Archive for: August 2014

Like a leopard can’t change its spots, Machar can’t change

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, AUG/07/2014, SSN;

The layers of disguise worn by Dr Riek Machar from mid December 2013 are peeling off and the true Machar is gradually revealing his character through his own words. The saying that a leopard can not change its spots seems to be true in the case of Machar and the SPLM leaders.

Soon after escaping lynching by President Salva Kiir’s militia, Machar with others rightly set up a resistance to fight against the former’s regime of terror. Machar offered hope by embracing democracy and federalism. Until recently, Machar acted in line with his declarations and he has been greatly appreciated and commended.

However, Machar’s language has started to change after the IGAD meeting of 10th June 2014 which set out a time frame for achieving peace within 60 days. As of today, the clock as expected is ticking away and it is only remaining 3 days for the deadline.

Time is running out fast, realism dictates this frame work is unworkable and failure is awaiting the incompetent IGAD.

Now that Machar is seeing the prospects for peace, he is beginning to play real politik by jostling to achieve maximum gain for himself only. Out goes the democracy he has been singing and in comes his dictatorial approaches to things as always.

Intrinsically, there is nothing wrong for Machar to fight for his survival and his people, but he should have at least been honest to the other oppressed people of South Sudan. He should not have raised their hopes knowing very well that he has no intention to deliver.

Machar should never have presented himself as an alternative national leader who would care for all. It is here that anybody with good values and principles would have problems with his leadership.

This already does not bode well for the Nuer and the people of South Sudan.

Some readers may ask as to why am I raising doubts about Machar now? Any person who claims leadership must be scrutinized and any pretensions exposed for the public to make informed decisions of whether to support or not.

Machar is on record that he wants democracy and federalism in South Sudan. Again, Machar is on record the he wholeheartedly supports inclusivity in the Addis Ababa talks. So far so good.

Talking about democracy, federalism and inclusivity is one thing and acting proactively in promoting the process to yield a democracy and federal system is another. Unless the former (expressed ideals) is seen to be driven by the latter, then the whole process is a sham.

In my previous article, ‘President Kiir violates the May 2014 Addis Ababa agreement’, I referred to Noam Chomsky, the renowned American philosopher on the issue.

Here is what Chomsky said back in the 1960s: “A new society arises out of the actions that are taken to form it, and the institutions and ideology it develops are not independent of those actions. In fact they are heavily coloured by them, they are shaped by them in many ways. And one can expect that actions that are cynical and vicious, whatever their intent, will inevitably condition and deface the quality of the ends that are achieved.” http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/president-salvatore-kiir-violates-may-agreement.

Machar’s actions in relation to democracy and inclusivity are cynical and vicious and this as highlighted by Chomsky are likely to “deface the quality” of any government led by him.

Simply put, Machar will likely lead a government not different from the current one of President Kiir where tribalism and injustice rule supreme.

Do not forget that Machar deputised President Kiir for 9 years in which he actually said nothing against the system and nothing in support of the people of South Sudan.

Let us face it and let us now look at why Machar’s actions are cynical and vicious. “Machar writes to UN Chief over stalled South Sudan peace process,” reports Sudan Tribune on 25th June 2014. http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article51471. Please also see, ‘South Sudanese rebels express readiness for direct negotiations with government’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article51925.

In this report, Machar openly undermines the role of the stakeholders and subtly rubbishes them as unimportant. His arrogance matches President Kiir’s.

“It was unnecessary for the talks to adjourn. The two parties should have engaged in direct negotiations while the other stakeholders are reserved for consultation role. On our part we are ready for talks with the government to end the crisis,” James Dak, Machar’s spokesman asserted.

So all along Machar was talking about inclusivity while in fact he has been working behind the scene for exclusive talks between his group and the government.

What is shocking in this revelation is Machar’s honest perception of the stakeholders. He does not value them or even rate them as his equal. Machar only considers them as aides.
People who can be consulted.

“Stakeholders are reserved for consultation role” only. This speaks volumes.

When people talk of stakeholders and inclusivity, it is meant to address issues of marginalisation, disenfranchisement and equality. It is meant for the people to have a real say in what affects them so that they become owners of the end product.

It has not been meant for stakeholders to be “reserved for consultation role.” This derogatory phrase demonstrates the contempt SPLM/A as a whole has about the people of South Sudan.

For the SPLM groups inclusivity means the people of South Sudan can only be consulted for advice which they are at liberty to take or discard.

It is not about genuine participation, recognition and equality on the issues under discussion to solidify legitimacy of the whole peace process.

From this it is clear why the trio: SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO and IGAD worked hard to keep the stakeholders out of the whole process.

Their lip service on the issue is designed to squeeze the stakeholders out of the entire process so that it only remains an SPLM affair, the very party and people responsible for mass death, insecurity, refugee problems for the neighbouring countries and massive internal displacement of citizens.

As things stand, they have in fact succeeded because the stakeholders who matter and could voice the needs of the people are excluded.

For example, Mr Peter Sule and UDF party who abusively have been prevented by President Kiir not to travel to Addis Ababa although he was officially invited by IGAD. Although SPLM-IO boycotted the peace talks on the issue, in reality they were fighting for their own satellite groups.

Now the stakeholders have been squeezed out with the fate of the country left in the hands of the very people who have destroyed it. What chance has South Sudan got?

The question IGAD and the African Union must answer is: how can SPLM/A rescue what they have already decimated?

The SPLM has no idea how to manage the country. They have not had any programme of action since 2005. Both President Kiir and Dr Machar so far have not even articulated any idea of bringing the people of South Sudan together.

Then, how convincing is it for them to be the people tasked with security of South Sudan and the stabilization of the country and the region.

The IGAD process is becoming a real joke. No wonder, the despair with the incompetence of IGAD and the dishonesty of the warring groups is alienating the masses. The result now is product like the recent call for action in Equatoria. Please see http://allafrica.com/stories/201403260279.html

Unfortunately the current IGAD process has taken a negative turn with the people now convinced that in order for anybody to be heard they must wield some form of hard power rather than soft one.

Instead of IGAD being a solution, it is now an added problem. If any hope is to be restored for peaceful solution, then the international community need to respond to the suggestion in, ‘Time for actual solutions for South Sudan – replace IGAD with eminent persons at once’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201406250587.html

Like a leopard can not change its spots, Machar can not change. He remains the same Machar that we have always known. He has once again squandered a golden opportunity for him to wash himself clean from his controversial past to emerge as a true leader in South Sudan.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com


LATEST: More arrests in Wau linked to Capital transfer

BY: Nicola Bringi, CANADA, AUG/25/2014, SSN;

As the tweet of the morning on Friday, August 22nd began in Wau, the climate and environment came to be scary, the weather seemed to be gloomy, and the living situation became fearful due to national security spreading across the city looking for some individuals. People and vehicles that looked “suspicious” were stopped; offices, homes and villages were searched as the officials were seeking particular individuals.

At the end of the day, the security had spread around all the villages near Wau. People learned by then that the following people had been arrested:
1- Father Justin Wanawilla,
2- George Livio Bahara,
3- Sebit Baptis and
4- Ashab Khamis Fahal.
5- Another person, still unidentified.

Still, we do not know what the motives behind the arrests are; however, by the end of the day only Sebit Baptis was investigated and released in Wau. As we always say, when September comes to December the government of South Sudan as well as Western Bahr Al Gazal will suffer from a type of hysteria.

It has become common to see people of South Sudan spend their Christmas and the new year in mourning instead of happiness. This is the new episode of 2014 and we do not know how it will end. We will continue to update you as things continue to unfold.

Unconfirmed reports state that all the prevailing insecurity in Wau pertains to the proposed move by the government of governor Rizik Zacharia to have the Capital of the national government transferred from Juba to Wau, a move popularly and strongly opposed by citizens of Western Bahr el Ghazel state.
END
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Why the Transfer of the Capital Juba to Wau: No to new slavery & domination

BY: Vanivongo, WAU, AUG/05/2014, SSN;

Poverty has obviously made a lot of our brothers and sisters to sell their will at a cheap price. They are not any freer in their thoughts and behaviors. They can not reveal their true will. With these constraints, inhibitions and phobia, they have become slaves, and have victimized themselves and their children, and this will continue to reflect negatively on their grand, grand children.

The dangerous part of it is talking on behalf of people without delegation and grabbing the properties of the poor under blatant power abuse they are exhibiting.

Therefore, the recent unilateral suggestion of the transfer of the capital of the Republic of South Sudan from Juba to Wau, in Western Bahr el Ghazel State (WBGS) by the Governor Rizik Zecheria does not represent the will of the people of Wau who own the original ownership of the land.

He, Gov. Rizik, unfortunately, is not from Wau himself, he hails from Raga. Moreover, the so-called Chair person of the civil society of WBGS, who presented the speech during the fabricated demonstration, is himself a stranger and therefore has no right to talk on the issue without the consent of the indigenous people.

Imposing innocent children of the Schools in Wau to go on demonstration allegedly in support of the transfer without their consent is an abuse of the rights and the children themselves, and it is seriously a crime against their rights.

Human Rights Agencies, please, you need to look into it.

Furthermore, threatening Government officials to participate in the demonstration against their will, and also additionally, threatening them with either facing cuts of salaries or suspension from the work, have nothing to do with the public service regulation.

This is an abuse of power and new practice of slavery.

Moreover, imposing things on people and grabbing the properties of the poor under various forms of force is another new form of domination the governor is unashamedly exploiting.

Buying the will of the weak and forcing children and unprotected citizen to express what is not in their heart is another new form of slavery and a crime against human dignity.

The issue is not the transfer of the capital to Wau, but the intention behind. People of Wau totally believe that there are bad intentions behind the evil motives of their neighbors. END


Interesting proposal for formation of transitional government in post-rebellion South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, AUG/04/2014, SSN;

Juba Monitor of Thursday, July 31, 2014, Vol. 4 Issue No. 153 published on page 6, “Position of the Political Parties on the Transitional Government.” The position of the political parties in relation to the proposed transitional government was interesting.

One would have expected the position of the political parties to appear as part of the peace agreement signed between the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Government and the SPLM in Opposition. In other words the position of the political parties should have been presented during the peace discussions to become part of the overall peace agreement.

The position of the political parties appears as if peace were already attained that people were now eyeing for positions. However, it is still too early to say what the peace agreement will look like if at all there will be one.

It is also difficult to speculate what the peace agreement will include. The position seems to be pre-empting what should be in the peace agreement. Nevertheless, foremost what is of interest in the political parties’ position paper is the program of reform, the most essential for peace and stability in South Sudan.

Transitional government

The political parties in their position paper have come up with a structure and composition of the would-be transitional government of national unity in post-rebellion South Sudan with the main purpose of establishing and consolidating peace, instilling confidence in the government and leading the country to a genuine multi-party democracy.

The proposed transitional government may contribute to bringing pressure to bear on the belligerents in the current senseless war which should come to a speedy end. This senseless war is a manifestation of a naked greed for power in which egoism may be a factor.

The SPLM needs to come back to basics. The Vice President of the Republic seems to concur with this when he said that the SPLM is a disorganized party lacking in discipline and commitment (Juba Monitor, Friday, August 1st, 2014, Vol. 4 Issue No. 154, Front Page).

Ending this senseless war can only happen through a peace agreement that can also facilitate reconciliation between the warring factions of the SPLM, SPLM in Government and SPLM in Opposition. Without reconciliation between the two SPLM factions, participation of the factions in the transitional government of national unity may make them to be two distinct groups.

When the two SPLM factions participate in the transitional government of national unity as two distinct groups, there will never be a way to establish peace in South Sudan. There will always be antagonism.

Another complicating factor is the so-called group of eleven (G11) members of the SPLM who were previously detained for their alleged anti-government activities. The G11 claims to be neutral in the ongoing conflict.

As SPLM members, to claim neutrality in the middle of a serious conflict within the SPLM leadership, the G11 is untrustworthy and therefore unreliable, and should be on their way to the dustbin of history.

Central government

The position of the political parties on the formation of transitional government of national unity is commendable, though with some reservation, to bring pressure to bear on the SPLM warring factions to conclude a peace agreement.

The cabinet proposed is of 21 ministers, excluding the president, vice president and the prime minister. In addition, proposed are 5 deputy ministers and 18 commissions and authorities.

This is a huge government by all means with substantial budgetary allocation. It is therefore not very strange when a big chunk of the budget is spent financing the government machinery at the centre leaving the states probably gasping for funds for development.

In the interest of national unity the SPLM cannot afford to ignore the other parties. The other scenario is for the SPLM to reconcile its internal differences for peace within itself. The SPLM needs to sort out its problem in order to bring the badly needed peace and stability to South Sudan.

It is very disappointing to the vast majority of people to see the SPLM, the architect of independence of South Sudan, in a great state of disrepair. The SPLM will do an irreversible damage to its image as a political party if the indiscipline in its ranks is not addressed quickly to salvage the country from destruction. This can be done through dialogue.

Since one SPLM faction is in armed rebellion for more than half a year now with devastating effect, a peaceful solution is utterly desirable. The longer the rebellion drags on with untold sufferings of the people, the lower the confidence will be in the SPLM as a political party.

People will look at the SPLM in Government as the one capable of bringing peace because it is in charge. The rebellion has little to lose as it is not in charge of running the affairs of the country. The SPLM in Government has the moral ground to offer an olive branch to bring pressure to bear on the rebellion for people the world over to see the difference.

State government

There are two main levels of government in the Republic of South Sudan, the central and state government. There are ten states and a state is headed by an elected governor. The state is autonomous and has a council of ministers of not less than 13 ministers.

However, in the political parties’ proposal for a transitional government the state will only have 6 ministers with the governor and deputy governor who is also supposed to hold a ministerial portfolio. The structure and composition of the state government is interesting.

It is noted that the size of the state government is drastically reduced. It is not clear whether this is something to do with austerity measure that the size of the state government has to be reduced. At any rate the proposed size of the state government seems to be a hasty proposal with superficial understanding.

In simple terms taking the state government as an implementer and the central government as a policy maker, which level of government needs a bigger size in technologically less advanced economies.

It should have been the other way round. The size of the central government should have been smaller than that of the state government. The deputy governor should not have any ministerial portfolio. There are other talented individuals who can equally have that ministerial portfolio. This is in order to relieve the deputy governor for his or her appropriate duties in the state government.

The other thing to note is that the size of the state government should not be limited to what the centre thinks. The state should have the liberty to have the size of government appropriate to its development needs as long as its economy can sustain.

Development projects

In South Sudan people sometimes hear of national projects even if such projects are within the competence of the state. The concept of national projects is used carelessly by people who only day dream.

We have experience of the negligence by central authorities of the so-called national projects. At least a national project should be the one that covers more than one state and the central authorities should be collaborating with state authorities concerned for success instead of imposing.

However, quite often central authorities ignore the collaborative role of states in implementing projects. This is where problems at times occur.

As the tip of iceberg in agriculture, for example, the central authorities take it as their prerogative to distribute seed to the states instead of the states to distribute the seed to the farmers timely.

The central authorities control the funds for the seed and the question is why, where there is so much inefficiency. Due to this poor system this season the central authorities failed miserably to distribute the seed on time. The states received the seed distribution list very late and even the seed have not yet reached the states to distribute to farmers where unfortunately the planting time has long passed.

Is this how to develop agriculture? In agriculture timeliness is extremely important. Unfortunately the centre seems to ignore this probably for other motives.

Instead of supporting the states the central authorities think they can also be the implementers without understanding that they are making the technical staff in the states redundant.

For example, how could the central authorities work directly with the farmers in the counties, payams and bomas without the collaboration of states authorities?

This is what happens in what is supposed to be a decentralized system. Officials in the centre seem not to be aware of the competencies of the states.

As they are in the centre the officials erroneously assume they are in charge of everything in the states. This, of course, defeats the concept of decentralization leave alone federalism which is still a long way off.

With the programme of reforms, hopefully, the proposed transitional government of national unity will put things right in the interest of ordinary men and women of the Republic of South Sudan.

Conclusion

South Sudan is bleeding and so peace is a matter of death and life for those who have experienced nothing but destruction and devastation on daily basis. The SPLM must by all means rise above the unnecessary wrangling over leadership and save innocent lives.

It is utterly unacceptable for South Sudan to be a laughing stock in the world after emerging energetically as an independent state in decades of relentless liberation struggle.

Our Sudanese counterparts and those who were opposed to the independence of South Sudan are by now laughing hysterically at how primitive South Sudanese are, only know how massacring each other over earthly leadership; people barely two years of independence are tearing the country apart.

What is so sweet about being a leader of a country that is burning or bleeding when those innocent faces with angel smiles are perishing everyday under unnecessary gun fire?

In conclusion, protecting leadership does not necessarily mean fighting for leadership come what may but it also means relinquishing leadership as the price to pay for peace, stability and unity as the ultimate manifestation of deep nationalism. END


Desperate Situation: The suffering people of South Sudan have been abandoned

By: Tongun Lo Loyuong, UK, AUG/04/2014, SSN;

With South Sudan edging closer to the predicted famine that is poised to affect a third of its population, and with the peace talks to end the devastating civil war exhibiting little urgency, it is not far-fetched to conclude that the international community has abandoned us.

The appeal for $1.8 billion, a funding threshold required to arrest the humanitarian situation and South Sudan’s rapid descent into famine is yet to be reached, as funding commitments made by several members of the donor community remain unfulfilled.

But I guess such reluctance from the donor community is predictable, as most members of the donor community have probably never experienced surviving on water lilies, or going to bed with an empty stomach growling for a mouthful.

In addition, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan has now earned the label “man-made,” which means it could have been avoided. The implication, which has been publicly voiced by some, is that South Sudan’s political leadership is to blame for creating the humanitarian crisis and the conducive conditions for the impending famine.

WHO GETS WHAT
It is common knowledge that the international community tends to respond to these kinds of crises after the fact, when graphic images of vultures waiting to feast on the corpse of a starving child begin to circulate in the media.

They tend to respond even more swiftly if the humanitarian crisis is a result of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and Tsunamis, just to mention but a few examples.
It is understandable, therefore, that there is an overall reluctance to clean up a humanitarian mess created by reckless leadership and greedy politicians in South Sudan, only that it is the hapless poor South Sudanese in remote rural areas who are bearing the brunt.

The politicians’ immediate family, relatives, stolen wealth and illegally accumulated assets are all stashed away in safe havens in the region, or abroad in the Middle East and the West.

GOVERNMENT’S PREOCCUPATIONS
Our political leaders, who hold the key to ending the suffering of our people, also seem to have forgotten where we all came from when it comes to suffering from hunger and starvation.

The government of South Sudan seems to not be bothered, as demonstrated by its recent squandering of a reported $1 billion in arms purchases from China.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian community appeals for funding that is not forthcoming to prevent an impending humanitarian catastrophe billed as the worst in our history.

The government remains preoccupied with counting the cost of war and committed to allocating funds for its continued execution, which further exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

HOLLOW UTTERANCES
Amidst talk of the resumption of peace talks to deliberate the composition of an interim government, opposition parties and “civil society” groups are equally consumed with who gets what position in the interim arrangements and the “new political dispensation.”

This is at the expense of embarking on robust policy advocacy and channeling of collective efforts to mitigate the impending famine so as to, if partially, alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable South Sudanese women, children and the elderly in the conflict hotspots who are poised to be affected most when real starvation hits.

Since the violent outbreak in mid-December last year, the suffering South Sudanese poor have been treated to endless but hollow utterances of public condemnation after atrocities committed in the wake of every violation of the several agreements and re-commitments to agreements signed on cessation of hostilities in the past several months.

INEFFECTIVE SANCTIONS
Threats of targeted sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes of the perpetrators of civilian atrocities and gross human rights abuses remain but threats, ineffective enough to scare even a dog.

The handful of targeted sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes that have been handed out by the Americans and the Europeans are toothless and have circumvented the godheads and lords of the civil war and the real peace spoilers of the peace process.

In short, the international community has not done enough. They know it. And unless regional and international efforts are redoubled to coerce the parties in the conflict into urgently signing a peace agreement or risk facing serious punitive measures and consequences, South Sudanese will continue to feel abandoned.

Tongun Lo Loyuong is a South Sudanese expert and researcher in international peace studies. He studied at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and is currently pursuing a PhD in the UK. Email: tloloyuong@gmail.com or leave a message on his blog: http://tloloyuong.wordpress.com/.