Archive for: July 2013

Taxation and Decentralization in South Sudan

BY: Malith Alier, South Sudan, JUL/19/2013, SSN;

Tax, according to Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, is defined as a financial charge or levy imposed upon a taxpayer (individual or legal entity) by a state or a functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. This concept is true even in the case of nascent countries like South Sudan.

There are different names given to different types of taxes depending on each country. In this case, there are different methods for developed and developing countries with different taxes levied on individuals and or legal entities in each country.

These taxes include:- excise, tariffs, sales tax, Value Added or Good and Services Tax (VAT and GST), wealth (net worth) tax, transfer tax, expatriation tax, inheritance tax, tax on payroll or workforce, social security contribution, corporate tax or Business Profit tax, capital gains tax (CGT), negative income tax and finally income tax.

Taxes are also given descriptive labels such as direct or indirect taxes, proportional, progressive, regressive or lump-sum taxes, environmental taxes, consumption taxes and Ad valorem taxes.

The author has no time to define every tax by name in this article. Each individual is advised to look for meaning of type of tax as he/she wishes.

However, let’s come to the core of the article and particularly in relation to the State of South Sudan or Republic of South Sudan as many fondly refer to it.

The preceding state as we all know was a result of signing a peace agreement known as CPA in Nairobi, Kenya in 2005. With this background, it is not easy to come up with timely economic blue print to take the country forward after such a destructive war like the one the country went through for twenty one years.

This destruction was not limited to political but also social-economic and intellectual disorganization as well.

Those who were in schools joined the struggle ostensibly to free the country from hegemony created by the new rulers of the country after 1956 independence.

However, the new country has failed to taken lots of expertise from the old Sudan in terms of economic models that country have had.

South Sudan now relies on advice from myriad organisations including the World Bank Group and other financial institutions big and small.

I had an opportunity to chat with a consultant from HELM Corporation who confided that this country (Republic of South Sudan) has all the “best” advice from around the world.

However, he also noted that there is something wrong with the conscience of the people of this nation, in particular people churn the given advice and act contrarily.

He cited the issue of corruption which is a major concern not only to the nationals but also to donors who fear that their funds will not be channelled to targeted projects they agree with the government of the day.

This country has witnessed many ministers of Finance come and go on the perceived corrupt manner they lead that ministry.

There was the issue of sixty million US Dollars, the durra saga and many undisclosed wrong doings at various tenures of such ministers.

Of particular interest is the fight against corruption and the taxation department under the ministry of finance and Economic Planning.

It was circulated that the country relies on oil revenue by about 98% to fund the country’s budget. The rest is thought to be from other sources of revenue collected from taxes.

However, collection of taxes is inefficient and rudimentary because of non-compliance with the above cited reasons. Nobody for sure wants to put efficient collection of revenue methods in place.

Another obstacle is what kinds of taxes to be collected, who to collect them and when and where to collect them.

The ministry of Finance seems to have the mandate to collect taxes through taxation Department but other ministries and even individuals are also involved e.g. Ministry of Commerce and Industry collect taxes whose names one cannot tell.

This lawless scenario prompted everybody to make road blocks in pursuance of tax collection for individual enrichment on expense of the state.

In order to rectify the above scenario, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning agreed with all states in 2012 to “harmonise” tax collection in the country.

This agreement was implemented on the 10th of May of the same year and many road blocks were dismantled by police on the pretext of being illegal tax collection units.

One year later the road blocks can still be spotted collecting taxes as ever before. This was announced by the same ministry of Interior who implemented the order to disband illegal collection units.

The other side of tax collection which the National government has not addressed adequately is the interstate tax collection.

It was initially agreed between the national government and state governments that once goods are taxed at border points, no further collection will be carried out on the same goods in the country.

This is sadly not been honoured by all states. Some states want traders who import goods from East Africa to use the same vessel and clearance documents all the way to their last destination e.g. Jonglei state with at least two road blocks.

This is not practical under many circumstances.

On the same note, Goods produced in one state and taken to another state are taxed ignoring the original state of production taxation. The burden of these actions is passed to the final consumer.

In the case of federal nations like US and others, the collection of income tax is the preserve of federal government.

In those countries interstate taxation is eliminated because moving goods and services interstate is not like moving goods from other nations that are not part of the same union.

This is a very bad practice in South Sudan for the country’s taxes itself without thinking about the consequences.

It is therefore incumbent upon the national government in Juba to give the states who engage in interstate taxation clear directives to abstain from that by withholding the block grants it allocates to them because of that non-compliance to the tax agreement of 2012.

The national government must show the stick and carrot to the states to discourage or encourage them in certain matters that affect this country. END

The 488 million pounds evidence of corruption in the presidency

BY: J. Nguen, CANADA, JUL/19/2013, SSN;

To fight and slightly curb any rampant corruption anywhere in the world required due diligent, political shrewdness and meticulous aggressive policies. As such, an enforcing agent must as well be corruption free in order to ensure that thieves of all breeds face full force of the law accordingly. As oppose to half-baked political perfectionism is in itself an advancement and endorsement of corruption.

South Sudan is no exception in this voyage but part of the whole. However, the reverse is true in my home country, South Sudan. Outright thieves and looting of public funds in broad day light by the enforcer or man in charge always reigns.

For instance, President Kiir tells the people of South Sudan and the world in the day that his government does not condone and will not tolerate abject corruption while in the cove of the dark, he and his cronies perfected the reverse and therefore blame weak institutions in the country as a pretext to advance false consciousness.

The truth is, strong institutions are made by a strong leader in charge, while the weak ones are feeble because the man in charge is weak and corrupted. This is naturally how it works and why South Sudan is corrupted and failing.

As usual, I am here to help provide my readers with fresh insight information regarding abject corruption and events of misappropriation of public funds eating South Sudan under the stewardship of President Kiir Mayardit.

The commentary will provide evidence of corruption in the presidency and it will also share grounded perspectives on the unconstitutional removal of Unity State governor, Taban Deng on July 7th, 2013 through a presidential decree.

First and foremost, I would like to remind my new readers that this is not the first time I have written a commentary about rampant corruption in South Sudan. Indeed, I have done so and pertinent points below are evidences of corruption I have written an article about in the recent past:

1. The $ 3 million dollars (allegedly) caught red-handed from Mr. Stephen Madut Baak at the Heathrow International Airport in London in 2008, where Mr. Baak was un-hesitant to mention that he was working for president as an adviser;

2. The $ 4 billion reported missing by none other than President Kiir himself in 2012 and the $ 600 millions reported allegedly stolen by the former RSS minister of finance, Arthur Akuien Chol in 2008;

3. The $ 20 million stolen (allegedly) by Stephen Baak Wuol and $ 293 millions reported by Aaron Young stolen (allegedly) by none other than Salva Mathok Gengdit, the current deputy minister of interior in RSS;

4. And the $ 6 million dollars and South Sudan pounds reported stolen from the president’s office 2013;

The lump sum of money unaccounted for in South Sudan and mentioned in my previous commentary is $ 4 billion and $ 922 million dollars.

In the recent past however, you might recall, President Kiir has suspended two prominent South Sudanese federal government’s ministers on corruption charges, namely Deng Alor Kuol, minister of cabinet affairs and Kosti Manibe, minister of finance and economic planning.

Both men were accused of signing off $ 8 million dollars contract to a private business associate without Mr. President’s knowledge and approval, which recent evidence of paper trials about the contract suggested something cynical and untrue.

For example, prominent figure in the ruling party SPLM and paper trials seen by this writer and published by the South Sudan News Agency presented a gruesome departure and hopeless twist of reality.

On July 7th, 2013 for instance, Mr. Pagan Amum accused the president of leaving the “real culprits” untouched. Mr. Amum blamed and criticised Mr. President for the suspension of the two ministers and he also asserted that such act was politically motivated.

Mr. Amum further explained that the accused Federal ministers were not in any way signatories of the alleged contract which the evidence seen by this author partially contradicts.

As such, there is no rebuttal from the president’s circle, and therefore such deafening silence speaks to something more cynical which people of South Sudan ought to know.

Besides, the newest corruption scheme in the presidency I would like to bring into my readers’ attention is the $ 488 million pounds demanded by President Kiir himself on September 5th, 2011. President Kiir ordered $488 pounds to be awarded to ABMC Company without the Council of Ministers’ approval.

In a nutshell, ABMC Company is a private construction enterprise owned by Benjamin Bol Mel and Mr. President is allegedly a close business associate of the company.

Well-placed sources in the presidency and ministry of Road and Bridges revealed that President Kiir personally ordered Minister of Roads and Bridges, Gier Chuang Aluong to release $ 488 million South Sudanese Pounds (244 million dollars) to ABMC Company with immediate effect in 2011.

The ABMC Company in this scam was supposed to construct 69 kilometres road under such dubious contract but there is so far little evidence proving work done.

Because of this suspicious act from the high office of the land, people of South Sudan would like to know why Mr. President ordered the payment of $ 488 million South Sudanese pounds to his business partner without following a proper channel and why he got away with it?

Indeed, this is one of many and one of the slightest chucks of rampant corruption crippling South Sudan under Kiir’s leadership. Conversely, this is the second time where the presidency has been implicated into a corruption scheme in Kiir’s tenure.

The first evidence of such sheer corruption was when $ 6 million was reported stolen in the president’s office.

To give my readers a slightest glimpse of how much money South Sudan has spent on non-existing roads construction from 2006 to 2012, the new country has spent $1.7 billion dollars on roads and yet only 75 kilometres road has been constructed and paved.

In comparison, the USAID funded 192 kilometers road construction in South Sudan and it was built and paved for $ 229 million dollars only.

As evidence suggested, the disparity gap in this regard is real and undeniable, but the gruff manner ensued by the person in charge in our country is categorically appalling.

For instance, on April 12th, 2013, President Kiir fired South Sudan Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation, Dr. Elias Wako Nyamellel for acknowledging that South Sudan is corrupted and “rotten to the core.”

This is not acceptable move because such act by the president endorses mode of corruption.

Hence, because no one in the government has talked about the alleged $ 488 million pounds awarded to ABMC Company by the president, it showcased that our country is being held hostage by the person in charge and so therefore our country will not move forward.

Thus, I questioned our collective allegiance to the nation of which our people have collectively bled and died for.

As we helplessly standby, watch and allow few crooks to milk our country to its death is not going to do us good but detrimental and it is our collective inability.

Similarly, it portrayed that we are too afraid, too ill informed and too irrational to the core. So much so, our parliament in Juba is also a rubber stamp.

The Members of parliament (MPs) are too incompetent in discharging their rightful duties to further our nation meaningful progress but in reverse, they became Mr. President’s punching bags and puppets.

Out of their inabilities and fears, they allowed President Kiir to be the supreme law of the land. No more, no less.

As a result, he unlawfully fire public servants, elected governors and allegedly awards contracts to his business associates as he pleases and at ease. Unfortunately, these are the gruesome realities of a one-man rule.

This brings me to the unconstitutional removal of Unity State governor, Taban Deng Gai. On July 7th, 2013, President Kiir Mayardit issued a presidential decree relieving an elected governor of Unity State.

Because President Kiir is above the law and does what he pleases, he did not consult with anyone in Unity State, including his Vice President, Dr. Riek. Subsequently, this has generated a lot of political rhetoric at the SPLM’s top leadership.

Similarly, people of Unity State including its parliament questioned Mr. Taban Deng’s removal from the governorship. They therefore classified such act as unjustified and also a clear violation of South Sudan Transitional Constitution of which Mr. President has quoted wrongly in this process.

Under no circumstance, it is clear that Mr. Deng’s removal from governorship is politically motivated. As usual, President Kiir was ill-advised, ill-informed and as a result he acted emotionally.

For one, Unity State is one of the peaceful States in South Sudan. Since 2011, there has never been major internal unrest in the State which might have led to Mr. Deng’s removal.

Among the South Sudan States for example, Jonglei is one of the worse provinces regarding internal unrest. Thousands of people die in Jonglei almost daily due to cattle rustling and ethnic conflicts.

Unfortunately, Mr. President did not remove its governor, Kuol Manyang Juuk because Mr. Kuol is considered by the president as a staunch ally and supporter tribally.

Second, the people of Unity State time and time again have in the past called on President Kiir to remove Governor Taban Deng from Governorship before Sudan’s 2010 elections, but all complaints fall into the deaf ear.

To be precise, one President Kiir’s close associates are on record telling the world that Governor Deng will not be removed from governorship so long Kiir is still in power.

This is ugly it has got to in the president’s circle, when the people of Unity State complained bitterly about Mr. Deng’s misrule in the past.

Following 2010 elections however, the people of Unity State swallowed this bitter pill when Governor Taban Deng was declared a winner. In unison, the people of Unity State threw their unwavering support to their governor without any reservation because justice has prevailed and democracy has spoken, even though there were reported riggings across South Sudan.

Now, it is irrational that President Kiir has violated this covenant at ease and still believes that the people of South Sudan and those of Unity State can still observe and respect his corrupted and distorted leadership.

Unfortunately, I would say this is not how it works, Mr. President.

In conclusion, I must assert that President Kiir has committed a serious political blunder which might cause him his presidency in the coming years, if and only if he continued to resist good intended counsels.

The truth is however, that it’s still not too late for the president to reconsider his actions.

First and foremost, he should immediately allow democratic process to take its course by reversing his decision on Mr. Deng’s removal from the governorship.

Second, he must allow an open investigation on $ 488 million South Sudanese Pounds allegedly he authorized to his business associate, ABMC Company.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached at nyolgaar@yahoo.com.

The Launch of Voluntary Return to Abyei: But why Abyei Plebiscite will be a difficult task to achieve in October 2013?

BY: Jacob Dut Chol, JUBA, JUL/17/2013, SSN;

On 13th July 2013, Abyei Community in Juba launched a voluntary return home of its people of so that they register and participate in the forth coming referendum scheduled in October 2013. This launch attended by Abyei politicians, intellectuals, CSO leaders and students to mention but a few, was conducted under the auspices of Hon. Deng Alor Kuol.

Many speeches were delivered encouraging Abyei people to return to home. The preparation of mobilization will be done through the committees and should involve representatives of the Nine Ngok Chiefdoms so that the task is completed in the next three months.

But the author who also attended the launch is pessimistic on the conduct of Abyei Referendum in October 2013 and hereby provides an in-depth independent expert argument that wide range deep-seated political mistrust between Sudan and South Sudan shall continue to cause debacle in the conduct of Abyei referendum.

To start with, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that embodies the Abyei protocol, a brainchild of American government would not make Abyei Referendum a reality, as was the case of South Sudan plebiscite. The pitfall in Abyei referendum emanates from the engineering of the protocol as a readymade, “one-size-fits-all blue print”.

The American government had exerted too much pressure at the time of inking of Abyei protocol, under which the Sudan government conditionally accepted the Abyei agreement, something a peace expert would call “duress from a hurry guarantor” and a common attitude of the U.S in Palestine-Israel conflict resolution.

The outcome of un-implementation of Abyei Protocol resulted so far in many intermittent conflicts and insurgencies including the killing of Abyei Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol (KuolAdol) on 4th May 2013.

Numerous insurgencies have been levelled on Misseriya Arabs because the government of Sudan hoodwinked them that they will receive protection over their grazing rights in exchange of their service in the militia activities.

In making such a gambit a reality, the Sudanese government has been misinterpreting the Abyei protocol that it has infringed on the rights of Misseriyas. Yet, the accord provides social and cultural rights of the Missiriya Arabs through seasonal movement of their animals in search of pastures and water points in Ngok Dinka areas.

The parallel alignment of two ethnic groups in Abyei is embedded in socio-cultural ties. The Ngok Dinka align themselves to South Sudan government while Misseriya Arabs align themselves to government of Sudan.

The deepening of ethnic allegiance and the loyalty of the two groups towards the two governments resembles the adherence of residents of Kashmiri contested land by the Indian government and Pakistan and I agreed with Sumantra Bose analysis “to the citizen of Jammu and Kashmir whose fundamental allegiance lies with India, the only legitimate unit of governance is India-including Kashmir and to the citizen whose basic identity is with Pakistan, the only legitimate unit of governance is Pakistan-including Kashmir” (Bose, 1999: 155).

Apart from two fundamental allegiances, the third allegiance of the independence mindset hangs between the two shifted poles, making the Kashmir stalemate difficult to resolve.

The Abyei protocol stipulated that the people of Abyei would have conducted the referendum concurrently with the people of South Sudan but this did not happen because the exercise surfaced as a game of political mistrust played outside the protocol.

The bickering has focused on the eligibility of the voters. The SPLM maintains that it is the nine Ngok Dinka chiefdoms that are eligible to vote since they are the permanent residents of the area, while the NCP refutes this and argues that the Misseriya Arabs, who are temporary residents, are supposed to vote in the Abyei referendum.

Though the protocol specifies Abyei residents as the eligible voters, it remains unclear who are really the legal denizens since the Ngok Dinka is prescribed its own territory while the Missiriya Arabs and other nomads have been acknowledged as having traditional grazing rights for moving animals across Abyei.

But, notably, the Venice Commission Guideline on the Holding of Referendums defines resident requirements to mean those with “habitual residence” This tends to exclude seasonal migrants, as in the case of the Misseriya Arabs.

But the conundrum has been that each party takes a zero-sum line jeopardizing the level playing ground. The SPLM’s claim that the Ngok Dinka should exercise their right of self-determination as spelt in the agreement is premised on the historical and cultural relations of Ngok with other large section of Dinka in the South, whom the SPLM dominate.

On the other hand, the government of Sudan sees a big disaster; it has already lost South Sudan, which has become an independent sovereign state with potential resources, so it has to fill the gap; thus, the threat of losing another region makes it grind its teeth.

The prospects of Abyei joining South Sudan are very high. It is revealed that if the plebiscite were conducted today, then 80.6% voters would vote for the annexation of Abyei to the South Sudan (Chol, 2010: 95). This, however, causes yet more anxiety amongst the Missiriya Arabs, who suspect that they will be sent packing from the would-be annexed Abyei area to the South.

The prescription of Abyei as the homogeneous home of the Ngok Dinka creates a “plebiscitary-majoritarian” scheme that excludes other members of ethnic groups, particularly the Misseriya Arabs, which the SPLM sees as a political victory, although it is a compromise of minority rights.

This oversight in the Abyei protocol surfaced during the negotiation of the accord where Western countries proffered sticks and carrots and pressured the government of Sudan.

For example, the lifting of sanctions was still dependent on the improvement of Sudan relations with the West, in particular great powers like the U.S and European Union, on issues of human rights in the western Sudanese regions of Darfur and the resolution of conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.

However, it would have been fair if the agreement had considered the right of the Misseriya Arabs, who have perhaps lived in Abyei permanently for the last fifty years, to vote in the referendum, rather than only the Ngok Dinka ethnic group.

However, the concern that might have disturbed the mediators and guarantors in compromising the eligibility of the Misseriya Arabs could have been the determination of the numerical size of the members of the ethnic group, and whether they maintain the same population when they come to graze their animals during the dry seasons or not.

Another reason perhaps could have been related to fear of gerrymandering of the registration of voters by the government of Sudan, possibly through systematic relocation of Misseriya Arabs bit by bit from Muglad and Babanusa towns to settle them in Abyei areas. Though such trepidations existed, they would have been tackled to eschew the “plebiscitary-majoritarian” situation that has brought the Kashmir right of self-determination to a cul-de-sac.

In Kashmir, as in Bosnia for example, recourse to the plebiscitary-majoritarian method is simply a disastrous option, aside from the fact that India will never allow such an exercise and Pakistan will not agree to it either, unless a “third option” of independence is excluded (Bose, 1999: 155).

Pakistan’s view has been that the right to implement a referendum must rely on the options of India and itself. The hysteria over the independence option from Pakistan relates to its fears that any new neighbouring sovereign state would perhaps weaken its militia group establishments, such as Hiz-ul-Mujahideen.

The most constructive approach in this situation is the exercise of genuine engagement and the building of trust in implementing the Abyei protocol. There should be mutual pursuit of tolerance, accommodation and coexistence between the two belligerents’ governments. Both parties should restrain from the “maximalist approach” but instead adopt a “moderate style”.

There is no readymade “one-size-fits-all blue print” for resolving the Abyei debacle but each stalemate requires a unique treatment for the realization of legitimate peace. Though Abyei remains a disastrous and highly contested spot amongst the contested lands in the world, contested lands do not have to remain contested (Bose, 2007: 3).

Chronic confrontation is not inevitable or immutable, and compromise and coexistence remain eminently feasible objectives. The challenge is immense, but the dividends are so great, and the alternatives so grim, that the struggle for peace is worth every ounce of sweat and toil.

References
Chol, J (2010) ‘Politics of Full Implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA),’ BA Research Project: Catholic University of Eastern Africa-Nairobi.
Sumantra, B (2007) ‘Contested Lands, Paths to Progress,’ Open Democracy
Sumantra, B (1999) ‘Kashmir: Sources of Conflict, Dimension of Peace,’ Survival: Global politics and Strategy 41(3): 149-171

Mr. Jacob Dut Chol is the founder and Executive Director of Centre for Democracy and International Analysis (CDIA), a research and academic think-tank in Juba. He can be reached at dutsenior@yahoo.com.

Let’s dump tribalism and give nationalism a chance!

“Morality binds us together into cohesive groups but blinds us to the ideas and motives of those in other group (Michael Shermen).”

BY: Lok Franco Kok, South Sudan, JUL/17/2013, SSN;

In one of my articles published on 24th February 2011 shortly after the bloody massacre carried out by late George athor against innocent women and children of Fangak County titled, “Nuer- Dinka animosity: how it began,” I emphasized on some points which I believed are the motives behind the cancer of prolonged animosity between Nuer and Dinka, the two major tribes in South Sudan.

My points were crystal clear, due to the fact that in every bit of misunderstanding there is always a incipient point, I believed disparity couldn’t just ascend from the blue. On the contrary, a certain source could have actually inspired it, and if not addressed with insistence could extend and involve sensitive parts and produce some untreatable complications.

The more these two tribes engage on political and some social differences the more this hatred takes some advancement. Comparative to the political mess-up in South Sudan, these two rivals never agree even on the developmental plans.

The political violence remain the only challenge persistently catching the public attention and raising the level of already deteriorating condition of our innocent citizens. Our leaders have to be blamed for every bit of political chaos.

Nevertheless, our brothers and sisters in politics are still competing to gain political posts at the expense of the innocent children and women. Pointing fingers at one another and casting blames among themselves for the failures that our Nation is going through is nothing but the last kicks of the dying horse.

To criticize the system where you are part of, does not give any sense at all and it’s a big blow to the South Sudan’s ruling party, ”the mighty SPLM” which is fear for lawlessness and corruption. The top echelon of South Sudan could have just sat and see who has capability to lead during this tough situation where our nation faces a lot of economic, social and political challenges.

Dr. Riek’s decision of competing against his boss in 2015 election stirs a public concern across South Sudan, just for the fear that Kiir will not give a chance to whoever wishes to compete against him in the upcoming general election.

President Kiir and Dr. Riek have been working together since Kiir took office after the tragic death of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s founder Dr. Garang in helicopter crash in 2005. Kiir always believed that both of them are working together to bring change to South Sudan’s conflict traumatized citizens.

Could it be so after the tightened tension between them? Does this disagreement have anything to do with tribalism? Is it not too early for South Sudanese highest echelon to engage on leadership greed? The current political debate has nothing to do with tribalism, but a political disagreement.

Kiir as a person is a South Sudanese and has a right to contest for the second term in office and nobody can stop him from that right, equally Dr. Riek has the same right. The amusing side of this political arena is the deplorable involvement of simple citizen portraying the event as tribal.

The suspension of two ministers, the cabinet and finance ministers, the sacking of Chol Tong of Lakes state and Taban Deng of Unity state are all the decisions of Mr. president and these decisions are protected by law. The two ministers are suspected of corruption which is the topic of debate at every corner of the road teashops, local wine shops and clubs.

Former governor Taban was a best and close friend to president Kiir before they politically fell out. The civil society of Unity state struggled for quite long to get Taban sacked from governorship of Unity State, but their cries fell on deaf ear of president Kiir who was actually having common interest with Taban. Now come his relief from office, nearly everybody in Unity State got furious and translated it as tribalism. What is the tribalism here?

The motive behind the hatred between Nuer and Dinka was seen by many analysts as a fight of strength and bravery. The advancement that it takes now has to interfere with the nation’s integrity. Dr. Nguen is also from Nuer of Unity State. I am absolutely confused why our people like only trouble. Kiir has his rights and privileges to exercise what is constitutionally lawful.

In the interim constitution of the republic of South Sudan, “article 101 sub- article (r) (t) & (s) stated clearly that the president has rights under law to remove a state Governor and/or dissolve a state legislative assembly in the event of a crisis in the state that threatens national security and territorial integrity and appoint a state care-taker Governor who shall prepare for elections within sixty days in the state where the Governor has been removed or the state legislative assembly so dissolved in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution, the relevant state constitution and the law; and perform any other function as may be prescribed by law.”

Tribal politics does nothing positive for the nation except to create too many fault lines among the people that could surely weaken the country. Therefore, we should be equally alert that our politicians are playing their mischievous actions among us and wishing to get into power brandishing the tribal card and eventually relegate them to where they belong- the political dustbin.

Our people may not easily recognize that the leaders and top politicians are not acting for public interest, but only for a personal gain. It happened many times that if one is relieved from his/her political position he/she don’t hesitate to run to the street criticizing the same government that he work for.

The elected government of the mighty SPLM/A is now internally becoming aware of its weakness, which I think is truly nice to the people of South Sudan. Mr. President has nothing to do with all the failures that are blamed on him by his challengers who comprised of the ruling party’s secretary general and his vice, Dr. Machar. He could be blamed as the head of the state, yes, but those who came up with challenges are also to be blamed because they were/are part of this failed system.

If I seem to be presenting arguments against what we called a democratic elected government in Juba, permit me to point a flaw in our elected government. The state is me “all easily becomes” the state is mine. In other words, our leaders tend to think of themselves as owners of this nation rather than as of elected leaders.

It is as if one’s brain, instead of regarding itself as an integral part of the body, suddenly starts treating the rest of the body as a possession, to be disposed of at will. Individually, we can call such a state “madness.”

Whether we are talking here about government by a group or a single dictator, such leaders are beholden to the military organization that is the source of their power. Furthermore, knowledge of the values, purposes, and goals of the rest of population is usually limited or distorted by their military background. That is revealed and came to light when national journalists are being threatened and putting their lives in danger for airing the truth about the government in the media.

In the face of this major threat to our nation, however, the politicians may realize that the country needs their leadership more than their respective party does.

Nations that knowingly prioritize the tribal politics lag behind in development, as they waste energy and resources on tribal wars, political bickering and marginalization. We should not promote tribalists who want the voices of their tribes to be heard to the exclusion of the voices of other tribes.

This country has been through enough already. It cannot develop if we have leaders that promote tribalism. We really need unity to prevail, not only the spoken unity, but the practiced one. It is intolerable and regrettable that the cancer of tribalism is still eating away the minds of our politicians after the tremendous achievements that we made for the independent of our nation.

We read, see and hear the stories of human rights abuses and corruption in the government and we wonder how come the young nation could start misusing the public funds while there are a multitude of challenges that should be addressed.

The government that guarantees protection, security, basic human rights, economic infrastructure needed for economic activities, roads, communications network, and help stimulate economic growth, encourage investment and job creation; the one that provides the basic social services for all citizens regardless of their ethnic background, the government that built schools, healthcare, adequate housing and clean water is the only one that deserved the prolonged leadership.

The two major tribes that are ruling South Sudan now are putting their respective interests above that of our country. If we continue conflicting on who is strong enough to lead our nation, then South Sudan will be a failed state as believed by many analysts before the independence of our beloved country.

I hope it doesn’t sound sanctimonious when I say that the reason I have overcome my tribal loyalties is the national interest. I am calling upon the entire South Sudan citizens to dump tribalism in the dustbin and give nationalism a chance!

Our people need to wake up. What is going on in South Sudan will not be to the interest of any South Sudanese. What our people need is a leader who will provide their basic needs not a brother who will turn a blind eye on their demands.

South Sudan’s interest is served either reforming the ruling party or giving a chance to another party to rule.

The author is South Sudanese reach for comment at jiiwa@live.com

Timely elections offer the only way out

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, JUL/15/2013, SSN;

Although the people of South Sudan are consciously endeavoring to prevent the emergence of yet another Mugabe or Museveni in Africa’s newest country, it is already a common knowledge that the power-greedy president is has already declared his desire to continue in office beyond the current term.

As President Kiir is willing to risk everything good that he has done for the country or the sake of power, the odds are this General is already possessed by the African leaders’ sick mindset of making it out of office only to go to the grave. In other words he wants to die in power.

But whether this former rebel commander sticks to the constitution and the rules of the game in order to achieve his wild dreams or not, this author has since been warning the public against possible attempts by the president and his supporters to delay holding the new country’s first ever elections on time – July 9th 2015. The reason is that, the incumbent president being afraid of losing SPLM backing in the illusive party convention, he hopes a delay may changes things for him on the ground.

On the other hand, there are other lobby groups who also see in a delay – an opportunity to bargain with the incumbent for some personal and quasi regional dividends. An example is the suggestion made by the SPLM Member of the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly [SSNLA] from Jonglei State, Dr. Lual. A. Deng.

With my utmost respect for Dr. Deng, who holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin Madison, however his call for the amendment of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 [TCSS2011] to allow a full transitional period of five (5) years starting this year, 2013, is yet to convince anybody.

Nevertheless he argues that this move would be a part of a conditional agreement with Greater Bahr el Ghazal – SPLM caucus, for President Salva Kiir Mayardit to complete a transitional period that ends on July 9, 2018, without him seeking further terms of office.

In this extension period, Deng hopes that president Salva Kiir shall carry out a wide range of reforms, both within and outside the ruling party. Please follow this link to read the whole article as it appears on the Sudd Institute website: http://suddinstitute.org/publications/show/regional-conferences-in-south-sudan-are-imperative/.

In his spin, the prominent SSNLA MP went on to enumerate what benefits he thinks such an extension would bring to the country. From allowing the political parties to develop themselves and be ready to compete with the SPLM in 2018, to the enactment of the permanent constitution, the conduction of the population census, the determination of electoral constituencies, restoration of stability to Greater Upper Nile region on the one hand, and unifying its leadership on the other.

However I personally don’t buy the MP’s project as I cannot see any tangible reason as to why all these things, that the he has mentioned, couldn’t possibly be achieved within the remaining constitutionally established transitional period, i.e. from now till 9th January 2015, and I believe you will agree with me.

Let’s face it! Can anyone out there give us a reason why the SPLM party has failed to set its house in order all this time, besides the corruption and greediness for power that have lately become this ruling party’s trade mark? What was the leadership doing, so that they would appear like people who have been caught up by time?

As for the other political parties, although they don’t have the SPLM’s nearly fatal internal power struggle, however Salva Kiir‘s insecurity within the SPLM party has led him to bring down a blanket ban on freedom of speech, political gathering or political rallies.

Many opposition political parties have been rendered non-operational inside the country as most of their active members are shut outside the “New Berlin Wall”, which has successfully barred out those who are critical of Kiir’s appalling leadership or his pathetic SPLM party, from operating within the South Sudan soil.

Many people in South Sudan and in the diaspora will see no any sense in Lual A. Deng’s suggestion for the extension of the transitional period, being convinced that even if Salva Kiir were to be given another whole decade starting from 2015, and not from now, none of the reforms enumerated by him nor those mentioned in General Salva Kiir’s apologetic speech on the second anniversary of the country’s secession from Sudan, will ever come to fruition.

Every minute Kiir remains in office, is pushing the new country towards a totalitarian regime, and there is no way that any opposition party can thrive under the current hostile atmosphere when even “dry cough” can earn a critic long nights in the sun baked containers manned by the president’s clannish security agents, or a “night visit” from them that will mark an end to their very existence.

If the ‘extensionists’ cannot see the dangerous precedent they are about to set, they better be cautioned by their peer groups to realize how dangerous that move is, that they are about to make.

Unsurprisingly, President Kiir has of late come under intense criticism from all corners of the earth, first for his poor personal performance and secondly for his governments poor records on human rights.

His false promises therein contained in the Independence Day speech, are words to soothe the ears of the listeners. They are empty noises, and the people have heard them over and over again.

The delays in signing the press bills and the other bills that govern the rest of the basic rights are but intentional acts, and the circumstances surrounding them are designed calculatedly to gag critics.

Mind you, how much he claims to be fighting corruption, we all know that he is kidding, for no leader, however strong or intelligent they are, can ever fight this monster called corruption, in the absence of a free press and the freedom of speech. It is just impossible, Mr. President Sir!

The few days that lie ahead, are gravid with many surprises. Maybe it’s time that those rightly opposed to President Kiir’s totalitarianism consider coupling their opposition with actions if they are to ever set the country on the right tract.

Without free speech, democracy and transparency, one morning, we and they, may all wake up to a totally new dawn, thus pushing into the a corner any hopes for multiparty democracy – God forbid!

But since then, he [Kiir] has become irrelevant even to the moment we are currently in, as well as the future to come. He must go and go now, to set a good example for those who will come after him.
And instead of holding on to some unrealistic ambitions, he would be better off preparing for a decent retirement after a very long career he started right from the bottom of the leader and made it up to where he is now.

Many patriotic South Sudanese are ready to work day and night across political parties to guarantee a peaceful and transparent elections, but before this and that all patriotic citizens have moral duties towards other fellow South Sudanese, and towards the country that we exercise self-discipline so as to guarantee peacefully transfer of power among the daughters and sons of the land without due coercion.

As things stand now in the country, it is only a matter of weeks before we all start lamenting over a window of opportunity to rectify things, but we chose to squander.

To bring president Kiir to his right senses, the country’s MPs [the National Legislative Assembly, the State Legislative Assemblies and the Council of States] are hereby called upon to shoulder their national and a moral responsibilities, instead of acting as mere rubber-stamps.

They must see to it that the National Elections Commission and all the other relevant authorities responsible for the Census are provided the necessary resources to start preparing the country for election, come 9th January 2015.

Again it cannot be overstressed here that, the United Nation Mission in South Sudan [UNIMISS], and the other organisations that represent the international community in Juba, are in fact endowed with the responsibility to see to it that this new country is kept moving and in the right direction.

We understand that president Kiir was testing the waters when he fired the elected governor of the Lakes State and replaced him with another, while ignoring the TCSS-2011, which calls for the holding of a by-election 60 days, following such a move.

Now he has again relieved the elected governor of the Unity State from office, and this time around the pressure on him to keep to the constitution by making sure that by-elections are held, has doubled, the countrywide.

Can he surely do it before he faces a popular uprising and a possible impeachment for repeatedly violating the highest law of the country, is what the days ahead will tell.

Without going into details at this point, the coalition of South Sudan opposition parties are in contact to jointly present strong and credible candidates to see that SPLM is defeated in the forthcoming 2015 first ever elections and victory is certain for the masses have fully come to understand and appreciate the obvious that bush mentality cannot build a modern state.

Our people are ready to express this new way of thinking through a popular vote for change, which will eventually see an entire nation converging at a point where their long held dreams of a multi-party democracy, stability, peaceful transfer of power, good governance, and rule of law, transparency and freedom of speech and true nation building are realized.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. He can be reached at: justinramba@doctors.net.uk

On the National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation in South Sudan

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, JUL/15/2013, SSN;

This is a continuation of a previous discussion on the national healing, peace and reconciliation initiative in South Sudan, where I made the case for this process as the mandate of the church (see article/The-Case-for-Reconciliation-as-the-Mandate-of-the-Church-in-South-Sudan). On that occasion, I came full circle towards the end by maintaining that the church notwithstanding, reconciliation process continue to be a contemporary secular political agenda, as a function of a legal area in peace-building practice known as transitional justice.

It is a practice that often characterizes major political transitions, such as when a protracted violent conflict has come to an end in a negotiated settlement or when a draconian authoritarian regime has been toppled, as a mechanism to redress past egregious human rights abuses. Let me come back to this at a later stage. What I want to continue discussing in the meanwhile, is picking up the pieces from where I appealed to “our brothers and sisters, elders and mothers, political leaders, spiritual leaders, and traditional and tribal leaders to form a cohesive unit and rally behind the national reconciliation initiative.”

It is particularly timely to revisit this discussion, especially as on the one hand, the political climate in the country seems somber, and the future of the land looks bleak as South Sudan seems to be edging ever closer to all out ethnic violence.

On the other hand, however, there are encouraging signs of maturity that South Sudanese from all walks of life are yearning for the national healing, peace and reconciliation initiative. The Guardian online news medium in an article marking South Sudan’s second independence anniversary and poignantly entitled “South Sudan: ‘independence is not as beautiful as we thought,’” reports that “surveys conducted by the [Sudd] institute found people across South Sudan were almost unanimously in favor of the idea” (please see http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/09/south-sudan-independence?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487).

This is true of most of the other faith-based actors, including our Muslim brothers and sisters who are now equally on board—a feat clearly exemplified in the South Sudanese Muslims dedication of the afternoon prayer of Friday July 5th, 2013 for the reconciliation initiative. To our Muslims in South Sudan, I wish you a happy and steadfast devotion to God in this holy month of fasting and spiritual contemplation. Remember South Sudan in your reflections. Ramadan Karim.

That said a vast majority of our Christian brothers and sisters, as well as followers of African traditional religions, have evidently also embraced the national reconciliation process. Most have joined the nationwide day of prayer held on the eve of the second independence commemoration to pray for South Sudan and to kick-start the reconciliation process.

In the same vein, political leaders, including representatives of opposition parties such as SPLM-DC, have come out and fully endorsed the initiative. They have also recognized and accepted the integral role of the church and other civil society actors in the process. In his keynote free speech on the second anniversary of the independence of South Sudan on July 9th, 2013, President Mayardit equally continued to express the spirit of reconciliation. He extended renewed appeal to those fighting his government, to come back home, embrace peace and join in the process of nation-building.

“I am extremely concerned about the continuing attacks and senseless killing of innocent civilians…in Jonglei State, and specifically in Pibor County,” bewailed the President. “I acknowledge the leaders who have seen the value in reconciliation, unity and brotherhood and have responded positively to the amnesty,” the President further noted, and “urge[d] those who have not yet responded to the amnesty offer, including David Yau Yau, to reflect on this day, the second anniversary of our independence, and to honor the memory of our martyrs, who fought so that we do not have to struggle again.” “We should end violence and war with our generation so that our children will eventually enjoy lasting peace,” the President concluded.

Surprisingly, the president’s speech was ubiquitously silent about the pertinent issues of increasing tribal extremism and systemic nepotism at home. The speech was also quiet on how to improve our foreign relations abroad. These issues, among others currently dominate the political discourse in South Sudan. As such it would have been prudent for the president to outline to the citizens progress made, or how he intends to steer the country to overcome these challenges.

Perhaps, the president is also a victim of the organized stifling of freedom of expression, and censorship from discussing certain issues deemed sensitive in the land. Who knows, particularly in view of the current global violation of individual liberties and freedoms, including the intrusion of privacy through mass scale global surveillance campaign—the Prism project?! Else it does not make sense why the president did not touch on these issues in his speech.

Nonetheless, in my view, save for the speech’s overall mute on policies to tackle the increasing tribal fragmentation and unprecedented nepotism, and to improve foreign relations, the sections of the speech that did discuss corruption, the importance of unity, brotherhood and reconciliation, can be characterized as promising, inspiring and visionary. But the President must now act to ensure the promises he made to South Sudanese in the spirit of reconciliation in his speech, are kept.

A starting point for this is for the President to extend a blanket amnesty to all the political prisoners.

Mr. President, in the spirit of reconciliation and brotherhood I urge you to immediately release the likes of Justice Peter Sule, who are still languishing in jail without trial for rebellion allegations, for which you have now offered forgiveness. I also commend you for temporarily releasing elder Sule to attend the funeral of his brother who recently passed away in Cairo, Egypt. Such random act of kindness and a brotherhood gesture will go a long way.

In the same spirit of reconciliation, I appeal to you to extend immunity and safety to your political opponents who are in self-imposed exile and invite them to come home and join the nation-building process. The national reconciliation process can only command any meaning and truly heal, reconcile and bring sustainable peace to our country, if it is honest, comprehensive and an all embracing exercise.

Whether the President responds or ignores this appeal (which is likely), is his decision. But that much is clear. The reconciliation initiative has gained currency and has been embraced by most South Sudanese across all levels of the society—the top, middle and the grassroots levels. Indeed at a time when many are complaining about political leadership deficiency, and lack of national vision and direction in the land, the reconciliation process is being rightly hailed around the world as a genuine opportunity and an alternative to overcome this challenge. Seen this way, the national healing, peace and reconciliation initiative may well be our last best hope to begin the process of building the South Sudan nation in earnest.

What we do not seem to realize is that the reconciliation processes is not only about redressing the past, but is also a forward looking opportunity to reunite the ranks of all South Sudanese, and address all legitimate grievances, including current challenges related to cattle rustling, inter-communal violence, insecurity, selective disarmament, and such.

The reconciliation process will create space for all these issues to be transparently discussed, and consensus solutions proposed. If this is the case, how should the process look like as a genuine opportunity for offering national vision and direction of justice, equality and prosperity in lasting peace and unity in South Sudan?

It is clear from the preceding paragraphs that significant progress has been made. This is equally demonstrated in a recent interview conducted by Radio Miraya with the most reverend, and the chair of the reconciliation committee, Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, the archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan. Though the bishop acknowledged in the interview that thus far the committee has only “met to see how we can begin the process of the national reconciliation,” he did provide a tentative plan going forward.

This can be briefly summed up as follows:
In the interview, the bishop noted that his mandate in the process is apolitical, and therefore the process will be entirely guided by “spiritual values.” This being the case, his lordship emphasized the importance of prayer in giving thanks to God for the independence of South Sudan. To this end, but also to inaugurate the dawn of the national healing, peace and reconciliation era, the national day of prayer was held nationwide on the eve of the second independence anniversary as noted above.

The most reverend, further acknowledged that “prayer is a core of any reconciliation we want to do because if you have not open up your heart to your brother or sister it is very difficult to carry out any reconciliation. We are calling the people of the Republic of South Sudan, beginning from the top leadership that we need to say that ‘we are sorry to one another for what we have done,’” referring to the atrocities South Sudanese inflicted on themselves during the war. “We cannot continue to carry all the bad things that we have done to one another all along, we need to remember them and…say what we have done is not good for this nation.”

Bishop Yak further discussed a plan to send a committee to train community leaders on the meaning of healing, reconciliation and forgiveness in the ten states. From this, fifty individuals will be selected from each state and tasked with carrying out civic education of the masses at local grassroots —County and Boma levels on the meaning of reconciliation and forgiveness.

But the trainers will also solicit and collect people’s grievances to be discussed in conferences held across the ten states leading to the main national conference on healing, peace and reconciliation event to be held in Juba, where all the levels of the society will be represented.

In response to a question raised by the host in Radio Miraya about those who may call for justice before reconciliation, the bishop stressed that “you know if you have not softened the hearts of the people you cannot get justice. The reconciliation means someone should say, I’m sorry for what I have done to my brother, so if someone did not say this justice will not come; it is from there that we can talk about justice. The important part is for a person to acknowledge what he/she has done (to) his/her brother.”

Archbishop Yak concluded the interview by highlighting some of the challenges confronting the process, including logistics and lack of funding and resources. He rightly urged the NGO and donor community intent on assisting our beleaguered country to commit their resources behind this national reconciliation initiative. “I believe all the money we have in South Sudan should be geared towards the peace and reconciliation process…. I’m appealing to everybody to help us to be able to embark on this very important process” (for the whole transcribed interview, see http://www.radiomiraya.org/interviews2/11451-reconciliation-to-address-grievances-archbishop-deng-bul.html#gsc.tab=0).

On the whole the bishop has delineated a promising plan for the national reconciliation to effectively redress our tragic history as well as tackle current issues and challenges, bring healing and closure, and promote lasting peace in South Sudan.

As I argued elsewhere in the recent past, an effective and comprehensive reconciliation process tailored to our context specific grievances and needs must possess key ingredients from faith-based peacebuilding and reconciliation practice, combined with secular sociological conflict resolution strategies, and buttressed by our traditional reconciliation rituals and exercise.

Thus far the bishop’s roadmap for this process can be argued to have seamlessly weaved key ingredients from these three approaches to effective peace-building.

The centrality of prayer in the process represents the “spiritual values” that the bishop noted underpin the process. But there are several other important issues in the interview that speak to effective peace-building at work in the initial plan outlined by the bishop in his interview.

First, in prayer it is also ensured the process takes off in the right spiritual frame of mind, heart, and soul that commits the whole undertaking to God’s guidance and prepares us to confess the injury committed against God and our neighbour.

In transitional justice terms, which earlier I noted that I will come back to it at some point in this exercise, we may call this confession the beginning of truth telling. In transitional justice and reconciliation, the truth about past political atrocities and current grievances must be revealed or recounted in order to be addressed to ensure the beginning of the process of healing that ultimately brings closure to these experiences.

This is the first step in any reconciliation process, which as can be deduced from the interview is one of the mandates of the fifty member committee that will be tasked with working with the grassroots. In simple terms, the fifty trained elders of the different communities will train or build capacity of the masses; educate them on the meaning of reconciliation; and elicit their grievances, including truth telling or sharing of bitter past experiences.

Of course this exercise should be preceded by some form of conflict impact assessment (CIA) to identify the various stakeholders, who are to be included in the national reconciliation function.

Second, as the bishop also observed, by beginning with prayers, we also present ourselves with a golden opportunity to begin to reflect, and acknowledge our sins of commission and omission. In transitional justice and reconciliation practice we can technically refer to this as the beginning of acknowledgement, where we owned up to our misdeed, which is also vital to the success of the process.

The third equally important point in the function of the national day of prayer as the bishop noted is to serve the purpose of preparing our hearts to express remorse or public apology, which again is another stepping stone in the path of any given attempt at overcoming a gloomy past and a challenging present towards a national healing, peace and reconciliation.

The concern about justice before reconciliation amongst some of our brothers cited earlier is legitimate and it is a question about retributive justice. And as bishop Yak stressed acknowledgement must precede the service of justice. It is at this juncture that traditional reconciliation practice plays a key role.

As we all know too well in our traditional societies, in cases of serious injury, justice may be served through returning or compensating for the loss. This customary law practice neatly fits with another equally integral element of sociological transitional justice and reconciliation practice, namely the payment of reparation or the restitution of the loss to avail forgiveness and reconciliation. This was fourth.

Fifth, forgiveness or amnesty as the president has shown on numerous occasions is another ingredient of transitional justice and reconciliation attempt. But forgiveness is entirely left to the victim or the relatives of the victim’s discretion whether to choose to forgive or not, as healing processes vary from one individual to another, and forgiveness is part of this equation.

In a nutshell, the national healing, peace and reconciliation process must reflect the five stages mentioned here, namely truth telling, acknowledgement, public apology, reparation and forgiveness throughout the preparatory phases leading to the main event, where the political leadership must in turn participate in the same five stages.

However, the question remains: why would such a historic process remain starved of funding by our “well intentioned friends” among the donor and the NGO members of the international community? Without this process all stakeholders in South Sudan can rest assured that all bets are off, including whatever “life-saving” programs that are currently being implemented by various NGOs across the country.

Without relative peace and stability in the country, it is difficult to see how any humanitarian and development program can be implemented in South Sudan, including in the rural areas where these programs are needed the most. I urge all stakeholders from the donor community to do the morally right thing and support the national healing, peace and reconciliation process.

This national reconciliation is the next best thing and our last best hope for lasting peace in South Sudan.

tloloyuong@gmail.com

SPLM splint a potent hope for South Sudan fledging democracy

BY: Deng Vanang, JUBA, JUL/15/2013, SSN;

Eight years in power is a long time for any party mindful of its citizens and visionary enough to help the country make great strides in good governance and economic development. It is within eight years United States elected President makes dramatic changes in government and leaves a mark behind with honors a satisfied man. Although this shouldn’t be the case with South Sudan, a country that emerged recently from twenty one years’ civil war, South Sudan could have done better than what we see. No doubt it is a giant that has punched below its weight.

With robust civil service system established in 1972-1983 by autonomous regional government, youthful manpower, immensely untapped material resources, generous friends readily available to lend a hand and dozens of international experiences to learn from, South Sudan undoubtedly has a good beginning.

Unlike many of her peer African states each of which started off with less than five graduates and without good will from the departing colonialists the time they gained their independence, South Sudan should instead count her blessings than grumble perpetually.

The watch word of being a new born country that is tirelessly turned into yet another national anthem casually sung by government officials even at awkward places and times is not in the right place. On top of these advantages, South Sudan achieved her independence at a time of rapidly growing latest science, technology and information system, which one South African official told us while we were in South Africa in 2008, could help build a new country to the level of his country within fifteen years.

The official opined that all the infrastructures we saw were gradually built to where they are five hundred years ago. But given the modern technology, South Sudan with its valuable resources can reach where South Africa is within the next fifteen years. That is from 2005 to 2020.

What is needed by South Sudanese people and their government is a combination of love for one another, unity and hard work, he continued. Unfortunately what everybody knows South Sudanese lack all these social ingredients and without which the road to better life for all is undeniably long and tortuous.
Lacks of these vital elements that develop a nation have been compounded by what I call wanting balance of power within the ruling elite.

SPLM as mass party, the status it inherited from liberation era has subconsciously worked against itself as it does to the development of South Sudan entirely. The overzealous position has impeded the growth of democracy as much as it deprived the country of economic growth through corruption apart from gnawing insecurity encouraged by staggering tribal and nepotistic tendencies.

Before explaining this in detail, what Nelson Mandela quoted when being sworn in 1994 as a President of multi-racial South Africa serves its purpose today as Great Mandela reels in pain in his sick bed. He was quoted as saying lack of strong opposition to best advice the ruling ANC is an Achilles heels of new found rainbow nation of South Africa.

His colleagues might have taken it as a betrayal of the party that crawled out of backwater of gruelling hundred years’ liberation struggle while observers could view the concern as crocodile tears sarcastically shed by the man who vanquished his opponents. Little did they know Madiba was magnanimous with victory in the quest for Posterity, a rare commodity in most self-seeking African leaders of the day.

From then on, ANC powerful position Mandela foresaw as a disadvantage rather than a privilege is now taking its tolls on the country. ANC is becoming more arrogant to listen to the voice of reason and in this state of indifference South Africa is sliding deeper and deeper into an abyss of corruption and dictatorship in every passing day. Many of its supporters, including Mandela’s Thembu clan king are now fleeing the ANC house they painstakingly built with sweat, tears and blood to the former enemy, the Whites led Democratic Alliance party that is magnificently ruling Western Cape Province out of eight other provinces plagued by usual Blacks’ curse, the poor governance.

Reason being ANC black elites are extremely growing richer at the grim expense of the black majority that are increasingly growing poorer and disenchanted with the party they thought was messiah that descended to liberate them. Even the ongoing hullabaloo within ANC inner circles about keeping alive good old Mandela for eternity is not that love about the world iconic figure. The party rather fears the death of Mandela will snap the last string that connects the populous black electorate with the leadership which shall mark the beginning of an end of the ANC kleptocratic elite.

Equally South Sudan is no different from South Africa’s shilling experience. Here SPLM is an ANC under which all the opportunists have taken cover to enrich themselves. The two powerful tribes, the Dinka and Nuer have brought under strangling hold all means of political tyranny that embodies change such as population, economy, defence and security forces and what have you, whether in dictatorship or democracy.

This collusion rather than coalition has militated against concerted efforts towards effecting what is necessary for the long suffering South Sudanese including the Nuer and Dinka ordinary citizens. But fortunately enough, the collusion is currently in tatters for the referendum euphoria that once united the tribal gangs has precipitated since the advent of country’s independence with rivalry of the past making a tumultuous return, now eating deep into an all time fragile unity of the country.

Other smaller tribes cannot be blamed for joining the monster they could not beat. They are in under the dictate of natural survival instincts far from sheer necessity. This over bearing political dominance of the two has not only brutally killed ideological diversity upon which any progressive country is built but also destroyed the balance of power that makes reforms and regime change possible.

In this monolithic bipolar-tribal system being small as a tribe is becoming a curse since such system is built irrespective of charisma needed to select leaders. Hence, obviously, no window of opportunity for a person from small tribe to emerge on the top and lead the country in the midst of struggling elephantine tribes in this vast jungle called South Sudan.

The party cannot be expected of ushering in reforms since retrogression is a revered king wielding both stick and carrot against any cadres already cowed into toeing the party line by fear and poverty. South Sudan being a poor country with people frightened by devastating civil war they emerged out of its ashes the other day is a proven sanctuary of merciless dictators and insatiable kleptocrats who silence the hungry with dangled carrot while they frog march opposition with a rod placed on the back.

In this scenario, opposition permanently remains the ground only trodden by a few dare devil hardcore elements that value dignity in rags and death than swinging potbellies in shame and regrettable indignity.

In the face of such predicaments democracy is a road so narrow that is dared pass through at one’s peril in this small and struggling part of the world since it is a death bed for those who choose to fight and go hungry.

Those who cry wolf that SPLM has lost direction are even hypocritical. They are simply crying by themselves, of themselves and for themselves to take over a charade they could not inherit while outside it.

For from day one of its inception in September 1983 SPLM is a political organization born blind and it has never ever trodden in the right direction with regards to meeting popular demand of South Sudanese to be independent and how best the war could have been fought against the North. Instead it went in zigzags traversing several miles for the liberation of the whole Sudan with an aim of changing the way the country was governed.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni in the second independence anniversary best captured that dilemma when he said the past war was long and unnecessary trying to solve an obvious problem. Neither has the movement been accountable and transparent to people from Itang refugee camp in Ethiopia all through to the battle fields where it commandeered food and cattle rations respectively.

Ruled in Marxist style reign of terror in the areas it controlled. Jailed and killed the dissident voices who dared question the direction in which the big man was heading the restive masses. It only adopted self-determination under both local and international pressures as temporary measure to calm ever restive masses with an exit strategy.

This strategy was to kill self-determination with an election during the interim period the big man hoped would deliver him the national Presidency of the whole Sudan. Once that was accomplished, he would turn around and eliminate those who would try to agitate for South Sudan referendum.

With the big man gone mysteriously, the successor succumbed to the popular will. He knew his weakness and cleverly turned it into strength. The General knew he was no match to Field Marshal to be able to win the Presidential election. Due to corruption, mismanagement and tribalism he perpetuated down South he knew he had a poor score card to use as a spring board to win over the northern part of the country that was still holding out.

By technically responding to Southern demand for independence, the SPLM in its abrupt U-turn has done what it always does. That is betraying people of Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile it misled into joining liberation of whole Sudan that never was. This is the huge debt the country is now paying in an alleged relation with SPLM-North the Sudan government decries as interference in its internal affairs to which it is responding in kind by backing Southern rebels and closing oil pipelines traversing through its territory.

How Democracy works
Democracy doesn’t thrive in an environment where one party is too extremely powerful except where there are two or more political forces shaking one another’s might. One may be in power while the rest are outside threatening to take over the contested power trappings. Rather than willingness, it is the fear in the party in power to be removed if it under performs that makes it deliver much needed services to the needy poor.

That is why the populous and powerful Nuer and Dinka being in one party in a tribally charged country like South Sudan can never augur well for necessary reforms to come about. If the two tribes are not going to split the SPLM, South Sudan will not shed off a failed state tag tied to its long tail of decadence.

The rivalry between the two tribes is viewed by some as setback which is not true. It is rather the strength of South Sudan body politics to quickly liberalize and democratize so long as the two peacefully oppose and shake up each other powers, a move that will resultantly effect change in the process for all.

Now it is exactly what the chiefs from these two tribes are engaging in.

In this urban political battle the President is currently winning the psychological warfare against his Vice President. The logic is simple. Machar as usual is no respecter of the interests of his long time allies. He embraces johnnycomelateliers at the expense of those he endures long and hard times with as it is exemplified in recent change of allegiance between Taban Deng and Joseph Nguen Monytuil.

Unlike his Vice, President has what it takes to dangle before those who are desperately in need of positions and better lifestyle in the cities. This, notwithstanding, will not translate into electoral victory at the end for Machar has the masses behind him disillusioned by Kiir’s eight years poor governance. The masses shall be more endeared to his dialectics as opposed to Kiir’s historical narratives.

Kiir is a man of history courtesy of SPLM/A liberation struggle. If he retains the chairmanship in the upcoming SPLM convention, he will do everything in his powers to appeal to the former SPLM Torit faction strong holds against the past SPLM Nasir faction controlled areas which eventually diminished and lost out to the former.

And what will be Machar political vehicle Kiir will derogatorily regard it as yet another failed Nasir faction camouflaged in different form. In rebuttal, Machar will not use history for in practical terms in this minefield he is a failure.

Not a failure in theory because it was his talents, patriotism and compromise SPLM mainstream used as fodders to succeed while it simultaneously rubbished him as a traitor and concomitant failure.

Machar’s achievements are very much hidden in the history and too abstract to the ordinary citizenry to understand. Than waste time explaining the abstract, he will certainly find comfort in the philosophy of dialectical materialism.

That is, reasoning out to the electorate how and why Kiir government has irredeemably under performed. In so doing he should not allow himself to be vague about it as it is the case now in the media. He needs to breakdown Political and economic corruption, insecurity, lack of rule of law and troubled foreign policy into details since it is where the devil lies best to the understanding of the common man and woman on the dust filled streets and far flung villages.

Goes further down as to how grave such mal-practices diminished their bread and endangered personal security, education and health of their children.

The two rivals should not even waste plenty of time trying to penetrate into each other tribal enclaves of Nuer and Dinka since the final victor will be one who bags the larger support of other 62 ethnic groups. Each of whom will not penetrate the other ethnic base electoral-wise but the ethnic bases are only suitable in their psychological warfare to frustrate each other.

Machar’s feel-good attitude that he has what it takes in Dinka land to win the upcoming elections is not in place and the same fact applies to Kiir in the Nuer heartland. Both only have politicians and intellectuals from the two ethnic rival communities who will not win substantial votes for them in rural areas where votes actually are.

Kiir is much aware of this than Machar. That is why he is telling Bor community either subtly that he is still their son despite the circumstances by making Anglican Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul the chairperson of National Reconciliation and Healing as he frustrates Machar. And he will certainly bring closer Bor community to the warmth of his Presidency as elections gets nearer.

It is the same method he uses not to arrange any Dinka politician before anti-corruption Commission as much as he visits any Dinka area where natural or man-made disaster strikes. He is telling Dinka community as history entails their unity, which they use to beat others into line, is far more important and a pre-requisite to the maintenance of South Sudan leadership from which the community pride and economic advantage over the rest emanate.

The same replica will be in Nuer land as both camps shall closely monitor each other while campaigning in tribal strongholds and any blunder shall be used with maximum effect. The Nuers hitherto accuse their Dinka cousins of not being grateful to them for not reciprocating their goodwill leadership gestures. It is through the support of late Peter Gatkuoth Gual Uncle Abel Alier used to win Southern regional elections in 1970s and 80s.

The same repeated itself when Samuel Gai Tut sided with Akwot Atem against his nephew Dr. John Garang over the SPLM/A leadership. While William Nyuon Bany was loyally supportive to Garang against Nuer led Anya-nya Two. They can as well cite how Bullen Alier and Santino Deng Teng frustrated the Liberal Party leadership of Both Diu in 1953 as well as that of Philip Pidak Lieth as Deputy President to Aggrey Jaden in SANU by William Deng Nhial in 1964.

This belligerent stand shall remain in force and won’t be swayed by any other Nuer Kiir will make Vice President in case he sacks Machar. Instead will rather provoke more anger since the Nuer will view it as Kiir’s stubborn determination to deny them the top job by keeping them subjugated in the Vice Presidency of which they are fatigued and don’t longer need.

Kiir’s preference of another Nuer to become Vice President over James Wani Igga or anybody from Equatoria against SPLM current hierarchy and its entrenched traditions will backfire even more. For it will subsequently alienate his supporters in Equatoria and wholesomely hand over the vote’s rich region on silver platter to Machar.

The President’s alleged plan to usher in reforms in the government as the way of making Machar irrelevant shall not only be held back by power struggle between him and his vice President but also his selective anti-graft war, diminishing resources to deliver much needed services, heavy handed response to criticism by human rights groups as a result of government paranoia and of course lack of enough time to do the miracles within less than two years before 2015 general elections.

All the above enumerated factors shall work in favor of Machar. Already Machar’s quest for Presidency doesn’t enable the president to convene either political bureau meeting or party convention where serious decisions, if any, could be taken and which he is unsure of going his way.

Some of these decisions could be the passage of party basic rules already decried by his opponents as dictatorial with an aim of rigging him in for another term in the office in which he failed to do anything tangible for the last eight years and nothing is expected from another five-year term he is begging to be given.

Now his option is to embark on undeclared state of emergency, a de facto one which made him during the independence celebration to ferry in ten thousand strong troops loyal to him into capital city Juba and other nine states capitals where he will appoint his die-hard allies as Governors so that any negative reaction to any plan he makes shall be contained through brute force.

In this inauguration of totalitarian dictatorship, the army is not spared either. The President is said to be toying with an idea of appointing an army chief of General staff with an iron fist to galvanize the fractured unity in the army already divided by tribal and regional loyalties against his opponents.

This lame duck strategy won’t help his government and neither the country but shall only maintain him in a too shaky position of non-performance he thinks will hand him yet another five year term he couldn’t otherwise manage to get through free-for-all democratic elections.

To camouflage the wanton despotism he will certainly be tempted to form an inclusive government that will only do his bidding than responding to public interest. The strategy shall serve the intended purpose of saving face by keeping Machar and other opponents in state of limbo.

However, Machar and allies can still see some silver lining in Kiir’s wild plans. In the heat of SPLM internal power struggle, the North Sudan shall take an advantage by stonewalling Abyie referendum, taking more lucrative disputed border territories and again turning off oil tapes, further strangling planned reforms in Kiir government it accuses of aiding the SPLM–North.

While on the other hand Machar himself can heighten sabotage of President’s decisions and actions as he equally agitates for radical change from within that will force Kiir into sacking him so that his supporters’ spontaneous reaction to the bad news shall usher in violence beyond the president’s control and possibly bring him down leaving in its wake profound anarchy in the country.

Viable solution
The only viable option to save the country from degenerating into the anarchy is for the president to reach out to his opponents from within and the opposition so as to form an all inclusive government of national unity on 50/50 power sharing basis between ruling SPLM and entire opposition with the free hand to create a clear road map in the run up to 2015 elections.

The purposed government will prepare a soft landing ground for the next elections and the upcoming elected government so that it is not going to spend the first of its five year term putting in place proper laws and institutions to be able to deliver basic services while people continue to languish in dire needs.

In fulfilment of this nobility, the unity government shall set five goals for itself to achieve in public interest and country’s stability. The new government in pursuit of this noble goal can as well become the legal arbiter between SPLM warring factions since it will force them to hold their convention as the neutral Political Party Council shall dictate and those will be losers will opt for a peaceful divorce to form a party of their own in order to compete in the slated elections.

In this strategy all political forces including SPLM opponents shall rest assured to implement proper execution of the following agenda as demonstrated below. The government of national unity with incumbent President, Vice President and a new Prime Minister selected from opposition with two deputies can work in consultative basis.

While the parties work hand in hand in the national unity government can establish an inclusive Constitutional review commission to come up with laws that will address current land grab, failed anti-corruption war and reform judiciary. Establish Political parties Council to register political parties as may be required by law. Order the establishment of an inclusive National Election Commission as well as allow the timely conduct of population census.

Restructuring the army and civil defense forces shall also come in handy before the highly anticipated first post independence polls.

In response to popular demand, the constitution will obviously accommodate federalism, a password for my pet subject, regionalism, I love with passion as a solution to this country myriad of problems since decentralization has been misused by some to ride rough shod over the rest, causing irreconcilable divisions and likely disintegration of the country.

So far both President Kiir and Vice President Machar have contradicted themselves on federalism. The President recently engaged in organizing regional conferences as opposed to his decentralization or unitary system doctrine while Machar criticized them as balkanization of the country along regional lines which diametrically contradicts his quest for federalism, a regionalism in disgust.

To me it is only federalism to make states semi-autonomous that has the potential of detribalizing and liberalizing South Sudan. It is the same purposed system of governance that can level political playing field for all – big and small tribes.

Should South Sudanese think of three Greater regions comprising constituent autonomous states than about their tribes within their sub-regions, there will be a semblance of unity in South Sudan. For under threat of being outwitted politically and denied economic opportunities by rival region, people of each region must strive to work together in order to be in power.

Within each region big tribe will need smaller tribes and trade off some of its power for support lest they are taken away by another big tribe in the rival region, eventually depriving it of power.

Consequently each region will form a regional political bloc that unites its ranks and piles and as a result of falling short of winning, it will form a coalition with another in a run–off election.

In this power game all tribes in the regions shall have the same value and respect to accord one another since one will not make do without the other, big or small.

Deng Vanang is a Journalist and member of National Executive Committee of the leading opposition party, SPLM-DC.

All the views expressed above are his and not attributed to SPLM-DC as the party.

July14 2013

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Cry the Beloved South Sudan in its Second Independence Anniversary

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, SOUTH SUDAN, JUL/14/2013, SSN;

‘Only when this country is liberated from the “liberators” will we celebrate our true independence.’ This time last year I refused to celebrate the first independence anniversary of South Sudan and I remain adamant not to celebrate the second anniversary either. You see, when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed between the selected dyadic parties to the conflict, the ruling Sudan National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in January 2005, there was profound disappointment among those who were excluded from the round table, including our brothers in Darfur and other key stakeholders in both the North and the South. But there was also joyful ululation and elation amongst most South Sudanese both at home and away.

Many South Sudanese commons, including myself came to be optimistic that the much sought after peace in a country that for decades has been riddled by devastating protracted civil wars in its South and elsewhere, is finally here.

The political, economic, and geographic power-sharing protocol of the CPA raised people’s expectations about the beginning of a new era, where at long last a genuine political representation in the country’s governance and political decision-making, has dawned.

There was soaring optimism in finally enjoying the fruits of peace through the recognition and appreciation of Sudanese multi-ethnicity and cultural diversity, provision of equitable access to social and economic services, and protection of freedom of movement, including safe passage to cattle grazing areas and water points across different regional boundaries within the country.

It was thought that our chronic subjugation, domination and marginalization by the Jallaba northerners was finally over, and Sudan will no longer be the same. In universal terms, many believed security was here, and basic civil and political rights, and social and economic rights, are sure to be guaranteed in this new era of peace.

After all the essence of all the liberation struggles in the Sudan throughout its history, has always been for the political establishment at the center to meet the legitimate aspirations and protect the universal rights of its people on the peripheries. And with the signing of the CPA the moment seemed ripe for these grievances to finally be addressed.

The central provision on Southern self-determination plebiscite exercise, including the Abyei protocol was the cherry on the cake of the CPA. Self-determination in the South was welcomed with a sigh of relief as “our Kairos moment,” as the Church declared. It was an opportune moment because should Khartoum fail to make unity attractive by meeting the popular demands of South Sudanese, South Sudan was on course to secession.

For most South Sudanese, however, and particularly the youth, life with Khartoum was not feasible, regardless of whether unity was to be made attractive or not. “We, the southern Sudanese have already decided to vote for an independent Southern Sudan where we will live as first class citizens,” stated the Southern Sudanese Youth Forum in the build-up to the referendum exercise, and so it proved to be the case with the resulting landslide vote for South Sudan’s secession in the referendum.

However, little did we know there were hidden agendas of restituting in Juba the very unjust power structures that we sought to overcome in Khartoum. How could we have known that there will be another northern South Sudanese subjugation, domination, and marginalization deep inside Juba when we are a sovereign and independent country?

Common sense had its say, but what is common sense in the face of greed and power hunger? Reason has been defied, and the big question is: how did this happen?

As we all know too well, the precarious nature of the negative peace that prevailed after the signing of the CPA in 2005 left many Sudanese stakeholders unprepared for peace, and the ruling clique in Juba put this to “good” effect.

It was thought given Khartoum’s abysmal track record of dishonouring agreements that the peace will not last the whole six interim period years leading to the Southern self-determination referenda.

This being the case, most of the actors involved in Sudanese conflict resolution, management and mitigation, but not necessarily conflict prevention and transformation were preoccupied with precisely that, namely channelling their efforts to keep the peace.

Thus the rudimentary local civil society actors spearheaded by the church in partnership with people of good will across the world embark on robust policy advocacy with powerful world leaders to ensure all the provisions of the CPA, and particularly the key provisions of the self-determination referenda in the South, were implemented by Khartoum in a timely, transparent, and credible manner.

However, while all focus and international pressure was on Khartoum to implement the agreement, Juba was busy consolidating power across ethnic lines under the guise of maintaining the command structure of the rebel movement in readiness for any unexpected relapse to war.

Our international interlocutors were misled to believe that this was just a mandatory precautionary measure, considering the history of bad faith within the rebel movement, and so tribal domination of the government by one or two tribes came to pass.

Locally, South Sudanese who questioned the logic behind such excesses of concentration of power in the hands of individuals and domination of the political space in the country by few ethnic groups were dismissed as cowards and traitors, and some are even still unjustly languishing in arbitrary detention without due process.

It was during this period that rampant looting spree of the public purse was ushered in as billions of dollars began to magically disappear into private bank accounts, and endemic corruption and systemic nepotism began to dominate the country to the detriment of social and economic service provision.

Then came the formation of what from the outside seemed like a representative government in the South after the independence. But in effect it was a government of renowned scavengers and political opportunists from Khartoum days, mostly elections drop-outs and rejects in their own bases.

Again, when questions were asked about the logic, the answer quickly came that the government was formed in a “spirit of reconciliation” with our brothers who were serving Khartoum during the war years. In simple terms, we were all taken for a ride.

But while “you can fool some people sometime, you can’t fool all the people all the time.” Thus what has increasingly become evident in South Sudan since the signing of the CPA is that South Sudanese have been betrayed and exploited by our “liberators.” Numerous studies support this view.

The former world banker and the renowned Africa economist, Paul Collier, for example has compellingly argued in his writings that although they may present popular grievance as the underlying cause for picking up arms, it is greed rather than grievance that drives rebel groups in the African continent.

In his “Doing Well Out of War: An Economic Perspective,” Collier writes: “Economic agendas appear to be central to understanding why civil war starts. Conflicts are far more likely to be caused by economic opportunities than by grievance.”

But organized and successful rebel groups like the SPLA tend to be clever at concealing the greed factor, and instead ride on the back of popular grievance to generate sympathy and establish good external relations with the international community, which the SPLM satisfactorily did.

As Collier rightly observed, “even where the rationale at the top of the organization is essentially greed, the actual discourse may be entirely dominated by grievance.”

Our ruling SPLM brothers seem to have perfected this trade. If this is the case then those of us who choose to cry the beloved South Sudan in its second independence anniversary, must be excused.

Only when this country is liberated from the “liberators” will we celebrate our true independence.

tloloyuong@gmail.com

South Sudan isn’t a failed state yet, but an emerging one: A Rebuttal to Fund for Peace & Foreign Policy Magazine’s Report

BY: John Bith Aliap, Adelaide, South Australia, JUL/14/2013, SSN;

In recent days, a brief reflection of the major themes dominating our local headlines in the streets of Juba and other major cities in South Sudan – that South Sudan has joined the list of African’s failed states could lead us to throw our tongues on high gear. Talks of South Sudan being a failed have long existed in different domains. Khartoum for instance, has been a champion of such faulty claims that South Sudan is not yet ready to stand on its own feet; and if allowed to become an independent nation, it could easily crumble.

Historically, way back before the independence, the international community, regional blocs and other concerned citizens in South Sudan have long anticipated that South Sudan would soon likely join the list of failed states if things remain unchanged, but the SPLM-led government has always been swift to dismiss these speculations – assuring these folks that South Sudan won’t acquire a failed state’s rank.

But recent bombshell report by Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy (Sudantribune 26th June 2013) reminds us to critically look into what’s happening in our country. Marial Benjamin, the Mouth-piece of South Sudan’s government reacted angrily to this report – dubbing it as a ‘random and meaningless’. Not only him, Mark Nyipouch- a former Governor of Western Bahr el Ghazal state joined the podium – saying ‘the SPLM ruling party worked very hard since 2005 to achieve its promises of peace, stability and prosperity; and that South Sudan still lacks behind because all resources were controlled by Khartoum that Could not provide a chance to South Sudan to have enough services to its people’.

In fact, the anger could boil high in South Sudan – labelling a newly founded country as a failed state is unfair and it could highly attract a closer scrutiny. However, for those who are quiet familiar with South Sudan’s system, these people might be easily misled to believe that South Sudan would likely rank fourth on the list of African failed states, but such thinking could be seen as barbaric, unwanted and unpatriotic.

According to Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy’s definition of a failed state, a failed state is a state which has a weak central government, non-provision of public services, wide spread corruption and criminality, refugees and involuntary movement of populations, sharp economic decline. While we can partially admit that South Sudan is facing multiple issues in different fronts, the assertion that it’s a failed state is highly premature and inconclusive in nature.

However, before we can confirm Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy’s report on South Sudan as a failed state, this article aims to walk you beyond Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy’s scope of understanding of what would be regarded as a ‘failed state’. Based on Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy’s report, I will only highlight some issues which I think if not addressed – will lead South Sudan to acquire a rank of a failed state sooner rather than later.

To waste no time, there is no need here to rehash the narratives which describe a stuttering economy, levels of crime and unemployment, infant education system, public and private sector corruption – notably within the government backyard. The fact alone that the levels of corruption, human rights abuse, inequality, and the list goes so long, shouldn’t be enough to lend South Sudan a failed state status since it’s in the transitional phase in which issues mentioned in Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy’s report are regarded as normal experiences of an emerging country.

Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy’s report should have only confirmed that South Sudan is showing worrying symptoms of illness, but on the highway to becoming a failed state if the government in Juba does not take bold steps. I would argue here that the signs of State’s failure are there in South Sudan, but understanding them requires a nuanced approach.

To understand how far along the road of failure South Sudan is, I would holds that a holistic, three-pronged analysis is required. The three spheres that I am inviting you to share with me in this article so that we’re able to clearly understand and determine if South Sudan has failed are societal, international and political.

Not only in South Sudan, but every state is continuously in a dynamic position of interaction with domestic, regional and international spheres, as well as with itself as a set of political institutions. In this way, the societal sphere is concerned with the state’s ability to secure a centralised form of power.

State’s failure in this context as in the case of South Sudan, would occur with the emergence of notable armed or subversive strong men or warlords which pose a threat to state stability as they seek to secure some form of territorial independence. Yau Yau is our latest example, but his rebellion in my opinion is not a nationwide issue. It’s being contained and it doesn’t qualify South Sudan to be labelled as a failed state.

State’s failure and [South Sudan is not an exception here in this case] in the international sphere, relates to a state’s paradoxical dependence on international aid and a simultaneous need to remove itself from international involvement. In the most extreme situation, a state’s inability to ensure the security of its borders from foreign interference or in the face of war could lead to an acute breakdown of functionality.

With respect to the international and societal sphere’s South Sudan has in fact shown relative instability since its independence. It has not been able to secure a centralised power framework, and it has been at war with a quiet number of rebel groups; and this has not allowed it to relatively integrate well with the international community.

While worrying signs have already started to show in South Sudan, pointing toward some deterioration in South Sudan’s functionality in the societal and international spheres, it is in the political sphere where we face the greatest threat of state’s failure. For example, Riek Machar quest of leadership overnight could potentially undermine South Sudan’s stability; and risks throwing the country into anarchy.

In addition, a pronounced risk of state state’s failure in South Sudan is also manifested in the arena of political institutions and the apparatus of the state itself, where patrimonial rule appears to be the order of the day.

Patrimonial rule here in this situation implies that a ruling party for example [SPLM] governs a country as paterfamilias’ property. Power is entirely personalised through complex and disperse networks of favour and patronage and authority no longer emanates from political institutions, but from politicians themselves, as the party chairman becomes more powerful than anybody else in the country.

This dynamic may harbour fatal consequences for the functionality of South Sudan as a country. The practice of cadre employment has decimated expertise and capability in state institutions, from municipalities to para-statal enterprises.

In recent years, virtually overnight, accumulated knowledge was replaced with political ideology under the banner of struggle for freedom, justice and equality, Dr. John Garang’s famous ideology which attracted a good number of people in all corners of Sudan, but now the independence has been achieved, the resultant decay is staggering, as evidenced by last month’s corruption scandal that recounts the scandalous mismanagement of public funds in the government.

On contrary, the mismanagement of public funds by government officials in South Sudan is at least coming to an end. On the 28th of June 2013, president Kiir relieved finance Minister Kosti Manibe and his cabinet affairs counterpart, Deng Alor, lifting their immunities so they can be investigated over the request and transfer of $7 million to a private company without knowledge or authorisation of the president or cabinet (Sudantribune 28th of June 2013).

However, the suspension of these heavy-weights, die-hard SPLM members on allegations of corruption confirmed that zero tolerance policy – ‘Kiir’s John Kudusey song’ – is in motion. But do not give up yet. The deterioration of physical infrastructure – electricity, roads, sanitation- in both rural and urban areas could also contribute to South Sudan being ranked as a failed state in the future if Juba’s government does not show seriousness to provide these lifeline public services.

The sustained nature of this squandering of state resources, coupled with the lack of political will to act decisively in remedying corruption will likely prompt a public backlash in the form of violence, most likely centring on the issue of service delivery – a major prospective fault line of South Sudan being labelled by foreign predators as a failed state.

Another major concern in South Sudan is the systemic manner in which the common good, ‘public interest’ has been subverted for private interest.

For example, the current factionalism within the SPLM party (Riek Machar, Pagan Amum and Wani Igga versus Kiir) could potentially cause violent, as political assassinations will become more regular-hence leading the state to fail. As such, the true test for the integrity of South Sudan state will be when simmering party-political and public discontent boils to the surface and exacerbates the fault lines of failures that currently lay dormant.

However, if such a disruptive dynamic emerges, South Sudan’s already-troubled domestic, regional and international spheres may themselves turn into arenas of conflict more violently than what we are currently witnessing.

In conclusion, South Sudan is not a failed state yet as labelled by Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy Magazine, but it’s still in the transitional period where, weak central government, lack of public services, corruption, refugees movement, economic decline and crimes are regarded as normal experiences of an emerging nation, but the flip side of the same coin is that the disquieting manner in which the SPLM and the state have become one, the latter seen as the personal domain of the former.

This development allows us to ask this important question: will the SPLM-led government rescue the country from being labelled in the future as a failed state?

John Bith Aliap is an Adelaide-based political commentator and can be reached at Johnaliap2011@hotmail.com.