Archive for: January 2014

Accommodating Deep Ethnic Differences: What’s done wrong & what’d be done right?

BY: Jacob D. Chol, JUBA, JAN/27/2014, SSN;

The December 15th 2013 political violence that led to the deaths of above 10,000 people in the nascent state has polarized the ethnic identities and relations.

It is not a secret any more that many people who lost loved ones in this political fiasco feel that the loss was an attribution of ethnic thawing which was not managed well during the state making and nation building.

But can South Sudanese live in this deeply divided society? What will the ethnic hatred and polarization help in this new Republic? What was done wrong in regard to the management of ethnic-relations that flared up to this taxing enraged? What can be done to reduce ethnic centrifugal?

This opinionated piece set to analyze the much-neglected ethnic cleavage that fanned the highly mobilized political differences expressed on December 15th 2013 political demagoguery. It then proceeds to provide pragmatic solutions to accommodate the deep ethnic differences.

Ethnic identity is a salient cleavage that is highly mobilized in political conflicts in the developing world. From Asia to Caribbean to Middle east and to Africa, ethnic cards are played in achieving political goals.

Interestingly in South Sudan, ethnic differences are ignored and taken, as sacrosanct and thus ethnic groups would play them under the carpet. This secrecy built up explodes once other ethnic groups felt disadvantaged in a way, leading to deadly wars and skirmishes.

The dramatic events in Juba on the 15th December that spread over to Bor, Bentiu and Malakal were exasperated by neglected deep ethnic differences accumulated since South Sudanese struggle for freedom and justice till the Independence of South Sudan.

The deep ethnic differences are expressed through swift and spontaneous anger. For example, why would a Dinka kill a poor Nuer in Mangaten-Mia Saba? And why would a Nuer Kill a poor Dinka in Bor or Bentiu or Malakal? Why would a soldier from either of the ethnic groups cock his AK 47 and shoot to death his fellow citizen?

These are deep and soul-searching questions that required South Sudanese to reflect and take matters of ethnicity as un-finished business in the new Republic.

Un-resolving ethnic issues during long and taxing struggle for the Independence would necessitate a quick reaction of either a Dinka or Nuer to kill each other without proper understanding the matter they are fighting over so long such an opportunity arise.

Upon signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, National Healing and Reconciliation Commission was supposed to be immediately established to reconcile all South Sudanese ethnic groups and to create a corridor for justice for the victims of any ethnic cleansing, massacres or sort of historical war related injustices.

It was not to be a matter, which model worked well for South Sudan; it was either to be a South African, Rwandan, Bosnian or South Sudanese unique model. However, this Commission was later set up in May 2013 as a committee without legislation to make it properly execute its mandate.

The Committee is marred with capacity, legal, ideological and integrity deficits to jump-start the widely awaited Healing and Reconciliation of South Sudanese Communities.

To be sure, it is important to recognize government’s effort in accommodating dangerous individuals in South Sudan state making and nation building as recipe for peace, notably various militias that joined the SPLA after the liberation wars.

However, this political accommodation; a normative brainchild of prominent Dutch political engineer Arend Lijphart is an important strategy for ethnic thawing given that its reduces centripetal politics. Yet, Lipjhart’s theory of Consociationalism that would have served as the treatment of this deeply divided society was misunderstood and wrongly applied by the new Republic.

His thinking was not a political accommodation of the individuals but the representation of all cross-cutting cleavages of the South Sudanese society such as ethnic groups, political parties, elites, minorities’ autonomies in the governance.

Lijphart institutional design model offer accommodation with legal redress and social justice and thus the new Republic concentrated on the mere political and military accommodation of individuals without addressing crimes committed by the accommodated individuals in the first place.

This led to the impunity; rebellions and re-rebellions of the individuals tweaked on rewards and amnesties and thus this compromised social justice.

Associated with lack of social justice was the personal rule that planted institutional fragility. Indeed, institutional fragility had born corruption, skewed distribution of resources, poor delivery of services, human rights violations, lack of vision for the state and ethnic suspicion amongst South Sudanese Society.

Ethnic suspicion has been expressed out-rightly and has been a matter of debate on the streets of South Sudan. For example, a poor Dinka who has independently struggled to set up business or run a professional job and drive a car would be viewed by a member of another ethnic group to have acquired such from corrupted money.

This tendency, perpetuated through ethnic association is a resultant of mismanagement of state affairs where ethnic issues appear sharper than the ideological paradigm.

The ethnic suspicion discussed at homes and at ethnic social backyards explains the hatred between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar leading to the lost of lives and properties in the recent political viciousness.

What can be done right in this deeply divided society is to rethink the consociational model captured in the Transitional Constitution 2011 as decentralization and devolution policy.

The consociational model should be pragmatic in that distribution and share in the national cake should be done equally across territorial and ethnic cleavages.

“We the People of South Sudan” as the Transitional Constitution 2011 proclaimed in the preamble should be operationalized. For instance, recruitment of members of SPLA and members of the organized forces particularly Elite Presidential Guards should be apportioned to the ten states.

After the recruitment and training, the forces should be indoctrinated and ideologized to remain distinct and defend the peoples’ constitution whatsoever the circumstance.

Jobs placement in the public service and Judiciary should done in the eye of diversity and looking at territorial and ethnic strands.

Concepts of Ethnic Peace and Unity should be taught to children in primary and secondary schools emphasizing the core ethnic tolerance and love. In the Colleges and Universities, Ethnicity and Nationalism courses should be taught to the students so that once these students graduate they would serve the country with nationalistic values.

This shall improve the State-Society Relation so that in the event of political ferocity associated with a senior politician from either ethnic groups then members of his/her ethnic group should stick to serve the state interest instead of pulling back to their communities.

Matters of constitutionalism, respect to rule of law, accountability, lack of redistribution and hate speeches which are viewed to be the root causes of this political savagery must not be held secret again but must be subjected to public debates and participation.

Democracy should not be pronounced as ubiquitous concept to attract the Western support but should be honestly entrenched in the lives and governance of the people of South Sudan.

Argued as principle of affected interests, which asserts that every-one who is affected by the decisions of a government has a prima facie right to equal participation in those decisions, the government must ensure that citizens take Centre-stage in issues that effect their lives in peculiar development, governance and management of ethnic-relations.

Though ethnic matters remain disastrous and highly sharp in South Sudan, ethnic issues do not have to remain centripetal and suspicious. Chronic confrontation is not inevitable or immutable, and compromise and coexistence remain eminently feasible objectives.

The challenge is immense, but the dividends are so great, and the alternatives so grim, that the struggle for peace and unity is worth every ounce of sweat and toil.

Mr. Chol is a Comparative Political Scientist, a founder and Executive Director for the Centre for Democracy and International Analysis (CDIA). A research and an academic think-tank based in Juba. He can be reached at
His main research interests include; democratic transitions and consolidations, institutional design in divided societies (political engineering), ethnic politics, war, violence & peace, hybrid regimes, secessions, developing nations in international systems and Political Integrations.

Both Kiir and Machar failed South Sudanese

BY: Federico Vuni Awi, JUBA, JAN/26/2014, SSN;

For over five decades we the people of south Sudan have struggled against injustice and oppression by the successive governments of Sudan before achieving our full independence. This is our 9th year following the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) which provided self government for the people of south Sudan, initially, in the form of The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) within a united Sudan; it was followed by a referendum which led to creation of an independent state on July 9th 2011.

During both periods post signing of the CPA, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has been in control of government.

Although the Republic of South Sudan (ROSS) is currently in its 3rd year of independence, unfortunately, our people are yet to see any fruits of our long awaited liberation in terms of development opportunities, better basic service provision, the rule of law and order, security, stability and prosperity in a free democratic state.

The government of the Republic of South Sudan under SPLM leadership has failed to lead our people out of poverty and deprivation towards prosperity, peace and sustainable development; instead the ruling party has allowed corruption and tribalism to spread, thereby permitting instability and tyranny to prevail.

Instead of working towards a realisation of the aspirations of our people, both the government and dissident group resorted to misuse of scarce national assets including military resources to kill each other and innocent civilians, destroying what limited national infrastructure existed, as well as, jeopardising the lives and livelihoods of Citizens in the process.

The current national crisis has been painfully inflicted upon us by two warring factions of the ruling party (The SPLM) which requires a firm stand from us all and our friends.

It requires a collective condemnation by South Sudanese of the military conflict between the government of South Sudan and dissident group.

The consequences of this conflict are horrendous; over 10,000 lives lost, wanton murder of innocent civilians, exposure of countless citizens to injury and trauma, massive forceful displacements and re-displacement, loss of property and subjection of the vulnerable especially children and women to starvation and unnecessary suffering.

As a result, The Labour Party South Sudan calls upon both the President of The Republic of South Sudan and Dr. Riak Machar to immediately and unconditionally order their fighters to stop the unwarranted bloodshed between citizens of one country.

Pursuing this war is meaningless; it has brought nothing but death and destruction to entire towns: Bor, Bentiu and Malakal; displacement of entire villages has raised the number to over half a million inhabitants away from their homes, sending them into a life of untold misery.

To add fuel to fire, the incumbent ROSS government has permitted foreign troops to interfere in our internal national affairs in the name of intervention, while knowing very well that, it is a political conflict within a sovereign nation!

In solidarity with our long suffering people, The Labour Party South Sudan strongly rejects the unilateral deployment of the Ugandan People Defence Force (UPDF) into South Sudan territory.

The involvement of Uganda through its armed forces in this armed conflict has categorically added further complications and different dimension to an already fragile situation.

If any such actions were necessarily required, we regard that it is proper to seek support from authoritative and legitimate regional bodies such as IGAD or international bodies like the UN; and such a force when deployed should maintain a neutral position and stance.

The Labour Party South Sudan acknowledges that this war cannot be justified and that it is being used as a means to divide the people of South Sudan along ethnic lines and backgrounds, which serve to protect dubious interests of politicians but not those of the people of south Sudan.

The leaders of both warring groups have conveniently forgotten that this very people whom they are destroying brought them to power through the ballot boxes; they deserve and are owed respect and protection.

A government which fails to protect the lives of its Citizens looses legitimacy to rule and both partners in crime have failed to safeguard the interests and welfare of its civilians.

In addition, both parties to the current conflict have failed to secure safe corridors for exit of non-combatants and for provision of humanitarian assistance including shelter, food and water. It is highly distressing and abhorrent to witness and watch pictures of lifeless children and women.

The ground truth and reality now is that people are fast losing confidence in both leaders and the SPLM party as a credible organisation for their failure to resolve internal affairs of the organisation, putting their own house in order and sorting out their political differences through democratic means.

How come they want to continue leading a whole nation with all its complexities when they cannot sort out affairs at the smaller less complex level of their party?

As a result, The LPSS believes that this was an avoidable situation; at worst, strategically intended to derail constitutional processes leading to fair elections in 2015 as planned.

On the other hand, the other political parties and partners in government with the SPLM have failed to act as a voice of caution to bring the leading ruling party SPLM to its senses.

But worst of all, the parliamentarians being legitimate representatives of the people should have strongly voiced their concerns as the situation gradually deteriorated and descended into headlong confrontation on that bemoaned Sunday 15th December.

They sat and watched as the situation exploded, plunging their constituents who elected them into danger with no recourse other than to run for their lives. The legislative assembly has not been vocal enough in questioning the essence of such a war other than in support of only one side to the conflict.

There has been no purposeful condemnation of the targeted massacre of civilians on ethnic grounds for being either a Nuer or Dinka; and all statements released by both parties to the conflict are in effect just scoring of invaluable points.

When all these upheavals are over, hopefully sooner rather than later, Kiir and Riak may finally be reconciled as it has happened before and they will again get their justice by offering each other positions in government which they have been doing anyway for the last eight (8) years.

Other fringe benefits will include the negotiation for their immunity from prosecution.

But will there be justice to those innocent citizens of South Sudan who have borne the force of impact and fallen victims to this senseless war? And who is the best person to ensure that true and real justice take place?

Hence, The Labour Party South Sudan joins all peace loving people of South Sudan, the mediating group, regional and international community to impress urgency upon both warring parties, especially President Salva and Dr. Riak the leader of the dissident group to:

● Cease hostilities without preconditions and allow humanitarian assistance for the displaced and affected civilians.
● Engage in an honest negotiation for a comprehensive resolution of the conflict and its aftermath.
● Adopt acceptable democratic means to resolve all the outstanding socio-political, economic and development issues.

Finally, The Labour Party South Sudan envisages that the only way forward is to work towards a truly genuine national reconciliation as a process which will ensure that democracy and sustainable peace does prevail within a framework of an interim Government of National reconstruction.

The mandate of such a government needs to be unanimously agreed upon and its task should include but not limited to:

a. Holding a national convention for dialogue on peace and reconciliation as part of the process towards rebuilding confidence in government, energizing national unity and social cooperation;
b. Conducting independent investigations into the murder of innocent civilians to allow justice to take its fair course;
c. Reviewing the performances of all key national institutions and government structures to make them equitable, effective and acceptable to all citizens of South Sudan;
d. Organising and conducting of fair, just and democratic elections at both state and national parliamentary level, as well as, the elections for the presidency and state governors.
e. Reconstructing a national army for South Sudan;
f. Separation and empowerment of the three (03) wings of government whereby the legislative and judiciary are each independent without any interference from the executive wing;
g. Hastening the production of a permanent constitution including a thorough consultation of the people and country to enable the will and interests of the people not the politicians.
h. Conducting a national consultation for mapping out a real agenda for development and prepare the necessary infrastructure that can enable an effective implementation of such a plan.
i. Initiation of reforms in governmental systems that will hopefully reduce corruption and help to establish a safe society within towns, cities, border points, roads and everywhere in the country.

In conclusion, my message to fellow citizens of South Sudan is:
Let us stand-up together, strong with joint hands to be able to bring our assuming politicians truly and effectively to account for their actions. The people know what they want and will lay down the ground rules for good governance.

Let us together regain control and direction of our destiny as a people and country. There is neither room nor time to allow the hijacking of our destiny.

Let us reject tyrannical systems and instead work to establish a system that best serves and suits the people’s interest and needs not that of the politicians.

South Sudan urgently needs a system that is capable of ensuring true social justice, stability, equal participation, peace, development and prosperity for all now and for the coming generations.

Federico Vuni Awi
Leader, The Labour Party South Sudan –

Pres. Kiir’s SPLM govt isn’t democratically elected


I was browsing through the Sudan Tribune website and my eyes caught an article, ‘South Sudan vows strong ties with neighbouring countries’ (Sudan Tribune 22nd January 2014). Reading it I was livid and after few minutes I realised where my anger stemmed from. It was the lies of SPLM/A and this time it came from Mr. Peter Bashir Gbandi, the deputy minister of foreign affairs of republic of South Sudan.

“Our people and the leadership therefore expect the international community to live by the universally accepted principles and obligations to stand by the democratically elected government. The international community needs to show fairness and come out to accept and condemn attempt to overthrow the legitimate government.” This is Gbandi roaring to mobilise the international community.

This language of deceit is disturbing and sickening. It is something that stirs the inner soul of people who truly care about South Sudan.

The mendacity of this SPLM government perpetuated by its officials like the one above by Gbandi does not bode well for the future of the country.

It is about time that the world is appropriately informed that the government of president Kiir which is SPLM led is not “democratically elected” as vigorously trumpeted. It is an SPLM/A manufactured regime at the time when South Sudanese were gripped with euphoria of independence.

First of all, there has never been any election held in the republic of South Sudan since its birth on 9th July 2011. The SPLM with its leader president Kiir just forced themselves on the people of South Sudan fraudulently claiming to be democratically elected.

The only election that the SPLM contested in its entire life was that of April 2010 in which it massively rigged itself into power. Crucially, this election was organised under the Government of National Unity of the then Sudan where president Kiir was the vice president of president Bashir as provided for under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

It must be emphasised that this election was held well before the break up of the Sudan. The mandate given to president Kiir by that election was to oversee the referendum which was held from 9th to 15th January 2011 resulting in the people of South Sudan choosing to secede.

Therefore, Kiir’s mandate as an elected president of South Sudan in the Sudan came to an end with break up of the Sudan. When South Sudan seceded on 9th July 2011, technically and legally SPLM/A under Kiir just assumed power without any mandate from the people of South Sudan.

Worse still, Kiir assembled the parliament whimsically by personally appointing 66 members who were rejected by the people in the April 2010 election in addition to those members of national parliament in Khartoum and the legislative assembly in Juba.

Politely, how could this dictatorial behaviour be democratic and how could it be claimed as the choice of the people? Could these rejected and appointed MPs be considered as a choice of the people?

Are they not to all intent and purpose choice of the dictatorial president only against the will of the people? Is this type of practice compatible with the claims of Peter Gbandi?

South Sudan is at a critical juncture and the truth needs to be spelt out. The country can not afford to be reconstructed on a foundation based on a tissue of a lie.

The country imploded in December 2013 because all along everybody including the international community wanted to believe in the untruth told by the SPLM/A.

Now the cost in terms of human resource, social relationship and other materials is colossal. What a waste! And this is down to the country being left in the hands of the “idiots rotten to the core.”

SPLM/A cunningly fooled the world to believe that it is a democratically elected government. It is not, if anything it is a self installed government responsible for everything going on wrong in the country.

It imposed itself on the people and it is not a choice or will of the people as asserted by SPLM officials.

IGAD as a regional organisation got duped and believed that president Kiir’s government is democratically elected. It should have known better.

Unfortunately IGAD paraded its ignorance when in response to the crisis in country it swung behind president Kiir.

“IGAD leaders at the summit in Nairobi have meanwhile condemned any attempts to seize power by force in South Sudan. ‘We in IGAD will not accept the constitutional overthrow of a democratically elected government in South Sudan,’

In declaring its stance, president Kenyatta of Kenya representing IGAD in confidence gave credence to a regime that was neither democratically elected nor does it practice democracy.

This was sad because this unexpected support buoyed president Kiir in his ethnic cleansing taking place in the country at the time. Here IGAD and especially president Museveni of Uganda were and are completely wrong in believing the authorities of South Sudan.

To jump to the aid of someone committing grave crimes against his own people than to side with the victims is something that morally demeans the standing not of IGAD only but Africa wholly.

The same “universally accepted principles and obligations” that they base their defence of president Kiir on are in fact the same principles that require and prioritise international intervention on the side of the victims of tyranny.

To understand this point better, just peruse the discourse around Western intervention in Iraq, former Yugoslavia, Libya and the ongoing tussle around intervention in Syria.

The principle is simple. Where there is tyranny and stifling of democracy intervention morally must be to throw out the abusive regime and not to prop it as in the convoluted case of IGAD and South Sudan.

Even if the government of South Sudan were to be a democratically elected government, the fact that it had become undemocratic and totalitarian engaged in ethnic cleansing of its own people, it must be removed by all means available to save lives and enable an establishment of a just humane government.

This is what the literature says as well as the practice in relation to intervention. For instance, the cases referred to above demonstrates this fact.

IGAD whether by design or ignorance failed to adopt the right moral principle in its intervention in South Sudan. But all is not lost, especially now that both president Kiir and Riek Machar are making an effort to resolve matters.

For a start, IGAD should review its stance and adopt the right moral position. It should not listen to agents of the government of South Sudan without properly checking their stories out.

For instance, IGAD should not listen to deputy minister Peter Gbandi’s bravado asking for their lie to be believed. Forceful speak like, “The international community needs to show fairness and come out to accept and condemn attempt to overthrow the legitimate government” should be brushed aside with demands for concrete evidence.

Gbandi needs to be told firmly that the government of South Sudan is not a democratically elected government and there has not been an attempted coup in the country to condemn. Gbandi and coterie have told so many lies to the extent that they now believe in their own lies.

It is up to them to face the reality and accept their abuse of government structures to promote ethnic (Jieng) hegemony.

Secondly, IGAD now has a chance to right the wrong it has done to the people of South Sudan (when it militarily and diplomatically sided with president Kiir, an ethnic cleanser and an abuser of human rights) while pretending that it is a neutral player.

IGAD should not think that South Sudanese are blind and can not see through the façade. Through its biasness, IGAD knowingly or unknowingly set back the march of Africa as a continent to a bright democratic future.

If IGAD is to salvage its reputation in the South Sudanese community and the wider African space, it needs to be seen to be fair in its coming mediation role in Addis Ababa.

As for South Sudanese there are two suggestions. The decimal behaviour of IGAD should spur reflection on South Sudanese membership of this body and its application to join the East African Community. Perhaps it is time for South Sudan to step on the brakes to allow proper debate.

President Kiir obviously would be happy to continue with the status quo but the future government should thoroughly review South Sudanese membership of these organisations.

South Sudan perhaps would be better off adopting policies and stance like Switzerland and Norway in Europe than being a member of institutions deficient of democratic values and commitment to moral justice.

SPLM/A as a party and the ruling party has abused the government and people of South Sudan for three decades. Its governance has never provided any direction or hope for a brighter future. The latest episode of ethnic cleansing is too much to stomach.

Neither Kiir nor Riek is competent to run the country. After all they have both been misruling South Sudan since 2005 until July 2013.

Together they oversaw unprecedented looting of state resources. Together they oversaw the repression of opinion writers and journalists. Together they oversaw the oppression of South Sudanese people.

Their only point of disagreement is on who should manage the “rotten to the core” SPLM/A. Even in their disagreement, the SPLM/A set the country ablaze with tenth of thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives in ethnic cleansing.

What the people of South Sudan need in the coming national dialogue is a transitional government of national unity.

Please see, ‘South Sudan Academics Letter to Donald Booth: Resolution to Current Crisis’

Should the national dialogue fail to agree on a transitional government of national unity, then a referendum should be done to determine what the people want in the interim.

With all the mess that have happened in South Sudan from 2005 to date, president Kiir and the SPLM have forfeited their right to govern and they should not be allowed to further mismanage the country. President Kiir must go.

In conclusion, SPLM has been allowed to shape the reality of South Sudan based on lies to its liking because the people have not challenged it.

The mendacity such as the one invoked by Mr. Gbandi here unfortunately has convinced certain quarters in the international community like Uganda to the extent that it received military and diplomatic support to pursue ethnic cleansing.

Now they are working hard to amplify this lie to consolidate themselves after the cessation of hostilities agreement to remain in power.

No! That is unacceptable. South Sudan needs a complete political overhaul. The coming national dialogue should not accept the mendacity of SPLM/A that it is a democratically elected government and therefore it has a mandate to rule until 2015.

No, they do not have that mandate. They manufactured that mandate for themselves and because of what they have done to the country they have forfeited their right to rule.

What is needed now is a transitional government to shape the future of the country as articulated by Professor Laura Nyantung Beny and Dr Mairi Blacking.
{Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

From Nationalism to Tribonationalism: A Question to Abushery & Luk Dak

BY: Kuir ë Garang (Author, Poet), CANADA, JAN/26/2014, SSN;

“The world has a moral obligation to see to it that Benny Salva Kiir is indicted for crimes against humanity,” Luk Dak and Daniel Abushery wrote in their recent article, Indict Mr. Salva Kiir Mayardit, published on South Sudan News Agency (SSNA) website. I wished they’d add Riek Machar next to President Kiir.

What worries me the most in regard to the current crisis in South Sudan isn’t the slaughter of innocent civilians in all corners of South Sudan.

Indeed, my main worry is what this tragedy has done to people of good intellect and conscience; people who could stop such massacres in the future.

I’ve seen people I greatly admired lose their cool and reduce themselves to itsy bitsy of tribal demagogues or even careless firebrands.

This means that another tragedy is most likely to happen in the future given the mindlessness of our intelligentsia, young intellectuals and the would-be leadership of South Sudan.

I read that tribally-charged article (SSNA- January 24, 2014) written by the above mentioned individuals and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

These two individuals are some of the finest writers in South Sudan. Unfortunately, the current tragedy has reduced them to tribonationalists of their former nationalist selves.

I’m responding because I respect these two writers enormously. Their role should be to devise ways in which we can make trust-building possible instead of being short-sighted and divisive.

One can understand their level of anger and emotive suffocation they are experiencing given the massacre of innocent Nuer civilians in Juba between December 15 and December 18. There’s so much for them to be angry for and to call for president Kiir to be indicted for war crimes.

No right-minded South Sudanese wouldn’t condemn the deaths of innocent Nuer civilians in Juba. I’ve written extensively about it on different South Sudanese news sites and on social media front.

Hear it from me again! The massacre of Nuer civilians in Juba is an undeniable fact!

However, I have to note something here because our future depends on it: the danger of hypocrisy. There is truly a need to bring ALL perpetrators of the massacres to account.

However, there’s also a need to be truthful in what we write and say. There’s so much hypocrisy going around. I didn’t expect this level of hypocrisy from the likes of Luk Dak.

I get it, there are mindless Jiëëng people, who only talk about the massacres of their Jiëëng people and deny the Juba Massacre of Nuer civilians.

I’ve condemned this tribonationalist attitude several times. And this is the same unfortunate, myopic attitude Luk and Daniel are encouraging!

What’s happening in South Sudan isn’t an apocalypse. It’s a national tragedy that’ll come to pass. Why are we behaving like this is the end of the world? How about tomorrow?

Do tragedies kill our intellective and logical selves? To encourage Nuer Tribonationalism is to disrespect the massacred Nuer in Juba!

Why couldn’t Luk and Daniel acknowledge all the massacres committed in South Sudan? Why this level of hypocrisy from distinguished South Sudanese writers?

Why are they exploiting this unfortunate issue instead of prescribing methods that can help us live in peace and harmony? Who’s going to hold South Sudan together if thinkers and intellectuals withdraw into their tribal shells?

“What we really need at this juncture is for all of the Nuer people to move back to our homeland. We don’t need to be in Equatorian’s land, or the Dinka land for that matter. We have enough land and resources of our own. So let’s go back to Akobo, to Bantiu, to Fangak, and to Nasir, knowing that this nightmare will somehow come to an end,” Luk and Daniel wrote.

This is certainly simple-minded and dangerously ignorant. Is this the South Sudan these esteemed South Sudanese want?

How about other suffering South Sudanese?

Are Luk and Daniel blind in regard to the massacres of Jiëëng people in Akobo, Bentiu and the town of Bor? Are Luk and Daniel insensitive to the women killed in the church in the town of Bor, the rape and the killing of the sick and elderly in the hospital in Bor?

Are Luk and Daniel blind to the utter destruction in Bor and the Nuer tribonationalists writings on the building walls in the town of Bor?

Disregarding the suffering of others is antithetical to any call for peace! Do these gentlemen know that?

I’ve lost relatives in this tragedy including an aunt who was killed with the women in the church. The people of my county, the Twi County of Jonglei have suffered severely from Lou Nuer and Gaweer raids and massacres.

However, as a person with a national duty, I still believe we have to remain objective and stick to the facts that can help bridge the divide.

1991 Riek’s and Lam’s defection destroyed my home area but no one was held accountable. We still forgave one another and moved on.

We can speak for our people, I understand; however, we shouldn’t turn a blind eye on the suffering of others.

The two gentlemen didn’t send a message of condolence to all the dead civilians and acknowledge the displaced residents of the town of Bor and the Bor County generally. Is that the call for peace?

I do believe Kiir as the president needs to answer adequately for the deaths of Nuer in Juba. However, it’s too simplistic and erroneous to say that Kiir ordered the massacres of Nuer in Juba. Daniel and Luk are smart enough to know that.

It’s no doubt President Kiir hates Riek Machar with passion, however, to say that President Kiir hates Nuer people and that he wanted to wipe them out is a mindless sensationalism and hate-mongering that should have no place in South Sudan.

Kiir is a weak and incompetent leader. We know that. Kiir has, inadvertently, allowed Nuer to be butchered under his watch. But that gives no one of us any reason to be blind to the suffering of others and fuel more hatred and bloodshed.

“Don’t get us wrong, we are not war mongers, instigators for revenge or for continuation of this horror; we are peace loving people asking those who are still serving under a tyrant and thuggery regime to quit before it’s too late,” the two gentlemen wrote.

Seriously! This is where I lose hope in South Sudan. Everything in the article is about Nuer suffering and how Nuer in the government should quit and how Nuer should retreat to their homeland…blah blah…!

Does that sound like a call for peace and togetherness? Can Daniel and Luk mention to me one sentence in the article that honestly negates their tribonationalist myopia and divisiveness?

Why do we blame President Kiir if this is the best our intellectuals can do? Given the fact that they’ve intentionally ignored the suffering of Jiëëng and focus on the massacre of Nuer, wouldn’t they do to Jiëëng civilians what Kiir’s forces did to Nuer if they were in position of authority?

How are the two gentlemen different from other mindless warmongers and tribalists?

And to add insult to injury, and to really prove that they are calling for more blood-bath, the two writers didn’t mention a single condemnation of Riek Machar and the atrocities committed by ‘white army’ in the article.

So the gentlemen think that killing of women in the church, the killing and rape of the sick and elderly in the hospital in the town of Bor shouldn’t be condemned because the victims are not Nuer?

Who’s to be held accountable in the gentlemen’s opinion? Kiir?

Shouldn’t Riek Machar as the leader of rebellion be held accountable?

Of course they are Nuer triboationalists and only the suffering of Nuer makes sense to them? Were the two gentlemen like this all along or was this tragedy too strong for them to remain logical and nationalistic?

I know Riek Machar didn’t start this tragedy. He was forced into it given the facts we know. However, he supported a rebellion that caused senseless deaths, suffering and destruction.

This same suffering happened in 1991 and no one was held accountable. It happened again in 2013/14. And the two gentlemen are silent on it.

I’m deeply worried about South Sudan. I agree President Kiir MUST GO, but not through the barrel of the gun, gentlemen!

Kuir ë Garang (Author, Poet)

The Political Significance of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement


In a matter of two weeks, South Sudan was at the edge of the apocalypse. The insanity that continues in many places to date negates completely the spirit of solidarity and unity of purpose South Sudanese demonstrated to world on January 9th 2011 and which reverberated on July 9th at independence.

This horrible development forces on each of us to lower head in shame in the same manner our fellow citizens quickly identified themselves as American, British, Canadian, German and Australians to enable them get into the planes evacuating foreigners.

No situation remains the same. The insanity was bound to end somehow. The people of South Sudan were encouraged by the news emanating from Addis Ababa that the parties to the conflict had initialled the agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities.

My first reaction is that this was a significant breakthrough and we commend the IGAD Mediators. It is a step towards unravelling the underlying political difficulties in the SPLM. However, like any other political agreements, the test lies in the implementation.

A priori, three factors work against any meaningful results.

1. President Museveni of Uganda through his numerous statements on the internal situation in South Sudan has declared his intention to defeat Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of the SPLM Opposition. This has weakened IGAD as a neutral broker in the conflict.

President Museveni has troops deployed in South Sudan especially in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. He has military transport planes and helicopter gunships in South Sudan and two weeks may not be enough for him to withdraw his forces, if he obliged.

The question of who will foot the bill of Ugandan intervention may make Museveni to drag his feet or completely refuse to recognise the agreement on Cessation of Hostilities. This creates a condition for Bashir to intervene and complicate the whole process.

2. President Salva Kiir lacks political good will and may develop cold feet and delay the implementation of the agreement by insisting on his discredited story of a coup as a ploy to keep detaining the SPLM political leaders.

Salva Kiir is not that leader who swallows his pride. He knows that releasing the eleven detained political leaders would be a boast for Riek Machar and the SPLM Opposition.

President Salva Kiir may be afraid of the people around him who pushed him into this situation. He may try to twist the hands of IGAD Mediators to delay the implementation until he and Museveni complete their project of retaking all the ground from under the feet of Riek Machar.

3. The third and the most dangerous factor is the bitterness and urge of vengeance expressed by many Nuers, some of who witnessed the massacres in Juba. The danger with this stems from the likelihood of disobeying the orders of Riek Machar.

It is a fact that the rebellion of Peter Gadet (Bor) and James Koang (Bentiu) were spontaneous in response to the massacres in Juba. Dr. Riek Machar did not order them and even when he assumed the leadership, Riek Machar knew that these military officers acted on their own. Similarly, the White Army (jiech mabour) acted with their hearts rather than minds.

Assuming that the Monitoring and Verification Teams (MVT) will be set up and the implementation of the agreement precedes according to the letter and spirit then definitely the IGAD Mediation process shifts to tackling underlying political causes. This will by no means be simple.

The SPLM has always been the problem to the point I said sometimes ago that the SPLM must be saved from itself before it plunged South Sudan into the abyss.

The problem of the SPLM stems from its history of extreme militarism and lack of political ideology and organization. ‘Militarism’ is what military action degenerates into when envisaged and executed outside the context of its political purpose, to paraphrase Debray. The history of the SPLM/SPLA reveals the astounding reality of dissociating the military and political functions that has now led to the mutilation of both institutions. This led to a distortion of its development trajectory as a national liberation movement.

The lack of political ideology and organization registered in the failure to build democratic institutions in the SPLM reflected in dysfunctionality of the SPLM led government of South Sudan since 2005.

The SPLM adopted archaic ideology, which promoted Dinka ethnic dominance and hegemony in all aspects of social, economic and political life of the country. Promoting ethnic ideology in a modern state constitute a serious contradiction and this explains the SPLM failure to build accountable instruments of governance since 2005.

The tragic death of Dr. John Garang in 2005 at a time the SPLM had just thrust itself onto unfamiliar domain of governing compounded the predicament of South Sudan. What we saw on January 9th, 2011 could not, seriously speaking, be counted on the political work of the SPLM. The people demonstrated their anger with north Sudan and therefore voted to become independent.

The SPLM under the leadership of General Salva Kiir Mayardit failed in nine years to stamp its vision on the reality of South Sudan. It was a leadership style very close to his village in Akon and conditioned by the ethnic/clan politics, in which ethnic and clan leadership took centre stage in the affairs of the state.

For the first time in the SPLM, we heard of ‘Bahr el Ghazal elders’ making a ring around Salva Kiir’s leadership of South Sudan. In this respect, Dr. John Garang was an angel because he surrounded himself with South Sudanese people from all walks of life even the then Bor Mafia found it difficult to influence things in Garang’s court.

Salva Kiir’s leadership configuration was the very unmaking of South Sudan. It clipped the SPLM wings preventing its transformation from a liberation movement to a progressive political party.

The government of South Sudan operated without programme and clear objectives. The only means of institutionalization was ethnic or regional. We would hear of serious crimes committed and yet nobody brought to books especially if the culprits hailed from Dinka Rek of Gogrial and Awiel.

President Salva Kiir’s zero tolerance to corruption stopped when it came nearer home. The President surrounded himself with people from his home turf who virtually transformed South Sudan into a limited liability enterprise, which informalized the state institutions to facilitate the looting of its resources.

President Salva Kiir’s leadership of South Sudan conditioned by the menagerie politics of Dinka Rek animals of Gogrial and Awiel (Awan, Agwok, Apuk and Kuach) was bound to generate serious problems. The current civil strife is a proof that this leadership has a narrow base and therefore cannot meet the aspiration of all the people of South Sudan.

This brings me to the question of ‘what should be done’ to get the country moving again. What pops up is the intricacy of the situation, which tells us that we require multi-layered solutions, and that we should stop thinking ‘inside the box’.

First, although the underlying political contradictions were essentially internal to the SPLM only that now it acquired a national dimension, which renders it doubtful to resolve in the context of maintaining the status quo.

Perhaps had President Salva Kiir not resorted to military action on December 15th, 2013, the then political discourse within the SPLM would have resulted in a peaceful split into two factions. That stage has been overtaken by the violence and mass killings.

Secondly, any thinking along the lines of holding the election in 2015 is not realistic. It would mean restarting afresh the conflict ended by the agreement on cessation of hostilities.

South Sudan will remain in state of conflict unless something radical is constructed. This radical something must factor in the international context of South Sudan.

South Sudan became independent under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter vide UN Security Council Resolution 1966 of July 8, 2011. In a space of two years, the fragile state slided into anarchy and chaos, making its failure almost complete.

There is no national army; what we have are ethnic troops. The state institutions of governance and law and order including the Judiciary have lost their national character. The internal legitimacy of the state has been challenged and this automatically affects its sovereignty.

To salvage the country we need to think outside the box. There would be need to forgo sovereignty for a period of five years during which the sovereignty of South Sudan reverts to UN stewardship under revamped UNMISS mandate. This would require deployment of a huge multinational UN force to undertake the complete disarmament of the armies and the civil population.

In the five years period, establish government of technocrats and professional with the assistance of some African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, etc.

This government of technocrats under the stewardship of the UN to be tasked with reconstruction of South Sudanese state and to establish its institutions of governance:

• Build a new depoliticized and professional new army comprising all the ethnic communities of South Sudan and imbued with national values of patriotism;
• Build a depoliticized, professional new police force and security organs;
• Build a professional depoliticized civil service;
• Build professional and depoliticized local government very close to the people;
• Build the physical infrastructure or roads, schools, hospitals, electricity and hydroelectric power generation; undertake extensive political education and enlightenment to raise the social awareness and political consciousness that in five years the citizen in South Sudan is informed of their rights and responsibilities;
• Build a robust economy developing and exploiting the vast natural resources of South Sudan especially in agriculture, livestock, forestry, fisheries, etc;
• Build the necessary political infrastructure in terms of procedures, regulations and laws that guide the organization and action of political parties.

These are points for discussion, which require further research. Many people are very hostile to the idea of sovereignty reverting to the UN but they cannot provide answers for unlocking the situation posed by the existence of a failed state and the ongoing civil war in the country.

I believe the oil revenue could be used to fund the process, which emphasizes accountability and transparency in the use of these resources to create accountable system of government. At least it would be better than continued strife and the emerging situation of war of all against all.

Peter Adwok Nyaba
Juba, January 25th, 2014

The Responsibility for South Sudan’s current turmoil: It’s Solution

BY: Bol Khan, JUBA, JAN/24/2014, SSN;

Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) of East Africa and International Community shouldn’t waste their energies, resources and their time by calling upon Salva Kiir’s genocidal Government to do what again! Solution or what? To me any organization or individual who still expects solution to come from Salva Kiir doesn’t understand my President. Or it might be someone who didn’t follow up what President Kiir had been doing right from January 2013 up to Sunday the 15 Dec, 2013.

Can any solution come out of Kiir’s mind? Who can tell me? How? Shouldn’t it be good enough for Salva Kiir as a country Administrator to have had incited a saying: Prevent is better than cure? All South Sudanese, the whole world’s professors, Church leaders, Veteran Political Leaders, Experts, Activists, Journalists and Writers have been calling upon him (Kiir) to find solution to SPLM’s internal crisis democratically.

All became in vain! The author personally had written several articles on how today’s turmoil could be prevented by President Kiir. Instead, the President was just issuing and signing fatal Decrees almost every day, in the National Government level, Party Level, dissolved the party structures simply because he didn’t want to see Dr. Riek Machar together with his colleagues (the detained ones) in the party.

He wants them annihilated politically for good. So what had happened on 15th Dec. 2013 wasn’t a coup attempt, but it was a ploy masterminded by Kiir Mayar!! Those who might have been in Juba last year would be in full agreement with me.

That postponed SPLM’s national convention from March 2013, was the very ploy. It was the same ploy that led President Kiir recruit personal Militia from his Bahr El Gahzal’s Warrap state. It was that ploy which forced-retired those SPLA Officers whom he (Kiir) perceived as Riek’s loyalists.

It was the ploy which removed Eng. Chol Tong Mayay as Lakes State Governor, a pro-democracy. The ploy which stripped the delegated powers of Dr. Riek! Mr. Taban Deng Gai former Unity State Governor was also removed on the same ground.

It was the ploy which deployed SPLA against the people in and around Juba on 23th July, 2013. The ploy that removed Riek from Vice President (where the futile president started mixed up Party and Government issues).

President Kiir made it crystal clear on Independence Day 9th July 2013. The SPLM’s Chairmanship! It was the same ploy that suspended, removed unlawfully Mr. Pagan Amum and put him under house arrest, banned him to air no word to the press.

The same ploy pronounced by the President Kiir: SPLM’s structure has dissolved itself alone with exception of Chairman’s office. I would want one of his Excellency’s believers to vindicate how a party could dissolve itself alone without affecting Chairman’s office.

The same spirit turned down Church Leaders’ appeal to give reconciliation a chance among two SPLM groups “between” 6th-14 Dec, 2013.

The same ploy tried to disarm Nuer elements in the Presidential Guards on 15th Dec, 2013. President Kiir thinks, the ploy has been successfully completed, when he arrested those eleven SPLM Leaders.

To be frank, Kiir wanted to have had Riek Machar arrested and killed. But, when he failed to arrest Riek, he scapegoats the case and says “a coup attempt” has been made by Riek instead of saying “Awan Chan’s Government has failed to arrest & kill Riek,” which has been the core of this plan (Decrees).

Now, that party (SPLM) issue has shifted from Riek Machar’s SPLM group to one ethnic group, the Nuer. About, 200-300 Nuer people were massacred in one of the police stations in Juba. A preliminary result of that massacre is now 20,000 (twenty thousand) Nuer people in Juba. The killing continues.

So, issues have now become two: 1. Kiir-Riek issue in the SPLM party, Nuer ethnic group has nothing to do about this. 2. Kiir-Nuer issue— the killing of over twenty thousand Nuer ethnic group by his (Kiir) militias, including his supporters; Riek Machar has nothing to do about this.

The latter becomes an issue between Salva Kiir and Nuer people. Therefore, this ethnic group, the Nuer, knows now who killed them. Protection of Nuer civilians by the UNMISS, now develops a fragile relation between Kiir Government and UN.

Government wants the remnants of Juba Massacre, who are seeking protection in UNMISS compounds to come out and/or kill them secretly, should they reached their homes.

One of Kiir’s Generals wrote: President Kiir, was democratically elected, so he (Kiir) has right to do whatever he wants to do; not excluding the killing. A elected President of Southern Sudan Government (GoSS) or Republic of South Sudan (RSS)? Get it right please, otherwise. You want to kill in the name of elected Government.

Mr. Michael Makuei (a Minister of confrontations) wanted to start it officially in Bor on 19th Jan, 2014, when he tried to enter into the compound with RPGs, PKMs and riffles.

Perceptively, is there anything (solution) we should have still expected; a President Kiir can do for us (South Sudanese)? Do you think President Kiir will ever translate into action what we fought for over the last fifty years?

Do you think Salva Kiir will accept Federal system of governance in South Sudan? Is it your belief that President Salva will separate military (Army) from politics and establish a national Army that is not affiliated to any political party? Warrap state—drawn based militia?

Who still believes that Kiir will one day understand people’s rights in South Sudan?

Do you think James Wani Igga, if ever he expresses need to become SPLM’s Chairman today, would continue to be Salva Kiir’s Vice President?

Can you categorically explain to the author, that a notion of “we’re born to rule” designed against Riek Machar alone?

Do you think the massacre of unarmed Nuer civilians in Juba and across South Sudan will: (a) Make Nuer to bow/sit in front of Salva Kiir? (b) Bring stability in the country especially in Awan Chan’s Government? That Nuer are killed/defeated for good!! (c) Make Nuer to cease seeking freedom for all South Sudanese?

Do you believe that South Sudan will again be a united country under Kiir Mayardit? Are you optimistic, Nimule Town in Eastern Equatoria will be Ma’adi’s, in years to come if..?

Do you think the killers of Engineer John Luis, Isaiah Abraham…etc shall be revealed by the government of RSS headed by Salva Kiir?

Does Kiir’s Government still maintain its legitimacy after Juba Massacre?

After this situation we are in now, where country population receives threats from its own government? Where, an Army has been divided by the President based on ethnic lines, following a silent killing staged by Awan Chan SPLA’s elements against their colleagues? Where a lot of civil servants have already resigned?

This silence killing was started in the sitting room of Benydit Kiir Mayar. Lt. Col. Diu Gai, a second guide of Beny Kiir Mayar’s special guards was dragged out in Kiir’s house and killed just some few meters away from the house. Col. James Bamom, also a Nuer, was killed on date 15 Dec, 2013, in the evening after he bravely participated in pushing away the renegades Tiger members from the military barrack in Juba. Many more examples are there.

Finally, Salva Kiir’s ploy of having all his political rivals in the SPLM detained, country ruined, Nuer massacred, etc has partly succeeded. So, the overall responsibility of these messes will be his.

However, Salva Kiir himself won’t bring even a partial solution to our current crisis in the country. The only solution to end this turmoil is…..or to say enough is enough. Kiir must go now!! Because he is no longer a legitimate President!

The author is a witness to all processes of President Kiir’s ploy and a survivor of Juba Massacre—where over (38,000 Nuer are believed to have been massacred or missing). He can be reached on

Stop Killing Nuer and talking nonsense, Pres. Kiir

BY: Peter Gai Manyuon, RSS, JAN/24/2014, SSN;

President Kiir had been the President of South Sudan for nearly a decade, and the way he was leading people lacks intellectual dynamism, good capacity of reasoning or analyzing issues of the national interest not individuals wills that had destroyed the destiny and the integrity of the South Sudanese through the way he has been advocating for tribalism, corruption, breaking rule of law and human rights in South Sudan.

Above all, his education background had been too low; many people have regarded him as very shallow minded in intellectual world globally. Instead for him to seek for good advice from well informed persons, he is just being mis-advised by a fake legal adviser whose qualification was not recognized by the legislative last year in 2013.

What a nation? God Almighty, rescue my people from darkness.

I don’t mind whether some people will take my article wrongly, but in my nature as a person, I’m ever open and will still remain like that no matter what other people will think about me. The bible says, “Tell the truth and you will be set free”. If we don’t tell the facts that are happening on the ground, who will come from heaven and begin advocating on our behalf?

My role is to advocate for the voiceless and condemn the violations of human rights that had been happening in South Sudan under the primitive and disorganized government I ever seen on earth.

To come to the point, yesterday 21th of January 2014 there was a statement from the President of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit where he said UNMISS is running a parallel government in South Sudan, which people globally have viewed as a desperate speech ever and others term it as an indication of preaching tribalism and hatred among the South Sudanese people.

How can persons with guns be allowed to enter United Nation Mission (UNMISS) Compound in South Sudan? Have Kiir and Makuei Lueth forgotten the genocide they have committed to the Nuer in Juba?

However, the number of intellectuals, youth, women, girls and elderly people who were killed for no good reason in Juba from the 16th, 17th, 18th of December 2013, by soldiers loyal to Kiir, their blood will liberate the South Sudanese from dictatorial tendencies, tribalism, selfishness, corruption within this year 2014 based on my own perception and prediction.

For those who were in Juba the capital city of the Republic of South Sudan when Nuer were massacred, they will not deny the fact that Kiir Mayardit, killed those who voted for him in 2010 elections wrongly without basis.

They were killed due to the fact that they were Nuer and the man who opposed Kiir in Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) was a Nuer, which is a very wrong perception to advocate for, unless those who are having mental disorder can say those ill advices.

Not all Nuer that are supporters of Dr Machar in South Sudan, the reasons behind their killings need good investigation and those responsible to be charged for treason for giving the order to the soldiers, that have led to the killing or elimination of one tribe in South Sudan, which to me cannot happen in that way.

I was very confused on the 17th of December of 2013 in Juba when I was captured in my house in Juba, when soldiers took me with my brothers.

There were people (Dinka) lined up in Jebel Kujur Market just looking at the people who were killed and the people like us who were captured alive due to the wrong ideology that was in some Dinka minds that Nuer want the leadership by force which is not the case, others were celebrating throwing words that were inciting violence.

When my hands were tied behind, people were saying Nuer people should see with their own eyes why they support Dr Machar always?

When I heard that, I asked the person who was saying that word, I asked him who told him that all Nuer are the supporters of Riek Machar?

I also assured him of not provoking the situation in the Country, because the Republic of South Sudan should not and will not belong to one particular tribe, there are almost 62 tribes or more.

However, looking at the way innocent lives were sent to heaven by Kiir Loyalists, raping Nuer girls and women, forcing people to eat human flesh, taking civilians properties like Cars and many more in Juba because of the name Nuer, will lead to the end of the regime in Juba.

Who can say, those who were killed might not call for the immediate death of some leaders in South Sudan? Who can say, their death was good in Nuer society?

In conclusion, it is our participation through advocacy that will let us free from Constitutional crisis, tribalism, nepotism and too much corruption that is happening in the Republic of South Sudan.

Therefore, I will end with the quotation which says, “you cannot blame the mirror when your face is distorted” from Rick Warren; therefore President Kiir should not kill Nuer and he still call himself the President of South Sudan and also he should not blame people of fighting his dictatorial tendencies.

The author is the Independent Journalist and a writer who had written extensively on the issues of Democratization and Human Rights in South Sudan. You can contact him though; He holds Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Media from Uganda and perusing MA in International Relations and Diplomacy, he is writing a book on tribalism and corruption in South Sudan. You can follow him on tweeter @Peter G Manyuon and face book as well.

Why are the Dinka and Nuer Killing Each Other in South Sudan?

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, GERMANY, JAN/23/2014, SSN;

Couple days ago I was invited to a German Public Radio (Radio Bayern) to discuss current armed violence in South Sudan. The dominant current perception of the conflict in public discourse around the world is that South Sudan is suffering from an ethnic conflict between the two dominant tribes, the Dinka and the Nuer. Most Germans too are convinced to the effect. This served as the premise or the underlying assumption of the program anchor.

She specifically asked me to discuss the ethnic dimension of the conflict and the role played by cultural issues such as cattle rearing and farming in the violence. Her audience is primarily composed of lay Germans with little historical background of South Sudan, which meant I was asked to give some concrete examples and discuss the conflict in a non-technical language that is easily communicable to her audience as possible.

The first question she raised was for me to introduce myself and my social location in ethnic terms, including the cultural traits of my tribe. In response I presented my social location as a Bari by tribe and that I come from Juba, which is the Capital City of South Sudan. The Bari ethnic group I noted is the fourth largest tribe in South Sudan after the Dinka, the Nuer and the Azande.

The Azande and the Bari lead a composition of different ethnic groups collectively referred to as Equatorians. The common cultural feature of the Equatorians is that they are mostly sedentary communities, who farm their ancestral lands and grow many unique tropical crops and fruits. However some Equatorians such as some members of the Bari ethnic group also keep cattle in addition to farming.

This is the case for instance with my relatives in my village located just several miles north of Juba International Airport. And one can also visibly see this in the Mundari tribe just further north. The Mundari tribe is a subset of the Bari ethnic group.

By contrast the Dinka and the Nuer spearhead another (non-Equatorian) segment of the social and cultural composition of South Sudan commonly known as the Nilotic ethnic groups. But there are also Nilotics in Equatoria, such as the Acholi community.

The dominant cultural feature of the Nilotics is their mobility and cattle-keeping, though some also till the ground and grow crops. However, the Dinka and the Nuer are known for seasonal migration straddling vast space of land mainly in search of pasture and drinking water for their cattle.

Because cattle play a central cultural role in the Dinka and Nuer communities, they are popularly known to be adept at keeping and maintaining cattle.

For instance during the civil war the cattle camp of my relatives was mainly managed by members of Dinka who were displaced from their villages to Juba by the civil war. It was believed that cattle multiply faster when a cattle-camp is managed by members from one of the two ethnic groups, the Dinka or the Nuer. The Dinka and Nuer are known to be good at aiding and abetting the cattle reproduction process (don’t ask me how)!

This was one example of inter-communal peaceful coexistence. The Dinka members who managed our cattle-camp had unlimited access to milk as well as getting paid in kind or through receiving a quota from the farm harvest such as a bag of groundnuts, corn or sorghum. It was a win-win situation.

On the question of why the Dinka and Nuer are now fighting in South Sudan, I explained that the current violence is a result of long simmering leadership struggle in the ruling party, the Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) mainly between the incumbent president Salva Kiir who also doubles as the Chair of the party and his first deputy, Dr. Riek Machar Teny who also held the vice-presidential post in South Sudan until his removal by Salva in a government reshuffle last July, 2013.

Contrary to the pervasive media representation that reduces the conflict to violent ethnic clash between the Dinka and the Nuer, I reiterated that this was not the whole story. I used a metaphor of an Onion where I noted that it takes several layers to peel to arrive to the heart of the Onion.

I argued the conflict must be seen that way. The ethnic dimension is just one layer. However, it is equally false to suggest that the rapid violent transmutation of the conflict across ethnic lines is embedded in some ancient ethnic hatred. A prominent German anthropologist interviewed for the same occasion seems to hold this view.

He held that the Dinka and Nuer always fought each other. For the Professor one of the reasons for this phenomenon is because of competing interests. Similar ethnic groups, he observed which the Dinka and the Nuer are often fight each other, because they compete over similar demands.

I agree with the Professor. Conflicts are inevitable wherever identity groups share a geographic space or whenever people interact. They are part of life even between siblings in one family. Conflicts between Dinka and Nuer are no exception.

This is particularly true when it is widely acknowledged that the two tribes are “war-like people” as the professor noted and as I have previously observed elsewhere. But I disagree with the notion of ancient ethnic hatred as purportedly driving these inter-ethnic conflicts.

There are many causes to Dinka-Nuer conflicts not well explainable by ancient ethnic hatred. As herders most historical inter-communal conflicts between these two communities are necessitated by geographic and not necessarily political factors.

Often the two communities fought over dwindling cattle grazing land and water-points precipitated by drought and ecological degradation. But this geographic cause also affects most identity groups in South Sudan and not only Dinka and Nuer.

All South Sudanese ethnic communities have often violently engaged in turf wars and have scrambled for scarce existential resources, such as fending off encroaching cattle to livelihood farms.

The geographic grievance has often also triggered violent intra-communal feuds within culturally similar ethnic groups or even within the same tribes, such as one Dinka clan against another or one Bari tribe against another say the Mundari, or a Nuer clan against another and so on and so forth.

Other causes to inter or intra-communal violent conflicts include the traditional practice of cattle raids, which is “normal” among particularly the cattle-keeping communities. For instance, in the current violent conflict in South Sudan, there are at least two reported deadly incidences of cattle raids.

One incident was between two Dinka clans in Lakes State, and another took place when Bentiu fell to government forces where it was reported that large herds of cattle were driven to Warrap State, perhaps as part of the war spoil.

One of the rallying cries politicians had utilized to mobilize communities during South-South fratricidal violent conflicts in the 90s was the cattle card. Communities were either persuaded that their cattle were on the line if they failed to defend themselves against “external” aggression or that they can loot cattle if they attacked the politician’s community of target.

The cattle element is part of the cultural setup of these communities, just as cattle rustling is a historical practice. However, what aggravates the deadliness of the practice is when it is politicized.

In a country emerging from decades of civil wars like South Sudan means the country is awash with modern weapons, which are now being used in the atrocious raids. In the past communities only used sticks and spears in this practice.

Cattle-raids participants also adhered to strong war ethics, similar to the international human rights and humanitarian law, which protect the vulnerable members of the society caught in the middle of armed violence.

For instance the oral customary law or the gentlemen’s agreement that regulate any combat in these traditional societies, including those motivated by cattle raids, women, children and the elderly are sacrosanct and not to be harmed. Even deserters are also allowed to go free.

However, these traditional laws are increasingly less binding these days where the vulnerable members of the society bear the heavy brunt of these feuds, especially when they are politicised as they most often are, but also in the context where it is easy to get a gun than a loaf of bread as in South Sudan.

Arguably these factors seem to be interplaying in current internal armed conflict in South Sudan, though revenge now appears to also be driving the targeted killings across ethnicities in what was essentially a political dispute.

But, in South Sudan the body politics take place in an environment that is ethnically divided, which means ethnicity is bound to play integral role in any political process or politics ethnicity.

In short, I explained to the German audience that the ethnic dimension of current violent conflict in South Sudan is not embedded in ancient ethnic hatred but in failure to manage ethnic diversity. Communities had conflicts in South Sudan from time immemorial. They have rustled cattle away from each other, scrambled over grazing land and water points, and fought turf wars to protect existential livelihoods.

But they have also managed these conflicts well and utilized traditional conflict resolution mechanisms and reconciliation processes and rituals to amend broken relationships by these conflicts. Often this efforts resulted in lasting peaceful inter-communal coexistence across communities as well as intra-communal relationships within communities.

Finally on the question of the way forward and whether or not peace is possible in South Sudan. I emphatically stressed that peace is possible otherwise our ancestors would have self-annihilated themselves and I would not have been here conducting this interview.

Before the civil wars or even better before the colonial history South Sudanese in all their ethnic diversity and colors have lived peacefully with each other, occasional skirmishes here and there notwithstanding.

The colonial master in seeking to wield and consolidate political power in order to exploit resources drove a wedge between South Sudanese across identity difference by introducing the divisive social construct of tribes, and the infamous divide and rule policies that continue to bite us to this day.

What is needed is a political leadership that acknowledges the detrimental effect of this policy in nation-building. For peace to be possible in South Sudan there must be strong political will and ability to manage ethnic diversity and recognize even the minutest of tribes in South Sudan as a necessary part of the whole and whose rights must be guaranteed and grievances genuinely addressed.

The inalienable rights of South Sudanese to live in dignity can begin to be guaranteed by a selfless government that delivers basic social and economic services at the center of which is infrastructure development. Connecting major cities and towns by good all seasons roads to rural and remote areas can go a long way in ensuring fluid mobility and interaction between communities.

It can also enhance the extension of policing, and law and order in the rural areas where preventable violent intra and inter-communal conflicts often erupt over what should be manageable feuds over trivialities of resources and securing livelihoods.

The reason why struggle over resources become existential and contribute to deadly clashes across identity lines is because the government has not been able to deliver any meaningful social and economic services to secure livelihoods by creating other sources of livelihood supply line.

But first the security sector is in dire need of institutional reforms. An effective and comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration campaign must be rigorously pursued once the current violence ends.

People will only begin to feel peace when they feel safe and secure and when their trust in the state as a fair arbiter where justice can be sought and found is restored. Schools and hospitals must be seen to be erected indiscriminately across the four corners of South Sudan. Clean drinking water and bread on the table should reach every Hut and Tukul.

People must feel safe to voice their minds and share their ideas freely without the fear of torture, prolonged arbitrary detention without due process and without the fear of death.

Lasting peace is only possible when such policies are pursued and when employment opportunities are in abundance and South Sudanese are employed on merits rather than lineages.

For instance, most youth in the rural areas practice cattle-rustling as a means of livelihood. Stolen cattle fund the marriages that they would have otherwise not been able to afford, because of the high bridewealth and dowry that the family of the bride often demands.

Moreover, cattle-raids supplant the employment opportunity that the youth in towns let alone in the rural areas never had. Rampant corruption is the final nail to the coffin of failure to deliver much needed services that could have eased the tensions that lead to violent outbreak.

Of course, these steps presuppose that the current strongly condemnable violent carnage which began in Juba and spread to other sites in South Sudan, most notably Bentiu, Bor and Malakal, among others is overdue not to have been halted already.

When the dust settles, normalcy returns and common sense is rediscovered, all perpetrators must be held accountable from both sides of the divide from those who authored and those who commanded all the way down to those who committed the heinous atrocities against the civilian population.

When a political settlement is reached and a peace deal is signed as an outcome of the ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a national healing and reconciliation process must rank number one on the next steps.

In summary, though it remains elusive at the moment, peace is possible in South Sudan. It is therefore not a question of if peace is possible but of when peace is possible in South Sudan as in days past!

Tongun is from South Sudan. He holds two Master’s Degrees with honors and academic excellence from the United States. The last of his two MAs is in International Peace Studies, focused on Policy Analysis for Political Change, from the University of Notre Dame – Indiana. His research interest is in South Sudan’s governance and peace and conflict issues. He is reachable at: or

Blunders at Bor’s UNMISS compound

BY: Kuir ë Garang (Author, Poet), CANADA, JAN/23/2014, SSN;

Enter but with no guns and uniformed men, Minister Makuei was told. Now, this is being twisted by President Kiir and company!

I always believed that President Kiir is being misled by people around him.

‘He’s a nice uncle surrounded by bad people,’ as my brother would philosophically say. However, one has to sit back and think hard. Is President Kiir this clueless as to be completely blind to the realities of what is good and bad?

The government should avoid controversies and focus on helping civilians in Bor, Juba, Malakal, Bentiu and other areas. The senseless massacres and utter destruction we’ve seen in Bor and other areas should be our main concern as national healing will be next to impossible given the massacres, destructions and Minister Makuei’s and president Kiir’s attitudes.

Riek failed as a leader and you are now failing civilians through mindless arrogance!

Stop making excuses for your own failures! The current mess was created by lack of conscientious leadership by President Kiir and exacerbated by callous thirst for power by Riek Machar and his forces.

Four UN soldiers were killed by SPLA forces when a helicopter was shot down in December of 2012. And two more UN peacekeeping forces were killed by Riek’s Rebels in Akobo in December of 2013 but the UN is still helping our people. Please blame the culprits and stop making excuses!

Riek Machar is a man who’s distinguished himself as power-hungry even before he joined SPLA in the early 80s. The man has a dumbfounding mythic belief that can even have my daughter say: “Hey grandpa…don’t you think that’s a little naïve?”

With no doubt, Riek Machar inhabits his own world and he’s a man who’s predictable. This makes it extremely dangerous for Kiir and his trusted elements to use Riek as a pillar through which Kiir’s goodness meter can be calibrated.

Riek has lost what he has to lose but Kiir is still the president of South Sudan. He has to act like one; not like a rebel on rampage; and certainly not like a child who doesn’t care about the consequences of what he says.

How can our president talk like some man on the street? Why would the president talk anyhow? As Jiëëng people from my home area would say, “muuk yi yic” (have self-control).

While Kiir is a leader of a sovereign nation, he needs to understand that we need allies, formidable allies……and trading partners. China alone wouldn’t do!

“I think the UN want to be the government of the South [Sudan] and they felt short of naming the chief of the UNMISS as the co-president of the Republic of South Sudan.”

This is pathetic coming from our president.

President Kiir should be the one who should clearly understand the role of UN in South Sudan. Ministers don’t just enter UN premises just because they are ministers! They have to follow UN protocols just as South Sudanese government has protocols.

Is Kiir being destroyed by his allies or is President Kiir completely a lost man in a role he has no clue how to perform?

Someone needs to rescue president Kiir’s legacy; whatever is left, that is.

Michael Makuei Lueth, the current minister of information, is a man who plays by no rules. With no shame, the man swims majestically in ridiculousness. He says whatever comes to his mind.

I don’t even know why Makuei wasn’t arrested with the 11 political prisoners when he was present in the December 6 press conference. We know that conference is the center of the ‘coup attempt’ claim.

Why doesn’t Makuei, a lawyer by profession, know that entry to the UN premises is governed by rules and regulations that need to be respected?

Being a minister doesn’t entitle one to forceful entry to UN premises.

Minister Makuei wasn’t prevented from entering per se as claimed by President Kiir and his officials. The gentleman at the gate told the minister he could enter with no uniformed and armed officers (the video is here as proof). Lueth was allowed entry if with civilian entourage.

Assuming that he’s a minister, he wanted to be allowed to do whatever he wanted; that is, enter with SPLA generals.

Sorry, some people play by rules even if we, as South Sudanese, don’t!

President Kiir needs to know who’s destroying or has destroyed his legacy! We are a young nation and we can’t afford isolation.

In all indications, President Kiir and his officials are sticking to the ‘coup attempt’ claim when the whole world hasn’t seen enough evidence to declare it ‘a coup attempt.’

The world isn’t saying there was absolutely no ‘coup attempt.’ What’s being claimed is that there’s no enough evidence to conclude that it was a ‘coup attempt.’

Respect is only in proving what one claims not in just professing that such and such a thing is true.

I need the president to take the following issues very seriously:-

– Control the follow of information as ministers contradict themselves and reflect the president in a grim light. Makuei Lueth says one thing and Ateny wekdit says something else.

– Let your officials research and double check facts from different sources before going to the media. The ministers say ridiculous things in the media and our country looks like a nation of idiotic men and women when that’s absolutely wrong.

– Let your officials know that the government is supposed to come up with solutions for the country’s problems instead of whining all the times.

– Remember that respect and integrity rest solely on what can be proved. Professing things emotively because they appeal to the majority without proofs is a folly not worthy of presidency.

– The world has helped us gain our independence; don’t spit on their faces with made-up claims like those of Makuei Lueth.

– Makuei Lueth’s actions at the United Nations’ compound were shameful. Makuei wasn’t refused entry for argument’s sake. He was allowed to enter as long as he entered with unarmed people not in uniform. People like Makuei Lueth will bury you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, double-check everything you are told because your officials tell you things they don’t research. You might be a president of a sovereign nation; however, sovereignty comes with responsibility and mutual respect.

Your legacy will be written tomorrow. Don’t let it be spoiled by people you trust. END

Kuir ë Garang (Author, Poet)

Riek Machar Teny: A champion of tribal extremism in the Rep. of South Sudan

BY: John Bith Aliap, Australia, JAN/22/2014, SSN;

Riek Machar has always been a central figure in South Sudanese’ politics. He gained popularity not through his integrity, but because of his warlordism and butchering skills. He’s seen by many as a “symbol of death and tribal extremism”. His past and recent upheavals against his own people and government have destroyed South Sudanese’ social fabric.

Victims of his senseless wars are still extremely traumatized. For these people, returning to normal social life can be a back-breaking exercise which could possibly take a handful of years.

In fact, Riek Machar is a curse to all South Sudanese including his own Nuer tribe. But majority of Nuers are not yet aware of this salient reality.

However, when people talk or think about him, especially in relation to the current situation in the country, the first question that pops up in their minds could be question like: Is (Riek Machar) yet again Bulldozing the Rep. of South Sudan like his failed 1991’s back-stabbing scheme?

Riek Machar should be reminded that South Sudanese, regardless of their heritage have suffered a lot for so many years in the hands of Arabs rulers in the demolished old united Sudan. Now is their time to take a reasonable rest without being yet again exposed to power-driven and senseless war.

Riek Machar presents himself as a man of peace and love as well as an advocate for human rights, freedom, good governance … and the list continues. On other side of the coin, we know that freedom has already been achieved in South Sudan.

Turning guns (which should have been used to protect the nation) against each other is unpatriotic, barbaric, unwanted and highly condemnable. South Sudanese’ freedom which is now being assaulted by Riek Machar was very much welcomed with joy and jubilation back in 2011.

Accompanied by wild celebrations across the country, hundreds of thousands if not, millions of people turned up to celebrate their long-awaited freedom. The scene of celebration was characterized by celebratory and joyous people wearing flag of their newly founded nation, the Rep. of South Sudan, a symbol of what they would describe as their homeland. Some were clasping the flag and welling-up with tears as they pledged their allegiance to their new nation.

However, as the dust of celebration settles, things started to fall apart promptly. Many people with array of expectations, values and beliefs, for example (Riek Machar and his crime-mates) who think that they have not been served well under the current system of the SPLM-led government contemplated that it would be a good idea to revisit the temporarily abandoned tribal loyalty which in their view, would serve them far more better than the newly – formed collective identity under the banner of “nationalism”.

On the 15th of December 2013 in Juba, the capital city of the Rep. of South Sudan, the world got shocked of what took place. It was none, other than Riek Machar whose quest for leadership stands taller than his actual height.

Historically however, Machar’s search for leadership goes back to his ill – thought 1991 split from SPLM/A where the issues of contention with his late boss, Dr.John Garang, the leader of the SPLM/A movement, where centred on his call for self-determination, democratization of the movement and respect for human rights.

John Garang in turn, wanted the movement to maintain its objective for a new Sudan; secular, democratic and united. His unnecessary call for a change in the movement at that time saw him allied with Arabs-the main enemies of South Sudanese; and this resulted to what’s today known as “Bor massacre” in which 2,000 people from Dinka Bor ethnic group were innocently killed.

This figure is even debatable. Some say that the figure could be a lot higher than what has been reported. The massacre was carried out mostly by Nuer fighters from SPLA Nasir, led by him … (Riek Machar), and the militant group known as “the Nuer White Army”.

According to Amnesty International, 25,000 more Dinka Bor died after the Bor massacre from famine as their cattle were either stolen or shot and the fighting had displaced them from the land they had once cultivated.

At the time, Riek Machar described the incident as “propaganda” and “myth”, but in 2012, he publicly apologized for his part in the massacre. He was forgiven by Bor community simply to maintain unity of the country, although survivors of his engineered massacre are still hunted today by bad memories, and face significant challenges in their efforts to rebuild their lives.

But what is his recent predicament with his ex-boss, Salva Kiir? Well, throughout his vice presidency, Riek Machar has been frequently accused by Kiir and others of being unfaithful to the government. His unfaithfulness to the people’s government promoted Kiir to take off his trademark cowboy hat, a sign of preparedness in many cultures.

In April 2013, Kiir issued a presidential order, suspending a proposed national reconciliation conference, until he formed his own trusted committee, a committee tasked to take the reconciliation show on the road. During the initial phase of the reconciliation process, Machar was tasked to oversee the event, but this was quickly scrapped when Kiir issued an order to withdraw his friendly delegated powers from him because of his rebellious tendencies.

Many analysts believed that Kiir’s decision came into light when he disagreed with Machar on the timing and agenda for the reconciliation. Others put it that Kiir wanted the process delayed; and also restricted to reconciling communities that experienced violent conflicts.

Machar on the other hand, wanted the process to kick off immediately and take into consideration issues of tribalism, good governance, justice, development, distribution of resources, land grabbing among others which he argued, were some of the factors which caused disharmony in the country.

The matter got worse between these two men when Machar publicly declared his intention to challenge Kiir in the ruling party’s contest for the chairmanship position in the than postponed SPLM party’s convention.

Kiir in his part, understood that Machar wanted to use reconciliation process as a campaign platform or votes-catching exercise to gain more popularity among the South Sudanese public.

The level of mistrust between Kiir and Machar continues to grow sharply as the public looks on helplessly. On the 23rd of July 2013, Kiir issued another decree relieving Machar from his position as vice president.

However, changes within the government are normal in other parts of the world, but in a tribally divided country like South Sudan, Machar’s sacking was not received well in the Nuer community. It was perceived by his Nuer loyalists as an outright intimidation and worth investigating.

The Nuer Community was stunned and many of them swiftly withdrew their support from the government like a child slapped by an angry father.

Do not give up yet of Machar’s crimes. On the 15th of December 2013, he attempted to overthrow the democratically elected government of South Sudan with his loose alliance of tribal militia forces and mutinous army commanders mostly from Nuer tribe where he hails.

Machar’s past and recent catastrophic wars “with tribal dimensions” have done greater damage to South Sudan as a nation than good. The war which is now engulfing the Rep. of South Sudan shows the world how the tribally-based politics could quickly brings the country down to its knees.

Machar’s coup bid is now tearing the country apart. The UN current estimates indicate that nearly 10, 000, people have been killed, 413, 000 displaced and unknown number of properties damaged or looted.

In South Sudan or elsewhere, the name Riek Machar in the minds of many people evokes nightmare and retrieves unwanted memories. Due to his vicious hunt for leadership, Riek deserves scrutiny from the public to determine if he qualifies for presidency.

Riek Machar is a decent man and he has made a considerable contributions to the freedom of South Sudanese. For example, his U-turn to the SPLM/A in 2002 is a laudable one, but there is a long list of reasons why he may not be the most suitable candidate for presidency in 2015.

Let me walk you through his failures. For example, starting from his 15 Dec. 2013 failed attempted coup in Juba, his 1991 coup against the SPLM/A leadership, his shamed 1997 Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA), his failed LRA – Uganda Peace Mediation and many other failed negotiations on behalf of South Sudanese, one can boldly proclaim that Riek is not just a failed leader.

He has been in fact the cause of failures for yet others. His role as Vice President of South Sudan has failed both his ex- boss Salva Kiir and the country as a whole. Do not give up yet of Riek’s failures.

One could also argue that Riek’s political skills are highly deficient. He lacks the power of persuasion which is an essential condiment for managing a diverse array of political opinions.

Furthermore, Riek has consistently shown that he lacks philosophical sophistication. Without this ability, one wonders how Riek will be able to steer the country effectively in a more integrated global economy. Under his presidency, South Sudan as a nation could miserably scramble.

His critics including the (author of this article) claim that Riek is highly intolerant to other people’s views. The fact that he was not able to get along with some of his colleagues in the SPLM/A-United in Nasir and ended up dismissing them from the movement means that Riek cannot provide the necessary collegial leadership for which South Sudan is hungry.

In addition, Riek is not known for being bold enough. Boldness is especially necessary when it comes to decision making. Without it, Riek will likely not be able to take on his leadership show on the road.

South Sudan needs a leader who is capable to lead effectively. Given Riek’s political feebleness, including his short sightedness and lack of organisational ability that ultimately leads him into settling for suboptimal choices including taking short cuts can be very disastrous for South Sudan as a nation.

It is therefore ironic that Mr. Riek who has perpetually perfected the art of tribal extremism can portray himself as someone with the audacity and moral authority to fight tribalism and corruption.

His rhetoric that he can make a good leader “if allowed to sit behind the wheel” is simply an attempt to trick South Sudanese into believing that he can deliver.

In fact, Riek Machar does not qualify to be a viable alternative president of South Sudanese. He only worships his big tummy. He follows where his mouth goes; and where his egocentric interest lies.

That is why he has been shoring up his rhetoric with the threat of the use of the sword he is accustomed to.

Voters have the final verdict to determine who leads them in 2015. Not someone like Riek Machar who wants to shoot his way into presidency by bullets and not ballot which is a known method for democratic transition of power.

Although South Sudan is currently facing handful of challenges, the most important challenge is the use of tribalism in politics. Many attempts have been made to promote unity and political maturity among South Sudanese, but in the absence of efforts to build genuine political parties that compete on the basis of ideas, rather than tribal loyalties, many politicians such Riek Machar have resorted to tribal allegiance and military power as means for political competition to ascend into the highest office of the land.

Riek Machar and his group in crime have exploited their “tribal loyalty” to advance their individual gains, parochial interests, patronage and cronyism.

These people should be held accountable for the crimes they have committed either domestically or internationally. Rep. Of South Sudan has now become a grave yard, orphanage camp and a global factory for refugees because of them, but can anything be done?

As the history is concerned, the only way forward to achieve democratic society in South Sudan rests in a concerted efforts to build modern political parties founded on development ideas and not tribal allegiances as it’s currently the case in South Sudan.

If established however, such parties must base their competition for power on developmental platforms and not the appeal to tribal coalitions.

In most cases in Africa and South Sudan is not an exception in this equation, those who rely on manipulating tribal alliances (Riek Machar and his group for example) can only bring nothing, but sectarian animosity into the country; and this is what the people of South Sudan are now harvesting as I write this article.

It has to be reinstated here that democracy and not the “armed rebellion” can offer the best chance for sustained growth and prosperity in South Sudan.

South Sudanese leaders should once again be reminded that tribal politics in which Riek Machar is its champion must be brought to an end, otherwise the Rep. of South Sudan will continue to be the global capital for tribal institutions and tribal leaders.

John Bith Aliap is a South Sudanese citizen. He can be reached at