Archive for: August 2014

Lul Koang & Philip Aguer: Two symbols of lies & greed for power

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, AUG/31/2014, SSN;

South Sudanese can sometimes be excused in many things because the country is new and its institutional strength is weak. However, it’s good to note that human beings are rational entities and being credibly logical is expected of everyone.

Being rational doesn’t require a country to have been independent, or to have been a democracy, for centuries.

It has become apparent that neither the government of South Sudan nor the rebels under Riek Machar can be trusted. They all lie with a flamboyant blitz!

While the voices and faces that’re made to convey the messages in both camps are, to a given extent, mere vessels of the forces behind them, it’s good to note that spokespersons are not mere automatons.

They are humans. They have to know that they are the conveyors and custodians of the horrors Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir have brought to this young nation.

Philip Aguer Panyaang, the SPLA spokesperson and Lul Ruai Koang, the rebels’ spokesperson, act as protectors of President Kiir’s desire to remain in power as long as he wants and of Riek’s desire to ascend to power by ‘all means necessary!’

Colonel Philip Aguer Panyaang lies for the government in a very illogical and consistent manner. Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang has a very imaginative lies processing capacity. All just for Riek Machar to get what he wants.

And to top it up with their don’t-care attitude, President Kiir and Dr. Machar don’t give a rat’s foot about the civilians. They’ll only sign the peace agreement if only they get what they WANT: POWER!

After getting what he wanted in the would-be peace agreement in Addis Ababa, President Kiir signed both the Cease Fire Agreement implementation matrix and the Agreement leading to formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

However, Riek refused to sign the agreement papers because the agreement put him on the receiving end. Machar only opted to sign the Cease Fire agreement implementation matrix.

Well, now, the rebels are saying they didn’t sign the matrix but only that they recommitted themselves to the COH agreement signed on January 23 and reaffirmed on May 9. Who knows?

President Kiir loses nothing in this agreement. His door is open to take part in the next general election; he keeps he puppet, Wani Igga as his Vice President and also has an authority as to who is selected as the Prime Minister by SPLM-in-Opposition.

Riek Machar on the other hand has a difficult choice. If he chooses to be the Prime Minister then he’s illegible to contest the next general elections after the Transitional Period.

If he chooses someone else to be the Prime Minister and Kiir still remaining the president, then his chances of winning the next election are close to impossible. Kiir would use his resources to make sure that he prepares the way for his re-election.

Riek is therefore in a tough spot and refusing to sign the agreement will reflect him as the one prolonging the war and this could open the way for sanctions against his group. Tough luck, doc!

To make the matters worse for Riek Machar, his commanders on the ground, the likes of Peter Gatdet, are not making things any easier for him.

Peter Gatdet, against all available human logic, warned UNMISS that he’d shoot any plane that passes through his territory. Now a UN chopper ‘crashes’ in the same area Gatdet controls. It would be logical to assume that Gatdet just fulfilled his promised.

Even if the investigation is to still to be done for the cause of the crash to be determined, one can’t blame much the people accusing the rebels.

Would you blame the government for exploiting Gatdet’s mischievous warnings? Logically? No! Factually? Maybe yes!

The rebels need to control both what their commanders say and do. The rebels are shooting themselves in the foot.

This, of course, doesn’t mean the government couldn’t have done it. While it would be a wild imagination to say that the government forces shot it down knowing that Gatdet had said he’d shoot down UN plane, to set up rebels, it’s good to remember that the government forces control Bentiu and they are in the area and they’ve been recently involved in clashes with the rebels.

So why would it be the rebels that shot down the chopper (if it was indeed shot down) and not the government forces?

What the SPLA spokesperson, Colonel Philip Aguer said is what we always expect him to say: “They did it!” The same thing applies to the rebels. Rebels’ spokesperson, Brigadier General Lul Rual Koang, denied the accusation like he’s always done: “We didn’t do it!”

With such attitude of these two camps, how can one really expect South Sudan to be peaceful?

It’s lies after lies and greed for power. Can one blame the two spokesperson? Maybe not! However, they have to think about their role in the current tragedy even if the lies they tell and the greed for power comes from above them.

Is anyone surprised that Kiir signed both documents but Riek didn’t? You’d be sleeping if you are surprised!

Kuir ë Garang is the author of ‘South Sudan Ideologically’. For contact visit www.kuirthiy.info or follow him on Twitter @kuirthiy

No Place to Heal in South Sudan

BY: TY MCCORMICK, (www.foreignpolicy.com), AUG/29/2014, SSN;

South Sudan’s hospitals have become targets for both sides in the brutal, ongoing civil war. How can you save lives when doctors and patients are living under the gun?

MALAKAL, South Sudan — Outside the pediatric wing of Malakal’s teaching hospital, a human skull lies in the yellowing blades of knee-high grass. “We are finding these all the time,” said a groundskeeper, who asked not to be named. “We found two yesterday,” he said, shoveling the remains into a cream-colored body bag.

Malakal is a ghost town. Once South Sudan’s second-biggest city with a population of 150,000, it is now home to more soldiers than civilians.

Residential areas have suffered an extraordinary amount of damage since civil war broke out in December 2013, and the teaching hospital, which occupies a once-idyllic compound near a stone mosque built by Egypt in the 1940s, has been laid waste on multiple occasions.

The trail of corpses now being discovered on the premises points to a disturbing trend in the country’s eight-month-old rebellion: the systematic targeting of hospitals and medical personnel.

“Hospitals and clinics have been targeted to a staggering degree,” said Daniel Bekele, the executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, adding that South Sudan’s “entire health system” has been destroyed “because of unlawful tactics used by both sides across the conflict areas.”

Cosmas Chanda, the representative for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in South Sudan, called the level of violence directed at hospitals and aid workers “unprecedented” in an interview in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

South Sudan’s latest paroxysm of violence has exacted a devastating toll on civilians. Looting, rape, and ethnically motivated mass killings have been unleashed in a relentless pattern of attack and counterattack.

The subsequent displacement of 1.5 million people, along with the inability of aid agencies to reach many of them, threatens to push the country over the brink into famine.

Since the first shots were fired in December 2013, at least 58 people have been killed on hospital grounds, while hospitals themselves have been attacked or looted on six occasions, according to the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF).

Countless clinics and pharmacies have also been plundered or damaged, and medical supplies have been stolen or destroyed.

The logic of targeting hospitals is sickeningly simple: Not only do attackers kill civilians, but they ensure that survivors cannot seek medical care.

In the current conflict — which began as a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar but quickly morphed into an ethnic conflict, primarily between the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka and the Nuer — this logic has become intertwined with that of ethnic slaughter.

In hospitals across the country’s northeast, victims have reportedly been singled out for execution based on their tribal identity.

In Bentiu, the capital of oil-producing Unity state, a local radio station went as far as calling for acts of “vengeful sexual violence” against women of other communities when rebel forces overran the city in April, according to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan. A total of 28 people were killed in the hospital there.

At the teaching hospital in Malakal, at least 14 people, including 11 patients, were murdered in their beds when rebel forces overran the city in February of this year. Other patients, mostly ethnic Nuers, were killed on the premises by government soldiers in January. Nobody knows for sure how many people have died here; nobody knows whose remains are being shoveled into the cream-colored bag.

Today, much of the hospital is still in ruins. The neonatal ward is burned and gutted. In the main surgical theater, one of the operating tables is missing, and the contents of ransacked supply shelves spill haphazardly onto the floor — syringes, antiseptic solution, now-useless vaccines. In one of the patient wards, a single woman’s shoe, its rhinestones still in place, rests on a filthy bedside table.

“They took some things, and they destroyed what remained here,” said Yumo Arop Ying, the acting director general of Upper Nile state’s health ministry, referring to the three separate instances in which rebel forces seized control of Malakal.

Damage also occurred during periods of government control, according to rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

While the raids themselves have been brutal, it is their effect on the broader system of health care that is even more troubling. “Attacks against hospitals and medical facilities in South Sudan have led to a collapse of the health system across much of the conflict zone,” said Stephen Cornish, MSF’s executive director for Canada, who is currently visiting South Sudan.

“This in turn creates a number of silent victims to the conflict who perish from diseases which would otherwise have been possible to treat, such as malaria,” he said.

On multiple occasions, MSF has been forced to evacuate its medical teams and temporarily suspend the operation of its clinics.

According to a report published by the medical charity in July, hundreds of thousands of people have been cut off from medical care because of the violence. Where MSF cannot obtain guarantees of security, or at least of non-interference, “we may simply be unable or unwilling to risk responding,” said Cornish.

Despite the recent surge in intensity, violence against health care is not a new problem in South Sudan. It was a regular feature of the north-south civil wars that raged from 1955 to 1972 and from 1983 to 2005.

Not that Khartoum was the only one targeting medical facilities. Southern guerrilla forces, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), also attacked hospitals and clinics — those run by the government of Sudan as well as those run by rival SPLA factions.

“From the beginning of the SPLA in 1983, it attacked hospitals, health workers, and aid agencies,” said Alex de Waal, the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, who disputed the notion that attacks on medical facilities have grown any more frequent.

The SPLA was “exceptionally brutal and matched the government of Sudan and pro-[government of Sudan] militias in this regard,” he said in an email.

This long history of medical violence, coupled with Khartoum’s deliberate policy of neglect for the south, is largely responsible for the abysmal state of South Sudan’s health-care system today.

In his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Kiir spoke of “construction” rather than “reconstruction” of South Sudan’s institutions: “Even before the ravages of war could set in, our country never had anything worth rebuilding,” he said.

Although he was speaking generally, the president might as well have been referring specifically to the health-care sector. In 2012, the country of roughly 9 million had only 120 doctors and even fewer registered nurses.

As a result, nongovernmental organizations provided as much as 80 percent of basic health services, even before the outbreak of civil war. Today, that figure is almost certainly higher.

Still, a few brave doctors and medical professionals are enduring extraordinary hardship as they work to resuscitate the country’s network of hospitals — and to keep alive the pretense that the government is doing something to care for its citizens in areas contested by the rebels.

Despite the damage and persistent insecurity, the teaching hospital in Malakal is now back up and running out of a few rooms that have been restored. Without electricity or sufficient staff, however, it is only able to provide outpatient care for those with relatively minor ailments, such as malaria.

That does not mean the skeleton crew manning the hospital doesn’t have to deal with more serious emergencies. “We get trauma patients, sometimes soldiers with gunshot wounds,” said Olany Alew Akol, the only physician currently working at the hospital.

But without electricity or proper surgical equipment — the generators and the operating theater were looted in February — he is forced to stabilize them by the light of a flashlight before he can transfer them to the nearby U.N. base for surgery. “So many things aren’t working,” he said, “but we are just trying to go ahead.” END

Western Bhar El Ghazal in South Sudan: Current Brutality

BY: N. Bringi, Canada, AUG/29/2014, SSN;

All that is happening in Western Bhar El Ghazal State now is major harassment, intimidation and arrests. It is not a surprise and I am sure there is more to arise in the next few days.

Since the time the Governor of Western Bhar El Ghazal received a copy of the memorandum submitted by the people of Western Bhar El Ghazal to the IGAD committee who came to investigate the December 15, 2013 incident, his reaction assumes that there is more conflict to come.

The people of Western Bhar El Ghazal request the implementation of the Federal System. As for the Governor of Western Bhar El Ghazal, calling for a federal system is a lethal crime, whoever calls for it will face capital punishment.

Rezik commented previously to the media stating that the people of Western Bhar El Ghazal are for the present governing system, the central system; he has turned to be a liar based on the general consensus of people of Western Bhar El Ghazal. The people are for federalism; his latter statement was of his own personal view.

The second memo is regarding the transfer of the Capital of South Sudan to Wau. People of Western Bhar El Ghazal categorically reject the proposal because there was no consultation; the idea was food put into the mouth of Rezik by Pres. Salva Kiir to vomit to the media, a pretext to keep the Equatorians quiet from asking for the removal of the capital from Juba.

Salva Kiir, take the capital to Riamchel or Gorgrial, Awiel or Rumbek.

Now Salva Kiir and his security organs have alleviated the threat to people of Wau to a lethal level. The order of arrest has been on those who are accused to be pro-Riak Machar.

In this case if any one of them is found guilty, they can be sentenced to death; they had fabricated the same punishment to the Faragalla people in 2012.

Dead bodies were brought in sacks in the middle of the night from the inter-tribal conflict in Chewabet and disposed in Faragalla. They then accused the people of Faragalla of murdering people of the Dinka ethnic group.

Not only that, but the coup plot of December 15, 2013 has been created in order to eliminate some of the SPLM party members after disagreement in the party conference regarding who should be the nominee of the SPLM party in the 2015 election.

The government of Kiir depends completely on lying, fabrication and threat to others.

Salva Kiir and his shoe-lickers believe they are powerful by killing innocent South Sudanese brothers and sisters. This is an expanding civil war in South Sudan where women and children have been targeted, men have been recruited to fight for a cause they cannot seem to verbalize yet internalize.

For some of us who have read history, there are a few questions I would like to ask:
Where is the Roman Empire today?
Where is Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania today?
Where is Muammar Al Gaddafi of Libya today?
Where is Saddam Hussein today?

If you enjoy torturing, harassing and killing your people, your day will come sooner than later, this is what all dictators on the planet should understand.

You are not immune to what you are doing to others, what goes around, comes around.

Nicola Bringi, CANADA

Drowning State: Public outrage over bad governance in South Sudan

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, USA, AUG/29/2014, SSN;

It took South Sudanese more than half a century to attain their independence from the SUDAN. At the course of fighting successive Khartoum based governments, more than 2.5 million lives have been sacrificed, and the State was born (July 9, 2011) with an abundance of untapped natural resources (Oil being the leading commodity).

Although the host State (Sudan) handed down the newly independent nation as a Federal State, that system of government only existed on paper. There have been many attempts to craft a meaningful system of government in the REPUBLIC of SOUTH SUDAN, and through adoption of the South Sudan Transitional Constitution.

But the political atmosphere has been so rough to the point that no possible presidential aspirant could challenge the incumbent President given overarching powers granted by the Transitional Constitution.

And there is one group to be blamed, and that is the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, for MPs have surrendered/traded away their constitutional duties for special favors from the Executive Branch, particularly the President of the Republic.

First and foremost, South Sudanese must place their Nation above all, and care-less about personal gains and tribal affiliations.

The utterances about federalism seen across various social media and news outlets cannot be a solution to the ailing State, and without getting real with the political plague that caused the blowback.

When the Region (Southern Sudan) was granted self-governing for the second time in history, warlords took everything in their own hands, narrowed the political space and annihilated the civil population.

Instead of looking for new federalism (ethnic federalism), it would be of a great importance to South Sudanese, and for them to fix the Federal system that they have in place (devolve powers to states and empower local governments).

It is undeniable that South Sudan is a federal State, 10 states plus Abyei are federally structured. The loopholes found in the Transitional Constitution were added intentionally, and to make the president more powerful than he should be in a State where citizens fought for democratic ideals and to have a nation where people decide their own destiny.

As a concerned citizen, it is about the right time to advise the populace to stay within the yolk (governing Document).

Even with that precaution, influential members of various ethnic groups in South Sudan, and who have taken strange decisions regarding the bad governance, would not be willing to accept anything less of the reform.

When the war erupted in Juba (Dec. 15, 2013), some high ranking members of the Parliament deserted their posts and joined the armed rebellion. However, instead of mobilizing youth to change the Government militarily, those lawmakers should have voiced their concerns and push hard for reforms from within.

Where in the world can lawmakers take-ups arms against democratically elected regime, and to reinvent something that they would have done without having to pull a trigger at some knuckleheads in the Legislative Assembly?

Because nobody wanted to take blame for having not acted on his/her supposed obligations, some are battling the regime militarily. This new twist is nothing but an opportunity for others to punish their colleagues in the Government.

Despite those noises and fierce fights, South Sudanese are anti-system, ant-rules, and only very few would follow on what they say. And by the way, why do people become too loud when they have been sacked from their positions?

There is no doubt, South Sudan needs a new direction, and all the concerned parties (members of the Civil Societies, Lawmakers, Churches and Elders) in the Republic of South Sudan should come out of their hiding shells and help the Nation rewire itself.

The reforms that people are talking about require full commitment and selflessness to get the State moving again. And this would involve rebooting the stalled mechanisms (independent of the Judiciary, Legislature becoming real and noninterference by the Executive), and not through adoption of anything new.

As per the ongoing Peace Accord, IGAD has proposed the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU), and it appeared to be the only opportunity for concerned parties to have their voices heard. But Rebel’s Chief (Dr. Riek Machar) is running around and declining to sign the Document.

For a very simple reason, South Sudan descended into crisis because there has never been a political will from the ruling Elites (Kiir and Riek plus their cronies), and their failures to follow on their own political designs and procedures have added even more fuels on the raging fire/turmoil.

Back to the governed, the general public has been led to believe that South Sudan was never a Federal State, and finding a new federal system would heal the wounds of bad governance seen since the year 2006.

That is not true for a national structures existed in principles: states have their own constitutions, there are Counties’ governments, Payams’ governments as well as Bomas’ administrations, and that tells the world within our reach that South Sudan is not missing anything in terms of the system of government.

In regard to diversity, nationalities have been legally recognized through non-interference, and all have their unique customary laws in place.

That brings us to the question: can more polarization of the State help in solving national political discourses? Well, one has to look at other nations that have distanced themselves from a system that would jeopardize national unity.

And all citizens should thank the Drafters of the Transitional Constitution because they have been attentive to a number of issues with the exception of too much powers vested in presidency.

Again, how possible is it that states can be created based on ethnic lines, and people still expect law enforcement officers to be neutral/impartial in their duties?

Although ethnic federalism seems to be working really good in Ethiopia, people must know that Ethiopia is very different from South Sudan.

Secondly, South Sudan is a very diverse State with 64 tribes, and thinking about how best to make it peaceful and prosperous ought to be everyone concern. Because all tribes are culturally unique and politically volatile, we risk making it worse if tribal states are created.

The fact that warlords who just got out of bush-life like did little to harmonize the State does not warrant going for designs that are likely to create difficult problems.

For those who have been following political developments in South Sudan, the underground networks, all of which are based on tribal affiliations are not good for coexistence.

It is worth noting that any form of government without a political will cannot function accordingly, and embarking on untested form of federalism (Ethnic Federal system) is never a viable choice. There has to be a conducive political environment for that kind of federal system to work effectively.

The fact that South Sudan is a very complex State with too many complex problems, it would be good for South Sudanese to maintain what they have since it has the potential to keep South Sudan united if implemented fully.

On different fronts, people (elders and political commentators) have already taken sides, and seemed to prefer tribal-based states administrations, but they are not talking about why federal system based on 10 states failed?

Without answering questions about the past, there is no way that citizens can guarantee to have a better system than what they have had for the last nine years or so.

What is being debated is more of a new call for further secession/more division of the current Republic of South Sudan!

For those who may disagree with that suspicion, how possible is it that people wanted to live in united South Sudan, and those same people prefer being affiliated within their own tribes?

In the last couple of months, South Sudanese have been jamming internet with their opinions about a new federalism, and opposition to ethnic federalism is now synonymous with DINKA.

It is true that majority of people who are opposed to new federalism are Dinkas, but that does not means they are doing it because of the sitting president, a national figure who happened to be a Dinka by tribe.

Moving forward, what energizes most people to put out their positions on the issue at hand is the fact that polarizing South Sudan along tribal lines can complicate things.

It is also very true that some tribes are too dissatisfied with Dinka’s led Government, and that does not warrant politicizing national issues to the point where tribes consider themselves more than enemies.

Whenever there is a problem along the tribal lines, the kind of archaic/barbaric killings that takes place is beyond anyone’s imagination, and having ethnic federalism would create even more hatreds.

The fact that dominant tribes take things in their hands does not justify people to call for further fragmentation of the State. Even if ethnic federal was to be given a chance, South Sudan national government would still be dominated by the largest tribes. And there would be no way for smallest tribes to escape fierce political encounters with the populous tribes.

Anything more than the existing federal structures is likely to tear the nation apart, and anything impractical of the existing federal system is also likely to propagate more hatreds against largest tribes (Dinka & Nuer).

Thirdly, South Sudan as a State must first extinguish the burning fire before embarking on structuring the Nation. Rushing changes because of the crisis would create new problems.

As of now, there is a big confusion as to what would happen should citizens decide to follow loud voices (Equatorians, Dinka elders & Rebels’) call for revitalization and upgrading of former British-designed districts into states.

People must know one thing, the biggest threats to unity of South Sudan are not the tribes, but politicians who resort to using their tribes whenever they fallout with their colleagues in the Government. What if those politicians come from ethnic based states?

At the present time, oppositions to the ruling Party (SPLM-in-Government) have exploited the unfortunate event of December 15, 2013, and are out pushing citizens too hard to follow their paths.

With all of that, unplanned/unstudied shifts toward new political direction is not the best strategy for political problems to be resolved once and for all.

There is reason to believe that lack of accountability throughout the State has made people (politicians) to care-less about their own responsibilities as public figures, and that is why they keeps deceiving their subjects (citizens) day in and day out.

As a matter of fact, we can all agree on one thing: interference by the president of the Republic in states’ affairs has also contributed to weakening of the Federal System that was inherited from the Sudan.

He (president Salva Kiir) relieved/sacked three Governors (Lakes, Jonglei & Unity states) without the consent of citizens who put/voted them into their offices.

In his most recent presidential decree, president Salva Kiir finalized a controversial Peace Accord with notorious Rebel leader, David Yau Yau & created Greater Pibor Area Administration (GPAA) without consent of the neighboring Counties (Akoba, Bor, Duk, Nyirol, Twic East & Uror counties) or the state of Jonglei.

It has to be recalled that his Excellency, the President of the Republic has been overreaching for years, and some of his decrees have had negative impacts on civil populations (Lakes state).

Furthermore, we must tighten our belts really good because South Sudan is not going anywhere, and finding lasting solutions to governing issues would be the only way for us to have a stable nation.

We all know/should know that the ongoing war in the country has lots to do with bad governance (politicians wasted time and did nothing), and people who have been serving in the GOSS dating back to its inception in 2005 are equally responsible for the mess.

When Equatorians voiced their concerns, Rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar came out with his own proposal that created 21 states based on former British districts in the then Southern Sudan, all of which were ethnic quotas.

In response to that wobbling, another group that called itself Dinka elders proposed 23 states. By the way, who are those elders? What do they represent? And who is behind them? Why now?

Along the same line, Dr. Lam Akol of the SPLM-DC mobilized other political parties, secured his place in the IGAD led peace negotiation and proposed a post of prime minister to be created as a way for resolving the conflict, and then left the Government’s negotiating team.

Because South Sudan’s warring parties share the same political fear when it comes to Dr. Lam Akol, his proposal was rejected altogether and the Government disowned him thereafter.

While addressing all the problems in a combo is not going to be a possibility when the State is at war, citizens must pay close attention to all the missed opportunities.

As a matter of fact, no schooled person would expect South Sudan to be like Australia, Canada or the United States of America in just nine years! But, can we really rewind back and expect to see South Sudan in the image of Australia between 1908 and 1914?

Come on, my people (South Sudanese), the world is now more intertwined than ever before. Even in our most remote areas (Panyagoor and Turalei), people are surfing online, and that tells us that we cannot go behind the line and begin where other nations were some 100 years ago.

That means, aiming high and resolving outstanding issues within a reasonable time would save the State from disintegrating into worthless pieces. If we can all settle on this: no more firing/sacking of states’ Governors by the president, and without consent by voters who voted them in.

And across the Nation, all public offices must be filled through elections, and that should include: Governors, members of South Sudan Legislative Assembly, states Legislative Assemblies, Counties Commissioners, Counties’ Administrators, Town Mayors, Paramount Chiefs, Chiefs and sub-chiefs.

If South Sudan had been doing that from day one, there would have been less mistrust between the governed and their leaders because free and fair elections are the best tools by which citizens can lockout people who’re politically unattractive.

In summary, demanding the same system after it has failed cannot be the solution to future problems. Let’s get it very clear that there has been a Federal System in the Republic of South Sudan before it gained independence from rests of the Sudan. What had been lacking was a political will to follow on what appeared to be a destiny to having a stable State.

Instead of mobilizing tribes to force the Government to adopt ethnic federalism, South Sudanese ought to give themselves time, try to fix all that they had done wrong during the Interim period.

In recap, the jury is out trying to reconnect the dots, but patience would be the best medicine in getting through the aftermath of December 15, 2013. All must know that maintaining a peaceful nation requires more than just hanging out with famous and wealthy people in the Country.

The Author here is Mayak Deng Aruei, a South Sudanese living in the United States of America. He holds Associate degree in Legal Assistant (San Diego Miramar College), BA in Sociology & Philosophy(University of San Diego), completed one year of Juris Doctorate studies at Trinity Law School(Trinity International University), holds MA in Legal Studies(American Public University), pursuing two degrees at the moment: Bachelor’s of Laws(LLB) at the University of London and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development at Grand Canyon University. He can be reached at Kongor.da.ajak@gmail.com

IGAD’s miscalculation of peace in South Sudan

By: Daniel Wuor Joak, South Sudan, AUG/26/2014, SSN;

It has become apparent that the eight months old civil war in South Sudan is not yet ending and the suffering of several millions South Sudanese still unresolved.

The supposedly five pages document which IGAD and their Troika allies have developed and tried to impose on the two principal warring parties; President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, leader of SPLM/A to sign in order to end the ongoing war in the country, was categorically rejected yesterday on 25th August.

This proved that IGAD and its allies have no choice but rather to extend the deadline for six more weeks similar to the previous deadline of sixty days which unfortunately elapsed without any meaningful results.

While the violations of Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed on 23rd January 2014, between the two warring parties still not respected. Towns like Bentiu, Malakal, Ayod and Nasir were recaptured by the government forces and their UPDF, JEM and SPLA-N allies in April, after the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement was concluded and IGAD had done nothing about it to condemn the aggressor.

The unsigned five page’s document, it seems IGAD heads of states of Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia have stubbornly made up their minds to retain President Kiir at all costs to continue heading the Transitional Interim Government of South Sudan with absolute power.

Creations of the post of Prime Minister with two deputies is not a solution but more or less an escalation of the ongoing conflict, believe it or not.

The position vehemently taken by IGAD heads of state to keep President Kiir as President of South Sudan during the proposed Interim Government of National Unity, while at the same time imposing peace in the country by force is directly an insult to twenty thousand innocent Nuer civilians who were summarily massacred in Juba and surrounding areas following the aftermath of fighting on the 15th December 2013 by the same President.

Sadly indeed, IGAD heads of state have miserably failed to address the root causes of the conflict. The whole world including the UN have categorically dismissed the so-called Kiir’s fabricated coup d’état which would have complicated Dr. Riek Machar and his associates.

Funny enough, US Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry has always boasted in front of cameramen and women wherever he goes by honouring President Kiir an elected President who cannot be removed from office before his term is over.

While in US former President Richard Richard Nixon was unceremoniously impeached from office as result of leakages of sensitive documents.

Should the massacres of over twenty thousand unarmed Nuer civilians be less important than leakages of mere documents which later amounted to the removal of President from office?

IGAD should learn from the Somalia’s saga where the same heads of state had hastily dispatched more than 23 thousands soldiers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Burundi and Rwanda in order to quell down Al Shabaab militias who have been labelled by US government as terrorist’s cell in East Africa.

The war in Somalia still raging with heavy casualties on both sides and the solution is nowhere to be found. The American forces with their mighty power of 30,000 US Marines had tried in early 1990s and miserably failed.

The war in South Sudan is more complicated than that of Somalia because President Salva Kiir has murdered one ethnic group the “Nuer” in thousands and IGAD wished to impose him by force to rule the same victims.

This will not work as long as President Kiir remains in power. IGAD should find better and amicable solution if their intention is to resolve the conflict in South Sudan otherwise they will be resisted like in Somalia.

The other concern is the presence of UPDF in South Sudan. There is no way President Yoweri K. Museveni can act as an occupier of our land and at the same time masquerading as peace maker. That will never happen.

Whether the imposed IGAD agreement is signed by the two leaders namely, President Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar or not the war in South Sudan will never end as long as President Salva Kiir remains in power under protection of IGAD and their troika’s paymasters.

Justice is always denied to those who honestly seek it but crooks are always rewarded. This is what is happening with IGAD mediations in South Sudan conflict.

Executive Director,
African Centre for Human Advocacy (ACHA)
He can be reached through: dwjoak21@hotmail.com

Introduction to Conversations with Lawyer & Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan

BY: MARGARET AKULIA, CANADA, AUG/25/2014, SSN;

“The present catastrophic crisis in our country has exposed in ugly details the monumental wrongs which afflicted our country long before the events of the 15th of December 2013,” began a Preamble to a position paper by Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule. It is the official position of his United Democratic Front Party (UDF) about how to resolve the ongoing carnage in South Sudan.

However, the position epitomizes what the majority of the masses of South Sudan are thinking but unable to verbalize because of fear.

In conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan, we unveil the issues that have brought South Sudan to the brink of total collapse, along with solutions to the issues.

Conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule will include in depth discussions about the best system of government suitable for meeting the aspirations of the multi-ethnic groups of South Sudan in order to avoid future conflicts. These conversations will undoubtedly be very difficult but they are necessary.

To set the stage for the conversations, this is what Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule had to say in response to a question postulated to him about a reference he made to the great mistakes of miss-governance and the excessive crimes committed against the people of South Sudan in his position paper.

He was referring in part to the conflict between Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar and their cohorts which degenerated into the mass murder of innocent South Sudanese from the Nuer tribe under the direction of Salva Kiir Mayardit beginning on December 15, 2013.

“To understand this piece properly, you have to view it from a historical perspective”, began Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule before elaborating.

“During a more than fifty-year freedom struggle, our fore-fathers and ourselves had committed ourselves to a struggle for liberty, dignity and the welfare of our people. This in a nutshell is the concise vision statement of the broad objectives and aims of our struggle against a savage and brutal Arab imperialist dictator.

However, immediately after the SPLM/SPLA took control of the reins of power in the South, it shocked the people by what it really was: a dictatorial, brutal, kleptocratically corrupt and bankrupt system of government.

Soon enough the SPLM elites began to make themselves rich by looting state coffers. Tribal centers of power started to be formed at the top echelons of government, critics were arrested and many disappeared and their property coveted.

The rule of law and due process were thrown to the rubbish bins. Nobody is beyond the gaze of the ubiquitous Military Intelligence or safe from the nightly break-ins, armed robberies and killings every night.

Life and property were no longer sanctified and inviolable, leave alone being considered as indefeasible rights. Entire villages and tribal lands were violently displaced and the villagers terrorized, shot and chased away from their ancestral lands which were seized by the SPLM/SPLA elites and the armies of commanders, officers and men who quickly built tribal colonies for themselves in the looted lands.

They were joined by many others migrating en mass into cities like Juba, Wau, Yei, Kaya and Nimule, to mention only a few; displacing the original inhabitants in the process!

The stand of the Murle tribe was a case in place against an attempted brutal genocidal displacement by the combined forces of Dinka and Nuer.

The Judiciary is no longer independent and impartial, filled with tribesmen most of whom are unqualified and all lacking capacity and training. Judges take sides against the victims whose lands and houses are looted by the gun totting soldiers.

The Civil Service is almost wholly recruited according to tribal considerations with the senior positions filled by men ill-qualified for their posts.

If these are not crimes against the people of South Sudan, then what are they? Indeed, they are not only crimes against the majority of South Sudanese, but are crimes committed against the many innocent Dinka and Nuer in whose names they are committed.”

In conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan, the following themes will be highlighted among many.

Mis-governance and excessive crimes committed against the people of South Sudan including but not limited to torture, looting state coffers, robbing properties of minority ethnic groups, murder, rape and maiming with unprecedented and imponderable impunity.

Lawlessness.

The need for a national army as opposed to the tribal armies that have currently divided the country into two warring camps of Dinka vs Nuer.

Misusing the most dire coercive machinery of the state leading to grievances that will undoubtedly boil over and explode the same way they did on December 15, 2013.

Lack of confidence in the government and total erosion of trust among the people of South Sudan.

The threat of total anarchy when communities such as the communities of the Equatoria region of South Sudan realize that their survival, and in fact their very existence in the country is in peril, unless they also move into the business of acquiring and possessing arms like the others, for their own self defense.

Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule has been consistent in asserting that the current calamitous ethnic war with its dire consequences felt country-wide, together with the mistakes which had led to it, have transcended and gone beyond its main architects: Kiir and Machar; that it has now become a national concern and not limited only to Kiir and Machar.

Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule has asserted that the ethnic war that has pitted South Sudan’s Dinka tribe against the Nuer tribe can be brought to an end through an all-inclusive negotiated settlement by all South Sudanese stakeholders on the basis of a Federal system of governance, founded upon the values of justice, democracy, good governance, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, mutual understanding and tolerance of the diversity within the realities of South Sudan.

Stay tuned for more conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan and becoming fully involved in crafting the best “system” of government for South Sudan which will satisfy and live up to the aspirations of the people of South Sudan in the share of power and wealth and the proper governance of their own states, in the long run.

Conversations are intended for all South Sudanese and not just Kiir and Machar’s SPLM in government and SPLM in opposition as they want to have it.

A DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE AT:

http://www.savesouthsudan.com/politician-peter-sule-speaks.html

Margaret Akulia is co-author of the sequel Idi Amin: Hero or Villain? His son Jaffar Amin and other people speak. She brings to the South Sudan dialogue a multidisciplinary professional background including but not limited to “grassroots activism”.

Additional information at:

https://travellinglearningcircles.com/Save_South_Sudan.html AND http://www.savesouthsudan.com/home.html

Latest NEWS: South Sudan rivals sign new peace & given 45 days to form unity govt

FROM AGENCIES, AUG/25/2014, SSN;

South Sudan’s warring leaders have signed a fresh ceasefire deal vowing to end more than eight months of conflict, according to mediators who threatened sanctions should the agreement fail once again.

East Africa’s regional IGAD bloc, which mediated the talks between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar, called on the leaders to forge a unity government within 45 days.

In Article (8) of the latest IGAD of August 25, 2014, IGAD leaders “express disappointment that the 60 days in which the Transitional Government of National Unity TGONU was to be formed have passed without the formation of the TGONU; and now call upon the stakeholders to negotiate and complete the agreement within 45 days.”

Article (13) further calls on the parties to fully mandate and empower their representatives to the peace process to ensure that the remaining negotiations can proceed without further delay; and directs the mediation continue in spite of any stakeholder boycotting the negotiations.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.8 million have fled civil war sparked by a power struggle between Kiir and Machar, who met on Monday for the first time in more than two months.

An IGAD communique welcomed the “signature by the warring parties” to the deal, “which obliges the parties to bring the conflict to an end”.

Three previous ceasefire commitments have been broken within hours.

“As a region, we have to show any party which violates agreements that there are consequences to misbehaviour,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at the summit of east African leaders, the AFP news agency reported.

“We are sending a clear message to the leaders of South Sudan. So delaying in the procedure will not be acceptable – if not the region will take action.”

Kiir and Machar last met in June, when they agreed to form a unity government within 60 days. They missed that deadline amid continuing war. END

Malaysia Experience & Policy Options for South Sudan

BY: Garang Atem Ayiik, Independent commentator, JUBA, AUG/19/2014, SSN;

Introduction:
In his book ‘Leap into the Future’, Prof Anyang Nyongo’, narrated his experience when he asked a senior Malaysia government officer on what Malaysia did right that leapt them into better economic prospects and what Kenya did wrong?

The officer, surprisingly told Nyongo’ that while Kenya killed Tom Mboya, Malaysia used Kenya Sessional Paper Number 10 of 1965 developed by Tom Mboya when he was a minister for Economic Planning as its blue-print for Malaysian economic growth.

Whether this was a made up by the good political science professor to smartly experience his argument on how Malaysia overtook Kenya economically, there is some good sense in the statement.

Kenya 1965 Sessional Paper Number 10 was conceptually based on government planning as tool for socio-economic development. Whether true or not, Malaysia economic growth has been built around government planning and hence the same economic foundation as Kenya Sessional Paper Number 10.

In this regards, the officer was in other words telling Prof. Nyongo’, Kenya and other Third World Countries at large the followings:

one, there will never be development without well-thought out economic path (economic plan), economic actions (implementation of plan), routinely follow up and correction mechanisms (monitoring and evaluations of economic progress); and finally without Tom Mboya’s (technical and financial resources).

Prof. Nyongo’ documented in his book how in 1971 Malaysia government officers were impressed by the level of progress in Kenya and requested Kenya government to train Malaysia government’s employees at Kenya Institute of Management. Today, Malaysia has made significant and steady economic progress overtaking many countries that they were at far in 1960s and 1970s.

In 2011, South Sudan became an independent nation. Like Malaysia in 1960s and 1970s, South Sudan has consistently sent and continued to send its nationals for capacity building missions both on private and public cost.

Today, I am sitting in a lavish Hilton hotel in Kuala Lumpur at the cost of my employer, like the Malaysians of 1970s in Kenya, I am impressed by the progress Malaysia has made and wondering if South Sudan can learn some lessons from Malaysia in accelerating its economic progress.

The aim of this article is to try to review economic paths taken by Malaysia and link the relevance to South Sudan economic case; second, identify prerequisite economic conditions for economic progress in South Sudan and finally, suggest some policy options for South Sudan.

This article, try to illuminates South Sudan economic priorities, institutional development and policies and hence should not be treated as holistic economic policy guide.

2. Malaysia Experience
Since it became an independent country in 1957, Malaysia has since maintained an average of over 6% Gross Domestic Product, experiencing some economic challenges during 1990s Asia- financial crisis but recovered quickly than other affected Asian-nations. It demonstrated it is a resilient and steady economy within the Asian-Tigers.

It has reduced reliance on agriculture and natural resources based activities which were the main contributors to GDP in 1970s by expanding manufacturing of exports, mainly electronics and electrical products; increased investments in services and construction industry by encouraging foreign investments and tourism.

As result of its economic policies, Malaysia has experienced stable macroeconomic indicators in term of growth, low inflation, low interest rate, high investment rate and stable exchange rate except during 1990s financial crisis which were speedily arrested coupled with exceedingly good infrastructure improvement.

Though, not homogeneous, racial issue that aroused in 1970s commonly known as 31 May incidence were quickly addressed to ensure equity between the three communities of Malay, Chinese, and Indians that made up Malaysia.

Malaysia has maintained five-year economic plans. Starting with its first plan in 1965. These plans ensure that economic direction envisaged are achieved. In 1971, when there was a riot in Kuala Lumpur on racial basis, the government implemented New Economic Policy to ensure equity to all ethnic group through education and business affirmative actions.

In 1991, the government implemented National Development Policy that envisage self-sufficient and industrialized nation by 2020. With the current progress, there is no doubt that Malaysian is heading in the right direction. This courage might be useful for cohesive and nationalistic policies after 15 December 2013 incidence in South Sudan.

Malaysia has demonstrated ownership of its economic growth. When its economy underwent throughout financial stress in 1990s, Malaysia refused economic aid package from International Monetary Fund and World Bank and instead fought its economic challenges to surprise of many analysts.

Whether this was a sign of self-confidence or economic lab-test, the fact Malaysia recovered than other affected economies in Asian, points to its right judgment. South Sudan needs this courage to tackle its reliance on oil, fight corruption and manage its exchange rate menace with conviction.

During the same period of 1990s, when its currency depreciated, Malaysia adopted fixed exchange rate against now favored float rate; and suspended trading of shares in capital market to reduce the impact of capital flight.

Though these measures, were against now favored liberalization principles, Malaysia has quite often utilized protective policy to its favors. Malaysia used subsidies and protective policies were it deems fit.

Essential commodities like food, construction materials and natural gas had at times been subsidized to ensure right incentives and/or services are given to the citizens cheaply. This approach and view might be useful for South Sudan regional and international economic policy respond.

The government through its Economic Planning Unit has directed, continue to direct growth of open but state-influenced economy in Malaysia. Sovereign Wealth Fund, Pension Scheme and Industrial Master Plan help the government to plans and invests in key strategic sectors of the economy in partnership with private companies.

Some of the sectors the government invested are automotive, banking and pharmaceuticals companies.

This points to the fact that Malaysia government believes in planning and old economic wisdom of mercantilism as used by other countries. There is need for South Sudan to have strong economic policy advice before economic decisions – oil shutdown, devaluation by Central Bank in 2013 and ongoing EAC proposal are some critical decisions that required good economic thought processes.

Though initially a natural resource and agriculture economy, Malaysia has diversified its economy by encouraging private sector to grow services and manufacturing industries becoming number 6th in ease of doing business according to World Bank report, 2013.

The infrastructure has immensely improved since 1970s making Malaysia a tourism, foreign direct investment destination. The Twin Tower of Petronas and Communication Center signals the rise of Malaysia and act as ‘confidence breathers’ into the investors.

Overall Malaysia, there is evidence of Oil money in development, it might be rightful to show South Sudan oil money through development.

Malaysia discovered that diversification is key and there can never be a growth without human capital which is the diversification tool. The growth and easy financing for education, demonstrated Malaysia rightful investment.

There can be resource as Oil in South Sudan, but without right capacities and technology, the sector will go to the owners of capacities like Malaysia, Indian and Chinese as the case for South Sudan.

South Sudan needs to show like Malaysia, 40 years later that its benefits from capacity building and have ‘leap into economic future’.

To increase service industry and manufacturing to grow the economy, a nation requires great deal of human capital, good legal framework work and corruption free-country, which are key ingredients of Malaysia growth. Malaysia has also engaged in regionally economic partnership on cautious approach.

3. Lessons and Policy Options for South Sudan
Malaysia has demonstrated economic plans are key and must be prepare, follow, financed and revised when and where necessary. It is not sufficient to have South Sudan Development 2011 – 2013 that is not followed and implemented;

Though initially a resourced and agriculture based economy, Malaysia has identified other key sectors to diversify its economy. There is need to invest in education, infrastructure, regulations and proper planning to move the economy into envisaged diversification direction;

Macroeconomic stability in term of low interest rate, low inflation, stable exchange rate, and economic growth are indicators of a well manage economy and are ingredients of economic growth. It is not easy to have economic progress in an environment of volatile exchange and inflation rate; renting seeking exchange rate environment and lack of access to loans – South Sudan must and should put its thought right;

Malaysia experienced racial sentiments in 1970s, and experience financial crisis in 1990s. It seems these crisis has given Malaysia a better way to solve them as the high magnitude has not resurfaced. South Sudan has recently experienced bad economic and political signals, its authors believes that if South Sudan takes ownership and do right prescriptions, these challenges will never resurface in a big magnitude;

Malaysia has been cautious in term of adopting out right liberalization policy. Subsidies, protection policies, exchange rate and capital control policies have been instrumental in arresting the 1990s financial crisis and help in diversifying and developing strategic sectors.

South Sudan might want to rethink its current open-arms liberalization approach;
Improve ease of doing business in term of developing better infrastructures, human capital, and good legal framework work and corruption free-country business environment;

There is Economic Planning Unit in the office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia to help directs, responds and advises on economic issues to the Prime Minister.

It could be useful for South Sudan to institutionalize economics decision making in the Office of the President/Government with well-equipped and competently staffed.

Economics decision is bread and butter for a nation, it cannot be left to ad hoc processes and more importantly as it touches on economic interests.

Garang Atem Ayiik is an independent South Sudan Economic Policy commentator. He lives in Juba but was in Kuala Lumpur at the time of writing this article. He can be reached at garangatemayiik@gmail.com

Rumbek: Another Side of the Burning Home!

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, South Sudan, AUG/20/2014, SSN;

Just as the country is wavering by rebellion where individuals lost their beloved ones, bulk displacement of people, where others are almost starving in the camps, yet our people in Rumbek are still killing themselves amid crisis in South Sudan.

In Rumbek, past events are forwarded to the present. The weight of the past, the traditional ways of doing things is massive. The past tension of 20th century is forwarded to the 21th century. He who killed my uncle in the past is still remembered as an enemy when compensation and reconciliation were done. Why do we reverse the past gears?

I like the way Agar people act politically, but partially hate their individualistic approaches to their local issues as Agar and clans.

The wrongs of the past should be forgiven. And if we look to the past, let’s do so for the lesson it had taught us. An act of revenge increases the problem to hopeless sense. However, there is no smoke without fire, but people should stop revenging because all of us are one. There is a need to sit down and solve our own problems.

I have been anticipating for years to see politicians from Lakes state coming forward as leaders or the sons and daughters of Lakes states to condemn the tragedies that have been rocking Rumbek for years if some of them have never been the part of the insecurity in the state.

Many of us in South Sudan have social, political problems or grievances to be spoken but not the nature of Rumbek’s. There is solution to everything, and the people of Rumbek should say enough is enough to their own problems. I am not saying that my Agar people – who are Dinka are not good. I love them and wanted them to live peacefully. Buka ye puot e rot. Tetke aleei wiic wek yeeth, {literally translated: do not fight. Wait for an enemy to invade you!}

Former governor, Daniel Awet Akot tried his best to forge calmness but the situation increasingly intensified during the time of Chol Tong and Matur Chut. And again, those who are asking for governor Matur’s removal are yearning for the worst.

Governor Matur came to stay. No surprise. Just tell them. It’s you – the ordinary people who are the problem to yourselves – nature or mentality not the governor! And if it’s the governor who is the problem, then let it be known than trouble innocent people.

During the opening ceremony of Mayardit Hospital in Rumbek, President Kiir urged the people of Rumbek to stop fighting. He also added that people are not killing themselves in Aweil or Twic in Warrap because they have lost many people during the protracted civil war in Sudan. There is no need for people – same family to kill themselves. The crowd listened to the President’s speech at Rumbek freedom square – and after a week, a paramount chief was killed in Rumbek. What is really forcing people in Rumbek to kill each other?

They state authority had sacked some paramount chiefs when Engineer Chol Tong was the governor but the same problem is still yearning. People should respect the law. As community chiefs, local leaders tried to solve the problem but invincible, I urge the youths to reconcile, live together. The civil society, youth organizations and woman groups should join hands and critically look into the problem. The research institutions should also carry out studies to pioneer the root causes of the problem for a lasting solution.

While Bishop Deng Bul is in Rumbek – urging people to obey the law and work together as one people, however, the problem lies within the people. These people should be asked to speak out their minds before featuring solutions, lest the problem shall not stop. Did they stop doing the obvious in Rumbek when President Kiir begged them to cease killing each other? Will they stop fighting when Bishop Deng leaves Rumbek?

Those who are thinking of solving anything in Rumbek are supposed to begin with the youths where the problem kept starting. When the house is on fire, neighbors see the smoke and begin coming for rescue. Many people fight fire with water, sand soil, and green leaves of trees. And if the house is burning and we began asking the owner of the house for the root cause of the fire than pour the water on the fire, then are we helping to stop the fire?

Our people know how to fight the fire with water, oil and sand. However, we must decide which method is the right method to stop the fire burning the house, lest the house will be burned into ashes.

In other parts of the country, youths or individuals have been politicized by politicians to act against their rival fellow politicians, is it the case in Lakes state? The Youths in the cattle camps shouldn’t be political camps cattle herders.

The social intimidating complexity by the people of Rumbek deserves brotherly actions, concrete thoughts based on grass-root consultation with local community or chiefs. The problem is from within – cohesively needs law-enforcing agencies to take proper measures against ring leaders.

Moreover, people sometimes don’t obey the law when favoritism, interference are done by individuals within law-enforcing agencies, in which others may feel their cases seemed to be vulnerable and think of revenge as the last solution. All in all, Rumbek may need law-enforcing agencies’ forces from different states in the country for fairness and social neutrality.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a South Sudanese columnist and blogger, lives in Aweil. He can be reached via mangokson@gmail.com

Squandered Opportunity Threatens South Sudan’s Sovereignty: Warring Parties may Loose the Country Unknowingly

BY: Gabrial Pager Ajang, Wright Career College, USA, AUG/18/2014, SSN;

Since the beginning of the December 15th, 2013 war, South Sudanese moral leaders and good-hearted people have been pondering on how this war could possibly be ended. This existential question of life and death has caused many South Sudanese in the diaspora and South Sudan to criticize government and rebels, offer their insights, and freely framed proposals for the government.

Besides, various international agencies and regional leaders have also offered tons of ideas and guidance to the government of South Sudan.

Further more, it is not clear whether the government had a team that analyzes, organizes, and articulates these offered proposals to help pave way for reconciliation, peace and stability.

To my understanding, the powers of the president are usually proportional to his task; hence the President Kiir is responsible for proposing national programs and articulating way forward than rebels can do.

President can appoint a team to work on critical post-war issues, and if the government does not layout peace process programs, and remedies of the post-issues, stability and peace would hypothetically be hard to achieve.

Sticking to militarization as a form of governance, and allowing problems to accumulate make fragile situations susceptible to war and volatility. Issues move precarious and rushing at the speed of light and suddenly cause conflict.

We have witnessed how the militarization of Pualino Matip Nhial, Marial Chanoug, and Riek Machar guards in Juba (all known as presidential led current war).

The purpose of national standing army is to protect the national interest, and territorial integrity of South Sudan, and when that looses it meaning, and soldiers turn their guns onto citizens, South Sudan looses its sovereignty’s protection.

When the police fail to keep laws and orders, and deviate from their primary roles of protecting citizens, and resort to mistreatment of citizens, South Sudan looses its legitimacy, and South Sudan becomes lawless.

It is fundamental for all of us to understand that God will not descend from above to solve our problems; the government carries huge burdens of offering practical solutions to all post-war issues, and bringing about peace than the rebels.

Besides, the current militarization of youth could have a disastrous end if not carefully and responsibly managed.

Ongoing negotiations and going to Ethiopia empty handed can never bring any lasting solutions. People of South Sudan want practical resolutions for war, and their problems…not unnecessary empty words televised every week. For example, people want laws, and orders, they want guaranteed protections of their lives and properties, and their constitution written.

It is worth noting that president, Salva Kiir secured South Sudan independence. And I am also mindful that the administration is undergoing daunting task of managing a nation in crisis. However, perils of post-war issues are threatening viability of this country.

There are irrefutable evidences that this crisis is exacerbated by SPLM leaders who made mistakes of taking regressive journey from the comprehensive implementation of the 2005 accord and initiated Cooperation Agreement.

The left-over post-war issues have caused disagreement among the SPLM leaders and had plundered country into conflict. The following elements of post-war issues have emerged as threat to South Sudan Sovereignty:
1. Failing to transform SPLA soldiers from guerrilla movement into conventional army caused more tribal militia.
2. Failing to write a governing document, supreme law of land, the constitution, has caused more skepticism about the government, and rebellions. Citizens are confused about South Sudan system of governance.
3. Deep tribal divisions spearheaded by national leaders is disturbing, some speak on the national TV, and not knowing what they say could have far more repercussions, and sow more divisions. National leader must understand that what they say matter to citizens.
4. Failing to transform SPLM party core organs and leadership from Guerrilla movement to a democratic political partially caused in December 15th, war.
5. Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan governments are encroaching on South Sudan territories. SPLM leaders abandoned border demarcation; protocol well pronounced in the CPA and renegotiated CPA in the Cooperation Agreement. The creations of 14 mile are a clear violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
6. Lack of clear domestic programs, and foreign policies, just to mention few.

These daring national challenges are mounting, and they are jeopardizing citizens’ lives, and future of this nation. South Sudan had no clear borders and citizens are fighting themselves malevolently.

It begs these questions; what is the future of this country, and what could possibly preserve national interest and sovereignty?

Tribes are divided, and almost disagreed on every issue, for instance Dinka, and Nuer are deeply divided, and Dinka and Nuer are even more subdivided internally.

Besides, these entrenched divisions, sowed by both government and rebels’ leaders are shocking and have caused more rampant tribalism. It would require a true national figure to resolve and eradicate tribalism.

Moreover, national army has disintegrated into tribal militias, this new development that put South Sudan on the path of ungovernable state.

These sowed divisions can cause the nation greater harm. The trend is disturbing.

Government officials and rebels are also engaging in blame games, and subversion of truth. Both rebels and government solders are responsible of solving national issues.

However, some leaders and citizens blamed wrong people, and they blamed tribes, and subtribes for mistakes made by national leaders. We are at the very sad state of affairs.

If we love this country, we must tell the truth, it does not matter who commits the crimes.
SPLM leaders missed an opportunity when they rejected full implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and initiated COOPERATION AGREEMENT.

Today, South Sudan has lost all the towns in the north, and in borders of Uganda, Ethiopian and Kenya. These countries are gradually encroaching on South Sudan territories. History indicates that territorial annexations are done slowly in such manner. It would be hard to antagonize three countries at the same time even if South Sudan borrowed Israelis military arsenals.

What struck me is the government of South Sudan is aware that Lokichiogio is not the border between Kenya, and South Sudan and officials never issued a statement.

Interestingly enough, there are no proposed national agendas critical to protect national interest and channel unity for South Sudanese. Leaders are so blinded by war to an extent that they could loose South Sudan without Knowledge.

Sudan youth are finishing themselves, who will fight to restore borders, and territorial integrity? Current leaders, young people and new generations are charged with a responsibility of restoring, and repairing our ethnic divide. It is high time to stop this war. Those older leaders must stop sidelining young emerging leaders who have better vision for country.

Rebels, and government are viciously fighting, and the neighboring countries are encroaching on South Sudan territories. We may lose this country while fighting an irrational war.

Leaders who strive to lead the nation choose violent path of solving their problems. It is not just wrong, it is morally wrong for leaders to take the country to war. In the course of last nine months, war has killed thousands, destroyed towns, and displaced millions.

This war is unjustifiable and unreasonable. The people of South Sudan have been done grave harm and irreparable injustices.

After 150 years of struggle, war is the least item on South Sudan list. The actions taken by warring parties have not only harmed future generations but they will affect the future of this country.

To South Sudanese citizens, dictators accumulate problems to obliterate the country in order to divert citizen attentions from national significant agendas.

This entitlement saga in SPM/A leadership does not justify division sowed in the SPLM/A ranks, and tribalization of the whole country. SPLM seniors officials need to resolve their differences for the sake of our nation.

The fact that warring parties have mobilized South Sudanese youth to kill themselves to fulfill their selfish goals and interests is criminal. It is crime committed against people and state.

The tribal leadership principles that work to erode national programs is inflicting massive insults and shocking abhorrent of injustice to citizens. There must be a rude awakening over the annihilation of our people and towns.

Is there evil in Greater Upper Nile that works day night to destroy livelihood of people and their towns? Am just curious! Both government and rebels’ leaders must check themselves; they are the carriers of this sin that annihilates South Sudan.

The worst of all are leaders who condone current state of affairs. Are we really satisfied with current state of affairs or does this country need reforms?

We seem to be silly, trivial, or infantile, especially in light of the horrors of this war. I reject rebellion, I get it. It is inhumane and cruel for any leader to engage in decapitation of youth as opposed to seek for non-violent solutions and democratic means of ascending to the nation’s highest office.

South Sudan leadership at the domestic and international stage is at stake. The warring parties’ leaders will be forced to make tough choice and end this war. Good moral leaders never cannot engage in blasphemous behaviors, and annihilation of their own people.

Bentiu, Bortown, and Malakal have changed hands more than five times, and only a criminal would reject peace and attack these towns again. Is there anything left to be killed or destroyed? Why attacking towns that have been reduced to ashes? What sorts of leaders could attack these ruined towns and survive to be leaders of South Sudan?

Furthermore, denying everything, leaders act like no single person have been killed in South Sudan, denying accountability, deflecting true responsible individuals that commit crimes for the sake of diverting blame to others.

Leaders altered the meaning of those responsible of crimes to create a lot of morally sounding talk while actually eliminating morality and accountability. The collective benefit and protection of life merits are reverence by all citizens and could bring desperate needed peace, and unity.

Moral leaders guide their nation into brighter and prosperous future. I am aware that post war issues are complicated and some tribal problems are very deep. However, leadership that is not guided by moral conviction to solve citizen problems and not under guarded by moral leadership make the possessor of that conviction obnoxious and the dogma became repulsive.

Conclusion
South Sudan can survive this looming crisis and tragedy if it produces a governing document, and balance powers among its branches of government. This country can survive if it adopts an ideology that guides all its citizens.

This country can survive if there is consent from the governed (citizens), if citizens are consulted of their issues.

This country can survive if citizens have faith in control of their government, and protection guarantee from government.

This country can survive if powers are shared between the state, and central governments. This country can survive if this government can see its citizens as equal citizens and not tribes or painted them as rebels.

This country can survive if post-war issues are thoroughly resolved, ethnic divides are bridged, and national healing is initiated.

This nation can survive if national leaders distance themselves from tribal politics, tribal supports, and tribal militia affiliations.

This country can survive if it can protect and returns its towns encroached upon by the neighboring countries.

This country can survive if the government permits all citizens of South Sudan to voice their opinions to national leaders without sever repercussions.

Our heroes and heroines would have died in vain if our current leaders do not stop tribal toxic politics and frame national agendas, and protect South Sudan Sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Gabrial Pager Ajang
Political Science and History Instructor at Wright Career College
He can be reached at ajangassociates@gmail.com