Archive for: February 2015

South Sudan Peace: Root causes being ignored. View from a non-expert prospective

By: Khorhok Gar, South Sudan, FEB/13/2015, SSN;

How do you define stupidity if not a lack of making intelligent decisions or acting in an unintelligent or careless manner? It has been a year now since the outbreak of violence in Juba between Presidential Guards. Some estimated that the conflict has killed tens of thousands, displaced more than 1.9 million, and forced hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring countries.

The Regional and International community have been searching for peace since onset of the conflict. Yet the prospect for lasting peace in South Sudan is unlikely soon due to the following reasons:

1. The IGAD and Troika countries are failing to address the “Root Causes” of the conflict and even an African Union of Inquiries is refusing to release their findings.

2. IGAD and Troika countries fails to acknowledge that “SPLA” is no longer a National Army of South Sudan hence as long as Juba regime still insisting they are a national army this is one of the obstacles for peace.

3. The failure by International Community to hold Salva Kiir accountable for crimes he committed against South Sudanese and numerous violations of the country’s constitution will continue to jeopardize any effort for lasting peace in the country.

4. SPLM fails the people of South Sudan, therefore, the international community, regional leaders should not insist on Reunification of SPLM factions; instead they’d support a two-party system in the country by giving the opposition and civil society more voice in which they can enhance the efforts of inclusiveness within the country’s political arena.

The Root Causes:
Many people agreed that the conflict in South Sudan was triggered by leadership failure within SPLM Political Bureau. Nonetheless, the current approach taken by IGAD mediators and Troika countries ignore the root causes of the conflict.

Since the start of peace negotiation earlier last year, the IGAD mediators seem to be missing crucial parts of the conflict by not addressing the root causes of the conflict, shifting their focuses on power sharing and cessation of hostility.

In fact, the current conflict was on making in March 2013, when the Political Bureau met to discuss issues concerning party documents among them are Basic Rules, Code of Conduct, Manifesto, and the Constitution.

In a meeting, the differences emerged among top leadership. The disagreement was based on argument whether the voting in the party election should be by show of hands or secret ballot.

Prior to the Political Bureau meeting, SPLM was under pressure both internally and externally for not fulfilling the aspirations of the people of South Sudan, in which they were yearning for in the last 21 years of liberation struggle.

Majority of citizens were dissatisfied with lack of services delivery and the rampart insecurity in most parts of Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal regions.

However, learning that SPLM has lost support from majority, some high-ranking members of the party started to distance themselves from Kiir and his inner-circle. These events were followed with recommendation from Juba’s Western Allies that there is a need for change for the country to move forward.

The worst part of these recommendations was a letter written to seventy-five (75) high-ranking members of SPLM/A to repatriate the stolen money and afterwards the letter was leaked to the public by Kiir’s western advisor to embarrass his administration for lack of transparency.

Despite the fact that the IGAD mediators have identifies most of these issues that brought the current crisis, they have failed to address them effectively.

I believe if the IGAD takes the following approach since the beginning of peace talks and both warring parties accepted it, a lasting peace can be realized in South Sudan. Anything less than addressing the root causes of the conflict is a waste of time and resources.

SPLA is no longer a National Army of South Sudan:
Both sides should accept the fact that SPLA is no longer a national army that can’t protect neither the constitution nor the territory of South Sudan.

We all witnessed this in December 15, 2013, when Presidential Guards went door to door targeting one ethnic group simply because they are Nuers.

The government’s failure to transforms SPLA from guerrillas into a national professional army has resulted into the current civil war. Changing the name “SPLA” by forming a national army of South Sudan can boast peace and reconciliation otherwise majority of South Sudanese don’t trust SPLA anymore as a national army.

IGAD and Troika countries should support merging the two forces in equal numbers to reflect national identity of the country.

System of Governance:
Many South Sudanese want federal system of governance, Salva Kiir and his allies should know that there are people who are supporting opposition because they want to govern themselves without interference from Juba.

IGAD mediators should push for this demand for the reason that it will address the issue of marginalization of ethnic minority.

Changing the current Transitional Constitution to a permanent one followed with a nationwide referendum to make it a permanent constitution will give an impression that Salva Kiir is serious about change.

Resource and Financial Management:
South Sudan with its weak institutions, putting oil trust funds and managed by an independent institution plus support from World Bank and IMF can quickly jump start development and reconstruction efforts quickly.

Revenue from oil should go directly to build roads, hospitals, schools, and other important infrastructures. Putting oil money into development will assure citizens that the government is now serious about curbing corruption and malpractices.

Reconciliation and Healing:
The failure by Africa Union Commission of Inquiries to release their findings is another setback to those who are yearning for justice and accountability. Without accountability the prospects of reconciliation and healing will be difficult to achieve, this will also send a signal to the perpetrators of worst atrocities that the culture of impunity will continue to exist.

In conclusion:
A nation built without a foundation will never prosper. The war we are fighting now is rooted deep within our souls. We become greedier with power and forget where we are coming from and where we are going to.

As a people of this great land with rich culture and self-sacrifices, we never reached a point in our history where murderers and thieves become heroes.

The question is: is it the way we want to raise our children? Where in the world are supposed role models killers and thieves? Are we losing our moral values?

For last ten years, we failed to deliver services to those we claimed we had liberated from Arabs. After our resources became scarce, we quarreled over who should get what of the national coffers instead on who should do what.

We did not target each other as other politicians do all over the world, but we decided to punish each other by killing innocent women and children, because we do not want to die.

We brought Ugandans and other foreign mercenaries to protect us and our property and our foreign business partners but not innocent civilians.

Even though most of us wanted the current conflict in South Sudan to end as soon as possible, there are many other deciding factors that are being ignored by both Regional Governments and their Western Allies in which I believe if not addressed they will prolong the war for many years to come.

The IGAD members’ states are only interesting in power sharing between SPLM factions ignoring the roots causes of the conflict. Their deep hatred toward Dr. Riek Machar blind them into a point where they forget that Nuer as a people have same rights like any other human being in this planet to defend their dignity and their existence.

The author can be contact at khorhok@hotmail.com

Unmasking the Invisible Hand of Futile Peace in South Sudan

BY: Deng Lueth Yuang, Economist, South Sudan, FEB/12/2015, SSN;

I think South Sudan’s peace is elusive because IGAD is “stupid.” Messrs. Mahboub Maalim (Sec. Gen. of IGAD), Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn and Co., tried their level best to bring peace to the South Sudanese people on time but failed to rise. Through appeasement, threats of sanctions, negotiated settlement and coercion, none of those have worked.

Ironically, when CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi) of Tanzania intervened to mediate the intra-party dialogue, it was able to find some leeway at the expense of returning the status quo to Juba.

However, this South Sudan’s conflict has produced some ripple effects across Eastern African states and the international community. Some of these impacts are positive and negative.

I will solely dwell on the positive effects to the wider eastern African states – Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania. Congo DR, Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda and Burundi are out for they are deemed neutral in this conflict.

Hence, every member state wants a piece of our national cake – petro-dollars.

Uganda intervened at the whims of Kiir government to defend Juba against ‘forceful takeover’ (with no sugar-coating, it is called a COUP) by voracious White Army with renegade soldiers of the national army.

Kiir administration is paying and owing them millions of dollars for their undoubted brave sacrifices to save the young nation from apocalypse.

It is a known fact that Sudan is happy and laughing at South Sudan killing themselves in the name of democracy. She is enjoying, siphoning off South’s oil in her terminals and getting a fat cheque from declining oil revenues.

At the moment, no one is critiquing what she is doing and she is in great spirit as we are occupied with the war.

In the wee hours of the rebellion, Kenya championed a shuttle diplomacy to return the country back to normalcy so as to continue her economic monopoly over South Sudan. But to no avail, none came as a breakthrough. Now, Kenya is a hotbed for announcement of rebellions, and a ripe hosting ground for thousands of elites and ‘foot’ rebels.

Tanzania has entered the fray to spearhead her interest in South Sudan. Perhaps, she needs Juba and rebel elites to invest, spend or waste the few remaining and looted petro-dollars on Tanzania’s socialistic economy.

For the past few months it has been hosting the intra-party talks, Arusha and its environs are teeming with full resorts, hotels, bars and accommodations glimmering in a twilight scene from dusk to dawn.

To stress it further, according to recent denouncement by one of the international community officials, the Addis peace is just a joke because the negotiators are enjoying bar life 24/7 with their $2000 a day stipend.

Sooner than later, Arusha, and Dar es Salaam will displace Nairobi as a regional hub of refuge and spending of blooded dollars from Juba.

But conceding the fact to that, thanks to the Australian based SBS Dinka Radio for today’s candid interview with former president of Ethiopia, Gen. Mengistu Haile Mariam. Now we have clearly understood many of the whirlwinds surrounding the close association between the peoples of Ethiopia and southern Sudan.

Theirs is a mutual neighborliness and friendliness based on understanding of human suffering, redemption and liberation.

But the current Ethiopian regime, not her people, is swimming in crocodile infested waters. It seems to be supporting the rebels on one hand and the government on the other. That is systematically biased. It is jeopardizing peace.

Back to the invisible hand of this war, every war creates two groups of refugees, namely: the economic who are the ‘haves’ and humanitarian who are the ‘have-nots.’ The former who have financial muscles are a foreign government’s happiness to welcome and incorporate them into her economy.

The latter is a threat to her national security for they come with heavy burden on the state to provide more humanitarian assistance rather than for the government to depend on them economically.

That is why it is crystal clear that the hidden hand of economy depicts that most of Eastern African nations are dizzy dallying with our peace. Our peace is for sale and is lying in the auction market with no immediate buyer.

The highest bidders are not yet out, and the auctioneers are many. So the current bidders on the floor could not distinguish who is shouting out the correct price.

We are hallucinating. We are hearing too many voices in our brains!

This conundrum however has created a buzzing remittance market for these nations hosting up to two million South Sudanese in major cities, and refugee camps. Among those are refugees with sustainable means of livelihoods such as the ‘haves’ or economic refugees, students, patients of war, visiting and relocating government officials, and relatives to the diaspora South Sudanese communities.

In essence, about half a million ‘diasporians’ send in millions of dollars each month to help their loved ones displaced by fighting. All of that money ends up in the host nations!

However such pouring in of millions of dollars into eastern African economies from all over the world has created a booming money transfer business which is very lucrative for the local and international banks and Somali-run hawalas (Amal, Dahab Shill, Juba express, etc).

The first two segments make billions of dollars annually on money transfer services such as sending charges, exchange rate differentials, taxes, and other levies which remain in the receiving countries financial systems.

Imagine, if South Sudanese government was nationalistic, it could have developed the whole nation within a decade for it was born in a 21st century.

Ensuring a free democratic state with accountability could have given rise to neo-classical economic liberalization policies such as capital and labour mobility between states.

The remittances market could be producing millions or even billions of pounds to help boost national revenues. Internationally-based financial institutions such as Barclay, FC Stanbic, HSBC, Bank of America, Agricole Bank, etc could have established shops here in Juba.

Likewise, famous insurance companies such as Jubilee, AIG and AON among others could have made life easier for the poor innocent souls of the South. Unlike this kind of regional and local based banks which are adapted and prone to corruption e.g. partly owned by government officials and their relatives.

Consequentially, as long as the war in South Sudan is not ranked ‘worst’ on the humanitarian disaster scale, the sweetness of our blood will be tasted in faraway lands where people-of-means have run to for refuge.

As the saying goes, “one man’s poison is another man’s meat” or vice versa. South Sudanese butchering themselves create fruitful opportunities for other nations.

The ‘diasporians’ are busy working overtime to ensure their displaced loved ones are able to live through the hard life of being a refugee or a temporary resident in another man’s country.

So my country men and women, be blessed and remain with this mantra of the invisible hand of economics – create more havocs in your home country, pay more money to your relatives and develop the economies of the host nations.

I think YOU South Sudanese are not yet fed up of “TKK” – TOA KITU KIDOGO Wee!

The commentator is an Economist. Facebook – Deng Lueth Yuang.

Federalism Now, Not Later

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, FEB/10/2015, SSN;

As the peace talks in Addis Ababa enter its critical stages, several positions taken by either sides will have to come under scrutiny.

Nevertheless the important issues will have to centre around the ability of the anticipated peace agreement to tackle the very root causes that led to the unprecedented levels of corruption, bad governance, lawlessness, impunity, lack of political space, human rights violations, lack of freedoms …etc .

On a very special note we would all want to believe that the people of South Sudan deserve to live under a better system of governance, for it would be a gross injustice to leave them entrapped in the status quo.

We would also want to make it abundantly clearly to the IGAD mediators that no any amount of struggles over power, influence or positions should be allowed to overshadow these core issues.

Besides ending the viscus cycle of killings we believe that there is much that this peace agreement can bring to South Sudan. We also believe that the transitional government of national unity is capable of setting the right foundation for the country.

In this piece of opinion article, I don’t intend in any way to go back in time and discuss those traditional areas of federalism, definition, types, cons and pros…..etc.

It is my believe that the readers have over the past four years or so read enough of that stuff from either myself or many other better articulated writers. So I will limit myself to the ongoing peace talks and its position on federalism.

South Sudan needs a peace agreement that clearly spells the federal system of government as its new system starting right in the transitional period and beyond. Of course we are aware as to why a handful of politicians in the incumbent regime are having a second thought about it.

Unfortunately our country has had a whole decade of the current fake decentralization under President Salva Kiir Mayardit. If anything to go by, it is this existing system of governing the country which has landed it into the current mess.

In the case of South Sudan the federal system of government has ever since been the one popular demand that the majority of South Sudanese will go to an length to see it implemented.

At this critical moment in our history the decision to implement federalism cannot be left at the mercy of the incumbent politicians in Juba to have the final say when we already know that they can be more than happy to have it suspended altogether indefinitely.

Worse still we are seeing a worrying shift in initial stand on federalism among a few politicians from Equatoria who beforehand had identified themselves as supporters.

Although we have had our doubts from the very beginning and rightly suspected that the genuine call for federalism among Equatorians have long been hijacked from the masses by certain well known quarters, we still call upon them to cease from doing what clearly is not in the best interest of their people in the long run.

For as things begin to unravel we are seeing more of those opportunist politicians changing camps and the call for federalism to them is a way of winning political support. A call that they can easily sell to the highest bidder once the going gets tough.

If some governors think that they can now trade federalism for top jobs during the transitional period and those from Equatoria included, it better be said that they are about to board the wrong ship.

Why don’t we want to part ways with old habits and begin a transitional period that embraces plurality, and less power in the hands of a ‘One Man Ruler? After all unless it is so or otherwise there won’t be peace any soon!

One can sense the degree of resentment that some old-school politicians have against the project set forward by the SPLM-In-Opposition to restructure the country into 21 federal states.

Solely basing the 21 federal states on the old colonial districts of the former southern Sudan that existed during the Anglo-Egyptian rule, the SPLM-In-Opposition has given us the best structure on which to implement new federal system of governance.

In fact only a few who harbour anti-progress beliefs can be seen disagreeing with this.

Incumbent state governors are obviously anticipated to resist the most. Seeing their current power base divided into two separate states to make the total of 21 federal states may not go well for some of them.

But to say the least, everything suggests that there a great deal of wrong reasoning associated with this kind of thinking.

Our historical records state that what became known as the Bahr Ghazal Province was in fact part of the Equatoria Province after South Sudan ceased to be part of the former Lado Enclave (Congo Free State).

If any of these never happened then Southern Sudan would have remained only as the two provinces of Upper aged Nile and the Equatoria.

This clearly shows how administrative requirements have long dictated the division of bigger provinces into smaller ones for better management and governance.

Later on successive regimes in Khartoum also divide the Southern provinces into smaller ones. The three old provinces became six under late Ga’far Nimeiri .

Even the existing ten states which some people want to cling to as if it were their grandfathers heritages are in fact the works of ‘Jallaba’ National Congress Party of Omer Al Bashir and his mentor Sheikh Hassan Abdalla Al Turabi.

The irony now lies in that our land had witnessed all kinds of administrative restructurings under the previous colonial rulers, the last being the Jallaba of Khartoum.

All that was seen coming from us was and still is how we comfortably embraced those restructurings, although none of them actually devolved any true powers and funds to those new administrative units.

Going back to the new position of the Equatoria governors who almost succeeded in deceiving us that they were indeed pro-federalism to the last drop their blood, only tells us that we need to step up our efforts for the enemy is not sleeping.

The incumbent system with all its icons have for a long time perpetuated and protected the fake decentralization system which they solely inherited from the ‘Jallaba’ and they are still prepared to continue doing just that if given the choice.

Over the past ten years they have gone on to perfect every vice they learned from NCP in Khartoum.
From underfunding strategic service sectors like education, health, roads…etc, to never funding them. They have also heightened levels of corruption, of impunity, of tribal favouritism and of course of lawlessness.

With reference to federalism our people have had many bad experiences with the way politicians sometimes triumph through the use of ‘delaying tactics’.

And any attempt to defer federalism still further this time around is no different to deny it altogether. The question that must be asked is, “who are you to hold the people of South Sudan hostages this time around after they have seen the light of independence”?

Let us face it for South Sudan has had enough of policies that are wickedly sold to its lovely people all wrapped up in the name of nationalism.

So what does a non-representative tribal micro-nationalism got to do with a multi-national society like South Sudan when we all know that it doesn’t even have what it takes to appeal to the other nationalities in the country.

Thus one ethnic group’s nationalism regardless of how big the group is, it still doesn’t speak of everyone in the country. At best it remains a non-inclusive approach and incapable of representing the multi-ethnic nature of our country.

Neither can such micro-nationalisms provide for the much needed spirit of pluralism often required in such situations.

It is true that while our individual tribal nationalisms is likely to set us against others, federalism in its crudest form has never been meant to promote any of the currently existing ‘strong’ regional sentiments.

These regional sentiments are often sought after as means of facing up to other regional blocks. But federalism is the opposite of the prevailing regional political polarisations and antagonisms.

Yet federalism doesn’t in any way aim at disrupting any of traditional ties that our people have built between themselves over the years; individuals, families, or even communities.

Where the peace talks now stand, the important issue is no longer about the proposed 21 states as it came in the documents of the SPLM-In-Opposition. To me they have perfectly settled that issue. It just can’t be any better!

Hence, anyone finding problems with the 21 federal states’ structure, but claims to support federalism is in fact being a hypocrite who is serving the interests of the anti-federalists.

However what we as support of federalism have to tackle head on is the ‘sick centralism mentality’ which still exist among the old fashioned – the Neo-Jallaba expansionists, a.k.a the liberators.

These kind of politicians have traditionally blocked any powers and funds from finding their way to the states, counties, payams and bomas. Even the little that found its way outside the centre in Juba will quickly be brought back one way or the other.

As I write now the quest for federalism in South Sudan has already reached the point of no return.

Through an irreversible ‘collective position’ on governance, we must seriously acknowledge that the implementation of federalism is a popular demand that has been there even long before the independence of South Sudan.

And to be very sincere to you my dear reader, many of us were terribly shocked when the ‘John Luk’
Transitional Constitution for South Sudan kept silent on the adoption of federal system of government in the newly independent country.

The independent South Sudan by all measures is still a multi-ethnic country very much so like the ’Old Sudan’ and can hardly be successfully governed from one single centre.

To the many compatriots who don’t know, I would like to draw their attentions to the dirty tricks that the incumbent government of South Sudan has chosen to play in the peace negotiations in Addis Ababa, especially on the issue of federalism and its implementation.

A few but dangerously manipulative politicians and interest groups representing the ‘ centralists’ in Juba are now on an all-out aggressive diplomacy in which they plan to misrepresent the positions of the so-called internal front.

It is unfortunate that the heads of the IGAD member states are now acting under the spell of the self-proclaimed Patron of East African, President Museveni of Uganda.

The plot to block other parts of the negotiation agenda in which federalism and power sharing are the top priorities, is squarely planned to find its way through him (Museveni).

As you can see, the anti-federalism camp are not all imbecilic. They too have some strategists who know what to say without giving away the government’s true intentions.

Thus on federalism they have adopted the sweet expression that, “Federalism is indeed a popular demand by South Sudanese”.

Unfortunately they don’t intend to stop there. They will continue to seek ways of blocking it using the old Jallaba tactics of buying time by deferring it for the constitutional committee to decide on or better still leave well after the transitional period.

In this time period they expect to frustrate any attempts at implementing true federalism or probably set it on a tract to either die a natural death.

They may even attempt to politically strangle the life out of it through the combined actions unfavourable executive policies and an augmentative manipulation from a rubber stamp parliament.

But the bottom line is that neither Salva Kiir Mayardit nor his coterie who all flourish on the corruption that centralism guarantees for them, will never at any time implement federalism. Not now and not in a million years to come!

The truth be said and be said loud. The people of South Sudan cannot allow themselves to be bitten twice from the same hole.

Any delays to implement federalism immediately during the transitional period should remind us of how the former northern Jallaba politicians deceived our fathers and elders in connection to this very issue of federalism during the run up to the 01/01/1956 partial independence of the Old Sudan.

Those who don’t know it let them understand that in the run up to the Old Sudan’s independence from the Anglo-Egyptian rule, the Jallaba promised to declare a Federal Republic in Sudan on January 1st 1956 as demanded by the Southern representatives in return for their votes in favour of an independent United Sudan.

The way the Jallaba reneged on federalism in 1955 continues to influence our relation with them even after we have become to separate countries.

That infamous backtracking on federalism by ‘Jallaba’, started the Old Republic of Sudan on the wrong footing, setting the scene for all subsequent wars that consumed the country.

It can be said that even following the secession of south Sudan, the republic of Sudan it is still paying the price through the multifactorial civil wars that are going on now in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and the Southern Blue Nile regions.

Of course a naïve person support the incumbent regime in Juba may argue that, how can I dare to compare those of Salva Kiir Mayardit, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, Michael Makuei and Nhial Deng Nhial to the Jallaba of 1955.

Good point! But what do you say about the overwhelming similarities that exist between these politicians and their counterparts in Khartoum!

My fellow reader, apparently South Sudan is no longer ruled by Northern Sudanese Jallaba politicians, at least that is what appears on the surface.

However following the details of how the SPLM/SPLA government of Salva Kiir Mayardit ruled South Sudan from the date they took office in 2005 to date, there is a lot that raises the eyebrows.

All that President Salva Kiir and his severally recycled colleagues did and are still doing was and is still typical of not only the Jallaba, but in fact his regime by all accounts is the twin sister of the NIF/NCP iron fist regime in Khartoum.

When it comes to reneging on agreements and promises no one can do it better than the trio, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Barnaba Marial Benjamin and of course their mouth piece Michael Makuei the incumbent minister of information, but mostly disinformation in Juba.

Talk of the mistreatment of journalists, summarily executions of opinion writers, absence of free speech, lack of political space and so on.

You may even say they have learned well from the Jallaba and now they even gone not only to perfect it, but in many cases they are now the authors of their own methods.

On the very dark side, while Omer Al Bashir massacres his victims in the remote Western Regions of Darfur, Nuba Mountains, the Southern Blue Nile, President Salva Kiir Mayardit might have done what the mass of murderer of the neighbouring Sudan failed to do when by carrying out a full three days massacre right inside Juba, the seat of his government.

The massacre of civilians in Juba happened right on the watch of all the diplomats representing their foreign missions in the country, the international bodies and even organisations including the United Nations as represented by the 12,000 strong Peace Keeping Forces, the UNIMISS.

Down the line new strategies have to be sought by all supporters of federalism as we put up temporarily with the fact that the IGAD has again limited the final negotiations to the principals of the two warring Parties to the exclusion of the other stakeholders.

With this being the case, many of us are left with very limited options to pick from, and there isn’t any better decision than to give all our support to those who are for the immediate realisation of federalism in the transitional period and not otherwise.

In the end one can only say that the true intentions of these two leaders can only be verified by the contents of their positions a wide range of issues and not just limited to power sharing and security arrangements as it clearly ascertains to us how genuine their approaches are. .

Again it is equally important if not the most important, how the issues around justice and accountability and a genuine devolution of powers and finances to the 21 new federal states are addressed and given the top priorities they deserve in the final agreement.

And again without any element of doubt the immediate implementation of federalism beginning right from the transition period is in fact in the best interest of South Sudan. This is so because there aren’t any other options left if we are ever to realise our dream of making South Sudan a home for all.

Dr Justin Ambago Ramba. Member of the South Sudan Political Parties Delegation to the IGAD Mediated Peace Talks for South Sudan and a Voice for the Voiceless.

LATEST: Rebel shelling rocks South Sudan oil town, Bentiu

TUESDAY, FEB/10/2015, SSN;

REBEL fighters in South Sudan bombarded government positions Tuesday in the oil town of Bentiu, a day after the UN launched a $1.8 billion aid appeal to stave off famine in the war-wracked country.

Loud explosions were heard in the northern town, capital of Unity state and one of the hardest fought over regions in the 14-month long war, and where 53,000 civilians are sheltering inside a United Nations camp.

“The rebels are shelling our positions in Bentiu,” Defence Minister Kuol Manyang told AFP. “This is a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement, and we will act in self defence.”

Aid workers in the northern town of Bentiu confirmed the shelling, saying they briefly took shelter in bunkers. Fighting broke out in South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, in December 2013 when President Kiir accused his sacked deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup. The fighting in the capital Juba set off a cycle of retaliatory massacres across the country.

Both government forces loyal to Kiir and rebels loyal to Machar continue to fight, despite numerous ceasefire deals. The UN estimates that 2.5 million people are in a state of emergency or crisis, steps just short of famine.

‘Man-made crisis’
The latest fighting comes a day after donors pledged $529 million (467 million euros) towards a $1.8 billion aid appeal by the UN, with over 2.5 million people on the brink of famine.

UN aid chief Valerie Amos on Monday warned the warring leaders they had to show a committment to peace. Top US official Anne C. Richard said that no conflict around the world today filled Washington with as “much frustration and despair” as South Sudan. Richard, US Assistant Secretary of State for Refugees, said some areas were “teetering on the brink of famine”, and that people “continue to suffer and die unnecessarily because their leaders are unwilling to do what it takes to restore peace.”

Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have been set a March 5 deadline to strike a final peace agreement, but previous deadlines have been repeatedly ignored despite the threat of sanctions.

The next round of faltering peace talks is due to resume on February 19. Washington, a key backer of South Sudan’s independence in 2011, warned the leaders on Tuesday they “bear full responsibility for this man-made crisis” and must make “the needed compromises to reach a final agreement.”

Almost two million have been forced from their homes and 500,000 of them have fled abroad to neighbouring countries. No overall death toll for the war has been kept by the government, rebels or the United Nations, but the International Crisis Group says it estimates that at least 50,000 people have been killed. END

AFP

Why I am opposed to IGAD & US unjust role in Addis Ababa peace talks

By: Gatkuoth Lok, South Sudan, FEB/09/2015, SSN;

Look, a reminiscence for a while; what happened in South Sudan on 15.12.2013 was not a failed coup attempt but succinctly an assassination attempt against Dr. Riek Machar Teny by his former colleague, President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Why that assassination against a colleague, and the would-have-been-innocent-aspirant of 2015 presidential election?

Kiir is the right person to answer this question properly.

For my part, and in nature, this failed assassination attempt was intended to herald a paradigmatic susceptibility to life presidency. This was what exactly happened in the mentioned date and presently is the undoubted true version worldwide, realized correct in the end, opposed to Kiir’s fabricated failed coup attempt.

Another undeniable truth is that Kiir himself mass-massacred over 20,000 innocent Nuer civilians as a pre-supposition to his kiiroproject implementation paving his way to institutionalization of life presidency in the Republic.

In the mind of simple president Salva Kiir, it was his conviction that he had to crackdown his political opponents and whosoever he deemed sympathizing with them. Thus came to act the assassination plan and mass-massacring of the civilians in Juba.

One has to ask a rational question, whether or not the aforementioned Kiir’s eventual institutionalization of his stay in power for life must have been the right kernel as of why he directed both assassination attempt and genocide against Machar and Nuer people respectively.

Well, you should figure out more reasons on your own.

In all Kiir’s sinister actions against the State, Machar and Nuer Nation, methinks that IGAD and US stand accused of having taken Kiir’s side in the war coming into being and its perpetuation.

It follows that president Kiir is a project of both IGAD and US. Let us prove this by conscientiously having a critical look into the succeeding part of the discourse.

To begin with, allow me to ask the following questions. Is IGAD neutral? To give a simple answer to this question, I answer no it is not, for it is dancing to the tune of Kiir’s government. How do we attest our thesis?

We attest our thesis when we objectively know the fact that in war against Machar’s pro-democracy forces, IGAD always sides with Kiir’s government. When and How then? The good example is Uganda, which sent her troops and arrived in Juba on 13.12.2013, and were part and parcel of Kiir’s 15.12.2013 failed assassination attempt.

The coming of Ugandan troops to South Sudan territory in time and transportation of Kiir’s 15,000 Dutku Beny, his special army, proved it beyond any reasonable doubt that Kiir in fact premeditated the 15.12.2013 failed assassination attempt and the aforesaid genocide. This truth of fact shall drag Mayardit to ICC.

Have a look: proving this right further, Uganda is one of the member states composing the so-called IGAD claiming to mediate peace talks in Addis Ababa. And before peace began, Museveni of Uganda spoke on behalf of IGAD leaders (realized in the peace talks table all being favorable to Kiir) that in 4 day time he would either terribly defeat and kill Machar or coerce him to acquiesce cooptation under Kiir’s regime.

Oh, one has to ask this question; does IGAD’s new proposal, on 1.2.2015 reflect part of Museveni’s paraphrased declaration? Yes, it does.

And that is why it must be held true that IGAD has been fighting South Sudan rebels alongside Kiir’s genocidal forces all of whom became co-operators and executors in carrying out genocide against Nuer people at the watch of Ban Ki Boon, the UN secretary general.

Since he knows very well that IGAD is never neutral and yet watching us smiling still to let continue the IGAD-Kiir’s Kiiroproject of genocide on Nuer people.

Is UN chief duties functional dependent on US likings? Ki Moon is the right person to give his rational and empirical answer to this query.

In a more clear way, IGAD currently has been siding with Kiir at Addis Ababa’s peace talks table. This cannot be refuted in anyway by any thinker unless a tabula rasa minded human person told to talk without reasoning out, so to say.

Let us shed more light on this claim. The irrefutable substantiation is when IGAD designed an agreement last year favorable to Kiir giving him more 3 years in Office to rule the very people he annihilated and again this year, on 1.2.2015, the very IGAD brought forth the same agreement in a typical-compelling proposal too favorable to Kiir, surrendering to him the same years in Office and reducing Dr. Machar to what we do not understand to date and which we will not accept for good, since it is a matter of life and death.

This is unquestionable support for Kiir’s stay in power for life (IGAD’s leaders common good). Thanks to Dr. Machar for he did reject them all, for they have never been negotiated, hence unfair to South Sudanese.

This cements our thesis that IGAD is siding and working for the illegitimate president Kiir and as such has qualified herself not neutral.

Assuming that the given examples are sufficient, we can sum up that IGAD has been sending troops in Ugandan military uniforms to South Sudan in order to fight the rebels alongside Kiir’s militias as well as sending mediation team to Addis Ababa to work very hard in favour of Kiir’s regime.

It implies that IGAD exerts a lot of energy, spends enormous times and lots of dollars, in protection of president Kiir’s stay in power for life. This is the crux or bottom line. Therefore; IGAD is a staunch ally to Salva Kiir in war against Machar, being political or military. It works to achieve dictatorship and life presidency in our Republic. Therefore; it must get changed.

America is never an exception in South Sudan ongoing genocide, so to speak. The truth of fact on this allegation is that Uganda and Egypt are historic and historical allies to US in Africa working in the dictate of US.

These allies are practically fighting Machar’s pro-democracy forces in Kiir’s name to accomplish what I labeled as kiiroproject-the annihilation of other 63 ethnic groups in South Sudan except president Kiir’s Dinka tribe, being supported by US.

This is undeniable fact, which is substantiated by John Kerry’s appalling statement, that US stands by Salva Kiir’s genocidal government for it was elected one, I reworded. The question is, is this government still a legitimate government to US even when it mass-massacred over 20,000 Nuer civilians?

Why did US support, the ousting of then Ukraine president ( ..as wisely questioned by my leader Dr. Machar in one of his encounters with IGAD’s countries leaders) who only Killed 200
Ukrainian civilians?

Is US still harboring the racist cynical attitude of characterizing black people as black things? Are Nuer of South Sudan less than human beings and do not deserve equal rights and equal dignity and treatment though enshrined in the international law?

Do they deserve annihilation even if it is not allowed under humanitarian law in the 21st century? All those questions should be answered by Obama’s administration and the UN chief Ban Ki Moon even though UN is growing more and more weak and near to being characterized a toothless old dog.

In addition to the aforementioned arguments, US’s enslaving and genocidal policies caused them to concede to Kiir’s kiiroproject implementation and as a result made them not to condemn the ongoing genocide presently totaling to over 20,000 civilians.

Rather US is properly seen busy supporting Uganda and Egypt to prolong fighting her proxy war against the democratic movement, (SPLM or SPLA) and to carry on victimizing the peaceful ethnic group, Nuer.

The same reason of allying Kiir’s regime made US too, to say nothing about the use of banned cluster bombs by Kiir & Museveni themselves, on the White Army and Nuer civilians, so to speak.

These realities compel us dear readers, to draw a solid syllogism that America under Obama’s administration is the driving force behind kiiroproject actualization for its hidden agenda, seeing this genocide as necessary evil, politically speaking.

Having read the proceeding arguments, we must logically conclude that America is Kiir’s ally.
It also tracks that Kiir is a project of IGAD and America.

American admirers as me may wonder why this democratic model and IGAD are working in such a seemingly malicious way. Well, first and foremost of all, it has to be crystal clear that IGAD is a machine used by IGAD dictators to protect themselves, from any democrats’ potential overriding-success in democratic elections.

And so, it is well known a club of dictators then. Kiir is a young dictator who deserves protection like the old dictators and like any other dictators in the region, by the club.

This posed a vexed question why should US be an ally to genocidal dictators? The answer is always in the depth of the following saying that even rooted in American pragmatism, written; ‘America always supports a dictatorial regime, which serves her interest than to support a democratic regime that does not serve her interest’.

For dictatorial examples; you have Uganda and Saudi Arabia and the counterexamples be your food for thought.

America’s interest is what seems to have been fulfilled in South Sudan crisis, leave alone her good allies namely Uganda and Egypt had got their lion portions.

It follows that IGAD, US plus their project, Salva Kiir are all liable for the genocide committed on Nuer peoples.

As I have anticipated early, supposing the so-called model of democracy, US had not directed Uganda and Egypt to partake in kiiroproject implementation; the status quo surely, would have not existed in our Republic.

And if the rest of IGAD leaders, excluding Museveni and Kiir and US combined, had also urged Uganda in good faith, giving her a time limit to withdraw her troops from South Sudan, Uganda would have done so and the other foreign troops would have followed the same example, and the ongoing war would have stopped. But the opposite is true as I alluded to somewhere above.

This leads us to say that America’s proved proxy war in South Sudan, which caused her inaction in condemning the current genocide against Nuer people and use of the banned cluster bombs and also Suzan Rice’s unfair arguments to cooperate with genocidal Kiir’s government; all these qualified her (US) part and parcel of Kiir’s life presidency institutionalization in the making. Therefore; America has already chosen at will to be our problem. Albert not expected to do so.
This badly lands us to deduce that America’s stance in the crisis is a grave contradiction to American’s ideals, be them democracy, justice and respect for human rights. For, they cannot be and not be at the same time under the same aspect. This is illogical under the principle of none contradiction, metaphysically speaking.

That implies that America cannot both be democrat and dictator at the same time under the same respect. It is really funny to be such.

Granted that the UN too, is the world body, which is able to stop the crisis, had it opted to do so in order to remain just for all, particularly to South Sudanese and more fashionably to Nuer peoples, it would have prevented the continuation of the genocide, ongoing at its watch.

Alas the UN has shown no interest for a long period of time. To sum up our argumentation with persuasions, we have come to know that what Kiir called failed coup attempt was never true rather than in essence a failed assassination attempt. It is concretized as a truth of fact and reason, logically speaking.

We have proved IGAD plus US, collaborators in Kiir’s life presidency in the making. Not only that the triadic coconspirators, namely US, IGAD and their culprit-project-Kiir are all liable for the premeditated meta-genocide committed against our Nuer Nation. And UN is blameworthy on the same crisis for having chosen to remain a bystander allowing the protraction of human tragedy.

Then, there is no peace to come to our country as long as IGAD remains the mediator. It is almost impossible if not impossible to sign an American-IGAD-Kiir imposed deal cementing the killer Kiir president for life and allowing him to continue with Nuer cleansing.

Never should we accept this nonsensical and absurd deal of coopting us all under the same monster Kiir.

I refuse to believe the persuasion from IGAD and US that Kiir is an angelic mass-murderer as he got consecrated by his grace Paulino Lokudu Loru, the archbishop of the archdiocese of Juba and Deng Bol, the bizarre episcopal principal, both beatifying Kiir Mayardit, the best killer of Nuer people from God, erroneously thought by the two bishops. And that he will continue cleansing Nuer people slowly till Dinka remain alone in the Republic.

Look, “Better be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied, or better be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied”. ( J. S. Mill ).

In sincerity, we prefer to coexist peacefully than to miserably exist finishing Nuer people and eventually turning to other ethnic groups to cleanse and finish as the Kiir’s kiiroproject is concerned for the institutionalization of what Al Jah Paul called dinkocracy, Prof. David de Chand characterized kiirocracy and Prof. Taban Lo’long named benyocracy.

This discourse embodies and suggests the change of IGAD from remaining a mediation team in South Sudan peace talks.

It also exposed IGAD and US as the vital impetus behind Kiir’s actions in South Sudan crisis amounting to a meta-genocide of the Nuer people, and labeling UN a blameworthy reluctant giant of conflict moderation.

America has to remain the model of democracy and not contradicting herself, a dictator at the same time as long as we mean to search for true peace.

I remain humble and patriotic, inviting all your criticisms, queries, embellishments and even deductions.

Gatkuoth Lok, is an independent thinker and political analyst as well as one of the critical SPLM-IO members. He can be reached via lokgatwech@yahoo.com

Strangling Press Freedom in South Sudan

From: MICHAEL ABRAHA, Doha Center for media freedom, FEB/08/2015, SSN;

The polarisied political landscape in South Sudan continues to affect the media and press freedom which remains under threat from the authorities.

Since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, the media in South Sudan have been among the civil society institutions to have suffered the most. The ongoing violence has resulted in victims being targeted because of their ethnicity or perceived political association or loyalty.

President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, has accused former Vice President, Biek Machar, a member of the Nuer tribe, for inciting the violence in a bid to “overthrow the government.”

The ensuing polarisation has resulted in an intensifying of the dangers facing journalists.

“Whatever the media says goes into the wounds of either [feuding] side,” stresses Michael Thon, former political commentator and talk show host of Catholic Church-run Bakhita Radio Station.

The station was closed in August and then reopened on government orders that it broadcasts only faith-related programs. Elsewhere in South Sudan, there are reports of rampant detentions, harassment and intimidation of journalists, as well as the closure of publication houses and seizures of newspapers by security officers.

Thon holds there is a general phobia throughout the media, including state media which appear to encourage the government to clampdown harder on independent journalists labelling them as enemies if they cover rebel activities.

Incessant media crackdown

Even before the present crisis, independent media were largely viewed as being in opposition to the government, regardless of whether a journalist belonged to the Nuer, Dinka or Equatoria ethnic groups. Observers point out, however, that the major concern for South Sudanese media houses and journalists had been whether they could safely report or comment on issues of national interest relating to the current politicised ethnic conflict or the long standing questions of corruption and governance. But these challenges, new and old, have proven to be too sensitive for the government, resulting in draconian measures being taken against journalists and publishers since the country achieved statehood a little over three years ago.

On February 3, 2015, government agents seized all copies of the Nation Mirror daily newspaper and ordered its closure for alleged ant-governmental reports related to fighting against rebels.

The previous month, on January 15, security authorities similarly ordered the Juba Monitor newspaper to close for publishing articles which the government said were against the system. The Monitor’s chief editor, Alfred Taban, said his paper was being punished for criticising the two major tribes, the Dinka and the Neur, for going to war with the aim of dominating the “country at the expense of all others.” The decision to close the paper was reversed after Taban apologised for the article.

Seizures of newspapers and closures of media houses affect the livelihoods of owners and journalists alike. They also intimidate journalists into compromising their professional obligation and integrity.

Nhial Bol, editor of The Citizen daily and owner of Citizen TV in Juba, has opened a hotel restaurant business as an alternative survival measure in case he loses his media business. Bol, who has been in and out of detention several times since independence, says he is disappointed that balanced reporting has become impossible because of the conflict.

The government seems intent on controlling freedom of expression as a “strategy of creating a situation of fear on the public,” says activist, Edmund Yakani.

Yakani, who heads the South Sudan Community Empowerment for Progress and Organisation, told Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) that the government seems to believe that suppressing freedom of expression will prevent the armed SPLM-in-Opposition from using propaganda to influence citizens and boost its membership.

Yakani says that restricting press freedom instead contributes to prolonging the war, arguing that media tolerance from both sides would indicate good faith in wishing to bring the conflict to an end.

Need for effective implementation of media law

The media has continued to come under attack by the ruling political establishment despite guarantees set out in the country’s 2011 transitional constitution as well as safeguards set out in a press code adopted last September.

The new law, which was in the making for nine years, provides for the establishment of an independent agency to oversee content and deal with complaints. It stipulates that no criminal charges will be leveled against journalists for what they report, according to the Association for Media Development in South Sudan (ADMISS).

Secondly, the new legislation provides for the establishment of a public broadcasting corporation, and it also allows citizens the right of access to information, as long as doing so does not endanger national security.

Head of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOS), Victor Modi, believes the suspicion and mistrust between the government and the media has been built over a time when no legal framework existed to clearly define the rights and obligations of both sides. Speaking to DCMF, Modi urged fair interpretation and effective enforcement of the provisions of the new press law.

Balancing national security interests and the citizen’s right to state information will be influenced by the ongoing conflict and whether the government wishes to involved the public in finding a resolution to the conflict.

As a result of the extreme polarisation in South Sudan, such a move has been difficult for the state to undertake. This made it unsurprising, therefore, that Information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth announced in September 2014 that journalists would be prosecuted as agitators and enemies of state if they opt to report news of views from the rebel Machar group.

The minister’s threat coincided with President Kiir signing the press bill into law.

While the people wait for the proclamation of a new national security law, the violent conflict continues. At the same time, the authorities have continued to harass and arrest journalists, such as in the case of Benedictson Ezikia James, Manager of Maridi Community Radio, who was detained in Western Equatoria State last month before being released.

The National Security bill which gives sweeping powers to security service agents is currently in the hands of parliament being returned for further debate by the president. As it stands, the bill grants security officers the right to arrest and detain anyone without judicial authorisation.

It has been widely denounced by national and international rights groups including the African Freedom Expression Exchange, AFEX, which fears its passage will further stifle free speech and free press.

Free Press in conflict situation

Before secession from its northern neighbour, South Sudan was subjected to Khartoum’s outdated and repressive media policies. Current South Sudanese leaders are products of that media environment, which for decades, stood in the way of the people’s path to freedom, dignity and basic human rights. But journalists continue to argue that the existence of injustice in the past does not justify the continued sluggish development of media freedom.

“We are already in the 21st century and as such, we must instantaneously and without any excuse delve into a free press that is critical of the state,” says Dr Peter Wankomo, founder and chief editor of SouthSudanNation.com.

“The palpable nervousness and the unlawful actions against journalists by the Kiir government are symptomatic of a failed leadership,” he argued.

The government accuses the media of a lack of sensitivity when it comes to the conflict in South Sudan, criticising them for a perceived lack of professionalism.

However, journalists do not regard objective coverage of rebel activities as espousing anti- government views, but rather feel that it is their duty to inform people and make them aware of the truth about the civil war which has so far killed tens of thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

At the same time, journalists continue to be caught up in the violence, facing the same dangers as any media workers operating in conflict zones. Last month, four journalists working for state media organisations were killed in an ambush, providing a clear reminder of the daily difficulties faced my journalists during war time.

With neither side willing to make concessions in the peace talks, there is bound to be more violence causing further loss of life and revenue.

Under the circumstances, many hope that despite some professional shortcomings, the media can play a positive role in changing public beliefs about the underlying forces propelling the conflict and in contributing to the establishment of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.

What is needed is for the Kiir government to work with journalists and media institutions to create a safe, free and responsible media by ensuring that all legal safeguards are implemented.

Where do the Governors of Equatoria stand on Federalism?

By: Dr Lam Akol, Pres. SPLM-DC, JUBA, FEB/09/2015, SSN (First published 6 February 2015);

Last Friday the 30th of January 2015, the three Governors of Equatoria traveled to Addis Ababa to present their protest on what was reported in the media as relegating the current Vice president, who is from Equatoria, to the third position in the Executive in the IGAD proposed power sharing arrangement within the peace agreement that will end the war and bring peace to the country.

They took with them a document titled “Equatoria Community Second Extra-Ordinary Conference and the Fifth Conference Resolutions” purported to have been the resolutions of an extra-ordinary conference held in Juba the same day by “Equatoria Community.”

The document did not receive as much publicity as the reported anger of the Equatorians on denying their number the proposed position of the First Vice President of the Republic.

Thanks to “Juba Monitor” newspaper which published the full text of the resolutions on a full page of the paper with true signatures of the three Governors. This was in its issue No. 304 dated Monday the 2nd of February 2015. Since then the veracity of document has not been challenged, therefore, one may safely assume that it is authentic.

There is a lot that can be said on whether the issue of hierarchy within a political party is a regional matter or is purely party business, or whether state appointments are the prerogative of state organs and institutions or matters to be determined by communities.

Even whether state officials hold government positions in a personal capacity or in the name of the communities/States they hail from. These matters are not of interest to this author and will not be discussed here.

The purpose of this piece is to deal with one extremely important aspect of the published resolutions of Equatoria Community; that is federalism. The reason for doing so is because if there was one issue that Equatorians showed proven unity on is their near unanimous demand for a federal state in South Sudan.

In all their conferences which to date number five (according to this latest document), the demand for federalism in the four previous conferences has been a constant and prominent item in the resolutions.

Last year, the three Governors themselves came under tremendous pressure from some influential quarters in the national government for adopting such a stand but they stood their ground, to the admiration of many South Sudanese who believe in free speech, not to mention those who support such a system of governance to be fully implemented in our country.

Indeed, the three Governors sent in June last year a joint delegation, including ministers from the three States of Equatoria, to the Addis Ababa peace talks in an attempt to persuade the negotiating parties and influence the mediation to include in their agenda the adoption of federalism as part of resolving the current crisis.

Federalism in the Document
It is this author’s considered opinion that as far as federalism is concerned the resolutions of Equatoria Community dated 30th January 2015 which the Governors took to Addis Ababa are a turning point indeed.

These resolutions are different from if not in contradiction to the resolutions of the previous four conferences. The following paragraphs shall attempt to explain why.

The Communique is a carefully drafted document. It is noteworthy that in a long preamble, which constitutes almost half the document, there is no reference to federalism which had featured prominently in the resolutions of the previous four conferences of Equatoria Community.

The sole paragraph that deals with federalism came under “Other Issues” [(B)(2)] which we quote here in full.

Quote: “Federal option for the republic of South Sudan shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process but not through party interest agreement. Neither the SPLM nor the other political parties and organisations have the mandate to determine and impose federalism on South Sudanese people. Equatoria’s constant call for federal system is a peaceful, open and civic demand driven by our socio economic and political situation in our country. It is therefore a constitutional right in a democratic society to propose the best governance system to serve the people”. End of Quote.

Analysis
For the ease of analysis, we shall break the above statement into its essential elements. These elements are:

1. Federalism “shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process”.
This statement can only mean that the issue of federalism should not be raised in the current peace talks and should await the permanent ‘constitution making process’. This sounds familiar a language and we all know where it comes from. But, is this the view of Equatoria Community? If so, why did they send a delegation to Addis Ababa in June to promote federalism and sell it to the negotiators?

2. Federalism is to be negotiated “not through party interest agreement”
If we take the previous sentence that federalism shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process, one assumes that the parties that will take part in those negotiations are the political parties, each of which has a stand (interest) on federalism and other issues related to the constitution of the country. So, if all issues are to be negotiated ‘through party interest agreement’, why not federalism? The current system of governance in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, call it what you like, came as a result of agreement of political parties (some say, imposition of the SPLM) in 2011. This is a system the drafters of the Communique seem to particularly like and would like to maintain as we shall point out later. Why was ‘party interest agreement’ acceptable for the current system and objectionable for federalism?

If the ‘party interest agreement’ is meant to refer to the outcome of the peace talks in Addis Ababa, mainly between the government and the SPLM/A-in opposition, why would a federalist reject federalism that comes through such an agreement and accept other agreed points? Are we interested in the application of federalism or in who brings it about?

3. “Neither the SPLM nor the other political parties and organisations have the mandate to determine and impose federalism on South Sudanese people”.
This is the key statement in the whole document. If the political parties in the country do not have a mandate to decide on federalism, who has?

As mentioned earlier, the SPLM and the other political parties (some of them, to be exact) sat down in April 2011 and worked out a Constitution that became the constitution of all South Sudanese. This constitution ‘imposed’ a particular system of governance on the South Sudanese people.

Make no mistake, the Southerners were not consulted on that Constitution. Now, why should following the same procedure be acceptable in relation to the current system and objectionable when it comes to adopting federalism?

One may innocently further ask the drafters of the Communique: if it is not the SPLM and other political parties that ‘determine and impose federalism’, how shall federalism ‘be democratically negotiated’ in whatever forum?

Add to the above points the constant reference in the Communique to the “decentralized Equatorial (sic) States”. Nowhere is the three Equatoria States mentioned without that being preceded by the word ‘decentralized’. The drafters must have wanted to pass a clear message.

Those familiar with the political discourse that followed the hot debate about federalism last year will not fail to understand why this stress on decentralization from the side of the drafters of the Communique.

People have then been made to understand that the choice was distinct between federalism (as proposed) and decentralization (presumed to be the current system of governance enshrined in the Constitution).

In theory and practice, decentralization is the system of governance antithetical to centralization of power. It spans a wide range of forms: local government, autonomy, federalism and confederation (as was in Switzerland). Hence, the use of decentralization without further qualification as to which type you are referring to is misleading, to say the least.

As you can see, federalism itself is one type of decentralization. However, we shall here follow the popular use so that we do not confuse the readers. One can infer from all the above that the drafters of the document are for the current system of ‘decentralization’ to be maintained.

But, is that the view of the Governors and the Equatorians they represent?

What was the Outcome of the Addis Visit?
One cannot fail to admire the determination and courage of the Equatoria Governors for standing up for what they believe in and taking their case to Addis Ababa where the President was at that time. This was a commendable step.

Our country will be saved only when all of us say what we believe in, and not what the powers that be would like to hear. However, let us honestly and soberly evaluate the outcome of that trip.

The publicly declared aim of the visit was to insure that the current Vice President occupied the position of the First Vice President proposed by IGAD mediators.

It must be stressed that at the time the news broke out up to the moment of writing, it remained a proposal; the two sides did not agree on it yet. So, there was no position of First Vice President that was on offer.

The Governors must have found out in Addis Ababa that the position of the government delegation on the matter was the rejection of the proposal and had suggested instead two Vice-Presidents of the equal status, whatever that means!!

Where does this arrangement, if accepted by the other side, leave the original demand of getting the No. Two position?

If the trip was to influence the position of the government in the talks to accept the proposal and then give the position to the Equatorian Vice president, then judging from the position of the government, not much has been achieved.

As things stand today, the current Vice President will retain his position after all. Was the trip premature or were other issues discussed? The Communique helps us answer this question.

To come back to our main point, what did the Governors tell the government negotiators about federalism? Did they convey to government negotiators what came in the Communique above?

The reason for asking these questions is because the agreement that was signed by the two parties on the 1st of February is silent about federalism.

One hoped the Governors reminded the two negotiating parties about their commitments to federalism so far. As a matter of fact, the stakeholders in Bahir Dar did agree in October 2014 on the following in relation to federalism.

Quote: “Acknowledge that a federal system of governance is a popular demand of a large section of the population of South Sudan and therefore agree to reflect it by way of effective devolution of more powers to the states in this agreement particularly in the areas of security, judicial administration, law enforcement, fiscal reforms and public sector reforms.” End quote. (Source: Summary of Areas of Agreement and Disagreement, Reviewed and edited by the Negotiating Committee on 4th October 2014).

If there was no backtracking by either of the parties, why didn’t the same statement appear as it is in the agreement of 1st February?

Or did they withdraw that commitment on reading the Communique of Equatoria Community that the issue of federalism should await the constitution making process?

It is oxymoron to talk of ‘imposition’ when the stakeholders have acknowledged that federalism is a popular demand.

These are legitimate questions that await honest clarification. It is clear the drafters of the Communique were not certainly for a federal system of governance.

Maybe in the rush to catch up the plane that same day, many of the participants including the Governors did not have time to have a critical look at the document.

Some cynics suggest that federalism was traded off for the second position in the Executive. One is disinclined to accept this view at the moment, and would rather give the Governors the benefit of the doubt. END

Unmasking the Invisible Hand of Futile Peace in South Sudan

BY: Deng Lueth Yuang, South Sudan, FEB/08/2015, SSN;

I think South Sudan’s peace is elusive because IGAD is “stupid.” Messrs. Mahboub Maalim, PM Desalegn and Co. tried their level best to bring peace to the South Sudanese people on time but failed to rise. Through appeasement, threats of sanctions, negotiated settlement and coercion, none of those have worked.

Ironically, when CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi) of Tanzania, intervened to mediate the intra-party dialogue, it was able to find some leeway at the expense of returning status quo to Juba.

However, this South Sudan’s conflict has produced some ripple effects across Eastern African states and the international community. Some of these impacts are positive and negative.

I will solely dwell on the positive effects to the wider eastern African states – Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Tanzania. Congo DR, Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda and Burundi are out for they are deemed neutral in this conflict.

Hence, every member state wants a piece of our national cake – petro-dollars.

Uganda intervened at the whims of Kiir government to defend Juba against ‘forceful takeover’ (with no sugar-coating, it is called a COUP) by voracious White Army with renegade soldiers of the national army.

Kiir administration is paying and owing them millions of dollars for their undoubted brave sacrifices to save the young nation from apocalypse.

It is a known fact that Sudan is happy and laughing at South Sudan killing themselves in the name of democracy. She is enjoying, siphoning off South’s oil in her terminals and getting a fat cheque from declining oil revenues. At the moment, no one is critiquing what she is doing and she is in great spirit for we are occupied with the war.

In the wee hours of the rebellion, Kenya championed a shuttle diplomacy to return the country back to normalcy so as to continue her economic monopoly over South Sudan. But to no avail, none came as a breakthrough. Now, Kenya is a hotbed for announcement of rebellions, and a ripe hosting ground for thousands of elites and ‘foot’ rebels.

Tanzania has entered the fray to spearhead her interest in South Sudan. Perhaps, she needs Juba and rebel elites to invest, spend or waste the few remaining and looted petro dollars on Tanzania’s socialistic economy.

For the past few months it has been hosting the intra-party talks, Arusha and its environs are teeming with full resorts, hotels, bars and accommodations glimmering in a twilight scene from dusk to dawn.

To stress it further, according to recent denouncement by one of the international community officials, the Addis peace is just a joke because the negotiators are enjoying bar life 24/7 with their $2000 a day stipend.

Sooner than later, Arusha, and Dar es Salaam will displace Nairobi as a regional hub of refuge and spending of blooded dollars from Juba.

But conceding the fact to that, thanks to the Australian based SBS Dinka Radio for today’s candid interview with former president of Ethiopia, Gen. Mengistu Haile Mariam. Now we have clearly understood many of the whirlwinds surrounding the close association between the peoples of Ethiopia and southern Sudan. Theirs is a mutual neighborliness and friendliness based on understanding of human suffering, redemption and liberation.

But the current Ethiopian regime, not her people, is swimming in crocodile infested waters. It seems to be supporting the rebels on one hand and government on the other hand. That is systematically biased. It is jeopardizing peace.

Back to the invisible hand of this war, every war creates two groups of refugees, namely: the economic who are the ‘haves’ and humanitarian who are the ‘have-nots’.

The former who have financial muscles are a foreign government’s happiness to welcome and incorporate them into her economy. The latter is a threat to her national security for they come with heavy burden on the state to provide more humanitarian assistance rather than for the government to depend on them economically.

That is why it is crystal clear that the hidden hand of the economy depicts that most of Eastern African nations are dizzy dallying with our peace. Our peace is for sale and is lying in the auction market with no immediate buyer.

The highest bidders are not yet out, and the auctioneers are many. So the current bidders on the floor could not distinguish who is shouting out the correct price. We are hallucinating. We are hearing too many voices in our brains!

This conundrum however has created a buzzing remittance market for these nations hosting up to two million South Sudanese in major cities, and refugee camps.

Among those are refugees with sustainable means of livelihoods such as the ‘haves’ or economic refugees, students, patients of war, visiting and relocating government officials, and relatives to the diaspora South Sudanese communities.

In essence, about half a million ‘diasporians’ send in millions of dollars each month to help their loved ones displaced by fighting. All of that money ends up in the host nations!

However, such pouring in of millions of dollars into eastern African economies from all over the world has created a booming money transfer business which is very lucrative for the local and international banks and Somali-run hawalas (Amal, Dahab Shill, Juba Express, etc).

The first two segments make billions of dollars annually on money transfer services such as sending charges, exchange rate differentials, taxes, and other levies which remain in the receiving countries financial systems.

Imagine, if South Sudanese government was nationalistic, it could have developed the whole nation within a decade for it was born in a 21st century. Ensuring a free democratic state with accountability could have given rise to neo-classical economic liberalization policies such as capital and labour mobility between states.

The remittances market could be producing millions or even billions of pounds to help boost national revenues. Internationally-based financial institutions such as Barclay, FC Stanbic, HSBC, Bank of America, Agricole Bank, etc could have established shops here in Juba.

Likewise, famous insurance companies such as Jubilee, AIG and AON among others could have made life easier for the poor innocent souls of the South. Unlike this kind of regional and local based banks which are adapted and prone to corruption e.g. partly owned by government officials and their relatives.

Consequentially, as long as the war in South Sudan is not ranked ‘worst’ on the humanitarian disaster scale, the sweetness of our blood will be tasted in faraway lands where people-of-means have run to for refuge.

As the saying goes, “one man’s poison is another man’s meat” or vice versa, South Sudanese butchering themselves create fruitful opportunities for other nations.

The ‘Diasporians’ are busy working overtime to ensure their displaced loved ones are able to live through the hard life of being a refugee or a temporary resident in another man’s country.

So my country men and women, be blessed and remain with this mantra of the invisible hand of economics – create more havoc in your home country, pay more money to your relatives and develop the economies of the host nations.

I think YOU South Sudanese are not yet fed up of “TKK” – TOA KITU KIDOGO Wee!

The commentator is an Economist. Facebook – Deng Lueth Yuang.

Press Release: Mundari Community condemns Kwὃrijik-Luri/Dejeri incident

PRESS RELEASE, FEB/05/2015,

Following the unfortunate incident in Dejeri village of Northern Bari Payam on Sunday 18th 2015, between some Mundari cattle herders and some community members of Dejeri which culminated into loss of precious lives, injury of scores of people, burning of residences, displacement of residents from Kwὃrijik-Luri, and untold suffering of the people affected.

The Mundari Community Union (MCU) and the entire Mundari Community residents in Juba held an emergency community meeting on Friday 23rd January 2015, in which the sitting condemned in the strongest terms possible the incident of Dejeri (Kwὃrὃjik-Luri) and regretted the loss of dear lives and property.

The participants sent their heart-felt and sincere condolences to the grieved families and pray to the Almighty God to rest the souls of the deceased in eternal peace, and give their families strength and faith.

The meeting unanimously resolved the following:
1) The meeting appeals for peace to prevail and all persons involved should refrain from all acts of violence with immediate effect and the perpetrators of these heinous acts should be brought to book.

2) Immediate removal of the Mundari cattle from Kwὃrὃjik-Luri and the surrounding areas with the help of the Hon. Commissioners of Terekeka and Juba counties and other State Law enforcement agencies.

3) The Mundari cattle herders catering for sizable cattle which belong to some Bari community members must hand over those herds peacefully to their rightful owners before departure to avoid any future claims.

4) The meeting rejects and condemn in the strongest terms the unfounded rumors and provocative propaganda by the enemies of peace that the two communities are mobilizing to attack each other.

5) Leaders of both communities (elders, intellectuals, chiefs, women, youth, civil society and other opinion leaders) should stand firm and work together as a team so as to de-escalate the tension.

6) To avoid future incidences of the same nature; the participants recommended that the State government organizes the County Commissioners in Central Equatoria to arrange and facilitate the return of all Mundari cattle camps wherever they are in the State to the county.

7) The participants resolved to request the state government to facilitate and support convening of a truth, peace and reconciliation conference in the State for conflict resolution and mitigation and to draw participants from the various sectors of the communities in the state.

8) To avoid the existing scenario from replicating itself, we urge the government of the State and development partners to pay more and indeed special attention to service delivery for Terekeka County especially in construction of dams to provide potable water for both human and animal consumption.

9) The participants requested the State government to facilitate an urgent meeting between the two communities as soon as possible.

In conclusion, as mentioned above, the incident is not an intended/ organized conflict, and we reiterate that we are not in conflict with each other but what happened was an individual case of misunderstanding between some cattle keepers and some farmers in Dejeri village of Kwὃrὃjik-Luri.

It should be known that, the Mundari and the Bari Communities since time in memorial has coexisted in peace. Therefore there is no base for these wild rumors. Hence, the meeting calls for continuous calm and peace in order to promote unity and harmony amongst the Bari and Mundari in particular and the entire people of our beloved state.

Signed by
…………………………. ………………………………..

Wani Buyu Dyὃri Taban Emmanuel Baya
Deputy Chairperson Acting Secretary General
Mundari Community Union Mundari Community Union

Date: 24th/January/2015.

Confusion on ‘Government’ & Joke of ‘Equatoria Community’

By: James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, FEB/03/2015, SSN;

I read the agreement by President Kiir and Dr. Riek on “Areas of Agreement on the Establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in the Republic of South Sudan” and its annex on proposed power sharing formula.

Also I read the Conference Resolutions of Equatoria Community presented by its three governors to the IGAD’s Mediators Envoys in Addis Ababa.

1. The agreement could be termed as semi-break-through because IGAD seems to be reaching the tipping point of the dead-end of the whole affair. IGAD warns: Finalize it before it is too late for you or count us out of it if you don’t compromise to reach final peace agreement by
April 2015.

I hope this is a real final call from IGAD before its flight kicks off for good. Arusha got buried in Addis Ababa; requiem mass for it is the only wait!

2. As the principals of war and their negotiators go back to Addis Ababa next three weeks, I would like some clarification on the term ‘Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS).’

There is confusion in the usage of this term, unless the negotiators and mediators have come up with another meaning from what we know from literature of politics.

Who shall be that ‘Government’ when the implementation of any sharing of power is finalized? Will the government be composed of SPLM party’s members at home (e.g., Salva Kiir, Wani Igga, Manase Magok, Joseph Bol, et al)?

Will it be composed of the SPLM party’s members at home in addition to other political parties’ members who are participating in the current Kiir’s government (e.g, Elia Lomuro, Martin Tako, et al)?

In short, will those political parties who are part of the current government (executive) be sharing the proposed 60% for the GRSS so that the proposed (10% or 14% or 20% or whatever
leftover %) share remains reserved for ‘Other Political Parties’ who are not part of the current government? Not only this, but also who shall be called the ‘Government’ after the implementation of the percentages of the shares have been actualized?

Will it be all of those parties’ members participating institutionally in the government from the agreed shares or it shall remain to be referred to those with Kiir?

In my understanding, the power sharing needs to be for the government. It does not make sense but confusions if a government shares power for a government! The use of ‘SPLM-IG’ could make sense in sharing for government positions than the use of term ‘GRSS.’

3. The Equatoria Community is killing political partism in the Republic of South Sudan. Its resolution is an evidence that those who came up with the resolution are not loyal to the SPLM but their own region only.

If governors of every regional community (Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal) adopt the same political behavior, I don’t think South Sudan is going to head anywhere politically as far
as governance is concerned.

Perhaps, it would be better we encourage creation of political parties called ‘Equatoria Party,’ ‘Bahr el Ghazal Party’ and ‘Upper Nile Party’ rather than allowing and supporting the scrupulosity of one region.

4. I laughed when I read in the resolution that Equatorians are for Salva Kiir to remain as the President of the Republic but at the same time proposing rotational presidency during the transitional period.

Why rotate Kiir to a lower level if you are sincerely for him at the top post? Why mix courage with cowardice! Equatoria Community is joking. I tend to think so.

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Dr. James Okuk is lecturer and public analyst in area of politics. He can be reached at okukjimy@hotmail.com