Archive for: February 2016

Search for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation & the need to confront past and present injustices in South Sudan

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, LL.B, LL.M, FEB. 29/2016, SSN;

Questions of responding to legacies of past and present injustices in South Sudan inflicted by cruel, harsh and brutal armed forces, militias, warlords and powerful individuals has sparked contemporary policy, social and academic debates in the country.

In the 1990’s, in the wake of 1991 split which caused a civil brutal conflict between SPLA factions of Torit and Nasir characterized by systemic and massive violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, consensus evolved in 2002 to stop atrocities and merge two warring factions under one leadership, but efforts to bring those responsible for these human rights violations and other inhumane acts to justice wasn’t attended to.

The CPA (Comprehensive Peace Agreement) outweighs justice and nobody was held responsible for inhuman acts committed by either side of the warring factions and the Sudan government as well.

However, this has provoked many unanswered questions in recent years where ending conflicts through negotiation has raised eyebrows of whether peace and justice are competing goals or whether peace precedes justice.

This dilemma implies that, of course, peace and justice are incompatible and cannot be pursued at the same time.

Human rights perpetrators often enter negotiations and firstly demands immunity as a guarantee before they sign any peace agreement.

On most occasions, the perpetrators of human rights violations see accountability as an obstacle to peace and hold our communities hostage by threatening to continue violence if there is no guarantee of immunity from inhumane acts they have committed.

Proponents of human rights however do also recognize that reconciliation is critical to the attainment of lasting peace, political stability and a just society governed by the rule of law.

Human rights practitioners on the other hand have been faced by the stiffest challenge of finding a way to confront past human rights violations, punish those who perpetrated and committed such heinous crimes and seek redress for victims of such violations without undermining the peace process and its implementation or recreating conditions for instability.

However, the question of whether peace take precedence over justice where human rights violations and war crimes have taken place constitutes the core of critical debates in the growing field of transitional justice which constitute and hence include complex ethical, legal and political choices that various actors confront to end conflict, restore peace and prevent the recurrence of violent conflict but forego justice and its tenets in entirety.

The unaccountable presidential amnesties and pardons the president issued in good faith with hope to contain the continuation of violent conflicts and stop further bloodshed have been taken for granted by numerous militias and notorious warlords in this country and have exacerbated the already worsening human rights situation across the country.

Discussions on any settlement of the conflict in South Sudan in the past had neglected the need for accountability in which peace took center stage over justice raising controversial questions of whether or not peace and justice are competitive or complementary goals.

There are always two incorrect assumptions that peace processes are solely about ending violent conflict and the other being the tendency to perceive justice in terms of retributive justice, that is, prosecution and criminal accountability.

These extreme positions did ignore the intimate link that exists between peace and justice. The more accurate conception is to treat peace and justice as fundamental pillars to end violence and prevent its recurrence.

Most mediators settling violent conflicts in the Sudan and now South Sudan recognize that building a durable peace involves addressing the underlying root causes and sources of that violent conflict putting the package of justice on hold, compromising concerns about competition for power and marginalization being outcomes of the flagrant injustices and human rights violations committed by elites and state institutions.

Although there are few instances of indictments and prosecutions helping to secure peace by removing spoilers from the peace process such as in the former Yugoslavia, more often peace and justice cannot be achieved at the same time.

In most cases, there is a need to stop the fighting, seek a ceasefire and encourage perpetrators to negotiate.

But with advances in international legal obligations and increasingly sophisticated international justice architecture, mediators do no longer ignore questions of justice as witnessed recently with entrenchment of hybrid court for South Sudan in order to redress human rights abuses during and after the violent conflict which has rocked the country since 2013.

South Sudan’s multiple armed conflicts have underscored the dilemma between search for lasting peace and justice which has remained a challenge to both regional and international community to craft solutions to contain violence and bring some kind of peace for the sake of vulnerable people.

The ability of the mediators and other interveners in conflict to grant immunity has been curtailed by growing international justice architecture including the Rome statute of international criminal court which prohibits amnesty for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide; hence mediators no long ignore questions of justice after peace.

In the quest for justice, the United Nations has established a binding rule prohibiting its officials from granting amnesties for crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

It was this reason that the UN envoy for Sierra Leone at the time of the 1999 Lome Peace Accord, appended the UN’s refusal to accept the amnesty clause to the accord that the government and rebels signed.

This gesture paved the way for a policy that has influenced subsequent mediation processes in Africa by national, regional and international actors.

Despite these international norms, South Sudan continues to confront difficult choices in the task of balancing the imperatives of justice and reconciliation with the political realities of managing incessant rising impunity in the country.

Therefore, overcoming tensions between peace and justice entails sequencing justice activities as demonstrated in Argentina in the 1980’s.

Although Argentina was facing armed conflict like South Sudan, Argentina confronted the dangers of a transition from military dictatorship to democracy.

However, successive governments from 1983 took gradual steps in building peace and justice that involved a mixture of punishment of and amnesty for military officers implicated in human rights abuses during the period of military rule.

The Argentinean experience reveals that while political realities complicated the search for accountability, multiple truth-seeking initiatives continually exposed perpetrators and a vigilant array of victim’s groups and civil society organizations kept the demand for justice alive.

In the end, receptive governments and a conducive political climate made the pursuit of justice possible.

These Argentinean experiences demonstrate that peace and justice are compatible and that a variety of accountability mechanisms can be pursued over time in the search for sustainable peace.

This was articulated also in a seminal report to the UN Security Council in August 2004 when the then Secretary General, Dr. Kofi Annan, articulated the importance of sequencing and strategic planning when he asserted that “justice, peace and democracy are not mutually exclusive objectives, but rather mutually reinforcing imperatives.”

In conclusion, however, ending impunity has become a collective international enterprise to promote justice, reduce human suffering and foster amity within and across societies.

Afflicted for long time with wars and armed conflicts and inter-communal violence with no redress to human rights abuses, South Sudan has made strident attempts to remedy the culture of impunity in the country.

The challenge in South Sudan has been to create stable institutions that balance forgiveness, and peace and reconciliation with justice in the context of broadening political, social and economic freedoms.

For South Sudan, questions of impunity, justice and reconciliation have been increasingly sought by regional and international actors and harmonized global search for peace, justice and reconciliation.

Tong Kot is a Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi. He specializes in Law, Governance and Democracy. He can be reached via:

Let’s Celebrate the Beginning of Peace in South Sudan

By James Okuk, PhD. JUBA, FEB/27/2016, SSN,

“peace will bless us once more with hearing the happy giggling of children and the enchanting ululation of women who are excited in happiness for one reason or another.” – Dr. John Garang at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, January 9, 2005;

When the peace-loving people appreciated President Salva Kiir Mayardit for issuing the Republican Decree No.60/2016 on Thursday February 11, 2016 to appoint Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon as the First Vice President (FVP) of the Republic of South Sudan, caution for delaying the celebration of the announcement was recommended until the major hurdles get resolved.

Now we have seen that the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) has finally resolved the hurdles via external pressure by redeployed the unauthorized forces from Juba as agreed though it might not be all of them at once.

Also the GRSS has identified and delimited some stations for hosting the first phase of the authorized forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) inside Juba, including the ones to form the integrated police for the capital city.

Further, President Salva Kiir has asked the Vice President James Wani Igga to vacate his Office Building at the Presidency so that it could be used by FVP Dr. Riek Machar for his newly established strong office.

Further more, a five star hotel is prepared to accommodate Dr. Riek and his entourage once they arrive in Juba in March after completion of phase one of the compromised special security arrangement proposed by H.E. Festus G. Mogae, the most able African Grand Chairman of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC).

The good news is that the Troika countries and other donors have pledged through the leadership of the JMEC that they will bear the financial costs and transport by air the urgently needed 1370 forces of SPLM/A-IO to Juba.

This shall occur by 29th February 2016 as planned by JMEC in its new schedule. The outgoing GRSS’ Council of Ministers had endorsed this in its ordinary sitting of Friday, 26th February instant.

The short visit of the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, to Juba on Thursday, February 25 instant and the assurances he got from H.E. Gen. Salva Kiir directly and from H.E. Dr. Riek Machar on phone regarding their readiness to form the Government of National Unity (TGoNU) soon in the first week of March, is now a positive indication towards realization of first crucial steps of peace at last for the embattled new country on the globe.

This third visit of Mr. Ki-moon has not been a light one as per the African saying that “the third is bitter”. The language in his message was diplomatically loaded with a warning to the top South Sudanese political leaders that they will be held accountable by the international community if they failed to put the people first as commitment for the ethics of care.

Missing the second chance will raise the cost of intransigence on the the warring leaders. Peace does not need protection because it is the highest blessing for the land.

The UN Secretary-General is regarded as the symbol of UN ideals of peace and security and the spokesman for the interests of the world’s peoples, particularly the poor and vulnerable ones. What he says is given a weight by the community of nations. The very serious message he brought to Juba on Thursday is for the GRSS and SPLM/A-IO to:

a) form the TGoNu and implement the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) without further delay;
b) respect the UNMISS’ Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) for peacekeeping operations under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter;
c) allow humanitarian access by air, roads and rivers so that relief items and personnel could reach to the needy population at risk of starvation;
d) attract international community to support humanitarian action for about 5 million vulnerable South Sudanese (Mr. Ki-moon set the example by donating US$ 21 million);
e) push for justice and accountability against those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, the recent of which was witnessed in Malakal UNMISS’ PoC when armed elements in SPLA uniform attacked and burnt down shelters belonging to Shilluk and Nuer IDPs, killing 24 on the spot and wounding 91;
f) know it well that the UN will not tolerate continuation of protecting a big number of South Sudanese population in its camps because this is unsustainable as the core responsibility to protect the people should be on the shoulder of the government; and
g) recommit to inclusive nation-building and cease all senseless power struggle so as to restore the lost sense of national unity that prevailed at the time of independence.

The First visit of Mr. Ki-moon came when he witnessed the declaration of independence and sang ‘South Sudan Oyee, not SPLM Oyee’ on July 9, 2011. The result of that visit led to the unprecedented recognition and admission of South Sudan as the 193 member of UN on 14th July 2011, five days only after the highest profile visit.

His second visit occurred in May 2014 but on sad situation and for attempts to contain the senseless SPLM’s leadership war that resulted in massive destructive displacement of vulnerable population, constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity in international law. Mr. Ki-moon described the situation of the affected population in the refuge camps in South Sudan as the worse, compared to many refugee camps he had visited around the world.

Thus, it could be deduced from the above-mentioned evidences, in addition to the pressing terrible economic situation and GRSS’ declared bankruptcy, that peace-loving people could now start preparation to celebrate the beginning of peace even with dry mouths and empty stomachs.

The hurdles that were put on the way of the ARCSS implementation are now cleared though the issue of 28 states remains pending till suspended soon by the TGoNU in accordance with the provisions of the 31st January 2016 IGAD’ Council of Ministers Communiqué.

Like what President Kiir and VP Wani did by giving peace a chance so that they could get a second chance to rule, it is expected that the currently power-obsessed governors of the illegal but de facto 28 states will do the same to allow the defunct legal 10 states to be released from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as required by the ARCSS.

Hence, we can proudly say that the horse of peace is now being put in front of the TGoNU’s cart, ready to move with the interest of the people of South Sudan lifted up above Machiavellian politics of the power-hungry SPLM leaders.

Time is now ripening for us to listen and see with open hearts on SSTV and all media houses the captivating songs by MC Lumoex: “Salaam Ja, Salaam Ja Kalas, Fi Daula ta Nina Junub Sudan, Salaam Ja Kalas — peace has come at last to our country, South Sudan”

We will also love to listen to Greatest Emmanuel Kembe signing enthusiastically with tears of patience in our eyes: “Taalu nabni baled sawa — come let’s build the nation together” while we welcome Dr. Riek Machar in Juba finally.

The golden voice of Vivian Nyachan shall also crack the waves lengths across the country with the song (Piny mier e podhi won, de o donya wen, Junub won nyi para ka America — Our South Sudan is beautiful in peace and shall be comparable to none but America!).

The regional leaders and international envoys shall be happy with honor of peace to accompany Dr. Riek Machar to Juba and witness the swearing-in of the entire TGoNU’s cabinet (i.e., the President, the 1st VP, the VP, the 30 Ministers and 8 Deputy Ministers) as well as the expanded National Legislative Assembly of 400 MPs led by a popular Equatorian Speaker.

The Judiciary shall be made independent and reformed with honest judges for a new task. Thereafter, all of the TGoNU VIPs will take up their dignified duties for the transitional period and practice both their individual and collective powers for:

1) Restoring peace, security and stability in the country;
2) Expediting relief, protection, repatriation, rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs and returnees;
3) Facilitating and overseeing national reconciliation and healing process through an independent mechanism including budgetary provisions for compensation and reparations;
4) Overseeing and ensuring that the Permanent Constitution-making process is successfully carried out;
5) Working closely with the IGAD-PLUS Member States and Organizations and other partners and friends of South Sudan to consolidate peace and stability in the country;
6) Reforming the public financial management, civil service, and security sector;
7) Ensuring prudent, transparent and accountable management of national wealth and resources to build the nation and promote the welfare of the people;
8) Rebuilding the destroyed physical infrastructure in conflict-affected areas and giving special attention to prioritizing the rebuilding of livelihoods of those affected by the conflict;
9) Establishing a competent and impartial National Elections Commission (NEC) to conduct free and fair elections before the end of the Transitional Period and ensure that the outcome is broadly reflective of the will of the electorate;
10) Making all efforts to conduct National Population and Housing Census before the end of the Transitional Period;
11) Devolving more powers and resources to States’ and County levels; and
12) Carrying out normal functions of a democratic government of peace time (i.e., government by the people, of the people, for the people and with the people).

There should be nothing called opposition political parties to operate in opposite direction of the peace program as enumerated above. All must be in support of the success of the mandate of the TGoNU as long as those entrusted with the duty do their work diligently and honestly.

The credible civil society, academia, faith-based institutions and all the guarantors, witnesses and adherents of the ARCSS should operate as the watchdogs and whistle blowers to any deviation by the peace partners (i.e., GRSS, SPLM/A-IO, SPLM-FDs and Other Political Parties).

It is not going to be like SPLM’s business as usual in the past 11 years of misrule of South Sudan. Nerves shivering deterrent is proving to be the best policy than lethal combat. Alleluia for Peace at last!
Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at

SPLM/A: Jieng vehicle for land grab

BY: ELHAG Paul, FEB/27/2015, SSN;

The destruction of the fabric of Equatoria’s society by the Jieng through routine herding of cattle into established settlements to cause disruptions in life style followed by massive violence can not under any circumstance be termed as an acceptable norm of social interaction.

President Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) have failed squarely on issues of social and human management. Their plan to install themselves as elites in South Sudan already looks tattered.

To get the point just access and watch this URL: ‘Independent South Sudan: A Failure of Leadership’

The recent problem in Lobonok (Vice President James Wani Igga’s home area) in southern Bari is not the first and it will not be the last.

The same intruders and aggressors have been doing it since 2005 throughout Equatoria. Nimule, Mundri… etc, stand out as examples. The aggressive cattle herders have consistently refused to behave and promote peaceful coexistence with the local people and their way of living.

Wherever they go in Equatoria the Jieng wantonly aggress the locals with impunity with the government looking the other way pretending not to see.

Always there are no investigations to crimes committed by the heavily armed cattle herders (Jieng) with their victims’ grievances remaining unaddressed by the government.

In the then Sudan, the government had a firm grip on law and order keeping the Jieng on check which made them to behave and respect law and order. However, with South Sudan becoming independent with the government in Juba fully dominated by the Jieng the problem has become unbearable.

Reason: Simple! The Jieng “hijacked” the state of South Sudan and they armed the average Jieng while disarming all the Equatorian people creating a situation of huge power imbalance in their favour.

Worse still, they have disabled the judiciary deliberately to be blind to non-Jieng grievances.

The only tribes that have managed to defend themselves against the Jieng are the Murle and the Nuer to a certain extent simply because these tribes are equally armed.

Were the Equatorians to be armed, the Jieng would not be traversing freely in Equatoria as there would be a cost to such aggressions. While the Jieng are still abusing state power, this problem is unlikely to go away without it being addressed adequately by the Equatorians.

In absence of a properly functioning state as now in South Sudan there is need for Equatorians to find a way of how to survive the ongoing onslaught on their way of life.

The deliberate intrusion of the Jieng into Equatorian way of life with its painful disruptions of normal daily life appears to be a Jieng strategy to achieve their much trumpeted objective of “born to rule”.

All the signs are that they want to achieve their objective in an atmosphere of chaos. Now if one surveys the landscape of Equatoria, Jieng aggression stands out. This is even at this time when the country is supposed to be in peace.

Certainly, for the average South Sudanese peace has not yet come. For those who would argue to the contrary, let them explain to us why are the United Nations Protection camps still swelling with people seeking protection.

These innocent people live under constant fear due to being preyed on by the SPLA, the Jieng military machine.

For example, in this week the SPLA attacked the civilians who have taken refuge in Malakal UN Protection Camp. Please see, ‘Mass killing at UN protection site in South Sudan’

Let them also explain to us why South Sudanese are flocking to Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda as refugees seeking safety.

Internally, look at what is happening in Nimule, Mundri, Yambio, Wonduruba etc. Does this show prevalence of peace or a state of war?

The Agreement for Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) is supposed to be the saviour, but this unfortunately is now questionable given the glaring violations of its provisions by the government.

On the other hand the poor and ineffective leadership of Dr Riek Machar is not helping. The SPLM-IO has already committed serious blunders in the implementation process.

Peter Lokarlo in his article, ‘Firm Foundation first and the roof later, Mr Mogae,’ draws the attention of those concerned to the pitfalls ahead should they continue on this perilous path.

Riek lackadaisically has given the government that created war with its own people and committed ethnic cleansing of its own people the upper hand in slicing the agreement apart.

Depressingly, the government appears to be operating a ‘violate-ARCISS-and-prevail’ strategy without any stiff opposition.

If Riek wants a positive outcome, he needs to wake up from his political slumber and use the mechanisms in ARCISS to hold the president and his acolyte to account. He needs to involve the guarantors at this stage because things are not looking good.

Otherwise this implementation process will be drawn out for a long period allowing President Kiir and the JCE to buy ruling time at the expense of the suffering of the people. There is a risk in this scenario.

The longer the implementation process takes time the more likely the international community becomes fatigued leading to its slow withdrawal with possibility of South Sudanese returning into all out civil war. Agreements not implemented in time often breakdown at the end.

So far the implementation of this agreement does not indicate South Sudan will see any meaningful reforms. The signs are that Riek and SPLM-IO are being conditioned to return to the fold with the tribal system returning to their ways of looting and misgovernance as usual.

All the destruction done by the SPLM including the killing of tenth of thousands of innocent people and the massive displacement of people is going to be sacrificed for SPLM unity and return to business as usual.

For those who have believed and thought Riek would be a saviour, they have another thing coming. Leopards do not change their skins.

SPLM’s unity means the repair of the Jieng broken down killing machine. It means South Sudanese are again empowering the Jieng to continue with their abuse of the state. If the other 62 tribes of South Sudan want to see peace in South Sudan they had better walk away from this monster called the SPLM.

This horrible organisation only benefits the Jieng and their informers. It is of no benefit whatsoever to South Sudan. Leave it to the Jieng and join your fellow countrymen in the other parties to realise a democratic peaceful South Sudan.

Contrary to what South Sudan Television Station preaches, the unity of SPLM is not a unity of South Sudanese people. It is the empowerment of the Jieng and it will not bring peace. It will bring more catastrophes with Jieng oppression.

So what does this mean to Equatoria in context of peaceful life? Will it stop the constant disruptions of life in Equatoria such as in Lobonok? Unfortunately not.

The pattern of Jieng aggression in Equatoria since 2005 has been consistent with support of the government. For example, the Jieng invasion and occupation of Nimule and the irresponsible utterance of the former Minister of Interior Aleu Ayeny Aleu.

The Jieng invasion of Mundri etc with the latest being Lobonok suggest the Jieng have a strategy to establish settlements in Equatoria to realise their objective of “born to rule” through promotion of chaos and instability.

It must be remembered that the Jieng are known for displacing peaceful communities deliberately to acquire land. For example, Tonj originally was a Bongo land. The Jieng encroached on it and wrestled it away from the Bongo people forcing most of them to relocate to Central African Republic.

The Jieng themselves are victims of displacement. It is possible that they learnt this behaviour from the Arabs who displaced them forcefully from Shendi all the way to Khartoum in the Sudan to their present locations.

Their latest experience is Abyei. The present area demarcated as Abyei is less than 20 percent of the original Abyei which includes Muglad and Meiram. This Arab land grab is done in day light with the so-called “born to rule” being completely paralysed. Now they are transferring what has been done on them on the Equatorians.

Therefore, the disruption of normal life in Equatoria consistently and persistently appears to be designed to breakdown the social, economic and political structures of the various social groups to weaken them in order to allow the Jieng to settle and install themselves as the rulers.

So the ongoing chaos is done to create a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. Such feeling is part of a process of achieving subjugation of the people.

Central to this feeling of helplessness and hopelessness is the absence of community leadership. With Equatorian leaders of all levels frequently being eliminated, people find themselves voiceless, demoralised and hopeless.

In effect, what the Jieng are doing is that they are normalising chaos in order to condition the people in Equatoria to accept the unacceptable as normal while at the same time constructing a new culture where they as holders of power are by default accommodated in their new conquests and colonies.

Crucially it must be noted that in all the chaos going on in Equatoria, the Jieng do not feel the negativity of all the horrible things they are doing to the Equatorians. To the contrary they feel good and they like it which motivates them to carry on.

This is why President Kiir and the JCE do not see any need for a genuine reform and peaceful co-existence. It was not for nothing when both Dr John Garang and Mr Ambrose Riing Thiik (the chairman of the Jieng Council of Elders) in the Rumbek meeting of 2004 argued against any reforms in SPLM/A.

Garang said, “Our imperfect structures have brought us (the Jieng) to the present day. Let us (the Jieng) not throw away these structures now, otherwise we will throw ourselves (Jieng) away.”

Ambrose concurred reinforcing the point by saying, “I want to say that a lot has been done by a few. Most of the things done are imperfect, but they have served us (Jieng).”

Note the structures being referred to here are the SPLM/A and the state of chaos in the country. If you are an Equatorian or a non-Jieng, ask yourself as to why you should support these structures.

In a nutshell, the real problem in South Sudan is the SPLM/A because it is the vehicle through which the Jieng drive their tribal agenda of land grab and supremacist ideas.

Therefore, the logical thing to do if you are an Equatorian or a non-Jieng is to quietly detach yourself from this Jieng machine of terror and join the other parties.

If you do this, you will have played a big role in beginning your own emancipation, the emancipation of Equatoria and the emancipation of South Sudan.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

Open letter to Japan Juba Ambassador & UNWPD Director, Ms. Vaese: Remove Dinka IDPs from Nimule

From: David Aju Kanyara , Nimule, EES, FEB/26/2016, SSN

To Japanese Ambassador to Juba, South Sudan, Mr. Kiya Masahiko, and
To UN Women Program Division Director (UNWPDD), Maria Noel Vaeze;

We, the concerned Ma’di community, the Native ethnic tribe of Nimule, in particular, and Ma’di mainland at large, are extremely disturbed and disappointed by your mission’s distribution of agricultural tools to the Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] in Nimule.

We see no reason why your Missions in South Sudan with the office of UNWPDD office headed by Maria Noel Vaeze should distribute agricultural tools to the IDPs currently forcing more new settlements in our land.

The so-called IDPs are alien gangs arming themselves with rifles and other automatic weaponries acquired from the current governing regime in the country and their presence in our land has contributed enormously to insecurity, and the destruction of farming land by their cattle.

Therefore the so-called IDPs should not be encouraged to extend their illegal settlement in our land by providing them with such agricultural tools. This move by your Mission encouraging illegal Dinka land grabbers settling in Ma’di land will undermine the development policy of Japanese Government which since the end of Second World War has had a good track record in many foreign countries.

The same group of IDPs who tried to legitimize their illegal resettlement extension to Nimule and Mugali, want to legalize their unwelcome stay which was justified by the former Interior Minister, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, who during his visit to Nimule in October 2013, before the Dinka-Nuer conflict staged to cleanse the Nuer broke out.

Minister Aleu had brazenly demanded that these IDPs be recognized as natives of Nimule.

“There are no South Sudanese IDPs within the country. You cannot be an IDP in your own country,” he said. This move I believe was to position the Dinka in a secure and easy exit position in order to give way to the Juba massacre in2013.

We the concerned Ma’di owners of the land in the strongest possible terms condemn the action of the Japanese Mission in South Sudan, that has so far portrayed a negative image of the Japanese government.

We call up the Japanese Mission in South Sudan to instantly retract its agricultural tools from the IDPs in Nimule and rightly redirect such tools to the Ma’di natives who have the special knowledge, the land and the skills for the rightful use of those tools.

At the same time, we strongly urge the UN Women Program Director for South Sudan, Ms Maria Noel Vazae, to immediately repair the damage callously and irresponsibly done by UN agents who began the repatriation of the Dinka IDPs from Kakuma refugee camps, in Kenya in 2007 to Nimule.

This happened when the UN refugee agent very well knew that Nimule basically belongs in the first place to the Ma’di people. Shamefully, the UN agent chose to taking bribes to re-settle the Dinka in other people’s land. And to this date, the UN has never taken the responsibility of the blame for the chaos caused by IDPs in the Ma’di land.

The agricultural equipment we are talking about were handed by Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan, Kiya Masahiko, and by the UN Women Program Division Director, Maria Noel Vaeza, on Tuesday 23 February 2016, the coverage later shown on SSTV.

The agricultural equipment are earmarked to women’s groups in Nimule in Eastern Equatoria State, not those IDP Dinka women whose primary role in life is to milk the cows and look after the cattle.

The equipments in question include five community cereal grinding mills, four greenhouse kits and four units of one-acre drip irrigation kits as part of the UN Women Humanitarian Assistance program which is co-funded by the Government of Japan.

In conclusion, we want to caution the Japanese Mission in South Sudan and the UN women program Director to South Sudan not to temper with People’s land by facilitating farming for squatters which is a clear highway to the blatant robbery of our land.

These two foreign entities should strictly limit themselves by remaining doing their diplomatic Missions. Otherwise their action will amount to direct land grabbing by distributing such equipment to IDPs without consultation from the rightful land owners.

Unfortunately, this will inevitably generate circles of conflict over land. And should this happen we, the Ma’di natives, will hold the Japanese head of Mission Mr. Masahiko responsible and accountable.

Therefore, to prevent the probable spillage of our people’s blood, we are calling upon the Japanese Ambassador to South Sudan to immediately withhold sending such equipment to Nimule IDPs who have no agricultural land in Ma’di land.

We are further urging the Japanese to encourage the IDPs to go back to their own tribal states so as to utilize their energies to develop their own states since peace and calm has now returned in our country.

David Aju Kanyara
Chairman of concerned Ma’di community.
A voice of voiceless

HelpAge International pleads on retention of Protection Camps in South Sudan

Juba, 25 February, 2016:

Ahead of the visit to Juba on Thursday by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, HelpAge International has implored both the UNSG and President Salva Kirr of South Sudan that it is in the best interest of the displaced civilians and government that the Protection of Civilian (POCs) Camps scattered around the country be retained.

In a press statement, Rama Hansraj, HelpAge International, Country Director, South Sudan also pleaded that older persons’ needs and wellbeing be prioritised by both the UN and the South Sudan government in their long-term humanitarian response strategies. Older persons, more than any demographic group has emerged as one of the most vulnerable in the conflict.

“Because of their age, the older persons could not escape when violence flared up, so they remained at home with devastating effects. They have recorded highest number of fatalities outside those seen in the combat zones.

They have also suffered the highest number of injuries and faced unimaginable levels of starvation, malnutrition and avoidable diseases,” said Rama.

In addition, she said, the older persons in the villages and the UN-run POCs have also taken upon themselves the burden of caring for children in the absence of their parents despite living in deplorable conditions without care facilities.

Yet, said Rama, there is no specific interventions for older persons and their specific needs – especially nutrition, health, wash, and livelihoods. Currently, all these programme interventions focus on child, women and young people. Recent study by HelpAge and partners in the POCs disclose alarming rates of malnutrition among the older persons.

According to HelpAge International, the current economic situation will worsen unless some social protection mechanisms targeting older persons get prioritized by the government and humanitarian actors.

“It is our considered view that lack of information to the displaced persons on country-wide security situation, utilities and the displaced family members will lead to more vulnerability in terms of the well-being of the older persons which will directly affects their coping capacities,” she said. She also urged for the government to tap into the potential of older persons on conflict resolution and peace building in the communities.

South Sudan, Africa’s youngest nation has since 2013 experienced a civil war forcing millions of citizens into either in exile or made to live in internally displaced camps. Humanitarian agencies responding to the crisis believe that as many as 4.6 million people might have been displaced of whom 2.6 million face severe food shortages and high malnutrition rates. Among theme thousands of older women and men.

About HelpAge International
HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. Our work is strengthened through our global network of like-minded organisations – the only one of its kind in the world.
For further information
Contact: A.Rama Hansraj, Country Director, South Sudan, Helpage International, Mobile: +211955146692; Email:; Skype: rama.hansraj
Or Henry Neondo, Regional Communications Coordinator, HelpAge International, Mobile +254703618872; email:, Skype: henry.neondo15

South Sudan angered by World Bank ‘exclusion’


South Sudan has expressed disapproval over its exclusion from the Global Human Development Report published by the World Bank and the UNDP annually.

The report gives a picture of the performance of countries in terms of service delivery.

The presidential advisor and former Finance minister, Mr Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, said South Sudan had not been rated in all the annual global human development reports publishes by the World Bank since the country became independent in 2011.


Mr Sabuni made the remarks in Juba on Wednesday during the launch of the South Sudan National Human Development Report, officiated by the second Vice-President, Mr James Wani Igga.

He said the UNDP had also excluded South Sudan in its annual reports before and after independence.

The reports, Mr Sabuni observed, were critical since they portrayed how countries were doing in terms of providing services such as health, education, water, food security, nutrition, information and civil freedoms.


“We want to know how our performance compares with those of others and compare with desirable benchmarks. We want to know how we are serving our people in terms of services and many other desirable of attributes in life,” he said.

“Not to be reflected in the community of nations in these respects has been disturbing and unwelcoming and shows a sense of global isolation.”

However, the World Bank earlier said South Sudan was lacking data to produce the required indicators, hence its exclusion from the global human development reports.


Mr Sabuni, who is career economist, challenged the global financial agency, saying the problem was the failure by institutions that provide input for the global human development report to capture the available data in the country.

“It is good for the country to know how it performs so that the leadership will be prompted to scale up its development plans appropriately,” he said.

An uphill task in concurrent implementation of peace agreement and order for new states in South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, FEB/22/2016, SSN;

This article had appeared earlier in some daily newspapers in South Sudan. It focused on a scenario that took place on Friday, 2 October 2015 watched in the evening news when the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, issued an order cited as “Establishment Order number 36/2015 AD for the Creation of 28 States in the Decentralized Government System in the Republic of South Sudan.” Before the announcement of the Order the news caster kept on advising viewers to tune in to South Sudan Television (SSTV) for an important announcement by the President. The 8 pm news broadcast was delayed because of the said important announcement.

After some waiting the President at last appeared on the SSTV screen to make a historic announcement of the Order number 36/2015AD for the Creation of 28 States in South Sudan. The fundamental objectives of the Order highlighted include the devolution of power and resources closer to the rural people, gradual reduction of the size of the national government to free financial resources to the states and local governments, attraction, encouragement and mobilization of national experts to work at the state and county levels, and promotion of social and economic development among the rural communities.

The announcement of the Order by the President immediately drew mixed reactions from some of the viewers. One viewer reacted by saying the Order was good because that has freed them from the arrogance of a certain ethnic group. However, others questioned the basis of dividing up the country on ethnic lines as states and how would that promote the unity of the country. Some people were not so sure whether the Order could be modified as it was perceived rigid. Nevertheless, after a careful analysis it could be deduced that there was some flexibility in the Order according to Order 10.

Compromise peace agreement

On 15 December 2013 a violent conflict flared up within the ruling party, the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The conflict spread rapidly to Greater Upper Nile, bringing along untold sufferings to people who should have been enjoying their independence barely two years old. The SPLM was sharply divided into two factions with the division getting wider. One faction was known as the SPLM in government (IG) and the other as SPLM in opposition (IO). The two SPLM factions could not make headway in the form of striking a peace deal to end the devastating and senseless conflict.

In order to prevent South Sudan from sliding into a collapsed state, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) exerted enormous pressure on the SPLM (IG) and SPLM (IO) because they were seen reluctant to reach a compromise to end the senseless conflict. To sustain the pressure on the two parties, IGAD-Plus was proposed. The proposed IGAD-Plus, as an international partnership for peace, consisted of the African Union, China, the European Union, the Troika States (US, UK and Norway), the United Nations and IGAD Partners Forum (IPF). IGAD-Plus was to have a strong and indispensable role to push the South Sudan peace negotiations towards a final peace deal.

The relentless IGAD-Plus pressure exerted, indeed, worked when the two parties to the senseless conflict finally signed what has now become known as the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement to be implemented 3 months after having been signed. The agreement should have been implemented byf November 2015. South Sudanese of the various walks of life were unanimous in taking the implementation of the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement as priority number one. This was because the conflict was causing enormous damage to the country that it should have been stopped by all means. However, there is a very tiny minority of the opportunistic who are welding enormous power and have a silent vow to torpedo the implementation of the peace agreement.

Creation of 28 states

The announcement of creation of 28 states in South Sudan took many by surprise as people were preparing for the implementation of the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement. The implementation of the Order number 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states is to take place in 30 working days from the date of signature by the President. This is precisely to take place on 12 November 2015 as the Order was signed on 2 October 2015.

As a related development the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement which was finally signed by the President on 26 August 2015, stipulates that to initiate the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), a 3-month Pre-Transition will commence on signature of the Agreement. This clearly suggests that the implementation of the Agreement with the formation TGoNU would have been in the 4th week of November 2015. Interestingly the implementation of Order number 36/2015 for creation of 28 states would have been in the 2nd week of November 2015. This shows that the implementation of Order number 36/2015 and the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement would have been concurrent.

The concurrent implementation of Order number 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states and the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement is a mammoth and a steep uphill task that is backbreaking. No one should have any illusion about the daunting steep uphill task ahead. Instead of addressing challenges of this magnitude one at the time, the people of South Sudan have created a deadly double-edged sword that they may find it difficult to handle.

The Challenge

In line with the consistent and popular demand of the people for a federal system of government in South Sudan, the Establishment Order number 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states may not be a bad idea. It is in agreement with the concept of taking towns to people. However, one great challenge is that the criteria for the creation of 28 states in South Sudan are not clear. Such a national task of creating states would have needed countrywide consultations for an informed decision.

First of all, the timing of the establishment order for creation of new states is questionable when the country is facing a situation of economic collapse and enormous task of forming the TGoNU for stability and reconciliation in promoting national unity. It seems the architects behind the scene were nothing but ethno-centric and cared less about the IGAD-Plus Compromise Peace Agreement. Land grab and hegemony seem to be the hidden agenda

As a federalist this author had written extensively about federalism in the print media but was always branded as an ignorant and dangerous man of “Kokora”. He was accused of intensively hating others. This author had called for what would be regarded as regional federalism but not ethnic federalism.

The creation of 28 states seems to show a tendency towards ethnic federalism similar to tribal homelands or as Bantustans in apartheid South Africa. The question one may ask is that, is this appropriate for South Sudan in promoting national unity? There are already signs of problem brewing.

This author, nevertheless, is more than delighted with the Establishment Order number 36/2015 for the creation of 28 states which has exonerated him from being previously accused as an ignorant and dangerous man of “Kokora” when he was only positive about regional federalism but not an ethnic one. Now who are the real people of “Kokora”? Those who had insulted me and opposed my positive attitude to federalism may now owe me an apology.

Analysis of new states

As stated somewhere above the criteria for the creation of 28 states are not clear. This undoubtedly has created confusion. For example, in Greater Bahr el Ghazal the newly created Gok State with Cueibet as its capital town, is composed of only one county and is mainly populated by one tribe. The population is 117,755 and occupies an area of 4,824 square kilometers (sq km). In contrast, Yei River County in Equatoria has a population of 201,443, more than that of Cueibet, with more than one tribe, occupying an area of 6,668 sq km, also more than the area of Cueibet. The population of Gok State is only 58 per cent of the population of Yei River County

Despite the statistics Yei River County has not been created as a state. Similar examples can be cited in the created 28 states in South Sudan. In Equatoria the newly created Yei River State has a population of 590,748. This is in contrast to the newly created Aweil State in Greater Bahr el Ghazal with a very tiny population of only 115,633. That is also in contrast to the newly created Ruweng State in Greater Upper Nile with a mere population of only 99,455. The population Ruweng State is only about 17 per cent of the population Yei River State.

Partly due to the creation of 28 states shrouded in utter confusion with unknown agenda, there are already mounting complaints of unfair creation of the new states. For example, the newly created Lol State in Greater Bahr el Ghazal is being seen as unfairly created. The people of Raja are demanding the creation of their own Raja State instead of being dominated by Aweil West and North which were in the former Northern Bahr el Ghazal State.

In Equatoria the people of the newly created Namorunyang State are demanding a name change of their State. The people of Tombura in the newly created Gbudwe State like the people of Raja are also demanding the creation of their own state.

In the analysis, it has been clear that all the demands for a further creation of new states illustrate the unfairness in the creation of 28 states and the lack of wider consultations with the people in South Sudan. The unnecessary confusion could have been avoided with farsightedness and absence of a hidden agenda.

Flexibility in the order

In the Establishment Order number 36/2015 for the creation of new States in South Sudan, Order 10, Amendment of the Order, highlights that “This order shall not be amended save by another Order issued to that effect by the President of the Republic”. Depending on how people may interpret Order 10, it can be deduced that there is a glimpse of flexibility in the Establishment Order number 36/2015.

When people complain the President is likely to listen. He can have all complaints channeled to his desk for scrutiny and possible action. It is possible that some complaints can persuade the President to take a course of action that may cause the amendment of the Order in the best interest of all. The President may respond to people’s complaints and amend the Order accordingly as a sign of flexibility.

The implication here is that people should not despair or panic that the Order is rigid and that the created 28 states will never be changed whatsoever. The President may listen to people’s genuine complaints to amend the Order.


In principle, any creation of new states should always be in the interest of taking towns to people but not the domination and marginalization of others. If ethnic federalism effectively takes towns to people without damaging national unity, then there is nothing wrong about it.

The challenge is when the newly created states become the compartmentalization of people in their ancestral lands, when free movement and settlement of people in places of their choice in the country is curtailed and when people look at others as foreigners, and then this will be the breeding of disunity that we must all work hard to avoid.

The main problem South Sudanese seem to have is that, they do not see each other in themselves. People are so ethno-centric that they only see their tribesmen in themselves but not any other from any ethnic group.

In addressing challenges there is a need to clearly define the system of governance to be adopted. This is important for people to have a common understanding and appreciation. However, the choice is already federalism because this is the popular demand of the people of South Sudan.

It is important to assert that federalism is not the confining of people to their ancestral lands. It is rather about strict separation of powers between the federal, state and local governments where the three are vested with three branches of public power: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.

In federalism the exercise of state powers and the discharge of state functions are matters for the state without interference from the federal government. In other words the state and federal governments are independent of each other in some aspects.

In conclusion, as a matter of principle without any hidden agenda, the creation of new states in taking towns to people is a positive approach in development but there should be wider prior consultations for consensus in promoting national unity.

Jacob K. Lupai is the author of the book: South Sudan, Issues in Perspective published in 2014. The book is available in St Joseph Bookshop opposite Juba Teaching Hospital, in JIT Supermarket in Juba and at Juba International Airport. For students who would like to borrow the book, copies owned by the University of Juba are available in their library. The author also has copies of the book and those who are interest in the book can contact him on: 0913937146 or 0927434038.

Chief Justice Chan Reec lacks impartiality regarding the 28 states’ issue

BY: Dr. Lako Jada KWAJOK, FEB/21/2016, SSN;

Being trustworthy is not something that you could inherit, buy with your money or be awarded to you by someone, the community or any other entity. It has to be earned following numerous interactions between the person to be trusted and his or her colleagues in workplace or with members of the community.

That person would undergo a sort of unintentional scrutiny of his or her actions and decisions that would shape at the end of the day his or her public image.

It’s a slow process where confidence and reliability are central to it flanked by virtues such as honesty, selflessness, incorruptibility, fairness and the ability not to be afraid of telling the truth.

It may take a while to gain the trust of the people around you – or it may entail a lifetime in the case of institutions, organisations or governments to earn the confidence of the communities or the populace.

When a person is deemed trustworthy, it means the society has passed a favourable judgement on his or her moral standing in its entirety. However, when people lose trust in someone – it will be forever.

Thus, the question that comes to mind is – was it worthwhile taking the issue of the controversial 28 states to the Supreme Court of South Sudan given the fact that the trustworthiness of the Chief Justice who presides over the court is questionable?

The media widely publicised the endorsement of the presidential establishment order for the creation of the 28 states by the Chief Justice. It came in a congratulatory message to the president in his capacity as the head of his clan.

Now, how feasible that a different verdict would result from a court chaired by the Chief Justice following his open support of the presidential order?

And should the Supreme Court rule favouring the 28 states, which is very likely, what would the opposition parties say? Would they say it’s a biased ruling from a kangaroo court?

Then, would they not be challenged by the question – Why did you take your case to court in the first place when you well know that people have lost trust in the Chief Justice a long time ago?!

Moreover, it would give the regime a most valued legal backing and extra “ammunition” for its relentless propaganda.

Chief Justice Chan Reec has been the centre of controversy on numerous occasions. Judge John Clement Kuc resigned in March 2013 accusing the Chief Justice of nepotism, lack of transparency and incompetence.

In his resignation letter to the President, Judge Kuc said: “I do not want to continue in a position where operation of the court is hindered by directives by persons within the executive branch of government using the judiciary as a rubber stamp.”

He added… I quote, “The current situation, he said, the rule of law has been replaced with the rule of tyranny.”

These are the words of an insider which are very revealing of the ignominious state of affairs within the judiciary under the leadership of Chief Justice Chan Reec. I don’t know much about Judge Kuc but his words and the bold decision he took, gave the impression of an honourable fellow citizen.

It is clear that our judiciary has lost the service of an honest judge who seemed to be more capable of a leading role than the current Chief Justice.

The following are excerpts from the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan: “the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to decide on disputes that arise under this constitution and the constitutions of states at the instance of individuals, judicial entities or governments. It adjudicates on the constitutionality of laws or provisions of laws that are inconsistent with this constitution or the constitutions of states to the extent of the inconsistency. Furthermore, it states – The Bill of Rights shall be upheld, protected and applied by the Supreme Court and other competent courts; Human Rights commission shall monitor its application in accordance with this constitution and the law.”

But did the Supreme Court follow the constitution in its ruling in the case of Pagan Amum, the SPLM Secretary General then in October 2013? In august 2013, Pagan Amum sued President Salva Kiir in the Supreme Court for curtailing his Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Movement.

As we know, a gag was imposed upon him, his movement was restricted and was literally under house arrest. On 30/10/2013, the Supreme Court of South Sudan threw his case away saying that he has not exhausted all the avenues in search of justice.

It was an obvious example of an individual seeking justice following infringement on his civil liberties that are enshrined in the constitution, by the executive branch of the government. There are no other competent courts in the country that has got the jurisdiction to deal with the said case.

At the time, Lawyers for Democracy in South Sudan which is an independent organisation, condemned the court ruling; accusing the Supreme Court Justices of acting in fear and failing to live up to their mandate.

As the whole thing played out, Pagan Amum ended up with no court in the land of South Sudan willing to hear his case.

As we speak, former Governor of Western Equatoria State (WES), Joseph Bangasi Bakasoro and Dr Leonzio Angole Onek of Juba University are both languishing in secret detention sites run by South Sudan National Security Services. Since their arrest in December 2015, no formal charges have been brought forward by the government against them.

The Supreme Court never weighed in on the matter so far and continued to be silent on two glaring cases of violation of the Bill of Rights.

Notwithstanding being a well educated person with reasonable experience, CJ Chen Reec’s tenure in office has been quite dismal or even disastrous. A decade or so in office saw no prosecution of corrupt officials and poor performance regarding enforcing the rule of law.

More troubling is that allegations of corruption and nepotism have tarnished his reputation. In March 2013, the Chief Justice found himself in the midst of sharp public criticism and tried in vain to deny nepotism in his decision to appoint his daughter as a Legal Assistant.

Here are excerpts from a lengthy statement by Justin Deng Mawien, a law graduate from Warrap state, “I couldn’t believe Justice Chan would do that when I saw the name of his daughter on the list of those he appointed. I know her myself. They were (Justice Chan Reec’s children) by far behind me. I finished high school when they were still in Primary. I finished university when some of his children were sitting Sudan School Certificate. I have not gotten a permanent job until now because of the claims of lack of jobs. Where did these jobs in which they are employing their own children come from? This is a clear act of nepotism. Just tell me what does this mean, you people in the media? To me it’s pure corruption and nothing more.”

With the above account, it’s no wonder that the Chief Justice has lost esteem among the majority of the South Sudanese people. In a democratic government he would have been made to resign his post or forced into early retirement as he has become a liability to the judicial institutions of South Sudan.

The National Alliance of 18 South Sudan political parties has demanded Chief Justice Chan Reec not to chair the petition seeking suspension of the presidential establishment order for the creation of 28 states. They have accused him of turning the Supreme Court into an institution devoid of impartiality.

The right thing to do would be for Chief Justice Chan Reec to recuse himself from the case as there is a clear conflict of interest here.

There is no guarantee that this will happen and even if it did unexpectedly, the opposition parties well know that President Kiir appointed the other Supreme Court Justices.

Therefore, the absence of the Chief Justice from the court hearing makes no difference concerning the outcome. It’s a futile approach to the matter by the opposition parties.

Rather than wasting their time in the pursuit of a solution in a biased and dysfunctional Supreme Court, they should focus on supporting the full implementation of the peace agreement both in spirit and letter.

That alone will provide the remedy for the conflict arising from the 28 states’ issue.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

To UN Ban Ki-Moon: The Cold Blooded Massacre of Collo (Shilluk) Internally Displaced Persons in UNMISS Protection Camp in Malakal Upper Nile State, 18/Feb/2016

Collo Global Action

For IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 19, 2016

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General of the United Nations,
New York, USA

Re: The Cold Blooded Massacre of Collo (Shilluk) Internally Displaced Persons in UNMISS Protection Camp in Malakal Upper Nile State, 18th February, 2016

We, the members of Collo Global Action (CGA) based in the United States of America, would like to seize this opportunity to bring to your considered attention fateful event of calculated cold blood massacre of Collo (Shilluk) Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in UNMISS Protection Camp in Malakal Upper Nile State on the 18th February, 2016.
We strongly condemn this callus and cowardly act perpetrated by members of the Dinka Apandang with the full support and knowledge of the Government of Upper Nile State using elements of the SPLA soldiers who are directly under the command of the newly appointed Governor of the so-called Eastern Nile State, Lt-Gen. Chol Thon against innocent unarmed civilians taking refuge in the UNMISS Protection Camp in Malakal.

Lt-Gen. Chol Thon (Governor) since his unconstitutional appointment by President Salva Kiir on the 24th December, 2015 has vigorously embarked on the policy of displacing members of Shilluk tribe (the third largest tribe in South Sudan) from their villages within the environ of Malakal town which historically belongs to Shilluk.

The attack on the 18th February, 2016 was a well planned and executed operation by the Governor and his Dinka supporters and shall be understood in the context of operationalization of the Presidential Establishment Order 36/2015 which divided the Republic of South Sudan into 28 new States.

It is worth noting that the Presidential Establishment Order 36/2015 was unanimously rejected by the Collo (Shilluk) communities inside South Sudan and in the diaspora.

It has for the first time in 500 years of the Shilluk kingdom divided its territories and illegally annexing all the villages in the Eastern bank of the Nile to Dinka Apandang. The attacked of innocent civilians inside UNMISS protection side constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes and it will further aggravate tribal hatred between different communities in South Sudan in particular Shilluk and Dinka, with dire consequences to the implementation of the signed August Peace Agreement.

We therefore, call upon your esteemed office to immediately carry out full independent investigation into the 18th February incident.

The envisaged report shall examine the reasons as to why UNMISS soldiers stationed in UNMISS Protection Camp in Malakal failed to detect the smuggling of arms by members of Dinka Apandang into the camp.

Equally, it shall also examine failure by UNMISS soldiers who are operating under Chapter VII and tasked with the protection to the internally displaced persons in executing their legal mandate.

This barbaric incident if not handled with utmost consideration could lead to breakdown of trust between our people and UNMISS, hence it necessitates immediate investigation by the UNMISS.

We urge members the United Nations Security Council to take serious measure against the Government of South Sudan in their complicit implication in the cold blooded massacre of Collo (Shilluk) internally Displaced Persons in UNMISS Protection Camp.

Lt-Gen. Chol Thon name should be included in the list of individuals threatening the peaceful co-existence of communities in Upper Nile state which could result in the complete collapse of the signed August Peace Agreement in accordance to resolution 2206(2015) of the UNSC pertaining to sanctions on South Sudan.

We the members of Shilluk community demand that the report into the 18th February, 2016 shall be made public as soon as possible to avoid retaliation from our community.

Excellency, we look forward to your prompt response to issues raised in this letter.

Mr. Sam Ongethi
Chairman of Collo Global Action

To Ethiopean Prime Minister: Violation of Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) & new internal borders

Your Excellency Hailemariam Dessalegn
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly
C/O Minister Counselor, Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
17 Princes Gate, London, SW7 1PZ

17th February 2016

Re: Violation of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) and new internal borders.

Dear Prime Minister;

We, the Nuer Community in the United Kingdom, hereby convey to you warm greetings with high hope that the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) between SPLM/SPLA warring factions shall bring about an end to the ongoing suffering and displacement, justice, genuine reconciliation between communities, and lasting peace in our country.

At this point in time, we can only express sincere appreciation for your wise and capable leadership that helped bring about signing of the peace agreement; and may we take this opportunity to thank your Government and the brave people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for hosting South Sudanese refugees.

Your Excellency,

Despite restored hope for the return of peace to South Sudan, President Kiir and his advisors, the Jieng Council of Elders, have remained committed to maintaining hindrances against any foreseeable lasting peace in South Sudan.

In addition to ongoing ceasefire violations across the country, a notable unfortunate action the president took, shortly after signing of the ARCSS, was a deliberate violation of the agreement. He did that by issuing a decree to unilaterally restructure existed ten states that were agreed upon by all signatories of the ARCSS.

That uncalled action occurred with creation of 28 states, but the move was rejected right away by various South Sudanese civil society groups.

This particular violation of the ARCSS was also objected by the IGAD in an instantaneous statement. However, as we write this letter, President Kiir continues to ignore calls from the South Sudanese public, the IGAD, and their friends in the international community.

Having been evoked by decreed creation of 28 states, our community in the UK has taken steps to revisit sources of background information beside conduction of consultations with members of the wider community in the Diaspora and inside South Sudan.

It has now become clear that the decision taken by the president to redraw South Sudan internal borders is just a pretext of what appears to be a plan aimed at causing or sustaining conflicts between communities.

It is another attempt by the same tribal grouping of Jieng Council of Elders to continue misusing our country’s natural resources against attainment of peace, development, and prosperity.

In view of all these, our community in the UK would like to bring to your attention that President Kiir’s decision to redraw South Sudan internal borders is not only deplorable and illegal but also segregating, alarming, and indeed unpopular as it favours only one tribe at the expenses of many other tribes.

Prior to stating the reasons as to why our community has rejected what appears to be a mapping of new internal borders, we would like to remind your wise leadership about what unites various communities in South Sudan as opposed to what would divide them.

One important uniting factor throughout generations is the land, for which South Sudan lost millions of lives in defence against aggressors before independence of its people.

On the other hand, any attempt to redraw our country internal borders would undoubtedly become a key fragmenting factor with unimaginable implications.

Our community here in the United Kingdom, together with Equatorian Community, Shilluk Community, and Ferteit Community, have jointly rejected unilateral restructuring of states in all three regions of Greater Bhar El Ghazal, Greater Equatoria, and Greater Upper Nile.

The reasons and clarifications why we disagree with President Kiir on the creation of 28 states are stated as follow:

1. The sketch-map showing locations of the decreed 28 states is designed with intention to curve lands that belong to Ferteit, Nuer, and Shilluk communities into states populated by the tribe of the President.

For example, if the decree were to be implemented, two communities in Upper Nile State, namely the Shilluk and Eastern Jikany Nuer, would lose large parts of their ancestral lands to Dinka Padang.

In Western Upper Nile/ Unity State, two Dinka communities, who share no common boundary, would be emerged in a newly created Ruweng State at the expenses of Leek Nuer, Western Jikany Nuer, and Bul Nuer.

Establishment of Ruweng State on Nuer ancestral land would trigger conflicts between Western Nuer and Dinka Ruweng. Even more, large portions of lands in the areas of Gaawar Nuer, Lak Nuer, Lou Nuer and Thiang Nuer of Jonglei State would be annexed to their respective Dinka neighbours.

We have included three sketch-maps herein to further explain why our community has principally rejected creation of 28 states. By comparing and contrasting these sketch-maps, it can be deduced whether the internal borders recently created by President Kiir are consistent or not with the ones that are known to various communities on the ground.

The map numbered 1 illustrates recently created internal borders; the red colour indicates states or lands populated or being annexed to Dinka tribe. While President Kiir would want new boundaries of Nuerland to be within the blue colour, the actual boundaries of Nuerland or actual locations of Nuer or their neighbours are shown on the sketch-maps numbered 2 and 3.

Sketch-map 1: illustration of new internal borders as per President Kiir’s decreed 28 states

Sketch-map 2: Actual locations of Nuer, Dinka, Shilluk, and Anuak

Sketch-map: The Nuer, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Oxford University Express

Sketch-map 3: Locations of the larger Nuer tribes

Sketch-map: The Nuer, E. E. Evans-Pritchard, Oxford University Express

2. With full knowledge of territorial boundaries between Dinka and Nuer communities on both east and west banks of the Nile, our community views decreed annexation of our ancestral land to the tribe of the president as an incitement of tribal conflicts.

Since he decreed creation of 28 states, the President has been vocal-claiming that the created 28 states were popularly demanded by the people. As it has widely been understood by the South Sudanese public, this claim is merely based on what being demanded by one tribal grouping, the Jieng Council of Elders.

n their support for the above mentioned unilateral presidential decree, the Jieng Council of Elders, which represents the tribe of the president, came out promptly to endorse the decreed 28 states. The said elders of the president’s tribe also rejoice over creation of 28 states because large portions of lands that belong to other tribes such as Nuer and Shilluk are being annexed to states populated by their tribe.

3. The decreed 28 states were not presented at IGAD-plus mediated peace talks, whereas 21 states as well as federal system of governance were tabled by the opposition.

However, as the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) consistently rejected consideration of federalism and 21 states, it was agreed to address both federalism and restructuring of sates at future talks for a permanent constitution. On that basis, the IGAD-plus compromised ARCSS was then signed by the warring parties without reference to neither 21 states nor 28 states.

It is not just a view but a reality on the ground that the unilateral creation of 28 states shall not promote efforts toward implementation of the peace agreement. It is indeed a serious violation and discouragement of what has been welcomed widely by the South Sudanese public as a truly new beginning toward nation building in the world youngest country.

Without clear boundaries, we also believe that demarcation of new internal borders for the President’s decreed 28 states shall generate endless tribal conflicts in the country.

In conclusion, we appeal to your wise and capable leadership, IGAD and their partners in the international community to press on Gen. Salva Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders so that they acknowledge facts and use wisdom rather than illogical grounds that have led to wrong decisions.

We call upon your wise leadership of the IGAD Assembly to work for an action that can compel G. Salva Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders to revoke the presidential decree that created 28 states.

This is imperative for realisation of peace and reconciliation between communities in South Sudan. Our community would also like to appeal for a speedy establishment of the hybrid court that has been promised by the peace agreement.

We further want to express our community’s profound support to IGAD and their friends/ partners, while they maintain engagement with the political leadership in South Sudan. It is our hope that your great country and its wise leadership shall continue guidance and assistance in building a united nation with a government that does not segregate citizens of South Sudan on the basis of ethnicity, gender, religion, or region.

Yours sincerely,

Contact: William Dengchang- Chairman of Nuer Community in the United Kingdom

Cc: G. Salva Kiir Mayardiit- Chairman and C. I. C. of SPLA/ SPLM- IG
Cc: Dr. Riek Machar Teny- Chairman and C. I. C. SPLM/ SPLA- IO
Cc: Benjamin Taban- Chairman of South Sudanese Community in the UK