Archive for: December 2015

Prisoners: SPLA holding dozens of its own officers in ‘inhumane’ conditions

JUBA (1 Dec.) RADIO TAMAZUJ;

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the national army of South Sudan, is holding dozens of its own officers and soldiers in cramped and unsanitary conditions without access to their families and medical care, according to prisoners at Giyada military prison.

Radio Tamazuj succeeded in making contact with several of the estimated 75 soldiers at the Giyada facility located in the southern part of the capital Juba. In a series of interviews, prisoners said they have been detained sometimes more than two years without being taken to a military court and their family members have not been informed of the cause of their arrest.

“We are not allowed to take a shower, we are not allowed to wash clothes, we are locked inside all day,” said one officer who was detained in January this year after a dispute about being passed over for a promotion.

The senior officer said they are sometimes restricted from visiting a latrine and they are not given sufficient food. He said the army currently does not even pay for their food, they have to ask someone to go out to buy for them, and they do not allow their family to bring them food.

Another officer complained of being detained in crowded conditions, pointing to lack of space and access to latrines as well as not being allowed medical services and visits from the family members.

“In the room where I am detained, we are more than 50 officers alone. There is no space for lying down. You sleep while seated upright. This is a treatment I have never experienced before even from the Arabs we fought for 21 years during the war of liberation struggle for our independence have never treated us like this,” said the officer who has been detained since May this year.

Another soldier said he has not had the opportunity to see a clinic since being arrested in January. “Our case has not been heard. We are told we are arrested on orders from General Malual Ayom. I don’t know my connection with him.”

“I am sick. They know it because it is in the permission document from my battalion commander yet they have continued to hold me,” he said.

The military detention facility where the officers are held is operated by SPLA Military Police under the overall command and administrative supervision of Major General Akec Adim.

“We are suffering a lot here in this detention. Some of us have been here for years without being known by our families. Some of us are considered to have died and indeed many have died in this detention,” one of the detainees said in interview on Monday.

“Our families don’t have any information about most of us. They don’t know whether we are alive or dead. The way they are treating us is inhumane, even how slaves are treated is better than the way we are being treated here,” he added.

A detained medical corps officer commended, “We are under a very bad slavery, under a very bad oppression. These conditions are worse even than the conditions we fought against in Khartoum.”

The detained officers include Brigadier General James Kuol, Colonel Idris Khamis Allajabu, Colonel Matiok Renk, Major Markona Tito, Captain Casiano Apuro Asunta, Colonel Mawiir Nyok, Lieutenant Colonel Garang Jhong Akoon and Major Maker Nyok, among others.

Some have appeared before a court martial while others have not been tried. Those who appeared before the military court have not had the opportunity to be represented by defence lawyers. One prisoner said he believed his lawyers were threatened by a top commander not to defend him.

The Giyada detention site is located on the same grounds as the infamous ‘White House’. The house was used by the Sudanese security as a torture and execution site during the 1983-2005 civil war.
https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/prisoners-spla-holding-dozens-its-own-officers-inhumane-conditions

Settling for Mediocracy in Kiir’s dreadful leadership

BY: Gabrial Pager Ajang, DEC/02/2015, SSN;

For the last 27 years, I have witnessed our leaders on their rigorous journey for excellence. They have aggressively trained us (Lost boys) not to settle for less. Dr. John Garang de Mabior, William Nyuon, Salva Kiir, Pieng Deng, Ajang Alaak, and Maker Thiong set the highest expectations for us. They did not just teach us but they grilled us to be the best in the world. (Mediocracy is defined as a government or dominance of society by the médiocre).

Today, I can fairly say we have lifted up to their expectations. We have transcended barriers, defeated all odds and went to the best universities this world had produced.

So why do our leaders and citizens settled for mediocracy? Many of us who have been criticizing President do not do it out of hatred; we offered constructive arguments to help shape his plans for the country.

Certainly, current leaders divert from visionary programs….. programs they themselves set in the past. So it is not surprising that there are huge contradictions and dialectic forces in today’s politics of South Sudan.

I was not expecting government to build that isolated island called Juba and leave the populace at the mercy of diseases.

I was not expecting government to build that isolated Buur and leave the populace at the mercy of poverty.

I was not expecting Juba to build the isolated Agoro and leave the populace at the mercy of insecurity.

I was not expecting Juba to be so corrupt a place and not “taking towns to villages.” It never crosses my mind that folks who contributed their grains, goats, and cows would be deprived.

I never thought that the best minds, the learned would be seen as enemies and killers (for instance Dr. Diing Chol Dau, PhD of Oxford University, Neurosurgeon) was killed in Juba.

I have never thought that orphans of previous wars would be pitched against each other to kill themselves.

I never thought leaders would build their leadership on hatred and violence. The current levels of hatred and escalation of violence have only worsened Kiir’s Presidency.

It is now clear that Kiir will leave the presidency disgracefully—- if we continue to defend his mediocre presidency. It does not help Kiir or people of South Sudan if you blindly defend or support him to settle for less. His legacy is at stake.

To those who want to fight Dr. John Garang de Mabior, I got news for you, the man is dead and had written his legacy; fighting Garang is not a winnable battle.

Whether you fight him in this life or the next life, chances of your success are slim. Work for peace, maybe you can reverse the current dreadful leadership of Juba.

Certainly, you could be better off if you can start articulating programs that would help president Kiir create stability, establish lasting peace and healing. Stop this obvious argument and rhetoric because it is not going to cut it.

A legitimate government that does not provide basics services is not good government in the eyes of citizens. A legitimate government that does not provide security to citizens isn’t a good government.

A government that does target educated folks isn’t a good government. A government that infringes upon people’s liberty and does not provide justice isn’t a good government.

A government that does not balance powers among branches of government isn’t a good government either.

Work and implement peace and nation building. Finally criticisms of government ensure perfect unity of citizens and alert lawmakers to promote development. Settling for mediocracy is the worst one can do for the nascent country and the next generation.

Gabrial Pager Ajang
You can reach him at gajang@wrightcc.edu or ajangassaociates@gmail.com

The African Union, Troika and The IGAD Must Leverage Juba and Kampala to Execute the Peace Accord

BY: Peter Lokarlo Ngrimwa*, DEC/02/2015, SSN;

Examining the African Union (AU) appeal to SPLM-IO to regularly attend the JMEC meetings, I think it would be prudent for the African body in the first instance to address the lingering and melancholy issue of the more often repeated violations of the rickety ceasefire committed by the government of Salva Kiir and then ensure that the Peace Agreement is implemented accordingly in order to end the hemorrhage of the youngest nation on the planet rather than requesting the SPLM-IO to attend meetings that would be organized by JMEC in the near future.

In this respect, the continental organization palpably appears to have started its superintending role of South Sudan’s Peace Agreement from an asymmetrical premise far divorced from discernment of the precise prevailing political status quo.

The AU should primarily and without prejudice establish whether or not the concluded agreement is being executed as stipulated in the inherent articles and clauses of the document.

Startlingly, the AU expects the advanced team of the SPLM-IO to relocate to Juba while the regime in the country persistently launches airborne assaults on the positions of the latter’s combatants in Western and Central equatorial states.

In the latest premeditated attacks the police state in Juba employed helicopter gunships which produced fatality figures which by conservative estimates ranged between 50 and 100 dead and over 100 civilians sustained various degrees of injuries including 2 senior military officers from the opposition’s side murdered.

Under such caustic environment it would manifestly be naïve for the AU and the JMEC to cajole or prod the leadership of SPLM-IO to travel to Juba and form a unity government, or attend JMEC meetings in Juba.

Moreover, it is important to note that the peace agreement explicitly specifies that the Ugandan military and other foreign forces must leave South Sudan before any formation of a broad-based government in the war-torn country, but plainly the AU does not seem concerned about such a key provision of the peace accord, nor anxious about the need to verify the dubious claims by both Ugandan and the Juba governments on the withdrawal of the Uganda troops commonly known as the UPDF from South Sudan.

There would tangibly be much lesser or no incentive at all to sign an agreement if there is no commitment to implement it by the pertinent parties or when it is deemed to become non-binding on the parties named therein.

Moreover, the peripatetic rebel groups fighting against the government of Sudan, namely the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the SPLM-North based in Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains are actively deployed in South Sudan and attacking the SPLM/A-IO to date alongside President Kiir’s marauding troops and private militia army in company of Ugandan UPDF contingents who are viewed by South Sudanese as a murderous mercenary force.

The AU, Troika and JMEC have never bothered to tell President Kiir to send them away from South Sudan in conformity with the binding peace agreement.

The AU and JMEC are simply being alarmistic in predicting an impending cataclysmic portrait in South Sudan in the absence of a functioning unity government in the country without realizing that they have to do something about it.

Nevertheless, such an assertion sounds quite ludicrous because the AU and Company should primarily ensure the execution of the agreement by pressurizing the regime in Juba to respect the peace accord, other than making a statement about the formation of a unity government.

The AU’s dossier of failures in resolving the continent’s seething problems including the Darfur conflict is a plain testimony of the organization’s lethargic stance.

The redeployment of the government troops from Juba to designated locations of 25km radius from the capital city is being cosmetically projected and handled, evidently with the intention of sabotaging this essential clause of the agreement.

It has been claimed by Juba that about 250 soldiers have been relocated outside the town. Until when would the several thousands of troops and their equipment be removed from the city?

The AU, Troika, IGAD and JMEC seem to be critically ill-equipped in terms of accessing accurate information on South Sudan that could enable the group deal with the overall situation or determine what should be done in order to halt the violence and usher peace in South Sudan.

President Museveni of Uganda, being an elderly influential figure in the IGAD circle as well as an embodiment of the problem in the troubled country does not offer a trustworthy template for resolving the conflict in the country as this would in his flawed judgement compromise Uganda’s interests.

It must spicily be stressed that up to this moment the travel of the advanced team of SPLM-IO to the capital of Juba is never a priority at all, but the systematic execution of the peace accord that should begins with a binding ceasefire is.

As thousands of innocent civilians have perished especially from the 15th December 2013, following the government’s calculated mass murders and sporadic massacre at an industrial scale (AU Commission’s Report 2015), a carefully-structured approach designed in line with the peace agreement should have precedent over a hurried and unempirical solutions. The SPLM-IO’s advanced Team would move to Juba once the following requirements have been fulfilled:

• Ugandan army withdrawn from the territory of South Sudan, and it absolutely verified by the relevant competent authority, except those deployed in Western Equatoria and not covered by the agreement;
• The JEM and other Sudanese rebels fighting against the government of Sudan are withdrawn from the territory of the Republic of South Sudan;
• Demilitarization of Juba by the South Sudan’s army is accomplished and also verified as stipulated in the agreement;
• The regime in South Sudan stops its aggression and extreme violence against civilians and opposition elements in the country. Peace cannot hold on in the face of persistent attacks by government troops in a brazen disregard of the ceasefire.

It is worth noting that President Kiir had earlier refused to sign the peace agreement willingly and had to do it only under duress from the international community.

In this regard the president and his tribally-constituted assemblage of Dinka elders commonly known as the Jeng Council of Elders (JCE) incessantly attempts to procrastinate and frustrate the execution of the peace deal with ample blessings from the Ugandan “life” President, Yoweri Museveni who noticeably stands to gain from the spill of blood of South Sudanese and Ugandan soldiers alike that are still battling the opposition forces of SPLA in South Sudan.

In conclusion, the AU, Troika the UN and IGAD should leverage the government in Juba to accommodate, appreciate and implement the peace agreement in its totality.

Blaming the SPLM-IO for non-attendance of the JMEC meetings is probably quite irrelevant. Urging for the formation of a government of national unity premised on shaky foundation constitutes a time bomb and consequently a recipe for disaster.

It is regrettable that the core concern stems from the lack of executing the agreement that originates from an evident failure of the IGAD, AU and the Troika in persuading the government of South Sudan to behave responsibly by ending the war and start to learn and appreciate the value of peace and sanctity of human life in South Sudan.

Peter Lokarlo Ngrimwa*
Former lecturer,
Graduate School of Business and Law (GSBL)
RMIT University
Emily McPherson Building 13,
379 – 405 Russell Street Melbourne
VIC 3000 Melbourne
Australia.