Archive for: October 2014

There is no need for Federalism in South Sudan

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, RUMBEK, LAKES STATE, OCT/08/2014, SSN;

About two weeks ago, the Vice President of South Sudan, James Wani Igga, gave a well informed presentation on federalism to the National Assembly. His lecture was well researched; and to some extent, it truly met the standards of other well established researches on federations across the globe.

According to Igga’s presentation, only about 28 of the world’s 193 countries are federalists. That is about 15% of the current governance systems in the entire world. It is practiced most in the elite world of nations that have existed for centuries.

It began to be applied in the US as early as 1787, Canada in 1867 and Germany in 1871. This means that it took years of negotiation and establishment for federalism to be adopted after issues that were deemed as ‘firsts’ were accomplished by the nations that are federal today.

South Sudan became a country in 2011 and would want to become a federal state in 2014. To me it is comical.

From the federalism debate, including the research paper by Igga, it is quite easy to draw many similarities than differences between federalism and the current decentralized system in South Sudan.

The type of decentralized system of governance applied in South Sudan is very much like federalism. The question now is what do we need federalism for? Is it the name ‘federalism’ or the system of sharing powers between the central government and the states?

Federalism is a political system in which the powers are divided between the central government and numerous regional governments. But that is what South Sudan already is.

We have a decentralized system in which some powers are devolved to states. There are state governments led by Governors. Almost everything a federal state offers has already been issued by the current decentralized system.

States have their own legislatures and some autonomy of their own affairs. What has not been applied in our case is fiscal federation. But all the rest is some sort of devolution that is akin to federalism where states possess their constitutions and structures as enshrined in their laws.

There may be weak spots with the current system but they can be corrected in the final constitution of south Sudan.

In fact, some of the cracks in the current system may either be technical or political, but it requires no change of a whole system.

We as a nation, have a problem not with constitutions at all but constitutionalism. Whichever system we apply, our problems shall still exist – and at any time we apply complete federalism – things might even change for the worst.

Some people argue that federation holds the answer to domination by big tribes. Others believe it would give complete control of resources to those regions who own them. But that is a big assumption.

If there are those people who think that with federalism they will be allowed to own resources in their regions then that is a misplaced conscience.

What was fought for by all for more than fifty years cannot be allowed to be exploited by any single region or tribe in the country. All resources shall remain national resources and they can still be shared equitably even under the federation.

And the Dinka Oil in Atar and Paloch that have kept the country running since the signing of the CPA shall also remain a national resource just like any other mineral resources in the country.

So, there is no problem of Dinka with federalism. Rather, the main problem with federalism is that there is no need for federalism in South Sudan.

Various Governance researches indicated that federalism can be good in the sense that it enhances Localized Governance, Local Representation and Freedom to Form Policies.

And it still makes just very small difference and changes nothing for the better for the large masses of the South Sudanese public that are in a dire need of peace and basic services as the first things, and not the system of Governance.

South Sudan still has so many hurdles to surmount. That some other people want it to walk so suddenly in the footsteps of the United States is a nightmare.

There are disadvantages of federalism even in the A-List countries. These include conflict of authority, uneven distribution of wealth, promotion of regionalism and framing of incorrect policies. It may as well lead to pitches- State versus State- meanwhile corruption continues to thrive even more.

Moreover, it prevents the creation of a national policy. That is why the United States does not have a single policy on issues; instead, it has fifty-one policies, which often leads to confusion. And the overlap of the boundaries among national and state governments makes it tricky to assign blame for failed policies.

For South Sudan, Federalism is the one last remaining danger it should avoid at all cost. South Sudanese are there to see it happen. Should federalism be the system to govern this country, then we should agree that this was a bomb that we allowed to be planted under our watchful eyes.

First of all, South Sudan is a country so much polarized by tribalism. Federalism itself can become the first victim of the war fought in its name.

The Neimeri’s policy of re-division of South Sudan was seemingly a good one in the eyes of some leaders, but without the knowledge of its architects, ‘kokora’ emerged. There are high chances that federalism may be tribalised and kokora-ized.

The much needed stability and development in South Sudan cannot be attained through federalism. Apart from practical and technical difficulties in applying federalism, care must be taken with regards to maintaining the unity of our people.

With our already divided people, federalism may come to be the last rift that sets them apart completely into mini-states that do not want one another.

With federalism, we may arrive at a stage where our country might badly be Balkanized and disintegrated into small uncooperative states.

There is nothing that would prevent the federal states from being hostile to one another. People will tend to put their states first before the nation and doors might get slammed on vital calls to national issues.

I was privileged to attend the federalism lecture by the Vice president, and I could figure that it holds a proper insinuation.

Federalism was being demanded by South Sudanese as a second alternative after the failure to attain independence under the Anglo–Egyptian and Arab rule in the former united Sudan.

Federalism is also no longer a popular demand. It has not been subjected to a public opinion; and therefore, there is no baseline from which anybody gets substantiation as to why they think federalism is a public demand.

Federalism should not be forced down the throats of the South Sudanese people. It is not the first thing this country needs now. An attempt to force it on south Sudanese will only backfire.

Should federalism get adopted in the Addis Ababa talks as already reported in the media, then its architects must prepare the remedies to any harms it would cost this nation.

Taban Abel Aguek is a Member of Lakes State Legislative Assembly. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

Michael Makuey Lueth’s uncivilized politics: A setback to achieving peace in South Sudan

BY: Chuol C. Puoch, KAMPALA, UGANDA, OCT/06/2014, SSN;

This may not be the first time South Sudanese get surprised by the political behavior of Michael Makuey Lueth, the information minister and government spokesperson, in South Sudan. His political manifesto is associated with legal speaking style (but purely lying) and as well as military commanding strategy which he added into his lifestyle during the struggle.

I think it’s difficult for Makuey to ever adjust his political behavior that would make him charming and inspiring rather than aggressive and divisive propagandist.

To me, Michael Makuey has lost his status as “Honorable Minister” and has become a “Horror-able Minister”. That is how I can address him. If Makuey Lueth can behave like an angry Lioness at ordinary civilians and the media, how then has he been behaving in peace talks on those he really calls enemy? Someone at the peace talk could accurately tell us about this.

I have come to learn that there is a behavior derived from the politics of Sudan with the Arab and being practiced unknowingly at this time of history in our Country: The Mistrust.

It was very difficult to trust an Arab man and even his words, no matter how sweet and friendly they sound. Our unique belief was that, the Arabs are not our people and we shouldn’t be with them.

That very belief had even increased the portion of mistrust behavior to a total and permanent mistrust on the Arab of the North Sudan and had let us finally to our independence, something we should be proud of as an outcome of our struggle.

However, the negative outcome of that behavior is the fact that it has not been washed away in the heart and attitude of our people and especially, the politicians. Well, you may not cross a muddy environment and expect your feet to be clean after crossing; you have to wash them first after crossing and from there, you will see their cleanliness and free from mud.

If you don’t wash and only continue your journey ahead, it’s obvious that the mud will only dry off on your feet and you will carry it to your final destination. To say the least, you are dirty and people will definitely see you as such. That is what exactly happening to some of us, especially those in politics and governance.

Most of our politicians in The Republic of South Sudan didn’t wash their feet after crossing the muddy environment which took us some 49 years to cross – they are still carrying with them the mistrust behavior on anyone.

You can imagine that the mud was too much, and too long to walk through and it was not only on the feet, but I think it went to neck and head.

One of the most affected fellows by this scenario is Horror-able Michael Makuey Lueth. It’s only in Salva Kirr’s regime to appoint such an anti-civilians person to the most civil engagement ministry, the ministry of information and communication.

It was not even by career because Makuey is a Law graduate and previous judge who has nothing to do with information and communication.

Unverified information has leaked out that Makuey doesn’t pray. The time he prayed the other day was all about asking God to kill for him Taban Deng Gai. A member of his family has revealed as they were chatting in their hotel in Nairobi recently. I believed this information and have rated it with absolute reality based on my observation on Makuey Lueth.

Michael believes that he can and will defeat the SPLM/A-IO in the shortest time possible. He thinks that those in the opposition are his permanent enemies, they can never be one again and he can never and would never trust any of them in times to come.

His wish remains to be the idea of defeating the SPLM-IO and not to negotiate with them and find a peaceful solution to address their differences and bring the lost peace back to the people of South Sudan.

You would believe all those aforementioned once you closely monitor the behavior of Makuey Lueth during the peace talks: When people are likely heading toward peace direction, Makuey adopts the behavior of stupidity and confusion as it’s not his dream and interest.

When people are stuck during the peace process, Makuey adopts the behavior of aggression, total mistrust on those involved in the peace talks and pursues his bloody divisive propaganda.

He sees the moment of constrain in peace process as his opportunity to pursue his dream of defeating the SPLM-IO and not thinking of finding ways and means to bringing peace and stability back to the people of South Sudan.

The recent statements he made in a press conference in Nairobi after the adjournment of peace talks by IGAD mediators is a simple prove to my observation. Honestly, sometimes he speaks statements which I don’t understand!

That behavior of Michael Makuey can absolutely be called “uncivilized politics”. It’s in contradiction to the modern politics of inspiring people. Michael Makuey believes that they (Him and his crooks) are ruling and forcefully controlling us.

But something must be clarified to Michael; we, the South Sudanese, and more specifically the Dinka and the Nuer, can never be ruled or forcefully controlled. We didn’t succumb to a kingdom formation as we value every man to be the same to other men.

We couldn’t manage to live under a kingdom that time and we will never live under it forever. We will never live our life under oppressor, aggressor etc.

We would militarily, politically, socially and diplomatically fight you to your end, and not our end. Think about this in the social and political aspect of it, please.

The SPLM/A–IO has already been established. Its ideologies have been introduced; they are there and will forever be there. If you don’t like federalism, it has already been introduced, accepted and will forever be there.

If you don’t like those politicians in the SPLM-IO, please quit the politics of South Sudan and do not make it tasteless. If you choose to be an anti-civilian person, please quit the politics as well and go home.

This fighting, to be honest, is by South Sudanese, for South Sudanese and with South Sudanese. It will and can be stopped anytime soon but people of your kind will still be pursued by the spirit of dead South Sudanese and will appear at night to them as ghosts and you will feel the pain at last.

You better understand this or otherwise, you have the mandate to bring peace to South Sudanese and should negotiate in good faith before things are out of hands.

You must cease speaking divisive propaganda toward the ordinary civilians; try and adjust your political behavior and pursue the politics of inspiration because you are not a puppet of Salva Kirr; are you?

You are a politician still with potential of saving not only greater Bor as an MP but also as any other public office including the presidency. Are you not capable, Horror-able Makuey?

Chuol C. Puoch is a South Sudanese living in South Sudan; (But currently in Kampala in time of writing this piece) he can be added/follow on Facebook with his name mentioned above, on twitter @ChuolChot and via email: chuolchotson@gmail.com . You can also access and follow his words on www.chuolchotson.wordpress.com

Gurtong Trust: A revenge-preaching & killing machine- why Norway, UK & the Swiss fund it?

The Gurtong Trust-Peace and Media Project is a revenge preaching & killing Machine: why are the Norway, the UK and the Swiss’ Governments’ Foreign Affairs Funding it?

BY:J. Nguen, CANADA, OCT/06/2014, SSN;

Is this how the world works? I am shocked and saddened by the fact that an organization that preaches revenge day-in and day-out is still getting hundreds of thousands of dollars funding from well-to-do nations, like Norway, the UK and the Swiss. Isn’t it ironic? Where’s justice in this absurd dealing?

This contradicting proposition reinforced the notion that revenge is sanctioned and is in our blood… like it or hate it.

For one, the Americans perfected revenge like nothing else, wholesale, on daily basis. They do it in disguise of protecting national interest or maintaining human security.

The good news is however, U.S., doesn’t preach revenge. Their approach is reactive in nature but disproportional to the core. Call it furthering U.S. hegemony or maintaining human security is not the trajectory of this piece.

The bottom line is, as I write, U.S. is on a fully pledged war campaign against the ISIL, the militant organization based in Iraqi and Syria. ISIL made a lethal mistake for beheading two American citizens in cold-blood and threatened yesterday to behead another and called it a show of force. As a result there are now paying for their ruthless deeds and miscalculated combat tactic.

The truth is, hate speech or preaching revenge wherever it happens is a crime under the stature of international law, which is the focus of this article. In essence, any organization or state that promotes or aids this kind of language financially or otherwise is a terrorist and must be dealt with severely with a full force of the law.

Based on this principle, no one, no organization or state is above this clause. Surprisingly and for some reason, Gurtong Trust – Peace and media Project, is allowed to preach revenge on daily basis and still gets funding from Norway, UK and the Swiss.

Why is Gurtong Trust –Peace and Media Project, immune to hate speech crime? Why is it allowed to promote hate speech and revenge without it being made accountable?

As a concerned citizen, I am bothered and saddened and decided to write about it. Thus, I feel I am perfecting my duty furthering forceful stand of international law.

Second, it’s my rightful duty as a world citizen to ensure that peace and human security prevail. Therefore, it’s my precluded legal rights to call to question any wrongdoing or warmongering so as to prevent futuristic anarchy and bloodshed, even though damage has already been perfected in the Gurtong’s case.

For example, on December 15th, 2013, Dinka militias directed by the President, who is also a Dinka, went on a revenge spree against the Nuer innocent civilians in Juba. In this fiasco, perhaps, we know the planners and promoters of the Juba Nuer Massacre and Gurtong Trust –Peace Media Project allegedly topped the list.

To put it blatantly, Gurtong Trust- Peace and Media Project, as an organization, is a prime promoter of the Juba Nuer Massacre; a massacre, which subsequently triggered a countrywide bloodbath.

For those who might not be aware of what the word “Gurtong” stands for and what it means in Dinka, you are missing out. BIG TIME! “Gurtong,” by itself is a double-edged sword and lethal at best.

Gurtong are two words combined, “gur” and ‘tong’. In Dinka, Gur means revenge. “Tong” means war or spear in a lesser degree. The direct translation of Gurtong is ‘REVENGE THE WAR.’ What war?

That’s indeed what makes Gurtong Trust – Peace Media Project, a revenge preaching and killing machine of all time in South Sudan’s shaky history.

To place this into a neat perspective, Gurtong Trust –Peace and media Project was founded in 2002 by a Mr. Napoleon Adok Gai, as “Gurtong Peace Project” in London, UK and registered in Nairobi, Kenya in 2004.

Subsequently, in 2007, Gurtong was registered in South Sudan under “Gurtong Peace and Media Project,” where it now exists as “Gurtong Trust – Peace and Media Project.

In the paragraph above, we may have noticed that words such as “peace” and “trust” were thrown into the mix. It was done so intentionally to confuse the funders to ensure monies keep flowing, and it worked.

From then on up to now, Gurtong is being funded unbeknownst by Norway, UK and the Swiss, who would otherwise have called for its shutdown, if they knew better.

Considering its managing characters, Gurtong Trust –Peace and Media Project’s daily business is run by Mr. Jacob Jiel Akol as its director after Mr. Gai call it quits.

Mr. Akol calls himself a veteran journalist. Interestingly, there is no coincidence why Mr. Akol took Gurtong’s managing director. Mr. Akol knew quite well Gurtong’s mission as a revenge preaching and killing hub.

Mr. Akol, incidentally, was the subject of the so-called “Bor Massacre” documentary, which flooded the Western media outlets in the 1990s. Akol himself is from Bor where 1991 incidence occurred. Let’s say, he is from the grieving community though everyone was a victim in the “triangle” or beyond.

Given Akol’s brief background, it’s sufficient to conclude that he has every reason at heart and purpose in mind to keep the Gurtong running at all costs. Hence, the prime purpose is to keep the Dinka community reminded and to eventually cue Dinka to take revenge against Nuer for 1991.

Below, I provided logical reasoning and justifications for this to make sense to ordinary South Sudanese and Gurtong’s funders. Gurtong Peace Project” as mentioned above was founded during peace times.

One, it was formed at the time of the “merger” between two South Sudanese principals, Dr. Riek Machar’s and Dr. John Garang’s factions after the split of 1991.

Not only that, 2002 was the year when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was negotiated and where some vital protocols were signed between the north and south Sudan warring parties.

In 2004 and 2007, when Gurtong was put to operations in Kenya and South Sudan respectively, it were times of tranquility.

Therefore, I find it very difficult for anyone to call for revenge given the political developments in Sudan at that time. Undoubtedly, you will agree with me that calling for revenge considering the circumstance makes no logical sense if ill intention was not the very motive of Gurtong.

If not so, then, why are the Gurtong founding members calling for revenge yet the whole country was gearing up for peaceful settlements of its crises?

Is it not true that during peace times, peace promoting organizations would have sprung up and been formed at ease? Why calling for war revenge? And to whom was this revenge intended against?

After December 15th, 2013, one concluded that Gurtong’s founding members had one thing in mind, preach revenge against Nuer nation.

As planned, a cruel and heartless revenge killing happened against Nuer ethnic group on December 15th. 2013. Reports estimated that more than 20,000 innocent Nuer civilians were murdered in cold-blood within 4 days. In this case you would say Gurtong’s mission of revenge has been fulfilled.

Hence, there is no room to deny this. There is no logical reason to argue that Gurtong was preaching revenge against Arabs. This is unrealistic. After the CPA was concluded in 2005 and independence in 2011, any revenge preaching misconception against Arabs north is obsolete.

Based on these grounds, it’s sad to report that the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Norwegian Peoples Aid (NPA), the UK and the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs funded and still granting monies of well intentioned aids for criminal activities, Gurtong Trust – Peace and Media Project’ mission to revenge.

The lingering question that needs answers from Gurtong’s funders is whether they knew that Gurtong means ‘revenge the war’ in Dinka or were they simply blindfolded and cheated by words “trust” and “peace” added in the mix to cover up Gurtong’s vicious plan?

Sadly, before our watchful eyes, Gurtong Trust – Peace and Media Project continue to tell us it trusted revenge and yet three Western nations continued to grant hundreds of thousands of dollars for it to exist and preach revenge and bloodshed in South Sudan.

Is it not true that the phrase “Gurtong Trust” means the organization trusted revenge?

At this juncture, I put my case to rest. However, the ball is in the Norwegian People’s Aid, the UK government and the Swiss’ Ministry Foreign Affairs’ courts to decide whether they should keep aiding and enabling a revenge preaching machine.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudanese living in Canada. He can be reached nyolgaar@yahoo.com

Why the Lakes state conflict is a result of a continuous misdiagnosis of its genesis?

BY: Agok Takpiny, AUSTRALIA, OCT/06/2014, SSN;

There has been a rapid escalation of violence (mostly revenge related killings) within greater Rumbek. The violence pitted Agaar against Agaar and or Agaar against GOK. The cycle exploits the discontents among Lakes state citizens towards the state government.

Some people who are not close to the people of Lakes state may think that the discontentment towards General Matur Chut’s government may be that the people after all were happy with previous governor Mr Chol Tong.

This isn’t true, when Chol was elected, there were high hopes that Chol Tong (a civilian) would be able to solve the state’s conflict. Those hopes were dashed when Chol Tong failed miserably to quell the unrest, in fact, he was even accused of taking sides.

Hence, when Gen. Matur Chut was brought in by the president, there were terrible expectations of the people that he will not be like previous governors. However, as it turned out, Gen. Mature chut is only a different face of the exact same coin (failure).

A million dollar question that ought to be asked is why are all successive governors of Lakes state failed to bring a stop to this protracted violence that cost so many lives?

Depending on who you are, there are multiples answers to what exactly makes Lakes state conflict uncontrollable. Understanding the problem in its entirety is a first step in solving it.

However, in the case of Lakes state governors, there is only one approach to solve the conflict and that is brute force. What they (governors) don’t know is that as the philosophy of the Chinese martial art (Tai Chi) teaching says: “if one uses hardness to resist violent force, then both sides are certain to be injured at least to some degree. Such injury, according to Tai-Chi theory is a natural consequence of meeting brute force with brute force”.

Undoubtedly, this has not only been gruesomely felt by the people of Lakes state alone, but by everyone in the country as the roads through Rumbek are becoming death traps.

The continuous use of brute force by the governors as a way to resolve the conflict is a result of not knowing the problem itself.

There are three legs to this conflict that need to be identified and solved one by one.

Firstly, cattle theft or robbery is one leg, the second leg is revenge killing, and the third leg is lack of cooperation between the state government and the community.

Now we have broken the conflict down into mini issues, let us then try to analyze these mini issues individually. We will start with cattle rustling, which has seen a rise recently.

Cattle theft
Dinka have been practicing a bride price system of marriage for generations. When a young man reaches the stage of marriage, he must have at least 20 cows or more in order to get the girl he wants. To make sure that his wife will have something to eat when she arrives, his relatives and friends usually contribute some 30% to the overall dowry charged by the girl’s relatives.

Thus, if the girl’s parents charge 20 cows as their daughter’s bride price that a groom must pay and the groom has only 20 cows, the 30% contribution by friends and relatives will save the groom 6 cows which he will use to feed his wife.

However, this is not the case anymore, as we speak the average bride price in Lakes state is 150 cows. Of course, if this were wages, no one would argue because the cost of living in economics point of view does increase annually, hence it would be irrational to think that wages remain the same for about a decade.

Laughably though, in Lakes state nothing has changed, only the bride price which has seen a substantial rise in recent years. Can you see the problem?

As the bride price increases, parents or relatives of the girls have become more “protective” of their girls. In the perspective of the girl’s relatives, whoever impregnates “your” sister or daughter did not just impregnate the girl, he literally “killed” 150 cows as the girl who got pregnant outside wedlock is deemed “worthless”. Many people have died in Lakes state because of this.

Moreover, economically, people of Lakes state have not moved an inch upward, that mean getting a cow now is exactly the same (hard) as it was in 1964 (half a century ago). Unless of course you are the son of a corrupt SPLA General.

So, for a young man who has an average father (not a politician or SPLA General) to be able to get at least 80 cows in order to marry a girl of his choice, he must understandably steal or rob somebody’s cows and sell them and then buy “clean” cows for his marriage.

Here the other young men whose their cows are stolen or robbed will then regroup and launch counter-stealing, and the cycle continues. In this process, hundreds, if not thousands died. This is exactly what is happening in Lakes state.

Have you identified the problem yet?

In an ideal world, a world where conflict or even tragedy is analyzed and turned into an opportunity to put things right in order to avoid a similar fate from happening again in the future, you would have thought that strict regulations on dowry payment would have been introduced a long time ago.

However, in our world, South Sudan world, nobody bothers to give it a shot. Nevertheless, it is not too late, bride price must be reduced to 15 cows or less. This would not only reduce cattle theft as bride price would be largely affordable to everyone, the incentives to forcefully deny a girl child a much needed education would be largely diminished.

The number of girls completing their high school without to being forcefully married off by their parents would triple.

Therefore, regulating the bride price will save lives and enhance girls’ education. Punitive measures incorporated into the legislation to punish whoever breaks such a law must be strictly implemented.

Revenge killing
Currently in South Sudan, killing a person (intentional or unintentional) is considered as a wrong payable rather than a crime. A murderer is normally only required to pay cows as blood compensation and nothing more.

To pay the cows, the murderer is usually backed up by his tribe to pay the blood cows to the victim of another tribe. Here, the members of the murderer’s tribe bear the responsibility to pay for what their member had committed. The total of cows for blood compensation is normally 30 cows.

The idea is to lessen the burden bored by the offender and to signal awareness and deterrence upon the offender’s tribe to be careful in the future undertaking and to avoid further bloodshed.

Upon receiving the blood cows, the victim’s immediate family has no right to keep all 30 cows for themselves, the whole tribe must share the blood compensation of their slain son/daughter. In some cases, the victim’s immediate family (parents, spouse, and siblings) can only get 10 cows out of 30 as their share of blood cows.

Yes 10 cows for the life of “your” brother, husband, son/daughter. It is absurd, isn’t it?

The absurdity doesn’t end there, however, the nature (health, gender, and age) of the cows for the blood compensation is obliquely defined. The victim’s family or tribe representative is only allowed to choose 5 out of 30 cows, the murderer and his tribe are allowed to bring any type of cow (barren, males, sick etc.) to make up the remaining 25 cows.

Additionally, sometimes the murderer without remorse for what he did or feel sorry for the victim’s family would come again and steal the very cows the court asked him and his tribe to pay as blood compensation.

Here, do you think justice have been served? For me this is not enough to let loose the murderer to continue enjoying his life and possibly brag about his “bravery” (brutality).

This is exactly what is happening in Lakes state and thus the victim’s family is left with no choice but to take revenge.

To correct this situation in my view need no brainer, by applying common sense one would come up with a solution. The solution is to change this medieval legal system.

Firstly, a person who committed homicide (intentional or unintentional) must be taken as a person who committed a crime against the state (not against the victim’s family although the lost will affect them the most).

Secondly, blood compensation must be changed from cows to money in the region of about SSP 50,000.

Thirdly, to ensure that the victim’s family receives blood money for their lost, the state needs to pay this money and not the murderer or his tribe.

This is not a new thing at all, in many countries, including Australia, where I live; the government must pay substantial amount of money to the family of every road accident victim.

Fourthly, the recipient of the blood money must be explicitly defined, that’s if the victim is a married man/woman and both his/her parents or one parent are/is alive, the blood money must be divided between the victim’s spouse and his/her parents only. If the victim is single, the parent(s) must be the only recipient of the blood money, in other words, the blood money must only be given to the closest next of kin of the victim.

By putting such a law in place, the victim’s family will feel that their government is there for them and that the justice will eventually be rendered.

Coupled with making revenge killing a first degree murder, the victim’s family will feel that there is no need to risk losing another family member trying to avenge the death of their loved one since the government will pay the money and the murderer will be put away for the majority of his life or even for good.

In determining the appropriate punishment for culpable homicide (unintentional murder), the state could impose imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty (20) years, and shall also be liable to fine if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

If the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, the state government can impose imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten (10) years or with fine or with both.

Moreover, the state reserves a right to impose the death penalty or life in jail without parole for First Degree Murder (intentional murder). However, to introduce such important reforms, the state government must involve the community led by chiefs from the scratch right to the implementation of the legislations.

Failure of communication
Although I was born in the later years of the stable united Sudan, I have learned that the traditional institution of Chiefs played a significant role in the united Sudan and has continued to exist during the early periods of our twenty one (21) years of struggle.

The Chiefs play a significant role as a bridge between the grassroots and the government fostering a two-way communication between the government and the community. Chiefs also used to preside over customary courts, which handle more than 90% of all cases tried in the then Southern Sudan.

In those days when chiefs have all of their powers, the communities in villages and cattle camps used to listen to what they had to say.

However, as the SPLM/A grew bigger and the central command became too far away from the community, two-way communication was quashed. The SPLM/A adopted guerrilla style of managing people.

Everything was done according to how the local commander wanted it, chiefs were used by SPLA commanders to get what they want (food, transport and human resource) from the people.

For example, if the chief fails to collect the milk, bulls or other food items for rations or failed to bring a number of conscripts, the commander in charge of that particular operation usually punishes that particular chief by whipping him and taking some cows. There was no respect for chiefs.

Surprisingly, it got worse after the signing of the CPA. As we speak, chiefs don’t preside over customary court cases anymore, commissioners who are both organized criminals who are only after the money have created countless courts headed by gangs.

The aim of creating as many cuts as possible is to generate income for the commissioner by robbing the community through issuing unnecessary fines which are not based on any legislation.

All of these made traditional chiefs toothless in the eyes of the wild youths (gelweng). Understandably, the chiefs are now reluctant to engage with the state government to find a way forward.

To rectify this, the Lakes State government with all county commissioners needs to become more responsible, responsive and sensitive to people’s needs and expectations.

Quite frankly, one way communication and iron fist style of rule is no longer workable. People have to be taken on board and policies for them have to be made with them. The state government need to come closer to the community to be able to understand their felt needs, problems and expectations.

It should be taken further down to the village levels and cattle camps. Every cattle camp has its leader, the state government must add them into the payroll together with all chiefs.

This is particularly important because as seen in many reports about Lakes state conflict, the state police often claim that “the community has refused to share any information which may lead to arrest of the criminals with the police”, therefore using the chiefs and the head of the cattle camps to act as part of the government could go a long way to put a stop to this protracted violent.

In a country where there are no addresses or street cameras to locate criminals, the best solution is to employ chiefs and the heads of the cattle camps to track down the wrongdoers.

Now you have read the whole article, do you think all these are unachievable (legislate and implement)?

Agok Takpiny

Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is a concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on agoktakpiny@ymail.com

Federal system of government the salvation of South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, OCT/06/2014, SSN;

South Sudan is in crisis that could have been avoided. The crisis has brought untold sufferings to many innocent people, probably more than the sufferings endured during the bitter wars of liberation for independence of South Sudan. It is with horror that in independent South Sudan people should turn ferociously on each other in a senseless struggle for power and leadership.

There could have been a peaceful way out in winning the hearts and minds of the people for power and leadership. Unfortunately the use of guns and bullets as a shortcut to power and leadership was erroneously conceived with little or no conceptualization of the consequences. Poor calculations have resulted to unnecessary destruction and senseless loss of innocent lives notwithstanding the deep polarization of communities along ethnic lines.

The ongoing crisis in South Sudan is a litmus test of the political leadership whether they have the guts and the will to climb above partisan politics and ethnic cleavages in the national interest. There is no denial that this senseless armed struggle for power and leadership has taken ethnic dimension where members of one ethnic group in the wrong place have been brutally dealt with. The ethnic dimension of the ongoing armed struggle for power and leadership is well documented in the Interim Report on South Sudan Internal Conflict December 15, 2013 – March 15, 2014 by South Sudan Human Rights Commission.

The ethnic dimension of the ferocious conflict suggests that those who imagine that South Sudanese are one people are nothing but merely wishful thinkers. South Sudanese will never be one people even if the Son of Mary comes for the second time. What they can only be is as people of one destiny. Being of one destiny was the only unifying factor that brought independence to South Sudan.

Before and after independence of South Sudan

Before independence of South Sudan in 2011we were all people of one destiny because we were oppressed and marginalized, being forced to occupy second class citizenship in the old Sudan. As people sharing the same fate we were untied for strength to liberate ourselves from the yolk of Arab oppression and marginalization. We therefore fought as people of one destiny for equality, justice and freedom.

As people of one destiny the unity of people during the struggle transcended ethnic, religious and regional divide. South Sudanese were united in their strong desire for freedom and an independent homeland where they could live in dignity. Arab marginalization and the treatment as second class citizens were too painful that the people of South Sudan preferred to die in the battlefield for freedom and dignity.

According to the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Manifesto 2012 the people of South Sudan are united by a common history of struggle against oppression, different forms of colonialism. This clearly suggests that South Sudanese are people of one destiny but not necessarily one people as the propagandists would like us to believe.

The Manifesto affirms in no uncertain terms that the people of South Sudan are forever inspired by the ideals of human rights and dignity, and by the insistence on respect for fundamental freedoms, social justice, equality, prosperity and democracy. Now the question to ask do those ideals still hold after independence of South Sudan.

After independence the fear and hatred of Arab colonization that had previously united South Sudanese as people of one destiny seemed to have vanished overnight. There was nothing much to unite people as before. The project was over and there was the lack of concepts for other projects to unite people as during the struggle. South Sudanese appeared to have become individuals, tribes or clans looking first after their own interests where national interest was taking the backseat.

The euphoria after the referendum results gave way to bitter disappointment in deficiencies in the ability of the government to deliver security and basic services as some of the most anticipated peace dividends and rewards for independence. There were also claims of corruption, nepotism, exclusion and domination of government and business by some ethnic groups. This was not in line with people’s expectations and aspirations before independence.

People had expected that in an independent South Sudan security of individual and property would have been provided. That was not the case. For example, land grabbing should not have been of concern in independent South Sudan. However, according to the International Republican Institute public opinion poll in all the 10 states of South Sudan, land grabbing is of concern but only in Equatoria.

The cries of poor victims of land grabbing in Equatoria by citizens from Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile are often ignored while the land grabbers are rewarded. For example, land grabbers terrorise legitimate landowners with guns yet these criminal land grabbers do not face the law nor are the guns collected from them as a security measure to preempt anarchy. One can only speculate as to what is going on and how is that going to promote national cohesion and unity.

Systems of government

There are many systems of government in the world. Each country adopts a system that is seen to address its unique needs, compatible with its vision. However, a system that works perfectly well in one country may not necessarily be suitable to another country. What may happen is that a country adapts a system to address issues of diversity and development. However, the system must be seen to be reducing social and regional inequalities and poverty.

A system of government adopted must be seen to be efficient in service delivery for a high standard of living of the people. The system adopted must also be a response to deep social fissures along ethnic, cultural and regional lines where a civil war may be looming. An adoption of a system of government to defuse tensions may save a country from collapsing.

Some of the systems of government are unitary, federal and confederal. A unitary system is the one with only a single, centralized, national tier of government. In the unitary system powers may be highly concentrated in the centre to the disadvantage of the peripheries. It is here that problems sometimes arise when the peripheries are ignored or starved of development to improve living standards.

In a unitary system of government a single ethnic group may consolidate its grip on power over the whole state through nepotism to the detriment of national unity. A unitary system of government can therefore be seen as inappropriate to a country full of ethnic, cultural and regional diversities.

In a federal system powers of government are divided between the national government, state and local governments. Under the federal system each level of government has sovereignty in some areas and shares powers in other areas. For example, both the national and state governments have the power to tax to generate revenue to deliver services but only the national government can declare war.

In a federation, the self-governing states as well as the division of powers between them and the national government, are constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision neither of the states nor the national government.

The confederal system is usually limited to a permanent union of sovereign states for common action in relation to other states. The closest entity to a confederation is the European Union. However, any existing federal state can be transformed into a looser confederation instead of breaking up into totally different independent nations.

Diversities in South Sudan

In the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, South Sudan is considered a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-racial entity where such diversities peacefully co-exist. However, the statement in the last part where it is asserted that “such diversities peacefully co-exist” is arguable. There are always inter and intra ethnic clashes and violence. There are also regional diversities in physical features that can provide comparative advantage in development.

In South Sudan there are mainly two modes of livelihoods. Some communities are pastoralists while others are sedentary farmers. Clashes between pastoralists and farmers are not uncommon with poor delivery of security, characteristic of a centralized system that may be hopelessly too remote to be effective.

Sometimes, arrogance and insensitivity of pastoralists to the feelings of farmers make things worse. It is common for pastoralists to drive deliberately their animals into cultivated fields for the animals to feast on food crops. This is adverse to farmers’ food security. When the farmers complain the pastoralists do not listen and hardly control their animals for a peaceful co-existence with farmers.

It is very clear that the diversities in South Sudan call for a system of government that is robust, closer and adequately responsive to peoples felt needs at the grassroots. A highly centralized system that is hopelessly remote and cannot deliver services as anticipated is not for South Sudan. South Sudan is apparently in need of a system of government that accelerates development for a high standard of living of its people.

Federalism for salvation of South Sudan

The present system of government in South Sudan is quasi federalism. It is a quasi federal system because it is midway between a centralized and a federal system with many attributes of federalism, of course, lacking. There are 10 autonomous states but are limited in powers. For example, the states have limited powers of having their own judiciary, police, prisons, wildlife and fire brigade. The states also may have limited power to tax to raise the needed revenue for development.

For the states to perform and deliver the badly needed services a federal system of government is the most appropriate because the states will then have more powers. Some people have argued that the existing 10 states show that South Sudan is already a federation. This, however, is false. This may be partly due to ignorance of what a federal system entails or it could be the case of those tunnel vision reactionary centralists who exploit and benefit the most from a centralized system of government.

A federal system of government is the most recommended because it will turn South Sudan into a strong vibrant united country where diversities are a source of strength with more powers to the states to address the current deficiencies in service delivery for development.

Conclusion

As mentioned above there are three types of system of government under consideration and they are unitary, federal and confederal. For South Sudan it is envisaged that a federal system is the most appropriate and a good compromise. Although at first it was shunned, the federal system is now widely recognized in the nation and regionally. What remains are the details. In principle federalism is already accepted.

The Sudan Tribune website on September 27, 2014 showed the Government of the Republic of South Sudan agreeing to a federal system of government.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Protocol on Agreed Principles on Transitional Arrangements Towards Resolution of the Crisis in South Sudan, 28 August 2014, in part, stipulates that the “Transitional Government of National of Unity (TGONU) to initiate and oversee a permanent constitution-making process, during the Transitional Period, based on the principles of federalism and taking into account unity in diversity, and to devolve more power to the states”.

One wonders what will the opponents of federalism make of the government’s acceptance of a federal system and the acceptance of principles of federalism by IGAD. It is hoped the opponents of federalism are not out of touch with the reality unfolding.

In conclusion, a federal system is the only way for the salvation of South Sudan for national unity in diversity and sustainable development out of the mess and turmoil that has been unnecessarily created.

Jacob K. Lupai is the author of a new book, South Sudan, Issues in Perspective, which will shortly be launched in Juba, South Sudan.

South Sudanese: The time is up for Kiir & his gormandizers

BY: YIEN LAM, South Sudan, OCT/05/2014, SSN;

I may be cynical to title it as such. But it is my own view of the regime and its sympathizers who may cheaply think as such in the problem that killed hundreds of thousands who have no idea about faked coup, and in fact were the folks who voted Kiir into power in 2011. In this regard, I am always irritated when I see Mr. President uses the word “legitimate” in every speech.

This may well sounds right on his lip. But the word has been used wrongly by him if I am not mistaken. I say this because if he thinks as such, why would a president who was elected by his people kill the very folks who were giving him that legitimacy?

Would a president like that deserve to call himself as such? Be judicious if you are sincere and not blindfolded by the blood money of Kiir and his likes.

To me, I discredit his legitimacy. It is so because it does not apply to him as the person as well as the system that he leads. The word “legitimate” come from lawful system which does not apply to kiir’s system of governing.

To be candid about this though, the laws of the country are being owned by him and only him alone. How in the world should he be constantly insisted on the word as such while he already turned blind eyes on the core meaning of it?

This is preposterous and I don’t know if the regime forgot what it was elected for. If we think critically however, does the president have a right to say so? I don’t think so if you are rational as I do.

This does not need prescribable glasses on. It is as purely as it is, and does not need your glasses on unless you are one of the gluttons in the mist. If I were Mr. President, I would have not used the word legitimate brazenly as he usually does because there is no really meaning of it in this context while the givers were victimized by the system that he has been the leader of. As the argument perse, it would be pointless on the eyes of many if not most in South Sudan to say at least.

As the matter of fact, I have seen and heard kiir and his cronies still insisting that the December 15 was the coup that the whole world had denied and still so. What a hell is going on with this regime? Is this regime listening to itself and only itself alone?

Who else does the regime still educate with this widely known issue around the world? People, this is laughable if not impossible to do. In contrary, however, it is good for the world to know exactly how loggerheaded the regime may have been in term of being mendacious on any issue in South Sudan.

This is a very example that will certify the doubters If there are some out there. The issue of coup had been dismissed by international community as well as the military officers with in his government. Beside that, this issue let out the 11 detainees from the juba to Kenya. If that was the case as most knew it, what is being new about it now? Is the regime being rational as other do or what?

In addition, I will not say anything different than saying this: Anyone who is believing in this regime should believe not in it.This regime days are over. Whether you like it or not. Their days, Months and years are numbered if any. The regime may bluff some who are so naive in model world politics. But not many out there. Majority of South Sudanese now understand the genesis of it than before. Now, it is a time for South Sudanese to say no to dictatorship.

Moreover, it may sound decent for the meetings and conferences that may be held on the hotels and halls by Kiir’s cronies. But the time for them is gone. People may do whatever they want to do in the quest to cling on the power. But it is too late to materialize. This will not yield fruits. It will not be as such because people of South Sudan are so sick of this regime and loss trust in it.

If the regime does not deliver the services that the people need, why should people awareness be impaired and accept the kick back for the government that does not even build single school in other part of the country rather than its leader state.

Folks, let us not be deceived by people whose thinking is being impaired by the blood money. Believe me people, South Sudan will not be the same again unless kiir is gone and the route for few who still doing the murky work will be the road of nowhere.

Take my words for real. All of these were Prophecies and proved to be so in the years if not months to come.You hold or toss it, it is a reality. Hanging on with this regime that has no credibility will not only fail you as an individual, it will in fact, affect your children as well.

History does not forget. But can forgive. Takes my words. The things that we are doing now will go on the books in the years to come without a doubt. Now, it is your chance and choice to make for your life and children’s. If you want your children to be known differently, it is not too late to do so. You can do that on their behave. It is absolutely yours. It won’t be late to do such a thing for them and your Country’s future.

In this regard, you may or not believe me on this, the time for the regime is concluded. This will dramatically change. If you still think to use money on the government that is on the life-support than your credibility.

Be it! But I believe your money and your indecency will backfire in some years if not months to come. Drop it or not, that is how it will be for the indecisive people in South Sudan who favorite their pockets than tranquility, peace and harmony of their country’s future.

It is good for the person of his/her character to think as the patriotic in the country we all love. This is the facts. It is not a joke. If you’re still indecisive as such to move before change, change will move you in anyway to be frank with you.

However, gormandizing without watching your back is not only bad habits. It is in fact,a selfishness that has no remedy. Therefore, people as such deserve not to be followed because they like themselves than the country we all dearly love.

People as such are impossible to lead the Country. In this case, however, People must first take a minute or two to think about the root cause of the problem than putting individual interest ahead of the Country’s.

Following the path as the sheep do, does not apply to the model age. It had been left to the Neanderthal and should not be the only way that the country should be ran. This country needs a critical thinkers for its leadership.

To be sincere though, a Country cannot be ruled through remote mentoring and advising of others. Logic must be on the mind of the leader. If the country is ruled as such, the consequences are paramount and we already smelled the wind of it and the people who suffered the most are the innocent.

If that is the case, should we continue to follow that pass? The answer of this question should be no for all sound minded people unless you’re goofy enough to deny the reality in which I doubtably think you should.

In conclusion, kiir and his cronies must go and say no to their evil intention to divide us with our own resources. No matter what they may be thinking of prolong the war,we shall remain as one as we ever been because we know what the regime does to cling on power through filthy game.

If we understand it as we saw the regime’s intention, we therefore, need to standstill as the people of South Sudan that cannot be bought with our own to kill ourselves. We must say no to the blood money that is being used to kill us than uniting us in the common purpose of oneness as the people of South Sudan.

South Sudan is bigger than individual interest and we strongly need to resist those interests and stand firm for the country’s interest than individual one.

The author is a concerned South Sudanese that can be reached @ lam981@hotmail.com

IGAD’s unsustainable African solution to the African problem in South Sudan

By: Riang Yer Zuor Nyak*, SOUTH SUDAN, OCT/05/2014, SSN;

Africa, as Africans know it, is full of problems which generally include social, economic and political. In this chaotic environment, violations of fundamental human rights are common. Most of these human rights violations tend to be committed by governments or powerful individuals who have close associations with some sort of armed sources of power.

Local law enforcement agents find themselves under the control and command of such violators. For this reason and others, bringing these types of perpetrators to justice is always next to impossible.

It is in this context that International Criminal Court (ICC) sometimes comes in to play so as to fill the gap. Some of the situations where grave human rights violations have been made on the continent include that of Liberia/Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, DRC, Kenya, Uganda and etc. These cases were taken to ICC at one time or others after Africa had failed to deal with them.

In other words, it is Africa’s inability to properly solve her own problems that makes the rest of the world, especially the West, interfere with Africa when universally prohibited grave human rights abuses take place.

Recent events involving the ICC show that African leaders are not happy with the Court, referring to its activities as re-colonization of the continent or unjust targeting of the African leaders. The irony is that in most cases, it is the African states that forwarded most of those cases to the ICC.

Nevertheless, the African leaders feel embarrassed, threatened and exposed. They see a need to fight back so as to stop the ICC from coming after the remaining or future human rights violators. But they cannot do it alone.

Therefore, they want to appeal to the ordinary Africans using the word “colonization” so that they can get support from the Africans in their opposition to the activities of that international court that has become a real threat to them.

Their powers to maim the continent and her people at will have come under a real scrutiny of a court that they can never intimidate as it is located a sea away from the African Continent.

From the look of things, African leaders have not really been unjustly targeted as they claim. Rwanda happened in Africa; Liberian sponsored violence in Sierra Leon happened in Africa; Darfur happened in Africa; Northern Ugandan violence against civilians happened in Africa; post election violence in Kenya happened in Africa; DRC child recruitment into the rebel army happened in Africa; post election violence in Ivory Coast happened in Africa. The list is long.

In any of the mentioned situations, no single African national court was able to deal with each of the situations. It follows that none of the African solutions was available. This was why the ICC came in so that justice could be provided for the victims.

In December 2013, Salva Kiir savagely killed tens of thousands of ethnic Nuer in Juba in just days, targeting them on the basis of their tribal origin. Up to now, no African leader makes any condemnation. They are just talking about whether or not there was a coup when they should be talking about whether or not there was or is genocide being committed. That there was no coup is now laid to rest as evidence point to the lack thereof; that genocide has been committed is clear. Yet African leaders still talk as if things are not yet clear.

Logically speaking, talking about what might have been the cause should have come second after a criminal was first stopped from his genocidal activities. But if Salva Kiir was not one of the so-called African leaders, a great deal of noises would have been made.

Here, one can conclude that being a president in Africa has really become a card to destroy African lives at will. The club provides them with an immunity that one cannot find anywhere in the African written law books. These are criminals unlike their counterparts outside the continent.

Therefore, the claim that African leaders were or are being targeted is out of question in each situation above. Each was and is a situation where a monster above local laws gets taken outside of his locality in search for justice for his victims. In simple words, a non-African solution sometimes becomes a necessity.

Then, why do African leaders make noises that they have African solutions for African problems when it is clear that they could not find their own proper solutions for the above-mentioned grave situations? The answer is simple.

The African dictators do not have the confidence to rule Africa without hurting the Africans. They do not have what it takes to peacefully and voluntarily charm Africans into following them. They simply resort to violence to maintain their positions.

To them, ruling with an iron fist is a strength of leadership for which one should be praised. When one is peaceful and democratic, one is labeled as a weak leader.

But these supposedly strong leaders feel threatened by the Court in The Hague. Each of them can see himself doing the same or similar thing in the future, or has already done what an African leader has been or is being taken to ICC for having done.

Or some of them have already been indicted and that they do not want to cooperate with the Court and are out mobilizing colleagues or members of the club to come to their defenses in the diplomatic arena.

So, when it comes to resolving a problem in which one of them is implicated, they would prefer an African forum which they can easily manipulate one way or another.

To the African leaders, especially some IGAD leaders, South Sudanese civil war is an African problem that requires an African solution since Salva Kiir is the accused author of the Juba massacres. They are not prepared for a situation where Kiir would end up somewhere outside of Africa answering questions regarding the massacres.

They see their position on this as an exercise of independence on the part of Africa. The problem is that the process for the search for an African solution to this particular African problem is not funded by the IGAD.

Non-African bodies funding this process can definitely influence the outcome. Then where is independence that IGAD is trying to assert? This lack of independence and the IGAD leaders’ need to protect one of their own can make a very dangerous combination.

This danger was clearly demonstrated in the last IGAD Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa in August 2014 when the Heads of State, including Salva Kiir, issued a document whose contents amounted to nothing less than a common declaration of war on the SPLM/SPLA.

The Summit drafted a protocol as a framework for the resolution of the problem. It provided for a transitional government to be formed in Juba. The document was not a result of any negotiation between the warring parties as the government delegation had boycotted the last round of negotiations which were to last till August 28, 2014.

In absence of the government delegation, the IGAD Mediators asked the SPLM/SPLA to continue negotiating with other stakeholders. This was positively responded to, and the negotiations continued up to the time when the Summit was convened.

Surprisingly, none of the negotiated positions were reflected in that IGAD Framework. Therefore, the document was not a South Sudanese document, and both Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir rejected it — citing the need for the two parties to negotiate so as to make some concessional discussions before arriving at a final decision.

At that point, the document was left to the IGAD Heads of State who said that it was “…our document and we will sign it as ours…” without the warring parties being part of the signing.

Something needs to be clarified for the benefit of those who were not present at the Summit. The document is widely discussed in the public media as having been accepted by the government, that it has been signed by Salva Kiir and that only the SPLM/SPLA declined to sign.

That can never be any further from the truth.

The truth is that both the SPLM/SPLA and the Government declined to sign as parties to the conflict. Yes, Salva Kiir—though tricked into signing by Gen. Sumbeywo of Kenya—signed the document by appending his signature on the signature page of the document without knowing what he was signing on to.

Dr. Riek Machar was the second to be approached in this kind of trick and refused to sign a blank sheet of paper, saying that he was not ready to sign a “blank cheque”. He wanted to see, first, the document that he was being asked to sign. This was after both had rejected the document in the presence of many foreign observers.

So, this Kiir’s signature was later used, not as a party to the war, but as one of the members of the IGAD Heads of State.

It is believed that some people are not aware of this distinction and the trick used on Kiir. But some quarters, such as the government in Juba and its agents, are actively working to cover up the story of the trick and mislead the public that Salva Kiir’s signature on that document represents the position of a party to the conflict so as to make it look as if it is only the SPLM/SPLA that has refused to sign.

Others, such as IGAD and other international bodies, are intentionally and passively allowing the misleading statements to go uncorrected so as to achieve certain unfair goals. They can try as much as they want, but truth will always remain that the warring parties have refused to sign the IGAD Protocol and requested to be allowed to negotiate.

Having no other choice, IGAD granted 45 days for the Parties to mutually negotiate and conclude their own deal.

The IGAD document is difficult to categorize. One does not understand whether the document was a product of a frustration with people and groups working behind the scene, or a result of a true and genuine IGAD’s understanding of the South Sudanese situation.

Of course, one should not underrate the resolutions of the recent African Union (AU) Summit in June in Equatorial Guinea where the AU resolved to protect sitting African Heads of State from prosecution for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In either way, IGAD has shown a very serious lack of credibility as a regional body in dealing with regional issues.

By any standard, South Sudanese civil war is more serious and dangerous than the 2007 Kenyan post-election violence, which led to the formation of the Kenya’s Grand Coalition Government in 2008.

Yet, that Grand Coalition Government was better than that which the IGAD leaders want to see established in South Sudan in terms of power-sharing. It is difficult to understand the thought processes leading to such a position.

The Protocol provides for a transitional national unity government to be headed by “The head of state and government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces…” which “…shall be the elected, incumbent president.”

According to the document, an office for a Prime Minister shall be established for coordination of the implementation of interim processes. This Prime Minister shall be nominated by the SPLM/SPLA and has to be “…credible, professional and competent person…” who shall also be “…acceptable…” to Kiir.

In addition, the Prime Minister shall work “harmoniously” with the president and would never stand for any election for a public office at the end of the transitional period.

First, the document confirms Kiir as the head of the Transitional Government of National Unity without leaving it to the parties to negotiate. The justification seems to be that he was elected in April 2010.

If this is the case, then the IGAD is wrong. Kiir was elected under a constitution and an election law which became irrelevant on the morning of July 10, 2011. He owes his current position as the President of South Sudan to the current Transitional Constitution which gives him up to July 2015. This makes him a President by constitution—not by election.

It was the reason why he was able to remove the vice-president who had been his running mate during the 2010 elections. It was also why he succeeded in removing elected governors in Lakes and Unity states, respectively. Otherwise, he would not have succeeded in the exercises.

Therefore, IGAD’s justification for him to lead the expected transitional government on the basis that he is an elected president does not pass the test. As a constitutional president, Kiir has ceased to be legitimate from the very same day that he embarked on the unconstitutional act of maintaining power through violence and committing the ultimate crime of genocide.

He can no longer protect the constitution as he has made coups against himself by intentionally violating that constitution many times; he cannot be trusted again to protect the lives of the people of South Sudan as he has presided over numerous killings of the South Sudanese communities, the last one being the massacres of the Nuer in Juba in December 2013.

Even if he were to be an elected president, Kiir would not have been elected to bring the current situation. His unconstitutional acts of unleashing violence on his political rivals and genocide which led to the current situation would have de-legitimized his status as an elected president.

Therefore, IGAD leaders just need to come out publicly to the South Sudanese that once one becomes a president in Africa, one must always remain as such, however one behaves. That would be more understandable given our experiences as Africans who have only known dictatorships since decolonization.

Second, IGAD’s document was intentionally produced so as to indirectly prevent Dr. Riek Machar from participating in the transitional government. They badly want Kiir to lead the transitional government without opposition for bad reasons.

But they know that Dr. Riek Machar would never again allow Kiir to rule the country the way he has been ruling it since 2005. To them, the best thing to do to ensure that Kiir does not get any opposition during the transition is to keep Dr. Riek out of that government.

Words such as “credible”, “professional” and “competent” as adjectives describing the Prime Minister were intentionally used so that the SPLM/SPLA could legally be bound to look only for a technocrat, non-politician other than Dr. Riek who is known as one of the well-known politicians in South Sudan when making its nomination.

The word “acceptable” to the president was placed there to give Kiir a legal ground to reject Dr. Riek if the SPLM/SPLA later insists on nominating him for the post. Here comes the possibility of a stalemate.

To water it down, a clause is inserted that the Prime Minister would not vie for any office after the transitional period. Again, that clause was placed there as an incentive for Dr. Riek to want to wait outside the transitional government so that he could later run for an office toward the end of the transitional period.

There is a question that keeps lingering on when looking at the IGAD’s attempt to erect such a massive wall around Kiir’s position and powers during the transitional period. Why is IGAD trying very hard to see that Kiir absolutely leads and controls the government during the transitional period?

The provision that the Prime Minister shall work “harmoniously” with the president is the third legal hurdle for the SPLM/SPLA to deal with.

In case the SPLM/SPLA succeeds with the nomination of Dr. Riek and Kiir fails to reject the same, he can later have a legal ground to remove the Prime Minister as not working “harmoniously” with him.

This IGAD’s idea that Kiir should not be opposed in his decisions and activities during the transition is without a proper justification. This idea of Kiir running the government single-handedly during the transition makes one think that IGAD wants Kiir to use the period to repair his tattered self politically, militarily and diplomatically for any eventualities at the end of the period.

This IGAD’s position should be taken together with Kiir’s statement on the 9th of May 2014 when he stated that he “…must always remain the leader…” of South Sudan.

He is, definitely, being prepared for a longer political life after the transitional period. In light of this, IGAD could be seen as conspiring with Kiir against the people of South Sudan.

Third, the document is discussed on the media as a power-sharing one. The IGAD leaders have made it very clear that all the executive powers remain with the president.

The president is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces; he is the head of state; and he is the head of government to be assisted by his deputy in all of his functions.

The office of the Prime Minister is created only to give the SPLM/SPLA a space to occupy with functions of coordination of the implementation. Yet, IGAD and its supporters call this a power-sharing arrangement. If this is power-sharing, then I do not know what is not.

One would think that a proper power-sharing arrangement would equally divide executive powers between the two power centers: the Prime Minister and the President. But, this IGAD document has not done that.

The bottom line is that, for whatever reason, IGAD has failed in its search for an African solution to the current African problem in South Sudan. By coming out with the document of the last Summit, IGAD was only resorting to forcing the warring parties to come together in a badly conceived transitional government, which, in my opinion, would be another way of telling South Sudanese to stop fighting for now, go back to Juba and re-start fighting.

What IGAD should have done was to let the parties talk. Instead of being rushed into forming a transitional government under Kiir’s leadership, the parties should have been given time to identify and address the root causes of the war, agree on who is to account for the atrocities committed in Juba in December, agree on critical reforms to be made, agree on the security arrangements, agree on the form and structures of the transitional government that would carry out the reforms, and then agree on the leadership as the last step toward signing a peace deal.

But IGAD unjustifiably jumped the gun and resorted to a process where they started with the leadership and then the government, leaving the rest unresolved. It was an attempt to simply force South Sudanese to go back to Juba under Kiir’s leadership without first addressing the root causes of the war—not even thinking of any reforms.

That was very lazy, insulting to the people of South Sudan and disrespectful of those whom Kiir savagely exterminated in Juba. It can only add fuel to a burning fire.

In Somalia, an internationally recognized Federal government sits in Mogadishu. That government and its leadership are, at least, cleaner than the one sitting in Juba and its leadership. Yet, the African Union, including some of the members of IGAD, is struggling to keep that government in Mogadishu. They are unable to force Somalis to come together under that government and leadership.

This difficulty exists partly because the root causes of the Somalia’s problem, leading to the collapse of the central government in 1991, might not have been properly identified and addressed.

After years of struggling with the situation, they still keep thinking that the problem is a lack of a central government in Mogadishu that can only be solved by putting one in place. It is a real failure.

This same IGAD is now trying to force the people of South Sudan to come together in a badly conceived transitional government under Salva Kiir who has committed genocide against a section of the South Sudanese society without first addressing the root causes of the December violence.

IGAD should understand that our problem is not a lack of a transitional government; in fact, the current government in Juba is a transitional government; it should understand that the problem that caused the war was not that Kiir was not a president; he had been the president before the war, and he has been the president ever since the war broke out.

Yet, we are in a big problem. Therefore, IGAD should stop thinking that having a transitional government led by Kiir is the magic African solution to the current war in South Sudan. This is a solution that can never be sustained.

If this is the only solution that IGAD can think of, then it must, instead, come out clearly and openly to admit that it has failed so that a different forum can pick up the task.

The way things look seems to suggest that IGAD has failed and decided, as an exit strategy, to impose Kiir on the people of South Sudan as a temporary solution to the problem. What comes after that imposition does not concern it.

It is completely conceived and done in the best interest of IGAD, not in the interest of the people of South Sudan. This is absurd. What makes IGAD leaders think that they should oppose non-African solutions to African problems, but impose a non-South Sudanese solution to a South Sudanese problem?

It is like trying to drive the people of South Sudan to the sky above by leading them into an abyss dug perpendicularly deep into the ground hoping and believing that, somehow, the abyss would eventually lead to the blue sky above the ground. This is a blind-mindedness that can only be induced by dictatorial tendencies which characterize leadership in most of Africa.

In any case, an intellect is, definitely, being insulted here. It is only a question of whose intellect it is that is being insulted: South Sudanese in particular, or African in general?

While in the process of finding a solution to the current civil war in South Sudan, IGAD must know, in case it does not know yet, that Kiir has committed genocide, and he must be dealt with as a criminal—not as what it refers to as an “elected, incumbent president.”

A proper and sustainable African solution should be that which keeps the criminal behind bars, and away from participating in the transitional government.

*The author is a South Sudanese. He can be reached at riangzuor@yahoo.com

Upper Nile Region: Land with cursed leaders, blessed beneath & in the wild

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, USA, OCT/03/2014, SSN;

The roar of guns, unthinkable death of innocents and barbaric destruction of homesteads in the Upper Nile Region of South Sudan (Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states) is a clear application of “divide & rule”, but the outbursts have spilled to central operation. The street boys & girls have this to say: “what goes around comes around.”

For almost a decade, and since South Sudan gained its self-governing, fierce battles have been fought in the Upper Nile Region and tens of thousands of precious lives have perished fighting senseless wars. And commonsense warns the ruling Elites that whoever want to see independent South Sudan prosper in PEACE must first normalize situation in the Upper Nile Region.

First of all, South Sudanese must deal away with forces of political disintegration. What has been happening in the Upper Nile Region is affecting the entire Nation and will deplete most of our nonrenewable natural resources.

As a tip to those who would be reading this article, uniting people of Upper Nile Region, and against other Regions is not the purpose of this piece for South Sudan cannot afford being divided into Regions. What is needed as of now is for citizens of Upper Nile Region to denounce violence at all cost.

And to other Regions (Bar el Ghazel & Equatoria), there can be no meaningful PEACE in South Sudan if Greater Upper Nile continued to be raced to ZERO. It is time for South Sudanese, especially the hardcore nationalists to restore peace in South Sudan, and by distancing themselves from outdated politics that creates problems among communities.

More than any other part of South Sudan, the Region (Upper Nile) is blessed with Oil, loam soils and different species of wild animals, but heinous crimes are part of daily life. Back then, and before Southern Sudan seceded from rests of the Sudan, people used to jokes that “Southern Sudan has the most fertile land, even nails can germinate.”

But remnants of the many decades wars have their hearts in foreign States despite having attained their nationhood. With ill intentions against the State, politicians as they are known to the helpless masses have been off-shoring Oil’s money for luxurious Mansions outside South Sudan.

Additionally, SUDD is the world’s second largest wetland, and it is mostly found in the Upper Nile Region of South Sudan, but frequent fighting in the Region has stalled all the supposedly developmental projects. This sweet LAND has potential to attract millions of Tourists annually.

The Nile is a fresh water River, and its Swamps and Tributaries are covered with papyruses and Reeds. That makes it a beautiful home to fish and other animals: Crocodiles, Hippopotamuses and waterbucks. But why are citizens of Upper Nile Region racing themselves to graves?

Well, the politics of “divide & rule” is still very fresh in South Sudan. It must be noticed that military unrests seen in the Upper Nile Region for the last couple of years has dripped a poison in the hearts of many, and demonic culture of bloods for bloods has found deep roots.

For the record, disgruntled SPLA officers from the Upper Nile Region have been engaging the Government of South Sudan(GOSS) since 2010. In those frontlines were: Gatluak Gai in Unity state, Bapiny Monytuil and Peter Gatdet Yak in Unity state, Robert Gwang in Upper Nile state & Johnson Oliny in Upper Nile state, David Yau Yau & George Athor Deng plus notorious Gabriel Tangynyang in Jonglei.

With such military standoffs, thousands have been either lost or displaced. The most recent armed rebellion, led by Dr. Riek Machar has resulted into enormous humans suffering, and people of the Upper Nile Region have been once again forced to kill themselves ruthlessly.

Leave the root cause alone for now, and let’s focus on the price attached to waging a rebellion. Who told these outdated politicians that they have to bring structural reforms to the Republic of South Sudan at all cost? What is the gain? And how can that Region possibly bring meaningful Government when other Regions are too layback?

Despite all of that, Upper Nile Region is best known in the image of many politicians and Freedom Fighters: Justice Abel Alier Kwai, Peter Gatkuoth, Paul Awel Ruai, Justice Martin Majier Gai, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, Joshua Dau Diu, Akuot Atem de Mayen, Enoch Mading de Garang, Samuel Gai Tut, Abdalla Chuol Deng, William Nyuon Bany, Elijah Hontop, Gordon Koang Chol, Arok Thon Arok, Paulino Matip Nhial, George Athor Deng and all those who perished during the liberation Struggle.

As of now, there are STARS in military & political fronts ruining South Sudan: Justice Michael Makuei Lueth, Kuol Manyang Juuk, Dr. Riek Gai Kok, Dr. Lual Achueek Lual Deng, Dr. Barnabas Marial Bil, Manasseh Magok Rundial, Pagan Amum Okeich, Gier Chuang Aluong, Oyai Deng Ajak, Justice John Luk Jok, Dr. Majak Agoot d’ Atem, Rebecca Nyandeng Garang de Mabior, Hussein Maar Nyuot, Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, Taban Deng Gai, Dr. Riek Machar & Mabior Garang de Mabior.

What hope is left for the citizens of Great Upper Nile? How do we go around these dirty memories? Well, unless citizens of the Upper Nile Region want to be second class citizens in South Sudan! Even those who have used atomic bombs on themselves have reconciled and left behind their pasts as history lived.

Because people in Great Upper Nile Region are not going to be moved out of their lands, and to other Regions, Peace is the only way forward. There can be no reason that citizens of the Upper Nile Region would expect reconciliation to be initiated by outsiders(BGL & EQA). “Charity begins at home” ya jaamana.

The more people in the Upper Nile Region engage themselves militarily, the more other Regions loot resources, and in the name of defending the State of South Sudan against collapse.

When the fire was raging in Bortown, Bentiu and Malakal, the other Regions (BGL & EQA) were going about their normal business except in that brief moment when the White Army was casing Juba! What is all of that Nuer want to rule? How can a community as a whole ascend to presidency?

That is a pure political nonsense, and people must be assured that Riek Machar cannot ascend to presidency militarily because rebellion alone cannot bring someone into supposedly elected post. And for that matter, our Nuer brothers & sisters must know that killing Dinkas in the Upper Nile Region because of their ethnicity is a repeat political suicide.

For the second time now in history, Dr. Riek Machar has presided over forces that he could not control(Dinkas, Mabans & Shilluks have been murdered aimlessly).

Inwardly, South Sudanese must support Peace throughout the NATION, and not by clinging to power or ascending to power at the expense of the most vulnerable (children, elderly & women). The political atmosphere in the Country is very smoky, and chances of finding a nationalist among the tainted leaders, and to unite all the tribes are slim to nothing.

With all the political maneuverings seen after the Juba’s “attempted Coup”, citizens, elders, leaders and youth have been cooked alive. There are no cohesive agendas, and there are no priorities set by the warring parties that would make the healing process quicker.

At the end, citizens of the Upper Nile Region would be the Losers. Now, you have learned from experience that there can be no Peaceful South Sudan without real Peace in the Great Upper Nile Region.

The Author here Mayak Deng Aruei, a South Sudanese living in the USA. He is the Author of ‘Struggle Between Despair and Life: From Sudan’s Marshland Village, Child Soldiering, Refugee Camp and America.’ He holds three degrees(AS in Legal Assistant, BA in Sociology & Philosophy, & MA in Legal Studies). He is currently pursuing Bachelor’s of Laws(LLB) and Doctorate in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development. He can be reached at kongor.da.ajak@gmail.com

Unnecessarily Deep-rooted Hatred, Empty Pride and Unhealthy Competitions are bringing us quickly to Doom!

By: Deng M. Koch, South Sudan, OCT/03/2014, SSN;

An Open Letter to the people of Lakes state:

Dear my people of Lakes state, first before I bring your attention into the heart of my message, kindly allow me to highlight the following story:

Once upon a time, a group of nine (9) individuals (men) set out deep into the surrounding forest near their village with the purpose of harvesting wild honey located in a hollow of a very big tree previously known to them. Not known to them however was the fact that in the very hollow in the trunk of the tree ‘resided’ a very big Viper (Snake) with deadly venom which kills instantly once it bites and injects venom (poisonous substance) into human or animal blood system.

The men arrived to their intended destination under the big tree and as is in line with the crude traditional ways of extracting honey, started a fire and a thick smoke began billowing and the men positioned themselves from top of the tree where the mouth of the hollow in the tree trunk was to under the tree on the ground.

The aim is usually to pass fire with smoke up to the tree and insert smoke into the trunk’s hollow and scare bees away from the honey-rich hive and on the other hand, extracted honey is passed down the same line of people to the last person on the ground under the tree who then packages the sweet substance into containers.

The expert “master honey extractor” on top of the tree inserted fire and smoke into the tree and the poor Bees quickly made way for his hand to grab the honey, but the Viper, alerted by smoke and movement near the hollow (kok) was already angered by the intrusion into its territory and hence was on its striking position; the poor guy’s hand was bitten by the deadly snake which he could not see because it was dark in the middle of the night.

Nonetheless, the bitten man had a bad heart and didn’t want to die alone, so he said to the one next to him, “please get hold of this fire thing and continue to harvest the Honey, something has fallen to my eye; let me go down the tree so I can wash it off.”

His unsuspecting friend quickly took up the deadly position and as he rushed his hand into the trunk of the tree, another deadly strike met his hand at the entrance! The same story of excusing oneself was done by the second man as he too realised it was a deadly snake bite and hence did not want to die alone just as the first victim of the snake did.

Number three, four, five, six and seven all followed in the same way and were all bitten and as they climbed down the tree, they all succumbed to the Viper’s venom/snake poison and died.

When it came to number eight, a man of good heart and full of love for others, he was in the same fashion, bitten in the hand and as soon as he realized it was a deadly snake bite, he shouted in agony, “Oh God, my God, why would you allow the Satanic Viper to finish my people like this!”

His crying in despair alerted the number 9, the last man who was standing; he quickly turned and inspected all those others previously bitten and found out they had all kicked the buck! Alas, bad heart and ill intentions of the first seven victims made it possible for snake to annihilate almost the entire group!

Thanks God the 8th victim was pure in heart, loving and caring for others’ welfare; his warning stopped the last member of the group from falling into the same abyss of tragedy. He dared not to approach the death trap which finished his friends! He became the sole survivor to tell the tragic tale of the honey hunters to the village people and beyond.

So, my people of Lakes state, haven’t we allowed the “Viper snake” of hatred, tribalism propelled by tribal or clannish chauvinism and hegemony with all its by-products of cattle rustling, highway banditry, targeted cold-blooded murders of innocent including sleeping victims to finish us individual by individual, clan by clan and county by county?

For far too long we have been burying our heads in the sand, pretending that the escalating violence was a “normal traditional practice of community’s rivalries over pastures and watering points for their cattle”.

Now that towns such as Cueibet, Rumbek the capital of state, Pacong, Wulu and you name them all, as well as along the Highway serving five states, the Greater Bahr El Ghazal highway from Juba – Yirol – Rumbek – Tonj – Wau – Aweil and which branches off in Rumbek to Bentiu, had been turned into human Abettors by gunmen from the very “normally rivaling community groups” in the state, hadn’t the chickens returned home to Roost?

There is nowhere is the story of single snake finishing 8 people out of 9 reflected in practical terms than in our volatile Lakes state in the Republic of South Sudan!

The South Sudanese public and the world community are reeling to absorb and comprehend the scale and frequency of death, destruction or looting of properties of innocent victims coming out in the new Country’s centrally located Lakes state on daily basis.

People there are almost psychologically resigning to the fact that their lives could easily be terminated at any time of the day and that living to see the next day, week, month or a year was a matter of privilege; a privilege granted not by the divine powers as is usually the case with humanity’s beliefs, but rather by the decision and will of criminal human hunters who initiates killing of unsuspecting innocent people at will; or act in the name of Revenging and counter-revenging their lost loved ones regardless of the circumstances leading to such loses.

None is safe anymore and age, gender, occupation, status or physical ability no longer exempts one from falling victim to the raging practice of innocent human beings elimination!

More questions than answers abounds as to how and why have the people of the once glorious province of South Sudan allowed themselves to fall so lowest.

But none including the author have the real and convincing answers to these questions, hence the search and guessing for answers to the questions and solutions to the escalating destruction of lives and properties in the volatile state is ongoing.

As the communities are confused and the core of their social fabrics in tatters, our state politicians are in disarray with no unity of purpose forged amongst themselves and “bunch of self-hating idiots” we becomes in the eyes of the South Sudanese nation.

Practically a major source of sympathy to the well-wishers and a bunch of laughing stocks in the eyes of Scorners and haters!

None in the Republic of South Sudan but the very people of Lakes state themselves can bring an end once and for all to their mini-wars and unnecessary death tolls.

The national government, already stretched thin by other more pressing national emergencies can only facilitate and where necessary, impose in collaboration with local institutions of governance and people in the state, the rule of law and Justice for the victims.

Any perception that the solution is entirely external is void of logic. We must thus put our house in order and cease idle whining and lamentation about the menacing problems.

Things are not being helped by the fact that the state Assembly, a Legislature that was tasked with formulating laws and policy direction has become nothing more than a gossip house!

They no longer know what to do nor what not to do, a vast majority of them have become Residents of Juba by choice or against their choice as talks of “threat” to their lives, real and imaginary are ripe in the corridors of lamentation and one no longer understand where the real cause or solutions lies.

If the members of the most powerful institution, people with the mandate from their electorates to change course of things in the state have become ‘roaming’ whiners and like ordinary citizens, helplessly pointing fingers of blame to one man (Caretaker Governor) and shadowy figures!

The question is then begging itself, is this one man (Caretaker Governor) the real problem or are we (people of Lakes state) spearing the shadow of unknown animal?

Didn’t we complain time and again before that the previous Governors were the problems? Were they not removed in their different times of office and did the madness of killing one another stop?

How can one person be a problem to the extent that Hundreds of Thousands of citizens in the state are helpless in finding solutions to their issues?

To me, I do think that our individual attitudes as well as collective perceptions and actions, more than anything else are to blame for the now ensuing mess which left us with nothing but shame of enormous proportion in the eyes of the nation and beyond.

When shall we come to our collective senses as people of the volatile Lakes state, isn’t our dignity and collective image not battered enough and hence the need to quickly salvage what we can before it all together become uselessly too late to do so?

There is a fundamental problem of perceptions and understanding within us as a society!

Again, there is an old adage which goes “the bigger and influential the position that one occupies in employment, the bigger the size of trousers and shirts one wears.”

This simply means people desperately want big positions in order to enrich themselves more than serving the constituents and this seems to be the trend among politicians of Lakes state.

And this may also explain why almost every politician in the state is eyeing the position of governorship, either for him/herself or his/her “Nominee” to fulfill certain interests; be they individual or collective in the case of clan or tribal politicking.

A pattern of “See nothing say nothing as long as you are in the state government cabinet; and see everything everywhere and shout the loudest as soon as you are reshuffled out,” has manifested itself ominously amongst the amateurish state politicians since the formation of government in 2005.

There is no doubt the governor, whether in the past, in the present or in the future has and will have his shortcomings just as all other human beings are, but to propagate or assume all the ongoing mess including rampant cattle rustling, robbery with violence, cold-blooded killing of innocent people and even Hyenas and dogs gone amok in killing or eating people in the state on one man or woman in position of Governor is a mockery to logic and self-defeating to say the least.

Therefore, I humbly call upon you my people in Lakes state and by extension, in all other violence prone areas in the Republic of South Sudan to rise to the challenge and stop acts of barbarianism and savagery.

It is time each citizen in the affected places of communal violence, cattle rustling and highway banditry begin to ask themselves what criminal acts brought upon them and their communities; and what their obligations to their communities, states and the country at large are.

We all ought to collectively strive to live in peace and harmony and appreciate our cultural and linguistic diversity as an invaluable asset which we must all work hand-in-hand to preserve. Multicultural society we are and differences in opinion, ways of life and religious beliefs we must accept, as long as they are not detrimental to the security and wellbeing of our country.

Our leaders too at different levels of governance need to fully understand and appreciate the needs and challenges pertaining to their constituents and constituencies; formulate clearer road maps for both short term and long term solutions to such and adopt consultative approach as opposed to unilateralism in decision making.

Decisions which affect or have the potentials to affect citizens’ lives are not a matter of clique rushing with it and excluding others, rather they deserve wider consultation and in the process create collective sense of belonging to and ownership of decision making process and hence acceptance of the outcome.

The growing culture of assigning people based on who they know more than what they know is by no mean lesser evil in the debilitating problems of Lakes state and by extension the wider country.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that my people in Lakes state will one day come to their senses and begin to seriously work to restore peace, unity and stability; and regain appreciation and respect by others in the Republic of South Sudan and beyond.

The sooner the better for all! South Sudan, a country for which you (Lakes state people) always walked in the forefront with your compatriot during the liberation struggles of various time, until the people of South Sudan achieved their full independence, need your positive input in the development of the country, not your aimless self-killing.

It is thus heart-breaking to witness the deteriorating situation of senseless killing of innocent people and the acceleration of politics of gossiping and sabotage among the political class of the state, thereby in the process leaving the needs of the citizens unattended to.

While the phenomenon of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a factor in the psychology and actions of individuals in Lakes state, it is not an excuse as it is neither a monopoly of you nor endemic (confined) in Lakes state; it affects all the post-war communities around the globe and other South Sudanese are no exception!

Therefore, let us rid ourselves of this glaring shame we finds ourselves in, my people. Dragging down with you the whole community including innocent, vulnerable and helpless children, women, elderly, physically hindered people, and all the people in the society is no noble cause for sensible and objective-oriented men.

So, to all the warring Gelweng, leave these groups of innocent people as well as innocent travelers through your land out of your self-annihilating fights and think of the future of your children, parents or partners before you act.

To local politicians, you can only be a proud leader of the living people, not of the dead; hence it is high time we all pull our acts together without allowing our individual political interests to interfere with the process of restoring peace and harmony to the lives of our people.

Great men and women in the political history are they who were selfless and who suffered in emancipation of their people.

On the other hand, the most reviled are they who were selfishly self-cantered, greedy and lustful of power; history is not and will never be so kind to them.

What legacy do we want to leave behind in our communities, state and the beloved country? I leave that for you to digest.

Seriously, I mourn all the slain victims of the senseless inter-community or inter-clan fights, particularly those very innocent victims shot dead in their homes, on the roads etc.

The great men who laid the foundation of unity and pride of the people of Lakes state, the like of great chiefs, spear masters, Christian religious leaders, wise and noble men and women of this great but now self-demoting state must be watching down on us in great agony.

But still, it is not and will never be too late to correct the mess and save the peace loving people of South Sudan and the world the heartache and headache of hearing bad news after bad news coming out of Lakes state.

Stop, stop, and stop my people stop the senseless bloodshed now!

“Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to men who are his friends,” The Friends of God according to Holy Bible, are the righteous who fear God and think of God’s instructions before they act. The instructions of God include “Do not kill” and “love your neighbour as you love yourself”.

Deng M. Koch Dengdit,
The Author is the Former Gurtong Peace Trust Correspondent for Australia and now in South Sudan. He can be reached through: deng.koch2014@gmail.com

East African sense of entitlement & uncalled for polemical response

BY: Kuir ë Garang, ALBERTA, CANADA, OCT/02/2014, SSN;

We all agree, even with some staunch government supporters in South Sudan, that the September 12, 2014 circular (No. 007/2014) signed by the minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development, Hon. Ngor Kolong Ngor, was ill-conceived and dangerous for South Sudan. And it’s with that understanding that the government, a few days later, released a press statement (RSS/MOLPS&HRD/J/33) on September 17, 2014 ‘clarifying’ what was written in No. 007/2014.

The September 17, 2014 PR was dubbed a ‘clarification’ but it was rather a ‘correction’ because what was written in the circular was crystal clear and dangerous :(…all aliens…in all positions…)

If South Sudan was a ‘normal’ country in peacetime, the minister should have resigned immediately because his action was actually a national security disaster on many levels. It endangered the lives of South Sudanese in other African countries, jeopardized our economic and diplomatic interests and reflected South Sudan as a nation of leaders who act first and think later.

The parliament, useless as it is, should have summoned the minister to explain himself. What do we know? It’s South Sudan anyways!

However, the point of this article isn’t so much about the gross error of judgement by the government of South Sudan because the government has admitted the error and corrected it.

This article addresses the unrealistic, childish and uncalled for response our East African brothers and sisters meted on South Sudanese nationals as a function of that infamous circular.

With no doubt, the government of South Sudan made a gross mistake; however, I don’t understand why Ugandans and Kenyans were gravely harsh to South Sudanese nationals even after the government corrected the error! And why react with such negative air to a blunder, first of its kind in South Sudan?

Is that the essence of brotherhood and sisterhood our East African brothers have for us? Couldn’t our East African brothers wait for clarification before reacting? Would one consider that reaction as a sign of maturity?

However, the most disappointing part of this isn’t the reaction by the average citizen of the two countries and some mindless musicians like Bebe Cool! It’s the reaction of the leadership! There’s no doubt that South Sudan has benefited from the generosity of our East African brothers and sisters; however, it’s ridiculous to rub it on our faces ALL THE TIME. Even the Kenyan chief diplomat, Kenyan foreign secretary, Amina Mohammed, reminded us of the help Kenya has given South Sudan.

Such generosities should be uttered in a humble way for others to just imply them. But for a seasoned diplomat to tactlessly remind South Sudanese of the help Kenya has extended to South Sudan in the media in a condescending tone leaves a lot to be desired. It made me question whether Ms. Mohammed has any genuine regard for South Sudanese!

For those of us who did our High School education in Kenya, we know how ‘brotherly and sisterly’ Kenyans can be. And those who’ve been to Uganda know how they treated and still treat South Sudanese. I have had money extorted from me in both Nairobi and Kampala! And I was told to ‘go back to your country’ many times!

Kenyan and Ugandan police extorted money from us, jailed us, beat us up and treated us like dirt. That was such a sign of brotherhood, right? However, we couldn’t do anything about it for we had no choice and we also saw other trade-offs such as allowing us refuge in their countries!

For those of us who were in refugee camps, we know Kenyans and Ugandans found employment through various NGOs working in South Sudan and with their headquarters in Nairobi and Kampala! In Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenyans were paid almost 5-10 times what we were paid and some Kenyans went to schools in Kakuma Refugee camps for free.

There were many Kenyans employed in various South Sudanese offices in Nairobi. I know of a number employed by my aunt and uncle in their offices in Nairobi. Kenyans and Ugandans benefited economically too from expensive houses rented by South Sudanese commanders and civilian workers.

Now, how many South Sudanese worked in private sector or in the government in Kenya and Uganda? South Sudanese who worked as professors worked because they were qualified. They were not employed as a goodwill initiative by the Kenyan or Ugandan governments.

This makes me wonder why our brothers and sisters feel they have an unalienable sense of entitlement in South Sudan.

We know very much that Kenyans are benefitting economically from their businesses in South Sudan. Kenyans banks and restaurants employ Kenyans in positions South Sudanese can easily fill. What does it take to be a waiter/waitress? How much education does one need to be a teller in a bank?

Both the sense of entitlement our brothers and sisters have in South Sudan belittles what could be seen as help they extended to us. One could now conclude that their help isn’t an assistance extended in the name of African brotherhood and sisterhood. It’s surely a function of what WE have to do for them.

Every country has every right to put its citizens first. Kenya and Uganda know that! So what’s with this foul-mouthing and sense of entitlement in a foreign country? What happened to the sense of gentlemanly Africanness and respect for one another? Do we have to please Kenyans and Ugandans for us to be respected? What kind of mentality is that? It’s okay to complain to your brother and sister but there has to be a civil way of doing it!

Kenyans and Ugandans are showing a side of them that’s not worthy of people who’ve been independent for over 50 years, or people one can see as friendly and sisterly! How about some ‘civilized’ behavior from our elder brothers and sisters?

The South Sudanese government has at least shown it cares by immediately correcting the error! So where’s your care my East African brothers and sisters?

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese political commentator and author living in Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info or follow him on Twitter @kuirthiy