Archive for: March 2013

Marginalization, Revolution and Lado Enclave: Discourse and Counter-discourse.

By: Buot Manyiel Buot, RSS, MAR/11/2013, SSN;

Even before the very outset of the Equatoria Conference 2013, our media was already flooded with discourse and counter-discourse with regards to marginalization of Equatoria by other “Sisterly Regions.” After the conclusive “happy ending” of Equatoria Conference 2013, the discourse proliferated to the highest climax given the implications of the Resolutions in the aftermath of that Conference.

In fact, the Resolutions are upshots of the alleged discontent amongst the denizens of Equatoria-land, who are apparently harboring silent pain of “institutionalized Marginalization” occasioned by the current Leadership of the Republic of South Sudan. The ensuing politicking and public scuffle which subsequently followed this marginalization stuff really underscored the magnitude of the scheme and the motive involved.

It offered rare insights that the virtues of patriotism, nationalism, political intercourse and unity in diversity are on the verge of sacrificial altar. It is therefore imperative that in order for this Nation to progress, it must rise up against divisive sentiments and say Yes to social harmony and National Unity. After all, we all fall and rise together as a Nation, as a people.

As a matter of fact, the dogma of marginalization commands very diminutive usage in the vocabulary of African body politics, and South Sudan specifically. The idea was expertly crafted by our fallen Hero, late Dr. Garang De Mabior and his pioneering comrades for strategic reasons. If any group invokes marginalization stuff and brings it into play at this point in time, then that group surely could have forgotten the cause for which we sacrificed 2,000,000 martyrdoms.

As a responsible and dutiful citizen, I intend to offer a call for National Duty to every South Sudanese, in form of homework, to compare and contrast objectively the Marginalization which the SPLM/A leadership campaigned against during the real revolution/liberation era and the current Marginalization sung by the segment of Leadership of Equatorialand.

Surely, there is a sharp contrast to draw. Conversely however, we have three prominent South Sudanese – Alfred Taban, Joseph Akim Gordon and J.K. Lupai. These gentlemen are leaders on their own rights and are entitled to their freedom of speech and opinion.

Nevertheless, in blatant disregard to constitutional requirements and adherence to regulatory framework of our Country, their writings always almost contravene the principle of responsible reporting and fair comments on public issues and the records are res ipsa loquitur.

Ironically, as though in a bid to outclass their other counterparts, Joseph Akim and K.Lupai chose to sacrifice pragmatism and embarked on a gigantic demonization drive of certain tribes through their writings. Am no tribal bigot, but I subscribe to a given tribe through biological default or design.

We appreciate our tribal strata because such diversity is a source of national pride and unity. But I suspect Joseph and Lupai may harbor personalized hatred against certain tribes and leaders, otherwise, how do you explain away the tendency of two prominent intellectuals who meticulously target and vilify specific leaders of certain tribes?

These self-proclaimed “paramount chiefs” of looming “Equatoria Kingdom” think that the Region is terminally marginalized at the behest of other regions and that all able-bodied denizens of Equatoria-land must rise up to confront this challenge head-on and never surrender to perceived colonization.

Now they fall within the category of experienced character assassins through their writings. Fortunately or unfortunately, their vilification crusade only helps to fuel antagonism and deeply polarizes the political divide across the spectrum.

But then for the best interest of our national unity and respect for the two gentlemen, they will never feature much in this article, for we don’t have to discuss personalities or tribes. I must forewarn though, that Rwanda has scars of bitter experience that emanated from such fiery writings. Who wants a replica of Rwanda scenario anyway? Certainly nobody.

Indeed, these gentlemen have their country in heart and some of them have gone at lengths to sacrifice their lives at great personal risks. Today, we have a sovereign country in form of a Republic. My advice for them is to write on issues that unites us. And without much ado, let me drop in line to expound the theme of this article.

I must admit at the very onset that many people are disappointed by the resolutions that culminated from Equatoria Conference 2013 because they fall short of expediency. Equatoria Conferees should have passed such Resolutions, at least, after relative contemplation of the ultimate intended purpose.

The Resolutions to be honest do not confer any justice or rationale or temperament or appetite to the body politics of this Country. The Resolutions are already indicted in the court of public opinion, and the subsequent public verdict heavily weighed against the Resolutions, because their culpability to a large extent outweighed the underlying good intention.

Indeed, these resolutions involve higher probability of harm than good against this nation and certainly higher degree of unreasonableness, that is to say, a very substantial culpable deviation from a politically avowed national covenant we all subscribe to as South Sudanese – to unite for a common purpose.

The resolutions to say the least are unconscious disregard to the doctrine of National Unity as defined in our Constitution. The Resolutions are also terrible reminiscence of much-loathed Kokora cancer and disgraced 1990s splits. This is vital point to underscore.

Equatorians assert that Marginalisation of the 21st century era is an all-eye-catching political aggravation because it propels the public into consciousness when it is invoked and therefore, for necessity purposes it must be introduced primarily to enrage the potential discordance, and hence discharge public restiveness, and probably as a leverage, to safeguard the social, economical, legal and political interests it (Marginalisation) cherishes.

But I must insist that marginalisation in today’s politics is a very mysterious and intractable notional volition because it merely connotes a political fiction where a very subjective yardstick is invoked into play to determine that anyone whose certain political rights are apparently impinged, ought to be categorised as Marginalised, even when there is no objective criteria.

In the Equatoria case, nonetheless, marginalisation hysteria operates in the abstract and serves no purpose at all.

Columnist and writer, Ateny Wek Ateny, advocated for full nullification of such Resolutions, because the message contained therein blurred/marred rationality and therefore null and void. And to preclude the dangers of falling into the abyss of xenophobic inclinations, a word of caution should be asserted that opinion writers who unfairly generalise regions as unjust are chauvinists, and I must honestly underline here that there are good intentioned Equatorians who possess prudence to prevail over emotional discordant.

During the course of the conference, for instance, there were good intentioned statesmen, the likes of Uncle Joseph Lago, Uncle Wani Igga and many others who have never wavered and dedicated their lives in the whole course of revolutionary period. I respect/admire them, for they exhibit qualities of wisdom and prudence which exemplify anyone who aspires for virtue and nobility in their deeds.

But I wish they should have prevailed over the conferees because these statesmen understand and appreciate the necessity of acknowledging the limits to such actions.

I also wish they should have urged their fellow conferees not to be driven on by blind impulse but by deliberate and definitive and conscious resolve to attain specific objects. I doubt whether Equatoria Conference Resolutions 2013 are deliberate or definitive or are intended to attain specific object.

Paradoxically, veteran Journalist and leader, Mr. Alfred Taban, editor of Juba Monitor newspaper, disturbed and stirred the nation on the 26th Feb, 2013, when he had this to say and I quote, “A rebellion usually starts with complaints. When grievances are not addressed, you usually end up with rebellion or even secession. That is what those in Authority should understand,” unquote.

I have specific concern with the last dictum, (that is what those in authority should understand). What does the word “authority” imply? Gen. Wani Igga is the (Speaker) President of National Legislative Assembly, Gen. Alison Mogaya is the Minister of all-powerful Interior Ministry, Kosti Manibe is the Minister for Finance, and the list is honestly long for Equatoria leaders holding ministerial positions in Juba.

Surely the hold positions of authority. Do they have to understand that their kith and kin are about to initiate a rebellion because of non-representation in the Juba government? It baffles the entire nation what may have propelled this nationalist to vomit such fiery sentiments.

As you may have known, Alfred during the dark days in Khartoum was a reporter for BBC. He was a popular voice of the voiceless that every Southern Sudanese admired, for he fought for the cause of his people as evidenced by countless unjustified arrests of his person, including assassination attempts on his dear life by NISS security apparatus. He had to beat all the odds in the face of relentless intimidation, arrest, obstruction and censorship. Alfred was a symbolic object of resilience.

He later founded Khartoum Monitor newspaper which Khartoum “rightly” suspected of being a mouthpiece of the rebel movement, the SPLM/A. After the CPA was inked in 2005, Alfred helped in numerous aspects to ensure that Southerners vote for secession. In the 2010 general elections, Alfred expressed his inalienable right of being elected as leader. He applied for Governorship of CES, but the then notorious Electoral College rejected him, preferring the uncontrollable Wani Konga.

Since then, he became critical of the government policies, vocalizing his writing against the government and even compromising the editorial policy of his Newspaper.

After the conclusion of Equatoria Conference 2013, he incidentally called for the creation of the Republic of “Lado Enclave,” a utopian Nation-state to be populated exclusively by Equatorians, and only Equatorians. He was conceding to the fact that by establishing this impending Lado Enclave Republic, the Equatorians shall have averted the “abject Marginalisation” tricked on them by other Regions.

But then, he was apprehensive of the dangers posed by such imaginary Country and suggested that the compromise shall be avoidable at the preference of Equatorians by opting for a revolution in a real country, South Sudan, to claim what is rightfully stolen from them. i.e. equal representation in the army, security agencies, custom, and every other arms and wings of government.

To be continued…..

Reach the author via

Ateny Wek Ateny’s Advice on Issues Raised in Equatoria Conference 2013

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, MAR/11/2013, SSN;

A fellow prolific writer, a friend and a brother Ateny Wek Ateny in his Column, Beating The Drum of Truth, under Just a simple way to advise Mr. Joseph Akim Gordon and some of his fellow Equatorians, had expressed views on issues raised in Equatoria Conference 2013 with a word of advice to Equatorians. Ateny and I are not strangers to each other. We met in London in the United Kingdom and had also shared discussions through the Internet.

In expressing his views brother Ateny seems to have been provoked by the convening of Equatoria Conference 2013 and the subsequent resolutions adopted. This was further fueled by what Ateny might have seen as a provocative question that was too much to turn a blind eye when he came across an article written by Joseph Akim Gordon under what is wrong with Equatoria Conference?

Brother Ateny was not only dismissive of Equatoria Conference but was also very dismissive of the resolutions adopted and therefore dismissive of Joseph Akim Gordon’s justification of the reasons for convening the Conference in the first place.

If the Column of brother Ateny in the esteemed Citizen Newspaper is about Beating the Drum of Truth, one wonders how Ateny is beating the drum of truth when he denies truth exists as indicated in the entirety of the resolutions of Equatoria Conference 2013. The Governors of the States of Equatoria are senior members of government in South Sudan. It must have been odd if they did not have inner knowledge of what they had publicly expressed in the Conference.

Brother Ateny was already biased against the convening of Equatoria Conference 2013 because he had no inclination to regional conferences. However, he is entitled to his inclination as others are inclined to hold regional conferences. The constitution allows two or more States to come together to enhance coordination and cooperation in fostering development. The three States of Equatoria are within their constitutional right to do so.

The three States of Equatoria are also within their constitutional right of freedom of expression and therefore can discuss socio-economic and political issues that promote development for a high standard of living of their people. Those who do not have the ability to convene a conference to strategize for their development should not be used to deter others. What best can be done in nation building is to learn from each other instead of being dismissive of others innovativeness.

Equatoria Conference 2013
Whatever others may say the people of Equatoria have every constitutional right to assemble and express their views freely. This is also an act of democracy and precisely as an act of democracy the people of Equatoria attended a 2-day conference in Nyokuron Cultural Centre in Juba between 14 and 15 February 2013.

The Conference was well attended by representatives from the three States of Equatoria spearheaded by the Governors. Equatoria Conference 2013 was a peaceful assembly of people with the common theme of consolidating justice, unity and prosperity. It was to enhance inter-state coordination and cooperation in addressing common challenges.

Equatoria Conference 2013 was convened with the purpose of reviewing the resolutions of Equatoria Conference 2011 and of articulating common challenges facing the people of the three States of Equatoria. The Governors spoke truthfully of the challenges facing the people of Equatoria in particular and of South Sudan in general and these were crystallized in the resolutions of Equatoria Conference 2013. There was nothing to hide.

Unfortunately issues raised in the Conference and the subsequent resolutions drawn seem to show that to some extent there was institutionalized marginalization of people of Equatoria.

Denial of marginalization
For brother Ateny Wek Ateny he strenuously denies marginalization of people of Equatoria exists. On February 27, 2013 in his Column, Beating The Drum of Truth, Ateny said, “For me I do not think the people of the former Equatoria province are marginalized”. In his persistent denial brother Ateny went on to say, “However, if our brothers/sisters in Equatoria are interested to be marginalized, then that may be a different story”. This is a strange statement or cynical indeed to say the least. Who on earth in their right minds would be interested to be marginalized.

On scholarships it was observed in the Conference that only Bahr el Ghazal from which my brother Ateny hails and Upper Nile were the beneficiaries while Equiatoria was excluded altogether. However, Ateny could not see this as marginalization of Equatoria. In his Column on March 1, 2013 brother Ateny was of the opinion that, “For example; if there are 200 scholarships then it should go 85 Bahr el Ghazal 65 Upper Nile and 50 Equatoria —-“. Brother Ateny seems to be expressing an equitable distribution of the scholarships. I commend him for being fair-minded.

As observed in the Conference there was no equitable distribution of the scholarships but Equatoria was deliberately excluded. One may wonder how brother Ateny will continue to insist that Equatoria has not been marginalized in the distribution of scholarships. Also, in the Conference it was observed that government financial support to South Sudanese students studying in Kenya and Uganda was only provided to students from Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

From the above scenarios it is misleading to think that people of Equatoiria are the ones interested to be marginalized. What should be understood clearly is that they are being deliberately marginalized as the presentations and comments in the Equatoria Conference 2013 showed. People were talking truthfully about it, something that should have been appreciated by people interested in nation building and national unity.

SPLM/A in Equatoria
The year 1991 was a difficult year for the SPLM/A. Mengisto Hailemariam’s regime in Ethiopia fell in 1991. It was the main backer of the SPLM/A. The SPLM/A had to make a decision in light of developments. It relocated from Ethiopia to Equatoria. Shortly thereafter a split occurred in the SPLM/A and this created a complex situation for the SPLM/A. Morale was low and others were off to Kampala and Nairobi in Uganda and Kenya respectively in search of better life. The behavior of the SPLM/A in Equatoria was not also helpful. It was characterized with brutality, looting and raping, causing immense suffering to local communities.

As though there was no any other alternative local communities formed into militias to protect themselves against the SPLM/A brutality and insensitivity. Brother Ateny would call the militias bandits as he was not in the receiving end of the SPLM/A mistakes in Equatoria. Naturally the enemy would have taken advantage of such a situation. People should not forget that when the SPLM/A relocated to Equatoria its strength dwindled. Many left for refugee camps while some simply left for their home areas.

In the period of the SPLM/A relocation to Equatoria my brother Ateny would like people to believe that Equatorians were reluctant to join the SPLM/A to tilt the balance in their favour. In his Column on March 4, 2013 Ateny said, “At that time, if Equatorians were to join the SPLM/A for the mere fact that the SPLM/A training camps have been moved to Equatoria, I bet the situation would have been different now”. This is nothing but a grossly misleading assertion.

When the SPLM/A strength was dwindling and in the face of onslaught of the enemy there was no one other than the elders from Equatoria who took the lead in mobilization. Elders Elioba James Surur, Daniel Jumi and Dr Philip Tongun took it upon themselves as a national duty to rally fervently the youth of Equatoria for the liberation effort. The youth of Equatoria responded positively by joining the SPLM/A in droves while others opted for life of refuge with some others switching sides.

The elders of Equatoria did a marvelous job but are they recognized. With the exception of elder Elioba James Surur appointed as a member in the Council of States, a person like Dr Philip Tongun, who had actively participated in the mobilisation of Equatoria youth for the liberation effort, has been completely forgotten.

Mainly as foot soldiers Equatorians played decisive roles in the battles for the capture of Kapoeta, Torit, Kaya, Yei, Yambio and Equatorians were in Eastern Sudan battling the enemy courageously. It is only a myth to consider Equatorians as non active participants in the protracted liberation war. Promotion of Equatorians to higher ranks might have been a problem for Equatorians to appear prominent in the SPLM/A given the revelation of institutionalized marginalization of people of Equatoria.

Land grabbing
Indeed I agree with my brother Ateny Wek Ateny that land grabbing is the most obsessive issue of concern in the whole of Equatoria and he has given examples of land grabbing. However, leaving the reality on the ground alone he has politicized land grabbing. Ateny wrote that the perceived land grabbing issue is a mere political ploy aimed at keeping South Sudanese categorized between the landowners and grabbers. Brother Ateny went on to say in his Column on March 5, 2013 that, “It is the language coined by the Equatoria elite for advocacy sake”. I think this is an insult to the ordinary men and women whose plots of land have been grabbed at gun point.

To say land grabbing has been coined by Equatorian elite must be music to the ears of the criminal land grabbers. For those who are ignorant of the reality on the ground evidence abound for people who do not have legal entitlement to land terrorizing legal owners. It seems brother Ateny is out of touch with the reality on the ground. Crooks in land deals should not be a justification for ignoring the claims of legitimate landowners.

Land grabbing should not only be seen as it is all about crooked land deals. A distinction must be made. Brother Ateny seems to lean more to the political aspect of land grabbing than to the legal side. For example, a land grabber who terrorized the owner with a gun had no legal documents for the plot of land with ramshackle huts he rented out to earn not less than 20,000SSP a month. The land grabber could only produce a summon requesting him to appear before the court of law as his only legal document entitling him to the land. What does brother Ateny say about this? Is there any politics here?

Nation building and national unity is not promoted by ignoring problems or brushing them aside with the hope that time will be the healer. This attitude only polarizes people hence diminished interest in unity.

I enjoy reading the Column of my friend Ateny Wek Ateny. He is an independent-minded individual and is confident to stick out his neck. Although I disagree with my friend Ateny in some of his analysis of topical issues I respect him for not being a sycophant.

In all Ateny’s advice to Equatorians seems to suggest Equatorians do not have a cause for concern. According to him Equatorians are not marginalized but are a problem unto themselves. Brother Ateny has reduced land grabbing to squatting which seems to be easier to handle. However, when a squatter uses a firearm to continue squatting will that not fall under land grabbing?

I hope Ateny will not be too biased towards land grabbers who are mostly non Equatorians as he is. Obviously there are greedy money-minded Equatorians who do not care but for themselves. Those are not helpful to Equatoria in particular and to South Sudan in general.

As South Sudanese there is a lot to learn from each other in our diverse views of nationalism, regionalism and tribalism. When people talk of nationalism they may mistakenly be promoting tribalism and those talking of regionalism may be promoting nationalism in diversity. Each may stick to their guns. However, how do we break the stalemate? Well, there is no any other way except through a dialogue for a better understanding of the various viewpoints and in appreciating diversities as a source of strength but not weakness. Only the inflexible or self-conceited may be a problem in nation building and in promoting national unity.

In conclusion, the main challenge is egoism in blindfolded support for kith and kin at the expense of nation building and national unity. END

Squatters occupying Custom and immigration compound in Nimule Border Post

Press Release: MAR/11/2013, SSN;

Squatters occupying Customs and Immigration compound in Nimule Border Post
Date: March 09, 2013

The Ma’di Community in Diaspora and back home have been following closely the emotional
reaction in the media regarding an eviction order issued by South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of
Interior, Mr. Salva Mathok Gengdit.

As stated in the ‘Sudan Tribune’ published on the 4th of March 2013, the Deputy Minister of
Interior “gave a 21-day ultimatum for individuals with makeshift shops, restaurants,” to vacate
an area of land in Nimule border town.

We would like to make it crystal clear that the individuals seeking compensation and
relocation are unlawful-tenants (squatters). As non-indigenous of Nimule or the Ma’di area,
they do not own any land in Nimule nor have they ever acquired any land in Nimule through
legal means.

It is absurd for them to ask to be relocated anywhere in Nimule or Ma’di area.
What they should rightfully ask for is repatriation to their place of origin.

The Ma’di Community would like to inform the lawyer representing the affected individuals
that the land in question belongs to the Ma’di people and has been given to the Ministry of
Interior for Custom and Immigration Services, RSS. The government will use the land for the
said purpose and has all the rights to evict any squatter and illegal occupants on that piece of

We must stress that the Ma’di people will not allow these individuals to grab land again
or settle anywhere in the area.

Further, we would like to bring to the attention of the government that we are utterly
dismayed and disturbed by a letter authored by Abraham Makur Duot; the so-called leader of
the squatters dated 16th February 2013 in which he issued threats advocating for violence.

The threat unequivocally reads, “We shall […] do what is possible to defend our premises
in the border or deal with the community who took the lead of targeting Non-Ma’di
community in the border.”

These blatant and irresponsible utterances seek to advocate for chaos, lawlessness and disorder.

The Ma’di Community will not tolerate any uncivilized behavior and such barbaric act will be
severely challenged, furthermore we ask the law enforcing body to bring charges against these
individuals for publicly inciting violence within South Sudanese communities.

The Ma’di are peace-loving people and do not wish to be drawn in any form of disruptive
behaviour and violence that would undermine the normal functioning of the government
systems, and impedes our efforts to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous South Sudan.

Benjamin Taban

Ma’di Regional Council

Federalism in South Sudan is the only way-out of the current political quagmire

BY: John Omunu, RSS, MAR/06/2013, SSN;

Khartoum has always been a unitary state with political power vested in the center. We, the oppressed people of Southern Sudan then rejected their centralized system whereby President Omar Bashir and his predecessors were holding the power over all public policies affecting the ordinary men and women down in some unheard of villages in Southern Sudan. Indeed, this form of government largely reflected the corrupted colonial legacy.

After independence, leaders who emerged and had led the country during the independence of Sudan from Britain forcefully argued for unitary government system much like the colonial rule they replaced. Concentration of power at the center was considered a necessary condition to maintain unity of the country. This is by the way the same flawed arguments being propagated in other parts of Africa by many African nationalists. In fact, even decentralization within unitary states has been considered a political menace because it could reinforce tribal faithfulness at the expense of loyalty to the nation, a warning signs that we all see in post-war Republic of South Sudan.

On the other hand, the presumed benefits of unitary or decentralized current government in Juba have proved delusional. The 1955 leaders of liberation including some within the SPLM/A rank and file all had argued for federalism. Dr. John Garang technically came up with the similar vision and he called it the “New Sudan” since The “Old Sudan” was considered “too deformed to be reformed” and those Khartoum leaderships at helm of power paid no attention whatsoever to Junubin grievances and other back in far Western part of Sudan.

Consequently, the country has been marked by bloody internal strife, military coups, and two protracted civil wars. Make no mistake about it; the violent conflicts have generally been between heterogeneous population groups within the same country-the Sudan. Thus, although an argument for establishing strong centralized unitary states was that such institutional arrangements would help unify the various ethnic groups in the then “Old Sudan,” the experiments have been unsatisfactory.

The decades-long experiment with strong centralized/and or some kind of decentralization system in form of 25 or 26 states divided along tribal-lines showed that such controlled institutional arrangements are not suited to harmonize the interests of very heterogeneous groups within any country.

Evidently, poverty has also to be blamed as in the case of a few powerful and well-connected individuals in this government siphoning millions from Juba into their secret foreign bank accounts in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Australia, UK and U.S. In other words, poverty is seen here as the factor cause of rampant corruption and to some extent instability these days in Juba and down to state levels.

Those of us who know little about ethnic politics treat tribal groups as special interests that compete for transfers from the central government in Juba. Currently, members of a particular tribe(s) in South Sudan consider themselves different from those of other groups and have an interest in increasing the welfare of their members relative to that of other tribes, and this is because of the concentration of power in one man who is our current seating beloved President and C-in-C.

Consequently, constricted tribal competition for control of power, oil revenues and the instruments of transfer have had disastrous results in the past seven years including in many African countries as well. The ongoing conflicts in Sudan, DR Congo, Uganda and Somalia are but a few of the cases we can draw some good lessons from.

Indeed, the fight for political power and control results will always usher intra-tribal conflicts, military coups attempts, and violence as was the case with now Sudan. The current unattainable policies in Juba are designed to benefit some groups at the expense of others, translate into poor economic performance and non-existence provision of service delivery at best.

It is therefore difficult to justify the claim that centralization/and or decentralization and unitary state will unite our heterogeneous society or as many would like to prefer use the term “patriotism.”

Dr. Jacob Lupai’s objective analysis of post-independence South Sudan’s dilemma couldn’t come at the right point in time when he argued that Federalism would reduce ethnic tensions and foster economic development and in return is likely to bring together various ethnic groups.

On the contrary, decreed centralization and the current unitary system has so far resulted in weak institutions that are not suited to achieving anything or even mutual understanding among the various South Sudanese communities. Instead, more often than not, the sturdy centralized government in Juba have resulted in outcomes that are very much like those found in stateless societies depicted by Thomas Hobbes.

Opponents of federalism can deny these facts, but at their own peril. The fact remains that majority of Junubin (south Sudanese) still observe strong tribal identification whether by names and tribal boundaries, and this should be considered a largely voluntary choice by the individuals concerned.

Such as when members of a tribe live and organize their activities without interfering with members of other tribes in the country, then the tribal unit is an optimal form of organizing for the purpose of providing some goods and services to its members.

In the U.S., Catholics, Southern Baptists, Right-wing Christians groups, Jews, to mention just a few, do organize all around common purpose.

Accordingly, I see no fault with the recently held Equatoria-2013 Conference in Juba because through such ethnic unit or regional gathering, it’s akin to a private club that serves the interests of its members. This is neither rocket science nor a constitutional subject for a debate. Notwithstanding the benefits to members also arise from the tribal organizations for the purposes of service delivery amongst others.

Bluntly put, I can see Equatoria Conferences providing also positive insurance and civic education and acts as sources of pride.

That said, the primary argument advanced above is that few uninformed individuals with no knowledge or power can see exact the opposite, unfortunately. This is the dangerous dilemma am talking about because if not treated with care, those half-backed internet scholars or self-proclaimed constitutional “experts” who are instigating violence and disharmony among various peaceful ethnic groups in South Sudan, using their relatives in power to outlaw ethnic groups to organize for the provision of public goods, are not only burying their heads in the sand, but are forgetting that there are many advantages in relying upon the “tribe” as a basis for almost anything across the mother continent-Africa e.g. from birth celebration, to the struggle for freedom and justice for all.

Needless to remind ourselves that there are various factors that can unite members of a tribe including the other informal means geared towards solving intra-tribal conflicts.

For those of us who are equating Federalism with something else, are dead wrong to say the least. Federal governments are fairly common and to a large extent function smoothly. Examples of federal governments include Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States of America, Nigeria and South Africa or the unique one in Ethiopia known as “ethnic federalism.”

The key here is that of the association of states or particular regions in which member states or regions retain a large measure of independence from the Federal government. Federal governments adhere to the federal principle: The method of dividing powers so that economic powers devolve down to the poor peasant in Warrap state or Kapoeta South County.

The proposed federalist alternative for South Sudan should therefore be the one where ethnic groups in various regions would establish their own regional governments. Each region would be independent in some sorts particularly in economic development sector which would be clearly stipulated in the federal constitution. These regions would then send their elected representatives to the federal legislature as is the case with the U.S. Congress.

I’m yet to see empirical evidence of the federal system that fails policy experimentation. I have no doubt in mind if implemented correctly, Federalism has always facilitated positive economic growth and regional competition.

Another main primary benefit of establishing federalist institutions in South Sudan is that such is the only system of organizing communal activities that protects groups from oppression by others and also accommodates diversity.

For those opponents of the Federalism in South Sudan, rather than stirring up aggressive reactions, why not use the God’s given brain power to sway the public opinion in one way or the other?

In conclusions, the mentioned benefits reflect the fact that in a federal system power is simply decentralized and neither Juba nor regional Equatoria or Warrap governments possess absolute power in which if left unchecked which it can lead the new country into an abyss. END

Politics of Self Determination still lingers in South Suan.

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, MAR/05/2013, SSN;

“United we stand, divided we fall.” This very old phrase has been used in mottoes, from nations and states to songs. The concept is that if people are not united, they can be easily destroyed. No one understands this phrase any better than the people of South Sudan who had to struggle for their independence – fighting wars after wars for almost half a century.

But in fact it is also this very people who understand the opposite side of this phrase which they too adopted to garner international recognition for their self determination of the state of South Sudan as they fought for secession from the united Sudan. In a total agreement with the reverse used by Def Leppard in the song “When Love & Hate Collide,” “..divided we stand, baby, united we fall,” south Sudanese overwhelmingly voted to break the unity with Khartoum in January 2011. What goes around, comes around – but we shall come to that later in this article.

The second Equatoria Conference

Following the second Equatoria Conference held in Juba between 14 – 15 February 2013, the nascent state of South Sudan is now treading a route well known to all its citizens both at home and in the Diaspora. Indisputably this second conference has so far succeeded to bring the new country’s elites face to face with the horrors of ethnically driven political agendas which are already eating up the very foundation of what is left of its “ all but talks” national unity project.

Even in so doing this article in its humble attempt to shed light on the current turn in the politics of the country, the author is aware of the fact that it might not even add much to what is already the “day to day politics” of a land and a people seriously arrested in time and development. As a direct consequence of a gross misrule and poor governance that started the post independence South Sudan on the wrong footing, the current SPLM leadership will squarely bear the responsibility.

It also goes without saying that it is unsurprising to witness just within a year and a half of the immediate post independence period, that misrule and the chronic failures to address the root causes of the general discontent that fueled the first self determination and subsequently the secession from Khartoum’s rule has resurfaced here again.

Many of this nascent country’s post independence challenges were and are all well forecasted by people with indepth knowledge in the region’s history and politics. This is not in any way an undermining of the much deserved 9th July 2011 independence, but rather it is an eye opener for those who were quick to assume that all was done once the country seceded from the Arab Islamic North.

Tribal and regional favoritism which were inherent in tribal communities are still ripe in South Sudan and to no one’s surprise it continues to stare us in the face the moment we set foot in the Juba International Airport. While this kind of attitude isn’t in any way unique to this new country as the African continent is already infamous for it, the issue in our case is that this monster and everything that is negatively associated with it may very soon prove detrimental to our prosperity and stability. Even too sooner than anticipated.

The phrase “Finger pointing” has become the defense weapon used by the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the current tribal politics and ethnic favoritism in their futile attempts to silence any protests against their otherwise savage treatment of others. This obviously is not the right phrase to describe those who complain of communal injustices, nonetheless many out there continue to use the phrase with the sole aim of undermining the intentional sufferings that they and their tribal communities have so often inflicted on the others.

Believe me or not, all those individuals and communities alike who are on the receiving end of injustice in South Sudan, can never be silenced this way and all that this does is to strengthen their voices of dissent. Hence the promoters of injustices and their apologists will say what they want to say, but the voice of the truth will always be heard. We as south Sudanese need to bring openness into the center of the debate between the different opposing groups. The way forward is to part with the old tradition of trying to silence opponents through the use of “bully-politics,” and this practice must cease, for it only makes an already bad situation worse.

No two can differ on the fact that the ruling SPLM party has since long started the new country on the wrong footing by adopting the politics of patronage, and the dishing of job opportunities to the chosen ones only – cronies – kinsman – and old buddies.

And as if to add salt to injury, many people all across the different ethnic groups have vividly chosen to align with the current corruption riddled leadership in an attempt to consolidate their grips on power and promote a kleptocratic welfare policy aimed at serving this club of parasites. This too will however come to an end very soon given the wave of political awareness that is currently sweeping across the new nation.

It is an SPLM sponsored and managed Conference for Equatoria.

But what is this Equatoria Conference, before we lose the track of events? One view is that it is a conference of people native to the former province of Equatoria ( Equatorian) i.e. by Equatorians for Equatorians. This is only true as far as the 1st conference was concerned. However the second Equatoria Conference which is responsible for the current wave of debates is, at its best an SPLM sponsored and managed Conference for Equatoria.

Hon. James Wani Igga, the National Assembly Speaker and SPLM’s second deputy chairman together with the governors of the three States of Equatoria and many other SPLM cadres were ubiquitously present at the conference. Many of these politicians also doubles as prominent members of the SPLM’s National Liberation Council as well as members of the party’s Political Bureau. And for the conference to conform to the government of the day’s policy, it was made as a point to represent the Head of State by none but the presidential adviser Hon. Telar Deng ( Mr Deng’s second in a row) – and the vice president Dr. Riek Machar.

However as to why the Equatoria Conference ever came into existence in the first place and why it is being confirmed by the ruling SPLM party as a viable political forum for discussing the nation’s problems is a thing for this political party which has maneuvered itself into the center of the event to explain.

Nonetheless given the confused state of affairs in the country, coupled with poor governance and widespread corruption it becomes only natural for the SPLM in Equatoria ( or any other group for that matter) to take advantage of it, since they consider themselves as the sole representatives of both the so-called politically marginalized and the SPLM rule at the same time or at least that is how they are made to feel.

Visiting the resolutions of the 1st and 2nd Eqatoria conferences it is surprising to see the magnitude of the very hot national issues that they reflected . Although of course the resolutions of the conference are colored here and there with what looks like topics of regional political dimensions, still issues of national interests were also given a wider space e.g. governance, freedom of the press, human rights, land ownership and many others. To this end we can see why other people applauded the conference while others whose personal and ethnic interests appeared threatened quickly went ballistic on the offense.

We are yet again witnessing a new emergence of the old and too well known phenomenon of political and socioeconomic domination by elites from a single ethnic group at the expense of all the others. This on the other hand has drawn a wide reaction from all over the country and loud voices of protest are on the rise in every corner. The marginalized communities are bent to applaud the several demands for the redress of ALL injustices as they are listed in the Equatoria Conference’s resolutions, without having much to bother about the backgrounds and the immediate political interests of the conferees.

While before even talking about those voices out there who are ruthlessly condemning the Equatoria conference mostly so for its regional nature, in spite of the many national issues thereof discussed, one would like to underscore this very important step that has to be overcome by the Equatoria Conferees if any of their many demands and proposals are to ever see the light.

The success of this thing labeled Equatoria will only come about following the accomplishment of the much needed bottom to top enlightenment and mobilization of the grass roots and the masses. This must in all cases precede any other steps that will only follow later if this latest wave of mass liberation is to yield its truest fruit. For it is either this or to surrender to the modern day slavery forever, a simple fact that a villager in Equatoria seems to understand far better than the so-called” five star elites.“

For clarity purposes it doesn’t need any over-stressing before we can appreciate how Equatoria looks at itself as a social-political unit. It has since been acknowledged as such since the turn of the last century. Hence its only natural for the people now known as the Equatorians of South Sudan to freely identify themselves as such. It’s within their human and constitutional rights that Equatorians identify themselves as Equatorians – and no opinion on earth will change that.

Just as Abyei is the rightful homeland of the nine Dinka Ngok chieftains and not the Messeiriya Baggara, so is Equatoria Region a homeland of the people who collectively refer to themselves as Equatorians. This represents ethnic politics at its furthest extreme and mind you that no one has the monopoly on going ethnic.

Expectations of the grass-roots in Equatoria.

Coming to the modi operendi of the Equatoria conference follow-up committees – it is high time that they live up to the expectations that they have generated all across Equatoria Province. This they can only achieve by stepping forward to fill in and provide the much needed steering leadership role. Not too long the so-called SPLM party will become completely irrelevant to address any of those issues raised in the last conference. For a true and prompt realization of equal citizenship for all in South Sudan, an Equatoria political union is in fact an urgent necessity.

While it is a good routine to raise the conferences resolutions and suggestions to the Head of State for consideration, people shouldn’t underestimate the fact that the SPLM chairman remains true to what he stands for, and that is the promotion of his kinsmen while personally masterminding all those policies aimed at the systematic marginalisation of Equatorians.

My personal advise to all the political powers in Equatoria is that they should better speed up the process of organizing themselves into functional political units. This is not to undermine the broader unity of the country as a sovereign state. But the truth is that the current tribally driven political agendas in the country can only be counter-balanced by an effective and purposeful political and economic unity of All Equatoria.

Furthermore if these conferences and their follow-up committees are not going to metamorphose into political tools and entities to defend the rights of all Equatoria, then there won’t be any use for their existence in the first place.

Hence its time that those politicians from Equatoria who continue to pay allegiance to this terribly compromised political organization of the SPLM and its fatigued leadership are in for more disappointments. They must understand that they have become irrelevant – first to the current developments on the ground and not too long they also will become irrelevant choices in their own constituencies.

Whistle-blowing on self determination.

Somewhere in the media a prominent opinion writer Dr. I.S. Sindani is well ahead in turning people’s attention to the possibility of Equatoria going for Self Determination should the SPLM led government continues with its institutionalized tribalism and marginalisation policies. Whether we agree with Dr. Sindani’s whistle-blowing or not the idea of possible self determination for Equatoria is indeed a scary development.

In other words the cat has already been let out of the bag. At this juncture we better all sober up and focus our views on the issue as matured and experienced citizens. And especially given our well known political past in the former united Sudan, we should be able to predict what is awaiting us as a country and act accordingly.

The freedoms that the SPLM/A fought for from Khartoum is no where to be seen in the independent republic of South Sudan under president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his SPLM government. For this reason it is just natural for people to move and desist and reject injustice and discrimination, whether they are from Upper Nile, Bahr Ghazal or Equatoria. Meanwhile trying to teach a government of under-performers is itself being complacent with the rotten system, it is worth remembering that “only you can satisfactorily scratch your skin”.

The right to self determination which is universal is not limited only to the Equatoria Region of South Sudan and the reasons to seek this right is totally left to whoever is calling for it. In other words although we do all have the same right to have opinions, yet we cannot decide for others what will merit a sound reason for opting for self determination.

As such those who disagree with Dr. Sindani will be doing so because they want to protect either their personal, national or group’s interests – but they cannot by any means out reason him over the reasons he so viewed as enough to warrant a call for Self Determination. For when love & hate collide, we must be fair enough to see the rationale behind the choice of “ divided we stand and united we fall” as it becomes the only logically option to go by. Remember it is about when love and hate collide!

Federal system of governance.

Of much interest is the call by the conferees for a federal system of government in the republic of South Sudan. This crucial development in the politics of this turmoil region exactly mirrors the period that immediately followed the Sudanisation of jobs on the eve of the declared independence of the former united Sudan

An Equatorian elder, Agriculturist, politician and well known columnist, Jacob Kwaje Lupia has for since long been writing and advocating for the adoption of a true Federal System of Governance in South Sudan to replace the current heavily centralized and maximally corrupt and grossly tibalised unitary system which only a few are milking mercilessly while others gaze. Sounding like a diehard federalist JK Lupai is a voice from the heart of Equatoria that will never relinquish its core beliefs.

On a personal note it is my conviction that South Sudan will only return to be a good place when the administrative structures of the new country are taken back to the old system of the “three provinces”. We know why the enemy north divided our people into the current artificial units of ten states and it was exclusively meant to serve their interest only and not ours.

A South Sudan of Three federal states must not only be seen as an initial step towards the implementation of the much anticipated Federal System of Governance, but it is indeed an integral part of the grand pacification project all across the violent regions of this beautiful country . Our future lies in a Federal Republic of South Sudan with Three Federal States. This will bring back the trust we have lost in one another, for under the old structures south Sudanese will go back to healthily compete as three provinces or states instead of the current unhealthy competitions which are solely driven by our loyalties to our countless tribes and clans.

It is for all practical purposes that a federal republic of South Sudan under three former provinces is the only one sure route to achieve a sustainable national unity for all the citizens. Jacob K Lupai is a well known South Sudanese elder who has written a great deal about the politics of South Sudan and the issues of Food Security in the post independence era and he should be seen as one of this country’s dedicated sons, who has also given his time to educate us intensively about Federal System of Governance. We thank him for a work well done!

In the wider perspective, writing opinions are good for sharing views and educating the public as well as selling one’s ideas, we must also be seen to practically live by what we believe in. This goes further to stress that Dr I.S. Sindani is entitled to his opinions and as such will only be practicing his fundamental rights whenever he propagates his ideas of Self Determination for Equatoria. I for one I won’t be surprised if some people out there find what Dr. Sindani has opined is unacceptable to them, yet he deserves respect.

This is the bottom line for under tribal politics like everywhere else in Africa, the distance between rivaling ethnicities will only continue to drift apart as long as we remain arrested in this institution so-called tribalism. Unfortunately South Sudan for all anthropological, geographical, historical,economic and political reasons lies in the heart of this mess. The rest is common sense!!!

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General – United South Sudan Party (USSP).

Rep. of South Sudan: A Rotten Society mismanaging itself into Self destruction?


It is now four months since the sad killing of Isaiah Abraham (Isaiah’s coffin- above) with a Wandit from the security service publishing president Kiir’s list of death in an email on 5th December 2012. President Kiir’s list of death itself wasn’t surprising to some of us at all. The only surprise was the fact SPLM Oyee decided to continue with its criminality that it had developed during the bush years after taking the reigns of power of the sovereign state of South Sudan.

From 9th July 2011 we expected that president Kiir and his party would be guided by the constitution of RSS and in doing so it would live by its now empty monotonous songs of democracy that it ceaselessly sings. Now, for those who always give this dysfunctional organisation the benefit of doubt, the ball is in their court to decide whether to support criminality or the rule of law.

Targeting citizens by lists is hardly the stuff of lawful governance. This is the working of gangs operating outside the law in the under world. But we must not forget that SPLM Oyee since its birth in 1983 operated thuggishly in the bushes of South Sudan with impunity. It awarded itself the powers of life and death and it exercised it largely without any due process and constraints.

Thus in the process it lynched a large number of innocent people ranging from those who disagreed with their unionist ideology of New Sudan to eliminating members of other tribes perceived as a threat to Jieng hegemony. For instance, the killings in late 1990s of the honorable chief of the Didinga people; the respectable Col. Martin Kejivura and SPLM/A Alternate Commander Khamis Deliga. For over two decades the SPLM Oyee got used to terrorizing the people of South Sudan into submission which allowed it to establish itself as the unrivaled power in South Sudan.

The previous leader of this obnoxious movement, the late Dr John Garang De Mabior, was handed this murder machine called SPLM/A by Col. Mengistu of Ethiopia, to force the now obsolete ideology of New Sudan on the people of South Sudan and by default establishing the Jieng people as the ultimate ruling class in the Sudan with their nefarious belief of “born to rule.” A self-perpetuated belief (rather delusional) without any grounds given what is taking place in the country.

Thank God, the SPLM has now demonstrated beyond doubt not only to South Sudanese, but to the world at large that it has no skills of governance whatsoever. Worse still, SPLM seems not to have any skills of self assessment and self reflection which exacerbates the poverty in its dealings with other people. Even the horrible Boers of South Africa with their then National Party and Apartheid ideology were able to reflect and this was what saved South Africa from propelling itself into the abyss.

The “born to rule,” unlike the Boers who were able to value their future only excel in promoting lawlessness, corruption, crime and intolerance. So, in short, one could say that they are born to destroy, to plunder, to misrule… etc.

Dr Garang’s beliefs and writings about democracy presently with hindsight is giving us an insight into his mind since the product of his mind in the form of SPLM Oyee management is not any different from the management of the then Sudan by the Sudanese ruling class that he vehemently criticized. Everything that Dr Garang criticized about the ruling class in Khartoum as documented in his books edited by Mansur Khalid ironically was practiced by him in the bush and now by his organisation in power in RSS.

This shows conclusively that Dr Garang and the SPLM Oyee was and is after power and domination only and not about liberation and empowerment of the people.

The current president, Salva Kiir, was the man who for over two decades headed the dreadful intelligence service of SPLM Oyee and was responsible for the disappearance of many innocent people. In effect, he was the Rottweiler of Dr Garang. Now if Salva Kiir was comfortable leading an organisation responsible for the disappearance of innocent people with impunity, what would make any person think he will not continue with it as the president of RSS?

What Kiir does not contemplate is that in the bush years he and his former boss late Dr Garang, were unaccountable because they operated under their self made rules. Now that South Sudan is independent the rules of the game have changed. He can not continue with his sordid business with impunity. He will have to account one way or another whether he likes it or not because South Sudan has a constitution, be it an undesirable one. Moreover, RSS is obliged to observe international laws related to Human Rights.

The painful killing of Isaiah Abraham, a staunch SPLM officer which might have been intended to jackboot journalists and opinion writers into silence paradoxically has awaken the world to abuses of power in RSS. This adds to the accumulating troubles of SPLM Oyee machine.

A report by Reporters Without Borders released on Wednesday 30th January 2013 indicates that the international community has taken note of the human rights abuses in the country. The downgrading of South Sudan status in the annual press index without doubt proves that its image has been tarnished in the world.

This report and others by the US and UN on human rights are probably the beginning of the concretization of the failures of governance in RSS under SPLM Oyee. In a sense, it is a blessing to South Sudanese democrats so they can at last intensify the case for peaceful regime change in Juba.

The sad killing of Isaiah Abraham is an act of uncalled for terror and every peace loving citizen of South Sudan needs to condemn it and think seriously about its consequence to our country. If this painful unacceptable act of barbarity of SPLM Oyee is allowed to fizzle out, then the future of our country is indeed bleak.

For in returning to life as normal, the SPLM Oyee will have succeeded in normalizing killing of those it does not like and believe you me, it is not only the targeted ones in the known or unknown lists. You may find yourself on such a list in future if you are still alive. As this organisation gets more and more irrational the list will grow longer and longer swallowing in anybody within its reach with a slight variance in opinion.

This is the nature of totalitarian regimes. Just look at similar movements like the Baath of Iraq, the Green Movement of Gaddafi and so on. Therefore, it is imperative that SPLM Oyee is made to account. To make SPLM Oyee to account you must be an agent of change for the common good and a future prosperous country.

The killing of Isaiah Abraham, terrible as it is, has already raised the consciousness of the people of Bor to a certain level. The people of Bor as the fervent supporters of this ugly machine and the beneficiaries of its fruits for years have doggedly defended its crimes shamelessly. Now it seems that they are realizing that they have built a monster that they themselves can not tame.

When late Dr Garang was the leader, they’re safe and secure and they ignored the plight of the victims of their beloved organisation. Now that the leadership has gone to Warrap, Bor seems to be at the receiving end like the others and they don’t like it. They’re right not to like it, because democrats and free thinkers too don’t like it from experience either.

To understand the painful feelings of Bor which many South Sudanese have lived with for years, just read ‘Tribute to Isaiah Abraham: Verbatim from the memorial service of Isaiah Abraham’ published by South Sudan Nation on 19th December 2012.

The obvious notable thing any reader browsing through this article comes across is the number of VIPs from the government of South Sudan who comprised the bulk of the speakers. This people, arguably form the nucleus of SPLM Oyee and by extension the government of South Sudan itself. From their words the waves of raw pain comes forth from inside them sweeping us along, prodding our conscious and reminding us of our own horrendous experiences under the SPLM Oyee.

Speaker after speaker expressed the pain in their own words capturing the live experience of South Sudanese under their very rule of terror. They unreservedly condemned the government as if they weren’t the architects of this barbaric organisation. An outsider could easily be misled to think these people have nothing to do with SPLM Oyee. But peer deeper and the true picture falls into place.

These are the essential cogs of this machine. Their condemnation of the government although welcome, it is what psychologists call denial. The refusal to accept the reality that one facet of your personality is hideous. It is difficult to think of yourself as part of a criminal and horrible organisation.

Worse still is to think of yourself as being a possible accomplice in the killing of Isaiah Abraham. Self preservation demands that such feelings are banished through selfish denial lest it stirs mental health issues. This kind of denial mingles with another denial generated by the bereavement itself.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1926–2004), the renowned theorist of bereavement, posits that humans in the initial stages of bereavement automatically react with denial followed by anger. Now it seems that the SPLM bosses’ denial of the nature of their own organisation, and the denial resulting from the bereavement had fused into one potent ball of boiling emotions. Hence, the venom spewed (on president Kiir and paradoxically on themselves, essentially an act of self deprecation) at the memorial service symbolize a combination of both denial and anger.

Kubler-Ross further argues that after these two crucial stages in bereavement comes acceptance. After sometime when reality sinks in the bereaved accept the demise and then recovery begins with normality taking over. If these powerful VIPs return to business as normal with Isaiah Abraham fading into the distant memory to become history as eventually he will, then their whole reaction in the memorial service must be understood in the context of bereavement process only.

Therefore, what they said is nothing, absolutely nothing, but the words of a weasel’s emotional reaction from denial and anger.

Surprisingly, it appears that these VIPs were not aware that they were/are part and parcel of this Oyee machine that has at last brought destruction home. It appears they were/are oblivious to the fact that they are complicit in the acts of their party and government and by implication Isaiah Abraham’s death is a result of their own construction. It is possible such feeling of complicity bordering on guilt is the one eating them from inside.

We’ve time and again tirelessly emphasized that SPLM Oyee brutality will eventually destroy all of us, but they’ve refused to listen. Most unfortunately, Isaiah Abraham’s killing is an explicit example illuminating our rotten society mismanaging itself into self destruction. We ignore SPLM brutality at our peril.

Now if these VIPs condemned the government without reservation, the questions are: why are they still part of it? What have they learnt and done to improve the situation since the sad killing of Isaiah Abraham? Why is the killing of citizens continuing in Juba and many parts of the country? Or, have we now forgotten about our brother Isaiah Abraham and it’s business as usual?

Or, are we now discriminating the dead? High profile ones can be fussed over and counted (though technically a meaningless loss) while low profile ones are invisibalized making the daily statistics of the country without any concerns. So are we now in the world of those who matter and those who do not matter? What a terrible indictment on our humanity

So, Bor or not, SPLM Oyee won’t exempt you of its brutalities and its lawlessness. You’re subject to its oppression like the others. Warrap people also need to think carefully because when the leadership of SPLM Oyee slips from their hand, this very organisation that protects them now will be the very one that will turn on them mercilessly. Its sons and daughters will be in SPLM Oyee future ‘Death list’ too.

Therefore, all of us have an interest in stopping this horrendous organisation from destroying us and our country. Just remember, organisations are living entities with their own rules and principles thus giving it a mind of its own only manipulable by the leadership of the day. So any people (with a collective pathological psyche as now) that gains control of this murderous machine will use it to inflict pain on the rest.

Bor has now found out the hard way. Let South Sudanese hug them (Borians) to assuage the pain and make use of their experience to build a truly peaceful country at ease with itself where all of us live freely and happily in the company of each other.

A Pathological organisation like SPLM Oyee breeds chaos. Unhealthy tribal affiliation breeds tribalism and ultimately leads to unhealthy interactions and co-existence. At the core of SPLM, we can see that it is gripped with intense fear and intolerance.

Principally, SPLM Oyee’s behavior is a result of its policy of intolerance. This emanates from its insecure nature. The fear that grips it has cultivated a belief in its followers that they can only be safe if SPLM/A does away with anybody that holds contrary beliefs and ideas.

Given this absurd mentality any leader who takes over may find himself/herself doing the same things as the previous and current leaders. So, although these things are happening under president Kiir today, tomorrow they will recur under a different SPLM person if this pathological organisation is not disbanded.

Crucially, remember that SPLM Oyee’s power comes from you the members and if you don’t do something it will continue to perpetuate its atrocities on us, simply because it is a paranoid organisation gripped with fear of intellectuals, journalists and opinion writers. The ‘Death list(s)’ Wandit thrust into the public domain will continue to be prepared in the offices of the so-called security organs with new innocent people added on as criticism of SPLM failures inevitably grow.

Albert Einstein reminds us that the world is a dangerous place to live in; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it to correct things.

So let us regardless of our tribe join hands to build a democratic, peaceful and fair country through a government of national unity in which every citizen is protected by law and order and not cling to some monstrous organisation or tribal affiliations as a way of ensuring our safety.

In doing this the truth must be spelt out clearly for us to reflect on it, work on it in order to ensure that such ills are not repeated in future.

Elhag Paul

More pertinent issues to criticize Chief Justice other than daughter’s appointment as Legal Assistant

BY: Juma Mabor, RSS, MAR/05/2013, SSN;

When I read Sudan Tribune online newspaper, one article that caught my attention was, “South Sudan chief justice denies nepotism in appointment of his daughter” which is attributed to the recent recruitment of 78 legal assistants to the Judiciary of South Sudan. The antagonists felt that it was immoral for the chief justice to appoint his own daughter alongside the other 77 legal assistants whilst a substantial number of graduates are still loitering the streets of Juba without jobs. Some also alluded to the facts that these are early indications of establishing monarchies and dynasties in the government institutions while the extremists put it plainly that, the recruitment processes were not even transparent and the public did not have an idea about these legal assistant vacancies advertisement.

For public relations gesture, one would to some minimal extent, agree with these uproars because the evidences are so overwhelming to be ignored and this is because it is either by default, qualifications, or outright intention that both the chief justice and his deputy has at least an immediate relative among the appointees as the CJ has his daughter, the one in controversy and his DCJ has his nephew alongside those appointed on 26th February 2013.

That for a fact is enough for emotions and conservatism but let us sober down and choose to be liberal in our judgments. With that, I offer to lead you in this discourse by stating that, I find nothing wrong with the chief justice, his deputy or even the entire Supreme Court bench appointing their next of kins to the judiciary and any other government institution at any capacity.

Why do I tolerate this opinion. Simple, as long as these next of kin have the required qualifications and necessary capacity to deliver the needed services to this nation, then they should continue to employ them. Let me give an elaboration and I hope some students among you will help me in that aspect; this appointment of next of kins is not a new phenomenon in the world, it happened in the United States some decades back when one American president nominated for appointment, his brother as Attorney General and this appointment had to be approved by the congress and so it goes.

The acrimony started that the president could not nominate his brother for that post because he was the president and thus doing so would amount to nepotism. The president accepted the criticisms and asked the congress for indulgence as he gives them only three fundamental reasons why he thinks his brother is fit to be the Attorney General of the United States of America and why he felt that he could be the right man for the job.

He (the president) says, “My brother, like anyone of you in this congress is an American citizen and that gives him every right to be nominated as the Attorney General (Citizenship). Secondly, my brother is one of the prominent lawyers in the United States of America and that also add to his being nominated as the Attorney General of the United States of America (Qualification) and finally and more importantly, he is my brother” (Relationship). At the end, the congress was convinced and accepted Kennedy’s brother as the Attorney General of the United States of America.

Hence the question, does Achok Chan Reec Madut and Arol Majak Arol meet these criteria as stated by the United States president? To me it is a yes because they are both south Sudanese citizens like some of us and those that are claiming to have not been employed before them. They are also by what I would call ‘biological accident’ next of kins to both the chief justice and the deputy chief justice.

As to whether they are qualified academically, I must have some reservations on that because I don’t know their academic backgrounds but I would also love to assume that they must be qualified because they could not be selected without the relevant qualifications for such technocratic positions.

One commentator went emotional by stating that he was ahead of the Chief justices’ children when they were in school and now he does not have a job and the chief justices’ are appointing there children to the judiciary. In my judgment, this evidence is inadmissible because it does not satisfy the threshold requirement for indicting anyone of nepotism.

One could finish his or her university studies a decade before but if they are not able to pass their interviews and get themselves into some jobs, then it cannot be blamed on some fresh students who finish their studies ten (10) year later and get the opportunities for employment.

If what this commentator said would be the trend, then the queue for employing people would remain relatively long and therefore some would die of old age before their turn for employment arrives I think there was no substance in that argument.

Another commentator was talking of swift promotion that will take place once Achok gets to the judiciary, at least this one is projecting the foreseeable scenario and this is where now our commentator should remain vigil in order to tip off the public in case the father (chief justice) tries to influence the rapid promotion of his daughter in this public institution.

However, this again cannot be used as a roadblock to Achok and Arol in their career developments because one’s career destiny is built towards progress and promotion. They still have the rights to be promoted within their ranks based on their performances and inputs to the system.

I do not know these two individual but I hope reading between the lines on the controversy brought by their appointment, they should now be able to strategize and confront the challenges up front.

Nevertheless, I want to advise the chief justice and his deputy plus their lieutenants in the judiciary that this institution is the backbone of the nation and if there are some alleged malpractices and irregularities associated with the recruitment of judicial personnel, then they had rather be ratified now before it is too late because these people you appoint are entrusted with crucial public affairs and should be persons of highest integrity and moral standing.

Finally, I want to urge my colleagues who are disenfranchised by these appointments to maintain their cool and hope for the best because the likes of Achok and Arol might have had the opportunity to have their jobs guaranteed soon after they finished their studies. That’s something that you haven’t had despite having spent quite a substantial amount of money and time trying to replace the soles in your shoes.

But believe me you…. you have an inalienable right to share with them in equally significant measure and that is, “being a citizen of this country called South Sudan.” They can deny you jobs but they cannot chase you away from this country. Therefore, brother and sister, patience pains but it pays ultimately. Keep our eyes on Achok and Arol!

Juma Mabor Marial is a Lawyer and can be reached at

Worrying signs that may lead to another call for self determination by Equatorians: Advice to government

BY: DR. SINDANI SEBIT, Kenya, MAR/01/2013, SSN;

It appears Equatoria is being forced to call for the right to self-determination in South Sudan. I have this strong feeling because it appears the Government in Juba seems not to listen to what the people in Equatoria are complaining about. There are many writings abound from different intellectuals and intelligentsia from Equatoria for pointing out the failures of the government in Juba to realize that it is behaving like the Arab regime in then Sudan.

However, the Government has either kept mumb or is encouraging their supporters to unfortunately describe these complaints to be hatred against Dinkas or mere call for federalism which is not accepted by the ruling party in Juba.

The question here is whether Equatorians have the legal basis for calling for self-determination in South Sudan, a country that has just exercised its right to self-determination that resulted in its independence.

First, before I can urge on the right of Equatorians to self determination, it would be prudent to briefly outline what are the major pitfalls in the country that could drive Equatorians to take such a major decision. Apparently, the Equatorians have been forced to consider themselves as minorities in South Sudan and rightly so because the Government in Juba is indeed exercising the deformed concept of majority-have-the-right-to-rule, and thus the Dinka and Nuer being the major tribes in South Sudan have the right to rule regardless.

Secondly, the two tribes have arrogated themselves the title of liberators so as to usurp power in South Sudan for domination of other tribes, exploitation of their resources and acquisition of land in Equatoria by force. If one looks at the Government in Juba critically it is not lost to the observer to discover that nearly 70% of the government is in the hands of these two tribes. The rest are either decoys or friends put there to disguise the plan.

They are not only the majority in the government but they also hold the critical arms of government in order to subjugate the people using the force of arms. The employment in the government is not really based on merit but on tribal basis regardless of educational standards of the individuals involved.

The army and police are a monopoly of the two tribes and these institutions have become the arms of oppression and subjugation. This is evident in land grabbing, destruction of crops in Equatoria by cows driven from Dinka lands and the forceful resettlement of Dinkas in Equatoria. The policy of settlement of Dinkas in Equatoria is ethnic dilution of the population of Equatoria so as to enable Dinkas become the majority. This is the same policy the Arabs are using in Darfur and would like to use in Abyei.

The discrimination in scholarship and payment of students by the Government in countries such as Uganda and Kenya are calculated moves to deny minorities the chance to education while on the other hand ensuring that the majority acquires the necessary skills so as to propagate the discriminatory policies of the majority.

The condemnation of the recent Equatoria conference in Juba by lawyers and politicians drawn from these tribes as a propaganda aimed at dividing South Sudan is yet another proof that the government of South Sudan and its tribal supporters do not believe in the freedom of expression.

In fact this conference was actually aimed at pointing out the ills in South Sudan society with a view to finding amicable solutions to them. This uncalled for outright condemnation further illustrates the Government’s repugnant attitudes and its belligerent contempt towards open discussions about the problems facing the people of South Sudan.

This is just because the government is comfortable enough to maintain the status quo for the benefit of perceived majority in South Sudan. The looting of South Sudan resources for the sake of the majority is certainly another policy aimed at consolidating the power of the majority to oppress the minority in the country.

Having said this, let me turn to the concept of the self determination. The principle of right to self-determination is a fundamental principle of human rights law. It is indeed an individual and collective right for the people to freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

There are two important concepts about the right to self determination. These concepts are the perfect de-colonization in which the colonial power leaves and restores full sovereignty to the people in the territory as may be the case that has happened in South Sudan and the imperfect de-colonization which occurs when there is an absence of restoration of full governance to a people having the right to self-determination.

Although there are several types of imperfect de-colonization, I will take the fourth scenario which I quote here. “There may be a situation where a small component part of a colonially-created “unitary” state agreed to continue the unitary State but with no particular “opt-out” agreements signed. Rather, there were either verbal or negotiated, written agreements about how the rights of the smaller (or in some situations, weaker) group would be protected in the combined State. However, the smaller or weaker group then experiences severe curtailments of their rights over a long period of time by the dominant group and may lose the ability to protect its rights by peaceful means.”

Does this scenario pertain in South Sudan? Other than the absence of opt-out agreements, verbal or not, and the length of existence of an independent South Sudan, signs are already there that Equatorians feel dominated and in the long run may lose the ability to protect its rights.

However, does this constitute any legal right for the people in Equatoria to self determination? Certainly it is feasible and much probable because the “obligation to respect the principle of self-determination is a prominent feature of the UN Charter of 1945, appearing, inter alia, in both Preamble to the Charter and in Article 1.”

Secondly, “the International Court of Justice refers to the right to self-determination as a right held by people rather than a right held by governments alone.”

Thirdly, “The two important United Nations studies on the right to self-determination set out factors of a people that give rise to possession of right to self-determination: a history of independence or self-rule in an identifiable territory, a distinct culture, and a will and capability to regain self-governance.”

In this sense, Equatorians have identifiable territory called Equatoria, have distinct culture from the dominant groups in South Sudan and a will and capability to self governance.

Fourthly, “the right to self-determination is indisputably a norm of jus cogens. Jus cogens norms are the highest rules of international law and they must be strictly obeyed at all times.”

And lastly, “Both the International Court of Justice and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States have ruled on cases in a way that supports the view that the principle of self-determination also has the legal status of erga omnes.” This means “when a principle achieves the status of erga omnes the rest of the international community is under a mandatory duty to respect it in all circumstances in their relations with each other.”

This part certainly gives the Eqautorians the legitimate right to be supported by the international community if they deem so to seek the right to self determination within or as separate state. Right to self determination could be for the type of governance within a state such as federalism, confederation or self rule.

Currently there are loud voices coming out from Equatoria calling for federal system of governance in South Sudan but this seems to be falling on deaf ears of the rulers in Juba. Sadly the same rulers are oblivious to the fact that this is a right of the people that cannot be suppressed by force or otherwise.

However, how could Equatoria raise the issue of its right to self determination? Equatoria is considered as a minority in South Sudan but they are indigenous people of a territory called Equatoria. They were brought into a Country called Sudan by colonialists that included the Belgians, English and French. Being indigenous, they have right to self determination under international law.

The Special Rapporteur of the UN Sub-Commission, José Martinez Cobo, on Study of the Problem of Discrimination against Indigenous Populations defined Indigenous communities as, “peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.”

Interestingly enough, Equatoria has several tribes but has since before independence of Sudan in 1956, regarded itself as one region with a common belief, shared diverse traditions and cultures that they continue to preserve for the prosperity of their future generation. The people have sedentary customs and practices distinct from the rest of the people in South Sudan. It is these traditions, cultures, common beliefs and customs that are being threatened by ethnic dilution and systematic policy of land grabbing.

The land and resource of Equatoria are being systematically and unjustly taken away, mainly by governments, multinational companies, and business groups. Equatorians have limits to the democratic space, and political participation. Most political systems are dominated if not controlled by the majority.

National party, the SPLM, does not represent the interests of indigenous peoples but are only interested in getting their votes. The Party is practicing policies based on personalities and social and political influence.

The Equatoria lands are invaded by their so called masters or settled on by force in order to create ethnic dilution. This kind of situation is not only worrying but is actually a precipitant to call for self determination.

In fact ethnic dilution contravenes Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention while settling people in indigenous people land also goes against the International Court of Justice ruling on Western Sahara in 1975, which it ruled that “if there is land that in fact no one has ever claimed, it is opened for grabs. Such land is called “terra nullius” – empty land. But if any land has had a population on it, that land belonged to that population and is not open for grabs”.

The recent proposal to amend Chapter 11, Article 170, and Sub-section 5 of the South Sudan transitional constitution aims to rob the communities in Equatoria of their ancestral communal land to enable the Government freely settle their own people or displace the Equatorian communities legally.

In conclusion, I would like to draw the attention of the government in Juba to this intricate situation in South Sudan. Marginalization, discrimination, deprivation and intrusion into peoples’ lands and destruction of resources and denial of the people the right to freedom of expression and political participation are elements that can lead the Equatorians to peaceful call for self determination and the world will be left with no option but to accept.

Secondly, the government can only avoid this by listening to the people, accept some, if not, all their views, act on some of the excesses committed by them or their protégés in order to create equality, equity and freedoms for all. The government must realize and become vigilant that some of their actions are detrimental to the peaceful co-existence of the country.

The warning signs are there and we are all alerting them to this ominous signs so that changes can be initiated now and not in future.

On the other hand if such a scenario of call to self determination arises let the government not blame anybody other than itself because of its failure to prevent it or to accept advice from those who have volunteered to do so.

Ireneaus Sebit