Archive for: October 2015

Salva Kiir sets ablaze the Compromise Peace Agreement!!

BY: BOL Ruach Rom, OCT/05/2015, SSN;

South Sudanese were caught by surprise when president Kiir set ablaze the Compromise Peace Agreement by issuing a unilateral Presidential Order No. 36/2015 AD on Friday October 2nd, 2015, in an abrupt move to expand the existing ten states into twenty eight as follows:
(a) Greater Equatoria: Imatong, Namurnyang, Maridi, Amadi, Gbudwe, Juba, Terekeka, Yei River, (b) Greater Bhar el Ghazal: Wau, Aweil, Lol, Aweil East, Twic East, Gogrial East, Tonj, Eastern Lakes, Western Lakes, Gok and
(c) Greater Upper Nile: Northern Lich, Southern Lich, Ruweng, Eastern Nile, Jonglei, Western Nile, Western Bieh, Eastern Bieh, Latjor and Boma.

The first administrative breach of compromise peace agreement:
Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit appended his signature with reservations ten days later August 26th, 2015 in Juba on the IGAD Plus proposed compromise peace agreement on resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan which was formally signed by Dr. Riek Machar Teny, chairman and commander in chief of the SPLM/A on August 17th, 2015 in Addis Ababa.

The agreement has imposed TEN STATES on South Sudan for a period of 30 months and referred the federal arrangements to the constitutional promulgation mechanism.

The signed and rectified agreement by both parties overrides the constitution and any other law of the land in case of dispute on its interpretation therein.

Moreover, Article 161 of the Constitution says ‘the territory of South Sudan shall compose of ten states,’ therefore the President has no right to create additional states unless the people of South Sudan demand for them in the constitutional amendments processes.

Mindful of the statement of President Salva Kiir Mayardit during his signing ceremony at Freedom hall in Juba on August 26th, 2015, he said and I quote, “Such reservations if ignored would not be in the interests of just and lasting peace…..The text was not a Bible, not the Koran, why should it not be revisited?”

On same occasion, one of the President’s hardliners, Michael Makuei Lueth, Minister of Information, Communication and Broadcasting protested President’s signature, walked out of the meeting hall and when approached to wait for sometimes by protocol team; he scolded at them said and I quoted, “I don’t give a damn, let him (President) surrender alone.”

With above quotes, the government in Juba snubs on its goodwill, commitment and vigorously holds on its reservations list despite Regional and International pressure.

The abrupt creation of twenty eight (28) states contrary to the constitution and the compromise peace agreement is the first administrative breach to the peace deal.

This deliberate act of violation sends a signal to the common man that the signed compromise peace agreement is at verge of imminent collapse.

The president and his minister Michael Makuei Lueth ebbed and skewed off the peace accord to defend the status quo as usual.

Their ill intention against peace made Kiir turn down the invitation of Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations to New York on the pretext of time constraints; furthermore, both leaders mimicked that ‘President Kiir is treated like a school boy.’

The behavior of Kleptocrats in Juba fits into Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s quote: “The more you invest your egos into your perceptions, the more rigid your minds become and the more frozen your responses are.”

The government of South Sudan had utterly rejected such demands during negotiation phases for nearly two years until IGAD Plus and the International Peace Partners had to pressure the SPLM/A to drop its federal demand of 21 states pending constitutional promulgation processes as a compromised position in the last round of peace talks.

What prompted the creation of twenty eight states again after the peace deal? Is President Salva Kiir Mayardit renegotiation clauses in the agreement as he promised that it’s neither a Bible nor a Koran to be revisit?

Annexation of land and oil to build Dinka Empire:
My second point of reaction is on the annexation of land and oil to Padang Dinka in Greater Upper Nile Region; however, as an Upper Nilian, I would like to confine my argument to land and oil encroachment in Upper Nile State as a burning pot caused by such tribal entities.

Upper Nile State is inhabited by five different tribes mainly in thirteen counties as follows: (a) Jikany Nuer inhabit: Nasir, Maiwut, Longechuk, Ulang,
(b) Collo land: Malakal, Panyikango, Fashoda, Manyo,
(c) Padang Dinka: Baliet, Melut, Renk and later Akoka,
(d) Burun: Mabaan and
(e) Komo live in Maiwut and Longechuk with Jikany-Gaajaak subsection.

Unfortunately, with majority of dictatorial tendency, “a dictatorship of the majority encroaches on the right of the minority/individual.”

The Dinka domination in the center outwardly encroached parts of Collo land to Padang Dinka in Atar/Figi, Khorfulus, Baliet and Akoka.

This land encroachment policy develops grudges between Collo tribe and Padang Dinka communities.

One incident witnessed by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Sudanese President Omer Hassan el Bashir at Malakal stadium was in January 2009 when groups of folklore teams from Collo and Padang Dinka fought over who should open the CPA celebration before the other.

In the afternoon of the same day, the fight extended like a wild fire to Malakal peripheries of Anakdiar, Lul East and Bianythiang where villages were burned down to ashes.

Then six months later, paramount chief Thon Wai of Akoka county and members of his village were killed in Bianythiang by militia forces from across the west bank.

Therefore, “Annexing Makal, Anakdiar, Dolieb Hill, Pathore, Kaldaki, Obel, Makal Collo, Lul …etc… to newly created Eastern Nile State of Padang Dinka is more than a capital vice in the Bible; even Rebecca Joshua and Joseph Bol Chan next to president Kiir will protest and rebel.”

Maban land and oil in Kilos 20 and 10 were annexed to Melut by former Upper Nile administrations that resulted in several incidents between Nyiel/Ageer and Mabaan communities.

The land and oil annexation order caught Jikany Nuer particularly Gaajaak subsection by surprise when the Komo tribe is extracted as far as Ethiopian borderlines of Katen Buai, Nguan Kei, Kigile, Wadese and Dajo to be administratively annexed to Figi, Atar and Khorfulus of Padang Dinka in Jonglei; this is ridicules and impractical.

“Imagine, a Komo trekking from Maiwut and Longechuk all the way to Khorfulus and Figi is a nightmare and impossible demand to be implemented.”

Therefore, president Salva Kiir’s Order No. 36/2015 AD is another economic war in the making that would be a curse to Padang population, it is a ticking time bomb that could explode anytime and jeopardize the existence of Padang community in Greater Upper Nile Region.

Boundaries demarcation:
Mr. President, there are always guidelines to follow in order to create a viable state or a county. The least you can do is a bit of feasibility study on population, land, location, geographical features and resources (economic viability); I guess the two simple criteria used here are ethnic loyalty and resources annexation to build Dinka Empire.

I repeat myself, what are the tools used in creating twenty–eight states? Where did Salva Kiir Mayardit get powers of expanding states contrary to the constitution and the agreement?

Is it an agenda of reform created by SPLM in government to challenge the reform agenda of SPLM/A in opposition during the thirty months implementing phase of the peace accord?

Or is it an implementation of his rejected reservations to set ablaze the signed agreement?

This Dinka-favored-states-creation is a curse to South Sudanese and will trigger much more tribal violence across the country, especially the already fragile Collo-Padang boundaries.

Political paradigms shift to the East:
Behind the enemy line is a new political marriage between the Republic of South Sudan and the Far East, particularly Russia and China. The Republic of South Sudan after long suffering from Regional and International Isolation prompted political shift to Russia and China for survival of the fetus.

The recent move by Russia, China, Angola and Venezuela to block proposed sanctions on South Sudan’s Chief of General Staff at United Nations Security Council meeting deciphered the code of political relationship.

Therefore with political paradigm shift to the East, the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit had turned down the invitation of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to UNGA on peace implementation and felt much more empowered by the East to set the agreement ablaze and continue with balkanization of South Sudan to appease the Dinka Empire.

Recommendation on necessary actions:
1. The writer urges the IGAD Plus, African Union, Troika, United Nations and International Peace Partners to mount pressure on President Kiir to reverse his order vide no. 36/2015 and instead implement the compromise peace agreement in letter and spirit without reservations.

2. I call upon the people of South Sudan in all walks of life, South Sudanese political parties, civil society organizations and faith based organizations to rise up and join SPLM/A in Opposition to reject the implementation of the order and condemn the behavior of wicked leaders in Juba for abuse of power.

3. At this juncture, I would like to urge Padang Dinka council of elders and its political leadership in Greater Upper Nile Region to reject and quell on implementation of annexed resources order to avoid future holocaust in Padang land by an indomitable tribal warrior.

4. The last but not least is to appeal to parliamentarians and members of the council of ministers minus Jieng council of elders to show their hidden teeth on this national call to reject in its entirety the Presidential Order No. 36/2015 AD and urge his implementation CPA.

Bol Ruach Rom is a concern South Sudanese citizen and could be reach at: guanchueni@gmail.com ,

Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora reject creation of 28 States in RSS

Press Release,

SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL ORDER FOR THE CREATION OF 28 STATES IN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN.

Date: 4th October 2015

We, the Equatorian leaders in Diaspora (United States of America, Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom), speaking on behalf of our constituents and as stakeholders in South Sudan political situation, reject the Presidential order number 36/2015 AD issued by President Salva Kiir Mayardit on South Sudan Television (SSTV) on the night of Friday 2nd October 2015 for the creation of 28 states in the Republic of South Sudan. Currently, South Sudan has 10 states. The order has come as a surprise to most South Sudanese.

We reject the issuing of the Presidential order for a number of reasons, including the following:

1. Procedural matter: We consider that such an important matter of creating new states requires a democratic process to be followed. It should involve The Council of States as stipulated in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan Articles 161 (3), (4). In addition, the people of South Sudan should also be consulted. None of these happened. Therefore, the President has undermined the expected democratic process and values, which he is supposed to uphold.

2. Unconstitutional action: The current constitution of South Sudan states that there shall be 10 states in the Republic of South Sudan, and that no one is above the law, including the President. The President’s action in relation to issuing an order to create 28 States in the Republic of South Sudan violates the constitution and it amounts to amendment of the Interim Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, outside his power. The key extracts of the Interim Constitution states that:

Article 3
(1) This Constitution derives its authority from the will of the people and shall be the supreme law of the land. It shall have a binding force on all persons, institutions, organs and agencies of government throughout the Country

According to the constitution “States of South Sudan”: Article 161
(1) The territory of South Sudan is composed of TEN states governed on the basis of decentralisation.
(2) The constitutions of the states shall conform to this constitution.
(3) State boundaries shall not be altered except by a resolution of the Council of States approved by two- thirds of all members.
(4) Names of states and their capital towns shall not be altered except by a resolution of the Council of States approved by a simple majority on the recommendation of the relevant State Assembly.

The President has broken his oath by not consulting the members of the National and State Assemblies that represent the people of South Sudan.

Therefore, the President’s action to create 28 states is unconstitutional. Any amendment to the Constitution for creating new states can only be carried out by the Parliament, and not the President.

3. Against the spirit of the current peace agreement: The unilateral action of the President to issue an order for the creation of 28 states in the Republic of South Sudan runs contrary to the current Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan. The power sharing formula of the Agreement Chapter 1 Articles 1.1.6, 15.2 and 15.3 is based on 10 states, and not 28 states. The action of the President can be interpreted to mean an act of derailing the peace agreement.

In conclusion, we reject the order by President Salva Kiir Mayardit for the creation of 28 States in the Republic of South Sudan, on the grounds of procedural and constitutional matter, and that it is against the spirit of the recently signed peace agreement.

We request IGAD plus to intervene in order to ensure the peace agreement is implemented in full, both in letter and spirit. No party should be allowed to undermine the peace agreement by unilateral actions that are not stipulated in the agreement.

We call upon the people of South Sudan to reject the order of the President. The people of South Sudan have not been consulted on such an important and major issue of creation of new states.

THE EQUATORIAN LEADERS IN THE DIASPORA:

1. Federico Vuni, Equatorian Community Leader in the UK
2. Mr. Kwaje Lasu, Equatorian Community Leader in the US
3. Mr. Joseph Modi, Equatorian Community Leader in Canada
4. Mr William Orule Equatorian Community Leader in Australia

Contact email: livi.hope@yahoo.co.uk

Going Back to The Basics: There is need to Reexamine the State of Affairs in South Sudan

By Agou Anyieth Kur, OCT/04/2015, SSN;

When individuals lost direction on the road, if a person fails to achieve a goal, and when a nation falters and on the verge of collapse, the right thing to do is to go back to where they began. The same thing is true for South Sudanese.

They need to go back to their basics; the historical aspirations and ideals that made them came together as a nation in order to heal, reconcile and move forward. There are things that will always unite the people of South Sudan no matter what the situation or the conflict they are currently in.

First, they will always remain South Sudanese and no one can deprive them of that identity.

Secondly, the people of South Sudan alongside other marginalized people of the then whole Sudan were united in their dignified struggle for freedom, justice and equality. The struggle took a lot of sacrifices in term of lives, property and time; more than fifty years.

The long struggle for freedom earned us good will among the nations and peoples of the world such that when we achieved our independence, almost the whole world rejoiced with us.

Our struggle was basically about freedom and dignity of people and that put us on the right side of the history and of justice.

In essence we were the modern day resemblance of the Biblical children of Israel. Mind you, even the Bible in the Book of Isaiah 18 talks about us as great and mighty people who will come and “give praise and thanksgiving on the mountain Zion.”

And so when we hoisted our flag on the July 9th 2011, it was as if the earth and heaven have united in witnessing good triumphing over evil. I know this because some of my then classmates at the university who have never said even a greeting to me before, congratulated me for my country because they have seen it on their televisions. We, as South Sudanese, were, arguably, the happiest of peoples the world over that day.

Then came December 15th 2015, and hell broke loose and then furry, anger, strife and death unleashed themselves unto us. What happened? Why did it happen? And how do we end this mess?

These are some of the questions that continue to haunt us today and we are not yet sure whether the newly struck deal would finally give us the answers and the solutions we have been looking for. Time, being the genius it is, will eventually tell us that.

Books, articles, and documentaries have been produced, are currently being produced and will continuously be produced about how our country descended and spiraled into the abyss. Mind you, I even wrote one myself about seven months before the conflict.

I had an article published on May 12th 2013 on The South Sudan nation titled: ”The South Sudan Coming Apocalyptic Election of 2015”. I was not the first or the last because many people, both South Sudanese and others had warned that the country was sliding into anarchy. The writing was there on the wall for all to see. But we buried our heads in the sand and even escalated downhill falling by a series of reckless decisions and “bad politics”.

Now that we are in this mess, the humble pleas of this author through agoubasics.blogspot.com, is to stop (literally, stop for moment and think) and reflect. South Sudanese need to look how far they have come, where we are currently and where we want to go.

We seriously need to reflect on our painful and historic struggle: the loss, the headache and humiliation at the hands of the various Khartoum regimes. We need to remind ourselves of our shared identity and culture, our aspiration and hopes for freedom.

The values we hold so dearly both traditional values of respect, dignity, honesty and handwork and the political values we rightly acquired such as the love for self governance, respect for the rule of law and inclusive political participation. These are the values and dreams our people died for and for those of us living will “die for if need be”.

It doesn’t matter what side of the divide one may be at the moment whether you are supporting the “constitutionally elected government” or you are “fighting for justice and democracy” as the two sides continue to claim. We all need to reflect.

We have to admit that no matter how justified our position, the truth is; in this conflict many horrible atrocities have been committed by both sides. Thousands have died, cities, towns and villages have been destroyed and wiped out. The bonds that held our society together have been torn asunder. That is the basic and glaring truth we have to accept.

We have to recognize that no positions nor cause was worth fighting and dying for in this way. It is the sad truth of this conflict that our people have died in vain either protecting someone’s presumed position or to advance some one’s ambition or innocently while having nothing to do with Kiir and Riek’s support.

My basic blog is therefore calling us to reflect on our history, struggle, our shared heritage, our values and our aspiration and dreams that made us to separate from the wicked ways of Khartoum. We have to admit that we have lost direction, have forgotten our shared identity and abandoned our values and dreams of dignity, freedom, justice, rule of law, inclusive political participation and equitable economic empowerment and prosperity. Those are the things several generations of our people fought and died for.

Through the “basic blogs,” I am like any other citizen giving his or her thoughts in the national dialogue the way every South Sudanese out there should have their views and air them. I believe such dialogue is key in trying to shape where we are heading.

I will aim for plain simplicity of things and no spin nor distortion of truth and I seek not to praise nor condemn anyone without any valid reason. I am just a humble citizen trying to get his voice heard; We all have to.

I could only hope that posterity can afford me a slight mention in the pages of history as a citizen who just participated in the political discourse of his nation. For me, in the words of Gen. Douglas Macthur, is “Duty, honor and country”.

I, therefore, invite you my fellow country men and women to visit my blog agoubasics.blogspot.com and other blogs and forums out there dealing with the national dialogue that is going on.

In these difficult times that “tries the souls of men” let’s reflect and listen to each other. For only through honest dialogue shall we be able to overcome the challenges facing our nation and build it into a great place we all want it to be. We owe this ourselves and our future generations.

Agou Anyiet Kur
Blogger and Freelance Political and Communication Consultant.
HH Global Intel Inc.

I Question the Logic Behind the Creation of 28 States by Pres. Kiir

By Malek Cook-Dwach, Kampala-Uganda, OCT/04/2015, SSN,

“Good Ideas are produced by Healthy Mind”;

On personal note: the tribal sediment is deeply rooted beyond repair and manifested to the greater degree that verses the nationhood. In the onset of historical movements of South Sudanese people from pre-independence to post-independence era; the extra-juridical killing continue base on ethnic identities in the pretext of claiming and hijacking the historic legacy.

It was alleged that the incumbent Dinka Council of Elders (DCE) once formulated 39 laws against Nuer on 23/12/2003 in Yei under the chairmanship of Daniel Awet Akot, could this meeting be what triggered door-to-door massacre of ethnic Nuer in 2013 from the inside Capital City Juba under the supervision of the President Salva Kiir Mayardit?

The recruitment of Dut ku beny nick named mathiang Anyoor speaks volumes in the implementation of 39 laws against Nuer ethnic group which were well designed by Dinka Council of Elders (DCE) long time ago and the President Kiir Mayardit is a chief architecture Engineer of this process forgetting that he is president to everyone because he is branded by tribal mindset.

When this kind of politics comes into play, it was provoked by fear of sharing the national cake and political reforms to revitalize the system because the Dinka Council of Elders (DCE) is a direct beneficiary in the system and preferred status quo.

The culture of payback is what’s destroying the World’s newest nation (South Sudan). There are those who called themselves liberators and demand rewarding at the expense of the poor.

Coming back to the topic, I don’t see any reason behind claiming what is not your initiative as seen in creating of 28 States by President Kiir while it was earlier proposed by SPLM-IO to be 21 States based on colonial rule with known boundaries.

If Juba government buys this idea, they could wait for transitional government formation for it to be legislated in the national parliament in line with permanent constitution.

I doubt the creation of 28 States was a gesture of goodwill from President, as stated by Mark Twain that “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

The President supposes to succumb to ‘give Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God.’ The idea for the President having Dinka Council of Elders (DCE) as his Presidential aides was wrong in the first place because it does not reflect the diversity of South Sudanese.

I am also skeptical for the President’s Speech writers because in several occasions there appeared forged and plagiarized speeches.

On Monday April 27, 2015 when Salva Kiir addressed the newly graduated students from Juba University he plagiarized President of Rwanda Paul Kagame speech when he addressed his home country students on the 21 of April 2015 in Rwanda. Available on the links below htt://www.newtimes.c.orw/article/2015-4-13/187797/
Kiir speeches on 27, April, 2015:
Htt://talkofjuba.com south-sudan/738-no-government-jobs-for-graduate-kiir

When Kiir signed the compromise peace agreement (CPA2) in August 26, 2015, he also plagiarized the famous quote from Ja’afer Niemery when he abrogated the Addis Ababa peace Agreement in 1983, when he said ‘’This peace is neither the Quran nor the Bible.”

For somebody who’s been to quality schools it is always discouraged and prohibited to forge and plagiarize somebody else words by means of copy and paste because plagiarism is a crime punishable by law.

Seeing somebody with high profile like head of state plagiarizing speeches is an insult to the sovereignty of our country and also questioning the educational capacities of President Speech’s writers.

Creation of 28 States could be the work of Council of States as per the transitional constitution of South Sudan bestowed upon them the power to alter or change the name of any state if it deems to.

The unilateral decision taken by Mr President Salva Kiir met with mixed reactions and condemnation inside South Sudan and Diaspora intellectual circles.

The Author is Researcher and Media Commentator, reachable at malekcook75@gmail.com

Why Presidential Order Establishing 28 States should be Nullified

By Dr. James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, OCT/04/2015, SSN;

On Friday 2nd October 2015 in Juba and quoting as usual Article 101 of Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (2011), President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued “Establishment Order Number 36/2015 for the Creation of 28 States in the Decentralized Governance System in the Republic of South Sudan.”

The Order is supposed to come into force in 30 working days (i.e., by 4th November 2015) from the date of signature and in accordance with the attached delimitation map to the Order (8 States for Equatoria and 10 states for Upper Nile and Bahnr el Ghazal each).

The President shall appoint gender-balanced (i.e., 25% women) governors and legislative assembly members for these new states with powers of making and promulgating states’ constitutions as well as electing speakers and their deputies respectively.

The President shall also establish States Border Dispute Resolution Committee (SBDRC) to attend to the arising or connected conflicts between the new states.

The core purpose of the Order is implementation of Articles 36 (1) of the Transitional Constitution, which requires promotion of decentralization and devolution of power to the people through the appropriate levels government where they can best manage and direct their affairs.

The President can also issue further operational Orders for the new states if deemed necessary. The Order will create new constituencies for the incumbent members of the previous States Legislative Assemblies on whom additional members shall be appointed by the President but with a total not exceeding 21 MPs for each new state.

The Order shall remain effective unless amended by another Presidential Order.

Now, looking critically at the scanned Text of the Presidential Order, it is my observation that it bears no signature and seal of Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardi; neither is it printed on an official headed paper though it was read over the SSTV.

The Article 166(6) (a) and (b) in the Order was a wrong quote because it is supposed to be about local government and not states’ government. The correct article would have been Article 162(1) and (3), which defines the territory of South Sudan as composed of 10 states governed on the basis of decentralization and with prohibition of altering the name of any state or its capital town except by a resolution of the Council of States approved by a simple majority of all members on the recommendation of the relevant State Assembly.

Further, the quoted Article 101 (b), (f), (k) and (u) was also flawed in relation to the substance of the Order because it has no supplementary read of another legal prescription apart from the Transitional Constitution, and also because it only empowers the President of the Republic to supervise executive institutions and initiate constitutional amendment through the National Legislature mechanisms (see Article 86(5).

The President is not allowed to temper with matters affecting the Bill of Rights, the Decentralized System of Government or alteration of Administrative Boundaries of the States.

Further more, some of the names of the counties that were mentioned in the Order have no legal existence (for example, there is no Kodok or Malakal Counties; what is there is called Fashoda and Makal Counties). Some states have only one county and you wonder why call them states.

Above all, the Order is a violation of the IGAD-Plus’ mediated Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, which was signed by President Kiir himself in Juba on 26th August 2015 and ratified later by the National Legislature so that it becomes supreme over the Transitional Constitution (2011 and amendments).

The Establishment Order may be suspected as rejuvenation of ‘Kokora’ but on tribal enclaves where the lucky ones get their GPAA as David Yayau got it, though now baptized (except Abyei Area) in the names of 28 states.

By choosing unconstitutionality, President Kiir could be seen as equivalent to Chief rebel Dr. Riek who is not bound by any constitution or law in his decisions.

To save the nation from constitutional and peace setbacks and also from more negative economic implications and social strife, I urge President Kiir to nullify the Order with clarification that it is a position of his ruling SPLM-J intended for influencing the direction of the permanent constitutional making process later.

Prof. John Young had previously warned of attempts to adopt the complicated and complex situation of Ethiopian-like ethnic federalism, because it is dangerous for survival of South Sudan at this particular moment.
————————————————
Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics. He can be reached at okukjimy@hotmail.com.

BENTIU: South Sudan’s city of the dispossessed

By TRISTAN MCCONNELL, The East African, Friday, October-2-2015;

IN SUMMARY:
*Inside the 6.5 kilometre perimeter fortifications live 118,000 people, some of the 2.2 million uprooted by civil war since December 2013.
*During the rainy season the dirt road is unusable so everything has to be flown in.
*10 flights a month are used to bring in bars of soap for the camp’s population.

An earth bank, topped in some places with a coil of razor wire, surrounds the United Nations peacekeeping base outside Bentiu in South Sudan. There are also watchtowers and armed peacekeepers.

Inside the 6.5 kilometre perimeter fortifications live 118,000 people, some of the 2.2 million uprooted by civil war since December 2013.

Around 195,000 people live inside six UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) bases after the unusual step of allowing civilians refuge alongside peacekeepers was taken when fighting broke out, first in the capital Juba, and then in other parts of the country.

Bentiu is by far the biggest of these, with survival a struggle for its dispossessed residents and a challenge for the aid workers seeking to make their lives liveable.

“By any measure the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is as bad, or worse than, anywhere else in the world,” said Simon Mansfield of the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) in Juba.

In Bentiu there are, “extraordinarily high rates of starvation” and “emergency levels of mortality among children,” Mansfield said. “We have to do more but it’s very difficult.”

Conditions are appalling inside what the UN and aid workers call “the PoC” — standing for “Protection of Civilians” site — but they are a big improvement on a year ago when the camp would fill up like a paddling pool each time it rained, leaving the 40,000 people then living there wading through filthy water full of faeces and rubbish.

A medical worker said that drowned children were found “every day”.

‘Swamp and mud into a town’

An $18 million (16 million euro) extension and redevelopment was begun to stop the flooding and reduce congestion by more than doubling the space available for civilians.

The site was expanded and drainage canals dug, a grid system for housing was carved out of the forests, and 8,000 stick-framed dwellings were planned for the population. Ten water boreholes were sunk and 1,710 latrines dug.

“It was an amazing project, against the odds. We transformed swamp and mud into a town,” said Andrea Paiato of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which oversaw the construction.

South Sudan’s abysmal infrastructure makes doing anything difficult and expensive. The journey from Juba to Bentiu takes between three days and two weeks depending on the weather.

During the rainy season the dirt road is unusable so everything has to be flown in.

John Paul Mugo Mwaniki, a water and sanitation expert at the charity Concern Worldwide, says 10 flights a month are used to bring in bars of soap for the camp’s population.

“And this is just soap!” he said. “Then we need timber, plastic sheeting, metal sheets…”

‘This is what the war has done’

For now, there is no night lighting in the camp, making a trip to the communal toilets dangerous for women and girls, who risk rape and sexual assault in the darkness.

The reason, explains Gilbert Ogeto of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) — the charity tasked with managing the camp — is that the nearest place to get sand and gravel to fix the lighting poles in the mud is the town of Wau, and the road is impassable.

Before the extension work had even finished a brutal, scorched-earth government offensive, from April to July, drove an influx of people that trebled the population.

“We planned to rehouse 40,000 people, and now the population is 120,000,” said Ogeto. So 11 people are cramming into shelters meant for five, and more arrive everyday.

Paiato says it could have been much worse: “Imagine what would have happened without the expansion, with 120,000 people? It would have been disgraceful.”

Still, conditions are awful. A recent outbreak of malaria spread fast through a crowded, weakened population surrounded by standing water where mosquitoes breed.

Five of George Duop’s eight children have contracted malaria since he and his family arrived in the camp in June. His two-year old daughter Nyakiem has had it twice and is being treated at a hospital run by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

“We never got sick like this at home,” said the 55-year old, who fled his hometown of Koch when government troops attacked. “I’m not happy here as the children just get sick, time and again, one after another.”

Twice a day a Land Cruiser station wagon arrives to collect the plastic-wrapped dead from a makeshift morgue by the hospital gate.

They are taken to a graveyard a short distance outside the base where the bodies are interred in a cratered and waterlogged patch of swamp. By mid-September, 623 people had been buried there this year, their mass graves gouged out of the sucking soil by a tractor.

“The relatives of the dead feel awful about the process, but there’s nothing we can do,” said Bentiu’s gravedigger, Simon, a 46-year old former businessman. “This is what the war has done.”

“I feel so bad because people are dying every day, every day. It never stops,” he said.

Why Disorganized and Divided SPLM Party Will Doom the Republic of South Sudan

By J. Omunu, OCT/02/2015, SSN;

According to George Santayana, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Such a description best befits the character of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which is mired in bitter internal bickering endless animosity.

Specifically, its recent political history that favored a top-down approach in decision- making, which was very much controlled by the then party Chairman, Dr. John Garang, tends to frustrate intra-party democracy. Incensed by socialist ideology, Dr. Garang himself argued fervently against political pluralism and inclusivity. This came about after a protracted liberation struggle during which pro-democracy advocates within the movement were either tortured and killed or sidelined.

It is worth noting that the SPLM has always been dominated and sustained by powerful individuals with no shared common ideology, vision or strategy.

A good case in point, all administrative decision-making processes today rest entirely with the office of President Salva Kiir doubling as Chairman of SPLM, who makes nearly all unilaterally and single-handedly major decisions on a wide range of issues affecting the party and the populace.

Under such circumstances, anarchy becomes the order of business. Thus, egoism, greed and insatiable appetite for power among the ruling élite, are some of the major quandaries that impede the democratization process in the country.

This contradiction has considerably undermined the initial main objective of the SPLM/A liberation struggle in a manner that justified armed revolution in the first place.

The SPLM/A’s 1993 manifesto states that its objective was the construction of foundation for democratization a new Sudan based on equality, freedom, economic and social justice and respect for human rights. The SPLM/A declared also itself to be committed to fight discrimination, eradicate tribalism and sectionalism.

With Dr. John Garang’s tragic death, the SPLM’s principals began to consolidate political power for those in leadership positions. An extreme tribal clique from the President’s ethnic group (Dinka) evolved into the ruling elite that surrounds President Salva Kiir.

Some of this elite was even ‘in bed’ with the former ‘enemies’ across South Sudan’s northern border, whom SPLM pundits nicknamed ‘Jallaba’ or ‘colonialists’. This group started to drag the ruling party out of its reform agenda, and manipulated the interim constitution development process in order to secure their hold onto power.

A good number of these party wing nuts won’t compromise on anything positive and aimed at moving the new country forward.

Instead, they have taken the party hostage in the wake of President Kiir’s stunning announcement in early November 2013 that he had dissolved all the SPLM party structures; a move that provoked strong reactions from the other senior party leaders, including the former Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, who all condemned their party chairman’s actions, describing it as illegal and dictatorial.

Against this backdrop, arises the question: Can a dysfunctional party so fragmented by endless political squabbling over its leadership’s style actually govern the new country?

I argue that the beginning of the end of the “Mama-na-Baba” party has just started. That the splits have never been greater, and that the idea of compromising even within one’s own party for common good, is seen as weakness, is all but indicative of a dying party simply because the SPLM in Juba has gone corporate and being micromanaged by leaders who lack any meaningful vision for the country.

Despite the Arusha Agreement for Reunifying SPLM, Minister of Information and Government Spokesperson, Michael Makuei, stated on national television that Dr. Riak Machar and Pagan Amum respectively SPLM Vice Chairman and Secretary-General will not share power with the party Chairman Salva Kiir!

By this measure, Makuei admitted out loud what the ruling elite are only supposed to say in private. Accordingly, it served as a timely reminder that the SPLM is no longer focuses on the welfare of the people of South Sudan, is now little more than a power-wealth madness.

Unsurprisingly, the entire party establishment, both inside or outside the country continues to defend the failed past legacy. Thus, the problem with the current crop of SPLM leaders is that they only care about the petrodollars (money) and power, and nothing about what the party expressed as its vision and mission.

Indeed, the ruling party has lost all sense of any human values and dignity. They care less that people who were once respectable citizens, are now living in the UNMISS camps in the most horrendous inhumane conditions, continuing to experience untold sufferings, and dying every day at worrying rates.

Meanwhile, the SPLM unconscientious functionaries only care about wealth accumulation and amassing the destructive power it brings with it.

Like the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) in Khartoum, the current SPLM-led government in Juba has long abandoned the reform agenda due to internal disagreements over power and the obsession with acquiring and diverting public goods by wrongly treating these as “spoils of the war of liberation”.

In fact, the cases of political intolerance are not unique to the SPLM. In the run up to the 2010 presidential and parliamentary elections, for example, the SPLM Politburo and leadership was controlled by a small elite who defined its policy, organized grass root “elections”, where party nominated candidates were supposed to automatically win in the general election.

That chaotic elections outcome led to serious political divisions within the ruling party, which ignited violent insurgencies in Jonglei and Unity States.

Disgruntled senior SPLM/A elements such as the former SPLA’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Political and Moral Orientation, Gen. George Athor Deng, openly accused the SPLM’s Politburo and President Kiir’s government of rigging him out of the April 2010 elections in favor of his opponent, the then powerful incumbent governor Kuol Manyang Juuk, who himself is a member of the SPLM Politburo.

Nevertheless, the mistakes of those sham elections, including the party selection measures, were not satisfactorily addressed. The unsettled leadership squabbles played out in the run up to its party’s controversial flawed nomination process, reveals just how the SPLM’s political party is deeply divided.

Consequently, the SPLM has not only polarized the nation, but it is in a permanent state of disorder. It is torn apart by a full evolution of powerful Dinka tribal elite known as Jieng Council of Elders (JEC) who don’t seem to understand that in the modern, civilized world you don’t get 100% of what you want in a negotiated political settlement.

Thus, warring factions started to set the SPLM party on a pathway of ugly scheming, with one group of hardliners plotting against the other.

Many political observers have argued that the political tensions between different warring factions within the ruling SPLM party started shortly after the tragic death of its Chairman, Dr. John Garang in 2005, and it was just a matter of time before the ticking bomb would explode in Juba.

Hardliners in the SPLM, and particularly the Dinka elites around the President, are believed to have dragged their feet when the so-called top-tier SPLM party’s senior cadre demanded party reform.

This struggle for political power had sharpened ethnic division in the country and laid a firm foundation on which the mid-December 2013 SPLM internal political crisis developed, plunging the country into civil war and senseless killings of innocent civilians.

Indeed, in the absence of strong checks and balances, the excessive concentration of power in the presidency has perhaps led most destructively to the suppression and emasculation of the Legislative Assembly and erosion of the independence of the Judiciary in South Sudan.

Not surprisingly, the South Sudan Parliament has been reduced to a rubber stamp for endorsing the Executive’s political decisions. This unfortunate, deliberate, and manipulative political maneuver has considerably weakened accountability of the Executive and compromised on its capability to run the country in a transparent and accountable manner.

Ironically, unrestricted participation in public affairs of the state requires that people be at the center of decision-making processes, simply because all South Sudanese from different walks of life fought in one way or the other for social justice when millions participated in the 2011 Referendum that set them free and gave them independence.

In fact, many South Sudanese would agree with me, even to some extent that the protracted wars of liberation since the 1950s were particularly informed by the need to open the political space in the country to competitive politics – most importantly, after half-century of marginalization and domination by the Sudan’s successive Arab-Islamic regimes since Independence.

The foregoing analysis shows that those deep divisions offered a gloomy assessment of the state of this once-a-predominant party and possibly its demise due to numerous factors.

Chief among these factors are tribalism, endemic corruption, incompetence in government, and personalization of public institutions. In short, the lack of the rule of law and good governance negatively affected the entire fabric of the society as the SPLM unfairly entrenched its control over South Sudan’s politics and governance.

Fundamentally, South Sudan is more divided than ever before along regional and ethnic lines; the initial sense of belonging to one country called South Sudan has been systematically undermined by the SPLM ruling clique that openly practices the politics of exclusion.

Today the SPLM has remained a party without socio-economic and political direction. In fact, I would argue that many people who occupied senior party or government positions, have nothing to do with the SPLM, they are being motivated only by narrow financial gains and personal interests.

The recent political crisis should be the eye opener to those SPLM leaders and their blind supporters in Juba and in the Diaspora that are zealously shouting empty revolutionary slogans on the rooftops, is not enough.

If they don’t recognize that the fact that this once powerful “Mama-na-Baba” party is “rotten to the core”, and that the need to change and respond to the will of the silent majority of the South Sudanese majority is now, only then will the gluttons in goat skins be left behind to celebrate the demise of this historic SPLM party.

My simple straightforward answer to the critical question raised earlier in this article is, a resounding ‘NO!’

If party leaders cannot agree to solve minor problems among themselves over petty party issues, continue to silence journalists, suppress internal dissent, threaten and intimidate opposition for calling on the government to perform its duty, and overcome the retrogressive politics that has consumed the country, we should not expect any radical change of socio-economic and political transformation now and in the nearest future.

Looking back at the last decade of SPLM’s more than 10-year report card, one can easily trace the SPLM demise to the failure of its leaders to pursue any nation-building agenda.

Without fulfilling the necessary change the SPLM leadership has been promising the people of South Sudan has turned into disaffection, frustration, cynicism and loss of trust in the government of the day.

The tragedy is that both the party and the government which are supposed to protect, provide basic social services to the people of South Sudan and carry them to development and prosperity, are oblivious to their duties and pose the greatest danger to the lives and well-being of their own citizens! END