Archive for: April 2013

Fret (Worry) of South Sudan future in 2015

BY: Abraham Garang, JUBA, APR/21/2013, SSN;

As a true patriot, I don’t advocate any party in the South, but support good governance and believe in criticizing government when doing the country’s affairs inappropriately. And I desire to see my country transformed as a democratic country that’s intolerant of tribalism but promotes the distribution of the country’s resources for development of all ten states of South Sudan equally and fairly but not only one State.

Furthermore, I am also worried about corrosion in South Sudan politics in 2015 as the country approaches the upcoming general elections. In which some people declared themselves to run for the top seat, these candidates for presidency and vice presidency are as follows: Dr. Riek Machar for presidency, James Wani for vice presidency, Pagum Amum for presidency, and the wife of South Sudan founding father, Rebecca Nyandeng, but her candidature is not somehow considered and is not believed as a threatening politician. However, what makes her to yearn for presidency is the fact that her husband was the founding father of South Sudan.

Since that day those politicians declared their willingness for political race in upcoming general election, that’s when the conflict started between Dr. Riek and Salva Kiir. What worries Mr. President is the fact Dr. Riek wanted to reconcile with Bor community for the massacre that occurred in 1991 in which Mr. President is not interested in peace and reconciliation within the communities.

As a result, he craves to use the 1991 tragedy as his contender’s weakness and encourage other communities not to vote for Dr. Riek when the time comes and especially Bor community who had suffered during the massacre.

But what frets me most is when Dr. Riek becomes unsuccessful for the presidency and Mr President re-elected again as president of South Sudan and his running mate, James Wani, becomes vice president, as a result.

President Kiir and his advisers will influence their Dinka communities and James Wani will do the same with his, and these communities will summon together against Nuer and certainly they will defeat Dr. Riek Machar. Then what will occur?

I believe Nuer will rebel against the newly elected government because Nuer communities everywhere support Dr. Riek Machar simply because he is a Nuer regardless of what he’d done in the past and his policies.

This case will be like exactly what happened in Kenya: but I don’t know that if Dinka’s will be the kikuyu and Nuer will be the Luo and the Equatorians will be the other minority communities that deserve a duty position like Kamba and Kalenjin. This is precisely what will happen in 2015 general elections and this is what makes president Kiir optimistic what will happen and his advisers told him so.

If you think deeply, this is what Dr. Riek Machar is doing, he wants to make sure that Bor community is solidly alongside him when the time comes, and this is why President Kiir removed the delegated vice president’s powers because he knew if Dr. Riek apologies to Bor community, there are some Bor leaders in the SPLA/M party that are not happy with the way president Kiir’s governance of the new nation of South Sudan.

And this perhaps will lead those Bor leaders to influence their communities to vote for Dr. Reik Machar during the election time. If you look at this case scenaro, that is exactly what our politicians are currently working upon. But what will happen to our communities if our politicians encourage tribalism?

However, president Kiir must modify his political mess and shun encouraging tribalism in the country in order for him to remain as our president. But what exactly does he need to modify?

First, he needs to encourage all the citizens to work together regardless of their political affiliations, states and tribes and work as brotherhood and sisterhood and speak the truth and betterment of their country.

Second, freedom of expression, he needs to allow writers and journalists to write their opinions, he must stop ordering security forces to glance for those who criticize government.

Sadly, however, Mr President did not comprehend that, those who criticize government are precisely those who want government to alter, not hatred of the government. But those who abhor you are those in your office not the writers and journalists, those in your office projected you as a dictatorship.

Again, if Mr President doesn’t alter his mess that he has created then, I believe, he must not return to office regardless of his tribal influences that he made to prevent Dr. Riek Machar as our next president as well as removing those delegated vice presidential powers.

But what’s important is what the government senior official declared to the public clearly that if you’re a writer and you wish to publish your opinion, then you must first register in order to shun carnage of some other writers who’re not registered.’ Journalists are the watchdogs of democracy and such an act must be stopped.

In this case, I will not vote for a president who’s intolerable to freedom of speech and expression in the upcoming election, because I am tired of president Kiir leadership since he came to power in 2005. I don’t know how I will describe him: killing political activists and sacking uncorrupted officers?

Mr President has been given a chance to lead the people of South Sudan due to the death of our late Dr. John who died in suspicious circumstances in a helicopter crash after returning back from Kampala in which various factions who’ve data of his death blame the weather for the crash.

After those pathetic days, the people of South Sudan had given comrade Salve the leadership of SPLM not because he was capable of leading the people of South Sudan, but there were no other alternative actions.

But since he came to power, Mr President has failed the whole country in terms of political affairs, economics and national security, job opportunities for youths, food Security, education, medicare and infrastructure.

For these problems and for encouraging tribalism, I’m really worried. And, therefore, I don’t think I will vote for president Kiir if he doesn’t alter his political manners and shun listening to those advisers who’re misleading him sometimes.

By Abraham Garang
Live in Juba, South Sudan

Cancellation of Reconciliation is a Mistake!

BY: William Deng, JUBA, APR/21/2013, SSN;

Few days ago, President of South Sudan, Lt. Gen. Salva Kirr Mayarditt, sent a message on South Sudan Television (SSTV) in Juba, which read two decrees from the president: Decree one was for reduction roles the president said he has delegated to his Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny. The other degree was the cancellation of a fore waiting national reconciliation consultation for people of South Sudan.

The news of cancellation and reduction of vice president roles was shocking for many in South Sudan and around the world. Everyone looked for someone else to interpret what exactly Pres. Kiir meant by cancelling reconciliation and reducing the roles of his vice president.

It was a puzzle, and many questions were asked, such as: are we in peace? Are these constitutional roles or additional tasks that Pres. Kirr might have assigned to his vice? What else remains with Dr. Riek? Are these assigned roles delegated with decrees to Vice Pres. Dr. Riek Machar? When were the roles delegated? How much politics play in these decrees announcements?

Why cancel reconciliation? What would these decrees decisions really mean to the relationship between two big men in the country, and to what extent would Pres. Kirr decrees decisions demand on the volatile trust with average individuals who are in dire need of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan?

In short, let me attempt to share my dismay in regard to this news of cancelled reconciliation, as well as thoughts about the reduction of the vice president’s roles, while trying to answer some of these questions.

To address these unanswerable looming questions among many South Sudanese in Juba and other parts of the country, including diaspora, is a simple attempt since no one can exactly envisage what is inside the man’s hat though everyone needs aid for independent interpretation precisely on what Pres. Kirr intends in reducing the roles of his vice president and cancelling reconciliation of peace effort.

Are we in peace in the country?

There are wars in the country from different communities. Seven out ten states have no peace in their communities. In addition to rebel operations in Jonglie state, Rumbek, Eastern Equatoria, Waw, Unity State, to name just a few, have some community problems within or with their neighboring states.

People are raiding cattle; killing people include women and children, as well as forcing others to flee their homes. There is mistrust among members of different communities, while lack of access to local services have encouraged tensions within these tribal communities.

Are these constitutional roles or additional tasks that Pres. Kirr might have assigned to his vice?

Though there is a significant power delegated to one man in the country, still South Sudan Transitional Constitution does not allow president to take constitutional roles away from his vice president without a majority vote in the legislature branch. Article 105 and 106 stipulate what president can or can’t do with or without approval.

The executive duties of the vice president are constitutional duties, and president shouldn’t easily remove them without a vote from legislature branch.

“I read the read decree and looked at the transitional constitution and found that the president did not touch any constitutional powers assigned to the vice president. He [Kiir] had only withdrawn powers he had in the past delegated to his deputy. So let our people understand that the vice president is still a vice president with all his constitutional powers”, Igga told reporters.

Therefore, the power that president reduced with decree from the vice president is a simple task such as coordinating of national reconciliation or organizing and coordinating of a specific task with a time frame. None of these roles required special provisions from the Transitional Constitution, and THERE WAS NO NEED FOR A DECREE TO REDUCE THEM!

What else remains with Dr. Riek and when were the roles delegated?

What else left with vice president is certainly a lot but how? Vice Dr. Riek has taken on his shoulders to see South Sudan thrive as a successful nation. He wants to see a developed South Sudan where its people live in peace and love one another regardless of their tribal or political affiliations.

He sees a south Sudan with modern technology, roads and bridges, hospitals and schools, agriculture and entrepreneurs, clean water and rural developments, etc. This is the South Sudan Dr. Riek sees, BUT THIS IS NOT THE SOUTH SUDAN WE HAVE NOW; however, this can happen, but there has to be a trust and political will, as well as work relations between vice president and president to see these ensue.

Pres. Kirr nominated Dr. Riek from the beginning for the very reason stated above; yet, being a vice though is a role that functions in partnership. Vice president is an advisory to the president who listens and believes in the partnership and has strategic vision and mission for his country, a president who doesn’t just listen to a few from his inner circles, but a president, who perhaps, has vision for the entire nation and not immediate family members.

Are these assigned roles delegated with decrees to Vice Pres. Dr. Riek Machar?

Based on information collected, none of the reduced roles were delegated to the vice president with a decree. Pres. Kirr should have talked to vice president the same way he delegated some of these tasks without using the decree, and this is why people are confused.

Dr. Marial tried to clarify the confusion a bit when he addressed the media, “Riek Machar is still a vice president with all constitutional powers. General Salva Kiir Mayardit is a still a president with all his constitutional powers. They are all in office. What the president had done is that he had withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to the vice president. It is like you asking me to do some work for you when you are preoccupied. This is exactly what happened and it should be understood in this context”, Marial said Tuesday.

The logic question is, why did president use constitutional decree to reduce unconstitutional delegated powers? Why president fears to just call on his vice and discuss the removable roles and the reconciliation since this seemed to be the number one reason for his political action, and then diminished misperception in the country and around the world?

As James K. Ruea stated, there were huge confusion about this action, and Pres. Kirr should stop causing misunderstandings. “There is confusion. People were confused when they heard it. Some people called yesterday to ask whether I have heard [about the] removal of the vice president. These were literate people. They are educated. They read and write but because they were misinformed they thought all powers of the vice president were removed,” Ruea said.

How much politics play in these decree announcements?

This decree thing is Stone Age political propaganda that is only used by countries and leaders that fear modern democratic principles. This is all politics, but it is unhealthier one because it confused people and could generate anarchy like it almost did, and it could trigger unstoppable chaotic situation in an already divided country.

What would these decree decisions really mean to a relationship between the two big men in the country, and to what extent has Pres. Kiir’s decree decisions demanded a volatile trust he has with average individuals who are in a dire need of peace and reconciliation for South Sudan?

It is true that, “Kiir’s actions may be linked to Machar’s reported intention to run for the chairmanship of the ruling SPLM at the upcoming national convention.” http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46254, but this is unfair for a country that had lost significant numbers of human lives just to reverse what it was against.

Late Points
South Sudanese communities need reconciliation. If Pres. Kirr does not trust his Vice Pres. Dr. Riek for political purposes, you, Pres. Gen. Kirr, lead the reconciliation process because we need it. The peace can’t come if people don’t talk about the importance of peace among themselves. Peace is a belief between people and that’s why effective leaders prioritize trust for peace than war and intermediations.

No one can win people’s hearts with guns, and if it were so, South Sudan could have been independent state almost 50 years ago. Please, President Kirr prioritizes peace and never fear your political enemies by denying them their political democratic rights which had caused lives of many South Sudanese.

South Sudan has to be a democratic nation; otherwise, we would not live in peace despite any effort you or any one in your position would like to attempt. South Sudanese are exposed to democratic principles, and it is important for their leaders to understand not to repeat the mistake SPLM Politic Bureau did in 2010, which was a fundamental source of the current chaotic situation; otherwise, Somalia would be better than South Sudan.

But, nothing would be reasonable unless my SPLM party led by you, Mr. President Kiir, adheres to core principles that our beloved relatives, include my own father, sacrificed their precious lives for. SPLM that was supposed to stand for peace, justice, human rights, freedom, non-discrimination, regardless of gender, tribe, religious, etc., development, democratic principles and more is different now than ever.

The party becomes a property of shortsighted leaders who care less about young people like myself except their own children. The party is owned by those that don’t want to diversify or include others that they deem enemies because of challenging their shortsighted vision for the country and peoples services.

The party of Dr. John Garang and all fallen heroes, included my father, was a party of new ideas and development, but has become a greedy party.

This party is a peoples’ party, and it has to stay as a peoples’ party by listening to what is importance for lives of people of the South Sudan. People need peace among themselves; we need good leadership, a transparent leadership that minimizes corruption, favoritism, etc.

We need development, such as roads and bridges, good education, access to clean water, hospitals and employment for all young people and not only those with connections in the government. Our party should be a party that welcomes young people’s ideas, as well as respect democratic principles for all people in South Sudan.

Please, Mr. Pres. Kirr hears our call!!!

William Deng is a South Sudanese Community Activist.
Author lives and works in Job South Sudan. E-mail me: williamdeng26@yahoo.com

Tribal war in South Sudan is unavoidable in 2014-2015

BY: Koul Bol Deng, JUBA, APR/19/2013, SSN;

In this article, I would like to emphasize the title “Tribal war in South Sudan is unavoidable” and justify why war is unavoidable in South Sudan. I’m not being partial in this article favouring the government or those who oppose the regime, but will just explain the facts as an intellectual South Sudanese. I won’t go beyond the context of the intellectual debate initiated in this paper.

First, since the autonomy started back in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) up to this point in time, there hasn’t been any tangible change in government’s policies towards development. The rate of corruption is very high and is being practiced by government’s officials who seem to have impunity and are not accountable for any civil or criminal misconduct.

In order to mitigate the situation, the president announced the issuing (secretly) of official letters to nearly 76 South Sudanese most of them were reported to have been government’s officials. However, up to now there has never been any action taken by the president or the Anti-Corruption Commission.

This was in relation to the 4 billion that got wasted and no accountability has been pursued.

Millions of South Sudanese are dying of hunger, lack of services such as health, education, roads, sanitation, electricity and clean drinking water. Comparing the current regime with Addis Ababa Agreement 1972, the institutions that the government are operating under now, were established during the regional government led by Moulana Abel Alier and later by General Joseph Lago. We are very fortunate that both of them are still alive.

The ministerial compound that currently represents most of the ministries in South Sudan was built during that agreement as well as the University of Juba, some schools and the current hospital.

So the question is, what has the government done with all these millions and no reflection of these monies in development? What is the future of South Sudanese innocent people who have fought the war of liberation?

The second case was the Dura saga where millions of dollars were lost without any accountability.

Third, was the amount of money being given to South Sudan for repatriation of South Sudanese who have been dispersed by the civil war, again these monies have gone to individual pockets.

Fourth, the large sum of money being donated by the Western countries to reform the party (SPLA/M). These monies also got lost and nobody can explain what has been done with the money.

The President, on his being sworn in day one, had declared a zero tolerance but this has never been substantiated. Instead the rate of corruption is growing rampantly and to the highest level.

Fifth, the transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2005 that mandated the president absolute powers, which has been also ratified by the parliament is also among the causes of the problems in South Sudan because the parliament has no say in whatever the president will say, even to the extent that the president is omnipotent and could ignore the parliamentary legislations and work according to his personal convictions.

Here the rule of law has no significant presence since the president is above the law. To be constructive in my argument, the president have gone to the level of dismissing elected governors which had never happened in the history of democracy if we claim to be embracing democratic principles based on what we fought for, justice, equality and freedom for all.

These kinds of situations happen only when the governor breaches certain laws that could jeopardize his position by law and subject to parliamentary agreement.

The point number seven, is the political wrangling within the SPLA/M represented in the political bureau, senior members, the President and his Vice.

Current developments have revealed the president’s withdrawal of certain powers that have been delegated to the Vice and the reason behind that has been alluded to in both the media and public the Vice President’s intention to contest in the next election 2015.

There could have been better way for the President to withdraw these powers since these are administrative powers related to the executive. These included the National Reconciliation Project which has been cancelled being described as a political project which the president has never been cognisant about.

In the real world, such significant national projects cannot be done without the knowledge of the president. Reconciliation is a sensitive project because it involves most of the issues that people need to talk about after war, reconciliation between tribes, individuals and South-North reconciliation.

The election in 2015 might instigate tribal war in South Sudan if not handled with care. The reason behind this is the tribal wrangling between the main tribes, the Dinka and Nuer and the other tribes that have also been marginalized.

The fight between the Vice and the president has been silent but now becomes clear after the president has declared withdrawal of powers from his Vice.

The SPLA/M Political Bureau is dominated by the president’s supporters, and therefore if the SPLA/M nominee or the candidate for 2015 election is selected by the party, definitely President Kiir will get the majority. However, among the ordinary party’s members both (the president and the vice) will get numbers and will sometimes depend on loyalty and tribe.

The president has got absolute powers to dismiss the Vice from position, the government and the party as well.

What happened last week from the president was a test to see how important is the Vice both in the public and the SPLA/M. If the reaction of the people was against the decree, then there would be an alternative plan in the near future as long as the president and his supporters in the SPLA/M and some ordinary citizens are determined not to allow the Vice to hold the top position based on some tribal and personal grounds.

The president is now in power and has got the support of thousands of South Sudanese people, some based on material gain or tribe. The same with the Vice, there are also tribal groups supporting Machar from Nuer sections based on his tribe and those who support him based on personal interest.

Scenario One: the president might issue a decree dismissing his Vice from both positions. That way the Vice will form a political party that competes with SPLA/M and will get majority from the Geater Upper Nile, Equatoria and the minority marginalized tribes in Western Bhar El Gazal. SPLA/M will still have many supporters from different tribes including some Nuer.

That way if the election law and the constitution are passed in 2014, there is a possibility that if the president wins the election, Machar supporters specially from Nuer and other groups will instigate violence and this will divide the army based on tribes.

The same scenario is applicable to Salva in both cases either by genuinely winning the election or rigging it since he is in the power position.

Scenario Two: Riek might get the majority among the citizens of South Sudan especially in Upper Nile and Equatoria plus some areas in Bhar El Gazal. That way if he wins the election SPLA/M will deny him the presidency. His supporters will invoke violence that will turn into tribal war.

Scenario Three: the president might cancel the party’s convention which is supposed to be in May 2013 and the election in 2015 by a presidential decree as usual. In this situation tribal war or a military coup based on tribes will take place.

Scenario Four: if SPLA/M convinced Salva that he is not popular in South Sudan in 2015 election and that the party needs to seek a candidate, what are the outcomes?

First, to be a candidate for such an election you need to be getting support overwhelmingly across all South Sudanese States. It is not a matter of endorsement of a candidate by the party that gives that candidate the right to win the majority. These are two different things and might confuse people.

The candidate might fail or win but still will cause violence.

However, among the party’s senior members that are known overwhelmingly in South Sudan are Pagan Amum, Deng Alor, Luka Biong, Kuol Manyang, John Luk, Taban Deng, Wani Igga, Nhial Deng and James Hoth. Who could be the right candidate to represent the party in 2015 election if the president agreed not to contest?

Among these people, for example, if we select Mr Pagan Amum to contest with Riek Machar whether Riek is an independent candidate or representing a party, there are still difficulties in terms of numbers. Pagan is popular in the party but not among the citizens of South Sudan and he’s being alleged to be part of the corruption and therefore the possibility of winning the election is weak.

If we select Wani Igga, he is not very popular in the other states but only in Equatoria, a support that might not win the majority of the constituencies. Therefore, it is a risky choice for the party. But if he contests with Machar with a Dinka deputy from Bahr El Gazal there is a possibility to win but still Riek has a ground both in the Upper Nile, Bentiu and Equatoria.

Again, if Wani wins the election, Machar’s supporters won’t accept the outcome and might claim that the election is being rigged. Violence will take place and war might happen.

Nhial Deng could have been a better candidate in 2015 but the problem of generalization among the South Sudanese plus tribalism may affect his numbers. Moreover, he is from Bahr El Gazal and might be generalized by the ordinary citizens from other states as the same with Salva.

He is an open-minded person, civilized and not tribalist given his background. Grown up in Khartoum, studied in Khartoum from primary education to the university. Could have been accepted among the Southerners to some degree if not because of tribalism and current corruption practices by Kiir’s regime.

Deng Alor, very well known in the SPLA/M and in Bahr El Gazal and Equatoria. But will that guarantee the presidency if contested in 2015’s election? If he is contesting with Machar, it will be difficult for him to win the majority of votes in the Greater Upper Nile and Equatoria.

Equatoria will be the determinant factor. But will the majority in Equatoria vote for him though the issue of generalization will affect his numbers, being from the Dinka Bahr El Gazal and deeply alleged to be involved in the financial corruption. But again if he wins the election, war is unavoidable based on tribalism.

The fact is that in any political system there are factors of degeneration. In the case of SPLA/M these factors are tribalism, clique and elitism that serve interests of few groups enriching themselves with the public funds.

The party has got no vision at the moment and the only way to get out of that situation is to start the reforms right now by changing some of the policies in the party that would allow transformation into a modern political party, fighting corruption and winning the majority of South Sudanese.

Unlike modern political parties, SPLM/A is not yet reformed, most of the policies still dated back to the movement.

Now it becomes clear that the power struggle in the party is between individuals seeking their own interests, whether tribal or material not the national interest of the innocent South Sudanese.

It will be difficult for the ordinary citizens of South Sudan to differentiate between SPLA/M, their tribes and who will serve their interest given the lack of liberal education and political orientation among the majority.

After the tribal war, the real peace will come and all citizens of South Sudan will treat themselves equally based on the rule of law. Like what happened in Rwanda, genocide is not a good option but it gave an opportunity for democracy to prevail because each tribe will recognize the other and will remember that bad past and the need for a better future for the next generation.

The military, likely SPLA/M figure will take over and the United Nations will monitor the situation after 2015. A transitional period will be initiated to prepare for democracy and a new constitution will be drafted. New parties will emerged or the old ones will be revived and work with SPLA/M.

The SPLA/M will still have large numbers but not a guarantee to win the election in a fair competition after 2015. After 2015 the SPLA/M needs to be very careful because its domination of the political arena after the war might invoke political unrest in the country, not another tribal war.

The oil revenues do not reflect on the lives of the ordinary citizens and therefore poverty and ignorance will continue. In addition, most of the oil funds will go to individuals.

What is the fate of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar?

Both of them might not survive during the war. They might get killed or politically assassinated. If they are alive, both will be answerable to the International Court – ICC – based on crimes committed against humanity.

Email address: kouldeng13@yahoo.com

Let’s Give Peace a Try in South Sudan

BY: KUACH Y. TUTKUAY, South Sudanese, APR/19/2013, SSN;

Quote: “The game of an eye for an eye will only leave a blind country.”

It is a privilege I will never regret to be a south Sudanese, and if I were to choose between south Sudan and one of the developed countries, say America, I would definitely choose south Sudan and if someone asked me to produce a reason for my choice, I would write a book.

My dear readers, I have got an issue of concern to share with you and in fact I am expressing this idea with very deep sorrow for I know we will face a lot of obstacles in the morrow.

My conscience tells me that south Sudan has lost tract of social coexistence and there is no doubt this has manifested itself in many forms. The practice of tribalism fueled by lack of political ethics among the politicians, with their naive belief to know more than they really are, has led this nation astray.

The issue of these war-weary politicians alone would not bother me because their grey hairs symbolized their short fall, but my fear is that these traditional politicians will make disciples among the youth and will sow the seeds of hatred instead of peace.

This is a concern I believe every patriotic citizen of this fragile nation would put into consideration.

Youth are the heirs of the past, co-owners of the present and owners of the future, but we need to be very careful of what we should inherit and what we should not. The long civil war has corrupted our past and our present, because through the bush life, we have adopted a new culture of war which was not there during the time of our ancestors.

Our ancestors during their time lived together, shared water points, grazing land and cultivated together without any significant conflict. The same spirit applied to our soldiers when they were fighting for our freedom, they fought irrespective of tribes.

Presently, employment in all public institutions is based on tribal affiliation, a kind of “technical know-who” has replaced “technical know-how.” Tribalism has been the slogan of the current government and this has signified itself in employment and settlement around Juba which are based on tribal clustering.

The introductions of al-Qaeda style of killings—slaughtering a human being — which had never happened in the history of south Sudan, are now happening in Juba. This is a grotesque present which I don’t think the youth can co-own. The future is too blurry but there is always a way out for an optimists.

Now that it is crystal clear that the past is neither worthy inheriting nor does the present worthy co-owning, what do we do? Will we pass through this pitfall the liberators passed through?

NO! We are the future of this nation; therefore, we have to leave this path of tribalism. I want us to understand that our diversity is our strength but we should not regard it as a factor for our division.

Change will never come to us as a miracle but we the youth must accept changes by standing up and say no to divisive politics in a way that is self-expression rather than politics. Let’s leave politics to politicians because it blows us into division, “us against them” kind of politics.

Humankind has been a primitive segregator of what God the creator has put together; when God created human beings, He did not segregate them into tribes or races. He created them in His own image and I guess He must be very proud of them, but because of the divisive nature of man, they clustered themselves into groups which became an impediment to peace and co-existence today.

And now that this has proved itself to be the most problem facing us, we tend to escape the problem by finger-pointing at others that “they did it, not us,” but this will not help in any sense because a problem get solved only when you accept it as your fault and seek alternative way forward.

The fact that you are born of one particular tribe should not be an excuse to pay your loyalty only to that tribe and despise the rest. I believe that even if I were not born of my tribe, I would have been born of another tribe within south Sudan because south Sudan deserves me and I will still be proud of being a south Sudanese, so why should I be proud of my tribe instead?

One tribe cannot make a nation; it is our diversity that makes us look beautiful. Take an example of a rainbow, it has seven colors but if you removed one of them, will it still look beautiful as it used to be? I believe not.

I know all of us are patriots and have love for this country, but the only thing we have forgotten is that when we don’t love ourselves, how can we claim to be patriots to our country? This means we don’t also love this country.

Last, but not least, I need to advise my friends, the journalists who hold the sole responsibility of enlightening the citizens of this country. I always read all your articles but I think one principle of journalism must be missing. The principle of neutralism is missing among most journalists, though there are still qualified ones.

It is not so interesting to a nationalist like me that you are using your tribal or personal interest as a watermark to your articles. An example of these are from the citizen newspapers, those who beat the drum of the truth should beat a drum they have first confirmed to be the drum of the truth, otherwise, they may end up beating the drum of tribalism.

Media is very important and we should not join it with a prime objective of protecting the reputations of our tribes, the author is very much concerned about what we post in the media. Media messages affect more than any other things, therefore, we need to furnish our words in making sure that they will not draw negative attitudes in the minds of the public.

If the writers could not abide by this principle then it would be better for the media organizations to reject some of the messages that they deem negative in the social set up.

The success and failure of this country is in our hands, especially we the youth. We need not only to depend on the information provided; we also need to refine our own. Politicians normally bring us messages based on their interests, and if we pick it bare, we are no longer neutral.

Let the spirit of fairness and honesty guides this nation, and most of all, may peace and co-existence prevail in abundance.

If my article harms anyone, please, I am sorry! I just want to point out what I think can bring us together as youth because we have a lot of things ahead which call for our togetherness, otherwise, thanks for your time.

The author could be reached at: kuach444@gmail.com

0956006442

The Here and Not Yet of National Reconciliation Debate in South Sudan

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, South Sudanese, APR/18/2013, SSN;

With the latest Republican decree issued on 15 April, 2013 that relieved Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar of some of his delegated duties by President Mayardit, including the Vice President’s surprising assignment in the first place to spearhead a nationwide reconciliation process, the here and not yet of national reconciliation debate in South Sudan has been firmly reignited.

In light of the looming power struggle over the leadership of the ruling SPLM party, and the tense political climate in the country, perhaps many South Sudanese anticipated some action of firing and hiring, or demotion and elevation or some changes of power and personnel if you like, in the government as well as in the ruling party. At the moment, even drinking a cup of tea under the tree is politicized in South Sudan, and so was the case with this whole national reconciliation thing.

While it is true that a national reconciliation exercise is overdue in this beleaguered state, and is called for by our Transitional Constitution, neither the timing nor the technicalities and nature of the current reconciliation process was going to yield any meaningful social harmony and reconciliation in the country.

This process was always prematurely born, and was bound to be a slippery slope. I held this same position in a piece entitled “how to redress the violent past in South Sudan,” published on 30 November, 2012 on South Sudan Nation website when the national reconciliation debate was a hot topic then, and I maintain the same position now.

On that occasion, I concluded that the current reconciliation attempt can only generate the intended effect of “healing, closure, and a sense of national unity and cohesion between the diverse tribes of South Sudan, if it is perceived as a democratic project, intricately linked to other issues of good governance.”

Without this, I argued then that “the touted comprehensive national reconciliation project is as good as dead even before it is born.”

As detailed in that piece, there are ethical practices of reconciliation that must be pursued concurrently, in order for the process to come full circle and achieve the desired end. This includes adopting practices from sociological conflict resolution and reconciliation models, that may include the need of the government to be seen to be building just state institutions, particularly impartial rule of law enforcement institutions, and security sector reform; the need of acknowledgment of the crimes committed by perpetrators, or those under whose leadership the crimes were committed; the need to establish a mechanism for reparations for the inflicted damage, or if possible restitution of the loss; law enforcement through punishment of the culprits to remain an option; the need to for public apology, and finally the need for forgiveness by the end of the reconciliation process.

While some of these ethical factors conducive to the practice of reconciliation can be seen to have ushered in, in South Sudan, including the apology by the Vice President, and efforts in building state institutions, as well as discussions of reforming and professionalizing the security sector, nonetheless, many of the aforementioned conditions are yet to be met.

In this context, I am inclined to agree with President Kiir that the decision to suspend this process was a wise one, regardless of the reasoning behind it.

I am not a legal expert, and therefore, I cannot speak for the constitutionality of this decision, and whether or not the decision to suspend the reconciliation process is in breach of our Transitional Constitution.

But my fifty cents on this is that article 36 (2b) of our Transitional Constitution, which legislates the conduct of a national reconciliation process, and which is seen as being breached by the latest Presidential decree in suspending this process as some have argued, does not provide for a specific time frame for this process to be completed.

Along this line, it is within the right of the President to suspend the process as he deems fit. I am sure the Presidential legal advising team would do what they are paid for best in debating the legality of this issue, and it is not my role here.

What I want to point out here, much like I did before is that for a genuine reconciliation to hold in South Sudan, the process must also be context specific and conflict sensitive.

It must be context specific in that it must be locally grown and tailored to the local needs of the victims the way they have experienced the trauma, if it is to bring healing and closure and receive local blessing, ownership, and therefore sustainability.

What this also means is that the process must be time-sensitive and unrushed, and must enjoy nationwide consultations with local cultural agents and those directly affected by the past atrocities and human rights violations.

This can be accomplished through a nationwide conflict impact assessment and fact finding mission that should take no less than six months at least.

In South Sudan, contrary to the current reconciliation attempt, for the process to enjoy any integrity devoid of politics at all, it must be presided over not by politicians, and certainly not by those perceived to be culpable in perpetrating the human rights violation in the first place, but by the church.

Few will disagree that the only institution that boasts moral credibility and authority to foster such local ownership of such an important national healing event is the church. Moreover, the church does not only hold moral authority and credibility in the eyes of most South Sudanese, but it is also the only remaining symbol of unity in this ethnically polarized country.

In furtherance, the church by its nature is an agent of reconciliation.

During my recent visit to Juba, I was amazed and indeed encouraged to see Dinka, Nuer, and presumably other tribes attending the early morning Bari officiated mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church in Juba.

Indeed the tremendous role played by the church in the life of South Sudanese in war and peace alike, often filling the void left by the absence of state institutions through the provision of moral, spiritual, and physical support, makes the church the only viable institution that should have been tasked to execute the national reconciliation process.

This is particularly true in a spiritual and devout society like South Sudanese, for whom the only reason they continue to tick in their endless suffering is because they have placed their hope in God.

As an example, throughout the liberation struggle it is a common knowledge that the church was the only institution that did not relent from accompanying South Sudanese and sharing in the pain of the innocent afflicted by the conflict.

The church not only consoled us, but also delivered much needed humanitarian aid, as well as working tirelessly to be our voice in international fora and influential policy making powerhouses, through robust policy advocacy and awareness raising.

The church also fostered intra-South-South peace and reconciliation processes, as in the successful church mediated people-to-people peace and reconciliation process (P2P), from 1997 through 2002. As we all know, that process managed to reconcile the belligerent Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups, particularly in the Greater Upper Nile region, and consolidated the rapidly disintegrating second liberation movement due to the 1991 schism and ugly Southern in-fighting, so that we became a force to be reckoned with on the CPA negotiating table that ultimately bought us our independence.

The current reconciliation attempt was meant to pick up from where it was left off and amend the standing wound of injustice mostly resulting from the 1991 atrocious schism in the rebel movement. If this is the case we should not, therefore, water-down the deep pain caused as a result of that schism and the ensuing catastrophic violent carnage.

As Jok Madut Jok and Sharon E. Hutchinson forcefully pointed out in their article entitled “Sudan’s Prolonged Second Civil War and the Militarization of Nuer and Dinka Ethnic Identities,” “the number of Dinka and Nuer who have died in these fratricidal conflicts and in other South-on-South confrontations since the re-eruption of full-scale civil war in Sudan in 1983 exceeds those lost to atrocities committed by the Sudanese army.”

It was against this horrific background that the church stepped in to end the violence and promoted reconciliation between the warring communities in South Sudan.

Now, how the church was left out from leading the current renewed national reconciliation attempt to bring healing and closure to this deep wound, defeats me. For this reason I think the President was right to suspend the process, and hopefully assign the right institutions and local leaders who boast moral authority to spur the process forward.

In short, for any genuine attempt of national reconciliation to deliver the desired objectives, it must not be seen as politicized, and must be complete, namely, a methodological blend of local and traditional reconciliation practices, wedded with God-given church reconciliation mandate, and buttressed by modern-day sociological conflict resolution and reconciliation models.

The current reconciliation attempt that has been suspended by the President seemed to posses little of these attributes, but more of a political game to score cheap political points which lends itself to futility.

That said I applaud the calm and maturity displayed by the Vice President in handling the latest Republican decree. I also commend the sharp political awareness of South Sudanese as a whole in recognizing that these are just political maneuvers, arms-twisting, and muscle flexing and stretching that must not be allowed to provoke any tensions across ethnic divides.

Reconciliation in South Sudan is here and much needed yesterday rather than today, but the time is not yet ripe.

The process must be seen to be a genuine one that will truly seek to close a chapter and open a new one in our history, and the church must play a leading role in it, if the process were to achieve its objectives.

I am just a concerned South Sudanese, and happy to entertain questions and concerns at: tloloyuong@gmail.com

Kiir’s Tribe-mate Advisors will lead him to hell!

BY: Both Nguot, SOUTH SUDAN, APR/18/2013, SSN;

South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir, on Monday issued a decree withdrawing executive powers that were delegated to his vice-president Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, according to a broadcast by the state-run South Sudan Television. The order did not cite or state any reason for the move and no official statement has been released. It also did not specify to the public which powers he delegated to the Vice President and had to be withdrawn or the difference between such powers he has with the powers stipulated in the constitution and that he wanted Machar to continue to exercise.

Kiir now restricted Machar to the powers “stipulated in the article 105” of the transitional constitution. When we read the constitution and compare the presidential degree of 105 issued on Tuesday by the president, we will find that president Kiir’s degree has no connection with the constitution because article 105 of Transitional constitution is talking about the appointment and the removable of vice president as we quote below.

Appointment and Removal of the Vice President:
105. (1) The Vice President shall be appointed by the President subject to approval by a two-thirds majority of all members of the National Legislative Assembly.
(2) The Vice President may be removed by the President or by a decision passed by two-thirds majority of all members of the National Legislative Assembly on a vote of no confidence.
(3) If the post of the Vice President falls vacant for any reason, the President shall appoint a replacement.
(4) The Vice President shall fulfill the conditions of eligibility for the office of the President as prescribed by this Constitution.
(5) To assume office, the Vice President shall take, before the President, the same oath taken by the President as prescribed by this Constitution.

When we look into the article 105 above of the Transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, we will find that the president has just removed the vice president as according to the constitution, maybe it was a mistake from SSTV staffs who made the confusion to the public because in article 105, it is the appointment and the removable of vice president by the president himself.

So we don’t see any executive powers under this article, the executive powers are only found under article 106 of the Transitional constitution of Republic of South Sudan as mentioned below:

Functions of the Vice President
106. The Vice President shall perform the following functions: 36
(a) act for the President in his or her absence from the country;
(b) be a member of the Council of Ministers;
(c) be a member of the Security Council; and
(d) perform any other function or duty that may be assigned to him or her by the President.

Now what are the executive powers that the president has removed from the vice president? Does he (Kiir) mean the functions of the vice president which are under article 106 of the Transitional Constitution as mentioned above or the president’s degree mean the article 105 of Transitional Constitution?

As we all read the constitution, the president would have removed the vice president so as to match his presidential degree 105 with his degree which stipulate the appointment and removable of the vice president. And if the president means the article 106 of the Transitional Constitution which stipulates the functions and the duties of the vice president, Why was it pronounced as article 105 which is the appointment and removable of the vice president?

South Sudan Minister of information, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, at press conference organised specifically to make clarifications on the order, called for calm and cautious remarks, saying constitutional powers of the vice president have not been removed.

“Riek Machar is still a vice president with all constitutional powers. General Salva Kiir Mayardit is a still a president with all his constitutional powers. They are all in office. What the president had done is that he had withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to the vice president. It is like you asking me to do some work for you when you are preoccupied. This is exactly what had happened and it should be understood in this context,” Marial said Tuesday.

Now what are these executive and constitutional powers that the information minister mean that the president had withdrawn from the vice president rather than the functions of the vice president under article 106 which give the vice president some powers to: act for the president in his/her absence, to be a member of council of ministers, be a member of securities council and to perform any others function or duties that may be assigned to him or her by the president?

What I know in this context is that, in section (d) under article 106 which allowed the vice president to perform any other functions or duties that may be assigned to him or her by the president. It is the only section (d) of 106 which relate to president Kiir’s degree.

But, the question is, is it this section (d) under article 106 that the president had withdrawn from the vice president or the whole function of the vice president? And if these are the executive powers that H.E the president meant but they are not under article 105, because under this article it’s only the appointment and removable of the vice president.

If that could be the case, does the president have a right to amend any article in the Transitional Constitutions without taking it to the parliament for debate? Or just because he has some political differences with his deputy that could allow him to do so?

And if it happened that some of the executives powers have been removed or he has removed the vice president because of political differences between them and later appointed a new vice president, will he (Kiir) later return those powers back to the new vice president or the new vice president will continue without executive powers?

Another question is, if those executive powers were given to vice president by the president himself as cooperation between him and his deputy in their office, does it need a presidential degree to withdrawn them?

The president was supposed to withdraw those powers as he had delegated to the vice deputy secretly without using presidential degree as he gave them last time to his deputy without degree since those powers are not in the Transitional constitution.

On the issue of Peace and Reconciliation process, Marial also denied that there were any political differences between the president and his deputy over the organization and conduct of a peace and reconciliation conference scheduled for June, having only recently been postponed from April.

If that could be the case, as Marial says, why the president allowed the process of Peace and Reconciliation to get started if he (Kiir) knew that he was not interested in reconciling the people of south Sudan?

I think Dr Marial doesn’t want to tell the fact or they just wants to confuse the public otherwise they are ignorant and I believe president Kiir up to now might not have given us full knowledge about his presidential degree.

Dr Marial has also added that Machar had been due to head the conference but was removed from this position by Kiir on Monday. Government sources have told Sudan Tribune that the postponement was due to political differences over the agenda and the timing of the process.

However Marial, the government’s official spokesperson did not give any reason for the decision as to why Kiir had abruptly suspended the process and Machar’s role in it.

“Adding that there is no difference that I know between the vice president and the president, the two leaders have been closely working together on all issues of national value,” Marial explained.

On the other hand, the speaker of South Sudan’s National Legislative Assembly, James Wani Igga, in his speech on Tuesday that the president “did not touch” the constitutional powers assigned to the vice president and did not dismiss him. The head of state had only withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to his deputy to help perform other important tasks he could not attend, the senior SPLM official said.

“Adding that he read the decree and looked at the transitional constitution and found that the president did not touch any constitutional powers assigned to the vice president. He [Kiir] had only withdrawn powers he had in the past delegated to his deputy. So let our people understand that the vice president is a still a vice president with all his constitutional powers”, Igga told reporters.

Igga called for South Sudanese to be calm and read the decree to fully understand the meaning of the announcement.

So I might agree with the speaker on the issue of the constitution as he says the president had not touch the constitutional powers assigned to vice president by the constitution, adding that he only had withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to his deputy.

But why the president refers us to article 105 which is only the appointment and removable of vice president?

In fact, the presidential decree issued on Monday was meaningless and out of vacuum since there is no clear information about the degree.

The fact is about the on-going political bickering and leadership shadow boxing within the political bureau and the SPLM party for the upcoming SPLM National convention as well as 2015 presidential candidate for presidency.

In conclusion, Kiir’s tribe-mate advisers will lead him to hell, why? Because president Kiir has only put his tribe mates as his advisors around him, so they took the national issues as their properties and that is why they make things according to their will.

I wish to offer my free legal advice to the president and his advisors that, next time when you want to embarrass someone, do it in your offices without giving the public an uneasy time, because, believe me you, I couldn’t sleep that night when this news was read out and I think most of you did not.

The president and his advisors had created an unnecessary political tension and this is something they should have handled quietly and neatly.

From now on, you must know that ‘delegated powers’ are freely and willingly given by any particular boss and they are or can be withdrawn at will, so there was no need to inform us about it.

However, the point of giving the strong message to Dr. Riek being the underlying factor is recognized but again, use other mechanisms next time, Mr. President!!!!

The President and his advisors have created unnecessary political tension in the country

BY: Juma Mabor Marial, lawyer, JUBA-SS, APR/17/2013, SSN;

It is two now days since President Kiir issued his presidential decree No. 3/2013 withdrawing the delegated powers from the vice president, Riek Machar. This decision brought about mixed reactions and quite a substantial number of opinions have so far suggested that this is not about delegated powers per se but it is largely about the on-going political bickering and leadership shadow boxing within the political bureau and the SPLM party. These calculations are tempting to be ruled out as these are indeed the hidden secrets that compounded the power struggle within the ruling party.

These factors later on but now….. let us just go to the rationale (if any) of the presidential decree withdrawing the delegated powers of the vice president and the subsequent decree that dissolved the national peace and reconciliation committee, the question that I initially had to asked and all of you could be anxious to ask is, “did the president have to go public in his decision of withdrawing the delegated powers from his vice president?”

Mine is a resounding NO. why, because the prudence behind the term ‘delegation or delegated’ is relative and quite prerogative to the extent that, the president like any other boss in his own right can withdraw by implications the trust that he has bestowed upon his vice and possibly tell him one-on-one that, he will no longer send him here and there, the president can as well remain silent and choose to delegate other people to do the work that is supposed to be done by his vice at his pleasure.

This will indirectly tell the vice president that he is no longer relevant because the president no longer trusts him with major government projects.

There is a recent example that I must relate to you about these kinds of things. Closer home, when Kenya was preparing to go to the general elections, president Kibaki was caught up with the choice of picking a successor and because there were so many candidates who were eyeing his endorsement, he decided that, in order to play his cards safely.

He had rather started right away and from then on, he forgot about his vice president Kalonzo Musyoka who was not his favorite choice and whom he doubted would be a spoiler in his plans to bring Uhuru Kenyatta to state house. He rapidly delegated Musilia Mudavadi who was then the Deputy prime minister and all he intended was to tell Kalonzo indirectly that, ‘man, if you don’t relent on your desire to block Uhuru, then know that I can always have a choice against you even before the general elections.’

This change of events drew Kenyans into serious arguments and endless debates but in simple terms, it was a withdrawal of powers by Kibaki from Kalonzo Musyoka by implications. Mr. Kibaki didn’t care whether Mr. Mudavadi was called his project or otherwise. He was determine to deter Kalonzo and that, he ultimately achieved.

Now, let’s come back to Kiir and his ‘brother’ Riek. In my opinion, the president could have silently made use of his closest confidants to stripe the so called delegated powers of the vice president instead of wasting time on writing a decree. The president could have sent the people that he had earlier sent to investigate Riek on the desire to contest in SPLM to also act for him in things that he used to delegate Dr. Riek to do for him.

What would have been Different?

The people of south Sudan would have been glued to their Television sets and their ears fixed to the local radios if the president had decreed the suspension of the vice president powers under article 105 of the transitional constitution of south Sudan 2011 for the best reasons known to him. This would have made great news although it could have been disastrous and volatile news at the same time.

However, with my non-acceptance of what transpired, I still strongly feel that, Kiir wanted to pass one strong message to Dr. Riek that, “you think you have people on the ground, am still the president of this republic, your political oxygen is squarely in my bare hands and you should be careful how you try to compete against me’.

Kiir also wanted to taste the popularity of his decrees to the public in the political aspects and if the reaction is not overwhelming, then he may as well thumb his chest and say, ‘am still in control’, so all in all, Kiir is threatening Dr. Riek that ‘don’t think about SPLM, else you will find yourself in your house before the convention.’

What I would call ‘damage control’ by the Information Minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, to me does not hold any water in the current political developments, following are what he had to say when he addressed the Journalists yesterday in Juba regarding the decree withdrawing the Vice President delegated powers that: “Riek Machar is still a vice president with all constitutional powers. General Salva Kiir Mayardit is still a president with all his constitutional powers. They are all in office. What the president had done is that he had withdrawn powers he had previously delegated to the vice president. It is like you asking me to do some work for you when you are preoccupied. This is exactly what happened and it should be understood in this context,” Marial said Tuesday.

He added that, “There is no difference that I know between the vice president and the president. The two leaders have been closely working together on all issues of national value.”

That is also what I would call ‘rat-and-Mouse Game’ in Marial’s sentiments. What Benjamin does not understand about this job of his is that, he can always be loyal to his boss and report in his favor but also, he has an equally significant obligation to tell the public of south Sudan the truth. He cannot lie to the people that there is no problem between the two artificial brothers (Riek & Kiir) and this is already in the public domain.

What is needed now is, ‘what are the necessary conflict resolution mechanisms people like Benjamin exploring to avoid the situation from escalating into a different dimension that will negatively affect the lives and progress of the people of south Sudan.’

To say that there is no conflict between Riek and Kiir is like dangling the Christmas bell in the ears of the people of south Sudan and I think Marial should be told that we know better than what he thinks he wanted to tell us, we need new solutions to those political bureau and the SPLM power wrangles.

The decree suspending the holding of the national reconciliation conference and dissolution of the committee thereof:

My first reaction to this fact was that the president had overreacted because the commission on peace and reconciliation should not have been seen to be a brief case project for the vice president such that the withdrawal of his delegated powers could be done concurrently with the dissolution of the commission.

But later on as the details of the conflicted unfolded, I was convinced that this commission was a sole project of the vice president and some of his closest cronies and the office of the president was never happy with it and its leadership from day one.

The reasons for the decision emerged that, with the removal of the vice president from the committee, the office of the president can now work on installing its own cronies to eat into the funding that had been appropriated to the project.

So in simple terms, ‘it is, you have eaten enough, Mr. vice president, it is now my turn to eat the remaining share with my cronies’ kind of scenario.

Otherwise, if there were no individual interests in the national peace and reconciliation commission, I don’t see any legitimate reason why it should have been incorporated as an ingredient to this political conflict. The people of south Sudan need to move forward and the commission was a milestone in this journey.

So it was, to say the least, useless to drag the commission into this problem.

In conclusion, I wish to offer my free legal advice to the president and his advisors that, next time when you want to embarrass someone, do it in your offices without giving the public uneasy time, because, believe me you, I couldn’t sleep that night when this news was read out and I think most of you did not.

The president and his advisers had created an unnecessary political tension and this is something they should have handled quietly and neatly.

From now on, you must know that ‘delegated powers’ are freely and willingly given by any particular boss and they are or can be withdrawn at will, so there was no need to inform us about it, however, the point of giving the strong message to Dr. Riek being the underlying factor is recognized but again, use other mechanisms next time.

As for the people of south Sudan, politicians are funny animals and can only be likened to foxes family, they can trick you to do what they would not do and recently in Kenya, Raila Odinga, after losing to Uhuru Kenyatta in the presidential elections, behaved as if he was never going to reconcile with Uhuru.

And some four (stupid) people committed suicide because of him after the supreme court ruled in favor of Uhuru, upholding his presidential elections result as legitimate.

Two days after Uhuru was sworn in and Raila came back from south Africa, the later was invited to state house, Nairobi, and the four, (president Uhuru Kenyatta, deputy President William Ruto and the losers Raila and Kalonzo musyoka) had lunch together, got into the jovial mood anyone would ever see and spent a splendid time together.

One blocker after seeing the pictures of their cordial meeting wrote on Facebook and I must quote: “what if we had killed ourselves?!!”

These are the politicians for you and my honest advice now in this case is that, we should take the decision made by the president as purely a leadership wrangle between him and his deputy and should not be taken out of context to cause disunity among the ordinary citizens because in the end, these two gentlemen will be seen sharing several other issues as they are now doing.

Let’s take the Kenyan blogger’s spirit and for that I say, “why should we kill ourselves for this duo?”

Juma Mabor Marial is a Lawyer and Lives in Juba.

Reachable at: hussenjuma@hotmail.com.

The Dinka Problem in South Sudan: Part I

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, SOUTH SUDANESE, APR/14/2013, SSN;

As promised, in this sequence of pieces, I reflect on what I referred to in a previous discussion as the “Dinka problem in South Sudan.” I figured I had to rush my views out, before petro-dollars hit Juba streets from the world market following the resumption of oil production and export. This is mainly because the viability of the argument presented here hinges in part on the petrodollar drought and the now popularly dubbed “Kostirity measures” —a phrase used to describe the austerity measures taken by GoSS following the termination of oil production in January 2012.

At stake to be explicated in some detail is, therefore, mainly the seeming impotence exhibited by our political leadership in tackling head-on the ills of wanton corruption in the Republic. Part of this weakness emanates from what can be argued as a moral dilemma, a divided loyalty, or an apparent disconnect between the moral ideals and practice of the Dinka society, which I see as the Dinka problem in South Sudan.

However, to be frank from the onset, the issue of corruption is not unique to the Dinka society, nor is the Dinka society its sole benefactors. It is a national problem, and as such all South Sudanese tribes have also found themselves wanting in combating this issue. In that sense singling the Dinka tribe out in this piece may raise eyebrows, draw ire, or some of our brothers may even rush to call for my head, if they have not already done so.

But, the objective here is to show how the Dinka society being the big brother or sister of South Sudanese by virtue of being the largest tribe that also dominates the Kiir regime, is required to lead by an example for the smaller tribes to emulate.

To be sure, I am no tribal bigot. In fact I come from a family whose relationships cut-across several ethnicities in South Sudan, including Dinka and Nuer. One of my favorite cousins, who I harbor much respect for as an older brother, and who mentored me as a boy on survival mechanisms and how to be independent and navigate the famine-ridden and unforgiving environment of Juba, hails from a Dinka father. I also have younger cousins from Nuer mother, cousins married to Dinka individuals, and cousins hailing from Mundari tribe, and the list is long.

If anything, therefore, the intention is to mitigate and if possible neutralize public wrath and ire that is indiscriminately directed at the whole Dinka tribe for the failures of individuals within the current regime under the leadership of his Mr. President Salvatore Kiir Mayardit.

However, the corrupt individuals within the current regime would not have excelled in this vice without cover and impunity from above, as well as from below, namely the various South Sudanese ethnic groups, not least the communities from which these individuals hail from, and more so from our Dinka brothers and sisters, for the reasons outlined hereafter.

In the past, when questions were raised about unaccounted for missing funds, the concerned political authorities were quick to divert the blame and argued that the instructions to allocate the funds in that questionable manner came from above. Moreover, the culture of impunity from above can again be seen in how the Kiir regime has failed to grab the endemic corruption in the Republic by the throat, and all under the pretext of Pax-South Sudan.

Where is this peace that needs to be maintained, while the baby state is degenerating across ethnicities? There is no need to remind ourselves of Kiir’s weak political leadership as exemplified in the “open tent” appeasement policies, and his 75 feeble memoirs written to the corruption cartel in South Sudan to “bring the money back” to a secret location, but which went unheeded, precisely because of the seeming impunity from above.

By the same token there is impunity from below. Until recently for instance, when a simple criticism was expressed against the Kiir government, even without making mention of Dinka, our Dinka brothers are immediately irritated and found it extremely offensive, as if the Dinka tribe was under attack. There was no distinction made between the tribe and the government.

In recent months, however, there is a growing trend within the Dinka communities to distance themselves from the President. Most have started arguing that the whole tribe must not be blamed for the shortcomings and the rampant corruption in the Kiir’s regime, and rightly so.

Thus, the promising side is that at least there is now an acknowledgment of grave mistakes being committed in the governance of the country, and there is a deliberate attempt to distinguish between the government and the tribe. Others have even started emphasizing the plurality of the Dinka tribe, redirecting the blame to Warrap State where the President hails from, which I think is equally ill-informed.

In all this what is clear is that the President’s support base has dwindled in recent months. The President’s popularity has evidently dipped within the various Dinka clans, particularly within the Bor Dinka, for what they see as isolation and marginalization from rightful entitlement to holding key political leadership positions, and the alleged violation of the right to life by Kiir’s custodians, namely the “kitchen boys” or the “tigers.”

One only needs to look at the strong widespread public condemnation of the Kiir’s regime by the Dinka Bor specifically, following the unfortunate assassination of (Abraham) Diing Chan Awuol to see how Kiir’s popularity within the Dinka society is on the decline.

An added reason for this in my view is also related to the decision to shut down the oil production. The surge in political dissidence against Kiir within the Jieng society one would argue, therefore, is equally reinforced by the drought in petrodollars and the drying out of the Ministry of Finance, which means not enough money to go around to silence disgruntled Jieng’s voices.

But again it is important to note that this is not only a Jieng problem that voices of dissent can be muted through cash handouts. The Jieng society is not the only society in need in the country.

Moreover, it is not entirely our fault or the fault of those who have found themselves rooted in perpetual poverty as a result of the civil wars and destitution in the country before and after the Southern independence to trade prophetic voices for money. This considered, it is, therefore, not surprising that when there is need and cash is being splashed out, you are likely to take your cut and turn the other way.

Only few people in this world are able to resist accepting cash handout without prior explanation regarding the source of the money. I mean let’s be real, in South Sudan with the current difficult living conditions and the skyrocketing commodity prices, and without adequate cash flow in return, mounu yao bi aba gouroush (who will refuse free cash handouts)?

In fact the corrupt official will be hailed for coming to the rescue, regardless of the strings attached.

In a sense then, the oil shut down and the ensuing ‘Kostirity’ measures came as a blessing to rescue the South Sudanese society from morally decaying as a result of the ills of wanton corruption.

Understood this way, the current pressing concern for many South Sudanese watchers is that when the oil dollar starts raining in Juba again, the resource curse of corruption is likely to rekindle and gather momentum. Additionally, with oil production back up and running again, our fear is that the security situation in the country is likely to worsen rather than improve and criminal activities are equally likely to resume business as usual and escalate rather than ebb.

I hope I am wrong, and our government owners have learned their lesson, and more transparency and accountability measures will be taken, to ensure the resources are better managed and evenly distributed this time around, and security and effective social and economic services are efficiently overseen and delivered.

But until that happens, one is justified to argue that the oil shut down and the ensuing ‘Kostirity’ measures are lesser of an evil that may have mitigated the greater evil caused by the preceding rampant corruption practiced by some of our civil servants and government owners, who have lost their way.

Currently, word on the street in Juba is that everybody has a price tag, and a buy-out clause in the case of our political leadership, which makes it even all the more pertinent for South Sudanese to team up and in unison and say no to corruption.

Buying and selling of leadership positions is currently the hot topic in relation to the power struggle brewing over who is to claim the top spot in the SPLM party. Unfortunately, the resumption of the flow of petrodollar revenues from the oil production and export is likely to aid in the task of buying out contestants for the top seat in the SPLM organization, encourage corruption, and render democratic exercise within that party meaningless, which may foreshadow a similar fate in the 2015 national elections.

It seems President Kiir is adamant to carry on for a third term in the first office that will take his tenure at the helm of the Republic to the year 2020, if not beyond. I hope these are baseless rumors, and will have to write an apology letter to the President if it turns out he is not running for the first office again. But in South Sudan, there is no smoke without fire!

If this is true then South Sudan must brace itself for a long and arduous journey ahead, unless there a miraculous change of policies and heart in the President.

The signs will be on the wall when the SPLM party displays its dirty linen to the public in the upcoming party convention in May 2013. This convention will determine the fate of our people, whether to make a nation called South Sudan or break the nascent state, which, God forbid, may in worst case scenario culminate in Balkanization, or Rwandanization, and Somalization or a combination thereof of our endeared Republic.

But lest I be misunderstood, I am no warmonger or a prophet of doom, and I don’t have children overseas. I only ignorantly whine, bicker and reflect based on the reality on the ground that the Dinka problem in South Sudan is the moral dilemma or the divided loyalty currently exhibited by our brothers with regards to their clear position towards the President Kiir’s leadership and policies.

Do we support the tribe or the clan, and therefore, the President at all costs? Or do we conclude from the conclusive evidence of the past 9 years that a fresh leadership and impetus is needed to steer the country forward, in order to create a nation called South Sudan?

This is the lingering moral dilemma our Dinka brothers and sisters, and all South Sudanese will have to grapple with and wisely choose between in the days and months ahead.

That said it is not enough to disown a member of our ethnic group when all is not well, and to beat our breasts and claim him when he excels. What is needed is a collective unified position that reprimands this member of our society when grave mistakes that tarnish the image of the whole ethnic group are being committed based on the traditional beliefs and moral ideals of the ethnic group, but the individual must also be commended when he is doing the right thing.

Nonetheless, and this is the heart of the Dinka problem, due to a moral dilemma or divided loyalty, the Dinka tribe as a whole is yet to issue a public statement outlining their assessment of Kiir’s performance or at least in a manner similar to the Equatoria 2013 conference, underscoring their fears and grievances.

How I consider this to be a practice that exhibits a deviation or disconnect from Dinka moral ideals and the nature of these ideals is the burden of part two of this exercise. Stay tuned.

I am just a concerned South Sudanese citizen, and happy to entertain questions and concerns at: tloloyuong@gmail.com

Where is God in our hard times?

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWIEL, South Sudan, APR/12/2013, SSN;

It was an incredible morning before I woke up from bed last Sunday to have learned that ‘peace’ has been fading like the morning dew in our hearts. The morning was as impossible as draining Kiir river with a tea-spoon. As I lay idly on the bed, exclusively powerless like a bull being led to the slaughter house in Aweil, I realized that the mood around me was extremely bumbling. It was like a dream to a cowardly memory scared by tragedies. Perhaps, I should play games on the screen of the computer at a free time instead of browsing the web to panic on killings in Jonglei or cattle raiding in Rumbek.

Before I go to the church for prayers on the same morning, a friend of mine phoned and told me about his cousin who was killed by rebels in Jonglei. He said that they received a message yesterday while he was killed sometimes in February. Should I go to the church or funeral?

Where is God in these difficult times? Where is ‘peace’ in South Sudan?

I was nearly frustrated, almost wishing a solid wall would instantaneously collapse on me inside a dark room. Did tragedy in Rumbek have anything to do with me in Aweil? I was conflicting with my thoughts, blaming myself for being here and there to see people suffering in our country.

I found myself staring pointlessly at the roof, but my attention was on the strange thoughts invading my solitude. I heard myself exclaiming under my breath: peace, peace, peace!

What is peace? What do I want from it? And where is it, now here? What is expected of me also as a citizen in the country? And why am I not from South Africa? From Ghana, why not somewhere else?

Or why am I not born as a reptile, bird or fish to escape poverty and austerity measures in South Sudan? It is invincible, but I need peace.

How about a wife? Why do I need someone who shall not be in peace with me? Maybe everybody is getting a wife? Who and where? Must she be tall, fat, thin, or short? A beautiful girl from Somalia, Europe, Togo or Kenya!

Many wives, many mouths to feed, many enemies and there is no peace at home? Is this a life?

How about children, big office, big title, many cars, big house and big bank account? How are all these necessary to my mission and purpose on earth as a man?

Maybe my exertion on earth if envisaged by those who schemed to bring me here required of me to be lonely, poor, with nothing but my voice and body without peace?

To what end are all pain and emotional stress in me? What wrong thing did I do to be punished, and how should I know I have failed to be punished?

And where am I going from here? So will I be no more someday? When, how and why? Will that day be fearful, painful, mournful, and joyful? God knows.

I ask again! What is life all about? Why kill someone? Why loot cattle? And where is the law? And I heard myself saying I am deeply scared. Perhaps it not a great idea to be mad on Sunday morning when one is expected in the church.

What is in the church? The thoughts came rushing in again. Maybe Worship God! Who is God? Male, female, old, young, Muslim, Christian or Machardit …? I gave unto God what was happening unto me. God really knows what He planned for His people.

All in all, I shouldn’t remain laying on the bed to mourn a missing part of my social life. I can’t change any system in our village if villagers are not united. I can’t also do something good if I don’t have resources or hands to help others.

If people desire to have lengthened and indefinite periods in leadership, be honored or respected, they should do things in peaceful and helpful way toward one another if they wanted to be recognized and remembered as people who have done better things to others in this world.

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

Bul Community in Diaspora condemns killing of Sgt. Banyjiath by interior minister

BUL COMMUNITY IN DIASPORA CONDEMNS THE KILLING OF “SGT. BANYJIATH MATHOAT TAP” ALLEGEDLY BY THE RSS DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERIOR “SALVA MATHOK GENGDIT”

Press Release, Bul Community in Diaspora, APR/12/2013, SSN;

To: Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan.

We, Bul Community members in Diaspora hereby want to let you all know how we feel about the recent murder of our beloved son and brother Banyjiath, who was allegedly killed inside the residence of the Republic of South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Interior, on Thursday, March 28th, 2013. Please accept this letter of condemnation with regards to the manslaughter incident orchestrated by the Republic of South Sudan’s Deputy Ministry of Interior in Juba. By the virtue of being citizens of South Sudan, Bul Community in Diaspora is writing to express its strongest condemnation about this incident 2013, regarding the death of Sgt. Banyjiath Mathoat who left his house for shopping in the nearby shopping center to buy airtime card for his family.

Without any doubt and in a correlation with the victim’s family, the Sergeant must have been on his way home, but he didn’t make it home safely because Mr. Salva Mathok Gengdit and his team had allegedly launched an attack on the Sergeant and captured him, tortured him, slaughtered him, and dumped his body into a sewage drainage nearby Mr. Mathok Gengdit’s homestead compound at the Tongpiny Residential area. (Photo attached of body in drainage)

Based on the facts from the ground searches conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the eye witnesses, and the victim’s relatives, clear evidence were found that proves the Sergeant’s body who’d disappeared for more than three days since March 28 until Saturday, March 30th when his body was found in the sewage drainage nearby the Deputy Minister of Interior residential house.

Bul Community members in Diaspora want to let you know that the identified late victim is a son and a citizen of Mayom County who resided in Juba serving his Country as traffic police in the government of South Sudan’s Department of Traffic Police under the Ministry of Interior.

Therefore, we believe that his rights and the service he had been providing to the Republic of South Sudan government as a traffic police should be valued; because he was a dedicated citizen who committed himself to protect his people as well as the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan.

Recalling his performances based on our understanding, Sergeant Mathoat had served in the South Sudan’s armed forces fighting for the South Sudanese freedom and in the end a serial killer and a Minister within your government took his life and slaughtered him like an animal for no apparent reasons and no clear evidence found against the Sergeant.

How would each one of you feel if such a tragic death happens to your own soldiers without any reason and no evidence?

Furthermore, it came to our attention that the Deputy Interior Minister has been hunting and launching serial killings against Mayom County citizens in Juba and elsewhere for many years and your government has never convicted him or counted him liable for his actions.

Moreover, if such horrible activities have been noticed in the Ministry of Interior for years, it means that the South Sudan government is in favor of his behavioral matters.

To keep you updated and make the statement clear, Bul Community in Diaspora would like to assure you that our community is not contented and completely condemn such a brutal action and human rights violation to the highest terms. Our community cannot just watch our people being murdered by those serial killers; no more on our watch.

Enough is enough; we have to end all those types of manners set forth by the Republic of South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Interior; who has been launching manslaughter against Mayom County citizens for many years. Justice must be done, and the time to do it is now.

This Deputy Minister of Interior, he must be relieved from his public post and apprehended to face justice based on his killing actions and the criminal acts he has committed against his fellow citizens without accountability.

In addition to that, if the South Sudan government is unable to take actions or press charges against the Deputy Minister of Interior, Bul Community will set a zero tolerance and take action against the targeted serial killer to resolve the case and the mission will be accomplished.

In conclusion, We want to let you all know that Mayom County citizens are like any other South Sudanese citizens who deserve the right to live. Our community counts on you and your leadership to make our country a better place for our citizens and veterans to live in peace.

As every citizen deserves the fundamental right to live and be protected by the law of the land, we believed that Sgt. Mathoat’s life deserves the same rights of protection as well as his service as a traffic police who protect the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan in Juba and elsewhere.

Regardless of the facts, Bul Community in Diaspora demand that Sgt. Mathoat and the Mayom County citizens’ rights must be immediately upheld according to the law and according to the principles of simple human dignity; respected by both South Sudan government and the international law.

Violation of the rights of Mayom County citizens in Juba and elsewhere, where they look for equal rights, justice, peace and liberty are a contravention of the international law and should be dealt with accordingly.

Note:: To pre-empt reservations as to why the deputy minister of interior is a major suspect in this hideous crime, one should challenge his/her right conscience on how the minister’s home becomes death execution chamber in the first place in absence of his daring consent if at all?

With this very fact, even the towering legal experts on earth would sweat blood to justify Mr. Gengdit’s innocence, and so do South Sudanese community in general and Bul Community in particular.

In defiance, should the government of South Sudan as well as the legal system go numb, Bul community is here daring to say that the wisdom of such inaction would not only exacerbate the existing inter-community conflicts in South Sudan but the functional systems in the land would be deemed worthless since no reasonable citizen can obey an unjust system at all cause.

Take it or leave it, mishandling this case entails far reaching consequences with adverse effects on communal peace as well as political harmony and alignment.

Yours Sincerely,
Signed by: Bul Community Association Leadership in Diaspora

If anyone has a question please contact us bulcommunity@yahoo.com or visit us on www.bulcommunity.com

CC: H.E. Dr. RiakMacharTenyDhurgon, Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan.
CC: Hon. John Kong Nyuon, Minister of National Defence and Veteran Affairs
CC: Hon. Justice Chan Reec Madut, Chief of Supreme Court
CC: Hon. John Luk Joak, Minister of Justice
CC: Hon. Alison Manani Magaya, Minister of Interior
CC: Hon. Oyay Deng Ajak, Minister of National Security