Archive for: August 2013

South Sudanese left in limbo while troika group retreats.

BY: Sidani Ireneaus Sebit, KENYA, AUG/25/13, SSN;

I would like to divert a bit from my usual series of leadership to focus at the situation in South Sudan. Mark it at beginning that this diversion is basically to highlight the troubling situation of our country. South Sudan came into existence as a result of not only long and devastating fighting that claimed 2 million lives but also the great efforts of many countries that brought the belligerents to the negotiating table. These countries to my view are pivotal in nurturing South Sudan to maturity regardless of how long it takes a country to mature.

Sadly it appears South Sudan is progressing in the path of maturity without guidance. All along the leaders have used the childhood of the 2 year old country as an excuse to loot and plunder it for their own survival instead of developing it yet the guarantors of the CPA, of course the troika group, look on helpless as if they did not promise to pedagogue South Sudan to a great democratic country that exercise transparency, accountability, service to the people and sustained socio-economic development. However, this particular article is not focused on the role of the troika nations but rather on who precisely is the mastermind of the mega corruptions in South Sudan thus creating the deep suffering in the country.

Since the signing of the famous CPA, billions of USD dollars have been squandered and stashed out of the country. The most recognized pillage of the country by its our leaders is the 4 billion USD where the president himself is on record writing letters to the 75 perceived looters to surrender the loot to secret bank account in Kenya. Up to date nobody knows whether any of this money is returned to the South Sudan treasury. The president himself has kept quiet. The silence of the president on this money would only be interpreted in three different ways: 1) The president certainly new the culprits but he wanted them to secretly return the money without defaming their character or jeopardize their political situation in South Sudan. 2) The president was using the letters as a cover up of corruption that involves also his own character and thus the letters were a ploy to deceive the South Sudanese that he is fighting corruption. 3) The looters have actually returned the money and since the money was return to a secret bank account only known by the president, this money must have also found another outlet.

The second important corruption saga is the dura saga in which millions of USD money was screwed up by bogus companies in South Sudan. Some people have tried to link this dura saga to the 4 billion USD above but I think otherwise. The dura saga is distinct and planned carefully. The most intriguing thing to this saga is the communication between the chairman of the chamber of commerce, the president’s office and the ministry of finance that led to the release of the money to the companies. Let me quote Crook here, “Bol is the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. He is the owner of the national multi-billion dollar construction company, ABMC. He is also the manager of Home & Away and Alok Company. Why was he writing to President Kiir to pay off contracts, majority of which were bogus? What is the relationship between Bol Mel and President Salva Kiir anyway? In the letter, Benjamin Bol Mel reveals that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, under Deng Athorbei, was deflating the original figures.

“The effort from the ministry for finance and Economic Planning making in reducing the outstanding balances from their original levels is appreciated, but further reduction, along the lines we have suggested, should be a practical step towards empowering our members to be part of the referendum process and for some to get freedom from jails. The Referendum is a make or break affair for us all.” Crook concluded, “so, the President actually ordered Deng Athorbei to manipulate the figures?” This revelation indicates clearly that the registration of the bogus companies was known to the president and were meant to raise funds for traders to support the referendum in South Sudan. The question that arises is why should a president buy support from the traders yet these are South Sudanese who were obliged to vote for the freedom of South Sudan. One is left with nothing other than to conclude that the president would like to create a body of traders who would in future sustain his presidency once time for election came.

The third important corruption saga is the lost of what was said to be millions of USD and South Sudanese Pounds from the president’s office. This is what was said in Sudantribune.com, “It was shocking news to me when I woke up one morning to learn that millions in cash money which was stored in the President’s office had gone missing, a senior aide close to South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has revealed”. Although the government later claimed that the money stolen was only 176,000 SSP and 14,000 USD, the fact that this incident took place was intriguing indeed. However, what is the folly is that despite the fact that the committee appointed by the president recommended disciplinary action to be taken against the three administrators who were found to be culpable, these administrators were later reinstated into their positions in the president’ office.

This is how Sudantribune.com summed the story. “The committee, in its report, said the alleged thefts were not carried out by external culprits, but an organized act by insiders within the presidency. The report said that the manner of the thefts suggested that they were a colluding syndicate from staff inside the president’s office. In spite of the gravity of the crime, there was a remarkable indecision from the senior staff in the OoP [Office of the President] to report the matter to the authorities or even enhance security on site. But Kiir, in a rather bizarre move, reinstated Wol and Luol to their previous positions, raising questions over his commitment in the country’s anti-corruption fight. The two officials, removed through a presidential decree issued in April 2013, were recently seen chairing a meeting in the president’s office, which left many astonished. It remains unclear why the president reinstated the duo, contrary to the recommendations in the investigation report, which demanded administrative measures against the suspects”.

Then comes the unfinished business of suspension of two ministers over their alleged transfer of 7 million USD to a private company to procure fire equipment without authorization from the president or the cabinet. To unearth is corruption the president went ahead to form an investigation committee and banned the two ministers from travelling outside the country. The investigation committee was to report its findings and recommendations within two months.The people, this time around felt that the president had woken up and was now flexing his real muscles about corruption. This was not to be. Two months have since gone and no report is forthcoming. The only thing everybody knows is that this incident has lead to the dismissal of the then Vice President, Riak Macer and suspension of the SPLM Secretary General, Pagan Amum because of their objection to the president’s handling of the whole issue. It is also reported that although the president has not lifted the ban on the travel of the suspended ministers, one of them was seen aboard Kenyan Airways flight to Kenya quite recently. Here one is left wondering whether the president realized that he had touched a wrong button or risked opening a pandora box which could have reverberated in whole country and perhaps shaken the core of his presidency.

Just as everybody was settling down to await the report of the investigation committee into the Manibe-Alor affair, unfortunately for the president, came the two bombshells of the 600 million USD and the 6 million USD that seems to clearly implicate the president in these deals. The president, in defence of his nominated minister of Justice; Telar who was his legal advisor, admitted that he authorized Telar to approve 600 million USD for purchasing a piece of land for the security apparatus in South Sudan. First there is no article in the constitution that mandates the president to authorize any legal advisor to approve funds for the government neither is there any provision that authorizes the legal advisor to do so. Secondly even if this amount was authorized by legal body such as the cabinet, there is nowhere in South Sudan that a piece of land costs 600 million USD. Furthermore, nobody in South Sudan has heard that any community in South Sudan has sold land worth 600 million to the government. Even the military headquarters in Juba has never been bought. It was taken from the Bari community by force and all of us are aware of the incident that transpired between the community and the army then when the army seized the area. So the president must come clean on this money. It is possible the name of the security was used to disguise mega corruption because anything said to be in the name of the security or army touches on the security of the country and therefore cannot be questioned.

The other money, the 6 million USD was paid by the central bank of South Sudan to one, Garang as compensation for two plots in front of the bank. This has also brought to disrepute the person of the president directly. According to Telar, the former legal advisor to the president, he was obliged to write to the governor of the central bank to compensate the owner of the two plots because of the bank’s failure to implement the president’s directives. Telar’s letter, which was also copied to the president, reads in part, “It is hereby directed once again, that the directives of H.E, the President be implemented by compensating the owner of the plots at the market rate as may be agreed upon by the bank and the plots owner,” The main question that arises from here is why was the president wanting the compensation to be done without valuation of the two plots by any competent government body that could have ascertained the actual cost of the plots. In addition, everybody is aware of the two plots in front of the bank and by any measure these plots cannot be worth 6 million USD. Certainly the overinflation of the price of theses two plots points to yet another disguised corruption involving the person of the president.

Having pointed out all these mega corruptions, there is no doubt that in all the president was aware or actually got involved in the process. Therefore, the mastermind of the mega corruptions. This being the case, one wonders if there is anyone in the country who is fighting corruption. The loud pronouncements coming out from the president’s office condemning corruption are nothing other than hoodwink the people to believing that he is fighting corruption yet he is deeply involved or protecting corrupt individuals in the country. It is not clear whether the dissolution of the entire government was not meant to remove those buddies who have eaten enough and bringing in new ones to also engage in the eating. I believe time will tell. However, the problem now in South Sudan is that the president has become a law unto himself. He is above the law. He even threatened to close the parliament if it did not approve his Vice President’s choice and by sheer fear the parliament cowardized and obliged.

Therefore it appears no South Sudanese would like to raise his head against the unconstitutionalism of the president or his role in rampant corruption in the country. As such as it was during the struggle I think it may be wise enough for South Sudanese friends in the troika group to intervene by questioning the workings of the government and the leadership style in the country. This may be the only to bring to an end the impunity, massive corruption, and dictatorship in the country. Remember when the America House of Representative recently wrote to the president regarding the human right abuses in Jonglei, we are now hearing of a General of Army being arrested to answer for the impunity there. These are the kind of voices South Sudanese would like to hear from their troika friends. Sustained pressure on the president himself will lead to change in character, attitude and modus operandi in the presidency.

God bless South Sudan.

The story of a bleeding City – Juba and not Mogadishu!

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, AUG/24/2013, SSN;

While South Sudan is generally referred to as a post conflict country, maybe it’s time this description be taken with a pinch of salt, as killings of innocent lives remain rampant all across the country. We are for all sincerity purposes, a ‘truly conflict-ridden’ country, and not a post-conflict as others want us to believe!

It would reflect better if we openly accept that our country is in fact stuck in an insolvable lawlessness, instead of this euphemism of post conflict. Innocent citizens continue to be subjects of daily tragic and heinous killings by bandits of government security and law enforcement agents turn thugs.

This is not only in the ungovernable Jonglei State – which the US administration and the UN officials have singled out, but it is even rife in Juba, the capital and the seat of government!

On Monday August 19, 2013, Juba City woke up to the tragic murder of two people in a neighborhood right in the centre of the city. The deceased were killed within the compound of their house by unknown gunmen at around midnight East African time.

One feels sad when our people have to die this way, but what breaks my heart the most is the submissiveness with which all these tragedies are being received by those in the receiving end. Even the frugal information that has reached us here in the Diaspora through the social media, community forum and the other media outlets, all suffer self-censorships. People have been taken over by fear as the country descends deep into a police state.

One source probably a relative of the deceased brothers wrote on Monday morning and I quote:
“Unknown gunmen killed two people in the Darassalam (literally meaning home of peace) residential area around 12:00 AM midnight. An eyewitness said that unidentified men came in police uniforms and entered the fence while everybody was inside the house.

They knocked at the door but nobody responded to them. Then they started shooting the door till they broke it and entered the house and took the two brothers out and shot them to death. The two dead bodies have been carried to the South Sudan National Assembly and are lying at the gate of assembly right now”. He said.

Another witness statement said and I quote:
“ ……….on hearing the gun shot, I immediately called the police patrol number for Munuki Zone (3) which is 0954000300, but what they told me is that they don’t have a vehicle”. He said.

“I was shocked to hear that. But I insisted to them to trace any other patrol that can rescue the situation. Then after 1-2 hours, I heard a vehicle moving towards the incident’s side, but I was not happy because it was too late and none of them were found. Let’s continue to pray for God’s deliverance and protection in Jesus name AMEN”. He concluded.

These two witness statements have undoubtedly convey to all of us how dreadful the incident was. It clearly reflects furthermore how the security and security services have degenerated to the most rudimentary levels.

Human life has become a valueless commodity in this part of the world – making nonsense of the acclaimed sovereignty.

It had been all over the media that the new Vice President, who on the day of the unfortunate incident was still the Speaker of the National Parliament, did summon the some ministers to appear before the Assembly as reported on Sudan Tribune August 20, 2013-Juba:

“The speaker of the South Sudan’s national parliament, James Wani Igga, has lashed out to the security ministers, demanding that they appear before the national legislative assembly over the renewed night robberies and murders in the capital in the last few days”. It reads.

On top of that an eyewitness had also confirmed to the Sudan Tribune that the two men were shot dead when about nine armed men in police uniform stormed their house on Sunday night, demanding money from them.

As all these stories unfold, one begins to wonder for how long will this ‘typical’ scenario keep repeating itself before the authorities finally take it upon themselves to confront it head long?

At this juncture, the protesters did well to shout insults at the police and call them all kinds of names, for there is every reason for that. Is it indeed not terribly shameful to learn that of all people it is the police who are now the culprits?

Again there is no way that they (police) can distance themselves from any of these heinous crimes. Why on earth should a country’s criminals always be in police uniforms? Somebody in Juba has to answer that!

Of course the former Speaker Hon. James Wani Igga was forced by necessity to address the protesters at the parliament gate-door on that sad Monday.

His expressed sorrow over the incident and the consolation statement that one of the suspects was already arrested and is under investigation as the rest are being looked for, is typical of Hon. Wani Igga and his twin brother Hon. Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

“One of the suspects was arrested. He is in police custody and the rest will be brought to justice whether they are from the army, police, National Security or elsewhere,” Igga said.

The problem with Hon. Wani Igga’s message of empathy to the deceased’s family, relatives, friends, colleagues and those who turned up in the demonstration squarely lies in the fact that several similar incidents had happened before.

And as in a déjà vu, people in authority had come out and told the public the same story of ……..‘Some suspects been arrested’ bla bla bla, and in the end everything else just died out and that was the end of the story.

Is it not the same statement made following late Isaiah Abraham’s brutal assassination in December 2012? Is Hon. Wani Igga not repeating what you said, Hon. Dr. Barnaba?

Talking about undisciplined members of the army, police and national security being key players in crimes in this nascent country is something internationally renowned.

In a recent interview with Hon. Kuol Manyang Juuk, the new Minister of Defence talked about arresting some senior SPLA wrong doers.

What this tells you is that the wrong guys are there – and almost everywhere. What is lacking is the political will to take actions against them.

The truth is, government agents in form of ‘Khaki boys’ and some plain dress ‘Gustavo’ had since been suspected of either doing it themselves or conniving with criminals or lending them their guns and ammunitions for such criminal operations in return for shares in looted money, cattle, abducted women and children, valuables………name it.

This too was voiced also in Sudan Tribune, but of course it is an open secret not only in Juba, but all across the country that what is often being referred to as a few rotten elements in the security and law enforcement elements are in fact not few. There’s a mafia empire somewhere, we just don’t know yet.

Furthermore the timing of this brutal incident remains puzzling. Whether the police thugs were out to show their newly appointed Minister of Interior that his big talks won’t really scare them, we don’t know.

Nonetheless those who recently watched the new Minister of Interior Aleu Ayieny Aleu all dressed up in red and bragging over the SSTV about how he intends to reduce gun crimes in the city will find it extremely unbelievable that the barbaric killings of our two brothers came just a couple of days following the minister’s political bravado.

For the record below is what Hon. Aleu Ayieny Aleu said:

“From now onward, guns and all other types of weapons owned by police personnel and other organized forces will have to be kept in stores. All the police personnel on duty will no longer be able to carry their personal weapons in the public”, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, the new interior minister said in a statement broadcast on state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV) on Saturday. [Sudan Tribune August 17, 2013].

I feel obliged to include here a statement from a strong hearted relative of the deceased compatriots. I hold him at a high esteem for holding his composure while he communicated tirelessly with friends relatives on the social media:

“Brothers and sisters, I kindly I accepted your condolences and I will deliver them to the family of the deceased. Their tragic death is indeed a great loss to us as Community of Greater Mundri in particular and South Sudan at large. I would like to ask your prayer for the family and the whole arrangement on the way for the burial of our beloved brothers”. He reached out.

As I find myself overwhelmed by grief while navigating my way through this extremely sad and a sickening incidence, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased, and may Almighty God rest their souls in Eternal Peace. Amen.

I also call upon all the citizens in the suburbs of Juba to become more vigilant to defend their lives, properties and loved ones. After all it is the same story of men in police uniforms breaking into people’s houses at night, maim them and take away their valuables.

It is no secret that the culture of impunity pervades all levels of society in South Sudan which only increases human rights abuses because perpetrators do not fear being prosecuted.

Yesterday it was someone you don’t know – a total stranger and you did nothing about it. Today it is a colleague, a neighbor, or a relative and if you also do nothing about it, then tomorrow it will be you and nobody will do anything about it.

Establishing groups like Neighborhood Watch Schemes endorsed by the local authority to keep a watchful eye on the neighborhoods is strongly recommended, my people. But of course it needs people with guts, and real guts to say enough is enough!

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

Wani Igga for Vice President: The best choice for South Sudanese

BY: MULANA DENG, USA, AUG/24/2013, SSN;

South Sudanese should be happy for President Salva Kiir Mayardit choosing for Mr. Wani Iga as his Vice president. This move is wonderful because of two reasons. It’s a great move toward democracy and development. Mr. Wani Igga’s choice for Vice president is the only move towards democracy and development because he understands how to use the parliamentary constitutional powers wisely.

As we have seen it in Telar Ring Deng’s saga, where the parliament under his leadership came out strongly rejecting the nomination of Telar Ring Deng as the minister for Justice.

It’s also the best choice for vice President especially when our president is now behaving like a Chicken that eats her own eggs. When you have the Chicken that eats her own egg, the only way to stop that chicken from eating her own eggs is de-beaking (de-beaking is the cutting of a chicken’s beak) to stop from it eating those eggs that could become the future chickens.

President Kiir has done this without knowing it and our people should be happy about it than attacking Igga as being a weak man and lacking seriousness.

“Igga is considered by some as a weak leader who lacks seriousness in governance and there are concerns his appointment may be rejected as was the case with the former nominated justice minister, Telar Ring Deng.”

This is the man who was a great leader of the parliament and he has done lots. He has shown us his leadership since when he joined the SPLA and he was elected as the speaker of the Parliament because he has the ability to lead.

Igga’s legacy in the parliament will aid him to do the best as the vice president of the Republic of South Sudan. He is also the man of the people who knows what our people need especially at this time whereby our country is severely sick of corruption and nepotism.

Igga understands that the Parliament has the powers to tell President Kiir that you are wrong and you need to understand our people voices if you want to the president.

He is armed with such an amazing experiences that are very crucial to democracy and development. He has demonstrated this in Telar Ring Deng saga and he will continue doing the same since the parliament is now behind him.

Igga is a best choice for vice president and a best move to development because he will use his experiences to rally the young generation to get back to trusting their leaders through the parliamentary powers and experiences that he has especially at this time whereby we are about to give-up for these leaders who have lost the vision of our struggles.

Igga will re-engage the generation that’s promised and was sent to school to bring the development to our country, they will wakeup and back to work gain.

As Dr. John Garang de Mabior mentioned in his speech in 2004, in phoenix Arizona that, “I have come to wake you up and remind you that your day has come, tomorrow is already here and so take over leadership of your Movement, take over leadership of the SPLM/A; you have very little time left to prepare yourselves to take over that leadership in whatever fields: in agriculture, carpentry, architecture, medicine, politics, economics, in raising a family… all these require leadership and all contribute to building the New Sudan for which we have fought and sacrificed for over the last twenty one years.”

Our leaders have forgotten about this that the young generations are the backbone of our country. Kiir’s men are always busy thinking to eliminate young educated individuals like Isaiah Abraham and others who have lost their lives recently.

Igga can help to stop this from happening again by using his parliamentary experiences and powers as vice president of the Republic of South Sudan.

Igga is the only hope and the only way to democracy and development. He will lead us to the development that we need with the help of the parliament and everyone who thinks that we need to do something about our country should only think about supporting him rather criticizing him.

Let’s not focus on negatives but let’s look forward on how can we can stop this chick that eats her own eggs. Igga will do this because he’s the only leader that understand how the parliament should work and that he is the best choice for Vice president of the Republic of South Sudan.

Mulana Deng
Country: USA

South Sudan Reforms Lost in Translation

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, AUG/22/2013, SSN;

South Sudanese will have to take some time out, to come to terms with their attitudes towards issues pertaining to the transition and development of their nascent country. Too often our people have remained so much imprisoned in the war mentality. However to say the least, it is being both arrogant and ignorant if we cannot see the logic of adopting a different mindset needed for the promotion of peaceful coexistence and prosperity for our people, who have lived all their lives in ignorance, insecurity, poverty and disease.

On the whole we need to be conscious that it is now over eight years since the war ended. But we as a nation have collectively failed to apprehend the basic fact that there exists a great difference between fighting a war and building a country.

This observation shouldn’t be taken lightly, because unless we get it right and change the way we handle national issues and the basic rights of our citizens, it won’t be very long before we bring about our own peril and risk our country becoming even a worse place than it was ever before.

Many genuine voices have consistently and over the years drawn the attention of the president to trim down what was an unnecessarily huge post-independence government. Unfortunately he went with the idea of rewarding his cronies and thus created for them endless list of highly paid government positions at the expense of basic services.

On many occasions, he has clearly overdone it. Look at the excessively huge post-independence government with a fleet of first ministers and their deputies, and the equally unnecessary Council of States. Does South Sudan really need all these when its population is barely 8.5 million?

For the majority of poor people living in the villages and the rural hinterlands, even when others were enjoying the new found Oil wealth in Juba and the state capitals, life had never ever changed for them even at peace time, thanks to the directionless Kiir.

And because of his visionless leadership, ironically independence only began yet another serious cycle of hardship for many as it became increasingly difficult for the poor men and women in the villages, the cattle camps and the IDPs camps to get food, clean drinking water or medicine.

Completely carried away by the euphoria of the new found sovereignty, President Kiir and his aides only became concerned of the realities when he [Kiir] dared to shut down the Oil production in January 2012. Thereafter with every day the government coffers started to run dry, and the austerity measures, though hardly any at the top, begun also to bite.

At this time the popular calls for reforms got louder and more in favour a slim government of technocrats. Yet all that the president and his cabinet of theoreticians did was some empty talks about alternate sources of revenues, which were not new to South Sudan.

What is new, is how these new liberators instead of remitting the revenues to the government chest, they are pocketing it.

So one can say that ever since the people have requested for real political reforms that could put the country on the right footing. They wanted a slim cabinet, while the leadership opted for the opposite.
This is the same leadership that today, two years after squeezing the hell out of the people, has found itself forced to accept a slim cabinet, albeit for a different reason.

A very important point to stress here is that, it is important that our people keep a vigilant eye on the leadership. We should not allow ourselves to be fooled when certain policies are implemented only in the spirit of keeping a particular figure in office, while in the long run it will be the people to pay the price.

It is true that over the last three years the people of South Sudan, after having become disillusioned with the successive Government of South Sudan (GoSS) – aka Government of Self Service cabinets, they did call for a slim government of technocrats.

Notwithstanding the fact that there were indeed popular calls for technocrats to lead the ministries, but we need to remember that, these calls were prompted by the prevailing chaotic situation in South Sudan where as of late everyone has become a politician. And knowledgeable or not everyone is also being considered for ministerial positions by the current visionless leadership.

Talking about technocrats we mean individuals not only highly qualified in their areas of expertise, but also have had several years of working experience in that particular field – or ministry. These should have been the criteria for appointing ministers in any cabinet of technocrats.

However the pressure to become a minister at the expense of educational qualifications, experience and know how has become too high in our country and all sorts of people have looked up for these political positions. Yet it is the conviction of the few reasonable people that at this stage of our development, the country can do better under the leadership of technocrats.

Do we need anyone to tell us that it took a lot of time, money and technical expertise to construct all those buildings which are currently accommodating our government ministries and departments in Juba, while it will only take a few rockets to turn them into rabble and in no time?

Anyone can carry out the destruction, not necessarily the best in the army, but construction isn’t the same thing. This is where having technocrats becomes relevant for constructing our post conflict country.

On the other hand there were and still are much duplication of roles between the so-called specialized commissions and several of the national ministries.

One thing for certain is that when those ministries and specialized commissions were created in the first place, the SPLM Political Bureau as the decision making body until 2012 was more concerned about distributing ministerial and highly paid jobs among its members, some relatives and cronies as a form of patronage.

Without the least doubt, the current new cabinet is the brain child of president Kiir’s kitchen cabinet, albeit it came slimmer than its predecessor. However it lacks that experienced entrepreneurial touch to make it look, function and relate to one another as a truly technocratic cabinet, by putting the right persons in the right places.

In short many key ministries are still led by people who haven’t any clue of what they are about to engage in. One such example is the Ministry of Environment, which should have been led by an environmental scientist to say the least. How on earth is this Islamist scholar any relevant to this role?

The same applies to the other ministries like the Ministry of Information; such ministries are now obsolete in the 21st century, as no government has any monopoly on information in this age. However for argument sake, assuming that the leadership’s mindset is still in the 20th century, then the president should have still hired a qualified journalist for this role. This is if we want a cabinet of technocratic experts.

On the face of it the cabinet is now slim and inclusive and president Kiir will further tell you that this is what the people asked for. But we are not fools falling into that trap when he has only served his ego for power when many of his choices remain at the best of it, characters of great controversy.

President Kiir who has now replaced the peoples’ interest with his own interest, is on a mission to bamboozle us into believing that his personal interest is the same as the state’s interest and vice versa. Questioning his decision would be to question the very existence of the state itself.

The author is only stating this here for the benefit of some of the readers whose government cabinets are not the products of the “Politics of the Belly”. Otherwise for the large portion of our people, the new minsters included, they already by now know what exactly it is that the president expects of them.

At this point some people may want to register their disapprovals or reservations, but as the train of totalitarianism has long left the station, any other talk should be about how it can be stopped. For this trend must be stopped before it anchors its roots any deeper into our country, which is a land fertile with tribalism, ignorance and illiteracy.

Nonetheless it was long known that the people will never get what they ask for from president Kiir. Those who lack it can’t give it. But rather as it is the case, our people are now getting what the president wants them to get. Why?

The answer simply is, because this is what the president believes will win him the 2015 elections and see him crowned as RSS’s President for Life!

At the end what was a popular call for a genuine reform to save the country has now been hijacked to serve the president’s personal interest and guarantee him his calculated victory over anyone who dares to talk of challenging his authorities. This is how South Sudan’s reforms became lost in translation.

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

The Hypocrisy of Democracy in South Sudan

BY: Laku Modi Tombe, CANADA, AUG/22/2013, SSN;

I dislike the recent undemocratic attitude made against Dr. Reik Machar when he expressed his interest to contest for South Sudan presidential election expected to take place in 2015 because such behaviour does not reflect good for a country claiming to be supportive and respectful to democratic principles.

During liberation struggle we claimed we were fighting for democracy which the Arab regimes have denied us democratic rights to run for any political office in the former Sudan for numerous social, economic, cultural, and racial reasons.

We argued that if we create our own country, we will have all democratic rights previously refused to us to enable us participate in the political affairs of our new country without restriction . Lately, we reject any form of violence and rebellion as a way to ascend to public office.

But, when South Sudan gained independence in a free and fair democratic referendum in 2010 and many of her excited citizens started to exercise their long awaited democratic rights, things turned backward either due to personal problems or democratic hypocrisy.

In this new democratic hypocrisy some politicians built weak arguments that Dr. Riek’s intention to compete for the head of state office is because he is greedy for power. Even Mr. Gordon Buay who claimed to be an advocate of democracy in South Sudan, went too far to an extreme and uttered that “Dr. Riek will not be South Sudan president as long as he is alive,“ because this man had committed sin in 1991 incident.

Just as am not in favor of what happened in 1991 incident to repeat itself again like some of you are and just as I don‘t support some of Dr. Riek’s past and present political blunders, as a peace lover and advocate of democracy on the planet, I don’t have authority or right to deny him his democratic right because such action is contrary to the vision of South Sudan which we successfully achieved the hard way.

Most people are aware of what occurred in 1991 and know all the parties who took part in the event. If some of you want to use 1991 incident as one of the requirement for the qualification for people to run in any public office, this intention should be included in either South Sudan Constitution or South Sudan Electoral Commission Act for every contestants to know.

The fact that Dr. Riek was a party to 1991 horrific event, does not automatically make him guilty just as some of the SPLM/A leaders whom some of you seem to support and portray them as clean from others because up to now, there’s no final verdict from the country’s supreme court of law as to who is guilty or who’s not guilty.

But, for someone to assume the role of court using his empty head and making a judgement against someone he/she hate for personal problem, make that person not only damned but also uneducated who need to go back to school to learn to the art of investigation, tolerance, open mindedness and the rule of law.

The idea which states that because SPLM/A is the one which brought independence and that nobody should question whatever it does even if it is leading the country to chaos, however, flawed such contention is, this argument is as ridiculous as it portrays bush mentality which required to be dismantled from people’s minds because this line of thinking is not only anti-democratic establishment but also dangerous for peace, stability, development, and prosperity of the new country.

South Sudan has been in existence for billions of years before SPLM/A. Even if SPLM/A brought independence, it doesn’t mean it has to have free rid to do dubious things without accountability for South Sudanese citizens who are not all SPLM/A members.

If you think Dr. Riek is unfit to lead South Sudan, the best thing you can do is to challenge him democratically in a ballot box through the power of country’s supreme electorates who have the final say on who they would love to be their president but not by means of dubious utterance of unfounded claims crafted on personal grudges which has nothing to do with national matters.

Gone are the days when the jungle rule was unquestionable. Gone are the eras when people are intimidated, tortured, rapped, looted just because some of them came from government controlled areas and were viewed as jalaba as if all rebels, including their leaders were born in the bush and not the same government towns which they first got their military training careers in, before the revolution.

This time is a moment of reasoning and whoever cannot cope up with the new realities must keep his/her bush mentality to his/her empty head.

If you or your “beloved president” as some of you do describe him are angels and are confident individuals who you turned South Sudan into paradise in the last eight years, why can you wait your opponents and defeat him/her in a ballot box democratically since you have plenty of positive evidence that attract for you voters?

Only fools who lack understanding of the fundamental challenges facing the country and who don’t have persuasive skills to present their case to electorates are the ones to be afraid of his/her contenders, whether he is Dr. Riek Machar or Dr. Lam Akol or anyone else interested to contest for public office democratically.

Instead of wasting your time discriminating on who is perfect or who’s not good especially when evidence in the country show that almost 80% of things to do with the leadership of the country are rotten to the core, tell us what your favorite candidate or yourself can do better in a country which’s burning and bleeding everyday in a broad daylight.

If robbery, corruption, insecurity, hunger, diseases, illiteracy, poverty which have been part of the lives of majority poor in South Sudan is your achievement you’re proud about, don’t think the rest like these failures.

Democracy might not be perfect in the world newest nation. But I don’t expect it to be that extreme to an extent of depriving a fellow countryman like the apartheid regime which used to restrict blacks from voting or seeking political office in South Africa.

Don’t think this article is defending Dr. Riek. All that am concerned with is that in a democracy unless there’s limitation on country’s constitution or electoral commission clearly spelling out the requirements for eligibility to vote and be voted to public office, every eligible voter and office seeker has democratic right to cast ballot or be voted to any government office whether we like him/her or hate him/her.

But if you think you’re comfortable with your “beloved president” who you think is the only one who fought for this new country than most of us who are citizens of this country and want him to be in power for life as if this country is your “beloved president’s” kingdom, then put this information in your father’s kingdom’s constitution and stop talking about democracy since kingdoms are not administered by democrats.

Last but not least, all these arrogant, ignorant, and backward approaches which some individuals tend to take the law into their hands and not shameful of their behaviors of assuming the role of who should vote or be voted in public office without any consideration of state constitution or South Sudan Electoral Commission Act if there’s any, is a very bad attribute that can push this new country to hell which you and your “beloved president” will not benefit from it either in the end.

2013August21

2013August21 001

Telar Ring lied and should apologize

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

Respect, trust and peoples’ confidence are built and earned and not given or forced through peoples’ throats when deemed necessary by those in power. In our tradition, for example, one earns respect and trust upon performing things perceived genuine and profoundly kind by other beings. Conversely, overstepping one’s own steps to ensure short-cut to fame is considered deviant and unconventional according to the same tradition.

Thus, for oneself, it’s profoundly so in my own community. An act per se is not acutely painful but the resultant is and has enervating effects when one is caught in the midst of such trickery.

I am afraid this is what happened to South Sudan’s former presidential advisor for legal affairs, comrade Telar Ring Deng over his unverifiable academic credentials. On July 31st, Telar Ring was appointed as Minister of Justice by President Kiir Mayardit following the dissolution of South Sudan’s entire cabinet including the vice president on what many analysts considered a swift presidential decree on July 23rd, 2013.

On August 13th, 2013 however, Telar’s ministerial appointment was rightly rejected by South Sudan’s parliament citing lack of legal papers and judicial experiences. The decision was commendable but grossly degrading in many respects to Telar himself and corps. For many, Telar Ring Deng was known as a well-established and qualified lawyer among his mates, youngsters and old alike, and more so in Unity State than anywhere else since 1985.

Sadly, his rejection based on nullified academic diplomas was a hard kick from behind and disgraceful to many of his colleagues. Especially those who trusted him but found themselves cheated and deceived. Above all, it is more degrading to the country he intentionally misled, which is where I profoundly drowned my narrative.

Blatantly, Telar Ring Deng lied to and misled the people of South Sudan about his academic qualifications and legal experts at will. Denoting Telar’s forged experiences and legal background, I must remind my readers that Telar was deployed in Western Upper Nile’s southern sector (currently Unity State) under the commandership of former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar Teny as a judge from 1985 to 1992.

Mr. Telar and Hon. Dengtiel Ayuen Kur were stationed in what is now Unity State as judges in the 80s following “directive” and “recommendation” from the SPLM/A’s chairman Late Dr. John Garang De Mabior. Both Telar and Dengtiel were equally assumed as qualified lawyers by late chairman and his zonal commander, according to Dr. Riek’s testimony to the vetting committee on Saturday, August 10th.
Dr. Riek “confirmed that he deployed Telar under his command as a judge from 1986-1992 with the assumption that he was a qualified lawyer following a directive from late John Garang de Mabior who recommended Telar to Western Upper Nile Zonal area.”

Following Mr. Telar’s newly founded fame and fabricated legal expertise; he was regarded highly, accepted and accorded with all respect as a judge. At the same time, dishonesty, preplanned deception and forgery were distanced memories and unthought-of in personality of Telar Ring Deng or anyone else of his company.

To maximize and mask his deceit, Telar acted and conducted himself as a full-fledged lawyer. Tragically, this was at the time people of South Sudan were preoccupied by Khartoum as our BIG and ONLY common enemy. No one cared, so long Telar acted within his limits and alike denounced Khartoum based regimes’ oppressive policies toward South Sudan and its people.

On the other hand, Telar Ring was trusted and at times sent to many SPLM/A led missions to represent the movement and its people legally. For one, Telar was sent to Canada in May 2003 to represent our people against Talisman Energy in Calgary with an assumption that he was a well-grounded lawyer.

It appeared Telar had used our traditional common senses of judging things from the cover but the truth is our traditional common senses are not compatible with international laws, ethnics and operations governing international energies like the Talisman Energy.

Seeing this narrative from any perspective now, we were at best at the mercy of the law and predetermined to loss the case no matter what.

Besides, Telar’s ill legal qualifications caught people of Unity State and that of South Sudan by surprise. The truthfulness of the vetting committee’s finding and Telar’s own submission were hard to digest. In truth, our people were dumbfounded and no one could ever believe that Telar Ring Deng’s legal academic credentials were sham and questionable.

To elaborate a little more about how Telar Ring was accorded with fame and respect in Leer and across Western Upper Nile, Telar had a dancing club named after him (Buul Telar. Meaning Telar’s dancing club). This was meant to acknowledge his rare assumed glamorous legal qualifications.

On August 13th, 2013, such deception tactics ran on short supply and fictitious luck of the subject was hard to crack. Finally and forever, it was confirmed that Telar has duped people of South Sudan into believing that he was a full-fledged credited lawyer. In a short while, the two decades long well protected lie crumbled drastically before our very eyes less than a week long. What a shame!

Mentioning the truthfulness of the process, Telar Ring Deng and other nominees were placed under normal scrutiny meant to help certified their pronounced experiences and academic qualifications. Telar failed the vetting based on unverifiable experiences and legal academic credentials.

Following the investigation, it appeared that Telar never attended a legal law school before and after he was assigned as a judicial officer in Western Upper Nile for good 7 years.

Telar served as a presidential advisor for legal affairs under President Kiir Mayardit for good two years or more while knowing full well that he did not have judicial experiences and verifiable legal academic qualifications. It was a shame that he didn’t inform the president but continued to lie until he was caught red-handed.

In part, this where my narrative lies and where I honestly believe that Telar Ring Deng breached our peoples’ unyielding trust and confidence. It is where my chronicle reclined and believed that Telar should not and must not get away out with this despicable deceit to our people at will.

To ensure sanity, I strongly believe that Telar must publicly apologise to the nation and its people.

Telar’s one authentic academic document seen by this commentator revealed that he graduated with Bachelor of Art in political and Anthropology at the State University of New York in 1981. Beside, Telar holds fake or rather suspicious Bachelor of Laws and Masters of Laws at The University of Buckingham in U.K. In a nutshell, both degrees have no graduation dates inscribed on them. There are also no reference dates to when Telar attended the said university.

However, Mapuor Malual Manguen’s commentary revealed that Telar “joined {The} Buckingham University and graduated with LLB in 1994, {and then} pursued master program in the same institution with LLM specializing in Commercial Laws and graduated in 1995.” Surprisingly, Mr. Manguen didn’t reference dates of attendance. What Mr. Manguen helped to share was when Telar graduated which did not help.

Considering these undeniable facts, it is fair to assert that Telar Ring Deng has once again lied to the people of South Sudan and therefore, his rejection as a Minister of Justice by the Republic of South Sudan’s parliament is justified.

Way forward
To be precise and brutally honest, Telar’s fabricated lies have caused un-repairable damage to our nation more so than the subject himself. First and foremost, it placed the nation at a disturbing and awkward position. It broke our peoples’ confidence, trust and created unwarranted mistrust and lack of integrity. For instant, our youngsters will no longer trust our old guards and comrades.

Therefore on this basis, I urge Telar Ring Deng to come out and apologise to the nation in order to lessen or reverse this depressing yoke.

Second, Telar’s action after the fact showcased a serious dishonesty and mounted to fraudulent crime punishable by long term imprisonment if not death sentence. As a result, he should be barred from holding any public office in the Republic of South Sudan given the severity of the crime he has committed.

Again, I kindly ask my comrade in arms, Telar Ring Deng to apologise to avoid such punishment and avoid exceeding guilt.

Third, Telar’s defense was not well disposed but unfaithful. With such deplorable defense, he has achieved nothing positive than comradeship an insult. In his infamous letter to the chairperson of the vetting committee, Hon. Abuk Papiti Ayik on August 7th, Telar stated “that Dr. Riek Machar Teny had no Law Degree and by profession he is a Mechanical Engineer, yet all the same presided over many General Court Marshal appellate cases.” Telar’s rebuttal was laughable and weak to be precise.

For one, Dr. Riek and those he accused with lack of qualifications didn’t claim any legal qualifications or experiences. In essence, Dr. Riek was only stationed in Western Upper Nile region as a zonal commander and not as a judge. With due respect, Telar must also apologise to this effect.

Fourth, considering the severity of the crime committed and that the subject didn’t apologise on his submission, it is fair to assert that deception, distortion of reality and breach of peoples’ trust and confidence were intended, and therefore, the subject should be punished.

As opposed to, Telar would have defended himself wisely and rationally rather than bashing on his own comrades by stating that “the then Maj. Dr. Riek Machar Teny appointed Lawrence Lony who was a secondary school graduate as a Judicial Officer for Panaru area, and George Kiel was appointed as Judicial Officer of Ador and Nyuong. It is imperative to note that the latter was not even educated.”

Indeed, this is not an effective and efficient way of defense but a real show of defiance and denial. In addition, it was unwarranted emotional outburst and blaming game tact, which don’t serve anything positive to that effect.

Telar or anyone in South Sudan is not licensed to deceive our people at ease based on their education backgrounds. It is an honest thing to be frank by telling your comrades in armed that you did not have the papers because you were fighting the war of liberation. This is an honest and honourable to do by a statesman.

With Telar’s misgiving attitudes, Telar should once again be informed that this is not a blaming game tact but serious governmental business and honest vetting of all nominees appointed by the president to the cabinet. It was not also targeted or witch-hunt as mentioned by Dr. Lam Akol and Mapuor Malual Manguen in their respective commentaries.

In closing, Telar fiasco is indeed a disturbing twist of events but an interesting development considering the defense produced by the accused. At any rate, it appeared that Telar Ring Deng didn’t really understand the implications and huge breach of trust and confidence and bad reputation he has helped created to his own good name.

As such, the underscoring factors of the matter lie profoundly as lack of legal experiences and education, public deceit, breach of public trust and confidence; more importantly, an eroded integrity and the shame he brought to all comrades in arms, particularly the old guards.

Also it underpinned the fact that Mr. Telar Ring Deng does not fit to hold any position of any kind in the Republic of South Sudan.

Lastly, Telar’s saga is not isolated incident but true indicator or a wakeup call to South Sudanese youth. It is a true indicator that showcased our old guards, comrades in arms and our perceived role models painful departure from our traditions and genuine ways of life, which objects deceit and lying at old age.

If Telar Ring Deng can lie at ease considering his age, then our youth have no hope in our old guards. It appeared no one among them is immune not to cheat or deceive. It appeared no one is there to be trusted or seek guidance and wisdom from, because you never know what might become of him/her tomorrow.

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

Is the Baby ‘Grown’ up or is This Once-In-a-While Incident?

BY: KUIR E GARANG, ALBERTA, CANADA, AUG/17/2013, SSN;

Let’s not kid ourselves that things have changed for better, however, South Sudan is starting to ‘grow up’ if it was ever a conceptual or situational child. The ‘vetting’ of president’s nominees for the cabinet is a start of democratic and due process of accountability in South Sudan.

At least, that’s what I think, and for a long time I have something, just a little, to make me smile for once.

Or maybe not! As Dr. Lam Akol has pointed out, the function of the ‘vetting’ committee wasn’t well spelt out and presented to the public before they started their function. That means their mandates, constraints and terms of ‘vetting’ weren’t known until they started their work of ‘vetting’ the nominees.

Like always in South Sudan, accountability is kicked onto the wayside in the process of trying to be accountable. But let me say they (MPs) are trying.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Telar is now a ‘victim’ of due process, and we know victims of due process are most of the time up to no good. Perhaps Telar is a victim of incompetence and lack of transparency.

We know one thing though: Telar accepted the parliamentary vote so the MPs must have done something right…and that’s why Telar accepted it. Kudos to both Telar and the Parliament!

So, admittedly, South Sudanese national assembly has now started to do what it was elected to do, not some mouth-piece of the president and his cabinet. ‘Why’ is not a question I’m able to answer, however, ‘why’ is an unnecessary question now.

The questions we have to ask now are: ‘would they continue this as a political tradition in South Sudan? And will they also shake up the security services?’ A ‘yes’ to those questions would call for a huge celebration. Strict adherence to constitutional requirements and being the voice of the people is the natural function of the parliament.

Additionally, the parliament is also there to put checks and balances on some of the president’s decisions.

If I’m not being too optimistic, or to some extent naïve, I’d say that putting everyone to account for one’s deeds should be extended to all functions of the government to make sure no one gets away with abuse of public office and public resources.

The president of South Sudan, who has been given absolute power by John Luk Jok through the Interim and/or Transitional Constitution, will now (fingers crossed) know that he doesn’t have free reign as long as he does something contrary to the good of South Sudanese citizens, or the constitution.

Unfortunately, the South Sudanese Transitional Constitution and the government borrowed evil and undemocratic clauses and practices from the enemy we were trying to get rid of.

Council of Ministers, Council of States and the National Assembly, as a structure, were borrowed from the Sudanese Constitution. Section 101 (r) which says the president can remove an elected governor in the event of a ‘crisis’ that threatens ‘national security and territorial integrity’ was taken from the Sudanese ‘Emergency Laws.’

Beshir does it so Kiir does it! The use of decrees; mostly the favorite of dictatorial leaders, was derived from the Sudanese government: Abboud used it, Nimeiri used it and Beshir now uses it…and now president Kiir has adopted it.

The censorship of newspapers and unwarranted arrests of journalists were borrowed from the Sudanese National Security.

Nhial Bol (of THE CITIZEN) and Alfred Taban (of JUBA MONITER) will tell you that security harassment even gets worse in Juba than in Khartoum! Such state of affair would have made comrade Kiir (of 1980s) sad. But president Kiir now (of 2013) seems to be okay with it!

So, having patted the Parliament on the back, I have to stress that the parliament still has a long way to go and a lot to do for South Sudanese to see it as a strong, independent institution that cannot be manipulated by the president and people of self-interest like Telar Ring Deng.

Telar was kicked out of the SPLM in 2008, so he used his closeness to the president to hit back, because someone helped the president kick him out. We know who that is!

The parliament should now ask to review the removal of Mr. Chol Tong Mayay as the governor of Lakes State and Mr. Taban Deng Gai as governor of Unity State.

Their removals are all unconstitutional as their states didn’t and don’t have any crises that are threatening our ‘national security and territorial integrity.’

The only state whose crisis is threatening national security and territorial integrity is Jonglei State.

This is the time for the parliament to make sure that whimsical decision making are checked to make sure they are in the best interest of South Sudanese.

Without delay, the parliament should protect people whose opinions and ideologies differ from those of SPLM. Members of the media should also be protected as some misguided political leaders think the enemy of the people are journalists.

People who point out mistakes committed by government officials are the friends of the people. People who ignore performance faux pas are the enemy number one of South Sudan.

The parliament should therefore enlighten government officials and the security services in order to understand that no nation is built on a single point of view.

Diversity of opinion, as long as it’s well intended and respectfully conveyed, is of paramount importance.

People who show the government where it goes wrong give the government an opportunity for self-evaluation in order to find ways to improve service provision.

If the government is not given an opportunity for self-evaluation, or challenged on how it’s performing, then such as a government can never produce any tangle dividends to the people it serves.

It will always assume it’s doing the right thing even when it’s headed in the wrong direction.

There’s a long way to go and a lot to do but the ‘vetting’ of nominees is a start.

Kuir ё Garang is a South Sudanese poet, author and publisher living in Canada. He’s the author of the upcoming book, South Sudan Ideologically. For contact visit www.kuirthiy.info or www.kuirthiy.com

Fighting in the shadow of Justice

BY: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, AUG/17/2013, SSN;

What had started as an internal power wrangling within South Sudan’s ruling SPLM party, finally took a turn for an all-out settlement of old political scores and grudges between the newly disenfranchised members and a handful who until yesterday were seen as invincible.

As for the vast majority of the people of South Sudan, life in their towns, villages, cattle and IDPs camps remains as bad as it has ever been. Talk to them about the much loved government expression of “austerity measures,” and they will tell you that, since God created South Sudan, the common people have lived all their lives under ‘austerity measures’.

Oil or no Oil, it has always been like that. “Austerity Forever”, while the chief in the black hat goes around purchasing a piece of land for US$600m!

The true perception of the concept of justice by the former freedom fighters has long been under question. Maybe only of late that it has come all-out for the first time to publically disgrace them.

Notwithstanding the fact that the average South Sudanese is since long disgruntled by the appalling conditions of justice and the widespread lawlessness in the country, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) might have opened a new chapter.

And one can say that in its latest show of bravado, while vetting the newly appointed cabinet ministers, the NLA brought back to the people a mini-victory to celebrate.

The NLA knew well that despite the overwhelming call by the general populace for a slim cabinet this time around, the president chose his time, occasion, faces and persons to mark this popular demand.

With the exception of a couple of new faces, president Kiir not only recycled most of the old faces, but in a rare move even went one step further to join hands with both the die-hard Islamists and a couple of others from the “All-season-proof” political club of opportunists.

Marvellous, isn’t? This is inclusiveness for you!

Who doesn’t know that there are no officially registered political parties in this sovereign country? Yet no one is bothered when the ruling SPLM party, itself without a legal certificate to operate, finds no embarrassment in hosting a new government in the name of multi-party democracy.

If we cannot still register our political parties two years past our declaration of independence from Khartoum, then we are politically stuck in the Old Sudan.

As if we are being nostalgic for the second-class citizenry that we have lived with for a century or so, that the so-called ruling party, and the supposedly RSS’s national army are still officially known by their ‘Old Sudan’s’ nomenclatures – SPLM and SPLA respectively.

Could it be that the mindset of the leadership has gone unduly frozen in time and space?

Before we are all taken away by the new found courage of the NLA and itS performance at the very rare grilling sessions on citizen Telar Ring Deng, let’s not be fooled into believing that president Kiir had no ulterior motives when he chose this infamous person for the portfolio of Justice.

Put president Kiir’s choice of Telar and their relationship in the near past, alongside with the way that the duo (president Kiir & aide Telar) rapped up the infamous US $600m dollars deal of supposedly purchasing a piece of land in Juba, South Sudan and not in New York, London, or Tokyo you can look years back and imagine how many times these duo have been in such dirty businesses together!

What is obviously now is that Telar Ring Deng we all know is no longer Justice Telar Ring Deng. This is very important for the records, as we don’t want any more surprises.

However the whole grilling process was more of a set stage show, than any. For while they were grilling him, only a few of the new ministers have actually suffered any tension of having to wait in a queue for an interview of a life time.

Seemingly acquainted with the rules of the game and already been briefed beforehand of its main objectives, all the others maintained their cool. They knew it was just one of those government bondoogles, blown out of proportions.

Again it wasn’t a surprise that what had started as a benign vetting process went on to unearth old hidden bush crimes and blunders committed by both the potential cabinet aspirant and some ex-powerful rebel commanders. It even went all the way to include persons very high in the incumbent SPLM hierarchy.

These were things otherwise put to rest following the 2005 peace agreement, but no. This curse called Telar, the one-time “Bush Judge” in his confusion, unfortunately took a misguided and miscalculated turn when he opted for experiences and key skills from the bush days.

Unfortunately it turned out that his drawers were full of skeletons, and then it all came crumbling on him. What a poor jungle Judge!

Telar’s very controversial appointment indeed offered the top SPLM leadership not only the optimum opportunity, but also the most conducive environment.

They went for it and finally asserted to the entire world that although president Kiir took the anticipatory strike on his political opponents earlier on, he too isn’t invincible.

At this particular moment in time, one can only say that the once giant SPLM party has chosen one of its own, none other than Telar Ring Deng as a figure to fight over. They did, and did it in style, venting out all their dis-ingenuousness.

Before wrapping up everything, I just want to remind my fellow readers that it was this same NLA that shamelessly adopted the much manipulated Transitional Constitution 2011 (TC2011) while it now turns around to challenge the president.

It’s my sincere hope that they are not underestimating the several arsenals this especially tailored constitution (TC2011) puts at the disposal of president Kiir.

For if those MPs who are now vocal about a new era of change, are to succeed in their newly raised slogan of: “South Sudan parliament shall never be the same again”, as it came in the press release signed by one of their outspoken members, Hon. Joseph Ngere Paciko, they must move swiftly in the coming few days to amend the TC2011 to reduce the too many powers it gives to the president.

The NLA and its 257 or so MPs must understand that unless they intend to fight till the end, by thoroughly weeding the executive, a thing only possible through solidarity, they are likely to end up either frustrating the electorates once more, or the big man as they categorically inch upon what he until now sees his sacred domain.

If they don’t want to find themselves where the SPLM party’s suspended Secretary General Comrade Pagan Amum is now – not to talk of the deputy chairman Dr. Riek Machar who not too long, was president Kiir’s VP, they must quickly come to the understanding that what the people they represent want is one thing and what the TC2011 dictates is another.

As rightly stated by Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, and I quote: “Nothing in our Constitution TC2011 stipulates that a Minister or his deputy should be literate. For the MPs the condition is to be able to read and write; that is all. So, in theory an illiterate person may be appointed a Minister or Deputy Minister without violating the Constitution”.

This if anything, it leaves a big window for Telar to come back, albeit in another post and another form – maybe a new chief for the directionless anti-corruption commission. How does this sound?

It may also be time we are prepared for the biggest disappointment under President Salva Kiir’s leadership, when his cronies – General Paul Malong Awan and Major General Matur Chut Dhuol make surprise leaps into national positions in Juba.

In fact as Kiir readjusts himself for more blunders, his anticipated move towards a totalitarian regime can only be realized when he surrounds himself in both the SPLM party, and the State House by pseudo– intellectuals and politicians whose only qualifications are their “Yes Beny” status. These are nothing but blind loyalties and allegiances sealed by common interest for personal glorifications.

On the other end, we would all of course want to believe that the NLA has finally awoken from its deep, SPLM administered, “corruption anaesthesia” to start a new political dawn for RSS. In this case it must be ready to impeach the president over the several constitutional violations already committed.

Following this move, it must also proceed to scrap the controversial TC2011 and replace it with a genuine supreme law that can guide the new country towards democracy, rule of law, and respect to human rights.

And before we leave the NLA to celebrate its TKO on Telar, it is worth pointing out that for blocking Telar, it only got a [D] grade, which it is celebrating now in style.

However given the current appalling political situation the country, the NLA must do more if it is to regain all the lost love and trust from the grassroots.

In other words, if this parliament wants an [A*] grade, then it better proceed to grill president Kiir over the non-procedural approval, and release of the US$600m. The president himself has admitted authorizing his infamous ex-aide to write a letter to that effect, and that’s unconstitutional, to start with.

If this happens, let’s all rest assured that everybody will true love for South Sudan will join in to celebrate the birth of a new democratic era.

Thanks again to God that Telar hasn’t gone to become the minister of Justice. And in the search for an alternative, we mustn’t forget that beforehand, South Sudan has had many ministers of Justice with perfectly well authenticated academic credentials.

Unfortunately all came and went without leaving behind a single sense of having once served justices to our ever suffering masses.

To sum it up all…………ever since the bush days, and till now as we continue to fight for our daily breed, we have fought and continue to do so in the shadow of justice. We are yet to witness the real justice, which has no tribe, no race, no religion, and no gender.

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

Why is Calling for Help Despised in South Sudan?

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, SOUTH SUDAN, AUG/16/2013, SSN;

Apparently the recent articles where I urged South Sudan’s friends and international stakeholders to look at their moral consciousness in the mirror and appropriately intervene to rescue South Sudan from the current political, social and economic mess have raffled the feathers of a number of our brothers.

One of the articles entitled, “Is Samantha Power’s Appointment as the US Ambassador to the UN a Glimmer of Hope for South Sudan?,” and published on South Sudan Nation and South Sudan News Agency websites on July 20th, 2013, merely stated the obvious. South Sudanese are suffering from egregious human rights abuses to top off the other hallmark forms of suffering indignities, from poverty to infant mortality to widespread of curable diseases, famine and insecurity et al., which have become synonymous with the name of our country, particularly since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005.

The government of South Sudan (GoSS) is widely seen as complicit in the perpetual plight of our people for failing to deliver meaningful basic social and economic services that would have improved the lot of our people, but for wanton corruption and crude embezzlement of public funds in South Sudan by government officials all the way up to the higher echelon of political power in the land.

Moreover, government forces are accused for being active actors in heinous human rights abuses of the civilian population, while our government owners cut impotent figures unable or unwilling to reign in on these atrocities.

My several pleas for external help, including in the last article entitled “What are they Waiting for in South Sudan?,” published on August 6th, 2013 on South Sudan Nation and South Sudan News Agency websites, and picked up by other news sites, is a direct result of the government failure to remedy these chronic social and economic problems.

The key question then remains: why is calling for help despised in South Sudan?

Though some of our brothers appreciated and applauded the effort of alerting the international community to the fact of worsening political, social and economic conditions in our beloved country, others went on to falsely suspect me of being a Western agent.

In addition, they argued that it was naïve to think that there is such thing as international intervention based on humanitarianism. The anti-interventionist apologists or the status quo preservationists in South Sudan concluded that the various United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region, have failed to achieve their objectives.

If anything, they noted, these operations have cost billions of US dollars for no value in return, but instead have exacerbated the humanitarian crises in places like Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where chaos and lawlessness remain.

While it is true that the situation in DRC, Sudan and elsewhere remain complicated, Sudan and DRC have been in existence much longer than South Sudan. What is festering in these countries in terms of the continued human rights abuses and mass atrocities despite efforts to restore sanity and order is precisely because the efforts not only arrived two little too late, but remain half-hearted.

The humanitarian predicament of these countries can be characterized as similar to a fatal disease that was not taken seriously when first diagnosed and got worse with time, which makes last gasp efforts to save the patient costly and complicated. What is needed is redoubling the effort rather than surrendering.

However, this is not the case with South Sudan where the symptoms have already been identified, and there is a golden opportunity to save this baby state from developing what could prove to be a fatal disease as in the other scenarios, if not treated immediately.

Ironically, our romantic sovereignty brothers would rather see the country go down the drain than acknowledge that we have a problem and accept that external humanitarian help is urgently needed. They justify their delusional resistance under the pretext that external intervention violates our new-found sovereignty status in South Sudan.

But it may be asked, what good is sovereignty or independence if it is self-destructive? If one exhibits suicidal signs would it not be better for you to be protected from yourself until such a time when you become able to overcome this unhealthy tendency?

And in any event, it must be emphasized that the traditional conception of sovereignty that some of these brothers of ours are culturally shocked by and are clinging to as a right that must not be violated is already beginning to be perceived as archaic in international law.

There is a growing consensus in global politics and international relations that state sovereignty must begin to be understood not as a right that governments have power monopoly within state boundaries without oversight and accountability, but as a privilege that must be continuously earned.

In other words, while in the past states can do with their citizens within their territories as they pleased without external interference, how power is wielded by the state matters nowadays.

As a privilege, state sovereignty can therefore, be revoked by the UN Security Council or the General Assembly or the coalition of the willing in the event that the concerned state is unable or unwilling to discharge its core duties to protect its citizens, which few will disagree is not the case in South Sudan.

Sovereignty construed this way is sovereignty of the people and not the state as an entity as has been traditionally the case.

The guiding principles of this redefinition of sovereignty outlines three important moral obligations of the state, which are collectively referred to as responsibility to protect (R2P) or responsibility to act (R2A).

These moral principles delineate that: a state has a responsibility to protect its citizens from human rights violations and mass atrocities; that the international community has a responsibility to aid the state that is unable or unwilling to protect its citizens to overcome this failure; and finally that in seeking to halt human rights violations and mass atrocities and enforce peace and security, the international community has a responsibility to use force as a last resort when all other avenues have failed.

It has been almost a decade since the signing of the CPA and sustainable peace not only remains elusive in South Sudan, but our government has proven unable and unwilling to protect human rights and reign in on mass atrocities.

It is these principles coupled with the reality on the ground that informed the recent articles appealing for the redoubling of international efforts to help South Sudan, in view of what we all agree as the steady deterioration of security and humanitarian condition in this country since the CPA deal was reached.

In this vein, and while some of the concerns raised by my critics are legitimate, others are unsubstantiated and baseless. This is true in relation to the expressed reservations with what some of our brothers erroneously saw as my naïveté, and promotion of a form of Western altruism that they assume is the linchpin of my views, which is far from it.

As I made clear in those pieces, both moral universalism, national interests and international peace and security are on the line should there be no rigorous measures urgently taken to reign in the current political, security and humanitarian deterioration in South Sudan.

It was precisely because of the knowledge that Western altruism and mere humanitarianism have never guided past interventions that I framed our issues as potentially compromising to our aspiration of wanting to grow up into a healthy and proud nation, but also as undermining to national interests of many regional and international stakeholders and destabilizing to international peace and security, if left to fester unabated.

It is therefore, ludicrous to suggest that my “naïveté” will go as far as to assume that the West should they choose to intervene will come to our aid based on some altruistic value devoid of any egotistic national interest, which as noted has never happened before.

It was merely a question of weighing which was a greater or a lesser evil, to be apathetic to human rights violations and indiscriminate killing of vulnerable members of our society in South Sudan, or to end this by advocating for positive change at any cost?

It seemed a lesser evil to call for external humanitarian intervention, knowing well that such interventions are first and foremost driven by realpolitik, namely interests but humanitarianism.

Seen this way, the allegations about my being enrolled in the payroll of the West as an agent are not only unsubstantiated but must also be strongly condemned as they may amount to one’s freely expressed views being perceived as national treason.

In our current Kangaroo justice system in South Sudan, such accusations risk putting one’s life in harm’s way as an enemy of the state, which may encourage the zealot custodians of the current system in Juba to covet one’s head.

I do not get paid for writing these articles! I merely refuse to stand idly by watching our hard won freedom being irresponsibly squandered by our “liberators.”

There is no doubt that I am a product of the Western academe, and therefore may wittingly or unwittingly be under the influence of American soft-power and driven by values that are universal but that some may dismiss as relative to the West.

They are entitled to their opinion. But by no means should my views aimed at contributing to positive social change in our society to end the endless suffering of our people be regarded as pupating Western interest or embodying Western agency.

I have no interest in presenting our yesterday colonizers as our today’s liberators, while being aware of the love and hate dynamics between the liberators and the liberated.

Yet, not all Western principles bear an agenda seeking to revisit the horrors of the past upon us, and must therefore continue to invoke perpetual paranoia and suspicion every time the phrase international intervention is invoked. We must desist dwelling in the past.

It was only yesterday that we pleaded for international intervention to aid in rescuing us from Jallaba oppression, to which it was duly responded. Why the double standards now, what changed? Or is it because some of us stand to benefit from the preservation of the present unjust and unsustainable status quo in Juba?

If it is any consolation the views that I have been promoting in recent articles are not alien to South Sudanese culture. One of our very own, the international lawyer, Professor Francis Mading Deng, our Ambassador to the UN is one of the key designers of the R2P doctrine and the whole redefinition of sovereignty in terms of human security.

Rather than freaking out from external meddling in our internal affairs, perhaps this can be prevented by getting our house in order by looking ourselves in the mirror and realizing that we must begin to steer our politics toward normal politics in South Sudan.

In doing so we might stand assisted in overcoming the corrosive tribal politics that is currently destroying our society and ultimately driving us towards an apocalypse of full-fledged humanitarian carnage that may result from looming violent conflict across political interest groups and identity lines.

Though political changes are underway in South Sudan and deserve praises, it remains to be seen whether these are altruistic motivated changes with the nation in heart or mere continuation of the proverbial egotistic politicking with political interest groups and kinship in mind that we have grown accustomed to.

The author is reachable at: tlolyuong@gmail.com