook@yahoo.com

What Kiir & Bashir signed in Addis Ababa was no more than a Certificate of Attendance!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, JAN/12/2013, SSN;

It cannot be over-emphasized that many of us would want to see some progress in the marathon talks on normalization between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan. However the hopes are fast fading for the realities on the ground by all measures remain disappointing even to the most optimistic of people. The more the delegates meet the more the situation remains the same as all the hard facts constantly point in the opposite direction.

It can also be said that as time passes by, many people including the Sudanese themselves on both sides of the political divide are beginning to appreciate, some maybe for the first time that the now two separate entities that used to constitute what was the former united Sudan has indeed come a long way apart. Looking at even the most basic, but yet vital issues like peaceful coexistence and good neighborliness between the two countries, all have lately become elusive.

Now maybe is the time for the people of the two neighboring countries to begin adjusting to these changes in the relationship. This is quite an important step for if both governments as represented by the SPLM and the NCP are not yet ready for normalization then let it be.

Trying to force normalization down people’s throat the way the the so-called International community is doing is clearly not working for the people regardless of which of the two countries they belong to. And on the side of the two governments one wonders as to why is all this hypocrisy when down inside they know that they are still not ready but even not willing to let go of the past bitterness?

Reflecting on the so-called Cooperation Agreement between the two Sudans signed on the 27th of September 2012, one can see that not even a single iota in any of the already damaged relationships between Juba and Khartoum has seen any improvement. Just considering this, it is enough to convince that the empty talks about cooperation, Oil transportation and the rest of the dream that only exists on the signed paper are all but well planned PRs.

With time Khartoum must learn to survive without the Oil money from the wells in the south which are now under a separate government in Juba. South Sudan on its part regardless of the hardships and difficulties it faces, it must learn to adjust to the realities on the ground. This new country must learn to survive, exist but even excel in life without Khartoum if its population that overwhelmingly opted for secession is to see a meaning to their choice of independence.

Unfortunately the leaderships in both Sudan and South Sudan are not being sincere to themselves nor are they being so to their people. Juba is extending its hand of friendship towards Khartoum just in an attempt to pacify the discontent in its own backyard; otherwise who doesn’t know that nothing has changed in Khartoum? And even if there were any changes, they might have probably been for the worse.

Khartoum on the other hand equally understands that the traditional position taken by Juba towards the “Jallaba” expansionism have not changed and will not change. In spite of all this we continue to see and hear about delegations travelling from Khartoum to meet their counterparts in Juba and vice versa on a mission whose failed outcome have been predetermined. So who are those that the NCP and the SPLM are trying to fool?!!

Everything remains the same and even in Addis Ababa itself there has been minimal changes in the form of the new head of the African Union in the person of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the new Ethiopian head of state H.E. Hailemariam Desalgen, the new prime minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopian who replaces the late Prime Minister Meles Zinawi. Thus otherwise by all standards it is still largely believed that the dynamics of politics in the corridors of the African Union’s H. Qs in Addis Ababa continue to remain practically the same.

Unsurprisingly President Thabo Mbeki, the Chair of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHLIP) is still the person handling the AU dossier on the Sudan even after the country has moved to become two countries. This veteran politician and diehard pan Africanist strongly believes in finding what he refers to as African solutions for African problems.

It’s worth noting here that it was this same Thabo Mbeki who worked hard with others in the AU to block the arrest of Omer al Bashir as requested by the International Criminal Court [ICC] over the genocide committed in Darfur by the Khartoum government.

According to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2046, Sudan and South Sudan should have already by now ironed out their differences or otherwise face a UN directed sanctions. To everyone’s dismay the 27th September 2012 Cooperation Agreement between Juba and Khartoum is far from being implemented.

And instead of reporting this back to the UNSC for the stipulated sanctions since the two sides have failed to achieve any tangible progress, instead Mbeki chose to give the two sides an extra time. How can Juba and Khartoum solve what none of them command the necessary political will that is so much needed to deal with these kind of matters.

You don’t need to wonder any further to read what is in the minds, for here lies the gist of the matter. Khartoum very much wants to avoid the UNSC and as long as it is aware that the leadership of the African Union is still with those who chose to protect Omer Bashir from the ICC and forsake the people of Darfur, and then they [Khartoum government] can lie assured that their conflicts with South Sudan for sure will never find its way to New York.

Thabo Mbeki and his team will do everything to mislead the UNSC into believing that the AU is doing its best to bring peace in the region. Yet the outcome is is everyone guess. People must know that Mbeki has limitations and as he quit the dossier of Darfur, he too can quit the South Sudan vs Sudan dossier any time from now once the going gets tough without necessarily realizing any peaceful settlement.

If it is anything to go by, then those who continue to believe in African solutions for African problems must be prepared to see an Abyei that remains in limbo forever and so will be the fate of the many disputed areas along the ill-defined borders between the two countries.

Not only that, but even the borders between South Sudan and Sudan will never be demarcated without interference from the big powers allowing Khartoum to freely drop its bombs on either side of this vague territory with complete impunity. That’s exactly what Khartoum wants!

Coming to the so-called 4-5th January 2013 Agreement signed in Addis Ababa between President Salva Kiir and his northern counterpart president Omer Bashir, those who read through this document will live to tell the truth about the document. Was it really an Agreement in any way? Obviously not!

Everything that appeared in the so-called 4-5th January Agreement are the same things that were already agreed upon in previous Agreements and remain unimplemented. So what is new? Was it that Kiir and Bashir re-agreed on what they had already agreed on but they failed to implement? And what purpose does that serve?

To cut a long story short, it is obvious that once again the two leaders have failed to agree on how to precede with the implementation of the 27th September Cooperation Agreement. This is it!

But what was the document that they signed which the hosts misleadingly called an Agreement? Those who don’t know the exact nature of that document signed at the end of the January 5, 2013 meeting don’t really have so much to worry about.

The real document signed by the leaders was nothing more than a countersigned attendance certificate awarded by the AUHIP to the presidents of South Sudan and Sudan for having taken the burden of travelling all the way from their respective countries and participate in a two day dialogue whose outcome was predestined to fail. No rocket science needed!

At any rate there is no need to rush to a conclusion. Let’s wait for the so-called matrix to be produced by Thabo Mbeki’s team and see how it is going to help in the unconditional implementation of all the sections of the re-agreed on ‘Agreement.’

For it’s only when the two sides fail to honour this “magical matrix,” then and maybe only then will the world come to understand that South Sudan and Sudan have already drifted too much apart that any normalization between the two countries at this particular moment in time in the absence of a radical political reforms and a genuine democratic transformation is at its best a wishful thinking.

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

Dr. John Garang and question of South Sudan founding father: A reply to Elhag Paul

BY: Manyok Chuol, OTTAWA, CANADA, JAN/12/2013, SSN;

Elhag Paul, the prolific opinion writer and anti-Dinka activist, wrote an article which South Sudan Nation Website published on Jan/ 03/2013. Mr. Paul’s article is entitled: Is there anti-Dinka school of thought in South Sudan as claimed by Joseph Garang of New Sudan Vision? and this commentary is my respond to it. As in almost all the author’s previous articles, two key sentiments have pervaded again: anti-Dinka tirade and Dr. John Garang vis-a’-vis the question of founding father of South Sudan. The two are the only issues I’m responding to.

South Sudanese who have read most of Mr. Paul’s articles will have probably come to the same conclusion, as I have, that this writer harbors deep-seated anti-Dinka sentiments. It’s now also more apparent that Mr. Paul various attempts at denigration of Dr. John Garang and his legacy is in fact a subset of the author’s overall revulsion of the Jieng (Dinka).

I will only respond in detail to Elhag Paul’s argument against Dr. John Garang’s well-deserved and earned-most importantly, the recognition of Founding Father of South Sudan shortly. But Mr. Elhag Paul’s denunciations of the Jieng (Dinka) engender grave danger in South Sudan; I will only respond in passing because others have already advised him against his mis-characterizations and incitement against the Dinka. Unfortunately, Mr. Paul is obstinately impermeable still to their wise counsel.

Anti-Dinka diatribe versus legitimate government criticism
The Rt. Hon. James Wani Igga, Speaker of South Sudan Legislative Assembly, on 30th October 2012 cogently said, during his discussion with South Sudanese in Ottawa, Canada, that, “if we don’t bury tribalism, tribalism will bury us.”

But Elhag Paul, the inventor of the so-called Dinkocracy and associated paregmenon has consistently failed to see this abyss. He uses his right as South Sudanese to criticize the government as ruse to deplore the Jieng as he similarly incites other tribes against it.
Flaunting vanity aside, and I have no problem with it, Mr. Paul should expect South Sudanese to deserve better than the cheap but dangerous incitements he consistently propagandizes about in his articles.

If or when the other tribes rise up against the Dinka as is the goal of Elhag Paul, what is certain is that the Jieng will be forced to defend their collective right to existence and it would be utterly disastrous for our country if tribes fight each other in the way Mr. Paul envisions. By inciting tribes against a tribe, Mr. Elhag Paul should no longer claim to love South Sudan when his work can probably bring about a destruction of the country.

Let me be absolutely unequivocal and affirm that all citizens, including Elhag Paul, reserve the right to criticize the SPLM and the Government of South Sudan as national institutions. This is a right I have personally and numerously exercised. It’s unconscionable and totally unacceptable that citizens have lost their lives in exercise of this right. Isaiah Abraham killing sadly comes to mind and I fully hold the government responsible unless it comes clean but hoodwinking the public remains wholly deplorable.

Therefore, you can see this isn’t about denying Elhag Paul the exercise of such right; the issue really is the cowardly deliberate incitement of ordinary citizens against their compatriots, disguised as government criticism. All citizens reserve the right to criticize the government or the SPLM party regardless of tribe but Elhag Paul coaches his criticisms of national institutions in purely anti-Dinka rhetoric.

Such approach portends danger which Mr. Paul claims to be dispelling in the first place. There is a difference between an institution and an individual and indeed a difference exists between an individual and a tribe. Salva Kiir is an individual and also a Dinka (the tribe) in the same way that he is a South Sudanese national.

The government in Juba is for all South Sudanese. But Mr. Paul would not hold the government solely responsible as a governing national institution. Instead, he holds all Jieng guilty by association for government failures because the president is a Dinka!

But let’s also remember that President Salva Kiir is a South Sudanese national and if we are to start holding communities collectively responsible for shortcomings of individuals, Mr. Paul should use the same yardstick and hold all South Sudanese, including himself, guilty by association for their government failures as the presidency and government have a South Sudanese national association/identity.

But I say, let us not hold tribes guilty by association just because a national leader happens to be from a certain tribe. Let us therefore not hold all Jieng collectively responsible for the failures of a few. I also recognize that there may be tribalist Dinka leaders in government and such leaders should be condemned individually for abusing the public trust but it’s quite a stretch to extrapolate and suggest that all Jieng/Dinkas are tribalists for which the rest of South Sudanese must be incited against.

Let us not divide South Sudanese along tribal lines when we criticize the government. Instead, let us unite as South Sudanese in calling for reforms and an end to corruption in government as we should equally remain united in our quest for justice, equality, and prosperity – collectively as South Sudanese.

As I have stated in my opening sentences above, Elhag Paul has also on various occasions tried to put Dr. Garang’s unassailable place in our nation’s history as Founding Father of South Sudan in some kind of disrepute. Such attempts should be understood – correctly, I think, in the context of the author’s overall anti-Dinka disposition.

Dr. John Garang and the question of the founding father of South Sudan
Despite much of Mr. Paul’s objection to our nation’s recognition of Dr. John Garang as its founding father is possibly driven by his discernible abhorrence of Jieng, I continue – still – to willfully ignore all that and patiently await Mr. Paul reasons for his opposition, when he gives them.

In opposing Dr. John Garang’s being appropriately recognized as the Founding Father of South Sudan, Elhag Paul does not independently state his views or reasons in the article. He, however, chooses to grossly misrepresent the views of Dr. John Garang’s eldest son, Mabior Garang, in another interview which Mr. Paul referred to. After misrepresenting Mabior Garang’s views to affirm his biased opinions, Mr. Paul went on to forcefully claim:

“It should by now be clear [from Mabior Garang’s views which by now have been mischaracterized by Elhag Paul] to Joseph Deng Garang and those people who tirelessly try to elevate the late leader of SPLM/A into father of the nation that their consistent assertions are futile… So Dr Garang is not and can not (sic) be father of the nation he did not want to be born.”

This quoted part is the central argument/response of Elhag Paul to Joseph Deng Garang, a friend and a colleague of many years, who I surely don’t agree with his characterization of Justin Ambago as anti-Dinka. I hope readers will overlook the very many incongruencies contained in the article but carefully look at the fallacy of the central claim that “Dr Garang is not and can not (sic) be father of the nation he did not want to be born.”

Such is a claim of a person who harbors an agenda and is possibly impervious to rational arguments. I still wonder, nevertheless, how any honest and serious person can make a claim so audacious that it risked becoming utterly absolutist and to the extent facts could no longer corroborate or would seem to matter!

Those who have read Mr. Paul’s article will have noticed how his central claim was made through a sheer impulsive urge rather than through a reasoned presentation.

Let’s now, therefore, ask the question who a founding father is anyway. A founding father is widely recognized as a person who has established an important organization or idea or as one Wikipedia entry broadly defines national founding fathers as:
[T]ypically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, (i.e. political system form of government, and constitution), of the country. They can also be military leaders of a war of independence that led to the existence of the country [emphasis is mine].

Therefore, let’s examine and put the founding of South Sudan into this context and we will understand why Dr. John Garang is our nation’s indestructible Founding Father.

Established an important organization and fought in the war of independence
I fully recognize the important contributions of generations of leaders throughout our history, whether of political or military leaders, or of our chiefs and indeed ordinary citizens.

I’m not here to denigrate our people’s contributions or sacrifices; instead I’m here to defend a record of a man who led our people with brilliance and extraordinary skills. This man is our late leader and hero, the indomitable Dr. John Garang de Mabior.

Dr. John Garang fought alongside his South Sudanese compatriots in Anya Nya (I) and was absorbed into the Sudanese army following the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972. When Sudan’s President Nimeiry abrogated that agreement, John Garang with his colleagues including our current President, Salva Kiir, rebelled and formed the SPLM/A in 1983.

And because I’m not writing the biography of Dr. John Garang or indeed the SPLM/A, I only give you this brief history to show a lifelong sacrifice that Dr. Garang had lived fighting on behalf of his people and why he has been appropriately accorded his place as our nation’s founding father.

For 21 long years, the SPLM/A fought successive Khartoum-based regimes and came out victorious against many odds. In 2005, the SPLM which Elhag Paul now so derisively calls the Oyee Party negotiated a unique peace agreement. Unfortunately, Elhag Paul chooses to befuddle his followers who together now believe in imagined inevitability of South Sudan achieving independence without the contribution of the SPLM, including that of its late indefatigable leader, the shrewd and charismatic Dr. John Garang.

The CPA is an obviously historic achievement and many people including honest South Sudanese who do not belong to or support the SPLM recognize such feat. Only to Elhag Paul must this deed be ridiculed, downplayed, obscured and/or even denied.

But I remind Elhag Paul, despite suspecting that envy and loath of the Dinka are probably suffocating him, that the late SPLM leader negotiated the historic CPA, the peace agreement that virtually guaranteed the birth of a new nation in South Sudan. To claim Dr. John Garang did not want South Sudan born, a claim I have shown to be false, is a dangerous exhibition of willful ignorance or worst still a terrible case of amnesia on Mr. Paul’s part.

Not only is Elhag Paul’s claim mendacious, it may be revealing much of the unworthiness of Dr. Garang’s doubters of his founding father tribute.

Birth of a new nation in South Sudan
The nation of South Sudan gained independence through a plebiscite in exercise of the Right of Self-Determination, the overarching part of the 2005 CPA. All should be reminded, however, that the right of self-determination is not a concept original to South Sudan’s leaders contrary to the balderdash claim of the 28th August 1991 Nasir Coup leaders and their facts-free followers.

If the right of self-determination is not a creation of our leaders, then those who loudly claim they were the first to call for the right of self-determination, and without working hard for it, should recognize the achievement of those who actually fought and brought the independence of South Sudan.

Dr. John Garang and the SPLM crafted the CPA with skills and knowledge of the enemy and this unique peace agreement directly resulted in South Sudanese exercising the right of self-determination through the 9th January 2011 referendum vote in which our people so overwhelmingly voted for separation leading to the proclamation of independence on 9th July 2011.

The question, therefore, is: how can the late SPLM/A leader and the chief architect of CPA not be the founding father of South Sudan? If he cannot be, who else would as Elhag Paul is not admittedly opposed to South Sudan having a founding father?

How can resentment and jealousy so flagrantly scapegoat in such a way that would allow a person of apparent intelligence in Elhag Paul to make a decidedly bogus claim that Dr. Garang did not want South Sudan born when a schooled and objective reading of the CPA makes it abundantly clear that the SPLM and its late leader wanted South Sudan achieve independence.

It is for these reasons that Dr. John Garang is duly recognized as South Sudan founding father even as it irritates Elhag Paul.

In closing, Dr. John Garang was a visionary of immense intellect and political skills who outwitted his detractors in life. But it is astounding that the late SPLM leader continues to defeat his opponents even in death!

By: Manyok Chuol, Ottawa, Canada