Archive for: November 2016

To US President-Elect, Donald Trump: Un-elected Kiir’s South Sudan drifting towards a Catastrophe

US President-elect, Donald Trump,

We followed the marathon of the US elections earnestly on 08 and 09 November 2016, witnessing your steady cruising towards victory.

Unfortunately, the right of citizens to elect their President has been taken away from the people of South Sudan. Salva Kiir is an un-elected and illegitimate President who rules by decrees. We are delighted with the outcome of the US elections for the following reasons:

Firstly – with a new President in the White House and a new administration, it’s likely that a significant shift could happen in the US policy towards South Sudan. We would welcome such a change especially if it’s in line with the democratic principles that America has always been advocating.

Secondly – The current US policy towards South Sudan lacks consistency. For example – on the one hand it pushes for a total arms embargo but on the other it surprises everyone by renewing the military cooperation agreement with the regime in Juba. Also there seem to be some disagreements among the top officials shaping the US policy towards South Sudan. At this point, it’s fair to say that the US policy in South Sudan is all over the place.

Thirdly – South Sudan is drifting towards a catastrophe before the watching eyes of the world. The peace agreement is dead and insisting that it’s alive or could be revived is simply unrealistic in the face of the current dire situation. The regime is effectively practicing State Terrorism with targeting of specific ethnicities and communities. It’s a policy akin to ethnic cleansing and a prelude for genocide. A couple of weeks ago, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army ( SPLA ) attacked the villagers of Kulipapa village in Korijik Bungu killing 11 or more of them. The area is known to be peaceful and hasn’t witnessed any hostilities in the past. It emerged that following a failed military operation, the SPLA unit decided to vent its anger and disappointment on the defenceless villagers. This is reminiscent of the Anyanya liberation war when the government troops resorted to similar acts following defeats in military operations.

Adama Dieng, the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, stated in a Press conference on 11/11/2016, the following: “I am dismayed to report that what I have seen and heard here has confirmed my concerns that there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide.” He also added that there is an urgent need to investigate the ongoing grave human rights abuses in Yei. Few weeks ago, Salva Kiir threatened the Equatorians that he would move to Yei in order to bring the situation under control. And following that the government removed members of the Jieng Community, the tribe from which the President hails, from the Yei area. There are rumours of preparations to use chemical weapons against the civilians in Equatoria.

We are quite alarmed with the gravity of the humanitarian situation in the Yei area in the aftermath of the SPLA rampage. The South Sudan Democratic Front ( SSDF ) condemns the brutal acts of the regime in Juba in the strongest possible terms. We urge the outgoing US administration to apply maximum pressure on the regime in Juba, including the threat of the use of military force against it to save the lives of civilians.

The SSDF welcomes your election to the highest office in the United States of America and looks forward to work and cooperate with your administration in the quest to end the conflict in South Sudan. Also, we would like to take this opportunity to emphasize our strategic stance which is full commitment to peace in South Sudan, the region and the world at large.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Signed,

Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok

Chairman and C-in C of the South Sudan Democratic Front – SSDF

Kiir dispatches top Equatorian agents to assassinate SPLM-IO leaders in Uganda

Kampala, November 12, 2016;

The Nyamilepedia news website has intercepted information from reliable sources well placed in the office of the Vice President James Wani Igga, and from the office of national Minister of security at the President’s office.

According to the reliable sources who asked for their identities to be concealed due to fears of reprisals, the Kiir’s Juba government has dispatched some senior government officials to Kampala and other big cities and towns with mission to locate the whereabouts of some senior members of SPLA-IO suspected living in Uganda for deportation or assassinations in Uganda’s territory.

The sources revealed the names of the senior government officials dispatched to Uganda and some are yet to arrived in Kampala in the coming days, among the senior officials sent to Uganda to carry a primary mission of arrests and deportations against officials of SPLA-IO, these Kiirs agents are all Equatorians and their names are enlisted here:

1- Gen. Obutu Mamur, the Minister of national security in the office of the President,
2- Ambassador (so-called) John Andruga Duku, assigned in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
3- Gen Johnson Juma Okot, former SPLA commander of Western Equatoria, who’s pending trial for money scandal and currently without assignment in the army though he remains active member of SPLA army,
4- Gen Paul Omoya,
5- Gen Mikaya Modi, former Director for custom, and,
6- Ali Moroto.

Some of these men have previously been sent to Uganda to hunt for the most wanted South Sudan army general who is now deputy chief of staff for morale orientation in SPLA-IO, Lt general Martin Kenyi Tartisio, however their mission to capture or kill Lt General Martin Kenyi was unsuccessful.

The above bought-out sons of Equatorians are deadly as they were dispatched to Uganda to yet deport members of the SPLA-IO suspected living in Uganda as they did to James Gatdet Dak, Machar’s spokesperson.

This new method employed by the weak government in Juba is to bring peace through eliminations of opponents rather than through Justice, concessions and equality.

The men were dispatched to Kampala with unspecified amount of money, this according to security details, some of the money will be used to obtain information leading to the capture of their wanted persons, part of money is earmarked as incentives for Ugandan security to cooperate in arresting the wanted SPLA-IO members residing in Uganda.

This news site has learned that some of Kiir’s men are spotted sleeping in luxurious hotels using the nation’s resources with prostitutes in Kampala, whilst millions of South Sudanese are exposed to starvation, including millions from President Kiir’s own Dinka tribe.

It is a shame how the urgency of peace is not understood by the Juba regime, instead they are after hunting their opponents while wasting millions of Dollars. Such endeavors even if they managed to kidnap their victims, peace shall never come this way, instead it will fuel more fire.

Andrew Olweny

100 days in the Office: Is Gen. Taban Deng a Machiavellian Schemer or Unheralded Prince of Peace?

By Simon Yel Yel, Juba, South Sudan, NOV/13/2016, SSN;

If anybody had told me then, or over any succeeding ten (10) years from the CPA interim period to 15th December crisis in which he was then a Governor of Unity State and later the SPLM-IO chief negotiator, that he was a future First Vice President, I would have summoned those men in white coats. However, his unexpected rise to the country’s second top job is unprecedented political miracle which no one had ever thought of.

Gen. Taban Deng is now 100 days old in the office and it is worth looking into what he has achieved. The 100 days parameter is being used as yardstick by press and public in advanced democracies for gauging presidency take off effectiveness.

This slippery terrain was first introduced into the global leadership framework in 1993 by the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Therefore, I think the South Sudanese should use this yardstick for gauging what Gen. Taban has achieved, if any, in his 100 days in the office.

In this regard, the top priorities vary from a country to a country. In South Sudan, Gen Taban’s top priorities as SPLM-IO chairman and the First Vice President range from improving the security in the country, striking harmonious working relationship with the President to reduce political temperature in Juba, establishing cantonment sites for IO fighters in the Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal, maintaining the ceasefire between the IO and government troops in the Upper Nile region, integrating the SPLM-IO forces into the national army (SPLA) and organized forces, striving to improve the international image of the country and government, and above all, jointly working with the President to implement the peace agreement in order to achieve peace, unity, reconciliation and stability in the country.

The nomination of Gen. Stephen Taban Deng Gai by the SPLM-IO leaders in Crown Hotel to take over the SPLM-IO leadership as a commander in chief of all SPLM-IO forces and fills in the position of the First Vice President is not only a rare event in South Sudan politics but also his leapfrogging over the SPLM-IO Secretary General and SPLM-IO Deputy Chairman to be the Chairman of the SPLM-IO.

It shows that he is a unifying figure and the SPLM-IO (military and political wing) can coalesce under his leadership than any other leader.

This is a great marque decision ever and it will go down in the history of this great nation as one of the most momentous event. It is a very courageous and surprising decision from SPLM-IO leaders to choose hope over despair; peace and congeniality over a boomerang of war; rebuilding a prosperous country over destruction of the country, to continue implementing the armistice under stewardship of Gen Taban over reverting back to war as Riek Machar has done.

Though he is being branded by enemies of peace as an opprobrium political ninja with posters of Chairman Mao, Machiavelli and Che Guevara on his face who could sacrifice anyone at high altar for a top seat; he will be remembered as a hero who rescued this nation from the war and destruction brought upon it by Riek Machar when the political history of 15th December failed coup attempt and J1 shooting on 8th July is finally recorded by our generation.

Watching Gen. Taban on his inaugural speech on 26th July on SSBC, I felt like watching the total and genuine peace coming to the country. In his inaugural speech, Gen Taban wept and said “you (President) are my commander in chief; this country can’t afford to have two armies.”

Contrast to his former boss, Riek Machar when he was sworn in on 26th April. Riek is a person with amorality and lack of affect; capable of violent acts without guilt feelings.

Unlike most rebel leaders in Africa, Taban acted in opposition of political principle of the SPLM-IO (Kiir Must Go First) inculcated by Riek but in pursuit of genuine peace, restoration of calm, and harmony in the country.

There is no doubt that Taban’s swift move to quash the issue of two armies which he negotiated clearly shows he is for peace and a born again nationalist who would not want their political differences to wreck the country and sweep off its hard won sovereignty.

The appointment of Taban was warmly greeted with mirth rather than derision in Upper Nile region and indeed in the country at large as it was conjectured. Taban has shown the world that he is a unifier and we have witnessed the return of many defection groups to the SPLM-IO like the group of Gen. Gatkuoth Gatkuoth following his appointment as First Vice President.

There was iota of fear that the SPLM-IO will dichotomize into many factions after his nomination, however he proved those doubting Thomases wrong and the SPLM-IO has now united its ranks and files than ever before.

Taban is a decent and team leader. I don’t mean courteous and polite, although he’s, I mean considerate, nationalist and leader. If anyone of his group member is in difficulty or feeling isolated, he surely calls them, to offer support, advice and brief them on day-to-day activities and future plans. In short, he likes teamwork. This is a rare quality in a person, but even rarer in a politician. His cheerful charisma and hospitality has always been able to attract camp-followers.

Below are some of milestone reached by Gen Taban in his 100 days in the office:

1. When Gen. Taban took office as the First Vice President, South Sudan was living in an Ivory tower in terms of foreign relations with the neighboring countries, IGAD, UN, International community, and the West. The foreign relation of South Sudan government with neighboring countries and International Community was at nadir. However, it is improving now, courtesy of Gen. Taban.

2. Immediately after he was sworn in, Gen Taban embarked on his first foreign trips to Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, UAE and the U.S. By these trips, the First Vice President had assured all these nations about their commitments and plans to implement the Compromised Peace Agreement. And now, there is no single country that doubts the velocity of which the Peace is being implemented in South Sudan, courtesy of Gen. Taban.

3. His visit to Kenya has been greeted with the proposal of the motion by Kenyan MPs to sanction and deport SPLM-IO members in Kenya who are spreading war propaganda. And the speaking witness is the deportation of James Gatdek Dak to Juba by Kenyan government for inciting violence; courtesy of Gen. Taban.

4. While his visit to Ethiopia has led to the historical visit of Ethiopian Prime minister and signing of the historical cooperation agreements with South Sudan government that include the joint military force to patrol at the borders to jettison the rebels, banishing the rebel leaders from taking refuge in Ethiopia, and support the Transitional Government under President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Stephen Taban; courtesy of Gen. Taban.

5. Successful maintenance of ceasefire in Upper Nile region and specifically in Fangak, Nasir and Akobo. It shows that the SPLM-IO military chain of command is more united under Gen. Taban than it was under Riek.

In conclusion, Gen. Taban sings a song of peace that the South Sudanese people – who currently despise almost every other SPLM politician in the pack—will crowd and listen to it seriously with their hearts and ears wide open raising a glimpse of hope that the peace and tranquility is on the door-step. They see Taban as the fat white hope, Francis of Assisi, El Gid, Joan of Arc, Indiana Jones, who is salvaging the nation from annihilation, reclaiming the lacerated political glory of the SPLM, and bringing this crisis to an end.

He is the unheralded Prince of Peace who appears at helm at the toughest time when the country is in a deep search of its lost patriotism and peaceful co-existence among the communities.

Can anyone imagine what would the state of affairs, nationhood, political and military sanity in South Sudan be like today if Gen. Taban and his current team had decided to follow Riek to DRC’s forest? Gen Taban and his team deserved to be given courage and support to continue implementing the Compromised Peace Agreement without any about-turn.

Simon Yel Yel, is the co-editor (with Paanluel Wel) of the book of the President Salva Kiir’ speeches and essential writings published as “Salva Kiir Mayardit: The Joshua of South Sudan” he can be reached at maandeng2017@gmail.com or +211955246235

UN: Potential for Genocide as over 1.3million South Sudanese have fled from home

By KEVIN J KELLEY, New York, TheEastAfrican, NOV/12/2016, SSN;

More than 10 per cent of South Sudan’s 11.3 million people have fled the country in a mass exodus that was now accelerating, the United Nations reports.

In addition to the nearly 1.3 million South Sudanese living in refugee camps, about 1.6 million more have been displaced inside the country, the UN says. Some 200,000 were sheltering in or near UN peacekeepers’ bases.

About 40 per cent of South Sudan’s remaining inhabitants were facing impending famine, the UN’s food agencies warn.

Separately, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng yesterday warned of the risk of genocide in Yei and elsewhere in South Sudan following a visit to the town.

At the same time, “there is a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines with potential for genocide,” Mr Adama Dieng, the UN special advisor on preventing genocide, declared on Friday at the conclusion of a five-day visit to South Sudan.

He said at a media briefing, “The gravity of the situation in Yei merits immediate intervention – a full scale fact-finding investigation and enhanced humanitarian support. The population has been forced into town without access to food and they and the refugee population which Yei hosts are suffering.”

“Yei is but one urgent example among many. The signs are all there for the spread of this ethnic hatred and targeting of civilians that could evolve into genocide, if something is not done now to stop it. I urge the people of South Sudan to take action.”

“The gravity of the situation in Yei merits immediate intervention – a full scale fact-finding investigation and enhanced humanitarian support. The population has been forced into town without access to food and they and the refugee population which Yei hosts are suffering.”

Disease outbreaks

At least five simultaneous disease outbreaks were threatening lives as well, international health specialists say.

Malaria, measles, cholera, guinea worm and kala azar (a parasitic killer) were all spreading amidst a breakdown in sanitation and health care resulting from the three-year-long civil war.

Political conflict

“Throughout the week, conversations with all actors have confirmed that what began as a political conflict has transformed into what could become an outright ethnic war,” he added.

Close to 6,000 people fleeing these conditions entered Uganda on a single day earlier this month, bringing the total number of South Sudanese refugees in that neighbouring country to over half a million.

“The current extremely high sustained trend of arrivals is expected to continue, and puts pressure on all aspects of the response, which is currently very under-resourced,” the UN refugee agency said in an update last week.

Each day

Another 323,000 South Sudanese refugees have gone to Ethiopia, with about 600 arriving on average each day.

Life was so difficult in South Sudan that more than a quarter-million of its citizens had sought refuge in Sudan, the country from which it separated five years ago. Many of the refugees have crossed into Sudan’s Darfur region, where war has been raging for 13 years.

Civil war

Similarly, about 60,000 South Sudanese have fled to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the site of fighting that has taken tens of thousands of lives in recent years.

Kenya has received 90,000 South Sudanese refugees, and 5,000 have moved into Central African Republic, where another civil war continues sporadically.

A plea for $251 million in donor funding for South Sudanese refugee assistance has drawn a tepid response. Less than $50 million has been received “despite the rapidly growing need,” the UN refugee agency says.

South Sudan’s Problems extend beyond Kiir & Machar

BY: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba , NOV/11/2016, SSN;

Of recent, some prominent South Sudanese elites who once served under the visionless leadership of President Salva Kiir Mayardit are busy trying to distance themselves and their roles as individuals or groups from being partners in the genesis and indeed the sustenance of the ongoing crisis in the world’s newest country.

Their ultimate wish is to escape being held responsible for their roles in a regime that took off right from the start as one that pays no attention to any democratic practices. It violated the human rights of its citizens at will, disregarded good governance, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the rule of law.

Now these same iconic figures of the ‘rotten-to-the-core’ SPLM/SPLA in their attempts to distance themselves at this period, would want to fixate all eyes on Kiir and Machar while taking eyes off them.

By putting all the blames on President Salva Kiir and his former deputy turn rival Riek Machar alone, these SPLM/SPLA hypocrites hope to re-invent their tarnished political careers and wish to remain relevant to the future of a country they very much through omission or commission played pivotal roles in its destruction.

However, they might have partially succeeded in convincing some international players who are used to quick fixes often not successful in handling an otherwise very complicated problem as is the case of South Sudan.

Those regional and international players who seem to have bought into this oversimplification of the crisis in South Sudan are more keen on their interests than to address the root causes of the crisis.

Of course, this narrative should not be allowed to overshadow the search for a good solution. Nobody should believe them, for a wrong diagnosis naturally leads to the wrong prescription of treatment.

South Sudan’s current problems extend well beyond the overstated narratives of just Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. Thus, it can be misleading to assume that the duo represents the only culprits and probably the sole sources of the multifaceted evils that have befallen this country.

Moreover, no one should believe that these complex problems can altogether disappear once they voluntarily or otherwise succeed to see the two rivals are out of the country’s political center stage.

To part ways with the misleading assumptions about the root causes of the South Sudan’s ongoing crisis will require a thorough understanding of the various factors involved and the historical relations between them. Top of the list of this elements is tribalism and the politicization of ethnicity.

Talking about tribalism and the politicization of ethnicity in Africa often tends to sound familiar all across the continent. However, while South Sudan’s problems are mirror-able with situations elsewhere in other parts of Africa, much of the similarities seems to end just there.

For even though it is true that this type of problems exists everywhere on the continent, other African countries have managed to find the best ways to contain them.

In South Sudan where the adverse impacts of tribal politics and politicization of ethnicity ubiquitously express themselves in the form of political instability and a general mistrust in the state, a way out is yet to emerge.

Also given its very violent and traumatic history, South Sudan is yet to see how best it can address this issue of multiple nationalisms which are all calling for maximum attention and self-expression.

Again, the political realities that gave birth to each African country’s unique political system allow no room for generalization across the board. South Sudan borders Uganda and Kenya, and despite the commonality dictated by this geographical proximity, yet their different colonial experiences can be seen to have shaped the politics in these other two East African countries in ways that are incomparable to the South Sudan’s expertise.

It is this uniqueness in the historical, colonial and political heritages that has led to the different forms in which issues of ethnicity in politics tend to manifest at the national stage. Unlike its other East African neighbors, South Sudan has historically given a central stage for the expression of both narrow ethnic and regional nationalisms.

It is all too common in South Sudan for people to refer to themselves as members of a geographical location or an ethnic group. For example, groups like the Dinka (both in Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile regions), and the Nuer (Upper Nile region), would often identify themselves ethically i.e. the Jieng and the Naath respectively.

The situation is not the same with indigenous populations of Equatoria, the country’s most southern region. People of Equatoria are more keen to identifying themselves as Equatorians, although they belong to nearly thirty different ethnicities.

Virtually all the mess South Sudan is in now is the brainchild of the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders. The JCE is a self-appointed group of influential Dinka politicians and close relatives and allies of President Salva Kiir who act as informal advisors to the president. It is not a group of traditional leaders.

The official ascend of tribal politics to the central stage in South Sudan, came on the back of the the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). In the wake of the December 2013 Juba Massacre, where thousands of ethnic Nuers met their fates in the hands of the notorious ‘Mathiang Anyoor,’ a pro-regime Dinka tribal militiamen, tribal politics became an open practice.

Since then South Sudan has existed in people’s minds, locally, regionally and internationally a country of violently competing nationalities of Dinka, Nuer and to borrow the words of Professor Peter Adwok Nyaba, “and all the rest are lumped together as Equatorians.“

In an attempt to accurately describe the current situation, it would never be an overstatement to say that, South Sudan is precisely now a hostage to the rising tide of multi-ethnic and regional nationalisms all triggered by the regime’s recourse to Jieng (Dinka) nationalism.

The crisis in South Sudan is a direct consequence of the state-sponsored rise of the Dinka nationalism, which is also the central project of the Jieng Council of Elders agenda. Whether this in itself is a good thing or not, shall be judged based on the results.

However, the reality on the ground strongly suggests that this increase in Dinka nationalism is incompatible first with the basics of any peaceful coexistence between the Dinka and the rest of the other 64 South Sudanese ethnic groups.

Secondly, the country’s existing highly centralized system of governance can not allow for any single ethnic group whatever the justification, to use its ethnic, nationalistic tendencies to override the rights of the other ethnicities.

Unless a better alternative to this system prevails, those seeking to overtly display their ethnic nationalism are bearers of hegemonic and expansionist agenda, to say the least, and invite upon itself the wrath of the others in the form or resistance and confrontation.

The question as to whether, one day the volatile situation in South Sudan might explode into an outright genocide as repeatedly expressed by Dr. Majak D’Agoot, who once served a the former SPLM chief spy and then the deputy minister of defense and veteran affairs or not is everybody’s guess.

However, in principle, there now exists a nationwide polarization that pits the Dinka (Jieng) against the rest of South Sudan’s other 64 or so ethnic groups. Nonetheless, there are still other sources, predominantly outsiders who for reasons better known to them, still continue to portray the situation as Dinka (Jieng) versus Nuer (Naath) conflict.

On the whole, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the surge in Dinka (Jieng) nationalism lies behind the senseless war currently tearing the new country apart. It cannot also escape a keen observer that the widespread ethnic polarization among South Sudanese today emanates from the prominent position and closeness of this tribal council to the corridors of power and decision-making in the country.

In everyday life, this polarization has now become so now palpable that it is felt all across the towns in the country.

It is the same case inside the UNIMISS’s Protection of Civilian (PoC) sites or the refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya, DR Congo, Ethiopia, and the Sudan and neither has it spared the South Sudanese communities in the Diaspora.

Given the fact that, for all actions, there are bound to be reactions, we now see that what had started as an expression of Jieng nationalism, has in no time triggered survival instincts amongst the other ethnicities.

In many parts of Equatoria, the state-sponsored ‘Mathiang Anyoor’ Dinka tribal militiamen are regularly carrying out military raids on villages and settlements in a scorched earth policy. Regardless of how tiny, some ethnic groups are, their initial knee-jerk reactions have taken the forms of vigilante youth groups to counteract the Jieng’s aggressive campaigns and what they perceive as Jieng tribal hegemony and expansionism.

The way forward for South Sudan would be about the best management of the flare-up in ethnic and regional nationalism in response to the surging Jieng nationalism.

Much can be done to address this crucial issue which lies in the center of the country’s ongoing crisis without having to recourse to that Biblical scale ethnic cleansings. Every ethnic, linguistic or regional group in South Sudan have the right to express their real or perceived identity without encroaching on the rights of others. to live as well.

The sooner we acknowledge that South Sudan is already set on its way to a violent disintegration and seek to bring about a system of governance that can allow the various ethnicities to express themselves to their fullest without necessarily causing the demise of the others, the better.

Hence springs the necessity to reconsider an alternative to the existing unitary and centralized system of government. Without the least doubt, this also brings to the forefront the much-overdue discussion on Confederation.

The situation in South Sudan today can never be compared with other countries where confederalism is considered inappropriate. South Sudan is a highly tribalized and ethnically polarized country. Hence, a confederal system of governance will suit it perfectly well.

For confederalism is a system of governance in which the various groups, even those with unparalleled uncontrolled zeal for ethnic nationalism can still find the right space to satisfy their political egos and pride.

Why not give confederalism a serious thought instead of insisting on this recipe for disaster, call it ethnic cleansing or genocide or what, not that comes with the current heavily centralized unitary system.

Three confederal regions based on the former provinces of Equatoria, Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile with the internal federal administration is the only possible way out for South Sudan The bottom line is we can still coexist side by side peacefully and save all the innocent lives that are otherwise going to perish.

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. A concerned South Sudanese and a voice for the millions of other voiceless compatriots. He is also an active member of the grassroots’ ‘Give Confederation a Chance’ movement.

To African Union & UN Security Council: The Composition of the proposed Regional Protection Force- from Equatorian Leaders

From: Equatorian Leaders in UK, NOV/11/2016, SSN,

To: The Chair, African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC)
The President, United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

CC: The Chair of IGAD-Plus, C/o H.E Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
H.E. Festus G. Mogae, Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC)

From: Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora
Mr. Federico Vuni, Chair, Equatoria Community Organisation in the UK
Mr. Kwaje Lasu, President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, USA
Mr. Joseph Modi, President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, Canada
Mr William Orule, Interim Chair, Federation of Equatoria Community Associations in Australia

Dated: 9th November 2016

Your Excellencies,

RE: THE COMPOSITION OF THE PROPOSED REGIONAL PROTECTION FORCE;

1. We, the Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora, continue to welcome the overdue deployment of a Regional Protection Force (RPF) to Juba, as mandated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2304. We urge that troop contributions must come from Western African and Southern African countries. Countries neighbouring South Sudan have conflicts of interest that will compromise their impartiality in discharging the mandate of the RPF effectively.

2. We acknowledge that the RPF alone will not bring lasting peace to South Sudan. But we believe the RPF is essential towards creating an environment in Juba that is conducive to the resumption of a credible and inclusive peace process by enabling all stakeholders to take an active role in its implementation. We also believe the RPF will be vital in providing the long suffering residents of Juba the opportunity to resume their lives free from the debilitating threat of insecurity, which the Government of South Sudan has been unable or unwilling to address.

3. We note the recent decision by authorities in the Republic of Kenya to extradite James Gatdet Dak, a prominent opposition spokesman and registered asylum seeker, to Juba. It must be assumed that his extradition was carried out in the full knowledge that detention and ill treatment at the hands of South Sudan’s security services would likely follow his arrival in South Sudan. We also note the decision by the Government of the Republic of Kenya to withdraw its peace keeper contribution from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with immediate effect and to disengage from further involvement the peace process.

4. We note the repeated diplomatic and military interventions in support of President Salva Kiir’s administration by the Government of the Republic of Uganda. Ugandan authorities have recently agreed to support the government of South Sudan in the areas of border security and highway security, signing a memorandum of understanding in October that enables the Uganda Police Force to deploy on Equatoria’s roads. We are also aware of worrying allegations that South Sudanese security agents are allowed by Ugandan authorities to operate with impunity in northern Uganda, targeting refugees who have sought sanctuary in the area.

5. We note the series of cooperation agreements, recently signed between the Government of Federal Republic of Ethiopia and President Salva Kiir’s administration, following the visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, to Juba in late October. In Prime Minister Desalegn’s own words, these agreements promise to usher in a period of “strong army-to-army cooperation” between Ethiopian and South Sudanese armed forces in mutual pursuit of internal and border security.

6. We note the Republic of Sudan’s enduring concerns over the support given to Sudanese rebel groups by Salva Kiir’s administration. These concerns were echoed by the US State Department who, in an October statement, warned South Sudanese authorities to “cease harbouring or providing support for Sudanese armed opposition groups, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 2046.” We acknowledge that the imperative to ending this support is an overarching priority for the Sudanese government and bilateral agreements have been entered to with South Sudanese authorities.

7. And although not a bordering country, we acknowledge the willingness of the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt to actively participate in the RPF. We note the Egyptian authority’s interests in the contentious topic of the management of the Nile waters and their long standing engagement with President Salva Kiir’s administration in pursuit of these interests. We also take note of the Egyptian authority’s widely publicised aspirations for the resumption of the deeply unpopular Jonglei Canal Project, which promises to make more water available for Egyptian agriculture and inflict massive environmental damage while disrupting vital ecosystems and habitats, in South Sudan.

8. We acknowledge that each of these countries must prioritise their own national interest when approaching the regional challenge presented by the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan. It is precisely because of this consideration, that we feel they will be unable to exercise due impartiality as troop contributing countries of the RPF. Impartiality is essential to the effectiveness of the RPF in facilitating the implementation of the peace process to a genuinely sustainable conclusion, and addressing the shortcomings identified in the report of the recent investigation into UNMISS’ response to the July 2016 crisis in Juba.

9. Impartiality is also vital to the credibility of the RPF in the eyes of the people of South Sudan. It must be acknowledged that, irrespective of political affiliation, a significant proportion of South Sudanese remain deeply suspicious of the involvement of regional countries in South Sudan’s affairs. They are also highly sceptical of the efficacy of regional intervention in impartially resolving the conflict in South Sudan. We applaud the Governments of Uganda, Sudan and, most recently, Kenya for recognising the potential for a conflict of interest and excluding themselves from involvement in the RPF.

10. We, the Equatorian Leaders in Diaspora, would like to take this opportunity to advise both the AUPSC, as commissioners of the RPF, and the UNSC, as authors of the mandate of the RPF to:

a. Exclude all bordering countries from consideration as candidates for troop contributing countries to the RPF.

b. Exclude all countries with vested interests in supporting either of the major warring parties in the Republic of South Sudan from consideration as candidates for troop contributing countries to the RPF.

c. Consider Western African and Southern African countries for candidature of troop contribution for the RPF.

11. We acknowledge the very real challenges in mobilising and financing the RPF. We appreciate the efforts of the AUPSC and the UNSC in working towards the deployment of the RPF. It is our firm belief that, if approached and implemented correctly, the RPF can have an appreciable impact on the lives of the residents of Juba and help bring about lasting peace and stability to South Sudan and to the wider region.

THE EQUATORIA LEADERS IN THE DIASPORA:

Mr. Federico Vuni,
Chair, Equatoria Community Organisation in the UK

Mr. Kwaje Lasu
President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, USA

Mr. Joseph Modi
President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, Canada

Mr William Orule
Interim Chair, Federation of Equatoria Community Associations in Australia

For correspondence: Mr. Federico Awi Vuni; livi.hope@yahoo.co.uk

War of Words, over who’s the Founding Father (s) of South Sudan

BY: J. Nguen, NOV/11/2016, SSN;

This piece analyses a showdown between President Salva Kiir’s supporters versus late Dr. John Garang’s enthusiasts. The article also underlines who really fits in the definition of a founding father in South Sudan and on what grounds, if only if all tribal and clannish bullshits were thrown overboard.

I am well aware that South Sudan is currently at war and crossroad both socially, politically and economically. Based on these particular points, some may see no reason to write about the founding fathers of the nation because there are plenty and many better things to write about including peace and war, death and salvation and who the villain is.

Hence, I must remind my readers that major fundamental changes occur when a nation is at the crossroad. Based on this dogma, there are those in South Sudan who are so determined to define South Sudan reflecting only their image and this must be corrected today not tomorrow. Back to the war of words!

The war of words we witnessed, on who’s the “Founding Father” of the Republic of South Sudan is a genuine debate if you peel out the clannish undertone. But because South Sudan is a nation where tribal allegiance is strong and has taken a centre stage after independence, because President Kiir’s policy for the nation was/still is for Dinka political hegemony. Because KIIR is tribally programmed, he is prone to divide Dinka based on their clans.

So the riveting war of words at play is clannish in nature between the Dinka of Upper Nile (Dr. Garang’s region) and those from Bahr El Ghazal (Kiir’s region). The opposing sides in the face-off include Ateny Wek Ateny, Kiir’s proponent vs. Pager Ajang, Kuir Garang and Mading Koc and many others who unnecessarily emotionalized this national agenda on social media on both sides.

In the light of this debate, Ateny Wek Ateny came out negative and childish to be exact, mostly because he was let down by his writing ability and also based his piece on personalities (Dr. Garang’s family). On the other hand, folks from late Dr. Garang’s home district were just hell bent to protect the dead man’s legacy at all cost, from what Kuir Garang termed as “bootlicking” misguided thugs.

Similarly, Mr. Pager Ajang could not just stomach comparing narrative between KIIR and Dr. John Garang. For Mr. Ajang, this is more than an insult to the dead man’s legacy.

Thus, the punching lines therein is similar in merits but grossly limited in scope for anyone to decisively qualify one side as an outright winner in the debate over another. Hence, both arguments failed in the process of explaining their modalities properly, how and why KIIR or DR. GARANG met the criteria of founding father of the nation.

The other issue that undermined their offensive and defensive bickering is the fact that the topic under discussions is a national question that needed not to be tribalized despite the desperate clannish witch-hunt egos in South Sudan. At any rate, this issue is bigger than any two tribes let alone the two Dinka clans’ clashing egos.

However, before I move further, I like to remind my readers that Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny has already chickened out in this debate and has long retracted his debacle on the ground that he was misinterpreted as “planting seeds of discords” as Kuire Garang put it.

The caveat herein is that if the question asked would be interpreted as a planting seeds of discords between X and Z, then, in my view, we are doomed as a nation because this account add to the clannish nature this issue undertook.

More so, if the planting seed of discord narrative has indeed caused Ateny to chicken out from the debate, I can affirm that there was no need for Ateny Wek Ateny to withdraw his piece. However, I honestly think that Ateny would have just apologized to late Dr. John’s family on the grounds of disparage. I humbly think that the question asked has merits and was necessary though the timing might not be right.

For example, late Isaiah Abraham on December 8, 2011, before he was brutally assassinated by KIIR’S regime asked the same question of who’s the “founding father of the republic of South Sudan.” Mr. Abraham enquiry came because some prominent politicians from Dinka Bahr El Ghazal region led by none other than the former Chief Justice of the Republic, Judge Ambrose Riiny Thiik, and now the chairman of the infamous Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

The group allegedly distributed booklets which declared KIIR as the Founding Father of the Republic of South Sudan while they relegated late Dr. Garang as a founder of the Sudan People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLM/A).

Because the alleged booklets were not widely shared, I was informed that Uncle Thiik and cohorts’ argument was based on the grounds of independence. The group was reported to have argued that Dr. Garang died before South Sudan becomes #54 of African countries, and therefore, he can’t be the father of the nation.

Considering that statement, it’s good to remind ourselves that Ateny’s poorly written article was not off the map but followed the same line of thinking. Ateny’s piece was not just a repeat but a stark reminder that the Jieng Dinka from the West of the Nile have a concern regarding the founding father of South Sudan, which other may see as desperate attempt to elbow late Dr. Garang out of nation’s fatherhood status and other important milestones in the history of South Sudan.

I can see some desperation and logic in that. For example, soon after Dr. Garang’s death, the people of DINKA TWIC EAST were targeted and undergone all kinds of humiliations from Salva Kiir’s regime. For instance, their sons and daughters were insidiously weeded out from the SPLA-military files and ranks and politically without any possible cause. Therefore, this gives people very good reasons to wonder.

Despite this good reason, my problem in this regard is the fact that the question asked should never be taken or appears as two Dinka’s thing, which is at play. Simply because there are long set criteria for anyone to be a founding father of the nation. In our case such criteria required constructive and genuine debate from all walks of life in South Sudanese without prejudice. In my humbled opinion, the founding father question in South Sudan isn’t addressed by Ateny running into hiding because he unnecessarily snubbed Late Garang’ family over the issue.

Ateny Wek’s piece:
For those who may not know Ateny, Ateny Wek Ateny is the press secretary in the office of the President. In his first article on who’s the founding father of South Sudan, I felt Ateny started his piece wrongly by rubbishing the people of Southern Sudan’s intelligent as “ignorance,” which he thought lack of staying power stemmed from years of marginalization in the Sudan.

“It is even worse, when the majority of people of South Sudan have either having no stamina or has been made throughout the years of marginalization in the Sudan not to appreciate the different between the SPLM and the Nation,” he wrote.

To unpack this statement, it’s clear that Ateny didn’t communicate any sensible meaning furthering his argument on the founding father of South Sudan question but instead insulted people of South Sudan staying power and wrongly perceived them to lacks endurance.

Ateny went on to say, “Mr. Kiir’s adversaries often intentionally referred to Dr. John and Madam Nyandeng as Father and Mother of the Nation, in an attempt to belittle him and his wife Madam First Lady.” This sentence is simply saying that people of South Sudan are hardcore opponents to Pres. Kiir, which is unfortunate to say by a person representing the highest office in the land.

In layman’s terms, it means Pres. KIIR is at war with the people of South Sudan and KIIR’s supporters must do anything in their disposal to dump down people of South Sudan’s rightful demands deemed contrary to KIIR’s supporters’ misguided gratifications.

Second, because Ateny made his piece as an issue between Dr. Garang vs. SALVA KIIR, I must state that people of South Sudan held high regards for Dr. Garang and his family if such a comparison is necessary here. For one, Salva KIIR betrayed people of South Sudan’s trust and hard won independence by dragging them into the current raging unnecessary war.

In addition, Salva Kiir pitted Dinka tribe against the rest of the tribes which will take years to undo.

Finally, Salva Kiir is a disgraced killer who literally proved to the Arabs that, we, the people of South Sudan cannot govern ourselves, which a shame.

In compatible to the founding father narrative, KIIR MAYARDIT has ruined his chance because he would have been considered as one of the founding fathers on two grounds: (1) On the Declaration independence; and (2) by signing in to law the supreme constitution of South Sudan.

Third, it’s true that South Sudan gained its independence after Dr. Garang passing in 2005 but this doesn’t remove GARANG’s immersed contributions during the war of liberation which in my view in one way or another led to independence.

Fourth, Ateny doesn’t know how to articulate his thoughts and this is evidenced in his retraction and original piece on the “founding father question.” Therefore, it’s unfortunate that Salva KIIR has employed a press secretary who only doodles on issues of national character, lied when accorded with an opportunity and chicken out when challenged.

For Mr. Ajang, Mr. Kuir Garang & Koc and many others who made their oppositions to Ateny’s article known. I am for the opinion that most of their arguments were superficial and some had unwarranted emotional undertones and foul language which made them irrelevant.

For example, Kuir Garang argued that Ateny was not genuine because his thoughts were driven by material “bootlicking” interest and Ateny’s personal problem with the dead man, Dr. Garang. Thus, Ateny is ill-bent to trashing Dr. Garang’s family good image and legacy, according to Kuire. The caveat in this regard is fact that this issue of founding father in South Sudan has arisen before and unfit be boiled down to Ateny’s personal problem with John Garang.

Another Kuire Garang’s line of argument is as follow:
“President Kiir only implemented what was already negotiated by John Garang between 2002 and 2005. Without John Garang and his role in founding of the SPLM/A, Liberation strategies and CPA negotiation, we wouldn’t have a nation called South Sudan. Without John Garang negotiating the CPA personally with Ustaz Taha, President Kiir would have had neither an agreement to implement nor any country for which he’d have assumed presidency.”

All is true but Kuir seems to forget that Garang was not alone in signing the CPA and during the war of liberation. For example, KIIR and many others were part and parcel of the liberation and peace agreement and KIIR himself signed one of the protocols in the CPA.

Moreover, Kuir failed to mention the declaration of independence and signing into law the South Sudan’s virgin constitution which are vital in considering possibilities for anyone to be the founding father of the nation.

Brother Kuir’s justifications for Dr. Garang as one of the founding fathers of South Sudan was based on the liberation struggle, but, I must clarify that the SPLM/A’s vision for the Sudan under Dr. John Garang was a secular Sudan based on the separation between church and state and has nothing to do with the Right of Self-determination for the people of South Sudan.

If anything, Dr. John was true to his words. It’s true that he died promoting the secular Sudan agenda which embodied freedom, equality, justice and prosperity for all Sudanese in the Sudan. Needless to say that Dr. John has say time and again that he was fighting for united Sudan and that South Sudanese are not secessionists.

In numerous occasions, Dr. John Garang even boasted openly about firing his first bullet against the separatists. Therefore, these are facts, hard to deny and damning reasons to question Dr. John Garang’s qualifications to be one of the founding father of South Sudan.

Besides, it was wrong for Kuir Garang to compare Dr. John’s political vision to those of Mwzee Kenyatta of Kenya, Nkrumah of Ghana, Mwalimu Nyere of Tanzania and so forth, simply because these leaders fought for an outright independence of their nations from the colonial rules which is incompatible to what Dr. John fought and died for in the Sudan.

On a personal note, it’s perplexing seeing people who should know better about the state affairs of South Sudan and refused to be honest. Brother Kuir knows better and should be honest.

Finally, I agreed with Kuir Garang that Ateny Wek is a pathetic lair and has lied in numerous occasions in the past. Ateny also has unnecessarily centred his piece on late Dr. Garang’s death and family than the criteria for the founding father.

Mading Koc’s argument for the part is in line with Kuir Garang’s piece. Besides, Koc argued that “Dr. Garang knew that people of South Sudan would conduct referendum on January 2011 and they would proclaim their independence on the 9th of July 2011… there was no coma and there was nothing whatsoever that KIIR did in the CPA.”

This is puzzling and undoubtedly one of the emotional undertones I mentioned above. If I may, it’s true that Dr. Garang signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (PA) but he was unaware the referendum for the people of South Sudan would be conducted successfully on January 2011 and South Sudan would declare independence on July 9th, 2011.

Rightfully so, you would agree that Mr. Koc is dwelling on misplaced platform and misguided assumption simply because the successful implementation and outcome of the CPA at least for South Sudanese was unknown before and even after Dr. GARANG died.

If for any wild reason, one would think that Dr. Garang knew the successful outcomes of all protocols signed in the CPA, then, it would be equally true to say the Abyei, the Nuba Mountain and the Blue Nile protocols were to be successful as well even though all were abrogated by Khartoum at will. I wonder how my brother Mading Koc would explain this diversion in a lay man terms.

On the other hand, Mr. Pager Ajang’s piece dwelled much in comparing SALVA KIIR’s contributions during the war of liberation struggle in contrast to that of Dr. Garang, which in my view is irrelevant in the light of the founding father.

It’s true that SALVA KIIR has not done much compare to GARANG but there are also things KIIR has done which could have been attributed to claims of the founding father status, and these includes the declaration of independence and signing into law the constitution of South Sudan.

In regard to other dramatic reactions toward Ateny’s piece, I felt there was no proper reason to respond to them because they were all amount to unnecessary abusive nature this matter turned to in the social media.
The founding father of South Sudan.

Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man or men considered to be driving force behind the establishment of their country and in this respect I must affirm that South Sudan does not have one monolithic founding father. Men who were the driving force behind South Sudan’s independence were many and I am pleased to announced that Dr. John Garang is one of them.

One of my reasoning is that Dr. John Garang de Mabior led a guerilla movement, Sudan People Liberation Movement and Army (SPLM/A) which fought a deadly civil war for 21 years to remove the despotic regime in the Sudan.
As a result of this seemingly endless civil war in the Sudan, the rulers in Khartoum then felt threatened and opted to allow the people of South Sudan to exercise the right of self determination which resulted to independence.

This accidental political trajectory underscored the legitimacy of Dr. Garang as one of the founding fathers of South Sudan. Without this, I am afraid Dr. Garang would qualify an honorific title of the founding father of South Sudan.

In contrast, Dr. Garang was a firm unionist. Without any doubt, Dr. John Garang was determined, prepared and died promoting the programs and agenda of secular Sudan which embodied freedom, equality, justice and prosperity for all Sudanese in the Sudan.

SALVA KIIR on the other hand played limited political roles in this respect but he (Kiir) inadvertently became chairman of the SPLM/A, First Vice President of Sudan and Principal of South Sudan after tragic death of John Garang in the helicopter crash in 2005.

Sadly, immediately after Garang’s sudden death, KIIR changed goal the post and joined his deputy Dr. Riek Machar whose central goal was to have an independent South Sudan. Both men championed for the Right of Self determination for the people of South Sudan and achieved it through a referendum. South Sudan became independence and Salva KIIR became the first President of the new nation.

This prospect could have landed Salva KIIR an honorific title of the founding father of the nation but KIIR ruined when he turned South Sudanese against each other and the nation into a killing field. As a result, Salva Kiir became a satanic messiah of the high order.

For example, Salva KIIR planned and executed the massacre of 20, 000 Nuer innocent civilians in 2013 using his Dinka tribal militias and then trialed by retaliatory killings. This episode was also followed by mass killing of thousands of the Equatorians, the Fertits and the Chollo civilians in cold blood by Salva Kiir’s regime.

In closing, the question asked about who is the founding father of South Sudan is significantly important and required honest and constructive answer. Therefore, anyone who downplayed or misrepresented this profound question in attempts to protect Dr. John Garang de Mabior’s legacy or wrongly award Salva Kiir with what he did not sow is disingenuous.

J. Nguen is a Chairman of Nuer Supreme Council, Political Commentator and Analyst. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com

PDM: Kenya’s Abrupt Disengagement from South Sudan Peace Process and Deportation of a Refugee

THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT, Republic Of South Sudan
8th November 2016;

PDM expresses grave alarm at the decisions of the government of the Republic of Kenya to deport a South Sudanese refugee, James Gatdet Dak, to Juba on the 3rd of November 2016. We are deeply concerned about James Gatdet Dak’s welfare and safety in the hands of the South Sudanese government in Juba and have reasons to believe he is facing torture as a result of his political affiliation.

PDM strongly condemns the deportation of James Gatdet Dak, which is in violation of the ‘Principle of non-refoulement’ (article 33(1)) of the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees as well as under customary international law, to which Kenya is obligated. It is therefore unfortunate that the government of Kenya intentionally endangers the life of a refugee under its protection, against the advice of UNHCR.

PDM commends UNHCR’s quest to ensure the safety of over 87000 (eighty seven thousand) South Sudanese refugees in Kenya, and calls upon the Secretary General of the UN to support this commitment using all means available.

We are further disturbed by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Kenya, announced in a statement issued by their Ministry of Foreign Affairs dated 2nd November 2016 to:
• Withdraw, immediately, Kenyan troops currently in deployment in South Sudan, and discontinue plans to contribute to the Regional Protection Force and,
• Disengage from the South Sudan Peace Process
While it’s within Kenya’s sovereignty, we are dismayed by these unfortunate decisions of the Government of Kenya given its prominent role and responsibilities as a member of IGAD.
In view of the serious implications of Kenya’s actions, PDM calls on the AU, TROIKA and the UNSC to immediately:

1. Pursue the release of James Gatdet Dak from the hands of the South Sudanese government and transport him to another country, for his safety.
2. Request the South Sudanese government to allow UNHCR to visit James Gatdet in detention to ascertain he is not being tortured while efforts for his immediate release are pursued.
3. Pressure Kenya to immediately halt any further planned deportations or harassment of South Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya, given the disturbing news of new lists of deportation circulating in social media.
4. Call on Kenya to “refrain” from actions that could further jeopardise South Sudan’s peace process and regional cohesion, by remaining a neutral partner and upholding its responsibility to regional stability.
5. Appeal to AU member states to withhold their support for Kenya nomination to head the AU Commission as being untenable, primarily due to Kenya’s hasty withdrawal of its commitments to regional and international peacekeeping efforts, regardless of the implications to human lives and regional security entrusted in their care.

The PDM appeals to the Government of the Republic of Kenya and His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta in particular, to show restraint and statesmanship in the interest of rebuilding confidence across South Sudan’s political spectrum. That Kenya does not turn its back on the universal principles of human rights conventions of which it is a party, but continue playing its positive pre and post 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) role in search of a viable way forward for all the people of South Sudan.

We reassure that PDM stands with the people and interests of both countries as Kenya and South Sudan share immutable and deep-rooted cultural and economic ties. We appeal to East African Community (EAC) leaders of which South Sudan is a member to exercise their influence to prevail over the current crisis and to uphold the democratic principles and human rights standards to which EAC member states subscribe.

PDM PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PDM Chair
South Sudan

CC.: Government of Kenya, EAC, AU, TROIKA, UNSC, IGAD
For all comments, queries and opinions please communicate to: press@pdm-rss.org

ABOUT PDM: The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is a popular grassroots Movement formed by concerned South Sudanese in the country and the Diaspora; in response to the political crisis and fast deteriorating economic, humanitarian and security situation in the Republic of South Sudan. It seeks to offer the way forward amid heightened ethnic polarisation and devastating conflict in the country, encouraged and abated primarily by President Salva Kiir’s divisive Government policy, incompetent, oppressive and corrupt leadership.
The current crisis in the Republic of South Sudan that dates back to December 2013 has brought untold suffering including displacement of over 2.78 million South Sudanese, of which over 1.05 million have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Well over 1.73 million have been displaced internally, of which over 200,000 civilians are taking refuge in UNMISS protection-of-civilian sites (PoCs) across the country, including in Juba, the capital city. Furthermore, a total of 5.1 million people in the country are in dire need of assistance .

Rampaging Kiir’s SPLA troops raped foreigners, killed local: What happened exactly on JULY 11, 2016

NOV/06/2016, SSN: The Southsudannation.com website brings this story as reported exactly by the Associated Press of what happened after the July 8, 2016, fight at the Presidential Palace in Juba in the Kiir-Machar new war and the rape and rampage carried out by the mostly Dinka soldiers ethnic cleansing of Nuer men and the infamous rape and murder in the Terrain Hotel that has now led to the dismissal of the Kenyan Commander of the UNMISS forces in Juba. This has now also led to the arrest and forced deportation by Kenya government of Machar’s SPLM-IO spokesman, James Gadet to Juba where his fate remains unknown;

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The soldier pointed his AK-47 at the female aid worker and gave her a choice.

“Either you have sex with me, or we make every man here rape you and then we shoot you in the head,” she remembers him saying.

She didn’t really have a choice. By the end of the evening, she had been raped by 15 South Sudanese soldiers.

On July 11, South Sudanese troops, fresh from winning a battle in the capital, Juba, over opposition forces, went on a nearly four-hour rampage through a residential compound popular with foreigners, in one of the worst targeted attacks on aid workers in South Sudan’s three-year civil war. They shot dead a local journalist while forcing the foreigners to watch, raped several foreign women, singled out Americans, beat and robbed people and carried out mock executions, several witnesses told The Associated Press.

For hours throughout the assault, the U.N. peacekeeping force stationed less than a mile away refused to respond to desperate calls for help. Neither did embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

The Associated Press interviewed by phone eight survivors, both male and female, including three who said they were raped. The other five said they were beaten; one was shot. Most insisted on anonymity for their safety or to protect their organizations still operating in South Sudan.

The accounts highlight, in raw detail, the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping force to uphold its core mandate of protecting civilians, notably those just a few minutes’ drive away. The Associated Press previously reported that U.N. peacekeepers in Juba did not stop the rapes of local women by soldiers outside the U.N.’s main camp last month.

The attack on the Terrain hotel complex shows the hostility toward foreigners and aid workers by troops under the command of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, who has been fighting supporters of rebel leader Riek Machar since civil war erupted in December 2013. Both sides have been accused of abuses. The U.N. recently passed a U.S.-sponsored resolution to send more peacekeeping troops to protect civilians.

Army spokesman Lul Ruai did not deny the attack at the Terrain but said it was premature to conclude the army was responsible. “Everyone is armed, and everyone has access to uniforms and we have people from other organized forces, but it was definitely done by people of South Sudan and by armed people of Juba,” he said.

A report on the incident compiled by the Terrain’s owner at Ruai’s request, seen by the AP, alleges the rapes of at least five women, torture, mock executions, beatings and looting. An unknown number of South Sudanese women were also assaulted.

The attack came just as people in Juba were thinking the worst was over.

Three days earlier, gunfire had erupted outside the presidential compound between armed supporters of the two sides in South Sudan’s civil war, at the time pushed together under an uneasy peace deal. The violence quickly spread across the city.

Throughout the weekend, bullets whizzed through the Terrain compound, a sprawling complex with a pool, squash court and a bar patronized by expats and South Sudanese elites. It is also in the shadow of the U.N.’s largest camp in Juba.

By Monday, the government had nearly defeated the forces under Machar, who fled the city. As both sides prepared to call for a cease-fire, some residents of the Terrain started to relax.

“Monday was relatively chill,” one survivor said.

What was thought to be celebratory gunfire was heard. And then the soldiers arrived. A Terrain staffer from Uganda said he saw between 80 and 100 men pour into the compound after breaking open the gate with gunshots and tire irons. The Terrain’s security guards were armed only with shotguns and were vastly outnumbered. The soldiers then went to door to door, taking money, phones, laptops and car keys.

“They were very excited, very drunk, under the influence of something, almost a mad state, walking around shooting off rounds inside the rooms,” one American said.

One man wore a blue police uniform, but the rest wore camouflage, the American said. Many had shoulder patches with the face of a tiger, the insignia worn by the president’s personal guard.

For about an hour, soldiers beat the American with belts and the butts of their guns and accused him of hiding rebels. They fired bullets at his feet and close to his head. Eventually, one soldier who appeared to be in charge told him to leave the compound. Soldiers at the gate looked at his U.S. passport and handed it back, with instructions.

“You tell your embassy how we treated you,” they said. He made his way to the nearby U.N. compound and appealed for help.

Meanwhile, soldiers were breaking into a two-story apartment block in the Terrain which had been deemed a safe house because of a heavy metal door guarding the apartments upstairs. Warned by a Kenyan staffer, more than 20 people inside, most of them foreigners, tried to hide. About 10 squeezed into a single bathroom.

The building shook as soldiers shot at the metal door and pried metal bars off windows for more than an hour, said residents. Once inside, the soldiers started ransacking the rooms and assaulting people they found.

Some of the soldiers were violent as they sexually assaulted women, said the woman who said she was raped by 15 men. Others, who looked to be just 15 or 16 years old, looked scared and were coerced into the act.

“One in particular, he was calling you, ‘Sweetie, we should run away and get married.’ It was like he was on a first date,” the woman said. “He didn’t see that what he was doing was a bad thing.”

After about an hour and a half, the soldiers broke into the bathroom. They shot through the door, said Jesse Bunch, an American contractor who was hit in the leg.

“We kill you! We kill you!” the soldiers shouted, according to a Western woman in the bathroom. “They would shoot up at the ceiling and say, ‘Do you want to die?’ and we had to answer ‘No!'”

The soldiers then pulled people out one by one. One woman said she was sexually assaulted by multiple men. Another Western woman said soldiers beat her with fists and threatened her with their guns when she tried to resist. She said five men raped her.

During the attack on the Terrain, several survivors told the AP that soldiers specifically asked if they were American. “One of them, as soon as he said he was American, he was hit with a rifle butt,” said a woman.

When the soldiers came across John Gatluak, they knew he was local. The South Sudanese journalist worked for Internews, a media development organization funded by USAID. He had taken refuge at the Terrain after being briefly detained a few days earlier. The tribal scars on his forehead made it obvious he was Nuer, the same as opposition leader, Riek Machar.

Upon seeing him, the soldiers pushed him to the floor and beat him, according to the same woman who saw the American beaten.

Later in the attack, and after Kiir’s side declared a ceasefire at 6 p.m., the soldiers forced the foreigners to stand in a semi-circle, said Gian Libot, a Philippines citizen who spent much of the attack under a bed until he was discovered.

One soldier ranted against foreigners. “He definitely had pronounced hatred against America,” Libot said, recalling the soldier’s words: “You messed up this country. You’re helping the rebels. The people in the U.N., they’re helping the rebels.”

During the tirade, a soldier hit a man suspected of being American with a rifle butt. At one point, the soldier threatened to kill all the foreigners assembled. “We’re gonna show the world an example,” Libot remembered him saying.

Then Gatluak was hauled in front of the group. One soldier shouted “Nuer,” and another soldier shot him twice in the head. He shot the dying Gatluak four more times while he lay on the ground.

“All it took was a declaration that he was different, and they shot him mercilessly,” Libot said.

The shooting seemed to be a turning point for those assembled outside, Libot said. Looting and threats continued, but beatings started to draw to a close. Other soldiers continued to assault men and women inside the apartment block.

From the start of the attack, those inside the Terrain compound sent messages pleading for help by text and Facebook messages and emails.

“All of us were contacting whoever we could contact. The U.N., the U.S. embassy, contacting the specific battalions in the U.N., contacting specific departments,” said the woman raped by 15 men.

A member of the U.N.’s Joint Operations Center in Juba first received word of the attack at 3:37 p.m., minutes after the breach of the compound, according to an internal timeline compiled by a member of the operations center and seen by AP.

Eight minutes later another message was sent to a different member of the operations center from a person inside Terrain saying that people were hiding there. At 4:22 p.m., that member received another message urging help.

Five minutes after that, the U.N. mission’s Department of Safety and Security and its military command wing were alerted. At 4:33 p.m., a Quick Reaction Force, meant to intervene in emergencies, was informed. One minute later, the timeline notes the last contact on Monday from someone trapped inside Terrain.

For the next hour and a half the timeline is blank. At 6:52, shortly before sunset, the timeline states that “DSS would not send a team.”

About 20 minutes later, a Quick Reaction Force of Ethiopians from the multinational U.N. mission was tasked to intervene, coordinating with South Sudan’s army chief of staff, Paul Malong, who was also sending soldiers. But the Ethiopian battalion stood down, according to the timeline. Malong’s troops eventually abandoned their intervention too because it took too long for the Quick Reaction Force to act.

The American who was released early in the assault and made it to the U.N. base said he also alerted U.N. staff. At around dusk, a U.N. worker he knew requested three different battalions to send a Quick Reaction Force.

“Everyone refused to go. Ethiopia, China, and Nepal. All refused to go,” he said.

Eventually, South Sudanese security forces entered the Terrain and rescued all but three Western women and around 16 Terrain staff.

No one else was sent that night to find them. The U.N. timeline said a patrol would go in the morning, but this “was cancelled due to priority.” A private security firm rescued the three Western women the staffers the next morning.

“The peacekeepers did not venture out of the bases to protect civilians under imminent threat,” Human Rights Watch said Monday in a report on abuses throughout Juba.

Asked why U.N. peacekeepers didn’t respond to repeated pleas for help, the U.N. said it is investigating.

“Obviously, we regret the loss of life and the violence that the people who were in Hotel Terrain endured, and we take this incident very seriously,” the deputy spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, Farhan Haq, told reporters Monday. “As you’re aware, we have called on the national authorities to investigate this incident thoroughly and to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

The U.S. Embassy, which also received requests for help during the attack, “was not in a position to intervene,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters Monday. She said the U.S. ambassador instead contacted local government officials, and she noted that the Terrain area was controlled by South Sudanese government forces at the time.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that “during the fighting throughout the city, the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan responded to distress calls from the compound and urgently contacted South Sudanese government officials, who sent a response force to the site to stop the attack.”

“We are deeply concerned that United Nations peacekeepers were apparently either incapable of or unwilling to respond to calls for help. We have requested and are awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the United Nations and demand swift corrective action in the event that these allegations are substantiated,” she said in a statement.

The assault at the Terrain pierced a feeling of security among some foreigners who had assumed that they would be protected by their governments or the hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers almost next door.

One of the women gang-raped said security advisers from an aid organization living in the compound told residents repeatedly that they were safe because foreigners would not be targeted. She said: “This sentence, ‘We are not targeted,’ I heard half an hour before they assaulted us.”

(From the Associated Press on-line)

The Rights of Chollo People for Local Autonomy Rule (revised version)

By Jwothab Othow, South Sudanese, NOV/06/2016, SSN;

Introduction: The Chollo Kingdom is located in the Upper Nile state on both the west and east sides of the White Nile beginning from Lake No in South Sudan. On the eastern side, Khor Wol is the border between the Chollo and the Dinka. Since the CPA was signed in 2005 and after the independence of South Sudan in 2011, the rights of the Chollo people have been violated, human rights have been abused and injustices have been perpetrated against them and their land.

These violations include the deliberate burning of many Chollo sacred cultural sites by the Dinka dominated SPLM-led government and SPLA forces in 2009 and 2011. The violation of the Chollo Kingdom’s sacred site (meaning the survival of their identity) is at risk; therefore the Chollo have the right to work and advocate for autonomous rule in order to protect their cultural heritage.

The assaults on the Chollo community culminated in a mass slaughter of Chollo civilians as documented in Malakal and other Chollo areas in 2013 and 2014. It was committed by both the government and the so-called the SPLM-IO’s White Army militias.

The SPLM as the ruling party has failed the people of South Sudan terribly in order to create an inclusive harmonious society which accommodates all 64 tribes, but instead the SPLM has caused the current civil war based upon ethnic lines. When the violence erupted in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, on December 15, 2013, it awakened other ethnic groups about the threat from the Dinka dominated SPLM government and their political strategy to oppress the other ethnic groups in South Sudan.

Ethnic minority rights in South Sudan became an issue to many when violence erupted on December 15, 2013. Historically, South Sudan is a multi-ethnic country which is composed of 64 tribes. The dominant ethnic group is the Dinka.

The SPLM as a ruling party failed to transform itself into a meaningful political entity which established political institutions to regulate inter-group conflicts within each region, and as a result violence erupted.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was ratified in 1948 after the World War II laid the foundation for international human rights law.

The basic principles of inalienable human rights and the creation of a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations were formed. For decades we have witnessed human rights violations in South Sudan. No other historical period has witnessed greater violations of these rights. Under international human rights law, minority rights are applied to ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples are integral.

The issue of autonomy for ethnic minorities surfaced in the first post-war international treaty that protects them from threats to their existence as established by the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948). The term “autonomy” was derived from the Greek: “auto” meaning “self” and “nomos” meaning “law”. Autonomy in the legal political vocabulary is self –government.

According to Hans-Joachim Heintze, “In international law autonomy means that a part or territorial unit of a state is authorized to govern itself in certain matters by enacting laws and statutes, but without constituting a State of their own.” Another definition of autonomy is “an intrastate region with a unique level of self-government”.

The question is will autonomous rule for the Chollo Kingdom is a viable solution to overcome the perpetual land conflicts between the Chollo and it neighbors who seek to possess their ancestral land? Suppose the answer is yes, do the Chollo have the political and military will to unify and the ability to achieve autonomy?

One would hope that the so-called Chollo political elites who did not know that South Sudan political setting is based along ethnic lines, learned after violence erupted in 2013. What can they learn from their past mistakes and what can they do different for the Chollo than what they have done in the past? One is absolutely convinced that the Chollo can achieve it, but it will require a unity of purpose among the Chollo in spite of their political differences.

Imagine the psychological impact on the Chollo people who have been forced to leave their homes and go to neighboring North Sudan as refugees as a result of this senseless war in South Sudan which was intended by the Dinka dominated government to achieve their goals.

President Kiir’s tribal militias (the so-called “Mathiang Anyoor and Dot Ku Beny”) have been committing war crimes and crimes against humanity targeting non Dinka since the war erupted on December 15, 2013. The Dinka militias have been given direct orders by President Kiir to massacre thousands of innocent civilians from other tribes in Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr el Ghazal regions, as well.

Recently, on October 19, 2016, President Salva Kiir complained about the lack of support from Equatorians and the Nuer tribe in the presence of his two deputies, Taban Deng Gai and James Wani Igga, who hail from the Nuer tribe in Upper Nile region and from the Bari tribe in the Equatoria region. President Kiir said, it was not his fault and he had no choice because other tribes had allegedly deserted him. He added, “But where will I get people from if people of Equatoria have refused to join the army? Riek Machar has rebelled with his Nuer people.”

There is no doubt that President Kiir and his Dinka council of Elders is determined to go ahead with their plan of 28 states. President Salva Kiir has appointed 28 state governors already based on the so-called decentralization system which will allow the Dinka dominated government to give Chollo ancestral land to Dinka.

South Sudan’s former minister of Justice, John Luk once said the Jieng Council of Elders was formed in 2012 after a group of Dinkas met with President Kiir seeking the formation of this so called Jieng Council of Elders to execute what they are doing today in South Sudan. On December 31, 2015, President Salva Kiir said, “Everyone has to respect the will of the people.

The creation of the 28 states and the appointment of the governors were in fulfillment of the desire of the people, and if they are rejecting it, the people who have called for it must ask them to provide answers to why they are against what the people want.”

In fact, the creation of the 28 states and the recent appointment of the governors were indeed to fulfill the master plan and desire of the so called Dinka Council of Elders as a way to take Chollo ancestral land on the Eastern bank and give it to Ngok Dinka.

South Sudan has sworn in a national unity government based on the August peace agreement of this year to end more than two years of conflict in the country, but unfortunately new cycle of violence erupted again on July 8, 2016. We know that the 28 states is not part of the peace agreement which was signed in August of this year by President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar, the rebel leader in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

If the transitional national unity government wants a lasting peace and security in South Sudan, it should reverse the 28 states and go back to the previous 10 states which is based on the boundary of 1956. There is no doubt that the Dinka led government created the 28 states at the expense of Chollo land.

President Kiir’s attempt to give Chollo land to the Dinka, would threaten the national security and peace of South Sudan because Chollo defense forces will never give up the fight for their land. They are determined to fight the Padang Dinka until President Kiir revokes the 28 states.

The political concept of autonomy was used to counter the authoritarianism of the larger majority and the more powerful ethnic group and was considered a condition for the satisfaction of the national pride of citizens of a particular city or nation. For example, there are about 21 countries in the world who have established territorial regional autonomy including Spain, Italy, Great Britain and China.

Also, there are at least 60 regions in the world vested with territorial autonomy defined along scientifically based criteria. Territorial autonomy has been successfully operating since 1921, when the Aland Island obtained their special status within Finland. Autonomy is an essential aspect of nationalism, which seeks to establish the independence of a national group based on language, political history, and cultural heritage. Historically, minority rights have existed under international law Treaty of Westphalia of 1648 A.D.

The League of Nations and the United Nations were established to promote peace and security by harmonizing the rights of sovereign states with the rights of minorities. For more than fifty years, the international community has developed a broad set of standards for minority rights relevant to all countries.

These are the rights of the indigenous minority according to the UN Charter (2007):
1. States shall respect the rights of persons belonging to minorities to participate effectively in decisions on the national and regional level concerning the minority to which they belong or the regions in which they live.
2. States shall respect the rights of minorities to participate effectively in public life, including through elections, holding public office and participating in other political and administrative functions.
3. States shall respect the rights of minorities to assemble and form associations and political parties and thereby aggregate their interests to make the greatest impact on national and regional decision-making.
4. States shall duly consider the best manner of achieving effective political participation of minorities, including autonomous arrangements.
5. States shall respect the rights of members of minorities to determine their own political status.

The basic human rights and fundamental freedoms which include autonomy for indigenous minority populations are entitled to be enshrined within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For example, in Canada, they established Nunavut but refused Quebec secession. In France, they set in motion a process to accord Corsica limited powers to run its own affairs. In Denmark in 2001, the United Kingdom granted various degrees of autonomy to Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

NATO took a drastic action in 1999 where its warplanes undertook a bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in order to force the latter to confer greater autonomy to Kosovo. The European Court of Human Rights has talked of a “democratic restructuring” without destroying the territorial integrity of Turkey with respect to its Kurdish population and so on.

As we know, there are 28 countries across the world practicing federalism or the federal system. Some of the countries who are practicing federalism are Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Spain, South Africa, and United States of America, just to mention a few.

In a country like South Sudan, where the ethnic differences are highly politicized and where the political setting is based on ethnic lines, the federal system should be the only option that will provide local autonomy to distinct ethnicities in South Sudan in order to build a necessary trust among ethnic nationalists.

The decentralization referred by President Kiir and his so-called Dinka Council of Elders may result in greater ethnic mobilization and could lead to secession. Therefore, the right of Chollo for special status for local autonomy as a distinct ethnic group is the best solution to resolve their land dispute between their neighbors.

President Kiir himself and his dream for a Dinka Empire and the so-called Dinka Council of Elders have been the ones politicizing the ethnic land conflicts between Chollo and the Ngok Dinka since 2005. South Sudan is a multi- diverse ethnic nation which requires a federal system to accommodate its diverse groups. Giving the Chollo special status for local autonomy as a distinct ethnic group with its traditional territory is the best solution to resolve their land dispute between their neighbors.

Federalism is the demand of the people of South Sudan. The Federal Republic of South Sudan must be based on democratic rule whereby the power to govern is shared between national and regions/state governments. A good example is the United States which has a federal system of governance consisting of the national or federal government and the government of the individual states.

Puerto Ricans are considered United States citizens, and they freely travel between both the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico. Based on the federal system, Puerto Rico’s autonomy was granted by the US Congress in 1952. This is the kind of federal system the people of South Sudan are demanding, whereby the federal government can enact laws governing the entire country. Its powers are enumerated, or limited; it only has the specific powers allotted to it in the constitution. Under the federal system, the rights of the Chollo for local autonomy should be protected and guaranteed under the country’s constitution.

Federalism is concerned with the combination of self-rule and shared rule. The historical root of federalism is well connected with the Bible. The term was for theological purposes to define the partnership between humans and God as it is described in the Bible. This gave form to the idea of a covenantal relationship between persons leading to the formation of the body politic and between bodies political leading to the formation of compound politics. The biblical theological usage gave rise to the transformation of the term “federal” into an explicitly political concept today.

In accordance to the UN Charter, “Peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, regardless of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions.

Based on this definition, things that distinguish indigenous people and minorities are that indigenous peoples settled the territory concerned as a heritage from their ancestors or at the time of conquest or colonization or the establishment of present state boundaries and they have a culture that has a nexus with their ancestral land and its natural resources”( 1989).

The autonomy system has been recognized as a peaceful means to avoid secession from a certain region or territory within a state. In the case of the Chollo, it is necessary for the government of South Sudan to recognize the rights of the Chollo for autonomous rule and to establish a federal system structure to protect the rights of the Chollo for autonomy. This will be a safeguard for the peaceful solution for the land conflict between the Chollo and its neighbors. The people of the Chollo Kingdom must struggle for and achieve their autonomous rule in their homeland.

The case of the Chollo is unique and distinct because of its traditional territorial integrity under His Majesty, the Reth (King) of Chollo. The Chollo Kingdom has been there for more than 500 years. This is a time for the Chollo to advocate and work for the special status of the Chollo Kingdom’s autonomy, but some argue that it is too early for Chollo autonomy. It is time for the Chollo to take action and to work for autonomy as a right with special status within a demarcated territory with an autonomous legislation, a local government administration and a judiciary system.

Autonomy will give the Chollo political control over their territory. The Chollo have the right for autonomy that will guarantee Chollo as an ethnic group a degree of independence from the central government’s interference in matters of their Kingdom’s affairs for example if cultural customs and societal structures. To be clearer, autonomy means the legal recognition of the minorities’ rights.

The Chollo Kingdom should be able to enjoy various rights under autonomous rule which should be guaranteed in the constitution of South Sudan including exercising their rights of autonomy in the Chollo Kingdom such as selecting an administrative head. The Chollo should have the full right to use and to develop their language and the freedom to preserve their own customs.

As mentioned previously, the ancient Greeks defined autonomy as the independent self-governance of city-states. In a political context, a state has autonomy if its government has complete control over its affairs without the intervention of or control by any other power.

As we can remember, His Majesty King Kwongo Dak Padiet wrote to President Salva Kiir in 2011 to find a peaceful and lasting solution for the Chollo land occupation by the Dinka Padang in the Upper Nile State, but President Kiir has chosen to ignore the matter until recently. Therefore, I am convinced that the only alternative left for the Chollo is to work and advocate for the rights of local autonomy for the Chollo Kingdom. But, in order for the Chollo to defeat those who seek to occupy Chollo ancestral land, it will require Chollo in all political spectrums despite political differences among its sons and daughters to unite.

Our generation has a duty to carry on Nyikang’s promise to preserve Chollo land. It would be disgraceful if this generation of Chollo in this age of enlightenment would fail to preserve Nyikang’s legacy and keep his promise. The forces of persecution can only triumph if our generation decides to do nothing. As stated before, in order to achieve autonomy for the Chollo, the Agwelek, under the leadership of Johnson Olony Thubo Dak and other forces under the leadership Yoanes Okiech, need to organize themselves to work together as a united people in order to protect the lives of the Chollo people and their ancestral land.” The Agwelek and other Chollo forces are the only hope; they should have a precise military strategy and form a military council with a clear plan to achieve their objectives.

The SPLM, as the ruling party, failed the people of South Sudan terribly to create an inclusive harmonious society to accommodate all 64 tribes, but instead the SPLM has caused the current civil war based along ethnic lines. To defeat the Dinka Tribal Genocidal regime and the so called Dinka council of Elders, it will require unity of purpose within the Chollo political spectrum and unified political support for Chollo military forces. It is absolutely critical for Chollo society to change its destructive mindset to save itself from the total collapse of its society under the weight of internal contradictions.

The Chollo have the political will and the ability to achieve the quest for local autonomy. The August agreement signed by the SPLM in the government and SPLM-IO would not provide a tangible solution to the Chollo land issues based on boundaries of ‘Shilluk District’ as of 1956 because the agreement itself never addressed the Chollo’s grievances in the first place.

The federal system must be broad, it should be discussed and agreed upon by all 64 tribes in South Sudan, and it should recognize the rights of the Chollo for autonomous rule. The Chollo must think critically given the state of affairs in South Sudan. The attempts to create an inclusive society have been threatened by ethnic strife and chaos which have threatened other peaceful minority groups. Let us conceptualize the idea of the rights of Chollo for autonomous rule and the way forward for Chollo to work and to advocate the idea of autonomy.

Folks, this is about our destiny as a people whether 20 to 50 years from now and whether we will be able to live our way of life and maintain our existence if this tribal war continues to threaten our existence.

The Chollo must formulate a united political strategy to deal with the current threat imposed on us. Let us keep in mind that if the political environment continues in South Sudan, it would be a colossal mistake for us to fail to unite and put in place our political strategy in order to survive and maintain our existence. It will be too late! It is time for us to end flip-flop politics and take a clear stand on the issue of Chollo land and its destiny. It is time for Chollo intellectuals to start working and advocating for an autonomous region. One is glad that some of the Chollo intellectuals began to realize that Chollo must work to advocate the rights of autonomy for the Chollo Kingdom.

This must be taken seriously by intellectuals, who must begin working and advocating for the Chollo Kingdom’s autonomous rule within a united Federalist and Democratic South Sudan. A federal system must be built on a basis of creating an inclusive harmonious society that will accommodate all 64 tribes in South Sudan. There should be a clear and a well defined role between the Chollo Kingdom’s autonomous authority and the role of the Reth of Chollo.

Many Chollo have expressed their views that the Reth of Chollo should be a ceremonial head of the autonomous Chollo Kingdom but have no political powers. His Majesty (Reth) of Chollo role should only be a ceremonial head of the autonomous Chollo Kingdom which does not interfere with Chollo autonomy administration.

After the violence erupted in South Sudan in 2013, the Chollo as an ethnic group were targeted. As a result, hundreds of Chollo civilians were massacred based on ethnic lines. To ensure the protection of Chollo rights and their cultural survival, we must advocate and work for autonomy for the Chollo Kingdom.

According to Ruth Lapidoth, autonomy is to be understood as a special status granted to a territorial unit which makes it possible for the residents of that territorial unit to regulate their own affairs by themselves through autonomous legislation, government administration, and judicial administration. A claim to sovereignty is not linked to it. The autonomous authorities are to be precisely established in the laws of the State. Lapidoth argues the concept of autonomy for a minority group and its usefulness in resolving ethnic conflicts are very clear.

Lapidoth believes that autonomy is a means for diffusion of powers in order to preserve the unity of a state while respecting the diversity of its population. Autonomous rule has been suggested as a way to protect minority groups. The rights of the Chollo for autonomy should be recognized in principle under international law and their rights as a minority to be granted autonomous rule. Territorial political autonomy is an arrangement aimed to grant the Chollo Kingdom autonomy to govern themselves without interference from South Sudan’s central government.

The peaceful autonomy which was granted to Åland Archipelago west of Finland could serve as a model for resolving land conflicts between the Chollo and their neighbors. The case for Åland autonomy was based on a decision of the Council of the League of Nations in 1921 that resolved a dispute between Finland and Sweden over the islands and guarantees the preservation of the local language, which is Swedish, and the local culture.

Chollo autonomy must fundamentally include those areas of competence which are necessary for the national minority to maintain its cultural identity, such as the following: an educational system, including higher education (such as universities), which respects the values and needs of the minority in question; cultural institutions and programs; radio and television, and other communication means; the display of their own emblems; field of powers needed to ensure the functioning and welfare of the autonomous entity (its social and economic regulations); the use and control of natural resources; taxation for the purposes of the autonomous area; health care and social services including social welfare; transportation such as local roads, and airports; production of energy; environmental protection; control of commercial and savings banks and other financial institutions; local and regional police.

The Chollo Kingdom can create its own educational policy for primary up to 12th grade education and the languages to be taught should be as follows: Dhog Chollo, English, and Arabic. English and Arabic languages are useful for communication and business purposes. English will remain as the official language in all the government departments.

The challenge for Chollo intellectuals is to advocate for autonomy or local self-administration. What I mean by autonomy is not outright secession from the rest of South Sudan. The Dinka dominated government is not interested in a peaceful resolution to conflict which they created in order to position themselves to control the nation’s resources and to drive other communities off their land as we have seen in the case of the Chollo.

The Dinka (being a majority) are dictating to others. As Tocqueville argued, the majority will too easily tyrannize the minority. While it is clear that democracy must guarantee the expression of the popular will through majority rule, it is equally clear that it must guarantee that the majority will not abuse its power to violate the basic and inalienable rights of the minority.

Since the CPA was signed in 2005, the Chollo people have been constantly facing the threat from Dinka to eradicate the Chollo Kingdom. The most extreme danger to the Chollo Kingdom is that the Dinka led government is using the current civil war to drive out the Chollo population from their ancestral land and to inflict psychological harm on the Chollo population through violent means.

The worst example is when the Dinka led government denied humanitarian relief to the Chollo civilians this year and continued to carry out air bombardment against Chollo civilians. James Madison once said, “It is of great importance in a republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part.”

President Kiir is determined to divide the country of South Sudan into tribal states whereby his tribe, ethnic Dinka, can oppress the rest of the 64 tribes in South Sudan. The Chollo was a nation in its own right before the Sudanese state became independence from the British colonies in 1956, and the Chollo will well if they achieve autonomous rule.

The Chollo, being a distinct ethnic group in South Sudan, have the right for territorial autonomy. Therefore, territorial political autonomy for Chollo is their God given right which grants them cultural, economic, education, language, religion, and social power within the federal democratic united South Sudan. In fact, autonomy is not a threat for the unity of South Sudan, but it is a solution to managing and preventing conflicts from arising between the majority and the minorities.

The Chollo autonomous rule will not clash with the interests of the state of South Sudan in preserving full integrity. The Chollo’s autonomous rule could eventually tackle the problem of land grabbing between Chollo, and their neighbors and it will provide protection for the Chollo in their traditional homeland, the Chollo Kingdom. The autonomy was first established in 1921 in Finland‘s Aland Islands. Furthermore, the concepts of Autonomous rule have been implemented in most countries in the world today.

In my opinion, autonomy will provide the solution and legal-political framework for the Chollo ethnic group to preserve their distinct cultural ethnic identity without threat to the sovereignty and unity of the rest of the country. Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, the Dinka led government has been a constant threat to the Chollo Kingdom’s existence.

The conflict which has led to ethnic divisions in South Sudan today was created by the Dinka led government and the ruling party SPLM, which set off a cycle of retaliatory battles and massacres across the country that have left tens of thousands dead. The SPLM Party has been an adversary since the first day of its inception in 1983 and has caused countless deaths among the people of South Sudan.

Since when the leaders of SPLM party and the President of South Sudan Mr. Kiir accused his former Deputy Machar of faking a coup which led to the country ongoing civil war , South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, has been locked in civil war. President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar should know that South Sudan will never be the same again because of the ethnic divisions they have created that set off a cycle of retaliatory battles and massacres across the country and have left tens of thousands dead. Chollo, as the third largest ethnic group, must work hard and advocate for local autonomy for its Kingdom.

The Chollo have been governed by numerous Chollo Kings for more than 500 years. They have never witnessed the level of destruction which was perpetrated on the Chollo people in Malakal and other areas of Chollo in February 2013, when the so called Nuer White Army were ordered by Dr. Riek Machar to massacre hundreds of Chollo civilians. To safeguard the Chollo Kingdom and its distinct culture, the demand for autonomy for Chollo is the way forward.

Under Chollo autonomous rule, they will have the unshakable power of territorial control over the Chollo Kingdom and will exercise public policy functions (legislative, executive and adjudicative) independently of other sources of authority in the state. Also, the role of the Chollo king must be defined by the Chollo and separated from autonomous authority.

The Chollo will be better off with a self-administering entity within the state of South Sudan which will give Chollo rights in terms of development in economic or cultural spheres. For example, the Murle administrative areas in Pibor resulted from an arrangement which was made by the executive power of the President of South Sudan within the framework of central legislation.

Chollo self-government will give the Kingdom the right to elect its own legislature; it will endow them with the authority to take charge of all executive and administrative functions usually provided by central state institutions. Under autonomous rule, the Chollo will be capable of granting significant judicial powers to their autonomous entity. The Chollo Kingdom will have a degree of autonomy granted to them, the country’s overall constitutional framework will be preserved, and Chollo autonomous territory will remain as an integral part of South Sudan under its constitutional control.

The Chollo Kingdom will have adequate representation as an autonomous entity at the central level, constitutionally guaranteed procedures for the resolution of land disputes between Chollo and its neighbors, or central government, and mechanisms that ensure the protection of the human rights of all residents in the autonomous entity, regardless of their ethnic identity, including the right to appeal to judicial institutions at the central level.

The Chollo Kingdom can serve to maintain South Sudan’s external borders and to preserve its sovereignty. Chollo will have the power to control social, cultural and economic matters that are important to them. The quest for Chollo territorial autonomy must be advocated by the Chollo in order to achieve it. To be very clear on this subject, it is not absolute independence but special status for the Chollo kingdom’s autonomy that the Chollo want.

The rights of the Chollo for autonomous rule can potentially cater to the interests of the Chollo Kingdom, which do not clash with the interests of the State to the preserve full integrity of their territory. The intellectuals should conceptualize the rights of Chollo for autonomy and start working and advocating the case for Chollo autonomous rule. The Chollo will be able to manage their autonomous affairs, enjoy self-government of their region, independently manage their economic construction, natural resources, and develop and manage educational, scientific, technological, cultural and public health.

The Way forward is for the Chollo intellectuals to advocate the idea of the Chollo Kingdom’s right for local autonomy. The rights of the Chollo kingdom for local autonomy must be respected. It is important for the Chollo to advocate for autonomy and to ensure the protection of the Chollo people and its unique culture. The Chollo Kingdom shall have rights under the autonomy system to run their own affairs without interference from the South Sudan’s central government.

According to Ruth Lapidoth, “Autonomy is a means for diffusion of powers in order to preserve the unity of a state while respecting the diversity of its population.”The Chollo Kingdom has the capacity to govern itself because in the 1800’s, Chollo was a nation which capably of governed itself. Remember now, that the Chollo governed themselves for more than 500 hundred years after the nation was founded in 1490 A.D. Chollo had an undisputable system of governance, and that is why it has survived for so long in Sudan despite the external forces who sought to destroy it for hundreds of years.

His Majesty the Reth of the Chollo Kingdom might have to adjust or reform some of his political policies with the changing world to meet the criteria of human rights, rules of law, social justice, equality and freedom of expression. It is vital and crucial for the Reth of Chollo to embrace and respect universal human rights and the rule of law.

For example, for many decades some of Chollo’s Kings have slain many chiefs or private citizens in Chollo society who disagreed with them. The Reth of Chollo should never take the law into his/her hands to kill their dissidents or those who oppose them without fair trials and due process. There are many issues which need fundamental reform in Chollo society.

The Chollo Kingdom will need to make fundamental reform and changes because contemporary Chollo society might not agree with the current state of social justice and the economic conditions of the Kingdom. The Chollo Kingdom might have to separate its power from political authority by allowing the people to elect politicians and to let the political process run according to democratic procedures without interference.

In conclusion, it is time now for Chollo intellectuals to start working and advocating for the Chollo Kingdom’s autonomy. The Chollo have the will and the ability to work toward obtaining autonomy for Chollo people. We are obliged to work and advocate for the rights of the Chollo people for autonomous rule. I have no reserves, no retreats, and no regrets for calling for the need for local autonomous rule; it will become an aspiration and a political reality for the Chollo people, whether in my lifetime or afterwards.

The author is a South Sudanese concerned citizen and independent opinion writer; he can be reached at jwothab@yahoo.com