Archive for: October 2013

South Sudan’s Leaders and Accountability

BY: Bol Khan Rom, JUBA, OCT/11/2013, SSN;

In today’s world, particularly in South Sudan, almost everybody wants to be a leader. Of course, it is a moral or national ambition because all of us on this modern planet would like to see ourselves in history and leave better legacy for generations. However, none or few are prepared to accept the responsibility and accountability that goes with it (Leadership).

If you’ve any vacancy today and ask the question of who will take this post… be it a ministerial, gubernatorial, commissioner-ship or directorial post… everybody around you there could just stand up and say it is me or I’m the one.

Definitely, the reasons she/he would have to produce categorically are good governance, transparency, justice, equality, development, and accountability.

Hence, before we can read practically the case, with existing examples about how our leaders in this country ridiculously avoid responsibility and accountability, I think it would be better to have installed some features needed in leadership.

At the basic level, a leader is someone who leads other. She/he should be a person who has a vision, drive and a commitment to achieve that vision, and the skills to make it happen. A leader should not be selfish who sits, lives alone, so he must care very much for public welfare, he should talk to his/her people not only in time of elections.

Leaders do not demand their ordinary people to give them something; the reverse is true. In this case, until you take responsibility as a leader, you are a victim. Thus, being a victim is an exact opposite of being a leader.

A leader does not wallow in remorse or self-pity. She/he simply accepts responsibility for her/his mistakes, learns what she/he can, and pledges to do better. He/she takes actions to correct the problems. This means that he/she accept responsibility for the outcome expected of him/her—both good and bad.

This is the great thing about responsibility and leadership. For these reasons, it is constitutionally important for leaders to accept accountability for the good and bad results they produce alike!

Coming back to the aim of this piece, yes, in South Sudan, we have leaders both ex-and current ones; those are Ministers, Undersecretaries, Directors, Governors, and Commissioners..name them.

Frankly speaking, several of those leaders in South Sudan have succeeded in their distinguished assignments while majority of them do not make it. Now our questions are, is there any leader among ex-and current leaders of South Sudan directly accepting both good and bad deeds they were/are performing on daily basis?

Is there any person or institution holding leaders accountable? If there, were any institution-taking leaders to court whom would you like to be hold accountable, starting from yours?

Answers are from you the readers. Do we contribute to make accountability a reality in our Republic?

Instead, to the best of our knowledge, all political birds with the same political wings, who do fly together, are just putting themselves in the room of truth, and putting others in the opposite part of building. Now you could see how stooges are defending indirectly by distorting even successful acts. We use to read their defensive articles.

Centrally, there are seventy-five plus, former and present government officials who have had pocketed about $4.5 billion USD, Dura Saga on the list, Constituencies Development Funds, President’s money among others have also reported-stolen and investigated effectively. Yet, nothing has been materializing!

Nevertheless, when we come to the field of accountability against that complicity, they would never accept responsibility of taking that national asset nor would their political friends sign/stamp any referral letter to the court of corruption.

In the lower level, you can even find some leaders in accordance with powers conferred upon them by law, sometimes they make decisions with resolution that no matter what the outcome, they will take responsibility for the results without knowing that responsibility variously has both negative and positive connotation.

That is, accomplishment as a positive sense and failure- mistake as a negative one. Any time, a credential leader certainly accepts one of these two implications comes what. Now in our case, once there is anything that went wrong or when a leader gets unexpected result of his/her decision (resolution) he/she finds ways to avoid responsibility or finds someone and something else to blame. Look around you; you will see an example, I’m sure!

In Giraffe County in 2011, the pre-successor of current Commissioner, Mr. James Maluit had decided to order the collection of 300,000 SSP from the County’s Chiefs that was accordingly done by those traditional Chiefs immediately. But in the middle of Administration’s intricacy, when the outcome of the coin he tossed by his own turned out to be a slippery-tail or a false start, it became difficult to the extent that you can even now see the case standing alone without any body been found to be held responsible or accountable.

Before that, in (June) the same year a section called Chuol’s section (Chieng-Chuol) was constrained to pay nine thousand, two hundred South Sudanese pounds (9.200 SSP) by the same Administration. The quest was to be just a selection of one person for a vacant post of an Executive Chief, Mr. Dul Riek Turoal who died earlier on; in Dec 2010. Mr. Duoth Dul Riek was anonymously been selected by the section to replace his father.

Despite this traditionally related fact, the Commissioner insisted. When asked, as to what reason a whole section’s Head Chiefs, sub- Chiefs and all headmen should be dissolve and call for fresh elections without the involvement of the other sections in the County, the Commissioner said, it is an Administrative decision or responsibility to be explained later.

This either never been explained and may not be explain since there is no strong institution to copes with leaders and accountability in this young country called South Sudan. Here, in case of giraffe’s county “The former local government’s head is not responsible for all these.”

Nationalizing our view, accountability of public functionaries across South Sudan should be ensuring at all levels of governmental system through appropriate legislative and administrative measures. Otherwise, everything would be a nightmare!

It needs hardly be emphasized that transparency and accountability would help in minimizing this grouped corruption in public life. Administrative malpractices are in details and may take many forms. Numerous are the forms of corruption and abuse of authority that needs accountability in this country.

These forms are misappropriation of public money, production of forged certificates for subordinates (destroying human resources), cheating in recruitment (students for scholarship based on family-lineup), selling out people properties-assistance—ignoring the international mark: “Not for sale” because it is a gift! I could agree with you that there is neither better nor worse selling out of people gifts from developed Communities. Simply because, there is no difference at all, if the former was the case, for they were all deliberate cheating or looters practices on people interests.

Is this country democratic? Genuine democracy does not only mean the structure of local, state, and national governments or parliamentary representative. However, it necessarily involves participation of people in the affairs of country. It is a continuum in a linked set of notions that establish the democratic rights of the people.

These quintessential bedrocks of democratic are: (a) Participation (b) Transparency and (c) Accountability. As one of the norms of democratic administration is that power should be commensurate with responsibility and the holders of public office should be accountable to the people.

In conclusion, we would like to say one of the fundamental preconditions of good governance is the right to information. That good governance would never been realized in South Sudan unless masses are made aware of their rights and bureaucrats are made accountable for their deeds.

Secrecy breeds lack of accountability and that is the prime reason behind the cancer of corruption that afflicts the whole country, South Sudan.

Therefore, the author is of the view that any alleged leader whether current or ex-leader irrespective of which government levels but perceived of embezzled public fund should explain his/her case in the court! Otherwise, leaders’ accountability would never been realized in South Sudan!

The author is a concerned South Sudanese; he can be reached at bolkhan39@yahoo.com

Dr. Anna Itto: Jumping from the Frying Pan into the Fire

MISQUOTED DR ANNA ITTO BRACES TO PRESS CHARGES FOR DEFAMATION AGAINST MONITOR REPORTER: A JUMP FROM FRYING PAN INTO FIRE!

BY: DAVID KANYARA AJU, JUBA, OCT/11/2013, SSN;

Dr Anna Itto, currently the SPLM acting Secretary-general, first made her début in the Juba Monitor on Nimule payam chief Ajugo murder case by naming the Ma’di supreme leader, Lopirigo Angelo Voga, as ‘prime suspect’ and also implicating Brigadier Martin Kenyi, the very uncle of the late chief in the case.

The murder of chief Ajugo came amidst the crisis of Nimule Town council (NTC) being forced on the Ma’di by the Eastern Equatoria State Government (EES Govt.), of which Dr Itto has allegedly vested interest.

Chief Ajugo’s declaration of withdrawal of his signature in support of the NTC without proper and wider consultation of the Ma’di did not only come as a shock but as embarrassingly disarming to the EES Govt. in seeing the implementation of the NTC through.

Subsequently, this resulted in silencing the chief for good, unlawful and forceful imprisonment of the Lopirigo, Ma’di leaders, elders and those who were vocally opposed to the NTC until proper and wider consultations with the Ma’di people was conducted.

Surprisingly, Itto’s emotive and callous utterances in her capacity as the SPLM party leader, was in order to pull her weight (abuse of SPLM powers) in the cover up of a crime known in the quarters of EES Govt. in order to protect their interests – undemocratic implementation of the Nimule Town Council (NTC). An act totally unseen or heard of in our new Democratic Republic of South Sudan.

“More arrests will follow…”

True to her prophesy, more arrests have taken place since the death of chief Ajugo just over a month ago.

Among the remarkable arrests made were that of late Ajugo’s own mother, wife and brother who found themselves at the Nimule police station following allegations by the authorities that the late Ajugo possessed firearms.

Now, this seriously begs a question, supposing indeed there was a gun in the possession of the late Ajugo, was that the murder-weapon the EES Govt. wished to plant for solving this murder case?

As if not enough emotional torment had already been meted out to the deceased’s family, the EES Govt. went ahead and ordered the arrest of Brigadier Martin Kenyi, the uncle of late Ajugo, for allegedly arming the Ma’di against the Acholi.

Dr Itto, do these baseless and careless utterances fulfil your prophesy or are they mere coincidences?

Was that why Brigadier Obotu Mamur, whom you as SPLM Secretary General in collusion with your partner in crime failed Ambassador Mr John Anduga aka Ogo got summoned to Nimule, where you filled him with a bunch of lies in order to carry out your dirty motives?

Clearly, What you have done here is a shameful disservice to the SPLM by tarnishing the party’s name for your petty gains.

What EES Govt. has done so far has diverted efforts seeking justice for late Ajugo, his immediate family and the entire Ma’di community at large. Ajugo deserves better than that.

The ghost list kept seeping through. More arrests took place in Nimule. Other community members were summoned to Tort for questioning as part of the procedures in the investigations but only to be locked up in Torit Kobar maximum-security prison.

Mind you, Lopirigo Angelo Vuga and his deputy, according to the acting EES Governor were detained for interrogation and once that was over they would either be charged or released.

Reportedly, they have since been subjected to severe torture, humiliation, basic human rights and medical care denial held in prison cells under dire conditions. However, no signs of charges have been brought against them or any release effected one month on.

For majority of the leaders and community elders, they have been illegally detained for over one month now, being denied their civil liberty.

The EES Govt. is employing an authoritarian rule in EES. Locking up these individuals against whom they have no evidence is a political game employed to shun the democratic voice of the Ma’di people on issues pertinent to their land, welfare, basic existence and heritage.

Where do you stand in this, Ms. Itto? In your cunning self, Itto, you have definitely abused the power vested upon you by the SPLM party to cynically establish yet another tier of government within EES.

Your own self-appointed person managed to command the police in the arrest of Ma’di community leaders and elders. You have managed to prejudge them as prime suspects and continue to prophesize more arrests – leaving no stones unturned yet no turned stones truly giving legitimate answers to the one-million dollar question of who actually killed late Ajugo?

And when your premeditated illegitimate arrests did not shy the Ma’di community as you expected when they followed your paths to the media, you ran to the very media where your smiles and grinning turned into foul cry; chasing a reporter who simply did what you wanted at your command!

Seeking to sue this Monitor reporter for defamation when they reported you breaking the news is just an act of putting up a front. Threats and throwing your weight about has been your style of bullying our community to yielding to your demand.

It may acquire you land from the helpless you bully into selling you land but it will not sustain your position in the credible SPLM office you represent.

This time round, we the Ma’di community whom you have dissociated from up till NTC imposition (of which you are a beneficiary) will hold you accountable should anything happen to this reporter who was simply doing his job.

Your further rise to fame promoted through the lenses should be credible to your name, not through lies. And when you cannot stand tall to refute your own cascades of lies, you re-coil back like a rain-stricken chicken.

“Before his downfall, a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honour.” Prov. 18:12

The one remedy left for you is to apologise to the elders and leaders you have wronged. The same authority you gave that saw them locked up, you can give to release them. Only that can set your dirty political path clear.

David Kanyara Aju, a member of concerned Ma’di, Ma’di community.

A voice for voiceless.

Kiir wants to pull the wool over the people’s eyes

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, OCT/11/2013;

Unexpectedly on 7th October 2013, the good news came over SSTV. At last Justice Peter Sule and the other incarcerated generals gained their freedom. I was happy to receive the news. My instant happiness was not just because these innocent persons have been released, but rather it is because at least they can now try to regain their stolen identity.

Prison changes people in many ways. Historically, this institution was created to break down hardened criminals and the regime in it is designed for that purpose. Putting decent people in prison who have not done anything wrong can have an adverse effect on them emotionally, physically and psychologically.

This is not to say that criminals do not experience the same, they do. However studies have consistently shown that jails fail to reform people, but they harden them up.

It is the regime in this institution that negatively interferes with human well being. Now when innocent people are thrust in them due to abuse of power it becomes totally unacceptable in any decent society.

Obviously the setting of the Sule and others free is a good thing. At least they can now be free to socialise with their immediate families and friends. Although they are released from the Gulag, Sule is only partially free. He is not fully free in the sense of the word. He may be subjected by the powers that be to an intrusive surveillance and a stifling environment.

Nevertheless, at least he is with his family. With this said, I was astonished to learn about Dr Lam Akol’s pardon. What crime did Lam commit officially? If he did commit a crime, what type of crime was it and when? Supposing he did, why was he not officially and transparently charged? His pardon is perplexing.

I am persuaded to argue logically that the inclusion of Lam in president Kiir’s pardon is an official attempt to maliciously brand him as an outlaw who could not be trusted. This would be in line with the picture that the SPLM Oyee worked hard to project.

President Kiir here is playing dirty politics of splitting. He wants to bring Lam closer to him, but yet also wants him to be indelibly tainted. Whether president Kiir’s game will work remains to be seen. Time will be the arbiter on this politics of splitting.

The release of Sule and the others is not an act of compassion from the president. South Sudan of late has been going through a very difficult time domestically and internationally. This has forced president Kiir to try to improve the image of his government.

There are six overwhelming factors for the release of Sule and the others.

One, the chorus of protest: articles, resolutions of Equatoria conferences, demands of the three Equatoria governors, letters from USA Congress, letter from Friends of South Sudan in America, country reports of the US on human rights, reports of Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International reports etc exposed the hollow grounds for which president Kiir incarcerated his political opponents.

Two, the slow but sure gathering of momentum in the consciousness of Equatoria people over the unjust detention culminating in the latest call for release of Sule by the Equatoria Diaspora in the USA.

Three, the loss of legitimacy by the SPLM Oyee government, especially the arbitrary nature of president Kiir’s behaviour recently with the dismissal of the entire cabinet; threats to the parliamentarians and the complaints by the Friends of South Sudan in America and the US Congress.

Four, in July 2013, at the general meeting of United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, the government of South Sudan was found wanting on human rights. John Luke, the former minister of justice and his accompanying delegation were dressed down over the unacceptable human rights violations in the new country. The delegation could not defend the conduct of the government of South Sudan.

Five, the diplomatic message sent to the SPLM Oyee government through the treatment of its most influential officials; the vice president and the minister of foreign affairs while going to attend the UN general assembly session 68 in September 2013 by a friendly host government.

Six, to assuage the pain of the Nuer, the Jieng government in Juba wanted to release the Nuer generals to make amends, but this could not be done smoothly with Sule languishing in the Gulag. So for the government to appear fair and the hypocrisy of the Jieng to remain masked, Sule had to be included in the release.

With the foregoing, it is clear that Sule’s release was dictated by circumstances that the government could not ignore. President Kiir personally dislikes Sule as a person for reasons best known to him and he certainly would not have allowed Sule to be free had he not found himself in a very tight corner.

My article, ‘Reflection on Justice Peter Sule’s indefinite incarceration’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201305080235.html provides the reasons for my claim.

In the first place, Justice Peter Sule should not have been incarcerated if president Kiir did not hate him. The detention of Sule and all the others are wrongful since they did not follow the legal rules and procedures. They were just arrested, abused and put in jail without any due process.

Arguably, their detention was wholly illegal. Hence, the government of South Sudan needs to make amends. At the very least an apology followed by compensation. However, the clever use of the word pardon seems to deny them the right to an apology and compensation.

But then, how can South Sudan behave in such a manner and expect itself to be a just country? How can the state be so unjust to its own citizens? Imagine incarcerating people putting them at risk of emotional, physical and psychological harm for no good reason and yet not acknowledging the harm done.

Is this the kind of state we want? If our individual safety is not guaranteed why should we be part of the social contract?

Why are we allowing people like president Kiir and his party the SPLM Oyee to lead us? South Sudanese need to reflect seriously because no one in South Sudan is safe under the current government.

The tribalisation of the state is the real problem here. There should be no argument on this vital point because even Mabior Garang, the son of late Dr John Garang acknowledges the policy of Jienganisation of South Sudan.

In an interview with Pan African Vision on 22nd August 2013 under the title, ‘Southern Sudanese Did Not Count On The Emergence of An Indigenous Oppressor When Opting For Secession’ Garang forcefully said the problem in the country “is simple(y), the imposition of one culture (Jieng culture) to define the new state.” http://panafricanvisions.com/2013/southern-sudanese-did-not-count-on-the-emergence-of-an-indigenous-oppressor-when-opting-for-secession/

Had the judiciary like all the other organs of the state not been under the firm grip of the Jieng, the situation perhaps may have been slightly different.

The judiciary is staffed predominantly by the Jieng, with a good number of them totally unqualified like Telar Ring Deng. People who claim professional qualifications they did not acquire officially from any institutions. They get employed in influential positions in the government simply because they are Jieng. In effect, making the qualifications for these jobs conditional on tribal identity. These officials serve the interest of the Jieng. Thus they collude with president Kiir in violation of the law of the land like the wrongful detentions of Sule and the others.

Jieng people are hardly incarcerated despite the serious crimes they commit. Take the example of Arthur Akuen Chol who was freed from detention in Juba violently by his own armed gang of relatives. Chol was not arrested, nor was the gang that stormed the prison (a state institution) using violence and arms.

Moreover, Arthur Akuen himself got re-appointed by none other than president Kiir to the upper house of the parliament. Where on earth can one find such blatant tribalism other than South Sudan?

Another example to hammer the point home is the release of Gen. Paul Mach with some of his own Jieng army colleagues who attempted to overthrow the government of president Kiir in July last year. They hardly spent a fortnight in detention.

Not only that but Gen. Mach was rewarded instantly by being sent to Addis Ababa as a member of South Sudan’s delegation to the peace talks with Khartoum. Contrast this with the incarceration of Sule and the others. Where is the justice here?

The timing of the pardon suggests the Jieng government wants to deflect the atrocities in Nimule connected with land grabbing away from the public and international community. The government appears to see the Nimule issue as damaging because it is mirrored in Chollo land, Murle land, Anyuak land, and Fertit land. This is a serious case of aggression on the people of South Sudan by one of its own tribes.

While president Kiir releases the unjustly incarcerated persons, his government through the back door is busy detaining new victims like Angelo Voga on openly false charges in support of the so called IDPs in Nimule. It must be remembered that the SPLM Oyee government incarcerates people without due process as a means to subjugate them.

People viewed as opponents are just detained and forgotten in jails indefinitely until something significant threatens the government then they are released like the case of those now pardoned.

President Kiir seemingly is determined to extract maximum benefits from his pardon to re-brand himself as a caring person while in fact he is abusing the power of pardon to further his regime of terror.

The abuse of this power serves four purposes:
—firstly, it gives false impression that the victims of his tyranny were guilty and therefore he was doing them a favour. This is one of oppressive methods used by dictators.
—Secondly, it terrorises the pardoned to make them feel grateful for being released with the coded message of “Keep silent or else you know the consequence.”
—Thirdly, it denies the victims rightful compensation for wrongful assault by the state.
—Fourthly, it perpetrates the power of the president making him to appear invincible.

This undoubtedly leads to the issue of divide and conquer. Using the power of pardon president Kiir is not only trying to rebrand himself but also he is stoking divisions in the society. Let us start with the Nuer. All the Nuer generals released were incarcerated at a time when Riek Machar was the vice president meaning he had contributed equally in the decision to keep these generals in prison.

Now that Riek is no longer in the government, president Kiir’s action appears designed to imply that the detention of these people had nothing to do with him and that is why he is releasing them. This point may be exploited to the maximum by president Kiir and his supporters in the coming SPLM convention pitying Nuer against Nuer to a devastating effect against Riek ambition to lead the party.

In Equatoria, president Kiir is already cagey with the development of consciousness there. The signs to this are the so far regular Equatoria conferences have come up with some unpleasant resolutions that the SPLM Oyee do not like. Also the demands by Equatoria Diaspora are creating uneasiness with the regime. All these and the slow coming of Equatorians together is a threat to Jieng hegemony.

So the release of Sule will be used to portray president Kiir as a magnanimous person to split the forming conscious on Jieng atrocities and injustice. This may be used by the Equatorian Oyeeites to price away Equatorian support from Riek Machar leading into further marginalisation of people like Kosti Manibe whose character has been criminally assassinated by president Kiir.

In the Chollo group, president Kiir has already fallen out with Pagan Amum, distanced himself from Oyaye Deng Ajak and Dr Peter Nyaba. So he needs a new ally to maintain the divisions in the Chollo people. By supposedly pardoning Dr Lam, president Kiir will be able to appoint him into an influential position to do the fight with his opponents thereby preventing any unity among the Chollo. This is important for president Kiir if the Jieng plan to dispossess the Chollo of their land is to be realised.

As it can be seen, president Kiir wants to hit two birds with one stone at the same pulling the wool over the people’s eyes.

By pardoning Sule and the others he is calculating to rebrand himself and also weaken the groups the Jieng consider as a threat by dividing them in order for the Jieng to prevail with the policy of “imposing one culture to define the new state.” In short Jieganisation of South Sudan.

Although Sule is officially pardoned and supposedly released from the Gulag, as I write he is still practically in detention. He is allowed home for few hours and then taken back in. In effect a “dowuru barau” meaning a prisoner in open prison. This does not look like the government is serious with the pardon. Is it?

Now the bigger picture is that Sule may not be fully free in the real sense of the word. He may be subjected to intrusive regime of surveillance and a stifling environment. The reason for this is the fact that the detention of Sule has raised his political stature as he now has become a shining symbol of resistance to Jieng oppression.

Finally, president Kiir should neither be thanked nor credited for acting the way he did, nor thought of as a magnanimous person. At core, he is a nasty dictator. He should not have jailed Sule and the others.

He is now using the power of pardon to portray himself as a good leader to deceive the public to rejuvenate his failed leadership and horrible party. President Kiir is the true criminal here and not the pardoned persons.

To jail people simply because he does not like them in violation of the law and then release them under a gimmick is not good enough. In any country where law and order is respected, Sule and the others would have been entitled to full compensation for the way they have been treated.

What president Kiir is doing is only advancing Jieng imperialism. The illegal jailing of people is an element of abuse of power to subjugate the masses in order for Jienganisation to be realised.

So, this abuse of power will not cease until it is confronted. As evidenced, the partial release of Sule and the others is a result of political pressure brought to bear on the dictator and SPLM Oyee.

The basic and simple truism is that no oppressor has ever ceded power willingly. It has to be wrestled.

Frederick Douglass in his speech in Canandaigua in New York in 1857 under the title, ‘If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress’ eloquently penned, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” http://www.blackpast.org/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-progress The choice is of the people now, they can choose to put up with SPLM Oyee abuse or to resist and bring this nonsense to an end.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

Why not extend president’s pardon to Western Bahr el Ghazel political prisoners?

GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE IN SOUTH SUDAN (GaPPSS)
~ Fostering Unity in Diversity ~

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Why not extend president’s pardon to Western Bahr el Ghazel political prisoners?

October 8, 2013, SSN;

Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan (GaPPSS), Inc. welcomes the decree on October 7, 2013 by Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, to pardon political and military leaders allegedly opposing the leadership in the national government. This is a heroic move by the president in the spirit of national reconciliation and national unity and should send an important message to all South Sudanese leaders to follow his footprints in our efforts to build lasting peace and harmony among South Sudanese.

As a peace advocacy network of concerned citizens from Western Bahr el Ghazal State (WBGS) across the globe, GaPPSS would like to seize this opportunity to ask our President that the current efforts of peace and reconciliations be extended to include politicians who were jailed in Wau and families of innocent citizens who were murdered. We believe that WBGS is in dire need for an inclusive grass-roots peace initiative, reconciliation and socio-economic rehabilitation.

However, the last political crisis in Wau in December 2012, and the subsequent arbitrary arrests, killings and intimidations, have disengaged WBGS citizens from effective participation and contribution in the process of socio-economic development, peace-building and sense of belonging.

The relationship between the state government, under the leadership of Governor Rizik Zakaria, and the people has been fragmented. People have lost hope in the government and resorted to silence. The best way to move forward is to rebuild trust and healthy relationship, which will have profound impact on the progress of the state in particular and the country in general.

It’s been almost a year since the crisis took place in Wau where innocent civilians were shot and killed in broad daylight. The perpetrators have neither been brought to justice nor the relatives of the deceased consoled. Many others were injured and many more are still homeless because they have lost their properties due to raids and attacks on them. Political leaders, civil servants, and activists have been arrested, tortured, and humiliated. While the community is thankful for those released, other leaders remain sentenced to at least two years in prison and there are eleven (11) men sentenced to death whose fate remain unknown.

In addition, there are reports that the political prisoners are held in dire conditions in the already sub-standard facility and continuously tortured, humiliated and denied family visitations. It is also reported that recently the Governor has issued an order to move the detainees to prisons outside the state.

Since December 2012, all of Western Bahr el Ghazal State citizens at home and abroad have been saddened by the incidents. The subsequent government crackdown left the community stained by tribalism and division. Instead of finding ways to mend the wounds, the people have only witnessed arrests, torture, false accusations, dismissal from employment, harassment, and coercion. Many have fled from the state for their lives. All the state civilians have yielded to silence because those in power only resort to threats and bodily harm.

GaPPSS hopes that Western Bahr el Ghazal State will achieve peace and strongly advocates for efforts to building a vibrant community on the principles of inclusiveness that is free of violence, encompasses respect of human rights and freedom of speech. In that spirit GaPPSS continues to address matters that have never been resolved and hopes that Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan will also consider taking the following actions:

1. Direct the State Government to respectfully reach out to the families of those killed during the demonstrations, apologize to them, and comfort the community.
2. Order the release of former government officials and members of parliament including Angelo Marcello, John Richard, Julio Bensansio, Anthony Sokone, Sebit Andrea, Joseph Bagum, and all political detainees.
3. Order the release of Chief Martin Tiyai Vito of Farajala and Justin Karlo Moi who is a fifteen (15) year old minor.
4. Rescind the death sentences given to eleven civilians and call for proper independent investigation into the case.
5. Offer compensation to families for medical and personal care expenses for civilians who were injured during the incident.
6. Offer compensation to families who lost their properties during the Wau raids on December 19th.
7. Call for proper reconciliation of ALL sons and daughters of WBGS and call for the safe return home of all who were forced to flee the state.
8. Open prospects for grass-roots peace initiative of which the people of WBGS are the stakeholders.
9. Call for the adherence to African culture of respect for community elders, chiefs, women and children in peace and during crisis.

The list is long and the calls for actions are increasing. If addressed, it will be an incredible legacy for peace and justice in Western Bahr el Ghazal State and throughout South Sudan nation.

####

Contact: Communications Team: gapps.info@yahoo.com

Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan (GaPPSS) is a non-profit organization founded exclusively for civic, educational, and development purposes, in particular for the purpose of engaging South Sudanese community across the globe to work collectively for dialogue, lasting peace, social justice, and gender equality, as well as respect of human rights. For more information or to join GaPPSS network, email gappss.info@yahoo.com

GaPPSS Coordination Team:
Sarah Rial, President – USA
Theresa Samuel-Boko, Secretary – USA
Wadi Lissa, Treasurer – USA
Kon Madut, Outreach & External Relations – Canada
Bona Apai, Communications & Chief Editor – USA
Angela Lee, Communications – Italy
Zahra Mohamed, Coordinator and Country Representative – South Africa
Alexander Naro, Coordinator – Germany
Angelina Daniel, Coordinator and Country Representative – South Sudan

To John Andruga: No forgiveness by Ma’di for the evil you’ve done

BY: David Kanyara Aju, South Sudan, OCT/09/2013, SSN;

Dear John Andruga Kape,

I am writing to respond to your recent utterances in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Ambassador Andruga, your remark made while on trip with South Sudan vice president, James Wani Igga, is not doing anything good in marketing the good image of SPLM/A as a ruling party. Seriously, people like you should not be allowed to destroy the reputation of SPLA/M.

To start with, I am a deeply concerned Ma’di citizen born and raised in Ma’di land and has Ma’di land and its people in my heart. So long as that God-given land exists, my identity as Ma’di will continue to shine and people like you will not silence the majority.

Whilst at the moment that the land is still occupied by internally displaced persons, so-called IDPs, who are supposed to be repatriated to their respective places 8 years ago since the CPA was signed, unfortunately they are still lingering around and claiming to be accepted as one of the clans of Nimule.

Mr. Andruga, I believe it was on this same fact and faith that you and I, and many others were able to attend the meeting in Loa in February 2013, and some of us were glad to see you in that meeting, but the fact that you have duplicitiously excused yourself to leave before the meeting was adjourned has left looming questions in many hearts and minds about your basic objective to attend the meeting.

Mr. Andruga, I completely failed to understanding your legitimacy and right to represent us the Ma’di people at any level in the government of south Sudan.

You have no legal authority whatsoever the case maybe because you are not appointed or elected by Ma’di people to represent us. The elected people are the MPs and other community-based bodies like MCC, chiefs, etc.

If they failed to represent us and our interests as Ma’di people, only they will be held responsible because they are obligated to us.

Andruga, many of us expect you to speak up for your people, but since you have become a public figure in your own devious making, you have done nothing visible or tangible for the cause of Ma’di people rather than pursuing your personal interests and needs to only enrich yourself.

Andruga, I have million-dollar questions for you: where were you when our people were murdered in cold blood in Moli Tokuru by SPLA soldiers under the direct order of J.J. Okot, why won’t you have reported to the president so that the killers of our brothers are brought to face justice?

Where were you when our brother, William Gboro, an innocent civilian working to promote agriculture and food security in Acholi land, was murdered?

Have you worked hard to bring his killers to book? If not why?

Where were you when our brother, Duku Olivuna, was gunned down at his home in Opari? Why won’t you call the national security chief so that he can call for the president to investigate and carry out a massive arrest to bring his killers to face justice?

Could it be because our blood is cheaper to call for justice?

Andruga, I failed to understand the mathematical number behind how you operate.

Where were you when our own brother, Saki, serving in SPLA was chased on motorbike and gunned down by Acholi gangs on Owiny Kibul road? Till today his remains are not been found.

The blood of our people is still crying for justice, Mr Andruga.

If you are really a vocal person as you always pretend to be, what did you do when our people were chased from Magwi county headquarters?

Did you ever do anything to calm down the situation? Further, did you even inform the president to investigate why our people were denied access to work in Magwi county HQ?

Mr Andruga, you will not be forgiven by Ma’di people for the evil you have done to your own people. It should not have been you to call the National security chief when you heard about the cold-blooded murder of our brother late chief Ajugo Livio, by doing so you have fallen short to follow the protocol.

Evidently, the murder of our brother was premeditated pretext to round up those who are opposed to Nimule Town council (NTC) project which was imposed on us by some individuals whose plan is to grab Ma’di land, because the NTC project was/is not intended to bring development.

All in all, what we asked for was consultation with Ma’di people, so that a rightful package of compensation is agreed upon for the people whose lives and plots are going to be affected.

But, unfortunately, this humble and noble call for wider consultation fell on deaf ears in Torit and Juba, Mr. Andruga, so, is this not worth asking and a reasonable stand?

Mr Andruga, you should have called on the state governor of EES (Eastern Equatoria State) since this callous murder happened in his state, and the state governor should have been the one to inform his security chief to investigate the killing of our brother, Ajugo George Livio Eriga.

Why wouldn’t you called the governor of EES? You and your friend Obuto Mamur shamefully and disappointingly fell short from following protocol.

Rightly, Mr. Kiir would have checked with state governor first since the governor is his right-hand man in the state rather than merely having you, Andruga, reporting to security chief.

If I were Mr Kiir, I would have called Gov. Louis Lojere first before ordering the deployment of the Army unlawfully to round up people at random.

Without any doubt, this is an act of dictatorship in the making, you have no legitimate right to call for the national security chief because this was obviously a police case and it should have been investigated by police.

I failed to understand your motivation, you have wickedly acted as if the whole of Nimule had rebelled against the national government in Juba.

Mr Andruga, what have you done all these years to see into it that all IDPs who are the big threat to our own existence and causing insecurity in the whole of Nimule?

Some of the IDPs as you very well know are illegally carrying firearms yet they are not the national army of south Sudan. Did you even advise the Mr Obuto Mamur about this so that they, the IDPs can easily be disarmed and repatriated to their places of origin?

Mr Andruga, you honestly owe an apology to Ma’di people, you should be ashamed of yourself, and by the way, are you aware that those who are detained in Torit are in a bad shape?

Did you know that they were tortured? Did you know that blood was taken from them by force? Did you know that they were accused of organizing illegal meetings, or did you even know that they were not charged for the murder of the chief?

Therefore, this means you should have personally been in the cell with those who are detained because you were present in some of the meetings organized by legitimately elected body of MCC in which Retired Ambassador, Angelo Vuga, was elected in public vote.

If the chief investigator charged them for organizing illegal meeting in which you were part of, you should have been detained also and be in the cell too.

It is utterly unacceptable to called an elected leader like yaba Vuga as a prime suspect by people like Ann Itto (acting SPLM secretary-general and herself a Ma’di native) without evidence, this is an insult to our culture.

Mr Andruga, you should know that should anything happen to one of our detained persons you will be hold accountable, and I think the best you should do is to come home and try to cool down the anger, frustration and resentment that is going on.

Mr Andruga, you should not allowed yourself to be used like a blind person to fulfil the agenda of others, the problem in Nimule and Ma’di land at large is part of the agenda laid down by some wrong elements with SPLA high rankings to occupy our land.

This is long planned action and NTC project is used as cover to grab land. Mind you, Ma’di people were part of the referendum that has resulted in independence of south Sudan, like any other tribes in south Sudan.

David Kanyara Aju

Kiir’s power transactions on the brink of collapse!

BY: MARIAL JUSTIN, JUBA, OCT/09/2013, SSN;

I would presume or rather not that anybody will now agree with me that nothing matters to Mr. President nowadays more than supremacy. Lots have happened, lives lost, property destroyed, rights abused in fact the country is in a total mess but he sits back and either watches the scene or turns his back on it except when it’s something to do with taking away his topping the country that he only responds.

In my point of view he’s daring to take a page from the neighbour’s who does what it takes to linger in power, you know who I’m referring to. Here are seven grounds to prove my point beyond doubt as to why I have come to believe Mr. Kiir is up to, to protecting his crown.

Firstly, the case of Taban Deng Gai, in 2011 immediately after south Sudan gained independence from Sudan the government announced comprehensive disarmament all over the country. When Lakes state, Unity and Warrap were the first to be disarmed it went well in Warrap and presumably in lakes. Surprisingly the disarmed civilians of Warrap were attacked and killed in cold blood not forgetting the cattle taken by armed civilians from Unity state.

Subsequently a motion was raised in the national assembly for Taban to answer why his men were still attacking the disarmed people. Instead of saying he didn’t know, Taban proudly announced in the assembly that it was a revenge his men were seeking.

Can anyone believe this, admitting a crime in front of the lawmakers? Did he fear losing his job? Not at all! He was leaning against an elephant, (Mr. President), and so MPS just appeared like boys & girls to him and I was told that the then speaker James Wani was quaking. In reality Taban was there as a condom. I’m very sure he’s now realised

I thought the incident of attacking the people who have been disarmed in a plan to remove all the illegal weapons was a sabotage to national policy leave alone lives lost and Taban should have been made accountable for that though he may not have been involved in the plan to attack.

It’s true that the citizens from these states have been giving surprise attacks to each other since but then it has to come to an end when the government finally decides to give it a focus. President Kiir made no comment as if he didn’t care about life.

Presently, the disarmament is failing because the civilians possessing guns have seen that anybody can come after you surrendered your weapons to kill and the government who promises protection will just keep quiet.

The next thing they can do is to acquire two guns and when he is asked he gives one away and the other is hidden. I don’t want to exaggerate but I’m very sure those who repossess guns will never give them out willingly.

This year however, Taban lost his gubernatorial position for reasons only known to president except it can only be speculated. People think including Taban himself that his being taken away is linked to his alleged political companionship with Comrade Riek Machar.

Politics is a game where one swallows one’s pride and Taban did this on seeing that Riek pn someday may surprisingly climb his whole life search mindset, becoming the president of south Sudan.

Mr. President weighed up and saw that Taban is a prostitute in politics and so he’s no longer interested in maintaining him in power, he was forced to pack…. Can you imagine what happens when two politicians are brought together not on principles but by the hunger to be a man of men?

Secondly, the Jonglei inter-tribal conflict has allegedly taken more than 2000 lives nevertheless the then governor Kuol Manyang Juk didn’t lose his post. On the contrary, what happened to Chol Tong Mayay in Lakes state? He was removed in a fight that took less than 10.

Analysts say that he may have been sacked for two reasons; first, he was said to have disagreed with the former Deputy speaker of the National assembly, Daniel Awet Akot, the closest friend and comrade of Kiir on the appointment of state SPLM secretary.

In this issue Comrade Awet was allegedly refused to address his Lakes citizens on the state Radio by the government of Chol.

Secondly, Chol is said to be a close ally of Riek Machar. People say that Riek had often had a number of secret meetings with Mayay. Holding meetings which were not clear to the king of the jungle alone is just enough and so Chol’s removal from governorship due to insecurity was a mere pretext.

Thirdly, early last year the former minister of finance Arthur Akuin Chol and the suspended secretary general Pagan Amum were in hot soup where they went to the court for defamation case against each other. While at the court ground lawyers were seen being briefed by chief justice. Chief justice was said to have been acting on the directives of the president in favour of SG. Amum was clothed to be corruption-free.

Astonishingly enough, the president during his recent visit to Rumbek labelled Amum as corrupt. Here is what he said, “when I lifted the immunities of the two ministers who stole the money of the country Pagan came to my office the following morning so annoyed. He was talking to me as if he was the president questioning me as to why I took decision alone instead of consulting the party.

I replied that the pair had taken the money of the country not that of the party and then told him to wait for his cross. He asked what cross, then I told him that you have taken the SPLM money.”

Now my question is, why did he (president) wait during the time Pagan was in court with Akuin to lift his immunity altogether? Is it not because the SG has lately declared his intention to challenge him during the national convention?

Fourthly, the dumping out of the entire cabinet last July! The former cabinet has some of those amongst the 75 officials accused to have taken away $4 billion. It appears like the king had given them every necessary freedom to take whatever they wanted as long as they let him remain top during their service.

The most pretty extraordinary transactions of power and money. Most of them to my understanding later lost confidence in the way he was governing the country regardless. That was the end of the story, they found themselves unloaded and dumped.

The strangest thing is this, when one gets enough wealth the next thing left is to have power over the other. All of the former officials got enough dollars, got enough fame, got enough wives and children, so what else?

Fifthly, Telar Ring Deng! While it’s obvious that the man I have just mentioned is now the right hand one of the president, he holds the worse record in this country than I do and so he’s no more than just a relevant fellow in the SPLM party. At least he’s the only man next to the leader who will not point a finger at Dr. Riek about the incident of 1991.

I wonder whether you have ever asked as to what makes him so special to the big man. The reason is simple. Telar argues that the party leadership was held by a man from Upper Nile for long and so it’s a chance for Bhar El Ghazal now as well.

He’s been heard criticising those from that region who dare challenge the current government when they know that the head comes from their region.

Oops sorry! That’s the most fake ideal I will ever hold to. I don’t care as to who leads the nation as long as he’s a person who is so much bothered by the running of the country day to day and at the interest of the south Sudanese people.

However, Telar isn’t alone in that lane. The likes of Tor Deng Mawien are another controversial guy who is of no exception but clutches one of the worse records ever to be committed to memory. Whenever people talk of the past they are seen with guilty conscience across their faces.

Malec! Take it easy guys. I want you to take it from me that the SPLM national convention will never be witnessed being held because Telar doesn’t hold any positive opinion of it. And you know how nowadays he talks as if he owns this government

Not forgetting the episode of 2007 the two were involved, Telar and the current minister of interior Aleu Ayieny Aleu in a row they nearly rebelled against the president whom they now enjoy sitting next to same fellow they six years ago were branding as dictator.

Mr Ring, why is it that when you were not in seal with the president you termed him as dictator but now not? We have known already who you are!

Another fellow to add to my point is comrade Mark Nyipuoc, the current deputy speaker. Sometimes back he was linked to Dr. Lam Akol and so he was thrown almost to the dustbin. Realising that his decision would lead him no where he turned to be staunch supporter of Kiir and there he’s got what he’s in.

He didn’t differ on the purpose of principles in the way the country is being governed. He’d lost popularity yet he wanted to maintain the governorship and when the president kept up that’s where his diversion began.

Sixthly, Wau tragedy and Rizik Hassan Zakaria! Bloody tribal fights were witnessed in Wau just before Christmas and in my point of view Rizik has something to be blamed for in the incident and despite calls from many that the governor be removed at the time so that new person comes in and works on reconciliation, Mr. President paid no attention.

This is because Zakaria is a guy who is so contented in his position and if it means standing behind Mayardit whether in rain or sunshine is the very basis you are kept in, he’s willing to do whatsoever the case.

If you remember how he’s been attacking Dr. Riek of recent so as to be heard by the President, that’s the way you are supposed to react in favour of headman to be confirmed true supporter. Really? Are you aware of the words ALPA and OMEGA?

Expecting the last digit of the argument? I guess you are but let me reserve it for the coming edition. The period of contract of power for money and abuse of power is toddling and Mr. President seems to be getting bankrupt with the guys to use the opportunities.

So to those who are on business deal, time is slipping away and a new era where people will be brought together by ideals not by relation, tribe, region, power and money is surfacing. And I thought Mr. Headman has gotten to use another technique to cling to the mighty chair.

Marial Justin is a south Sudanese Journalist and lives in same country

The Absurdity of Peace-building in South Sudan (III)

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, FINLAND, OCT/07/2013, SSN;

I was going to conclude this debate on the absurdity of peace-building in South Sudan with this section (III). However, due to recent developments, I am compelled to extend the discussion by at least one final section entitled “Towards Overcoming the Absurdity of Peace-building in South Sudan,” after the present section.

In it the question about whose peace are we trying to foster in South Sudan promised to be addressed in the last section will be discussed by way of conclusion and as a way forward to overcome the peace-building absurdity in the land.

For our purposes here, however, it is generally accepted that one of the best idioms ever coined and that makes pleasant music for the ears is the phrase “well done.” That when you tell a human being “you have done well” it is spontaneously greeted with a wide smile of satisfaction on the face.

This is accompanied by the redoubling of efforts to make more gains in order to elicit more compliments. On this positive note, it is pertinent to first applaud recent positive developments in humanitarian and development (peace-building) efforts in South Sudan.

The attempts made, particularly during the “New Deal Compact” consultations that brought together various key conflict stakeholders in South Sudan, including local civil society actors with a view to seek avenues anew to make a positive impact of peace-building felt, is commendable.

This is certainly a good step in the right direction regardless of how slow and daunting the task of effective and quality lasting peace-building often proves. In the long term it is rewarding, nonetheless. Let these renewed efforts be robust and sustained as will be recommended in the last piece on this debate.

That registered, it was, however, shocking to hear some of the statements that came out of the said new deal compact consultations meeting. Some actors representing our international partners were quoted as apologetically reminding us that “development does not happen suddenly or overnight but it takes some time to build which includes peace building efforts with real patience.”

For a moment there I thought this was a government spokesperson doing what they do best—which is throw a wet blanket on governance failures, only that it was not! It is truly unfortunate that active international actors in South Sudan have subscribed to the government rhetoric of “starting from scratch,” “baby state” and “Rome was not built over night” bogus.

In case these international actors are oblivious to the fact, this government rhetoric is a misleading pretext to legitimize corruption, nepotism and “wait for your time” deceit at the expense of good governance, transparency and accountability in government transactions, and social and economic service delivery.

In consequence anybody seen to be persuaded by the government’s apologetic theatrics is either naïve or ignorant of South Sudan’s identity and interest group’s power politics and socio-cultural dynamics.

Our international partners must therefore, be reminded that South Sudanese are very patient rational human beings who must be treated with dignity and not continue to be exploited. As downtrodden and needy as the majority of South Sudanese remain, these international actors and their counterpart in the government of South Sudan will do well in refraining from adding salt to injury by taking South Sudanese intelligence to task.

No one is under the illusion that sustainable peace-building can be fostered overnight, not least in South Sudan. In fact, it is widely acknowledged that rigorous peace-building activities and processes notwithstanding, it takes approximately similar amount of the time it took for a protracted warfare to end, to build any meaningful lasting peace and overcome the legacy of suffering violent indignity.

While the struggle for South Sudan’s freedom has intermittently raged for almost four decades (some say for almost a century), almost nine years have elapsed since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, which is well over an “overnight.”

Even Prophet Job’s patience would have been put to test by now, considering that there is yet to be a semblance of progress in South Sudan’s development efforts to suggest that the future of peace-building is bright.

On the contrary the reverse remains true as detailed in the previous articles on the absurdity of peace-building (I & II) (see the blog: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/).

Moreover, a recent report by the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) adds to the prevailing view about the elusive peace in South Sudan held by numerous other human rights, academic think tanks and civil society bodies before it that together concluded that South Sudan is a failed state! What is there to defend in a failed state?

Post-CPA mortality rate in South Sudan’s Jonglei State for instance, is as high as during the war years. This is without reminding ourselves about deaths caused by rampant insecurity, and preventable and curable contagious disease outbreaks, as well as valuable human lives lost as a result of famine and food insecurity, and many other causes detrimental to life longevity in the land.

“The findings are indicative of the fact that eight years after the end of the civil war, death rates remain at conflict levels in parts of South Sudan,” partly read the SSLS report.

But again we are by now accustomed to the arbitrary dismissal by the custodians of the regime in Juba of such reports and many preceding others as flawed, unsubstantiated and exaggerated. With such unrepentant hearts, the intransigence of peace-building absurdity in South Sudan is bound to persist.

This is also already self-revealing from what can be gauged out of the Gurtong new deal compact report. Certainly the intention is to expedite effective peace-building through an elicitive and needs-based approach as determined by the local cultural agents and civil society actors who participated in the consultations, which as noted above is commendable.

Nonetheless, the framework and by implication the peace-building model remains the jinxed—tested and failed approach. The peace-building approach as described in the preceding sections of this debate unfortunately remains the dominant conflict management, track I diplomacy or the technical peace approach that typifies the conflict-exacerbating peace-building efforts in South Sudan.

The partnership clearly and undesirably confines the level of engagement between the unredeemable corrupt government of South Sudan, and the international community with the civil society and the rest playing second fiddle.

As Mr. Toby Lanzer, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations is reported as explaining: “in the spirit of the New Deal, the Government of South Sudan should be in the driver’s seat to implement projects and programs aided by development partners.”

Unsurprisingly Mr. Lanzer’s view is shared by the government’s representative in the consultations meeting, the Director for Aid Coordination, Mr. Moses Mabior Dau, who is cited as emphasizing that the new deal is, “a joint understanding between the Government of South Sudan and the international Community to enhance Partnership in the next three years.”

It is frustrating and indeed insane to expect to generate different positive results from the same recipe that contributed to the previous negative and failed results in the first place where the government of South Sudan has been identified as part of the problem!

As detailed on numerous occasions in the past, new cabinet or not, Salva Kiir and his cronies are part of peace-building absurdity in South Sudan. Kiir and cohort not only lack political will to build a meaningful lasting peace in South Sudan, but has by now even lost popular legitimacy to go with their moral poverty displayed in full public view during their reign.

It is therefore, absurd that the government continues to be entrusted with playing central peace-building role.

Worse yet, it is nonsensical to seek to build a democratic nation (if it is democratic peace that we seek to foster) with a partner that has clearly demonstrated an appeal to creating a draconian police state in South Sudan.

The recent confidently uttered statements that the SPLM ruling party will rule South Sudan for one hundred years, when the same rulers have failed to deliver services they previously promised to deliver in one hundred days cannot be interpreted in any other way than a preparation of rigging the upcoming national elections, assuming the elections are held in time come 2015.

Consider for instance, the conflicting statements between the president and his deputy in relation to the upcoming South Sudan’s first national elections. As the vice-president was twisting his tongue before the international community that national elections will be held in time in 2015, his boss was on the record that there are no resources to prepare for the same.

“Elections may not be held on time because there are certain issues which must be carried out first. Census needs to be conducted. There is also a need to complete drafting the permanent constitution…. These processes require time and resources,” Kiir is quoted as saying on Sudan Tribune.

Again what time and resources nonsense are required to complete the preparations for building a democratic state in South Sudan, when more than eight years of valuable time have been deliberately wasted in political power struggle and corruption with impunity as billions of US dollars of public resources were being hoarded in individual private bank accounts?

These are individuals capable of squandering 600 million US dollars in an eye’s blink in a single scoop, “land purchase” notwithstanding. If a land in Juba costs 600 million Georges, one wonders how much is paradise worth? If this is not money laundering I don’t know what is.

It is particularly absurd and debilitating when numerous studies showed early on that the SPLM party has been dissuading all conflict stakeholders in the old Sudan, and now South Sudan.

It is no coincidence therefore that, the government of South Sudan is composed of skilful liars. Time and time again the political leadership has demonstrated that the primary concern is to remain in power and protect the loot—the illicitly accumulated material wealth and assets.

In this context, it is absurdity of peace-building through and through to persist on assigning the government a driver’s seat or committing funds and expecting service delivery by this government.

During the last General Assembly of the United Nations, the second highest symbol of political power in the land has acknowledged before the heeding ears of the Community of Nations that our government is error prone and by implication cannot continue to be trusted and entrusted with service delivery. “…we as humans and government recognize that we must have made errors of judgement…,” the newly appointed vice-president is reported as admitting on the UN News Center website.

What the vice-president describes as errors of judgement is an under-statement meant to provide false hope to the international community that lessons are learned from previous mistakes.

For the SPLM under the current structures to change is like abandoning what is inherently the nature of this party, which as shown previously lacks even a shred of democratic credentials.

Against this backdrop, nation-building or peace-building is naturally in a conflict of interest with this greed and thievery and therefore will continue to be repulsed by the symbols of this unjust and untenable political dispensation in South Sudan.

What this bunch says at home and on the world stage must therefore, not be taken at face value. Caution is in order. And in any event, they cannot be expected to accomplish in less than two years what they have not only failed but exacerbated and perfected in the last almost nine years as a government.

Alas, Macardith or the evil god is naked. Hubris!

As hinted in the last section on the absurdity of peace-building in South Sudan, in order to make great strides forward in availing sustainable peace with justice in South Sudan, a complete paradigm shift in the current mindset and ineffectual and counterproductive peace-building efforts is needed.

This may include re-shuffling the partnership between our international partners and the lead conflict stakeholders and assigning the driver’s seat to genuine South Sudanese cultural agents of peace and those directly affected by the conflict to determine priorities as they see them.

Such peace-building re-orientation is vital even in a viable state to avail lasting peace, let alone a dysfunctional and conflict-prone establishment as our current South Sudanese state.

To this end, an overhaul of peace-building approach, including the renewed attempts as deliberated in the consultations on the new deal compact as reported by Gurtong News Website is mandatory to overcome this peace-building absurdity in South Sudan. More on this will be discussed in the final section of this debate.

Tongun Lo Loyuong is reachable at tloloyuong@gmail.com; and can be followed on twitter @TongunLoLoyuong. This and other pieces are also on his blog: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/

Telar Ring Deng, the De Facto President of South Sudan and the New Power Base of the SPLM

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, OCT/05/2013, SSN;

One of the unbecoming things you easily notice in South Sudan is the significance placed on a few individuals. For those of you who know enough history of South Sudan, you know that there were two Mutinies—1974 and 1975—before the Mutiny of Bor; however, these two Mutinies are not given any significant place in our history. A few conscientious South Sudanese who find it expedient to mention these historical events mention them in a passing. No emphasis!

Many South Sudanese have been led to believe that Anya-nya I war started in 1955 when it actually started in 1963 following the formation of Sudan African Closed District National Union (SACDNU) led by Joseph H. Oduho.

After Ismael el Azhari hoodwinked and subdued the mutineers of August 1955 Torit Mutiny, nothing substantial happened between 1955 and 1963 in terms of significant liberation war.

The remnants of Torit Mutiny, who ran to the bush, carried out ineffective attacks with really primitive tools but strength of will. The greatest achievement of Torit Mutiny is that it raised the consciousness of South Sudanese in a way that could neither be ignored nor reversed.

However, Torit Mutiny didn’t directly lead to full-scale civil war. It was not until political leaders like Joseph Oduho, Father Saturnino, Deng Nhial, Aggrey Jaden among others, formalized the struggle objectives and organized a formidable force (somehow) did the actual liberation war start.

In factual honesty, Anya-nya was formally launched in 1963 as opposed to the general belief that it was formed immediately after 1955 Mutiny.

However, comfortingly, the Torit Mutiny is given its rightful place in the history of struggle for freedom of South Sudanese even if a few details about it are regularly misrepresented.

When one looks at 1975 Akobo Mutiny by Vincent Kuany and Bol Kur, however, one finds that this event has been completely played down. The mutineers of this event helped in the formation of Anya-nya Patriotic Front (APF) under Gordon Muortat Mayen.

So when the Bor Mutiny finally happened eight years later, there was already a rebel movement fighting the government of Sudan.

Basically, the civil war had already started; however, you’ll find in history books that the second civil war started in 1983. Those of John Garang, Kerubino, Nyuon Bany, Salva Kiir, Joseph Oduho among others, were joining a liberation struggle that was already started…even if it wasn’t effective.

Historically, we tend to see some people as more important that others in South Sudan even if their objective is the same. Anya-nya II and those of Vincent Kuany were not regarded as highly as those of John Garang, Nyuon Bany and the rest. Without doubt, this is unbecoming of us!

In the end, what we have to note is that Anya-nya II and the Mutineers of 1975 led to the formation of APF that was ineffective but historically significant. Curiously, their policies didn’t augur well with the communist Mengistu Haile Mariam. When APF failed, Anya-nya II remained as a liberation force.

We can play down the role played by rebel leaders like Gordon Kong, however, we have to remember that they started the war long before SPLA was formed and informed us that the ruling elites in Khartoum will never change and that war is the only solution.

What we have to acknowledge is the manner in which SPLA formalized the war. What SPLA did in 1983 is like what those of Oduho and Father Saturnino did in 1963. Admittedly, the war was formalized, the leadership was structured, strong policy papers put in place and a formidable liberation struggle launched.

What is curious is that the first civil war actually started in 1963 but we have it down as having started in 1955. The second civil war is put down as having started in 1983 when it actually started way before that date.

One has to ask oneself, why? Some people are more equal than others, that’s why!

Now, and for good reason, this brings me to the relevance of the above historiographical input to our current political quandary in Juba. We have a few individuals who have been vested with importance and power. Not only is that true, the said individuals have instrumentalized that state of affairs to our own chagrin.

Sadly though, when these individuals became targets of the average citizens given the fact that they are the rulers of the country, their tribe-mates start to bizarrely regard those who critique the facts surrounding such vested individuals, with damning suspicion.

One stand-out culprit is Telar Ring Deng, the current legal advisor to the president of the Republic South Sudan.

In bizarre, though understandable twist, Telar has assumed a place that is disproportionate with his role as an advisor. Telar has become the single most important person in South Sudan; even better than the president.

If the national assembly, the voice of the people, rejects a person for one reason or another, there has to be a very good reason for the president to hire such a person.

It’s either the president doesn’t respect the parliament, which is the voice of the people, or Telar Ring Deng has a magic wand the president can’t live without.

Truly, there are so many advisors in South Sudan but we don’t hear about them. Telar talks as if he’s the president. He’s just an advisor.

In this Press Release after he was chosen by the president (again!!) to be his legal advisor, Telar listed things he’ll help achieve. Anyone who read the release will agree with me that the voice in the article didn’t match the role of an advisor.

It felt like a message from a minister with effective influence on the presidency and the whole political system.

In fact, we have ministry of Justice, the cabinet, the national assembly and the judges of the land, however, Telar wrote as if his message would count more than that of all these legal requirements. In the real world, this makes you wonder who Telar Ring Deng actually is!

What is he that we don’t know? Is he being groomed for leadership by the president? Don’t ask me!

Telar’s bizarre and inexplicable actions are really mind-boggling. When Sudan Tribune honestly quoted a constitutional provision from a different version of the numerous and often confusing versions of the Transitional Constitution, Telar Deng wrote a scathing letter criticizing Sudan Tribune editors.

What came to my mind is WHERE in the world does a legal advisor, a simple legal advisor, become the presidential spokesperson?

Why didn’t the minister of Justice defend the constitutionality of the presidential action? Why didn’t the government spokesperson do that? Telar’s role is to help in decision making not to stand in for the president, even in the media.

Maybe Telar is something we don’t know, which we have to know!

The Press Release was actually self-incriminating. Convincingly enough, it projected Telar as the de facto president of South Sudan. The man has been given a very important place in the government of South Sudan that he says things that are way beyond his job description.

A man who, in 2008, called President Kiir a ‘Dictator’ is now the most trusted man by the president; trusted even when rejected by the parliament! You can call that politics, but you just have to wonder: will things be okay?

In 2008, Pagan Amum and Deng Alor were in; Aleu Ayieng and Telar Deng were out. Now, you know what has happened. In essence, Telar has dangerously assumed a position of significance and self-importance that is unnerving.

Given the bizarre decisions being made by the president one is left with no doubt that Telar is basically telling the president what to do! Anyone Telar doesn’t like is out or will be out.

So who’s the president?

I have to admit however that the president has the interest of the country at heart. At least I want to believe so! He could do the right thing if only he had the right people around him.

With the likes of the self-righteous, self-proclaimed pillar of Kiir’s Presidency around, the president is unknowingly being led to destroy his legacy, which now reeks of autocracy and repression.

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet, author and publisher living in Canada, but currently visiting family in Perth, Australia. He’s the author of the new analytical book, South Sudan Ideologically.’ For more information visit www.kuirthiy.info or www.thenilepress.com

Open letter to Pres. Kiir: “Scandalous Norwegian-supported Hydropower station in South Sudan

BY: Richard L. Lopita, JUBA, OCT/03/2013, SSN;

Mr. President: The coming back to the center stage of this scandalous “42 MW Fulla Rapids Hydro-power Project” with the support of Norway is bad news. This particular project smacks of corruption as it stands. May I point out that I, with several others who share the same thoughts, thought this project had gone with “your old team.” And I must state I do not pretend to speak for anyone else, but I think it would be much better to discard this project once and for all.

We have better options, Mr. President, if we are for hydro-power generation. Here are some viable options that have under gone in-depth feasibility studies by competent institutions that have world reputation:

(1) Fula Hydro Electric Power Project. Located 33 Km from Nimule border town – downstream of Uganda border; Power potential: 1,062 MW installed capacity;

(2) Shukole Hydro Electric Project. Located 47 Km downstream of Uganda border (126 Km south from Juba) at the upstream of Yeroba Rapids. Power potential of 291 MW installed capacity;

(3) Lakki Hydro Electric Power Project, 77 Km downstream of Uganda border (102 Km south of Juba) with installed capacity of 456 MW; and

(4) Bedden Hydro Electric Project, 136 Km downstream of Uganda border (35 Km south of Juba) at the northern end of the Bedden Rapids, halfway along the elongated island bearing the same name. Bedden has installed capacity of 780 MW.

Feasibility studies on all these sites had been conducted in the 1980s updated 2009 (the ministry of Electricity and Dams should have records).

I understand that there is a point 4 KM south of Juba Bridge that has a potential to generate 122 MW electricity power. This site has been studied by Yellow River Design Institute in association with Chinese Sinohydro Corporation.

Mr. President, the power demand of South Sudan requires a well thought of decision and is more than 42 MW, if we really want to translate our “development” slogan into practice. For example, to develop our agricultural sector necessitates mechanization. This will require substantial amount of fuel to power it.

So putting a high yielding power plant will allow the country to free the amount of fuel consumed today by generators to this effect. Mr. President, by mere employing of a multiplier to the “development” drive we should not look far, the above options are there to choose from.

The team in the Ministry of Electricity and Dams has some explaining to give to the general public on this 42 MW hydro-power plant. If Norway is interested in small hydro-power projects why not explore this 122 MW site just inside Juba town?

And by the way, is Juba South Sudan? Every part of South Sudan needs electricity. And the rural poor need it more than any.

What morality do we hold to claim “taking towns to the villages” when a complete government commits itself to construct 42 MW power plant only for the elites in Juba?

Furthermore, I would like to mention (although there is no research done on it) that some of the tribal animosities among our tribes are caused by such types of projects that do not have national coverage (at least).

And for your information, Mr. President, the power requirement of Juba is slightly above 51 MW as we stand now. What is 42 MW and why should we spend a staggering US$ 160 million with a secret contractual obligation that is hidden from the public?

Ironically, it is the very Norwegians who advise and train us to be transparent are the very ones now concealing this scandalous contract together with the ministry of Electricity, Dams and Water Resources from the public.

The Norwegians took some staff from this ministry to Norway for capacity building purpose, but actually these staffs were taken there to seduce them to keep silent on this sinister project. THIS PROJECT SHOULD BE DELETED OUT PERMANENTLY.

Mr. President, is lighting only Juba “kick-starting development” in the nation? No Sir.

And why should Norway and the Norwegian people indulge itself to finance such a monstrous liability project on the people of South Sudan?

If the idea is to light Juba, then why not give chance to this “PV-Tech” private company which has been granted a license [by Central Equatoria Government] to power Juba by “renewable power”?

Mr. President we should avoid duplication as much as possible to maximize usage of our meagre resources for wider national satisfaction.

Again Mr. President, this project [42 MW Fulla Rapids Hydro-power by these Norwegians] if allowed to proceed will negatively impact on our precious wildlife resources in the Nimule National Park. The wildlife species will be forced to migrate away from the park due to the heavy noise resulting from the construction works.

Although the proponents of this project will justify that Wildlife Authorities have consented to, it is worth to note that the Wildlife authorities have been evidently coerced to grant their consent.

It becomes a mockery for the government to waste tax payer’s money in paying for guarding this “Gazetted National Park.”

Moreover, this 42 MW project if constructed will greatly reduce the installed capacity of “Fulla Hydro-power Dam” [the real Fulla Rapids] by approximately 35% due to reduction in the head of the dam.

Mr President, nine years down the line we have lived and continue to live in darkness with misplaced hope that one day your government will seriously sort out and fix this power issue. But not with this Norwegian thing.

We did not and never complained despite the damage the nine years inflicted on us. This far we acquired strange diseases/behaviours along ranging from ‘darkness-immune syndrome,’ ‘noise-immune syndrome,’ ‘water-immune syndrome’ etc… that are inserted into our physiology and psychology.

Mr President, the always asserted claim that “we are still a young nation,” or “we have no capacity,”… etc. does not help. Austerity measures or not, we need power and the authority to make this possible lies with you.

Stop this Mafia from the Ministry of Electricity and Dams and their foreign collaborators from misusing our natural resources because of personal interests.

We would love to remember you by leaving behind a good legacy – Hydropower generating plant is one of them. You recently after swearing in your new team declared to your ministers that whoever does not deliver will meet the fate of his/her predecessors.

Arrest this project before it complicates the government and the people of South Sudan financially.

Sincerely,

Richard L. Lopita
The author lives in Juba and can be reached on – Muntu_richard2011@hotmail.com

South Sudan: The Tribal universe under the Obscure Despotism

QUOTE: “Those who voted Mr. Mayardit to power in a 2010 election should now blame themselves for the mess they find themselves in. The disastrous situation prevailing in the countryside is most telling, as nothing has changed in the villages since independence, and it appears that there is a need for a protracted struggle to liberate the peasants.”

BY: John Juac, WINDSOR, CANADA, OCT/03/2013, SSN;

Rationalism is a belief that history has a purpose and not to mention a faith in one’s ability to discern where it is heading, but this belief has given way to acceptance of the irrational and even of madness itself. How, indeed, can it be denied that beneath the apparent orderliness of laws and codes, today’s as yesterday’s South Sudan we live in is cruel and murderous?

It is a country where people do not get enough to eat, while a fraction of the lucky ones is glutted with plenty; where for fifty years conflicts have constantly raged at the expense of dispossessed people, while the educated minority continues to be valued above the silent peasant majority; nor can we overlook the conflicts within South Sudan that refuses to grant any real autonomy to its ethnic minorities to deal with their own local affairs.

It is also a country in which the women who enjoy equality with the men of their own social milieu cannot even be counted in percentages; there are so few of them and everywhere people are still living in tribal universe under the obscure despotism.

The socio-political map of the world’s newest nation shows that it is a puzzle of ethnic and tribal groups, often with reciprocal feelings of mistrust and tendency to violence as the ultimate means of settling their interminable political problems.

The dilemmas faced by the leaders of the SPLM nationalist party after independence may have precipitated rush toward the obscure despotism. The old boundaries did not coincide with ethnic groupings, and therefore South Sudan does not constitute a nation state.

A nation is a social group that develops solidarity on the basis of shared customs and institutions, and a state is a political organization laying claim to power in a particular territory. Where nation and state are coterminous, ethnic loyalty–nationalism- fuses with state loyalty–patriotism. The state acquires legitimacy and internal cohesion, permitting it to override personal and sectional preoccupations with a vision of a greater good.

In the new nation, however, these conditions have rarely been met. The state is a multi national and a citizen’s loyalty does not extend beyond his own ethnic group, making state legitimacy very fragile.

Thus, a unifying leader is needed to provide that article of cohesion and thereby check resurgent ethnicism. But to be successful, he must rule with absolute impartiality, placing the interests of the state above his own and those of his ethnic group- a criteria that the southern nationalist leaders have failed to meet.

A series of U.S. Institute of Peace reports on state building in South Sudan was issued just three months after a declaration of independence, whose author was Jok Madut Jok, a Jennings Randolph senior fellow at USIP. This is what the author of the reports said: Some South Sudanese interviewed for this project assert that the most obvious impediment to national cohesion is exclusion from national platform, especially exclusion along ethnic lines, corruption, nepotism, and exclusion from access to government jobs were also raised as issues that the government will need to address directly for citizens to have pride in their new nation….there is widespread sense of worry about the viability of South Sudan as a nation due to insecurity, especially insecurity rooted in the current ethnic conflicts occurring in seven out of the ten states (Special Report 287, Oct.2011).

It is true that efforts should have been made to build the state that genuinely embodied the true interests of all citizens after the decolonization of the region. Such was not the case, since unfortunately the state machinery in post-independence South Sudan is above all the reflection of the permanence of the old Sudan’s structures.

Consequently, it is fitting that there is a great debate on the problem of the state. The Larousse Dictionary in its 1980 edition defines the state in the following manner: “a political entity composed of various institutions that preside over the collective destiny of a society, and in this respect, holds power.”

Despite this rather vague definition, it is obvious that a genuine state is one that uses its independence and sovereignty to defend the interests of its citizens, regardless of their ethnic and religious origins, and wherever they may be. It is difficult to admit that the southern state fulfils these conditions. The state does not shoulder the responsibilities of a true independence and sovereign state.

Far from being the expression of the will of the people that it claims to organize to live together, and far from presiding over destiny of the communities as a whole, it is a concretization of the defence of some obscure interests incapable of any vigorous upsurge, living of illusion and pious dreams; therefore, the state structures on the whole only seem to have fictitious existence.

It is time for South Sudanese to realize that their state can neither control the space on which its sovereignty rests nor can it ensure the protection of its citizens both inside and outside its frontiers. The South Sudanese state lives by the outside world: it is from the outside world that it receives its concept and ideas; it is from the outside world that it is given food aid, economic aid, financial aid and military aid.

It lives through the permanent support of the outside world, but we must draw lessons from the history of other peoples to corroborate what was said by Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey: “The best way to loss one’s independence is to spend money one does not own.”

Further, the South Sudanese state is a dichotomous entity, where the countryside remains opposed to the republican city state, and yet it constitutes a main source of income and profits for the government treasury. The rural population lives in a state of frustration hardly different from that of pre-independence times.

The rural masses and large segments of urban dwellers consider the state as something far removed from them, so the notion of statehood indeed must be based on the concept of the public thing which rarely exists in Sudan as a whole.

Most southern nationalist leaders still appear to be prisoners to their tribes, clans, home regions and their behavior as well as their decisions affect only a segment of the national community. It must be admitted that the contemporary South Sudanese state is a combination of various elements that can be found in traditional institution and foreign institutions.

Since the old Sudan is a republic, its former colony after independence became a republican city state without the notion of “republic” having the same meaning for its leaders and its ordinary citizens as for the French people. In France, the republican regime is the result of the victory of a third party state over the nobility and clergy, and for French it represents equality before the law- the equality of rights and responsibilities.

In spite of all the powers vested in him by the constitution, the republican head of state or government is not above the law, since he is temporarily the first citizen in respect to other citizens.

This is not the case in South Sudan’s republican city state where Mr. Kirr Mayardit is a monarch of divine right and the excessives of his republican city state system could cause laughter, but they are not quite different from the blunders of the Arab Islamic state in Khartoum where state terrorism is pervasive.

The Gloomy Face of Obscure Despotism:

South Sudan, generally speaking, offers the painful spectacle of the obscure despotism to the outside world when it comes to the organization of political power. This system is characterized by the extreme concentration of powers in the hands of only one man, the non-existence of the basic freedoms and the absence of counterbalancing power, thus destroying moderating democratic machinery of power.

Mr. Mayardit has concentrated all the powers under his sole authority and parliamentary assemblies and a judicial system apparently are confined to the role of rubber-stamping verdicts and instructions that are handed down. Such power is thus far from being the will of South Sudanese since they are considered the subjects more than source of power.

With all authority in his hands, Mr. Mayardit deliberately violates the laws he himself promulgated, since his will is the source of law and his wish of the moment above the law. Civil autocracy is a gloomy face of obscure despotism; it basically marginalizes people’s rights; the people’s rights boil down to a corpus of rules that promotes the oppression of the isolated individual by the Leviathan state.

Civil autocracy also purports to ensure the development of the state to promote national unity. But after long eight years of obscure despotism in South Sudan, what is the balance sheet?

The despotic regime of Mr. Mayardit is meant to maintain non-viable city state and corrupted one party. The corrupted one party is essentially antidemocratic since it rejects the very principle of the free confrontation of ideas that is the basis of any progress; thus there has emerged a South Sudan where the ideals of the people are turned upside down.

Both the republican city state and the corrupted one party prevent the problem of national unity from being posed and debated within the framework of democratic system.

Such a system that brings about a climate of terror and insecurity inside the country rules out any creative work. To see the South Sudanese today, reduced to inactivity by fear, but yet compelled to sing the praises of his overlord, brings to mind the words of the German philosopher Johann Gottliib in his famous Speech to the German Nation: “Our flatteries seem to be forced out of us by fear and terror…. what is more ridiculous than a frightened man praising the grace and beauty of one he sees as a monster, but whom he tries to cajole lest he be devoured?”

The astonishing practices of the despotic regime inhibit the efforts of those who believe that South Sudan can rise through fruitful work. How can South Sudanese in such conditions, disoriented and at a loss, embark on development?

Indeed the obscure despotism is the very antonym of development. Thus far from galvanizing the people in a community of interests and developing the country’s economy, the obscure despotism has driven the entire nation into an implacable deadlock in several areas.

Without a state that is above any partisan interests, it is inconceivable for one to attain national cohesion. Presently, South Sudan is being swept by centrifugal currents generated by regionalist, tribalistic and sometimes clannish policies.

Regionalist and ethnic tensions have turned the nascent country into arenas, where in the absence of the state’s ability to mobilize and build, forces hostile to the real interests of the people prevail.

Instead of there being widespread attitudes reflective of a deep sense of the general interest, there is a process of division and confrontation that has destroyed any notion of solidarity between ethnic groups and political leaders, and this is caused by obscure despotism that organizes and runs a system of inequality.

It is therefore somewhat of an aberration to hear some fellow southerners refer to creation of a viable nation as one of the successes of Mr. Maynard’s despotic regime. This can only be said about North Sudan in which Islam plays a unifying role.

Born out of a long armed struggle, the southern state has not been able to serve as the territorial framework for the formation of a modern nation at independence. Behind the slogans of national unity, the reality is quite otherwise, characterized by confrontation in which tribes are pitted one against the other, and this also is a result of obscure despotism.

Such a system creates psychological, moral and intellectual barriers detrimental to any process of development. Almost ten years have gone and obscure despotism has in no way helped the economic and social development.

The social and economic balance sheet of obscure despotism is a millstone. With a stagnant agricultural production, insignificant industrial activity, average income low and negative balances of payments, the newly independent South Sudan has ceased to be its own master.

Under such conditions, it is understandable that poverty as a social phenomenon should be expected in South Sudan; the country is blessed with vast mineral deposits and rich agricultural lands in the fertile Nile basin, but errant misrule and plunder have reduced it to tatters.

Those who voted Mr. Mayardit to power in a 2010 election should now blame themselves for the mess they find themselves in. The disastrous situation prevailing in the countryside is most telling, as nothing has changed in the villages since independence, and it appears that there is a need for a protracted struggle to liberate the peasants.

A high-ranking government official, who himself could not miss an opportunity for a pessimistic comment, asserted that the new nation is confronted with serious difficulties, and that long-term prospect appears to be gloomy.

There is fairly widespread agreement among the leaders of government business here that eight years cannot afford sufficient hindsight to draw up the balance sheet of independence, the official said.

However, these people pretend to forget that it took the despots of eighteenth-century Ethiopia about the same time to lay down the foundations of the power of their country.

Even more recently, it took the same time for southern African nationalists to transform colonial structures into a formidable economic and political power in their respective countries on the morrow of independence.

The negative balance sheet of the despotic regime reveals the risks it has thrust upon South Sudan and its people. Far from organizing the general population to create powerful economy and modern society, it has left the new nation dormant and made its citizens into people with destiny uncertain.

It explains the weakness of independent South Sudan that is characterized by the non-existent adequate social structures.

Behind the façade of the regime of obscure despotism, it is easy to see the eruption of different antagonisms, social tensions and ethnic frictions that Mr. Mayardit cannot contain because of his inability to come up with a national direction, as well as the lack of a vision among his corrupt cabinet ministers who can hardly translate their book knowledge into the problem solving.

Mr. Mayadit is incapable of ensuring the political and economic development insofar as he ignores the country’s best brains in exile.

On the final note, South Sudan’s nationalists have chosen a method of rule that is domineering; the republican city state is their private domain; there is no distinction between private ambitions and public goods; any opposition to their political power has been eliminated; repression and violence has replaced entreaties.

Mr. Mayardit, who enjoys strongman image, came from army; he shot his way to power after the death of late John Garang in a plane crash in 2005.

He possesses little formal education, but he has read several speeches written by a speech writer while gripping on power, enabling him to improve his English.

Mr. Mayardit and his finance minister cannot distinguish between a budget deficit and a budget surplus as well. Mr Mayardit and most of his comrades rose through the ranks in the guerilla army known as the SPLA during the former civil war .

He surrounds himself with followers who constantly reaffirm their faith in his exceptional generosity, but he cannot know whom to trust or whether his advisers tell him the truth.

As such, Mr. Mayardit renders himself vulnerable to sycophantic and opportunistic adventurers who sing praises even when his tail is on fire.

One is justified in wondering why the system of obscure despotism is supported by the democratic American regime? Should one take it that for American friends every people has the regime it deserves?

Should one also subscribe to the absurd notion that Western-type democracy is neither possible nor workable in South Sudan that is alleged to be living in its Middle Ages?

Perhaps, it is true that South Sudan is in the Middle Ages, but it is participating in the twenty-first century.

Trying to work out an accommodation to the despotic regime is to run the risk of making subtle distinction between what is good here and what is not good there. Democracy is a paradoxical regime in which those who want to abolish it are offered the unique possibility of lawfully doing so. Indeed to go further, one is tempted to believe that it helps to build and consolidate obscure despotism.

It is time for South Sudanese men and women to realize that intellectual freedom and democracy must be defended. The wind of the freedom must blow everywhere in South Sudan; it has already started blowing in the northern side of the border. Freedom is an indivisible word, and if we want to enjoy it, we must stand up to protect it.

John Juac Deng
Sudanese journalist/writer, Juacd@yahoo.ca