Archive for: January 2015

IGAD: Artificial solution on South Sudan conflict by putting the cart before the horse

BY: James Gatdet Dak, SPLM/A-in-O Spokesman, January 30, 2015, SSN;

On Thursday, 29th of January, 2015, heads of states and governments of the African regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), served the warring parties in South Sudan with a principle agreement document.

The text drafted by IGAD leaders on the sideline of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa “dictates” a solution for formation of a transitional government of national unity by imposing a leadership structure and personalities as well as proportionate power-sharing arrangements.

The take-it-or-leave-it document has provided key artificial arrangements and warned the South Sudanese warring parties of consequential action should there be non-full compliance.

In summary, the document has endorsed the incumbent President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, to lead the transitional government, deputized by first vice president and vice president.

This is in reiteration of the body’s long held decision that General Kiir is an elected president, although his legitimacy term ends in May or July this year, whether it is derived from the last April 2010 elections before independence or July 2011 constitutional legitimacy after independence.

In this it is to be noted that IGAD has imposed on the parties a leadership structure which this time round should be of presidential system, throwing out other ideas and proposals which suggested it should be a parliamentary executive leadership structure composed of President and Prime Minister, or with deputies to the Prime minister, and Council of Ministers.

The regional leaders now dictate that while the first vice president should be a nominee from the SPLM/SPLA led by Dr Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, the vice president should be the incumbent, James Wani Igga.

The IGAD leaders went further to pledge that the speaker of the parliament should come from Greater Equatoria region.

IGAD has also imposed a power-sharing ratio, giving General Kiir’s government a lion share of 60% at all levels of government, SPLM/SPLA 30%, and other political parties and former detainees, 10%.

It has rejected the idea to dissolve and reconstitute membership of the legislative assembly and only agreed for an additional 68 new members to be appointed in accordance with the proposed sharing ratio, topping up to 400 lawmakers from the current membership of 332.

Further, IGAD has pre-empted how succession of executive leadership should be handled in South Sudan at least during the would-be transitional period under the proposed government of national unity.

In this, IGAD has contradicted the traditional leadership hierarchy in the presidential system and also shunned application of seniority in the SPLM party’s would-be leadership.

These are some of the observations in the latest round of what has become an IGAD-led, not IGAD-mediated talks in Addis Ababa.

A question that comes to mind is what does IGAD want to achieve in this dictated and prioritized irrelevant arrangement?

To me, the answer is a mere pursuit of a short-lived credit….

I say it is about pursuit of a short-lived credit because it seems the regional bloc is not guided by the importance of reaching a lasting peace in South Sudan.

It is rather urged by the desire to say it has made the warring parties to sign an agreement on leadership structure and power-sharing arrangements, in case the parties agree, despite lack of important proceeding resolutions on the underlying fundamentals that are key to a lasting resolution of the conflict.

This dictated document has unveiled a grave weakness and lack of seriousness in the mediation efforts and strategies IGAD employs in trying to resolve the 15 December 2013 crisis and uproot it from the roots.

Many would have thought that IGAD should be building on the intra-SPLM agreement on reunification in Arusha. In Arusha the parties agreed to reunify their ranks and file by first revoking General Kiir’s decision which dismissed party leaders.

This should have been followed by further dialogue on introduction and implementation of reforms and the fate of top leadership within the party while IGAD in Addis Ababa imitates the consensus reached in Arusha in resolving other non-party contentious issues.

The Arusha accord provided an opportunity for IGAD to address the root causes of the conflict which would inform and educate the mediation body about the genesis of the crisis and guide it towards resolutions and achievement of a lasting peace in South Sudan.

By now imposing that General Kiir shall be the president of transitional government in an attempt to provide him with a leeway to escape from the Arusha process, and by also pre-empting that the incumbent vice president Igga shall succeed Kiir, in case, IGAD has devastated the gains from the reunification initiative and dragged the peace process back to square one.

The regional bloc has set a precedence of intransigence in the SPLM reunification process on the part of the government.

Arusha agreement was supposed to be a healthy model for the Addis Ababa peace process because it addressed the root causes and committed the parties to resolving them through that roadmap.

The long held belief in IGAD’s failure or difficulty to mediate and resolve the conflict mainly emanates from its reluctance to recognize the importance of addressing the root causes of the conflict in South Sudan.

IGAD has been on impossible mission to quick-fix the problem by seeking to dress the surface of the infected deep wound with bandage rather than first diagnosing and treating the wound.

The regional body has been unfortunately responding to the impact of the conflict and urgent need to give it a temporary solution rather than addressing and resolving it based on its root causes.

IGAD leaders should generate an enthusiasm to study reasons why political conflicts within South Sudan always occur and recur within the SPLM for the past 32 years. This will provide them with a clue and understanding on how the current conflict came about and can be addressed thoroughly so as to avoid future recurrence.

For the results to be sustainable, the mediation effort should address the root causes of the conflict!

It is in the understanding of the root causes that a solution towards a lasting peace and stability in South Sudan can be achieved and sustained.

IGAD should instead press on the parties to respect the cessation of hostilities agreement. It should also persuade its member state, Uganda, and make it withdraw its troops from the war in implementation of the agreement.

The regional body can now prevent violence from escalating and focus on addressing the root causes in order to come up with the best remedy. The mediation should, of course facilitate and advise, but allow the parties to negotiate a lasting solution and not dictate a short-lived solution.

To utter threats of action against both parties collectively irrespective of who did what or how the crisis came about will not help the situation. The fact that IGAD attempts to push president Salva Kiir down the throats of his victims, rewarding him to continue as the leader, is a wrong strategy that will likely face resistance.

However, if IGAD wants to test imposition of solution on the parties as an experiment in the region, this should be based on an informed wise decision by taking into account the genesis of the conflict. People of South Sudan would expect IGAD leaders to be courageous enough to thoroughly address the root causes and call spade a spade.

This is also to say if democratization of politics and introduction of various reforms matter in the SPLM party and in the institutions of government – to bring about a lasting peace and unity of the people in the country and to usher in development – then a competent visionary leadership that will realize these fundamentals equally matters.

Finally, making responsible leaders to account for the genocide or committed war crimes and crimes against humanity is an important element in achieving justice and reconciliation.

Thus, it is important for IGAD to advise AU to make public the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the atrocities committed in this conflict.

Information on the magnitude and extent to which the damages have been done will further guide the warring parties in tackling the issues on compensation and reparation of the victims, which are yet to be resolved under the IGAD mediation.

Hence, putting the cart before the horse is a recipe for another disaster to recur, which is a disservice to the ever suffering people of South Sudan.
IGAD, address the root causes of the 15 December crisis…

James Gatdet Dak
Spokesman, Office of the Chairman
SPLM/SPLA
The author is a Spokesperson in the Office of the Chairman, SPLM/SPLA. He can be reached at: gatdetdak2013@gmail.com.

South Sudanese Leaders must rise above egoism

By: Ater Garang Ariath, JUBA, JAN/30/2015, SSN;

South Sudanese leaders must rise above their egoisms and collectively work together to return our country back to stability and peace after meaningless war that ravaged nation apart.

Political struggle influenced by armed conflict will never be the best therapy to enormous challenges facing our people; therefore, leaders should rise above their political ambitions and reminded themselves on what South Sudanese innocent men and women needed most.

It is time for the two principal warring parties led by President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar to reconcile their political differences by revisited where these people called (South Sudanese) whom they desperately deserved to lead came from?

I am among million South Sudanese that expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which rebels have pursued quest for political transformation in our country, we are not in the past we are in modern era where we can resist any attempt to thwart national agenda as one owned project within by non-violent mean.

Let our brothers and sisters who took up arms against this nation and its people revised their political motives. The road that they seemed to have undertaken tarnishes their political characters, values and attitudes among South Sudanese non-violent community sections.

It was unsuccessful attempt of regime change that South Sudanese should forget and rubbish into dustbin, otherwise they(rebels) should reformulate their ambitions for political power by put their guns down and come among us for peaceful pursue of regime change through ballot rather than bullet.

Due to poor political and security analysis the original estimates for armed movement cost and duration seemed to have been overoptimistic, they rebels should defined clearly what they really wanted? Why they took arms before elections are organized? Why they killed innocent people in some parts of Greater Upper Nile that have nothing to do with power held by President Salva Kiir.

However, taking arms to fight South Sudanese for quest of power possession was premature step taken by comrade Riek Machar and his heavy –weight blindfolded supporters.

Machar and his group have created the greatest danger in their political mission to rule this country, especially upon blindly taking up arms; most of their core-hard supporters that believe in peaceful transfer of power were discouraged.

Machar as an engineer, his political mechanical design, shop work and laboratory studies were not preceded by adequate systems planning, the present conflict in the country is probably complicated to the point of impracticality, largely as a result of haphazard piecemeal procedures.

Forestalling measures should supposed to be taken by former Vice President to avoid unnecessary bloodshed in the country, but due to lack of moral capital among most of our leaders, the ongoing conflict was initiated by them, because of their political egoisms rather than national agenda that focus on nationhood building after attaining hard-won independence.

The reform agenda in all sectors both public and private need us not to take up arms against our nation and its people, it need resistance within by following adult methods to pressurize the presence government to accept radical change demanded by the voices of many.

The arbitrary assumption on which the political projects are working should be stated first, I think these objectives should supposed to be worked out by the political engineers like of Machar and his accomplice rather than provided by Western and regional sponsors.

This meant that the project personnel (Riek Machar) besides allies needed to have sufficient time to acquire greater familiarity with the problems facing by South Sudanese people, which need no armed resistance.

We need critical judgment as South Sudanese toward complexities of our diversity that others want to use it as scapegoat to commit crime in pretext that his or her tribe has been marginalized.

Therefore, we need political system that comes through vote; I think most South Sudanese united at up to this point, youth as majority must take full charge of the project and do it on their own way that will not endanger their brighter future ahead.

This movement headed by Riek and his group is very ridiculous, according to my own perspectives, considering that these are bad fruits that fallout under President Salva Kiir regime after been dropped from cabinet Ministers and other pertinent senior positions, they declared uncalled for war of their own political interest and further misguided ignorant youth from cattle camps to fought on their behalf.

This war will be a mirror for South Sudanese informative societies to scrutiny who among these leaders lack “moral capital”, in regard to the love of this nation and its beautiful people that God created as resilient by nature.

The youth must stood firmly on their own and challenge this continuing meaningless s war that left vulnerable people as the most victims of this unscrupulous attitude enforced on us by our leaders.

They have gone far, far and far and they should be reminded altogether, because this nation belong to younger generations that need progress, peace and sustainable development then keeping them in ugly wars.

The road taken by rebel fighters against regime in Juba is bad road that needs fundamental judgment, however, Western and regional hands are behind this scene and they should stop fueling this meaningless war, because South Sudanese need non-violent resistance toward transformative agenda in our country.

As young people, we need to be authors of our own destiny, at this time in moment, we get to decide what is the next chapter, because ultimate freedom can come within us by pursuing peaceful and non-violent dialogue with the current regime, so that pertinent issues such as lack of services delivery and democratized institutions are address neatly then locking ourselves once again in useless war after independence.

South Sudanese politicians should learn from their own messes and rise above their political interests and think twice to return the nation back to normalcy, we are tied of unnecessary killings because of power wrangling, we need peace otherwise, youth will reverse this mess up against you if they come into their genuine senses later.

The writer is South Sudanese journalist living in Juba, Republic of South Sudan.

Atergarang452@gmail.com

Treacheries in South Sudan’s conflict: Call for federal system, tribalism, regionalism, tactical warmongering are tools to power & political objectives not genuine political reform

By: Morris K. Yoll, CANADA, JAN/30/2015, SSN;

Many South Sudanese are heartbroken and afraid. Despite peace talks in Addis Ababa, we are uncertain as to the future of our country even if peace is achieved today. December 15th and its merciless consequences instilled horrors and fears in our minds, anguish in our hearts, and disillusionment and mistrust in our coexistence as people of common destiny.

Tribalism, regionalism, hatred, confusion, fear, delusion, and uncertainty appear to rule much of our thoughts. The conflict started as power wrangling within the SPLM. And then it turned into deadly coup attempt on December 15th 2013 and mercilessly continued as a hotly contested tribal civil war between Dinka and Nuer, though the government and rebels downplay it as such.

Yet, people were targeted repeatedly in Juba, Jonglei, Malakal, Unity State, Baliet based on their ethnicities. With all targeted ethnic onslaughts meted against our coexistence as one people, some politicians advocate Federalism as a solution to current crisis, which is absolutely disingenuous.

Per se, not that Federal system is bad for the country or unachievable, but it is not the root cause of the conflict and called for when our coexistence is racially predisposed and debilitated.

Else, haven’t we crippled our cohesion as people in this conflict? And wouldn’t it make sense to first correct things that went wrong to ease ourselves into federal system with love and understanding that would bind us again as one people?

To achieve a sensible Federal system of governance, we need to understand first that Federalism is a democratic system of governance meant for power sharing and service distribution to the people for development; a system in which people exercise their democratic rights to change things and to govern themselves; and not a system meant to divide or separate the same citizens of one country base on ethnicity, tribe or region and so forth.

Having read various writings and comments from many South Sudanese in various forums, Medias, and hearing simple discussions in South Sudanese public conversations, I can attest that majority of South Sudanese hardly understand how federal system of governance function or are simply confused or trying to confuse people of South Sudan in fishing for glory.

Firstly they missed the fact that Federalism wasn’t the cause of the conflict; power struggled was. So Federalism is a bad prescription as a solution to this conflict.

Secondly, some failed to realize that Federal system of governance, in other parts of South Sudan, will group, in one state, the same ethnic groups or tribes that targeted themselves on tribal line in this conflict; so how would it solves ethnic or tribal violence if the essence is to address tribal conflict?

Thirdly, some politicians deliberately want federalism to separate South Sudanese along tribal, regional and ethnic lines. In other words, they think that under Federal South Sudan if you are, for example, from Equatoria region, than you would not work or even live in Warrap, Upper Nile States, etc; that if you are a Dinka or Bari or Chollo and vice versa, you will not have mobility rights in the state other than your state or call a state of your choice a home to stay.

How are sensible are these ideas or thinking since we will live in one united country as one people? Indeed, I once read a ridiculous statement in South Sudan forum, in which a contributor asserted that he wants federal South Sudan, so that in his state they would be able to arrest, jail and deport back to their states those who come from other states and disturb their peace.

Such trivial talks are frequent in most of South Sudanese discussion forums. They are informal but those who are engaged in them believe in what they say.

Anyhow, I have reasons to believe that Sentiments of some of our people who are against or who are for federalism are guided by some kind of hatred and misconceptions or guided by past illusions of kokora era and fueled by December 15th incident views that try to justify premeditated actions as solutions.

During re-division era of Southern Sudan in 80s, decentralization policy turned divisive. Both People of Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile regions were expelled from Equatoria when decentralization was decreed as a law.

Due to the Kokora’s rhetoric and divide, people were killed, targeted based on their ethnicity and region, which forced people from Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile regions to repatriate from Equatoria region to their respective regions and Equatorians in Bahr el Gazal and Upper repatriated back to Equatoria Region.

Re-division of Southern Sudan started with the theme of decentralization for development, but in the process turned regionally and ethnically violence having failed to make distinction between decentralization as a governing administrative local autonomy granted to regions to govern themselves and as a system in which rights of citizenship and freedom of movement and settlement of the people of Southern Sudan, regardless of provinces or districts of their origin, are granted, observed and as well protected.

As Re-division of Southern Sudan started as decentralization mechanism meant for development and later turned tribally and regionally divisive, call for federalism as mean for development, today, is slyly and shrewdly deployed with intent to achieve what it is really not a good type of Federal system.

The division of South Sudanese based on ethnicity and tribe has a discriminately built in notion that delimits mobility rights of citizens, a ploy in what would be tribally or ethnically polarized country; a bad example type of Federalism.

The Federalism, by any stretch of imagination is a system of governance that recognizes rights of citizen to choose where to live, work regardless of ethnicity and where one originally hailed from if one is a citizen of the country in question.

With this in mind, the way some of us think our Federalism should be applied base on regional or tribal divide just to do away with people of the tribe one doesn’t want, in a country with strong tribalism practices like ours, is incompatible with unity of the country that needs to achieve “one people one country” idea; and thus viewed by some with skepticism that is prevalent in negatively polarized discussions generated along tribal and regional lines.

Such skepticism, for example, is discerned in the way that youth of Bahr el Gazal Region feels about Federal system proposed by the SPLM-IO. In June 2014, the Greater BAHR EL GAZAL CONCERN YOUTH met in Panthou, Warrap State, and stated some of the followings in the forum, just to mention a few statements in the resolution:
(1)This forum believes the current call for federal system is designed to delimited particular regions or Tribes from power rather that used of democratic process.
(2) We cannot form federal state of governance in poorest country in the world with no industries, infrastructures and its economic dependent on revenues collected at the state borders; a situation that shall make some closed-borders states more at risk/Advantages than the others. These negatively major issues that can even provoke fights even at a larger scale. (3) The federal government cannot control insecurity and across border conflicts as well as cattle ridding, the aspect of creating a civil defense will increased tension among the states. (4) The forum warns the federalists not to used rebellion as ways and mean to achieve a mechanism designed to target a particular region and tribe, (http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15295/Bhar-El-Gazal-Youth-Oppose-Federalism-Support-Devolution.aspx).

The youth of Greater Bahr el Gazal believe that Federalism, in current conflict, is a conspiracy intended to get rid of certain region or tribe [in this case the Dinka] in politics.

Although some of the points stated by the Greater Bahr el Gazal Youth are valid concerns, they have reacted out of fear, and as well, they apparently misconstrued concepts or functions of federalism due to the fact that the SPLM-IO leaders who called for Federalism cannot be trusted in this regard and did it as tactics to gain support for their rebellious movement, because “Federalism” wasn’t a bone of contention that started the conflict but it could accord them support, especially, in Equatoria.

The Bahr el Gazal youth, even though they did not allude to kokora’s divide as an exemplary conflict, they demonstrated their fear of conflicts that could arise between regions or states boundaries. In 80s call for decentralization turned regionally or ethnically divisive for people of Southern Sudan.

Fears raised by Bahr el Gazal Youth forum implicitly linked call for Federalism to the Kokora’s era in the 80s in which people of Southern Sudan were politically divided based on regions. The Bahr el Gazal Youth appear to insinuate that Federalism separate people of the same country.

But Federalism doesn’t limit rights of citizens of the same country to choose where to live or work. Federalism doesn’t make states in the same country to collect taxes from one another at the borders. If anything, than Federalism “pool” revenues collected at the borders with others foreign nations plus Federal taxes collected within the country in order to re-distribute taxes equitably to each states for development and services and social welfare.

In comparison, current call for Federalism by some Equatorians and some Nuers counterpart who are Dr. Riek’s supporters is similar to the call of decentralization in 80s. That is to say, advocating Federal system of governance in pretext of the development and service distribution, but with conspicuous proliferations of hateful speech deliveries along ethnic and regional lines, could potentially ignite civil strife along tribal divide in long run.

Equatorians and Nuers Extremists’ statements in various forums and internet mediums preach that Federalism would liberate them from alienation and domination of Bahr el Gazal, specifically the Dinkas tribe.

Even moderates South Sudanese who are pro federalism shrewdly deploy misguided or crafty assertions to promote divide in order to attain Federalism: 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 we could be only is as people of one destiny. Being of one destiny was the only unifying factor that brought independence to South Sudan, (Jacob K. Lupai, Federal system of government the Salvation of the South Sudan, http://www.southsudannation.com;http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/federal-system-of-government-salvation-of-south-sudan).

Unlike many Equatorian writers that I mostly read their contributions on this subject, I consider Mr. Lupai to be a moderate South Sudanese. However, Mr. Lupai in his statement above stunned me. Perhaps, he is lost in trying to put pun into his philosophy or is trying to justify division of South Sudanese base on tribal and regional differences.

This is absurd because three known regions of South Sudan, Equatoria, Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile are not homogenously inhabited; they are all occupied by various, different tribes of South Sudan that make up these regions.

If Mr. Lupai is trying to justify Equatorians to be one people who are categorically different from people of Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile regions, then such presumption is erroneous at best, because equatoria is a region inhabited by various ethnic groups or tribes, which implies that if people of South Sudan cannot be one people for ever because they are different and so never would people of Equatoria be one forever.

Nevertheless, nations are amalgamations of different ethnicities, race, cultures, religions, etc that form one unique national identity as one people. Besides, Federations all over the world are created with understanding to embrace cultures in one country and to ease equality of development and distribution of services equitably to the people of the same country.

That is to say, in one country, certain regions or all regions maybe or may not be inhabited by ethnically or culturally or religiously the same groups of people; yet Federalism, as a system of governance, is instituted to attain and promote oneness, equality of development and above all to achieve understanding and promotion of all cultures as proud and unique heritages of one united country.

South Sudan cannot be exception to this harmonious rule and belief in Federal system, though we are in fact homogenously African race, homogenously and culturally African descent, and almost homogenously animist and Christian nation. We have commonalities in cultures, religion, race and ethnicity that we can embrace and value as our heritages.

By historical struggles, by religions, by people and cultures and by geographical delineations, South Sudanese are simply “one people.” We fought for seventeen (17) years and gained autonomy as one people and struggled again in unity for twenty (22) years and achieved independence as one people. Indeed, we have mixed and intermarried now more than previous years or centuries.

Then ethnically, religiously and culturally, we are almost the same African tribes subdivided into groups of linguistically related tribes. Realistically, out of 64 tribes, Tribes in South Sudan are grouped into 8 or 7 categories.

With all these commonalities, why would one capitalized or preached being different to justify adaptation of Federalism in the country and diminished oneness that we indisputably are?

Unless one has a hideous plan in mind or lack ideas that justify better system of governance.
South Sudan is geographically and culturally diverse, vast and remotely undeveloped.

Devolution of power in form of Federalism would assist in promoting rapid development, better exploitation and utilization of resources, and accessibility of basics services needed. Without prejudice and in quest of development that would address marginalization in any of the regions in the country, we can claim any democratic system- federal, circular, unilateral, etc base on our love of democracy and freedom we fought for to achieve for half a century as people.

We should value, development, freedom and democracy because we sacrificed 2.5 million, un-quantified lost of properties and unimaginable indignities to achieve better ways of life and coexistent as people. Freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, as American termed it, should be our quest and motto as a nation regardless of our current limited development.

Instead of the government or unscrupulous politicians withholding better democratic ways of governance, after independence, the SPLM ruling party should be conscious of what it fought for- “the liberation of marginalized people of the Sudan.” After having achieved our independence, I consider Lack of civil liberties and clear democratic system as a mockery to our quest for freedom, “a shame on the SPLM’S ideology” that advocates liberation of “marginalized” people in the Sudan.

Apparently lack of civil liberties had driven us, unnecessarily, to current civil war in which some masquerading leaders in opposition are now trying to champion attainment of civil liberties, democracy or struggle to adopt certain system of governance.

Having achieved our hard earned independence, we should be mindful of our rights and willingly give them so that, collectively, we invest our might and energies to explore our resources, economics and human potentials, to improve our wellbeing as people with no discrimination.

Only in a politically sound environment, free of hatred and ethnic rivalries, shall we achieve understandings that would lead us to explore our collective potentials and as well value our tribal and political differences for our common goods and prosperity as people.

Views that tend to embrace tribal differences to justify regional divide than unity by tribal and regional extremists, are destructive and thus scrutinized with contempt by people of other regions or tribes with intended wrong judgement of issues, let alone considering gentle disagreement to agree on fundamental issues necessary for our progress as a nation.

Extreme and obnoxious views would lead us, as a nation, to a senseless, unnecessary self-destruction for no reason(s) or for no benefits to be reaped but doom in the end-like it is in current civil strife. This should not be of any surprise or ignore, because in the past Equatorians advocates of decentralization in 80s wanted decentralization to “escape” what was termed as a “Dinkas’” or in general “Nilotics’ domination” that subsequently ended up with violence along ethnic and regional line.

Hence, call for regions or tribes to rise up against other tribes or regions, as it was proclaimed by Dr. Tombe Wani, is an impediments to genuine discussions on Federalism, nation building and governance reform in general, because they can only promote hatred and tribal rivalry that obstruct openness and sincerity in debating issues that matter for better future as a country.

Such rivalry has already been generated by the December 15th incident and some Equatorian leaders like Dr. Wani Tombe’s called for Equatorian youth to take up arms and join Dr. Riek’s movement to fight for their rights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIcJ6IQw-SI).

The Jieng Council of Elders press releases on December 14, 2014 that urged Jieng people to defend themselves could be interpreted as a response to their fears of what they see as anti-Jieng: “As the Council of Jieng, we want the Jieng people to know that the anti-Jieng [Dinka] conspiracy to demise the entire Jieng community marches on and to alert our people that we must all stand up to defend and protect ourselves from the world that seems so pleased to celebrate with our haters, our demise,” (http://paanluelwel.com/2014/12/14/press-release-the-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-south-sudan/).

It is scary, sad and pathetic to read such a bellicose call from an elderly council of Jieng that, in this crucial time of crisis in our history, should wisely reach out to amend damages done in our sociopolitical fabrics by December 15th target killings and by senseless and revengeful civil war that ensued afterward in our country.

It is scary to know that even a wise council of elders stooped to duke it out policy. As well, it is pathetic to see a revered body of wisdom giving in to hatred. Not the least, it is sad to comprehend that Jieng society known for its peaceful and careful approach to war conflict issues succumbs to warmongering plot.

It is a bad precedent that our elders are setting on behalf of Jieng society and has to be rejected by Jieng, for there is better ways to go around hatred of Jieng in South Sudan than warmongering defensive call. Never in the history of the Sudan had Jieng ever had political intention to unite to dominate or to fight their enemies in solidarity.

Not even during slavery era when Jieng were enslaved by Arabs; not even during modern Sudan (in 80s) when slavery was revived by Araba in the Sudan; not even during Kokora when Jieng were targeted in Equatoria; not during civil war struggle when Arabs and tribal militias were deployed to attack Dinkas village; not even as of recent era when Jieng villages from Awiel to Abyei and up to Pan-thou and Karsana occupied, and still contested, by Arabs in the Sudan, did Jieng declare their solidarity to fight their enemy or to reclaim their stolen land by Arabs neighbors.

Despite having not declared tribal solidarity in the past to fight its enemies, sub-Jieng communities confronted by hostility of any kind fought their enemies, and in conjunction, as priority, sought peace with enemy for peaceful coexistence.

So why is it now that Jieng’s solidarity is rallied against South Sudanese when Jieng are in better position to change things diplomatically and peacefully? Why now when the Jieng are the ones ruling or in control of South Sudan? Our elders have even gone far to the point of attempting to silent or taunting Jieng members who view current affairs in the country differently: due to what Jieng elders perceive as collaboration with non-Jieng to annihilate Jieng people, they down cast their own who disagree with them: “The hate for Jieng within the South Sudanese community is now very obvious, even to you, the few Jieng, who had been driven by anger and disagreement with the ruling system of South Sudan to join this movement of Riek Machar Teny, so clearly bent on the destruction of Jieng,” (http://paanluelwel.com/2014/12/14/press-release-the-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-south-sudan/).

This is preposterous! However, it is obvious to assert that Jieng Council of elders is coerced by hateful messages directed to Jieng as a society in current conflict. In other words, hateful views in response generate no better understanding but the same hateful views.

Nevertheless, the so called “anti-Jieng conspiracy” should not make Jieng elders to stoop low as they did in the quotation above. As well, Jieng Council of elders went far to obstruct freedom of association in politics of our country in the second quotation. Let me reiterate the same quote for clarity: “The few Jieng…………..driven by anger and disagreement with ruling system…..to join……..Riek Machar Teny …clearly bent on the destruction of Jieng,” (http://paanluelwel.com/2014/12/14/press-release-the-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-south-sudan/).

What have we really become! In a democratic setting, citizens are accorded right to religiously and politically association as they want regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. Our elders have abused this right by trying to intentionally silent Jieng members with different views.

I quoted the above quotes to make my point in the light of this article. Though, I intend in the near future, on different topic, to comments on such attempts to exacerbate the conflict than solving it.

My advice to MY beloved Jiengs and South Sudanese readers, in general, is to tell them that extreme comments from various writers quoted above, drive us apart as people for no goods but self-destruction. Hatred and extremism of these kinds are intended by those who make them to confuse people and not forgetting their trials in this fashion to discourage diversity in thinking by silencing those who see things differently.

I doubt not that future of Jieng, as a society, is in diversity in thinking than in a collective oriented single view as a society. Jieng, as a society, in South Sudan, has always been in a good side of South Sudan’s history of struggle.

Today, when South Sudan is independence and many people of South Sudan desire Federalism as a system that suites their cultural diversity, Jieng as a society should value this aspiration than to be seen discouraging it. Not the least, Jieng as society, as majority in the country, should be aware of what many would view as a tyranny of society in which a ruling society collaborates with government to withheld rights of others.

As people of South Sudan with no exception, nothing could really drive us, at this point in our history, to hate or divide ourselves when God has answered our prayers in granting us freedom we long for when we were collectively subjugated and bused in the Sudan.

Even brutal December 15th incident, its aftermath onslaughts and ensuing civil war should not drive us extreme or apart as some want it, because they were engineered and forced down our throats to swallow by circumstances. We should treat December 15th incident as a result of weak point in our political system that finally broke loose and needs wise, collective views of all South Sudanese people to address and fix it.

So, if our intent is to accomplish good governance in form of federalism, then we should emphasize on our unity as one people of one united country first, who simply desire implementation of Federalism to achieve democracy, good governance, devolution of power, and equal development to all people of one united country with no discrimination.

In a society like ours in which illiteracy rate is high, with no laws to fight hateful views and no civil liberties and rights to fight discrimination, emphasizing on our tribal differences to justify Federalism would create unnecessary alienation that would result into discrimination and violence.

While discussing Federalism as a system we want to adapt, it is important to bear in minds common or collective citizenship and rights and that Federalism is just a governance system that does not withhold nor interfere with citizens rights to live where one choose in one’s country. And by definition, if the system of governance, in one nation, is divided between Federal [central] authority and the various constituents, namely states, provinces, etc.; then the system of governance is referred to as Federalism.

Indeed, the following definition of Federalism stated in the Principle of Democracy, April 2005 Update captures the essence of Federalism as a system of governance: “When diverse groups of free people — with different languages, religious faiths, or cultural norms — choose to live under an agreed constitutional framework, they expect a degree of local autonomy and equal economic and social opportunities. A federal system of government — power shared at the local, regional, and national levels — empowers elected officials who design and administer policies tailored to local and regional needs. They work in partnership with a national government and with each other to solve the many problems the nation faces,” (http://www.ait.org.tw/infousa/zhtw/DOCS/prinDemocracy/prinDemocracy.html).

One can strongly argue that the above definition doesn’t really capture our cultural, religious and even linguistic realities, but we are indeed diverse and free people who could adopt Federal system to govern ourselves. Anyhow, examples of federal states are the USA, Canada Australia, India, and Nigeria, just to mention a few federal systems that we could explore for better understanding.

In Canada, citizens have mobility rights defined in Constitution Act, 1982 chatter of rights and freedom that state:
(1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right (a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and (b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to (a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence; and (b) any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html).

All Federal states in this world have similar mobility rights and freedom of their citizens. Where I reside in Alberta, as a citizen of Canadian an Albertan, Federal laws will not limit my rights if I move from Alberta to Toronto or British Columbia to live there as a Citizen.

I will live and work anywhere in Canada that I call home. If I or my child has political ambition, he/she could become a Member of Parliament, Mayor or a premier of any province they called home, a Prime minster of Canada if he/she has what it takes to be a leader. Federal systems in the USA, Australia, you name them, function the same or similarly when it come to the rights of citizens.

However, in our case, some advocates of South Sudan Federalism appear to suggest a different kind of Federal system that doesn’t conform with any federal system in the world. Some of us think that if you are, for example, from Warrap State you have no right to call Yambo your home to stay, and that you would never become a governor Warrap or a mayor of Kwacjok City, Warrap State even if you were born in Kwacjok but your parents originated from Juba despite having been born in Warrap and having a political ambition to serve people of Warrap.

Whereas, some of us have totalitarian’s tendency to dominate or control others socially, economically, and politically by wanting to control wealth and politics of the country by denying Federal or any democratic system that DEVOLUTIONIZES governance system in the country.

Clearly, our problems with Federalism seems to be a failure to perceive recognition of mobility rights and freedom of our citizens in one united South Sudan, and lust of political domination by certain groups.

As I know, every prominent political and non-political group-the opposition parties, the ruling government, and all regional elders of our three regions of South Sudan appear to have agreed on considering Federal system of government, however; the devil is in details and contents of their proposals.

But first let us take a look at type of governing system in South Sudan at this movement, because some argue that South Sudan is a Federal State when others views disagree with such postulation. After independent, in 2011, South Sudanese inherited Sudan’s system of governance.

Under the Sudanese authority, South Sudan was divided into current ten states. It followed that, during Sudan’s ruling regimes, governors of ten states in South Sudan were appointed by Central government authority. However, in 2005, after CPA peace agreement, the government of Southern Sudan was formed under ruling authority of the SPLM political party that took over governing authority of Southern Sudan region from the NCP regime of the Sudan.

Hence, in 2010 elections, in the Sudan, ten governors of Southern Sudan states and the President of Southern Sudan were for the first time elected democratically. With democratically elected President and elected governors of ten states, South Sudanese view their country as a democracy and some even considered South Sudan Federal State because of its ten states.

Considering South Sudan a democracy is plausible; yet debatable. But calling South Sudan Federal State is contradictory, because federal system is proposed in draft interim constitution that is yet to be passed.

Else, many feel that having ten states in the country with elected governors doesn’t amount to having a federal system since states have no defined powers granted to them and despite the fact that drafted interim constitution is not passed to legitimize Federal system of governance of the country.

Equally, in true Federalism, states must have independent functional government, judiciary, and parliament, economic system, and so forth that operate independently from central authority or federal government. In our case, as a comparison to functional Federal system elsewhere, our country is really not Federal.

Even so, if we consider having ten states and election of our governors as a proof, there are still incidences in which Central government interfered or meddled in individual state’s affairs. Elected governors were fired with executive Federal government decrees and impeachments conducted by state local authority as exercise of state’s democratic process and as state’s independent judiciary laws process, were reversed by Central government authority.

Likewise, appointment of state government ministers, members of parliament and other important positions were influenced if not decided by Central Government Executive’s authority which makes the hold process not democratic, and much to say that it makes State Authority dependent of Central government than self-regulating authority.

All in all, one could argue that South Sudan is more unilateral system than being a Federal system at present. This ushers us into debating current proposals presented by Dr. Riek and his Opposition group, the elders of Bahar el Gazal proposal and how South Sudanese in general think of federalism as a system of governance to be adapted.

When Dr. Riek Machar proposed Federalism as one of his quests in his current rebellion, it raised tremendous alarm and fear in the country. After failed December 15th coup attempt, Dr. Riek’s several attempts to militarily overrun Juba also failed, while his vicious pyrrhic’s victories in occupying most of greater Upper Nile state also lasted shortly.

It was also speculated that had Dr. Riek’s forces captured the whole of Upper Nile State including oil rich county of Renk, Jongeli and Unity State and militarily maintained the whole areas of greater Upper Nile regions, he would have been politically tempted to solicit international support and regional alliance with neighboring countries like the Sudan, Eritrea and even Ethiopia and then declare some kind of greater Upper Nile autonomy.

This was a possibility that was foiled when government troops managed to retake occupied states Capitals of greater Upper Nile region and forced Dr. Riek’s rebels out of strategic areas in greater Upper Nile to defend oil installation in Paloch and in Unity State.

Equally, the manners of which Dr. Riek rebels captured and ransacked towns did not accord him support or sympathy of the Greater Upper Nile people. The Greater Upper Nile is an ethnically/tribally diverse region and brutality of ethnic/tribal targeted revenge killings was horrifying enough to immediately discredit Dr. Riek’s rebellion and making it a movement with no clear objectives, but unbecoming revenge and destruction of both lives and properties.

Having failed to maintain his strongholds captured, Dr. Riek introduce his plan to help fight a long time gorillas’ warfare. This he would never be able to achieve with his predominately tribal based White Army militia alone, so he thought it wise to declare his quest for Federal system of governance to at least draw support, especially, from Equatoria region.

In the Greater Upper Nile Region, the mercilessness of Dr. Riek White Army’s target revenge that did not even spare lives of members of other tribes and ethnic groups of Greater Upper Nile Region plus lack of vision, hampered Dr. Riek’s needed unification of Greater Upper Nile Region to Support his appeal for Federalism. But in the Greater Equatoria, Dr. Riek’s call for federalism was revered.

Immediately, the Central Equatoria Governors Clement Wani and Western Equatoria Joseph Bakosoro plus many Equatorians intellectuals welcome Dr. Riek’s call for Federal South Sudan governance as a good gesture.

Paradoxically, governors of Greater Equatorian States and Equatorians intellectuals dismally failed to realize that Dr. Riek rebelled against the government of which Greater Equatoria is a part and parcel of the legitimate government and recognizing a call by a rebel leader fighting against the government was a mistake that would caused more instability of the ruling government and the country.

This prompted the President’s of South Sudan criticism and warning of Equatorians in general. President Kiir asked Equatorians not to join Dr. Riek’s tricks. Though the President did not oppose call for Federalism, he warned of division of South Sudan as a result.

Dr Riek’s Federalism, according to July 17, 2014 press release, proposed dividing South Sudan into 21 states in conformity with colonial districts ruling. In the Greater Upper Nile Region, Dr. Riek carved following states, (1) Fashoda State, (2) Renk State, (3) Sobat Sate, (4) Akobo State, (5) Pibor State, (6) Bor State, (7) And Bentiu (Unity State), (8) Nasir State. This proposal produced eight states in the Greater Upper Nile Region.

However, Dr.Riek released new state names recently as follow, Adar (North East Upper Nile State), Phou, Liech State. It is yet unclear whether these states names are replacement of some of the state name above or additional states to the list of states created in the Upper Nile Region.

Then in the Greater Equatoria, Dr. Riek carved total of six states namely, (1) Yambio State, (2) Maridi State, (3) Yei State, (4) Juba State, (5) Torit State, (6) And Kapoeta State. Whereas in Greater Bahr el Gazal Region he carved seven states, (1) Northern Bahr el Gazal, (2) Wau State, (3) Raga State, (4) Gogrial State, (5) Tonj State, (6) Rumbek State, (7) And Yirol State. Dr. Riek based his creation of states in accordance with Colonial District policy,

however; he did not recognized, Tumbura District in Equatoria, and Pangak District in the Upper Nile Region as states. Yet, skeptics could deduce that Dr. Riek carved himself a lion’s share by creating 8 states in his region of the Greater Upper Nile Region and less number of states in Greater Bahr el Gazal and Equatoria regions.

This is questionable because Bahr el Gazal and Equatoria are the most populated regions of South Sudan and would also desire creation of more states in them to meet the so called SPLM’S philosophy of taking town to the people or developmental demands.

Indeed, there are views that Dr. Riek’s call for Federal system and creation of more states in general is intended to balance the majority domination in this fashion that would give him comparative advantage in politics.

That is to say, out of ten current states of South Sudan, Dinkas are found in seven (7) states and creation of more non-Dinkas states in all three greater regions of South Sudan would overcome such domination that would help the cause of Dr. Riek and his political allies.

Indeed, some supporters of Dr. Riek’s Federal system proposal advocate representative type of democracy in which the President of the country would be elected by members of the house or senate, nominated by each state regardless of tribal majority in the state to elect the president, and not by straight public elections.

In the light of this, both political collusion and coalition of states would define ruling political dominance group. Not the least, Dr. Riek advocates restructuring of the military (the SPLA) based on states. Thus, creation of more states in his strongholds also gives him comparative military advantage.

In his recent Pangak’s convention, Dr. Riek verified his call for two armies in the country by forming his military high command and states led by appointed military governors, which is viewed with great concern and skepticism.

For majority in Greater Bahr el Gazal Region, there is more cynicism to be deduced from Dr. Reik’s call for Federalism that needs cautious approach in embracing his call for Federalism if unity of the country is considered paramount or a MUST maintain necessity by all stake holders. Therefore, Dr. Riek’s call for Federal system of governance was out-rightly rejected by many in Greater Bahr el Gazal Region.

Nonetheless, the elders of Greater Bahr el Gazal Region, in consultation with the elders of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria regions, came up with parallel proposal that supported Federal system according to colonial district governance. It is similar to Dr. Riek’s proposal but it divides South Sudan into 23 states.

After elders of Bahr el Gazal revealed their proposal, the Federal politics and tension that took hold of the country, at the time, quelled down at least. According to the elders of Bahr el Gazal, South Sudan would be divided into 23 states that composed of six (6) states in Greater Equatoria {Imatong Lomurnyang, Maridi, Gbudwe, Jubek and Yei States}; nine (9) states in Greater Bahr el Gazal {Wau, Aweil, Lol, Aweil East, Kiir, Gogorial, Tonj, Lakes, and Rumbek}; and eight (8) states in Greater Upper Nile {Liech, Rwueng, Eastern Nile, Western Nile, Jonglei, Biech, Latjoor, Boma states}.

As one could see, the Greater Bahr el Gazal region has a lion’s share of nine states compare to the rest of the regions. The skeptics have already criticized this as unfair rationing of states between three regions. However, and according to the Jieng elders, the proposal was widely debated by consulting committee from three regions, and as well the proposal has more flexibility given to changes to meet understanding of all regions.

So far, we have seen the proposal of Dr. Riek and his SPLM-IO, the proposal of three greater regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Gazal regarding Federal system of governance from their documented and released communiqué. To satisfy our curiosity, it is practical to present the position of the ruling government, the rest of the public and the stand of the SPLM party, as liberation party that brought us independence, in Federal system political saga proposed.

The opinion of the ruling government is drawn from speeches and press releases by government officials in response to the call for Federal system by the SPLM-IO. Whereas, shared opinions of some members of general public are drawn from individuals with whom I have discussed adopting Federal system of government for the country, while the SPLM Party’s stand on Federalism is a pure observation.

Therefore, I portray the position of the government of South Sudan on Federal system, as opposed to the SPLM-IO (rebellious opposition proposal), from perception and response of the President of the country. The President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir said that he has no objection in adopting Federal system in the country, but he would let South Sudanese public decide, in the referendum, on the issue.

This statement is fair enough and gives us clue to government intention in dealing with Federal system of governance proposed. Based on the President’s response, I can speculate that the public is asked in this fashion, with no farther details, to anticipate referendum on this issue when the time comes.

With regard to the general opinion of various people from different regions of South Sudan that I have met and discussed the idea of Federalism for South Sudan, I have deduced divided opinion on implementation of Federal system in the country. Some think that the Republic of South Sudan is already a Federal country and also assert that having not stated word “federal” in the title of the country means nothing and doesn’t amount to the Republic of South Sudan not being Federal.

Indeed, this group of people suggest maintaining current state of affairs, but give more powers to states. In fact, people of South Sudan are divided based on regions and ethnicity on this issue: many people from Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile, mainly Dinkas especially, do not want Federalism but prefer unilateral system with devolution of powers; while majority in Equatoria and many Nuers of Greater Upper Nile regions want Federal system of governance.

There is a great confusion and lack of knowledge of Federalism as a system of governance. It is of no surprise for South Sudanese, in general, to be confused on this issue, for since Sudan’s independence, South Sudanese have been ruled undemocratically and unilaterally by the Sudan and as well by current SPLM government. Hence, great majority of citizens do not mind about system of governance to say the least, however; the big surprise is the SPLM’S weird position in this issue.

The SPLM’s vision and constitution of 1998 stipulated decentralized democratic system of governance as a ruling system in the new Sudan. Startlingly, the ruling SPLM party since the CPA peace agreement was signed between the south and the north Sudan espoused Sudan’s unilateral system of governance and thrust aside “decentralization and devolution of power” proposed in the constitution as the New Sudan’s ideology system of governance. It is quite challenging though to understand why the SPLM failed to utilize its ideology to rule the country. Indeed, it is mind-boggling to see that none of the SPLM groups, including the government, emphasizes on the decentralization and devolution of power as a prepared SPLM’S system of the governance since they are custodians of the Dr. John Garang’s ideology; yet all camps professed being the SPLM by history and soul. Surprisingly, the spilt within the SPLM and current conflict was caused by the accusation that the President of the Republic, General, Salva Kiir Mayardit and his group has deviated from New Sudan ideology, when the accusers (the SPLM-IO) themselves now called for Federal system that is inconsistent to Dr. Garang’s decentralization and devolution of power system of government for the new Sudan.
The SPLM’S conflict and its senseless perpetual Civil War have caused great damage to our social and political fabric. It is therefore important to highlight that the conflict was created by the SPLM power struggle between the President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former Vis President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and later joined by Secretary General of the SPLM Party, Mr. Pagan Amum Ukech. Subsequently, the coalition of fired Vice President, fired ministers, fired General Secretary and Dr. John Garang family who backed fired Garang’s Boys, formed against the President. The President responded by firing the whole of his cabinet plus general secretary of the party.
As the result, the SPLM coalition of fired oppositions held political rally in Juba on December 14 in which they released their detailed grievances as in following: (1) The anti-Garang elements inside and outside the SPLM encircled comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leadership of the SPLM and the Government of Southern Sudan [2005-2007]……….. (2) The shift in decision making process from SPLM national organs to regional and ethnic lobbies around the SPLM chairman when it came to appointments to positions in government; that membership of the SPLM and one’s participation in the revolutionary struggle became irrelevant……….. (3) The efforts to transform the SPLM from a liberation movement into a mass based political party have totally been frustrated by the Chairman. General Salva ignored the grassroots views and demands garnered between July and August 2012 for the SPLM re-organization. (4) There is no formal communication between the party organs at the national level and those in the States, County, Payam and Boma levels. The Government drives the SPLM rather than the other way round, (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article49087).
If one compares the SPLM-IO grievances on December 14th Juba rally with Dr. Riek’s speech in Pangak SPLM-IO Conference, one would find lots of contradictions in the causes of the conflict and the SPLM-IO demanded solutions to address the “root causes of the conflict. For example, the SPLM-IO demands formation of two armies in the country, establishment federalism system, restructuring of parliament, judiciary, just to mention a few that do not really conform to initial causes of the conflict. I have given the background of the conflict, stated above, to point out that the government offers and SPLM-IO positions and claims are unsteady and peace talks in Addis Ababa are not geared toward addressing the root cause of the conflict as a result. This prompts many questions in the minds of many South Sudanese, questioning the seriousness; the sincerity and political moral consciousness of our political leaders, now locked in bitter fight for power, in bring peace in to the country by first reconciling their differences and then address system of governance differently and constitutionally.
Since all of them, leaders, claimed being the SPLM gurus that cherish the New Sudan ideology, why would a democratic system of governance like the one promised in their SPLM’s constitution in which system of governance, military duties, parliamentary duties, citizens’ rights and participation strongly stipulated and encouraged, unacceptable to them as a solution! Are they really oblige to devise system of governance, restructuring of government, the Army, the Judiciary, etc in this peace talks rather than stopping bloody war and later use democracy and elected parliament to address reform?
The real problem is in the SPLM party, and so is the solution in the SPLM vision and constitution! It will be nice of all the SPLM leaders if they just stop war mongering and flip-flop and get their acts together by reconciling their ranks and share their government? This way, many lives will be spared from senseless war. The public is well aware that all the SPLM leaders, now fighting, were in the government and followed no rules, constitution, promises, etc. Does it matters that old rules discard and new written to be followed by the same people? It is illogic! I read an article in global witness entitled, “Blueprint for Prosperity-How South Sudan’s New Laws Hold the Key to a transparent and Accountable Oil sector” November 2012 issue that stated the “New Laws” if followed would address corruption and so forth. This suggests that are already New Laws in place that can address problems, but they are hardly followed. Anyhow, in this conflict, people were targeted based on their ethnicity particularly in the greater Upper Nile Region where it is hard to delineate or carve tribal state without including other tribe in the same state. Here, the question is: what is the significance of using Federal system to address current conflict? Is it to address tribal domination or racial discrimination or both and on what level-State or Federal level? Since proposed states carved minorities in some of the states in which they were ethnically targeted in this conflict, how would Federal system proposed address racial and tribal violence in this faction? Likewise, since proposals also recommend creation of tribal states, how would this address the necessity of our needed unity in the country? In view of the above questions, the following recommendations would help pave our way to achieve a lasting peace and unity in our country:
• Cease hostility. Commit to peace talks to end the war by agreement. Accept power sharing. Reconcile leadership differences to ease transformation of the SPLM party. Resettled displaced and immediately stage reconciliation and healing processes.
• Adopts the SPLM decentralization and devolution of power systems that distribute powers up to the Boma level or start implementing Federal system by giving more powers to current 10 states while developing towns, laws and people to meet future demands and creation of more states.
• Establish democratic governance first by building independent institutions like judiciary and parliament at both Central and state level to safeguard democracy and rule of law.
• Gradually Limit Central powers and authority over states by allowing states to develop their autonomous local governance independent of central government and by identify where central government and state government can jointly work and where they can independently work to ease devolution of powers and to avoid frictions.
• Elect credible National Assemblies, at both level of state and Federal, as an institutions capable of writing and overseeing laws of the land to independently and efficiently address problems facing the country.
• Address corruption, tribalism and racial divide by outlawing them and establish institutions of law and laws to fight and punish discrimination and violence cause by tribalism, and as well educate public about importance of unity and dangers of tribalism and racial hatred.
• Educate public about democracy and objectives of federalism or decentralized system of governance by democratically encouraging citizens’ participation and awareness in their governance.
• Demarcate state boundaries and address cattle seasonal migration, stealing and raiding by establishing both Federal and state police forces and security posts to address cattle raiding, thief and migrating problems.
• Democratically transform the SPLM as a ruling party to address devolution of powers democratically and creditably.
• Separate the SPLA/M by developing them as independent institutions.
• Develop the SPLA as an independent national military institution free of political affiliation that is accountable to all the parties in the country and capable of carrying its military duties without political, tribal, and regional inclination or influence.
• Clearly spell out citizens mobility rights and educate states, counties, Payams, and Boma government authority about mobility rights of the citizens to move freely, settle freely, do business freely and work anywhere in the county without discrimination or harassment.
• Initiate targeted development to address unnecessary migration from Greater Bahr el Gazal and Greater Upper Nile Region to Equatoria by developing Malakal town, Wau town, Rumbek, Unity State, Aweil, Kwacjok, Nasir, etc., and then construct main transport roads that connect all three regions ( Equatorial, Bahr el Gazal, and Upper Nile) from the Capital city Juba to Rumbek, Wau, Ragj, Aweil, Kwacjok, Turalei, Abei, Unity State, and from Juba to Jongeli, Akobo, Malakal and Renk and Nasir, etc, so that availability of goods and basic services reach all regions.
• Encouraging South Sudanese Diasporas communities to denounce tribalism promote unity by form one uniting South Sudanese community in their localities.
• Encouraging SPLM chapters and non-SPLM chapters in the Diasporas to encourage unity and denounce tribalism.
• Solicit Diasporas expertises by encouraging them to bring back home their diverse knowledge in business, education, skills, ideas, etc to help in addressing development and as well help in promoting living in multicultural society.
• Encourage South Sudanese at home to embrace multiculturalism by culturally intermingle through learning one another languages and cultures, through intermarriages, through visitation, work or live or school in each other’s states to know themselves well.
• Establish media (radio and TV station) in State, Counties, Payams, and Bomas to help in promoting peace and unity and fighting tribalism. Indeed, establishing a broad based media would bring government’s important messages to the locals.
• Grant civil liberties like freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and opinion, etc
• Grant Medias (press, radio, television, etc.) rights and freedom to help in fighting tribalism and corruption and help in promoting nationalism and above all, help in informing and educating the public of all the laws, rights, duties, and responsibilities of the citizens including promotion of peace, reconciliation and coexistence as one people.
In summation, what is hurting the country right is insecurity and civil war. We should, as people, think of doing the right think first. Stop the War. Reconcile our people to jointly work in unity to devise a system of governance that would adequately address our needs and problems: whether be it development, coexistence, political, economic, racism or tribalism, lack of democracy, marginalization, etc in clear minds. We cannot come up with a viable system of governance in a situation where insecurity rules, where lack of democracy and freedom of expression is absence. Indeed, there is no a successful federal system or a successful decentralized system of governance without democracy in which citizens democratically, politically, and economically participate in the affairs of their country. Currently, South Sudan is almost one party state though there is a recognized official opposition party, the SPLM-DC. The SPLM controls National Assembly, 93 %. The SPLM controls National Army, (the SPLA), which is subordinated to the SPLM ruling as specified in the SPLM constitution. The ruling government should realize that successful nations are built through participations and contributions of all citizens in various walks of lives. That is to say that the government has to recognize that oppositions parties in the country also contribute to nation building in constructively criticizing government shortcomings and in participating devising laws in the country; that civil society contribute to nation building in making sure that citizens’ rights are granted, respected and protected by the government; that every citizen’s views count in building the country; and mostly importantly recognizing that we do not have to become one party members to know what is good for the country or love our country. Secondly, the SPLM-IO should know that our people do not deserve this war considering what they went through during liberation struggle. To be sincere, people of South Sudan suffered war atrocities for nearly 50 years; they do not desire nor deserve reform through the barrel of the gun. This particular war perpetuated by the SPLM-IO brought much hurt to us as people of common destiny and should immediately stop! Let us use dialogue not war to agree on issues that matter to us as a nation.

Morris Kuol Yoll is a concerned south Sudanese Canadian residing in Alberta-Canada. He could be reached at myoll2002@yahoo.com or 403 228-3290. Preferably, Morris welcomes your response via email. Thanks in advance.

Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation (REMNASA) – New rebel group formed in South Sudan

Press Statement on Launch of REMNASA, 28/1/2015, SSN;

The forces of Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation (REMNASA) on 27/1/2015 launched a successful attack on the sectarian regime security forces in Maridi killing 6 soldiers and wounding many others. They captured arms and ammunition. This attack marks the official launch of second liberation struggle under REMNASA with the aim to dislodge the murderous regime of Dictator Salvatore Kiir in Juba.

It should be recalled that this group rebelled from the South Sudan Army on 9/1/2015 and on 19/1/2015 attacked the SPLA production unit at Mankakara 2 which is located 8 KM from Maridi two nom Maridi-Rumbek road.

REMNASA was formed by SPLA Officers who have been affected by the poor governance and failed leadership in the country. The failure of the SPLM leadership in South Sudan precipitated the crisis in South Sudan which has lead to loss of thousands of lives, rape, human right abuses and crime against humanity.

The crisis has completely destroyed the social fabric of our people. And for that matter the two protagonists can in no way possible be able to reconcile the people and restore genuine peace even if they are to reach peace agreement now.

It appears the IGAD led peace talk is mainly focusing on sharing of positions and unification of the SPLM factions.

Furthermore so many stakeholders inside the country have been excluded from participating in finding solutions to the current crisis.

As such the ongoing IGAD mediation has been turn into solving SPLM problems while neglecting the fundamentals issues that resulted into the current civil war such as poor governance, tribalism, nepotism, dictatorship, lack of inclusiveness, human right abuses, intolerance, corruption, elitism and lack development.

Therefore the current conflict should have been viewed as a national crisis and unless all the various actors in the political landscape in South Sudan are involved, we in REMNASA believe no sustainable peace will be restored in the country.

Hence any peace agreement resulting from non-inclusive process will not resolve the current conflict in the country.

Therefore,
…. mindful that lack of comprehensive peace agreement that involves all 64 Nationalists shall further result into more chaos and total disintegration of the country;
…. acknowledging the deep division between the two antagonistic tribes that has resulted into continuous struggle for power among them;
…. aware of the fact that the regime of Salva Kiir has failed to develop and implement the much needed reforms that could have save the country from the ongoing meaningless war;
…. deeply touched by the suffering of the people and their desperate need for humanitarian assistance and the necessity to salvage the country from complete disintegration;
…. We the officers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army together with our people who voted for the independence with the hope of having a country where federalism, Equality, Justice, Diversity, Peaceful co-existence and Prosperity prevails do hereby resolve to launch a Revolutionary Movement called the Movement for National Salvation of the people of South Sudan to dislodge the current illegitimate and sectarian regime of Dictator Salvatore Kiir Mayardit, the President of South Sudan.

The leadership of the people’s Movement will aspire to restore the squandered liberation aspirations of the people and guide the revolution through a new unifying vision to secure an equal, free and prosperous Democratic Federal Republic of South Sudan.

Signed:
Major Losuba Lodoru
Commander of REMNASA Forces
South Sudan.

Panic in Juba as SPLA Generals at Bilpam order arrest of Senior South Sudan Army Officer on Account of ‘Lost Battle Tanks’

JUBA: South Sudan is in a panic mode tonight as high military officials composing of the Chief of General Staff and his deputies order the arrest of Pariang Commanding officer, Col. Achuil Mathiang Kiirnaar. Achuil’s arrest follows a fierce fighting in Unity State last week between the South Sudan army, SPLA, and the rebels of the SPLM/iO supported by the Sudanese army. The fighting which took place at the western part of Ruweng County at Toma South, Aliiny Payam, lasted for three days.

The fighting was allegedly instigated by the rebels after they reportedly attacked and set ablaze oil facilities. Attempts by the SPLA, under the general command of Col. Achuil, to extinguish the explosive fire which threatened to destroy oil reserves worth billions of dollars was met with steep resistance mounted by the combination of the South Sudan’s rebels and the Sudan army, SAF, from Panthou.

As fighting raged on for three days and the SPLA, under the general command of Col. Achuil Mathiang were pushed back. As a result, two tanks, one with deflated wheels and another which had run out of fuel, were seized by the rebels and their SAF supporters.

As anyone might expect, the generals at Bilpam were shocked at the loss of the tanks. Achuil and his army of volunteers who have never been paid since February 2014 have become the objects of military wrath at Bilpam.

What is surprising, however, is why Achuil and his army who were supporting the cause of the government and people of South Sudan, by protecting the most important national resource there is at the moment, were to bear moral blemish.

Besides the loss of tanks, insiders also revealed that the generals have accused Achuil of taking orders from senior oil ministry officials, namely Paul Adong Bith and the Minister of Oil and Mining, Stephen Dhieu Dau.

This news has, however, not been received well both in Juba and at the frontline region of Ruweng County, the county which sits on more than 85% of proven oil reserves in Unity State.

The general concerns in Juba and around South Sudan is that, should the Panaruu people be angered, as this is likely to be the case, they might be forced to abandon their support to the government. The result is one that might tip the scale in favour of the rebels in this conflict.

Reports from Juba and Pariang.
BY: (Name withheld) Fresh News, JAN/28/2015, SSN;

A.U. must act to end the rape & torture of women in South Sudan

By NAVANETHEM PILLAY, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nationmedia, JAN/27/2015, SSN;

As the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, I visited South Sudan in May 2012, less than a year after its people voted for a better future as an independent nation state.

There were human rights issues to address but also a great optimism. I returned in April 2014, and found my hopes shattered.

Then, I was made hopeful by discussions with South Sudan’s leaders on discrimination and violence against women. The president and senior officials seemed committed to supporting girls’ empowerment and education.

I had returned in April, four months after tensions within the county’s ruling party Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) boiled over into armed conflict in the capital, Juba. Violence spread rapidly among security forces, with civilians targeted based on their ethnicity or assumed political affiliation.

Armed thugs roamed the countryside, raping women and children and taking them as sex slaves. My hopes were shattered.

GENOCIDE MEMORIES

The ruthlessness of sexual violence in South Sudan brings back memories of Rwanda. In 1998, while serving as a judge on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, my colleagues and I heard horrendous stories of mass rapes and other sexual crimes.

In our judgment in the case of The Prosecutor vs. Jean Paul Akayesu, we held that sexual violence in war could constitute genocide and crimes against humanity as well as torture.

We found that sexual violence was used as an instrument of war aimed at the systematic destruction of Tutsi women and the Tutsi group as a whole.

While South Sudan is not experiencing genocide, the levels of sexual violence are no less shocking. Zainab Bangura, the UN’s envoy for sexual violence in conflict, recently said she has not witnessed a situation worse than South Sudan in her 30 years’ experience.

One of the main reasons we are seeing such extreme sexual violence in South Sudan is the country’s pervasive culture of impunity. The perpetrators — including members of the police, army, and armed militias — know that there is no rigorous justice system and almost no risk of consequences. Unless this changes, the frequency and brutality of sexual violence will rise as one cycle of violence fuels the next.

For those seeking justice, accountability, and an end to the country’s longstanding culture of impunity, the African Union’s commission of inquiry on South Sudan is a beacon of light.

In Summary
There have been tremendous advances in tackling impunity for serious crimes over the past 20 years, in particular through the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court.
For those seeking justice, accountability, and an end to the country’s longstanding culture of impunity, the African Union’s commission of inquiry on South Sudan is a beacon of light.
Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to be commended for her leadership in forming the first-ever African Union investigation of mass human rights violations on our continent.

DAMNING REPORT

Under the leadership of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, the commission’s final report is expected to be a damning document that details countless human rights violations and even lists names of those recommended for trial. This is what the beginnings of accountability should look like.

Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to be commended for her leadership in forming the first-ever African Union investigation of mass human rights violations on our continent.

Now she faces an even bigger challenge to see life breathed into the commission’s recommendations. It is critical that the African Union Peace and Security Council make Mr Obasanjo’s report public and act upon its recommendation to establish a credible accountability mechanism for South Sudan.

We need accountability and justice to stem the tide of human rights abuses spreading across much of South Sudan. The threat of criminal prosecution can act as a powerful deterrent and may even help convince the warring parties that they have more gain by laying down their guns and committing to the (more difficult) task of making peace and rebuilding their country.

IMPUNITY

There have been tremendous advances in tackling impunity for serious crimes over the past 20 years, in particular through the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court.

While international and national accountability processes have contributed immensely to challenging impunity for violations of international law, such efforts on their own cannot stop the cycle completely. Political will on the part of governments is essential and usually constitutes the biggest obstacle.

If the government of South Sudan is not willing or able to put a stop to this insidious form of violence that targets women and girls, the international community has a responsibility to step in.

As African heads of state and AU officials convene in Addis Ababa for the 24th AU Summit, they must do all they can to ensure that the report from Mr Obasanjo’s commission of inquiry represents the beginning of the end of impunity in South Sudan.

Ms Pillay was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014.

2015 Elections: How many carts should Pres. Kiir be allowed to place before the horses?

By: Riang Yer Zuor Nyak, South Sudan, JAN/25/2015, SSN;

Introduction
In my last article, titled ‘Salva Kiir’s Attack on His Own Legitimacy Claim,’ I made a point that the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 provides for four years of transition ”… before a new election could take place under a new and permanent constitution.” The most important part of that statement is the area talking about elections under the permanent constitution.

It signifies that there is no chance for any elections to take place under the current transitional period under the Transitional Constitution. I am only glad that the Opposition Parties have picked up that point and made a move to challenge the government in court for unconstitutionally wanting to conduct elections under the Transitional Constitution.

I want to state that the Opposition Parties have a standing to challenge unconstitutionality of any government’s act, as do any other citizen in the country, so long as the case is justice-able, ripe and not moot.

But, they are wrong as far as timing is concerned. Filing their case at this time goes against ripeness doctrine. The current statements are only threats of action. The government has not yet taken any tangible step towards executing this threat. They should have waited for the time when the government actually releases the election money to the Elections Commission. That would trigger a case for an injunctive relief.

The premature action of the parties is only giving the court an opportunity to throw the case out on the ground that the case is not ripe yet. Nevertheless, there is no chance that the parties can win any case (ripe or not ripe, constitutional or unconstitutional) against Salva’s government in Chan Reech Madut’s court.

Elections
Before March 2013, the issue of elections in 2015 was never problematic. It suddenly started becoming a controversial one after March, when a number of SPLM leaders started showing their interests in the Party’s Chairmanship.

After Salva’s leadership was openly challenged in the party, Salva and Wani started talking about the impossibility of the elections, citing lack of money to fund the exercises, as there were loans, to be repaid, which resulted from the 2012 oil shut down.

This position was taken at the time because Salva and his group did not yet know what to do with those who had shown interest in the Chairmanship of the party. It has to be noted that the party issue had a bearing on the 2015 elections.

The SPLM Constitution stipulates that the Chairman of the SPLM shall be the flag bearer in the presidential election. So, something had to be done first to ensure that the Chairmanship of the SPLM remained with Salva before elections could be allowed to take place. The situation remained as such.

The whole thing started changing after the dissolution of the SPLM structures before the 6th of December 2013. This was the time after the group (Salva’s) seemed to have come up with a plan of action. They had decided to leave the opposition out of the party processes of passing the party basic documents and preparing for the National Convention. This was done to ensure that Salva controlled the process so that the Convention could end up electing him.

Before the Convention could take place, Wani started talking about the elections to be carried out on time. Their actions, beginning with the dissolution of the party structures, pre-determined the outcome of the Convention. They were sure that Salva would remain the Chairman of the party.

To make sure that these opponents did not have freedom to speak or take part in the political process, a plan was put in place to eliminate them one way or anoteor. It had already begun with the home confinement and gagging of Pagan Amum and the removal and accusation of Deng Alor and Kosti Manibe on the basis that they had committed corruption.

For Dr. Riek Machar, they could not come up with any corruption charges. This led to the false accusation of a coup attempt. This was meant to take him out on charges, which would fetch him death sentence. That way, he could be eliminated for good. Carrying this plan out resulted in the current war breaking out, and the issue of elections became mute on its own.

Unilateral Postponement of the Elections
As the Peace Talks were going on last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Salva Kiir while arriving at Juba Airport from an IGAD Summit in May, made a unilateral declaration that he had postponed the elections to 2018 or so. It did not matter to him whether or not he had a reason for such an act.

To him, he was exercising some imaginary constitutional power, or he might actually have thought of himself as the constitution, needing no one else to consult. To other ordinary South Sudanese, it was a clear show of dictatorship. It also showed that he had no regard for the Talks in Addis Ababa.

It was after the declaration that Salva received criticisms both internally and externally. These criticisms came from all directions, including Yoweri Museveni himself—Salva’s most trusted external advisor. As a result, the idea of running elections was dropped altogether. It timing was left to be negotiated at the IGAD-led Peace Talks.

Legitimacy
Suddenly, the nagging issue of legitimacy has become one of desperation on the part of the government. It has now brought the 2015 elections to the fore. I suspect that it is not well thought out. It might have come up during some form of an ordinary conversation that the constitutional period of transition was approaching its end. Then someone might have tried to put himself in the position of a problem solver by suggesting elections as an ingenious way of restoring legitimacy.

But, would that really solve the problem? Not a chance. The current Transitional Constitution is a big stumbling block.

Whatever Happened to the Transition?
Arguments for and against the 2015 elections have been advanced by many a people, following the first time that the government started declaring its intentions to conduct elections so as to avoid “leadership vacuum”.

These arguments for the conduct of elections include the government carrying out a constitutional mandate, avoiding being categorized as illegitimate, and allowing the people to exercise their constitutional democratic right of choosing their leaders. Whatever they are, the arguments have no constitutional basis.

Arguments against the elections include insecurity, lack of a conducive atmosphere for the elections, state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile and the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa. They all suggest the impossibility of conducting a free and fair election. They are very sound and legitimate reasons. However, they are secondary.

The primary focus should be on the fact that the current period in the country is transitional. As such, the current Transitional Constitution’s role is to transition us from the period when South Sudan was an autonomous part of the old Sudan to the period when we could have a permanent constitution.

It follows that the period is for the preparation of a new and permanent constitution of our own for the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. It is the government constituted or created by such a new and permanent constitution that officials should be elected to. It is not the current transitional government that officials should be elected to, as advocated by Salva and group.

Putting Pressure on the SPLM/A?
Someone made a suggestion that the government might be trying to put pressure on the SPLM/A by trying to conduct national elections. This is a laughable assertion. There is no way that one can put pressure on another by doing the wrong thing. One would be best served by doing the right thing in the interest of the people so that the opponent, if trying to go the opposite way, can find him/herself against the people.

The government, if that is part of the plan, will find itself under its own pressure by ending up antagonizing the people by trying to conduct unconstitutional elections. The people have a lot of things on their minds. There is war raging on in the country, which would make it impossible to conduct a free and fair election; there is a state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile; there is a threat of war-induced famine looming; there were fellow citizens killed in cold blood and no accountability procedures in place yet; and there are many more. Faking an election for the sake of a manufactured legitimacy would be the last thing to hear.

Insisting on the elections without legal basis would see the government ending up putting pressure on itself, as it will find no support from the ordinary people and the international community as well.

A Cart Before the Horse
The government should, now, be concerned with what to do with the transitional period as the first priority. Or else, whatever Juba does other than that, is meaningless. At this point, it has only two options to choose from before contemplating the conduct of elections. Going for the elections before going for one of the two options is like placing the ‘cart before the horse.’

1. Writing the Permanent Constitution
Paragraph 8 of the Preamble to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 talks of the use of that Constitution and the period for which it shall be in use. It is only and strictly to be used for the Transitional Period. It talks about how the Constitution should be referred to upon adoption “…and shall be the supreme law by which the independent and sovereign South Sudan shall be governed during the Transitional Period…” It is at the end of this period that the new constitution should come in to force.

Article 199 (2) of the Transitional Constitution supports the point made above. It states, “This Constitution shall remain in force until the adoption of a permanent constitution.” By “This Constitution”, it refers to the Transitional Constitution.

Therefore, the task that the government should be prioritizing, if it is not concerned about the on-going war, should be to write and promulgate the permanent constitution—instead of wasting time and energy talking about preparing the country for what it calls ‘June 30th elections’. It is after the promulgation of the permanent constitution that elections could be conducted. It should not be the other way around.

2. Extending the Transitional Period
In the alternative, Salva could use the provision of the current Constitution to amend the same so as to have an extended period of transition. Article 197 of the Transitional Constitution, in regards to amending, states that, “This Constitution shall not be amended unless the proposed amendment is approved by two-thirds of all members of each House of the National Legislature sitting separately and only after introduction of the draft amendment at least one month prior to the deliberations.”

Knowing the nature of the current National Legislature, I believe Salva would not have difficulties getting the Constitution amended. Getting two-thirds of members in each house to support his amendment would be an instant event.

However, the extension of the transition would not allow elections. The extended period would only be used for the writing of the permanent constitution. It is after this that the elections would result.

Either way, Salva has no legal way of avoiding writing the permanent constitution before he can actually go for any elections.

Concluding Remarks
Whether the government acts alone or in agreement with the SPLM/A, elections—under the current constitutional dispensation in the country—can never be legally conducted to give legitimacy to the current government. There is just no constitutional mandate for elections into the current constitutional regime. It is under the permanent constitution that national elections can be conducted.

Instead of elections, the government should only start thinking on how to embark on writing and promulgating the permanent constitution, if it has the legitimacy to do that alone given the current war situation. It is after this that an election can be talked about. Otherwise, the government would be putting carts before horses.

The current transitional period is not for elections. It is for our transition to the next period to be ushered in by a new constitution. It is the next government that leaders will be elected to. This and other reasons, such as insecurity, peace talks that are on-going, etc will never allow this much-talked about elections to happen.

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

Are June 30th 2015 general elections being organized in accordance to South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution, 2011?

By: Bol Khan, South Sudan, JAN/25/2015, SSN;

Once one has decided to stay away for a while or stop commenting on South Sudan political issues, the SPLM Oyee strange mentality would not accept but again and again come up yet with another unhelpful issue, an issue which can’t pass by unchallenged. In my capacity as a concerned active citizen, I have to have my say on this issue of general elections tabled.

As Pericles Athens (c 429-495 B.C.E)’most esteemed statesman,’ said “We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as a harmless but as a useless character”.

First and foremost I must, therefore, applaud and appreciate the South Sudan media houses, Writers/Journalists, civil society organizations, political parties, all the people of South Sudan and the International Community for their unanimous rejection of the so-called general elections scheduled to be held in June 30th 2015.

This promotes me to put across a question of whether or not, June 30th 2015 elections are being organized in accordance with Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011. Of course, they repeatedly say they (Election Commission and Kiir’s Administration) are acting in accordance to Republic of South Sudan Transitional Constitution, that “we are following what the Constitution says”.

However, the derogatory National Government of SPLM in, Juba, South Sudan has been continuously violating the very law of the land (the Transitional Constitution) and at the same time claims an illogical obligation of defending it against all available legal mistakes.

These legal mistakes are visible by all in the world over, except the trivial clique in the kingdom of kleptomaniac. The legal political mistakes which expose the SPLM’s toxic political leadership core weakness are that:

1) The SPLM wrote a supposed national transitional constitution by its own and later violated it before anybody else could do so, by removing elected people, e.g. Gen. Paul Malong, the former Governor of NBS.

2) The SPLM trained and armed a private army in violation of TC’s Article 151 (3); which says “No person or persons shall raise any armed or paramilitary force in South Sudan except in accordance with this constitution and the law”.

3) The SPLM party on Dec 15 2013 decided to fight itself, and then started massacring innocent South Sudanese people without summoning enough courage to stop the destruction that followed. This is the worst of all political scandals!

`4) The SPLM cannot be able to restore peace back to the people of South Sudan through Addis Ababa. To mention but a few.

Generally, any product of SPLM party or anything designed by the SPLM Oyee always kills and destroys. This is true; otherwise, the SPLM Oyee party could implement its Government’s primary responsibilities as quoted below and certainly avert the current chaos as well, in 2013.

In Article 53 (1) of South Sudan’s Transitional constitution; it is stipulated that “the primary responsibilities of the national government shall be, inter alia:

(a) Maintenance of peace and security;

(b) Reconstruction and development;

(c) Promotion of good governance and welfare of the people;

(d) Ensuring the protection of the rights and interests of the people.

The SPLM –led government over the last three years of independence did never touch one of these fundamental duties. Also in the same Article 53 (2) says “the national Government shall discharge its duties and exercise its powers as set forth in this constitution and the law.

To me this article means: all related articles of the Transitional Constitution should be accordingly implemented by the National Government without exception.

Nevertheless, since 2011 to date, it is not the case with the Government of the day in Juba. Especially, when it comes to comprehensive implementation of the articles in question, the SPLM Oyee has been using a tactic of “implement and ignore” the rest of the articles in the constitution.

This tactic has gone beyond dictatorial tendencies, tribalism and even clannish. Let’s take for example, Khartoum successive and deadly regimes during the (21 years of) civil war between the South and the North.

Khartoum in the time we all know was causing insecurity all over the Sudan, killing randomly the country’s citizens in one way or another. And at those times, also conducted non-free and fair elections against the people’s wills.

While the main guerrilla Movement on the other hand, the SPLM by then, was firmly criticizing the regimes. Saying “the NCP or Khartoum’s regime wasn’t paying humane attention to majority ordinary Sudanese people’s voices”.

However, nowadays, the very same SPLM now refers to Khartoum regimes’ defective systems, Somalia’s, Syria’s among others, as best systems to support. Or, as living examples why June 30th 2015 general elections should go on without delay.

Here, the SPLM’s intention is to ignore the rest of other undone legal requirements. Had the SPLM of yesterday became the NCP of last week?

In our view, the organization of general elections before PEACE AGREEMENT is totally wrong. It is an idea that none of true South Sudanese in his/her right sense should buy. June 30th 2015 elections organizers are really operating outside the compound of truth.

The SPLM-led government, instead, should try it best by restoring peace, back to that bleeding-cursed-liked country called South Sudan.

Yes, we can understand that there are people in the kingdom of kleptomaniacs there who look at national institutions as theirs. This long-established idea is a source of all these entire problems which are destroying our country today!

It appears in actions and in the words of few battling regime’s officials as well as in its die-hard clannish fans’ activities.

The South Sudanese popular needs to have elections postponed, until peace is restored, should not be made again like the similar popular demand for federalism, where the same trivial and disturbing clique convinced lately.

And if the stained term expires; should this disquiet only one small group of South Sudanese? NO! Yet, it is a national question being answered nationally by all the people of the country.

As agreed upon in Addis Ababa on 10th May 2014, that “general elections shall be organized by Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) during the transitional period of thirty (30) months.

Contrary to the stated deal, Juba Government’s spokesperson, Makuei Lueth came out angrily, on one of his official working days, earlier this month and said that they would be seeking avenues to organize elections, despite the ongoing peace process in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

And on the following day, South Sudan’s Election Commission’s Chairperson, Abendego Akok jumped up to his feet and announced the commencement of the elections process. Are these two institutions really operating independently as being claimed? I doubt.

At best, perhaps they had cooked something which could forge their extended kins interest after 9th July, 2015. Thumb up, for nineteen (19) Political parties who have opened a legal case against the Election Commission in Juba.

I would love Abendego’s elections Commission to tell the South Sudanese people, through the court, about where he gets green light to go ahead with that so-called general elections process!

Moreover, there is also a call that the National Legislature should be the right branch to extend an expiring tainted term of South Sudan executive organ or Kiir’s administration. I can but to a certain extent agree to this call. However, a question is: Does the National Legislature still be as all South Sudanese people’s representative? Definitely, the answer is a BIG NO!

There are some people whose representatives are not in today’s Juba National Legislature. For instance; Dr. Richard K. Mula of Mundri, Hon. Akol Ayii of Awiel, Hon. Timothy Tot Chuol, Hon. Henry Dicah Odwar…name them. The list is long.

These MPs have their people’s trust….they were their constituencies’ voices in the Parliament. Then, who would sit on their seats entrusted to them by their constituencies?

Again, even the representatives, who are still therein, mostly from Greater Upper Nile, are there just for their personal gains not for their constituencies needs. They have been all rejected, for good, by their respective constituencies.

Would these rejected MPs, together with Benydit’s administration, impose personal interests on the grassroots people whom rejected them?

In addition, National Legislature miserably betrayed to Kiir’s administration, the ordinary South Sudanese people ever since. On the other hand, who still has a vested interest amongst the South Sudanese people to reinstate that illegitimate administration term in office?

Will they be all MPs, who would want to extend that already contaminated term in office? Extending the current South Sudan executive organ term in office is tantamount to decreeing security bill into law which may in turn, denote sentencing citizens to death.

That is a food for thought! What should happen, within these two-three months, is that the SPLM factions must speedily sign peace. We hope and wish the governing factions will be serious about this.

Otherwise, the South Sudan transitional constitution, 2011, Article 102 (2) shall act “If the office of the President of the Republic falls vacant, the post shall be assumed by the Vice President pending elections that shall be conducted by the National Elections Commission within sixty days from the date of occurrence of the vacancy. Who is that Vice President?

In conclusion, I would want Kiir’s administration and South Sudan Election Commission to alternatively listen to both national and international good Samaritans voices. The two institutions should be in touch with reality and majority’s rights.

Evaluation in leadership is very important. Both institutions’ drivers need to accustom themselves with how to pre-empt problems rather than opting to resolve those inevitable blatant problems after they arise.

Reading of the general situations of the people as well as the opinions they express on daily basis concerning any national subject matter is a best way to go in an effective leadership. I know one or all in group will answer it other way round that: there are enjoyable people who want to exercise their democratic rights.

But, is there any need to reminded those folks; that there are also people who cannot be able to exercise their rights due to dreadful sufferings they are enduring? Like those displaced people in Mankigman IDPs camp in Lakes state, in other UNMISS bases across the country as well as in the bordering countries.

Or aren’t all people of South Sudan should be equal, before those institutions legal courts in Juba? Once more, I am of the opinion that PEACE should be priority. To right away, suspend all these divisive and calamitous programs until peace is agreed in Addis Ababa. Yes, Benydit’s homestead wasn’t reached by the conflict, I know.

However, should this be the reason why it is widely being considered that, a slight damage in one part of the body cannot affect the whole system in the same body? “There is no need to wait for invisible IGAD-led peace process; what we can do now, is to alternatively eye what is written in the constitution and implement it, accordingly”.

The later, was an official statement (plan) by Kiir’s administration and openly announced by the regime’s Spokesman, Mr. Michael Kuei Lueth. A plan which in two days later, forwarded to Mr. Abendego Akok Kachuol, the South Sudan Election Commission’s Chairperson, for implementation.

Is this what the Government and Elections Commission are inspiring to do? Okay, if Kiir;s administration and Election Commission are indeed working in accordance to South Sudan Transitional constitution, 2011, as they claim, let’s just take a quick look and see whether or not they are really doing it right.

Squarely to the point, in South Sudan Transitional Constitution, 2011, Article 193 (2) it is stipulated that there shall be National Bureau of Statistics which shall be an independent statistics bureau authorized, inter alia, to:

(b) Conduct census throughout South Sudan states before general elections. This also reads together on the same page with Article 194 that says “The National Government shall during the Transitional period conduct a population census the outcome of which shall, inter alia, determine the number of electoral constituencies for the next general elections.

Have these censuses been done—conducted in accordance with Article 193 (2) (b) and Article 194 quoted above respectively? Of course, they haven’t been conducted. Therefore, if the government and its Election Commission are indeed working in accordance with South Sudan Transitional Constitution, 2011, then they must first of all:

(1) See to it that, the Republic of South Sudan’s permanent constitution is in place;

(2) Conduct the population censuses, which shall determine the number of electoral constituencies for general elections as clearly stipulated in Article 193 (2) (b) & Article 194 respectively; and

(3) Then hold South Sudan’s General Elections.

All these legal (constitutional) requirements must be put in place. As you have seen, elections come last of all, in the above mentioned number (1), (2) & (3)!! Because in procedures, particularly in legal institutions, whatever comes first is always done the first one before the second, the third…etc.

Thereafter, all would-be able South Sudanese people including the author shall freely vote in well organized, procedural, free and fair general elections. Now, if such procedures are not followed as constitutionally stipulated, then June 30th 2015 general elections are being organized not in accordance with South Sudan’s current Transitional Constitution. But in accordance with a constitution of Kiir’s administration alone and its Election Commission which they might have written somewhere, perhaps in Akon.

The author, Bol Khan, is a civil/human rights and peace activist. He can be reached at bolkhan39@yahoo.com.

Who is waiting for who —- Arusha Agreement or Addis Ababa Agreement!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, U.K., JAN/25/2015, SSN;

Let the obvious not be twisted to mean another thing. It is a known fact that the reason SPLM/SPLA is now a fractured movement and Army respectively is because of an internal power struggle. This much is well known to all, although of course lately there are voices trying to make it sound otherwise.

On the other hand people also know that South Sudan is now at war with itself because the SPLM/SPLA leadership decided to take its internal power struggle into residential areas in Juba, other towns and villages claiming over 100,000 innocent lives.

All those murdered men, women, children in this crazy war were people who would have otherwise gone on with their lives in a normal way even if the SPLM were to completely vanish from the political scene given its rotten records or corruption, impunity, embezzlement ………etc.

Arusha unification Agreement is only one of the many fake resorts the fractured SPLM will knowingly use to give the world audience a false impression about its own inborn contradictions.

Many SPLM members and the leadership alike have for a long time received contradicting indoctrinations throughout the history of this party to the extent that there are no more existing a single interpretation to any of its declared mission statements and programmes.

The SPLM/SPLA veterans seem to be convinced that they have to loot the country dry before they can pass the leadership to its second tier cadres. For I am aware that many brilliant young people are being held hostages inside this slowly decaying SPLM/SPLA political party.

They [young SPLM/SPLA members] can either choose to rid South Sudan of this menace and take over leadership of SPLM/SPLA and transform it into a purely political party without any military off-shots or they equally risk rotting and sinking in the inevitably sinking SPLM/SPLA militaristic political party.

When the Arusha Agreement was signed, it was signed not to be implemented until certain conditions (albeit undeclared) are achieved. For SPLM-In-Opposition, that condition is to see President Salva Kiir step down from the SPLM Chairmanship and never runs for presidency again.

SPLM-in-Juba too, is not without an undeclared condition of its own for the implementation of the Arusha Deal. It hopes that the opposition endorses Salva Kiir as the chairperson of the reunified SPLM party minus/plus other things.

These two contradicting positions are equally known to the public. So who is fooling who?

Back to Addis Ababa where things were left unsealed awaiting the outcome of the various consultations held by the warring factions and their grassroots.

“You can take a horse to the river, but you can’t force it to drink”, a simple but important idiom for both IGAD and the Troika as they go around trying to impose a settlement in what is already a complex situation even by South Sudanese’s own standards!

Dr Justin Ambago Ramba. Member of the Political Parties Delegation to the IGAD mediated Peace Settlement for South Sudan and a voice for the voice millions.

Regime sycophants: Talking about elections real or a bluff to change focus on peace process?

BY: Yien Lam, South Sudan, JAN/25/2015, SSN;

I believe this is a public bluffing because there is no reason to believe that a genuine election will be done in south Sudan this time. It is without a doubt in the minds of many if not most people in our country.

People of south Sudan will never be freed under kiir’s leadership. This proposed elections are being manufactured purposely by the regime to sidetrack the ongoing peace process that is being negotiated in Addis Ababa.

This is a known fact that cannot be negated by anyone rather than the decayed regime adherents. It is a naked truth. This is so by the following reasons:

First and foremost, what is an election? According to dictionary, “an election is selection of a person or persons for office by vote.”

If this is its definition, who is going to vote on these elections while people of south Sudan are taking refuge in camps?

Be judicious on this if your rationality is not being impaired by the regime bloody money.

Believe it or not, the regime created this to quell and beguile uprising in the areas that it seems to be safe. There is nothing tangible about this as it has been mendaciously reported on the media by the regime supporters.

This is a simple tactic in order to inveigle the public. It has been designed knowingly to bluff the people of south Sudan. But I believe south Sudanese are smarter that this deceptive regime.

This is laughable if not impossible to do such an elections. It is just a smear tactic as usual. There is nothing as such that would happen in our country at this time until this regime is being ousted out of power.

This government does not believe in power of voters than the power that it got at the expense of south Sudan independence in 2010.

If south Sudanese were not freed from the North at the time, kiir would have not gotten the leadership that he has today because he does not fit to be the leader of the country than being the rustic dweller in the Gogrial.

In this regard, I believe people of south Sudan who have been mentally, physically and spiritually abused by this regime will not buy into this delusive election of this kind.

They must stick on whatever they believe because this regime will never change its divisive tactic on the people of south Sudan. Never!

The only way for the south Sudanese to free themselves is to expel it from the illegal power that it severely abused on the people of this great nation. This will only be the absolute solution in my view for us to once again live in a peaceful society.

This regime has done so much damage to the well being of south Sudanese to live in harmony.

Secondly, a census is the crucial part of an election everywhere in the world if it happens to have any. I believe many of you will agree with me on this point unless one has unknown dementia.

As we all know, there is no census in the country that would determine the representatives in states as well as the nation’s parliament. If there is no census, how are elections going to be done in the crisis as what we are now witnessing in our country?

This plan is ridiculous if not silly in nature because south Sudan population is being scattered into its neighboring countries.

According to Sudan tribune, around 1.9 millions are being dissipated to the neighboring countries as we speak. Namely, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and UNMISS camps within south Sudan.

These individuals are eligible voters. But will not vote if elections are being held today due to this crises. Talking elections while the people that’re supposed to elect their leaders are being dispersed around their neighbors as such shows the world that kiir and his minions care less for the lives of south Sudanese than their leadership in which they did not know come from the people.

As a matter of fact, the regime needs not to bluff South Sudanese again. I certainly believe everybody in the world should have learned this kind of trick in order not to hinder the peace process.

Focusing on the petty elections than being serious about peace is mind boggling. One cannot talk elections while his very country is being engulfed by self-imposed war. This is an absurdity if not insanity. I don’t even know what is going on in the minds of the regime encircled at this point.

Third, the above mentioned facts are not only the reason for the regime to announce an elections. Everybody knows in south Sudan that elections will not have a room at this time to be done. It is a pure fact.

But what the regime means by the elections is different in which it has a full knowledge about the term limit. This is what worry the regime the most.

It knows very well that on July the 9th 2015 will be the end of the kiir’s term in office as our untraceable constitution has been saying.

So, now the regime is erroneously trying to believe in its principle in which many people if not most may regard as the game. Because the dateline is approaching, the regime is now frustrating and trying everything as possible to squeeze in the elections in this circumstance.

It is not an election rather than reinstatement of the regime’s leadership to reclaim its erroneous legitimacy. This is pure and simple. It does not need eyeglasses. There is nothing called election in this sense as we all know that our country is bleeding severely.

Forth, I would like to add what I have been seeing as the passed budget for an election to be held as planned. Is that true? To me, it is not.

It is the same tactic that the regime has been doing since the bringing of this crisis. If there is a budget as it has been the case lately on media, why should the government have a budget for an elections and not having it for building the country’s infrastructures? This is bogus in my view. The elections that the regime supporters are talking about is an empty promise.

This media election is a tactic to restore kiir in power. It is simple as such because there is no point at this time to have successful elections in the middle of the civil war unless one is irrational.

Budget cannot be passed because of an election. Budget is always being passed for the purpose of building the country infrastructure. This is its significance. This budget is a pure propaganda by the regime. What a world!

Believe it for a certain, these elections are intended to distract people’s minds. Not only that, it is too non-factual in my understanding of this regime. It will rather be a show off for the regime to talk elections at this critical time. Singing a song of an elections that it does not lineup with its meaning is ludicrous.

By the way, who is running with kiir in South Sudan now? People! This is a joke. There will never be an election in south Sudan while kiir still is the president. It would be silly for anyone to think as such.

Kiir must go first. When he is gone, south Sudanese will be free to do whatever they want as the citizens. Now, they are being kept hostage in the country they love. Therefore, don’t let yourself be enticed in an empty promise of elections. It is not as you may have thought rather than dictatorial regime reinstating itself.

Fifth, not only those mentioned above, security is a key in elections. Given the magnitude of the situation we face today, how an election would be held in south Sudan while the security is deteriorating as we speak day by day between the regime and the freedom fighters?

Do you think it will be possible for the elections to be held? If so, what would make you believe that in your mind? Do you think the greater Upper Nile will be deserted by kiir’s elections?

This would be difficult for a nationalist to answer those because people of Greater upper Nile matter to the elections of south Sudan. Imagine if you are the ones that being asked with that questions, what would you say to yourself given the fact that the whole region will not participate in the election?

Should this imposed elections relate to what kiir and his circle whisper months ago to keep the war in Upper Nile?

Finally, as we all know, there should be no elections in south Sudan without having census, budget and most of all security. Doing it without the above mentioned will otherwise be considered as the reinstating of the dictatorial regime in the fear of term ending.

The author is a concerned maverick south Sudanese that can be reached at lam981@hotmail.com