Archive for: April 2016

Is Dr. Riek Machar “signing” His Death Certificate by Returning to Militarily Fortified Juba City?

BY: J. Nguen, CANADA, APR/10/2016, SSN;

Warmongering is one thing but telling nothing but the truth is another. This piece is one of the truth-telling political commentaries on South Sudan’s political affairs and road to peace and stability. Dr. Machar, the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/A-IO, the armed opposition in the country is scheduled to return to Juba, South Sudan 18 April 2016.

This step is in line with the Compromised Peace Agreement signed in August 2015 but I recently developed serious reservations regarding this tentative Machar’s return to Juba based on saboteur evidence or much more.

In March 2016, I wrote a commentary questioning the Government of South Sudan’s readiness for peace, particularly over Lt. Gen. James Gai Yoach saga. I outlined why I was justified and should be concerned over unprecedented prevailing bad intention at the time and still relevant while writing this piece.

On the second week of April 2016, I became more certain over the Government of South Sudan’s intransigence, saboteur attitude toward peace and possible secretive intention to do away with Machar upon arrival to Juba.

My thoughts became more apparent on the following grounds:
I. Juba is not demilitarized as required by the August Peace Deal and this is as one of the crucial steps to ensure Dr. Machar to return to the capital. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur and there are no signs showing its eventuality in the near future.

II. The Government of South Sudan is currently on the military operations; the commanding officer is none other than the army’s General Chief of Staff, Paul Malong Awan. This offensive is ongoing in the West and Eastern Equatoria States and Western Bhar El Ghazal respectively. This is no secret to no one.

III. The operationalization of the illegal 28 States created by President Kiir is also underway unabated despite IGAD’s resolution to suspend such operations.

IV. Gen. Paul Malong Awan has once again mobilized a force outside the regular SPLA-Juba army in Bhar El Ghazal region. This force is reminiscent to the illegal armed Dinka militia which he commanded and carried out the Nuer massacre in Juba in December 2013.

V. Gen. Malong ordered the transportation of this force to Juba and “eight lorries” full of these troops arrived in Juba on the 10th of April 2016 prior to Dr. Machar’s scheduled arrival.

VI. Gen. Paul Malong “vowed never to accept,” South Sudan’s 1st Vice President Designate, Dr. Riek Machar “acting as President in the absence of President Salva.” It was alleged that Gen. Malong has stressed that he will “never allow Dr. Machar to be a acting President or President” but after he is “dead.”

VII. Salva Kiir’s Government has rejected any meeting between Dr. Machar and Salva Kiir to be facilitated by JMEC’s chairman upon Machar’s arrival in Juba. This in itself is an issue of concern since both men don’t talk to each other; maybe, this is where hell will break loose, God forbid!

These articulated points are on the public domain and there are becoming apparent by the day, as Machar’s return to Juba draws closer.

So, the question becomes if indeed, Dr. Machar is “signing” his own death certificate by returning to Juba given the prevailing evidences that Juba is not demilitarized yet and is being fortified with illegal armed militia and by Kiir’s government’s refusal for a neutral body to facilitate the first meeting of these supposed two rivals?

These developments are imminent threats to the implementation of the peace agreement and to Machar’s personal life.

Therefore, I seriously recommend that JMEC take the lead by informing the Peace Guarantors of the apparent troops build up in Juba, possible issue of sabotage of the peace in South Sudan and, finally, Dr. Machar must be advised to withhold plans to return to Juba until further notice because the eventuality of letting these slips go uncorrected would be a grossly deadly ignorance.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudan citizen living in Canada. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com

Will the expected transitional government of National Unity impact changes to ordinary citizen’s life in terms of services provision?

By Malek Cook-Dwach, Juba, South Sudan, APR/08/2016, SSN;

We tried in our simple ways to lead our lives in a manner that may make a difference to others… what counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead. Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.

Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for eternity… If I had my time all over again, I would do the same.

“So would any man who dares call himself a man… many people in this country have paid the price before me and many will pay the price after me,” from assortment of quotes by Nelson Mandela.

I found it interesting as a concerned citizen to analyze the possible effects that will come out from Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) when formed. In my humble opinion piece of writing, I am going to shed more light on how the ordinary citizens perceived the government of the day and the forthcoming government (Transitional government of national Unity) in connection to the basic services provision.

In the pre-independent and post-independent Republic of South Sudan, citizens have less or not benefited in services delivery from their government. The dynamics behind the failure of getting these services delivered constitute my basic argument here.

When the flag of the Republic of South Sudan raised at Garang Mausoleum in the presence of the international community, regional heads of states and Diplomatic corps representatives on 9/July/2011, South Sudanese people were overwhelmed and over joyed in celebrating their hard won freedom that they were denied for decades by successful Khartoum regimes considering the fact that their suffering will come into an end.

But contrary to the famous quote which says, “the end results justifies the means,” their expectations get totally lost in the air.

The country went into civil war on 15/December/2015, which brought destruction to few existing infrastructures and claimed thousands of human lives in the whole country on what some analysts called power struggle within the SPLM leadership which on the other hand could be so contradictory within the context of how the fighting was conducted.

The dimension indicates that there was an imposition of an identity into economic, political, social and cultural South Sudanese atmosphere by some tribes.

As was mentioned in the African Union report of inquiries on South Sudan, the factors behind the eruption of war were instigated by hatred and overdue unresolved tribal tensions among communities as such, these fragile existing relations between tribes and frustrations from youth were exploited by politicians to advance and maintain their political power.

Coming back to the main question of this topic; will the expected transitional government of National Unity impact changes to the ordinary citizen’s life in terms of service provisions?

The answer is ultimately No. I based my reasons why the Transitional Government of National Unity will not impact any change in the ordinary citizen’s life in terms of service delivery because the nature of the deal that brought the two rival parties together doesn’t address the root causes of the problem.

The composition of the would-be Transitional Government of National Unity is the same people who were in the system since the birth of the Republic of South Sudan. They share the same blames of Dura saga, the 75 corrupted officials and other related similar cases.

Hence, silencing of guns and allowing free movement of citizens across states in the Republic of South Sudan will be positive parts to the realization of peace in the country.

What comes into my mind always is that, this great Country called Republic of South Sudan will one day rise to it helm and every tribe, clan and sub-clan will be accorded due respect and will find their rightful place in it regardless of these temporary messes.

Hitherto, services delivery is what is mostly needed by the traumatized and broken society of South Sudan. The role of the Government is to build Schools, Health care centers, power supply and roads.

Finally, if those above-mentioned services are prioritized, the development phase will see the light in this Country.

This article is a wake-up call to open doors where the Government explores the possible ways on how to offer these needed developmental amenities.

The Author is a South Sudanese Concern Citizen, reachable at malekcook75@gmail.com

Explanatory Expectations and Accusatory Fingers for the Govt. of South Sudan

BY: Kuir ë Garang, APR/08/2016, SSN;

It seems like the Lincolnian government of the people by the people and for the people is in obsolescence. And nowhere is this obsolescence true than in South Sudan. This sociopolitical tragedy owes its emergence to what American novelist, Dalton Trumbo, once said: “The chief internal enemies of any state are those public officials who betray the trust imposed upon them by the people.”

It’d be naïve to expect South Sudan to institute all the required governance structures within a decade. However, it’s very dangerous for South Sudanese officials to use the ‘age’ of the country as an explanatory excuse for their failures.

Admittedly, there are issues that are understandably excusable, however, there are issues whose preparatory parameters need neither money nor time. These issues are specificity and clarity of purpose.

Citizens need guidance and inspiration; and these should come from both national and local leadership. However, with no specificity and clarity of what national and local initiatives are, people become despondent; not necessarily out of the reality of things but out of political disconnect between the people and the government.

The government isn’t the government of people through speeches and professed, imaginary deeds. People need to be valued through demonstrable deeds. An uninformed electorate is a dangerous, moldable crowd. And people don’t have to be ‘educated’ to be politically informed. They just need to know what their government is doing for them and how it’s doing it.

For instance: What’s the government plan for the next 5-10 years? How’s the government planning to achieve such a plan? What are the expected outcomes: both bad and good? How much money is to be spent and how? Where’s the money coming from? What are the shortfalls and how is the government expecting to meet them? How does the government expect to remain transparent and how is accountability supposed to be assured? How can the president and his officials regularly keep in touch with the people? Town hall meetings? Weekly radio/TV address?

It’s understandable that every government has its plans; however, a government that doesn’t bring its plan to the people can’t pretend to be working for the people. People aren’t accountable to the president and his officials. The president and his officials are the servants of the people and they owe every single citizen explanations anytime major decisions are made; unless these decisions are classified information related to national security.

During his independence speech on July 9, 2011, the president outlined a 100-day plan. The promise was a great start to South Sudan’s independence. Unfortunately, neither the president nor the parliament thought it expedient to come back to the people for accountability! Was anything achieved with that 100-day play? If not, then why and what does the government expect to do about it?

When the government, supposedly of the people, fails to explain its national mandate and strategic plans to the people who elected it into office, then that government shouldn’t claim to be representing the people; and the government deserves accusatory fingers. Taking people for granted is treasonous.

In 2012, the government sent out a letter to government officials about 4 billion dollars of stolen public funds. It was a welcome initiative and many South Sudanese were appreciative. When the presidency flexes its muscle on behalf of the people about what rightfully belongs to the people of South Sudan, the people become hopeful.

However, no one knows what became of the process, the stolen money, and the officials concerned. South Sudanese are now scratching their heads regarding the stolen money. As the case with any responsible government and leadership, the people are expecting an explanation they aren’t even getting.

A government that doesn’t take its citizens seriously, or lords its workings over the people is a government on its way to dangerous territories. While I don’t expect transparency to be at the same level of Canada or France, it’s crucial for South Sudanese officials to make sure that South Sudan moves forward with consistent transparency and promise.

No country is too young to put down a clear, people-friendly national strategic plan? No country is too young to distribute power equally to the three branches of government without the presidency usurping power. No country is too young to put its people front and center of its sociopolitical and socioeconomic plans.

Empowering South Sudanese citizens is as simple as letting them know ‘what’s happening and why!’ Take them for granted and the accusatory fingers point to the presidency and the parliament.

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.com

Confronting the Jieng policy of Land Grab in South Sudan

BY: Elhag Paul, APR/07/2016, SSN;

The reaction of General Thomas Cirillo Swaka, a highly renowned liberation war hero against the Jieng land grabbers who descended to his village, Gwu’duge in Rajaf should not surprise the people.

It is an expected outcome to an undeclared and unspoken Jieng policy being implemented by the state in South Sudan. This policy is destroying South Sudan social ties at an alarming rate. It is dispossessing people, pauperising the victims, generating vile hate among the people and constructing the Jieng social group falsely as the upper political class in the new state.

The reaction of General Swaka is an outcome that all of us eventually in our own ways will be pushed to resort to in order to protect our human rights from the Jieng regime of destruction.

Critically, every non-Jieng must know that they will be affected and dispossessed by the current system in favour of the Jieng and they will resort to saying like the General did, ‘I am ready to die for my land.’

To be dispossessed and pauperised through land grab is something nobody is going to accept. It is sad and shameful to see a well respected and honoured member of the society in the person of General Swaka being frustrated and provoked to resort to self defence to protect his home. It is further disgusting to read in various media outlets that the system is planning to arrest him.

General Swaka from personal observation appears to be a very patient person who hardly gets swayed by political events. This is what makes him a truly professional soldier.

When he served in the Sudan army, in spite of the suffering of South Sudanese he controlled his emotions, lived with the pain and remained loyal to the system until the Arabs overstepped the mark in 1992 that he reacted heroically to fight for emancipation of his people.

The independence of South Sudan is the product of the work he contributed to massively. His own elder brother, Major General Peter Cirillo too fought for the same objective under General Joseph Lagu. How on earth can a family that contributed immensely to the independence of South Sudan find itself in such a predicament?

It is only in South Sudan under a tribal regime that such aberration take place.

The threats on freedom of General Swaka must be taken seriously for two reasons. First, the General is an Equatorian. Secondly, the Jieng want to settle in Equatoria in huge numbers to establish themselves as the local people.

In the article ‘The decapitation of Equatoria’ http://southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/editorials/the-decapitation-of-equatoria enough has been written to highlight the problem Equatoria as a region is facing from the current regime.

General Swaka unfortunately may not be exempt from this Jieng policy and the recent media reports should be read within such context. However, the General’s colleagues need to stand up in defence of their commander as he led and stood with them shoulder to shoulder in those trenches drenched in sweat and blood liberating the country.

You worked together tirelessly to liberate the country, now you need to rise up to the challenge to make sure that the country you fought for is a true home to every South Sudanese.

The grapevine stories circulating regarding planned arrest of General Swaka simply because he is an Equatorian who has confronted land grab is unacceptable.

Land grab is illegal, but because President Kiir and his JCE have disabled the other two branches of the government namely: the parliament and the judiciary, the issue is allowed to go on in order to benefit the Jieng and to also achieve their long term tribal plans.

The issue of land grab is something that must be debated now vigorously because it is not going to go away as it is an undeclared policy of the regime whose intention is to settle Jieng in Equatoria using the state. The JCE’s plan to settle Jieng in Equatoria in huge numbers is part of a strategy laid down by the late leader of the SPLM/A, Dr John Garang De Mabior.

The birth of the SPLM/A in 1983 came at a time when South Sudanese were torn among themselves by divisive politics introduced by Abel Alier and his supporters in mid 1970s, most of whom are members of the current JCE.

Alier’s discriminating rule during the autonomous government of the Southern Region in the Sudan led to Kokora, the redivision of South Sudan into three regions based on the colonial provinces of South Sudan: Bahr El Ghazal and Equatoria and Upper Nile.

The Jieng political class were totally opposed to Kokora and this included Dr Garang who expressed his views in his book, ‘Dr John Garang Speaks.’ Right from its inception, Dr Garang was telling the Jieng that when they liberate the country the Jieng would be free to settle anywhere. This was given in a form of promise which acted as a motivation to the Jieng flocking to the movement in anger of Kokora.

Dr Garang intelligently used the anger generated by Kokora to recruit the Jieng in big numbers to build the monstrous SPLM/A as the Jieng machine of oppression and revenge which is why the Equatorians initially hesitated to join the movement until the introduction of forced Islamisation by Khartoum pushed them.

Basically SPLM/A has been constructed on promises to make the Jieng people the ultimate rulers and owners of South Sudan.

Arop Madut-Arop in his book, ‘Sudan Painful Road to Peace,’ on page 56 confirms this point by writing: ‘the resentments (of Kokora) were meted against the North through mass exodus of Southerners (Jieng) to swell the training camps in Ethiopia.’ It is in these camps that the idea of settling all over Equatoria was sown, nurtured and grown to be the cancer that it is now.

The renaming of places in Equatoria as New Bor, New Site, Jebel Dinka, Bilpham etc is central to this policy because it enables the settlers to put roots in the new area which then allows them to claim legitimacy. This combined with the ferrying of dead bodies from Jieng lands to Equatoria for burial strengthens that argument.

The Jieng have gone to unbelievable levels to remove evidence of Equatoria in lands they forcefully grabbed. For example there are documented cases where such settlers (aided by the disgraced clown, JW Igga) have not only desecrated graves but they dug out the remains of deceased Equatorians in rest from their graves which callously they threw away.

Cruelly, they converted the emptied graves into pit latrines. Utter disrespect to Equatorian cultures re-honouring the dead and the place of the dead in our lives. In this, the Jieng do not empathise or consider the cost of emotional and mental torture they are inflicting on the dispossessed legitimate owners of the land.

Claims to land are evidenced by names of places and graves. Names provide evidence of local language and the rich stories behind them; and graves provide evidence of history and ancestry. So, if you carefully look at the behaviour of the Jieng on this issue of land grab, it is clearly calculated to dispossess the local people in the long run.

Therefore, this is a combined short, medium and long term policy that if not stopped by all means available will result in Equatorians losing their home.

It is worth remembering that President Kiir was a close officer of Dr Garang who must be well indoctrinated with the Jieng ideology of settlement. With the JCE comprising most of the people who initiated the idea of Jieng supremacy and settlement, no wonder President Kiir’s government is fully committed to implementing the idea. It clearly explains why the parliament and the judiciary
have been deliberately crippled by the executive.

The objective of settling the Jieng all over the country is intended to promote the false claim of the Jieng that they come from all over the country. They want to create a situation like that of the Tutsi in Rwanda in which they are found everywhere in the country.

It is astonishing that the Jieng have completely ignored the local contexts of both countries. Copying the Tutsi does not work. The
reason being each situation has its own unique context and produces a unique outcome.

Therefore, the Rwandan context that produced Tutsi among the Hutu can not be recreated in South Sudan because South Sudan’s context is totally different. For example, in Rwanda there are about two major tribes (Hutu and Tutsi) with two or three tiny ones while in South Sudan there three major tribes (Zande, Jieng, and Nuer) with sixty other sizeable ones.

The Jieng believe that if they are able to settle everywhere in the country like the Tutsi spread throughout Rwanda, then they will be the ones to legally represent the various social groups of South Sudan in the parliament and therefore they will have achieved their objective of ‘Born to rule.’

Given the above, arguments such as the issue of land grab is coincidental, or it is a consequence of poor governance, or the Equatorians are the ones selling their land is intrinsically not true. These arguments are deployed by the Jieng to confuse the Equatorians while land grab goes on.

The important fact is that land grab is part of a bigger well planned, well coordinated and well executed policy of the Jieng intended to construct South Sudan as a Jieng nation. Just think of the imposition of the 28 states through illegal means and think about who are the beneficiaries of this elaborate land theft. Think about it.

Thus, every non-Jieng is going to fall foul to this obnoxious policy that has caught up with General Swaka. This is the reason why it is not a surprise to some of us. General Johnson Olony after accepting President Kiir’s amnesty in 2013 told him point blank that he rebelled because the Jieng grabbed Chollo land.

But did President Kiir listen to him? No! He did not. President Kiir instead went ahead to grab more land through the Establishment Order 36/2015 creating 28 ethnic states.

General Olony is now back in the bush fighting for Chollo land. As said, with this undeclared policy in place, many other army officers will be faced with critical decisions of what to do when this evil reaches their door steps.

Before each one of us experiences this horror, something can be done about it. The tribal government of President Kiir and his JCE needs to be changed and this calls for a strategic alliance of all the other tribes of South Sudan.

In 1930s the Nazi in Germany arrogantly set out to dominate the world and to a certain extent they succeeded to control Europe. However, when they attacked the United States in 1941 using the U2 boats, the world had to come to its sense to confront Nazism. It
took the logical and workable strategy to build up an alliance of purpose to fight Hitler and it did work beautifully resulting into a decisive defeat of Nazism from which a peaceful Germany emerged.

What can we learn from the German lesson? The one most important lesson is that bullies including dictators and totalitarians must not be appeased or accepted. They must be confronted and cleanly defeated.

In the context of South Sudan, we have a nasty tribal-totalitarian bully in the form of Jieng armed with the machinery of SPLM/A who hijacked the state and is using it to destroy the South Sudanese society. This should not be tolerated, it should not be accepted, it should not be compromised with and it should not be allowed to continue.

The other 62 tribes of South Sudan and the peace loving Jieng like the rest of the world in the case of Nazi Germany should come together and form a strategic alliance of purpose (common good) to decisively defeat the Jieng and recover the state of South Sudan.

From what is going on in the country, the reality is that South Sudan will not see peace and development under President Kiir and his JCE. As all of you know very well their only ideologies of Dinkocracy and Dinkonomics have sunk the country.

These ideologies must be destroyed and uprooted from the psyche of the adherents through education. These ideologies seek to cleanse
some ethnic groups as well as subjugate and dominate the rest of South Sudanese in the interest of the Jieng people only like what Nazism in Germany tried to do in 1930s and early 1940s.

The only panacea therefore is for the Jieng regime to be changed by whatever means available in order to save South Sudan.

In conclusion, land grab is an undeclared policy of the government for the interest of the Jieng. This policy affects every South Sudanese but Jieng. With President Kiir and his JCE in power, this policy will not be stopped and there will be many Thomases, Olonys, Dukus, Bakasoros , Otims, Oneks falling victim to it simply because the government supports it.

As each and every one of us will be affected now or in the near future it is imperative that an alliance of the people of South Sudan is built soonest to bring an end to the chaos in the country. Yalla! Yalla!

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

elhagpaul@aol.com

URGENT: Dinka Occupation force in Collo (Shilluk) land must leave immediately

6 April 2016, Urgent press release:

The establishment order No 36/2015 that President Kiir issued on 2 October 2015 was a serious and dangerous turning point in the land border conflict between Dinka Padang and Collo in Upper Nile region of South Sudan. The seriousness of that order comes from the fact that Collo land east of the White Nile and Sobat rivers were skillfully carved out and annexed to the new Dinka state known as East Nile.

No one needs to be told about the danger emanating from the order. In a rare move, Collo of all walks of live who usually remain divided over many important issues, have now firmly united their ranks behind the land issue. Collo people have decided to fight for the return of their usurped land. And nothing is being spared for that cause.

To Collo, the creation of the so called East Nile state with the presence of Dinka Padang in Malakal is nothing but forceful occupation of their land by Padang. That occupation must be dealt with in the same manner it came – force.

Occupation may take different forms but it effects are similar in many instances. Eye-witnesses from Malakal town and other parts of Collo land currently under Padang saw clear lack of respect for personal property. Houses have been broken into; some are being re-shaped while others are being demolished and the land changed to different uses.

Communal lands are also being abused in the same way. These barbaric behaviours are none other than those of an occupation force. The so-called East Nile state establishment is an occupation entity.

Another proof of their (Dinka) occupation is provided by the decision to mobilize their youth and organize them into an armed tribal militia that commits atrocities in Collo lands under their occupation. Occasionally the militia crosses to the west bank of the river to go to kill innocent and unarmed Collo people.

This has the objective of moving Collo further away from the river in order to create a buffer and safe zone for Padang leaders on the east bank. Sadly these atrocities have gone unquestioned until the Padang authorities got bold enough to attack the civilians in the UNMISS camp in Malakal in February 2016.

Further proof of the occupation is the re-call of Padang military personnel from all the organized forces under the pretext of guarding the oil fields in Paloch. Letters issued by Stephen Dhieu in this regard and a more recent decision by the new governor of the so-called East Nile State, Chol Thon, are indisputable evidences.

One may ask whether the oil is the personal property of Dinka Padang or it is a national resource. The answer is that the oil in South Sudan is a national resource and that the responsibility for guarding it lies with the national army not Dinka Padang.

The meandering tricks being applied by Padang may impose on others but not on Collo people. We know that Dinka Padang, with the help of their backers in Juba, are assembling a force, which they think will enable them consolidate their occupation of Collo land-period!

The people of South Sudan, who want to know the truth, are duly informed that Collo people are not party to the political power struggle engulfing the new country. In fact Collo people would have no problem with the central government if it didn’t take the side of Padang for no other reason except being their tribesmen.

This doesn’t mean that Collo people are not sensitive to the problems affecting people in other parts of South Sudan. It is our hope that those problems are being addressed by the IGAD sponsored peace process as it is also our wish that the same peace process leads to the cancellation of the unjust order No 36/2015 and thus return our land to us.

If not, the struggle for the liberation of Collo land will continue. In that event the IGAD mediators, TRIOKA and the international community at large will realize that they had not done enough to address Collo land problem.

By then nothing would be appropriate to address the problem except the language Dinka Padang understands best and which Collo can also perfect.

Our compatriots in South Sudan must also know that the war in Collo land is a Dinka war. The Dinka Padang created it through their unfounded claims on Collo land.

As already said the Dinka-dominated government in Juba got involved merely for tribal sympathies. It is clear the Dinka have now realized that they cannot win the unprovoked war they imposed on Collo. They tried the mercenaries from Darfur and Blue Nile before and failed.

The Dinka are now turning to the other tribes of South Sudan to fight their war. We want to stress that Collo are fighting in self-defense and that they know their enemy very well. Collo, therefore, have no quarrel with the people of South Sudan whom we strongly advise to keep away from this war.

Let the Dinka alone face the consequences of their arrogance and aggression. On the other hand we are confident that no sensible person will blame Collo for punishing the trespassers.

Long live the free people of South Sudan
Long live the new found unity of Collo people
Long live the just struggle of Collo people for their ancestral land

Signed: Samson Oyay Awin
Chairman, Collo Community Council, Khartoum

Rape as a Weapon of War: The Case of South Sudan

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Lawyer, Kampala, APR/05/2016, SSN;

This article is the comment on the recent report of the United Nations Human Rights Commission on sexual violence in South Sudan.

The report is published on A/HRC/31/49 Advance unedited version Distr.: General 10 March 2016 Original: English. In that report as part of it shall be explained below briefly shortly, horrific and heart-breaking stories on sexual violence have been reported.

Therefore, I find it relevant to summarize the part of sexual violence for the consumption of South Sudanese so that they understand the reality of the war and help me campaign to hold soldiers, militias, rebels and government accountable for this war crime (rape).

Allegations of rape as a weapon of war used by both rebels and the government in South Sudan have dominated the international news headline in recent times.

These allegations became clear after the Human Rights Council Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, Thirty-first session Agenda item 2 Assessment mission by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to improve human rights, accountability, reconciliation and capacity in South Sudan exposed it (visit: A/HRC/31/49 Advance unedited version Distr.: General 10 March 2016 Original: English as already pointed out above)

The stated above report exposes several human rights violations. However, what came out vividly in the assessment and report is that sexual and gender-based violence continued in 2015, and on a widespread basis in Unity and other states affected by war in South Sudan.

In Unity state as the report puts it, the Protection Cluster in South Sudan reported over 1,300 rapes between April 2015 and September 2015.

As the report further pointed, some of the women that the assessment team spoke to reported that sexual violence and rape had become worse in Unity as the conflict progressed.

In the same report, the team received information that the armed militias, mainly comprising of youth from Mayom or Koch counties who carry out attacks together with SPLA, do so under an agreement of “do what you can and take what you can.”

In one harrowing account, a mother of four children told how as she was walking from her village to Bentiu, she was separated from her group. When she reached another village, she encountered a group of soldiers and armed men in civilian clothing who accused her of lying about where she was coming from.

Then, the men proceeded to strip her naked and five soldiers raped her at the roadside in front of her children. She was then dragged into the bush by two other soldiers who raped her there.

To make the matters worse, when she eventually returned to the road side, her children, aged between two and seven, were missing. As the team who made this report reported, at the time of the drafting of the report her children were still missing. It was really heartbreaking, horrible and double jeopardy.

In other incident as the report pointed out, one woman described how, during an attack on her village in Koch, in October 2015, after killing her husband, SPLA soldiers tied her to a tree and forced her to watch as her 15 year-old daughter was being raped by at least 10 soldiers.

In another incident, an 18 year-old girl explained to the team how, during an attack on Gandor, in Leer County, in early October 2015, when hiding in a nearby river SPLA soldiers found her and beat and raped her twice before handing her over to two armed men in civilian clothing who also raped her. Upon her return home, she learned that her three sisters and mother had also been raped.

Again, in Upper Nile like in Unity State, sexual and gender-based violence continued after the war started in 2013.

The sexual violence was aimed at the ethnic groups of opposing forces or on suspicion of belonging to the opposition being targeted. The sexual was just being used at rampant as the weapon of war with impunity.

Furthermore, in Maban County, the assessment team (responsible for the report I am writing about) received allegations of the rape of four girls during clashes between SPLA and opposition forces in Liang, Maban County.

The team also received credible reports of sexual assaults of elderly women by opposition forces in Pigi County, Jonglei State, close to the border with Upper Nile.

In addition, between April and December 2015, protection actors documented numerous allegations of abductions, rapes, killings and disappearance of (mostly Shilluk) women from areas outside the UNMISS POC site as well as on the roads and pathways from the POC site to Malakal.

Again, according to credible sources, during fighting in Malakal Town on 25 May 2015, 24 women from the Shilluk community sought protection from the fighting in the SPLA base at Ayat Company. SPLA detained several of the women who were repeatedly raped.

Rapes also occurred when women left the UNMISS POC site to pursue various livelihood activities, such as gathering food and firewood. As one woman narrated how she and other Shilluk women encountered five SPLA soldiers on their way from the UNMISS POC site in Malakal to the riverside.

When the above mentioned SPLA soldiers saw them they called on them to stop, but they ran back towards the site. One of them returned to the UNMISS POC site only after two days and informed the witness that she had been abducted and raped by the soldiers.

The above report highlights the grave nature of South Sudanese war. Women, children and elderly are the victims of the current civil war. Sexual violence as a weapon of war has been employed against innocent civilians.

The use of rape as the weapon of war is horrible, ugly, inhuman, malicious, and heart-breaking and the international community should take it seriously. In fact, rape is classified under the international criminal law as one of the crimes against humanity.

Article 7 (1) (g)of the Rome Statute (ICC Statute; circulated as document A/CONF.183/9 of 17 July 1998 and corrected by process-verbaux of 10 November 1998, 12 July 1999, 30 November 1999, 8 May 2000, 17 January 2001 and 16 January 2002 and entered into force on 1 July 2002) provides that rape is a Crime against humanity.

Rape is sexual slavery, which is enforced prostitution that may result into forced pregnancy. It is a form of sexual violence of serious gravity, which must be taken seriously and perpetuators who commit this terrible crime with impunity brought to book and pay for their sins.

I shed tears on 04/04/2016 as I was listening to the News Day and Focus on Africa, when of a sudden, the rape issue in South Sudan came to light again. What made me shed tears even more were the narration of a young South Sudanese woman and a war victim of rape.
That lady had really suffered. She was raped with her daughter and unfortunately, her daughter died though she survived.

Her two sons were killed on alleged ground that they were Nuer and because of that they were killed since the killers believed that they were going to become rebels when they grew.

It was a very terrible story and whoever did it must pay for it. The authorities must take all necessary measures to ensure that the rapists and other criminals in South Sudanese war are brought to book.

We were not fighting to get independence of South Sudan and then turned it into butchering ground. South Sudanese should not live like animals governed by jungle laws where might rules over rights.

We should learn how to respect human dignity and human rights. Whether Nuer or Dinka or from any other tribes in South Sudan people must be respected, they are all South Sudanese children, women and elders.

Women, children and elders should be respected by all parties to war since they do not have any contributions to neither cause of war nor its effect.

Leaders of South Sudan, both in rebellion and government must control their forces. Failure to control them may lead to criminal responsibility under the international criminal law.

Article 28 of the ICC Statute (or Rome Staute) provides for the responsibility of commanders and other superiors. It provides that a military commander or person effectively acting as a military commander is criminally responsible for crimes committed by the subordinates.

If the military commander or person either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide but failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution, then, he or she is liable personally.

In summary, the government and rebels must take steps to produce those who committed crimes of rape against women. It is a crime against humanity. It is contrary to the civilization.

The international community should hold the two leaders accountable if they do not direct the investigative machinery to produce the perpetrators of this terrible crime. END

Corruption is the killer disease: The case of Jieng community in East Africa

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda, APR/02/2016, SSN;

The recent impeachment of the Chairperson of Jieng Community, Mr. Kuol Gai Thiep, has increased my fears and worries.

Thus, the purpose of this article is to take the bull by its horn by pointing corrupt practices in Jieng Community whether in East Africa or in South Sudan as a way of fighting corruption.

Corruption is like HIV/AIDs or Ebola. Once it has caught the society, it is hard to get rid of.

Jieng Community in East Africa has been bogged down in extreme corruption since its inception. It was formed in 2014 and the main objectives for its formation were to represent Jieng Community in East Africa, to unite Jieng People in East Africa and to work for the welfare of Jieng members in East Africa as well.

However, the above-mentioned objectives have been lost by vision-less and corrupt leaders like Mr. Kuol Gai Thiep who took office in 2015.

Kuol took office and promised to work for the interest of Jieng Community in East Africa; little did Jieng Members know that he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Jieng members did not know that his vision and mission was to get resources for sustaining or maintaining his many wives. In fact, he has eight wives in total.

Kuol Gai misappropriated five hundred thousand South Sudan pounds (SSP 500,000 equivalent to 150,000 US Dollars rate of 316 pounds of South Sudan at Central Bank of South Sudan) that was intended for the welfare of the community. The source of the money in question was his brother, Makier Gai, a tycoon in South Sudan. Makier gave the money to Jieng Community as aid or financial assistance.

But due to his fallacy and defective reasoning, Kuol claimed that since the money came from his brother, he, therefore, had natural right to use it for his private purpose.

Kuol did not contemplate the effect the misappropriation of this money would have on him, his family and his future in general. Kuol, as I and others live, he will never be a leader in South Sudan except within his own community.

Jesus said that one is known by the fruits he or she bears. So Kuol is known by the fruits he bears and he will never be elected as national leader in South Sudan.

The other person I have selected to comment on his character is Makuei Aguer who will also never be a national leader in South Sudan. I will talk about him in this article later.

However coming back to Kuol, he was a very good person when he was campaigning to become a leader of Jieng Community.

Nevertheless, as soon as he was elected, he began to disclose his true colours. He could no longer associate even with his closest friends; he started refusing to pick phone calls; he started giving empty promises to students who applied to him for support after being expelled from school due to the failure to pay school fees.

In order to make his brother, the one who donated money, believed that the money was being used appropriately as he intended it, he employed a strategy of encouraging students to apply to his office.

As soon as he received the applications from students, he would then dodge back to Juba from Kampala and presented them to his brother to show that he helped Jieng Students in East Africa, which was not true.

However, the truth was that he misappropriated the whole money in sustaining his huge family and also bought a personal car. The type of the car he bought was V6. He now packed it in his compound while students have lost their future as they had dropped out, which is a lost to the nation of South Sudan.

It is the lost to the nation because uneducated population represents uneducated nation which is the basis of ignorance, diseases and illiteracy. These are the diseases which South Sudan and Jieng Community in particular is grappling with.

Due to his unbefitting behaviour as a leader of great community like Jieng, Jieng members in East Africa decided to call him so that he would give accountability how the money was used.

He was given a notice to attend the general meeting where he was expected to account to the Jieng members. Nonetheless, he failed to turn up for the meeting.

The reason for his failure was that he was not around in Kampala but he was in Juba. However, as meeting was in progress, he was found to be around. This highest degree of dishonesty and uncouthness annoyed the members of Jieng Community, who then immediately proposed a motion for the vote of no confidence which was endorsed unanimously.

As a result, he was removed from the office and interim leader was installed.

Therefore, this article is the reflection over corrupt practices not only by leaders of Jieng Community in East Africa but also Jieng Community members who have been in leadership in different students’ associations, especially in South Sudanese students Union in Uganda.

However, this article is only commenting on two members of Jieng Community who were extreme corrupt in leadership. These are: Makuei Aguer who was the president of South Sudanese Students Union in Uganda for the year 2014/2015 and Mr. Kuol Gai as already discussed.

The abovementioned two persons have some things in common. First of all, they are corrupt morally and politically. They do not have a vision and a mission in their life and secondly by coincident, they both came from former Warrap State.

However, my comment should not be taken out of context. My comment is only confined to these two persons who were also former leaders whom I intended to use as examples so that I campaign against corruption in Jieng Community.

As I have already pointed out above, the two persons are corrupt, and thus, are liability to South Sudan. They are psychologically, philosophically, morally, spiritually impure and politically corrupt.

The view in the paragraph above is held in philosophy. In Philosophy, theology or in moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal (see; Corruption in Ghanaian healthcare system: the consequences By Pius Agbenorku assess it online). In economy, corruption is payment for services or material which the recipient is not due, under law.

As we have been witnessing in South Sudan and other countries affected by corruption, corruption affects both developing and developed countries and all sectors of development negatively, which has made corruption to be of global concern(Pius Agbenorku).

According to Pius Agbenorku, corruption causes resources either to be over or under utilized in sectors where it exists.

Also, most people, especially the poor, are exploited. This is because corruption includes smuggling, illegal payments, money laundering, drug trafficking, falsification of documents and records, false declaration, underpayment, deceit, forgery, evasion, concealment, aiding and abetting of any kind to the detriment of another person, community, society or nation.

In other words, corruption involves bribery, extortion and other acts of misconduct, including fraud and embezzlement.

The causes of corruption are many. As Pius Agbenorku (already referred to above stated), causes of corruption include: Desire for unfair advantage; Lack of punitive measures; Lack of transparency; Poor incentive measures; Dysfunctional systems; Lawless and Over regulated government.

In the context of Jieng Community in East Africa, it appears that there are a lot of problems in regard to its members who have already been in power in South Sudanese Students Union in Uganda and in Jieng Community in East Africa.

However, the comment of this article is restricted to Makuei Aguer who ran South Sudanese Students Union in 2014/2015 and Kuol Gai Thiep, the former Chairperson of Jieng Community in 2015/2016.

The way these two persons came to power and the way they had used the resources have shown that majority of Jieng Community members are potentially corrupt.

Therefore, there is a need to begin a war against corruption of all kinds in Jieng Community as a whole in order to save South Sudan and Jieng Community in particular.

In this respect, I wanted to briefly explain why I decided to use the above two persons as indicators of the existence of corruption in Jieng Community (my community).

As I have already stated above, the two persons have something in common. In addition to those things that make them similar as I stated above, they are also birds of the same feather and dishonest.

For instance, the reason for the two of them campaigning to become leaders was not to serve the people but to satisfy their primordial and parochial interests at the expenses of their subjects.

For example, for one to join South Sudanese students Union in Uganda politics, he or she must be a student duly registered in one of the colleges or universities in Uganda.

However, despite of knowledge of the existence of this condition, Makuei Aguer forged documents claiming that he was a master student at Uganda Christian University (UCU), Kampala Branch.

On that forged document or admission and fake student’s identity card, he bribed his way through the South Sudanese students ‘Union in Uganda leadership.

After having been elected and became the president of the Union, and as usual for all elected union presidents of the Union, he went to Juba where he was given about forty thousands ($40,000) USA Dollars from the office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan.

The main purpose for giving the money from the office of the President was on understanding that this money would be used to help needy students. Guest what happened to the money!

Makuei with his executives without shame misappropriated the money with impunity. This was one of the extreme dishonest incidents that Makuei showed. Again, after having served his fraudulent term of office of 2014/2015 he handed over leadership to the Current Union President Mr. Akol Akol, who also came to power in violation of the law.

As if it was not enough, Makuei then came out openly to show that he had never been a student as he purported and left for Juba. He is now currently working in the government of one f the newly created 28 states.

I am sure the government of the state who employed Makuei does not care about the moral turpitude of its employees. If it cared, it would have never employed a deceitful person like Makuei Aguer. This is because as the Bible says, if one is not trusted in small things, how he or she can be trusted in big ones.

Like Makuei Aguer, Kuol Gai was another person was cheated and dishonestly stole money from Jieng Community as already discussed above.

From the above two examples, I have come to the conclusion that corruption is potentially in Jieng community, and if Jieng members do not take serious steps to minimize it, then, corruption will destroy not only Jieng Community but the whole of South Sudan.

In fact, based on the experiences I have had with Jieng students who have been in students politics, it is correct to conclude that corruption is a killer disease in Jieng Community in East Africa.

Therefore, I call upon all members of Jieng Community who are not yet corrupt or who are not elected to become leaders to join me in fighting against corruption in Jieng Community.

I have declared the war on corruption in Jieng Community and in South Sudan in general.

I call upon all Jieng members and South Sudanese in general to punish the two people as I have already mentioned above. They should be punished through isolation and moral exclusion from all the community activities. They are not worthy to hold any position in the community. They can never be entrusted with the affairs of the community as they are dangerous to the welfare of the community.

They are grossly corrupt and morally dead. If they could not be trusted in small things, how can they be trusted in big ones in future?

NB//: the writer is a Bar Course Student at Law development Centre in Kampala (Uganda) and can be reached via juoldaniel@yahoo.com; or +256783579256