Archive for: April 2013

South Sudan to find its own political footing soon!

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, APR/11/2013, SSN;

This article has been inspired by my fellow compatriot Jacob Dut Chol’s brilliant article which appeared in the Sudan Tribune online on April 8, 2013 under the heading of: “Kenyan Experience: lessons South Sudan can learn”.

http://www.sudantribune.com/article=46148

“What lessons can Semi-Authoritarian South Sudan learns from Kenya”? The writer asked.

He then went on to say the following about his article:

“This paper aims to examine most recent advances in transition of Kenya to democracy, which was often considered to be one of Africa’s most ethnic-divided stalled cases”.

To make my personal comment, I would like to start my take on Dut Chol’s article by saying that although other commentators did criticize the article for being more of an academic research, on my side, I sincerely it as a great effort worth every one’s appreciation.

The author did seem to have dedicated much of his lines to tell the readers what other academic thinkers think of the recent changes in the politics of the neighboring Kenya without making an equal effort to present his (the writers) personal opinion on the issue. But otherwise there is much useful stuff in that article and again I count on the author if we are at all to realize the new dawn of a democratic RSS.

On the other hand truly it would be a good thing for South Sudan to benefit from its Kenyan neighbours and learn something from their experience, but this can only happen when Kenya itself succeeds to redeem its internal, regional and international politics.

My personal take here is that Kenya may not offer the best example for South Sudan to follow at this particular period in time. And as long as the country continues to be driven by the ‘politics of the belly’ and patronage, my opinion is likely to remain unaltered for a long time to come.

Kenya like many other African countries had since started its independence on both the wrong footing and the wrong vision. And it cannot be overemphasized any further that it’s now one of the continents breeding ground for tribal politics, corruption and favoritism, and if anything it can only make South Sudan another worse place.

At least for now there is no South Sudanese in their right states of mind who would like this new country to become another Kenya for the mere fact that the malign and exploitative capitalistic attitude of those tribal politicians continue to override everything in that country. South Sudan has since been a failed state in its own right, and it doesn’t mean it will have to add another country’s troubles on to what it already has.

The above observations may sound a bit on the negative side; unfortunately that’s the reality. Nonetheless in spite all those seemingly hostile introduction I would like to reassure Mr Jacob Dut Chol that I was still able to see his point and message very vividly. One thing which he surely haven’t given much consideration is the fact that there exist huge differences in the historical backgrounds of the struggles for independence in Kenya and South Sudan. As both countries come from different colonial backgrounds we are more than likely to encounter many mismatches.

Anyway let’s thank the Lord for at least the Kenyan politicians seem to have now come to their senses by reviewing their country’s constitution, devolving the government, and allowing for multiparty democracy albeit only after a bloodbath that could have been avoided in the first place.

That being said we cannot pretend not to see the contrast in the case of RSS, where the tribally ruling SPLM is not only unwilling to initiate any of the things that were accomplished by the Kenyan people in the post 2007 turmoil, but rather it can be seen to be relentlessly working to establish an ethnically dominated politics. This is going to where Kenya was and not where Kenya is now nor is seen to be heading to.

In a stark contrast to the current situation in Kenya, people in South Sudan are patiently languishing under a totalitarian and an authoritarian regime. As I write now, South Sudan has no independent election commission, no independent judiciary, no free press, plus it has one of the most biased Political Party Acts in the world.

The country’s transitional constitution, written by a hand picked puppets of the current leadership, the document is rotten to the core as it gives the president unlimited powers thus making him above the law itself.

With the so-called permanent constitution being controlled by a predominantly pro-the status quo group, we will definitely end up with a far worse laws likely to turn RSS into a one party totalitarian regime by default. Let’s just hope that some divine intervention will save the country from this inevitable demise.

Above all if at all RSS is going to have general elections come 2015, it is going to be under the above circumstances – and it will just be a repeat of the April 2010 experience, with SPLM harassing perceived opponents, and thus rigging the entire process.

Furthermore the 2015 elections and its aftermath in RSS won’t be any different from what Kenya went through in 2007. We will even be very lucky to reach the settlements and solutions so far reached in Kenya, when our own mess breaks up!

If we are to learn from the Kenyan experience, then we better start it now. The 2010 elections were messy enough to draw up eyebrows, and although a full blown rampage didn’t break out following the announcement of the forged results as the vast majority of the South Sudanese chose to put up with the disappointment lest they endanger the referendum, yet not all went well.

It was a result of that compromised 2010 elections that there is now a three year old rebellion in Jonglei State first led by the late George Athor and now being continued under David Yau Yau. Who can blame them when the only right ever freely practiced in South Sudan from a time long ago, is the right to rebel? If you want a proof, you just have to count how many former rebels are there in the current SPLM led government of RSS.

Thousands have already died in Jonglei State as a consequence of that rigged 2010 elections, yet it is unfortunate that nothing of the Kenyan type of settlement was adopted by the SPLM to rectify this political mess which it has inflicted on the country.

Is it that the RSS leadership is waiting for another 2015 post-election violence to occur before the country can have an independent election commission, a true multiparty democracy with leveled playground for all the other political parties that challenge the status quo? You will be surprised to find out later that this could in fact be the case!

To sum it all up, it doesn’t bother me if some people may find Jacob Dut Chol’s article rather long and more academic to read through and appreciate, for I believe that those who read it to the end were able to come out with some valuable information, how little it might have been. It is my wish that some of you find the chance to read the article thoroughly.

As to whether South Sudan can ever learn anything good from the Kenyan experience and for that matter any other experiences in its search for democratic transformation, I have every reason to doubt the RSS leadership’s ability to what it needs to do in order to alleviate the sufferings of its masses.

For as long as the current RSS leadership is stuck with its mentality and political vision that promotes “authoritarian centralism” that awards unlimited powers to the president and the members of his inner circle, this country will not only fail to notice any of the many changes taking place on a daily basis the worldwide, but may not even see the need for any change for the better, leave alone that talk about benefiting from the so-called Kenyan experience.

You will definitely by now be tempted to ask the obvious FAQ: “Then what is the way forward? Well the way forward is by reshuffling the cards and redistributing them in a new political dispensation that realizes the irrelevancy of the current ruling party – the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM), and its’ equally irrelevant leadership which has throughout ruled the country with impunity.

A new coalition of political groups in a form of a strong alliance is needed, first to relegate the current leadership to the dustbins of history to be followed by an immediate establishment of a new political order where democracy flourishes. In this way South Sudan would have found its own political footing at last!

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

jacRamba

The Stress of South Sudanese in Diaspora: A personal experience narrative

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, Finland, APR/10/2013, SSN;

Words cannot accurately explain the gravity of South Sudanese physical, emotional and psychological stress in Diaspora as I have experienced it firsthand. And I consider myself among one of the fortunate few South Sudanese who with a combination of hard work, resilience and determination, have managed to persist and climb that social ladder, and ultimately rub shoulders with the social elites in the countries that I have lived in both in the East and the West.

The East —and by East I mean most of the Middle Eastern countries— the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Lebanese and the like, suffer from what I call “inferiority complex.”

In Damascus for instance, one is often left smiling in disbelief when walking down the street and Syrian children crowding around you chanting “chocolata, chocolata,” while their women whisper to each other’s ears, about who knows what. One can only guess, but chances are the observation that is being exchanged by Middle Eastern women in such silent voices is often related to some dubious claims about a black man’s sexual organ! There is eschewed perception of the black man in these societies.

Unlike their women, the Syrian men much like their Lebanese counterparts and presumably the Egyptians too, are more vocal in passing their racial ruling on the black man. I have had to exercise self-restraint on numerous occasions in the face of racial discriminatory remarks that one often receives from random people in the streets in these societies because of skin color.

Some racial discrimination comments often come in the form of wordplay where what appears as an honest greeting may in fact be a smear observation aimed at reminding you of your skin pigmentation, such as the Syrian greeting phrase “shou lownak.” Depending on which syllables are stressed, this phrase can both mean how are you, or what is your color and more often than not it is the latter meaning that is being conveyed when one hears a “greeting” from random folks in the street, particularly by youth.

In Beirut’s streets, some men derogatory ask you what time is it, even when you are not wearing a watch to imply that you should look at your skin color. Racial discrimination in Lebanon has at times even morphed into physical abuse. There was a time when I was thrown and hit by an empty beer bottle from a moving car, while minding my own business walking down the street. Often, rotten eggs are hurled at you from balconies without any provocation save that your skin color is black.

Assigning labor and professional tasks in these societies are overwhelmingly determined not by professional qualifications, but by skin color or citizenship—nepotism writs large. I have seen black men who hold college degrees, and who in normal circumstances would pursue a professional career in their field of expertise, but who were often condemned to working in the field of what the Lebanese called the “black man’s job,” referring mainly to the undignified task of cleaning toilets and doing dishes in restaurants and hotels or working as a ghafir (janitor), for residential complexes and offices.

The same selection criteria for jobs apply in Syria, and Egypt where some of our South Sudanese brothers and other disfranchised foreign nationals, have been largely confined to the hard labor of construction work. Humiliating, isn’t it?

Our children and women too are not spared from inhumane treatment on the basis of race. The children often come home from school crying and feeling emotionally disturbed, for being verbally abused and called monkeys and what not by their “white” peers.

Our women are made to work as (khadamat) housemaids and often under poor working conditions and abuses that may include working long hours without adequate return, as well as often being subjected to physical coercion, torture and sexual harassment, if not outright rape.

Seemingly, there are no laws against inhumane treatment of black people or Far East Asians in countries like Lebanon. Lebanese jails, for example are replete with South Sudanese and other foreign nationals who are often arbitrary imprisoned for disproportionately prolonged periods of time that did not match the petty crimes committed, mainly related to the violation or failure to acquire legal residential documents or status.

I know this, because I have also received my share of arbitrary and long detention time in Lebanese jails for merely being an illegal alien and refugee without rights or status.

Surprisingly, along this line and contrary to what one would expect from the Arab countries, our northern Sudanese Arab brothers have also not been spared from the unjust treatment based on racial profiling. To the Lebanese authorities, Sudanese “Arabs,” Muslims or not, all the same, we are apportioned the same share of mistreatment.

As a result, due to our common sufferings both South and northern Sudanese have found themselves in a strong bond of solidarity, and unity with each other.

Likewise, with minor exceptions, South Sudanese in Diaspora in general do not interact with each other thinking across ethnic belonging lines. We are more united in exile than at home, and relate to each other as one South Sudanese family.

However, unlike the developing world, the inferiority complex in the East and countries like Lebanon look favorably toward the West and more developed world, and hence the usage of the term here. When you hold a Western European citizenship in Lebanon, for instance you are guaranteed a professional job, even if you have not completed college.

The only setback is that your path must cross the paths of extremist groups, like Hezbollah and others. On the social side, however, Lebanese women will flock you and entice you into marriage in order to get a slice of that European passport in your possession.

South Sudanese are suffering in the East and often without any alternative of better prospects elsewhere. Few lucky ones were recognized as refugees or have paid their way into being accepted as refugees by UNHCR offices in the region, and have been resettled to third countries in the West with a seeming offer of a second chance to start afresh and rebuild their war-shattered lives.

But the overwhelming majority has been unfortunate and failed to secure official recognition as refugees in the UNHCR offices. As a result they have nowhere to go and are still grinding it out in the Middle East and elsewhere in the region.

I happen to be one of the many unlucky ones who could not secure an official refugee status at the UNHCR offices in both Syria and Lebanon, despite my legitimate claim during the war years, to the right of being recognized as a refugee if only by virtue of being a South Sudanese.

But I had to scrap my way out of the East to the West through determination to pursue education and generous unconditional scholarships that I received from some good willing academic institutions first in Lebanon and then in the U.S. In the Lebanese case, my scholarship to complete my bachelor’s degree was facilitated by a friend who was not even Lebanese. But his initial support opened the subsequent doors.

However, while I am grateful for receiving the second chance to climb up the social hierarchy and improve my social status through education, from my experience and contrary to the East, the tragedy of the West is that it suffers from what I will call “superiority complex.”

In the U.S. racial discrimination is a commonplace. Is it conceivable that in my interactions, most African-Americans, for instance are more racist toward Africans than some of their white American fellows?

In an attempt to uncover the reasons behind this trend, I once raised the question to a random African-American elderly man as to why this is the case. His candid response was that most African-American communities in general, tend to favor whiter skin color.

Most have been indoctrinated to believe that the whiter the color of your skin, the better. But also, he continued, many African-Americans tend to hold Africans responsible for their tragic enslavement history that contributed to their current misery of continuing to live as most see it as second class citizens in the U.S., even though they are American citizens.

The elderly man further noted that the story circulating around in most African-American households is that Africans hate them, and therefore, sold their African ancestors out as slaves to the White European slave master that ultimately landed them in their difficult lot in the U.S. throughout their history.

Consequently, this may have contributed to the reciprocal hate perception and mistreatment of Africans at the hands of some African-Americans. In a word, Western superiority complex seemed to have driven a wedge between African and African-American peoples.

In terms of the plight of South Sudanese who have been resettled as refugees in Western countries, more generally, only few have succeeded in rebuilding their lives and improving their social status. Most of these are those who came younger, such as the Southern lost boys’ community of Sudan, because the young are easily adaptable to foreign cultural demands.

Else, the majority of South Sudanese have been written off as first generation, and the story of any first generation migrants is the same— it is not about them anymore, and as such they contend themselves with sacrificing their future for that of their children.

Chances of them bettering their social status through the pursuit of education or professional career in their areas of expertise are slim. Because of the Western superiority complex syndrome, only college degrees that have been acquired in Western academic institutions warrant consideration for a professional job.

Holding any degree from outside the Western confines means one is immediately relegated to pursue hard labor in factories, restaurants, mines… etc., for livelihood. Of course, there are opportunities through taking loans from banks for instance, in order to pay and pursue higher education. But only a handful of South Sudanese in Diaspora have followed that route, and it is understandable why.

In the rigorous Western academic institutions, completing a college degree is no easy task. Earning a degree in the West demands full commitment as a student and hundreds of hours spent in the university library. But with the several mouths to feed in a South Sudanese household, most South Sudanese have found the commitment of being a full time college student hard to pursue.

Some determined South Sudanese try to study part-time and work for the other half of the time. But while some have managed to ultimately graduate from college, others have either dropped out or are taking several years, sometimes decades to complete a mere four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Even so, Western superiority complex still negatively affects those South Sudanese who are Western educated in their job places. From my experience in the U.S., and currently in the European Nordic region regardless of Western education credentials, I still got to be looked upon with sympathy, especially by those you have just been introduced to me in professional conferences and public events.

Often, most are surprised to see you in these kinds of elitist functions to begin with, and you can rest assured that before the end of the event curiosity about your who-abouts will be displayed.

The problem is not with being curious about a unique phenomenon, because curiosity is the foundation in any given quest for knowledge. What irritates me the most is when you tell your curious enquirer that you are from South Sudan, their first reaction is to make you feel sorry for yourself, and often rightly so because ours is a society to be pitied.

But sometimes one does not want to be reminded and be made to feel like an inferior creature that must be exorcised with some urgent “make a difference” action. Sometimes I joke back by requesting a napkin to wipe my tears!

Moreover, in most Western countries, but particularly more so in the Nordic countries, the superiority complex has been taken to a whole different level by the feminist and gender sensitization of the culture. Mere conversations have been rendered complicated let alone gestures of good will.

For instance in some of these countries, I have now learned to think twice before committing to assist anyone perceived to be in need of assistance, even if it is a woman that has just slipped in the icy and slippery roads of the excruciatingly extreme cold Nordic winters.

I have learned to turn the other way and mind my own business, because the last time I tried, my services were not only rejected, but I received the look of, here is another symbol of male dominance who thinks women are dependent on men to complete any given task.

Especially as a black man any unintentional utterance or gesture that is seen as politically incorrect, however the term is defined, will most likely land you in trouble in these countries.

For similar reasons, I recently landed in hot waters for failing to complete a task assigned to me at work place by a senior female co-worker. When I explained to her I have been in meetings all morning and have just returned to my desk, and when I asked her why did “you not complete the task yourself” if it is too urgent, she immediately rushed to my female boss and complained that I refuse to take orders from women.

My reasoning is that as a black man coming from a patriarchal culture and living in these highly gendered and feminist sensitized cultures, I am a sitting duck for being perceived as representing patriarchal sentiments, even though I like to think of myself as an ally and advocate of social justice and equality, including gender equality.

But I have consistently found my world ever shrinking to the extent one feels being strangled.

South Sudanese are equally suffering in the West. But what now is the alternative? Can our elite brothers in GoSS now see why we ignorantly bicker and whine, and why we in Diaspora come across more frustrated in our free expression against current political malpractices in Juba?

One of the waves we rode during the liberation struggle was the hope that our suffering will one day come to pass when we have a country we can call home. This hope is now turning into despair when all opportunities for building a peaceful, united, equal, just and prosperous nation are being squandered by mis-governance in the Republic.

All we ask for from Kiir’s regime and whatever regime of the day that might ensue, is that we are tired and want to have a place we can call home, a place we can return to and help build. We are not asking to be rich, but merely to have access to basic rights, liberties, and services, such as security, rule of law, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and livelihoods.

Are these too much to ask?

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

Why I think Pres. Kiir should reshuffle his Cabinet to coincide with resumption of oil production

BY: JUMA MABOR MARIAL, JUBA, APR/10/2013, SSN;

A year down the road, the government and people of south Sudan suffered unprecedented economic meltdown as a result of its government decision to halt oil production through the northern neighbor on allegations that the north unapologetically stole the southern oil. This consequently led to the declaration of austerity measures which in subsequent months turned into an imperative statement in the transactions of any business in south Sudan.

After intensive negotiations between Khartoum and Juba midwifed by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP), a series of issues were agreed upon including the resumption and/or flow of southern oil through the northern facility.

This was stipulated very well under the commonly referred to as ‘the co-operation agreement deal,’ and although both the northerners and southerners felt that this was an indication of economic bail out mechanism, there was still no political will to implement this set of agreements from both sides of the political divide with Khartoum playing the big boy arrogant role in the game.

However, with mounting pressure from the international community and practical realization by both sides that their economies were heading to the dogs, a round table of talks was initiated and an implementation modality in the name of ‘implementation matrix’ was reached and this proposed effective yet neutral mechanisms under which both sides shall feel like they have been given a favor but altogether, the object was to ensure that the contentious issues between the parties are resolved as well as reviving their nearly collapsed economies.

This does not mean there were no painful concessions made and especially southern Sudan was at the losing end as some of its negotiators were more or less very incompetent.

Now, with the resumption of oil production on its third or fourth day, there is urgent need to caution both the people and government of south Sudan about the implications of this promising economic revival out of the oil revenues.

One would only rekindled this time with the 2004 leading to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement when the people of Southern Sudan had the Donors Conference in Oslo where a substantial amount of money was given to people of south Sudan for developmental activities, this trend continued with the 50% oil revenue which was appropriated to the then defunct government of southern Sudan on wealth sharing provision.

With all these funds availed to the southerners hands, it was anxiety, excitement and uncontrollable spending that categorized the daily business as individuals got into the government coffers with the intention of enriching themselves and undermining the delivery of essential services to the people.

This fact resulted into much corruption-related scandals with the primary and recent examples being the Dura and 75 individuals involved in the 4 billion dollar scams.

Such operations thus denied the common citizens access to standard healthcare facilities, education, clean drinking water, road infrastructural development among others whilst some few people in the government enriched themselves at the expenses of the above mentioned vulnerable groups.

As a result of these indifferences, the gap between the poor and the rich kept on widening and the mistrust reached it optimum as most of the southerners feel that the government has forgotten the reason for liberating this country from the predecessor state. Kiir himself have qualified these views in his letter to the alleged 75 corrupt officials that ‘it seems we have forgotten why we took up arms and liberated this country.’

These sentiments notwithstanding, the president has long remained threatened by his political rivals and this has prevented him from reshuffling his government for the fear of political risk that he might be taking and other related political calculations.

The public remains hanged on the lip services and political slogan of ‘zero tolerance to corruption’ as repeatedly pronounced by the president.

With all these ups and downs, it is now an opportune time for president Kiir to ensure that, as the nation is blessed to have the donors conference in the United States a week away which would give the country some little money for development and the resumption of oil production through the north simultaneously, it is obvious that there is going to be enough money for development and other services in the next two to three months.

Therefore, he needs now to sack out the corrupt officials in his government such that a new crop of leaders can come in to supervise the provision of basic services to the south Sudanese people.

This can only be realized if the president sacked some if not all of the previously mentioned 75 corrupt officials, employed technocrats and got rid of the heavy cabinet that has always only received salary and gave nothing in return.

The president should reshuffle the cabinet before the first money from the oil is received by his government from the world market.

This opinion is not only shared by me and a couple other south Sudanese citizens but it is even most favored by the international partners and civil society organizations who have had such observations as is reflected by Dana Wilkins, a Global Witness campaigner who stressed that, “the resumption of oil production, if managed well, could provide desperately needed development and basic services for South Sudanese citizens.”

Furthermore, she added that, “the oil legislation specifically includes the transparency and accountability mechanisms necessary to help make that happen and now is the time for the government to demonstrate its commitment to openness and public scrutiny.”

These sentiments are the true expectations of the citizens of this nascent state and the international partners as the oil money gets to south Sudan.

The southern Sudanese are not ready to ever again experience the yester-years dealings where the money went into elite’s pockets and left the common person with nothing but complaints and continued suffering.

In conclusion, the president must now move very swiftly to restore hopes in the southern Sudanese citizens by getting rid of most if not all of the current ministers and bring in a lean but technocratic government that will stir the economic development of this country to the next level.

There would be no excuse whatsoever to retain these old guards in the government because they have not been able to convince the populace of this republic that they are equal to the task.

Kiir must now think about the nation first and his political and individual interests later. He should not be caught up by threats of disintegration in the SPLM and dissidents from the government.

He is the only person who can move this country forward and if he remains indecisive like he is doing now, then he is unknowingly throwing this great country into the category of failed states. The successes and failures of this state squarely lies in his hands.

It is my hope that the recent developments in the oil sector will restore hopes that south Sudan is indeed an independent state that is moving forward and it is certainly the country that we overwhelmingly voted for in the referendum to be a sovereign state where we shall always remain proud and respected.

Juma Mabor Marial lives in Juba and is reachable at: hussenjuma@hotmail.com

90% of South Sudan Youth are Alcoholic

BY: Mangar Agok Marial, JUBA, APR/09/2013, SSN;

You cannot believe your eyes given the above astonishing percentage of South Sudan’s youth immersed in alcoholism. It’s undeniable and unquestionable that the country’s future remains ambiguous and undecided as long as the youth continue to remain loyal and faithful to Mr. ALCOHOL. The war that was fought for 22 years with the Arab north has been won but not long after that, another serious one which could prove more tedious to deal with is threatening in youth sector, the war of ALCOHOLISM among the youth of this nascent nation.

The above figure (90%) is not a assumption nor presumption but a well-researched number. This percentage includes both literate and illiterate males and females between the age of 15-45. However, before the author talks about the WHYs of drinking, it is more important to know about the brief history of alcohol globally.

Alcohol was made from fermented grain, fruit juice and honey (ethyl or ethanol) for thousand years. In Africa, alcohol has been historically regarded as a conduit for religious and political expression mainly for male elders. Over the past one century, the graph of alcohol production and consumption kept on climbing high. Uganda tops the list of African nations with its per capita of alcohol consumption at 19 liters per year compared to the average of 4 liters in other African countries. This report was filed by ALLAFRICA, one of the media houses dealing with Africa affairs entirely.

As per our beloved country South Sudan, historically, alcohol was seen as an elderly food. The young and the women were not allowed to drink and perhaps a taboo for them. We used to have locally distilled alcoholic drink namely SIKO, ARAGI and MAWHER. However, due to economic liberalism, alcohol production and consumption is marketable here in South Sudan with all classes of persons becoming stakeholders be it young or old, rich or poor man or woman.

However, both educated and uneducated are crucial to the future development of this nation. The author managed to uncover the stimulating factors that have led to the exploding drinking rate among the youth and here are some of the push-factors:-

(a) Some of these young men have attributed drinking to what some of them called the state of joblessness. ‘I am a graduate with bachelors of economics from Makerere University while jobless, so drinking helps me feel less stressed given my situation of being redundant,’ said a young man clad in navy-blue suit.

(b) Others drink because of peer pressure. They said they are being influenced by their social groups be it friends, workmates or age mates.

(c) Stress relief: alcohol provides temporary illusion of a situation hence the youth drink to escape in a short time their stresses.

(d) They drink to lose their inhibitions. Some have said that when drunk, they can be able to fearlessly and shamelessly act in anything they do and in any situation anywhere.

Nevertheless, having excavated why the youth are accelerating their drinking rate, we also need to know how alcohol would affect their lives as human beings, more likely in a negative manner. These effects can be seen more socially and medically. The effects of alcohol however, depends on the following factors: age, sex, specific health problems and even family history.

More so, the magnitude at which alcohol harms you medically or socially depends on the rate at which one consumes alcohol. For instance the more you drink, the more you risk your health and morality. Some of the health problems stems from BINGE DRINK or drinking beyond the recommended level includes: high blood pressure, increased risks of various cancers like throat cancer, mouth cancer and the list is long, liver problems, reduced fertility and heart attack are some of the health complications encountered by all classes of drinkers be it low-risk-drinkers, increasing-risk-drinkers and high-risk-drinkers.

However, alcohol also affects our social behavior and cohesion they can be seen in the following forms:

(a) family problems like increase in family tension, increase in level of quarreling and violence, destabilizes relationships, partners may become anxious, depressed and socially withdrawn. Detrimental effects on the children leading to behavioral problems and under-performance at school, increased rates of divorce.

(b) Work difficulties notably poor performance at work, conflict with colleagues and poor attendance record which may result in repeated dismal and ultimately lead to long-term unemployment.

(c) Crimes like theft, fraud, driving offences, sexual offences and crimes of violence are being committed under the influence of alcohol.

However, the purpose of this article is to send a wake-up call to the youth of this new nation that they have been yellow-carded in this deciding match with Mr. Alcohol leaving their side venerable to red cards at any zero hour. Nevertheless, this article doesn’t target the youth only but also South Sudanese who are seriously involved in too much drinking of alcohol to deep-six if they can’t denounce alcohol.

Conclusively, it’s is incumbent upon the youth to refrain from being the profligate consumers of alcohol to less or non-consumers. Youth are for future use, so stop playing around with the country’s future.

By Mangar Agok Marial, the author is a student of journalism at South Sudan Christian University of Science and Technology, Juba, South Sudan.

Reach me at mangarjames@yahoo.com or call 0955726597 for comments.

THE JEBEL BOMA DECLARATION: Federalism for South Sudan

THE JEBEL BOMA DECLARATION

March, 28 to April, 2nd, 2013
Jebel Boma, Jonglei State
Republic of South Sudan, SSN;

Preamble

Guided by the democratic quest of the people of South Sudan and their desire to live in freedom;

Convinced that the people of South Sudan must be set free from oppression, persecution and hatred;

Affirming our deep belief that the South Sudan needs to have a true identity that reflects all the components of the its population;

Living up to the values of freedom, justice, democracy and peace;

Resolved to build a decentralized, federal, liberal and democratic nation;

Mindful of the failures of the SPLM regime that have ruled South Sudan since the conclusion of the CPA in January, 2005;

Determined to preserve the dignity of South Sudanese citizens and to fight corruption;

Aiming to lay fair criteria for the sharing of resources and power;

Endeavoring to put an end to human rights violations such as genocides, ethnic cleansing and other similar atrocities;

Seeking to arrest perpetrators of human rights abuses and bring them to justice before national judicial institutions;

Striving towards equal citizenship for all the segments of the South Sudan population, as the only criteria for the enjoyment of rights and the fulfillment of duties;
Urging the South Sudanese people to embark rapidly on joining the South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army and mobilize the masses in rural and urban areas as well as abroad;

We, the undersigned members of the leadership council of SSDM/A, announce to the world the reasons we took up arms to liberate our country from the ruling clique of the SPLM Party.

I. Reasons for taking up arms

1- The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 marked a turning point in the history of South Sudan as it promised the South Sudanese people sustainable peace and democratic transformation.
2- The IGAD countries, the friendly countries and international community and international institutions, particularly the United Nations, accepted the contents and output of the Naivasha Peace Agreement and became its sponsors.
3- On the basis of this agreement, a referendum on the self-Determination of Southern Sudan was conducted in January 2011 and the result was declared in February 2011, with the people of southern Sudan voting by an overwhelming majority in favor of session. The result of the referendum was recognized by all those involved in achieving the peace agreement such was the birth of the state of South Sudan under leadership of SPLM.
4. In spite of this local, regional and global support, the SPLM’s regime in South Sudan, after the conclusion of the CPA, established a political system based on tribal domination, corruption, dictatorship and one party system.
5. These practices have led to overall instability and destabilized security in all aspects of life in South Sudan.
6. The confidence and positive support that was earned by South Sudan state from the international community got eroded.
7. The international community lost confidence in the government of South Sudan and the SPLM leadership, despite some support they still enjoy from certain countries in America and Europe.
8. The South Sudan citizens lost confidence in their state and the SPLM has been leading them to self isolation in anger and despair with disastrous results in the growth of the feeling that there can never be security except through defending themselves by themselves.
9. This feeling was manifested in bursts of rebellion, and resorting to recriminations among tribal groups in South Sudan. These manifestations were seized by the SPLM and used them to consolidate its authority through the divide and rule policy.
10. The SPLM employed the energies, resources and blood of the citizens of the nascent state in seeking to realize a corrupt and undemocratic system in the country.
11. The SPLM devoted its time to corruption and the accounts of its leaders fattened in few years from zero to millions of dollars in personal accounts in foreign countries.
12. More than 20 billion US dollars, which formed the share of South Sudan in oil revenues during the interim period, were pocked by SPLM leaders and its corrupt supporters rather than being used to provide basic services to the citizens.
13. Absence of rendering basic services to the citizens, such as health and education, while the SPLM leaders enjoy good education and excellent medical facilities for their families and their children in foreign countries in convertible currencies. And if any one of them falls ill, he/she gets evacuated by air to specialized hospitals abroad. Electricity is available only in the form of exorbitant cost and high consumption electric generators that light up the houses and weekend camps of the SPLM leaders, whereas all the capitals of the states of South Sudan live in darkness.
14. The Auditor General reports for 2005 and 2006 have exposed horrendous embezzlement of public funds. MPs and citizens wept in disbelief, but they could say and do nothing as there is no accountability under the rule of the SPLM.
15. The officers, NCOs and men of the SPLA are allocated more than 40 percent of the budget of the government of South Sudan for their pay and training. Yet they are underpaid and often do not receive salaries. Some had not received their salaries for years causing them to abandon work. All of these happened because the SPLA commanders eat up these huge sums of money.
16. The SPLA has lost discipline. The promotion and training systems are discriminatory. Many officers are still holding the same rank for more than 10 years. The families of the martyrs and the wounded heroes are forgotten and there are no regulations to take care of their welfare.
17. The judicial system is compromised and politicized. Hence, the judiciary lost its prestige and the citizens lost their rights in equal and impartial adjudication.
18. The economy collapsed, unemployment is on the increase and there is no vision for employing graduates and qualified persons. Agriculture came to a standstill due to the policies of the SPLM. Renk is no longer cultivating, rice growing in Aweil came to a halt and there are no rehabilitation programs for fruits and vegetable canning factories, textile, tea, etc.
19. The SPLM reneged on the resolutions of the South Sudan dialogue in the October 2010, turned its back on the political parties in South Sudan and prevented them from political activity as registered parties.
20. The security system which was to protect the citizens has collapsed, and some unconstitutional organs such as the special Branch appeared on the scene and others nobody knows from whom do not they receive orders nor as to why they arrest and terrorize the citizens.
21. The rate of imported crimes has increased because of the breakdown of laws and order due to the poor training and low qualification of police forces and usurpation of its powers as the competence of the police is now exercised by private armies.
22. The SPLM stripped the traditional leaders of their authority leading to widespread conflict and tribal feuds which are fanned by the SPLM leaders in Juba.
23. The central Government under the leadership of the SPLM has encroached on the powers of states. For example, 90 percent of the budget of South Sudan is spent in Juba, leaving the 10 states with only 10 percent to run their affairs, develop agriculture and livestock and render services to the people. This state of affairs brought down the state of South Sudan with fertile agricultural land to import food from neighboring countries.
24. The state building elements of justice and equality in rights and duties have collapsed and the criteria for participation in the government of South Sudan, state government or any constitutional institution are nepotism, cronyism and tribalism.

II. VISION
In order to bring to an end to the suffering of our people, arrest the collapse of our nascent nation, and to rid it of the dictatorship gripping it now, a popular revolution must take place so as to achieve the following:
1. The dissolution of the current Government of South Sudan to be replaced by Transitional Revolutionary Government.
2. The Transitional Revolutionary Government shall, within two years, hold general elections for the election of a constituent Assembly whose main function is to enact the permanent constitution of Republic of South Sudan.
3. The army of South Sudan shall be taken care of and transformation into a truly professional national army that includes within its ranks all qualified citizens regardless of tribe, region or religion.
4. Give special priority to the delivery of services to our people, including the provision of infrastructure.
5. Restructuring the civil service so that it is based only on qualification and experience.
6- Radical economic reform in policies and institutions and paying special attention to agriculture in order to provide food security and to serve as the launching pad to industrialization.
7- Make rapid legal and security reform to ensure good governance in the country.
8- The new government shall take swift action to resolve the tribal disputes by peaceful means.
9- Take legal means to prosecute all those involved in corruption and request the repatriation of the money embezzled from the countries where the accounts are kept.
10- Establish good relations with all the countries neighboring South Sudan for the interest of our people.
11- Establish good relations with countries of the world for mutual benefit and to maintain global peace and security.
12. Negotiate in good faith with the Government of Sudan on the outstanding issues between the two countries in the context of the sovereignty over its territories.

III. POLITICAL PROGRAM
In our struggle to foster a strong and vibrant multiparty democracy and national development in South Sudan, the undersigned leadership council hereby agreed to uphold the following key principles and values:

1. To pursue and promote the fundamental principles of democracy, good governance and non-discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, language, region or political affiliation;

2. To foster confidence, trust and have initiatives as a means of enhancing co operation and harmony among South Sudan political parties;

3. To promote and establish national reconciliation, consensus and build national unity;

4. To promote and uphold the tolerance of different political views and values;

5. To manage and mitigate political differences through constructive dialogue without resorting to undemocratic and unconstitutional means;

6. To undertake to promote and protect the observance of fundamental human rights;

7. To promote and strengthen political parties as the building blocks of democracy;

8. To promote and uphold the rule of law and constitutionalism;

9. To promote the strengthening of state institutions in order to enhance good governance;

10. To promote and uphold the establishment of fair electoral laws, effective and independent autonomy electoral management bodies and a level playing field in elections;

11. To ensure free competition among political parties and the participation in free, fair and periodical elections by all the registered political parties as the legitimate way of gaining and ceding political power;

12. To promote and uphold a strong independent parliament with effective oversight over the Executive with the power to set its own legislative agenda;

13. To foster and uphold an environment of democratic control, accountability and transparency.

IV. Economic and social policy

1. The SPLM regime’s economic and social policies leave much to be desired. Its economic policies have exacerbated inequality, eviction from ancestral lands of indigenous populations, and environmental degradation. Its social policies have created deterioration in educational standards, health disparities and massive youth unemployment. In addition, its interference in the exercise of political freedom has created unwarranted social tension;

2. The SPLM elite that have dominated South Sudan to date have fused public and private institutions in order to advance and serve their partisan and sectarian interests. This shall come to an end by turning all state institutions into the common servants of all regardless of their political allegiance and national identity:

3. The civil service shall be overhauled in order to end its subordination to the ruling party;

4. The military shall be transformed into a neutral defender of all by enacting a concordance model of civil-military relations;

5. The intelligence services shall not be used for monitoring the political and private activities of citizens;

6. Public media shall come under the supervision of a neutral public authority that oversees their work of providing education, entertainment, and information;

7. The SSDM/A stands to correct these lopsided policies and upholds inclusive, balanced and sustainable development aimed at curbing growing inequality, protecting the environment, and advancing the rights of indigenous peoples, and promoting employment. It would promote a mass education policy coupled with the development of technical knowhow and scientific progress;

8. The SSDM/A would also promote a health policy integrating health education, prevention, cure and care measures. Furthermore, it respects and upholds religious freedoms and equality.
V. NAME OF THE LIBERATION MOVEMENT

As it was founded by the martyr, Lt. Gen. George Athor Deng, the name of the Movement shall be South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army (SSDM/A).

VI. Strategies for achieving the Vision
1. We believe that a country-wide movement sharing the preceding vision, principles and policies is indispensable for propelling South Sudan forward and ending the current political paralysis. To this effect, we will exert all efforts in order to pull together as many advocates and promoters of the interests of diverse social sectors as possible in order to popularize and refine the principles and processes that would transform South Sudan into a genuinely democratic multinational federation.
vii. Structuring South Sudan as a Federation

1. We start from the simple premise that the SSDM/A policy of structuring South Sudan as a federation of its diverse nations is a move in the right direction. The adoption of this policy is attributable neither to the ill-intensions nor generosity of the SSDM/A, but became mandatory as a response to the mounting pressures of the struggle for decentralization by the people of South Sudan.
2. The South Sudan political parties played an active role in proposing the restructuring of South Sudan into a multinational federation as a means to end the injustices stemming from the tribal character of the SPLM state. Unfortunately, implementing a genuine federal order completely contradicted the present ruling elite’s aspiration of emerging and permanently remaining as a new dominant group by simply stepping into the shoes of the Arabs that it replaced. We now stand for correcting the aberrations resulting from the abuse of the decentralization as a policy of domination by the present ruling elite.
3. Federations serve the purpose of facilitating the simultaneous exercise of self-rule and shared-rule and become necessary in order to reconcile unity in diversity. In the present political dispensation, however, communities exercise neither self-rule nor shared-rule but have been enduring the SPLM’s tyrannical rule for eight years. The SPLM directly and centrally micro-manages all communities by pre-selecting its surrogates that the people are then coerced to “elect” at elections that are neither free nor fair. Ending this charade by enabling all communities to elect their representatives in fair and free elections is the only way of finally putting South Sudan on a path to democracy, stability, peace, justice, and sustainable development.
VIIi. Conclusion
After the proud people of South Sudan have got a free state of their own to crown its long struggle, it deserves now to enjoy the fruits of its efforts and sacrifices in good governance, a peaceful and secure environment and prosperity that does not encroach on others rights. Having expounded its vision and exposed the failure and corruption of the SPLM, SSDM/A appeals to:
1. The officers, NCOs and men of the SPLA to join the revolution of South Sudan in order to correct the path.
2. The citizens of South Sudan to abandon SPLM’s corrupt government and join the revolution for a bright future for our nation and our children so as to rest from the difficulties of the long march.
3. All the peace loving countries that uphold human values must support and work with the South Sudan Revolution to transform South Sudan into a country which respects human values such as democracy, equality, justice and peace.
Signed by,
1. Maj. Gen. David Yau Yau
Chairman and C-in-C of SSDM/A
2. Maj. Gen. John Wiyual Chuol Tang (aka John Juba)
Chief-of -Staff of SSDA

3. Dr. Samuel Jada Peter
The secretary of organizations and political affairs

4. Mr. Galero Modi
The secretary of foreign affairs

5. Mary James Garang
The secretary of women and child welfare

6. Maj. Gen. Gatluak Kiir
The secretary of security and intelligent

For contact:
Col. Peter Konyi Kubrin
Spokesman of SSDM/A
Email: rsouthsudan@yahoo.com

South Sudan’s oil production restarts amid concerns about transparency

For immediate release: 8 April 2013

BY: DANA WILKINS, Global Witness, SSN;

As oil production resumes in South Sudan this week, Global Witness is calling on the government to implement the transparency measures passed as part of oil legislation last year and to clarify recent reports of secretive contract allocations.

“South Sudan’s oil legislation includes clear requirements for the publication of oil sector data and contracts which, if implemented, would enable citizens to monitor and verify the management of their natural resources,” said Global Witness campaigner Dana Wilkins. “This week’s resumption of oil operations will test whether the government’s commitment to transparency is genuine.”

When South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011, it became the most oil-dependent economy in the world. South Sudan’s only route to export its crude oil is currently via Sudan’s pipelines and port. The two countries had spent more than a year and a half negotiating new transit terms when Sudan began confiscating crude oil shipments at the port in late 2011. South Sudan responded by halting all production and exports in January 2012. At the time, oil revenues made up more than 97% of the South Sudanese national budget.

More than a year on from the shutdown of operations, the oil transit deal and some key security arrangements have been resolved and South Sudan has announced the resumption of oil production. New export revenues, expected by June, will provide South Sudan with much-needed cash and could reinvigorate the country’s struggling economy.

Risks of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector remain high, however. [1] In addition to the publication of data and contracts, it is critical that the government immediately addresses ongoing rumours that new oil contracts may have been awarded over the last year, apparently without the open, competitive, and transparent bidding processes included in the 2012 oil legislation. At a minimum, the government should immediately publish:

· The most recent oil block map;

· Information on all companies holding stakes in South Sudan’s oil sector;

· All existing oil contracts.

There have also been recent reports of damaging changes made to the draft Petroleum Revenue Management Bill. [2] The changes are rumoured to include the removal of taxes, signatures bonuses and other fees from the definition of ‘petroleum revenues’ as well as fewer protections on how oil can be used as collateral for government borrowing. If true, these changes would significantly limit the extent to which the management of oil sector revenues is subject to public scrutiny.

“If managed well, the oil sector could provide desperately needed development and basic services for South Sudanese citizens,” said Wilkins. “The oil legislation specifically includes the transparency and accountability mechanisms necessary to help make that happen. Now is the time for the government to demonstrate its commitment to openness and public scrutiny.”

/ Ends

Contact: For more information contact Dana Wilkins on +44 (0)7808 761 570, dwilkins@globalwitness.org or Annie Dunnebacke on +44 (0)7912 517 127, adunnebacke@globalwitness.org.

Notes:

[1] Last year, a leaked letter written by President Salva Kiir to over 75 government officials estimated that high-level theft had cost the state more than US$4billion since 2005.

[2] For more information see ‘Blueprint for Prosperity: How South Sudan’s new laws hold the key to a transparent and accountable oil sector,’ available at http://bit.ly/W5q0ud.

___________________________

Dana Wilkins

Global Witness

Tel: +44 20 7492 5828

Mob: +44 7808 761 570

Mob: +211 956 286 843

Twitter: @dwilkinsgw

Nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize, Global Witness is an international NGO campaigning to prevent natural resource-related conflict and corruption.

Worrying signs of usage of divisive words in South Sudan portends serious repercussions

BY: Dr. Ireneaus Sebit, Nairobi, Kenya, APR/08/2013, SSN;

Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about creating heaven in the homeland where people reap the abundant fruits of liberation, where children are guaranteed their future, where health services are for all free of charge or nearly so. Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about a home that has modern roads, bridges, railway lines, modern airlines, good communication system. Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about abundant food grown within the country not the catastrophic daily import from Uganda and Kenya.

Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about dedication to creating peace, tranquility and unity among the people of South Sudan. Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about non-existence of corruption, nepotism, tribalism, hegemony, oppression and subjugation. Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about absolute respect for public and individual property and working for one another as brothers and sisters in one country.

Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about existence of rule of law where human sanctity and rights are upheld. Thinking about patriotism is like thinking about existence of independent judiciary, parliament and executive that complement each other. I would go on thinking about patriotism endlessly but I have to end because the patriotism being preached in South Sudan has different interpretation from the dictionary patriotism.

What is being preached is a translocation of words from Nyagat and liberators. I will expound on this connection later but I would like to start by saying that of recent some of our brothers have started questioning South Sudanese whether they are patriots or not. This means there are patriotic South Sudanese and Non-patriotic South Sudanese.

Before going to urge on this point I want to recall that during the referendum, it was announced to the whole world that 98% of South Sudanese voted yes for the independence of South Sudan. If this is the case I wonder whether what some people are calling non-patriotic South Sundanese are the 2% who voted no or there is a new connotation to the use of the word patriotism.

My crystal ball tell me that there is a new connotation to the usage of patriotism. My strong feeing is that this is yet another invention to discriminate or divide South Sudanese into two groups: patriotic and non-patriotic and this is coming up because words like Nyagat and liberators have lost taste and indeed become un-sellable even to the proponents of being liberators and non-Nyagat.

Ladies and gentlemen, rather let me say my countrymen, nothing can be hidden but the fact is that all these three words are being used in one context; we are not collaborators with the enemy (not Nyagat), we are liberators thus have right to everything and we are patriots and thus can be corrupt, tribalistic, oppressive, hegemonic and dictatorial. Let me not be misunderstood at this stage but follow the issues, countrymen.

The word Nyagat was coined in 1983 by the newly-formed SPLM/SPLA to refer to the Anya Anya two who Garang had forced out in the initially unified movement when the fighters met for the first time in Bonga, Ethiopia, after various groups including Garang and Keribino joined the group led by Abdalla Chol, Gaitut and Atem.

During this democratic exercise Garang was elected to lead the army but this did not go down well with him because he wanted to lead the unified movement. Secondly Garang and his group objected to the goal of the movement which was to fight for independence of South Sudan. Backed by Ethiopia, Garang dropped away Abdalla Chol’s group resulting in a protracted war that led to defeat of Anya Nya two.

During this period of feud the word Nyagat was coined to describe Anya Nya II as collaborators with the enemy. So the connotation was you’re a collaborator with the enemy. Once you are said to be a Nyagat you deserved to die the way the founders of Anya Nya II were hunted down and killed in shameful manner.

It was stated that Garang ordered one of the bodies of the Anya Nya II leaders to be flocked by a cane made from cow skin. Therefore this word was coined to divide South Sudanese to non-collaborators and collaborators who were enemies of the movement.

However, what was the crime Anya Nya II really committed? The crime was to fight for the liberation of South Sudan and as Garang proudly said that his first bullet was to kill separatists.

The paradox of this is that millions of lives were wasted on creating united democratic secular Sudan with no success but at the end the separatists prevailed and South Sudan was born albeit with persistent asthma which the current doctors (leaders) are not only to able to treat but in fact not able to diagnose.

When the movement split in 1991, the word Nyagat was immediately translocated to refer to Riak’s group because they dared to oppose the principle of united secular democratic Sudan. I dare to say this because this term was applied to Riak’s group long before he signed the Khartoum agreement with the Sudan Government.

The idea here was also to divide the South Sudanese into two groups of non-collaborators and collaborators who are enemies of the liberation. Thus the so-called collaborators were deemed enemies of the “New Sudanese” and must be liquidated.

If my history serves me well, the so-called Bor massacre came about as a result of Garang sending forces to attack Riak’s position in Upper Nile. This attack was led by none other than Willian Nyoun. When this force was defeated and retreated to Bor, the Nuer took advantage to try and annihilate Bor. What followed is a black spot in the history of South Sudan.

The use of this discriminating word only vanished when the CPA was signed bringing together both the non-Nyagat and Nyagat into the Government of South South (popularly referred to as Government of Self Service). However, Nyagat as a word disappeared because there was no one to be referred to as Nyagat, a new word came; the liberator.

This was meant to not only divide the people of South Sudan into those who were in the bush fighting and those who remained in the non liberated areas but it was actually meant to demonize those who did not go to the bush. It was meant to call them Nyagat who deserve nothing in South Sudan because they did not fight for it.

It was intended to raise the profiles of those who were in the bush to be the deserving sons of South Sudan. This fact underlined the so-called liberators attitude towards other South Sudanese whereby taking somebody’s property including taking over people’s lands was accepted.

This concept created impunity in the government. It created nepotism, favoritism and the attitude of everything is mine because I liberated it.

On the hand the non-liberators were looked upon with contempt. They were made to be inferior and almost second class to the liberators. They were considered undeserving, not worthy of participating in the development of South Sudan.

This mistaken attitude created the rampant corruption in South Sudan because the so-called liberators did not consider taking government money as corruption but a right and benefit of fighting. The behavior of the so-called liberators in the past seven and half years have depicted them as people who did not go to the bush to liberate country and its entire masses.

What is the use of going to fight if there are no oppressed, subjugated or downtrodden people to liberate?

In fact one cannot go to the bush to liberate himself or herself as an individual if there are no other human beings to liberate. However, the mockery of our situation in South Sudan is that the liberators have become the oppressors, the masters and bourgeois of South Sudan.

Therefore the creation of the word liberator was meant to create a master and servant relationship in South Sudan while on the other hand empowering the liberators with impunity to an extent that taking away a life, property or belongings of a non liberator does no count in any law in the country.

Because of intensive criticisms that many level-minded South Sudanese raised against the word liberator resulting from its negative connotation, the masters of South Sudan have come up with yet another emotional but divisive word. The word is patriot.

As I said in the introduction, patriotism is being created yet to divide the people creating a class of patriots and non patriots. Certainly it is the same game being played over and over so that the non patriots are subjugated and relegated to the level of undeserving second class South Sudanese.

However, my understanding of patriots like Fidel Castro, Barack Obama, Chavez, Mandela and others is that they dedicate their whole lives to not only the country but also to improve the lives of their citizenry without personal gains. These leaders consider their country and countrymen first before they consider themselves.

In fact this week Obama announced that he was going to give back 5% of his salary to the Government because some deserving American needed it. The paradox in South Sudan is that the patriots are the first to become millionaires from looted government coffers. They are the ones who have institutionalized impunity, corruption, nepotism, tribalism and name it… in the world.

They have made South Sudan a failed state. They continue to use dictatorship by ruling by decrees instead of using democratic means. They continue to subjugate, oppress and subject the masses into a state of despair and uncertainty.

South Sudan is on the crossroads because the so-called patriots cannot think of how to render services to the people.

Therefore, my greatest worry is that the people are being continuously divided using intellectual chauvinism yet those who are creating this situation do not know that human elasticity is not indefinite. Science has educated us that this elasticity will one day give up and nobody knows what can happened.

History has thought us that even the downtrodden, the helpless and the beggars will one day say enough is enough, and this is my advise to the government and the so-called non-Nyagat, liberators and patriots.

Please wake up from the delusions of non-nyagatism, liberation and patriotism and face the realities facing our people. The people need services not your selfish grandiose mentality.

God bless South Sudan

Ireneaus Sebit; Nairobi; Kenya

April06-2013

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Will the SPLM stay in power for the next decades?

BY: Mapuor Malual Manguen, JUBA, RSS, APR/06/2013, SSN;

In modern Africa, revolutionary parties have managed to stay on to power for decades. This followed transition from colonial government to the self-rule governance of native Africa leaders who ascended to power through liberation or counter-liberation struggles. Tanzania’s Cham Cha Maphenduzzi (CCM), South Africa’s Africa National Congress (ANC), Uganda’s National Resistance Movement (NRM), and the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU) etc… are a few liberation parties that managed to cling on to power for decades as post-colonial or counter-liberation regimes.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which started its movement as revolutionary in 1980s, became a liberation and independence party for the Republic of South Sudan. Ever since 2011, it remains politically pervasive and as the ruling party in the nascent state.

However, can it cling to power for long as other liberation and revolutionary parties did in Africa? Apparently, the SPLM chances of slipping into the dustbin of political oblivion are quite high.

SPLM, unlike other revolutionary parties mentioned above, faces a serious ideological problem. As I mentioned in the introduction above, the party started with a revolutionary manifesto that was mainly to unseat the traditional oppressive government systems in Sudan, which marginalized the peripheries and changed power into the hands of Arab Islamists and political elite since independence in 1956.

SPLM wanted to change this trend by establishing democratic, free secular Sudanese society where people would be equal irrespective of religion, location, tribe and culture. But it failed to achieve this comprehensive vision.

Nevertheless, the SPLM achieved one of its main objectives, the self determination for the people of Southern Sudan that was realized on July 9, 2011. This resulted into the existence of SPLM in the two countries: SPLM-North in Sudan and SPLM of South Sudan.

Ever since then, it is not clear now which direction the SPLM ruling party in South Sudan is following. Moreover, there is no clear vision and manifesto in which SPLM should adhere to in its day-to-day activities as a ruling party.

The second challenge for SPLM is the infighting between its luminaries. There is a silent power struggle in the party pitting the chairperson and President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit with his deputies, vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny and the National Assembly Speaker, Mr. James Wani Igga; SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum Okiech and Madam Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, the widow of late hero and founder of SPLM.

This power struggle is not new in SPLM; it caused the breakaway and subsequent formation of SPLM-DC in 2009 by former Sudan Foreign Minister, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin.

Because of this infighting, the ordinary members of SPLM seem to give their loyalty not to the party but to their individual heavy weights in the top brass. With the party’s national convention slated for next May 2013, the SPLM faces a daunting task of addressing this power struggle through fair, healthy and democratic manner that the party claims to have subscribed to.

If otherwise, the party might yet again break up into more micro-parties.

Thirdly, the growing ethnic division in the country is another problem. Despite the fact that all communities and regions mirror themselves in the top brass of the party, some sections still see the SPLM as a Dinka dominated party.

In fact, there are some tribal affiliated parties in this country, which sugarcoated themselves with national agenda. When such parties mushroom in the country, they are likely to marshal a strong coalition that would wrest power from the SPLM. The case study of such politics is the Republic of Kenya where coalition of over twenty political parties unseated the independence party, KANU, which ruled the country with iron fist for about forty years.

The post independence woes facing the government are likely to affect the SPLM party too. Since it is the ruling party, people of South Sudan do point their finger on SPLM for failing to deliver on some of key governance issues.

The SPLM run-government has failed to rein in some of its corrupt officials serving in the government; there is a runaway tit for tat cattle rustlings going on between pastoralist communities in the country; and lack of infrastructure development in the war affected young nation. All this could be blame on SPLM and its led-government.

Generally, the upcoming elections in 2015 will be a referendum for the SPLM party.

However, the SPLM still holds considerable opportunity to rebrand its agenda that South Sudanese can easily embrace. The Achievements that this party has delivered to people of this country can never be underestimated either. Among them is the secession of South Sudan, the SPLM firm stand on the protection of South Sudan’s sovereignty which neighboring Sudan would always want to usurp power away in an arrogant manner and of course, the delivery of some basic services to citizens.

But, since it always a nature of human beings to ignore yesterday’s in favor of today’s, the SPLM should not sit back hoping that it enjoys the liberation legacy just like other African movements and that it would push its agenda easily anytime.

This would be political naivety if not the gravest mistake in the dot.com world we enjoy today.

The author is journalist based in Juba. He can be reached at mapuormalual@yahoo.com

Cattle raiding is the primitive act that must be shunned

By: Abraham Daljang Maker, UGANDA, APR/6/2013, SSN;

It is my duty as a citizen to always point out something which I think is not very good for the progress of the country. One of the things that hurt me every day is cattle raiding which is being practiced by the cattle keepers in South Sudan.

Cattle keepers in Unity state and Lakes state are leading a cat and a dog relationship daily. It is hard to know who should be blamed because the two are in a constant practice of this vice of cattle rustling. It is high time people realized that the world is advancing with new things, but our fellows in these two places seem to be still behind the clock.

There have been series of accusations between the two sister states about cattle raiding, notably between Rumbek center and the neighboring towns of Unity state. Lives have been lost in such incidences where each group takes revenge when there is alleged raid by the other.

However, the authorities in these two places appear to be giving a deaf ear to such occurrences.

As I was reading the news on Sudan Tribune on April 4 2013, my eyes rested on the article with heading, “Unity State condemns women Abduction.” I went through the story with alacrity thinking that maybe there could be new rebel movement that has entered the other part of the country, only to find out that it was a neighboring Lakes state which is alleged to have abducted women.

This makes my heart ache, how dare these people do such a barbaric act? Why is it that women are always the victims of circumstances which are not known to them? Why can’t authorities of these two states act promptly to curb this evil practice?

Reading further through the story, I realized that these women were said to have been gathering food for their families, most women in south Sudan are actively engaged in triple roles of Production (for food) Reproduction (giving birth) and other community activities but our fellow men are very heartless to the extent of disturbing them.

These cattle camp youths of Lakes State and Unity state should know that there are other nations where cattle are being kept but they don’t practice raiding at all. Take an Example of the neighboring Uganda, there are a lot of cattle in Western part but you hardly hear any hint of raiding.

Instead they are the main suppliers of animals’ products like milk and meat to the Uganda market and even to South Sudan. It is very good to borrow a leaf from these people and build on it rather than always butchering each other for no good reason.

People of Lakes and Unity states share very many values in common and I see no reason why they should keep on practicing these backward things at this time when we all need to progress and join the other states which are advancing in development.

These cows which people fight over will always remain grazing their grass while you keep on killing each other, these animals have enslaved you…. did you know that?

Honesty, how can you abduct your mother, your sister, your mother-in-law? What will you say tomorrow if you happen to admire and want to marry the daughter of a woman you once abducted? Men must respect women because they are mothers and creators; these innocent people (women) have nothing to do with your crazy act of raiding each other. Their duty is only to search for food and set it on your table; so why should you bite the hands that feed you?

My advice is that, elders of these two states should sit down and talk to their youths in order to eschew this activity so that peace can prevail and reign eternally. In the same way the governments of these two states should also play their parts by deploying join forces at the hot points.

If these women are really taken by the alleged groups, then a quick action must be taken so that these innocent women are taken back to their families and stern action against the culprits should be taken.

As the article reads that these women were collecting food for their starving families, I can imagine the pain their loved ones are going through.

I would also suggest that the youth’s bodies like Rumbek youth union or Lakes State youth Union together with youths of the Unity state create a project that discourages cattle raiding and preach peace and harmony among the citizens of these states. They should actually organize a joint conference which I would propose to be called “LAKES AND UNITY STATES YOUTHS FORUM AGAINST CATTLE RAIDING.”

In doing this, the people who are involved in cattle rustling will be able to see that peace is attractive and they will get convinced.

Unity and Lakes, you must stop this practice and learn from other states. Move forwards and not backward. May peace prevail in that land? Amen!

The writer holds bachelor degree in journalism from Nkumba University Entebbe Uganda. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in development studies in the same university.

He can be reached on +256774587529, or abraham12daljang@yahoo.com

Abraham Daljang Maker.
pursuing MA in development studies, Nkumba University
Bachelor of science in Journalism,
Nkumba University, PO Box 237 Entebbe Uganda.
Cell: +256774587529
+211955997112
E-mail: abraham12daljang@yahoo.com
Skype: daljang.maker94
Blog: wwwdaljang.blogspot.com