Archive for: February 2013

Be it a government of angels or technocrats, all bound to fail under Kiir’s leadership

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, FEB/17/2013, SSN;

Although the first cabinet of the government of South Sudan [GoSS] was representative of most political forces within the region, unfortunately the person in the driving seat was nowhere to provide the much needed leadership.

On the other hand the SPLM as a political party has itself never matured into an organization that can criticize its underperforming or out-right corrupt officials and especially so if such a criticism is meant for the Chairman.

All in all it didn’t in fact take the world opinion very long to conclude that the SPLM’s leadership style is inevitably a clear recipe which will surely secure for South Sudan a permanent membership in the infamous club for the word’s failed states.

In light of all these facts one wonders as to why the political elites in South Sudan haven’t till now reached this simple conclusion that the persistently poor government performance under the current SPLM leadership squarely lies with the president’s lack of capacity to name a cabinet of truly competent and honest people?

Affirmatively the president has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he lacks the personality and the courage to discipline his ministers and any other senior government officials. His handling of the $2 billion Dura scandal and the stolen $4 billion by 75 senior SPLM party officials (well known to the president) are clear examples.

Talking about cabinet reshuffles, after all this time it should be clear to all of us that changing of faces isn’t in any way the panacea for what now looks more of an inherent defect in the system.

The SPLM party’s first remarkable reshuffle took place in the government of national unity [GoNU] in Khartoum. And soon it turned out that the whole thing was indeed carried out just to eliminate only a single cabinet member who held the portfolio of foreign affairs, none other than Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin.

Ironically Dr. Ajawin who is now the chairman of the splinter SPLM-DC party was dismissed for being cooperative with the National Congress Party [NCP] which was the SPLM party’s partner in what was supposed to be a government of national unity. Anyway that’s the history of SPLM for you.

Thereafter all reshuffles that followed were no more than mere recycling exercises where failed ministers are recycled from one ministry to the other only to perfect their failures and embezzle more public money. And no doubt two ministers of finance were successively replaced one after the other with each making away with millions of dollars from the public coffers.

Lastly came the independence, and it was the wish of all patriotic South Sudanese all over the world to see their new country starting with a lean government and preferably comprised of technocrats so that the country can realize its true potential after things were messed up by the SPLM’s kitchen cabinet.

Unfortunately that wasn’t to be and following an unjustifiable long wait of nearly two months from the day South Sudan was officially declared an independent country, president Salva Kiir came up with a cabinet of around 56 ministers and deputy ministers. In His Excellency’s view maybe 56 cabinet ministers was indeed a lean government or at least should be seen as such.

Not too long this bloated government was to prove a curse to the country as it failed to achieve any substantial project on the ground given the sudden financial crisis that ensued as a result of the Oil shutdown. What could they have done, somebody may ask? Well hey should have initiated a robust debate in the council of ministers in order to place a plan B.

Without an alternate source of revenue, what was rightly meant to be a government for accommodating old buddies immediately went on to become a government where politicians are paid full salaries for practically doing nothing while the entire country undergoes the infamous and selectively implemented austerity measures.

At the height of these crises and the talk about the implementation of the austerity measures, it was thought that for the holistic approach to the problem, there was indeed a need to slice down the size of not only the central government in Juba, but also those ten state governments. Despite the clear reasoning that underlines this argument, surprisingly enough the president remains oblivious and stuck with his old cabinet.

A quicker reaction however came from the governor of Unity State [Bentiu] who so far is the only state governor to reduce the number of his cabinet ministers. Whether the other state governors will follow suit or will they wait for the center to start first is what we will have to wait and see.

Of course there is no denying about what appeared in the Sudan Tribune about the president contemplating announcing yet another lean government. This time who knows maybe the President is considering a true lean cabinet given the opposition to the idea by his fellows of the so-called SPLM senior members who are afraid to lose off.

Those who read the Sudan tribune of 09th February 2013 will have come across the news that appeared there under the heading: South Sudan president plans leaner cabinet.

“In August, Kiir formed a technical drafting to conduct an assessment to provide clear findings and recommendations on how to restructure the government”. The news article reads.

The reason given for president Kiir’s contemplation to form a lean, non-partisan and technocratic cabinet is said to be aimed at saving the financial resources of this poor country after it has lost its only source of revenue which he [Kiir] shutdown last year during a brawl with Khartoum government over the latter’s unilateral decision to confiscate South Sudan’s Oil that passes through the Sudan territory to its port of Port Sudan.

In other wards although a lean cabinet of technocrats in a good way to go, but this should have been considered right away in the august 2011 cabinet when the time was more conducive and ripe for such a cabinet to deliver good results.

As from the start of the year 2013 president Kiir together with his bloated government have totally failed the country. How worse can it be when the transitional institutions itself has expired while the anticipated permanent constitution is nowhere to be seen. Is this not by itself a shameful development?

This is no longer a time for any government under president Kiir’s leadership as he has obliviously driven the country into a constitutional vacuum with the fates of many institutions and projects stranded in limbo.

With all those records of failures, not even a government of angels, leave alone technocrats can save South Sudan under the lethargic leadership of Salva Kiir Mayardit. Instead of beating around the bush, he is better off taking a bolder decision of either appointing a prime minister to run the government for him or he simply calls it a day. To resign in such circumstances is in fact to be realistic to ones’ self.

Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General – United South Sudan Party [USSP]. Reachable at: justinramba@doctors.net.uk

Not enough: Machar’s political scheming on the National Reconciliation

Editorial Analysis, FEB/14/2013, SSN;

QUOTES: “Riek is weak. He lives in a world of dreams.” A former Nuer commander declared.
“Riek’s imagination went no deeper than a pop song or a Hallmark card.” Rory Nugent.
from “EMMA’s WAR”

Indeed, Riek Machar, the nation’s vice-president and the caller of the so-called ‘National Reconciliation’ is an enigma in the country’s political jigsaw. Once again, he now hoodwinking the nation with another of his ethereal and fallacious project that’s already stillborn before it takes off.

As the next person in the leadership, what has Machar ever achieved decisively since 2005 to pacify or bring some harmony and civility in the lives of the peoples of greater Upper Nile, his former fiefdom, who up to date are mercilessly slaughtering themselves like some Stone Age savages when their leaders like Machar are comfortably quarantined in limousines and palaces in Juba?

What else has Machar done besides always appealing to UNMISS and international NGOs to intercede and resolve problems in South Sudan as if there isn’t a government in the country?

Many South Sudanese suspiciously wonder whether Machar’s last-hour move and intent on this venture are some cheap and duplicitous political prostitution to prepare his acceptability for the grand ambition of ascendancy to the national presidency in 2015.

Maybe it’s also an attempt to willfully exculpate himself from the shame of past betrayal, complicity in engendering the tribal divisions among these very people and from the guilt of genocide which he unleashed on the people of Bor and other areas of South Sudan.

Verily, it’s presumptuous of Machar to arbitrarily assume the moral high ground to champion this national reconciliation conference. If Machar’s justification was that he had already publicly apologized specifically to the Dinka Bor for the horrendous 1991 massacre, then why doesn’t he also publicly apologize particularly to his own Nuer, the Equatorians, Shilluks and the greater Dinka community, all who bore and suffered the bloodiest brunt of his past political lunacy?

Who or which tribes have actually reciprocated and forgiven Riek Machar or other leaders in South Sudan for their human crimes?

Absolutely, Machar repentance for his past sins and transgressions is incomplete and insincere, and as such, disqualifies him from peace-making; instead, he and others in the nation’s leadership should stand trial now in the court of public opinion.

Quite blatantly, Dr. Peter Nyaba had no fear to write down in his book, quote, “that Commander William Nyuon was assassinated in cold blood on Riek Machar’s orders because he chose to disengage himself from collaboration with NIF…” Such incidences, definitely were numerous and the perpetrators must be reconciled with their past deeds (The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan).

Anyway, examining the current proposed Machar’s modality of the so-called national reconciliation, one may rightly surmised that it’s utterly untenable and futile.

First, what are the motivations for the so-called national reconciliation?

South Sudan can best be described as a resource-rich but governance-poor country that has the misfortune of being ruled from its first day of independence by a gang of heartless, shameless and greedy leaders who assumed power with the unholy ambition of amassing wealth as quickly as possible, and as a result, they totally neglected to tackle issues of good governance.

Inexcusably, our nation is gripped in the phenomenon known as ‘Conflict Trap,’ as a result of the legacy of the long war of liberation. Machar stands accused in the eyes of the public of engendering, exploiting and exacerbating many of the causative factors that are today impacting on the fatal inter-tribal and inter-communal wars in Jonglei State specifically and the nation at large.

In retrospect, quoting Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba in his famous book, ‘The Politics of Liberation,’ “the lawlessness that reigned in Nuerland culminating in the Lou-Jikany conflict is attributable to the weak leadership of Dr. Riek Machar…..and his inability to impose his leadership on the Nuer people;” if this assessment is extrapolated to the present, it explains a lot about the hopelessness of Machar’s motivations to embark on this endeavor.

Arguably, it’s questionable if Machar now really has the overall wider support of the people of South Sudan or even of his own Nuer entities, given the reality of the unpopularity of his leadership trail in the past and the present.

Disappointingly, many citizens in the nation had expected him to stand apart from and or vocalize his opposition of the corruption and misrule of the Kiir’s junta, .

According to Machar, the national reconciliation will focus reportedly on victims of cattle rustling, ethnic violence, sectarianism and other conflicts. How pathetic!

However, without addressing all problems from the war era to the current insecurity across the country, tribal hatred and animosities, land grabbing and migration and so on, there won’t be any comprehensive resolution coming out of the national reconciliation.

Rightly, Dr. Peter Nyaba, now a cabinet minister, aptly described, “Riek is two characters within one person. Behind the facade of a smiling and benevolent Riek, there is another Riek Machar who was ruthlessly ordering the murder of Dinka officers at Nasir. Riek pretended he was innocent of all these crimes, but nobody has been tried for the murders that took place under his nose at Nasir.”

Although we’re no longer in that horrific era, Riek Machar’s double-faced character is still conspicuous, the smiling Machar today can still successfully mesmerize and cajole the Hilda Johnsons, the Susan Pages and the venerable NGO’s all the times to sponsor his dream projects.

But true to his past character, the nation’s vice president is unapologetically oblivious of the endemic corruption blatantly being committed by all fellow ministers, the persistent harassment and killings in Juba and across the nation, the torture of journalists and suppression of press freedom and other egregious state-sanctioned crimes.

Evidently, Machar’s primary motivation for this national reconciliation is to diabolically cleanse his soul and then calculatedly ingratiate himself to the greater Dinka community so that he may successfully accomplish his ambition of becoming the next president.

Second, who’s supposed to be reconciled with whom?

Frankly, the urgency for any national reconciliation must be primarily and rightly targeted on reaching comprehensive resolutions to all the problems afflicting the nation, from cattle wars to governance issues to cross border migration that only worsen the unity of the people.

Let’s be sincere and unequivocal in asserting that it’s the greater Dinka, Nuer, Murle people and to a lesser extent, the Shilluk, today, who’re the main tribes that are still engaged in deadly wars of attrition and needless killings either among themselves or against one or the other, or they’re crossing state or county borders to malign and commit aggression on other tribes.

Taking Jonglei State as a shameful paradigm of our nation, neither its governor nor the president with all the so-called ‘might’ of the SPLA can bring any peace there and what’s perplexing is that the former ‘butcher of Equatoria’ hasn’t yet been ejected from the governorship as more citizens are dying daily in his State than in dismissed governor’s Chol Mayay’s Lakes State.

Whereas some of the causes of the restlessness being witnessed in these communities can be indirectly retraced to the 22-year long liberation war era where some leaders now in government, including Machar, were implicitly or directly implicated, however, the persistence of insecurity and killing epitomizes the failure of the state to holistically bring peace and development in those areas.

In retrospect, it must be sincerely admitted that all the so-called leaders, including Dr John Garang, Dr Riek Machar, Dr Lam Akol, commanders Kerubino, Nyuon, Kiir, Matip and many dead and alive SPLA generals, all in one way or another, partook in the aggravation and perpetuation of the deadly internecine wars, pitching one tribe or clan against the other, or launching revenge or retaliatory killing wars for or against the other.

Then, of course, there was the shameful slavish role on the behest of jellaba Arab rulers played by Machar and company that exponentially exacerbated the animosities among many of these tribes mentioned above.

However, it’s unfortunate for South Sudan that this dark history is rarely mentioned, but it’s very significant. Whilst it took the commendable effort of Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro to bring reconciliation between President Kiir and the late militia warlord, Paulino Matip, many pro-Arab killers were silently appointed into the Kiir’s government or the Army without any of these treacherous men and women making any ‘mea culpas.’

Coming to the nitty-gritty of this so-called ‘National Reconciliation,’ it’s imperative for all stake holders and spoilers in the impacted and volatile areas be involved.

Interestingly, the three Equatoria States are literally up in arms against the current regime and system of governance under Kiir specifically and vociferously complaining now about marginalization and aggressive land grabbing in the three states; and if things continue to persist in their current confabulation, the nation should be prepared for a probable political redivision (Kokora) imbroglio.

Unfortunately, however, despite the preponderance of irrefutable evidence, the dysfunctional Kiir-Machar government hasn’t charged or prosecuted a single politician from any of these communities for abetting or direct provocation; the only plausible deduction is that no a single so-called leader, be it president, minister, governor, general, etc.. can come out clean or holy from ‘sins’ in soul or body.

Lastly, what are the right modalities to achieve a comprehensive national reconciliation?

The intractability of and the deleterious effects of these inter and intra-tribal wars, besides the unacceptable fatalities, include economic retardation, loss of cattle and disruption to agriculture, but more importantly, there is the impulsive displacement of people and cattle and the fear of revenge and retribution.

More seriously, the displacement of people and cattle to other states, counties or payams will have a profound deleterious impact in those areas and on the native peoples there. As already experienced in Greater Equatoria, internal migrations of people and cattle have heightened tensions and even led to more attrition between the host and migrant displaced communities.

The call by many citizens for justice first before this bogus Machar’s reconciliation is imperative. There is blatant criminality which must not be bypassed, be it murder, assassination, cattle hustling, or grand looting of the 4 billion dollars by Kiir’s officials and supporters. It’s only justice that can ‘reconcile’ these crimes.

Furthermore, instead of Machar and his dubious commission appointing outsiders, the focus should be to engage all ministers and members of parliament, particularly those from the restless areas must be directly involved.

These people must be deployed to their respective areas for a reasonable period of time to interact with their people and also across with their belligerent neighbors first, not just watching and waiting in their luxurious mansions in Juba without physically experiencing the realities of their cousins who are tending their massive cattle wealth in those Eighteenth century conditions.

Never will a hundred Desmond Tutus bring the desired national reconciliation, say between the Murle and the Nuer, it’s the direct and sincere efforts of these tribes’ so-called leaders (politicians) who can truly consummate any peace among themselves.

Many a times, great suspicion has been placed on the roles of the SPLA (the national army) and other security agencies in exacerbating the inter-tribal killings and as such, these national agencies must be properly screened before deployment in those instances of tribal strife.

Once again, instead of inviting Tutu and other foreigners who are totally irrelevant to our predicament, the Commission for this reconciliation must be chaired and headed not by Machar or his enfeebled appointees, but by Godly-purified in body and soul South Sudanese, either their Holinesses Cardinal Zubair Wako and/or Archbishop Paulino Lukudu of Juba.

Last but not the least, those of President Kiir, Vice president Machar, most ministers, all jellaba Sudan ex-ministers now in Kiir’s government, many generals and security personnel involved in past killings and whoever has some blood on his or her hands, must be called to account for and apologize for his/her past actions.

This way, the aggrieved party or parties, be it an individual, a father, wife, son, daughter, brother or sister, will come to peace and accept to forgive the alleged murderer, whether the act was willful or on orders from someone else. There will be forgiveness and reconciliation, and only then will peaceful coexistence and justice that are so much desired today in our new nation will be attained.

Unfortunately, most citizens will remain truly skeptical that any good will come to bear especially since the ruling SPLM/A has the notoriety of presumptuousness and dis-ingenuousness of never acceding to its sins in the past in a nation where billion-dollar thieves and murderers reign free. Perhaps, a total regime change would be preferable.
WEBSITE EDITOR

South Sudan: A pride of our generation

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, Aweil, South Sudan, FEB/15/2013, SSN;

“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but it’s the way you live your life that matters.” – Cassandra Clare

My forefather didn’t know when France, Ghana, Syria and Somali became countries in the map of world but I know when and how “South Sudan” became a country in Africa. I am proud to be among the generation who fought for decades for the sake of peace, freedom and democracy during the protracted civil war in Sudan where millions of lives were lost. It doesn’t mean that I was a soldier or had fought with Khartoum regime of el-Bashir, I am South Sudanese. I deserve to be happy, love what I am doing and strive for change.

Is this generation politically cursed or blessed, democratic and peaceful? Nowhere is more peaceful but there are less challenging constituted nations in the world. We should be patience when a thing goes wrong. I wish we shouldn’t be an angry nation because an angry man is a frightened citizen in the country. There are angry political opinions writers who are supposed to listen to my voice. Their long lasting political antagonism causes lies.

On the other hand, if you live with a lie long enough, the truth becomes a kind of fiction. There are political lies preached by political opinion writers in which the nation might have been informed and advised wrongly on the past and current social spotlights, political situation and personalities of VIPs in the Republic of South Sudan.

South Sudanese are great people. I graphed how uncles have balanced their lifetime as rebels during the civil war in Sudan and after separation as politicians in the Republic of South Sudan. They are patriots with hearts for their people and the next generation. There has been optimism in what they had been doing – that we have been socially and politically ordained by their visionary success in which you and I are now South Sudanese. There is no better time than now. The time to work, dream, excel and forget the past. It is our time to make things happen, milk our dream or enjoys the fruits of success.

As South Sudanese national reconciliation owes us a heart, I beg the nation to embrace peaceful co-existence and accept their wrongdoings, forgive or be forgiven. This is the chance for our people to recognize that nation is built, protected by its own people, that everyone should be an agent of change in the society.

If I were an evangelist, I would have crusaded last year as part of national reconciliation to politically and socially anoint our people with peace, love, freedom and political togetherness in order to stop evil-doings. What matters is not the wrong thing done in the past by anyone – it is what will make us strong and peaceful nation. My concern as South Sudanese is to live in peace, work together with others regardless of tribes, religions and political parties.

An angry man is not a “hungry South Sudanese”. This is an image. I am not pointing figure at particular person. A hungry man is an ordinary citizen who has something to do with basic needs in life and social affairs in which he may feel vulnerable oppositely when his voice is too low to be heard.

An official from South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state made an urgent appeal for international aid to desecrate off a humanitarian disaster in the Kapoeta after a four-month drought, followed by heavy rains, wiped out crops and brought on a food crisis (Daily Nation newspaper, Kenya, February 7, 2013). You see, this is what makes the difference! There is a citizen who can easily die due to lack of food, medicine and water.

An angry South Sudanese is mouthful, financially stable, half-way European, American or soldier-turned-politician and has family in a foreign country. He is only for politics. He wanted to make a change according to him but there is no chance given to him for years. He is able to be an ambassador or MP in Bor, Wau and Juba legislative assemblies. He has money, food and assets. What does he need again? Extra money, leadership or problems …? He is an angry man. It is not you but I am thinking about him.

If you think that I am joking, then you are deviating. In South Sudan, people desire to plant trees in the rivers. It is a desire only. For instance, a consultant hired by an NGO proposed to set up supplementary feeding centre in a village where there was no hungry person or malnourished child. The consultant thought that tall and thin people he saw in the village are hungry. That was an opposite of his consultancy work and facts about the situation in the village. He shouldn’t opt to judge people before inquiry, talks.

Besides, a businessman may also think that building a hotel or bar in a village like Malualkon is a good idea in promoting his business while there are no Russian Beers consumers in Malualkon. By implementing this idea, the businessman may enterprisingly lose profits and the business will definitely collapse.

I have no idea where many people got money to set up their businesses. Is it inherited wealth, oil, and sorghum or land money? I have had no clue or convincing answers. People are drunk and conflicting with different ideas and wealth like hip hop singers.

It takes years to escape blames, opposition and hatred after you have appointed or sacked inept politicians in your government. Let’s talk about reshuffling, relieve or sacked if a politician is not performing well. Who had not been a commissioner or minister before constitution? I am really talking about those who were appointed, relieved or sacked. It is about our former commissioners or the ministers of our states government.

When our politicians-turned-ordinary citizens took an oath of office, did they promise to make the difference? Political promises are like oil in the fire. Politics is deceptive. You can’t survive political South Sudan when having four eyes and mouths at a time. If you try to talk politics with any former minister, commissioner of your state, he will end up depending him/herself and accuse the government as part of a cry after given a food but taken before eating flesh and juicy parts.

Some of these politicians-turned-ordinary-citizens couldn’t spend 3 months as commissioners or ministers after they found that political seats in democratic society are hot like fire. It is very hot because people don’t own what they are doing. Why do we cry when there are no tears in our eyes? Wherever you are, and whosoever is your leader, try to join hands in order to build our country.

When I was sacked by the State as Local Government Advisor to the Governor for Northern Bahr el-Ghazal, Aweil in March, 2010, I didn’t stop voting for the same government’s prominent figure who sacked me after I worked as his office manager for 2 years. I voted with confidence in April, 2010, and my vote made the difference! Anyone is not everyone in politics. South Sudan is our beloved country regardless of tribes, religions and political parties.

It is said that if you wanted to be remembered, write a book or plant a tree. That is not enough at all. We should unite, work together, own our constitution and stop corruption. I do sometimes feel dispirited when I see the youth playing cards and dominoes for the whole day because there is no work to be done according to them. The employed youth are the sons and daughters, the nephews and nieces of traditional chiefs and our uncles. In fact, there are not many job opportunities since there is no oil money!

The Republic of South Sudan needs economic strategy, enterprise development and jobs creation but the bigger disease in the job market is employment criteria. Our labor office should acknowledge our leaders and set up the policies to guarantee employment and termination of any official or worker per policy.

Leaders should also be referred to labor policy on political appointment by decree from the authority concerned and the local and professional appointments within the ministry or department. In some states, directors or senior officials in the ministries and private sectors had been removed from their positions without warnings to notify their lack of capability and experience in their duties. This is because some politicians wanted to fulfill their promises by sacking people without mistakes instead of creating more jobs.

In any case, if directors were friendly employed, they deserved to be sacked. I don’t support corruption. I am not against those who keep sacking others; some of these directors and other senior staff might not be truly working well and the system can’t entertain their laziness, inexperience. Hence, public service should address and assess the developmental needs of the labor market, plan the budget and create more jobs to fight joblessness.

It is important to conduct labor market assessment to address occupational demand and to professionalize institutions in order to create proper mechanism that shall strategize the system in the public and private sectors. This will help the policy makers and employers to determine the labor demand, pay rates and the cost of living in the country.

It will take us a while to get things set; our oil will be flowing to the world market, there will be no austerity measures.

Of course, it will take time to be poverty free at household levels. Let’s hope that God is pleased to help us free our minds from political sins and unite us as His children. All in all, South Sudan is lovely. It is the only place in the world where foreigners may feel at home. I salute and congratulate everyone who loves peace. One must not give up hope. South Sudan is for everyone!

Deng Mangok Ayuel lives in Aweil. He can be reached at: mangokson@gmail.com

SPLM leadership has always lagged behind events

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, FEB/15/2013, SSN;

South Sudan is often referred to as the quickest changing country in the world, but this is only so because so many things are happening simultaneously in a place where very little else ever existed before. However this observation must be viewed with a pinch of salt as not every change here happens for the better.

For even Juba the seat of the country’s government and the main center of events, although it has witnessed many changes since 2005 up to date, it can hardly be said that these changes have been for the better. With an unplanned population rise from an initial of less than 250,000 in 2004, it is now a home to around 1.0 million inhabitants.

It has barely developed from a tiny garrison town into a modern day shanty town with no sewage disposal, no clean drinking water and no central electricity supply. The town’s planning authority cannot cope up with the rapid pace of returnee citizens, villages to town immigration and the across border influx of workers and traders.

Caught off guard even the modern buildings that are meant to replace the ramshackle structures have mostly been constructed on either illegally acquired pieces of land or unauthorized plots. What were designated as open parks and playgrounds are now sites of all kinds of buildings.

Unsurprisingly the new country has been more under spontaneous changes than anything planned so as to speak. And the leadership under President Salva Kiir Mayardit is for the best part characterized by slow decision making and inability to prioritize projects and programs in spite of the abundant access that it has to free expert advice and technical opinion.

The decision to abruptly shut down the oil production came towards the last week of January 2012, and for the president to wait until August 2012 to form his belated committee tasked with studying the reconstruction of the government is indeed a very late reaction.

While president Kiir took his time to react to what was an obvious and an expected downside of his decision to shut down the Oil production, it has to be stressed here that other concerned South Sudanese and in its forefront is the United South Sudan Party [USSP] did indeed come out openly not only to suggest but also went on to emphasize the importance of immediately dissolving this bloated cabinet and replacing it with a lean cabinet of technocrats. Follow this link to read the whole article. www.alloexpat.com/sudan…/country-needs-a-care-taker-government.

The SPLM led government of South Sudan under President Salva Kiir Mayardit is infamous for its established characteristic of slowness in considering vital national issues and the snail pace in implementing important projects.

Throughout the reign of this leadership South Sudan has never had anything delivered on time. And I mean anything with the exception of the 2011 self determination referendum and subsequently of course the declaration of the country’s independence on July 9th, 2011, both of which were directly overseen by the international community.

Coming to the mother of all issues and that’s the construction of alternative pipelines to free South Sudan from depending on the “Jallaba regime” in Khartoum, it can be seen that this same slow thinking leadership failed to read the political forecast properly in as far as the future of the country’s Oil Industry is concerned in the light of the ever bumpy relationship that South Sudan has with its northern neighbor.

Many voices have been shouting in the wilderness trying to draw the attention of the people of South Sudan and especially so the attention of the current political leadership – and in fact warning them about the uncertainty attached to the future of the Oil industry. Had they taken heed they would have realized ahead of time the importance of building an alternative pipeline to the Indian Ocean.

Again the USSP has been a forerunner in providing an in-length enlightenment campaign for the construction of an alternative pipeline which it started in 2009 and went on to intensify it in 2010 around the run up to both the general elections and the self-determination referendum. To read the whole article please visit southsudannewsagency.com as it appeared on Jul 10, 2010 under the heading: “Oil Pipelines to the Indian Ocean are as important as Independence itself.”

In that time and the satellite storage centers for information will remain our sole witness for all the doubting “Thomases” – what we heard from the then national minister of petroleum Dr. Lual Acheick Deng, a senior member of the ruling SPLM party, was nothing but a classical rhetoric of a diehard Unionist. His argument was that an alternative pipeline was not an economical viable project. Follow this link to read the whole article. www.gurtong.net/…/Criticised-Minister-Lual-Dengs-Support-For-Uni.

Today the true nationalists are all out there to challenge those who wanted to guarantee their daily bread at the expense of our long awaited independence. So my dear disciples of the New Sudan Vision, where do you now stand in as far as the economic viability of an alternative pipeline are concerned?

Which one would be easier for you or say economically viable for the republic of South Sudan to undertake so as to save its economy: To disarm the SPLM/A – North (9th and 10th SPLA divisions as preferred to by the NCP) and then be allowed by the Jallaba to use their pipeline or will you go with dignity to support the construction of an alternative pipeline – or seek other ways of exporting the country’s Oil to the world markets?

Now almost three years since we have been campaigning for the alternative pipeline and sadly enough till the time of writing these lines, no light exists at the end of the tunnel. We have heard all these stories about Lamu in Kenya and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa over and over again.

We have also heard about the Japanese Toyota Company and a certain Texan Company and other American companies as well, but we haven’t seen any work being started yet.

As recently as last year president Kiir knew very well that his enemies in Khartoum are more likely to inflict damage on our citizens using their notorious Antonov which randomly drop bombs where that may be. Yet he took the boys to fight without a sky cover.

Those who read Sudan Tribune on February 13, 2013 will have come across this news heading: Kiir orders troop deployment to border areas with Sudan http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article 45494.

The question that begs an answer is: “Has president Kiir learned anything from the Panthou [Heglig]? And has he now upgraded the army [SPLA] with the much needed anti-aircraft hardware? Which ever way you look at the current situation along our northern borders, it’s likely that sooner than later the two countries may easily go back to war.

With all these eminent security threats our army [SPLA] still does not posses any of the sophisticated guns to bring down the enemies Antonov planes which indeed have proved to be a nuisance along the border regions. The military solution to this should have taken the priority.

We cannot talk about not having the funds each time an important issue is discussed when some 75 clearly identified individuals are allowed to walk away with no less than $ 4 billion dollars. That’s Kiir’s leadership for you.

This is a leadership which only thinks of doing something when the right time is long gone. Why don’t they understand that unless a thing is done at the right time, the impact will never be the same?

There is an optimum point in time when an action can yield a maximum result. Otherwise the unnecessary habit of delaying or deferring decisions and actions can be terribly counterproductive.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General – United South Sudan Party [USSP]. He can be reached at: justinramba@doctors.net.uk

The Dying Optimist in Me: Nothing to be hopeful about in South Sudan (Part I)

BY: KUIR ë GARANG, Alberta, Canada, FEB/15/2013, SSN;

I always remain hopeful even when there’s nothing much to be hopeful about in South Sudan. Well, my state of mind or state of heart wouldn’t change anything in South Sudan, would it?

Whatever I think, things would still take their natural course. President Kiir will rule for another two decades like his mentor, Yoweri ‘Museventy’; Dr. Marial Benjamin will yap to journalists about something he has no idea what it means; Dr. Riek Machar will call for reconciliation and peace without any structured procurement strategy; South Sudan will concede contested areas without any plan B and the dear leaders will keep on saying ‘they are our lands and we’ll get them back!

But how, I may ask? ‘Oh God!’ gave us CPA and he/she will give us our contested areas! Oh, give me my energy drink!

However, human beings, knowing such facts, still get up every morning and brood over the seemingly inevitable natural course of issues in South Sudan.

I’d like to be a pessimist in this article. Whatever I write in my useless, whining writs is just from someone far more divorced from the realities of things in South Sudan. If you’d like to change things in South Sudan, then stop writing and come down to South Sudan where people who’d want to change things come, goes the warning!

Really? Many of my colleagues packed up their bags and their diplomas with novel flares and ambitious optimism to go and ‘build’ the country. They’ve either mellowed out or they’ve become Romans; well, South Sudanese… no, they’ve started to bite at the… whatever?

So why am I pessimistic?

The oil was shut down by people who had no idea what the heck they were doing! I’m hopeless because SPLA soldiers, who are supposed to be the defenders of the country, are dying of hunger when ministers sit indifferently in their comfy offices.

By the way, those offices look like high-end homes of some Beverly Hills celebrities in Los Angeles. Do these ministers have conscience? Now that there is a looming war with Sudan or the threats of war, who do these ministers think would fight? Oh, I’m being stupid! They’ll run away and feast on their stolen millions in foreign lands!

Maybe Dr. John Garang and his colleagues were right in their SPLM Manifesto! They argued that some Anya Nya One fighters took up arms to fight for jobs. Once they were promised jobs in 1972, they stopped the war! They didn’t care about the fate of South Sudan thereafter.

Well, Dr. John, this seems to be unfortunately true with your ‘freedom fighters.’ They took their jobs and forgot about what they took up arms for. Civilians starve to death but they don’t even pay any lip service to the fact. They just ignore it. That’s why I’m pessimistic about South Sudan.

I’m pessimistic because educated people like the witty and highly critical Elhag Paul, know that I’m critical of the government and the pandemic incompetence in Juba. But still, he either can’t get it or he ignores it. He wants me to condemn the leaders not as South Sudanese government, but as a Jieng government. (Video Message to Mr. Paul)

I see corrupt, incompetent, and callous men ruling in Juba, but my brother sees Jieng men up to destroy the country. Any time my brother looks at me, he doesn’t see me. He sees the corrupt Jieng men in Juba. Any time he sees my writings, he reads my words upside down because of the haunting phantom of the corrupt Jieng men in Juba!

Why should I be optimistic when the best and the brightest only read their own words with interest but read others’ words with a pre-conceptualized prejudgment? No, I’m a South Sudanese and I’ll see corrupt men for who they are: Corrupt South Sudanese! Not Bari, Not Nuer, Not Jieng, Not Nyangwara…

Are some Jieng leaders corrupt? Yes! Are some Jieng men taking some innocent Equatorian people lands? Yes! Is the government of South Sudan dominated by Jieng men? Yes! Did some Jieng commanders kill some innocent civilians such as Taposas, Didingas, Nuers etc? Yes!

But my brother doesn’t want me to write ‘some’; he wants me to write that ‘ALL JIENG’ are destroying the country; even me thousands of miles away! Even that old Jieng lady in my Payam headquarter, Wernyol; who just had her kids killed and her cattle stolen by unknown gunmen.

Maybe my brother Paul needs help understanding what I write. But he’s a smart, intelligent man, who willfully ignores my position, as a government critic!

If the government is controlled by the Jieng, and I am a critic of the government, then how in the name of the carpenter’s son do I condone Jieng’s engendered problems? So I have no reason to be optimistic!

And why should I be optimistic when Juba is becoming a death bed for many South Sudanese and the government has no strategic plans for a fundamental change to the country’s problem? And why should I be optimistic when everything the SPLA fought against has been instituted in Juba.

Even a more satanic thing is this: Church leaders are questioning the separation of the state and the church! Yes, you heard, they are questioning the separation of the church and the state in the national constitution! I hope they are not on some divine booze!

And our Vice President thinks there’s something to be discussed about that! What exactly?! That people have to say Jesus in the Parliament? How about Allah and Mohammed as we have Muslims in South Sudan? And how about Adhiok’s Deng Pakeny, my ancestral, traditional god?

If you, South Sudanese, thought there is poverty of political leadership, then there’s sure no sanity in the South Sudanese church! So South Sudan should be a Christian nation? I hope they don’t have liquor stores in the church!

We fought against theocracy, dummy! We have ‘Oh God?!!” in the national anthem! What the… the… forget it! What again do you want? That ‘Oh God’ shouldn’t have been in the national anthem in the first place because South Sudan is a secular nation that respects the religious values of everyone. God or whatever that you worship should be private not a damn public issue!

We fought for freedom of religion and we have it in South Sudan! Get off the separation of the state and religion!

The church is not enough for you so now you want to get into the state house and the parliament! You’re damn crazy! Questioning separation of the church and the state should be treated as treasonous!

Pray in your churches, mosques, shrines… Jesus of Nazareth? Which state in South Sudan is this Nazareth located anyway?

This meddling doesn’t make me optimistic! No offense to good, religious people but the bad, religious people should keep their gods in their churches… or where they implore him/her! And by the way, don’t get angry at me because Jesus and his father have divine powers to come after me! So Chill!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. His latest books are ‘Is ‘Black’ Really Beautiful? And “Deng, Nyan-nhialdit and the Talking Crow (a children’s novel). For more information about the books, visit www.kuirthiy.info or http://thenilepress.com . Follow the author on Twitter: @kuirthiy

Rebuttal to Ateny Wek Ateny’s article: “NBGS Governor on offensive against expert’s role in issue of Mile 14”

BY: AKOL AYOM WEK, Press Secretary to NBGS Governor, FEB/14/2013, SSN;

Reference is made to Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny’s article entitled: “NBGS Governor on offensive against the expert’s role in the issue of Mile 14,” published by Citizen newspaper on February, 6th, 2013. In the said article, Mr. Ateny made many serious and unwarranted claims. This article is written to clarify misrepresented facts by the author as well as disputing attempts made to tarnish the image and personality of Mr. Paul Malong Awan, Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State.

On the outset, the issue of Mile 14 should not be politicized for the sake of personal glorification. This is about the land and should be treated as such. The position of Paul Malong and the larger Aweil community both in South Sudan and around the world with regard to Mile 14 was very clear: Mile 14 has never been disputed area.

This position was already made clear to the government of the Republic of South Sudan and the international community through public protests, letters and series of meetings both with President and other stakeholders.

It was clear that upon the signature of cooperation agreement, there was wider anxiety among the people of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. This anxiety sparked public protests in Aweil and Juba.

As a result of unprecedented anxiety and confusion among the public, Paul Malong took initiative to invite all stakeholders in the State including Cabinet members, MPs, Commissioners, chiefs, youth groups, women groups, intellectuals and elders in order to shed light on the issue of Mile 14. In that three days consultation session, the Governor informed the participants that their concern had been heard by national government and that the matter should be left in the hands of central government to tackle. Up to this point, neither the Governor nor the Aweil community believe that Mile 14 is disputed.

It beats people’s conscience when Mr. Ateny claimed that Gov. Paul Malong had changed his mind with regard to popular belief in Northern Bahr El Ghazal State that Mile 14 is not disputed area. Contrary to Mr. Ateny’s argument “if the governor knew the issue of Mile 14 may one day be a matter for the two presidents and therefore no need for anybody less than the president to have talked about it,” there was need for the Governor and entire Aweil community to register their rejection of the inclusion of Mile 14 into claimed and disputed areas.

What is more surprising in Ateny’s article is his claim that the protests were “partly or wholly sponsored by the state government.” One can’t help but ask Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, who was a key member of organizing committee of Juba demonstration: was organizing committee for public protest in Juba formed and sponsored by State government?

And who in particular in the government of Northern Bahr El Gazal State invited Mr. Ateny Wek to join the organizing committee and demonstration?

Contrary to Ateny Wek’s claim that Dr. Dhieu has helped the case of Aweil, we believe that Dr. Dhieu has stabbed the community and the nation at the back by distorting historical reality about Mile 14.

Historically and as per Wheatly-Munro agreement, Mile 14 was confined in present day Aweil North County of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State and current Eastern Darfur State. Other Counties of Northern Bahr El Ghazal were not included in Wheatly-Munro decision, let alone Abiemnhom and Raja as Dr. Dhieu erroneously believe to be the case.

It has to be stated here that Dr. Dhieu is not an expert in this area because there is no conclusive research work he conducted in this area. In fact, his thesis is only a “cut and paste” kind of document that carries no authoritative information whatsoever and so he can’t be an authority in the area.

Furthermore, the information Dr. Dhieu is manipulating as his own work particularly areas along the border was provided to him by Northern Bahr El Ghazal State Department of Research and Documentation (DRD). Yet, he is not making any slightest reference to the source of the information he has, what kind of expert is he?

One will not be surprised if he is sued by the Department of Research and Documentation under Intellectual property and copyright laws.

Mr. Ateny went on claim that Dr. Dhieu is an expert because he has “written thesis for his Masters and PHDs in the historical relationship between the nomad Arab tribe of Riezegat and the Messiriya in one hand and the Dinka Malual…”

One may ask here: where in the world is one allowed to write one thesis for two degrees: Masters and PHD? If Dr. Dhieu has done it, then it is simple to conclude that he did nothing.

Finally, it has to be reiterated that Governor Paul Malong and Greater Aweil community still believe that Mile 14 is not a disputed area and is not part of outstanding issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny needs to know this fact.

Akol Ayom Wek is the Press Secretary for the Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State and can be reached at akolwekdit@gmail.com

Federal system of government appropriate for South Sudan

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, SOUTH SUDAN, FEB/13/2013, SSN;

A federal system of government appropriate for South Sudan is a view that is hoped to increase understanding. There is already an expressed fear of a federal system of government for South Sudan as too fragmenting. The fear is that South Sudanese will be compartmentalized into tribal homelands with the resultant increase in insecurity. Another fear is that the economic cost of maintaining a federal system will be very high. However, a close observation of a federal system may show that the fear is paranoia or likely as a mask of a hidden agenda.

The fear of a federal system of government for South Sudan may be an anxiety of how people with vested interest will fare. It has hardly anything to do with the benefits of a federal system. People may be paranoid of a federal system probably because of perceived deprivation of power and privileges, and perceived insecurity. The fear is also that of being uprooted from where one calls home. What this fear does is to make people very rigid in their stand against any mention of a federal system. Flexibility is seen as subscribing to the fragmentation of South Sudan. This was precisely what the Sudanese Arabs did when the South demanded a federal system of government for sustainable national unity of the Sudan they rigidly refused.

The consequence of the rigidity of the Arabs was the unfortunate breakup of Sudan. Eritrea had also demanded a federal system for Ethiopia but the brutal imposition of a unitary system ultimately caused the breakup of Ethiopia with Eritrea becoming independent. Hopefully, South Sudanese will be much wiser. People do not need to invent the wheel and they do not need to copy and paste either. They only need to be creative and pragmatic in developing an original approach in addressing challenges.

Systems of government
There are various systems of government in the world. However, for simplicity concentration will be on two systems, unitary and federal. In a unitary system powers are vested in the central government which may operate unhindered by local governments. In theory, distribution of resources from rich to poor areas and from the haves and have-nots needs a powerful central government that a unitary system is seen to offer. However, in practice a unitary system is not that effective in addressing regional imbalances. There are also ethnic issues that a unitary system may fall short of addressing.

According to one author of a book, American Politics & Society, central governments have been criticized as insensitive and federalism cited as a compromise solution to the claims by increasing number of regions and ethnic minorities in a variety of countries for more autonomy. After all it was the centralized power of England that had prompted the revolt of its American colonies.

Regions of South Sudan
Until the introduction of Turkiya in Northern Sudan little was known about Southern Sudan in the way of documentation for its history. The southern provinces of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile were organized, garrisoned and administered separately equivalent to colonies under the Turco-Egyptian Sudan (1821-85). In the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium (1899-1955) the three southern provinces were also administered separately by governors answerable to the central government in the North. From 1956 to 1972 the North treated the southern provinces as colonies and administered them separately. However, the southern provinces shared one destiny as they had been sources of slaves to the North with the subsequent gross marginalisation.

Irrespective of provincial and ethnic lines the people of the three southern provinces pulled their human resources together to confront the evil of gross marginalization by the North. In recognition of their similar aspirations, in 1972 the North granted local autonomy to the three southern provinces which became known as the southern region. However, in 1983 the southern region was turned back to its original status of three provinces of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile but instead of being called provinces was then called regions. So the regions of South Sudan should be Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile but not in any other way.

Unitary system
Views for a unitary system for South Sudan have been expressed strongly. In the enthusiasm for a unitary system bizarre proposals could be made. For example, one bizarre proposal was to reorganise regions in South Sudan as eastern, central and western. The proposal was made as an individual expressed opinion in an SPLM training workshop in Home and Away Business Centre in Juba.

The eastern region was proposed to comprise Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Upper Nile while the central region to consist of Central Equatoria, Lakes, Warrap, Unity and possibly Abyei. The western region was proposed to comprise Western Equatoria, Western and Northern Bahr el Ghazal. It was not clear how the reorganisation of the regions in South Sudan could promote unity if not to create the greatest confusion in the history of South Sudan.

Another proposal by an enthusiast of a unitary system was the centralization of employment from grade 9 to 1. This means the employment of graduates should only be the prerogative of the central government. This should be one of the serious disadvantages of an imposed unitary system. It could be problematic as tribalism and nepotism might encourage semi-literate, inexperienced and ignorant people employed and deployed to the frustration of effective service delivery in the regions. The outcome could be disunity instead. Further proposal was the centralization of education where boarding schools would be established and mixed intake received from all over South Sudan. In theory this sounds reasonable in promoting unity. In practice, however, it would be a mammoth task as corruption seems to be rampant.

Contractors would be needed to transport and feed students. Given poor investment in infrastructures a unitary system which is likely to be distant from the people would hardly be efficient. Already the centralization of organized forces such as the police, prisons, wildlife and the fire brigade does not make a unitary system attractive. Over-representation of some ethnic groups in key positions and in deployment can be perceived as the promotion of marginalization of others hence disunity is instead promoted. This does not bode well for a unitary system. An imposed unitary system in a country as diverse as South Sudan is unlikely to cope well.

Federal system
It has been seen that South Sudan was administered as three separate provinces since the Turkiya and the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium rule. In modern times it was administered as one and then as three regions. The propagated concept that when there is a federal system in South Sudan then the people will be divided is too simplistic. First of all the people of South Sudan had fought against gross marginalization as people of one destiny although they were from different regions and tribes. Arguably a federal system unites people but an imposed unitary system disunites.

In a federal system the government is closer to people and understands local issues better in putting mechanisms in place for efficient and effective provision of services to the people. In contrast in a unitary system the preoccupation is how to dominate and marginalize those who are not of the same feather. It is to protect narrow interest precisely as did the Arabs before the breakup of the Sudan. A federal system is South Sudan will more likely reduce rampant tribalism, nepotism, corruption, insecurity and discrimination or marginalization for sustainable national unity. In addition it will accelerate development for the benefit of the vast majority of people who are mostly in the rural areas.

A federal system unites people in that diversities are recognized and respected. The executive, judiciary and the legislature will effectively address issues at the grassroots with no one is seen above the law. The notorious criminal land grabbers and their sympathizers will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Cattle rustling in the way it is experienced today will most likely be a thing of the past because of the local concentration to address the problem. Inter-regional trade is likely to flourish, promoting interaction among people thereby bringing them closer for sustainable unity. The fear that in a federal system people will be discouraged to interact because they are already divided is false. It should be understood clearly that a federal system is not compartmentalization of people into tribal homelands. It is rather the administrative division of power and wealth for the benefit of the people where no power and wealth are concentrated in the hands of the few.

To win over the best brains and skilled manpower to one’s region, the region must provide an attractive package. This means any South Sudanese can be employed and work in any region attracted by all the necessary benefits and incentives that go with the job. What should not happen is for the central government to impose the deployment of personnel on the regions. Only central government specialised personnel may be deployed in consultation with the regions. Ordinary people can choose where to live and work in the regions. After all any South Sudanese has the right to live and work anywhere in the country as a law abiding citizen.

Cost of maintaining federal system
The fear expressed of the high cost of maintaining a federal system is debatable. First of all the federal government has the ability to levy taxes. Also the regions will make contributions to the federal government. For example, a region that produces oil must provide, say, 20 per cent of the oil revenue to the federal government. This means the region keeps the remaining 80 per cent for its development and security. Any region that has no oil must find alternative sources of revenue and must provide the federal government with a percentage of the revenue. This arrangement is likely to make the regions in the federation self-reliant.

The federal government will only be a skeleton but not a duplication of the governments in the regions. This is because it is the regions that will carry the massive burden of development of South Sudan. The federal government is expected to act like a referee. In this case the federal system will not be more of a burden than a unitary system. After all the regions must have the power to levy taxes to generate their own revenues for development and security, and to deliver services to the people. In a federal system people are likely to be more united than in an oppressive unitary system.

Conclusion
The lukewarm reception of the concept of a federal system of government for South Sudan or outright rejection is not based on sound objective analysis but is subjective and tribally motivated. It is evidently the protection of narrow interest.

South Sudanese will never be divided by a federal system of government because in the first place they had liberated themselves from Arab colonialism as people of one destiny although they were from different regions and tribes. How on earth will a federal system managed by South Sudanese divide them? What is being propagated against a federal system is sadly a combination of insensitivity and a mask of ulterior motives.

In conclusion, South Sudanese will always remain as people of one destiny. This is because they are acutely aware of Arab’s designs to make South Sudan a failed state by all means. However, South Sudanese will ultimately be responsible for a designated failed status when they miserably fail to listen to the inner voice of reason for a better choice to be made between an oppressive unitary system and a federal system of equitable sharing of power and wealth for the common good of the country.

It can be observed that the decentralized system in South Sudan is in theory when in practice many aspects of governance are centralized with all the accompanying challenges.

ElHag Paul’s Soliloquy and misguided posture to provoke ethnic strife: A rebuttal

BY: Manyok Chuol, OTTAWA, CANADA, FEB/11/2013, SSN;

ElHag Paul’s recent article, ‘Dr John Garang was an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM,’ was apparently a retort to a response article I wrote and published on 12/JAN/2013 by South Sudan Nation website. His article, as we’ve seen, was also a response to others who in the past debated him before, apparently.

In responding to me and others, Mr. Paul brought to light new issues which were not in his initial article and could not have been subject of earlier response. For the benefit of my readers, I do not wish to be dragged into discussing these new issues and be, in effect, hopelessly distracted.

In a typical ElHag Paul’s article, his latest response to my response article did not disappoint our already very low expectations or has even come as a surprise. He peddled, again, unfounded and incendiary accusations against every Jieng: man, woman, and child— revealing much of the hypocrisy in a man whose writings aim to proclaim moral pedestal.

ElHag Paul’s article is misguided and by again responding to yet another article of his, many readers may hasten to suggest that I may be giving him yet another platform to write one more rancorous article on the subject. Such consternation may very well be true or in place but ElHag Paul actually exposes his unmitigated hate, and therefore himself, in his articles.

As in my previous article, I want to categorically restate that my response does not, in any way, aim to deflect criticism— legitimate or otherwise, away from the Government of South Sudan. Rather, I’m again forewarning against writing flagrantly irresponsible articles aimed at engendering and inflaming inter-tribal animosity in our country. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye when most of Mr. Paul’s writings are aspired at directly or indirectly perpetuate/arouse inter-ethnic violence, and especially knowing South Sudan as an ethnic tinderbox that it is.

In my first response, I focused and only addressed issues related to ElHag Paul’s anti-Dinka rhetoric, Dr. John Garang and the question of Founding Father of South Sudan tribute. This response, again, addresses, ad nauseam, issues of relevance in Mr. Paul’s latest response, his original article, and my earlier response thereto, even as I’m fully aware of Mr. Paul’ impervious idiosyncrasy or adamantine refusal to engage in rational discussions.

Legitimate government criticism versus inspiring ethnic strife

At first glance, one clearly sees ElHag Paul disgorging hate among the various ethnicities in South Sudan, particularly the rest against the Dinka people. Admittedly, there is very little substance in his latest article except, mostly, hateful bons mots aimed at cajoling and swooning his runners.

ElHag Paul seems a like an intelligent South Sudanese, confessedly, but he speciously uses his intelligence to infatuate his runners with anti-Dinka hatred. He remains accused as a bigot who unfortunately refuses to accept all as South Sudanese, notwithstanding all our ethnically rich diversities.

Even as Mr. Paul’s articles dangerously threaten peaceful coexistence among citizens, there is hope in South Sudanese infinite wisdom and capacity to distinguish between tribes, individual and government’s actions—or absence thereof, contrary to Mr. Paul’s perception of South Sudanese as primordial and a readily excitable lot! Mr. Paul likes us to think that his writings are good for South Sudan to survive as one united country. I would argue, to the contrary, that South Sudan will survive as one united country in spite of his writings.

In his reply to my article, ElHag Paul asserted the following: “Manyok Chuol’s article, ‘Dr Garang and the question of South Sudan Founding father: A reply to Elhag Paul,’ is a clear indication that the Jieng are unwilling to take responsibility for the ravages they’re inflicting on the country”. Mr. Paul seems to suggest that every South Sudanese is a victim of Jieng, therefore he is my victim! Is it possible that ElHag Paul and his runners do not see how ridiculous their imagined Jieng-engendered victimhood is? Such is the claim and extent of the absurdity of his anti-Dinka rhetoric. If the author valued credibility and thus be considered as convincing, could he not have aimed at more constructive dialogue?

Does ElHag Paul have a point, as this question must now be asked? He does, probably, if he considers the Dinka as individually inseparable from the Government of South Sudan and Salva Kiir as its head. But such warp reasoning is preposterous and could be antithetical to peaceful coexistence South Sudanese need to forge ahead as one united peaceful nation.

Mr. Paul’s argument goes like this, it seems: when a president comes from a certain tribe, such tribe should be threatened with the possibility to unleash violence against it should a president or his/her government proof as spectacularly failing, even as the tribe is not responsible for the president’s failings and isn’t violently keeping a president in office/power.

ElHag Paul should be reminded that the exercise of democracy comes with civilized realization that not all eligible citizens can be presidents of one country at any given presidential term, and still preserve peace and a country to govern; whatever the failures of the current president and his government, South Sudanese, meanwhile, need to wait for the next elections in 2015 to choose who will lead them.

I therefore appeal to ElHag Paul’s supporters whose foresight he may have corrupted to not farcically hold the Dinka collectively responsible for the Government of South Sudan’s failures, whether real or perceived.

It should also help all of us to keep in mind that there is no referendum on the Dinka as a tribe. The only referendum there is, is the one through the elections of 2015. That opportunity should allow South Sudanese to vote in or out their leaders, including President Kiir, should he decide to run again. I hope that President Kiir will choose love of the country over another groping presidency.

I’m sure other South Sudanese find it similarly difficult to understand why ElHag Paul, a man who toils to give others the impression that he is educated, does not comprehend that the Dinkas are politically and individually heterogeneous and that constructively engaging them as citizens, like the rest of South Sudanese are, is good for any peacefully conceived constitutional change in our country.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, let me also unequivocally and honestly say that, there are areas where I fully agree with ElHag Paul, although very limited. That “[t]here’re differences between institutions, individuals and tribes,” I agree and I said similarly in my article, which Mr. Paul was responding to. In addition, I continue to agree with Mr. Paul’s continued observation that “[i]nstitutions are formed of governing documents and management bodies such as constitutions and board of directors.

Anybody heading such an institution (chief executive) is expected to be guided by the constitution”. Unfortunately, that is where my agreement with him ends, relative to his understanding of governing and whom to hold accountable therefrom.

Subsequently, I reject Mr. Paul’s yardstick that “[s]o long as such a person upholds the constitution for the interest of all members he/she can’t be lumped up with his/her tribe or any other group of association because his/her actions would be fair and legitimate” because of its perversity. Asserting that a president’s tribe is a fair game when s/he doesn’t uphold the constitution is an odious rationale proffered for the convenience of the time.

This is because the converse of such statement is false and cannot stand. Indeed, when such a person, say, for example, a president, fails to ‘uphold the constitution for the interest of all members’, such a leader/president would be held responsible according to the laws of that country because as his actions would be deemed unfair and illegitimate. But to overlook that and hold his tribe responsible instead, as ElHag Paul is suggesting, would not only ensure a disastrous outcome but would reflect poorly on any claim of advancement/civilization in such society.

A constitutionally enlightened position, in place of ElHag Paul’s irrationality, seems to be that a president who so fails in the manner Mr. Paul has described should be impeached or voted out in subsequent elections, if he/she is still eligible to stand in such elections. That is contrary to primitively holding the entirety of a president’s tribe responsible. But Mr. Paul would rather have us dangerously tread this path.

As we can see, ElHag Paul’s reasoning presents a rather false dichotomy and for him to prod South Sudanese to choose either the existence of tribes or constitutional rule is bogus as the two can demonstrably and mutually exist.

I also take great exception to ElHag Paul’s rather trivial patronizing assertion that: “…the educated Jieng like Manyok Chuol, Ateny Wek Ateny, Joseph Deng Garang and Kuir e Garang — to be agents of change by educating their people…” This is as if the role he sees us only play, being Jieng, limits us and thus cannot perform other civic duties as South Sudanese!

It is absolutely hypocritical to criticize Salva Kiir’s alleged tribalism when one makes such outrageous statement, laced with tribally chauvinistic undertone! If Salva Kiir is a tribalist that ElHag Paul accuses as, what can we say about ElHag Paul who tends to solely assess President Kiir’s aptitude on the basis of his tribe?

Dr. John Garang and his earned Founding Father of South Sudan’s tribute

In my previous article referenced again above, I affirmed, like other fair-minded South Sudanese, that Dr. John Garang is our nation’s indestructible founding father. I knew as I argued that I was possibly rankling or causing agony in Mr. Paul with my presentation.

As ElHag Paul said and I fully agree: “Dr Garang was a formidable person of high intellect, no argument about it…. a suave political operator full of confidence. A speaker of rare breed” and “…Dr Garang’s work shouldn’t be vandalized by. [anybody… Dr Garang’s beliefs and achievement need to be highly valued within context”.

Unfortunately, Mr. Paul went on to infringe on his own advice/observation in what could easily have been a case of personal feat had he successfully managed to rise above his innumerably expressed petty self.

Thus, I wonder and now ask the question, between me and ElHag Paul, who is desperately trying to falsify the history of South Sudan with the sole aim to minimize Dr. Garang’s enormous contribution so that “…his community [does not] milk it…to put others down”. It’s ElHag Paul, easily. He falsifies history and say that what Dr Garang wanted was a “United New Sudan and he (Garang) went for it in spite of the odds against it. Anybody who respects and values Dr Garang won’t reduce his stature by not acknowledging his political belief and objective”.

As South Sudanese, we must be grateful that Dr. Garang led/guided our liberation aspirations with absolutely perspicacious brilliance. It’s totally absurd for anybody, who may stake a claim to a functioning brain, to suggest that Dr. Garang, as leader, was fighting for a united Sudan. The Sudan was already united and it was not possible to go to war only to unite it—see appendix (I) below for Dr. Garang’s pictorial illustration of Sudan’s possible solutions modalities to the country’s conflict, in form of Venn diagrams.

Dr. Garang was known for championing the rights of his people with great intelligence and political skills, not because of a nonsensical suggestion that he was trying to unite the Sudan, a country already then in unity. Accordingly, it’s mendacious for Mr. Paul to say that “Dr Garang’s unionist stance made him a renowned politician in the Sudan, the whole of Africa and beyond…”

Looking at Dr. Garang’s presentation of solutions modalities in form of Venn Diagrams in appendix I and understanding our own history, we conclude that John Garang and his colleagues were not fighting to unite the Sudan. They were instead challenging the basis of an already-united and unjust Sudan. Therefore, to say that he was fighting for his ‘unionist stance’ is to flaunt ignorance.

Dr. Garang fought to transform the Sudan in order to meet the conditions of any of the three (3) models shown in appendix I.
People like ElHag naturally and easily choose independence of South Sudan in model 3. What Mr. Paul and the similarly feeble-minded lot do not understand is the maze of what was the ‘Sudanese problem’. Ask Dr. Lam Akol and Dr. Riek Machar who thought the independence of South Sudan could be brought about if only they could publicly make pronouncements.

What were the organic guarantees of the so-called ‘peace from within’ and did it lead to South Sudan independence because they had publicly said so?

As leader, it was incumbent upon John Garang to define the parameters of the Sudanese conflict and articulate possible solutions. And he did so very well and signed the CPA that guaranteed the right of exercise of self-determination which culminated into South Sudan attaining independence. I acknowledge that much was done by patriotic South Sudanese before and during Dr. John Garang’s time but there is no questioning his towering contribution.

Easily, therefore, Dr Garang is the Father of the Nation and such patriots as Emelio Tafeng, Paul Ali Gbatala, Saturlino Ohure, Deng Nhial, Joseph Lagu, William Nyuon, Salva Kiir, Awet Akot, Kuol Manyang, Ngacigak Nyachiluk, Oyay Deng, Pieng Deng, Majak Agoot Atem, Hoth Mai, Mamur Meté, Kuanyin Bol, Samuel Gai Tut, Arok Thon Arok, Akuot Atem, Majier Gai, Dhol Achuil, Malong Awan, Dau Aturjong, Majok Aluong, Mathok Gengdit, Abur Nhial, Pa’gan Amum, Bior Ajang, Samuel Abujohn, Samson Kwaje, Kuol Amum— the list is very long but to just name the above does no justice to many ‘unknown’ fallen South Sudanese heroes, whether civilians, officers, NCOs, or chiefs; all of them are liberation heroes.

But again I am fully aware that I am presenting these facts to ElHag Paul, a south Sudanese history distorter, who is serially facts averse when Dinka people are involved.

As any reader can see, I have not tried to prove that Dr. John Garang wasn’t an appointee of the Ethiopians to the SPLM as Mr. Paul has tried to alter our history, for his convenience; to do otherwise would be to abuse the intelligence of South Sudanese who, like me, are living witnesses of our history and they know/understand it better than ElHag Paul who would rather credit Ethiopians with our history!

By: Manyok Chuol, Ottawa, Canada

The SPLM national reconciliation will not work.

BY: Akic Adwok Lwaldeng, South Sudanese, FEB/08/2013, SSN;

“In the absence of democratic open-up, the SPLM organized reconciliation is deemed to fail.”

Importantly, before the so-called national reconciliation conference starts, the government must first free all politicians and civilians being unjustly held in South Sudan’s prisons without trials. This is the way forward to accomplish the reconciliation. Unsurprisingly since the SPLM come to power its attitudes have been those of killing and imprisoning those who resist and oppose its corrupt policies.

SPLM’s intolerance to political rivals and opponents including the continuous attempts to disable and disband these political parties and civil societies has been a prominent feature of it existence.

This season marks three years of the anniversary of the mass murder of the civilians in South Sudan. President Salva Kiir, then the immoral leader of the SPLM, had personally ordered the murder of those civilians, most of whom were activists and supporters of the SPlM-DC, and many others from other political parties. Members of the civic society organizations, who insisted on non-political activity were not spared any of these mistreatments and extrajudicial killings.

As a result of this bloody regime, tens of thousands of the civilians were killed all over the ten states of South Sudan, but particularly so in Upper Nile, Jonglei, and Western Bahr El Ghazal states with the Wau massacre of civilian demonstrators being the most recent.

The political crisis that started before and following the fraudulent 2010 general elections represents the anger and true reaction of the people that developed as a response to the many years of oppression, deprivation and repression by a SPLM government and its malicious policies as it mercilessly persecutes opposition parties’ leaders and many others from the different sections of the oppressed people.

Since then South Sudan has been a battlefield between the people and the ruling power. And as the people’s struggle intensifies the government’s brutality and desperation escalate to its highest point. There are undeniable evidences of the harshest torture being used against those who were arrested since the conflict started.

There is also undeniable evidence of those who were shot randomly in broad daylight and night. There are those who died in the prisons as a result of torture. Those young women and men who were raped by the interrogators and other thugs in the medieval prisons of the SPLM government will remain a dark page in the records of this inhumane SPLM leadership and its blood-thirsty killing squads.

Then SPLM government has recently intensified its brutality against almost everybody even including the university students. Throughout the last few academic years students live under constant fear and intense pressure.

Up till today the universities are repeatedly being invaded by the security forces, (so-called presidential protection unit guards), and many others of the regime’s thugs. Students are beaten, arrested, imprisoned and tortured. Others have been imprisoned for a very long time for refusing to give in to this reactionary and unpopular dictatorial regime. This has deprived them from continuing with their studies.

Certain tribes were the first to be targeted when the SPLM regime came to power. The regime and its puppets impose their policies (the SPLM manifesto) on the people and practice other forms of discrimination against those perceived to be opposition supporters. This unbearable situation has continued and have been one of the daily tasks of the government’s thugs over the last 7 years.

Nonetheless, over the period the People have maintained their struggle and their hatred for this system has even increased and accumulated awaiting the time to explode. It is no surprise that we saw such a large number of furious protesters in Western Bahr El Ghazal before and after the Wau Massacre!

Recent reports indicate that the regime has intensified its policy of extra-judicial killings. Politicians and civilians who are not in support of SPLM policies are open to arrests and torture. The WAU massacre shocked the country and even the region. its now everybody’s knowledge that there are many others in a secret death row, among them is the brilliant and courageous Leader and the next South South’s President, Dr Lam Akol Ajawin!

Dr. Lam Akol is being accused of being a member of the Shilluk-land Defense Force allegedly led by General commander Johnson Olany. This allegation is biased and untrue.

And our other brave Leader Peter Abdul Rahman Sule is being held incommunicado, accused of leading a non-existing Equatoria-land Defense Force and it’s a false allegation as well. The accusations against Peter Abdul Rahaman Sule and Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, were not dropped and they are still under the threat of being killed by the SPLM any time.

The UN Human Rights Commission is fully aware of all the above developments and are surely conducting their own investigation, and very soon they will use the Junglei State’s “Pibor Massacre,” the Upper Nile’s “Makalal Massacre,” and the Western Bahr El Ghazal’s “Wau Massacre” and others as cases to put pressure on the SPLM leaders and possibly issue arrest warrants for their trial by the ICC in Netherlands at The Hague!

This does not mean that the UN Human Rights Commission is supporting the SPLM-DC, or the UDF or the USSP or any other opposition political party or figures. It is the silence of the UN Commission during those years that let the SPLM, to build its power by killing tens of thousands of people, oppressing the opposition and minority groups. Now things must change and criminals whether individuals or governments, must and will face justice.

What is really needed at this time is that people should stop supporting this regime if the government is not going to resolve the following issues: (a) talk with the opposition leaders and (b) address the lands issues, before their so-called reconciliation in South Sudan.

Nevertheless, we must continue our call for regime change and we should alert the international community that there is a silent genocide going on in South Sudan. Who can deny that there are still hundreds of people from the opposition and the other activists who to date continue to languish and undergo savage tortures in the dark prisons of the SPLM, while their family members have no news from them. These are people likely to be killed any time as they constantly live under threats of elimination.

This is a call to all freedom loving people, all those disgusted by the discrimination against human beings by fellow human beings, all those outraged by these brutalities to give their support to the people’s struggle for freedom and equality and join the struggle to free the civilians and politicians in prisons in South Sudan.

Written by : Akic Adwok Lwaldeng, you can reach him at:adwokn@yahoo.co.uk

Land grabbing in and around Juba may soon be a thing of the past

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, RSS, JAN/08/2013, SSN;

Recently land grabbing in and around Juba has hit news headlines. The Citizen newspaper of Friday, January 25, 2013 – Vol.7. Issue No. 356 had as a lead news headline ‘Interior Ministry Orders Arrest of Land Grabbers and Associates in Juba.’ The same newspaper of Friday, February 1, 2013 – Vol.7. Issue No. 363 also had as a lead story ‘Police Fired in Air to Scare Land Grabbers in Tongpiny” on the front page.

The order to arrest land grabbers and associates in and around Juba must have been a far reaching relief to the many victims of land grabbing. The national government had been dead silent about land grabbing in and around Juba and the state government of Central Equatoria was neither helpful. The awakening of the national government to the menace of land grabbing is something that is highly commendable.

The awakening of the national government clearly shows that land grabbing may soon be a thing of the past. However, persistent action against land grabbing is most needed with adequate resources provided to law enforcing agencies. One problem is poorly handled eviction of land grabbers.

Genesis of land grabbing
South Sudan fought two wars of liberation. The first war was between 1955 and 1972 and the second between 1983 and 2005. When the first war ended with peace realized land grabbing was unheard of. However when the second war ended and peace was once again realized land grabbing appeared with unprecedented shock to landowners and indigenous people. Some of those who were in the frontline during the second war of liberation assumed it was their God-given right to help themselves to any piece of land their eyes could see regardless of who owned the land.

The situation turned ugly to landowners who were either threatened or intimidated with the unfortunate ones either beaten up or shot. This was done in broad day light by people who would be very proud to call themselves liberators. However, true liberators do not in any way harm those they have liberated. Only pseudo liberators do and there are many of them masquerading as true liberators. It is not difficult to see the genesis of land grabbing in and around Juba. It is lack of nationalism replaced by greed.

Land grabbing and the rule of law
The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 is very clear about the right to own property. Article 28 (1, 2) in part stipulates that every person shall have the right to acquire or own property as regulated by law and no private property may be expropriated save by law in the public interest. The transitional constitution is also clear about landownership. Article 171 (6a) says private land shall include registered land held by any person under leasehold tenure in accordance with the law. However, in defiance of the constitution and law, land grabbers do not spare private registered land either.

In can be seen that land grabbing is unconstitutional and unlawful. Land grabbers therefore deserve to face the rule of law. However, probably due to the lack of clearly spelt out policy on land grabbing, grabbers have often escaped being apprehended and punished. Nevertheless, the courts of law have been doing their best in reverting grabbed land or property to their legitimate owners. The problem, however, has been the execution of court orders. Quite often court orders have not been executed as expected to the satisfaction of landowners.

Land grabbers defy court orders by either chasing away law enforcing personnel or simply do not respond at all to any court order. The dead silence of the national and state governments seemed to have encouraged land grabbers to be defiant with impunity.

Government intervention
Government intervention is badly needed to address the serious security problem of land grabbing in order to make it a thing of the past. Land grabbing has been a thorn in the flesh of landowners and a security risk to the nation. It has also been poisoning community relations, polarizing individuals and communities thereby making national unity less achievable.

Land grabbers are insensitive people who do not care about what their actions do to the security and unity of the country. It was probably on this basis that the Deputy Minister of Interior, Lt General Salva Mathok Gengdit, as quoted by the Citizen newspaper of January 25, 2013, issued an order to the police to arrest land grabbers in Juba with immediate effect. That was one of the most expected government intervention in land grabbing issues. One can only applaud loudly the Deputy Minister of Interior for this courageous and farsighted move.

The Deputy Minister was very decisive and this is what is needed in building this young nation to realize peace and prosperity for all. Traumatised landowners and the public at large must be very happy to hear and learn that the Ministry of Interior is asking organized forces/authorities to order their personnel not to be involved in illegal practice of land grabbing. Hopefully the Ministry of Interior has a monitoring unit to verify that indeed illegal practice of land grabbing is under control.

The way forward
The Ministry of Interior has already set the way forward. What can be added is that the illegal use of firearms to intimidate and terrorise innocent law abiding civilians out of their land or property should be addressed forthwith. Some personnel from organized forces keep firearms and are ready to produce or display them in a menacing manner to frighten landowners. This suggests indiscipline and disobedient personnel of organized forces should be severely punished as a deterrent to others not to attempt to use firearms to intimidate people.

It is difficult to understand why and how the personnel of organized forces should be keeping firearms in their houses, in what is supposed to be peace time, with the sole aim of being bossy and to frighten people. Firearms are support to be for the protection of people but not to intimidate the very people to be protected.

The Ministry of Interior should have done a good job if it can declare it a criminal offence for any personnel of organized forces to display firearms with the intention of intimidating people. Soldiers must be obedient or else they are not the soldiers to promote harmony and peace in the society.

Conclusion
The order by the Deputy Minister of Interior, Lt General Salva Mathok Gengdit, will go a long way to address the problem of land grabbing in and around Juba. People want to see such bold decisions being taken for good governance in the country. The Deputy Minister of Interior has set a precedent that should encourage others in the system to contribute positively to nation building. There is a yearning for good governance that is sensitive and responsive to the aspirations of the people.

It must be acknowledged that the Deputy Minister of Interior stands out as somebody who cares about this young nation living in harmony and in peace with itself. Nobody can afford to build this nation on land grabbing perpetuated through tribal lines. People must rise above tribal lines by upholding the rule of law. Land grabbers are law breakers and rebellious against the transitional constitution that guarantees people’s right to own land and property. By illegally grabbing somebody’s land, the land grabber is committing a criminal offence that should be punished under the law as a deterrent. Institutional weakness of law enforcing agencies should also be addressed to tackle effectively land grabbing.

The Deputy Minister of Interior should liaise with his counterpart in the Ministry of Defense and SPLA Affairs, and also with the state government for effective coordination in tackling land grabbing in and around Juba. Most dangerous land grabbers are people in uniform keeping firearms to protect their illegal activities. It is this component of land grabbers that is posing the real security risk in and around Juba. This becomes very serious when land grabbing takes tribal lines. However, it is a delight that the national government has become acutely aware of the menace of land grabbing and the resultant effect on the unity of people and the country.

In conclusion, it is in the best interest of security, peace and unity of this young nation that land grabbing should be brought to a speedy end by all means so that it is a thing of the past.