Archive for: January 2017

The Truth About the death of Gen. Gabriel Tanginye and the War in Hamra, Upper Nile State between Lam’s NDM forces versus Oling’s Agwelek and Machar’s SPLM-IO

JAN/06/2017, SSN;

The Director for Information & Public Relations of the SPLM/A-IO issued today a press statement on the events taking place in the western bank of Upper Nile. One has to struggle to understand the English which must have been a literal translation from a local language. All the same one grasps some points here and there. This is the subject of this statement.

1. The Director contradicts himself when he claims that our forces attacked Hamra (his Amara) and were taught “unforgettable esson”, then in the same breath concludes that “Now, the SPLA-IO has taken a full control of Amara (sic)”. However hard the SPLA-IO tries to distort the facts, the truth oozes out through their lies.

The meaning of his claim is that they were in control of Hamra when the NDM forces of Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin, attacked it and got repulsed. If that were to be the case, how then did the same force take control of a place they were already in?

2. The indisputable truth is that it was the forces of the National Democratic Movement (NDM) that were in Hamra since last ovember. They were attacked by Johnson Olony’s forces on Tuesday the 3rd instant. Olony’s forces moved from Kaka to attack Hamra at the northern part of northwestern Upper Nile. This force was repulsed and dispersed after sustaining heavy casualties in manpower and material as we reported yesterday.

Yesterday, a bigger force from Johnson Olony’s Agwelek moved from Kaka again and was joined by the SPLM/A-IO forces in Kola and Kuek, and attacked Hamra again at about 11:00 am today. Our forces made a tactical withdrawal and the attacking force occupied Hamra. Therefore, it was the NDM forces that were the victim of an unprovoked attack from a combined Agwelek and SPLM/A-IO force.

3. It is common knowledge that Agwelek has behaved all along in relation to SPLM/A-IO as a movement within a movement. Theirs has been a marriage of convenience. So is the case in their enmity towards the National Democratic Movement (NDM).

Concrete evidence proves that Agwelek is in cahoots with the regime in Juba which has been supplying it with money through known individuals loyal to the regime. Their joint project with the Juba government is for Agwelek to take over all the areas west of the Nile not under government control from the border with Sudan to Tonga so that the steamers can move freely between Renk and Juba and the 28 states project is guaranteed.

For Riek Machar, the struggle is a power project and hence nothing that can interfere with that should be allowed. He sees the presence of the NDM on the ground as obstructing that ambition. As such from day one he didn’t see the NDM as an ally in the struggle against the Juba regime but a competitor that must be denied presence on the ground. Riek Machar and Olony had a common purpose in fighting the NDM.

4. As soon as Olony landed in Megenis in November last year, he started planning his moves. He attempted the attack on Hamra in early December last year but failed because the soldiers defied his orders.

Without shame, Agwelek and SPLM/A-IO turned things around and claimed that there was an attempt on Olony’s life. How on earth somebody could think of attacking somebody who has a huge force armed to teeth, as he was then and always, is mind-boggling. It is their culture to twist facts and turn them around to suit their purposes. This is what they are doing today.

5. The orders to mount an attack on Hamra in December and in the last two days were issued by Dr Riek Machar himself who, in his wishful thinking, believes that if NDM forces were driven out of Hamra the NDM will be denied presence in the field and he will have the monopoly of armed resistance.

When the attack on Hamra failed in December, Olony moved to Kaka to consolidate his collaboration with Juba. In Kaka, he received ammunition from the government army garrison in Melut and promoted the soldiers that were reluctant to fight the NDM into his meaningless Brigadiers and major-Generals.

6. It is the ammunition that Olony’s Agwelek got from the Juba regime that Riek’s SPLM/A-IO used today to fight the forces of NDM. Yet, they have the audacity to accuse the latter of becoming “SPLM-IG Militia”. Wonders never cease!

7. If the SPLM/A-IO believes they were fighting the Juba regime why didn’t they attack Wadakona which is a stone’s throw from Kola? In order to attack the NDM at Hamra, Olony had to travel from Kaka leaving behind Wadakona. If they were fighting the regime in Juba why didn’t he attack Wadakona together with their allies the SPLM/A-IO?

Fundamentally, Olony left behind Watajwok, Lelo and Detang which are occupied by the Juba army to come and attack the NDM forces at Hamra. Why didn’t he start his attacks with them?

8. The SPLM/A-IO propaganda that “Gabriel Tang and Okiech have been trying for the last two weeks to take over the forces of SPLM/A-IO as well as the forces of AGWELEK to secure Lam Akol military presence in Upper Nile” is as bogus as it is ridiculous. The NDM is there on the ground and doesn’t need to take over any other force. It is cheap propaganda to portray NDM in bad light. We will be there with or without SPLM/A-IO and with or without Agwelek.

9. What we know is that both projects of three axis of evil that is Olony, Riek Machar and Taban Deng will eventually fail. Olony will fail because the gallant forces of Agwelek will not sell their principles and Chollo land for coins of silver that are provided by Taban Deng.

Riek will also fail because his lies cannot be sustained indefinitely. He is bent on seeing that since the roof is falling on him, it must fall on all.

10. We bow and salute martyr Gabriel Tang Ginya who fell heroically today. He was not captured as the enemies of our people claim, but fell fighting like a lion. We also regret the unnecessary loss of lives between those who claim to have a common objective. Their blood will continue to haunt the self-seeking traitors.

11. We would like to assure the masses of our people who are suffering under the repressive oppressive ethnocentric regime in Juba that the NDM will not be detracted by the self-interested groups to fight small and senseless battles, but shall remain focused to achieve its set objectives in bringing about a genuine change in our war weary country.

Long live the struggle of our People
Long live South Sudan
A luta continuaNDM)
For/ the Spokesman, The National Democratic Movement (NDM)

South Sudan Bishop Santo condemns South Sudan political leaders of bad governance

BY: JOSEPH ODUHA, TheEastAfrican, JAN/03/2017, SSN;

A South Sudanese cleric has warned political leaders in the country against violent takeover of power.

The Catholic bishop, Santo Laku Pio, lamented that last year was associated with fear, rape, hatred, and lack of political will to implement the peace agreement.

The bishop made the remarks while celebrating the New Year mass at St Theresa Cathedral, Kator, in the capital Juba.

He cited bad governance and misuse of resources for personal and political gain as key elements retarding the progress of peace and development in the war torn country.

“2016 was associated with bad governance. Our resources have been mismanaged. Our ethnicities have been used for personal and political gain,” he said.

He urged the political leaders across the country to embrace dialogue for the development of the nation.

The bishop further condemned the destruction of properties including food, deliberate killing, robbery, unnecessary use of force to displaced people and war propaganda by the parties to the conflict in the country.

“You can’t say I signed peace with reservation, reservation is lies. Peace is peace and nothing else,” he said.

He criticised both the government and opposition leaders who don’t want peace to prevail in South Sudan saying they wanted to continue looting the nation.

“It is true that there are people among us who don’t want peace. They want war and they are sons and daughters of violence.

“Don’t follow them. Don’t follow the violent people in our country. Make the violent people irrelevant in our community,” he told the congregation.

Two years after seceding from Sudan, South Sudan plunged into a war on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. A peace agreement signed in August 2015 has since crumbled after fresh fighting erupted in July last year.

Kiir’s Dialogue for peace offers rarest opportunity to achieve lasting peace and a durable constitution in South Sudan

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, JAN/02/2017, SSN;

On December 14, 2016, the President of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit, gave one of the rarest and the best speeches in the history of South Sudan. What made that particular speech stand out and the best among all his other speeches in my opinion, was the fact that not only did the President give what is required in order to achieve peace in South Sudan but he also gave a method of how to achieve it.

The three stages of how dialogue should be conducted as proposed by the President in that speech is the proper approach to achieving peace because we should not at this time go to the neighbouring countries to search for peace when we have the country.

The reason the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, 2005 was made in Kenya was that South Sudanese did not have the country.

Moreover, the Peace that is always made outside South Sudan limits the participation of the rural people, which explains why a peace process takes only the views of the warring parties without considering the needs of our rural people as the government and the SPLA-IO are presumed to represent the people which are not true.

Contrary to the belief as stated in the above paragraph, the Government and the SPLA-IO represent their own interests and this explains the fact that any slight friction between the two parties will always result into deadly clashes. Because each party jealously protects its own interest and forget the needs of the people they are presumed to be representing.

However, the initiative of the President on how to achieve peace in South Sudan through dialogue will help the people to contribute their views in the peace process and how peace should be achieved.

This will further make the people own the peace and protect it and will also make it hard for anybody whether the government or armed oppositions to break it without risking to lose the support of the people on the ground.

This point alone makes the approach of the President important in achieving peace in South Sudan.

In addition, the President in that speech as indicated by his choice of words (or diction) showed that he is the head of the nation and he is ready to lead and protect the nation and her citizens and to achieve peace by all means.

The fact of the assertion as I have just made in the foregoing sentence is illustrated by the following repetitive but important words of the President:—

“I am deeply concerned about the direction our country is heading to: tribal hatred and divisions. I am deeply concerned about the parents who cannot feed their children due to the shrinking economy. I am deeply concerned about the street children and all the citizens of this country. We shall work to preserve and protect the unity of our people. As your President, I will not allow this suffering to continue. I shall be the patron of the NATIONAL DIALOGUE. We fought for the unity of this country but not to tear it apart. We shall guarantee its unity. Let us embrace the unity. I am initiating the national dialogue. It has been the hallmark of the Liberation struggle…”

The words of the president as quoted above shows the seriousness of the president with the peace dialogue this time because he accepted responsibility as head of the State as he has seen the suffering of the South Sudanese and even apologizes to them.

Even though many people are skeptical with the initiative of the president on how to bring peace in South Sudan and even dismissed it as political gimmicks, but as far as I am concerned, the choice of words shows that the President meant what he is talking about and ready to stick to it.

Thus, I really appreciate the humbleness of the president as exhibited in that Speech. In other words, it was a great speech in the history of South Sudan.

What makes it a great speech is its practical aspect. The speech outlined the objectives, goals and the procedures to be followed if the peace in South Sudan were to be achieved.

Therefore, the President seemed to have realized that if the lasting peace in South Sudan is to be achieved, then, it must be not externally but internally driven.

As has been in our case since the civil war broke in 2013, the effort to achieve peace in South Sudan has been externally driven, which always ends up in failure.

The reason for the failure of externally driven peace process has been explained by some writers who have observed that externally driven international efforts to resolve the conflict in Africa are often faced with the limitation that local parties are sometimes unwilling, or unable, to relate to such initiatives.

Hence, the local people are always left out in the process of peace making and are unable to relate to such initiatives geared towards achieving peace lasting peace.

This is premised on the fact that the peace process is conducted on the official high-level diplomacy hence marginalizing the local population. As a result, the peace process becomes alien to the local people.

Another weakness of the externally driven peace process or liberal peace project as some of the writers have termed it is that it is an intervention designed to facilitate the establishment of durable peace and prevent recurrence of violence. These include peacekeeping, peace support operations, disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration.

As seen above, the externally driven peace process leaves out the local population and only concentrates on the warring parties and how to stop peace at conflict level.

For this reason, the peace accord is always drafted based on the views of the leaders on both sides of conflict and by consequence, it leaves out the local population or the supporters of the two parties.

The consequence of the externally driven peace is that it can easily be terminated by stronger party when it feels threatened by the content of peace agreement. This was the reason why the Compromised Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2015 of South Sudan easily gave way to another deadliest conflict in July 2016.

The whole thing is that weaknesses of the liberal peace project as explained above might have conditioned the decision of the President to call for national dialogue. The national dialogue as the president envisages is intended to be a means of finding out the views of every South Sudanese in rural areas other than relying on the views of politicians who only wanted the peace agreement to be drafted in a way that brings them closer to power and resources.

After coming to power and the resources, they forget the people, only to remember them when their interests are threatened.

Nonetheless, proposing the national dialogue as a means of achieving peace in South Sudan, the President of South Sudan has got it right. This is because the president is going to kill two birds with one stone.

The dialogue is going to bring the war to an end and at the same time the views of the people as obtained in the process of dialogues will provide the basis for the constitution. When we talk of the constitution we mean the supreme law of the land.

The term “supreme law of the land” has its origin from English Common law. In other words, the supreme law of the land refers to the English customs that were associated with the values found in English land and later those customs or English values were adopted by the Norman Kings through the adoption of common law or common customs that were turned into law by Norman Kings beginning in 1066 AD.

Norman Kings were kings who came from France to colonize England in 1066 and in the process of colonization, they adopted common customs. Such customs were later applied throughout England and Wales as common law because they were common customs applicable to all the people in England and Wales.

Thus, because those were common customs, the common law was and it is still respected today in England and Wales. In the same way the dialogue may bring up the common law to all South Sudanese that may be the basis for the common law of South Sudan or strong constitution respected by the local population.

At the same time, the peace process achieved through such a dialogue cannot be easily abrogated by any of the parties to the conflict because all citizens will own it and defend it.

In regard to the need for justice as many people have been making as a point of doubting viability of such a dialogue, I would like to point out that the local people have the rights to decide and express what they need during the dialogue and the President as the patron will be forced to adopt such views.

Hence, if they say they need justice and in a given form and to be achieved through a given manner, then the authorities will accept it because they were the ones who proposed the method of peace making process.

In short, the presidential initiative on dialogue for peace in South Sudan offers the rarest opportunity to achieve lasting peace and durable constitution in South Sudan. The only condition South Sudanese should put as a condition for dialogue is that the speech be implemented as it is.

NB// the author is South Sudanese lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com; +256783579256

Time for Pres. Museveni to reconsider his unlimited support to Kiir

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF, JAN/01/2017, SSN;

President Museveni’s persistence to prop up Kiir has been the subject of discussions in the South Sudanese intellectual circles, particularly among the Equatorians. It’s also true that the lay people are aware of the ever-increasing influence of the Ugandan leader over the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

Many believe that had it not been for the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) intervention, the regime in Juba would have collapsed in early January 2014. Museveni’s intervention gave the embattled government a lifeline.

In reality, the regime is heavily dependent on Uganda for its survival. The UPDF has been deployed in Western Equatoria since 2005. Its mission, as we were made to believe, was to pursue and uproot the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in collaboration with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The Americans were also involved in providing logistical support, special forces and funding. The Garamba Offensive (code-named Operation Lightning Thunder) between 2008 and 2009 was the culmination of the coalition’s efforts including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to eradicate the LRA.

But for the last 5 to 6 years, the LRA is nowhere to be found in Western Equatoria. Many observers are now of the opinion that the LRA is no more or if at all it existed, it will be in the form of a negligible group in the depths of the remote jungles of the Central African Republic (CAR).

As such it fits the description of a group of bandits rather than a rebel group to be reckoned with. Yet the UPDF remains deployed in Western Equatoria State. There are now reports that they are present in Eastern Equatoria and even in disguise within the capital city, Juba.

No one would dispute the fact that President Museveni has done a lot of good things for the people of South Sudan during the war for independence.

In addition to whatever legacy he is going to get in his country, the people of South Sudan would remember him as one of the few African leaders who gave them unwavering support.

However, that good reputation is in jeopardy or has already been damaged following his involvement in South Sudan’s conflict.

An operation aimed at evacuating the Ugandan Nationals as was initially announced by the Ugandan authorities was swiftly modified into safeguarding the strategic infrastructures in Juba in the aftermath of the December 2013 massacre of the Nuer civilians.

Ultimately the operation ended up with the UPDF taking sides and decisively tilting the power balance in favour of the government.

People were told that there was an Agreement/Treaty between the government of South Sudan and the Ugandan government to intervene in such a situation. The fact of the matter is that if such an Agreement/Treaty ever existed, it would have been unconstitutional because the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) did not deliberate on it or pass it.

In fact, the NLA was unaware of such an arrangement between the government of South Sudan and the government of Uganda.

Furthermore, a Mutual Defence Treaty is universally for defence against foreign invasion and not for defending the government against the opposition or an uprising of its own people.

Museveni’s motives are quite unclear. Following his statement that there was no coup d’etat in Juba, people expected a change in policy towards a more neutral position.

What he said showed a government that fabricated a coup, plunged the country into civil war just for the sake of maintaining the status quo. That alone should have been enough for the Ugandan leader to review his backing of Kiir’s government.

Also, it was reported that Museveni did say while addressing a rally, that if security in Uganda was to be like the state of affairs in South Sudan, he would hang himself.

It’s a clear admission that the government of South Sudan has failed its people. Then why would the Ugandan leader continue to support such a government?!

I believe “It’s the economy, stupid!” if I may borrow President Bill Clinton’s phrase that was first coined by James Carville, Clinton’s campaign strategist in the successful 1992 Presidential campaign. Probably other weird calculations do exist in the Ugandan leader’s mind that are subject to speculations.

There is no doubt that Uganda’s economy is “booming” because of unfettered access to the South Sudanese markets. Foreign trade regulations are rudimentary in the new country with Uganda and the other regional powers taking full advantage of the situation.

Rampant corruption is also attracting bogus foreign investors and traders who hardly pay taxes. Juba has become the centre of attraction for all the thieves in the world.

South Sudan is the top consumer of Ugandan goods with trade deficit almost 100% in Uganda’s favour. However, the policy of shoring up an unpopular regime is short-sighted and risky.

History has shown us that the outcomes are usually grim than when foreign countries show solidarity with the people or at least remain neutral.

The case of Iran during the Shah era is a classic example. The US blanket support for the Shah did not save the regime from collapse or ensure the furthering of American interests and influence in that nation.

Instead, it led to the radicalization of the society, marginalisation of the moderate political figures and extreme animosity against the US. It was apparent that for decades the US lost a big consumer market and a major trading partner in that region. The Europeans, the Japanese, the Russians and the Chinese were quick to seize the chance and fill the gaps.

Even from a practical point of view, the gains to the Ugandan economy under the current turmoil are unsustainable in the long term.

As the war continues to rage in South Sudan, and due to reasons of proximity to a war zone – Uganda’s economy would be negatively affected one way or another. Refugees are crossing the borders into Uganda in their thousands.

Ironically they are fleeing the SPLA atrocities to safety in Uganda, while the government of Uganda is helping the SPLA to acquire lethal weapons to commit those atrocities.

With the steady increase in the refugee population, a drop in the buying capacity would occur coupled with a decrease in the number of consumers. Both would certainly have a negative impact on Uganda’s exports to South Sudan.

There is no doubt that the war will have a significant effect on the flow of goods from Uganda to South Sudan as the major routes between Uganda and South Sudan would be at the mercy of the opposition forces.

Additionally, the Equatorians have reached a level of awareness that may push them towards boycotting Ugandan goods in protest to the support rendered by the Ugandan government to the murderous regime in Juba.

Most of the commodities imported from Uganda are produced locally in Equatoria. It’s the absence of help from the government and widespread insecurity that’s preventing our farmers from producing those commodities.

The best strategy for Uganda to protect its economic gains and ensure sustainability is to be on the side of the people of South Sudan rather than throwing its weight behind a government that has no future.

The relations between the people of Equatoria and the Ugandan people goes beyond politics. There are strong ethnic and cultural ties between the two peoples. The colonial borders are artificial as it has divided families with the result of some having both nationalities among their members.

The constant flow of refugees into Uganda who are clearly in a dire situation is bound to evoke sympathy towards them from the Ugandan people. Museveni’s policy would likely backfire. The heinous crimes that are being committed in South Sudan, would certainly push the Ugandan people into solidarity with their brethren across the borders.

Should that happen; which is quite likely, it would mean that the Ugandan leader has stirred up the hornets’ nest. A host of problems could arise as a result.

The Equatorian people have been instrumental in the efforts to ward off the LRA attacks on Ugandan soil. In particular, the Arrows boys have been battling the LRA in the jungles of Western Equatoria for at least 5 years.

Their contribution cannot be underestimated particularly in providing accurate intelligence about the whereabouts of the LRA. With the current policy of the Ugandan government, the locals will have no incentive to help in the war against the LRA.

That leaves the door wide open for the possibility of LRA resurgence. The UPDF presence on South Sudanese soil would likely be viewed differently than it used to be. Many are seeing it increasingly reminiscent of the infamous 1998 UPDF invasion of the DRC in collaboration with Rwanda.

During a recent unannounced visit to Juba, the Ugandan leader issued statements that raised eyebrows. The following quote which is attributed to him appeared in the Sudan Tribune on December 22, 2016 – “Any other issue that needs to be handled will be handled in order to allow elections should be done now.”

It showed that Museveni is now pushing for early elections in South Sudan. He knows that his friend lacks legitimacy and the only way to overcome that is by organising an election. It will, of course, be a fake one but still carries the name election which is all that Kiir needs to cling to power.

However, the Ugandan leader committed a serious breach of diplomatic protocol by dwelling on a matter that touches the sovereignty of the host state. Such a statement would have caused a diplomatic and media uproar should it be delivered in a democratic or indeed any sovereign country.

In 1967, General Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, during a visit to Canada said the famous phrase, “Long live free Quebec!”

He received harsh diplomatic and media criticism both in Canada and in his country France. De Gaulle had to cut his visit short and return to France. What he said was perceived as an attempt to undermine Canada’s sovereignty.

I am absolutely sure that Museveni’s statement was outrageous to many South Sudanese including members of the media. But with the assassination of journalists like Isaiah Abraham, Boutros Martin, Isaac Vuni, Dalia Marko, Musa Mohammed, Randa George, Adam Juma, Peter Julius Moi and others lingering in people’s minds – any criticism would seriously compromise the safety of the critic.

According to Sudan Tribune, Kiir gave the reporters the following response – “We discussed bilateral issues and listened to his (President Museveni’s) advice and we will do what he told us.”

Kiir’s statement transpires two things; either he is unaware of Museveni’s breach of diplomatic protocol or that he knows it but has become a pawn for Museveni.

Many of us still remember President Kiir and the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth saying in the face of mounting international pressure to implement the Peace Agreement over a year ago -that Kiir was being treated as a school boy. Well, with the above statement following the meeting with President Museveni, the question that comes to mind is – who is to blame?!

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF