Archive for: July 2014

South Sudan’s 3rd Independence Anniversary: Re-imagining Peace?

By: Tongun Lo Loyuong, UK, JUL/09/2014, SSN;

After three years of independence, South Sudan has drastically dashed the widespread hope, expectations and optimism not only of the people of South Sudan but also the well-wishers and contributors amongst the members of the international community to its independence, which was first celebrated on July 9th, 2011.

No sooner did our dream of freedom and independence came true than these same global actors who assisted in the birth of South Sudan watched as South Sudan turned into a nightmare.

With the country now wallowing in blood, rampant death and abject suffering of the masses, South Sudan has exceeded even negative expectations and predictions, thanks to sorry political leadership.

We are ranked number one failed state in the world. Tens of thousands have died and sanctity of human life has been rendered meaningless in a senseless and brutal civil war of greed for political power that has left more than a million and a half displaced.

Famine looms within weeks as political and humanitarian crisis reaches a nadir, subjecting a third of South Sudan’s population to the risk of dying from hunger while yet again reducing our people to the undignified, shameful and dishonorable state of having to beg for humanitarian assistance that remains elusive to prevent further loss of life.

Water borne diseases and malnutrition are acute and in the past couple of months have claimed more than two hundred lives of mostly children in Unity State alone.

Our daughters have been reduced to harlotry and prostitution as an alternative means to secure livelihood and survive. Wanton human rights violations, rape of women, war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed and are well documented.

Requiems have been written about us and South Sudan has already been dismissed as the death of a dream to create a viable state. The list of failures is endless and arguably justifies the prevailing skepticism and awe.

Indeed, the current poor political leadership has ill-advisedly demonstrated as predicted that South Sudanese cannot govern themselves. They have fulfilled the predictions that we cannot create a viable state or forge a cohesive nation in the new country.

It can now be confirmed that the country’s independence has caused more evil than good, is more of a curse than a blessing and has contributed to more suffering of our people like never before. As such our future looks bleak, we remain hapless and only God can have mercy.

In this regard and as I wrote during the second independence anniversary and the one before it, there is nothing worth celebrating in the first three years of South Sudan’s independence.

This remains true today as several analysts have already poignantly opined, and will remain true as long as the status quo continue to prevail or the one before the July government reshuffle is reinstated.

Question then is: can we re-imagine peace in South Sudan under the current grim state of affairs? Or is this the death of a dream and of South Sudan?

The pessimist in me has resigned to South Sudan being the death of a dream to live as a united, viable state and a cohesive nation. It is only a matter of time before South Sudan disintegrates into independent tribal enclaves forever locked up in the logic of war, animosity and cross-border inter-communal violent carnage.

But the optimist in me believes against all the prevailing odds, dismissals and resignations that a viable and prosperous state will emerge from the present wreckage of violent mayhem and a cohesive, peaceful and just nation that will become the envy of many can still be forged in South Sudan once the present generation of leadership has passed on.

Nonetheless, in the meantime in order for current pessimism and despair to be overcome by renewed hope and optimism, we will have to re-imagine peace in South Sudan and collectively work to set its foundation, along with the foundation of justice, national reconciliation, healing and forgiveness.

Re-imagining peace in South Sudan as such pertains to soberly raising and addressing new set of questions at the center of which is the question of how exactly did we get it wrong in the first place?

There are several angles to examine South Sudan’s failure, which I have articulated on many previous occasions, most notably in “Why South Sudan Liberation is Gone Awry,” and “Reloaded.” I have also extensively discussed numerous causes that brewed the current civil war in “Cry the Beloved South Sudan in its Second Independence Anniversary,” “What are they Waiting for in South Sudan?,” “the Dinka Problem in South Sudan: I & II” and in the “Absurdity of Peace-building in South Sudan: I, II & III,” among others.

While it is true that it takes approximately the same amount of time it took for a violent conflict to fester to redress the underlying causes of the conflict and effect lasting peace after the signing of a peace agreement, the main problem in South Sudan’s current crisis is leadership deficiency exacerbated by misguided foreign and humanitarian policies of our regional and international stakeholders and the humanitarian community.

On more than one occasion leadership as a catalyst for South Sudan’s problems have been identified and acknowledged by the same international actors who have partnered or as some prefer to describe them were bedfellows of the myopic and draconian Juba regime.

Most recently the departing Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in South Sudan, Madam Hilde F. Johnson has acknowledged this fact.

In a strongly worded farewell message before boarding her plane to her safe haven, Madam Johnson is cited as squarely holding South Sudan’s political leadership responsible for the current abysmal plight of the South Sudanese.

“The leadership, across all factions of the SPLM, whether they are inside or out of government, released from detention or in the bush, are responsible for this,” reiterated Madam Johnson emotionally.

Our leaders are “self-serving elite,” on whose behave development in South Sudan has been “set back [by] decades.” They are single-handedly accountable for causing the impending “man-made famine,” and are sick with the “cancer of corruption,” Madam Johnson is further reported as venting her frustration.

Madam Johnson’s remarks are spot on. But the bitter irony is that the political leadership under president Kiir would not have thrived in their policies of South Sudan destruction without feeding off the poor policies of Madam Johnson’s United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), together with the humanitarian policies of other organizations and the foreign policies of South Sudan’s regional and international stakeholders.

As Alex De Waal has recently rightly observed, South Sudan’s “[mal]functioning cannot be separated from those global forces and how they incentivize and facilitate certain kinds of elite behavior.” In effect De Waal is stating that our crisis has been nurtured perhaps deliberately so in a globally self-serving elitist, naïve or perhaps even ignorant and apathetic environment to the real plight of our people.

If this true, the involvement and intervention (or the lack thereof) of these actors in South Sudan has equally contributed to our downfall.

This is amply evident in their foreign policies in South Sudan as elsewhere which continue to be shaped by the exigencies of realpolitik or “interest but friendship,” and which have sadly also influenced the humanitarian policies of international “non-governmental” organizations (INGOs).

In lieu of these national interest driven considerations a more pro-active preventive policies and approach would have been pursued to pre-empt the conflict and prevent the needless loss of lives when all indications suggested all was not well in South Sudan.

Instead business as usual and politics continued to dominate policymaking pertaining to South Sudan globally, regionally and locally.

Within South Sudan, the government benefited from this global political trend of promoting self-interest by scaling up patronage politics for instance, to determine the reshuffling of the government in July, 2013 and to decide the firing and hiring of civil servants, including the assigning of religious and spiritual related state and national functions to the clergy. Even the much needed national healing, peace and reconciliation came to be politicized.

Obstructionist and derailing tactics were used to stall the smooth functioning and democratization of the ruling party leading to frustrations within its leadership that ultimately triggered the violent outbreak.

Of course, while all this is unraveling the international actors turned the other way or tried to explain things away as normal part and parcel of challenges associated with building a new nation and state, keeping with the government corruption and nepotism cover up tune of “starting from scratch.”

As an example, when South Sudan was ranked fourth failed state last year, a number of these global actors, including the American Ambassador to South Sudan, refuted this ranking and asserted that South Sudan was not a failed but a “fragile state.” Sure enough when South Sudan finally assumed the number one status of a failed state in this year’s index the name has been altered to “fragile states” as opposed to the long standing “failed states” description when Somalia was scooping the prize. How convenient?! Simply no one wants to be associated with failure!

The apologetic international politicking related to South Sudan is equally expressed by other international actors in South Sudan. For instance, on numerous South Sudan Security Council briefings, instead of stating the facts as they are, Madam Johnson regularly expressed what she called “cautious optimism,” despite a visibly alarming evolution and deterioration of the political, economic, social and even humanitarian terrain in South Sudan.

At time “cautious optimism” was expressed while the government in Juba was increasingly iron-fisting and strongly licking its lips to create a police state in South Sudan, through widespread human rights abuses, including of international humanitarian workers who were often manhandled by security agents and arbitrarily detained or even expelled from South Sudan.

In fact Madam Johnson continued to hold on to her imagined “cautious optimism.” This is until the civil war broke out and the government began to embark on what New York previously described as negative campaign against UNMISS for allegedly supporting the opposition forces.

Ultimately she threw her hands up and declared that she did not see the violent eruption coming, just days after the investment conference was held in Juba last December, a view she held well into her last Security Council briefing while speaking to the media. What a shame.

Up until the civil war erupted the role of regional countries in South Sudan’s brewing conflict largely went unnoticed but was thrust into the limelight with Ugandan military involvement in the civil war to protect its interests, and the mediating efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in the peace process aimed at ending the violent conflict.

Despite IGAD’s tireless and constructive efforts to bring the conflict to a swift end, the peace process continue to derail in part due what has been described as the “stupidity” of the warring parties, but more significantly because of the self-serving politics of “national interests” of all the conflict stakeholders, including of the IGAD member states.

But we will examine the various “national interests” calculations of the IGAD member states in the South Sudan’s civil war on another occasion.

However, clearly what is needed from all conflict stakeholders in South Sudan moving forward, particularly from our regional and international actors is their robust collective stance to purely geared toward ending the civil war in South Sudan.

Surely this can be aided by re-orienting the demands of dictated by their political realism considerations or their politics of national interests. Essentially our interlocutors need to grasp that in fact their long term genuine national interests in South Sudan are better served by bringing the civil war to a swift conclusion.

All South Sudan’s stakeholders must therefore, collectively re-imagine peace in South Sudan anew and work to realize it through robust punitive measures and holding accountable the parties who have instigated the conflict and are derailing and spoiling the peace process to end it.

It is as simple as that come the warring partied to the negotiation table or not. They will still need to be held accountable and the longer they continue political bickering and exhibit lack of political will to end the war, the lesser leverage they will have to negotiate their way out.

The current peace process must be re-convened to end the crisis immediately. And it must be held on IGAD’s terms not the terms of those who have massacred civilians and compromised regional and international peace and security.

Else a peace process dictated by the terms and conditions set by the belligerents to the conflict is not a genuine peace. It will wound up incentivizing violence by leaving the impression that picking up arms and meddling with national, regional and international peace and security can be rewarded with a place in a peace negotiation table rather than be punished in a place behind bars in The Hague.

There are several punitive measures that can be used to induce a swift signing of a peace agreement to end the conflict in South Sudan and restore normalcy in the event that political intransigence of the warring parties persists.

These include regionally and internationally enforced targeted sanctions, asset freezes and traveling ban of the lead conflict belligerents and their associates.

Regional and international institutional actors will equally do well to expedite Security Council referrals of potential perpetrators of the well-documented human rights abuses and the mass atrocities to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for further investigation and prosecution.

Threat of punitive measures is the only way to expedite a peace agreement in South Sudan but has for far too long been discussed and by now ring hollow. This goes to show that there is little political will overall and regional and global politics of interest continue to dictate the fate of our people despite their unspeakable suffering, thereby entrenching the culture of global impunity. This must stop.

Lastly, as South Sudan commemorates its third independence anniversary, perhaps we should all take this opportunity to mourn our dead rather than celebrate our independence. We should take this opportunity to soul-search and contemplate on how it all went wrong for us in South Sudan in order to make it right.

When we collectively reflect and acknowledge our different roles and responsibilities in contributing to where we are three years on after South Sudan’s independence, we may begin to grasp the scope of the tragedy and the suffering of the people of South Sudan as it is.

This way we may begin to make real progress to ending the violence, re-imagining peace and working to realize it in earnest in spite of self-serving politics of national interest or what not.

May the souls of all fellow South Sudanese, who have lost their lives in this civil war and the souls of those who died since South Sudan’s independence was achieved and first celebrated on July, 9th 2011 as well as those who departed after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in January 9th, 2005, rest in peace.

Tongun Lo Loyuong is a PhD student in the U.K. beginning from September, 2014. His research interest is on the role of civil society in transitional justice and reconciliation in South Sudan. He holds two Master’s Degrees with honors and academic excellence from the United States. The last of his MAs is in International Peace Studies and Policy Analysis for Political Change, from the University of Notre Dame – Indiana. He is reachable at: tloloyuong@gmail.com.
Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is a concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on agoktakpiny@ymail.com


IGAD & International Community (TRIOKA) aren’t doing enough to end Conflict in South Sudan

BY: Juma Mabor Marial, JUBA, JUL/08/2014, SSN;

From the very outset, I want to lay a renunciation that the above title shouldn’t be construed to mean I am against the international community or the IGAD mediators in particular. As we recite along, you would realize that my objective is to address the loopholes and incongruities that both the IGAD and the international community have committed since the crisis in south Sudan began.

IGAD and TRIOKA Countries (i.e. Norway, United Kingdom and the United States of America) are some of the important and long-time allies that have been with South Sudan since the years of freedom struggle and their pivotal role in the CPA was outstanding and that is why, up until today, south Sudanese appreciates them for the incredible contribution towards freedom and eventual independence that they have helped them gained.

It is also on this basis that many south Sudanese sees the two organizations as their alternative avenues for resolving any socio-economic and political challenges that befallen their nascent state.

This is why soon after the crisis broke out in south Sudan, subsequent attempts to arrest the situation and return the country to normalcy were suggested by the IGAD Heads of states supported by the international community and especially the TRIOKA countries.

The warring parties were too enthusiastic about the determination of these parties to bring an end to the crisis although there were reservations from SPLM/A in Opposition over the participation of Uganda in the mediation as the latter was being accused of supporting the government and therefore partial.

Soon after the endorsement that the peace process is imminent, it was resolved that the regional body-IGAD would now lead the process with donor support from the international community and TRIOKA countries.

It was almost unanimous that IGAD would do it best to bring peace and stability to south Sudan in the spirit of “African problems need African solutions”. Museveni factor was still contentious but at least IGAD managed to persuade the parties to sign the cessation of hostilities agreement and allow humanitarian access to the affected areas.

This was a positive phase although it was characterized by accusation of violations by both belligerents. In fact there wasn’t any implementation of the agreement as the incident of Bentiu and other occurrences across greater Upper Nile would confirm.

A month later, Kiir and Machar met in Addis and as they claim, signed “under duress” another cessation of hostilities agreement but this time reiterating the need to absolutely cease hostilities, allow humanitarian access and most importantly signed a road map and framework for the next round of talks which would discuss among other reforms agenda, formation of transitional government of national unity.

It is also here that the involvement of other stakeholders and across- section of the south Sudanese society would be required and the two leaders appended their signatures to it.

Whereas the government had continued to oppose any involvement of other stakeholders including the group of the SPLM former detainees. The opposition was of the contrary view and this fact persuaded the IGAD to convince the government to allow for the involvement of the stakeholders on consultative basis.

The altercation that follows the nomination of delegates among the stakeholders apart from the group of the SPLM former detainees became too chaotic but I felt it is insignificant to discuss it in details here.

Despite the battle over the selection of the stakeholders from political parties to faith based groups, academia to civil society organizations, youth to women representatives, disabled and other interested groups, a symposium that was scheduled to take place three days prior to the next round of talks failed for two days because of failure by the main warring factions to attend over one reason or another.

The symposium eventually kicked-off and another arrangement was made by selecting representatives from these groups to participate in the negotiation. This procedure despite the hitches was a step towards peace.

However, as the main discussions on the substantive aspects of the peace were expected to resume, the real troubles began and here comes the mistake and this gaffe is what I blame the IGAD and of course the international community of.

First, during the initial stages of the crisis, the government was at loggerhead with the UNMISS, an international body that is known for its impartiality with regard to the internal affairs of any country that it’s operates at.

The grievances presented by the government were that the UNMISS is pro-rebels and their evidence ranges from the arguments with government minister in Bor to the impounding of arms caches in Lakes state.

The explanation given by the UNMISS officials didn’t help the situation and this consequently resulted in the country-wide demonstrations undertaken by the pro-government supporters against Hilde F. Johnson, the head of UNMISS in South Sudan.

The fact that Hilde is a citizen of Norway, one of the TRIOKA member states was also inseparable from her position and so was the locus of the international community.

Apart from UNMISS misgivings, the United States, United Kingdom, China have not said much to pressure the parties to reach at the convenient time, a solution to return peace to south Sudan.

The best these countries did was advocate for the release of arrested politicians and call for speedy formation of transitional government of national unity.

The circadian sufferings that the people of south Sudan goes through is not a priority for them talking about it being another thing perhaps because they have not been to the grassroots and experience the plight of the helpless women and children in the camps.

This is not to say that international community has not done it best in supporting peace but there is still impartiality question that hangs in the balance about America in particular and its opinion with regard to the conflict as it and most of her allies cogitates that the conflict in south Sudan is more about political reforms and democracy but less of any other issues.

Secondly, IGAD as a regional body that has positioned itself in epicenter of the problem with the intention of resolving the conflict is now getting confused with the many advisers that are behind the scene trying to advance private interests through it mediation position.

These interest groups have instilled doubts and challenged the neutrality of IGAD and as such, the parties to the negotiation are gradually withdrawing their confidence over this body.

A scenario that is not good for the ordinary citizens of south Sudan who are eagerly waiting for peace.

The reasons behind this mistrust are, one, on the government side, the IGAD Executive Secretary called their President “STUPID” while to the rebels, the question of stupidity is taken lightly but the complaint about the selection of stakeholders became their priority.

So, looking at these two sides of the same coin, it is apparent that the credibility of the mediator (IGAD) is already in question and the parties’ maybe reluctant to listen to its proclaimed neutrality.

The rebels leadership has already complained about IGAD trying to impose on the parties and trying to take decisions on their behalf which in other words, means IGAD seemed to have the outcome of the problem that is going on in south Sudan but only disguised to negotiate in an attempt to portray to the south Sudanese and the parties that, it has indeed done something.

This preferred outcome is most likely suspected to have been cooked by the western or for that matter, TRIOKA countries.

It also means that IGAD has just been informed of the ingredients of the food that the TRIOKA has already cooked perhaps to help the former know how to prepare its meal next time there is similar crisis in the Dark Continent, Africa.

I wouldn’t want to captivate so much into that imagination but look at it critically, the basic techniques of mediation as one of the main types of disputes resolution mechanisms that I was taught in school are that, the mediator should be a facilitator, a moderator, a peace-maker, a tempers calmer, a neutral person and all that translates to impartiality and honesty.

IGAD, as the parties tells us, does not fit these features and therefore, its ability to bring peace to south Sudan is now showing signs of shrinking as recently observed when it indefinitely adjourned the talks without consulting the concerned parties.

It has also emerged, through the reaction of the warring factions after the adjournment of talks that, the question of stakeholders inclusion was not a fundamental wish of the parties but a project that IGAD had conscripted to widen its activities in as far as the south Sudan conflict offered that opportunity.

Why do I certify these verdicts, simple, at the beginning of the negotiations, the government had made it abundantly clear that, there shall be a national dialogue conference that would bring on board all the stakeholders and here, the issues on state cum nation-building would be exhaustively discussed.

This I hope was made on the vantage point that, the negotiations in Addis were to be restricted to the warring parties with specific issues to be discussed after which a roadmap would be put in place for the national dialogue which could be held in the country.

This was a great idea that the government failed to defend but it was worth fighting for.

Furthermore, the SPLM/A in Opposition that advocated for the inclusion of civil society now turned around and says that all the selection was one–sided and therefore wanted the civil society from outside to be involved in the talks thus complicating the resumption of the next round of talks and eventually led to the boycott and ultimate adjournment of the talks.

This scenario shows too the nature of our civil society and other stakeholders. The concerns raised by the opposition tells us that, the civil society that we have in south Sudan together with their political parties colleagues are either pro-governments or pro-opposition leaving the page for neutrality completely blank.

This means and as most citizens believe that these so-called civil society organizations and political parties are a group of self-proclaimed network of individuals who seek self-fulfillment instead of advocating for the general rights of the voiceless public and act as an oversight to both the government and the opposition.

It is known that, some of the stakeholders that went to Addis had one or another MOU with either the government or the opposition for rewards with positions in the upcoming transitional government of National Unity.

This guess is too fascinating to be rubbished aside as history has shown that those who disguised as civil society activists shut up as soon as they are appointed to either side of the divide.

It is because of this peculiarity of having your own political parties and civil society organizations to support your stand in the issues being discussed that has subjugated the opposition as they thought the government has pocketed the support of the political parties and civil society that it had left in Juba and therefore, it felt that it would only rely on the civil society organizations and political parties that it has planted in the diaspora.

Quite unfortunate endeavor to ponder about but my analysis of the war over the selection of stakeholders to join the peace talks in Addis begins and ends at this point but it still all goes down to IGAD idea of supporting the impression of including the stakeholders in the negotiation as some of these stakeholders were just fighting over nominations because one want to fly and see Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ally itself to either party and at the end of the day, derive political benefits through appointments into political positions or other accommodative opportunities.

Ways Forwards:

After it has been proven that, the whole idea of involving stakeholders was an exercise in futility, I now advise IGAD to:

1. Confine the talks to the conflicting parties i.e. the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and SPLM/A in Opposition.

2. Stick to its 60 days ultimatum, recent adjournment notwithstanding.

3. Reclaim and reaffirm its neutrality and allow the parties to take charge of the negotiations while its role should be to act as a moderator/facilitator until the much needed peace is achieved in south Sudan.

4. Stop wasting time in the procedural aspects of the negotiations but should instead, go straight to the substantive aspects to bring peace to the people of south Sudan because more delays mean more suffering for the citizens of south Sudan.

5. Make it clear that the involvement of stakeholders would be needed at the national dialogue conference and this should take place in Juba, South Sudan after the peace is signed. It should be one of the terms of reference for the transitional government of national unity and this is where a wide range of issues can be discussed.

6. Advice the opposition to drop their demands for the inclusion of stakeholders because as the experiences in the symposium have shown, these stakeholders are more confusion than being part of the solution.

7. Advice its officials particularly the Executive Secretary to mind their language and at least research on diplomatic issues before they release any words that would chase these parties away from the negotiations. As a mediator, you must know how to handle the parties because controlling the warring parties is as fragile as carrying an egg.

Conclusion

As I had earlier mentioned in my opening remarks, I am neither against IGAD nor the International community but I just felt that, it would be helpful to fix the gaps that the mediators might have knowingly or otherwise missed to incorporate in their pursuit to bring peace to the people of south Sudan.

It is equally crucial for our leaders from both sides of the divide to let go of their pride and reach a compromise by owning the peace process and heeding to the calls of bringing back peace to their country and their people.

IGAD and TRIOKA cannot and shall never bring us peace if our leaders are unwilling to bring it themselves.

With this, allow me to say, do all have a happy 3rd independence anniversary by embracing the Theme: South Sudan, One Nation, One People!

Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate based in Juba, South Sudan
Reachable at: jummabor@gmail.com

How Federalism becomes connected to Rebellion?

By: Dengdit Ayok, JUBA, JUL/07/2014, SSN;

Federalism in South Sudan’s Political History:

Federalism was a historical demand by South Sudanese in the former unified Sudan. And in the light of this fact, the demand for federalism in our political arena in South Sudan nowadays is not something new at all, because our leaders demanded for it in 1950s and 1960s of the last century.

Dr Mansour Khalid, a great Sudanese intellectual, writer and historian, asserted in one of his books that the southern Sudan MPs in the Sudanese parliament in 1950s demanded for federalism.

Late Hon. Benjamin Loki who was then representing Yei, voiced out this political demand in the parliament on December 12, 1955. He suggested the formation of political parties conference in order to come up with the position of including the emergence of a federal state in the declaration of the independence of the Sudan.

The demand was rejected by the northern political parties, but they later on accepted the inclusion of the following provision into the declaration of the Sudan’s independence: “The demand by Southern Sudanese for federation shall be put into consideration”, but it was soon thrown into the dustbin of history and considered to be a political sin and treason.

Among South Sudanese politicians who demanded for federation were: Stanislaus Abdalla Baysama, Both Diu, Aggrey Jaden, William Deng Nhial and Fr. Saturnino Lohore.

The demand for federation for the second time in 1956 Round Table Conference after the first demand for it in the 1947 Juba Conference, later on resulted into the assassination of William Deng in 1968, three years after the the Round Table Conference and the assassination Fr. Saturnino Lohore at Sudanese-Ugandan borders.

The plan for his assassination was coordinated by the Sudanese Military Intelligence with Ugandan Military Intelligence.

Hitherto, federalism is a historical demand that had resurfaced in Equatoria region conferences.

Resurfacing of Federalism after self-determination

A Technical Committee was formed in 2011 after the announcement of the results of the referendum in which our people exercised the right for self-determination. The Committee was under the chairpersonship of Justice John Luk Jok and its task was to write a constitution for the new country.

The SPLM party that had been talking about ‘How the Sudan should be governed, not who should govern it’ came up with a system of governance known as ‘Decentralized democratic system’ which was accepted and adopted by its members in the committee and in the parliament two days before the declaration of the independence.

It must be clearly stated here that the issue of system of governance is not a major reason that triggered the ongoing war in the country.

The main issue that triggered the war is originally an internal party issue. It was the amendment of basic documents namely: SPLM Manifesto and its Constitution, and more specifically, the issue of open and secret vote that determines the election of the party’s chairperson who should later on become the SPLM presidential candidate in 2015 general election.

Machar opted for secret vote and Kiir opted for open vote. The two gentlemen were on their two opposite directions!

The last Equatoria Conference came at the time in which the country is facing a terrible fighting. It was at this time that the demand by the people of South Sudan in Equatoria for federalism became connected to the rebel’s agenda.

The rebels held their own conference in Nasir in February this year. Federalism was one of the recommendations of that conference as the best system of governance.

Alfred Lado Gore, the second man in the hierarchy of rebellion, who is from Equatoria region, and his boss Riek Machar adopted the internal demand for federalism by the Equatorians for the purposes of political polarization in order to win the Equatorians to their side and support their rebellion.

There were secret communications in this regard.

Machar’s call for federalism is not genuine

The call by Riek Machar for federalism is not genuine and it is not emerging from his personal thinking and conviction because Equatorians have been calling for federalism before the independence and during the two year time he has been occupying the position of Vice President after independence and he never joined them or backed their call.

Therefore his abrupt call now for federalism is a mere tactical necessity for winning the people of the region to his side to support his rebellion and convert their peaceful call for federalism into violence and the use of guns; and hence push their region into abyss and oven of war.

And indeed the rebels have succeeded in communication with the people of Equatoria, but their attempt to convert the peaceful call of the Equatorians into a hostile demand has drastically failed.

The country almost slipped into another chaotic situation of bloodshed last week, worst than that which took place in Juba, Bor, Malakal and Bentiu and other areas that had witnessed war since December, but all the efforts to do were frustrated.

The attempt was preceded by strong war propaganda in form of rumors spearheaded by pro-rebels websites such as: (Nyamalepedia, South Sudan Tribune and South Sudan News Agency).

The rebel activists took their time and carried out their war propaganda in social media by circulating rumors in order to create confusion and strike the internal cohesion through dangerous rumors, such as claiming that President Salva Kiir was planning to arrest the three governors of the region (Konga, Bakasoro and Lobong) to kill them.

The two governors (Konga and Bakasoro) played a great role in refuting these rumors. Their public appearance to speak to address the citizens was a great contribution towards maintaining relative peace and the saving the fragile situation.

War aggrandizement and targeting the Dinka tribe

The most dangerous part of this propaganda is that the rebel activists do not differentiate between the Dinka tribe as a community and the government of South Sudan as an official body that is running the affairs the country on behalf the people. To them, the Dinka tribe is the government and vice-versa.

The essence of their mobilization and polarization is calling on the other tribes of South Sudan and allying them against the Dinka tribe, not the government of the Republic of South Sudan and its.

Have you now seen how those who had claimed to be fighting for democracy are now calling and trying to wipe away the Dinka from existence instead of fighting to bring about the democracy they passionately claimed?

I personally appreciate what the governor of Central Equatoria state Hon. Clement Wani Kong said on Thursday, July 3, 2014 in his last press conference, when he clearly stated that: “I will not accept federalism that is brought through blood”.

This was a clear rejection of bringing about federalism through the use of an armed violence. This is what Mr. Jacob K. Lupai articulated in his last article published here on this website, and I must acclaim him for that.

War must be rejected for reasons well known to all of us. My personal opinion on federalism is clear. I don’t reject it and I don’t oppose those who are talking about it.

It is their legal right to talk about it peacefully. And I have added my voice to those who have proposed earlier that we better sit down as South Sudanese to discuss the system of governance that is fit for our country in a national constitution conference, and reach consensus around it, be it federalism or unitary or parliamentary system or any other system we deem fit.

I have also said that the current ‘Decentralized system’ doesn’t differ very much with federalism. In a nutshell, federalism is devolution of powers between the central government and the states and equitable sharing of resources in one country.

Our states now have their executive, legislative and judicial organs with fair share of national resources, and there is separation between central and state powers in the constitution.

I reached this conclusion after making a thorough comparison between the two, Decentralized and Federalism.

Conclusion
I believe in peace and peace will surely prevail. The pursuit of peace will overcome the propaganda of praising war and bloodshed and all the ongoing attempts aimed at plunging the country, particularly Equatoria, into another atrocious and horrendous war like the ongoing war in Upper Nile region, will surely die away.

I call on all my fellow South Sudanese in the country and around the globe to work for peace and stop war propaganda and sowing seeds of hatred, tribalism, disunity, discord and aggrandizement of war through social media. Peace will surely come and war propaganda will end.

O God, we praise and glorify you
For your grace on South Sudan,
Land of great abundance,
Uphold us united in peace and harmony.

Mr. Ayok lives in Juba. He is reachable at dengdit_a@yahoo.com

People should be cautious in the ongoing rebellion in South Sudan

By Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, JUL/07/2014, SSN;

The advice for people to be cautious in the ongoing rebellion in South Sudan is not a matter of taking sides. It is rather advisable for people to be objective and realistic in approaching issues that have been unfortunately seen contributing to the rebellion. The advice is especially to those who are enthusiastic about federalism.

Those people should not be carried away by the euphoria of federalism. Without a rebellion federalism was coming. Even the hardliners against federalism were softening up. Federalism was therefore gaining ground where it was at first shunned.

Equatorians will always stand up without fear for equality, justice and prosperity for all in South Sudan regardless of ethnic and regional diversities. This is in contrast to the highly pronounced nouns above as lip service since the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) on 9 January 2005 that ended the North-South war that lasted 22 years. The lip service had its contributory share in the eruption of the violent conflict on 15 December 2013.

Equatorians and indeed peace loving South Sudanese are advised to take their normal position of high moral ground by not joining blindly the rebellion on the pretext of fighting for federalism. This advice will not make peace loving Equatorians cowards but their perspective of life follows their culture of respect and the love for peaceful co-existence.

People may not like to acknowledge it openly that Equatoria is the anchor. Without Equatoria there may hardly be a viable South Sudan. Equatoria should therefore help to resolve the conflict without taking sides in what seems to be an ethnically charged war for leadership of South Sudan. On ethnic dimensions of the conflict the South Sudan Human Rights Commission Interim Report on South Sudan Internal Conflict December 15, 2013 – March 15, 2014 seems to confirm this. One wouldn’t like to replace hegemony with another abhorrent one.

Federalism cannot be imposed by the use of force. A peaceful environment is needed to assess the viability and relevance of federalism to diversities in South Sudan. Besides war in Equatoria to impose federalism means the people of Equatoria will be killing themselves and dying for no good reason in a senseless war only for the benefit of others. This will be contrary to the perception of Equatoria as the most peaceful.

In addition, in the communiqué that followed the Equatoria Conference 2011, Equatoria asserts in clear terms that: “Mindful of the suffering of the people of Equatoria in the past decades, we will no longer accept Equatoria land to be used as a battle ground for any senseless bloodshed”.

Causes of ongoing conflict in South Sudan

The ongoing conflict did not just come out of the blue. There must have been something that triggered it. We may therefore need to be searching for clues that led to the start of the conflict.

For our search we may not need to go that far but to refer to the South Sudan Human Rights Commission Interim Report on South Sudan Internal Conflict December 15, 2013 – March 15, 2014. We may also need to refer to The Truth about the Aborted Coup of Dr. Riek Machar and his group of the 15th December 2013; documented by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (7th January 2014). The two mentioned documents highlight the genesis of the ongoing conflict.

The problem seems to have started when Dr Riek Machar as the Vice President openly expressed his desire to challenge President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the leadership of the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The response from President Salva Kiir Mayardit was to make a major cabinet reshuffle, aiming at dropping his Vice President, Dr Riek Machar.

The earlier campaign by Dr Riek Machar against President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the leadership of the SPLM and in addition to the cabinet reshuffle helped to precipitate the ongoing conflict. According to the Government own version, at around 5 pm on the 15th December 2013, a group of uniformed soldiers allied to the former Vice President Dr Riek Machar opened fire at Nyokuron Culture Centre where the SPLM National Liberation Council meeting was taking place.

On the surface the campaign against the leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the cabinet reshuffle that appeared to be aimed at the removal of the Vice President, Dr Riek Machar and the subsequent gun fire on the 15th December 2013 in Juba seem to have been the causes of the ongoing conflict. However, there seems to be a deep-seated dissatisfaction with service delivery and the style of leadership.

Unnecessary armed rebellion for federalism

The incident of December 15, 2013 in Juba has become a full blown armed rebellion led by Dr Riek Machar who is citing federalism as one of the reasons for the rebellion. Initially Dr Riek Machar claimed he escaped from Juba for his dear life. Soon thereafter he was the leader of a rebellion, mobilizing to march on Juba with the intention to usurp power by force of arms.

To halt the advance of Dr Riek Machar, Uganda intervened while the Intergovernmental Administration and Development (IGAD), the African Union and the UN sprang into action to stop the rebellion turning into something like a destructive wildfire.

The IGAD Communiqué of 25th Extra-Ordinary Summit of South Sudan in part: Urges the Parties to fully comply with and implement Cessation of Hostilities (COH) Agreement and its Implementation Modalities as well as show their political will and commitment to end the war, and take all necessary measures to encourage the Parties to abide by the Agreement; and Reminds the Parties to negotiate in good-faith guided by the spirit of give and take, tolerance and accommodation and respect the politics of zero-sum-game.

In part the IGAD Agreement to Resolve the Crisis in South Sudan Addis Ababa 9 May 2014, the Parties: Agree that a transitional government of national unity will offer the best chance for the people of South Sudan to take the country forward; and that such a government shall oversee government functions during a transitional period, implement critical reforms as negotiated through the peace process, oversee a permanent constitutional process, and guide the country to new elections; and thus direct our respective representatives to the IGAD-led peace process to negotiate the terms of a transitional government of national unity;

It can be seen that everything possible is being done to usher in an era of peace and stability in South Sudan. The ongoing armed rebellion is neither in the national interest, regional nor in international interest. The sooner the rebellion comes to an end the better for the country that is witnessing senseless loss of innocent lives and wanton destruction of rudimentary infrastructures and property.

In the context of South Sudan the armed rebellion is unnecessary because federalism is already gaining ground among those who were hostile. The armed rebellion is also unnecessary because there is always a peaceful means for regime change through the ballot box instead of senseless bloodshed and fueling of ethnic and regional polarisation.

Ending rebellion in the national interest

The IGAD and AU and the UN are all doing what they can to resolve the crisis in South Sudan. However, the SPLM-in-Opposition may be an obstacle because anything that does not guarantee a regime change may not be of interest to the SPLM-in-Opposition.

In the best national interest and to avoid South Sudan sliding down dangerously as a failed state, what is so special about being elected while elected governors are removed probably without second thought? The people of South Sudan must act in a peaceful manner on how to end the destructive rebellion.

The youth have a crucial role to play. The women, civil societies and the communities in South Sudan must prevail on the youth because they may be vulnerable. The rebellion is basically to effect regime change with no guarantee that there won’t be despotic leadership.

The youth of Equatoria may be especially vulnerable because of the crafting of federalism onto the rebellion agenda. The advice is that originally the rebellion had nothing to do with federalism. It is nothing but a clever way to attract support from Equatoria.

The youth are advised and reminded that the opponents of federalism are now becoming positive and are endorsing federalism as a system of government for South Sudan. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be done by way of articulating clearly the type of federalism suitable for South Sudan. We need a consensus to move forward. A rebellion for federalism is therefore unnecessary.

In a public lecture on federalism in the history of South Sudan in the University of Juba, the discussants highlighted the relevance of federalism to South Sudan. One discussant used statistics to show the extent to which South Sudanese would prefer federalism to a unitary system. This suggests that South Sudan does not need a rebellion to impose federalism.

A peaceful adoption of federalism is ever possible. The youth are therefore advised that they should better get engaged in a debate on the merits of federalism instead of joining a rebellion with the mistaken belief that they are fighting a just war for federalism.

Without a rebellion federalism will find its way into the permanent constitution of South Sudan. There is no time limit to rebellion when the permanent constitution is silent about federalism.

Adoption of federalism solution to South Sudan problem

In a nutshell the problem of South Sudan can be identified as absolute poor service delivery to improve the quality of life of ordinary men and women in terms of equality, justice and prosperity. Some people argue that the priority now is peace and stability. However, before the rebellion was there no peace and stability, and how then wasn’t the problem addressed?

Arguably federalism is the solution to the problem because it will bring peace and stability. This is because those who claimed to have joined the rebellion for federalism would turn their back against the rebellion after realizing federalism was being adopted. The continuation of the rebellion may probably be for something else, for the leadership of South Sudan. However, the IGAD, AU and the UN are involved in the realization of an appropriate solution.

Conclusion

The public lecture on federalism in the history of South Sudan was presented by Professor Douglas H. Johnson, the author of the book, The Root Causes of Sudan’s Civil Wars. What specifically captured my attention was when Professor Douglas H. Johnson said, “Kokora is not Federalism”.

In my articles on federalism I have been arguing that federalism is not kokora but I have never been taken seriously. I have even been viciously attacked. Asked why people equate federalism with kokora one discussant answered that it was the fear of the unknown. I am now vindicated and those who were and are fearful of federalism as kokora should now relax and do not need to be full of anxiety.

The next step should be a debate on the type of federalism South Sudan should adopt. I reiterate that we have to build a consensus on the type of federalism suitable to the peculiarities of South Sudan with its ethnic, cultural and regional diversities in fostering national unity. Federalism is not now a taboo but an openly accepted system of governance for a diverse South Sudan.

In conclusion, the question now is not why to adopt a federal system but when should it be adopted and the sooner the better as a solution to volcanic tensions in South Sudan.

SPLM, a curse to South Sudan

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, JUL/06/2014, SSN;

This thing called the SPLM is a curse to South Sudan. Built on contradictions in 1983, it frequently implodes violently and morphs into different SPLM factions. In doing so the off shoots hog the mother organisation’s name defensively but differentiates themselves with mini adjectives without any clear identity in terms of what they stand for.

Now the SPLM has given birth to four SPLM factions namely: SPLM Oyee, SPLM-in-Opposition, SPLM DC and SPLM G11. Previously, in early 1990s there were other two which have now died out. These were SPLM Nasir faction and SPLM United. At least the latter two had a clear vision of what they wanted for South Sudan which was self determination contrary to what Dr John Garang wanted.

It is important to highlight here that the idea of self determination was neither the creation of Dr Riek Machar nor Dr Lam Akol. This was a vision laid down by the leaders of Anyanya One in early 1960s when both Riek and Lam were perhaps in primary school at the time.

So Dr Machar and Dr Akol picked up the idea and asserted the wish of the people of South Sudan against Dr John Garang’s clearly stated objective of a united Sudan.

As for the four SPLM factions now combining both groups with their opposing ideologies, no one knows what they really stand for since South Sudan is now an independent country. The issues of secession and unity are largely irrelevant now.

The crucial issue now facing South Sudan is how it can be managed for the well being of its citizens and the reality is that all these SPLM factions have no idea of what to do.

Now the SPLM and its off shoots are to all intent and purpose confused without any identity of what they stand for. This confusion reflects the minds of the so called leaders of these various SPLM groups. It manifests itself in the lack of clarity in these groups.

They do not know why they maintain the name SPLM which does not rhyme with the name of the new country they have violently imposed themselves to chaotically lead.

It also manifests the clouded mind of their leaders who can not see that they are confusing their organisation with the country, South Sudan. For instance, the flag of the SPLM/A has been imposed without consultation with the people of South Sudan as a national flag.

By default, this imposition assumes everybody in South Sudan is an SPLM/A. This fusion of organisation and country creates a detrimental enmeshment in the country.

Another off shoot in the Sudan (the country north of South Sudan) calling itself SPLM North also uses this very flag in their country. The rebels there wear the SPLM flag on their uniforms which also is the flag of South Sudan posing potential risks for a mistaken identity that could flare up in a conflict between the two countries since the army of South Sudan wear similar uniforms.

Another anomaly also lies in the fact that the army of South Sudan continues to be called SPLA. What is really going on here? Do these people not know that South Sudan is a different independent country and bigger than their party?

Until this confusion in SPLM/A and its mini groups is cleared out of South Sudan, our country will always remain unstable and confused.

As South Sudanese descended into Addis Ababa for the dialogue, it was hoped that the participation of the stakeholders would be able to deal with these serious issues.

Unfortunately, the symposium held in Addis Ababa at the beginning of June 2014 turned out to be a total farce. The reality was that the government in Juba violated the 9th May 2014 agreement. President Kiir’s security unconstitutionally denied the opposition travel to attend the meeting in Addis Ababa.

Unbelievably, neither the IGAD, nor the African Union, nor the Troika intervened to correct the oppressive action. IGAD by not intervening ended up colluding with the government of South Sudan and in the process it violated the very agreement it helped to broker.

Had the talks been inclusive, the stakeholders would be able to speak on behalf of the oppressed people of South Sudan thereby injecting a varied perspective that might help in reaching a positive outcome for the country.

As it is now the talks are actually between the SPLM factions while the real victims (the people) of this crisis are excluded.

SPLM G11 call themselves SPLM leaders. On which grounds are they leaders? President Kiir, the SPLM chairman stripped them from their positions in the SPLM party which means they no longer hold any positions of influence.

This further means they have lost authority and influence in the party. How then can they insist to call themselves leaders? By which authority are they calling themselves leaders?

It is about time they accepted their predicament which is that they are now ordinary members only like any other members.

A good number among them must also know that they were appointed by their tormentor President Kiir to the parliament and positions of influence against the wishes of the people.

Most of them failed to win any seats in parliament during the general election of April 2010 in the Sudan. The best they can do is to form their own party under a different name. They should forget the madness of hogging ‘SPLM’ because apparently “it is a historical party that brought independence.”

SPLM whether it brought independence or not is a party rotten to the core. Its name is tarnished beyond retrieval. The earlier they get this point the better for them and South Sudan.

As for their claim to being leaders – this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Leaders are people who care about the masses. They spearhead useful programmes of developments in society. Manage public resources prudently and frugally for the benefit of all.

Do these so called “leaders” have any characteristics of leadership? Have any of them displayed such qualities? The evidence point to the contrary. For full understanding please see:

1-Tear down the SPLM http://allafrica.com/stories/201209030002.html
2-Power struggle in the SPLM http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/editorials/power-struggle-in-the-splm
3-Cattle camp” imperialism in RSS http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/editorials/cattle-camp-imperialism-in-rss
4-Corruption saga: The SPLM five big guns or quintet squirrels http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/corruption-saga-the-splm-five-big-guns-or-the-quintet-squirrels

If and when you have read the articles referred to above, would you still take the claim of SPLM G11 of leadership seriously? Think about it and you be the judge.

Having been rescued by Dr Machar from the jaws of the shark, the SPLM G11 disgracefully kicked their saviour in the teeth. Opportunistically, they distanced themselves from him in the hope of grabbing power with the help of IGAD countries.

This is another point that discredits IGAD as mediators in the South Sudan crisis. Please see, ‘Former detainees discuss South Sudan crisis with mediators ‘ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article51021

Pagan Amum said, “As SPLM leaders, we are going to participate and engage first and foremost the two parties to stop this war and the conflict, so that we proceed with the negotiation to develop and agree on programmes to urge South Sudan into a transition to peace and democracy.”

Pagan goes on, “His team will fully participate with both parties in restoring peace and democracy in South Sudan as well as in shaping in every future of the country.”

Was South Sudan in peace and democracy before this crisis? If so, does Pagan remember what he said in December 2013 prior to the implosion of the SPLM? Was Pagan not the very person who shouted loud that President Kiir was becoming a dictator and South Sudan a dictatorship? Memories seem short.

What future of South Sudan does Pagan and his group want to shape? Where is their Blue Print? Have they told the masses what they intend to do differently for the country than what they have been doing for the last nine years?

Is the current mess not of their own collective making? And above all, how do they intend to shape the country? Under what ideology and programmes do they want to shape the country? Why did they not do so in the last 9 years?

Since coming out of their incarceration, have the SPLM G11 spoken about the suffering of the people? Have they spoken about their failures collectively in mismanaging the country?

Have they spoken about SPLM’s massive neglect of the country since 2005? These people are not serious. They are only interested in their stomachs. They lie to the people and themselves with speeches like, “The G11 have decided not to side to either party arguing no role in the ongoing conflict.” Really?

These are not leaders. Leaders must have “the capacity to care because this is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” These are the words of Pablo Casals, the gifted musician.

So far in the context of South Sudan such virtues are possessed by the silent leaders of South Sudan and in my view it is these leaders who can rescue the country. They may enable South Sudan to experience what it means to be governed appropriately and fairly based on the rule of law.

Presently, the shoddy transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan is a redundant document. It means nothing at all to the people of South Sudan. The president and the SPLM refer to it when it suits them.

Otherwise, overall everything done in the country is based on the advice and recommendations of the Council of Jieng Elders.

SPLM regularly commits crimes against humanity with impunity. For example, the ethnic cleansing of the Uduk people of Upper Nile in late 1980s, the fratricide of the Nuer/Jieng of early 1990s, the massacres of the Didinga in late 1990s, the massacre of the Chollo from 2008 to the present, and the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer from mid December 2013 to the present.

In all these horrendous cases there have never been any enquiries or accountability.

As I write, President Kiir and the SPLM are seriously planning to commit another pre-meditated ethnic cleansing. This time the targets are Equatorians because of their legitimate call for federalism.

An extensive hit list reportedly signed by the president lists the governors of Equatoria, Equatorian party leaders, Equatorian officers of the various organised forces, Equatorian intellectuals and businessmen.

At the moment the Chief of the Army, General Paul Malong Awan is busy deploying army units predominantly composed of President Kiir’s tribesmen to the three states of Equatoria in preparation for this evil culling plan.

Although this information is now in the public domain, some naive people in Equatoria (together with the sell-outs) minimise its seriousness. The recent publicity of this vile plan of ethnic cleansing may save the lives of the governors but people like Peter Sule remain highly vulnerable in Juba.

The planned targeting of Equatorian leaders is a deliberate thing to decapitate the Equatorian body politic. It has a far reaching ramification in terms of the future identity of Equatoria, but also for South Sudan.

The Equatorians must now seriously think about this very real threat to their own existence in South Sudan. They need to devise a plan to confront and respond to this threat appropriately. Those planning this criminal act should know that they will not get away with it and that they will be brought to book.

The troika and Human Rights Watch have already been alerted and should anything happen the responsibility lies squarely with President Kiir and the Council of Jieng Elders formulating and supervising these evil culling plans.

With the coming of peace in 2005 up to now South Sudan has been under the rule of predatory sharks. SPLM/A does not care about the country and the people. It does not believe in the common good but rather in advancement of its elite members only.

If these so called leaders (including President Kiir and Riek) had “the capacity to care”, South Sudanese would not be dying like flies in their hands.

They would have humanely managed the country with services adequately provided to the people in the pivotal sectors of health, education, housing, employment, and security.

But what have South Sudanese got on their hands? Ethnic cleansing, entrenched tribalism, orgiastic corruption and continuous empty rhetoric.

The contest over the name SPLM/A irrational as it is, is itself a fight against Jieng tribalism as well as a fight for power.

The multiple factions of SPLM in different forms and shapes hogging this name do so because they believe SPLM is the centre of unassailable power and also it is associated with the glory of liberation. They apparently want the timelessness of liberation and heroism associated with them.

The Jieng in their endeavour to wholly accumulate the glory of liberation have falsely convinced themselves that they own the SPLM. To them, since the formation of SPLM is attributed to Dr John Garang and Garang having hailed from Bor, SPLM to them is a Jieng property.

Hence, the declaration of the Jieng in a document of meeting in Ark hotel in Kampala, Uganda in 2009 stating’ “‘The Dinka are the SPLM/A and the SPLM/A are the Dinka’ The two are the two faces of the same coin”. Their motto is that ‘He who wins can not be in the wrong’. www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/benign-intervention-is-the-way-forward-for-republic-of-south-sudan

Now that SPLM is the centre of power associated with the liberation of South Sudan, according to them the Jieng are the liberators of South Sudan and the glory is theirs.

This anomaly makes the Jieng to crow “We liberated you.” “We are born to rule” hurting the feeling of others. They commit heinous crimes with impunity freely as with the case of the Nuer in December 2013. Unfortunately, they appear to draw pleasure and satisfaction from this barbarity.

This of course is not true for the following reasons. First Dr John Garang did not form the SPLM. He simply is an appointee of the Ethiopians into the SPLM/A. Please see ‘Dr John Garang was an appointee of the Ethiopian to the SPLM’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/dr-john-garang-was-an-appointee-of-the-ethiopians-to-the-splm

On this fact alone the Jieng claim to ownership of the name SPLM falters.

Secondly, although the Jieng through Dr Garang dominated the organisation, many South Sudanese from other tribes played a very crucial role in SPLM’s success. For example, in mid 1990s SPLM/A was practically defeated by the Arabs. The forces of President Omar Bashir captured most of South Sudan from the SPLM with it (the SPLM) pushed to the extreme periphery in Nimule.

If it was not for the Equatorians, SPLM/A would have been smashed by the Arabs and there would not have been an independent South Sudan now.

From this alone, the independence of South Sudan without argument is an outcome of contribution of all the tribes of South Sudan and the Diaspora. So the puerile nonsense of “We liberated you” the Jieng brag about is at best garbage and at worst utterance of lunatics.

But the foregoing should make South Sudanese question the basis of SPLM’s power. This is important to know if the people are to liberate themselves from this monstrous organisation.

SPLM is not the true centre of power in South Sudan. The real power lies with the people of South Sudan. If only the people can grasp this crucial point and its psychological dynamics, SPLM could easily be discarded.

The people just need to withdraw allegiance and membership and the SPLM would be nothing. The power they crow about would evaporate in an instance.

So the intimidation that President Kiir metes out to the supporters of federalism is sustained by the Equatorian allegiance and membership to the SPLM which indirectly gives the Jieng power.

The irony is Equatorians are fighting themselves. They empower SPLM and the Jieng and then they fight what the SPLM and the Jieng impose on them. This is madness. Just quit the SPLM and begin to organise to build a new centre of power to realise your objectives and interests.

Any South Sudanese who wants federalism should quit the SPLM today. Dr Riek Machar’s maintenance of the SPLM name psychologically gives credence to SPLM Oyee granting it higher status which feeds the psychological image of Jieng being invincible.

This is turn makes President Kiir to feel unbeatable and thus make irrational demands. For example, admonishing Equatorians not to talk about Federalism.

Thomas Schilling in his book, ‘The strategy of conflict’ tells us that when certain parties adopt an irrational position and fiercely guard it, it is because they have a reason. Often when this is seen from their perspective it makes sense in that it actually serves their intrinsic interest.

So, the hogging of SPLM’s name irrational as it is for the country, it actually perpetuates and massively promotes the interest of the Jieng.

This is why President Kiir preferred to plunge the country into chaos than to transfer power to Dr Riek Machar which to him would by default mean ceding power to the Nuer.

Thus if President Kiir were to change the name SPLM the only people who stand to lose are the Jieng. So, all the other SPLM groups follow this logic.

At the heart of this hogging of the name SPLM lies a false glory and an imagined fixed absolute power in SPLM. Every one of them wants this supposed power.

This belieF in the invincibility of the SPLM has nurtured a culture of abuse and impunity over the years with the members becoming disempowered to the influence and working of the organisation itself.

For example the unfortunate events of mid December 2013 mostly affected the SPLM (the organisation and the members), yet the victims like Dr Machar still fights tooth and nail to identify himself with an organisation that decimated his own identity.

Do you see the pathology griping the SPLM and its members? After what has happened, why should anybody desperately want to associate with such a dysfunctional organisation?

Dr Machar now is in a better position to ditch the name SPLM because South Sudanese joining him are doing so on principle of ousting the murderous regime of President Kiir and not because of the glory of SPLM.

Further Dr Machar would help the Nuer to heal psychologically faster by ostracising the organisation responsible for their ethnic cleansing. If Machar did that he would eventually emerge clean from the cyclical mess of SPLM with a new organisation formed by him lifting his stature and image.

SPLM is so dysfunctional an organisation that it is no longer good for anybody and the country.

When an organisation has an entrenched destructive culture that can not be influenced by its members for better, the best thing to do is either to overhaul it or to dismantle it and form a brand new one with a new name.

This is what the SPLM members need to do if the destructive culture of SPLM is to be gotten rid of.

Therefore to remove the confusion in South Sudan politics, and for the members of SPLM to liberate themselves from their mental enslavement to an organisation that only benefits a section of one ethnic group and allows this group to abuse the others, they need to throw their membership away and find something else.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com
Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is a concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on agoktakpiny@ymail.com


Social contract is the foundation of South Sudan, not master-slave relation

THE FOUNDATION OF SOUTH SUDAN IS PREMISED ON SOCIAL CONTRACT NOT ON MASTERS AND SERVANTS RELATIONS.

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Uganda, JUL/05/2014, SSN;

This article intends to explain the foundation of South Sudanese nation and the relation of the people of South Sudan and their government. It will also explain why the government of South Sudan has misunderstood this relationship because instead of treating it as a social contract, it treats it as a master-servant relation hence changing the Transitional Constitution provisions which clearly state that the relationship on covenant is not that of master-servant relationship but contractual in nature.

It will in addition explain the concept of Africa family and its advantages to her members and how this concept is the basis of the foundation South Sudanese Transitional Constitution and this can help solve the present poverty crisis in the country if adopted, which can further help to reduce social tension that has been the cause of the numerous wars fought in Sudan and current conflict in South Sudan.

Without wasting time, it is imperative to begin with the famous statement of Dr. John Garang when he was addressing Sudanese community in the United States on what constituted the fundamental problem of Sudan. In that speech, he pointed out that an attempt by various Khartoum based regimes to build a monolithic Arab state constitutes the fundamental problem of Sudan.

In the same way, an attempt by SPLM leadership since 2005 to change the foundation of South Sudan from contractual relation to master-servant relation constitutes the fundamental problem of South Sudan.

The foundation of South Sudan is provided for under the Transitional Constitution of 2011. In Article 9 (1) on the Bill of Rights of all South Sudanese, it is provided that the relationship that exists between the people of South Sudan and their government exists as a matter of covenant.

In plain English and according to the Bible, a covenant means a formal agreement or a contract between the parties. . In Genesis 12 in the Holy Bible for instance, Abraham, the father of the modern Jewish people or Israel, is said to have made a covenant with God.

In that covenant, God took undertook initiative to promise Abraham a lasting, peace, protection and numerous children. God indeed made a promise to Abraham of as many children as stars in the sky at night and as many as sands at the sea. As soon as God made that promise to Abraham, He went into pact with Abraham when Abraham made a sacrifice of five animals. From that time Abraham became a true friend of God and God remained loyal to that agreement indefinitely despite the fact that God had power to violate it at will.

If I can ask this general question: why did God decide to remain loyal to the contract he made with Abraham although He had power to violate it at will? It is important to note that because God is a God of truth, justice, law and order he has to do what He initiated to human being according to the principle of general contract.

God knew that as a matter of justice and protection of the rule of law, He had to be committed to following and performing His part of the agreement in good faith and Abraham had no option but to do the same.

It should be observed that the contract or covenant between God and Abraham was being performed in accordance with the general principle of the rule of law of contract, which provides that as soon as parties have entered the valid contract, such a contract is binding and must be carried out and performed in good faith.

This is because if God or Abraham violated the terms of that contract the rule of law governing business would have been destroyed. Therefore, God and Abraham have to be committed to performing the contract in order to save the rule of law implied in the covenant.

The rationale behind strict adherence to the contractual terms of any contract or covenant is that once a person has promised to do a certain work and the other party has incurred detriment due to that promise, that person who misled the one who has suffered detriment must be forced to perform his or her part. This is because the rule of law does not allow a person to back down from his or her promises since it will destroy the rule of law itself.

Preservation of the rule of rule makes covenant binding on the parties who made that particular power although they are unequal in strength. This is why even the most powerful nation like the USA goes into contract with a weaker country like South Sudan; the USA must follow what the international law dictates it to do.

In the same way, the contract is performed based on the same principle of the rule of law no matter how powerful one party is, which underscores why God has to perform His part of the contract in Biblical or Abrahamic time.

As put above, the foundation of South Sudan as a country and the relationship that exists between South Sudanese themselves and their God is premised on covenant. The rule of law that follows from that contractual relationship by the virtue of Article 9 of the Transitional Constitution imposes a binding duty on South Sudanese authorities and citizens of South Sudan to perform part of their social contract established therein in good faith.

The problems prevalent in South Sudan today are due to the violation of the terms of the covenant provided for under Article 9 of the Transitional Constitution. Article 9 of the Transitional Constitution establishes the agreement that gave birth to South Sudan as a nation. The agreement was in form of covenant. The terms of that covenant were that the covenant was made between people of South Sudan on one hand and their government on the other hand and at every level.

In addition, the agreement stipulated that the people of South Sudan were to co-exist together based on equality before and under the law. Existing in equality in this context means respecting each other‘s culture, religion, customs or values, resources, which further means sharing the national resources equally. Equal sharing of resources means that people should love each other or tolerate each other if love is too heavy to carry.

In order to ensure that the terms of that covenant are obeyed and strictly adhered to by every South Sudanese, the citizens went ahead to elect a certain group of people with contract who they consider to be neutral in order to be in charge of the country. This was to ensure that contract between them is followed by every member to it or forced by that group selected to force them to abide by the terms of contract.

The group selected as stated in the foregoing paragraph constitutes the government of South Sudan, which was supposed to act as a trustee and hold all the resources of the people of South Sudan in trust for them. Trustee in plain English language means someone who is entrusted with people’s property on certain terms and condition.

In the definition given in Chambers-EAEP English Student Learners ‘Dictionary new edition, a trustee is someone who looks after and controls someone else’s money or property in a legal agreement. As seen from the definition of trustee in that Dictionary, South Sudanese authorities were entrusted to hold all natural resources in trust for the people of South Sudan, which means that the leaders are prohibited from using national resources to build personal empire and wealth.

However, South Sudanese leaders dishonestly breached the terms of the agreement as provided for in the Constitution and instead ran a country like person assets which further threw the country into massive corruption and ordinary citizens became extremely poor coupled with disappointment that has become part of their lives.

The government in addition as provided for in the covenant was to hold in trust for the people and protect natural resources such as lakes, rivers, wetlands, forests, games, national parks, minerals and all land on behalf of the people. The term of that trust involve the authorization of the government to use of force where necessary.

In fact South Sudanese know very well the concept of the government. The authorization of South Sudanese authorities to use force is based on the concept of the government. The government is ordinarily understood to mean the legitimate use of force. Therefore, South Sudanese trusted the government to use force legitimately where some members to this social contract disobeyed it terms.

However, to ensure that their interest is not jeopardized by the extensive use of force in case the government forgot to follow the terms provided in the social contract, South Sudanese limited the government in other way. They forced the government to promise them that it would respect their rights and freedoms.

Rights and freedoms of people as a matter of general human rights law limit excessive use of force but only allow the reasonable use of force. As a result of that agreement, the government once again promised them to respect and promote their human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Transitional Constitution.

The Transitional Constitution in Article 9 provides that the government must protect, respect and fulfill human rights and freedoms, which is the cornerstone of social justice, equality and democracy. The Transitional Constitution is alive to the important of social justice because social justice deals with the economic well-being of South Sudanese. In addition, it deals with the distribution of benefits and burdens throughout society.

Moreover, on the individual level, social justice demands a proportionate share of the benefits of economic endeavor of social partners, that is, social justice demands proportionate distribution of the fruits of people’s labour so that no one is cheated in any manner. Furthermore, on the national level, every group demands a proportionate and equitable share of the nation’s wealth among various groups, which implies that the demands by minority groups should not be neglected.

In relation to the above, the concept of social justice in South Sudan provides that the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups enshrined in the Bill of rights has to be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons.

When it comes to the international level, social justice demands that the relationship between nations be guided by mutual respect of every nation. It imposes an obligation on developed nations of the world so that every nation will enjoy fruits of earth, and so, fully live as human beings.

As it can be understood from the discussion in the foregoing paragraphs, social justice in other words, means treating people equally and ensures that they are able to access resources on equal footing. It is upon such ground the concept of social justice can be well understood when explained in the concept of and the role of family in South Sudan as a country.

The concept of social contract as provided for in South Sudanese Transitional Constitution is founded in the concept of social justice and family. The Transitional Constitution in other words is founded on African concept of family. The African concept of family is in turn founded on “ubuntu” notion. “Ubuntu” notion provides that all people are equal and belongs to the same family. This means that African concept of the family is founded on the notion that all members of the family are equal in rights and in dignity.

As African Scholar and Philosopher, John Mbiti, correctly observed “I am because you are and since you are therefore I am.” This saying underscores what constitutes healthy family in Africa. A typical or healthy family in Africa is that unit of people which accommodates all people related by descent and common ancestor. Hence, a typical African family takes care of its members; besides, providing a room for foreigners who have sought refuge within its premises and under its shade.

In general, African family system is founded by its members due to the advantages that accrue to them, in terms of social assistance and social justice. These advantages are clearly summarized by Journal of Social Development in Africa Vol. 17 no 2 July 2002. African Community according to that Journal is where the group or family serves only their members; it is a kinship-based solidarity.

For instance as that Journal further provides, groups serve the extended family and village residents’ by extending mutual assistance to its members, which are compulsory for all adults in the villages as a matter of moral responsibility. Moral responsibility created solidarity and an obligation to care for family members and relatives in times of need.

In relation to the above concept of African family as explained by Journal and African Philosopher, John Mbiti, the country call South Sudan constitutes African family and South Sudanese government as a head of this big family has a duty both under the national and the international law to ensure that all human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Transitional Constitution are respected, promoted and fulfill.

Under the international law, the principal obligation of South Sudan is to take steps to achieve progressively the full realization of the rights of all South Sudanese in all areas. This imposes an obligation to move as expeditiously as possible towards that goal. South Sudan as a State is obliged to ensure for everyone under its jurisdiction access to the minimum essential needs which are sufficient to ensure that all South Sudanese are free from poverty. As seen in the foregoing discussions, South Sudan is just a trustee who is supposed to hold all national resources in trust for the people and to ensure that their distribution is determined by principles of social justice.

Principles of social justice that determine the distribution of national resources are: equal access to opportunities and rights; fair system of law and due process; ability to take up opportunities and exercise rights; protection of vulnerable and disadvantaged people. These principles of social justice ensure that all people in the country are treated as equal members of family as an African concept of family previously explain entails.

It further implies that the possibility of throwing the country into the crisis of social classes is minimized through equal distribution of resources, which in turn results into improvement in the welfare of all citizens of South Sudan.

Unfortunately, as things now are, it is in apparent that social classes have already been developed under the disguise of tribalism. It is tricky. It is very tricky because tribalism covers underlying social structures of the South Sudanese communities. There is an existing social class system beneath and within South Sudanese communities but tribalism effectively covers its appearance.

South Sudan has developed social classes already and there is a caste system that exists in persons of women although many people who lack clear analysis keep on blaming tribalism whenever there is a problem triggered by marginalization at any level within the government and the society at large.

To explain the point made above, many citizens lack clear analysis of the social relationship which currently exists in South Sudan and often make premature conclusion by saying that problems of South Sudan affecting them in all areas are as a result of tribalism. To them, tribalism creates nepotism in the system of government, which excludes non-relatives of the one in the government from accessing employment and other opportunities.

Of course, such an argument is held by many and almost all believe to the source of the problems of South Sudan. Such an argument however in my view does not hold water in relation to the problems occurring presently in South Sudan. It does not hold water for some reasons.

One of such reasons is that the system also affects the members of the same people who are accused of tribalism, and for instance, if the problems of South Sudan were due to tribalism, all Dinka people would have been contented with the government simply because their man is the president of South Sudan which is not the case.

For instance, some Dinkas are not happy with the government of Kiir as seen in the recent defection of some prominent Dinka politicians who have recently rebelled against the SPLM government. The same is true with Nuers who are divided for and against rebellion, which they were supposed to have joined since it is a Nuer spearheaded rebellion.

From the above analysis, it is therefore logical to argue that if the problems of South Sudan were all about tribes, all Dinkas would have joined army to defend Kiir’s government or all Nuers would have joined Riek to fight for Nuers’ victory, but Equotarians would have not joined either side. This argument knocks out the notion of tribalism in South Sudanese problems.

As the explanation above illustrated, problems of South Sudan have nothing to do with tribes but they are as a result of an attempt by SPLM leaders to build personal wealth and empire and in the process end up creating social classes through patronage system. Therefore, what is being experienced in South Sudan today in form of conflict is the knock on effect of social classes struggle.

Nevertheless, this argument should not be taken out of context, no one disputes the contribution tribes and tribalism have in the problems of South Sudan but their contribution should rather be treated as one of the facilitating factors along poverty and illiteracy.

Back to the point, as leaders build personal empire and wealth, there is a creation of social classes since the building of wealth involves marginalizing of vulnerable. The same marginalization occurs within the SPLM leadership since leadership is understood as a major source of wealth by all South Sudanese.

The rationale is that the more one is at the top of leadership, the richer one becomes and this explains the fact that within nine years of the establishing of the government of South Sudan there are already billionaire. The question is where did those rebel leaders get such huge amount of dollars? Hence, making leadership a disputed area of interest to all and this brings in tribes and tribalism since they can facilitate one’s easy access top leadership and power.

This is why after quarreling in the struggle to go to the top of leadership but failed, some of the SPLM leaders appeal to the tribe-mates to help them fight their way to power. Hence, exploiting tribes and effect of tribes; tribalism to their advantages. At this point the tribalism becomes apparent to every person and they conclude that the problems of South Sudan are tribalism; such a statement is superfluous and erroneous.

The argument of this article as explained above is that problems of South Sudan are not due to tribes and tribalism. Instead they are due to cause and effect of social classes created in the process of building person wealth of leaders.

Social classes in South Sudan have their basis in the way war scattered people. It has to be noted that during the war many South Sudanese were scattered to different parts of the world while others remained in South Sudan throughout the liberation struggle. Those who remained in South Sudan are the SPLM/A and some people who had never gone to town.

One interesting thing that emerged about the liberation struggle of South Sudan is that although all South Sudanese were united against north in whatever capacity and wherever the war caught them or scattered them to, including those who were in Khartoum; in fact, those who were in Khartoum suffered the most because they braved Khartoum government through supporting its enemies.

Nevertheless, when the peace agreement was signed in 2005, the SPLM government started discriminating the other group of the people who were not in the liberated areas. SPLM members began categorizing some South Sudanese who were not in the war zone as not true liberators.

To effectively discriminate and marginalize the groups who were not within war zones, the SPLM/A employed a phrase which I do not know any equivalent phrase in English. The phrase in Dinka is “ee Piny ci Ok Kooth Guor thin.” In general, it means “a war of liberation in which we have suffered.”

The irony is that all South Sudanese including unborn whether within South Sudan or outside had suffered during the war and were also committed members of the SPLM/A. This is illustrated by the fact that South Sudanese owned liberation in their souls and mind.

In fact, this assertion is proved by the fact that sometimes during the war when things became difficult like in 1990s, the SPLM leaders could leave forests or bushes to either go to Australia, Canada, the USA, the UK or to many other countries where South Sudanese were.

They went there in disguise of educating people on the progress of liberation war but in actual sense, they were going to get assistance from those innocent South Sudanese who later became victims of social classes created by the greed of SPLM leaders.

In other words, there were times during the war SPLM leaders and their children could heavily rely on the people from Diaspora for their survival. But after peace agreement, the same SPLM leaders marginalized the people in Diaspora by developing a phrase like the one that has just been explained above.

Another observation which has to be made about the application of phrase explained above and which explains the fact that SPLM leaders are building social classes is that the phrase is applied selectively. It is not applied to the children of the leaders although they were also outside South Sudan as well, which means that it is only intended to exclude other members of South Sudanese not related to leadership either by tribe or in any other way, which beneficial to them.

As I discovered later, the phrase was employed by SPLM/A members to marginalize citizens from sharing in the fruits of their liberation struggle hence it was used as a tool of oppression and a form of social injustice that exists in South Sudan; the phrase is one of the tools for creating social classes.

The SPLM leadership has been consciously creating social classes as a way of entrenching itself in power which made it a group, which with time became a dominant group and also a group which controls resources of the country. Hence, the struggle for and against social classes began at this point and tribalism although it is not a cause for struggle becomes a facilitating factor in causing tension in the struggle for domination.

One funny thing to note about the role of tribalism is that the members of the SPLM hate tribalism when it is disfavoring them politically but use it for their advantage when they deem it necessary hence manipulating South Sudanese to their advantages.

For example, if I can remember very well what Dr. Riek told youth sometime back? In some years back he abused students from East Africa to the point of calling them political novice who should be taught how to play politics. To Riek, like any politicians in South Sudan, he expected students to be submissive, snobbish, miscreant and sheepish to him.

The youth of the above characters are the one South Sudanese politicians want. All politicians of South Sudan expected youth who wash their feet and praise them continuously even in the face of abuses of their rights, which has become a custom in South Sudan that youth should not attack politicians. This is a failure to distinguish the law from morality.

Human rights is a matter of law and every holder of that rights is supposed to protect his or her rights by coming out openly to protest and to attack the violator of his or her rights while morality is not binding but exists in villages where youth are expected to respect elders.

However, it should be observed that traditionally elders were respected because of the good work they do and also because they cared for the youth, which explains the rationale behind giving youth the fattest parts of animals in cattle camp.

The youth were given fatty parts of meat because they were considered to be assets for the society and in case when there was a danger, they would defend the community. However, most of the elders in South Sudanese government have marginalized youth and at the same time expect youth to respect them, which is wrong and unfounded respect.

It is another way of weakening youth. The respect for elders is being used in South Sudan as a means of silencing the youth yet there is fragrant violation of their human rights which is unacceptable. The youth must teach politicians how to govern the country.

Coming to the point, the reason why Dr. Riek behaved as explained above at that time was because he saw youth to be a threat to his political dominance. He therefore attacked them as a tool of destroying such unity and weakens them. This is proved by the fact that when he saw that his dominance and struggle to achieve it was threatened within the SPLM membership, he has now turned shamelessly to the same East African students he first attacked of not knowing politics.

Riek, who knows the weaknesses created by tribes and tribalism in unity of South Sudanese managed to manipulate tribe and tribalistic feelings to recruit students to go and fight on his behalf as it has been reported sometime back after the conflict had broken out. The war of Riek has nothing to do with the liberation of South Sudan from dictatorship but it is a trial to achieve what he has not achieve through peaceful means within the party; the SPLM leadership.

Therefore, tribalism becomes handy in fighting against marginalization within dominant group by its members against their marginalization within SPLM. The effect of tribalism becomes apparent since most of the people do not deeply to dig out what beneath things. Most of the people take effect for cause. This is why tribalism is the problem of South Sudan to them.

Nevertheless, tribalism is the effect of underlying factors that are not apparent to most of the ordinary people and to less critical mind. To them, what they see is tribalism without asking of motivational factors underlying tribalism itself. Such underlying factors are sometime termed as “Order of Thing” by some philosophers and any person interested in finding solution to the problems must always study the underlying factors or the root causes of the problems.

Michel Foucault in his Book entitled The Order of Things explains the underlying factors as: “Order is, at one and the same time, that which is given in things as their inner law, the hidden network that determines the way they confront one another, and also that which no existence except in the grid has created by a glance, an examination, a language; and it is only in the blank spaces of this grid that order manifests itself as depth as though already there, waiting in silence for the moment of its expression.”

As explained by Foucault in the above extract, the existence of things on earth including human beings is determined by underlying and inner law that cannot be easily noticed by anybody but only critical thinkers. Failure to understand underlying factors causing a given social problem will make that problem continues without ending and people will become helpless since they are not able to get a suitable solution to that particular social problem.

Therefore, the best way to solve any problem is to approach the issue in two ways. The first way is to stop the problem and the second way is to study the cause of the problems. The first way is to stop the problem from escalating and then the next step to find out the root causes of the problems in order to get correct solution to the problems. Failure to follow these two ways will make problems stay permanently or even expand.

Coming to the problems of South Sudan, its problems has nothing to do with tribes and tribalism although it cannot be disputed fact that tribes and tribalism play a role in fuelling the crisis.

Tribes are only a facilitating factor as witnessed in South Sudanese war on 15 December 2013. That war did not start as a tribal war, but, started as a political struggle for power within the SPLM party.

However, due to the illiteracy and ignorance, some citizens supported such useless war that had no basis all to make it just but only intended for political domination among SPLM party members.

The political struggle though became a devastating conflict, started way back in 1990s, whose root-causes and human rights abuses committed as a result of that conflict remained unaddressed, which remains as a source of tension within South Sudan. The underlying problems of South Sudan were supposed to address after peace agreement.

However, after the establishment of South Sudan government in 2005, the SPLM leaders did nothing to address the underlying causes of the previous conflicts but instead opted to conspire against all South Sudanese citizens by marginalizing them from equitable sharing of the national resources.

The SPLM/A leaders started using national resources that were supposed to be in the improvement of people’s welfare by living extravagant and lavish lives. This is indicated by fact that although they are poor they live like billionaires buying most expensive cars in the world. South Sudan becomes a hotpot markets for Hammers and other celebrities’ cars which leaders are not supposed to buy. For instance, every house of SPLM leader has big cars even Obama cannot afford. This was mixing pride with poverty.

As a result, they misappropriated national resources through buying houses abroad, expansive cars, sending their children to expensive universities and building their own big houses in the states where they come from. While citizens are dying of hunger and some preventable diseases that can easily be dealt with the patriotic government.

Many leaders in SPLM government do not care for the welfare of the citizens of South Sudan. In summary, they are not patriotic. For instance while all other citizens of South Sudan are left in poverty and underdeveloped, they are developing themselves and their children with the false hope that their children will continue with their dynasty.

The above statement support the fact that the SPLM government disenfranchised citizens of South Sudan by not allowing them to have enough access to resources, the leaders begin to personalize education although education is a human right, and since it is a human right, the government has a duty to make sure that it is realized by all South Sudanese.

The purpose the authorities marginalize all citizens from national resources is aimed at leaving citizens ignorance with an attempt to constructing personal empire with unbridled wealth. Hence, social classes became apparent. The discrimination that exists in South Sudan in general indicates the existence of social classes.

Social classes are already constructed by the leaders as witnessed in the direct development of some concepts such as social capital, which means allocation of resources according to membership of their associates; social network, which means allocating resources according to interdependence and benefits, patrimonialism, which means centering government on family; this is where the government officials employed their relatives from the top to the bottom of the office hence leaving non-relatives out.

In addition, there is also an existent of patronage. The evidence of patronage in South Sudan is shown since resources are allocated according to the mutual benefits, which means that someone who cannot produce any benefit to the leaders cannot be supported.

All the above concepts exist in South Sudan and are seen in operation as they determine the allocation of resources to the public and the wrong allocation of resources created by above concepts stir up opposition against the government.

As explained above, the problem of South Sudan is not tribe but the failure of the authorities to run the government according to the principles of its foundation. The foundation of South Sudan as discussed in the opening paragraphs of this article is premised on social contract not on masters and servants relations as authorities are trying to establish in South Sudan.
This is because the authorities are struggling to build the society on master-servant relations hence neglecting the principles of social justice that are entrenched in the Transitional Constitution of 2011. The social contract in South Sudan is premised upon the foundation for a united, peaceful and prosperous society based on justice, equality, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

However, the authorities, as a matter of practice, have effectively neglected the rule of law. This is because they do not want the equality of citizens as their intention is to build their personal resources hence by implication building social classes in the country. They know that where the rule of law does not exist the citizens are vulnerable since they are not able to speak out against mismanagement of resources.

The authorities have created a lot of poverty even those who were not poor initially because they did have agent to educate citizens on how to earn a living. They have done this by creating a dependent nation, yet the reason why some of them got involved in the struggle was due to wide, yawning gap between rich and poor, and the refusal of government of Sudan to acknowledge and try to fix the existence inequalities between north and the South.

However, when they managed unthinkable, they now again reversed their original principles on whose war was fought and became worse than Arabs themselves. However, this statement should not be taken as if I am regretting for getting independence the point I am making her is that authorities must learn how to govern the country. They must understand that there is a need for the rule of law in South Sudan because failure to enforce the rule of law is dangerous and has many implications.

What the authorities have not understood is that as long as the rule of law does not exist or where it is neglected, the implication is that the problems of South Sudan will never end. Any country which seeks for prosperity must take the issue of social justice because the violation of social justice has the cause of revolution in history and the disintegration of many countries.

The only way to end the problems prevailing in South Sudan is for the authorities to get committed to promoting rule of law, which means that the authorities must respect human rights of every South Sudanese citizens, irrespective of their tribes.

Otherwise, if South Sudanese leaders continue to build personal wealth and empire at the expenses of the citizens and continue creating social classes, there is likelihood a risk for the country sliding into deeper crises and eventual collapse than what it is now.

The author is a lawyer from Makerere University and he can be reached through the following contacts: juoldaniel@yahoo.com; +256783579256


Federal System: Will it quell the incessant rebelling & militias in South Sudan?

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, JUBA, JUL/04/2014, SSN;

As the people of south Sudan are focusing on how to resolve the crisis which has engulfed the nation and almost paralysed the country and brought peace back to its folds, there is now a noisy call for federalism as a system of governance to which the country should be governed.

One would wonder as to what should first be undertaken and what should come the second. Is it peace that should be given a chance so that our people who have left their places of residence in fear of insecurity and who are massively tenting up in all UN camps across the country or the federal system of government that should first be discussed and maybe implemented if accepted by all without coercion leaving our vulnerable children, women and elderly in such a dire need of help, with just one meal to push on or nothing at all?

Are we really up to how best this country should be governed? It is very much disheartening to hear people every day talking about federalism as the best system of governance which is supposed to be heeded leaving out scores of many other issues to put in place so that they pave way for the best system of governance, be federalism or any other best system that the country and its people decide.

This writer is not against federalism as the best system of governance to be adopted in south Sudan but the ways and procedures that are being undertaken now with regards to federalism are not healthy because it would further divide our people on regional and tribal bases hitherto stabbing at the back and setting back the little gains we have in place now.

Federal system of governance is good with the society that has overstepped tribal mindsets and regionalism. It is good with that society with which the level of modernity and education exceeded the ones we have in south Sudan.

Federal system of governance is healthy and good with the society which does see itself not with regional and tribal eyes but with the society which does see itself as one people and one country who shared some communal traits.

When the crisis enraging on in our country began, it wasn’t about how best the country should be governed and it has nothing to do with the governance of the country but was triggered by the fact that some groups of people were so inquisitive and greedy for themselves not even the country that they were worried about.

So talking about federal governance leaving untouched how to resolve the root causes of the crisis is like leaving an elephant untouched and stabbing the shadow.

I strongly stand with my most respected people, my brothers and sisters from greater Equatoria on how best this great nation should be governed and I caution them to be watchful enough that their healthy idea of governing the country shouldn’t be stolen and used by some disgruntled group of people whose hands are fully tainted with blood of our innocent children, women and elderly who have perished for not good reason to die.

I have never ever heard of an Equatorian having a militia or rebelling to kill his/her own southern brothers except very recently with Alfred Ladu Gore, who was a person I have an utmost respect for. These people are fond and obviously known of their lust for power at the expense of the people.

In conclusion, it is pertinent that the best thing to do is to firstly bring to an end this useless and senseless war that has caused us so much in human lives and properties. It is when we are in peace and stability that we will think wisely on how best our country should be governed and what best system should we apply that will bring convenient and acceptable systems of government.

The quest for good governance by the people of south Sudan has historically been documented quite a long time ago and it would be good if my great people across south Sudan come and sit together not on regional and tribal bases but as brothers and sisters who are one people to discuss issues of national concern and adopt a unified system of governance to which our country should be governed so that we have lasting peace for our people and our country.

We have suffered long enough and we have lost many of our people since the struggle up to now. It would be fatal enough and hence immature if we partially solve the problem that I think is commonly facing all of us.

Having federal system of governance in place currently wouldn’t curb the incessant rebellion and a culture of militarism that has been adopted as short-cut way of getting employment in south Sudan, it would further aggravate the situation.

Let’s collectively face those thugs whose thoughts are to kill innocent children and women and set ablaze and loot other people’s properties. We better collectively say no to the culture of militancy and rebellion which is incompatible and inconsistent with the established formal legal procedures of the nation.

Let’s solve the problem that is causing both the country and its people before embarking on how to governance the country whose its inhabitants are scattered and tenting up in the IDPs camps.

We may have federal system of governance in south Sudan but the culture of taking up guns and killing vulnerable people just under the pretext of dictatorial tendencies with hope of being appeased and awarded senior positions in the government will not cease.

Sudan was a federal state but it has not stopped south Sudanese from fighting with the government that was centered in Khartoum. What difference would this federalism make in south Sudan? This means that you don’t have any remorse to those who are living in those dire situations in the UN camps and they seem not to be part of your country.

Remain Blessed.

Tong Kot is a Practicing Legal Counsel at Deng & Co. Advocates and can be reached at: tong_kkk@ymail.com.


A call for federalism by Western Bahr-el Ghazel intellectuals in diaspora

BY: Peter Utermando, South Sudan, JUL/04/2014, SSN;

South Sudan as the world’s newest country had a great opportunity to embark on nation-building, institutional reforms and right decisions on the most suitable system of governance.

However, since 2005 the government has been taking the country on the wrong direction. Most importantly, lack of good government in the country led to questioning the effectiveness of Salva Kiir’s rule.

An overwhelming majority of South Sudanese voted in January 2011 referendum to secede and become Africa’s first new country since Eritrea split from Ethiopia in 1993.

Not long after the independence of the country on July 9th 2011, the young state plunged into several crises and the people of South Sudan have been disappointed.

The country’s post-independence period quickly witnessed the same coarse realities most African countries underwent before. Unfortunately, the country’s government grew a bad habit of ignoring to tackle critical problems during their infancy stages.

Federalism is an example to such ignorance issues currently occurring in the country. As a result, there are been increasingly a debate about the issues of implementation of the federal system in the Republic of South Sudan.

As a result of a serious economy set back, violation of human rights, tribalism, occupation of citizen’s land by the government elements, lack of rule of law and strong constitution in the country, now the majority of the population has been voicing for federalism system in the country.

First of all, federalism or Decentralization of the government is described as a system of government in which sovereignty of an independent country is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and states or provinces of the main territory.

Decentralization of the government is both implemented in developed and developing countries. The World is turning to devolution to improve the performance of their public sectors.

In the United States, for instance, the central government has turned back significant portion of federal authority to the states for a wide range of major programs, including welfare, Medical, legal services, housing, and job training.

The objectives of the federalized country are that state and local governments, being closer to their people, will be more responsive to particular preferences of their constituencies and are able more effectively to find better ways to provide services necessary to their communities.

Recently the three governors of Greater Equatoria, who stand with their people on federalism, a call being championed by the SPLA/M in opposition, are reportedly managing intense relations with the Juba’s regime.

This led to President Salva Kiir directly to criticize the people of Greater Equatoria on Monday June 30th 2014 and warned them to stop calling for federalism, a system of governance that is seen as a threat by Salva Kiir’s home region.

Why dictator Salva Kiir and his followers see the federalism as a threat? South Sudanese have been calling for the federal system since 1947 until now and never their voices for the federalism will be silent by any power on earth.

It is weird that the system of governance, which the whole world regards as a perfect system of ruling diverse country, such as South Sudan, the regime of Salva Kiir has different view, in which it opposes the system.

As a result of the debate about the federalism in the country, a meeting reportedly held on Thursday 26th June 2014 by president Salva Kiir and his recently appointed Chief of Staff, Gen. Malong Awan, has produced an extensive list, which contained the names of Equatorian generals and intellectuals, who would be closely monitored by the government agents in an attempt to silence federalism demands in the country, which led to ethnic cleansing against Equatorians as happened against Nuers in last December 2013 and in Wau city in December 2012 in which the government army shot in cold blood innocent protestors.

How on earth the government that supposes to protect its own citizen kill its people? Who will protect the people of South Sudan from Salva Kiir’s killing machines?

Even the media is not safe from Salva Kiir’s suppression. On Monday 30th June 2014 South Sudanese media protested a directive issued by security officials to desist from publishing information about recent proposals to establish a federal system of government. The intimidation to silence the call for the federalism will never work.

As a people of Western Bahr el Ghazal WBGS intellectuals in Diaspora, we elevate our voices against the attempt by Salva Kiir’s government to silence the call of federalism.

Further, we condemn with strongest words the killing of Equatorian brothers in Juba during last week. We stand united with our fellow citizens all across the country who embrace the federalism, to call for the implementation of the system in the country.

We call on Salva Kiir regime to respect the will of Southern Sudanese people and retreat from the aggressiveness that they are committing against our nation.

Federalism is a perfect model for the country with diverse population such as South Sudan. In Switzerland for instance, there are only four nationalities that lived in harmony when they established federalism system in their country.

In the South Sudan there are more than 62 different tribes with different culture, the federal system will perfectly fit the country, solve its ethnic problems, and help the country to be developed as other nations. END


Equatorians and the Federation of South Sudan: Analysis

BY: Chuol C. Puoch, JUL/01/2014, SSN;

Greater Equatoria lies in the southern part of the Country and is made up of many different small ethnicities divided into the three states of Western, Central and Eastern Equatoria under the leadership of Bangasi Joseph Bakasoro in the west, Clement Wani Konga and Louis Lobong Lojore in central and Eastern Equatoria states respectively. The region is currently represented in the Central government by James Wani Igga as the Vice President of the Country with other Equatorian sons and daughters holding ministerial positions in the government of Salva Kirr Mayardit.

Position of Equatorians in the current conflict and its dangers

Often, Equatorians go after democracy, federalization and good governance which they never achieved throughout their life in the history of South Sudan. However, hearing anyone calling for democracy and federalism is in their utmost interest and they would, in one way or another, go for it.

On the other hand, it seems not only difficult, but also undo-able for them to rise up on the streets and in the bushes to bring down the government of Salva Kirr, which has humiliated them for quite so long.

In spite of the military strength of Riek Machar and Lado Gore, Equatorians are still thinking that going to the bushes to bring kirr’s government down means life risking with no benefits. That is absolutely not true!

According to how I look at it, Equatorians are digging their own grave for them to be disgracefully cleansed and maimed by Kirr Mayardit in Juba and other areas in Equatoria.

That will be a great melancholy though it’s known before it happens. Equatorians are calling for democracy and federalism in fear and suspicion of falling into the grave that they are digging.

Honestly, how do you think you would succeed yet, you understand that the only language that works at the moment and understandable to Kirr is the gun?

How would you call for federalism which is in the opposite interest of Gen. Kirr, if at all you are allying with him?

You are exactly doing the opposite inside and for that, I must patriotically urge you to rethink, based on my prediction of what is going to happen.

Absolutely I am calling you to wake up and do what we (concerned peace loving South Sudanese) expect you to do! I don’t see the reason why you should risk your life by making that suicide because telling Kirr to accept federalism while sleeping in your houses is a suicide.

Most of you have seen the Juba massacre and Nuer will absolutely do nothing to bring those lives back. It’s his (Kirr) leadership culture and you should understand that before attempting to make that unwanted suicide.

It’s worth mentioning that Kirr is on his last digit to quit counting his days in South Sudan presidency but, I would like to make it very clear that he would not leave with only and already done massacre of Nuer while there is a great opportunity for him to do more especially in Equatoria.

Be very careful on that. He may decide anytime soon to cause tension in Juba as you are as well provoking him with federalism advocacy and he can do the worst massacre ever witnessed in the history while he is on the run.

What are you waiting for? Who is going to fight for your objectives and rights? When are you going to realize that this is the right time?

Who are you going to blame at the end of the day? And lastly, but not the least, how do you think even this federalism would work when there is no commitment and sacrifice in doing something as you seem to be doing now?

To borrow John M. Mitchell’s word, “nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible and then gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.”

The real hero is a man who fights even though he is scared. There is no food for a lazy man!

Way forward for Equatorians in the current conflict

First and foremost, I would like to bring it to the attention of some individuals, and not tribes or groups, who think that Equatorians are merely voiceless and harmless population where anyone should decide upon them insolently according to his/her wills. That is completely rubbish and immature thinking.

Equatorians are people of patience and endurance; they are people of peace, love and coexistence and more importantly, they are people of unity and determination.

You may give them more than seven pinches before they give you the first warning of not to do it again. You may take their houses in their land, but still they can host you as a friend and brother.

You may even tend to remove them from their ancestral land and still, they can call you not an enemy but a friend who may only need dialogue. However, some tribes and groups of people have taken their behavior contrarily.

In fact, it is life risking coming up in Juba saying that I support federalism but Clement Wani Konga did it, Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro and Louis Lobong Lojere of western and eastern Equatoria states did it respectively.

However, the question remains unanswered, and the way forward seems to have not yet been instructed by these governors in their comments on federalism.

Equatorians, men and women, are at the juncture with their hands on the waists wondering who to follow and where to go: There is the then South Sudan of humiliation and unfairness, inequality and domination as the way we came from on one hand, and there is a way to peace, democracy and federalism followed by Riek Machar and the other brutal, bloody, Kirrorized and ethnicized way under Gen Kirr in the other hand.

It is up to their (Equatorian) leaders to define a very quick way for Equatorians and accept all the hardship that are possibly on the way they may take.

What is likely to happen?

“Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer” ~ Jacqeas Prevert. That is exactly what is going to happen in Equatoria.

I am afraid Gen. Kirr will soon or later use his decrees on these three governors and replace them with other outstanding sons and daughters within the Equatorians community, just to set brother against brother and family against family. The divide and rule:

Then assassination and depression, complete destabilization of Equatoria region just like Upper Nile region.

Is that what Equatorians are waiting for? Will it, in any case, change the land and the people of Equatoria to any tangible situation? Equatorians will only go back to camps in Uganda, DRC and Kenya for some more years. Equatoria land will only come under destruction given the fact that it’s currently taking the lead in development.

From there, after coming to realize that mistake is made, it will have already made some permanent scars which should have been prevented by now. It will need more efforts for resistance to come to effect because Equatorians will be divided after food and truth.

I think this is the right time for Equatorians to come up and take the lead in achieving the South Sudan we struggled for since 1955 and not this South Sudan of hatred and communal domination and humiliation.

Therefore, the only window of opportunity is for Equatorians to act promptly; they should say enough is enough and force Salva Kirr to either accept peace and step down or face the brave young men of Equatoria led by the three governors.

That is the “ONLY” way before the unwanted maiming operation is laid in Equatoria region. Take care!

Chuol C. Puoch, the writer, is reachable via email: chuolchotson@gmail.com or on twitter @Chuolchot


Difference between Equatoria & Riek Machar call for federalism in South Sudan

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, JUL/01/2014, SSN;

Federal states have been in existence for the last two hundred years. Although there was no explicit mention of federation, it was in the Juba Conference 1947 that South Sudanese first voiced their fears of domination and marginalization by Northern Sudanese. In the Conference Southerners basically wanted safeguards that they would not be mistreated by Northerners. It can, therefore, be seen that indirectly Southerners were already calling for a federal system of government that would have guaranteed them equality with their Northern counterparts and also sustainable national unity.

As Southerners were not well informed and sophisticated enough like the Northern conferees, they were easily manipulated to go along with the concept of one united Sudan without concrete guarantees. They took what Northerners said by word of mouth in the Conference as a guarantee. This is because in the Conference Northerners stressed that they had no intention to dominate the South.

However, what the Northerners had stressed turned out to be a white lie or deception. It was to take the South two bitter and devastating liberation wars to get rid of Northern domination and marginalization.

Eight years later from the Juba Conference 1947 Southern members of parliament in Sudan put forward a condition for supporting the motion for independence from British colonial rule. They proposed a federal system of government for Sudan to safeguard the interest of the South. The Northern deceptive response was that the proposal for a federal system would be considered after independence of Sudan.

After independence and under no obligation Northerners rejected the federal system for Sudan without any convincing explanation. To add salt to injury Northerners instead drafted a constitution fit for an Arab Islamic State. The Southern call for a federal system of government for Sudan was unceremoniously outlawed. Nevertheless, the Southern response was nothing but an armed struggle for freedom.

The point that is being made here is that the call for a federal system of government in South Sudan is not unique. In 1955 the Southern call for a federal system was to make the unity of Sudan attractive as the basis of sustainable national unity.

Unfortunately the dominant Black Arabs of Sudan were arrogant, insensitive and extremely stubborn to their Black African cousins in the South. The Arabs were only to regret when Sudan ultimately disintegrated into North and South with colorful and magnificent celebrations in the South as that was where most of the resources the Arabs had exploited were found.

Federalism in South Sudan

Equatoria, of the three regions of South Sudan, was the first in 2011 to pass a resolution in a conference that: A democratic federal system of governance should be adopted for the Republic of South Sudan, therefore the establishment of the new country as the Federal Republic of South Sudan.

The motive for the call of a federal system of government in South Sudan is not very difficult to comprehend. It is to promote justice where none is above the law in contrast to selective justice, it is for sustainable national unity in contrast to ethno-centricism and it is to promote prosperity for all in contrast to absolute poor service delivery.

The call for a federal system of government in South Sudan should be seen as a national agenda instead of being narrowly perceived as an Equatorian plot to segregate others. Federalism is for the benefit of all in South Sudan.

The essence of a federal system is its responsiveness to diversities and in defusing simmering tensions that may tear a country apart. The loud call for a federal system of government may co-relate to people’s experience of absolute poor service delivery. Things may therefore be different when a federal system is adopted.

Riek Machar’s call for federalism

Dr Riek Machar was the second most powerful man as the Vice President until July 2013 in the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. In December 2013 Dr Riek Machar declared openly that he was in rebellion against what he described as dictatorial tendencies of the President. In his rebellion Dr Riek Machar wanted support. Knowing very well that the call for a federal system was popular in Equatoria he wasted no time to make the call for federalism the top item on the agenda of the rebellion.

Dr Riek Machar must have calculated that by crafting federalism onto the agenda of his rebellion he would get automatic and total support from Equatoria. This, however, seems to have created a problem as Equatoria is now perceived sympathetic to the rebellion.

A critical analysis is therefore needed of the extent to which Dr Riek Machar’s call for federalism is the same as that of Equatoria. This is in order to allay fears that may cause unnecessary panic and also for people not to get confused.

To begin with Dr Riek Machar’s call for federalism is at best deceptive and at worst a betrayal of the genuine Equatoria’s call for federalism. People must recall that as the Vice President Dr Riek Machar at first supported federalism when the majority of members from Equatoria in the National Legislative Assembly in July 2011 endorsed federalism just before the day of independence.

However, at the last hour Dr Riek Machar rejected the very federalism for which he is now calling. People must take it with some caution as to why Dr Riek Machar is now turning around to claim to be the champion of federalism while he was comfortable in rejecting it.

The difference

The difference between Dr Riek Machar’s call for a federal system and that of Equatoria is crystal clear. The Equatoria’s call for a federal system is genuine while that of Dr Riek Machar is a ploy for support from Equatoria. Dr Riek Machar is unreliable and so it is doubtful that he will ever implement a federal system in South Sudan.

Did he not let down the people of Equatoria during the crucial vote for either federalism or decentralization on the eve of independence?

It is clear that the difference is that Dr Riek Machar sees federalism as a sure way to the presidency while Equatoria sees federalism as a national agenda that does not need the use of force to impose it on the people of South Sudan.

Federalism is a revolutionary agenda for the acceleration of socio-economic development for high standards of living in South Sudan.

In the communiqué that followed the Equatoria Conference 2011, it was affirmed that: “Mindful of the suffering of the people of Equatoria in the past decades, we will no longer accept Equatoria land to be used as a battle ground for any senseless bloodshed.”

This confirms that Equatoria has nothing to do with the rebellion. Equatoria is peaceful and development oriented. It will therefore not welcome to its soil such a rebellion that has caused untold destruction and mayhem in the country.

Conclusion

It is hoped that there won’t be any confusion again between federalism called for by Dr Riek Machar and that called for by Equatoria. Equatoria had called for federalism before the rebellion. The vision was that federalism would not be imposed but rather would be accepted or adopted through consensus. This means people will need to be educated and convinced through open discussions and debates.

People’s fears about federalism must be allayed and federalism must be thoroughly illustrated with examples from around the world.

Putting a redline to discussion on federalism is not helpful because people may be forced to discuss it behind closed doors which may be much more dangerous than discussing it openly for people to gain confidence.

In principle it seems many people in South Sudan have no problem with federalism. One prominent revolutionary and architect of the armed struggle that brought independence said in a function that “federalism is not bad but proposed at the wrong time.”

The implication is that South Sudanese support federalism but their fears must first be addressed and the time for adoption should be right. When should the time be right is the question.

The issue of rebellion and federalism could be addressed concurrently where the states should be involved as important stakeholders. Muzzling free thinking is not helpful in our search for a lasting solution to the problems of South Sudan.

In conclusion, no one appears to be against federalism but the fear seems to be the unseen devil in details of federalism which, therefore, needs our collective effort to reduce the fear for the common good of all.