Archive for: September 2013

Murder of Nimule Head Chief is causing hard feelings & divisions

BY: Louis Oliha, TORIT, SEPT/29/2013, SSN;

The current fate of the arrested Madi leaders cannot be determined. They were first detained in Nimule barracks, later transferred to a Torit Cell, and now into Kobar, Torit main prison. There is already a hard feeling about the procedure the government of South Sudan is using in dealing with this Madi case.

What I too do not understand here is how the legal system works in our country. Taking people to prison without trial does not make any sense at all.

If the people were arrested for what is real, the proceeding of their case is supposed to be treated legally and if found guilty, they are to be convicted and sentenced to whatever the law may say.

Here I looked at justice and defiantly it has no place. What had happened to Nimule Head Chief can be defined differently by different groups of people and the same goes with the imprisoned Madi leaders.

Finding a unified answer may not be easy due to distorted reports from different government officials. The notion in Torit is that the top state officials claimed that they are not aware.

The deputy governor who is in the office of the governor also claimed that he is not aware, and yet the governor remained silent up to now and he is out of the country.

Obviously, the lack of consistency in this matter is raising some concerns and the government apparatus of South Sudan unfortunately is not being sincere to the people.

We are no longer in the bush and the war with the Arab North is over. Nevertheless, the report from Nimule that “the death of Madi head chief and the arrest of Madi leaders were premeditated” is right.

I was in Nimule a few days ago, my relatives lived there since 2005, but due to this incident, I have decided to relocate them to Torit. Most people are convinced that the proposed Town Council had brought this crisis.

Practically, things are now very quite different in Nimule. People are divided in groups; the first group are the Madi who are natives of the land.

The second group is composed of Dinka IDPs who actually don’t want the word IDPs to be used against them, but rather owners of the land.

The third group is comprised of other different tribes who are moderate and pose no threats to anyone.

According to the reports from the moderate last group, the situation in Nimule has no difference with pre-1994 South Africa except for the fact that the people are having one skin colour.

People from Dinka tribe have now created their own schools, playing grounds, Bars, and recreation areas, where no other tribes are not allowed.

Shockingly, I couldn’t believe these developments at first, but the current incident forced me to go to bring my relatives from Nimule and that’s how I found out the situations actually exist.

Eastern Equatoria State was blessed with three Town Councils and we were hoping for development when such ideas come in mind.

Unfortunately it brought death in the State due to inconsistent plan from the Central government in Juba.

If one may seriously ask, What exactly disqualified Magwi County Headquarters to become the proposed Town Council in the County?

Our governor made a very big mistake for which he should apologise. It was him who has not sifted properly what the Juba Central government ordered him to do.

In comparison, Torit and Kapoeta have no problems because the Town Council were put in the right places. Never has it been heard in South Sudan that a Town Council is made out of the County Headquarters.

Magwi County is supposed to be treated like any other Counties in the Country. It was this imbalance in the government scheme of planning which brought death to the Head Chief of Nimule.

The fate of the Madi leaders arrested is at stake, I believe the government is prepared to do anything it can to make their lives a living hell.

Why they were arrested has no significant evidence and the way they are being treated shows gross miscarriage of justice and government brutality on its people.

As head of Eastern Equatoria State, the governor is answerable to the suffering of Madi Community.

For the Juba Central government officials, what you called your government is created by the people. If SPLA/M is doing all these, you should remember that the government of South Sudan is the work and outcome of Ballot Papers from the people of South Sudan.

Piling grievances on the very people will one day translate into uncertainty, perhaps, seriously, a change will definitely make things better.

Louis Oliha
Torit-South Sudan
Louiso23@yhoo.com

Pres. Kiir 2015 re-election strategy must address key issues

BY: Ater Garang Ariath, JUBA, SEPT/29/2013, SSN;

As political preparations are under way to level grounds for potential political competition comes 2015, in the anticipated first ever South Sudanese general elections, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who also maintains keen interest to remain on South Sudanese political leadership, must involve the youth in his administration.

He must also work hand in hand with his political allies and strategists to use viable political avenues to revive an almost diminishing flying Sudan’s People Liberation Movement (SPLM) popularity in the eyes of South Sudanese populace.

Kiir would also work wonders if he considers youth and pressure groups in his political preparedness to remain as South Sudanese President, till he will hand over the leadership to the next leaders.

The leaders of his choice, who may in turn work with him after retirement in terms of giving advices as statesman.

However, a road to re-election may be tougher and tougher, but possible, if he really commits strong approaches to win the hearts of disparate special interest groups, traditional leaders, youth, women and conservative leaders within South Sudanese societies who are desperate to see absolute changes within government system.

President Kiir success for another good term ahead of him entirely lies at hand, dictated by two conditions whether to crush or leave it alive, the choice of scoring expensive goal is upon him and his close political allies within and outside the party system and government.

He reassured what it means to be President of a nation in recent days, but the social fibre that led him to a landslide victory in 2010 Sudanese general elections is worried losing control due to lack of tangible pragmatic approaches to address key priorities that South Sudanese suffer from.

South Sudanese in reality are ready prepared to cast their votes for the “evil they know,” over an angel that they don’t know and history will tell as the time approaches, starting with SPLM national convention which is pending due to political disagreement for the chairmanship, who will ultimately be the party’s flag-bearer for Presidency in 2015 scheduled elections.

President Kiir’s recent tour to all the states of Greater Bahr El Ghazal region as well as plans under way for visits to the other remaining two regions of Greater Upper Nile and Equatoria, all these have earned him good forward move to reinstate leadership dimension of of persuasive skill.

The first ever public tour and rallies he held explaining reasons why he opted to downsize the previous government as well as having temporary contracts with the current cabinet, and if they are not delivering within three months period, they will soon be shown the cabinet exist doors.

These all tells of the reassurance of leadership and persuasive skills that President Kiir never exercised all along starting from CPA period to an independent country.

During his speech at Mapel, while launching DDR training facilities earlier on this month, Kiir told an enthusiastic crowd that his lean cabinet formation came as an answer to what South Sudanese majority has been yearning for donkey years.

I quote, “I have entered into an agreement with this new cabinet so that after every three months, we evaluate them as well as they report to me what they have achieved and what to be achieved, nevertheless, I will test South Sudanese one by one till I find right people that want to deliver,” unquote.

But one thing remain unanswered, marginalization of youth in decision making process remains as a huge challenge to President Kiir’s administration that needs to be addressed, but which is worsened by high rate of unemployment among the youth in the country.

This, I think, as a South Sudanese concerned citizen, will create negative gap between President and the youth which makes the largest population of the country’s electorate.

The private sector and humanitarian work in the country are firmly preoccupied and controlled by the foreign nationals, who will be having no political voice comes 2015 general elections.

However, President Kiir and his reluctant Advisors should think double and work miraculously to bring the desperate youth in to their political shields, otherwise potential candidates vying for the highest country seat will use it as a dagger against President Kiir intended wish for re-election.

The good news is; the national Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sport on Friday 27/09/2013 has presented a national youth policy to the Council of Ministers, of which they unanimously endorsed that policy and passed it to the national legislative assembly for further deliberations. Of course, the parliament will pass it to President for an assent.

President Kiir should assent this policy immediately when it reaches his office, because, this policy will act as legal framework, which the Ministry will use for reorganization of youth across the countrywide.

But we need political will behind this policy so that youth problems are highly addressed by the government and will shape them for future leadership.

Yeah, I fully concurred with Michael Makuei , the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, when he described youth as an useful arm of nation, that needs great attention to resolve challenges facing them after they return from countries, where they have been during the years of protracted civil war in the country.

They youth in fact returned with different cultures and political orientations that need to be harmonized to match with the environment of South Sudanese societies and politics, which also need relentless commitment within leadership to lay down the foundation of the country National Youth Alliance or Union, which does not exist currently.

Lack of national youth body has created vacuum of coordination among the youth and leadership of this country, frankly speaking. As the youth constitute 70% country population, President Kiir administration should go extra-mile to boost literacy campaign by strengthening higher education and generally.

The road to re-election needs political determination and sacrifice for ultimate reforms within the governmental institutions as well as country‘s raw private sector which is currently dominated by foreign nationals due to poor entrepreneurial skills those South Sudanese private owners have, if it comes in business competitions.

“if government losses control of its national economic growth by its own people then is equally of losing political power, since money and power always go hand in hand like faces of a coin.”

This lean cabinet should prioritize capacity building among South Sudanese Businessmen and women by furthermore digging deep and pooling resources together and initiating smallholders’ micro-finance loans to gifted South Sudanese in private sector as tool for businesses empowerment.

All in all delivering social amenities that South Sudanese needed, especially building roads, empowering women and youth to participate fully in private building sector, policy making, mobilize resources for both general and higher educations and upgrading of health centers will be holistic restoration of disappearing hopes and aspirations among citizenry.

Professionalizing security sector to fully engage respecting rule of law and civil authority as well as harmonization of political atmosphere among different political parties is what we need and see it done.

South Sudanese people who fought together for unreservedly heroic war to achieve hard won independence, therefore, they solely need peace dividends by seeing progress in all aspects of nation building.

President Kiir is a good man that South Sudanese are gifted with, as matter of fact, he deserved appreciations for his stewardship and steadfast leadership he provided during ups and downs years of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) implementation, till he heroically guided South Sudanese people to an independent nation.

But due to his always tender heart, he wrongly surrounded his highest seat with Advisors who are there opposing the system, giving wrong advices to President or keeping silent to correct President Kiir when he goes wrong.

The lack of expertise among Advisory team that surrounded him for political accommodations has dragged this nation down, and most of his eminent supporters turn against his government, especially when Presidential decrees were issued with errors and later reversed and re-issued, shows disarray within the system.

We are tired and sick of political accommodation that result in mass corruption practices with impunity which has in turn tarnished the image of South Sudan as newest nation and SPLM as ruling party.

As far as corruption goes on, it inculcates fears among potential foreign investors not to direct their investment opportunities into the country.

Therefore, President Kiir should now open transparency avenues, especially addressing controversial land ownership issues, so that land use may be rightfully administered by specified party spelled out correctly in the existing land laws, otherwise land without legal framework will still scare away affluent investors.

Therefore, to conclude, South Sudanese still need President Kiir in the next elections only if essential services and good governance systems are revived.

The writer is South Sudanese journalist and Human Rights Activist living in Juba
You can reach him for any comment at Email atergarang02@yahoo.com

Decreasing the Decrees on Undersecretaries in South Sudan

BY: Dr. James Okuk, PhD, Juba, SEPT/27/2013, SSN;

As the Republic of South Sudan is witnessing some changes in governmental structures, I’d like to focus a bit on the case of the Under Secretaries serving now in different ministries in Juba. It has become a norm since 2005 to appoint Under secretaries by powers of Presidential Decrees. The same Article 101 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (2011) that legitimizes appointments of Ministers and other constitutional post holders are also applied to the offices of the Under secretaries. However, the President needs to be advised to decrease these decrees.

As the dust of ministerial changes is settling now, the focus and questions are being directed as to when, H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir, the President of the Republic, is going to relieve the Under secretaries whose ministries got merged together and appoint new ones.

As a result of the merger some ministries have now found themselves accommodating four Under secretaries unnecessarily. For how long is this anomaly going to continue?

Yes, Article 101 of the Transitional Constitution confers powers to the President of the Republic to appoint constitutional post holders, but do Under secretaries need to be constitutional post holders?

For me they don’t need to be, especially if they are regarded as professional career civil servants. If this is the case, why would the President continue to manufacture as many constitutional holders as the political position lobbyists could convince him?

I think it is time to stop appointments of the Under secretaries through Presidential decrees and then leave the matter to be dealt through a Ministerial Order in each of every Ministry.

The pros for this new approach are that it will encourage competition for professional competence in the Ministries. It will enhance performance as the Directors-General, Directors and Senior Civil Servants serving in the national government would find better incentive for aggressive competitiveness.

Everyone would like to attain the categorization and award of the best among the rest since the top best is the one to be appointed by Ministerial Order (after a sincere vetting) to become the Under secretary.

Not only these, but also the non-constitutional post holding Under secretaries are going to respect the Ministers and work with them as a team that focus more on better performance than personality cult loyalties.

These Under secretaries would be like role-models for the junior staff as they aspire to ascend the career ladder without giving up at the beginning or in the middle.

The Ministers would be in full command of their ministries as there would not be clash of powers from above where some Under secretaries used to disrespect the Ministers on the basis that all of them have been appointed by Presidential Decree under the same constitutional Article 101.

This system of professionalizing the offices of the Under secretaries works very well in Germany, United States of America, the United Kingdom, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Botswana, etc.

If applied well and truthfully, the South Sudanese tendencies of tribalizing and regionalizing appointments to such position would disappear as the criteria would be “who knows what” rather than “who knows who” or “who came from where”.

But the cons of removing the Presidential Decrees from the Under secretaries are that many of the veteran post gun-holders of the SPLM/A would lose out in the competition since they lack enough professional qualification credentials.

They will start to hate the fact that even if this country has been liberated by Kalashnikov, it can never be built with the same bush liberation style. It will be too late for some of them to go back to school or university as their old age is irreparable.

Also those who are used to using their blood relations and friendship with the President of the Republic (even when they are not qualified for the top jobs) would feel betrayed and denied enjoyment of the privileges attached to those positions.

They will resort to the maximum use of the solidarity and DDR funds, which shall cost the country coffers dearly in retrospect without considerable prospectus benefits.

Nonetheless, I would propose and advise that the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation should be exempted from these new desirable changes of decreasing the Presidential Decrees.

These two main ministries of sovereignty should have Secretary-General each appointed by Presidential Decree, but they should not have Deputy Ministers. Each of these Secretary-Generals shall have the status of deputy Ministers.

These two Ministries should have more Directors-General since they have a lot of departments handling multi-purposed files for executive affairs of the country, both internally and externally respectively.

Let’s try to implement the new proposed change of not using Presidential Decrees to appointment the new Under secretaries for the lean National Cabinet.

The small government needs to be followed by fewer presidential decrees. It is high time to try the idea of having non-constitutional post holding professional Under secretaries.

Dr. James Okuk is reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com

Response to the Crisis in Madiland: Central government is responsible

BY: MICHAEL OKIA AMURU, South Sudan, SEPT/26/2013, SSN;

After a long follow-up, I think we have to be careful about what had happened in Nimule on August 8, 2013. The killing of Madi head chief is one thing and the arrest imposed on Madi elders is yet another. It takes human concern if you hear different versions coming up after the head chief was murdered.

The commissioner of Magwi County was blamed for his silence in the middle of a tragic incident in his County.

The governor of Eastern Equatoria State was blamed for forcing some Madi to sign a mandate for Town Council ignoring request from Madi elders to meet with their Community first before passing the mandate in the State Parliament after it was rejected by Madi Community.

Above all, he was blamed for telling decisive lie to Madi leaders that he withdrew the statement for the Town Council just to pass it in contrary to his statement.

The central government was blamed for targeting Nimule for the reason not unknown only to Madi people, but most people seem to be ignorant about SPLA/M agenda in Nimule. The government in turn blamed the Madi elders for rejecting the proposal for town council.

This chain of blame is not enough. What matters is WHO murdered the Head Chief of Nimule and WHY?

The idea of making a Town Council in Magwi came early this year and I attended the meeting in person chaired by the commissioner. In that meeting, it was clear the intended venue for the proposed Town Council is Nimule. We raised some concerns for which the commissioner himself can’t give us the right answers. He kept telling us it was a mandate from the Central government (in Juba).

In 2011, the Madi people were expelled from Magwi County Headquarters. Thus, there wasn’t any representative from Madi in the meeting. The two representatives from Nimule were from Dinka and they represented the position of Dinka IDPs.

Few months later I learned that the Madi Community rejected the proposed Town Council. Again their head Chief was murdered and their leaders arrested is a great disappointment as I tell you about the current position of Madi tribe in Magwi County.

The Madi Community members are not allowed to work in Magwi County headquarters after the 2011 crisis between Madi and Acholi. The Eastern Equatoria State government and the central government decided to create a separate administrative headquarters in Pageri to administer some activities in Madi land.

Since then Madi people were completely detached from Magwi County Headquarters. An administrator was appointed and he is stationed in Pageri. Again the government decided that the Madi should not be allowed to govern.

Based on that ideology, the administrator was picked from another tribe as the boss of Madi people.

I’d like to say that we the Acholi tribe and Madi tribe were divided by the government and as of today Nimule or Madi land is under Magwi County by name. Administratively we were separated by the government.

If the commissioner is silent, it’s based on that fact. His area of administration has limitation focusing on Acholi land only. Therefore, Magwi County is innocent about what is happening in Madi land.

The central government wants to play a game when it comes to issues of IDPs in Nimule. What most people don’t know is that some IDPs in Nimule are the top government officials and their relatives.

During the war we had about 35,000 Dinka IDPs in Lobone. After CPA, the chief of Lobone was killed by the IDPs and the people decided to let them go and the government took them. Today although some Dinka are still there, they are few and they can’t control the local population in the area.

Nimule: According to 2010 Magwi County statistics of Dinka in Nimule, there are approximately 45,000 Dinka IDPs leave alone some IDPs from other tribes. Dinka IPDs had divided Nimule into nine quarters. Each quarter is ruled by a chief. Hence, although Madi people have their chiefs, there are also nine Dinka chiefs in Nimule.

I have seen a lot of finger pointing and boiling going on. When it comes to WHO murdered the Madi head Chief and WHY, Magwi County is aware about Madi people rejecting the Town Council.

It was pressure from the Central government that the governor of Eastern Equatoria State had to pass the illegal agreement. The governor in turn did it, a surprise to Madi Community.

What I don’t agree with the government is the statement that “the Madi people killed their Head Chief.” This is a lie. It is a game from the government which killed the head chief. The Madi leaders were not arrested for murder, but for rejecting a mandate from the government to turn Nimule a Town Council. The people speaking against the Madi leaders in detention in Torit were made to speak like that. It is idea from the government to allow them to enforce on the Madi what they have in mind.

Today Magwi County authority distanced itself completely from the crisis not because of creating a separate administrative headquarters for Madi people, but because the IDPs had divided Nimule among themselves long time ago.

Seeking for a Town Council is another way of seeking consent to legalize ownership of Madi land of Nimule, a dirty game in politics. I think Madi themselves must know this long time.

The Madi people are very cautious about their leaders: allow me to mention this briefly, as a teacher I have done a systematic chronology of what had happened before and still happening now in a land shared by Acholi and Madi with a common border.

In 1980s, SPLA/M instigated killing of Madi elder, Joseph Kobulu. The same SPLA/M put the blame on us the Acholi tribe, an incident which led to unrest and mistrust between the two tribes (Acholi and Madi).

In 2011, Madi people were expelled from Maqwi County headquarters. The expulsion was planned from Nimule and some top government officials were involved. Considering all the incidences surrounding Madi Community today, I’m arguing that the central government is responsible for what had happened in Nimule. As such the Eastern Equatoria State government should not insist keeping those arrested Madi leaders in detention.

According to a report in Magwi, the assistant of Lomirigo, the Madi over all leaders was badly tortured by the SPLA soldiers, now admitted in Torit hospital suffering from internal bleeding.

The plan to arrest Madi leaders who were concerned about their land and the people started long time. In 2008, a warrant of arrest was issued by SPLA/M officials to arrest Angelo Vugaa Madi-Lomirigo, but there was not credible statement to support what they wanted. The commissioner of Magwi County couldn’t implement the idea. Targeting Madi leaders like him and others was to make the Madi Community voiceless and venerable.

What I know is that Dinka IDPs in Nimule reportedly don’t want to go back home and it is the government supporting them to stay in Nimule. The killing and torture of Madi people started for quite a long time. This particular one became serious because it touched the head chief.

Magwi County was blamed in the past for supporting the IDPs, but today I would like to assure you that we are not involved. Instead the IDPs had murdered our chief in Lobone, too.

What is unclear is that, whether the government will insist with the Town Council idea, after killing the head chief and arresting all the Madi elders who were against the plan.

What is clear, however, is that if Nimule becomes a Town Council, it’s for the IDPs. The Madi people will have Zero benefit. That is why some of us in Magwi County are very skeptical about the idea.

In a nutshell, Madi people were detached from Magwi County by the government. Therefore, the government of Eastern Equatoria State and the Central government are responsible for the suffering of Madi people, not Magwi County.

In fact, it was the intellectuals from Madi tribe that worked out the birth of Magwi County. The first and the second commissioners of Magwi County were from Madi tribe. As you can see here, what turned against the Madi people is systematic plan not from the County. It is the government. It’s all about lies.

The bottom line is either the government removed IDPs from Nimule or the suffering of Madi people will continue without limitation so long as SPLA/M is in power.

Madi people are not the ones that killed their head chief. Neither their elders arrested for murder, but rejecting and lecturing to the Madi community that the idea for Town Council in Nimule is wrong. Today if these Madi leaders die in prison, they will die for supporting their people and their land, not for killing.

There are some truth in our country and let us keep it alive. What the central government and Eastern Equatoria State are doing in Nimule is insane and it ought to stop.

Michael Okia Amuru,
A Teacher-Magwi County, South Sudan
micheal_okia@yahoo.com

Vice President Gen. James Wani Igga’s folly

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, SEPT/23/2013, SSN;

Gen James Wani Igga does not disappoint. He lives up to his reputation of being a clown and a joker of the powers that be. On 4th September 2013, Sudan Tribune reported that Igga had identified a strategy to promote unity in diversity as well as enhance peaceful co-existence and consolidate efforts to build the new nation ravaged by decades of conflict.

Sounds great. Everybody in South Sudan is longing for peaceful co-existence and if Igga at last has truly found a solution, then this should be taken as a stride in the right direction.

Reading the report further I found myself scratching my head. I could not believe what I was taking in.

Basically, Igga’s strategy is premised on respect of the law and intermarriage. He argues, “For us to unite South Sudanese, we must respect the rule of law. Nobody should be jailed and released because he is above the law. We must appear as equal citizens before the law.” “Nobody should be released for killing somebody because he is above the law. This is wrong.”

What Igga is saying here is something that each and every South Sudanese knows is wrong and this is why people seriously criticise the SPLM government.

Igga’s words are weasel words. He and his colleagues are responsible for the breakdown of law and order in South Sudan. How comes he is now talking of law when his party knowingly failed to provide security to people in the country?

The previous minister of Interior, Alison Magaya, confessed publicly that the organised forces were/are responsible for the rampant killings in the country. The current minister of Interior last month reiterated what Magaya said firmly confirming that members of the organised forces are responsible for insecurity in the country.

Again, how can Igga talk about respect for law when they in the leadership of the SPLM Oyee fleeced the coffers of the state without any accountability leaving the masses to suffer?

Igga and the entire SPLM leadership have no moral standing in the country to lecture the South Sudanese people about respect of the law. For three decades they have been practising and committing crimes against the people of South Sudan to the extent that even children in the country know about it. Their greatest achievement to date has been in destruction of social norms and legal structures.

Tainted with corruption and crimes against humanity, Igga should be the last person to talk about the virtues of good governance. If Igga valued freedom, why did he detain late colonel Martin Kejivura for years ending with his demise for no reason at all? So far he has not apologised to the family, can he explain this contradiction?

It is open secret in Juba that Igga has acquired over 28 plots of land in Juba where he has built massive mansions costing millions of dollars. How did he get his riches? Did Igga respect banking laws when he and other Oyeeites siphoned the capital of the Nile Commercial Bank leading to its collapse? Has Igga accounted to the people?

Igga had all the time in the world to put his strategy of unity in diversity and peaceful co-existence to action when he was the speaker of the parliament, a position more powerful than the ceremonial post of the vice president.

As you all know he invested his time with the assistance of John Luk in enacting a tyrannical Interim Constitution; sabotaging the enactment of necessary legislation such as the media bill and the anti-corruption bill which crippled the able and capable Dr Pauline Riek from doing her work.

So if he could not help then why should he be taken seriously now? Do you see the politicking here?

Igga needs to stop playing with emotions of the masses on such a very painful subject of law and order that neither his government nor himself are committed to deliver on. This is a foregone conclusion. SPLM has failed the people of South Sudan in all areas of governance.

The vice chairman of the ruling party Dr Riek Machar himself has come to that conclusion when he told the politburo on 5th March 2013 that his beloved party and by implication the government is dripping with “rampant corruption, tribalism, economic problems, insecurity, poor international relations and the party’s loss of vision and direction.”

Although Igga is just playing politics with this issue, he is right to identify it as an important area to be addressed. But addressing law and order is not simple and straight forward. We need first to rebuild our broken society by changing the system in Juba. Once we have done that and we have a new responsible government then we can put in place mechanisms necessary for realisation of a society at ease with itself.

Now let us turn to Igga’s second element in his strategy to promote unity in diversity and enhance peaceful co-existence. Igga argues that “we must revise the system of marriage. Makaraka should marry from the Latuko, Latuko should marry from (the) Kakwa and the Kakwa should marry from (the) Shilluk. Why not? This will unite us honestly. If we don’t appreciate this, we will fall and end up seeing ourselves as tribes, instead of taking our national identity.”

To any reasonable person, this is just folly. What national identity is the vice president talking about when South Sudan is not a nation?

Inter-marriage has been happening in South Sudan since time immemorial. All the tribes Igga mentioned have been inter-marrying freely in South Sudan. For example, a royalty from the Chollo kingdom is married to a Kakwa man in Yei district and there are many Chollo people married to Bari speaking people. Marriage based on genuine love is welcome. People should be unconstrained in pursuing their happiness with whoever they choose to spend the rest of their lives with.

However, I am deeply concerned with Igga’s proposition. What does he mean by “we must revise the system of marriage”? It sounds as if he and the SPLM Oyee machine intend to force people to inter-marry to produce a new breed of South Sudanese to foster unity and peaceful co-existence.

How is this going to be promoted? It is crucial to note that there are 63 tribes in the country and the customs of marriage may vary from one tribe to another. Are Igga and the SPLM Oyee going to standardise the customs of marriage? Or, will it be by rape as the SPLM/A has been doing for the last three decades. If so, what would be new?

I guess the only thing Igga wants to do now is to legalise their criminal behaviour. But I think what is missing in this proposition are the questions: why is there no unity and harmony among South Sudanese people? What are the factors causing this disunity? These hard questions need to be asked for the right solutions to be identified. It is not just a matter of recommending intermarriage as a solution without studying and understanding the causes.

Social engineering will not provide solutions to disunity. Even in families people differ and can become bitter enemies to the extent of killing each other. Our problem lies in deeply rooted negative behaviour in no more than three tribes out of the 63. So what is needed is the development of positive cultures and behaviours with respect that fosters unity and co-existence.

The responsible thing for Igga to do is to confront the one or whatever tribes destabilising the country by being honest and telling them that they must change for their own good and the common good of South Sudan.

From 1956 Khartoum worked hard to change the identity of South Sudanese from African to Arab through intermarriage. The Ingaz government of president Bashir from 1989 took this policy to another level. They promoted social engineering with massive incentives. Khartoum openly preached to people in the north that if they joined Jihad in South Sudan and helped in Arabising the country through marrying South Sudanese women they would be rewarded with war booty including allocation of large pieces of land in south Sudan.

This policy saw the members of the Sudanese armed forces and the NCP militia flock to South Sudan in their thousands to fight.

Each Jihadist or soldier was allowed to marry four South Sudanese women with or without consent. In addition they were allocated the promised land to procreate. Did this policy succeed in bringing unity and peaceful co-existence with the Arabs? No, in fact the children of the Arabs by the South Sudanese women became the avid haters of the Arabs than the indigenous South Sudanese children.

Why was this? Because, women are the transmitters of culture. Although their children are fathered by the Arabs, their South Sudanese mothers transmitted South Sudanese cultures into the of-spring. The same situation can happen with Igga’s proposal. Why has Igga failed to reflect on this?

Unity in South Sudan can not be socially engineered. It has to develop organically and nurtured culturally. On the other hand the disunity in South Sudan is essentially a result of poor interaction from people with predatory behaviours. So any responsible leader in the country needs to acknowledge and understand this fact in order to address it.

Unity has to be allowed to emerge from a free people’s interaction and conversation in the social and political space. Central to such development is the acceptance of values such as respect, honesty, empathy etc which form the essence of a true democracy.

Jan-Werner Muller, professor of politics at Princeton University in United States inspired by the work of the German philosopher Jurgen Habermas on ‘constitutional patriotism’ in my opinion provides better solutions to issues of unity in diverse societies like South Sudan.

In his book ‘Constitutional Patriotism’, Muller argues that in our ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse communities political belonging needs to be centred on universal norms enshrined in a constitution as opposed to 20th century ideas of nationalism which Igga wants to impose in RSS.

Espousing the theory of ‘constitutional patriotism’ enables South Sudan to embrace its diversity without having to think of it as a bad thing. We should be proud of our tribes and our diverse society. That is what makes our country unique, beautiful and potentially strong. Our unity must not be achieved at the destruction of our tribes, but rather it should be premised on protection of every South Sudanese by a democratic constitution in which we all place our trust.

In Africa, Julius Nyerere promoted unity and patriotism in Tanzania along the lines of ‘constitutional patriotism’. Also the post-apartheid South African constitution arguably was hammered out based on the same theory and it is helping that country to overcome similar problems of disunity.

United States of America, Canada, Switzerland, Australia… etc, all highly diverse countries with linguistic and racial differences are now trying to use the theory of constitutional patriotism to unite their highly diverse societies.

Patriotism, love for one’s country becomes the element for bringing citizens together or to put it in plain terms, it is the idea that everybody has a vested interest in the effective functioning of the state. This then fosters a conducive environment for the citizens to develop an attachment and allegiance to the state through the constitution. These countries do not need ‘national identity’ because they are not nations by the nature of their diversity.

Just like South Sudan which is not a nation but a series of nations. This is evidence by the fact that we have 63 tribes many of which can be grouped into nations. Therefore, we too do not need Igga’s call for national identity and social engineering.

Operationalising ‘constitutional patriotism’ is not a big problem if the will exists to promote a peaceful co-existence. All the countries I have mentioned developed federal systems embedded in their constitutions to address the issue of diversity.

South Sudan could do the same but the SPLM Oyee which promotes the interest of the ‘born to rule’, would not like federalism because it is not in their interest. Many South Sudanese have written extensively about the benefits of a federal system to South Sudan but all this fell on deaf ears.

It would be helpful if Igga could take their advice in order to re-build a real unity in South Sudan rather than latching on to hopeless, outdated and inhumane theories.

The down side of Igga’s obnoxious proposition is that he tries to use women as machines to engineer unity in South Sudan. Sounds like the European racists with their eugenics in 20 century. Seriously, Igga’s proposition is a refined form of eugenics and that is what makes it awful and unacceptable at any cost. Such chauvinistic and misogynistic attitude which considers women as vessels without feelings is unacceptable in this day and age.

South Sudanese women should speak out against this reduction of their feelings and bodies to machines of social engineering to suit some patriarchal ideology of the SPLM Oyee.

We all have got daughters and sisters and they should be who they are, comfortable in their skin and making their own choices based on their feelings and likings without any constraint created by state sanctioned policies to suit short sighted personal interest of attempting to unite South Sudanese on proven failed patriarchal ideology.

So women should live as they want. If they want to marry, they should be able to marry the persons of their choice without anybody or policy putting obstacles on their personal decisions.

Presently, it is absurd that a whole vice president is engaged in thinking that women are “things” or “tools” for promotion of outdated ideas hatched by naive men without their input. Women bodies are precious to them as men’s bodies are to them. Women as the prime transmitters and protectors of culture by virtue of their position in society should be appreciated as our equals and not be thought of and treated as machines for re-making society.

Has Igga asked South Sudanese women whether they want to be Guinea Pigs for realisation of his would be engineered unity in the country? Why should this unity be engineered in the first place? Are there no other ways of forging unity in South Sudan than using women? Has he tried to explore what other countries have done to solve problems of divisions in their societies? Is Igga afraid of pointing out the truth about why unity has been unachievable?

Social life is not simple. You cannot tinker with society and think the outcome will miraculously be as expected. There are issues of environment, social relationship, child rearing and cultures which all impact upon the outcome on individuals in society in different ways.

It is just sheer idiocy to recommend something without any evidence from either credible studies or experience and then talk about it as if it was a fact with certainty that it will produce unity. What evidence does the vice president base his recommendation on?

Apart from the theory of ‘constitutional patriotism’, what about the application of cultural and behavioural approaches as tools to solve the issues of disunity and identity of the country? Why did Igga not recommend this?

The answer is simple. Igga is following the instructions of his masters without even thinking/studying the issue carefully. It is unfortunate that he has now exposed his ignorance not only to South Sudanese but to the world.

The real problem with Igga and the SPLM Oyee is that they do not have skills in managing diversity. They have no clue of what to do since SPLM Oyee itself is constructed on a foundation of tribal interest against the general common interest of South Sudan as a country.

Although the tribal beneficiaries will go bonkers on reading this truth and will attempt to complain about this piece, the evidence is overwhelmingly in the open and it is indisputable. They delusionally think the rest of the people in South Sudan are blind. Ironically they look to Khartoum’s racists policies for help, and hope that by re-introducing them in the country they will be seen addressing serious issues. What a pity?

Addressing the plight for unity and other problems in our country needs an enabling atmosphere. An environment free of fear where freedom of expression and freedom of speech allow vibrancy in growth of beneficial ideas for dealing with these issues.

In other words the people of South Sudan in their diversity need to freely interact discursively and socially among themselves to find that equilibrium of unity and co-existence.

However, with president Kiir and Igga’s reign which curtails freedom in all its forms, it is impossible for genuine unity to organically develop among the people of South Sudan. It is important for SPLM Oyee to know that development is not only about social engineering and the construction of beautiful mansions and buildings at the expense of others. It is about “valorization of the people’s potential” that actualises the peoples’ ability to appreciate the importance of humanity above all as opposed to the fallacy of tribalism.

Because Gen. James Wani Igga is the Vice President, the Sudan Tribune report appears to promote his idea by writing “the proposal has received overwhelming support from the general public, as well as within academic circles, with some calling for the immediate implementation of the plan.”

The whole of this sentence has huge implications in promoting something that borders on eugenics in South Sudan. This sentence is only based on the support of one Abraham Deng Kuir “who holds master’s degree in strategic studies, majoring in peace and conflict resolution from the UK’s prestigious Oxford University.”

Well, the truth is that this topic has not been debated in the country and I do not know where Sudan Tribune got their evidence from. Abraham’s fanatic support does not equate to “overwhelming support from the general public.”

Igga has come up with this worn-out idea to please his masters. He knows that social engineering has always been the most coveted idea by the ruling ethnic groups and so if he sings it loud it will cement his position as the Vice President for a long time to come.

The challenge that the Vice President should actually invest his energy on is to take on the individuals or tribes which are the generators of disunity in the country because of the alien mentality that they hold and their wish to impose themselves offensively on the majority.

This is the real problem. The new “cattle camp” imperialism. If Igga is afraid of naming it to save his bread, we have now helped him to have a name for it.

If he is to be taken seriously, he should pick himself up and begin to address the real issue as his agenda in his new office. Rather than placing the burden on the innocent oppressed majority, he needs to talk to his masters to: first accept a true democratic constitution; and secondly change their predatory ways for the sake of unity and peaceful co-existence.

Else he should just shut up and let the people struggle until these issues are solved by whatever means available.

To sum up, the solution to South Sudan’s problem of disunity must lie in crafting a truly democratic federal constitution that takes the concerns of every indigenous South Sudanese on board.

In this, Justice Peter Sule and honourable Dr Richard Mulla can be viewed as foresighted thinkers with the country at heart when they passionately argued against the current interim constitution before its enactment into law prior to the day of independence.

Justice Sule led five parties which did not sign allegiance to SPLM Oyee at the time advocating for amendments of the proposed interim constitution to avoid all the current ills we are now seeing. While honourable Mulla raised the issue at the first Equatoria conference in April 2011 highlighting the dangers only to be opposed by Mr Lawrence Korbandy.

Sule and Mulla, so to speak, are the people who wanted South Sudan to be in peace with itself. This unfortunately was opposed by none other than Igga, John Luk, Lawrence Korbandy and the majority of the rubber stamp parliament. They preferred to have an absolute monarchy with King Kiir in place than a fully fledged democracy.

They are now reaping the fruits of their making and so Igga should stop thinking that he can use our daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces as tools or Guinea Pigs for a farcical unity to secure his position as vice president.

Telar Deng reappointment shows the country’s failing

BY: Mulana Deng, SEPT/18/2013, SSN;

This reappointment of Telar Ring Deng on September 16 shows how Slava Kiir Mayardit is similar to the former Liberian President, Samuel K. Doe, who was known of leading his country into failure. The evidence has shown Kiir has failed us in many ways even when his decisions might seem too beneficial to us as he always wrongly insist. These evidences are the 16 mile border with Sudan, Oil fee agreement with Sudan, the oil shutdown and the ongoing insecurity in South Sudan, just to name a few.

When south Sudanese lost their beloved son and mighty Leader, Dr. John Garang De Mabior, many people thought that President Salva Kiir Mayardit would flawlessly lead them to the promised land for freedom and prosperity.

Many believed that even if they have lost their leader the second man will lead them but, however, it didn’t turned out that way. It has turn out to what can be compared with what happened in Liberia. When Samuel Kanyon Doe came to power he totally lead the country to failure.

Doe’s taking over was initially welcome and generally seen as a shift favouring the majority of the population that had largely been excluded from participation in government.

This was comparable to Kiir’s situation in 2005 when he was chosen to lead after the death of Dr John Garang De Mabior, because many of Southern Sudanese who were with Khartoum government, were in disagreement with Garang’s vision and leadership.

Without wasting much time, these people congregated themselves in the Government South Sudan within a short period of time. Many of these were appointed or nominated to ministerial positions.

The only part that cannot be compared is that Kiir inherited the seat form John Garang de Mabior but Samuel K. Doe came into power through military Coup.

Undoubtedly, both Salva Kiir and Samuel Doe of Liberia are much comparable because they both failed to deliver the political goods and services to their citizens.

Their leadership was unfortunately fuelled with unbelievable corruption, nepotism and lack of vision and leadership ability.

Both Salva Kiir and late Doe never had any quality education to lead their respective countries, but nevertheless, they both had been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from well known universities, Doe’s during his state visit to South Korea and Dr. Doe was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Seoul. Kiir had his honorary degree from Kisumu, Kenya. These honorary degrees sadly didn’t deliver the best-needed leadership.

Inevitably, their two governments are or were encumbered by corruption and much tyrannical rule. Samuel Doe’s government was more repressive when it came to freedom of speech. Newspapers were often shut down and political activities completely banned.

Same as Kiir government, he often threatens to shut down or arrest the news reporters like Ngor Aguot Garang, a journalist that was taken into custody and tortured by South Sudan’s security for the publication an opinion piece that criticized him.

Not only threatening of Journalists, Kiir’s government is infamously accused of ordering the killing of journalists and opinion writers like the late Isaiah Abraham.

Same thing unimaginably is happening in South Sudan, in the issue of 4 billion dollars of which president Kiir seemingly knows who are those 75 culprits as evidenced by those letters he sent to them individually and personally sent them pleading with them to return the money.

Reportedly, Samuel Doe did the same to Liberia’s money in 1990s.

Kiir is equally suppressive like Doe when it comes to freedom of speech, mistreatment of minorities ethnic groups, analogous to what is going on in Jonglie state today with Murle and many other minorities in South Sudan.

Politically, Kiir is not any different from Samuel Doe. Doe used to portray himself as an enlightened leader whose actions were intended to bring “relief to many.” Currently, President Kiir is trying to do the same in order to maintain his legitimacy.

Resembling Samuel Doe further, the suspension of his Vice president and the entire ministerial cabinet were ways to show and warn the people and to enlighten and to regain his legitimacy back.

Kiir is enjoying political support from Western countries as Doe enjoyed during the cold war. “The United States valued Liberia as an important ally during the Cold War, as it helped to contain the spread of Soviet influence in Africa”.

Kiir is not any different. He is enjoying the support of the United States and many other countries because South Sudan is blessed the much needed commodity, oil. As former U.S. Ambassador to the South Sudan Susan Page said, “the United State is interested in the South Sudan’s oil sector.”

There are indisputable evidences that show that President Kiir’s leadership has failed. Yet, he’s political interest in being in power isn’t changed.

Just like Samuel Doe who drafted a constitution, got elected to the presidency, changed official birth date from 1951 to 1950 and ordered the arrest of 91 officials of William R. Tolbert who was the president before him.

This is very much similar to what is going in South Sudan against the so-called Garang boys, many of whom are now accused of corruption now waiting for their charges.

President Kiir can be compared to Samuel Doe who is known to have failed Liberian people in many ways. Kiir has failed south Sudanese politically, educationally and militarily as Samuel Doe did.

The way he runs the government, being surrounded by people who are only loyal to him mainly those who will not criticize him is also the way Samuel Doe did. His failed leadership shown by the technique, and the way he reacts whenever he criticized.

Just like Doe, Kiir reacts violently with threats and suspensions without delay to whoever criticizes him. He usually does so because he doesn’t want any one to criticize his government or his failed leadership and doesn’t want to acknowledge his failure to deliver the essential political goods and services just like Late Samuel Doe.

So, what should South Sudanese wait for or do after the election? South Sudan should really decide something about this, especially those leaders who are within the parliament representing their constituencies.

The president cannot and should not be threatening elected leaders, in the appointment of Vice President Joseph Wani Igga and suspension of elected governors.

On the other hand, he can’t be writing of letters to those who have taken the 4 Billions dollars which proves he’s protecting them from justice for their misdeeds.

Like now, his reappointment of the man he once suspended because of his corruption. What is kiir doing; isn’t he ruling the country like his own house?

Kiir has failed and this failure is not what our people want. Our people want development that can only be delivered politically and democratically; whereby the government is run by the people, for the people, who know how and what do to, and be educated without threat from their leader.

From: Mulana Deng

Nimule: The murder of Chief Ajugo and ensuing human rights abuses

Date: 15th September 2013, Press Release;

We, the Ma’di community in the diaspora, under its leadership, the Ma’di Regional Council
(MRC), condemns in the strongest terms possible the assassination of the Head Chief in Nimule,
Chief Luvio Ajugo. We stand in complete solidarity with our community in the Ma’diland in
rejecting intimidations and targeted killings in our land. We as much stand with the grieving
family and our deepest condolences go to the bereaved family left behind.

Late Chief Ajugo was murdered after he withdrew his endorsement from the secret deals with
certain politicians serving in the Office of Eastern Equatoria State who are stakeholders to the
mentioned government-sponsored program, which was supported by a minority group who
wants Nimule Town demarcation to be executed in order for them to sell the demarcated land to
their favoured investors.

Late Chief Ajugo who was forced into signing the secret deal with some of the Ma’di politicians [MPs] supporting the Town Council establishment, took a public stand against the unpopular upgrade of Nimule to be a town council. His stand was in keeping with the wishes of the majority of Ma’di community both in the homeland as well as those in the diaspora.

You, our fellow countrymen and countrywomen of our new Republic of South Sudan and the international community should know that we, the majority of Ma’di community rejected this undemocratic and scandalous government sponsored upgrade project rammed in our throat, which could soon create homelessness to the innocent and unsuspecting citizens of Nimule from their ancestral lands.

The authors of this initiative had failed to gain popular support instead the Eastern Equatoria State government resorted to shameful strategies of secret dealing with late Chief Ajugo with the minority of opportunist [local Nimule businessmen] who secretly had begun buying and selling land to unknown persons to the communities in Nimule.

However, late Chief Ajugo bravely announced publicly of the secret deals and listed the names of the so-called scandalous stakeholders. Late Chief Ajugo stood with his community in rejecting the Nimule Town Council upgrade project, which resulted in his murder and now indiscriminate arrest of those opposed to the hideous secret plans.

We demand answers for the murder and immediate cessation of the on-going arrests and death threats to our community youth and leaders.

The minorities and those whose names have been brought to public light by our fallen hero should have been the first for the security apparatus to look at but not so, to our astonishments, they went after every single opponent to their Town Council agenda to include our very Supreme tribal leader, former Ambassador Angelo Voga.

Our fellow South Sudanese, as we speak they, our leadership, are languishing in military jail and we ask why, if indeed there is no hidden agenda against our people, should this not be a police rather than military investigations?

We are alarmed by the latest development in Nimule where after laying our fallen hero to rest, our very own Supreme Leader Ambassador Anjelo Vuga and his Deputy Lagu Jabakana, and essentially the entire Ma’di civil leadership are grabbed and put in military jail.

This is an absolute insult and added injury to the entire Ma’di nation as the security forces under whoever is in charge show utter contempt to the Ma’di people and its leadership!

We demand immediate release of these leaders and an independent body set to investigate the death of our Head Chief Livio Ajugo and this indiscriminate arrest and the human right abuse of our people in order to
get to the bottom of who gave such an order.

Our fellow countrymen, we believe Torit is at the very centre of the utter chaos that is in our
Ma’diland and they cannot perform impartial investigation as demonstrated by the arrest of
every single person opposed to their agendas!

We are appalled that the government of Eastern Equatoria who rammed the Nimule Town Council against the will of the people is now using this unfortunate death of one of our very own to silence and eliminate the entire leadership of our people to achieve their ultimate goal, to do with our land as they please.

We call on the central government, and the UN to intervene to ensure the rule of laws and human rights of our people protected and for immediate release of those who have no criminal evidence against them.

We trust our independent Judiciary system will reach to the bottom of this killings that should’ve never and must never happen in our beloved Republic and country of South Sudan, where a community and her leadership be protected not extinguished.

Urgent call on Central government
We call on the central government to set up an independent body, as we have lost complete faith in Torit, to speedily conduct an impartial, just and thorough investigation, without conflict of interest, to arrest and bring to justice, whether they are in Torit or Nimule, those who are behind and responsible for Chief Ajugo’s cold-blooded murder, to ensure justice and peace prevail and halting intimidations, humiliations and arrests of our leadership and putting an end to escalations of violence and loss of lives.

We know there are people of goodwill in our country as well as in the international community to which we shall carry our case as our people and its leadership are totally insulted and trampled on in our own ancestral land and country.

We, the Ma’di Regional Council and the Ma’di community in diaspora will not rest until you the authority in our country, bring calm to our community in distrust, refrain from arrests that are politically motivated, rather guided by rule of law, facts and judicious investigations, to ensure safety, security, protection and the respect of the universal human rights of those arrested and above all, it is the rule of laws that ultimately makes our new nation a modern state.

Given the profiles of those arrested to-date, mainly those who rejected the town council upgrade, it is no doubt in our minds that the finger pointers are the very people who caused the demise of our Head Chief for his standing with thecom munity, and they the murderers are in turn eliminating additional oppositions and get away with a hideous crime and eventually achieve their goals through these arrests of community leaders who spoke and held the same view as the murdered Chief.

Should Torit continue in this irrational path of aggressions, then Jesus will be killed for Barnabas!

Does our country want to be known for this kind of justice system?
If there is any regards in Torit left towards our people rather than its land, we call upon the Governor to personally suspend the unpopular upgrade of Nimule to a town council, this Mr. Governor will inculcate the culture of rulers and the ruled by consensus and democracy which will restore the environment of mutual trust, respect and healing of our community in particular, our state in general and our country at large.

Sincerely, the community in grief and disgust.

The Ma’di Regional Council: representing members of Ma’di community in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Egypt.

Benjamin Taban
Chairman, Ma’di Regional Council
btavelino@aol.com

Between Abyei and South Sudan: A covenant a great chief has sealed with his Life

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, RUMBEK, SEPT/17/2013, SSN;

With a few weeks to Abyei’s referendum, though there is that scepticism whether the plebiscite will take place as proposed by the AU or not, it is also important to recall to mind the death of a prominent Dinka Ngok chief, Kuol Deng Kuol and all the SPLA martyrs that lost their lives during the May 2011 invasion of Abyei by Sudan Armed Forces.

The death of paramount chief of Abyei is a great loss not only to the Ngok Dinka of Abyei only but to all people of South Sudan.

Chief Kuol was killed as he was moving around Abyei and its neighborhood in a dire quest for peace and harmony between his people and the Arab nomads that also claim the ownership of the oil rich area.

The circumstances of his death puts him along the important pages of history alongside those of Kon Anok of Aliab, Ariath Makuendit, Gbudwe Basingi, Ngun Deng and many other South Sudanese chiefs and kings who gave their lives in different struggles for freedom of South Sudan right from the colonial era to the present day.

One of the biggest ironies of the Sudan–South Sudan contentious issues is that Abyei is a contested area. Some areas along the wide unmarked border between the Sudan and South Sudan may, due to the turbulent nature and bad blood between two countries, be can be classified as disputed, but not Abyei.

Abyei – by its features, people and history – is genuinely a South Sudan’s territory. The original permanent inhabitants of Abyei are Dinka. The Ngok Dinka people are no different from other Dinka groups in Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

The Dinka customs, traditions and ways of life are all the same beginning from language to all other aspects of culture and society norms.

The Dinka trace their lineage to one end. However, they have mixed up all over the regions they currently settled as a result of free migration of the days before the British colonization.

In the area of Aliab, for instance, the clan of Biri from Magok Payam, Awerial County, is originally Ngok Dinka. The Apuk clan of Bunagok payam, Awerial County, migrated from Apuk of Gogrial in Warrap State.

By this, it is impertinent that many of the Dinka clans in other states may have direct clan brothers in Abyei today.

You can even leave all that, but look at the area and the name ‘Abyei’. ‘Abyei’ is a Dinka word for one of the most popular trees across all Dinka lands. When you know Abyei and think about what has been going on about this area for so many decades now only myriads of questions come to mind.

The sons and daughters of Abyei have stood firm in their demand to go where they truly and rightly believe their hearts belong – South Sudan.

During the SPLM/A war they fought alongside the South. The sons and daughters of Abyei never made anything secret about their destiny. They equally shed their blood and lost their lives in the struggle for South Sudanese.

The late Nyankol Mathiang’s music contribution and different other different contributions by sons and daughters of Abyei, Nuba and Funj to this country’s struggle shall always remain in our hearts and minds.

There is nothing more we can say about Southern kordofan and Blue Nile since they now belong to Sudan of President Omer al Beshir, but we shall always continue to talk about Abyei.

South Kordofan and Blue Nile’s case should have been held under the popular consultations. Failure by Beshir and NCP to conduct popular consultations in an inclusive and transparent manner resulted in the war in that region.

Again, how to control that war and any other issues in that territory lie in the hands of the government of Sudan.

Abyei’s case, even if it should never have, needed a referendum that was supposed to be held alongside the South Sudan referendum in 2011. It never happened and it is one of areas in records that have never been implemented in the CPA.

The government and public of South Sudan generally endorsed the Abyei referendum that was originally scheduled to take place in January 2011. But it never happened because the NCP and the Khartoum government blatantly foiled the area’s plebiscite.

And from there on, the same government of Sudan continues to drag South Sudan across dark roads over the issue of Abyei and creating problems one after another. It has become a game of chess with strings attached to other parallel issues and all kind of trickeries and propaganda.

The issue of Abyei was referred to the International Court in The Hague. The ruling was just as expected: Abyei awarded to the nine Dinka chiefdoms with Misserya Arabs granted only temporary grazing rights during the season it is dry in their homeland.

The Misserya have their homeland or any other ‘land’ we will never know. The Misseriya come to Abyei when it is dry season and when they don’t have water where they are supposed to be.

The Hague ruling that all parties in the former united Sudan had pledged to welcome was violated by none other than North Sudan. Instead of keeping their word, the NCP went into their fox-drawer and produced a new issue altogether.

Until this time it is wrapped around another baseless case: that the misserya have to be granted a voting right in Abyei – and to this day it is the last stalemate that has delayed the Abyei’s referendum, kept Abyei in the agenda of Africa’s issues that need to be resolved or may altogether set a scene not so serene but dotted with grudges, strained relationship or an all-out-war.

When you critically look at the NCP’s demand that the messeirya be allowed in the referendum you are only left with nothing else but pity. First of all, the right for messerya to vote in the Abyei referendum was not enshrined in the CPA.

Secondly, the NCP government in Khartoum agreed at the time the Abyei case was in the The Hague that it shall abide by the ruling. The ruling later was: Abyei for the Ngok Dinka. Now, from where does Khartoum get the clause that allows the messerya to vote in the Abyei referendum and from which legal ground does NCP feel their demand should be done?

It is clear what Sudan wants in Abyei is oil, but South Sudan wants its people. In real sense, Abyei land, oil and people belong to South Sudan. But khartoum simply plays wrangles because it needs oil.

The world is a strange place. It is why we discuss Abyei. If the world is never being governed by firm and rightful laws then let Abyei be left to be contested by the Dinka and the Messerya tribes. Tribe against tribe, in all aspects, the messerya cannot stand against the Dinka in what rightfully belongs to them.

But that Abyei be annexed to Sudan is impossible. If Abyei is annexed by force by Sudan then the world and Africa will have a problem to solve for so many years to come. There can be another war and a possible genocide worse than what happened in Darfur.

And the same way it has been difficult for successive Sudanese Arab regimes to manage the South Sudan in a united Sudan for so many decades, Abyei – though very much smaller – will not be any different.

Abyei is a South Sudanese land and it shall remain so. There are those who have persistently claimed that Abyei was given away to South Kordofan by chief Deng Majok. South Sudanese know very well that this is a making by some sections within the NCP who are on witch-hunt mission to get meaningless reasons to cling on to Abyei.

Now that false story of Deng Majok aside, another great chief (another Deng Majok’s son) has sealed an everlasting covenant between Abyei and South Sudan – this time – with his own blood.

What the AU should do is to sternly stick to its resolution for holding referendum in Abyei in October, 2013 by Abyei Dinka and the Messeriya people that permanently reside in Abyei.

If the world fails to control the issue of Abyei, Africa will not control it; if Africa fails to support the true justice about Abyei problems between Sudan and South Sudan shall just remain a sandwiched between the two old things: war and peace or war and hand shakes.

But in the end, the truth triumphs. By all means Abyei with its land and people will come to where its belongs, South Sudan.

Taban Abel Aguek is a Member of State Parliament in Rumbek, Lakes State. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

The Constitution and Presidential Appointments in South Sudan

BY: Dr. James Okuk, PhD, Juba, SEPT/19/2013, SSN;

The mixed opinions need to be sifted so that the truth could get appreciated from the falsity. The South Sudan Transitional constitution (2011) says that the appointed Ministers by the President of the Republic shall be approved by a resolution adopted with a simple majority vote of all members of the National Legislative Assembly {See Article 122(2)}. The constitution did not say that the vote shall be on a singled-out Minister among the presented Ministers.

That is, there is no approval for a Minister but Ministers collectively. Thus, either the whole list of the appointed Ministers is rejected or passed all together without exception. There is nothing called vetting an individual Minister separately. Even Article {57(h)} talks of vetting and approving “appointments” and not “appointment.”

That is why the case of selective rejection of Mr. Telar Riing (as Justice minister) could be termed as unconstitutional move by Speaker, Rt. Hon. Wani Igga and his August House Team.

But the relevant question here is: What is the meaning and purpose of powers of vetting and approving the Presidential appointments by the NLA? It is nothing else but giving legitimacy to the appointments.

Then where do the issues of qualifications, credentials and integrity come from when they are required by the constitution in case of eligibility to the President and the Vice President Offices as well as National Legislature Membership only? {See Articles, 62, 98}.

Surely, these came from nowhere but anger and conspiracy based on ill-intentions against Mr. Telar. Hence, President Kiir should have considered Mr. Telar as approved by the NLA together with the rest of Ministers and sworn him into the office as Minister of Justice together with the rest of the approved Ministers.

As a politician, President Kiir has to know who are his political friends who should be closer to his throne. Machiavellian-ism is not separable from state politics, and those who think that Kiir is mistaken to re-appoint Mr. Telar as his Legal Advisor are unrealistic Platonists.

Another relevant question should be: Why do we write a constitution and then do strange things outside the constitutional dictates? Why we don’t put in the constitution what we would like to do constitutionally?

The SPLM members should be in the better position to answer this questions since their VIPs were the ones quarrelling over the implementation of their own inappropriately imposed constitution.

I hope the mess-ups in the implementations and violations of the current transitional constitutions are doing a great deal of pragmatic civic education on all of us so that we learn to come up with a good constitution in future.

Learning by hard ways is sometimes very good as it is said that where there is no pain there should be no gain. A lot of good ideals that are missing in the current constitution should find their right way into the next Constitution and many bad ideas that are incorporated into it should face a delete button without regrets.

Referendum and not clapping in the NLA Hall should be the way to go for legitimizing the constitution that the people of South Sudan want for their posterity.

South Sudan should start looking for a Parliament that is well equipped with the Will of its dignified the people. It is by this that what is known as the rule of law (whether it is unjust law) would start to see better light in the new Republic.

Congratulations to Mr. Telar Riing for getting back into the political boxing ring with a head high for a strong knock out on “False Friends” who are now “True Enemies” of President Kiir’s right to reign.

Dr. James Okuk is reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com

South Sudan: A Third alternative to the oil pipeline proposal

BY: Makol Bona Malwal, SOUTH SUDAN, SEPT/17/2013, SSN;

To say that the new state of South Sudan, a country with over 80 percent of the population illiterate and more than 50 percent living below the poverty-line, is facing huge challenges in kick-starting her economic development is no exaggeration. South Sudan is probably the most oil dependent country in the world. This means that we must make the best use of our oil revenues to jump-start that much needed development. This also means, not accepting the argument that, we are too weak to exert any, if not full control over our resources.

Following the suspension of oil production, the government of South Sudan announced that, it would build an alternative export pipeline to the Indian Ocean via Lamu in Kenya. With an economy that produces almost nothing else, except crude oil, there is a need to scrutinise, debate and think through this proposal thoroughly. This includes examining the feasibility and viability of this alternative option of an export route; the time it will take to build it “assuming that all is well”, technically and economically; the geo-politics and security of the region; and the cost of not just the construction, but including the charge per drum to be levied by Kenya, etc.

Insecurity is not an attractive option for investors to come in as cost benefits analysis simply generates a reluctance to invest in a new pipeline in an insecure region/ zone. Granted that oil companies will go anywhere there is money to be made, but of course we should strive for security and stability to make it easier. The dwindling oil reserves and lack of significant new discoveries in South Sudan is also another element to factor into the equation.

We need to start thinking rationally about these issues for our country’s sake. Keeping ourselves uninformed, infantilising and over-simplifying things would achieve very little or no good at all.

There is the belief within South Sudan that a pipeline can be built within one year or two at most. Realistically speaking, it will probably take us from three to five years to build a new export pipeline to the Indian Ocean via Kenya, assuming that all preparations are in place.

Technically the two oil blends that we produce in South Sudan, the Nile Blend and the Dar Blend cannot be transported in the same pipeline. This is one of the reasons why there are two pipelines to Port-Sudan. This means we have to build two parallel pipelines to export these two types of oil as they cannot be mixed in the same pipeline.

Economically, building the two pipelines will require billions of dollars, which is not a small sum to find, especially given the shape of our country’s finances at the moment and the fact that there is no guaranteed financing for this option, contrary to all that has been reported.

This paper is trying to examine possible solutions to exporting South Sudanese oil. There has been a great deal about the alternative pipeline, which for the purposes of this piece I will call alternative 1.

While I am sympathetic and do not object to the idea and the proposal put forward by Professor Sharon Hutchinson of the University of Wisconsin and Professor Eric Reeves of Smith College, Massachusetts entitled: Oil Transport from South Sudan to the Kenyan Coast: An alternative to the oil pipeline proposal that would promote immediate employment, national unity, and long-term economic growth. I will call this alternative 2.

I would like to introduce alternative 3, which is the moving of the oil by road. Yes, Paved Road – A highway. This might sound like a far fetched idea and though I have to acknowledge from the outset that one of the major issues with transporting flammable liquid by people & road over far distances is, that it is not sustainable in the long term. Oil tankers on a road could be a cause for insecurity as it will be perceived as easier to attack, rob and vandalise. Drivers will be easy targets from all sorts of madness en route.

Now let’s look at several realities. For a start, all the oil and most of the other commodities consumed in South Sudan are transported into the country via trucks on largely unpaved roads. If I may, I would wish to thank the two eminent academics in proposing alternative 2.

I also would like to say that I would more or less use the same template, the same justifications, reasons and rationales to present the case simplistically, and I have to emphasis here simplistically, for transporting our oil on paved road. The same rationales apply as much to the road alternative 3, as they do to the rail line.

I am confident that moving our oil by road would be much more beneficial for the people of South Sudan in a number of ways. This is more so, considering the country’s development and economic needs than transporting the oil by any other means.

Building a paved road for the purposes of transporting South Sudanese oil will have a residual benefit not only for the vested interest groups from within and without, but will at least at the same time leave something for the general South Sudanese citizen to improve their lot with. The building of a paved road to the Indian Ocean via Kenya has many major advantages over the oil pipeline proposal or even moving it by rail.

If there was capacity I would recommend building a paved road and railway system together, but all considered I would say a road first. Seconded by a railway, and an alternative pipeline as the third option.

I would first highlight some of what I regard as the main disadvantages (with a few mitigations) to building a road and then illustrate the advantages:

The environmental impact of a road is a criterion which is often used to prevent new infrastructure from being built or to re-orient choices towards transport alternatives such as rail. The need to reduce CO2 emissions and prevent global warming has to be seriously taken into account.

Road transport is becoming less polluting, thanks to the combined effects of stringent measures, new anti-pollution standards, modernisation, cleaner fuels and manufacturing and building of roads techniques and improving the performance of roads, better alignment coupled with sufficient width and infrastructure capacity giving traffic the possibility to flow steadily.

It is true that a road, even more than a railway transport, would move oil less rapidly than a pipeline some might consider this as a disadvantage. This could prove an even bigger advantage to South Sudan, because it could provide greater flexibility and control in responding to oil price fluctuations and permit longer term monetisation of this finite natural resource, as elegantly outlined by the two Professors in their proposal.

Evidently a road would move much less oil than a pipeline on a daily basis (quantity). This could actually be an advantage in that it will be better in the long run if South Sudan uses revenues from this natural resource over a longer period of time, extending the revenue stream for a number of years and maximising what can be extracted, than expending it within a short time.

Here are some advantages for the road besides just transporting our oil:

National Unity. A national highway would be a truly national project, linking regions, and with the potential to bring all of South Sudan within a continually growing transport system. An initial highway can serve as the beginning of a key part of the transportation infrastructure for South Sudan. The possibilities for roads spurs, extensions, and new roads/ highway are immense and multiple.

In some areas, a road will provide creative possibilities for trade, as opposed to raiding for cows, etc. The road would be a symbol of national pride and resourcefulness. It would connect people, provide for improvements in national security, and speed movement of food in times of shortage, etc.

Expand the geographical reach of community services: A road could be used for the delivery of government-supported services in the areas of emergency food supplies, primary health service, veterinary medicine, etc. so as to bring tangible and socially inclusive “peace dividends” to greater numbers of citizens more cheaply and more quickly.

Employment: A road/ highway could provide an immediate and significant source of employment for South Sudanese especially among demobilised SPLA soldiers and those who live in the regions through, which the road would pass.

Since a road construction does not require the same technical expertise as does an oil pipeline construction. In addition an expanding road system within South Sudan would continue to provide jobs and food security for the future, something that cannot be said of a completed pipeline.

The broadest benefits of a road: A road could last indefinitely with minimal maintenance continuing to grow and serve the peoples and economies of South Sudan and the region for many generations to come. In contrast, the utility of an oil pipeline would end with the depletion of this finite resource.

Help to create an import and export economy: A road can carry products other than crude oil for export and crucially will allow for imports as well. The image of an oil pipeline is that of a one-way extraction of resources from Africa (exploitation); a road moving a range of both imports and exports presents an entirely different picture and will connect South Sudan with the world at large in flexible and strategic ways.

A road can carry cattle, gold, agricultural and other products to bolster nascent domestic markets as well as generate revenue from exports.

Speed of construction: since we have raised questions about the overall feasibility, cost and length of time required to construct an oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean via Kenya and to a lesser extend the railway option.

A paved road could be constructed much more speedily (especially that we have some of the row materials right there at home in South Sudan) at a considerably less cost and without many of the technical nightmares that would inevitably accompany a pipeline and again to a lesser degree a railway construction.

Strengthen regional ties: Unlike a pipeline, a road could stimulate multiple economic initiatives, local entrepreneurship and economic growth that would benefit South Sudanese, Kenyans and the wider region. A road designed to benefit regional communities would face less potential opposition and thereby diminish long-term security concerns.

Further advantages:

To state the obvious a road is almost certainly much less expensive to construct than a pipeline by far (unless the contract is drawn up like most that have been reported since the CPA was signed). Given the two-way nature of such a road and the possibilities for both significant non-oil exports for example food stuff, etc., and inexpensive imports. An independent international cost/benefit analysis of a road against a pipeline will almost certainly favour the road.

A road can be repaired and maintained much more quickly in the event of damage from any source. Oil transport itself would be considerably more secure, especially since security forces could be equipped to patrol and monitor it and hopefully keep our communities peaceful and secure at the same time.

There are considerable environmental advantages, especially in areas where a ruptured pipeline would do tremendous damage to the local ecology.

Since South Sudan predominantly relies on oil. It would make sense to establish a proper oil industry including refineries to be built and strategically located within South Sudan (I must re-iterate strategically located).

We in South Sudan have realised the long cherished goal of our recent history’s struggle, starting with the Torit Mutiny in 1955, built upon by the SPLA in 1983, culminating in the referendum vote in January 2011 and independence in July 2011.

But, and it is a big BUT indeed, how many South Sudanese have benefited from their oil? The answer is a very minute – infact a very insignificant number of South Sudanese have or are enjoying whatever comes from their oil thus far.

We all want to actualise the political and economic independence of South Sudan. The question of how to do so remains an urgent one and it is never too late for a robust discussion and debate on the potential advantages and disadvantages of all the three alternatives: 1) A pipeline, 2) A rail line, and 3) A Road.

Yes, I have not done any costing yet and do not have any hard figures for how much a road will cost us and how long it will take us to build it. The only benefit to cost ratio that we should be measuring and thinking about here from a South Sudanese point of view, is what the South Sudanese people will get out of each option.

The cobwebs of vested interests groups and associations have always and will always continue to get more than their due. And it is unfortunate that there is very little that we can do about that. At the end of the day consumers do not care where the oil they use come from and how it gets to them.

But a road will make a considerable good difference to the people of South Sudan. The benefits of building a road to the people of South Sudan outweigh the cost by any measure.

We should not allow ourselves to be seen as delusional or out for an adventure. Sometimes good intentions are not enough. That is why we in South Sudan need to adopt pragmatic approaches and engage in a much more rigorous policy analyses and debates to inform our public and policy developers.

Oil is not just a commodity as many of our people believe it “just” to be. It is a strategic asset. And as such calls for strategic planning and thinking outside the box!

The problem is not the solution(s) to oil transportation, but our ability to do the right thing.

Makol can be reached at: mbmalwal@yahoo.com