Archive for: June 2014

Federal system of government in South Sudan not “kokora”

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, JUN/02/2014, SSN;

English speakers will find it difficult to know what the word kokora is because it is not an English word and hardly found in any English dictionary. It may therefore be convenient from the outset to define the word kokora for the benefit of readers.

The word kokora is a Bari word of the Karo ethnic group (Bari, Pojulu, Mundari, Nyangwara, Kakwa and Kuku) and Bari is one of the languages spoken in Equatoria, precisely in Central Equatoria State. In English kokora may simply be defined as division or to divide equitably.

From the definition of the word kokora the greedy will have a problem because they are people always inclined to have the lion’s share at the expense of equitable or fair sharing of resources and positions in government.

Federal system of government

After having given the English definition of the word kokora, it is important to highlight a federal system of government. For people who may be deliberately mixing up a federal system with kokora, they are informed that unlike kokora, a federal system is constitutionally seen to allocate power between the national (federal) government and the component units; for example, states or regions, determining which powers are the exclusive prerogative of each level of government and which powers are shared.

For those who equate a federal system with kokora as a violent eviction of others from one state or region is nothing but a ploy to promote and consolidate ethnic hegemony.

By all accounts South Sudan is diverse in ethnic groups. It is therefore improper for one single ethnic group to monopolise all powers in a neocolonial mentality of oppression as though other ethnic groups do not exist. People must remember that South Sudan is home to 64 ethnic groups.

The genesis of kokora

Collectively South Sudanese have similar aspirations. They will not accept to be treated as second class citizens, will not accept to be oppressed and will not accept to be marginalized.

This may explain why the people of South Sudan collectively struggled in some of the long and protracted liberation wars in Africa that at last brought them independence so that they could enjoy freedom, justice and equality.

However, the problem arises when the leadership turns ethnic or tribal, promoting the hegemony of their ethnic group.

The genesis of kokora can be traced back to the first 17-year (1955 – 1972) war of liberation. After the 17-year armed struggle for freedom, South Sudan found itself an autonomous region with limited self-rule.

The leader of the armed struggle was an Equatorian, who under nationalistic sentiments surrendered his leadership to a Dinka to head the government of autonomous South Sudan for southern national unity.

The leader of the armed struggle instead opted to continue safeguarding the southern self-rule through his presence in the national army.

However, as time went on and when people were trying to settle down, the spirit of national struggle turned tribal.

Dinka hegemony was promoted, prompting the semi-literate and unfortunately some literate Dinka to coin a mythology that the Dinka were born to rule.

This is not difficult to understand how this mythology came about. The High Executive Council of the autonomous South in 1981 consisted of 50 per cent Dinka. The heads of units in the various ministries were about 53 per cent Dinka.

This is all in contrast to the fact that South Sudan is home to 64 ethnic groups. Without any shred of doubt the Dinka had the monopoly of positions in the government of autonomous South.

This, nevertheless, does not suggest that there were no Dinka nationalists although they hardly came out openly against such outrageous overrepresentation of the Dinka.

When the people of Equatoria saw the excessive insensitivity to tribal hegemony, they called for the decentralization of the administration of the autonomous South into three regional administrations of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile for a fair sharing of power.

Equatorians in their enthusiasm innocently called this kokora. This did not go well especially with the Dinka who felt they were the target because they knew very well what they were doing.

The word kokora generated bitterness, ill-feelings and occasional insults and physical aggression. Nevertheless, kokora went ahead sadly with no due process of reconciliation and forgiveness for what had happened.

The Dinka left Equatoria with bitterness as though they were unceremoniously evicted although most left on their own accord. This sums up the genesis of kokora which was grossly misinterpreted that caused unnecessary hangover and animosities.

The second liberation struggle

Immediately after the kokora the second liberation struggle took off. It was considered the continuation of the first liberation struggle. It was not strange that when those who were very angry and utterly bitter with kokora, flocked in droves to join the second liberation struggle.

Those who joined the second liberation struggle did not forget their imaginary cruel eviction from Equatoria, one of the most peaceful and progressive regions of South Sudan.

It was obvious that when the liberation struggle progressed into Equatoria people suffered tremendously as they were mistreated. In Equatoria the people were perceived as elements who had advocated kokora.

After the end of the second liberation struggle through a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), there is little evidence that Equatoria has fared any better in sharing the cake of the liberation struggle.

The conditions in the pre-kokora era seem to be replicating themselves. Like hunters who have just killed an elephant, Equatoria seems not to have its fair share of the Caracas as measured by its contribution to the liberation effort.

People seem to have hardly learned anything as to why kokora had taken place. However, Equatoria should not be underrated. It can provide the leadership that can move this country from war and chaos to peace, stability and prosperity for all.

The call for federal system

It can confidently be asserted that the people of Equatoria are pioneers, forward looking and do not live in the past unlike others who are still living in the kokora era, reminding themselves of their imaginary cruel eviction and so their suspicion of and bitterness with the people Equatoria.

The call for a federal system of government is an original concept of Equatoria since 2011. On the 18th February 2013 Equatoria re-affirmed its call for a democratic Federal system of Governance for South Sudan. It is never against anybody in South Sudan.

However, the point here is to make a distinction between the Equatoria call for federation and that of the 15th December 2013 rebellion.

There is no doubt that Equatoria is the pioneer of federalism for South Sudan through peaceful means. Unlike the chaotic Upper Nile, peaceful Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria will greatly benefit from a federal system of government.

Federalism accelerates development. For nine good years after the CPA examples of underdevelopment are glaring. One example is that after the long nine years Juba city does not have running water to homes. The only alternative now is a fleet of water tankers that are operated by foreigners.

Roads are extremely poor and insecurity is worrying where people disappear without a trace. Land grabbers are above the law because they use their positions and firearms to threaten and chase away the legitimate landowners.

Nine years on people still depend on foreign food imports. With federalism these will all be things of the past. This is because in the federal system the state/region does not need to depend entirely on directives or grants from the centre to effect development.

The three arms of government will also be reflected in the state which will also have the power to tax to generate revenue for development.

To highlight once again, federalism is the constitutional sharing of power between the centre and states/regions. It is not kokora to evict people from a state/region as scaremongers would like people to believe.

Those who equate federalism with kokora may have their own ulterior motives. The hidden agenda may be the promotion of ethnic hegemony hence the fear of federalism. However, those with the open agenda of nationalism will, with open arms, welcome federalism as a guarantor of national unity in diversity and acceleration of development.

Conclusion

It can be asserted that a federal system of government in South Sudan is not kokora. Equatoria is calling for a federal system because it does not want to be bogged down in development. It is not to evict others to their states/regions.

A federal system will not only free Equatoria from the yolk of centralized bureaucracy where billions of dollars are squandered with states left in the cold without adequate sources of revenue for development but a federal system will also free the other regions of Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

The dura saga and the billions of dollars stolen by alleged 75 thieves are examples of how a centralized system of government could be a liability.

A federal system of government is therefore likely to accelerate development which in turn is likely to promote national unity as ethnic hegemony is addressed through equitable sharing of power and wealth.

In conclusion, the smallest ethnic group in South Sudan must be seen to be represented and this is likely to be achieved through the adoption of a federal system of government.
END

Machar pushes for caretaker govt as face-to-face meeting with Kiir flops

Posted Saturday, May 31 2014, THE EAST AFRICA

By: FRED OLUOCH Special Correspondent, JUN/01/2014, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
*Dr Machar is proposing the breaking up of South Sudan into federal regions with greater autonomy but which contributes taxes to the central government.
*Dr Machar insisted that the transition include stakeholders drawn from political parties, civil society, religious leaders and ex-detainees, and that he is willing to stay out the entire term of the caretaker government.
*Nairobi, having midwifed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that saw South Sudan secede from the greater Sudan, has been careful not to take sides in the conflict.

Kenya and Uganda are seeking to safeguard their exports to South Sudan, which is also a key source of employment for their nationals, and are worried about the influx of Sudanese refugees and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

The whirlwind tour of regional capitals by South Sudan’s rebel leader Dr Machar this week could be an indication that a solution for the political crisis in South Sudan could be in the offing. The last time Dr Machar was seen in public he was attending the signing of the May 9 ceasefire agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr Machar, who is said to have jetted in the country on a commercial flight from Addis Ababa on Tuesday, is putting up in a city hotel at the expense of Igad.

Earlier plans to have Dr Machar and South Sudan President Salva Kiir hold a face-to-face meeting in Nairobi this week aborted after Kenya expressed concern that working outside the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) framework of negotiations could complicate issues ahead of the resumption of the Addis Ababa session next week.

The EastAfrican has established that Dr Machar’s Nairobi visit was brokered by Kenya’s retired president Daniel arap Moi, who is also using the government’s diplomatic network to try to get President Kiir to travel to Nairobi for face-to-face talks with Dr Machar.

Kenya’s special envoy to the Sudanese negotiations, Lazarus Sumbeiywo, was dispatched to Juba early in the week to try to get President Kiir to meet with Dr Machar.

Sources say that Mr Moi — having launched the Sudanese peace talks that culminated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement — is concerned that his initiative for peace in the two Sudans when he was the president is likely to go down the drain should South Sudan become another failed state in the region like Somalia.

Mr Moi is highly respected in South Sudan and also enjoys great leverage with the two protagonists, raising hopes that the two are likely to meet in Kenya outside the Igad framework.

The idea was to have the two to meet each in the presence of a limited audience — minus their retinue of aides, the large Igad contingent, Troika countries and the many observers that have characterised the Addis Ababa talks.

Sources close to the former South Sudanese vice-president told The EastAfrican that by visiting Nairobi, Dr Machar was not only trying to counter Juba’s influence over Igad member states and tell his side of the story, but also wanted to sell his proposal of a federal system of government as the most viable solution to the current conflict.

During his meeting with President Kenyatta, Dr Machar affirmed his commitment and desire to pursue peace for South Sudan and maintained that his negotiation team was prepared to continue with talks in Addis Ababa to find a solution to the political crisis.

Having struck up a rapport with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Dr Machar was on a charm offensive to have Kenya and the rest of the Igad countries hear his side of the story and proposals for peace.

Dr Machar and his group had earlier in the month insisted after the May 9 agreement that there will be no fruitful discussion before withdrawal of the Ugandan troops from South Sudan.

Meanwhile, Dr Machar unveiled a list of envoys to represent his interests in key countries and continents all over the world, given that he cannot use the existing South Sudan diplomatic structure to sell his agenda.

Kenya and Uganda are seeking to safeguard their exports to South Sudan, which is also a key source of employment for their nationals, and are worried about the influx of Sudanese refugees and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

The whirlwind tour of regional capitals by South Sudan’s rebel leader Dr Machar this week could be an indication that a solution for the political crisis in South Sudan could be in the offing. The last time Dr Machar was seen in public he was attending the signing of the May 9 ceasefire agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dr Machar, who is said to have jetted in the country on a commercial flight from Addis Ababa on Tuesday, is putting up in a city hotel at the expense of Igad.

Earlier plans to have Dr Machar and South Sudan President Salva Kiir hold a face-to-face meeting in Nairobi this week aborted after Kenya expressed concern that working outside the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) framework of negotiations could complicate issues ahead of the resumption of the Addis Ababa session next week.

The EastAfrican has established that Dr Machar’s Nairobi visit was brokered by Kenya’s retired president Daniel arap Moi, who is also using the government’s diplomatic network to try to get President Kiir to travel to Nairobi for face-to-face talks with Dr Machar.

Kenya’s special envoy to the Sudanese negotiations, Lazarus Sumbeiywo, was dispatched to Juba early in the week to try to get President Kiir to meet with Dr Machar.

Sources say that Mr Moi — having launched the Sudanese peace talks that culminated in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement — is concerned that his initiative for peace in the two Sudans when he was the president is likely to go down the drain should South Sudan become another failed state in the region like Somalia.

READ: Historic 2005 peace deal now at stake

Mr Moi is highly respected in South Sudan and also enjoys great leverage with the two protagonists, raising hopes that the two are likely to meet in Kenya outside the Igad framework.

The idea was to have the two to meet each in the presence of a limited audience — minus their retinue of aides, the large Igad contingent, Troika countries and the many observers that have characterised the Addis Ababa talks.

Sources close to the former South Sudanese vice-president told The EastAfrican that by visiting Nairobi, Dr Machar was not only trying to counter Juba’s influence over Igad member states and tell his side of the story, but also wanted to sell his proposal of a federal system of government as the most viable solution to the current conflict.

During his meeting with President Kenyatta, Dr Machar affirmed his commitment and desire to pursue peace for South Sudan and maintained that his negotiation team was prepared to continue with talks in Addis Ababa to find a solution to the political crisis.

Having struck up a rapport with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Dr Machar was on a charm offensive to have Kenya and the rest of the IGAD countries hear his side of the story and proposals for peace.

Dr Machar and his group had earlier in the month insisted after the May 9 agreement that there will be no fruitful discussion before withdrawal of the Ugandan troops from South Sudan.

Meanwhile, Dr Machar unveiled a list of envoys to represent his interests in key countries and continents all over the world, given that he cannot use the existing South Sudan diplomatic structure to sell his agenda. END


South Sudan’s Vice President, James Wani Igga: A problem rather than a conscientious leader

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, JUN/01/2014, SSN;

Throughout the history of South Sudan, the tribes in the three Southern states of South Sudan have always seen themselves as more amiable and ‘civilized’ compared to their Nilotic brothers, Jieeng and Naath people.

While there are cases in which one can, at minimal, accept that to be true, history and a close look at the actual geopolitical realities in these three states and their inter-tribal relations, tell a different story.

So, one comes to realize that this vacuous sentiment is maintained by intellectuals and politicians in these states rather than by the average citizenry in the villages.

A look at historical leaders and freedom fighters like Aggrey Jaden, Joseph Oduho, Father Saturnino, Joseph Lagu, Emedio Teffeng, Wani Igga among others, proves that South Sudanese leaders, no matter their tribes, can just be as tribalist as Jieeng and Naath people, the largest two tribes.

I’ve not seen a single case in which leaders in the three Southern states of South Sudan have acted as better leaders than the leaders from the western and eastern South Sudan.

All the governors in South Sudan suck up to the president in equal measure with no exception. Even when they know the president is wrong and that a given decision is detrimental to the future of the country, these governors would rather see the nation burn than to correctly advise the president.

But what’s my point?
After December 15, 2013 mutiny in Juba and the subsequent tribal fight that soon after turned tribal and genocidal, one would assume South Sudan could have unleashed the wisdom of their best brains to contain the situation.

When it became clear that SPLM internal leadership wrangle turned into, largely, Jieeng vs. Naath, people like me assumed other tribes in Equatoria led by the funny and always playful South Sudanese VP, James Wani Igga, would mobilize other tribes to bring Jieeng and Naath together and end the bloodshed.

But no! Wani actually became part of the problem and his speeches became increasingly divisive, opportunistic and bizarre.

Instead of helping the President make sound decisions, the funny man went along with the filth fed to the president by the opportunists around the president.

Instead of peace he started mobilization for war! With oxymoronic touch, he uttered peace but called the ‘Equatorians’ to mobilize for war!

However, we need to remember that the flame that lit and obliterated South Sudan was started by VP James Wani Igga through his December 8, 2013 press conference, which he convened as a response to December 6, 2013 press conference by Dr. Riek Machar and his so-called ‘reformist’ group.

Instead of showing leadership, Wani further inflamed the situation by using childish and inflammatory language.

Bizarrely, he denied that there were leadership problems in the SPLM when the press conference he was responding to was one example of the leadership problems.

Besides, the postponement of the Political Bureau meeting in March of 2013, the president’s side-stepping of the Political Bureau, the president’s dissolution of the party structures and the postponement of National Liberation Council meeting on the 9th, were all glaring indications of the problems the funny man was denying.

A good leader would have waited for the president to discuss the grievances raised by the group in order to present a sound, informed and appropriate response to the group.

Wani’s response misled the president.

The good old President Kiir followed exactly the attitude Wani had ignited on December 8, 2013 by calling the ‘reformist’ group ‘disgruntled’.

It’s true, and we all know, that the ‘reformist’ group of December 6, 2013 press conference are corrupt too. They were in the government for years with little development to show for it.

However, a sound leadership, a leadership that governs the people and whose national fate lies in its hands, would have acted with greater understanding and precociousness.

But no, Wani acted like a teenager and President Kiir followed suit on December 14, 2013 with that infamous, pointless and disastrous speech, and his response to the mutiny on December 16… clad in non-SPLA military fatigue.

Why can’t Wani, an educated man, guide President Kiir in a way that can get the nation out of this political and tribal abyss? Is telling the president the truth about the fate of the country very dangerous?

If so then what the hell are you doing in such a government?

Riek Machar was South Sudan’s VP for 8 years. However, he did little to nothing to help the president make the right decisions.

Wani is doing the same thing or even worse by ‘sucking up’ to the president in what Ugandan playwright, John Ruganda, called ‘Bootlicking’ in his play, ‘The Burdens.’

The VP now yaps about Riek Machar in every event forgetting the fact that it’s the same failed system he’s part of that produces the likes of Riek Machar: over ambitious, callous and clueless!

Without any fundamental systemic reforms in South Sudan, South Sudan will never be peaceful.

Wani is therefore becoming a big eye-sour for South Sudan and letting the president and South Sudanese down.

He let South Sudan down by showing grotesque failure of leadership on December 8, 2013 in SPLM leadership office in Juba. Admittedly, he continues to express nothing but political filth that serves nothing but to further aggravate the problem.

Wani needs to know or do the following:
• He can’t yap about South Sudan and the current administration being ‘democratic’ when they are building a nation of single opinion where any different point of view is seen as subversive or treasonous. He’s educated so he can tell us… what kind of democracy is that?

• South Sudan TV is used as a voice for filthy and divisive politics. The VP and the President are always giving speeches on SSTV in their Nigerian national dresses. You sometimes wonder as to whether it’s Abuja or Juba.

• Let President Kiir know that nations are not built by encouraging them to develop as timid nations of single-opinions. Informed and diverse opinions shape decision-making and encourage inter-tribal understanding.

• Veteran journalists, Nhial Bol and Alfred Taban, now face the same needless censorship they faced under the brutal, stone-age theocracy of Khartoum. What happened to the values you fought for, Mr. Vice President? Journalists are being intimidated with you as the VP of the nation. How different are you from the likes of Nafie Ali Nafie or Mustafa Osman?

• When will he ever be serious and stop being a comedian all the time? Nations are not built by comedies!

• He’s done nothing to alleviate tribal tension as he continues to yap about peace while calling for war. Classic oxymoron!

• He initiated the mockery that eventually led to the bloodshed. Instead of showing level-headedness and the less belligerent attitude intellectuals in the three southern states of South Sudan keep boasting about, Wani came out as a childish, militant and heartless stooge of the president not interested in any amicable solution. So the VP also has BLOOD ON HIS HANDS!

• The ‘reformists’ publicly aired their grievances to South Sudanese. That’s what sane people do in a democracy. Well, until some of them became insane after December 15. They gave the president a chance to respond and even postpone a planned rally to allow room for dialogue as advised by church leaders.

But what did the good old comedian do on December 8, 2013 and the President on December 14? Instead of offering a chance for an amicable solution or responding as national leaders, who should be part of solution-seeking in South Sudan, Mr. Igga and Mr. Mayardit did the unthinkable! They mocked the ‘reformists’ group like, as I wrote last year, ‘school boys in the school playground.’ “Step on my feet and I’ll step on yours and let’s all go to hell!”

• Don’t worry, Mr. Igga, you’ll not be pushed back ‘twice.’

• Show that you’re educated, you have the interest of the country at heart, and that you are not a mindless ‘bootlicker.’

• In June 2011, Wani Igga, then the Speaker of National Assembly, called for the implementation of the ‘Federal System’ but in May 2014, Mr. Igga rejected the ‘Federal System’ he was advocating for in 2011. The only reason is that he’d be seen as siding with the-always-rebelling Riek Machar if he embraces ‘Federalism’ now!

What a leader, Wani is!

He has no political stance but what his superiors hold dear! ‘Equatorians’ still maintain the same stance Igga wanted in 2011. So the VP is left alone and in the cold!

• The South bled and is still bleeding and Mr. Igga is in the centre as part of the causal factors; the major ones.

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese living in Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info