Archive for: April 2016

GaPPSS: Release all detained political prisoners by National Security

April 30, 2016, Boston, MA USA;

GaPPSS welcomes the step taken by the government of South Sudan to release the former governor of Western Equatoria, Joseph Bakasoro. This comes at the time when the country is witnessing a new beginning with the return of the opposition and the formation of South Sudan’s Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

While we are celebrating this positive and important milestone in implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS), there are still a number of civilians and political detainees behind bars at the National Security Service headquarters detention center and across the country. This includes:

-1- The deputy Governor of the newly formed Wau State, Andrea Dominic, and
-2- the journalist, George Livio Bahara,
-3- Martin Augustino,
-4- Fr. Justin Wanawilla,
-5- Emilo Paul, and
-6- Mohammed Wol.

These are a few more who are in the National Security Services (NSS) in Juba. They were arrested in Wau and transferred to Juba.
We are appealing to the President and the transitional government of national unity to exercise the same clemency, shown to the former governor of Western Equatoria, and to release all the political detainees as a good gesture in the spirit of peace, healing, and reconciliation.

GaPPSS calls upon the TGoNU, under the leadership of the President Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, to commit to bringing stability, build trust and embark on the process of healing and reconciliation.
God Bless South Sudan

Wadi Lissa
wadilissa@gappss.org
On behalf of GaPPSS Communication team

Riak Machar lives as South Sudan’s greatest tragedy

By: John Bith Aliap, Australia, APR/29/2015, SSN;

After fearfully skipping several trips to Juba, Machar finally hit the highly militarist Juba International Airport Tuesday, April 26, in the afternoon. He was then rushed to J1 presidential palace, with a sheen of sweat covering every inch of his body and hurriedly sworn in as Kiir’s First Vice President.

As he now sips tea in his rebels’ capital Jebel Kujur, working out his next war strategies, the people of South Sudan are left scratching their heads, eager to know what Machar holds for them this time. But his supporters think otherwise. Machar’s stay in Juba would make their wretched land find peace at last.

But Machar’s loyalists fail to figure out that their boss has been the most important factor why war lingers in South Sudan for decades. When one war ends, he creates another.

Machar waged a vicious war against the SPLM/A in 1991 largely because he was not in charge of it. His Nuer tribal mates drifted away with him when he stormed off from the SPLM/A’s liberation van wagon largely out of tribal loyalty.

His Western in-laws – particularly the British, and his historical ally Khartoum’s regime which butchered 2.5 million South Sudanese supplied him with cash, missiles and manpower.

Viewed by South Sudanese as a global champion of liars, Machar tells his supporters whatever they want to hear. When he seeks military support from the internationally indicted Sudanese president Omer el Bashir, he tells him that he regrets the split of Sudan and that his movement envisions reunification.

He whispers in Bashir’s ears that he’ll reunite the two Sudans [North & South] when he ousts Kiir’s government.

To his Ethiopian allies, he bills himself as a bridge between Ethiopia and South Sudan and Ethiopians will freely roam South Sudan when he sails to power in J1 presidential palace in Juba.

When wooing support from the west, he pretends to be fan of democracy and human rights despite his track records of mass murdering available on the internet.

To his fellow members of Nuer Community, he presents himself as a king who would restore their ancient glory and drive the Dinka tribe out which he frequently blames for his usual madness into the sea.

Riak Machar perfectly fits the definition of a traitor. He spent a better part of his life running between foreign capitals – preaching the war against his own people while organising his tribal warlords into revolutionary cells.

Machar was popular when he caused mayhem to people’s movement, the SPLM/A in 1991, but now his popularity seems to be at its lowest level as his tactics grow vicious. In both wars – 1991 & 2013, Machar ordered his tribal militia to plant millions of mines in South Sudan’s fertile soil, raze down non-Nuer villages, rape non-Nuer women, loot non-Nuer livestock, drive hordes of refugees away from their ancestral lands so they can become a burden to the government and the international community.

As he now enjoys himself in Juba, a city he fled two years ago like a beheaded chicken, Machar’s officers whom he accused of power grab and other minor crimes when he was in the bush are now still lingering in his bush’s prisons.

Fearing that some of his officers might push him away from power, Machar showed them his brutality by having them killed. Others accused of attempting to pinch off Ngundeng’s rod – a rod of Nuer’s prophet who centuries ago allegedly prophesied his reign of power have been thrown into his unlawful bush prisons – deep pits, sealed with logs and earth, pitch black and inescapable.

With Machar back to Juba, South Sudanese should be reminded that Riak Machar’s war appetite isn’t yet over. He lives his life as a traitor, tribal warlord, despoiler, mass murderer, South Sudanese’ greatest tragedy who wields knife and gun in his hands.

John Bith Aliap is an Australia-based political commentator and can be reached at Johnaliap2011@hotmail.com.

South Sudan old rivals ‘end war’, again!!

BY: Peter Martell, AFRICA REVIEW, APR/28/2016, SSN;

The metal gates are still twisted where troops in December 2013 stormed the house of South Sudan’s now new Vice-President Riek Machar, as war erupted leaving tens of thousands dead.

But on Tuesday, just a stone’s throw away in his heavily-guarded state house, President Salva Kiir called the matter an “incident” as he welcomed the rebel chief turned “brother” Machar back to Juba, saying his return marked “the end of the war and the return of peace and stability”.

Peace doves were released, and after Dr Machar was sworn into office, the two men stood alongside each other with hands on hearts, as a red-coated band played the national anthem, “God bless South Sudan”.

Hopes are high but the challenges — and the expectations the new government will swiftly solve them — are huge, analysts warn.

Many are cautious, pointing out that the pair have previously fallen out, fought, made up and fought again.

Was sacked

Dr Machar, who returned to the post of vice-president that he was sacked from five months before war broke out, said he wanted to work for “full implementation” of an August 2015 agreement “to make sure peace breaks out all over the country”.

For now, the war-weary population appears to be breathing a sigh of relief that for once, there is some hope for peace.

“We want the killing to stop,” said Ms Teresa Nyadet in Juba, a 58-year old mother of eight, one of over 180,000 living behind the razor wire protection of UN bases across the country.

“We women, we want peace in South Sudan, and Dr Machar must make sure the kind of life we are in stops.”

The next few weeks will be critical for persuading people the country has turned a corner.

The camp

“I am happy that Riek Machar has come, as this means that we are now going to get out of the camp,” said Ms Elizabeth Akol, a mother of four, also at a UN base in Juba.

“We are tired and have suffered a lot.”

The conflict, which has torn open ethnic divisions, has been characterised by horrific rights abuses, including gang rapes, the wholesale burning of villages and cannibalism.

Ensuring that the sides work together in a unity government, and that the thousands of rival armed forces now in separate camps inside the capital keep their guns quiet, will be an even bigger challenge.

Both sides remain deeply suspicious, and there is continued fighting between multiple militia forces who now pay no heed to either President Kiir or Dr Machar.

Mr Jok Madut Jok, who heads the Juba-based Sudd Institute think-tank, warned the return was only one of many steps.

“The people of South Sudan may be holding their breath for the war to end… but I think they should also be cautious not to let down their guard,” Mr Jok said.

Rebel leaders

Both President Kiir and Dr Machar are former rebel leaders who rose to power during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war between north and south — a conflict in which two men fought each other — before South Sudan won independence in 2011.

Mr Jok warned the old rivals “may disagree on several things along the way of the implementation, and that could easily return the country to a very messy situation”.

Dr Machar’s return to a country awash with weapons was stalled for a week by arguments that at one point came down to a dispute over some two dozen rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that his security detail was allowed to have.

The pair now face far bigger problems.

The profits

The economy is in ruins, inflation has eroded savings and salaries, and without another round of massive international support there is little cash to rebuild and prove that the profits of peace are better than those of war.

With more than five million people in need of aid and more than two million forced to flee their homes, aid agencies who are struggling to support them said they welcomed any move towards peace but that the crisis was far from over.

“Though the peace process resolves some national level political disputes, it does not resolve escalating humanitarian and protection needs on the ground,” said Mr Victor Moses, who runs the Norwegian Refugee Council aid agency in the country.

Others warned that without justice to address the horrific abuses carried out by all sides, reconciliation would not be possible and hatred would fester.

Mr John Prendergast, who played a key role in drumming up US-backing for South Sudan’s independence in 2011 and who now runs the Enough Project campaign group, warned the root causes of the conflict remained unaddressed.

Deadly patterns

“Forming a government with the same actors responsible for the collapse of the economy and atrocities holds open the possibility that grand corruption will return to its pre-war patterns,” Mr Prendergast said.

“Without an emphasis on consequences for gross corruption and atrocities, it’s unlikely the deadly patterns will be broken,” he added.

But it is the best chance yet for peace. Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, the Episcopalian Archbishop of South Sudan, has spent decades overseeing peace efforts in South Sudan.

“Now is the time for forgiveness, because we have to put all this behind us,” said Archbishop Bul.

“Let’s give peace a chance.” (AFP)

LATEST: Machar becomes South Sudan vice-president and urges unity

Various Sources, Tuesday, April 26/2016;

IN SUMMARY:
South Sudan won independence in July 2011 after decades of conflict with Sudan’s government in Khartoum, with Machar serving as vice-president from then until July 2013 when he was sacked by Kiir.

South Sudan’s rebel chief Riek Machar finally returned to Juba on Tuesday and was sworn in as vice-president of the world’s newest country, calling for “unity” after more than two years of ferocious civil war.

“We need to bring our people together so they can unite and heal the wounds,” said Machar, greeted by ministers, diplomats and the release of white doves as he stepped out of a UN plane, after a week-long delay that had threatened a long-negotiated peace deal.

Machar, who was originally due back on April 18, headed immediately to the presidential palace to be sworn in alongside his longtime arch rival, President Salva Kiir.

Kiir, who shook the hand of Machar and called him “my brother”, said they would “work immediately” to set up a unity government.

“I am very happy to welcome and warmly receive my brother Dr. Riek Machar,” Kiir said. “I have no doubt that his return to Juba today marks the end of the war and the return of peace and stability to South Sudan.”

South Sudan won independence in July 2011 after decades of conflict with Sudan’s government in Khartoum, with Machar serving as vice-president from then until July 2013 when he was sacked by Kiir.

His delay in returning to Juba under the terms of an August 2015 peace deal had infuriated the international community after months of negotiations spent on getting the rivals to return to the city and share power.

“I am very committed to implement this agreement so that the process of national reconciliation and healing is started as soon as possible, so that the people can have faith in the country that they fought for, for so long,” Machar said on being sworn in.

Ensuring they work together in a unity government, and that the thousands of rival armed forces now in separate camps inside the capital keep their guns quiet, will be an even bigger challenge.

Deep suspicion

In New York, UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the Security Council that Machar’s return “should open a new chapter for the country. It should allow the real transition to begin.”

The United States and the United Nations had mounted pressure on Machar to return to Juba without delay.

“The scope of future US engagement in helping South Sudan confront the country’s security, economic and development challenges … will depend on the parties demonstrating commitment to work together to implement the agreement,” the US State Department said in a statement.

Both sides remain deeply suspicious, and fighting continues with multiple militia forces unleashed who now pay no heed to either Kiir or Machar.

Machar’s return had been stalled by arguments that at one point, in a country awash with weapons, came down to a dispute about just over two dozen rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that the force guarding him were allowed to have.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million driven from their homes in the conflict, which has reignited ethnic divisions and been characterised by gross human rights abuses.

The economy is in ruins, over five million people need aid and over 180,000 people are crammed into UN peacekeeping camps, too terrified to venture outside the razor wire fences for fear of being killed.

Tensions are high, and the days ahead will be critical.

“We need the guns to stay silent and give people time — both as official warring parties and as individuals — with one another in coming days,” said Casie Copeland from the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

Suffering is on an epic scale. Parts of the country, especially the devastated oil producing northern Unity region, have been pushed to the brink of famine.

There are huge expectations Machar’s arrival means the myriad of problems will be solved swiftly — but there will be no quick fix.

Machar’s Interview with Al Jazeera: The Future of peace in South Sudan
Al Jazeera: The matter of the 28 states – has that been resolved?

Riek Machar: If we take the IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) communique, the 28 states issue will be shelved until a month after we form the government of national unity. We will together discuss the need of having 28 states, maintaining the 10 that are already in place, or finding a middle ground. I think it’s no longer an obstacle to the formation of the transitional government of national unity, nor is it any more an obstacle in trying to have an agreed draft for the constitution.

Al Jazeera: There’s so much mistrust between your side and the government. How will you govern a country with such division.

Riek Machar: I don’t think there is what you call mistrust. There are disagreements. There was disagreement over the 28 states. Sometimes there’s different interpretation of the text of the agreement. This I can’t say to be mistrust.

Al Jazeera: Every time progress is made, a new condition comes up. South Sudanese are frustrated. Will there be further stumbling blocks?

Riek Machar: I think you are a good judge and you know what’s wrong. If the government introduces 28 states 39 days after the peace agreement was signed by them, that is clearly creating an obstacle to the implementation of the peace agreement. In actual fact for the past three weeks, the discussion was over this issue. The lack of progress on the constitution was because of this issue.

Al Jazeera: Can you assure the people of South Sudan that you will not go back to Juba with more conditions, and you will, together with the government, form this transitional government they’ve been waiting so long for?

Riek Machar: I want to be in Juba. I want the government of national unity to be formed as soon as possible. All we need is to ensure that the obstacles that were creating difficulties for us are removed. There should be no reason to delay the formation of the transitional government of national unity. Once Juba is demilitarised – the troops that are supposed to take over the security of the city are deployed from both sides – then I will be in Juba. Juba is my home. END

CTSAMM to Observe Security Ahead of the Formation of TGoNU in Juba

By: Mabor Maker Dhelbeny, APR/26/2016, SSN;

Following the JMEC (Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission)’s announcement that Dr Machar, the FVP designate will arrive on the 12th April, 2016. But the SPLM/A-IO (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/ Army-In Opposition) leader decided to postpone it indefinitely, even his own date set as 18th April, due to the intention of bringing more troops and additional weapons that will accompany his Chief of Gen. Staff to Juba.

Therefore, the IGAD-plus partners intervene to reduce tension and the peace from possible collapse by proposing a number of soldiers and weapons that will come to Juba on April 25 instant. This happens thereafter the concession of the GRSS (Government of the Republic of South Sudan) in which the team of CTSAMM (Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism) has been sent to verify weapons in Pagak or Gambella before their arrival to Juba International Airport.

Juba, as the seat of national government has panicked as to why the SPLM/A-IO is bringing more weapons if at all they are for peace. It seems that the GRSS is motivated by a need to achieve an implementation of peace agreement while the SPLM/A-IO has a motive for bringing in more weapons and troops to fight. Such ill-motives which may cause insecurity by either Party would be the assignment to be carried out by the CTSAMM and JMCC (Joint Military Ceasefire Commission) as stipulated in the Agreement.

Under the provisions of the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) and on the basis of Cessation of Hostilities (COH) Agreement, signed on the 23rd January, 2014, the GRSS and the SPLM/A-IO must ensure the following:
(a) For the peace to be sustained, all forces or militias allied to either Party are disengaged in the operation of war theatre, withdrew and cantoned in their areas agreed by the parties during the PCTSA (Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements) workshop.
(b) For the peace to be sustained, all non-state actors are disarmed, demobilized and repatriated by the state-actors with whom they have been supporting during the conflict.
(c) For the peace to be sustained, all forces must refrain from prohibited actions such as redeployment and movement of forces, dissemination of hostile propaganda, sexual exploitation and harassment, attacks against civilians, unauthorized recruitment, restriction of people’s movement and access to humanitarian agencies.
(d) For the peace to be sustained, all Prisoners of War (POW) and child soldiers including any other detainees in connection with the related conflict, are unconditionally released forthwith.
(e) For the peace to be sustained, the GRSS should have redeployed all SPLA forces within Juba outside the radius of 25km from the centre of National City to the demarcated areas, agreed by the PCTSA Workshop.
(f) For the peace to be sustained, the CTSAMM should ensure that the deployment of forces such as 2,910 military armed forces and 3,000 Joint Integrated Police allowed to remain in Juba are in compliance with the modalities agreed during the PCTSA workshop.
(g) For the peace to be sustained, the CTSAMM should also ensure that all activities due to be conducted at JOC (Joint Operation Centre) by the security forces in Juba are safe and free from conflict, especially in suburb areas of Juba.
(h) For the peace to be sustained, the CTSAMM should verify whether all forces of the SPLM/A-IO that are previously in combat in Juba and in the former Upper Nile, Unity and Jonglei States including other forces to the conflict in other areas declared by the warring parties during the PCTSA workshop are separated, assembled and cantoned (See Articles 1, 2, 4, 5, & 6 of the ARCISS, 2015).

The parties therefore need to revisit the Agreement in order to resolve the problem of forces that assembled themselves in the former Western Equatoria and Western Bahr el-Ghazal States as claimed by the SPLM/A-IO Advance Team to be their forces.

The interpretation of “all forces that are previously in combat” should not confuse the parties with rules of IHL (International Humanitarian Law) and Geneva Conventions in their minds, nor should it be used as a political leverage to derail the implementation. This brings me to the point that the party who alleged the presence of its forces in the said areas for cantonment, must prove it by giving the date before the signing of the compromise peace agreement on the 17th and 26th August, 2015 respectively.

Therefore the question that begs itself is that: “When did the forces, claimed by the SPLM/A-IO leadership wage their rebellion in both former Western of Equatoria and Bahr el-Ghazal States?” If these forces waged their rebellion after the ARCISS has been signed, subsequently followed by the declaration of PCTSA workshop, then they will not be granted the benefit of cantonment.

However, the CTSAMM which has succeeded the existing IGAD – MVM (Intergovernmental Authority and Development Monitoring and Verification Mechanism) should strictly observe and monitor the security arrangement in Juba ahead of the formation of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

The verification of permitted forces with their weapons in Juba that are tasked with security activities should have to be observed and monitored by the CTSAMM. Indeed if IGAD believes that the security of South Sudan can only be guaranteed by the policy cooperation as the country has already seek integration of regional bloc, then what is the justification.

The justification is to support peace by controlling the proliferation of weapons that may act as threat to peace in other neighbouring countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. This has been entrenched when Gambari (2010) argues that “… in Africa, lack of sustainable development has been linked directly to proliferation and intensity of conflict situations and war which in turn have hampered development efforts…threat to peace in a neighboring country, if not carefully managed and resolved could lead to massive exodus of refugees, weapons proliferation and trans-border crimes and general insecurity that could threaten other stable polities and compromise national economies”.

In furtherance of its transitional security management, South Sudan’s ARCISS has finally provided a board, known as Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) which will be considered as a comprehensive national defence policy during the TGoNU.

The SDSR Board is tasked with the transformation of security sector during the reform process, unification of the army and security forces including the disarmament, demobilization and Re-integration (DDR).

The process of SDSR shall be comprehensive, inclusive and transparent as underpinned by principles and strategies of national interests, conducted in number of stages so as to ensure the sovereignty, dignity of the country and its people (Art. 6 of ARCISS).

The Writer is an Advocate & Legal Consultant in Juba, the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached via his email address: mabor.lawyer@gmail.com

Return of Dr. Riek Machar to Juba and the Next Political Move

By James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, APR/26/2016, SSN;

After exhausting the immature dramatic politicking about return of Dr. Riek Machar to Juba to take up his duties as the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan for 30 months of the overdue transitional period, finally the most wanted militarized politician arrived in Juba and took oath of office on Tuesday, 26th April 2016. Now the politics of Pagak-to-Juba is over.

What is remaining is how dirty power politics in Luri and Jebel Kujur (New Pagak) shall survive the elusive gunboat diplomacy.

The August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is itself an ambitious project the D-days of its implementation modalities shall remain suspicious, if not unrealistic, in many aspects. The peace deal was designed with a purpose of silencing the guns and continuing with politics as usual in a less bloody and non-disaster in humanitarian dignity of the people.

SPLM-IG (In Government) has not been sleeping on the game of entrenching its support base for the control of the next government by any means possible. This faction has continued with operationalization of 28 states despite the diplomatic advice of the region and the international community not to pursue it unilaterally without first conducting objective feasibility studies through an inclusive and impartial professional commission.

Incorporating the letter and spirit of the ARCSS into the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (2011) so as to promulgate the Transitional Constitution (2016) has been suspended due to lack of consensus on the defunctness of 10 states, limitation of powers of the President, filling up of parliamentary vacancies and other changes required for realizing transition from war to peace.

The other critical legislations for conducting government affairs during the transitional period are also still pending political quarrels.

Electing an Equatorian politician to be the Speaker of the National Legislative Assembly for the transitional period is still contentious as to who will gain the majority votes during internal elections that is supposed to be chaired by the oldest MP rather than the sitting Speaker.

Equatorians MPs are found in every party to the ARCSS (GRSS, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FDs and Other Political Parties) and the winner at the end will depend on the intelligence of the alliances inside the parliament.

The SPLM-IG’s Parliamentary Caucus is no longer cohesive as it used to be because many Equatorians are no longer the known loyalists to the GRSS agenda. They might join hands with others to come up with one candidate of their joint preference who might not be controlled by the GRSS.

They can be dismissed from SPLM-IG party but that will not be a license of uprooting them from their parliamentary seats because the constitution and ARCSS still protects them. But after all there is not going to be opposition in the parliament during the transitional period.

More critically, the GRSS has not taken the necessary measures to cement the already-sour bilateral relations with the Sudan in the light of comprehensive implementation of all the September 2012 cooperation agreements on borders, oil, trade, freedoms, banking, post-service benefits, pension, debts, assets, Abyei and viability.

Juba and Khartoum still don’t trust each other and have been suspicious of regime change with bad wishes in the back scratching. Nonetheless, politics of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Sudan and African Union Hybrid Court for South Sudan is what shall affect both SPLM-Juba and NCP-Khartoum without exception because of the magnitude of atrocities committed against humanity in the course of their conduct of the civil wars.

The economy is in shambles due to infection by the Dutch Disease and reduction of crude oil prices in international markets. Dollars and other hard currencies are no longer flowing to Juba as they used to when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was implemented in 2005 – 2011.

Borrowing money from IMF and other international financial institutions is going to be followed by stringent conditions, especially reforms and accountable standardization of the civil and military services.

Approval of government monies and distributing it like humanitarian relief items is not going to be possible as it used to be in the past when Dr. Riek was the Vice President to Salva Kiir.

The GRSS has rushed South Sudan into the East African Community (EAC)’s membership without due consideration to the current country’s weak situation in economic productivity and equitable export-import trade balance. Since the decision has not been people’ centered, the Transitional Legislative Assembly shall be faced with a dilemma of either ratifying or delaying the EAC Treaty of Establishment and other related necessary documents of the bloc.

The January 2015 Arusha Reunification Agreement is not going to materialize as Kiir has announced his elections candidacy in advance on SPLM ticket. That would mean the SPLM-IO and SPLM-FDs have to find salvation outside the disunified SPLM if they would like to vie for Presidency seat in the next nearest future.

The game is very clear and the reunified SPLM field is not going to be leveled for every candidate to play freely and safely. And as long as the SPLM-Kiir and SPLM-Riek continue to command armed forces, violent and deadly clashes during elections campaign shall not be ruled out totally unless some unusual rectifying situation emerged by then to neutralize the danger.

Notwithstanding, the return of Dr. Riek to Juba is not going to be business as usual because he is going to be a powerful First Vice President as stipulated in the ARCSS.

He is going to have an independent office which is not directly subservient to the President’s Office, unlike the case of Vice President James Wani Igga whose powers shall depend on what President Kiir assigns to him. He is even not supposed to be consulted on anything unless Kiir and Riek agree voluntary in advance to do so.

But again the ARCSS has not left Kiir and Riek to act alone as they wish because the transitional Council of Ministers has been given powers to control and direct their moves and decisions.

The Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) under leadership of President Festus G. Mogae shall also have its final say on any decision of the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and even the Parliament if they overstep the limits of the ARCSS’s letter and spirit.

No unilateral decisions shall be tolerated and no opposition shall prevail except for the Civil Society and those who are not part of the transitional government partners. No South Sudanese politician is going to be allowed to misbehave by conducting himself unilaterally like a king or an emperor. All South Sudanese are supposed to be partners and watchdogs in implementing the ARCSS.

Running away from Juba to the rebellious bush is not going to be tolerated any more if a politician found himself defeated by transitional politics. The rebels who have remained in the bush shall be persuaded to respond to the call of peace and pursuit of resolution of their grievances through dialogue.

Transitional Justice, reparation, reconciliation, mending of broken social fabrics and healing is supposed to kick off in earnest.

Thanks to peace-lovers and farewell to war-mongers. The next move should be the inculcation of serious planning, research, development and prosperity for all South Sudanese.

————————————————————–

Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com

Kiir now clears Machar’s return Monday after first blocking till after weapons verification: LATEST

Various Sources, APR/23/2016, SSN;

Finally, the Kiir’s government has just surprisingly given clearance for Machar’s return, announced the security chief in Juba, questionably blaming the delay due to some mysterious so-called “on-going maintenance at Juba International Airport on weekends & delay by note verbale from Ethiopian Embassy, the two Diplomatic aircrafts will only land on Monday 25/04/2016.”

South Sudan’s rebel leader Riek Machar had once again missed the deadline to return to Juba over what his aides blamed on new demands by President Salva Kiir’s government.

The language used in the landing permit however did not mention the agreed 195 troops of the SPLA-IO, their weapons and the coming of the chief of general staff ahead of Riek Machar.

It is however thought that the “accompanying delegation” mentioned in the clearance would encompass both military and civilian personnel who will accompany Machar

A new date for his return has been set for Monday, according to Machar’s spokesman Machar James Gatdet Dak.

“The government denied him landing. He has been waiting at the airport the whole day. We have just received word from the government that we wait until Monday,” Dak told the Sunday Nation.

Earlier, there were reports that the government insisted on verifying the identity of 195 troops who were to accompany the rebel leader.

The government also insisted on verifying the weapons at Gambela Airport in Ethiopia before granting permission to land in Juba.

It is not clear whether the said verification will be completed before Monday, the day scheduled for the return of the top leader of the SPLM-IO.

Earlier, officials of the opposition faction said the weapons verification had already been done by the Ethiopian authorities.

    KIIR GOVERNMENT BLOCKS MACHAR’S RETURN:

A senior government official this morning said that there was no reception planned for Machar today, also reiterating that they wanted ceasefire monitors to first go to Gambella to check the weapons that Machar would be bringing with him.

Minister of Information Michael Makuei said after a cabinet meeting yesterday, “CTSAMM which is the verification body will send a team of verifiers to Gambella to go and verify the 195 soldiers who are coming plus their individual weapons and plus these 20 PKMs and RPGs.”

The Joint Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (JMEC) had originally proposed that its ceasefire monitors (CTSAMM) carry out this task.

“It is thereafter that team will inform the government that they have done verification and based on that recommendation the government will issue the necessary clearance for the planes that will bring them,” Makuei added.

The minister said that the government expected Machar in Juba “probably Monday.”

“We expect Dr Riek Machar to move in soon as possible together with general chief of staff. Any delay the day after the government will not be ready for it. Any further conditions will not, and I repeat, will not be accepted by the government of South Sudan,” he said

“If the [ceasefire monitoring] team leaves today then definitely the team will be there to do the verification and probably by Monday we expect him in Juba,” Makuei further added.

Analysts say contentious details of the peace agreement signed last August could be the cause of the delays in forming the transitional government.

The stalemate, however, only tells half the story. Long before the deal, officially known as Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, the government and rebels had signed seven peace agreements since fighting broke out between factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in December 2013.

All of them were broken within hours with each side accusing the other of violation.

IMPRACTICAL DEAL

When the agreement was signed, fighting resumed two days later. It has never been clear who fired the first shot but clashes took place in Central Equatoria State and oil-rich northeastern Upper Nile State where a battle for the control of Malakal Town flared. Many civilians and aid workers died.

More than 50,000 people have been killed and about two million others displaced since the conflict started, according to the UN. Other relief agencies give higher figures.

The current deal was nearly missed when rebels accused the government of changing details in the draft.

The initial draft provided for power-sharing only at national level.

In fact, it proposed for the country’s transitional security arrangements to be handled by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development regional bloc. These were opposed by rebels.

Igad mediators realised the problem and changed the document to allow transitional power sharing at all levels. Still, President Kiir signed it “with reservations.”

In changing drafts to suit parties’ demands, some experts think mediators may have made it difficult to implement it.

“The fact that the implementation is going through hurdles is telling,” Steve Paterno, a conflict research consultant from South Sudan told the Sunday Nation.

“The deal is impractical. Both armed parties acknowledge this. The government says it has reservations. In the words of Riek Machar, it is a bad agreement.”

When Igad proposed that regional armies be in Juba during the transitional period, Machar’s side said the country should not be in the hands of foreigners.

TEMPORAL ARRANGEMENT

The final document establishes 30 ministerial posts, with Kiir’s side taking 53 per cent, Machar having 33 per cent, seven per cent for political detainees and another seven for other groups.

At local governance level in clash-torn states, rebels would have the majority stake (53 per cent) while Kiir’s party would have 33.

A Kenyan diplomat who handles South Sudan affairs said on Friday that Igad was just looking at a way of accommodating everyone.

“Neither was willing to compromise and it was clear everyone was looking at remaining in government,” the diplomat said.

“By having a temporary government, mediators felt it would allow for the country to get a permanent solution.”

This arrangement is to last 30 months from the date of creation after which there will be elections.

But the Igad deal created two commanders-in-chief and two armies as the leaders worked on a unification programme.

The fact that regional power-sharing is pegged on where each side controls partly explains why fighting resumed after the agreement was signed.

Both sides defend the arrangement, saying it is only temporary.

“This is what we agreed on because we knew it was workable. Each of us has created a structure and the police will have a joint training,” Machar’s spokesman Dak told the Sunday Nation.

Dr. Riek’s Delayed Return to Juba: A Prelude to Resumption of War and Declaration of a Parallel Government In South Sudan

BY: Joseph Oreste Odhok, South Sudan, APR/21/2016, SSN;

There were high hopes and a jubilant mood in Juba city by the citizens as the government and the armed opposition members of the advance team were engaging in preparations for reception of the SPLA/M-IO Leader and the 1st VP designate Dr. Riek Machar. But it appears these hopes are now being dashed because of the government’s refusal to grant flight and landing clearance for the armed opposition general chief of staff plane.

Traded accusations by the opposing parties is seen by observers as lack of political will and commitment by both parties to implement the agreement.

With this new development in the country’s politics, the future of South Sudan looks grim and gloomy. Realistically, since the eruption of conflict in 2013, and what accompanied it of violations of human rights and crimes committed against humanity, there has never been a genuine dialogue between the warring parties to resolve the conflict peacefully.

Both parties had sought military solutions which further exacerbated the situation on the ground and led to more sufferings and displacement of the civil population. This reality increased the rift and polarized the masses along political and ethnic lines.

Regrettably, the government continued to pursue a divisive policy line being led by its tribal wing referred to as JCE (Jieeng Council of Elders). It put to use the state resources in an attempt to crash the rebellion and silence its real and perceived political opponents. It also used and continue to use the mercenaries from Sudanese rebels of SPLM/A – North and the Darfuri rebels of JEM known as TORABORA.

Reports and forensic evidence confirm the participation of those groups alongside government troops in battles fought against the Opposition forces for control of Malakal and Bentieu cities. To date the SPLA/M – N rebels of Southern Blue Nile of Malek Agar still maintain heavy presence in areas of Melut, Renk and Maban counties of Upper Nile State. They are used by the regime as a mobile force and readily available on request.

While government strategies to put down the rebellion proved futile as they could not bring about the desired goal according to plan, the SPLM/A –IO was gaining more territory and following and the war continued to rage indefinitely at the expense of human suffering.

At this hopeless situation, ARCISS was the best thing the International Community and the Regional Groupings could offer to South Sudanese as a means through which the hostilities could be arrested and peace eventually realized.

Although signing peace is an important step in the process of realizing peace and security, implementing it is equally the most crucial and the most difficult step in the process.

Judging by similar instances where signed peace agreements between opposing parties did not see light or endure, it could be deduced that the foot-dragging in implementing the security arrangements with regards to the demilitarization of the capital among others are indications of lack of commitment and political will by the government to implement peace. The agreement is therefore doomed.

Even if more pressure is exerted on the government to respect the agreement and allow for transportation of weapons and military personnel as required by the agreement, the government is likely to put new obstacle in the way of implementing the peace agreement in letter and spirit. Issues such as the question of the 28 states that it unilaterally created and went ahead to put into effect, could be one of such standoffs.

Despite all attempts by the government to block the return of Dr. Machar to Juba, he remains morally responsible to join his fellow comrades on their “Mission Impossible” errand in Juba. The armed opposition VIPs including Riek’s deputy, Alfred Lado Gore and its Chief Negotiator, Taban Deng had arrived in Juba on different dates ahead of Dr. Riek’s anticipated return and are now taken hostage with restrictions on movements and assembly sternly imposed on them.

A situation that makes one wonder if this peace is not a farce.

In the light of the foregoing facts, it is apparent that war is imminent even after the formation of the transitional government of national unity (TGoNU).

Possible Reactions of Sudan and Ethiopia to the Renewed Armed Conflict in South Sudan:

South Sudan’s northern and eastern neighbours, Sudan and Ethiopia, are currently hosting more than half a Million South Sudanese refugees fleeing the war in their country. And with the renewed armed conflict in South Sudan, more refugees would be expected to cross the border into Sudan and Ethiopia, thus increasing the already existing burden on resources and services on these countries at the time when there were high hopes of peace to prevail and subsequent repatriations.

Apart from this, there are security and economic concerns that would surely be put under jeopardy by resumption of war.

Logically, each of these countries is expected to handle the new development in accordance with its national interest and would be ready to devise strategies that better serve this purpose. It will cooperate with any of the warring parties that would respect and work together towards addressing these concerns.

Resumption of War and Declaration of Parallel Government in South Sudan:

As has been explained in the proceeding paragraphs, war will erupt as a result of partners in the newly formed Transitional Government of National Unity failure to resolve any of the contentious issues as provided by the ARCISS. It could also happen as a provocation by the SPLA/M–IG as it is currently doing in Western Bahr El Ghazal, Greater Equatoria Region, and some parts of Upper Nile.

It appears the war will be long as it would include new territories and new elements from some ethnicities. These ethnic groups have their land forfeited and carved to President Kiir’s Jieng ethnic group.

It remains to be seen whether the Opposition forces would stick to their previous strategy and fight on till they capture Juba or may change their vision and mission to a Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound before they finally march to Juba.

If the opposition forces were to speedily capture the remaining major towns from Kiir’s government in Greater Upper Nile as the situation on the ground suggests, they would likely establish a functional civil administration in order to consolidate the power of the revolutionary forces among the civil population and help them rebuild their lives.

To achieve this, the Opposition SPLM would declare a parallel Government with one of the major towns of Upper Nile as its capital. This step will boost the political standing of the opposition and win im sympathizers and friends from the regional and international circles.

The opposition has the necessary civil service working force with qualifications to run all various civil institutions in territories under the opposition forces.

It would be up to Riek and his envisaged government to use their PR and diplomatic experiences skillfully with the neighbouring countries as well as countries across the globe to establish ties and relations for the common good.

Having firmly established its political system with functional civil and military structures, the opposition will be in a stronger position than before to wage a full and decisive war for total liberation of the country. END

Show Us Your ID’s: Ethnic Patriotism And The Killing of Simon Dhieu In Yei River County

BY: Martin Garang Aher, APR/21/2016, SSN;

Ethnic targeted killing is heightening in South Sudan. The constellation of killings out of tribal detestation, ordinarily executed following effective identification to establish the correct ethnic origin of the person(s) to be killed, has, to this juncture, reached its zenith.

A few days ago, presumably April 13, 2016, Simon Dhieu and his co-worker of the Danish Demining Group (DDG) based in Yei, were gunned down by a group of unidentified Dinka haters on the outskirt of town. They were on their usual routine – which involves locating and destroying mines and other unexploded ordnance – exploring suspected areas to be demined.

Their killers, who stopped the commercial vehicle they were travelling in to the demining site, made no secret of what they were looking for. After forcing them out of the vehicle, they asked about their ethnic origins. The specific identification process employed by these determined killers included asking if there were MTNs or Dinkas among the occupants of the vehicle, numbering about eight people per the narratives of those who witnessed the scene.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, the demining workers grew numb, unable to speak for fear of being caught lying, which might have led to further catastrophic consequences; or as a ploy to hide the identities of their colleagues that the assailants demanded to know. Either of the two, the ploy did not work.

The assailants asked for IDs at gunpoint, which were produced under intense nervousness. Satisfied with their search and identification that Simon Dhieu and his friend were Dinkas (the other who said his mother was a Kakwa from the area was spared), they separated them from the group, undressed them, tied their hands behind their backs, faced them away from the rest, took aims and in an unembellished bestial ferocity, shot them all in the back.

The two young men, intelligent and dedicated nation builders who, on daily basis, risked their lives demining their new country from mines and other unexploded ordnances left behind by two decades of civil war – especially Yei River County – contorted and collapsed in front of their colleagues. The mother earth, unpreparedly, received their lifeless bodies pushed down on it by the curvature of space. On the ground, they lay never to get up again. Their colleagues looked on completely petrified, outraged but powerless.

Dinka The MTNs

The killers were out looking for the MTNs, a euphemism for the Dinka people. MTN is a South African-based Mobile Telephone Network operating in many countries around the world, including South Sudan. But to understand its contextual use in this ethnic-based targeted killing, one has to understand the Hutu paramilitary génocidaires of 1994 – The Interahamwe Militias – that likened Tutsi ethnic group members to cockroaches and set about to exterminate them; the Sudanese president’s likening of South Sudanese to insects (hasharat) that should just be sprayed dead. More broadly, think of any other time someone likens another person to a monkey, a dog or a pig – wishing to do unto them the treatment such animals would receive.

The perpetrators always used these euphemisms to deny themselves any feelings of sympathy or remorse. It is a human way of turning off humanity and revealing the devil within in its full glory. But in this case, a simple analogy is that MTN coverage seems to be everywhere, just as Dinka majority in South Sudan could be found anywhere in the country, hence, the MTNs.

The killing of Simon Dhieu and his Dinka co-worker is one count among many: between Juba and Yei, people have been pulled out of vehicles and killed; between Juba and Mundri West and East, vehicles heading North of the country have been ransacked and travellers killed mercilessly; out of Rumbek to any direction, extrajudicial killings have been meted out on tribal identities.

Even in Juba itself, people say it would be stupid to walk on in the streets at night without checking your back. Suburbs have become lethal tribal areas with people from particular regions of South Sudan settling exclusive from others.

Lethal Tribal Identity

At the moment of their death, and in the realms of the spirits – if there exists a metaphysical ability enabling the dead extend earthly tragedies into conclusive discussions in the worlds beyond the physical, Simon and his colleague would still be questioning their abrupt and tragic human engendered demise.

No doubt, even those alive and have heard or witnessed the killing are probing for answers as well. There is a need to fill-in the gap left by the deaths of these two young nation builders with answers. They had no time to ask their killers. Their killers were filled with rage. Simon and his friend were, in turn, filled with fear and questions.

They died before working out anything for resolution or understanding. The only message that brutally departed with them was the question and confirmation of their Dinka originality.

In South Sudan, a nation that must assert itself among the nations of the world, telling the truth could be part of nation building. But, in telling the truth about who they were, Simon Dhieu and his Dinka colleague stumbled on a mystery: having been born Dinkas was a deadly natural reality that kills at once upon pronunciation or realization.

That was why they were killed. They might want to know why it was lethal to be found or born a Dinka? Would they have survived had their killers known that in the Dinka blood runs a shared DNA strains linking them with Kakwa, Acholi, Shilluk, Anyuak, Nuer, Taposta, Luo, Atuot, Aliap, Didinga, etc? Would they have been spared if they had a chance to remind their killers that, despite being the Dinkas they so much hated, they both shared the history of marginalisation and, now, the independent South Sudan?

The Nation Built on Tribal Allegiances

To suggest that South Sudan is a nation built on the glaring reality of ethnic patriotism, one cannot be accused of overstating the network of the South Sudanese society’s identity crisis.

We have seen this in government, where communities rally behind politicians hailing from their areas; we see it in the South Sudanese army, paramilitaries and militias where people we have blood relations are the ones we support and stand by irrespective of inabilities and misleading, often destructive dreams; we know this when we speak and argue with pervasive national character and suggesting revolutionary changes while discreetly, wishing that these changes be done by somebody closer to home; we see it in employment sector, where entire tribes dominate key structures of subsistence; in the airport and immigration where rules only apply to tribes other than mine; in service delivery queues where if an official delivering services is of my blood relation, tribe, region, or any other category that fits, we must be esteemed queue-jumpers.

If ethnic groups favour themselves over everything, then the end of everything will always be ethnic clash – Clashing over resources, government positions, national projects, administrative areas and all that the country throws at her citizens.

South Sudanese must rise and meet the challenges of true nationalism – It is not right to speak with national rhetoric while practicing ethnic patriotism. Nations of the world that are now considered prosperous, peaceful and strong did one thing: they shunned ethnic allegiances and accepted to be one and subjects of a nation.

It is in shunning ethnic loyalties that the deaths, like that of Simon Dhieu and his colleagues, would be brought to an end. If it starts effectively at the national level, other gruesome deaths related to ethnic loyalties would surely be curtailed. END

Pres. Kiir & Dr. Machar 1st Presidency 2005-2013: An Analysis of its Achievements, Failures & Weaknesses

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, JUBA, APR/20?2016, SSN;

The first presidency between president Kiir and Dr. Machar began shortly when the movement lost its historical leader, the great Dr. John Garang De Mabior on 30th June 2015 in a helicopter crush. Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr. Garang’s long time deputy, immediately got installed as the FVP (first vice president) of the Republic of the Sudan and the President of the Government of Southern Sudan as per the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005.

Consequently, Dr. Riek Machar, being the second man after Kiir, immediately became the VP of the Government of Southern Sudan until in July 2013 when the later went on rampage against his boss subsequently causing divorce to their political honey moon.

In this article, I intend to bring to the forefront the achievements, failures and weaknesses of the first presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar 2005-2013. Quite obviously, there are major achievements that the 1st presidency of Gen. Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar achieved.

The first and foremost achievement, though it was a common interest of the people of South Sudan was the peaceful and successful conclusion of the conduct of referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan. The right to self-determination made all the people of Southern Sudan of all walks of life to make sure that Southern Sudan broke away from the Sudan.

We successfully voted for an independent state of our own, the republic of South Sudan. We cared less about under whose leadership that the region broke away under it but what was important was to break away from Sudan and have our own country. We did achieve it for it was our common interest.

The SPLM leadership may brag about it but for sure it was not the making of SPLM but the people of South Sudan for the number of people of South Sudan is greater than the membership of SPLM. We were tied and fed up of all mistreatments in the hands of our brothers and sisters in the north.

President Kiir may brag about it that it’s his success but the fact remains that his only vote can’t determine the fate of a region inhabited by millions of people. But we do give him his credit for although he wasn’t that wise but his being a leader at the time earned him that credit and all its veneration.

The second achievement though it back fired, was his numerous presidential pardons and amnesties issued to pardon all those who took up arms against their own fellow brothers and sisters, notorious warlords and militias and their integration into the national army, the SPLA with which the region relatively had a bit of peace though it didn’t last longer than usual.

The aim of all these presidential pardons and amnesties was to reconcile the people of South Sudan and forge a new beginning in an attempt to build the would-be new state in the map of the world. Quite obvious that his good intentions were taken for granted in which numerous militias took up arms, killed and caused havoc but still they were pardoned and integrated.

These notorious warlords and militias would have surely destabilized the region and caused more havoc and devastation if he had pursued the path that was about to be taken by our late leader Dr. John Garang with all southern militias when he refused to meet with the then known militia leader and the most notorious one, the late Gen. Paulino Matip Nhial, in the presidential Palace in Khartoum and threatened to deal with all militias who failed to join either side of the parties to the agreement as per the terms and clauses of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005.

However, despite the achievements and successes mentioned above, there were unaccountable failures of the 1st presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar, as manifested by the overall records of President Kiir and Dr. Machar 1st presidency, there was a complete failure of the government in maintaining durable peace and security, respect for human rights, human and infrastructural development was disappointing.

The government failed to minimize incessant communal violence and cattle raiding that were rocking Lakes, Jonglei, and Unity and Warrap states if not putting it to a standstill. Hence, these failures and several other factors account for these poor and disappointing records of the 1st presidency of the two gentlemen.

There were weak institutions of government established along ethnic lines, for instance, if a minister comes from a particular tribe or ethnicity, then eighty per cent of the ministry’s staffs came from his tribe forthwith.

The government failure coupled with weak institutions was responsible for an unspeakable corruption at unprecedented scale where millions of pounds and dollars were siphoned to foreign bank accounts overseas. The president allowed all the state resources to be looted at day time by his ministers, senior civil servants and senior army generals at his watch.

There was complete lack of political will from the president and his deputy to initiate institutional reforms and curb rampant corruption and bring to book of shame and justice all corrupt officials.

During its nine years in office from 2005-2013, the government was marred by a couple of scandals one after another including the famous Dura saga, the four billion dollars stolen by known thieves in which secret seventy-five letters were written to seventy-five officials who were presumed to have stolen the money.

The other scandal was the eight millions stolen from the public coffers which led to the dismissal of the former ministers of cabinet affairs and finance and economic planning and the current one being tried before the High Court involving the office aides of the president.

However, many writers argued that not much can be accredited to the 1st presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar since they both took oath of office in 2005 until the duo got politically divorced and parted their ways in 2013. It was a kick-backing presidency.

In a nutshell, it can be argued that the 1st presidency of President Kiir and Dr. Machar succeeded in overseeing the smooth, transparent, peaceful and successful conduct of the referendum on self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan but failed in curbing human rights violations, communal violence and cattle raiding, corruption and democracy, rule of law and infrastructure development.

That was the nature of the government we had in South Sudan before the duo quarreled over the national cake in 2013, its achievements, failures and weaknesses.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com