Archive for: March 2013

Lakes State Community looses zeal for Kiir’s leadership.

BY: Lotueng Junub, Rumbek, Lakes State, MAR/20/2013, SSN;

The current Public opinion in Lakes State has it that if people of South Sudan were to go to the polls today, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit would have been defeated in the first round of the ballot, no matter who his main rival is in the SPLM, apart from traitor, Dr.Lam Akol, this being due to Kiir’s nagging hatred for the people of Lakes State in general and Agar Community in particular.

There had been a lingering rumour that President Kiir has taken a sad face towards Lakes State on the pretext that the people of Lakes State are having Secret dealings with the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, an accusation which was widely denied by Lakes State Community terming it as a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

All we know in Lakes State of the last frequent visits of the Vice President was that he used to visit Lakes State in his capacity as Vice President as well as Deputy Chairman of SPLM in the Republic of South Sudan for that matter.

However, the whole episode started to surface in mid 2012 when the Vice President was delegated by the SPLM Secretariat to lead a team to Lakes State for SPLM thanksgiving Campaign to grassroot Constituencies, the second visit was on 29th July, 2012 when the vice President came to Lakes State again for the conclusion of Thanksgiving Campaign.

To put it blatantly, the issue of Vice President’s visit to Lakes State was being used as a scapegoat by President kiir ostensibly for collective punishment to the people of Lakes State, as the saying goes, “when two elephants are fighting it’s the grass that suffers.”

In this case it’s the innocent masses of Lakes State who are paying a price for the crime they haven’t committed meanwhile it was Kiir who appointed Dr. Riek Machar as his Vice President as well as SPLM Deputy Chairman and now resorted to telling people indirectly that no one should cooperate with his vice. Who is fooling who in this game?

Another visible scenario is that President Kiir has forgotten the electorates of Lakes State who overwhelmingly voted for him by 98% in the last 2010 general elections, however, since he was elected as president of the Republic of South Sudan he never set foot in Lakes to thank Lakes State Populace for having voted for him.

He denied Lakes State community government’s projects, a living example is the state road connecting Juba-Aweil has been left in a very appalling condition simply because it passes through Lakes State.

Also, Total Oil Company was ordered in February 2013 by president Kiir to leave Lakes State and relocate to Bor with immediate effect of 28/02/2013, as a result, a lot of projects funded by TOTAL were left uncompleted while a considerable number of people employed by TOTAL lost their jobs.

Our Elected governor was removed on 21/01/2013 and Maj. Gen. Matur Chut Dhuol was appointed as Caretaker governor under 101 (r) not because of tribal fighting that flared-up into Rumbek town on the 18/01/2013 between Kuei and Rup sections of Rumbek Central County.

South Sudan remains in a fragile situation under Kiir’s leadership and has been rocked with issues of lack of political will on the part of the government, insecurity in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap, Unity and Upper Nile, ranging from cattle raiding, tribal feuds and revenge killings yet governors of the other states haven’t been removed.

The characteristic manner leading to Chol Tong’s removal was not insecurity but it was crystal clear that president Kiir colluded with some politicians of Lakes State in Juba to remove an elected governor on the ground that Eng. Chol Tong was accused of having close ties with Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar.

Of course, as Vice president, he is supposed to be accorded due respect and cooperation by any State governor he visited.

Secondly, he was accused to have opposed Hon. Daniel Awet Akot for single-handedly appointing Hon. Mabor Ater Dhuol as Acting SPLM Secretary of Lakes state following the sudden death of SPLM Secretary, late Samuel Mathiang Ker. Ater’s appointment was widely objected to by SPLM Assistant Secretaries, County chairpersons and County secretaries in Lakes State, condemning it in the strongest terms possible as a decision taken without consultation from State Liberation Council and it was deemed unconstitutional.

Due to SPLM leadership inability to reload our party with vibrant leaders, it subsequently led into fragmentation of SPLM Party as analysts fear that if President Kiir insisted on holding to SPLM chairmanship in the forthcoming National Convention, it may probably lead to further split in SPLM which will indeed see the ruling party losing the grip of power to non-SPLM candidate.

SPLM in all ten States has been experiencing internal wrangling yet other elected governors in those States haven’t been removed, what is special about Lakes State?

In the aftermath of the removal of the Elected governor in Lakes State, the controversy now in so many people’s lips is that, why president used article 101 (r) in part to removed elected governor and refused to implement 101 (s) which allows for holding gubernatorial elections in Lakes State within 60 sixty days (two months) which lapses on 23rd March, 2013.

The government of the Caretaker governor in Lakes State will lose its legitimacy unless otherwise elections are conducted before 23rd March 2013.

There is a common knowledge that President Kiir wanted to eliminate all potential Lakes State politicians who’ve been working in his government and are now put on non-effective list as follows:

1.Gen.Dut Manyok
2.Gen.Matur Chut
3.Gen. Alfred Ajuong Makuer
4.Professor Machar Kachuol
5.Gen. Mager Achiek
6. Chief justice wol Makec
7. Gen.Makur Thou
8. Isaac Makur Ater (former Undersecretary of Finance)
9. Eng. Jacob Marial Maker (former undersecretary of Roads)
10. Eng. Chol Tong Mayay (former governor of Lakes State)
11. David Nok Marial
12. Khamis Chawul Lom
13. Said Chawul Lom
14. Ustaz William Ater Maciek
15. Dr. Peter Nyot Kok
16.Dr.Achol Marial
17. Awan Maper (former minister of Environment).
The list of Lakes State politicians who are awaiting reassignment from president Kiir is endless anyway.

With all these vivid analysis of all problems Lakes State community have encountered during president Kiir’s leadership, it’s imperative that our president is taking people of Lakes State for a ride and as a result Lakes State Community have completely lost any zeal for Kiir’s leadership and have demanded change of leadership in all spheres of political transformation.

Therefore, the Youth of Lakes State have taken it upon themselves to sensitize their people not to vote blindly comes 2015 general elections, like what happened in 2010 when leaders came to seek for their votes and who, when elected into public offices, they failed not only to implement what they promised but also have forgotten even to come and say thanks for having voted for them.

The days for regionalism are gone. When it comes to general elections in 2015 Lakes State will vote as a block to a leader on a give-and–take basis but not as a region as there has been enormous marginalization in regionalism where some States in Bhar El Ghazal are more developed while others are less developed.

Lotueng Junub is a South Sudanese citizen living in Lakes State and could be reach on lotuengjunub@yahoo.com

A Federal system and Kokora are two different things

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, MAR/18/2013, SSN;

The concept that a federal system and kokora are two different things is to address some confusion in people’s minds. In the context of South Sudan some people may perceive a federal system and kokora as synonymous. However, it can be asserted that a federal system and kokora are altogether two different things. The confusion arises from a negative perception of kokora.

People need to be made aware that a federal system and kokora are not synonymous. They need some education to be confident to see the difference. One way of educating people is through the definition of kokora in contrast to a federal system. This hopefully may shed some light on the difference between a federal system and kokora.

Kokora
Kokora is not an English word and so cannot be found in any English dictionary. It is a word in the language used by one ethnic group, the Karo ethnic group, of Equatoria. The Karo ethnic group is composed of the Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Mundari, Nyangwara and the Pojulu. In translating the work kokora into English, it may simply mean division. In 1983 kokora became a famous catchword in South Sudan.

In 1972 South Sudan was granted the status of one region through an agreement (Addis Ababa Agreement) concluded to end a civil war. As a single region South Sudan was administered through a high executive council headed by a president with a council of ministers. Previously South Sudan was composed of three provinces known as Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile separately answerable to the central government in Khartoum in the old Sudan. However, the agreement unified the three provinces into a single entity, the southern region.

In the southern region people of the former province of Equatoria agitated for decentralization. In contrast, the majority of non-Equatorians were vehemently opposed to the decentralization of the southern region into three regions corresponding to its former provinces of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile. The situation became reminiscent of people in a tag-of-war. There was neither mutual understanding nor a middle way as suggested by Arop Madut-Arop in his book, ‘The Genesis of Political Consciousness in South Sudan.’

Arop Madut-Arop’s conviction was that the division of the southern region into three regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile should have been accepted but under an umbrella authority of the High Executive Council then. This was interesting. Had the southern politicians picked this up the situation might have been different and also the word kokora might not have been conceived as it was then.

Eventually when the southern region was divided into three regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile, the Karo word kokora became synonymous with the division of the southern region, the division which was negatively perceived and vehemently opposed by non-Equatorians who strongly felt Equatorians wanted them out of Equatoria by all means. It is not therefore strange that the strong feeling against kokora lives on as a result of the division of the then southern region.

The feeling of people towards kokora may explain the confusion in people’s minds between a federal system and kokora. Some people imagine that a call for a federal system is in fact a call for the division of South Sudan exactly the way the division of the southern region took place in 1983 and the subsequent departure of non-Equatorians from Equatoria.

Federal system
Hardly any argument will be made for the merit of a federal system. It is rather to articulate that a federal system is not the dreaded kokora which took place in a hostile atmosphere. By then politicians across South Sudan were unfortunately in bitter opposite camps with less focus on a middle way forward as people of one destiny.

A federal system should not be seen as a target against political opponents or a way of throwing out those who belong to other regions or states. It is not a political tool to discriminate but rather a tool that is used to promote national unity in diversity. Many countries in the world use a federal system without being fussy. Why should South Sudan be so unique not to adopt a federal system while it is a country full of diversities?

Kokora is already history. It is now thirty years since kokora first appeared in the scene. The population of people under 30 years old in South Sudan is 72.1 per cent. The implication is that the majority of population of South Sudan was not yet born when kokora took place. The question is why should a tiny minority of old people prejudice the energetic youth who are the future leaders of this country. Kokora is now being used falsely to warn people of divisions perceived as detrimental to national unity.

It is obvious that national unity is of paramount importance. What matters, though, is how to attain national unity. National unity cannot be attained by lecturing others. It is something that all have to work for. As in the SPLM Manifesto 2012 the Chairman, Salva Kiir Mayardit, said, “A new nation comes with new challenges. We must face challenges with innovative solutions and a bold approach”.

We need an innovative and bold approach such as exploring a federal system that is unique to South Sudan in promoting national unity instead of being paralysed by paranoia of kokora. Kokora as it is now history, unfortunately, uprooted non-Equatorians from Equatoria. Nevertheless, it was not only non-Equatorians who were uprooted but Equatorians were also uprooted from the other regions. The pain of kokora was shared. So living in the past is not going to be helpful in nation building.

We may need to be liberated from the paranoia of kokora. This is in order to be rational in charting the way forward in attaining national unity because a federal system is not the same as kokora. At any rate it is the human being to make any system capable of delivering adequate services.

For example, human weakness in the system in upholding the rule of law may see an increase in crimes being committed hence rampant insecurity that may be a threat to national unity.

Unity of South Sudan
How to promote the unity of South Sudan is a challenge. A centralized unitary system is considered by some as the guarantor of unity. However, what this does in a country of a very low literacy rate and where people are inclined to be too tribalistic is the encouragement of disunity.

A decentralized system is claimed to be operational but the reality is that it is more of a centralized system. Others have claimed that South Sudan is already applying a federal system. This is false. A federal system is not being applied. Those prejudiced are resistant because of what appears to be a hangover caused by kokora.

What appears to be a hangover caused by kokora is nothing but a guilt feeling for unforgivable crude behavior which I one time called medieval behavior. It is not kokora but the crude behavior that makes people suspicious that a call for a federal system is a ploy to throw them out, for example, from Equatoria.

This is, of course, ridiculous. A federal system has nothing to do with throwing people out from this or that region or from a state for that matter.

A federal system is for an equitable sharing of power and wealth for the benefit of people regardless of their region, tribal, cultural and political background. Arguably, a federal system is not the creation of tribal homelands. What is important is a strong central government that has an iron fist to deliver.

A hot line of communication for consultation, cooperation and coordination between the centre and the regions should be established in promoting national unity. There are mechanisms of creating a unique federal system for South Sudan that will address the fear of kokora.

Appropriate system
As to what is the appropriate system for South Sudan is a matter of opinion. However, worldwide support for a federal system is greater today than ever before because of a growing conviction that it enables a country to have the best of both worlds, those of shared rule and self-rule, coordinated national government and diversity, creative experimentation and liberty.

In South Sudan a centralized system is being adopted but it seems the centralized system is not delivering basic services as expected. There is regional disparity, rampant insecurity and stagnation in development. How can national unity be promoted is such a situation?

It may be appropriate to try something else. When the fear of kokora is overcome, the appropriate system will be a federal system. This is because a federal system enables a country to have the best of both worlds, those of shared rule and self-rule. This can only be good in promoting national unity in diversity in South Sudan.

Conclusion
It is hoped that the difference between a federal system and kokora has been satisfactorily elaborated. The fear of kokora should not be unduly the fear of a federal system for South Sudan. It was understandable what the trauma of kokora thirty years ago had on people. It might have been an unforgettable experience for those innocent ones. However, apportioning blame won’t be of any useful purpose in the search for a better way forward because it takes two to quarrel.

We either carry ourselves together or we all fall. What is important is for people to be open-minded for governance that works for inclusiveness as the vision is to build an inclusive secular democratic developmental state according to the SPLM Manifesto 2012.

It is hoped it is now clear that a federal system and kokora are two different things. In all, people should rest assured that the adoption of a federal system is not kokora or a ploy. Nothing will change in the way of movement of people out of Equatoria.

Inter-personal and community relations may improve as there will be reduction in crude behaviours which have been the source of antagonism. For example, such a crude behavior as grabbing land or plots of legitimate owners or disrespect for the rule of law will not be rampant as it is.

This, however, does not mean that people with inherent crude behavior would have been ejected or thrown out of Equatoria. What that means is that in a federal system there may likely to be a behavioral change for the better.

In conclusion, Equatoria is an integral part of South Sudan. So the fearful of a federal system that it is kokora and that they will be thrown out of Equatoria should relax, for Equatoria is a home to any South Sudanese like Bahr el Ghazal or Upper Nile which can also be a home to any South Sudanese.

Democracy within the SPLM: “Selector-ate” or electorate system?

BY: DENG MALOK, JUBA, MAR/18/2013, SSN;

Robert Ingersoll, an American civil war veteran and politician, once said that, “give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.” The SPLM has espoused and fought for the democratic principles of freedom of expression, justice, equality, liberty and dignity for the marginalized people in the Sudan for the last three decades. These are the principles that are embodied and enshrined in the SPLM manifesto and it’s constitution. The SPLM managed to get the golden opportunity to practice what it preaches in Southern Sudan when the CPA was signed in 2005.

It therefore came as a surprise to me during the Sudan general elections of April 2010 when the SPLM refused to back some candidates that were proposed from the grassroots by the various constituencies as their representatives. Although the Secretary General of the SPLM, comrade Pagan Amum, and the SPLM leadership later apologized for the miscalculated move, it was nonetheless the first major and critical blow to the democratic transformation that the SPLM has been singing about over the years.

I won’t go into the possible purported reasons as to why the SPLM took that drastic move but I would want us as citizens to look at the intent behind the move now that we are fast approaching the 2015 general elections. Democracy is defined as rule of the people by the people and for the people. When you eliminate the peoples’ decision out of this equation, then you are talking about dictatorship.

During the process of debating the current interim constitution of South Sudan in late 2010 and early 2011, those who called for term limits, vesting more powers in the legislature, empowering the judiciary and limiting the powers of the executive were labelled derogatorily as enemies of the state. Why would people who believe in democracy call an individual with a different opinion an enemy?

What does democracy mean to them? Are we as a people suffering from intellectual myopia? We are currently embarking on drafting the permanent constitution for South Sudan and we are already shooting ourselves in the foot. Twelve months have gone already and nothing has been done. The Minister of Justice, Mr. John Luk, has given the constitutional review body another non-renewable twelve months.

The first twelve months elapsed with no progress due to lack on funding. Are our national priorities right? The opposition is saying the process is not inclusive. The SPLM led government should ensure that it involves all hues and shades of our country in this process.

We have seen unilateral decisions being taken by senior party officials without consultation of the SPLM State secretariat in Lakes State, Northern Bhar el Ghazal State and Upper Nile State, just to mention but a few. Some of these decisions taken are on the wrong side of our South Sudan Interim Constitution 2011; if you have had the chance to personally read it.

The democratic space seems to be limited around personalities and the decisions making process seems to favour the top-bottom approach instant of consultation within the wider structures of the party where decisions should ideally emanate from as per the SPLM 2007 constitution.

So far the deliberations led by Dr. Anne Itto on the code of conduct, rules and regulations and review of 2007 SPLM constitution are positive steps. For the documents to represent the will and aspirations of the entire party, the various committees need to allow a broad based participation of the elected members so that their views are incorporated before they are passed.

Dr. Luka Biong Deng penned a wonderful article on the workshop that he attended in Italy in October 2012 called” The Curse of Liberation.” The article can be simply summarized as all armed liberation movements in Africa and around the world slowly turn their backs to the ideals that they fought for once they attain their political freedom from their former colonizers or oppressors. It can be bluntly stated that the new liberators quickly become the new oppressors.

The question that I and you, the dear reader, need to sincerely ask ourselves is this: should we allow the SPLM to become our new tyrant? We could rather say that should Juba become our new Khartoum? The obvious logical answer would be no.

What I’m quite sure of as a common citizen on the ground is that the people of South Sudan still believe that SPLM is their political party and they will want to give it the benefit of a doubt. SPLM therefore needs to cement this goodwill from the people by allowing real democracy to be practised within the party.

The leadership should not take this for granted. It can do this by allowing all elected members to openly vie for positions within the party including the Chair of the party who I assume will be the presidential candidate in 2015.

All elected members should be able to openly vie for the various positions without the slightest hint of fear or hesitation. If they are afraid, then they seriously need to evaluate this freedom we claim to have.

The Kenya Africa National Union (KANU) ruled Kenya since it independence in 1963. It was abandoned by the masses in 2002 after thirty nine years of its rule and it collapsed under its own weight. Many senior party members left it because the playing field was not leveled for all members of the party.

Will the SPLM as a political party survive the next twenty years?

In my view it will largely depend on what is done in terms of systems, processes and procedures of electing members from the grassroots to the top and how the political field will be leveled in the upcoming convention this year.

I hope the years of fighting for freedom, the huge sacrifices made and the suffering of our people were not just opportunities for SPLM to preach water and now that freedom is here, they want to drink wine.

Let me leave you with a thought from a former five-star general and thirty-fourth president of the United States of America, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who stated that, “freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.”

Mr. Deng Malok is a concerned South Sudanese and a member of the SPLM based in Juba and can be reached at pawoiATdengmalok.com.

The change we need in South Sudan!

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, MAR/17/2013, SSN;

Change is indeed needed in South Sudan and this is a fact which no two should differ on. Equally concerned compatriots have made this very observation earlier on though in a bit of a sarcastic way.

“ Now we have got the South Sudan state that we fought for, but still we have to create the people that we can proudly refer to as the South Sudanese”, they said.

So who are we the current people to whom South Sudan is a home? Are we not South Sudanese in any way? Of course we are. We are indeed South Sudanese in every sense of the expression. If so, then where does the problem lie? It is the answer to this question that will form the main theme of this article.

We are all South Sudanese, however our problem lies in that there are others who look at themselves as being more South Sudanese than the rest. For in South Sudan there are no less than seventy or so different ethnicities, all of which have the same equal rights to citizenship of our beautiful country. And for any one or a certain group of ethnicities to assume more rightful ownership of the country is in fact to call for a total dismantling of the country itself.

It’s now time that we face our own problems and accept them the way they are. For in reality they are all of our own makings. What we have now is the legacy of the over five decades of war that shaped our collective destiny as a nation. This legacy extends to include the Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA] between the north and the south, for it is this very CPA that paved the way to our independence.

Today South Sudanese both at home and in the Diaspora are concerned and indeed disturbed about the rampant condition of misrule and poor governance that the SPLM is busy administering on our people. But what is this organization referred to as the SPLM supposed to mean to all of us?

Some of us had ever since found it difficult to identify with the SPLM in as far as its ideology of the united Sudan was concerned, but then then the gap even widened on further, when the movement became a sole political instrument which was constantly abused by a particular ethnic group in its quest for dominant power over South Sudan.

Now, eight years after the end of the war, South Sudan continues to suffer under this corrupted institution of self proclaimed liberators. There is indeed much to support the existence of ethnic Sinisterism within the SPLM [ A Secular Religion of the Lie: The history of those who were Marxists, others who were Fascists, and others who were Cannibals and others who were Leftists]. It is a party that hardly ever existed except where there is feasting, embezzlement, looting and corruption.

And to put it right, the SPLM party is in fact a political tool being used by the the so called liberators turn rulers, to tighten their grip on power and never has it in any way been the ruling party of South Sudan. Sincerely speaking our country is being run by a totalitarian ruler who gives no any damn to any institution including of course the SPLM itself.

To tell the truth besides its nostalgia for the bush war, SPLM actually lacks any of the basic programs and no wonder that it remains imprisoned in the outdated mentality of mob politics. Amazing even the more is that people who went on and subscribed to this party have on several occasions suffered in the hands of their so-called comrades in a way no any different from that suffered by the majority who prefer not to subscribe.

Back in the pre-independence days it was an open secret that the majority of South Sudanese in a tactical move accepted the SPLM leadership following the legacy of the CPA. And it was also a sure way to approach the self determination referendum as a united people, yet deep inside everyone knows who is who. This one off move should not in any way be misinterpreted to mean an overwhelming support for this ailing party.

The core issue here now is that we have an independent country to run, and it can only be run as a peaceful and stable state if, true multi-party democracy, and freedom of expression is guaranteed to all. And to expect this ethnically propelled SPLM to deliver the above mentioned dividends is in fact to day dream.

Indeed naïve is s/he who underestimates the fact that the country is living this chaotic moment as a calculated policy of the current SPLM leadership and its hand picked inner circle in a bid to create a bourgeois class that can set them and their families apart from the rest of the south Sudanese proletariat for generations and generations to come.

The majority of those who initially embraced the SPLM in South Sudan as a party for realization of their long held dream for a well developed agrarian country that they could pride themselves with, are now one by one appreciating the one fact that such a dream is virtually impossible to achieve under the current ill fitted leadership.

Since last December 2012, the wave of running back into exile has doubled especially so among the most outspoken of the so-called South Sudan’s “Lost Boys”. These are the ones who will rightly reflect to the outside world how hostile the political environment in the new country has become under president Salva Kiir’s leadership. Welcome back to exile my fellow patriots and at least now you can call a spade a spade after you have learnt to do that through the hard way.

Today in South Sudan there is widespread optimism that oil will soon again flow to the Sudanese port for export after a 14-month break since Juba turned off the tap. However although Oil exports may restart but the economic problems will not end.

It is already perceived that foreign Aid, investment and trade will help, especially the Juba elite. But there is no wonder that President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s government will again prioritize security, focusing on managing ethnic conflict and relations with Khartoum. All these will undoubtedly continue to be at the expense of any true development all across the country.

Yes President Salva Kiir Mayardit will pour all the Oil money in securing his position as the head of state. He will also use the oil money to win over vice president Dr Riek Machar who is now more prepared than ever to contest for the top job. Ethnic conflicts will undoubtedly increase in the coming few months especially towards the election year – 2015.

And whether we are all together done with Khartoum or not, the truth be said that South Sudan is no longer going to accept Salva Kiir Mayardit’s candidacy in the forthcoming election, and even much so of any of his kitchen cabinet candidates for that matter. It’s here that the much talked about change will have to come, with the next president coming either from the Greater Equatoria or the Greater Upper Nile regions. As bluntly as I put it, it may be this country’s only way out of the imminent implosion ahead.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General – United South Sudan Party (USSP). Can be reached at: justinramba@doctors.net.uk

Kindly repatriate your children home, honorable leaders

BY: Holy Crook, RSS, MAR/17/2013, SSN;

Unless every constitutional post holder repatriates his or family into South Sudan, efforts to build the new state will always go to waste.

To serve one’s country equals serving one’s immediate family. In essence, a leader is two fathers in one. He has two families that he looks after, cater for. One family is comprised of wife and children. The other comprises of you and me and his immediate family as well. A good leader serves his nation the very way he serves his immediate family. Such a leader is called man of the people.

But as the saying goes: no one can serve two masters, it is really hard, almost impossible, for a leader, particularly a South Sudanese, to serve his nation efficiently, especially when his wife and children are residing in a foreign land.

Immediate family, mainly children, play a major role in the governing of a nation. Children influence decisions a leader makes on national issues. That’s why it is rare to find a childless democratic leader today. If there are any, you will always learn that they have adopted children, honorary sons and daughters.

For South Sudan, it’s different. The fact that children of senior government officials are still residents of foreign cities has serious implications on the way the affairs of the country are being run. It’s simple:

As a cabinet minister whose children go to a private school in Nairobi or Kampala, you will always pay little or no attention at all, to challenges facing primary school children in Chukudum or Nasir.

When your son goes to one of the prestigious colleges in New York or London, whatever problem that faces Juba or Wau university students, whatever plight of a poor student you hear ‘gets into your head through one ear and flies out through the other,’ immediately.

When young children and the elderly die at Juba Teaching Hospital due to lack of medical supplies, when mothers die during delivery at Malakal civil Hospital because there is no one to attend to them for nurses have downed their tools over salary arrears, you cease to listen because none of your family members is affected in any way.

When majority of Juba residents, after eight years, ‘smell’ electricity, when the citizens are losing hearing to the deafening sound of Chinese generators, you find it too much work to devise solutions simply because neither you nor your child knows what it feels like to dwell in a town without power.

When good citizens perish in road carnage due to bad roads, when a rescue team takes three days to get to a village 10 kilometers far off, to fight off raiders because of non-existence of road networks, you knock back three tots of your favorite European whiskey and say “who cares?” because none of your children uses those roads.

When almost every home in Juba does not have access to running water, when women still walk distance to fetch water, none of those conditions inspires you to find possible solutions to the prolonged suffering because your family is enjoying sweat of other men who toiled, men who had to build landmarks to make sure their offspring have something to brag about.

Do you see how your children are impacting on the national issues, directly?

Yes every parent wants all the best things there are on earth for his or her children. Every father wants his children to acquire better education. But now that all these are impacting on the nation negatively, won’t you move your family back to the country?

It sounds wild but the moment you use economic lens to look at what you are doing, you will get to realize how destructive this is to the country. Try this: If school fees of your child is Ksh. 100,000 per term, don’t you figure what it means to the young economy of South Sudan?

If your fellow civil servant sends tens of thousands of dollars to Australia or America as monthly family upkeeps, don’t you see how bad it is to the economy?

If a constitutional post holder, someone charged with the responsibility of building the nation, could buy a 20-million-shilling mansions in Nairobi, how many other comrades of his have bought such houses? Exactly what plans do you have for this country and its citizens?

Alleviation of this baby country from chronic economic, political and social pains is easy. It does not and it will not require rocket science to better the Republic of South Sudan. All it demands is heart, patriotism.

Since school is one of the pieces of cloth you always use to cover ‘political nakedness’, since education for your children is the reason why they are still in refuge, improvement and transformation of the education sector must be prioritized in the country. Below are possible solutions. But first, let’s look at how bad the education sector is.

A UNESCO recent report highlights factors behind low enrollment and early drop out across the country. The two factors most widely reported by parents, explaining why their children are out of school are cost and distance.

While the government has a policy of free basic education, many schools appear to charge fees. Moreover, parents face indirect costs associated with the purchase of uniforms and books. Distance is especially problematic in states – such as Western Bar Ghazal, Western Equatoria and Jonglei – with low population densities.

In the case of South Sudan, infrastructure deficits and shortages of learning materials reinforce deficits in the quality of education, as illustrated by the following data:

Pupil-teacher ratios are very high, especially for trained teachers. The national average ratio for pupils-trained teachers is 1:117, rising to 1:141 in Unity and Upper Nile states and 1:201 in Jonglei.

Classroom shortages are pervasive. One third of the children ‘in school’ are being taught in the open air and another quarter in semi-permanent or basic classrooms. The average pupil classroom ratio is 134:1

Provision of latrines and safe drinking water is limited, with just half of schools having access to both facilities. Most school children ease themselves in the nearby bushes.

Textbooks are in short supply, with an average pupil textbook ratio of 1:4 rising to the worst case scenario of 1:9 in Unity state.

The above problems echo the government’s perception of the education sector. They show that the government devalues the badly needed education.

Look, in spite of the pathetic conditions of the educational system in South Sudan, the children of the “Most High,” starting from children of H.E President Kiir and Vice President Riek, must be repatriated into the country because it is only their presence, their feeling and sharing in the pain of this deplorable situation that will compel their good dads to find solutions to the predicament.

A problem well defined is a problem half-solved. Need I get into the details of more possible solutions? No, Sir.

Juba street brutality while the police helplessly looked on

BY: Abdi Ashkir, JUBA, MAR/16/2013, SSN;

On March, 14, 2013, while we were driving in Juba our car was hit by another car from behind. The driver of that car that collided with my car and I both came out to see the damage caused by the big expensive car which was behind us.

As we came out, an angry young man came out of the car; as I was expecting a conversation as it is the custom all over the world, I was suddenly hit on the face by this young man who looked inexplicably very angry. I couldn’t understand the reason and I was badly shocked.

As I don’t speak Arabic, being a foreign non-Arabic national, I therefore tried to call a friend of mine who could speak for me. However, instead I was brutally and repeatedly punched by another young man also and he took my mobile (cell phone) away from me.

Strangely enough, the South Sudan police and the traffic police arrived at the scene and they witnessed what had happened but did nothing at all. While everybody was there, the young man was loudly shouting at me insults and he was demanding that ‘I sit on the ground and beg for mercy.’

Fortunately, the gathering crowds of passersby came to our rescue and everybody agreed that the other car was in clearly at fault

Few brave South Sudanese came to our help and they directly confronted the aggressors from the expensive car that hit my car from behind.

One man from the crowd was visibly so much angry that he told the young man: “Who gave you the right to tell people to sit on the ground?”

This man from the crowd bravely continued: “I don’t care what position you hold in this country but people have rights under this flag, even foreigners.”

Another bystander courageously explained how he had fought for the freedom of South Sudan and how some people are now abusing the name of the nation and the flag by beating people up just because they can or just because they are from a ruling elite family.

All in all, I am a business man and I travel all over the world, but it is the first time I saw first hand justice on the streets of Juba, South Sudan. Some people are definitely behaving as if they are above the law; it seems because they are driving a big expensive car, they see themselves as more important than anybody else; hence some feel they can even beat up anybody on their way, right or wrongly.

I am traveling back soon, but I would like to send this open letter to any one who loves this country; to anyone who fought for the freedom of this country; to anyone who cares for the image of his/her country.

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of South Sudanese are people loving and civilized people; however, there are some people who abuse the system, because they know if they are arrested they will be released.

Good people of South Sudan, if you love your country you have to make sure that the objectives and causes fought for tby he founders of this nation are not exchanged with oppression – the exact same thing that they fought against.

It is not good for the image of this country when I explain to my friends back home that I had been abused and assaulted in South Sudan, in front of the police who impotently watched us being mistreated without interfering, despite our having visas to stay in the country, despite being guests of the nation.

I will not keep any hatred in my heart despite having suffered a broken arm.

Nonetheless, I will not only remember how those men humiliated me but I will also gratefully remember those from the South Sudanese public who bravely stood for justice; those who came out to defend me and justice.

You the reader, I remind you to always stand on that side of justice.

Thanks,
Abdi Ashkir

Who is a patriotic South Sudanese?

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, NBGS, MAR/14/2013, SSN;

“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism ― G. Edward Griffin”

Dying for the sake of liberation for justice, freedom and democracy were jingoistic confidence in Dr.John Garang’s SPLM/SPLA which brought our independence. However, South Sudan as a newly born country in Africa has never been fairly breathing politically at times. This is because the ruling party is not given a break by individuals who think they can do things better than those who fought for decades. It is surprising to have had fought for decades and botched to unite as South Sudanese and a political family in democratic world. The unity of purpose or political rationale needs collective hands and minds for nation buildings. It is a work for all.

Whenever there is peace in hearts, there is hope or love among the people – that hatred, corruption, tribal conflicts and cattle raiding are evil exertions that can bring shame to the society. Experience taught us how to be the masters and servants of our doings. We must change our traditional ways of approaching issues in the country. Poverty has been residing in our minds and soul, simply rooting corruption in our institutions.

Who is a patriotic South Sudanese? Where isa patriotic South Sudanese in me? I am forcing back tears of pride at my South Sudanism. It is my moral outlook to grieve, tell the truth and join hands with others to work together than blaming, criticizing anyone. This is my own idiosyncratic thoughts of ‘patriotism’ and I believe that many South Sudanese have impending hopes for their future. I shouldn’t stop doing what I have been doing. I have to contribute for the success of our nation.

Amid our political disagreements, patriotism — an entrenched love of our country — remains striking a hungry hole in hearts that has the potential to bring us together, particularly at times of national reconciliation. Is it easy for South Sudanese to reconcile and forgive each others?

It is better for those who wronged others to apologize before reconciliation. This shows that anyone can make mistakes but acceptance of wrongdoings upshots to forgiveness. I urge everyone to embrace a culture of peace, love and political togetherness to stop corruption and tribalism.

Within my own painstaking rational tribe of thoughts, patriotism is sometimes considered as a ‘political problem,’ – chauvinistic that is morally fitting to be protected by South Sudanese constitution and human rights activists. Every South Sudanese has a tone to voice, regardless of political background, tribe and education. Of course, freedom of expression is not freedom of obligation; I am afraid to pronounce that ‘constructive criticism’ is oil to politics.

A patriot is a person who loves, supports, and defends his/her country. While it is true that in a democracy, citizens/politicians are free to embrace their own individual positions in a fair opposition to the government’s because there is no country without opposition if there is a need to oppose.

Patriotism is in the end, unifying. “United we stand, divided we fall.” This aphorism captures the spirit of what it means to be a patriot. While we may have differences, we still share a common bond in wishing the best for our country. Indeed, for the most part, it cannot be disputed that patriotism calls for people to stand together. Taking pride in one’s nation and proudly representing it – my country, my people.

Be it a soldier, a civil servant, a politician, or everyday citizen. To be a patriot however, doesn’t mean that you need to publicly announce your love of nation. It can be a private, personal pride. After all, patriotism at its core is a feeling and voluntary. There is no need for patriot to cry through writings.

The idealistic problem of patriotism is blind ‘self-perfection’ and intellectual assumption of oneself as the better person among 8 million South Sudanese. Some people think of patriotism as natural and proper zeal of affection to one’s own country in which he/she was born, raised and fought for the benefits of life on its soil, among its people, and under its laws. They also consider patriotism an imperative part of our identity.

Some go further, and argue that patriotism is morally binding, or even that it is the core of integrity. There is, however, a major tradition in moral thinking which understands morality as fundamentally universal and impartial, and seems to rule out local, partial relation and loyalty. It is you, who is a patriot, that all you should do is to be honest, willing, transparent and accountable.

Patriotism has many eyes in political South Sudan. On 9th July, 2011, my colleagues and I celebrated the day to remember our fallen heroes and heroines. It was the genesis of our political achievement in which you and I deserve the right to enjoy the fruits of the struggle. Therefore patriotism versus nationalism but in one –!

According to George Orwell’s contrast as I quoted, “Nationalism is about power. Its adherent wants to acquire as much power and prestige as possible for his nation, in which he submerges his individuality. Patriotism is a devotion to a particular place and a way of life one thinks best, but has no wish to impose on others. Nationalism is aggressiveness and patriotism is defensiveness.”

When we celebrated the day – we were patriots and nationalists in our pending desires. Some of us have different interests that need unique strategies. It is about employment – either political, civil service, private sector job or joke vacancies. However, patriotism and nationalism are distinguished in expressions of the strength of the love and unique concern one feels for it, the degree of one’s recognition with it.

South Sudan is for everyone. If you feel that things are diverging, the good way is constructive dialogue and informative media approaches to create awareness and problem-solving mechanisms. The cure for fire is not fire.

South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011 was met with joy, hope, worries and many challenges. Despite the fact that South Sudan is gifted with large amounts of natural resources, the country faces hindrances. These included a population suffering from invincible poverty and cattle raiding; extremely low levels of human capital amassing, food insecurity, poorly developed economic infrastructure, invasive bureaucratic corruption and political opposition for nothing. As mentioned there is nobody to blame, our country is new and needs patience than oppositions. Patriotism is not opposition.

Patriotism has a fair number of critics. The morality of writing to inform is, writing to die or stop writing to forget anything anywhere by everyone when it is enemizing. Are opinion writers patriots? Be it. I wanted to be an enemy to English vocabularies only – ‘English words’ not English or South Sudanese. And I am fighting now with my keyboard on the computer in order to avoid confrontation with words by those who usually disagree with anyone.

All in all, patriotism is not a disgrace at all. It sounds like this as they put it: “on my honor, I will do my best to perform my duty to God and my country.”

In my previous article titled, South Sudan: prides of our generation, and in my own wordings, “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 enjoy the fruits of success.

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

Why South Sudan’s liberation is gone awry

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, RSS, MAR/13/2013, SSN;

The renowned and influential non-violent philosopher and activist and the founding father of India, Mahatma Gandhi, is widely cited to have admonished that, “your task is to bring your adversary to his senses and not to his knees.” In this spirit I examine the reasons why South Sudan’s Liberation is gone awry.

But first and foremost, it is worth observing that in our time it has become a common knee jerk reaction by our “liberators” to strongly dismiss all constructive critiques, which are aimed at challenging their government to improve its policies and performance by mitigating corruption and nepotism, and increasing social service output in order to forge a prosperous and peaceful united South Sudan.

In response to all voices of change, the hawks of the failed SPLM establishment are quick to remind us that ‘Rome was not built over night’ which is true, but Rome was also plundered over night. What is more, the SPLM apologists have also been quick to tell us that South Sudan is still a baby nation that is learning to take its first baby steps to walk.

As I previously noted elsewhere, one official once put it this way: “the country is young and… if we [GoSS] were children, we will be breaking glasses all the time. Please be patient with us when we break few glasses!” Unfortunately as has become conventional wisdom, views such as this have profoundly contributed to the regression of our country since the signing of the CPA in 2005.

It seems our baby state is being made to learn how to walk backwards, and the tragedy is that the international community subscribes to the lies that are being peddled by the rogue SPLM organization.

In recent months, the guardians of the SPLM movement and government in Juba have started peddling another foolery — that of the patriotic argument. Voices of change that question the integrity of South Sudan’s liberation in view of the rotten policies pursued by the inept and rouge regime are increasingly accused of being unpatriotic and of disrespecting the fallen heroes without whose blood and selfless sacrifices, we are told, South Sudan as an independent state would not have come into being.

It is agreeable that there is moral and political value in promoting patriotism, and forging a cohesive South Sudanese unity and national identity, as well as fostering respect and appreciation of the mammoth contribution of the selfless sacrifices of fallen heroes and heroines to the independence of South Sudan.

However, the distortion by our “liberators” arises when the accusation of lack of patriotism and disrespect of the blood and sacrifice of the martyrs becomes a pretext to silence well-wishers of the Republic and to conceal institutionalized corrupt and nepotistic policies and the Arab-like marginalization and hegemonic and expansionist agenda.

Consider for instance the question: which is more unpatriotic, to loot your country, condone land grabbing and remain apathetic to current ills driving our nation on the cliff of violent inter-communal anarchy, or to speak out against these vices in order to proactively arrest the steady decent of the country to the carnage of another impending full-scale war?

Another diversion trick our “liberators” skillfully employ is to question the contribution of the voices of change to the independence of South Sudan. We are asked where were you when we [the liberators] were in the bush, cowards? We “liberated” you. What a joke?!

And, of course, there is no need to mention the constant threat of being detained, tortured, or lynched that the constructive voices of change face for free expression. Examples abound.

In response to these arrogance and ignorance — a combination that can send a rational human being to the stone-age, allow me to share the following disclaimer with my “liberators.” I am not a liberator and I was not in the bush, but I refuse to be complicit in dragging South Sudan into the unknown because of the overwhelmingly ill-conceived political decisions that are being pursued in the country.

Not speaking out against innocent suffering in South Sudan is tantamount to being complicit with the perpetrators who are inflicting this suffering. I see it as my moral duty to speak for the voiceless and suffering South Sudanese due to political malpractices, regardless of their socio-ethnic particularity and belonging.

In response to the bush question, not all South Sudanese should have been in the bush in order to have a voice. But if I must descend to that level then here is why I was not in the bush: I was not in the bush because I was unfortunate enough to be a young boy living in Juba in the early years of the struggle.

I was not in the bush because I was displaced to Khartoum with my family when both our “liberators” and the regime in Khartoum conspired to make life unlivable in Juba in the late 80s. Our “liberators” rained bombs in the town indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians, while Khartoum cut off food supply by imposing an air embargo. This in turn led to famine which was exacerbated by drought that further claimed many more innocent lives.

I was not in the bush because as a teenager living in Khartoum, the opportunity arose to join the front-line in mid-90s, but I was a coward and disobeyed direct order from Khartoum to go and fight my own brothers and sisters in the South. I was faced with two options to be forced into going to the South to kill my own brothers or be killed, or to go into exile.

I was not in the bush because I chose the second option and went into exile in Syria and Lebanon, where I lived a humiliated life as a refugee without status or rights, two years of which I spent in prison for being an illegal alien in Lebanon.

Yes, I was not in the bush because I was a coward and not a “liberator,” a coward for refusing to pick up arms against my brothers and sisters in the Southern bushes. When the opportunity arose to join the struggle during my time in Diaspora at that point the struggle was suffering from confusion and deadly schism that inflicted atrocious loss in innocent lives in support bases of the two factions.

I was not in the bush because I refused to have innocent blood on my hands, I was a coward. And in any event, I was not in the bush because the group that was explicitly fighting for South Sudan’s liberation and that I was sympathetic with had rejoined Khartoum, and likewise I refused to align myself with the criminal Islamist regime in Khartoum.

There is no need to descend to the level of pointing out the role of policy advocacy and its contribution to the independence of South Sudan, and what role many South Sudanese who were not in the bush could have played. We will maintain the moral high ground.

Now let the “liberator” tell me, how much of a coward was I?

As a starter, the Southern liberation went wrong precisely because of the arrogance and ignorance of our “liberators.” But the Southern liberation has also gone bad primarily because current policies in Juba are reminiscent of those historically pursued by successive Khartoum regimes, and for which the South chose a divorce to begin with.

Hence a liberation from what and to what end? The similarities with Khartoum are so striking that they even impose alcohol ban in certain states of South Sudan, not knowing that generations of South Sudanese were brought up with the help of income generated from alcohol production and sale.

But there is more to why the liberation of South Sudan is liberation for the benefit of the elite few. Many of the grievances that constituted the “Southern problem” and that led to the liberation struggle in its two intermittent stints remain either un-addressed or are being aggressively pursued as Khartoum did.

Let us briefly unpack these public grievances as they have been well-documented in scholarly research, and examine how Juba has handled them since the formation of an autonomous government in 2005.

The first grievance that sent South Sudanese (without me) to the bush was Khartoum’s aggressive pursuits of Arabization and Islamistization expansionist and domination policies and agenda in Sudan, the so-called national identity contestation debate.

According to these contested claims to Sudanese national identity explanation best described here as identity of domination versus identity of resistance, violent conflicts in Sudan, including the North-South civil wars, were in response to Islamic and Islamist central regimes denying the overwhelming majority of Sudanese the right to equal citizenship status, and appreciation of cultural diversity in Sudan.

In the case of South Sudan, the southern identities are not recognized and respected by Khartoum. In response, South Sudanese developed an identity of resistance that transpired in the liberation struggles that ultimately culminated in the liberation of South Sudan, which is now being hijacked by some.

A great segment of the South Sudanese society continue to suffer from the grievance of expansionism and domination as being aggressively pursued through organized settlements and land grabbing of ancestral lands by some powerful groups with guns.

Where is liberation for these communities who are expressing these legitimate grievances?

The second equally prevalent grievance being expressed by South Sudanese more than 8 years down the road of the so-called “liberation,” and which was one of the triggering factors to the liberation struggle is the economic factor. The explanation then that still applies now was that Sudanese conflicts are a result of some center-periphery dynamic, where inequitable allotment of wealth, resources, and political representation between the center and the periphery fuel conflicts in Sudan.

As Alex de Waal has argued, “the country’s wars are logical continuation of historic processes of asset stripping and proletarianisation of the rural populace which began in the nineteenth century and which has continued during war and peace alike.”

Marginalization remains alive and well in South Sudan, and is probably practiced even more openly and aggressively today than it was then. Consider for instance, the recent 2013 Equatoria conference, which has raffled many feathers of our patriots and liberators. Marginalization was one of the key grievances raised in this conference.

How can you tell me I am liberated when I remain marginalized to the core? As an example, I applied for a professional job with the government of South Sudan, and submitted a long resume with unrivaled academic credentials and experience by many. I even offered to serve under a non-paid internship capacity until the economic lot of the country improves, but I was dragged around for one month and my application was ultimately swept under the carpet.

A Kenyan secretary woman was the one who was made to break the news to me that there is no job for me, and even expelled me from the office of one my “liberators,” imagine how humiliating. Is it not telling that I can get a decent professional job with a descent salary in the West, but not in my own country? So I decided to go back to my West.

In a recent study conducted by Adam Branch and Zachariah Cherian Mampilly and entitled “Winning the War but Losing the Peace,” here is how they summed some of the grievances currently being expressed in South Sudan. They write: “many of those who belong to the smaller Equatorian ethnic groups — the Bari, Zande, Acholi, Madi, Moru, Kuku, and others — view the SPLA as a vehicle of Dinka domination and complain bitterly about their treatment at the hands of the SPLA.”

They further continued: “A Madi man returning from Uganda goes to the land he farmed before being displaced, and finds a Dinka living in his house. He demands that the Dinka return his house and land. In response, the Dinka points to a date inscribed above the doorway. ‘On this date, I liberated this house from the Arabs,’ he says. ‘Where were you?’”

Be that as it may, marginalization or nepotism is not just a phenomenon directed against the Equatorians; the whole periphery of the country is suffering from and bewailing this vice. People are still dying in multitudes of famine and curable diseases even in the areas where our “liberators” come from, while some of our “liberators” are becoming stout and wealthy overnight. Many examples of grievances could be cited in the “liberated” South Sudan, but the ones noted above should do the trick.

In short how can you tell me I am liberated when my grievance remains even after I am supposedly liberated? How did we lose our grievance that we struggled for so long and sacrificed millions of precious lives and martyrs to greed? It is time our ruling clique come to its senses before it is too little too late.

I leave you with these words from a conflict expert, Immanuel William Zartman. He notes: “Conflicts begin with grievances, in which the parties feel deprived of some good to which they feel they have a right…. It may be material access, prevented by poverty, or social access, prevented by status, or political access, prevented by restrictive rules of governance… when those who are deprived begin to feel that they are deprived because of who they are,” and when the state does not address these grievances by “normal politics,” ethnic leaders are highly likely to mobilize their communal groups to express these grievances through several transformational phases before they escalate into full-fledged organized violence, where the aim is not to win anymore, but to obliterate the enemy.”

Are we in South Sudan experiencing a phase of a full-fledged war in the making? The naïve proponent of the SPLM establishment will be quick to say that let them go to the bush, not knowing that when this country catches fire, nobody will be spared. It will be a replication of Rwanda and Somalia combined, and we do not want that to happen do we?

For questions and concerns, you know where to find me: tloloyuong@gmail.com

Worrying signs the 2015 elections in South Sudan may be done without a new permanent constitution in place: Advice to government

BY: SINDANI IRENEAUS SEBIT, NAIROBI, KENYA, MAR/13/2013, SSN;

When the President of South Sudan issued a decree on 9/1/2012 appointing a Constitution Review Committee (CRC) that would write the permanent constitution for South Sudan, many, if not all South Sudanese, were relieved that Government of South Sudan was indeed serious in its commitment to usher in a democratic constitution for the future governance of this newly independent country. It was thought that the aim of the president was to ensure that the country begins with a constitution that would establish the basic democratic institutions in South Sudan.

This was meant to avoid the myriads of problems that many African countries inherited from constitutions developed during the decolonization period. Certainly, the current transitional constitution of South Sudan is not different. This is because it is a refurbished interim constitution of South Sudan that was used during the transitional period and that constitution was actually a prototype of the Sudan constitution with minor modifications to fit the then situation in South Sudan.

However, the recent reports emanating from South Sudan regarding the constitution review process and the forthcoming elections are generating great anxiety or worry about the whole process of the constitutional writing.

The South Sudan National Legislative Assembly has already extended the mandate of the constitution review commission by another 2 years after one year of redundancy. This effectively makes it impossible for South Sudan to get a new constitution before 2015. The reasons given for the delay in the process of constitution making is government’s failure to fund the activities of the commission.

This is compounded, according to the chairman of the commission, Prof Akolda, by “inactiveness of some of the members in the commission’s work, saying they hold senior government positions which compromise their active participation in the commission’s work.”

On the contrary, South Sudan’s cabinet on Friday 8/3/2013 approved a sum of over 30 million South Sudanese pounds to the national elections commission and directed it to immediately begin establishing its organizational structures at the national level and across the ten states of the country.

The minister of information and official spokesperson of the government, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, told the press on Friday that the coming election was important for the democratic transformation in the new republic. He said, “the national elections commission is supposed to commence its work to become fully operational in order to organize itself… and to prepare for the elections of 2015… We need the elections for our democratic transformation and conducting ourselves in a democratic manner.”

Reading through this directive and the fact that the government can raise funds for the electoral commission but cannot mobilize resources to support the work of the constitution review commission certainly brings to focus clear misgivings about the government commitment to put in place a democratic constitution and democratic institutions before the coming elections.

This is a clear sign that the government is willing to conduct the national elections in 2015 before democratic changes are introduced that could lead to real democracy in South Sudan. Indeed these are the worrying signs in South Sudan. I called them worrying signs because the current South Sudan transitional constitution has so many deep and porous articles that leave a lot to be desired in real democratic terms.

However, before I can delve into some of the pitfalls of the current constitution, I would like to elaborate briefly on why South Sudan is likely to go to the next elections without a new constitution.

Part sixteen (transitional provisions and the permanent constitution process); Chapter 11 which describes methodologically the roles and terms of reference of the South Sudan review commission is quite explicit and detailed. In Chapter 11; Article 200 sub-article 1, it categorically says, “The President of the Republic shall, after consultation with the Political Parties, civil society and other stake-holders, establish a National Constitutional Review Commission to review the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011,” and in fact the President has carried out his obligation here though not inclusive but what is clear is that the President has not followed this role with immediate provision of resources to activate the work of the commission.

This lamentable situation was confirmed on 11/3/2013 by the chairman of the commission who said that despite approval of funds by the parliament, the government has not yet released any. He reaffirmed that the basic activities of the NCRC that currently take place such as meetings, have been facilitated by USAID and International Development Law Organization (IDLO). He said, “We are at stand still.” He said, “How do we travel to the states?” and added that, “it seems that the government has its own priorities and the Constitutional Review Commission does not seem to be a priority; even the money that has been voted by the parliament to us since July last year has not been released.”

In fact the eminent professors “expressed possibilities that will prolong the work of the Commission despite the term increase.“ Prolongation of the work of the commission beyond the two years is really a great possibility because if anyone is to review the process of the constitution making according to the transitional constitution, the task is enormous.

Part Sixteen, Chapter 11 of the transitional constitution, Article 200, sub-articles 3, 5, and 7 outlined wide ranging activities that the commission should do. These include collecting views from the public, conducting nation-wide public information programs and civic education and adopts and presents the draft to the President.

In Sub-article 8 and 9 the president is required to review the constitution, make appropriate amendments and return it to the commission for correction before the President submits it to the constitutional conference in accordance to Sub-article 10 of the same chapter. Article 201 of the constitution, sub-articles 6, 7, 8 and 9 clearly stipulate that once the constitutional conference approves the Draft Constitutional Text and the Explanatory Report (6), the chairman of conference presents it to the president (7) who in turn tables it before the National Legislature, at least three (3) months before the end of the Transitional Period, for deliberation and adoption (8). The President is mandated by sub-Article 9 to sign the constitution after the Assembly has adopted it.

These are lengthy procedures that will take indeed more time than the 2 years if they are strictly followed. Therefore looking at these processes that the commission would carry out to create a true democratic constitution that can lead to establishment of democratic institutions in South Sudan, one begins to wonder whether this can be accomplish before the next general election. Unless the commission goes with what its chairman; Prof. Akolda, refers to as a “contract between political parties” and not between the people and government.

In a recent lecture in the University of Juba where Akolda was the main guest speaker; Akolda alluded into the process of the constitutional making in South Sudan. When he was asked whether the commission had the political will actually to create a new constitution, and whether it would involve a consultative process, he had this to say. “The constitution is a “contract between political parties because political parties are a part of the people…. Because constitutions have been traditionally made without social consultation or the involvement of ‘civil society’, it was unnecessary to include this consultation.”

Responding to some critics from the audience, he further said; “no constitution is permanent”: if they don’t like it and when ‘the people’ have enough education they can just amend it.” He wondered how the members of the commission would he be able to tour the country consulting people to get what one speaker described as the ‘mangrove tree mandate;’ “are we going to sleep under the trees?”

Certainly if South Sudan is to get a new constitution before the next elections then Prof. Akolda is right but certainly the kind of constitution that will come out of this process is everyone’s guess. These are indeed some of the worrying signs.

From the above analysis, it is apparent that the government may opt to conduct the next election using the transitional constitution. If this happens, then South Sudan will not only have missed the golden chance of getting a democratic constitution but it is condemning itself to a constitution that has glaring pinholes. Certainly any keen reader of the current constitution would have noticed many constitutional oversights that make the current constitution undemocratic.

I will try to outline some few examples to illustrate this point. However, before delving into the contentious areas allow me to begin with one oversight in the constitution.

Part 1 (South Sudan and its constitution), Article 1, Sub-article 2 defines the territory of South Sudan as, “territory of the Republic of South Sudan comprises all lands and air space that constituted the three former Southern Provinces of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile in their boundaries as they stood on January 1, 1956, and the Abyei Area, the territory of the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms transferred from Bahr el Ghazal Province to Kordofan Province in 1905 as defined by the Abyei Arbitration Tribunal Award of July 2009.”

I am wondering whether the framers of this constitution did not know or ignored the fact that Ilemi triangle in Eastern Equatoria is a part of South Sudan territory that was ceded to Kenya by the British for administrative purpose and therefore must be reclaimed. Everybody including Kenyan authorities is aware and clear about this fact but it is only South Sudanese authorities that are oblivious to it. I hope nationalists will in future consider this issue seriously.

Part 11 (Bill of Rights), Article 9, Sub-article 12 says, “Every person has the right to liberty and security of person; no person shall be subjected to arrest, detention, deprivation or restriction of his or her liberty except for specified reasons and in accordance with procedures prescribed by law.” What are the specified reasons referred to here? This is indeed a loose part of the law which many governments in Africa have used to violate the rights of the people of their countries. In Kenya there were laws such as loitering with concern, “Behaving in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace, etc.” These loose laws are dangerous to democracy.

On the other hand, there is nothing in this section which says no one can be arrested without warrant of arrest produced by the arresting authority. Therefore what rights are protected here?

When one takes Part Three of the constitution, Chapter 111 (the decentralized system of governance) read together with Part Eleven, (the states, local government and traditional authority), these parts and chapters are already doomed and overshadowed by the powers of the president in Part Six (National Executive), Chapter 11, Article 101, Sub-article (r) which states that the President can; “remove a state Governor and/or dissolve a state legislative assembly in the event of a crisis in the state that threatens national security and territorial integrity”.

These powers have already been used arbitrarily to remove the elected governor of Lakes State and members of Assembly without diligent reasons. If there is any state that is in crisis in South Sudan, it is Jonglei State yet the governor there is not removed. Frankly speaking, these powers defeat the essence of democracy in South Sudan because there is nowhere in the democratic world where the president exercises such powers but I know that in some constitutions like the Kenya, the constitution has a recall clause where the people can recall their representative or senator for failure to perform his/her duty.

Furthermore, the constitution does not in any case stipulate clearly the independence of the three arms of government, namely, the Executive, the National Assembly and the Judiciary. Perusing through the entire Part Five (The national legislature), Part Six (The National Executive) and Part seven (The Judiciary), nothing stands out clearly to indicate that these organs of government are independent but complementary to each other.

What is clear is that the president is above all. He appoints the ministers (Part six, Article 118, Sub-article 1) and Chief Justices without any independent vetting (Part seven, article 134, Sub-article 1). The role of Assembly is to grace or rubber-stamp the appointments collectively without vetting each minister (Part six, Article 118, Sub-article 2).

Without independent Judiciary and National Assembly the Executive commands free hand to do what it wants and can direct the country in whichever direction it wants because there are no checks and balances. Certainly this is where impunity, nepotism and corruption thrive without checks.

Talking of corruption draws one’s attention to the so-called independent commissions Part Nine (the civil service, independent institutions and commissions) most of which are indeed duplicates of the ministries except the anti-corruption. However one would also say the commissions also suffer from lack of independence and particularly for the anti-corruption commission it is compounded by lack of prosecutorial powers in a situation where there is no independent judiciary. This has rendered this commission toothless and unable to curb corruption in the country.

Absurdly, the constitution in Part 5 (The national legislature) gives the President privileges to make laws that are only subject to ratification by the Assembly. Article 86; Sub-article 1 states: “In case the National Legislature is not in session, the President may, on an urgent matter, issue a provisional order having the force of law.” These privileges cover wide range of issues except in cases of “Bill of Rights, the decentralized system of government, general elections, annual allocation of resources and financial revenue, penal legislation or alteration of administrative boundaries of the states as stipulated in Sub-article 5 of the same Article.

Armed with these powers and knowing very well that the Assembly is not independent, the president will certainly be tempted to become a power unto himself. This perhaps underpins why the president has continued to use decrees. This is a situation that cannot partake in any real democratic country.

The same powers are given to the president in Article 90; sub-article 1 of the same part of the constitution. Sub-article 1 states: “Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 86 (5) herein, the President may in the public interest, make a presidential order having the force of law, providing that the imposition of any tax, or fee or the amendment thereof shall come into force, pending submission of a bill requiring the same to the National Legislative Assembly.”

In any country the presidential tenure is regulated. In dictatorial states, it is stated that the president can be for life while in democratic states, there is always term limit but this is non-existence in this constitution other than the expiration of the term of office by either resignation, impeachment, mental infirmity or physical incapacity or death (Part 6, Chapter 102 sub-article 1),

Talking of impeachment of the president there is no mechanism provided in the constitution on how to impeach the president. Who is to initiate the impeachment, how many signatures are needed from the public to impeach a president and if it is initiated by the Assembly, how many members of the Assembly are required to initiate impeachment process.

In fact one would have gone on and on analyzing this constitution up to the end but for the purpose of this article, examples given here are illustrative enough for concerned South Sudanese to see the flaws in the constitution but I will not sign up before stating that although the constitution has enumerated the sources of funds in the country (Part twelve, Chapter 1V, Article 175), it has failed to come with the appropriate mechanism to distribute resources to the states other than prescribing setting up of a National Fiscal and Financial Allocation and Monitoring Commission, to ensure transparency and fairness in regard to the allocation of funds collected at the level of the National Government to the states and local governments (Chapter V, Article 178, Sub-article 1).

In Sub-article 2 of the same Article, the commission is to recommend criteria for allocation of National revenue to the state and local government levels. Up to date no criteria is in use in South Sudan unless it is not made public. However, the best criteria is for the constitution to explicitly indicate the percentage of the national revenue that should go to the state in order to make the states economically viable so that they can effectively carry out their functions as implementing arm of the government.

The failure of the constitution to specify allocation mechanisms has caused the states to depend entirely on national government subsidies that are not commiserate to their workload.

In conclusion, I must say maintaining the transitional constitution is the greatest worry to those of us who cherish democracy based on establishment of independent democratic institutions. Therefore, my advice to Government is that South Sudan can only become truly democratic and as a member of the international civilized nations when it take the path of true democracy.

This can only be done now by creating a constitution that is a contract between the people and government. A constitution that is owned by the people of South Sudan, protects their rights and gives them hope for a true democracy and prosperity of the country.

This is the first thing that the government must do to the people and then elections come next. The priority being given to the elections and census will not bring true change to South Sudan but taking the democratic path at any cost is the right route to the betterment of the future generations of this great country.

Ireneaus Sebit
Nairobi; Kenya

We’ll neither improve nor forget under the SPLM Oyee regime

BY: Akic Adwok Lwaldeng, RSS, MAR/07/2013, SSN;

It has been the toughest year since we become free from Jallaba, more people are struggling to cope with rising situation in our beloved country, many are feeling the pain and disappointed about the incompetent Government in Juba. At a time when some of our citizens are travelling back to neighboring countries for safety, our country has been ruined by our selfish SPLM Oyee leaders, eight out of ten people say they are worried about the soon-to-be unstable country.

Everyone knows that shutting the oil down was wrong and a madness, no plan B, just hoping instead that Sudan Government will collapse. Hitherto, the oil revenues were spent unwisely, and some revenues went to individual bank accounts. It is a disgrace by the SPLM ruling party to misuse the power for their selfish ends.

I do not know any country in this world where stealing is as cool as in our country. In the a couple of years coming, if we’re still under this corrupted regime, we will have probably the highest density of thieves in the whole East Africa, maybe Africa.

Today there are more thieves in this government including some MPs in the National Assembly (JUBA) than before in the times of General Joseph Lagu and Justice Abel Alier, if I am not mistaken.

Stealing and deceiving or cheating are the most vices committed in South Sudan among the awful things in the human history and it’s a sin. However, I was brought up in the tribe where they consider that any acts leading in dishonesty are prohibited, eventually, you and your family will be denounced as evil in the community.

Even people will create a song in your family`s name and not that alone but no one will marry from your family, nevertheless, nowadays you can find some of my fellow tribes-people in this government are collaborating with dark hands from other communities where stealing and other evil acts are legitimate.

What is the source of this moral decadence that has permeated our society? Take a look at the top leadership of the nation, we have a president and vice president who are never letting any opportunity go by, they are reminding us that they are there to destroy our National wealth, in which both are the champions of corruption. And a null leadership character.

How we define corruption in this dispensation, I do not know. But the international community has put us at the extreme point of corruption index in the world. Forget World Bank and IMF, that the same organizations have found that the overwhelming percentage of this corruption takes place in our country is unbelievable. However, corruption, according to the presidency definition, is only when money is transferred to personal accounts.

Remember, allegedly that the President and some of his friends bought houses outside of our country at over over Millions of dollars. Assuming that he/she did not spend a penny of his salary since he started earning a living, there is no way he/she could has saved such money those days, even taking into consideration the alleged bank loans. How have those loans been repaid?

Think back, a former Finance minister, he is a closed friend of our president. He embezzled close to a billion dollars with his cohorts. This money was money meant for infrastructures and paying local and national services in the country.

He was arrested before he escaped the prison, yet our President did not fire or discipline him. Not only that, but last year 75 ministers and officials of SPLM/A stole our public funds with no shame. And he allegedly instructed that they will be tried in the future, nothing happened until the present.

We know that our president has been as silent as a lamb. These fellow thieves will be quietly investing their looted money on the properties outside of the country.

As South Sudan continues its bleeding, an overwhelming percentage of the best brains in the land are abroad. There are more intellectuals living overseas than are in South Sudan.

At home, half-baked and semi-illiterates are ruling us and ruining the country and they do not have any clue in the international politics and economy.

Given our resources, we should plan on launching satellites, instead our leaders go to shrines to swear to alien deities. I know some of them go for black magic that convinces them that he/she can hold up their positions if she/he can kill and harm their fellow human beings. Yet, we are not discriminating enough to ask ourselves why he/she lives in such squalid poverty and ill-health.

South Sudan may be one of (depending on which information you choose) the greatest oil producer in our continent (Africa), yet South Sudan is listed as one of the poorest country on earth. But individual South Sudanese are among the richest people in East Africa according to the BBC reports.

In short, this current government’s concept has destroyed our society; therefore, we all as a community should say with loud voice that enough is enough, we can’t go further.

Or we will start honoring the corrupt and the thieves with various titles, each title dotted with specified amounts. The only qualification for such honors is nothing other the bank accounts of their own and-or their children. Rather, such honor should go to the humble heroes’ widows and widowers, who work hard daily to barely scrape a living.

Missing from such lists are hard working honest people whose only disqualification is their bank account.

Finally, I am certain we will not give-up or dampen the spirit of our unity that will help us to discover the true meaning of the country. As the wise man says, the greatest gift which you can give to your people is unity and solidarity and it cost nothing.

But all that will not come through if the current thieves, SPLM Oyee regime, is still ruling us.

Akic Adwok Lwaldeng
adwokn@yahoo.co.uk