Archive for: July 2013

Absolute power corrupts absolutely: Too late for Kiir

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, JUL/12/2013, SSN;

As South Sudan celebrates the second anniversary of its independence from Sudan, the world will better remember it as a country which made it non-stop to the league of the failed states, less than two years from the moment it was declared sovereignty. However its traditional pride continues to be the resilience of its people whose support for the decision to secede from Sudan never wavers.

They have recently even shown more maturity in their nationalism by successfully differentiating between the current state of affairs in their country and the opportunities that still lay ahead for many generations to come. No wonder at all, that they received the second anniversary of their hard won independence with reflections and contemplations.

It is true that, despite claims by the government that vast sums of money, in their billions of dollars that came from the Oil revenue and the International aid funds have been expended on investment in infrastructure, there is very little to show in the way of roads, medical services, and education for millions of South Sudanese who greeted the prospect of independence with eagerness and hope.

But down inside, the people are optimistic, that sooner than later, they will be able to get rid of the current corrupt administration and replace it with one that will have a clear vision and a set the path to reposition this resource rich state in its rightful place, where it will lead the continent in areas of good governance, stability, security, economic development and food production.

Nothing of the kind mentioned above can ever be achieved without first bringing about drastic changes in the political landscape all across this country. How mysterious nature is to make possible the antidote of fatal conditions, attainable from what is left of the assailant, and the reaction produced by the victim.

In many instances vaccines have been successfully developed from dead or attenuated organisms that used to cause the diseases in the first place. Today South Sudan is on a rendezvous with this discovery.

The emerging split within the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) in recent months, with several senior officials publicly challenging Kiir’s bid for a new term, if anything, it signifies an imminent end to president Salva Kiir Mayardit’s visionless and clannish leadership.

And our country is about to change course and sail towards a new direction with ultimate change of the old guard. But will Riek, Pa’gan and Nyandeng lead the split this time around, and salvage the country from the imminent collapse under Salva Kiir’s leadership?

From all the writings on the wall, SPLM is undoubtedly heading towards an inevitable breakage, more than any time in its entire history. Whether the outcome will be two or more factions, the end result is that they are likely to be more manageable political units, than what the “mother party” has lately become.

We look forward to that and we encourage it as we look forward for multi- party democracy and encourage the realization of both for a better South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir has only himself to blame, because his party had unanimously given him all powers that an emperor can dream of in this world. Instead of using those powers wisely, he plunged the country right into an unfathomable mess.

As the South Sudanese poet, author and publisher living in Canada, my fellow compatriot Kuir ë Garang has stated it eloquently in his article : ‘Accountability as the Golden and Cultural Phenomenon’, that appeared on the on July 2, 2013 (SSNA), that : “Corruption isn’t going to end through the arrest of few individuals. What the government has to do is to establish systemic instruments that can act as deterrents for would-be corrupt employees”. I can’t agree more.

The president should have used his unlimited powers to establish deterrents to corruption in public offices, but he didn’t. What he did was to use corruption as a tool of blackmail, in order to secure loyalty. And today we are seeing long standing ‘Corruptions Lords’ only are being confronted after they have fallen off with the boss.

To say the least, most of the state governors are up to their eyebrows, in corruption, but as long as they remain loyal to president Kiir, nothing bad will happen to them. All state governors, National Ministers and senior government officials who have been in office, starting well before the independence of the country, have all without exceptions, enriched themselves through the misappropriation of public money.

Of the many ironies in the country, the Vice President Riek Machar has publicly broken his silence and has criticized his boss on several occasions for the inevitable demise of the regime and the party.

In an interview with The Guardian, published Thursday 4 July 2013 16.40 BST, VP Riek blames President Kiir for having failed to tackle the rampant corruption, rising tribalism, overwhelming insecurity, dwindling economy, poor international relations. And he went further to stress that the SPLM as a political party has lost vision and direction. […ek-machar-south-sudan-ambition… ]

On the other hand it is already an open secret worldwide that those who have benefitted in South Sudan and have become wealthy by misappropriating government funds— have often sent their families outside South Sudan, their children to private schools abroad, and have obtained the best medical services available in the world.

“This occurs while ordinary citizens who remain in South Sudan cannot afford even basic health services or modest educations for their children” lamented a group of US-based activists that calls itself the “Friends of South Sudan”, in a letter they wrote to President Salva Kiir, warning him of the imminent collapse of the new country, should he not hurry up with crucial reforms.…orld/2013/jul/09/south-sudan…..

Everyone who loves South Sudan, including this author, has repeatedly called for the complete overhauling of the SPLM party. This position has recently been echoed by the ‘Friends of South Sudan’. While this could have been the solution one year ago, it is no longer the case now, for as the SPLM stands today, borrowing the words of its late founder Dr. Garang de Mabior, this party has become “too deformed to be reformed”.

Worse still, the spill overs from the internal power struggles are now about to choke the entire state machinery and set yet another precedent, where political manipulations by a “one party” state, ends devouring the party itself.

President Kiir’s last minute efforts to save his regimes’ image unfortunately are bound to fail. They are too little, too late!

This far, haven’t we learnt any valuable lessons yet? For it will be completely unfair to put all the blames on Mr. President alone without equally condemning the SPLM stooges who for reasons only known to them, chose to empower him [president] absolutely.

Have we forgotten that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely? We don’t want this mistake repeated and our people should do everything to avoid it from happen again.

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

SPLM Crisis & demise of tribal hegemony: For better or worse?


With great incredulity and trepidation, South Sudanese are anxiously witnessing the inevitable transmogrification of the once formidable SPLM/A edifice and the probable demise of the once-feared and deeply loathed tribal hegemony that has persistently characterized all aspects of power in the nation since the end of the liberation struggle.

Finally, for the majority of the much-depraved South Sudanese, who’ve become genuinely disgruntled with the Kiir leadership, it’s time now to see the SPLM/SPLA Empire, like the Roman empires of antiquities, and their cut throat emperors, simply disintegrate and disappear so that a better, prosperous and equitable future is built on its ashes.

After two tough years of so-called ‘independence,’ and given the fact that we are the only country in Africa to ever embark on nationhood from day one with BILLIONS OF REAL AMERICAN DOLLARS at hand, deplorably it has become painfully clear that the SPLM/SPLA junta has failed the South Sudan Nation whilst president Kiir has evolved with greater alacrity than Museveni into a totalitarian dictator ruling only by decrees and completely rubbishing all constitutional norms.

In a nation where the president is generally seen as a pathological liar who has no moral compunction to shamelessly regurgitate his characteristic verbosity about fighting corruption and insecurity, or developing the nation, South Sudanese have real cause to worry about a such leadership.

In a nation where every SPLM/A government official from the president down to his ministers, all under-secretaries, all chairs of the useless commissions, all ambassadors, all generals in police, army and prisons, are rightly perceived by the suffering public as thieves living on state-sanctioned corruption, there is utter hopelessness in the future among the oppressed citizens of the nation.

One can’t imagine that today in Juba the few thieves are immorally owning and driving, not one each but several ‘Hummer’ SUV’s while their own mothers, sisters, aunts and uncles are still eating wild vegetables or carcases of cows and sleeping in leaking straw-thatched mud houses in Kongor or Kuajok.

In a nation where the parliament is but a parody of clowns who’re solely legislating for or rather legitimizing for the good of the SPLM/A corruption empire, and selfishly according themselves exorbitant allowances and privileges for their idleness, enrichment and greed, the depraved people of South Sudan are right to distrust this edifice of mockery.

In a nation where the economy is deeply founded on extraction and exploitation, it’s only the Ugandans, Somalis, Ethiopians, Kenyans, Rwandans, Nigerians and Sudanese, who’re all the principle beneficiaries of this extractive and exclusive economy, and they’re openly or insidiously abetted in the extraction of our resources by the SPLM/A looters, the future of the nation is definitely in jeopardy.

These are indeed bad times for the nation. Admittedly, with the exception of Kiir’s tribal hegemonists and his tribally reinforced SPLA army, many people including foreigners, are deeply pessimistic as well as apprehensive about the evolving ‘SPLM Kiirisis’ that is gripping the attention of the citizens.

First, Dr. Riek Machar now has figuratively fired the first bullets, once again this time round, against the Kiir’s hegemonic government and publicly demanded that his SPLM party boss, Kiir, should cede power to him because, as Machar explicitly explained, Kiir is an absolute ‘failure as leader of the nation.’

Secondly, Machar has openly challenged and opposed Kiir’s recent dismissal of Unity State Governor Taban Gai, which was done without consultation of the vice president himself since such an important decision like this normally requires ‘consultative’ procedural steps with the deputy or cabinet.

Understandably, in bitterness, Machar has many axes to grind against president Kiir, among these were Kiir’s abrupt decision to first take over the so-called ‘national reconciliation’ process and appointing a fellow Dinka to head the committee; and then Kiir’s surprising decision abrogating and limiting Machar executive powers.

And, finally, in another quick salvo of more political gunfire, the SPLM party Secretary General, Mr. Pagan Amum, who is third in protocol and succession of the now visibly disintegrating party, came out with unexpected bravado, to deprecatingly castigate president Kiir for his poor leadership.

Pagan, himself once allegedly accused for gross corruption, has now openly come out against Kiir, accusing the president of politically motivated dismissals of two SPLM ministers for alleged corruption, and critically remarking that the president should actually have dismissed his own “Dinka official,” the deputy minister, who’s alleged to be the real culprit, not the two ministers.

Clearly, these top SPLM leaders tacitly came to a long-delayed concurrence with the raging anger and expectations of the broad sections of the people of South Sudan and even foreign so-called “Friends of the SPLM” and the UN Mission and others, that the Kiir tribal regime is a disaster.

But the greatest concern to the ordinary citizens in South Sudan and even to foreign supporters of the nation, is the likelihood that the perceived and impending contest between Kiir and gang versus Machar and gang degenerating into another 1991 civil strife.

Poignantly, as implied by Citizen editor and critic, Nhial Bol, this ominous probability of intra-SPLM/A killings occurring is high because, as Nhial Bol strongly believes, “the top SPLM members are planning to use the (stolen) oil money to buy weapons so that they can kill themselves during the 2015 elections.”

Who really cares if these SPLM/A kleptocrats would only ‘kill’ themselves? However, unfortunately the reality is that they, the SPLM/A top members are going to use their common supporters to do the killing while they will be in some safer foreign hideaways.

Machar, the potential president-to-be, in his latest hottest ever letter to president Kiir, has strongly raised two important issues. The first problem raised is that Kiir’s latest blunders “might heighten tension and aggravate the prevailing state of insecurity in the country and that may lead to political instability in the country.”

Obviously, it’s very apparent that the contest between the two won’t be a peaceful transition, and the nation is hereby forewarned of the grievously mortal predicament that might lead to a probable ‘civil’ or better call it ‘tribal’ internecine fighting with serious consequences to our country.

In addition, Machar again in the same letter inferred to the ‘consolidation of the democratic decentralized system of government’ in the country to preserve the integrity and dignity of the people of South Sudan.

Here, we are once again confronted by Dr. Machar’s duplicitousness on the issue of what’s the best modality of governance in the country that can really and permanently bring integrity and dignity to our people.

Inarguably, the current system that the tribal hegemonists have dictatorially imposed on the country is utterly fallacious (after all, there wasn’t any plebiscite, for example, conducted by the SPLM/A regime with the people of South Sudan concerning as to what modality of governance they wanted).

‘KOKORA,’ call it ‘decentralization,’ ‘devolution,’ ‘federalism,’ or any political name appropiate, was the system prevalent in South Sudan from 1983 up to 2005 when peace was achieved and the Kiir-Machar junta arrived in Juba.

Contrary to the blind and bitter opponents of ‘KOKORA’ who took to the bushes in 1983 in an attempt to militarily revoke its imposition after all political attempts had failed, this political system based on devolution helped greatly to mitigate tribal tensions and fighting then in South Sudan.

Now, given the current political tide since the Kiir-Machar regime took power in Juba and the subsequent rise of disenchantment with the hotly perceived ‘tribal-domination’ of the current governance in Juba, perhaps a new rethinking on what’s the appropriate and acceptable modality of good governance needed.

Rightly or wrongly, it can be strongly argued that our political evolution into a one-nation is still rudimentary, we, more or less, see ourselves and the deeds by others from the tribal lenses, as this is evident today in Juba, and whether you accept or deny, the Kiir government is perceived as a Dinka dominated government.

Again, like it or not, it’s always the fact that in most situations, it’s highly probable for the Dinka army, security or police officers and men who’re most likely than not, to show uncouth and violent behaviours and aggression against other fellow citizens.

Speculatively, as it’s again the same community that has majority domination in all government services, including the economic sector by the same domination of their tribal ‘nouveau riches.’

Now that we have unfortunately and unwittingly come around to a situation very much akin to the pre-KOKORA era, where one tribe has unfairly presumed the illegitimacy of domination of all facets of governance, and the perpetuation of state terror contrary to the laws prevailing in the books, drastic change of minds and hearts is needed if we are to survive in peace as a nation.

Yes, we’re southerners or now better known as South Sudanese, but are we really a nation? The answer could possibly and finally be found in the redivision of South Sudan into particular federal units that felt they could separately live in peace among themselves due to some particular commonalities found among them.

Regrettably, Kiir and others still morbidly suffer from short or total loss of memory. Last time in 1991, when the same Machar and cohorts seriously warned Garang and the same Kiir and others of the simmering dissatisfaction within the same SPLM/SPLA, they inevitably and painfully paid a big price for ignoring the advice.

As a ‘failed’ leader, president Kiir must voluntarily abdicate now and let the nation transition peacefully, and hopefully the future might and would surely be better for the nation.

Should that happen, however, a would-be president Machar himself is no better or much different leader than Kiir, for the nation since he has been very dubious and dodgy about the prevalent corruption, insecurity, or why the constitutional review process has taken so long to be finalized and passed, among many other shortcomings of his.

Furthermore, if he, Machar, had the moral imperative, he would have been the first to openly declare his and the family assets or stop his habitually greedy and big appetite for land grabbing, as evidenced by his gluttonous and questionable acquisitions of Bari and Mundari land.

His utter and apparent lack of moral compunction or lack of sense of shame doesn’t strictly bode well for someone literally crying to become president of the nation at any cost. This is sinful and dirty in the eyes of many and smacks of gross lack of moral turpitude.

Since crawling back to the SPLM/A over the skeletons and souls of hundreds of thousands of those he had intentionally and unapologetically misled to their deaths, and then rising upwards opportunistically to his current position in this corrupted tribalized monopoly called the SPLM/A, Machar owes a lot to the people of South Sudan.

If Machar’s ambition to ‘succeed’ Kiir accidentally leads to and speedily catalyses the break up of the SPLM/A corrupt empire, then that’s even more propitious for the nation. From its ashes, hopefully, the marginalized people across the nation would see a better future for South Sudan.


My take on the current political situation in our country!

By: Deng Riek KHORYOAM, South Sudan, JUL/11/2013, SSN;

From the look of things, and given my assessment of the current political situation, I think it would be good and even more prudent, if Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit abandons his second-term presidential ambitions for the sake of peace in this country. There comes a time when a man who brought his people to the ‘Promised Land’ makes a difficult and equally critical decision saying, ‘I am retiring to my farm in the village’ and let someone else carry the stick and take over at the helm in order to finish the remaining unfinished business.

Nelson Mandela did exactly that after he spent almost 30 years of vicious struggles against the Apartheid and for better conditions and better treatment of ALL South Africans regardless of race, colour, creed and or religion. He served for only one term from 1990 and retired officially and peacefully in 1994. Many South Africans had wanted him to seek another term in office given the personal sacrifices he made but he refused and chose early retirement from active politics and gave way to the fresh blood/crops of leaders.

Today, Nelson Mandela is one of the most respected persons in the whole world, let alone in South Africa. He has a very good legacy in history and the nation regards or holds him in high respect!

I tend to think that our founding father, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, should emulate the footsteps of Mandela, who is now an international icon. If he abandons his second-term presidential ambitions for the sake of peace in this country, then history in our nation and in Africa and the world over, will favour him pretty much like Mr. Mandela.

He will be most adored/respected by all South Sudanese as somebody who did not only liberate his people but oversaw the hoisting of the flag in their life-time and saw them through the transition period across the bridge. In a nutshell, he is our founding father!

But he risks losing this honour and respect should he push ahead and seek re-election that results into violence and instability given the current squabbles within the power house of the SPLM. I am saying this not because our president does not deserve a second term in office or that he is not capable; he is pretty much capable and does deserve another term in office, but I am saying this because I know that the future of this country is now hanging in the balance and so rests squarely with whatever my president decides now before 2015.

The current political squabbles in the SPLM should worry you as a concerned citizen of this country, who cares much about its socio-economic and political survival. South Sudan cannot afford to go to war with itself over the issue of leadership: who to lead now and who not to lead!

We should be mindful about the future posterity of this country and what we should do now in order to set the records straight for the future.

It should not be Nuer vs. Dinka fighting over the top leadership, leaving the other 61 tribes as mere spectators of this ‘succession-or-no-succession’ politics. Why should a country like South Sudan with 63 tribes be a monopoly of two tribes only: Nuer and Dinka? Don’t they have the heart to say that let other tribes lead and we follow?

How can the Nuer and Dinka be so greedy that they cannot even think about the future of the country they helped liberate from the common enemy – the Jallaba, which still threatens our very existence?

I know there are extremists on both sides of the political divide/spectrum who are not helping matters in any way. Everybody thinks only about what to get and not what this country can get in terms of peace and stability it badly needs at this critical juncture of our nation building process.

Stakes are so high and anything could happen anytime soon. I need not to remind the leaders of their individual and collective responsibility to prevent any worse kind of situation from happening in this beloved country of ours!

God bless the Republic of South Sudan!!

The author can be reached by email:

Nomadic Democracy in South Sudan, are we yet there?

BY: Dikiyingwa Walla, JUBA, JUL/11/2013, SSN;

The Republic of South Sudan gained its independence little over 2 years ago after several bouts of civil strife against the then Sudan government. The search for this sovereignty started way back over half a century ago in 1940’s. In 1972, Anyanya, the first liberation movement of South Sudan initiated and led by Equatorians reached a formal accord with Khartoum after having fought a protracted war for 17 years. This accord famously known as the Addis Ababa Agreement of 1972 brought peace for 11 years after which civil war again erupted in 1983 which lasted till the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

This agreement provided for self-determination of the Southern people which resulted into the secession of South Sudan on 9th July 2011. As you can see, in line with the spirit of the 2005 Peace Agreement a new Nation of South Sudan was created after Southerners overwhelmingly in a referendum voted for their independence from the Sudan in January 2011 with decisive margin of 98.83%.

Cardinal to the core grievances of the then civil and military strife against the Sudan government were the undemocratic system of governance, Lack of respect of Human Rights, and marginalization of the Southern Region (which now makes the Republic of South Sudan). These all brought untold suffering to the people of South which triggered large exodus of people leaving the Sudan for refugee camps in the neighbouring countries and world over with millions more losing their lives in the process.

The creation of this nascent country could not have come at a better time than it did. South Sudanese from the world over and within the country celebrated this milestone achievement in the history of their country. Its leaders promised a brighter and better country based on democratic principles encompassing respect of Human Rights and all humane practices which are internationally held as standards of international global community.

Nevertheless, the litmus test to these principles was dealt somewhat severe blow in the 2010 general elections. The rippling effect of this is still evident in the Jonglie State where reneged Army General David Yau Yau took up arms against the government of South Sudan claiming to have lost due to rigging by the ruling SPLM Party to the party’s candidate.

Since then this upheaval has driven tenth of thousands of citizens of Jonglie state to the other neighbouring states of Eastern Equatorian State, Central Equatorian state and as far as the Republic of Kenya while many more have yet again lost their lives under the leadership of the Liberation Movement. At the same time, Upper Nile state claims of marginalization and land grabbing in the (Shuluk Kingdom) thus encouraging further rebellions in South Sudan against the government they help set up.

The government of South Sudan has proved itself to be totally undemocratic. Here, I wish to share with you the true face of democracy expressed by Guillermo O’Donnell in his acceptance speech in 2006 for his life time achievement award for his contribution to the advancement of political science, he had this to say: “Democratic regime includes a set of rights or political freedom and access to non-monopolized information, the reasonable effectiveness of these rights is necessary condition for holding of fair and decisive elections and that effectiveness must exist before, during and after the votes.”

It can be seen that democracy now extends way beyond those basic conditions outlined above. Democracy is ultimately not only based on voters but the citizens. In a political dimension, citizens include civil, social and cultural elements co-existing together. A better democracy which the people of South Sudan want is that which resolves issues through legally and constitutionally prescribed means.

Inequality, poverty, state deficiencies, wide spread corruption in the government, many citizens are sceptical and have low level of trust in regards to the core democratic institutions such as legislation, political parties and the judiciary. Political freedom is seriously curtailed and any opposition to the SPLM ruling party government by member(s) of the opposition party is regarded harshly as hostile acts from enemies of South Sudan.

On the Human Rights, all the hope is premised on democracy and for the citizens of this country; the intrinsic Human Rights and dignity of the people will have to come from a democratic rule of law and strong institutions to safeguard these rights such as the right to political participation to be respected and fostered. This always gives a risky yet promising hope which runs parallel to all the nature of authoritarian and ethnocentric claims that we have now.

This type of authoritarian and ethnocentric rule in South Sudan presents difficulties to a large part of the populace. Hence, it signals serious risk to any little democratic gain made. This has been also the claims of rebel groups.

With this precarious state of the country’s standing, having conceived the concept of democracy and its pre-conditions such as rule of law and well-functioning state institutions, it is a pre-requisite that they should be in place.

The Interim Constitution of the country has in it many lacunas which if left as it is till the elections are held will exacerbate the already fragile system.

Some of the provisions and the institutions created by the constitution should be examined or strengthened and some of the provisions and the powers of the president be checked before elections are held to enhance rule of law and help in levelling political playground for other political parties.

The current government’s priority is the revival of the disrupted economy after the oil shut down and the citizenry is made to believe that the only remedy to the chronic socio-economic and military rebellions lays in agreeing and normalising the political and military stand-off between South Sudan and Sudan.

It is unfortunate that the government of president Kiir voted in to secure peaceful conduct of plebiscite has already aligned itself on ethnocentric base.

The enthusiasm the independence of South Sudan generated and the expectations of the citizenry is fast evaporating and the government’s popular support base is disappearing at an alarming rate, and the public interest in the government and its style of governance is rapidly eroding the trust from the main domain.

Yes, it is very important for South Sudan. Most countries emerging from conflict lack strong pillars of state building such as institutions which safe guard the rule of law, human rights, and good governance. The fragile existing ones if left unaided normally curve into immense pressure, hence if it can not withstand the demand for either legal or civil redress, may plunge the countries back to internal conflict.

Iraq and Afghanistan are good examples which could not cope with these immediate Constitutional demands from all the citizenry and we can not afford to go their way.

For South Sudan, this will be one step ahead to help mitigate the already looming catastrophic situation the 2015 general election may create, With such a little time left, it is better late than never and who knows this could be the vehicle to deliver this to the youth of our country.

Integration of individuals and groups into broader fabric of the society is fundamental to genuine democratic state. The integration barriers in South Sudan include the nature of interaction between ethnic groups, inequitable resource allocation, the abuse of structures of the state which promote exclusion of other groups from active participation in the decision making organ of the government.

For example, the government appointments to various local and foreign posts are not based on any criteria but tribal favoritism. Democracy can be achieved by creating frames of structural reforms imbued with the institutional ideology, ideas and necessary values for genuine democratic system.

Federalism seems to be the most ideal at the moment gauging from support and popularity it gets in the media. Federalized system of governance brings the people closer to the government. Democracy in other words means the authority of the people. Translating this into practical action means the decision should be made by the people at the grass root and implemented by the government at the highest level. This creates cohesion between the government and the citizens.

It is the people who constitute the building block of democratic system. The people should be engaged to manage their own affairs without outside exploitation or directives. We have witnessed this here in South Sudan, with the passage of time that priorities change, under just two and half years ago, the interest of the people of South Sudan was their independence and two years later, it is their freedom, service delivery, security, and protection of civil society.

It’s the citizens who galvanized and voted for the independence. But the helplessness and disillusionment of the people by the government is so crippling, yet if engaged before the elections are held in 2015, it may help to avert the potential risk of violence and intimidation which no doubt will affect mobilization of the population for political and democratic reform.

The distasteful running of the government has lead to some sections of the population not to regard governance as the safe way to deliver Truth, Justice, Peace, prosperity, Liberty, Protection of citizens and Human dignity to the South Sudanese. The disharmony this brings may distract the government from its roles and duties to the citizens and may cause it to use its coercive force to subdue the disgruntled people with dissenting opinion when elections come.

It’s worth mentioning that what the independence of South Sudan did was just cosmetic in nature. It replaced the Arab’s authoritarian and undemocratic governance with more ethnically aligned and less sophisticated southern major tribes who wholly disregard the genuine aspect of democracy such as rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of media and press and one most salient element of democracy which is free and fair elections.

It is ironic to see today the same vices the people of South Sudan voted against in the referendum are the “new normal” of their lives.

The foregone passages give a grim outlook of the future of this New Nation. However, it is not yet late to save the country. The international community, stakeholders, civil societies and the youth who made the attainment of independence of this country happen must act now and collectively to first consolidate and strengthen the pivotal foundation for genuine democratic governance

Dikiyingwa Walla.

Juba South Sudan

The Use of Politics as a Road to Economic Wealth Causes Corruption

BY: John Juac, WINDSOR, CANADA, JUL/09/2013, SSN;

The attractions of politics are many. Men engage in politics to pursue lofty ideals and ideologies, to serve a state or its people, to advance a cause or interest, to wield power sand to enjoy the fame, privileges, and honors that power brings. From an historical comparative view, of all these attractions the desire for power is the most ancient and persistence- especially when the state is the primary arena where power is secured.

So the state in the world’s newest nation is an arena in which an ambitious individual can obtain power and economic wealth. But the same desire for power and economic wealth has led to rampant corruption. Corruption is pervasive throughout much of new nation and is destined to get worse unless something is done. It has also sparked greater debates among its politically conscious citizens at home and abroad.

What really is corruption?

Corruption is behavior of public officials which deviates from accepted norms in order to serve private ends. Corruption obviously exists in all societies, but it is also obviously more common in some societies than in others and more common at some times in the evolution of a society than at other times. The impressionistic evidence suggests that its extent correlates reasonably well with rapid social and economic modernization.

The prevalence of corruption in the African states may well be related to the general absence of rigid class divisions. The rapid mobility from poverty to wealth and from one occupation to another has prevented the development of class consciousness The same mobility, however, multiplies the opportunities for corruption. In most forms corruption involves an exchange of political action for economic wealth, and the particular forms that will be prevalent in a society depend upon the ease of access to one as against the other.

In a society with multiple opportunities for accumulation of wealth and few positions of political power, they use of the former to achieve the latter. In the United States, for instances, wealth has more commonly been a road to political influence than political office has been a road to wealth. The rules against using public office to obtain private profit are much stricter and more generally obeyed than those against using private wealth to obtain public office. That is striking and yet common phenomenon of American politics.

In South Sudan the reverse situation is the case. The opportunities for accumulation of wealth through private activity are limited by the domination of the economy by foreign businesses. Consequently, politics has become the road to wealth, and those enterprising ambitious and talents which can’t find what they want in business may yet do so in politics. It is easier in South Sudan for an able and ambitious man to become a cabinet minister by the way of politics than to become a millionaire by way of business.

Contrary to American practice, the young nation accepts as normal widespread use of public office to obtain private wealth. Corruption, like violence, results when the absence of mobility opportunities outside politics, combined with weak and inflexible political institutions, channels energies into politically deviant behavior.

The prevalence of foreign businesses in South Sudan in particular tends to promote corruption both because the foreigners have less scruples in violating of norms of the society and because their control of important avenues to economic well-being forces potential local entrepreneurs to attempt to make their fortunes through politics.

One’s description of the South Sudanese undoubtedly has widespread application among many African countries. Politics is major industry for Africans; it is a way of life. Politics is the main route to power, which, in turn, is the main route to wealth. More money can be made in a shorter time with the aid of political influence than by any other means. The use of political office as a way to wealth implies a subordination of political values and institutions to economic ones.

The principal purpose of politics becomes not the achievement of public goals but the promotion of individual interests.

In a society like South Sudan, the incidence of corruption is high at the levels of bureaucratic and political authority; high level bureaucrats, cabinet ministers and national legislators are more corrupt than the local officials.

The cabinet ministers always make off with tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. Even an individual like Deng Alor, a political asylum seeker in the country, can embezzle the public money and never be charged with the theft or deported to the country of his birth.

In South Sudan, moreover, those who gain access to the most political power also have the more frequent opportunities to gain access to the most wealth. Such a pattern of top-heavy corruption means a very low level of political institutionalization. This is because the top political institutions which should be most independent of outside influences are in fact most susceptible to such influences.

This pattern of corruption, one believes, would lead to a violent overthrow of the government by young generals in the army, with the support of some politicians who feel excluded from sharing in the opportunities open to others.

Therefore, the country should have fairly strong national political institutions which socialize rising political leaders into a code of values stressing the public responsibilities of the leadership.

The corruption naturally tends to perpetuate the weakness of the governmental bureaucracy. In this respect, it is incompatible with political development. In South Sudan, the governmental bureaucracy is overdeveloped in comparison with the institutions responsible for aggregating interests and handling the input side of the political system.

Corruption in the interests of Political Parties

Insofar as the governmental bureaucracy is corrupted in the interests of the political parties, political development may be helped rather than hindered. Party patronage is only a mild form of corruption.

For an official to award a public office in return for a payment is clearly to place private interest over public interest. For an official to award a public office in return for a contribution of work or money to a party organization is to subordinate one public interest to another, more needy, public interest.

The nineteenth-century experience of England and the United States is one long lesson in the use of public funds and public office to build party organization. The repetition of this pattern in South Sudan of today has contributed directly to the building of only one party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

In South Sudan, the resources of private wealth are too few and too small to make a major contribution to party building.

The government has to play a more important role in economic development than it did in England and the United States in the nineteenth century. It also has to play a more important role in the political development, so those with authority use governmental monies and governmental personnel to foster the development of their party (SPLM).

For long eight years, their party has significantly benefited from governmental corruption and patronage.

Corruption is, as we have seen, a product of modernization and particularly of the expansion of political consciousness and political participation.

The reduction of corruption in the long run requires the organization and structuring of that participation. Political parties are the principal institutions of modern politics which can perform this function.

Corruption strives on disorganization, the absence of stable relationships among groups and of recognized patterns of authority. The development of political organizations which exercise effective authority, and which give rise to organized group interests transcending those of individual and social groups reduces the opportunity for corruption.

Corruption varies inversely with political organization, and to the extent that corruption builds the party, it undermines the conditions of its own existence.

Corruption is most prevalent in South Sudan because it lacks effective political organizations and the interests of individual, the family, the clique, tribe and clan predominate.

Grave Consequences of Corruption on Economic Development

In fact, corruption is certainly not a social vice unique to Africa or developing nations. Corruption prevails in one form or another in all countries. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why we must not discount the grave consequences of corruption in an undeveloped country like South Sudan.

First, corruption has detrimental effects on economic development. It decreases the efficiency of the civil servant and its ability to formulate and implement government development policies, and it robs the country of vast sums of foreign exchange needed for investment.

Second, the serious of corruption is relative in developed countries. Developed countries can afford the embezzlement of a sum that would spell economic disaster for us in South Sudan. Third, it is relatively easy for corruption to get out of control and become self-reinforcing because our administrative and political institutions possess insufficient checks to deal with the problem effectively.

Witness our current political system whereby the most senior cabinet ministers can manipulate the law of the land and can embezzle millions of dollars for deposit in foreign companies’ bank accounts with impunity.

Fourth, corrupt government loses its legitimacy and citizens’ respect, making it difficult to elicit the sacrifices, initiatives and enterprise necessary for development.

South Sudan’s experience shows that the corrupt government of comrade Kirr Mayardit is incapable of efficient economic management. It would be a great disservice to minimize the seriousness of the corruption problem in our country.

It would also be economically irresponsible to advocate that our country needs more external assistance when there is the clear possibility that rampant corruption can render assistance useless.

So insidiously endemic is corruption in South Sudan that even neutral observers now entertain serious doubts about the ability of our country to extricate itself from its economic miasma. It is important to note that corruption is not peculiarly innate to traditional South Sudanese political culture.

In our traditional system, corrupt chiefs were brought before the council of elders and deposed after being charged of corruption. The village elders exactly knew that corruption was dishonesty and illegal behavior by people in positions of authority, although they could not read, write and no written rules of law.

What breeds corruption, bribery and other types of malfeasance in modern times is the system of pervasive state controls, regulations, concentration of economic and political power, the institution of one party state system which lack accountability, and the muzzling of the press to expose corruption and wrongdoings in the public life.

Obviously, it is useless to rail against corruption and still keep in place the very system which breeds it. This is not the appropriate place to propose a reform of the system to rid the country of corruption. However, a corrective system must have organization, incentive, discipline, efficiency and accountability.

With respect to accountability, in particular, freedom of expression and freedom of the press are necessary for South Sudanese citizens to demand an accounting of public monies appropriated by officials and for the press to expose malpractices.

John Juac Deng; journalist/writer

Why Dr. Riek Machar Teny is an Acceptable Alternative

BY: WAL THOK DUOTH, South Sudan, JUL/09/2013, SSN;

In the beginning I would like to remind everybody that we are not perfect and for that reason we should not expect ourselves to act like angels because a good number of South Sudanese did install a concept in their minds that when you made any mistake, you become the talk of the hours under those trees and streets of Juba city.

Yes, during the liberation war of our independence there was unavoidable death inflicted by our own making and the enemy in Khartoum. If you are a faithful Christian, you have to bear in mind that anything we encountered on our way to our total independence was not a mankind or humankind planned tragedy but bound to happen as a part of God’s punishment up on us, as it leads to freedom and freedom is characterized by sacrifices.

It’s quite clear that when you need anything in this world we are living in, you must pay a price for it, which means freedom is not at all free, it’s associated with sacrifices of our beloved people that makes as who we are today.

In 1991 there was a split in the SPLM/A, the core points of the disagreement were fundamentally focused on the conduct of the voluntary right to self determination for the people of the then Southern Sudan now Republic of South Sudan, respect of human rights and democratization of the SPLM/A, this were the historical demands of Nasir SPLM/A Faction, to be brief and precise to the point, these were the central reasons that lead to the formation of the then two groups of Nasir and Torit factions.

Dr. Machar was very clear that these points are crucial for the success in the movement and there was never going to be a short cut at all, hence self determination was introduced in 1994 SPLM Chukudum historic convention as a realization of the needs to incorporate it into the movement’s missions.

There is no leader in his/her right mind that can order the killing of his/her people, this can happen only and only if the field lost contact with the power house as it was the case in many occasions, in this situation chaos can be imminent.

In situations like this, people need to be very fair in judgement of our past as all of us were victimized by the liberations struggle, which by itself speak loud and clear in the advocacy of the fact that nobody can take it as his/her own suffering.

In the first place let me convey my utmost heartfelt to all South Sudanese families who lost their loved ones in the liberation wars of independence. People were massacred by SPLA in Eastern Jikany Nuer land in Madiing in the early 1980s which is now Eastern Upper Nile state.

In 1991 and 1992 respectively another onslaught on Ayod (Yod) Gawaar Nuer land and (Nyirol) Lou Nuer land took place and these were all conducted by SPLA Torit faction on un-armed civilians mainly women, children and elderly people were collected, brought to chosen huts and burned in to huts alive some were chopped to death using machetes’ and axes.

These was executed under the direct command of late George Athor, he was by then a commander under Torit faction, some commanders with him during those massacres are still alive to this day, SPLA Torit faction in 1991-1993 conducted a mass killing of over 70 officers in a cold blood death and these officers hailed from Nuer native, in this case there was a real human rights violation, the families of these people are not keeping on exaggerating this case because they knows very well that these tragedies are bound to happen in a war situation when things are in disorder.

This served as an eyes opening to many who are posting their comments on Newspapers and websites, being motivated by tribal hatred without equipping him/herself with facts of the situation, therefore you don’t need to takes sides but give solution without siding with your community or your tribes men.

The durable peace between our communities in South Sudan can come when there happens to be a real national peace and social healing conferences which we can all rally behind for the search of lasting peace in this part of the world.

In 1997, Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon signed an historical land mark agreement with Khartoum government, and he (Teny Dhurgon) made it very crystal clear to government in Khartoum, he told them that if you don’t implement this agreement I will go back to bush and fight again.

He was asked how will you go back and you are under our control? He told them that you will give me a farewell when the time comes; this is very rare for any rebel commander to give conditions while in his/her enemy’s territory.

In turn he did it afterwards when government in Khartoum dragged their feet in the processes of (KPA) implementation. This is historic as this was for the first time in the history of Sudan, that they recognized and granted the right to self determination for the people of Southern Sudan, this was under Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon.

Many among us cannot dispute this truth, only the people who are sick and in fact such a people may be in urgent need of a doctor’s attention. Hence Dr. Machar from his bush life up to date proved beyond reasonable doubt to be a freedom fighter, liberator, peace maker and a genuine leader who championed the right to self determination for the people of South Sudan with all his energy until we achieved the freedom at last.

This should be clear, therefore, a real patriotic citizen cannot deny this outstanding truth about him (Teny Dhurgon). We must say the truth, only and only if the truth is known in this country hence, we will enjoy the total freedom.

Dr. Riek was a risk taker who always takes hardest options of leadership for his people, he can be seen in the following reflections; in 1991 after the split he initiated a reunification of the movement’s factions but Torit faction under late John Garang De Mabior used this chance as a plot to kill him (Riek) in the meeting which Garang did not show up for.

Under his vision, the 2004 Wunlit peace conference between Nuer and Dinka was conducted, he was an instrumental figure who persuaded many rebels to abandon rebellion and rejoin the government for the sake of peace in the country.

He initiated peace process between Ugandan government and Lord Resistance Army in 2007, he went footing in the bush looking for the world’s most feared rebel leader Joseph Konyi in the forest of Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic, purposely to let him understand the meaning of peace and bring to an end the Lord Resistance Army’s brutal activities on innocent civilians in South Sudan specially in the three equatorial regions.

However, in the process leading to the end of the deal, some people within this Republic felt so jealous and uncomfortable about the credit of peace agreement going to Dr. Riek Machar, secretly and intentionally told LRA leader, Joseph Konyi, that you will be arrested if you arrived Juba as he was meant to sign the deal in Juba the seat of government of Southern Sudan.

Consequently the peace was derailed as Konyi did not turn up for the signing ceremony in Juba.

Dr. Machar was also the chair of CPA implementation committee from the SPLM side which in real sense brought us the independence.

This is to mention few things why Dr. Riek Machar is an acceptable alternative for the Presidency come 2015 South Sudan general elections; he has every constitutional right to stand for the top seat of the land like anybody else in this Republic.

Thank God, that I am from a native full of mercy, humility, zeal, patience, love and unity, we all know that Nuer land had been the epicenter of wars of liberation in South Sudan with the formation of so many liberation movements that lead to the independence of this beloved country.

Truth is bitter, but we can’t live without it. If it’s a matter of our rough road to freedom, all the leaders who were in the SPLA did commit heinous atrocities against human rights, if that is the case we should disqualify all starting with President Kiir, because he is not free in this scenario, as he held a very sensitive position in the movement where crime had also been committed.

Otherwise this will implicate all our leaders, which to me they did not intend to commit these atrocities, however, Dr. Riek has done a lot to this country and his actions speak louder to the people who value the truth, for that reason he deserves to be voted in come 2015.

Let us tell the truth and the truth will set us free. I also want to denounce the Sudantribune website interaction which in every issue turns into tribal’s forum. I stand here advocating for the adjustment of this media forum, because it increases tribal hatred than at all time, and from today on, I start my campaign against this kind of discussion because it will never take us anywhere good, most of the time they luck logic.

In conclusion I would like to send my warmest salutations to all my fellow compatriots where ever you may be on this planet Earth on Republic of South Sudan’s second Anniversary.

The author can be reached by Email;
By:Wal Thok Duoth

We shall celebrate our independence

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, JUL/08/2013, SSN;

For most countries celebrating their day of independence is an event eagerly awaited. It is celebrated with pomp and razzmatazz. From early morning hours one sees parades, children taking parts in various activities with towns and cities creating their own carnival like environments. At night, fireworks of unimaginable sorts are shot high into the sky bursting into tiny balls of various colours and formations creating captivating mental sensations. The boom sound s from fireworks not only dazzles sending hearts pumping but psychically creates a feeling of its own that is indescribable. People beam with happiness and exude confidence with expressions of deep feelings coming from their sense of freedom and pride. They go to pubs, bars and night clubs to enjoy themselves.

Heroines, heroes and the fallen are fondly remembered. History comes to the present to be lived for moments in this important day. Epic stories of struggle are told, re-lived and proudly owned.

In healthy states, the fruits of freedom and independence can be seen everywhere in functioning institutions reflected by the provision of quality of services in health, education, security etc rendered to the people. In contrast, we have our newly liberated country: Republic of South Sudan. A country of 8.2 million people with an area the size of southern Europe. The mood in this beautiful country endowed with abundant natural resource ironically is sombre as if there is not a very important day to be celebrated.

The majority of the populace look dejected, under fed with few extremely beaming with happiness in the most expensive automobiles one can imagine. For example, Hammers and V8s land cruisers. The physique of this group of people can not be mistaken. The most noticeable thing they carry around with them is their amorphous bodies, a sign of overfeeding from unnecessary abuse of food itself. Ignorantly as they are, these know-nothing identified by Gerard Prunier as “idiots …….rotten to the core” believe their distorted figures are a sign of riches. Unfortunately for them, health experts have a different view of this self inflicted shapelessness from gluttony. The locals see it as a sign of thievery. Their greed can be seen from their blobby faces, fattened with oil bags around their eye lids threatening to shut them off. Oh dear!

Welcome to South Sudan, the land of thieves for liberators. This group is the only one celebrating the independence day with happiness. Blinded by ultra corruption and oblivious of their environment they can not see the sea of suffering surrounding them. One of them, who may not fit the above description recently got fed up. Inspired by Mr Gerard Prunier, he declared the system “rotten from top to bottom”. That is starting with president Kiir at the top and ending with Ateny Wek at the bottom.

Wow! At last there is an Oyeeite who dares to speak out the truth. Had there been many like him, perhaps this second anniversary might have just been refreshing. Unfairly, this Oyeeite got himself sacked. I can only say to him – welcome back to the world of the oppressed. The very bottom filled with rot he helped construct and later discovered before he started yapping to the dismay of his boss.

The consequence of being led by “rotten” people has obtained the bleak situation in the country to the extent that people do not have the energy to even celebrate the day they are supposed to be most proud of. Understandably, also there is a section of the society that regrets South Sudan getting its sovereignty from the Arabs due to the shocking abuse of the current rulers.

All the abuses in the country must be put in context. These are the result of the Jieng usurping power at independence through the SPLM/A Oyee. It was unfortunate that at the birth of South Sudan, it was delivered into the care of the Oyee machine which is a deranged organisation and so the present mess is not a surprise to some of us.

Nevertheless celebrating independence is important. It should not be confused with the current poor governance and the sentiments of those who did not vote for the secession due to Jieng abuse of power. It is a truism that oppression and discrimination know no colours of skin. This is a fact. Arab oppression and discrimination was and is not different from the current Jieng one.

It must be recognised that oppression and discrimination stems from abuse of power, poor knowledge of human relationship and poor management of diversity. All these unfortunately are things that saturate the government of South Sudan. Even with all these I still argue that our independence was an absolute necessity visa viz our humanity and self determination. The abuse of power in Juba is a temporary thing in the development of the state. It will be gotten rid off and it may take a couple of governments and sacrifices before it stabilises.

In a sense these are inevitable teething problems. What is important is for the people of South Sudan to continue fighting for a decent and fair society until it is achieved. With the Arabs out of the way, the fight for democracy and good governance in South Sudan is achievable.

Why independence from Arabs was a priority and a must? In the Sudan, the South Sudanese African identity was under a real threat. The definition of the Sudan as an Arab country with all the consequences that flowed from it was in direct conflict with our normal way of life. Basically, Arab culture automatically criminalised our cultures and way of living. All of us saw how Arabic language and culture was foisted on us by the state. The naming of all the land mark places in South Sudan with Arab names.

The operationalisation of a state policy of Islamisation and underdevelopment, stealing of South Sudanese resources for developing the north only and the list goes on endlessly. Being in the Sudan was no option for anybody who valued their own worth and humanity. So, the key to get out of that mess was attaining sovereignty and this could only come through secession. South Sudan fought for it and rightly achieved it.
Now, problem one solved. The second problem is what we have at hand in Juba: the abuse of state power by the so called “born to rule”. They terrorise people at will. With full control of the media they use it to spread lies and division while creating havoc throughout the country. For example the ruling groups have developed an insatiable appetite for land grabbing. This issue was recently articulated by the amnestied General Johnson Ulony.

On 15th June 2013, Malaak Ayuen, the chief propaganda officer of SPLM/A Oyee on SSTV initially appeared content with himself in preparation of his interview with General Ulony. He beamed with confidence as usual. But this time he was hyperactive and looked like a cat that had just caught a mouse and was about to play cruel games with it of tossing it up and down. Allowing the prey to run and then again pounce on it and so goes the torment.

Watching the programme, at first I was disgusted but as the interview progressed I had to slowly change my mind. Certainly Ulony was no easy prey. As usual Malaak was trying to milk the interview to strengthen the Oyee machine. But to his surprise Ulony told him point blank and through the programme to the people of South Sudan and beyond that the government in Juba is a Jieng government and the reason he rebelled was because the Jieng dispossessed the Chollo of their lands.

Malaak became agitated, uncomfortable fidgeting in his chair and wanted to divert the issue but there was no let up. Ulony drove the message home to all the South Sudanese. For once SSTV became a carrier and conveyor of truth that the Jieng do not like. The important thing that has come out of this interview is the public exposure of Jieng policy of land grabbing and their use of the government machinery for that purpose.

Similar story is going on throughout Equatoria. Recently, in Yei Kiir’s government advancing Jieng interest arrested 6 paramount chiefs of former Yei River district based on flimsy accusation. It was alleged that the chiefs were collaborating with M23 rebels in Democratic Republic of Congo with the aim of breaking up South Sudan. Subjecting this allegation to analysis, even before getting to the depth of it, it falls apart.

First of all M23 is an organisation mainly of Hima and Tutsi people of the great lakes region. This group has no relationship with the people of Yei district in any way be it by ethnicity or culture. Geographically Yei River district is almost a thousand kilometres to the north of M23’s area of operation. The people of Yei have no any source of weapons to help the M23. So the whole allegation is baseless.

However, the main reason for this facade is to threaten and humiliate the entire people of Yei district with the aim of stealing their lands. The Jieng had wanted 15 miles square of Yei land to be allocated to them which the chiefs rightly refused and as the result the chiefs are being punished and intimidated to give in with the support of some stooges from Equatoria in government.

The determination of the Jieng to displace the other tribes in South Sudan is a very serious thing. Its magnitude can be deduced from these two examples:

Dmajak (a Jieng) commenting on my article ‘Jay Johnson: the anxiety of the general election of 2015’ published in South Sudan Nation on 7th June 2013 said: “To Paul, you have said many bad things about Dinka, but you should know that Jieng will not leave any Equatoria land very soon because this land has taken blood of Dinka who defended it during the war with Arab people. To be honest with you, we are not leaving Nimule, Yei and other towns in South Sudan to either Uganda or Congo. There is no way out.

If you are South Sudanese, please do not waste your time writing nonsense about Dinka, they are true owners of this land of Equatoria.” Now this kind of blatant assertion of rights over fellow country man’s land is not any different from the behaviour of the Arabs or early European imperialists. The Jieng have clearly by their actions chosen to be domestic colonialists.

Lukudu Gatkouth Garang (another diluted Jieng) commented on the, ‘Press release: Western Bahr El Ghazal community in Diaspora’ published by South Sudan Nation on 17th June 2013 saying: “They (Fertit) have already taken their chances and actions against the so called idiots. Now it is the idiots turn to either forgive them or punish them severely.

Please stop instigating war between Jieng and Fertit in Wau and plan for your own safe exit from your own backyard. Those SPLA/M idiots are everywhere and watching and monitoring your every move and they will catch up with you one day at the Konyokonyo market of wherever you may be on this planet earth. Mouse, keep dancing around on the SSN while cats are watching you planning their next move on you.”

This comment conveys what goes on in the mind of the Jieng. The Jieng basically have dehumanised the ‘others’ and this is why they are able to abuse people without any remorse. Imagine calling fellow countrymen ‘rats’. As social theory posits that the abuser in the process of abusing others dehumanise himself/herself too I wish to pray for them by saying, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

As I argued elsewhere, with all its immense pain, this is not comparable to the Arab problem because it is easily solvable. In South Sudan there are about 63 tribes and out of these one tribe or so is deluding itself that it can lord it over the rest because they make 18 percent of the total population of South Sudan. This is what I call fantasy. Which is greater – is it 18 percent or 82 percent of the population? Obviously 82 percent is the majority and this is what really matters in deciding the fate of the country. Once all the other tribes converge on the view that Jieng behaviour must be addressed, the current nonsense in Juba will be history and South Sudan will be one step closer to total independence.

However, with dogged insistence from the people of South Sudan the next government can be made to see to it as a duty to arraign the current criminals in Juba to ensure that they pay for the mismanagement of the country ranging from wanton looting to killing of innocent people. The proceeds of their loot must be legally confiscated and this includes animals like cows bought by looted cash.

South Sudanese should not accept anything less than total righting of the current wrongs. There must be a total overhaul of the system so that people get the message that crime does not pay. Knowing that we can do the above, why not then celebrate the independence of South Sudan. South Sudan is bigger than any ethnic group and this should assure us of good things to come.

With the above I am of to Queen of Sheba restaurant to entertain myself to a large dish of Ethiopian cuisine downed with a bottle of Chateau Moncontour Vouray wine in celebration of independence from the Mundukuru. After which I will go home and listen to Bob Marley’s: ‘Get up stand up, stand up for yours rights. Get up stand don’t give up the fights.’ Yaa oppressed, are you listening! Let us celebrate our independence.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

South Sudan Second Independence Celebration

BY: SIDANI Ireneaus SEBIT, KENYA, JUL/08/2013, SSN;

On the 9th July 2013, South Sudan will be 2 years old as an independent nation. I believe this is going to be a festive day for the people of South Sudan for one thing at least. South Sudan is independent. It is no longer under the shackles of the Arab imperialists. South Sudanese will certainly look back and say the blood that liberated the country was worth it if independence is what prompted it.

Therefore, I should first start by paying homage to our fallen heroes and heroines. I pay tribute Dr. John Garang for his charismatic leadership during the struggle. My innermost prayer is that the Almighty God should rest his soul and the souls of the other great comrades in Eternal peace.

Coming back to the celebrations, I am sure many political speeches will be delivered in all our major towns and cities leave alone the main one in Juba. I do not know who will do it in Juba this time. The only thing I certainly know is that an excellent speech will be delivered in Juba. This speech will outline the achievement of the government in South Sudan. What I do know frankly is that the speech may not reflect the true situation in South Sudan. The speech is likely to be as below:

In the name of our revolution and on my own behalf, I sincerely welcome our invited guests, your excellencies the governors, members of the two parliaments and the great sons and daughters of South Sudan to this momentous occasion when we are celebrating the second anniversary of our independence. However, before I proceed, can I earnestly request this congregation to stand up for three minute of silence to honour our leader Dr. John Garang, our heroes and heroines who paid the ultimate price for this beautiful nation to be born.

After three minute! Please you can now sit.

Distinguished guests, fellow patriots, ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to begin by congratulating the people of South Sudan for their great optimism and patience for the prosperous future of our beloved country. As you know South Sudan has just been independent for only 2 years and as a young nation, it has a lot to learn and totter in order to get its bearing in the civilized nations of the world. So ladies and gentlemen, what is transpiring at moment whether good or bad is the process of country trying to position itself to the new world order.

However, it must be understood clearly that as infant country, patriotism to the nation is the most important other than thinking about socio- economic development. You remember ladies and gentlemen, we took 23 years in the bush without any socio- economic development and we won our independence. Thus true to the principle, we can take another 10 years or more for the government of self service to initiate any meaningful development and socio-economic progress.

Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to outline to you first the strategic plan of our Government that was recently endorsed by our two parliaments. First is the insecurity that must be strengthened so as to prevent investment in the country. This is because investment in the country will transform our people into western based economy and lifestyle. This will certainly destroy our traditional way of life. Our primitive agriculture and cattle keeping behaviours will be destroyed. Our tulkuls and Luaks will be destroyed. Our traditions of women fetching water from distant rivers will disappear.

Our love for darkness will become an illusion because of electricity. Our long distance walking experiences will go. By the way you remember when we used to walk from the villages to Bonga for training. That was a exhilarating experience for the men and women who participated in the war. How do you really want to part with these beautiful experiences and way of life. I do not think this can happen under my watchful eye.

Invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, our formidable army has resisted the forceful transformation into a modern national army. This is because the army must remain a SPLM last weapon to fight against the democratization of the country. The army must protect the dictatorship and the monolithic form of government in South Sudan.

However, something must be made clear. The ranks and file of the army must remain lowly paid to conform to our principle of liberation without payment. On the other hand the top brass of the army must be facilitated and given free hand to accumulate individual wealth so as to prevent them taking over the government as it has happened in Egypt recently.

Ladies and gentlemen, true to its nature and intention, your government has managed to control the two Houses of Parliament, the judiciary and anti-corruption commission so as to facilitate the acceleration of corruption in the government.

Corruption must be made as the cornerstone of this government. This is because it is the only way we can keep the government officials happy and enable them educate their children abroad without bothering to invest in education in the country. Corruption has made it easier for our officials to go abroad for excellent medical treatment. It has made them to acquire the top of the range cars that are good for our country in addition to procuring huge mansionnettes or villas for their families abroad.

This has enabled us not to invest on health institutions, infrastructure or housing in the country. You may be wondering what happens to the majority of our people in this case. The fact is that our people are always patient and resilient while the elite are not.Therefore, it is important that the elite must be satisfied first before turning to the majority. This is the only way to avoid any revolution against the government.

However, in order to sustain the corruption, our oil must continue to flow through Sudan. The flow of this oil is the only life line for our elites. This is why the government has vowed not to take this country to war with Sudan again. Peace with Sudan is the only way of maintaining the flow of the oil. It is crucial even if we are to ignore the future of Abyei until another pipeline for our oil is constructed in distant future.

Regarding democracy in our beloved party, the SPLM, we are avow that no one at this time should talk about political challenge to oust the current leadership of the party. SPLM as a party has done a lot for this country. It liberated the country and has instituted a form of government has ignored the rule of majority, human rights and calls for internal democracy. It has institutionalized nepotism, tribalism, corruption and created excellent bourgeoisie class in Juba. It is this class that should continue rule this country.

In order to maintain this class in power, SPLM has succeeded in destroying the national unity and cohesion so that the country can be fragmented into regional blocks. Ladies and gentlemen, this fact underlined the recent regional conferences in Equatoria and greater Bahr el Ghazal. The aim was not only to abandon national cohesion but to build regional blocks that can sustain our leadership in the party.

As a result, these congresses have, in all intentions, endorsed the party incumbent to remain as party leaders. The challenges been mounted by other members of the party are nothing other than undermining the undemocratic principles of the party and are likely to breed discontent in the party. This is precisely why the leadership of the party is not convening the national convention until we are sure that everybody is herded to rally behind the incumbent.

Ladies and gentlemen, you must remain vigilant against machinations of our enemies who are out to destroy our cultures and traditions that we fought vigorously to protect. Some of these enemies are trying to use our own brothers to destroy our country. This why you are witnessing these persistent calls for change in the leadership of the party.

You are also witnessing the relentless uproar from the human rights groups condemning dictatorship under the guise of fighting for human rights in the country. All these attempts will be resisted and eventually defeated.

I must conclude by quoting the famous former President of Kenya, Moi who used to tell Kenyans, “Mukaa yivoo yivoo, washa Mungu a ku baariki” (stay like that and let the God bless you). However, the actual meaning is that the rich must remain rich and the poor must remain poor and let God less them all.

South Sudan Oyee, SPLM/A Oyee. God bless you all.

Ireneaus Sebit Sindani,

Is Kiir unyielding tenacity to keep Gov. Rizik in office a win-win or a win-lose situation?

BY: ALEX NARO, Germany, JUL/08/2013, SSN;

It will not be very hard for any political analyst, or politician outside the microscopic circle of president Kiir’s associates to answer this question confidently that it is a win-lose situation, and Rizik is the winner, but before we address this question there are some false assertions of immense importance made by the very few Kiir’s attendants aforementioned we need to elucidate.

The affirmation that the so-called Greater Bahr el-Ghazal supports Salva kiir Mayardit in the 2015 Presidential election is not true, and it is definitely a blunder.

The worst thing a man can do to himself is to lie and then believe in his own lie. I am a Balanda man from Wau (WBGS) I will not support Kiir for the 2015 contest and I can go on and make a list of more than a thousand people I know personally who are going to do the same, forget alone about the breaches that occurred between the two governors of Warrap state and of Northern Bahr el- Ghazal state regarding the final resolution of that failed conference.

So the question here is what is the President Kiir doing right now to persuade millions of South Sudanese People like me who lost confidence in his leadership to support him again in the up coming polls?

We will not support him definitely in the next vote, but we acknowledge his struggle and sacrifices for all of us and we express our profound gratitude to him in that regard.

Moreover we recognize that the SPLM as the Ruling Party interests should come before any individual and we believe that the SPLM constitution, code of conduct and manifesto if implemented accordingly to their purposes of liberty, equality and justice for all as proclaimed then the SPLM will be the party of the people.

Notwithstanding, we are absolutely confident than any time before that the time is now for Kiir to cede the power willingly to save his legacy so that he can be able to enjoy the fruits of his life long struggle in which his entire youth was annihilated.

We say this and we know fully well the challenges of such a courageous decision of handing over power to somebody else might inflict on him especially from those who think their interest will be damaged.

On the other hand, we believe that president Kiir is a tough guy and he is well equipped with experiences to deal with such challenges.

All the great leaders who left behind good memories and legacies for their people to be proud of and to
remember them generations after generations were the leaders who worked inexhaustibly to serve their nation but not the other way around and were able to make self-criticism and admit their mistakes, and weakness; president Kiir can be one of them if he chooses to be.

Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe should be the best example for us here. Mugabe lost his popularity to the extent the People of Zimbabwe forgot that he was the one who fought vigorously for their independence
against the colonial power.

Second of the non-factual contention we would like to shed light upon is the erroneous incrimination of the people of Western Bahr el -Ghazal, mainly the most peace loving people the Fertit and the Lou of being Militias, National Conference sympathetic, or anti Dinka and Kokora enthusiasts whenever they voice any concern about the injustices done to them by a tiny bigoted group of SPLM politicians or some ruffian SPLA soldiers in order to intimidate them, this is not true, and we have valid arguments to support our claims.

Here are some of them:-
Our strong Christian faith of Catholic values alone would not allow us to sell our consciences and give
our hands to the National Conference, and in this regard we are very proud to say that the first ever
bishop of Sudan, bishop Ireneo Dud and the first ever Sudanese Cardinal, Gabriel Cardinal Zubeir Wako, are the descendants of WBGS, and we have never been ruled by a non Christian Governors, even during the time of Sharia Law was imposed in Sudan, but Kiir put an end to this tradition at the expense of the WBGS people!

This alone hints sinister intentions, which have been, manifested in the 8/9 December 2012 Wau’s massacre and Kirr’s 23/12/2012 speech in Wau can do a lot to confirm our claims.

The question that begs us for an answer is that what else a guy like the governor Rizik Zachariah will not be able to do?

Somebody who enjoys seeing the very people he’s supposed to defend their interests being killed and marginalised?

Reflecting on his personal brotherhood intimate relationship with the Jalaba Traders in Wau a great discredit should be put on him.

As a career soldier, president Kiir from his military philosophy should be the one to know better than all of us here that such people can be double agents, besides we are living in an era it is not very hard for some people of certain beliefs to be radicalized easily if they have been approached by a wrong
sermonizer particularly when they sense the omen of being desolated or when their interests have been put in jeopardy.

And as long as Al Bashir is in power such a scenario should not be left unrestrained.

There are some limited number of SPLM members within the president Kiir tiny ring of associates who believe that the conflicts that were waged during the war of liberation by some ethnic groups against
Dinka such as Toposa in Kapoeta, Mandari in Juba, Fertit in Wau, just to mention a few they believed that Khartoum were behind them, and they had tried to apply and replicate the same methods in WBGS when they pitted the Lou against the Fertit.

And this was clearly demonstrated in how honorable Mark Nypoc, the former governor of WBGS and a senior member of the SPLM Political Bureau was humiliated and denied campaign money just because he refused interference in WBGS internal Issues, whereas those few elements supported Rizik so that he would later execute for them some dirty proposals.

But to tell the truth Rizik, is not as Idiot as those elements expected him to be because the damages Rizik has done to the SPLM party in WBGS are un-repairable ones.

Here, we are the party is in its lowest position since its formation in 1983. The SPLM now is like what the late DR. Garang depicted as, “when the water level shrinks, birds will be able to catch the fish from the river,” because many staunch SPLM members have abandoned the party even if they are afraid to declare it openly.

Concerning the Militia accusation or kuwat Al Salam, it was formed to protect the Fertit homes from being looted by those some referred to them as Nygat, and most essentially was to protect our mothers, sisters and daughters from being raped or get killed.

So the Fertit needed that counterforce so badly at the time to be able to survive conspicuously when the Central Auxiliary Police Force under the command of then first lieutenant Abraham Manyuwat turned their AK-47 rifles against the Fertit, of course, after obtaining the endorsement of those who were above him.

The same thing happened all over the country when almost all the pastoral tribes organized counterforces to protect their cattle from being pillaged by the renegade SPLA soldiers, so it was a common legitimate phenomenon during that period of lack of rule of law.

Now what is the president of the republic doing to avert such a scenario to repeat itself again?

The majority of the people of WBGS do not see the president Kiir as their president because he took the side in the violence that ruptured Wau lately.

We do not accept from the president Kiir in his remaining tenure less than to give Rizik a boot, strip him from immunity and put him on a fair trial for the crime against humanity, annihilation of the WBGS
integrity by deliberately instigating tribal conflicts among the people of the one country and for enriching himself and his associates from the public money.

We say if the president Kiir really cares about the SPLM great reputation and its previous better image then he must listen to the people of WBGS this time. It is not about himself personally but about the
SPLM which should be above all of us.

A leader that has to think a thousand times about which of the route to take to reach his office to avoid
being shot at by the angry populace, or who has to be escorted every day by a heavy security apparatus
including tanks and heavy military machineries, who spends most of his time worrying about how to survive a day and keep himself alive, such a leader cannot deliver services to people because he uses his time to think only about himself and ignore the worries of people.

Such a leader must go.

We would like to seize this opportunity and call upon all the youth of WBGS state, be it Dinka Maryal Bay, Lou, or Fertit, let us join hands together and say no to those outsiders who interfere in our internal issues and work hard to bury the griefs of the past.

Let us be the generation that will put an end to tribalism. Let us make the fight against the negative stereotypes that are practised by our elderly folks our prime goal.

Let today be a day when we commit ourselves not to use such despicable words to refer to one another Jur Chol, Dooar or Jenge, for we are the generation of today and tomorrow.

Now, dear Comrades, let us address our main question of whether Kiir’s persistence on Rizik Zachariah is doing good to the SPLM as a party which is losing its supporters in an unprecedented way.

President Salva Kiir has made many political miscalculations, and things are now out of his hands because of borrowing too many wrong ideas from too many sources.

The recent Rieck Machar statements in which he declared to challenge the president in the 2015 elections and currently the SPLM General Secretary Pagan Amum who criticized Kiir openly is a clear indication that the president is walking the plank, add to that the relieving of Governor Taban Deng Gai which has been preceded by the exclusion of Deng Alor and Kosti Manibe.

Finally, let us check this out what Kiir as the chairman of the SPLM party is doing to win the hearts of the people so that they continue pledging their support for the SPLM instead of yielding the party.

How come a leader of a party dumps all the potential adhesive voters of an entire State because of one person?

His continuation of lending a deaf ear to the wailing of the people of Western Bahr el-Ghazal and recently to the people of Lakes State will cost him to lose not only the Party Chairmanship but also the
presidency, as well.

We would like to express our deepest sympathy to all the families who lost their loved ones all across the country because of Kiir autocracy, and wish all the people of South Sudan a Happy Second Anniversary.

We remain optimistic that the change is on the horizon. May God be with the people of South Sudan in the coming unpredictable periods.

Alex Naro.

‘Stand down,’ Machar warns Kiir and vows to replace him

BY: Simon Tisdall in Juba, Thursday 4 July 2013 16.40 BST;

Vice-president’s leadership challenge raises fears of renewed violence in country beset by food shortages and corruption

The deputy leader of newly independent South Sudan has issued a veiled warning to the country’s western-backed president, Salva Kiir, telling him to stand down and vowing to replace him before or after elections due by 2015.

The forceful intervention by the vice-president, Riek Machar, a general in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA) and former regional warlord, threatens to ignite a power struggle that South Sudan, an unstable, landlocked and virtually bankrupt country beset by border wars and internal insurgencies, can ill afford.

Kiir, who is expected to seek another term, has reportedly faced three military coup attempts since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan two years ago, on 9 July 2011.

A vicious conflict raging in eastern Jonglei state has displaced 20,000 people this year, the UN says. The country’s economic plight is worsening, reflected in swingeing austerity measures and a growing dependence on foreign aid and loans.

Now Machar’s challenge has raised fears of a new descent into violence only eight years after the end of Africa’s longest civil war.

In a boost for his position, Kiir won the agreement of the Khartoum government this year for a resumption of southern oil exports via pipelines running through Sudan to the Red Sea.

But Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, is threatening to shut down the pipelines in retaliation for what he says is South Sudan’s backing for rebels fighting Khartoum’s rule in the border states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

South Sudan denies the claim. But oil accounts for at least 95% of the South Sudan government’s revenue. Observers in the capital, Juba, say a renewed cutoff could bring the new state to its knees, triggering a wider governmental collapse – an eventuality Bashir may be keen to bring about.

Speaking to the Guardian in his office in a government compound in Juba, Machar said Kiir’s SPLM government had been unable to satisfy the people’s expectations after the 1983-2005 civil war ended with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which set South Sudan on the road to secession and independence.

Machar suggested that Kiir had failed to use his time as leader since 2005 to build strong institutions, tackle official corruption or create a co-operative relationship with Khartoum. He said that, after almost a decade at the top, it was time for Kiir to go. “When a president has been in power for a long time, it becomes inevitable that a new generation arises,” Machar said. “It is a natural process, it is best to move that way. It is not that the incumbent is at all bad.

“To avoid authoritarianism and dictatorship, it is better to change. Our time is limited now. I have been serving under Salva Kiir. I do my best serving under him. I think it is time for a change now.”

He added: “Our president has a good legacy. He took us through a very difficult interim period and that was managed successfully under his leadership. The CPA was implemented, a referendum was conducted, independence was declared, and now we are in a transition. This is a good legacy for Salva Kiir.”

Given the SPLM’s control of the government, army and security forces, and all but a handful of seats in parliament, Machar said he hoped the ruling party would adopt a pre-election endorsement of his candidacy, in effect forcing Kiir to stand down early or drop his re-election bid.

But in what observers said was a sign of dissension in ruling circles, a national party convention to discuss the leadership issue has been repeatedly postponed. This year Kiir stripped Machar of some vice-presidential powers. Since then, critical articles published by the state news agency have accused Machar of paranoia.

Machar appeared unfazed at the prospect of splitting the SPLM. “We hope we can resolve this issue. Currently there are four known people who expressed their desire to run for the presidency, including me and the incumbent. That shouldn’t lead to a split. We want to demonstrate democratic debate within … I’m hoping we can remain together as one party.”

While Machar said he would be happy for Kiir to serve under him as president, he was vague when asked whether he would be content to continue to serve under Kiir.

Machar has a history of changing sides. In the 1990s he fell out with the late SPLM leader John Garang de Mabior and allied himself with Khartoum before returning to the fold. While Kiir and most of the SPLM leadership belong to the Dinka people, Machar’s Nuer tribe makes up much of the army rank-and-file.

Another declared presidential candidate is Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior, Garang’s widow, who is a presidential adviser. Observers in Juba have speculated that she may join forces with Machar in an effort to oust Kiir.

Dissatisfaction with Kiir’s government (of which Machar is a prominent member) is widespread, with perceived failures to provide jobs, adequate healthcare, schools, housing and roads, and lack of investment in infrastructure and key business sectors such as agriculture. Two years after independence, 50% of the population live below the poverty line. Illiteracy rates are high. Life expectancy is 42 years.

Aid experts suggest it does not have to be this way, noting that the Equatoria region is rich farming country. “South Sudan’s agricultural potential is enormous and encompasses crops, horticulture, fish, livestock and forests … In theory, there should be no shortages,” said the Overseas Development Institute’s Humanitarian Exchange.

In fact, nearly all South Sudan’s food is imported, mostly from Uganda, and hunger and malnutrition are persistent problems. The UN and partners say 2.3 million people will need food assistance this year, and “nutritional services” will be provided to 3.2 million. By another measure, out of a population of 12 million, more than 4.6 million are “food insecure”.

Meanwhile, government spending on agriculture in 2012-13 amounted to only 5.2% of the national budget, in contrast to the estimated 25% spent on the military and security services. Roughly half of the budget is spent by the government on itself, mostly on salaries and prestige items such as ministers’ V8 Land Cruisers.

Corruption among the ruling elite is another corrosive issue. Kiir has admitted that billions of Sudanese pounds have been misappropriated and last year called on 75 unnamed officials to return cash.

Despite this month’s suspension of two leading ministers over a separate alleged scam, there have been no arrests. The anti-corruption commission is reportedly so starved of resources that it is unable to pay the office rent.

The ubiquitous but shadowy security services also stand accused, by Human Rights Watch and local journalists, of following Khartoum’s example and taking an increasingly authoritarian, “surveillance society” approach to independent media, NGOs and civil society pressure groups. These groups claim to constitute the only real opposition in the absence of effective alternative political parties.

What a community activist called a “pervasive feeling of unease” reached critical proportions last December with the fatal shooting, by unknown men widely assumed to belong to state security, of a leading newspaper columnist, Isaiah Abraham.

NGO workers also report increased numbers of detentions and disappearances in the past year. Surveillance by police and other agencies has included demands that planned meetings or workshops be cleared with them in advance.

“The government is becoming very intolerant to any alternative voices so it’s very hard to positively criticise them,” the community activist said. With a wry smile, she added: “Don’t quote my name or next time you come here you will not find me.”

“We are facing a huge challenge of democratic transformation,” said Edmund Yakani, of Community Empowerment for Progress (Cepo), an independent civil society organisation. “What is happening now is a crisis in the ruling party, a crisis of political leadership. This is reflected in the public sphere. The crisis is transferred to the state. It is not the state itself that is sick. The sickness is in the party and political system.”

Yakani said an SPLM split might prove the best outcome, as it would give voters a choice at the next election. “Then we will have proper checks and balances,” he said. Otherwise, South Sudan might go down the same route as repressive, de facto one-party states such as Zimbabwe.

Mading Ngor, a leading Juba journalist and commentator, said South Sudan was entering a critical period. “The power struggle in the ruling party is killing this country.

“The politicians think about themselves and who is in the state houses, not the good of the country. Oil may be cut off again, bilateral relations [with Khartoum] have reached a low point again, and if this happens, this nation may collapse. I hope not.”

A Juba resident who asked not to be identified said: “Many people are pessimistic about the way things are going. I remember how long was the struggle for independence. This is a consolidation. The next step will be tougher. But it is not a licence for the so-called liberators to abuse and sit on the people they liberated.

“This is a highly militarised society. We need a change of culture, a change of attitudes. It [the SPLM government] has not met expectations and our basic values are ignored. There’s no equality, no justice, no fairness. Our natural resources are concentrated in the hands of a few people.

“I never thought it would happen overnight. Freedom has to be won over and over again, as the South Africans say. But the hard work of nation-building has not started yet.”

With the US and other western countries, Britain – which helped broker the CPA – has invested heavily in South Sudan under Kiir’s leadership. UK bilateral aid stands at about £100m a year after William Hague, the foreign secretary, made the country a priority.

The UN and associated agencies appealed for $1.16bn (£761m) in 2013 to address what they called urgent humanitarian needs – the largest such appeal in the world after Somalia. As of 1 June, about 47% of the total had been raised.

So far, at least, experts classify South Sudan as a fragile state, rather than a Somalia-style failed state. But as the second anniversary of independence nears, and as the political crisis triggered by Machar unfolds, the fraying ties that bind the world’s newest country may be stretched to breaking point.

    Riek Machar, the former rebel fighter ready for a new battle
    South Sudan’s vice-president has ambitions to topple his leader and transform his country

Riek Machar Teny, the vice-president of South Sudan who is planning to oust the president, is probably best known in Britain for his marriage to a British aid volunteer, Emma McCune, who went to work in Sudan in 1987 during the civil war.

At the time Machar was a commander in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) fighting the government in Khartoum. After they married, McCune threw in her lot with the southern rebels. In 1993, while pregnant with Machar’s child, she was killed in a car crash in Nairobi. Her story was later told in a book, Emma’s War, by Deborah Scroggins.

Machar’s career as a guerrilla leader brought similar vicissitudes. His quest for independence for South Sudan led him into conflict with the then SPLM leader, John Garang, who initially favoured a reformed but united Sudan in which the equal rights of non-Arabs and non-Muslims would be respected.

In 1991 Machar broke away, forming a rebel faction, the SPLM/A-Nasir. A period of complex, rival alliances based on ethnic and tribal lines followed, involving sometimes heavy fighting between Machar’s forces and the SPLA. His groups received help from the Sudanese government and in 1997, along with other disaffected rebels, he signed the ill-conceived Khartoum Peace Agreement and became an assistant to President Omar al-Bashir.

Machar eventually patched up his differences with Garang and rejoined the SPLA as a senior commander in 2002. He was subsequently involved in negotiations leading to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the civil war, and after Garang’s death in an accident he became South Sudan’s first vice-president on independence in July 2011.

Friction between Machar and President Salva Kiir has built up in the past two years as South Sudan’s new SPLM-led government has struggled to meet the daunting challenge of building a nation state from scratch. Observers in the capital, Juba, say memories of Machar’s machinations during the war and the many deaths that resulted from the split with Garang have left a residue of distrust.

In his interview with the Guardian, Machar was highly critical of Kiir’s record as president and urged him to step down, thereby avoiding a leadership contest. But he also made plain that he was ready for a fight, at the same time revealing his knowledge of British political precedents – he holds a PhD from the University of Bradford.

“Even in your own country, Margaret Thatcher had to leave after leading the Conservative party for a very long time. Tony Blair also had to leave after winning three consecutive elections and give way to the next generation,” he said. Theirs was an example that Kiir would do well to follow, he suggested. He rejected any comparison between himself and Gordon Brown.

His criticism of Kiir aside, Machar offered several reasons why the new government was underperforming. It was difficult, he said, to make the switch from guerrilla movement to governance; Khartoum continued to make problems for the impoverished new state, particularly over oil exports; and South Sudan was the world’s youngest independent country. It would take time to build institutional strength, he said.

“After independence, the expectations of the people shot up very high. They want us to turn this country into another Dubai or Korea or Malaysia, countries that have moved fast in their economic and social development … That is good, but we have to weigh and measure those expectations against the reality on the ground … We haven’t met the expectations of the people in the last two years.”

Machar rejected a suggestion the ruling party elite had become out of touch with ordinary people. “We are of the people, we come from the people. We are pastoralists, camel-herders, peasants. It would be difficult to say we are out of touch. We live with them.”