Archive for: May 2013

The Case for Reconciliation as the Mandate of the Church in South Sudan

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, FINLAND, MAY/13/2013, SSN;

One is truly left bemused when one reads statements against the assignment by President Mayardit of the church to lead the reconciliation process in South Sudan. As such in light of our apparent muddling through pertaining to our reconciliation efforts in South Sudan, it seems timely to put this issue to bed, and make the case for reconciliation as the mandate of the church, and to inform ourselves about the doctrine of reconciliation or salvation in the Christian faith tradition, which justifies this mandate.

Some cynics remain doubtful of church reconciliation mandate, and declining of any genuine reconciliation outcome in South Sudan that is led by civil society and faith-based institutions. They argue that the church should not have been assigned to spearhead a process that is meant to redress what are strictly governance and political challenges related to past atrocities and current political failures.

Because the problems are political in nature and scope, and have not been created by the church, they cannot be resolved by the church, but by political actors, so goes the two wrongs make a right reasoning. In other words, it is argued that political actors should be the ones cleaning their own mess beginning with the President himself.

What I find utterly debilitating is that, some of our brothers, even those with no expertise and academic authority to speak on the issue have weighted in their un-informed opinion. Some continue to cry over the spilled milk caused by the withdrawal of the delegated powers to the Vice President to spearhead the reconciliation process. Few have started opinionating under several authorship names by the same individual promoting the same argument, to create a false impression that the view is shared by multiple thinkers and analysts.

Such an undertaking only amounts to multiple personality disorder and blatant academic dishonesty. Are these people actually serious about contributing to South Sudanese efforts of wanting to build a nation and a just state or are they rather in need of serious psychological help and counselling?

Not that I am against the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar. I actually admire his political maturity and the progress in character he has made since the tragedies that befell our people during the 1990s. The Vice President’s issuing of public apology to the Bor people for his potential role in the 1991 massacre takes a lot of courage, and reveals remorse and change of character that can only signify that there is a change of heart from his part.

In fact I wouldn’t hesitate voting for him, or for President Kiir or whichever candidate. As is the case with most South Sudanese, we are swing voters who need to be persuaded through a political agenda that outlines strategies for good governance and service delivery.

In this sense, I will cast my ballot even for the devil, as long as the fundamental rights that guarantee my dignity as a human being are protected, and the policies that are being pursued are downwardly accountable to the people to better our life and create a peaceful just and prosperous nation.

As the age-old adage attests, “to err is human and to forgive divine.” But the Vice President is not the right man to lead the reconciliation process, precisely because he is seen as a lead actor in the ongoing conflict resulting from the 1991 division in the liberation movement.

I am all about freedom of expression and the protection of the basic human right of access to information among other fundamental human rights that safeguard our dignity as human beings as enshrined in our Transitional Constitution and regional and international bills of rights and conventions. However, freedom of expression must come with utmost responsibility. Not anyone who has learned few English words can just write some rubbish under the pretext of free expression, without any expertise and authority in the area about which they are opinionating.

If I cannot resist commenting on a specific policy issue, I must be an authority or an expert on the subject, or at least be familiar with the literature and debate about it, or have rich experience with issue, in order for my views to count. How can such un-informed views of some of our opinionated brothers constructively contribute to our nation-building aspirations?

It is very unfortunate that in South Sudan today even the cattle herder from the village is purporting to be a public policy analyst and opines on governance issues in the Republic.

While I agree with most informed views that identify the numerous challenges confronting our fledgling state as strictly political and related to issues pertaining to the (mis)governance of the land, I disagree that the church must be separated from the state, particularly as it relates to the national reconciliation process and other issues of social and economic service delivery.

After all it is common knowledge that throughout our history the church has always served as our peace broker, and often assumed the role of our true government not only in relation to our spiritual and moral management, but also in terms of delivering services.

Why then are we now trying to keep the church off the loop, and render its rich experience and expertise of sustaining us for decades irrelevant, particularly as we strive to reconcile?

Shockingly, the view that reconciliation mandate is the exclusive function of the government and political actors to the exclusion of the church and other civil society stakeholders, seems to be shared by non-other than the new chair of the reconciliation committee, his most reverend Bishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak himself.

To my dismay, during the recent handover of the national reconciliation documents to the new committee by the Vice president, Bishop Bul is quoted as saying that reconciliation is not the sphere of the church. “The field I am coming into is not my field; it is not a religious field,” reserved the Bishop (Sudan Tribune, May 5, 2013).

I would like to think that Bishop Bul was being humble, and that he did not mean what he said by declaring that reconciliation is not an area of religious expertise. Else one is left speechless and wondering about where the Bishop received his theological training from and whether or not he is up to the task. If reconciliation is not the function of the church, I don’t know what is.

Even a catechumen or a casual lay reader of the Christian faith tradition will know that the grand narrative of the Christian faith is reconciliation, and therefore the church mandate is to primarily moderate the reconciliation of humanity and the world to God, and with ourselves. This understanding of the Christian Gospel as centered on the reconciliation mission is shared by the overwhelming majority of Christian faith practitioners and theologians.

For example, the prominent twentieth century German Protestant theologian, Karl Barth, concluded in his “Church Dogmatics” that reconciliation is the core of the Christian message. In the Christian message of reconciliation or “Versohnung” in German, Barth argued, “we enter that sphere of Christian knowledge in which we have to do with the heart of the message received by and laid upon the Christian community, and therefore with the heart of the Church’s dogmatics.”

It is true though that the term reconciliation originates from secular Hellenistic settings to describe ancient political realities and processes seeking to amend ruptured societal relations caused by some form of political injustice inflicted on a political community. On the individual level, the term also references efforts to address tensions in interpersonal relationships.

In the Hellenistic world therefore, the Greek form of being reconciled “dialassomai” is a compound of the Greek verb “allasow” which means “to exchange,” and derived from the Greek adjective “allos” which means “the other.” Reconciliation as understood this way, is meant to exchange other or be in each other’s shoes so to speak, in order to understand and ameliorate each other’s grievances and pain.

“The words thus carry with them the sense of exchanging places with ‘the other’, and therefore being in solidarity with rather than against ‘the other’.”

Reconciliation, is therefore the practice and process of “overcoming alienation through identification and in solidarity with ‘the other’, thus making peace and restoring relationships,” as John W. de Gruchy aptly contended in his book “Reconciliation: Restoring Justice.”

While the grand narrative of the Christian faith speaks of reconciliation using its cognates, such as salvation, redemption, atonement, or even justification, the Bible and Christian traditions also explicitly speak of “reconciliation” as such, as our moral and spiritual goal.

For example, the gospel according to Mathew attributed reconciliation as an integral moral message of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, even more important than offering prayer and sacrifice to God. “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt. 5:23-4).

As is the case with most of his theological explications in the New Testament where he consistently incorporates concepts from Jewish traditions and Greek philosophy and vocabulary, Apostle Paul is credited with importing the secular Greco-Roman reconciliation term into the Christian square to elucidate on the salvation history of the Christian faith in the language and reason of his targeted audience—the Gentiles.

Thus the term reconciliation, which only occurs 15 times in the New Testament, is almost exclusively found in Paul’s letters. In his letters to the Roman and the Corinthian Churches, Paul uses the metaphor of reconciliation in emphasizing the contrast between hostility and peace, and love and hate (cf. Rom. 5:1-12; 8:31-9; and 2Cor. 5:14-21). In 2Corinthians particularly, Paul exposes reconciliation as the means for being newly created in Christ, and as the righteousness of God and the mission of the Church.

However, what makes the Pauline understanding of reconciliation different from the Greco-Roman conceptualization and praxis of the process is that in all Pauline reconciliation discourse, God is the subject or the initiator of the act. Whereas in the Hellenistic culture, akin to the dominant contemporary practice of reconciliation process, the offender is the one expected to demonstrate guilt and seek forgiveness.

This is not the case in the Christian way, however, where God who is the offended takes the initiative to reconcile with us who are the offenders. As Christians we are then expected to behave likewise towards our brothers and sisters who have offended us, without any pre-condition of demanding or expecting the offender to issue a public apology, or show remorse and beg for forgiveness.

As victims in the Christian faith, we are the ones expected to initiate the process and forgive the perpetrator already. In short, reconciliation is not only the core of our faith, but also the primary mandate of the church.

Of course, reconciliation continues to be the domain of the secular political discourse. In the conflict resolution arena, reconciliation has gain acceptance as part and parcel of transitional justice practice or peace-building, more generally.

I will enumerate on this in some detail when we discuss the way forward and the peace-building model that best suits our reconciliation efforts in South Sudan, in order for the process to deliver the intended results of restoring harmony and healthy relationship in our broken society.

Until then, I encourage our brothers and sister, elders and mothers, political leaders, spiritual leaders, and traditional and tribal leaders to form a cohesive unit and rally behind the national reconciliation initiative.

Let us begin to think of strategic planning and design of the process that can better serve our aspiration of peace-building, nation-building, and state-building in South Sudan. END

Delaying federalism is to invite regionalism in RSS

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, SOUTH SUDAN, MAY/12/2013, SSN;

As the SPLM politics in South Sudan starts to get terribly tribal, the three states of Greater Equatoria have since then held three conferences. Undeniably these high level regional conferences went on to raise concerns among some quarters and especially so among South Sudanese hailing from the other two regions of the Greater Bahr el Ghazal and the Greater Upper Nile.

Nonetheless, the “Three Equatoria Conferences”, so far held in Juba have squarely centered on finding solutions to issues of: combating corruption, promotion of good governance, food security through agriculture, accountability and the like. And it isn’t in anyway fair for people to take negative positions against these conferences the way some people have already done so in the press.

Rushing to label these regional conferences as yet another “Kokora” in the making is totally outrageous, and those who continue to harbor such negative feelings can only be described as a people who have become mentally imprisoned in their own past. It’s time that people make every effort to reconcile their past, while knowing that “Kokora” which is another term for the ‘re-division’ of the Southern Region into three during Jaafar Nimeri’s rule of the united old Sudan is likely to haunt this nascent country for more years to come.

Why not call things by their names and anyone who doesn’t like it can comfortably go and drink from the Nile. In a nutshell the central idea of the “Kokora” or Re-division or Decentralization of what was a unitary region of the semi-autonomous Southern Sudan, was in fact a political move spearheaded by politicians from Equatoria province aimed to rid the many small tribes of South Sudan from what was then rightly perceived as the political hegemony by one big tribe.

Tribal politics is not new to South Sudan and as such it shouldn’t surprise anyone when tribal sentiments are expressed here and there. After all South Sudan is a part of Africa, isn’t it? Yet that is not the point. It’s not about tribal politics being practiced in the country, but rather it’s the sad fact that tribalistic politicians who are clearly seen all over the place boasting of their tribal numerical advantage are still unable to see that what they are actually involved with is a tribal driven politics.

And over the years it has perfectly become a common practice for South Sudanese politicians, academicians, and civil servants alike to stand up and criticize tribalism and every bad thing that is associated with it. Isn’t it a great thing to celebrate in the midst of what is a chaos by design?

Yet any celebration unfortunately is likely to be short lived as the real problem arises when it comes for politicians to translate these supposedly patriotic positions into actions. It is here that the true nature of these well-spoken people makes way for the actual monsters that hide behind their artificial patriotism. It is common to see people, who until a short while ago would have been considered as die-hard opponents of tribalism based on their rhetoric, suddenly becoming the ring leaders who not only champion it but are ready to go at length to involve whole communities in inter-tribal wars.

Of course it won’t be right to lump everything on the colonialists or the Arab imperialism, nor is anyone safe enough to navigate this long route before they come to realize how these two tribes show a great sentiment to the numerical size of their respective tribes to the extent that any other roles assigned to outsiders are only considered when it serves their interest.

Ethnic politics is flourishing perfectly well under the SPLM’s one party state and it is no longer a secret that politics as based on the numerical sizes of tribes have already hatched its first two polarizing political camps not only in the country, but also within the ruling SPLM party itself. One group has identified itself with the incumbent president Salva Kiir Mayardit while the other rallies behind Vice President Riek Machar Teny.

There could still be other surprises to be expected but not at this early stages of events for it is not unlikely for a third camp to have its eyes on the presidency come the 2015 elections. However till now the talk remains confined to the SPLMs “BIG FIVE”.

Regionalism as a political structure of governance was first introduced officially in the Sudan by President Jaafar Nimeri following the Addis Ababa Agreement. As a result of that arrangement Southern Sudan’s three provinces were brought together into what became the semi-autonomous region. At the same time the other six Northern provinces also became six regions with certain degrees of autonomy as well.

While most of the discussion is likely to revolve around regionalism and federalism it will be good if we find out what each of these stands to mean to the political laity – the non-scholars of political science! In short regionalism was that sort of government structure of lesser status than federalism, although both represent a varying degree of political devolution of power.

However when discussing the politics of South Sudan, a country which not too long was a part of the old Sudan, it is absolutely necessary to take into consideration that the greed to cling to power has always modified the way how regionalism and federalism were conceived and applied. There is now the fear that the same might also come to be the case in the nascent state of South Sudan for under the current SPLM rule the same greed remains alive, active and kicking.

It is everybody’s knowledge that the federal system of government exists in the constitutions of both countries of Sudan and South Sudan and yet the governments of the day in these countries are afraid to implement it. In the neighbouring Sudan the National Congress Party (NCP) struggling to reconcile between heaven and earth through its outdated Islamic philosophy remains scared to allow for democracy and true federalism in that country in spite of the so many political turmoil all across its territories.

Unfortunately it is also true that the same scenario is being replicated in the nascent country of RSS by none but the very SPLM that not too long fought Africa’s longest civil war under the banner to provide democracy, federalism and good governance. It truly represents the highest level of irony to see the SPLM party being incapacitated by the political greed at its highest echelon, as it struggles to find the political will it so much needs in order to deliver on any of those promises that once formed its core manifesto throughout the two decades of war.

Historically the South Sudanese representatives were the first to demand for federalism in the 1947 Juba Conference, although the subsequent governments in Khartoum failed to honour their promise towards that demand, and instead resorted to regionalism – when it granted Southern Sudan a regional autonomy within a united Sudan. That was undoubtedly too little and too late and it only increased the people’s quest for greater autonomy, and eventually self-determination.

Regionalism was adopted following the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement and soon it gave birth to regional consciousness and created many regional loyalties and competitions. Worth mentioning here is that this was well received and appreciated by South Sudanese as to them it represented a great political achievement following the seventeen years of the Anya Nya war.

This was also true in as far as most of the Anya Nya fighters were concerned, as at least it was one step towards the great goal of independence. However it didn’t go all well as certain groups saw in that regional autonomy government a rare opportunity for their tribesmen to dominated and rule the Southern region of the old Sudan to the exclusion of others.

However Nimeri was more keen to deter any rivalry over the country’s presidency, than anything else. And under what typically mirrors today’s South Sudan – the Sudan under Nimeri’s rule was a one party state with the Sudanese Socialist Union (SSU) as the sole and only political organisation.

He [Nimeri] thus used the SSU to push the politicians of that day to fully embrace regional politics and as if to relief the pressure from Khartoum many politicians were paid to redirected their political ambitions inwards and to the confines of their respective regions, of course with the exception of the few who belonged to the political classification of “Awlad al Balad”.

In so doing many politicians during Nimeri’s days became practically alienated from any politics that questioned the leadership in the center. Coupled with this was the total ban declared on all the other political parties leaving the SSU to played the role of the national melting pot for politics and ideas, typical of any totalitarian regime. Although all these were later undone following the 6th of April Popular Uprising in 1985, the worry now is how far has the SPLM party under Salva Kiir’s leadership about to re-invent all these nightmare?!

And again resembling the state of affairs in today’s South Sudan , was the widespread corruption that existed within Nimeri’s SSU ruling party and equally so in the rest of the institutions. If SPLM is the prototype of SSU of those days [much slogans, little or no action], no wonder that all kinds of corruption have always flourished well under these kinds of totalitarian regimes. As it happened in those days we are also now witnessing another round of state sponsored tribalism, nepotism and favourtism all across the country.

Had the Sudan implemented true federalism as it is practiced today in USA way back in 1955, we probably would be now talking about some very civilized politics and never about the so-called “Southern Problem” or “The Southern Regional Government” and never of course about any “Kokora” for that matter.

Even today well beyond two years since our people voted for independence, we still live under a leadership that continue to lack the political will when it comes to the issue of true federalism – democracy – multiparty politics – accountability – transparency – human rights – basic freedoms …..etc.

The above propositions are vital for the understanding of how the past has undoubtedly shaped the present. It also shows how important it is to look back and learn lessons from the history. And regardless of whether there are people out there who think that they can continue to behave intolerantly towards any Equatoria conference because they see it as the reincarnation of “Kokora” in the independent republic of South Sudan, nonetheless neither can they succeed in breaking the will of the people nor can they dictate on them what to do!!

The real reasons behind all this fuss about Equatoria coming together as a region is rooted in the fact that some people driven by their own agendas would better have an Equatoria that is divided not only into three states, but preferably even into its so many small tribes so that those who pride themselves of their tribal numerical sizes can have an easy ride in what is now clearly “The Politics of Numbers”.

This can be referred to as the “Preferential KOKORA”. In other wards they would oppose KOKORA on regional basis as it is likely to weaken what they can achieve using their numerically sizable tribes, while on the other hand they would support what could amount to the same “Kokora” but on tribal basis thus alienating the so-called numerically small tribes from the top positions in the state.

Should there be a question like, “Why is Equatoria reviving regional politics in the post-independence RSS”? Here is the answer to this question which is quite obvious. For in the face of the massive tribal built up to politics in the immediate post-independence South Sudan where qualifications have long been sacrificed for tribal origins – with the numerical sizes determining a tribes position in the cake sharing process, it is only common sense for the many small tribes that hail from Equatoria to come together and form a block that can be reckoned with.

Today Equatoria is again leading the call for federalism in South Sudan. And here we mean real federalism – the USA type and not some kind of adulterated quasi-quasi things! The show currently being displayed by the so-called numerically big tribes is in fact to talk federalism and act centralism. This if anything – it is hypocrisy of the highest level.

It won’t be long before South Sudan ends up with three political camps instead of political parties: the Equatorians and other non Dinka (Dor) political camp, the Dinka (Jeing) political camp and the Nuer (Naath) political camp. However all of these are already operating as legitimate functional units of the one party (SPLM) since only few people in South Sudan are interested in creating other political parties outside the SPLM. Is it not good that sometimes it is nice to see ourselves in the mirror?!!

On the other hand it is to be considered as absurd for any member of the ruling SPLM party to criticize the adoption regionalism because it is already an open secret that even the current SPLM leadership hierarchy stands for regional representation – especially the top three officials: President Salva Kiir (Bahr el Ghazal), Vice President Dr. Riek Machar (UPPER Nile) and the Speaker of the National Assembly James Wani Igga (Equatoria). There is really nothing bad about this regional representation, if only it could have been extended the whole way to include all the national institutions.

While it is undeniable that the Greater Upper Nile is now in a very bad shape and although it is a home to many tribes as well, it is only unfortunate that the Dinka vs. Nuer type of politics with its spill over is not allowing for the region’s unity. First they will have to talk David Yau Yau into peace before any true regional unity can be achieved – not just in Jonglei state, but all across the Greater Upper Nile.

The bottom line is that the people of Equatoria are well aware that they will not be able to survive the politics of tribal numeracy as the way it stands now, hence their insistence to stand up as a unit. Secondly these are people who will never relinquish their core ways of life to imitate the others who are deeply ingrained in tribal bloodletting, killings and cattle theft. Politics will always remain a dynamic entity with no permanent friends and no permanent enemies or rivals. What is permanent in politics is one’s interest.

So where does all these leave South Sudan? For our country to push forward we need to have the proper structures in place. We are indeed a diverse people yet we share the common destiny of being citizens of the one country – South Sudan. When we fought the enemy for over five decades before we won our independence, we also had the opportunity to observe how and where things went wrong – whether that was on our side or the enemy’s side. But after having learnt all these lessons, we can only be fools to repeat any of those mistakes. Regrettably this already seems to be the case!

Our country still has a chance to become a good place for all of us if we can only rid ourselves of greed. What we badly need now is to shun away from any “One Man Rule”, and we need to make it clear that totalitarianism has no place in the independent South Sudan. Let’s go wholeheartedly to embrace multiparty democracy and a true USA type of federalism if we really want to build our country and above all to avoid going back to an all-out civil war of our own making.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. He can be reached at:

The South Sudan’s Coming Apocalyptic Election of 2015

BY: Agou A. Kur, WINNIPEG, CANADA, MAY/12/2013, SSN;

Throughout the ages, various self-declared prophets have warned about the doomsdays and the end of the world but as a student of politics not a prophet, I hereby warn my country about the coming apocalyptic election in 2015, which will be our doomsday depending on how we conduct and handle its aftermath. Whereas the doomsday prophesies are based on superstition and alleged divine revelation, far from it, my hypothesis is based on empirical evidences and analysis of our past and current political developments in South Sudan.

I will argue in this article that 2015 election will be the defining moment in the history of our country. It will either make or break us as a nation because it will test our union which is weak due to lack of institutions, norms and constitutional framework that would have safeguarded and channelled the political processes including the election.

It is now clear that the forthcoming South Sudan’s election has generated a great deal of interest that is almost equal to the excitement of the days leading to the 2011 referendum and the subsequent independence on July the 9th of the same year. The difference however, is the fact that during the referendum, all South Sudanese irrespective of their regions, political ideologies and, yes, tribal differences, were all united in their determination for freedom and secession from North Sudan. That I will admit was our proudest moment.

Unfortunately now, and only time will tell, that if the recent developments and political intrigues can tell us anything, then it can be concluded that we are going into this election unorganised, with elevated tension created by political ambitions and sadly divided on tribal lines as politicians and supporters alike are intoxicated by their quest for power and blinded by tribal loyalty and with the “It is our turn to rule” mentality.

Consider the fact that there are over hundred tribes in South Sudan and all are proud with sense of entitlement want their son or daughter to be the president. The outcome can only in the observation of this author be nothing but tragic for it is not an election but a contest for a pure madness.

The background
Now, let me give you a little background as to why this author believes that we are doomed unless something is done and done quickly then the future of South Sudan is in peril. I will not waste your precious time on the history of South Sudan civil war and how it got the independent. That is a common knowledge to you. I will begin with the election of April 2010 in which the current leaders got elected from the president to the national assembly, the governors of the ten states and all states assemblies.

All of them were elected in the first election ever in South Sudan, and almost the entire process and results was bitterly contested in all levels and regions of South Sudan. Some of those who disputed the outcome of election had legitimate claims while others were opportunists driven by greed. So they took up arms and rebelled, claiming the election was rigged and that the current government was illegitimate and therefore wanted to overthrow it.

The result was the death of civilians in thousands in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states. Not to mention that the little they have in property was completely destroyed. The government for a while tried in vain to dismiss the rebellion with bravado talks, that they will “crush the rebel within days.” It was not until the United Nations Security Council alarmed by the death of civilians in thousands, passed a resolution calling for action that is when President Salva Kiir, who had since barricaded himself into his J-One Statehouse, came out to issue amnesty to the rebels to down their arms and join their fellow citizens in preserving the precarious peace.

It is now almost four years after and those presidential amnesties are still being cheaply dished out to rebels. Mind you, it has become a lucrative business that some rebels sign them and rebel again and again so as to fast-track their promotions into the ranks of generals in the South Sudan Army, fatten their accounts and secure mansions in Juba for themselves and some of their lieutenants.

And what is the cost of that, you may wonder? Yes, at the cost of thousands of civilians deaths. Men like David Yau Yau, General Gadet Yak among others, have made their names that way. Some unlucky ones have been killed like the late Gen. George Author and Colonel Galuak Gai.

And that briefly is the legacy of a mishandled election of 2010. Therefore, you and I have a reason to be concerned if not to be afraid. We need to be concerned because our country has to conduct an election in a time when it has zero institutions required to hold a free and fair election. I repeat, a fair and free election, for that is what is required if we are to carry them out, they need to be fair and free.

The role of institutions in election and nation building
So, what are these institutions I keep saying that are mandatory not only for an election but for the nation building? First, every association of people needs a social contract and in government, it is famously called the constitution. Constitutional framework outlines what are the purposes of forming a political entity, what goods or benefits it will provide to its members.

Constitution states how the political union will operate, who will execute its visions and the power and limits of those people elected for that specific period to run the affairs of a country. Most importantly, the constitution outlines how the election must be conducted. It spells out the requirements and qualifications for those seeking various positions. Constitution creates the main institutions such as the executive, the legislature and the Judiciary.

Yes, we have the executive, national assembly and the judiciary now but they are new, weak and those who currently occupy them do not hesitate to tell you, “we are young and an infant nation.” For them that is their smartest way of dismissing any criticism when they fail. Ask them why is $ 4 billion stolen? Why are people dying in thousands? where are the schools, hospitals and roads? Their answer to all these questions is, “We are a young nation”. Really? Were they born on July 9th, 2011?

Other important institutions are the political parties through which those seeking various offices approach the electorates. Political parties are organised by their ideologies, views, beliefs and how these ideologies will guide them to solve the problems of the citizens whom they are supposed work for. Unfortunately, our current political parties are organized along tribal lines, driven by greed, personal glories and power for its own sake.

SPLM, the main political party, the party through which all the people of Sudan organised their dignified struggle for justice for 22 years. The party of independence has forgotten it roots, it is corrupt, arrogant and appears to be a party of elites (I emphasize elites here because they are the ones benefiting alone and not the whole tribe) from major tribes; Dinka, Nuer and Bari among others. Other parties such as the SPLM-DC want South Sudan without Dinka. So we are doomed, no choice and no alternatives.

SPLM politics
Let’s now turn to the SPLM politics as it approaches 2015 election. SPLM from its formation, thanks to its late leader Dr. John Garang and co-founders, was able to explain its vision that it was fighting for “freedom, Justice, equality and progress for all Sudanese.” They argued that they were fighting for a New Sudan Vision which is different from that of old Sudan that marginalised and discriminated the Sudanese people based on their race and religion.

When South Sudan separated, some of it current leaders said that the idea of New Sudan Vision doesn’t necessarily apply to a united Sudan only but can be realised within the independent South Sudan. The vision of equality, justice and progress they argued is a vision we can proudly advocate and work for its realisation in South Sudan.

But like in other one-party state, SPLM has several factions with different values, goals and personalities. SPLM as it is currently constituted is an amalgamation of convenience, a situation that came about due to the desire for unity of purpose when SPLM was negotiating the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the National Congress Party in 2005.

So the leadership of SPLM then and with the encouragement of most of South Sudan citizens urged the political factions to come together to negotiate with one voice. These succeeded in bringing the main political actors and factions together. As a result, the factions led by Riek Machar, Lam Akol, Paulino Matip among others joined the main faction of SPLM led by Dr. John Garang. With some success, hardship, hiccups and heartbreaks thus far we have come a long way.

Then all of a sudden we found ourselves again in a situation in which our unity will be put to test once again as we approach the election in 2015. This much we know. Dr. Riek Machar, the vice President has declared his interest to contest the chairmanship of the SPLM through which he will seek the presidency of the country come the election.

The current chairman of the SPLM, President Salva Kiir Mayardit is reported to be interested to run again for the Chairmanship of the party and that of the president of South Sudan. Mr. James Wani Iga, the Speaker of the South Sudan parliament is also interested so is Secretary General of SPLM Mr. Pagan Amum among others.

All other positions are up for election such as all the seats in the national assembly, governors and state assemblies. All of them will attract men and women with ambitions who are determined to win at all cost.

Let’s now focus on the big price, the presidency, for more is at stake and the contenders are heavyweights with thousands of supporters and tribesmen filled with chauvinistic frenzy that their big man is the anointed one to overlord us, the masses. They also expect their guy once in office to loot millions of money for them and to dish out positions and development to their regions. Really!

Is this what politics has becomes? That the leaders these days are in it for ambition, glory and wealth for themselves and their tribes as opposed to being a humble calling for duty and service to all the fellow citizens no matter what regions or tribes they come from?

Latest political intrigues in Juba
So where are we? The latest development have it that President Salva Kiir has stripped his vice President Dr. Riek Machar of all additional duties given to him sometime in 2007. This move have angered Dr. Machar’s supporters and baffled the rest of citizen as they try to understand what is going on.

But those with knowledge of the internal SPLM politics opined that the president did that because the vice president declared his interest to challenge him for the chairmanship of the SPLM in the coming party convention. And the president didn’t stop there, he postponed a national peace and reconciliation conference that was initiated by the Vice President fearing the later was using it as a campaign platform that will give him additional mileage in his quest for presidency.

For Dr. Machar, some say he initiated the peace and reconciliation commission so as to redeem his image as the 1991 split of the SPLM that led to the death of civilians in thousands hang over his head like a dark cloud. Now everything seems to be ok on the surface but underneath trouble is simmering, rumbling and ready to burst like a giant volcanic eruption.

So recently, some wise men and religious leaders saw the apocalypse that I am telling you. So they went to talk to the President and the vice president to find out what was going on. Few hours later they came out like bearers of bad news who wore a nice face. They told the nation that all is ok, that president and his deputy are best of the friends and they are acting normal.

Pardon me my wise men! I beg to differ, that is politics 101 for you. You have been duped and thank you for the initiative but don’t sleep nor give up, keep up the initiative and engage not only the two gentlemen but the whole country on how to keep peace and preserve our union in the forthcoming election. Hard times call for wisdom of age which you have in abundance but is lacking in Juba as the politicians are proud to be known for juvenile politics.

So what shall we do, you may ask? Here is my recommendation and it may not be the only one nor is it enough. We all need to do something, be it prayers, soul searching and, yes, dialogue about how we will conduct ourselves in the forthcoming election. Here is my recommendation.

We need to organise a free and fair election beginning with how the parties nominate their candidates for various positions. No one should be blocked unlawfully through schemes other than through a lawful way. People can only be barred to stand for election if they have committed an offence that the constitution says disqualifies them from running for those positions.

Therefore, I argue that the the key part of preserving peace and strengthen our nation is to have or at least to try to have a credible, free, open and fair election.

Other things need to be done such as to have non-partisan judiciary to hear any grievances and a professional security force that will provide security to all the citizens and the candidates running for various positions. Media should play its role in educating the citizens about platforms and manifestos of the leaders and what they plan to do for us, the people.

Elections in African
But as we are still at it, let’s take some lessons from our fellow African countries and their struggle with the problem of conducting elections. I have for sometimes now wondered about why most of the modern African countries are politically unstable, have weak economies and low standards of living?

There are many reasons, such as the legacy of colonization and neo-colonization and cold war effects. I do accept the effect of those events on our continent. But I don’t believe that they are the only reasons. As a student of politics, I have come to believe that the way of transferring power from individual to another and from one group to other is the answer as to why we are backward if you will for lack of better term.

You see, some ways of seeking power in African modern states are: coup de tat, rebellion and rigging of elections to stay in power. These have brought a lot of suffering to the people of Africa as groups and tribes are locked in perpetual conflict. Kenya, our neighbour to the South is still healing from the post-election violence of 2007 and had early this year successfully pulled off an elections peaceful though the results were contested in the courts. The reason they were able to avoid the bloodshed of 2007 is because they reformed their institutions especially the courts and passed an historic and progressive constitution in 2010.

The Democratic republic of Congo for the last two decades is spiralling into destruction as factions fight for power without any ethical consideration whatsoever, where civilians have been killed, raped, tortured in millions. Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe just to name a few are unsuccessful in holding elections.

If Africa is to realise her potential, it better first figure out how to transfer power in a peaceful way and all shall follow. And I can say with boldness, that, “Ye seek the political solution and all shall be added unto you”.

Back to South Sudan, the rebels in Jonglei are fighting for political power for it is the only way they know to get power. The fighting had disrupted the lives of civilians in Jongeli in particular and all over South Sudan in general. Due to insecurity, the civilians have moved to the nearest towns for security or stayed and be massacred like it had happened several times to many of their neighbours. And as they moved there, they have no means to provide for their basic needs such as food and shelter.

If there was security all over South Sudan and especially in the rural parts of South Sudan, our people will proudly continue to till the land and rear their livestock like they have done for the last centuries. So we need to establish a way to seek and transfer power peacefully.

And the only way I recommend is to hold a free, open and fair election. In free and fair election, losers loose with grace and winners win with humility. Therefore, losers have no reason to rebel for they were beaten fair and square. So, I recommend that in the forthcoming election in South Sudan all the political parties should choose their candidates in a free and fair process, beginning with and especially the SPLM. Then let the candidates tell the members of his or her party why she will be the best pick to represent her party in election.

Likewise, the national election need to be fair and free and all should be allow to campaign openly such that if Dr. Lam Akol of SPLM-DC or any other candidate beat SPLM candidate, I will accept him or her as a legitimate president of South Sudan as long it was a free and fair election. I don’t know if we can do that but let us try, failure to do so is not a choice if we are to maintain our union.

Our role as citizens and as voters
If you think all the groups I have mentioned have the main role to play, then think again. We the citizens have the main role to play in how the election is conducted and the way the outcome is handled. We are the ones to vote, to make an informed decision and most importantly to avoid being used by politicians to lift our hands against our fellow citizens, neighbours and fellow human beings.

God tells us, “You shall not kill,” and to treat others like we want to be treated. No one wants to be killed, have his property looted or destroyed. If we do that, my fellow citizens, if we observe peace before, during and after the election, we will look back some years to come and say to our children’s children that this was our proudest moment as South Sudanese and we will surprise the world once again, just like we did in our historic referendum. We can do that, we must do that for I do believe we are South Sudanese and we are decent people.

Agou A. Kur is a former Deputy Chairperson of The SPLM Chapter of Winnipeg city in Canada and can be reached at
© 2013

Equatoria States Governors: Shameless hypocrites or SPLM stooges?

Editorial Analysis MAY/12/2013, SSN;

Whilst the combined stature of Equatorias’ trio of Governors Bakasoro, Wani and Lobong can’t certainly match that of world-famous South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, these governors and their Equatoria SPLM members who recently held the Extraordinary Equatoria Conference in Juba should learn some lesson from the Nobel laureate. Tutu has unequivocally announced that he’d no longer cast his vote for the Mandela-founded ANC because of “corruption, violence and inequality.”

Archbishop Tutu further explained that “the ANC was good at leading us in the struggle to be free from oppression, but it doesn’t seem to me now that a freedom fighting unit can easily make a transition to becoming a political party or leading a nation.”

Just as equally relevant to our own predicament, Dr. Lual Deng, a man so close to late Dr. John Garang himself, in his newest book, “The Power of Creative Reasoning: the ideas and vision of John Garang,” explicitly wrote that, “Salva Kiir’s responsibility was to take the people to the promised land, but the development of the promised land is a different mission that requires a different leader, and we expect a divine intervention in this regard.”

Dr. Lual Deng blatantly concluded, “it’s therefore imperative for Joshua (Salva Kiir) to give way to a developmental leader of the promised land, that’s the Republic of South Sudan.”

Verily, the South Sudan, but particularly Equatoria, is at a critical juncture especially with the impending so-called leadership crisis now evolving among those SPLM top members who, if the truth be told, all of them don’t really deserve the top position they are keenly aspiring for, especially with their horrendous leadership over the past eight years.

Historically, since Equatoria Region back then in 1983 precipitated the Kokora (Redivision) of South Sudan that saw the expulsion of the Nilotic Dinka and Nuer and Shilluks to their particular ‘home states’ and the evolution of the SPLM/A war which Equatorians rightly construed as reaction to Kokora, there has never been any genuine trust or closeness between the Equatorians and the others.

Governor Clement Wani Konga of Central Equatoria steadfastly fought on the side of enemy Arabs, preventing the SPLA from ever capturing Juba till the end of the war when he along with other militia leaders like Paulino Matip finally reconciled with the SPLA in 2005.

On the other hand, Western Equatoria Governor Bakosoro was forcefully ejected from the SPLM party during the last gubernatorial election but was later pardoned and readmitted back in the SPLM, inarguably losing his so-called independent stature which had hitherto garnered him the massive popularity to win the governorship against the party-supported candidate.

First, judging from each of the governors speeches, one visibly discerns signs of fear among these governors as they all started their speeches by addressing the president (Kiir) whose ghost wasn’t even anywhere in the hall, as if their speeches were scripted for them to placate Kiir and the party, but more embarrassingly, their singular message was a strong warning to anyone trying to usurp the powers from President Kiir.

Secondly, the predicated contest expected between president Kiir, Machar and others, for the Chairmanship of the SPLM party and the eventuality of multiple candidates contesting in the national presidential election, is a democratic right of any member of the party and it shouldn’t be sanctioned by any body for that matter.

Lastly, Equatoria today is not a homogeneous society in spite of being at peace with itself, and moreover, each of its three states has its own particularity and parochial interest, especially their closeness to and acceptability by the ruling SPLM under President Kiir.

Significantly, these Equatoria governors and their SPLM ministers and officials are equally complicit in the systemic corruption, bad governance and insecurity so prevalent in each state which only amply mirrors and amplifies what is going on in the government of president Kiir itself.

Corruption in each of the Equatoria states obviously emanates from the top to the bottom, so, which governor really can boldly stand up and sincerely and publicly declare his financial assets or vow that he is absolutely clean? Which Equatoria state governor or official can publicly vow that he hasn’t abused his office for personal gain or that of his family members?

For instance, while Wani Konga publicly laments about land grabbing mostly of the Bari land around Juba, how clean and free is he and his family, or his local ministers and officials on this land grabbing? Just recently he publicly provided Vice president Machar a big chunk of Mundari land, ominously openly up inevitable a land grabbing appetite for more Mundari land.

Eastern Equatoria under governor Louis Lobong today is shamefully experiencing famine and government-sanctioned murder of its own citizens ostensibly condemned as cattle thieves. Where is the so-called smartness of these Equatorians if they thought they were homo sapiens one stage higher than the Dinka or the Nuer?

Practically, each one of the Equatoria governors worriedly expressed their apprehension on the impending war that would take place in Equatoria between the Dinka of Kiir and the Nuer of Machar and the impact of such eventuality would only definitely exacerbate the already fragile situation in the region.

How naive, hypocritical and irresponsible of these Equatoria SPLM leaders gathered in that cosy conference hall to needlessly worry about being the “grass that suffers when two elephants fight,” as if they are constrained by some invisible power not to avert or ameliorate the severity of their predicament?

Wake up, men and ladies of Equatoria, you’re now in dirty game of politics and politicking, and as they say, there is no permanent friend or enemy in politics, and the presumption of neutrality is not an option.

You are either with one or the other, especially since your collective decision has been already made easier — since ‘Greater’ Equatoria has shamefully capitulated and accepted to be hostages and second-class citizens — so, it’s either standing with Machar or Kiir, period.

Unsurprisingly, Governor Clement Wani Konga narrated multiple failures committed and commissioned obviously by the current Kiir misrule and failed government, which of course incriminates also Machar, so, like the humble Archbishop Tutu, who has supported the ANC all his life without ever betraying the cause of liberation waged by Mandela, Equatorians have the other alternative of not supporting either person.

If really those Equatorian SPLM supporters seated on those posh chairs are genuinely concerned about the future of South Sudan Nation and if they are collectively pained by the relentless suffering and depravity endured by the common people as a result of the immoral rule by Kiir-Machar, they, like Tutu again, should reject to vote for the same criminalized party, the SPLM.

Furthermore, to quote Dr. Lual Deng again, who has been a staunch SPLM/A adherent, “there is absence of a visionary leadership which has led to sclerotic management of the SPLM bureaucracy.”

Just within one year after independence, the country has been declared a failed state, the people of South Sudan, who should have been fortuitously blessed with abundance of natural resources, the situation has continuously deteriorated, thanks to the myopic and dysfunctional leadership of the SPLM under Kiir and Machar.

Indefensibly, the behaviour of the leadership these Equatorian leaders purportedly support has engendered international shame like the $4 billion dollar theft which has remained unresolvable because the third top SPLM person, the Equatorian Speaker, Wani Iga, conspired in disabling the national legislative assembly from doing anything.

It’s time these Equatorian leadership in the SPLM seriously acknowledged that there is palpable and irrefutable evidence that there is a leadership vacuum at the top level of the government and the party itself. Those close to Dr. John Garang might still recall his repeated quotation that ‘the fish rots from head down,’ a fact that the brave Professor Wako reiterated so adamantly to President Kiir recently.

Finally, if all Equatorians, together, are seriously concerned and perturbed by the unpredictable crisis looming ahead, they all either quit the SPLM and form their own party to contest in the leadership, or otherwise, the lesser evil would be to collectively align with the next alternative to Kiir and hopefully anticipate to reap some dividends for their support of the next leader of the country.

Better still, like Archbishop Tutu, they don’t vote for the SPLM again. Why not, you are free at last, you are no longer stooges, the choice is in your own hands. Why be the grass being trodden upon, why not be the hunter and shoot down both elephants…… politically speaking, that is…….

Education as an apparatus for quelling tribal conflicts in South Sudan

QUOTE: “Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”
~Mark Twain~


South Sudan is a country characterized by serious and weighty brutal tribal conflicts. These clashes led to heavy extinctions of human lives and great loses of material properties. It brought about a profound setback in the area of development. A huge lump sum of money is allocated for insecurity across the country. These funds are either given directly to the States’ Ministries of Local Government and Law Enforcement Agency, Army Divisions or given to the Federal Ministries of Defence and Interior.

This was at any rate considered as a good trial, and must be applauded. All these trials were made for an attempt to quell the tribal wars across the country. There were some of the international organizations which funded the processes for making South Sudan a country free of communal conflicts.

The concern of both Juba government and international bodies was uniformly staged against needless deaths necessitated by pitiless clannish or tribal fights, destructions and losses of properties.

Although these efforts didn’t bring the conflicts to an end in full measures, I must send the waves of thanks to those who contributed positively to the well being and social stability of South Sudanese.

During six years of semi-autonomy which is in other words referred to as Interim Period in Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) up to the present moment, our country has been undergoing cycles of tribal fights. Analytically, these conflicts are seen as continuation of the traditional and ancestral fights carried over by the generations of ancestors to their heirs.

There are some traditional mythologies and ideologies that convey perceptions which might both be wrong or factual and harmfully affect today’s innovative philosophy.

The only way I have seen as an instrument for combating insecurity in this country is to promote education at all levels. Education is necessarily essential to be prioritized as a number one main concern by the Republic of South Sudan. This is just because education is the tool for any progress and civilization.

The crucial portrayal of education is the change of behaviors. I am very optimistic in a way that if our illiterate masses are allowed access to education, the occurrences of all these wars will decline.

According to a research report by the World Bank, it storied that about 27% of South Sudanese can be able to read and write while 73% is illiterate. The report showed that the percentage of trained teachers is only 10% compared to 90% of trained teachers in East Africa.

Vitally, this research reported that South Sudan spend less than 4% of an annual budget for education and much of the budget goes for insecurity and salaries.

In order to prioritize education, our government needs to adapt and authenticate Dr. John Garang’s initiative of “taking towns to people not people to towns.” Most of the primary and secondary schools exist in towns. This makes it so difficult for determined and interested rural dwellers to pursue studies because coming to towns for learning is hindered by lack of accommodation, food and other prerequisites for life in towns.

Many children whose thirst for education drive them to towns may perhaps end up in burglaries and their acts become integral part of insecurity in the towns and emit rays of headache to the government. The clear paradigm of this point is what is happening in Juba.

The places like Hai Mahona, Jebel Market, Jebel Kujur, Khor William, just to mention a few are very risky to visit at night because hooligans have penetrated much there. I have talked about places in Juba City as examples, but in actual sense a number of cases happening in other major cities are identical to those in Juba.

The “Go to School Initiative” campaign which was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Instruction was one of the luminous ideas hit upon by the government. It sent a litmus test of educational system in the country.

However, as time went by, the ministry failed to put into service this initiative. Yes, the project was telling all the school-age persons to go to school when the administrators in the ministry didn’t find a necessary pathway for schooling.

The history itself revealed that South Sudan is a country denied educational privileges for so long. The educational system in South Sudan during the two decades of the then Sudan civil war was disturbed by the continuous wars in the country.

Seeing that the country has achieved independence, there is much work to be done to take schools to the people not people coming to schools. If the government considers the idea of children coming to school, this will add stack of sand and filth to its own eyes.

There are no boarding facilities built for students of far distances to live when following their learning programs in school.

Instead, I really value taking schools to the deep villages of our country so that everyone gets access to education. Those who will have chance of seeing a change will create a center of attention for their brothers and sisters to join schools and this will mean progress in all aspect.

If the president of the Republic of South Sudan could make education a rule, this will in actual fact help elevate the national economy as well as decrease of insecurity.

Thumps up for officials who speak against corruption in RSS!

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, MAY/10/2013, SSN;

Let’s start by answering the basic question of whether the SPLM led government in Juba – South Sudan is in any way capable of transforming this nascent country into the continent’s oasis of the much talked about democracy, whether that be under President Salva Kiir’s leadership or any one of his handful colleagues of the SPLM political Bureau for that matter?

To answer the above question one needs to look back into this quasi-political party’s history and have a good look at all those skeletons it harbors in its cupboard. One will also need to check the party’s track records on good governance and the respect of human rights.

But above all you will need to acquaint yourself with the true nature of how this monstrous organization has feasted on its own supporters while promoting a limitless impunity as it rules without the least consideration of the supreme law of the country – which is none, but its own hand made transitional constitution of the new republic of South Sudan.

After you are done with the above then and only then can you qualify to pass a fair judgement and for that matter a verdict that strongly suggests how blindfolded the entire population of South Sudan remain to be while the SPLM under Salvatore Kiir Mayardit does away with every bit of that beautiful dream they once had when independence from the “Jallaba Rule” is finally attained. Why has everything beautiful that they had dreamt for themselves and the country they so dearly sacrificed for suddenly become only for the few privileged??

There is no way that the current leadership in the office can continue to boast of being any patriotic. And even though a few are still locked up in the nostalgia of the bush war and are rightly or not claiming some patriotism, again the truth of the matter is that, long gone are those old days.

As sad and unfortunate as it is, what is practically left in front of us now is clearly a bunch of corrupted thieves and monsters who have long been intoxicated with powers to steal, kill, arrest and make to disappear with a total impunity.

Let me take you through one of this government’s showdowns and you will find it extremely nauseating to see the so-called leaders talk, and are being talked to, and being talked about.

It has been reported in the Sudan Tribune online May 1, 2013 (JUBA), that the South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit said he would no longer tolerate members of his cabinet accusing the government they serve in of corruption, arbitrary arrest and human rights issues. Here I quote:

“He warned that he will no longer turn a blind eye to those in the cabinet who go outside the country to accuse his government of mismanaging the affairs of the nation while serving the same system”.[ST.]

And further to clarify his point that he is determined to spy on his ministers and all other officials, the president went on to add and I quote:

“From now on I will be tracking what cabinet ministers do and say when they leave the capital, Juba”. President Kiir stressed! [ST]

President Kiir determined to blackmail his cabinet members to the best of it left nothing to chance as he gave them [ministers and senior officials] all what he intended to say and frankly the president kept nothing behind, especially when he pointed the finger of corruption and extrajudicial killings at his cabinet members and senior officials.

This is what he said in Sudan Tribune:

“They talk as if they are not part of it [government] but if you follow them, you find they are the same people who are the ones involved in corruption. They are the ones involved in arbitrary arrest, but they come out in the day and say they are not part of it”, he said.

There you go now and you are left with only one conclusion in mind and that most arbitrary arrests in South Sudan are carried out on the instructions of more senior government officials both at federal and state levels. Some observers claim that many officials use it as an alternative method for silencing political opponents and critics of their performance. This is confirmed by Sudan Tribune as a wide belief held by the people of south Sudan.

Is Sudan Tribune rushing to conclusions here? Of course not! Otherwise how are we and any others expected to interpret the president’s words, when he squarely placed the entire blame on his cabinet members.

According to Mr. President these people [his ministers & senior officials] often commit these horrible crimes back home in south Sudan and when they are out of the country the same people go out to condemn the government for crimes that were committed by none but themselves.

Should Mr. president be telling the truth and in which case he is this time, we are then left with ministers who are not only the true culprits of the ills that befell our country, but they are also greedy hypocrites for they continue to operate together as a government or better still as brothers in loots, yet when confronted abroad with all the evidence that suggest a record breaking corruption, lack of vision and the absence of the rule of law, they become witnesses against their government which they continue to serve in.

Two things are clear here and it is that president Salva Kiir Mayardit himself is a hypocrite. Of course he has long been so. However in the case at hand the president is rightly an adamant hypocrite for the fact he without the least doubt has the full knowledge and in that case is completely aware of his senior officials’ shortcomings and their gross involvements in arbitrary arrests and surely as it implies to include all the extra judicial killings and disappearances.

Yet instead of holding these corrupt officials accountable, he [president] has for his own sake has chosen to rather use all these shortcomings as tools of blackmail against the officials with the intention to in return secure and guarantee their loyalty and silence. What a way to run a government and a country!!?

President Salva Kiir is undoubtedly disturbed by the US State Department’s country report on the nascent country of South Sudan. And he is rightly being worried and ashamed of those incidences of human rights violations, widespread rape, impunity, corruption, and the total absence of the rule of law. More unfortunate is the fact that each year’s report seems more worse than the one it preceded.

No way can the president challenge these reports as they rain year after year since he too has openly accepted and declared in an open and broadcasted speech how his officials carried out these horrendous acts and yet go out of the country to play the role of the “good guys”.

As for the cabinet ministers and the SPLM senior officials, altogether with their security dogs, it’s only one thing – your boss has exposed you, locally, regionally, and internationally. In other wards worldwide you are known as the true culprits of the mess that RSS is in now. Of course the good news for you here is that these ex-posers don’t in any way spare the president. You are all in the mess together – remember this is true before Man & God!

Let’s reason out things well, for its no good to stab anyone from behind. The bottom line is that everything in this world has a price attached to it, and when you choose one, you also choose to pay the price.

Those of us who choose to expose the mistakes of the government will continue to do so out of deeply rooted conviction to serve our country and people by the way of enlightenment and civic education.

Should anyone who chooses to accept a cabinet job under the current status quo and God forbid, then they must be prepared to relinquish being an opposition. It is said that” You can NOT eat your cake and still have it”, yet this very simple logic seems to be in shortcoming.

It is common knowledge that South Sudan is rapidly sinking under the weight of poor and visionless leaders. And although the whole thing now stings of corruptions, and impunity, yet many faint-hearted opportunists are drawn towards serving under this administration for the simple fact that they too share the same genetic traits with those in office.

We all understand that many good guys have joined the system for the money and the privileges, however occasionally they are made to regret this decision when faced by the true rotten nature of the system – hence from time to time we hear some faint voices of dissent from within the corrupt cabinet itself.

Now the core issue here is all about why suddenly the president is repeatedly growing very nervous by the day as the year 2015 gets closer? The truth is that it’s all got to do with whether he can still maintain his precious chair in the No. 1 office amid all the political chaos and economic upheavals the country wide.

Initially President Salva Kiir Mayardit intended to pacify any power ambitions within the ruling SPLM by investing heavily in one corrupted cabinet after the other. Yet he failed and is now being challenged by his own deputy in what is an open secret.

Are you in any way caught by surprise? I hope not. And to further reflect the internal power struggles, as you read these lines the ruling SPLM remains an unregistered party and with no certificate to operate per the RSS political party’s act 2012.

These are but a few of the chaos brought in by Mr. President in order to dilute any true patriotism in RSS. However in spite of this chaos there is only one way for the president to remain in power and that is through the ballot box.

First for the chairmanship of his SPLM party, then another in 2015 if he is to dream of another term in office. Any attempt by the president to do otherwise will for sure open the Pandora box and all the unwanted devils will come down on South Sudan.

Remember it was this very president who warned his senior military officers against any coup to topple his government for the fact that the international community will not recognize such a step. Having said that he better also be quick to understand that the same international community will never continue to tolerate him or his government should he not allow for a free, fair and democratic elections first in his party, then the country come 2015.

Last but not least the message to the president and the people of South Sudan at large is that whether it pleases the leadership, plus or minus its loyalties, the international community is determined to help bring about a democratic transformation in South Sudan. In other words it’s all about South Sudan and never about Salva Kiir Mayardit or anyone within his in circles or even the organization..

My fellow compatriots! It’s for the sake of a better South Sudan, that we must endeavor very hard to see many more ministers and senior officials speak out and loud against corruption, impunity and the widespread disrespect of the rule of law.

Salvatore Kiir Mayardit can choose to dismiss officials who criticize is corrupted leadership style, but that will only make them appeal more to the electorates come 2015, than being enslaved within a rotten and an ailing system.

Yet the true salvation lies beyond party politics and as for now the future of the worn out SPLM party and its crooked leadership are anybody’s guess.

Author: Justin Ambago Ramba. He can be reached at:

SPLM party a wrong platform to stage a brutal dictatorship leadership

BY: J. Nguen, CANADA, MAY/9/2013, SSN;

“Truth alone will obtain a lasting victory”
–Antoine Nicolas.

Human’s perfectibility before the law and above all else is what defines truthfulness and moral absolute. Herein, I feel obliged to write to what I think prescribes to this humanistic perfectionism for awakening proposes to further a positive collective progress and allow informed participatory decision making process in South Sudan. Since independence, there have been heroic burst of energy from the youth who wanted to change the status quo with well-grounded intent of good governance in order for the new country to restart anew.

Despite these positive attempts, more than once, people of South Sudanese have been kept in the dark and denied access to information and participation in political discourses aimed to shape the future of the new country. Often, the intents for exclusion are for short ends but long term dictatorship and coercion government outlook in South Sudan and in the SPLM. Because of this, I purposefully decided to write, to share with my fellow South Sudanese issues of special interest that bond us together and which are solely confined to the SPLM party and its long awaited upcoming SPLM 3rd National Convention this month, May 2013.

To begin with, I must declare before my readers that I am a proud member of the SPLM party and I will always be, like I have been for the last 24 years, so long the principles and the values for which this party was founded upon remains standing, strictly kept and perfected to the highest regard by those whom the party entrusted to carries the baton. Based on these principles, this is where I sincerely believe SPLM party is too big to be a one man dynasty and a wrong platform to stage a brutal dictatorship leadership.

Therefore, the key aim of this commentary is to enlighten members of the SPLM party and the general public to ensure that no one is denied or deprived freedom to information and inputs about importance matters that are being discuss in the Political Bureau meetings, prior to the forthcoming SPLM 3rd National Convention.

Currently, there are four agenda items before the PB, which are as follow:

1. The SPLM constitution;
2. The SPLM manifesto:
3. The SPLM code of conduct;
4. The SPLM Basic rules and regulations;

In February and March 2013, the highest organ of the SPLM party, Political Bureau met and discussed most of the above mentioned agenda items. There were reports of unanimous consensus on major items but bitter disagreements on the constitution voting processes and internal democracy. Hence, this is where I would like to focus to ensure that public is aware and inputs of the SPLM party members are welcomed to help in the deliberations process.

In a nutshell, the disagreements arise because President Salva Kiir Mayardit proposed and demanded a show of hands voting method as oppose to the secret ballot in the SPLM 3rd National Convention elections. The president asserted that “the voting process in the SPLM 3rd National Convention shall be a show of hands, no more, no less.”

However, Mr. President’s position was bitterly opposed by many members in the Political Bureau in both meetings because the method is open to intimidation; bribery and it compromises voter’s security, but the president seemed not to get it. Therefore the issue remains unsettled because Mr. President has refused to consent despite the fact that his position is weak, unsustainable and only used in medieval times on temporary platforms, where there was only one nominee for the post.

Those who rejected President Kiir’s position argued that a secret ballot is an ideal method, because it “allows voters to make confidential choices and thus helps prevent intimidation and bribery” while the show of hands voting method is open to intimidation and bribery. Not only that the secret ballot is flawless method, it is use universally around the globe. For instance, the secret ballot voting method was passed to law in British in 1872, Canada in 1874, USA in 1892 and Australia in the 1850 and the list is almost endless. In these instances, the key reason was that “it is the only appropriate method that ensures voter’s security, sincere choice and forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery” (1838).

With method as flawless as this, why is President Salva Kiir strenuously pushing for a “show of hands,” an outdated method subjected to flaws and abject bribery and deadliest intimidation? Of course, this is for anyone’s good guess. But the simple answer is that Mr. President admires coercive method and one man show governance. It has worked in the past perfectly in his favor and still being utilizes intensively in RSS. For example, this method of bribery and intimidation were used during 2010 elections and when the South Sudan Interim Constitution was being passed into the law of the land. Mr. President demanded unnecessary powers and got away with it.

Here, it will be unforgivable political blunder if President Kiir gets away with this ill informed motive in the SPLM 3rd National Convention because the demand is at best gravely contrary to the SPLM founding principles. Outrageous as it sounds, it adds to the fact that people South Sudan have had enough sell outs already from an inconsistency, indifference and unfocused war veteran and head of state. However, I am convinced that the SPLM aspirants and the PB will not and must not allow the president to triumph with such disastrous, illogical and irrational method of voting.

I am also sure that our people know better. They know the reasons why we took arms, because the reasons were clearly articulated in the SPLM’s founding document and well communicated to them. The truth is President Kiir should have known this better than anyone else, because he was in the heart of the movement, but it lately appeared the SPLM’s programmes are still too complicated and too overwhelming for a man who never had administrative experiences or a formal education to say the least. Without doubt, President Kiir is not the founding father of the nation but a step father who delivered the nation to its birth and he deserves minimal credits.

The other issue that generated major disagreement in the PB meetings is the internal democracy. President Kiir Mayardit demanded that “the SPLM Constitution shall only elect the Chairperson of the party and the National Liberation Council whereas the vice chairperson (s) of the party, the Political Bureau members and the Secretary General of the party shall be nominated by the chairperson of the party. Many think this is hypocritical and pathetic at best. Where in the world is this possible? Nowhere! Even in the “Animal Farm” where lion was named king of the jungle because his bravery and might, but the opposite is true for the poor president.

Another point made along the same argument was that all the above mentioned positions must be subjected to vigorous contest and each candidate must be democratically elected. In an essence, the canard rationale behind Mr. President’s position is to control the party as one man show as he falsely assumed that he will win the party’s chairmanship. The other poorly planned tactic was to bar young SPLM party’s aspirants from contesting for any position in the high organs of the party; and thus will keeps the party unsuccessful, underdeveloped, unreformed, not rejuvenated, not re-energized but instead remains under misguided old guards who ceased to think of anything positive.

Finally, President Kiir demanded to handpick 5% allocation of the SPLM’s 1,000 delegates (100 from each 10 states) to the national convention and be allocated to him. This position was bitterly opposed by majority in the Political Bureau meetings. Those who opposed see no justifiable reason why Mr. President should be given 5% percent allocation. Out of 1000 delegates that would attend the SPLM 3rd National Convention the president needed fifty people. This is not fair and logical to any SPLM member because it under-minds democratic ideals of the party. It also places the president at advantage above everyone else, in a party where everyone is considered equal.

To place this under honest scrutiny, President Kiir needs no special treatment in the party. However, if Mr. President refuses to relent as evident suggested in the PB meetings, it would be nothing short of miscarriage of justice and the move will certainly temper with proper SPLM party’s elections results in favor of the president. There is also a weak argument from the president that the mentioned 5% are for youth, women and disables. If this is true, the 5% is meant for youth, women and disable, then, this should be given to each state to bring their women, youth and disable and not by the president of the Republic. More so, the women, the youth and the disable must also democratically compete and should not be handpicked by the President.

In closing, it is true that confusion reigns under President Kiir’s leadership since independent or even before the South Sudan’s Interim Constitution became law of the land under one man’s dynasty. Lazy old guards and some uninformed general public are now taking notice of the fault made 20 months on since South Sudan independent on the 9th July 2011. Because the flaw in the institution distresses and continue to affects every thread of our society politically, economically and socially. Presently in replica, President Kiir is demanding for the repeat of the same unwelcomed grave mistake.

I believe SPLM members are not really that fool to make the same political blunder made during the passing of South Sudan Interim Constitution in 2011. But surprisingly if may, few in the political Bureau remained silent when Mr. President strenuously demanded for unnecessary powers and unlawful voting processes in the SPLM Constitution, thus, I cannot escape the question why few reasonable beings in the PB do behaved so unreasonably?

For this commentary, the facts now are before the public for public scrutiny and inputs in order to propel matters that are of national interest and beyond our ethnic lines. It is undeniable that South Sudanese in general have been unlawfully denied participatory rights and their inputs have not been considered by the system and the same government they previously blindly trust. So, the question is how long can we be victims of a system of exploitations before saying enough is enough?

“The people cannot be fooled for long into accepting … those they judge to be self- aggrandizing and seeking to enrich or benefit themselves at their expense” Robert Mugabe

True in our case! Around the world, people of South Sudan have lost confident on the SPLM party led government under Kiir and this is no secret. Our people have no hopes and aspirations anymore simple because President Kiir’s government is too corrupt, too tribalized, too irrational, too misguided, too inconsistent, too confused and too lazy to deliver big programmes and vision and mission of the SPLM party. In addition, the government is also too big for the president himself to “handle,” as previously alluded to by Deng Alor Kuol, the current Minister of cabinets Affairs in RSS.

In South Sudan for example, people are being killed in thousands daily and President Kiir does not care to even address a nation and mourn with South Sudanese who lost their loved ones. Strangely, President Kiir instead condemned the deceased. Good example of this occurred in Western Bar El Ghazal State when Mr. President condemned the deceased killed by RSS’ police force. Similarly, President Kiir never visited SPLA troops in borders, Fangak Nuer, Murle people, Dinka Bor and Lou Nuer in their villages who are losing their loved ones daily due to Mr. President’s miscalculated moves. What a President! In other nations, especially in the west, if one person is killed the President will address his or her nation to calm the people down, mourn with them and assure them that justice will be done.

The evidences mentioned are unquestionable an abject failures, but Mr. President is weirdly in a gruesome denial. He instead resorted to higher end immorality of blame game tactics, tribalized politic, rampant corruption, arbitrary arrest and killing of innocence South Sudanese who seems to questions how he misguidedly and blindly runs the government. He is in a hopeless pursues of cover up and masking up his inability to lead and deliver services effectively.

Mr. President need to be corrected that South Sudan is not being runs like other nations. There is no nation in this planet where the head of the sate can sack or remove elected government officials and governors without any due process. There is no nation in this planet where sensitive organs of the government institutions are assigned to and runs one tribe men/women and by extension one clan for that matter.

There is no nation in this planet where $ 4 billions US dollars was stolen by 75 government officials and no one has been persecuted and held accountable. There is nowhere in this planet where $ 6 millions dollars/pounds were kept in the President’s office in cash and at the end got stolen. With these disappointing facts, President Kiir was mistaken by stating that “we are a new country. This is why the whole world has turned to us and [is] watching closely to see what we are doing. It is not because what is happening in this country is not happening in other countries.”

Beside, President Kiir is currently in a dangerous pursues of reminiscing Uganda President’s dictatorship style, but the truth is, SPLM as a party is a wrong platform to stage such brutal tyranny ideals. Similarly, the South Sudanese people are not Ugandans to be dictated.

Above features are what defines the current government in South Sudan, and therefore I wonder, should the SPLM party members just standby and allow an inconsistent leader with distorted conscience to turn people’s SPLM into one man dynasty with irrational ideals and batters us with outdated voting processes while we watch? I don’t think so. SPLM party is too big, too strong and it has high moral principles and values which are unfit for one man dynasty.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese citizen living in Canada. He can be reached at

Worrying signs that South Sudan has leaders but no leadership.

BY: Dr. Sebit Ireneaus, KENYA. MAY/03/2013, SSN;

The oil in South Sudan has started to flow again. This means South Sudan will soon see substantial increase in its financial muscle. Oil accounts for nearly 98% of South Sudan Gross National Product (GDP) and is supposed to be a critical factor in the development of emerging country. The GDP of South Sudan is actually estimated to be 1,546. If one compares the GDP of South Sudan to that of its neighbours, it is apparent that South Sudan iswell above all. The South Sudan neighbours of Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia have the following GDPS: Kenya 769, Uganda 503 and Ethiopia 356. Similarly The Gross National Income (GNI) of South Sudan is higher compared to the neighbouring countries. South Sudan GNI is 984 compare to Kemya’s 784, Uganda’s 490 and Ethiopian’s 380. This means that South Sudan has more income compared to these countries.

Before the independence of the country, income from the oil was estimated to be 8 billion USD. This was a share of 50% of the total oil income thanks to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) arrangement of 50% to 50% sharing with Sudan. After independence this amount increased to 10 billion USD just before South Sudan shut down the oil wells claiming that Khartoum had confiscated oil worth nearly millions and millions of USD from its oil revenue ushering in the recent economic crisis that befell these two warring neighboring countries. However with all these resources, South Sudan after 6 years of CPA and nearly 2 years of independence has not seen or experienced anything near to semblance of development. The literate rate in South Sudan is just 27%. Apparently more than 80%of adult South Sudanese cannot read and write. 51% of South Sudanese live below poverty line while only 55% of them have access to improved water but not piped portable water. This is indeed surprising when nearly all major towns in the ten states except Yambio are located on big rivers.

The health situation is even pathetic. There are 2,054 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in South Sudan. This is the highest maternal mortality in the word. 31% of children below 5 years are underweight, 35% of them are stunted while 18.1% have moderate to severe acute malnutrition. The infant mortality is 71.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. HIV prevalence is on rise. The prevalence currently stands at 3.1% among pregnant mothers. The degree of risk of infection by major infectious diseases is described to be very high. These diseases include food or waterborne diseases such as bacterial and protozoan diarrhea, hepatitis A and E and typhoid, vector borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and sleeping sickness, water contact diseases such as schistosomiasis and respiratory diseases such as meningococcal meningitis and animal contact diseases such as rabies. On the other hand the Government has been spending millions of US Dollars sending its staff to foreign countries such as Kenya, Jordan and India for medical treatment, money that could have been used to construct good referral hospitals in South Sudan. Such hospitals could not only benefit the previlaged South Sudanese but could have actually benefited all the citizentry of South Sudan. It is indicated that half of Nairobi Hospital beds are occupied by South Sudanese.

On the educational front nothing is better. Able South Sudanese continue to send their children to Uganda and Kenya to access better schools in these countries while the governments spends colossal sums of money on questionable scholarships for children of people in the government’s good books. In fact the educational system in South Sudan has broken down right from primary system up to the university level. The recent mess in the South Sudan examination where useless examination papers were set while during the examination some states ran out of examination papers attest to the confusion in the educational system. The universities have no proper teaching facilities. They lack qualified lecturers and there are inadequate accommodation facilities for both staff and students making learning environment extremely difficult for both lecturers and students.

Food security remains a major headache in South Sudan after 8 years of relative peace. Most major towns in South Sudan depend entirely from food imported into the country making it difficult for many poor people to have access to balanced diet. It is amazing that people in Unity state and parts of Eastern Equatoria state are still dying of hunger while politicians zoom around in Juba or in the state capitals with guzzler cars never seen in some of our developed neighboring countries. More than 90% of South Sudanese still dependent on subsistence farming. Few of the farmers who have ventured into large scale farming cannot access markets because of bad roads.

Talking about infrastructure, South Sudan has only one major tarmac road linking Uganda to Juba thanks to the USA tax payers who sponsored this road through USAID. While this road has indeed opened trade between the two countries, incense it has not benefitted the entire people of South Sudan. Instead it has made it easier for Ugandan farmers to freely access South Sudan markets while the South Sudanese farmers have no access at all because the interstate and rural roads in South Sudan are nearly impassable particularly during the rainy season. The energy sector remains unexploited. South Sudan is endowed with many cataracts and a major dam in Nimule yet the coutry lacks electric power both for individual consumption and industrial development. The major towns in South Sudan are condemned to use high fuel consumption generators making it difficult for the people to have sustainable power. Water and sanitation is yet another area of concern. While most of the major towns are located on major rivers except Yambio, these towns are still dependent on borehole water or water deliver to houses by carts. The quality of this water is not assured this is why waterborne diseases are still causing high proportion of mortality and morbidity in the country.

In fact one would go on and on to illustrate the human ills in South Sudan but the main question is really where does the problem lie despite the fact that South Sudan has enough human and economic resources? To my mind the problem in South Sudan is lack of leadership. Of course South Sudan has leaders and indeed in plenty. One cannot deny this fact. It is also a fact that many South Sudanese aspire to be leaders. This is demonstrated everywhere in South Sudan; in Schools, university and even in the villages but these are leaders with no qualities of leadership. It should be realized that leader is just a title while leadership is competences. In any organization or country there are three pillars that are important for managing the organization or the country and these pillars are leadership, culture and structure. The leadership is crucial because it has to promote improvement in the organization or development in the country.

The organization or country must have its unique culture for example a working nation, united and harmonious coutry. The country or organization must also have structures that can spur development, harmony and team work or that can provide conducive atmosphere for investment or development. The triangle of responsibility of a leader is to give leadership, supervision and management. Leadership is important so that the country can continue to improve or develop according to plans initiated by the leader. Leadership ensures that right things are usually done in a manner that is consistent, sustainable and scalable. Therefore the leader should be delivering things without the box and not outside the box as many people may think. The leader must move things from current performance to best practice and ultimately to next practice. This is what is called delivering without the box.

Supervision is a crucial part of the leadership triangle because for anything to be done the leader must be seen to be present and monitoring. Leader should not be a hand off leader. He must ensure that his subordinates implement his directives to the later. On the other hand management is important in order to maintain the established system. This means the human resources and financial resources must be mobilized and maintain so that the system is sustained. Therefore the synopsis of a leader should include giving direction, carrying out actions and leaving behind a good legacy. Lack of these qualities are the real crux of the matter in South Sudan.

Having looked at the leadership issue in South Sudan, one finds it incredible that with abundant resources nothing has been done in the country. Taking two or three priorities in South Sudan, it is apparent that with leadership rapid development can be done in South Sudan. Let us take road network as an example. The major roads in South Sudan are: Juba Nadapal road (340 Km), Juba Malakal road through Bor (521.8 Km), Juba Wau road through Rumbek (567 Km), Juba-Yei-Yambio-Wau road (740 Km), Wau-Aweil-Bentiu road (265.3 Km) and Yei Kaya road (73.6 Km). The total distance of all these roads is nearly 2,448.6 Km. According to the costing of planed Juba Eldoret road, one Km of a Tarmac costs 1.3M USD. This means South Sudan could spend only 3.2 Billion USD for construction of these roads and would have linked up the country and opened it for rapid movement of people and goods. This could also spur farmers to improve agriculture and access to markets.

Health situation in South Sudan is critical yet mere expansion of the primary health care together with introduction of effective emergency obstetric care (EmOC) could reduce the sad situation of child mortality and both maternal and infant mortality significantly. There are two levels of emergency obstetric care which are aimed at reducing both infant and maternal mortality. These levels are Basic EmOC facility and Comprehensive EmOC facility. A Basic EmOC facility is the one that is performing all the following 6 signal functions: administration of injectable antibiotics, oxytocin drugs, and anticonvulsant drugs; manual removal of placenta, removal of retained products and assisted vaginal delivery while Comprehensive EmOC facility can perform all the 6 signal functions mentioned above as well as caesaren section and blood transfusion.

United Nation recommends that at least for 500,000 population, there should at least be four basic EmOC facilities and one comprehensive EmOC facility; at least 15% of all births in the population take place in either Basic or Comprehensive EmOC facility and at least 100% of women estimated to have obstetric complications are treated in EmOC facilities. It further recommends that as a proportion of all births in the population, Caesarian sections account for not less than 5% and not more than 15% and the case fatality rate among women with obstetric complications in EmOC facilities is less than 1%. However, to achieve these indicators is a far cry in South Sudan.

Considering secondary care, the situation is not different for the ordinary South Sudanese because the tertiary hospitals in South Sudan are so poor that they are abandoned by the rich and the mighty in the society. These privileged South Sudanese can waste millions of USD to access health care outside South Sudan while the poor are condemned to die in the retched hospitals in the country.

However, the reality is that the Government of South Sudan could be able to construct ultra modern hospitals equipped with latest state of art technology. The estimated cost to construct such a ultra modern teaching hospital in UK is nearly 440,525 USD per bed. This means having a 200 bed modern hospital equipped with latest state of art technology that includes magnetic resonance imaging, Doppler ultra sounds etc would cost 88.2 million USD. Of course this is the highest quality of referral hospital but other well equipped hospitals can be constructed with less money. The famous Beacon of hope Build Mirebalaise Hospital in Haiti, which is one ultra modern hospital been built by PIN will cost only 15 million USD. This is just money which one imprudent South Sudanese has embezzled and is resting in his accounts somewhere while the people are dying of treatable diseases.

South Sudan can in no way in the foreseeable be able to develop unless sustainable source of energy is guaranteed. This is only possible if the Fula Rapids can be fully developed. Energy is very crucial for industrial development unless the government is preparing for South Sudan to depend on its neighbours for finished good. Ideas have been going around that the Eastern part of South Sudan will have power supply from Ethiopia. It was proposed that South Sudan will import 100 MW of electricity from Ethiopia. This is just a wild idea that is expensive and unsustainable. In South Sudan itself Haphazard ideas have been thrown around regarding power supply. First South Sudan needs about between 150 to 200 MW of electricity. Juba city alone needs 40MW. In response to these needs the government has proposed several unwarranted and perhaps uncoordinated plans.

I may not be an expert in power supply but if a government begins to think of several power sources to supply the same country when there is Fula rapids which can supply the whole country then something must be extremely wrong. Consider the following plans. Fula Dam to be constructed with help of Norwegian government procuring only 40 MW ; cost 100 million $. This power is meant to supply Juba alone. Bedden rapids to supply 250MW at cost of 26.9 million $. Please note the differences in the costing. Shukoli dam on Yeroba rapids on the same River Nile, some few kilometers from Fula supplying 4,746 GWH at cost 23.7 million $ and Lakki Hydro Dam at Gugi rapids still on the Nile South of Juba to supply 2,427GWh at cost of 31.5 million $. In addition, there is a plan to construct 200 MW heavy fuel oil thermal plant at 540 million $ in Unity state. If it is true that Fula rapids can supply the whole South Sudan with the power it needs why go for several plans yet heavy fuel therma plants are not sustainable considering that oil in South Sudan may not even last forever.

Just to mention something about education, one beings to wonder as to what is the problem that government does not really consider the quality of education in South Sudan to be important. The government seems to be satisfied by reports that this number of schools are opened by the states or NGOs working in the country yet it should be understood that it is not the school buildings that determine the quality of education. Equality of education is determined by many factors some of which include the educational curriculum, the capacity of the teachers, the libraries, the science laboratories, school discipline and culture of education among others. These are not expensive things to do in South Sudan but indeed it all boils down to leadership.

I would like to end this first part of leadership discussion by saying that indeed South Sudan has leaders but seriously lack leadership. Somebody somewhere annotated that in an organization there are no bad employees but bad leaders and that employees do not go on strike but leaders force them to strike. Therefore my serious advice to our leaders is that they must wake up to not only show leadership but also to exercise it otherwise the country is going to the dogs.
God bless the great South Sudan.

Sebit Ireneaus
Nairobi; Kenya

Reflection on Justice Peter Sule’s indefinite incarceration

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, MAY/02/2013, SSN;

It is now one and half year since Sule’s indefinite incarceration.

Justice Peter Sule’s only mistake was to misunderstand and mis-assess his people’s response to the status quo. He perfectly understood their sufferings and pain. He rose up for them when they are not prepared to accept the truth of the time. They did not want to be themselves. They did not want dignity. They lost sight of the truth and reality of the situation under falsity of being civilised and peaceful. They falsely claim to be the beacon of unity in a country that is driven by ruthless unprincipled gangs of people. A country that they sacrificed greatly for and now after independence deprives them of the basic necessities of life.

His people pride themselves in being educated and rational. This thinking has fragmented them into individuals rendering them weak. Each one is isolated from the other making them good targets of those who intended to prey on them. The security that comes from being in a cohesive group or community has been broken and destroyed and with it the might of once a well organised community.

A community that in the 1970s and 1980s fought its corner without flinching and it won what it wanted. It vindicated the saying that ‘where there is a will, there is a way.’ That will has been broken and destroyed by its enemies during the long years of the liberation war.

A war in which they themselves fought hard and sacrificed enormously but yet ended up being reduced to underdogs of those who acted in ‘group think.’ Those who acted brutally towards them. Those who legitimised their group think with violence on them while condemning any form of organisation in them. This planned and executed the fragmentation of Equatoria as a whole by its ill wishers has enfeebled its people.

So today, anyone trying to act for its good is brought down and condemned by none other than Equatorians themselves. Sule’s case is a classic example of oppressed people that Frantz Fanon’s book “The Wretched of the Earth” talks about.

Kokora in the late 1970s and early 1980s was achieved because Equatoria was solidly held together by a glue of consciousness in relation to its interest and security. It protected each and every Equatorian from abuse. That glue of consciousness which emanated from a ‘group think’ ensured that Equatoria was mighty though it had its own internal weakness but externally it projected might which gave it its respect.

In April 2011 a semblance of that might flashed in Juba during the Equatoria conference but it died out as quickly as it flickered like a dying asteroid. Perhaps it was this that misled Sule into thinking that at long last Equatorians are ready to look after themselves. Politics is brutal. No one can look after your interest if you don’t look after it personally.

Appeasement of the powers that be and sycophancy never pays but only strengthens the abusers and oppressors. In the process, the abusers stay long in power abusing you and the masses.

Violence breeds violence. We have seen this during the war, especially when SPLM/A split up in early 1990s. We now see it in Lakes state, Unity state, Upper Nile state, Jonglei state and so on. Tit for tat between communities that once lived peacefully have fallen prey to manipulation by opportunistic politicians. South Sudanese have experienced a lot of this violence for a long time and there is need to put a stop to it.

How do we put a stop to it? Ending violence may not be easy but there are some steps that each and every one of us should take. This includes our political leaders. Foremost is the need for a truth and reconciliation commission to examine all the heinous crimes that took place during the two decades of liberation. The purpose of this exercise would be as in South Africa in mid 1990s not to seek revenge but for both culprits and victims or relatives of deceased victims to exchange the painful information thereby leading to forgiveness and healing. That is to restore respect for humanity. We must also accept that the culprits were dehumanised and so we do not seek vengeance but their rehabilitation.

Some people reading this piece may be surprised by my call for truth and reconciliation commission, especially given the fact that the government of South Sudan has already taken initiative by organising one. However, I do not believe that the government initiative on healing will be effective simply because the whole process is an exercise of showing off, although I hope I am proved wrong.

There is no will to conduct a real truth and reconciliation process in South Sudan now because the rulers are the real culprits who must be held to account. As they are in power they will frame the terms of reference for the healing programme to deal with communities excluding their own heinous crimes. It will be a charade like the Anti-Corruption Commission which until now has not prosecuted a single person in a country awash with corrupt people robbing the government in broad daylight.

The real healing or truth and reconciliation commission will have to be set up in future by a non-SPLM administration so that the current criminals in power can be dragged to answer for their part in setting one tribe against the other; a son against father, a daughter against mother and so on and so forth; in the process dehumanising the entire society.

The most surprising thing is that even as the government tries to promote healing, it grants amnesty to all the rebels from the ruling ethnic groups and preclude people like Justice Peter Sule who is held indefinitely on tramped up charges. In July last year Gen. Paul Mach and company attempted to overthrow the government of South Sudan violently. Instead of holding this group to account, all the members were set free and rewarded with positions in the government within a week. Same with the police chief alleged by the president himself to have murdered engineer John Luis over his plot of land.

Do you see the arbitrary rule of the president and his ruling party the SPLM? One rule for the ethnic ruling group and another for the others. How can healing be achieved with such ongoing discriminatory and oppressive practices fueled by tribalism?

The ideal thing is for the government to behave in a uniform manner toward all who allegedly committed the same crimes with the understanding that we the people of South Sudan do not want more violence. The outcome of trials should not be to exact harsh penalties but to seek to reform or to learn from them as in the cases of Equatorial Guinea and Apartheid South Africa with Simon Mann and Nelson Mandela respectively. By doing this, South Sudan will not only become civilised, it will discourage the culture of violence from state and individuals alike.

There are those like Ngor Tong who through their articles in 2011 and early 2012 are calling for violent revenge by the state. This is not only irresponsible but naïve lacking knowledge of the complexity of punishment and management of society. Today, the Europeans have learnt that capital punishment does not pay and it does not serve any purpose other than to destroy lives of innocent people (executioners) psychologically. South Africa led by foresighted leaders like Mandela has abolished capital punishment. South Sudan should and must seek this path. We benefit nothing by making fellow countrymen (executioners) killers of fellow human beings.

SPLM did annoy people by its April 2010 behaviour during the general election. This generated mixed feelings in the population and sparked numerous rebellions such as that of late George Athor. That general election will remain a black mark in our conscience and history and it will continue to generate controversy. It is the turning point on the aspiration of democracy in our country.

The latest episode is David Yau Yau’s rebellion and who knows what awaits us in the future. The arrogance of SPLM will fragment our country and also fragment SPLM itself. It will be an implosion that consumes all of us before we rise again. No point burying our heads in the sand.

Justice Peter Sule should have swallowed the bitter pill. But if someone was brought up with dignity, it would be difficult to stomach such discourtesy. The question that demands answer is: why did president Kiir deliberately humiliate Sule in his residence on 10th July 2011 in front of everybody present on that day? Was it politically intended to despise Equatoria as a whole, or was it a personal issue, or was it a harboured grudge related to the unfortunate incident of 26 March 1993 in Kongor where the late honourable statesman Joseph Oduho lost his life and Sule narrowly escaped?

If this was meant to despise Equatorians it is understandable given the very sad relationship between the Jieng and Equatorians. During the war president Kiir openly insulted Equatorian people in Yei as “cowards.” Since then his tribes mates have used the term freely to disparage and intentionally injure the feelings of Equatorians.

But if the humiliation was meant as a personal insult, why should a president behave in such an appalling manner that reduces his stature? After all, Sule and the other parties except USSP in 2006 unanimously pledged their support to the president. The communiqué of that gathering stands out as evidence to prove that Sule as a person did not hold any ill feelings towards the president.

I personally was not impressed with the president’s backward manner of behaviour on 10th July 2011, a day after declaration of independence. The president therefore has to take responsibility for pushing Sule to his limits. There was no reason at all for the president to behave towards Sule in the way he did. After all Sule was his guest and Sule was in his residence.

In African traditions guests are respected no matter what, especially when they are in your house. Courtesy demanded the president to show civility, diplomacy and respect. The president did not. His behaviour was atrocious. His behaviour towards Sule was not only condescending, but belittling and provocative.

Put yourself in Sule’s shoes and imagine yourself being treated in this way. What would you do? How would you feel? Those people near Sule (whose names I will not name now for obvious reasons) could testify to this. It was obvious that this was a nasty experience for Sule.

If the discourtesy towards Sule was in relation to the events of 26th March 1993, then it opens up a whole can of worms. The president in the Rumbek meeting of November 2004 accused late Dr John Garang of being a dangerous person who did not forget or forgive. Could he possess a similar character and therefore was projecting his own part of character to late Dr Garang? Whether he is or not, as the president he is expected to be above all past grudges.

If I had any right to criticise Sule it would be that he underestimated the 28 years of SPLM pacification of South Sudanese, especially Equatorians. The ethnically dominated leadership of SPLM hammered the idea that they are the liberators into the minds of the young and the average South Sudanese. They installed themselves in the place of the Arabs.

Most of the South Sudanese born after 1980 have no real picture of the dynamics of South Sudanese social fabric. This generation without putting any blame on them have been indoctrinated with Garangism to their own detriment. This can be seen from the arguments they expound in support of this failed and incompetent organisation called SPLM.

This generation is incapable of seeing that politics is about interest and how that interest is framed. It is either framed for one group as in the case of SPLM or for the society as a whole in the case of ANC of South Africa. In South Sudan, the SPLM framed the political interest of the country in favour of the ruling ethnic group.

This interest is protected by: 1) constant disarmament of all the other tribes. 2) Control of all the security organs in the country. 3) control of the legislative assembly. 4) control of judiciary. 5) Enriching members of the ruling ethnic group by way of massive corruption in order to control the economy. 6. Denial and projection of tribalism to the victims of the rulers. 7) Abuse of mass media.

If you remember the ruling Arabs in the Sudan behaved exactly like the SPLM now. They used to blame any political protest from the non Arabs as racist act. Take for example the failed coup of Hassan Hussein of 1976. The ruling class in the Sudan did not waste any time. They rallied the Arabs and used the media to label the coup as racist.

In South Sudan now, anybody from the rest of the oppressed ethnic groups opposing the government is quickly labelled by the rulers as tribalist. As far as the ruling class is concerned their own pernicious tribalism is not an issue but it is the tribalism of the others that is destructive to the country.

What they fail to see is that for tribalism to be effectively practised, essentially one must have power. It is they who possess power currently in the country and this is the very reason they dominate every sphere of the government. How credible is it then that the ruling ethnic group blames the powerless oppressed ‘other’ for tribalism in the country?

Rebellion for the sake of rebellion obviously is neither desirable nor acceptable. For it causes unnecessary destruction, loss of life and unquantifiable sufferings. This said, in some instances rebellion is not only desirable but becomes an evil necessity to be undertaken. Take for example, when the Sudan became independent in 1956, we the Southerners in that country had no other option but to rebel and take up arms against the unjust tyrannical regime in Khartoum.

Our current president joined that rebellion and when the Addis Ababa agreement was signed in 1972 he returned as sergeant. Again hurt by the behaviour of the Arabs in 1983, he went to the bush. For most of his life, the president has been a serial rebel for the just cause of the South Sudanese people. The Arabs considered him an outlaw and we considered him a nationalist freedom fighter. So are most of the current leaders of South Sudan. The line between a nationalist and a rebel traitor is thin and it depends on whose side one is and who has the power to effectively label.

With the above I consciously bring my reflection to an end for now and let me say Sule’s unjust incarceration, whether people like it or not, is a statement by the ruling ethnic group to all the other tribes of South Sudan, especially Equatorians that they have the power and they can do as they please.

If you have not yet waken up and noted that those who call others as cowards are the ‘New Arabs’ on the block, then think again. Sule’s incarceration is a message, loud and clear, that if you the ‘other’ do not worship those who consider themselves ‘Born to rule’ by singing Oyee!. Oyee! ………you are in for further pacification. Therefore, it is a challenge to South Sudanese fair minded people and so the ball now rests in the court of the people to question why Sule is singled out to remain in Gulag.

[The truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

Attaining sustainable national unity through federal system of government

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, MAY/01/2013, SSN;

In the old Sudan, South Sudan had demanded a federal system of government to sustain national unity. However, the narrow minds of the old Sudan rejected the South demand. With no alternative South Sudan then embarked on one of the longest and bloody protracted armed struggle on the continent for freedom, justice and equality. This was spearheaded by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

After twenty-one years of armed struggle South Sudan achieved what it had aspired for, total independence. This was expected for people who had suffered so much injustice and gross marginalization in the hands of brutal neocolonial North Sudan. It was easy realizing independence through the ballot box but it is going to be a different matter to attain sustainable unity of South Sudan being diversified as it is.

There are instruments, nevertheless, when carefully considered and applied with a nationalist and revolutionary vision may promote sustainable unity. The problem may be that people hardly differentiate between a nationalist and a tribalist vision. People are confused as the level of tribalism may be high.

SPLM Constitution 2008
The SPLM is the lead party in government in South Sudan. It has a constitution that will make South Sudan a paradise on earth, only if it could be rigorously followed with a nationalistic zeal. In the constitution the SPLM is guided by principles such as democracy and political pluralism, prosperity, harmony and social cohesion. In addition the SPLM is guided by the principles of decentralization and devolution of power and voluntary unity of people, respect of diversity and economic interest.

Among other things the SPLM is guided by the principles of justice and equality for all irrespective of ethnicity, religion, region, social status or gender, accountability, transparency and good governance, and above all emancipation of the individual from constraints to freedom, prosperity, self-realisation and happiness.

From the highlights above the SPLM constitution 2008 is a masterpiece. The constitution has clearly set out basic principles to follow in making South Sudan truly a country all can call home. The aims and objectives of the constitution suggest that the SPLM has a clear revolutionary vision and an instrument to attain sustainable unity and prosperity for all in South Sudan. However, in practice it is not clear to which extent the SPLM has rigorously followed its own constitution to realize the aims and objectives set.

Transitional Constitution 2011
In the Transitional Constitution, 2011 of the Republic of South Sudan, Articles 24(1) and 25(1) stipulate respectively that, “Every citizen shall have the right to the freedom of expression, reception and dissemination of information, publication, and access to the press without prejudice to public order, safety or morals as prescribed by law” and that, “The right to peaceful assembly is recognized and guaranteed; every person shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form or join political parties, associations and trade or professional unions for the protection of his or her interests”.

In Article 36(1) of the same transitional constitution it is stipulated that, “All levels of government shall provide democratic principles and political pluralism, and shall be guided by the principles of decentralization and devolution of power to the people through the appropriate levels of government where they can best manage and direct their affairs”.

It can be seen that what the Articles in the transitional constitution stipulate is indeed magnificent. However, what matters are not the niceties of the Articles in the transitional constitution. What is of great importance is for the constitution to be seen making the difference in the lives of ordinary people. For example, the freedom of expression guaranteed in the constitution should be translated into practice when people are not silenced for expressing critical views.

Decentralisation and devolution of power to the people to manage their own affairs is something that is universally accepted and is put into practice to make the unity of a country attractive. In South Sudan, however, decentralization and devolution of power to the people at best remains theoretical on paper. There are ten state but remain like departments in a centralized system.

Centralisation of power is evident and examples abound. Tax collection has been centralized and so are the police, prisons and the wildlife forces where the states hardly have power over deployment. This does not sound at all like decentralization and devolution of power to the people in the states to manage their own affairs.

SPLM Manifesto 2012
According to the SPLM Manifesto 2012, “Good governance is achieved through transparency and even more through inclusion, in decision-making through opportunities to give voice to concerns at all levels of governance, and through exercise of the right to ask questions and to demand appropriate answers”. The manifesto states that the ultimate goal is the full empowerment of the people of South Sudan as agents of their own destiny in the economic no less than in the political life of the nation.

What the SPLM Manifesto affirms can only mean decentralization and devolution of power to the people as agents of their own destiny. The manifesto also affirms that the SPLM will ensure democracy under the rule of law and good governance, to safeguard fundamental human. economic, social, cultural and religious rights, and freedoms.

On equality the SPLM Manifesto asserts that it is rooted in the understanding that all men and women have an essential right to be respected fully as human beings, that all human life has equal worth and that all human beings must be afforded equal dignity.

With reference to unity the manifesto affirms that it should not be confused with unanimity. The manifesto asserts that people of South Sudan are diverse and value their diversity, and respect for equal dignity of all human beings necessitates respect for their right to assert and preserve collective identity and values.

The SPLM Manifesto 2012 is very clear on governance, equality and unity. However, good governance, equality and national unity cannot be achieved by word of mouth without the empowerment of people to manage their own affairs. Empowerment of the people is best achieved through proper decentralization which in other words could mean a federal system. The SPLM Manifesto couldn’t have been clearer about empowerment of the peop0le when it asserts that, “True national liberation comes not with the achievement of formal independence, but with the achievement of full and effective empowerment and sovereignty of all citizens and of the nation as a whole”.

The manifesto further affirms that the SPLM shall uphold and respect the rights of minorities and guarantee their representation and participation in the life of the country. Arguably the rights of minorities and their participation in government cannot be guaranteed through a centralized system. Minorities may need to be empowered to manage their affairs and that can be through a federal system for sustainable national unity.

Models of federal system
There are various models of a federal system of government in the world. Models of a federal system are found in countries such as the United States of America (USA), Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Nigeria to mention but a few. To avoid boredom only two models of a federal system are highlighted. They are the Swiss and the Nigerian model.

Swiss model of federal system
Switzerland is a small country located in the heart of Western Europe. It is only 41,277 square kilometers, smaller even that Central Equatoria State whose size is 43,033 square kilometers. However, the population of Switzerland is 8.02 million almost the same as that of South Sudan.

Switzerland has quite a unique democratic tradition. Although a small country Switzerland is a federation of 26 member states known as cantons. Switzerland’s basic political philosophy can be described as far reaching with a form of federal system granting member states a maximum of political self-determination and restricting the competencies of the federal government to absolute minimum.

The Swiss model of a federal system consists of governments, administrations, parliaments and courts organized on three political levels, federal, state (canton) and communal which may be an equivalent to county in the case of South Sudan.

The importance of the Swiss model of a federal system is that Switzerland is made up of different ethnic groups. Over the centuries whenever conflicts have arisen between the different ethnic groups, the Swiss have resolved the conflict by allowing each of the warring groups to govern themselves.

Single states have divided into half-states, new states have been formed and border communes have opted to leave one state to join another. In this way the Swiss have developed a federal system which permits people of different languages, cultures, religions and traditions to live together in peace and harmony. This makes the Swiss model of a federal system particularly well suited to ethnically diverse countries.

Nigerian model of federal system
In Nigeria, under the British colonial rule, conflicting demands for autonomy by the various political grouping compelled the British to establish a measure of compromise to accommodate conflicting demands. The Nigerian model of a federal system can be traced to when the Northern and Southern protectorates were amalgamated. With the existence and recognition of the two autonomous parts of Northern and Southern protectorates, the administrative system of Nigeria was an outlook of a federation.

Under a new Nigerian constitution introduced by the British, a federal system of government was established. This system was based on three regions Eastern, Western and Northern Nigeria. The idea was to reconcile the regional and religious tensions as well as accommodating the interest of diverse ethnic groups. Coups and counter-coups created a volatile situation in Nigeria when the Eastern Region announced secession and proclaimed its independence as the Republic of Biafra. However, the Republic of Biafra could not win an all out war for independence and after a cease fire the Eastern Region was reintegrated into Nigeria.

The three regions of Nigeria were restructured into twelve states with the intention to produce larger representation for other ethnic groups. Each region was divided up into states as were the three regions of South Sudan each also divided up into states. The Nigerian population is diverse with well over 250 ethnic groups. Given the historical legacy of divisions among ethnic groups and regions in Nigeria, the federal imperative was so fundamental that even military governments, characteristically unitarian and centralist, attached great importance to the continuation of a federal system of government.

The model of a federal system in Nigeria is flexible. This means with time more states in the federation can be created. For example, in 1967 the three regions of Nigeria were restructured to create twelve states. The number of states increased to nineteen in 1976, and eventually to twenty-one in 1987. In the span of twenty years Nigeria, from three regions, has developed into twenty-one states in addition to the Federal Capital Territory. The increasing number of states was a direct response to the demands of groups that were not satisfied with their positions in the federation.

National unity through federal system
Both models of a federal system of government in Switzerland and in Nigeria have one thing in common, the achievement of sustainable national unity. The two models adequately address ethnic and regional diversities and challenges that a centralized system may hardly cope with. South Sudan has similar ethnic and regional diversities and challenges as in Nigeria which seems to be coping through a federal system. South Sudan may also cope adequately with its ethnic and regional diversities and challenges through the adoption of a federal system of government.

The main worry about adopting a federal system in South Sudan is that some circles are very scared that they will be out of Equatoria through administrative mechanism of deployment to work in one’s state when a federal system is adopted. This is because Equatoria seems to have become a safe haven for people escaping insecurity in their own states. This may explain the bizarre proposal to annex the states in Equatoria to the insecure neighbouring states.

Nigeria abolished the federal regions and instead created federal states. The existing ten states in South Sudan could become federal states with the larger ones to be divided up into more states to address imbalances in service delivery.

It is not the solution to insecurity and development stagnation to annex the states in Equatoria to the insecure neighbouring states in the other regions. Arguably the solution is the adoption of a federal system to empower the people to manage their affairs with adequate support from the national government.

The recent announcements by the President of the Republic of South Sudan for amnesty to rebellious groups were a giant step forward and in the right direction to realize security and peaceful co-existence.

However, so that not to be seen as discrimination, the amnesty should also include Peter Abdelrahaman Sule though he is a politician. This may go a long way as reconciliation and confidence building for a peaceful South Sudan.

In conclusion, it can be seen that sustainable national unity can be attained through the adoption of a federal system of government as the Swiss and the Nigerian models seem to suggest. A federal system addresses the challenges of ethnic and regional diversities in the national interest.

The main challenge to the adoption of a federal system may be how it is interpreted in the context of South Sudan. However, from a positive perspective a federal system appears to promote sustainable national unity in diversity as the Swiss and Nigerian models seem to confirm.