Archive for: December 2016

‘Juba Hypocrites’ and the Empty Call for National Dialogue!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, DEC/19/2016, SSN;

While the world community is commemorating the 3rd Anniversary of the December 2013 Juba Massacre, the same genocidaire regime chose to distract everyone’s attention by releasing a speech by the same president announcing the commencement of a so-called National Dialogue. A Dialogue with a tyrant, my foot!

Notwithstanding the fact that I didn’t listen to the speech while it was being read out by Salva Kiir Mayardit himself, nonetheless, I have read through the entire document of the speech dated 14th December 2016. My personal conclusion is that this is just another well-ruminated speech prepared for him by his speech writers who often engage more on the what should be said but not necessarily what can be done.

The Call by dictator Salva Kiir Mayardit for a National Dialogue under his auspices and yet oblivious to his personal role in the current crisis if anything to go by is itself utterly absurd.

With the demise of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflicts in South Sudan (ARCISS) in July 2016 following the failed attempt on the life of SPLM-IO’s Chairperson and Commander in Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny in Juba, the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) legally ceased to exist.

Whatever is there now, is simply what the International community and the outgoing President Barrack Obama’s administration would like to maintain as a face-saving exercise, no more, no less.

Let me be very sincere with those who continue to think that anything good can still be achieved under the pathetic leadership of General Salva Kiir Mayardit, General Taban Deng Gai, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, and General Paul Malong Awan, that they are indeed hostages of a ‘Big Lie.’ For it is these generals who chose the path of violence as a way of addressing South Sudan’s political issues.

The generals would like to remain relevant to the politics of the country, and they can only achieve that by further dragging the entire country into more devastating, yet senseless civil war. I wish to believe they have reached their goals so far. To come out of it is not what they can be entrusted to accomplish.

Characteristic of Salva Kiir Mayardit and coterie, they have often portrayed themselves as peace loving people, but wherever they go, a trail of blood follows them. Maybe this little extract from the president’s Independence Day Speech can serve to shade light on what often trademarks his speeches and essentially, they are all about empty promises that the least sophisticated South Sudanese doesn’t even buy into anymore:

“It is my ardent belief that you are aware that our detractors have already written us off, even before the proclamation of our independence. They say we will slip into civil war as soon as our flag is hoisted. They justify that by arguing that we are incapable of resolving our problems through dialogue. They charge that we are quick to revert to violence. They claim that our concept of democracy and freedom is faulty. It is incumbent upon us to prove them all wrong!”.

Does anyone need reminding that the genesis of the 13th July 2013 crisis was a breakdown in dialogue within the ruling SPLM party!

The people of South Sudan deserve to have a better leadership than those murderers masquerading as statesmen. War is obviously not the best way to go about addressing national issues, yet this is what Salva Kiir’s regime has opted for. But there must be an end to this destructive war.

And while there is an urgent need to restart the process of a peaceful settlement, Salva Kiir will always be part of the problem and never of the solution.

Hence, until we can all see that this is the case, worse things will likely continue to happen in this new country while the culprits with the blessing of the inaction of the international community continue to enjoy financial and moral support in the regional and beyond.

No one with conscience including President Barrack Obama and his entire administration can miss seeing the many squandered opportunities that could have saved South Sudan should the situation continue to deteriorate, which indeed is already the case.

For many observers, including the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, headed by South Africa’s Yasmin Sooka and Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, have recently warned that the current violence, much of it inter-tribal and increasingly directed at ethnic cleansing, is sliding towards genocide.

Repeatedly, Sooka has said: ‘The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda and the international community is under an obligation to prevent it.’ The last time was on 1 December after visiting South Sudan with her commission.

Sadly indeed, nothing tangible has been coming from the African Union although we all know that the AU’s Constitutive Act permits forcible intervention in the case of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

As the number of South Sudanese who have abandoned their homes because of this war has already surpassed the one million mark, the crucial importance of the International community to continue with the provision of the much needed humanitarian assistance without hindrance cannot be overstressed.

However, a real process to reverse the precarious situation on the ground in South Sudan necessitates a new inclusive political process. This process MUST be outside South Sudan to enable the participants the freedom to delve into the various root causes of the conflict.

And whether they like it or not some very painstaking decisions must be reached to re-structure the future political, social and economic outlook of the new country be it in one piece or several pieces.

Yet the very crucial step must begin by immediately operationalizing the Hybrid courts for South Sudan to consider all the crimes committed in the period that started from 13th December 2013 to date. While preparing for all these, it is also important that Salva Kiir and his regime are held responsible for the demise of the ACRISS.

All leaders who are responsible for war crimes and offenses committed against humanity must also receive targeted sanctions in forms of travel bans and freeze of ALL their assets.

Finally, the time has come for this country to be put under severe forms of the arms embargo to stop this brutal and savage regime from continuing its vicious assaults on unarmed civilians cowardly using lethal Helicopter gunships and jet fighters.

It is the time that the international community comes to the realization of the wrong path the Obama administration has imposed on it by erroneously giving recognition to Salva Kiir-Taban Deng regime in Juba. They will come to regret it if they are already not doing so.

It is the time that they see the administration for actually what it stands for, as it is bent on imposing its violent kleptocratic nature on the country with wider ramifications for the entire region. Kiir’s regime is presiding over a pariah state that deserves isolation and not embracement.

Author: Justin Ambago Ramba. A Concern South Sudanese Citizen and a Voice for the Voiceless.

I hope Trump will take fresh look on South Sudan conflict – Machar’s wife, Angelina, says

By KEVIN J. KELLEY, TheEastAfrican, DEC/19/2016, SSN;

In Summary:
***Mrs Angelina Teny said civilians in parts of South Sudan are already being slaughtered on the basis of their tribal affiliations.
***She estimated that the overall death toll since the outbreak of violence three years ago may be nearing 100,000.

Government forces are currently engaged in genocide in South Sudan, Angelina Teny, the wife of opposition leader Riek Machar, charged.

Commenting on recent warnings by United Nations officials of looming genocide, Ms Teny said civilians in parts of South Sudan are already being slaughtered on the basis of their tribal affiliations.

“Genocide has been happening,” she said in an interview with the Nation on Saturday.

“It hasn’t reached the scale of Rwanda. It’s happening slowly, but it is happening.”

The killings are targeting members not only of her own Nuer tribe but “all ethnicities in a very big way”, Ms Teny declared.

It is not members of the Dinka tribe per se who are carrying out the killings, she said, but rather “the government in Juba led by Salva Kiir”, who is a Dinka.

Ms Teny blamed the South Sudan president for moving to “tribalise the conflict”.

She estimated that the overall death toll since the outbreak of violence three years ago may be nearing 100,000.

Asked about reports that rebel forces affiliated with her husband have also killed civilians, the senior opposition official said her side has “no policy of targeting civilians”.

She added that the armed opposition does have a policy of bringing to justice those in its ranks who kill civilians.

“People are not running away from the IO,” she said, using the “In Opposition” acronym. “They are running to the IO.”

Ms Teny said the IO supported the United States’ so-far-unsuccessful effort to persuade the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict in South Sudan.

“We don’t buy arms,” she said. “We get captured arms from the government. We would welcome an arms embargo.”

A FRESH LOOK

But Ms Teny simultaneously rejected another aspect of the US initiative at the UN.

She said the Obama administration should not be seeking to impose sanctions on additional leaders on both the government and rebel sides, including Riek Machar.

“When you lump people together,” she said, “you’re shifting the focus from the situation that needs to be addressed: genocide in South Sudan.”

Dr Machar remains in South Africa under unclear circumstances.

Ms Teny said her husband does not feel he is under house arrest there, but she added, “I would love to know whether they have arrested him”.

She declined to discuss his situation in detail.

Negotiations are urgently needed to end the war in South Sudan and to reach a political settlement, Ms Teny said.

By continuing to recognise the Kiir government, the Obama administration is not facilitating this process, she added.

Further, Ms Teny said US officials “have failed the people of South Sudan” by maintaining recognition of a government that is no longer a government of national unity.

She expressed hope that the Trump administration will take “a fresh look” at South Sudan and make needed changes in US policy.

“But it is not too late for Obama to act,” she emphasised. “He can still create a new political process.”

Ms Teny has been in the US for the past week, most recently meeting with UN officials in New York.

She said she will soon travel to the UK and then return to the US prior to going back to South Sudan.

She said it is not safe for her to go to Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

Instead, Ms Teny added, she can be secure in a part of the country controlled by the opposition. END

South Sudan: Too Many Problems but So Many Hopes

BY:Taban Abel Aguek, MP, and Govt. Chief Whip, Easten Lakes State, DEC/18/2016, SSN;

South Sudan is a country that emerged to be an independent State from a wave of turbulent eras of uncertainties. It’s history is largely an account of a series of protracted conflicts. In fact, South Sudanese people have, for the past centuries, invested more in wars than any other thing.

The history of the struggle of the black people of Sudan and South Sudan goes back to as early as prehistoric time. According to some recorded materials, the black people of the ‘Sudans’ were continually pushed way beyond Egypt until they found themselves in the present day Sudan and South Sudan before and after the 14th Century, following the collapse of the Christian Nubian Kingdoms of Makuria and Alodia.

Then the South Sudanese continued to wage bitter wars later against the Anglo-Egyptian colonization and then again against successive Arab Islamic regimes in Khartoum. And for all the wars the South Sudanese fought both in the ancient days down to most recent ones, there was one chief cause among all other things: Identity.

Generations, one after the other, lived in an environment of war. So basically, South Sudanese have lived with a culture of war of identity to an extent that war itself has almost evolved into a habit of settling their issues.

On January 9, 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan led by its ruling party, National Congress Party (NCP). Finally, a brutal conflict that started in 1983 (and cost millions of lives) was brought to an end.

Peace was just a general thing but out of all the protocols in the agreement, there was only one clause that actually meant peace; and that was the ‘South Sudan Referendum’.

For the first time in history of the struggle of South Sudanese, they would get a chance to choose to either remain in a united Sudan or secede and become an Independent State. In that, the referendum presented a choice of Identity (for which South Sudanese had fought for so long) or remain in an Arab dominated United Sudan and continue to live as second class citizens.

South Sudanese, on 9th January, 2011, voted 98.83% in favor of separation and passing over the 60% turn-out threshold for the Independent South Sudan. On July 9, 2011, the flag of the world’s youngest nation was hoisted to the wild jubilation of South Sudanese of all ages and of all creed.

But two years after Independence, the new country descended into another terrible conflict, this time against itself. Anyone who saw the exultance of the crowds in the streets of all major cities in the country could not believe their eyes.

A dreadful conflict has just broken out. What began like a simple game of politics had swayed from the peripheries of talks to the barrel of guns just in a very short time. Major towns were raced down, hundreds of thousands of people displaced and lives lost in huge numbers.

South Sudan, as an independent state, had come along with a plethora of problems. The old problems have coupled with new ones, and the burden is sure heavy. From independence it started from scratch. There is very little or no infrastructural development at all. Poverty is wide spread. Its healthcare is one of the worst in the world. Illiteracy is so high and so many things are just at an infant stage.

The region of Upper Nile and some parts of Equatoria have been left devastated by rampant insecurity. Targeted killings of people of certain ethnicities continue unabated. Tribalism has heightened and the economy is all but in tatters. This has not only left South Sudanese disillusioned but also very much forlorn.

With these facts, it is hard to deny that we are in problems. Yes, South Sudan is a country in deep problems but we are also a country with so much hope too. Pessimism is a disease that possesses the same effects as war itself.

As a result, south Sudanese should not give up faith in themselves and in their beloved country. South Sudan has so many problems, but people fail to realize that her hopes greatly outweigh her problems.

People should be mindful that we are not the only people fighting on earth. The problems in our country are the same problems associated with every new African country.

Chinua Achebe once said that there is nothing difficult than telling people that have been fighting for freedom for so long that you are now free; they will not know where they will begin.

Moreover, we still have the destiny of our country in our hands. We have not squandered all our chances. One only has to look at Syria, Somalia, Iraq or Libya to see the difference.

Much as our people suffered and continue to suffer today, not all is lost. Many times in the past, our revolutionary movement used to be written off, but we defied all odds until we reached to the ultimate goal.

Just like the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang de Mabior struggled through thick and thin for over two decades and survived, South Sudan will make it.

We are where we are (as an Independent Country) because of things we did right; but there are things that we did not do well, and I believe we have time to right all the wrongs.

One of the key battles we lost from the word go is the fight against corruption. Secondly, we never made the right policies or properly implemented the policies that existed.

This, I believe, is because of the confusion of amalgamation of political ideologies and work forces that had been of distant methodologies, competences and experiences.

After the signing of the CPA, South Sudanese choices for vital public offices came from various people who did not have any agenda for the country. The convergence of different SPLM chapters from SPLM-Bush, SPLM-Khartoum, SPLM-Diaspora and SPLM-Former Militias culminated into one unit that was good at theft, and not formulating a strong ideology for the country.

The worse then is; these people were recycled over and over again as they climbed the ladder to a point of the Biblical Tower of Babel, where they finally disagreed.

However, much as the country was terribly failed by the members of various groups, we must acknowledge that we exist and we are not totally off the mark. We have not lost it all. The situation South Sudan is facing has happened before and is still happening today in other countries that were established long, long ago.

As reported last week by CNN, Brazil and Greece, for instance, are suffering the economic problems just like South Sudan. Government workers in Nigeria go for months without salaries just like in South Sudan. War in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq are worse than the current unrest in our country.

Meanwhile, there’s no government in Somalia, South Sudan has a fully functioning government. Meanwhile we suffer fuel shortage in the country, people in Zimbabwe, according to one witness testimony aired by BB, experience severe water shortage for drinking and bathing.

Nothing is too late for South Sudan. We may be down but having fallen down is not the problem. The problem is if we fail to rise up against each fall. We have the potential to turn things over. Our people are among the world’s strongest people.

Our land is large and fertile. We have enough annual rainfall. Our natural resources are largely untapped. No situation is permanent. We shall not depend on imports for all our entire existence.

Generally, our identity project is not a failed endeavor. One of the strongest hopes South Sudanese have is their ability to reconcile. We have done it in the past and we can do it again.

One more time we need to stand strong and prove our skeptics wrong. With that we can surmount the challenges we face and one day we will build a nation that we aspire for. What we need now is to shun tribalism, foster unity, work hard in our different capacities to stitch together a working solution for the problems of our country.

The initiative by President Salva Kiir Mayardit for National Dialogue provides the chance to reinvigorate our combined efforts to make peace and reconcile our people. People of South Sudan need to embrace this initiative, give their full support, enrich it and own it.

We must put our hopes above the feeling of despair; for we have more hopes than problems in this country.

Taban Abel Aguek (MP) is the Government Chief Whip of Eastern Lakes State. His views do not represent the position of the Government of Eastern Lakes State. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

Kiir’s Call for National Dialogue is another gimmick: NDM Press Release

Press Release:
President Salva Kiir Mayardit delivered today before the Transitional National Legislative Assembly a speech he dubbed as “announcing the commencement of national dialogue”.

The National Democratic Movement would like to clarify its position on this development. Dialogue is a noble objective to resolve disputes and hence is something that all cherish and aspire for. However, any dialogue must be based on a clear definition of the parties involved and matters to be discussed and resolved.

More importantly, it must be anchored on a firm basis, especially in a country torn by an ethnically driven war like ours. The legal and constitutional basis of the current government led by President Salva Kiir is the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS).

Hence, any move he makes should be sanctioned by this agreement.

The objectives of the dialogue are set out on page 8 of the speech. Except for the first, the other nine (9) objectives are a mixture of matters related to the Constitution making process and issues to be dealt with under transitional justice.

Both categories are dealt with under Chapters V and VI of ARCISS. Ending all forms of violence in the country, the first objective, was achieved by ARCISS which Salva Kiir abrogated triggering off the current widespread insecurity in the country.

Therefore, this call by President Kiir for national dialogue is yet another gimmick to circumvent the implementation of ARCISS and a ploy to hoodwink the international community into believing that he is serious in implementing the moribund agreement.

This trick comes out clearly in his appeals to them on page 13 of the speech. What the government intends to do is to have an internal monologue with his surrogates.

Dialogue can only be between parties that have genuine differences between their positions on particular issues. The government should seek peace first which is a precondition for a meaningful and fruitful dialogue.

Ambassador, Emmanuel Aban
For/ the Spokesman

From: Emmanuel Aban
Subject: NDM Press Release
Country: USA

Message Body:
THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT (NDM)
Date: 15 December 2016

The Prospects of Peace in South Sudan: A Case of Double Standards?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, DEC/16/2016, SSN;

The commemoration of the December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians arrived while peace remains elusive in our troubled country. In fact, since those terrible days, the country has slid deeper into violence involving communities that were not part of the initial conflict.

The regime has since committed atrocities against the Chollo people, the Western Bahr Ghazalians and now the Equatorians. The war has spread to all parts of South Sudan.

The international community has been warned by Human Rights organisations and the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, that genocide is indeed looming in Equatoria unless effective measures are undertaken to avert it.

The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) remains supportive of the regional and international efforts to realise a lasting peace in South Sudan. However, those endeavours thus far lacked consistency or direction and appeared chaotic.

The IGAD group of countries have been sending conflicting messages – on the one hand, they suggested that the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) could not be implemented without one of the principal signatories.

On the other, they indicated the contrary. Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae tenure as the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) failed to make an impression on the course of events. Apart from infrequent statements that were merely for public consumption, the JMEC was largely an outsider to conflict resolution.

The Troika group is no better either. To explain this, let’s shed some light on the US position or positions. It appears Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, are in one league. They are advocating continuing with the damaged ARCSS.

Princeton Lyman, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Institute of Peace and Kate Almquist Knopf, Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Department of Defense – seem to be in a league of their own. In a joint article, published in the Financial Times on July 20, 2016 – they came up with the idea of a UN/AU transitional administration for South Sudan for a period ranging from 10 to 15 years.

For the records, a UN Trusteeship is not a new idea. This author first suggested it in two articles on this website [ (UN Trusteeship is the best option to resolve the crisis in South Sudan on July 16, 2016) and (The Root Causes of Political Violence in South Sudan – What’re the solutions? on July 31, 2016 )]. They also suggested that Kiir and Machar should be offered immunity from prosecution and safe haven abroad!

It makes us wonder whether the US has backtracked on its stance regarding accountability. If the US on several occasions has emphasised the need for accountability, then who will be the individuals to face justice if the persons who issued the orders are to be left alone?

More confusing is that the views of the two officials are at odds with what their boss previously indicated. I quote what President Obama said while addressing the AU in Addis Ababa in July 2015, “The world awaits the African Union Commission (AUC) report because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace.”

At the UN, we saw Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN abandoning a plan to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposing arms embargo on South Sudan. It’s understandable that it wouldn’t have passed because of the Russian and Chinese Vetos.

But the US and its allies could have gotten the job done anyway. South Sudan is a landlocked country making arms embargo a lot easier.

The problem is that there appears to be some complacency and lack of political will to deal with the issue at hand once and for all. The US is the ultimate superpower until further notice, and we believe it could do more if it wants to.

In 2003, President George W Bush, formed the “Coalition of the willing” to circumvent the Russian and Chinese Vetos against the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein. It’s arguable that such a coalition though for a different purpose, does exist between the Troika countries, the IGAD group of countries and the regional powers.

The way Dr Riek Machar has been shut out from the neighbouring countries tells us that something of that kind is already underway. The question that begs for an answer is that – if an “embargo” has been successfully imposed on Dr Riek Machar, why can’t an arms embargo against the regime in Juba be imposed using similar means?

Are we witnessing a case of double standards?

The calls for an arms embargo from the numerous Human Rights organisations, the relief agencies and the UN relevant institutions were regrettably ignored. A dictatorial regime led by an illegitimate President is allowed to buy and increase its stockpile of weapons. The result would certainly be more atrocities against the innocent civilians in Equatoria and other parts of South Sudan.

The Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is damaged beyond repair. Pretending that it’s still workable is deceptive and a counter-productive exercise. It was inherently flawed because of exclusion of major players from the Peace Agreement.

The first mistake committed by the brokers of ARCSS was to think that striking a deal between those who possessed arms would solve the problem. They overlooked the overwhelming majority of the South Sudanese people who were indeed opposing the regime peacefully.

The second mistake was that they were not bold enough to exclude the two rival leaders from leading the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Again, it was the view of this author in an article published on this website (No Deal is better than a Bad Deal on July 31, 2015) that a neutral national figure, preferably a member of the clergy, should be made to lead the Transition.

That would have brought some confidence in the system as a starting point and hastened the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

The brokers have now learned it the hard way – you cannot exclude a significant constituency, in fact, the cornerstone of the country from power-sharing and expect the Peace Agreement to succeed. At best it would be a piecemeal Peace Process and never comprehensive.

Re-negotiating ARCSS by all the stakeholders won’t work because the government already has reservations and regarded it as an imposed Peace Agreement. Also, the newcomers to the negotiating table would certainly have issues with what was agreed upon by the two sides.

Furthermore, the brokers themselves have shown a lack of neutrality on numerous occasions. The two options that have better chances of success are the following:

(a) Broad-based Peace negotiations inclusive of all the stakeholders under the auspices of the UN and the AU. Choosing the right system of governance for South Sudan would be at the centre of the negotiations. Exclusion of Kiir and Machar from presiding over the Transition would be a pre-requisite. A government of technocrats led by a neutral figure preferably a clergyman would be the right option to lead the country in a Transition of 3 to 5 years.

A general election shall then be held at the end of the Transition with the participation of all the political parties.

(b) A UN Trusteeship in collaboration with AU for at least five years would set the country on track and bring about a lasting peace.

Similarly, as in option (a), general elections would be carried out at the end of the Trusteeship.

As things stand right now, the so-called international community (depends on which group of countries you refer to) appears complacent, and some countries are displaying sheer opportunism. Those who have been lecturing us about democracy and the rule of law, ought to redeem themselves as their credibility is on the line.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

A Dire Warning: Ethnic war looms as South Sudan marks three years of clashes

By AFP, The East African, Posted DEC/15/2016;

IN SUMMARY:
***The international community, which strongly backed the country’s drive to independence in 2011, has been powerless to stop the worsening violence, with the UN issuing stark warnings of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing.
***Neither government nor rebel sides seem able to win militarily or to turn battlefield gains into political ones.
“South Sudan’s regional neighbours could stop this, really, at any time if they wanted to and collectively saw the interest. The problem is that their interests are often competing,” Alan Boswell, an independent analyst, says.

Despite a brief truce, hopes for peace have crumbled in South Sudan as its civil war hits the three-year mark with ethnic violence only getting worse and no end in sight.

“South Sudan’s war continues to escalate and engulf more and more of the country,” said Alan Boswell, an independent analyst, who expects further major offensives with the imminent start of the dry season.

The international community, which strongly backed the country’s drive to independence in 2011, has been powerless to stop the worsening violence, with the UN issuing stark warnings of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Both sides have been recruiting new soldiers — sometimes by force and including children — and are preparing for full-on war, said Boswell, while diplomats struggle with how to prevent it.

“There’s no actual peace process or political plan right now. So there is no framework for the international community to even pressure the parties to stop,” said Boswell.

“The international community has more less accepted that (more) fighting is about to break out,” he added.

War broke out on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy and political rival, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.

A peace agreement signed two and a half years later raised hopes of an end to a conflict marked by atrocities which has left tens of thousands dead and more than three million displaced.

The deal’s implementation, however, lasted just over two months.

Traditional fighting season

Machar returned to the capital Juba in late April to form a government of national unity with Kiir, but violent clashes broke out in July, leaving hundreds dead.

Machar was forced to flee through the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is now exiled in South Africa — isolated but still the bellicose leader of the rebellion.

After its outbreak in Juba, the war was largely restricted to the northern states of Unity, Upper Nile and Jonglei but has in recent months expanded into the southern Equatoria region surrounding Juba.

As the rains draw to a halt and the traditional fighting season is set to start, Kiir on Wednesday called for a “national dialogue” in a speech to parliament, urging an end to hostilities and calling for forgiveness “for any mistakes I might have committed.”

However he made no mention of his foe Machar and it is unclear how his call would be received by the rebels.

Ethnic killings have intensified in recent months, particularly in and around the southern town of Yei, pushing tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in neighbouring Uganda.

These atrocities have drawn the attention of the international community with UN experts in early December reporting “ethnic cleansing” in several parts of South Sudan.

Weeks earlier the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, warned of “a strong risk of violence escalating along ethnic lines, with the potential for genocide.”

That view is widely held.

“What is happening now, there is clear ethnic targeting and if it grows, if it becomes massive, it will not be different to what happened in Rwanda,” said James Okuk, a political analyst at the University of Juba, referring to the 1994 genocide.

In southern Equatoria, “now the main theatre of the war… the government basically has almost no control outside of a few garrison towns,” said Boswell.

But at the same time, “the rebels have proven unable to actually launch offensives against major government strongholds,” because they are “way, way out-resourced” by the government.

“The government is militarily stronger but politically weaker,” said Boswell, while “the rebellion has strong sympathies in much of the country, yet militarily the rebels are quite weak.”

International pressure forced the South Sudanese government to accept the proposed deployment of an additional 4,000-strong UN “protection force”, but months later it remains on paper only and the fighting continues.

The key to peace, said Boswell, lies with South Sudan’s neighbours, if they can find common ground.

“South Sudan’s regional neighbours could stop this, really, at any time if they wanted to and collectively saw the interest. The problem is that their interests are often competing,” he said.

Since July’s fighting there has been diplomatic disarray, with no regional policy or agreement on what to do. Foreign powers, led by the US, that were heavily involved in ending the long war with Sudan and then ushering in South Sudan’s independence in July 2011 seem equally at a loss.

“The US basically doesn’t have a policy on South Sudan right now,” said Boswell, and that has left “a huge vacuum for international policy”. END

LATEST NEWS: Dr. Riek Machar under ‘House Arrest’ by South African govt. in Pretoria

BY: Peter Fabricius and Denis Dumo, MAIL & GUARDIAN, Pretoria, DEC/13/2016;

South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar, who fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in August after fierce fighting, is being held in South Africa to stop him stirring up trouble, diplomatic and political sources said on Tuesday.

Removing Machar from circulation would be a blow to his rebel SPLA-IO faction in its three-year war with President Salva Kiir’s mainstream SPLA, and could sway a conflict the United Nations fears is tilting towards genocide.

Over a million people have fled the world’s youngest nation since conflict erupted in late 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired Machar, a Nuer, as his deputy. The cross-border exodus is the largest in central Africa since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

In South Africa, a well-connected regional political consultant said Machar was being held “basically under house arrest” near Pretoria with his movements restricted and his phone calls monitored and controlled.

“If he wants to go to the toilet he has to hand over his phone and a guy stands outside the cubicle,” the source said.

Department of international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela denied Machar was being held against his will, describing him instead as a “guest” of Pretoria as South Africa tried to prevent the civil war sliding into genocide.

“Him being our guest here is part of our responsibility as a mediator,” Monyela said, adding that it was “difficult to predict” the duration of his stay.

“It’s very hard to put timelines on these peace and security situations.”

Dickson Gatluak, a Machar spokesperson in Ethiopia, denied there were any restrictions on Machar and dismissed the reports as misinformation. “This is not true. It’s baseless and unfounded,” Gatluak said in Juba.

“Dr. Machar is safe and doing his normal duties as usual. He is communicating to us daily, including his field commanders in the entire country.”

Attempts to speak to Machar in South Africa via his spokesperson were unsuccessful.

Kiir visited President Jacob Zuma, on December 2 to “review … the latest regional political and security developments on the continent”, according to a South African statement that gave no further details.

Refugee accounts and human rights reports point to both sides in South Sudan targeting civilians along ethnic lines.

Juba or Joburg: You decide:

Machar reached a peace deal in 2015 with Kiir but the agreement fell apart in July, leading to several days of intense fighting in Juba, the capital of the five-year-old nation.

Machar himself was wounded and after fleeing to Congo went to Sudan, a long-term supporter of his rebel faction, for medical treatment. He then turned up in South Africa in October for more treatment.

A diplomatic source said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-country East African group, had asked Pretoria to make sure Machar did not leave. The United States, Britain and Norway had supported that request, the source added.

“He keeps going back and mobilising his people and stirring up problems,” the source said. “It’s best to keep him here for a while.”

Machar flew two weeks ago to Ethiopia, which has also tried and failed as a mediator, but was refused entry and given a stark choice: go back to South Africa or get dumped in Juba, to be left at the mercy of Kiir’s troops, two of the sources said.

“The Ethiopians told him there were two planes sitting on the tarmac – one heading to Juba and one heading to Joburg – and told him he had 10 minutes to decide,” the political source said.

“It didn’t take long.” – Reuters

South Sudanese Community in the Diaspora Rally at Trump Tower in New York, Dec. 15th, to remember 2013 Genocide victims

December 11, 2016: PRESS RELEASE

South Sudan International Advocacy for Human Rights, Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan, alliance for South Sudan in Diaspora, South Sudanese Civil Societies, and the Faith-Based Organizations in Diaspora will host a peaceful rally in New York City at the Trump Tower on December,15 2016 to memorialize victims of the Juba Genocide that took place in 2013 and of the ongoing violence in the country.

This is a concerted effort to alert the incoming Trump administration that crimes on the scale of genocide have been committed in South Sudan by the current regime in Juba. The prospect of the worst case scenario is transpiring as the government is still targeting certain ethnic groups in all three regions of South Sudan.

Given the known trends of violence, the South Sudanese along with informed American citizens are deeply disturbed seeing innocent civilians burned alive and women gang raped by the regime forces. To our shock and dismay, the world is quiet.

Violence around the country and particularly the July incident in Juba has claimed the lives of hundreds and displaced tens of thousands of civilians.

In Juba, the U.N. Protection of Civilian compound was attacked, killing civilians and U.N. workers. The World Food Program storage was looted by regime soldiers in uniform, denying thousands of displaced civilians the much needed humanitarian relief.

The recent killings and burning civilians alive in the town of Yei by regime troops signifies a prospect for a massive humanitarian catastrophe in South Sudan.

In light of visible intention of the South Sudanese government to carry a scorched-earth policy of destroying civilians, we the South Sudanese American community and the other well-informed American citizens are asking the incoming administration to take action in South Sudan to save the victimized civil population in a timely manner.

The Rally will take place in front of Trump Tower 56th & 67th Fifth Avenue at 11:00am to 2:30pm followed by a Memorial Prayer Service candle light at the Church, from 3pm-4pm.
For more information, please contact the rally organizers:

South Sudan International Advocacy for Human Rights (SSIAHR) – Peter Gatkuoth W. Kuel – peterkuel@yahoo.com or 206-393-2164
Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan (GaPPSS) – Theresa Samuel – theresa.samuelboko@gmail.com or 408-712-0009
Human Rights Activists – Simon Deng – sdengkak@yahoo.com or 917-698-5440
Alliance for Sudan in Diaspora -Dr George Phillip Imuro. imurot@yahoo.com 915 217-5124

Genocide looms in South Sudan, does anyone care?

By Muthoni Wanyeki, THE EASTAFRICAN, DEC/06/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: Academics and civil society are calling for renewed negotiation of what they term a “legitimate, just” peace — based on inclusion of all South Sudanese except the belligerents.

What does it say about us that a warning of genocide has been given and yet we have no response?

Adama Dieng, the Senegalese United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, has spoken with urgency of the degenerating situation in South Sudan. His findings were reiterated this past week by Christine Chanet, the South African chair of the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding committee. She warned of intensified violence with the advent of the dry season.

Their calls — largely unheeded — have been for individualised and targeted sanctions, an arms embargo and the hybrid court. Sanctions and the arms embargo are blocked by differing interests at both the UN Security Council and the African Union levels.

The AU is moving on technical preparations for the hybrid court — but how it can possibly function, let alone achieve compliance, in the prevailing situation is hard to understand.

Their calls have also been for urgent reinforcement of the UN Mission in South Sudan by at least 4,000 new troops. Here too there is no seriousness.

The AU’s authorisation of an intervention force mid-this year only recently achieved the consent of the belligerents, notably in the transitional government. The removal of the (then new) Kenyan commander for failure to protect civilians, including relief workers in a Protection of Civilians site, sparked the retaliatory withdrawal of Kenyan troops.

In the ensuing furore, what was left unaddressed was the culpability of commanders and troops of the transitional government who attacked civilians and the PoC site in the first place.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has been allowed to undermine the peace agreement with impunity. First, by his creation of multiple regional governments under his control to minimise the control of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition. And second, by getting away with ousting the head of the IO from the transitional government.

The transitional government is bankrupt — with oil production down as a result of the conflict and global oil prices down as well. The numbers of internally displaced are steadily rising, as are the numbers of asylum-seekers crossing the border into Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda.

Yet there are no new ideas on the table. The latest from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s monitoring group is a feeble call for “traditional” leaders to work for peace at their level.

It is nothing short of tragic. Showing up the failures of both the UN and the African Peace and Security Architecture. And of the model of conflict-resolution still so doggedly relied on to date — the negotiated peace settlement between the belligerents.

What is the alternative? South Sudanese academics and civil society have reacted as strongly to the mainly American calls for a “trusteeship” over South Sudan as they did when the call was first made by the AU’s Commission of Inquiry into South Sudan.

They call instead for renewed negotiation of what they have termed a “legitimate, just” peace — based on inclusion of all South Sudanese except the belligerents. With a transitional and purely technocratic government. Militarily guaranteed by some combination of an UN/AU force.

The answers are not clear. What is clear is that this cannot go on. We said “never again” when we introduced what is the right of humanitarian intervention into the AU’s Constitutive Act. We seem to have forgotten that.

L. Muthoni Wanyeki is Amnesty International’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes

Juba Govt in a Dilemma: Disengagement with SPLM-North versus Reinstatement of Dr. Machar to Resuscitate Peace Agreement

BY: Joseph Odhok, NOV/07/2016, SSN;

The story of SPLM/A North dates back to the days of the revolutionary war of struggle waged by the Sudan People Liberation Army under the command of Dr. John Garang De Mabior against the Sudanese successive governments. The people of Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile States, attracted by the vision of “New Sudan” joined the ranks of the movement in their tens of thousands.

Their aspirations had been the realization of development, justice and equality based on citizenship in their neglected and least developed areas. The “New Sudan” motto then being advocated by Dr. John Garang seemed the answer to these aspirations.

Having received military training, many of graduating soldiers of these people were deployed in the South and fought alongside their comrades from the South against the government army.

When the war ended in 2005, their forces remained an integral part of the SPLA under the peace deal though they have a separate protocol referred to as “The Resolution of Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.” This Protocol provided for “Popular Consultation” by the fourth year of the Interim Period.

Under popular consultation, the CPA would be subjected to the people of the two States to ascertain their view on implementation by means of a “Parliamentary Assessment & Evaluation Commission,” tasked to assess and evaluate the implementation and subsequently report to each State which in turn should endorse it or rectify its shortcomings.

On Security Arrangements, under “Redeployment of Forces”, the two forces, SAF & SPLA, were to disengage and separate.

Forces of Sudan Armed Forces SAF deployed in Southern Sudan were redeployed North of South/North border of 1/1/1956. While SPLA forces deployed in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile were redeployed south of the South/North border of 1/1/1956. Thus putting the two areas under SAF control.

With this brief background, the reader will be able to a certain extent, make some inference of what would be the nature of future relationship configuration between the SPLA/North and SPLA/South after cessation of South Sudan from Sudan.

The people of Southern Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains felt betrayed by the new leadership which succeeded Dr. John Garang when they abandoned the movement’s original vision of “New Sudan”.

A united Sudan under new political dispensation would have guaranteed their rights for development, justice and equality, and as a consequence meeting their aspirations.

In fact the CPA offered them nothing tangible than the hope of getting their fair share of development and political participation within the new politically restructured country, where the alliance of the SPLM and the people from the least developed regions would be the dominant political force.

Faced with uncertain future, and given their significant influence in the composition of SPLA forces, and to avoid the negative impact their resentment may cause if their grievance is not addressed, there is a possibility of some kind of a deal having been reached between the two parties on the fault-line. This would include the fate of their forces after South Sudan got it independence.

Which is why all the efforts to transform SPLA into a National professional army of South Sudan came to no fruition, and thus the country’s leadership deliberately retained its name ostensibly to resist disengagement to appease their comrades and also to use them for their secret purposes.

Technically, SPLA/North remains part and parcel of the SPLM/SPLA-IG despite political rhetoric of disengagement by the Juba regime. They are still based in the country and get their weaponry and other support from the SPLA and the government.

They also fight alongside SPLA forces against the Opposition forces across the country. Its leadership is also embroiled in corruption scandals together with the country’s political elite and the military top brass.

At present, they are the strongest military force that the regime has got after the SPLA disintegrated and reduced to a tribal weak force following the current raging ethno-political war across the country.

Last Month, the Sudanese President, Omer Al-Bashir issued an ultimatum to Juba regime to immediately disengage from the Sudanese rebels and force them out of its territories. He gave the regime until the end of the current Month of December 2016 to act or else face the military might of the Sudanese Army.

In response, President Kiir summoned Malek Agar, the Commander in Chief and Chairman of SPLM/A-N and gave him orders to that effect. But Agar downplayed the President’s orders and walked away.

Kuol Manyang Juuk, the Minister of Defense after meeting the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, said he would fight the Sudanese rebels if they refused to leave the country.

The question is: Will the regime risk fighting its allied forces while at the same time fighting the Opposition forces? If not, will it succumb to the mounting pressures of the realities on the ground and reinstate Dr. Riek Machar to his position and revive the peace agreement?

In the event that the regime chooses the first option as the defense Minister Juuk would want it to be, then it would be putting its combat capability on line.

Battling their former allies will certainly contribute to further decline of their military capacity and shift the balance in favour of the Opposition forces groups.

One would assume that the Sudanese rebels would not voluntarily march to their death without a fight after all the sacrifices they made in order for the regime to cling to power. As a consequence, Juba would lose its control over many parts of the country as the ethno-political war continues between communities allied to the main warring rivals.

The international community appears to take at face value what the regime in Juba tells them. The truth is, the war in South Sudan took a dramatic turn from initially being a political power struggle within the ruling party, to ethno-political conflict.

Prompted by losing parts of their lands as a result of President Kiir’s decree #34/2015 which further divided the country into 28 tribal States, and coupled with systematic settlement of the Dinka nomadic tribes in community’s land of Greater Equatoria, many rebel groups sprang up and the waves of rebellion kept on growing.

These groups — The Chollo, The Equatorians, The Fertit and most recently The Murle— all formed a loose alliance with the SPLM/A–IO which is predominantly Nuer.

These groups are now fighting against the government and its allied militia (Mathiang Anyoor & Padang dinka). It is unfortunate that the regime continues to mislead the world by calling them bandits and persistently continues to use its military machine against the unarmed communities which it blamed for supporting these groups.

The second option: Is the most viable option if the government wanted to see peace return to the country. But it must equally be prepared for all that comes with it, which means making compromises for the sake of peace.

The return of Dr. Riek Machar as the recognized Opposition leader in the Peace Process means uniting the other rebel groups allied to SPLM/A–IO under one chain of command and hence stopping the current raging war and looming genocide.

It means resuscitating the peace agreement and opening it up to incorporate the concerns of other rebel groups who rebelled following July 8th Juba J1 Incident.

It means reinstatement of Dr. Riek to his former position as the 1st Vice President and subsequently his new Ministers.

With the peace agreement revived and the TGNU in place, a responsible and meaningful dialogue could be arranged with SPLM/A–N rebels aimed at finding peaceful means to the conflict with the Sudan Government and concluding mutual agreement that would be witnessed by South Sudan Government.

It is now up to the government to choose the path it deems feasible to salvage the country from total collapse and anarchy. The situation across the country is worsening and calls for an urgent intervention.

If the country’s leadership still lacks the political will then the UNSC must exercise it obligation and place South Sudan under UN Trusteeship but not just sit by and watch genocide being committed which has actually begun in some parts of the country. END