Archive for: February 2017

Madam Rebecca Nyandeng calls on Pres. to resign immediately for tribal and poor leadership!

From Al Jazeera TV, FEB/26/2017, SSN;

South Sudanese politician Rebecca Garang, widow of SPLM founder John Garang, tells Upfront on Al Jazeera:
• President Kiir has caused a “man-made famine”
• “All of us, as the leaders of South Sudan, we did not lead our people properly.”
• “Our leaders are using the name of their tribes in order for them to cling to power.”
• “We are calling for a dialogue where the whole people of South Sudan are brought on the table.”

Last week, the U.N. declared a famine in two counties of South Sudan, affecting more than 100,000 people, with a further million people on the brink of famine in the country.

On Upfront on Al Jazeera this weekend, host Mehdi Hasan asked South Sudanese politician Rebecca Garang who is to blame. “Of course it’s the leader,” she replied. “…because it is a man-made famine… He did not…ah, all of us, as the leaders of South Sudan, we did not lead our people properly.”

Garang is the widow of John Garang, the founder of the SPLM, and is widely considered to be the ‘mother’ of South Sudan. After fighting in the second Sudanese civil war, she went on to serve in Kiir’s cabinet but has since become one of his leading critics.

Garang warned recently that “a genocide is looming” in South Sudan. On Upfront, she put the blame on both President Kiir and his former vice president, Dr Riek Machar. “Our leaders are using the name of their tribes in order for them to cling to power,” she said.

The 2015 ceasefire between Kiir and Machar hasn’t held, even though there are now 11 000 UN troops in South Sudan. “So what do you do?” Hasan asked Garang. “Do you have a new peace process? Do you try recycling a ceasefire? Are you calling for some kind of foreign military intervention?”

“We are calling for a dialogue where the whole people of South Sudan are brought on the table so that they discuss the issues concerning them because their government is not doing anything,” she replied.

President Kiir had similarly called for a dialogue, but she said, “He appointed himself to be the patron of the dialogue when he’s a party to the problem.”

“Are you calling for him to stand down: President Kiir?” Hasan clarified.

“Yes. He has to,” she said.

Hasan also grilled Garang on reports her late husband recruited thousands of child soldiers to fight for him; whether or not she had any regrets over pushing for an independent South Sudan, considering the subsequent fallout; and over her record as human rights advisor to Kiir, during a time when Human Rights Watch reported that government forces were responsible for extrajudicial killings and torture.

(Watch and embed the full eight-minute interview at https://youtu.be/JyYpi8WtbwY.

For more information, visit http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2017/02/blame-south-sudans-civil-war-170224083924234.html.)

Over 5 Million People are at Risks of Dying in South Sudan; Why is the World Silent?

By Dr. Gatluak Ter Thach* FEB/25/2017, SSN;

The international and regional media outlets are silent of seriously informing the world about man-made catastrophes in South Sudan. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), together with South Sudanese regime in Juba, have announced that a grave famine hit South Sudan, especially Unity State and other regions in the nation.

This news did not surprise anyone since most civilians in South Sudan depend heavily on agricultural productive services while the disastrous civil war displaced them from their destroyed homes and they did not cultivate. A new UNHCR report published recently disclosed unbelievable statistics of South Sudanese who left their homes.

The report stated that hundreds of thousands of people who are displaced from their homes suffered inside the country, “with many facing threats of kidnappings, rapes, armed attacks, [killings] and “acute food shortages.”

South Sudan refugees who reached Uganda are over 698,000 with more arriving every single day. Ethiopia ranks second, according to the UNHCR report with 342,000, while more than 305,000 are in Sudan. Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo are other countries that host significant number of South Sudanese refugees.

About 1.5 million South Sudanese had left the country for refuge in the neighboring nations. This statistics of refugee displacements places South Sudan on top of any refugee country in the continent Africa and third in the world behind Afghanistan and Syria respectively. More than 60 percent of South Sudanese refugees are children, many arriving with alarming levels of malnutrition and traumas. Thousands of women and girls have been raped; their homes were burned with all their properties destroyed.

The economy of South Sudan crushed since the inflation rate ranks highest and is more than 800 percent; it is alarming percentage in the moment, which makes it difficult to import goods from other countries since the new nation does not produce its own goods.

It is also a problematic for everyone, including the heavily weights, to place food and feed families, let alone the average poor. The UNHCR report indicates that “opposition to UN and AU transitional administration could be mitigated through a combination of politics and force— by working with important South Sudanese constituencies frustrated with [South Sudanese] President Salva Kiir, former First Vice President [and current SPLA-IO leader] Dr. Riek Machar, and their cronies; and then deploying a lean and agile peace intervention force to combat and deter the remaining spoilers once they have been politically isolated.”

I think this suggestion will exacerbate the situation. My humble recommendation is to deal with both Pres. Kirr and Dr. Riek to bring a real peace instead of sidelining anyone of them.

What really went wrong in South Sudan?

Personally, I struggle to point solely on one tangible rejoinder to this query because no logic seems to make sense in South Sudan, and whenever one states the facts, others take the evidence differently since inventors’ aims are to frustrate and ensure people remain incomprehensibly abstruse.

In my humble attempt to share what I know, I can piece this question into three categories. First and foremost, South Sudan historically got its independence in 2011 from Sudan, but its founding leader died few weeks before he assumed his role. The successor (Pres. Kiir) lacked the capacity to carry on the tasks he had in hands to drive the nation forward.

Though the successor had initially made a fair decision to bring on-board Dr. Riek as his deputy, but due to fear of unknown, as well as pressures from within his closed circles, relationship between the two leaders (Pres. Kiir and Dr. Riek) did not go as expected, and with no diligent working relationship and collaboration among the leaders, fruits of a political production could not easily be engendered as what people wish.

The second point is vision. The Pres. Kiir did not have a vision for the country. This is not my opinion alone on him. There were numbers of discussions made about his vision. One was when Pres. Kiir himself made with former US President Bush, Jr, and he was asked to articulate his vision for the country. However, Pres. Kiir relied on his subordinates to share what they thought was the vision for the country. Contrary to how anyone who leads anything, leave alone a country can do.

Vision is critically important for a leader and how to move a diverse country like South Sudan forward requires a visionary leadership which Pres. Kiir does not have, and the country is where it is because of that.

The third aspect is corruption. According to local and international analysts, corruption in South Sudan went above human imaginations. Pres. Kiir himself had at one point produced a list of several government officials of whom he accused of eating 4 billion dollars from government pots. Even though there were disputes to his accusation as some officials of the accused individuals came forward to clear their good names, evidences are there to display indeed some leaders, including Kiir himself, robbed the country with scarce resources deemed to serve and develop the nation.

A number of army generals who recently resigned from Pres. Kiir regime in Juba encompassed corruption in the lists of their frustration points, but Pres. Kiir and his closed allies did not care or grasp corruption as one of the major challenges facing the country.

As General Kamila Otwari Aleardo Paul put it in his letter of resignation to Pres. Salva Kiir and I quote, “Sir, with your partiality, favoritism and bias policies, you have dumped the country into chaos making it an incessant conflict zone.”

Gen. Kamila hails from Lotuko tribe in South Sudan. He accused Pres. Kiir who hails from Dinka tribe and his regime of squandering public funds to equip and serve his Dinka tribe only. A sentiment shared by many minority tribes in South Sudan at the moment.

Number of resigned and defected generals in addition to civilian members from different ethnic groups blame Pres. Kiir for practicing tribalism and nepotism as political self-empowerment to continue status quo in order to remain in power.

Pres. Kiir’s administration is similarly accused of mismanagement and bias policies, as well as killings of other ethnic groups. In December 2013, over 20,000 ethnic Nuer were murdered in less than a week by new trained tribal militias recruited and armed by Pres. Kiir’s Army Chief of Staff, Paul Malong Awan, a close friend and ally to Pres. Kiir and a member of his tribe.

The same killings are happening all over South Sudan currently, and both (Pres. Kiir and Gen. Awan) are responsibles of the continuing of the present conflict in South Sudan. The SPLA army Pres. Kiir leads is mainly responsible for committed atrocities on civilian population, along with deterring relief agencies to deliver aid assistance to people in needs. The SPLA army continues to confiscate properties without accountability.

What could be done to save the remaining lives?

The world must realize people of South Sudan are dying on daily basis in alarming rate at the moment, and it has to be stopped with an immediate action. According to UN agency, more than 5 million people are at risk of vanishing if nothing is done now to bar their lives. A conservative reliable estimation of more than 150,000 have already died as result of the current civil war started in December 15, 2013.

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSCAU), at its 411th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government, in Banjul, Gambia, on December 30, 2013, mandated the establishment of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS), which was headed by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Republic of Nigeria.

The Chairperson of the Commission, in consultation with the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and other relevant African Union (AU) structures, immediately established a Commission to investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and made recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.

The Commission was also requested to submit its report to Council within a maximum period of three months though it went longer than that, the IGAD-PLUS took the commission report and recommendations for further implementation. As part of its response to the crisis in South Sudan, the Commission adopted the Terms of Reference (ToR) detailed in the Concept Note Relating to the Establishment to:

• Establish the immediate and remote causes of the conflict;
• Investigate human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict by all parties from December 15, 2013;
• Establish facts and circumstances that may have led to and that amount to such violations and of any crimes that may have been perpetrated;
• Compile information based on these investigations and in so doing assist in identifying perpetrators of such violations and abuses with a view to ensuring accountability for those responsible.

The Commission interpreted its mandate to consist of four focal areas: healing, reconciliation, accountability and institutional reforms after identifying perpetrators. The Commission approached its mandate in a holistic manner, which was to emphasize the interrelatedness of the mandate areas.

The commission recommendations were enshrined as tools to pave ways for better forward to bring a lasting peace in the country. These recommendations were incorporated in the peace deal signed by the leaders, and this is the only way to bring a lasting peace in South Sudan. With no peace and accountability, how do people reconcile?

The peace could also bring permanent harmony in the country had it been executed as drafted and signed. However, there is no peace nor ceasefire in the country now. There is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing taking place in several areas of South Sudan that causes the current famine.

Yet, Pres. Kiir still preaches for an exclusive national dialogue. How could he conduct honest national dialogue when there is no ceasefire, leave alone a peace in the country? Why not he bring peace first before a dialogue as it was purposed in the August 2015 Peace Agreement if he is serious?

For the lives to be saved in South Sudan, the world must earnestly declare an end to this man-made crisis by tackling situation differently this time than it has been. Pres. Kiir must be told to either accept the previous peace deal, implementing it with his former foe, Dr. Riek and not with friend, or else accept to step aside and allow his party to choose a person deems suitable to represent IG party in a meaningful, unified government.

Pres. Kiir has no choice nor a mandate in the peace deal to hand-picked whomever he wants from other parties despite the objection of parties’ members as it was the case for Gen. Taban Deng Gai, who claims a fake representation of IO forces and sympathized members.

The international community, especially the United States of America, which has spent more than 2 billion USD in humanitarian assistance already in South Sudan, whereas the regime in Juba has spent twice as much on purchasing modernized military hardware to murdering its own people, as well as mortgaging the national resources to prolong the war and save no lives, must redouble their efforts to pressure Pres. Kiir to do what’s right for his people and country in order to spare innocent lives in addition to bringing a lasting hope to South Sudan.

In conclusion

This is a call on people of goodwill to stand up and help save lives of innocent South Sudanese civilians. I believe it will take all of us to bring an end the suffering of South Sudanese private citizens from their brutal leaders whose objectives are for erasing population from their original land and confiscating their properties for personal enrichment.

The world must prioritize peace by giving an ultimatum to the leaders, especially Pres. Kiir, to either join hands with his opponents and bring lasting peace or vacant the power for people of South Sudan to choose a leader who will unify their diverse ethnic groups. The agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2015, provided a roadmap for a genuine peace to be realized, but it is a dead deal now because Pres. Kiir did not want to implement it.

The world has also failed to lift up to its obligations, including making Pres. Kiir accountable instead of opting to isolate another signatory, Dr. Riek, who has so far committed everything he had, including his life, to join Pres. Kiir in his unfriendly territory, where Dr. Riek and his few bodyguards barely made it out after assassination attempt on his good life on July 8, 2016, which resulted in the collapse of the peace agreement.

However, I still believe that the peace deal could still be resuscitated and saved by urging the two signatories (Pres. Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar) plus others to sit back together on a table for the full implementation, and as a result, some South Sudanese lives could be saved!

Dr. Gatluak Thach lives and works in Nashville, TN. Author can be reached at gat@gmail.com; He is on Facebook, blog and tweet @gatthach.

We’ve no link to South Sudan $10 million dollars (KSh1.03billion) cash allegedly banked by Gen. Cirillo, says Ecobank

By STAR REPORTER @thestarkenya, FEB/25/2017, SSN;

Ecobank yesterday denied any involvement in the Sh1.03 billion (10 million dollars) transferred from South Sudan by a former government official, and which is now a subject of investigations.

The South Sudanese government has reported tracing its missing money to accounts at three banks in Kenya. These are linked to Lt Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka, a former SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of Logistics, and his kin Fueni Cirillo.

Ecobank said documents, including a bank statement, bearing its letterhead were falsified.

“We wish to confirm we neither hold the account number published in The Star newspaper nor have any accounts that bear names similar to what was mentioned in The Star report. Furthermore, the bank statements published in the newspaper are falsified,” the bank said in a statement.

Ecobank said there are glaring inconsistencies in the story and documentation relied on to publish the report, including a non-existent account number, non-existent account names and a wrong branch address.

“The story indicated that $10 million had been stolen from the South Sudan government and stashed in three Kenyan banks, among them Ecobank Kenya. We wish to emphatically state that we adhere to strong anti-money laundering policies, as well as Know Your Customer procedures in line with best practice and regulatory requirements,” the bank said.

“We conduct our business professionally, ethically, with integrity and in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations, as well as international best practice and have put in place a robust vetting process aimed at ensuring Ecobank Group and all its affiliates are not used as conduits of money laundering.”

Ecobank said it has not received any official request from the authorities on the issue.

Sudan Chief of General Staff Paul Awan said the cash went missing after Swaka quit his job and defected from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

A letter dated February 9 shows that Awan asked Renish Omullo, a special envoy in charge of Germany international and regional affairs, to trace and return the cash, which was transacted in US dollars.

Omullo wrote to Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on February 10 requesting that bank accounts held by Swaka and Cirillo be frozen.

Swaka was described in the letter as a former SPLA officer and fugitive in Kenya who stole more than $10 million. In his resignation, Swaka accused President Salva Kiir and SPLA leaders of abuses and pushing the tribal agenda in the country.

=================================================== ORIGINAL ARTICLE BY THE STAR NEWSPAPER, NAIROBI, KENYA

South Sudan traces missing Sh1.03 billion to Kenyan banks

Feb. 21, 2017, 9:00 am
By MAURICE ALAL, @alalmaurice, The Star, Nairobi, Kenya.

The South Sudanese government has reported tracing its missing Sh1.03 billion to accounts at Ecobank, Kenya Commercial Bank and Co-operative Bank of Kenya.

These are linked to Lt Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka – former SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of logistics, and his kin Fueni Cirillo.

Cirillo is reportedly a Human Resource Managament student at Mount Kenya University. But MKU has denied she is a student there. No further details were provided about her.

An Ecobank statement seen by the Star shows transactions on the money after it was reported missing from the South Sudan government this month.

These were for account 0040025032685901 belonging to Fueni.

Paul Awan, chief of general staff, said the cash went missing after Swaka quit his job and defected from Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

A letter dated February 9 shows that Awan asked Renish Omullo, a special envoy in charge of Germany international and regional affairs, to trace and return the cash which was transacted in US dollars.

Read: Kenyan woman appointed special envoy for South Sudan in Germany

Renish wrote to Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on February 10 requesting that bank accounts held by Swaka and Cirillo be frozen.

Swaka is described in the letter, also seen by the Star, as a former SPLA officer and fugitive in Kenya who stole more than $10 million.

“This office is under instructions from the Office of the President, Government of South Sudan to kindly request you to facilitate a freeze of these accounts and recover the money back to Bank of South Sudan A/C name – Military Strategic Division; A/C no – (USD) 0026921002607,” Renish says in her letter.

“However this letter has not gone through our embassy in Nairobi because of the sensitivity of the matter and conflict of interest at the embassy.”

Renish said the money had already been secured and would be rerouted back to South Sudan.

Reached for comment, Ecobank said in a statement: “We do not have such an account, neither do we have an official request on the same.”

Co-operative Bank and KCB were not immediately available for comment while officials at the Foreign Affairs ministry referred the Star to the Interior ministry.

In his resignation, Gen Swaka accused President Salva Kiir and SPLA leaders of abuses and pushing the tribal agenda in the country.

He becomes the second highest-ranking officer to resign after Gen Bapiny Monytuil since clashes erupted between government soldiers and opposition fighters in July 2016.

Read: How ‘false’ Facebook post caused death of 272 in South Sudan

A report revealed in September last year that South Sudan’s political and military elite had siphoned money from their country and bought expensive assets in Nairobi and other capitals within East Africa.

Among the many details outlined in the report are pictures of luxury villas, said to be owned by politicians and generals in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Australia.

Read The Sentry’s investigative report: War crimes shouldn’t pay: Stopping the looting and destruction in South Sudan

Thinking outside the Box: Fragmentation of South Sudan is Becoming a Possible Reality

By Joseph Oreste Odhok, South Sudan, FEB/22/2017, SSN;

The civil war in South Sudan is poised to become a proxy regional war as some countries in the region begin to flex their muscles in furtherance to varied interests. Of late the regional bloc, IGAD witnessed intensive shuttle diplomacy from within and surprisingly from outside the bloc.

President Kiir visited Cairo on invitation of his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi who later returned the visit to Juba. President Al-Sisi made similar visits to both Uganda and Kenya on Dec 18th 2016 and Feb 18th 2017 respectively. A move seen as lobbying for support against construction of the Ethiopian “Renaissance Dam”, which Egypt regards as a threat to her national security.

In their bilateral talks at the State house in Entebbe, President Museveni welcomed Egypt’s intention to contribute troops for protection force in South Sudan. He also asked Al-Sisi to discourage the UNSC policy on imposing sanctions on South Sudan and further assured the Egyptian President that his government would work hard and take strict measures to ensure conservation of the River Nile so that Egypt would not be affected.

This meeting has its political overtones on South Sudan conflict and marks the beginning of a downward spiral to the fragmentation of the country, and a threat to regional peace and international security.

According to unverified information, South Sudan and Egypt made a deal that would make it possible to disrupt and frustrate the work on the Ethiopian “Renaissance Dam” project. This secret deal entails allowing the Ethiopian rebels to operate within South Sudanese territories, in return to providing air cover to the SPLA by Egyptian air force.

The ongoing Arial bombardments of civilian population settlements around Malakal and other areas of the “Shilluk Kingdom” on the West bank of the Nile seems to substantiate the claim.

Literally, the Shilluk kingdom is now empty after all the civil population — including the IDPs of Wau Shilluk— fled their villages for safety to the neighboring Sudan.

Mr. David Shearer, the head of UNMISS in South Sudan said he was denied access to Wau by the government and that he did not know the fate of the civilians sheltering there whom he thought fled towards Kodok.

President Kiir is well known for not keeping his promises. In fact, he is a pathological or a plausible liar. For how could you talk of conducting a dialogue and at the same time carry out military campaigns against those who’re supposed to take part in that same dialogue?

While this latest position of the regional bloc coupled with Egyptian meddling in the country’s affairs has emboldened President Kiir to deflect the peace agreement and openly declare before the parliament that he would neutralize the armed opposition wherever they are, Ethiopia and Sudan on the other hand, I believe, would not sit by and watch their own peace and national security being tempered with.

In the case of Ethiopia, it has soft borders with South Sudan with by having the same tribes on both sides of the border. These blood relation and ethnic bonds provide a sense of unity and belonging to each other. This sense of belonging could easily come to play in times of conflict and great turbulence such as this one.

In Equatoria, the situation could be described as catastrophic as evidenced by the number of fleeing civilian population to Uganda and Kenya, and the defecting officials to the Opposition. Most people in that region are living in constant fear and under harsh living conditions as the SS currency lost its purchasing power.

Add to this, the fear of crackdown and risk of deportation back to the country should they opt to take refuge in Urban Areas in Kenya and Uganda. These factors combined make the life extremely miserable for those still in the country.

The people of Western Bahr el Gazelle, mainly the Fertit tribes, are still sheltering in the UN protection sites and churches and in the bushes under harsh living conditions. In a nutshell the only free people who the president referred to as citizens of South are his tribes-people the “Jieng.”

Sudan’s concerns would come from the deteriorating security situation on its white Nile and South Kordufan States borders with Upper Nile State. Also the security of her nomads and their cattle while on their seasonal journeys for pasture and water in the area.

The Niger nomadic tribe of Flata Ombororo also visits the area in search of pasture and water.

Nevertheless, the Sudanese oil installations in Upper Nile and Unity States remains the most important items. The security of these installations will ultimately determine the next move of the Sudanese Government should the war escalate between the belligerent parties.

At present the Sudanese are working to lift the remaining US sanctions from their country and would not want to be distracted from achieving that goal. Though that should not be taken for granted.

This new escalation of conflict with vehement characteristics of ethnicity which is openly advocated by a tiny tribal elite and sanctioned by the Head of the State, made the polarization even worse, and the demise of the country much imminent than ever before.

The recent defections of senior military and civil service officials from the government, and their revelations are but clear testimony to the level of frustration and despair.

The insistence of the President on going ahead with the fake “National Dialogue” while promising to quell the rebellion by military means is an inept way of handling of the country’s affairs and a brazen idiocy.

Unless he wanted to throw the country to the dogs as Adolf Hitler had done before the allied forces brought him to his knees, there is no rational reason to opt for military solution. There shall not be decisive military victory by either side.

If Egypt, Uganda and Kenya all stand behind Kiir’s government to advance their covetous and malicious interests, they too should know that there are others out there who similarly covet South Sudan and would want to enter the scramble for this dying animal.

This unfolding unfortunate situation will eventually turn the country into a safe haven for criminals and illicit trade and by extension provide a springboard for terrorist activities.

In conclusion, the current political development of events in South Sudan brings me to corroborate the supposition in a report published by Pax International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) — Scenarios for South Sudan in 2020 — in which the author predicts the Fragmentation of the country into many parts by October 2017.

The collapse of the government and fragmentation of the country is now becoming a possible reality given the recent policy shift to a military solution of the conflict, the already declared famine and the collapsing economy.

Dr. Riek and his SPLM/A–IO should not take the blame for collapse of peace. After all it takes two to tango. END

Who’s cleaner in govt. of South Sudan to be the first to throw the stone at Gen. Thomas Cirillo?

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/21/2017, SSN;

Sometimes when I see injustice being done against any South Sudanese, I forget my life because injustice is not a friend to anyone. This is because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere (Martin Luther King, Jr).
Justice done selectively is injustice done selectively. This is because when the law is applied equally and equitably then there is no injustice no matter how harsh the law may be.

Law is the content of justice, while the facts of the case provide the context for justice. When justice is being done, it is critical that the law is applied generally in accordance with the facts of the case.

It therefore implies that those who enforce the law must respect the law and work according to its spirit. The law must take its course but should not take the course to cause injustice to the innocent or to cause more pain to one group of criminals than others who have committed the same offence.

Thus, it is our common duty to detect injustice in our communities and to fight it wherever and whenever it raises its head. Though there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest (Elie Wiesel) against injustice.

In the society where injustice is the law, those who are fighting for justice must be guided by the words of Mahatma Gandhi who observes that let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day that, “I shall not fear anyone on Earth; I shall fear only God; I shall not bear ill will toward anyone; I shall not submit to injustice from anyone; I shall conquer untruth by truth; and in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”

What happens to Lt.General Thomas Cirillo is bad and unjust. This is because two wrongs never make one right. We cannot apply injustice to solve injustice hoping that we shall get justice because in such a case there is no justice.

This is why the law prevents revenge or taking the law into one’s own hands except where the law allows the taking of the law into one own hands as in the case of self-defense or in defense of the property.

In this case, the government of South Sudan should not discriminate against Thomas Cirillo in fighting against corruption. If the law of freezing accounts is to be applied then it must apply from the top to bottom not somewhere in the middle.

As referred in the above paragraph, a South Sudanese army General stated that Thomas Cirillo resigned from the army some days back. The news of his resignation dominated the media, both national and international. After that it appears to have been a forgotten issue like any other issues of defections and resignations in South Sudan.

However, today (on 21/02/2017) I got the report (see; National, News » February 21, 2017 » By Talk of Juba – See more at: http://talkofjuba.com/news/kenyan-government-freezes-general-thomas-cirillo-sister-bank-accounts-10m/#sthash.KaChEWiE.dpuf) which states that the South Sudanese government has traced its missing $10 million (Kenyan Sh1.03 billion) to accounts at Ecobank, Kenya Commercial Bank and Cooperative Bank of Kenya.

That these accounts are linked to Lt Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka – former SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of logistics, and his kin Fueni Cirillo.

In part, the letter issued to the above banks to freeze the above accounts referred to above states that — “This office is under instructions from the Office of the President, Government of South Sudan to kindly request you to facilitate a freeze of these accounts and recover the money back to Bank of South Sudan A/C name – Military Strategic Division; A/C no – (USD) 0026921002607.”

Whereas I support such a move to freeze the accounts of those who have taken money of South Sudan and deposited it on foreign bank accounts, which has left the nation bankrupt, I don’t however support the way the freezing order is being applied in the present case. It is applied selectively, which is injustice. The rule is that if the order or law is to be applied then it must be applied equally.

Selective application of an order, or law like the way it is done in the present case amounts to injustice because it is discriminative. Hence, if the Office of the President was the one which issued the freezing order then, the President has caused injustice and forgot one essential element of justice.

Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the laws observes that “for there is but one essential justice which cements society, and one law which establishes this justice. This law is right reason, which is the true rule of all commandments and prohibitions. Whoever neglects this law, whether written or unwritten, is necessarily unjust and wicked.”

Though I cannot use the term wicked against the President of South Sudan or his Office due to the respect I have for him, his order is unjust as it is used for political convenience but not the true tool of fighting corruption in the Government of South Sudan.

Freedom and justice should not be used selectively for the sole purpose to achieve political interest. On this point, Coretta Scott King observes, “freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.”

As observed by Coretta in the above paragraph, in relation to our case, the way the order has been applied is completely wrong as it is applied selectively and because of that it is unjust. It is unjust because the law should not be used as political tool to destroy the enemies but it should be used against everybody equally.

Thus, the question that comes to mind when looking at the case of Thomas Cirillo is: why Thomas Cirillo alone yet, there are some former and current generals in the army of South Sudan who have accounts with much more money than ten million dollars of which Thomas is being accused of.

Does it mean that the Office of the President has eyes for the accounts of Thomas Cirillo but doesn’t have for other generals’ accounts? Or what does it mean? But who is clean in the government of South Sudan to be the first to select Thomas Cirillo and cast the stone on him? (see; John 8: 7 New Testament in the Holy Bible).

The conclusion is that the whole project is intended to make Thomas Cirillo a scapegoat of the corrupt individuals in the government and the army.

The whole thing is done in bad faith and it is discriminative. Discrimination and marginalization are both of the same species. They are equal and interrelated. Marginalization is the long term product of discrimination as it in case of South Sudan is one of the major problems which was also identified by the SPLM during the liberation struggling against the successive Khartoum Regimes.

Marginalization in other words means exclusion from the resources. Hence, any nation without justice and full accessibility to resources will achieve peace as excluded will not accept subjugation by the majority. Therefore, the prerequisite for achieving lasting peace in South Sudan is to do justice.

Peace and justice go hand in hand as it was observed by Louis Farrakhan that, “there really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth, unless someone rises up to tell you the truth.”

The quotation above about the importance of justice in peace process by Louis Farrakhan is applicable to South Sudan. In South Sudan, peace will never be achieved unless we do justice to those who are wronged by punishing those who wronged them.

The above is the fact and it is the only way we can achieve lasting peace in South Sudan, if we are guided by principles of justice and fairness as provided for in our national anthem. No matter how much we move cross the world while holding conferences, consulting other nations in the search of peace but without justice peace will never be achieved.

It is even worse in South Sudan where justice is needed badly to see at the same time the seeds of injustice being planted as seen in the case of Thomas Cirillo. South Sudanese leaders should be reminded that the secret for peace is justice.

In summary, though stealing the money is bad but returning the money in unjust way is even worse. The law is not respected because of revenge but it is respected because it is just and justly addresses the needs for justice objectively to those who need justice.

The author is the South Sudanese Lawyer and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com or +2567839256

What the people of Equatoria need to understand about the current war

By: David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/21/2017, SSN;

The present civil war broke in 2013 in Juba. The war began within the SPLM party and later spread like a wild fire to the Upper Nile Region. After several attempts to end the war, the peace was signed in 2015 which led to the coming back of Riek Machar in April 2015.

When Riek came there was a lot of hope that at last peace was at all the corners of South Sudan. However, due to the reckless and chaotic character of Riek Machar the conflict was resumed from where it was left and continued up to date.

As pointed out in the above paragraph, after the war broke out in Juba in July 2016, it spread over all South Sudan and ended killing more people. The war at this point has become complicated as it has taken tribal dimension.

For instance, the people of Equatoria have pushed the conflict to a greater height as they target members of Dinka Community along the major roads in Equatoria Region. Such targeted killings have led to the death of hundreds of Dinka people, which included children, women and elders.

However, Dinka community has been ignoring the action of the people of Equatoria not because they are scared or afraid but because they wanted the people of Equatoria to understand one thing about the present war.

What the people from Equatoria need to understand the current war is that the war is not about tribes but between the government and those who are planning to remove the government by force. Therefore, the people from Equatoria need to understand this fact.

In addition, why the Dinka people ignore the actions of the people of Equatoria though they keep on targeting their members is because they are interested in peace and national unity and to avoid creating more refugees and displaced persons from Equatoria region as many have already fled the conflict.

As I have pointed out above, the Dinka people deliberately ignore the actions of some people from Equatoria because what they are concerned with is how to maintain stability in South Sudan.

However, many youth from Equatoria including the former governor of former Western Equatoria, Hon. Bakasoro, have declared the war on Dinka. This declaration took place on Tuesday 12, January, 2017 as reported by the Dawn Newspaper on 24 January, 2017.

According to that declaration, all Dinkas are to leave Equatoria land, Kiir Mayardit should resign from being the president of South Sudan, overhaul of the constitution, reform of the army and security system and many demands contained in that declaration.

Nonetheless, what I wanted to tell the people who made the above declaration is that they are unrealistic specially the point that all Dinka must leave Equatoria. Whereas it is important that the government returns the land to the people of Equatoria as matter of their right, the demand that Dinka people should leave Equatoria is unrealistic and unattainable.

It is unrealistic because we are in one country which means one people. At the same time, Dinka people will never be forced to leave Equatoria by force unless they decide to do so voluntarily. Thus, those who are making noises that Dinka people must leave Equatoria are dreaming unrealistic dream.

When it comes to the other allegations as to who fought the liberation war, we cannot argue about it as God and the land of Equatoria know it as to whose blood was poured down there. Because of that there is no point of argument since we do not argue facts which are capable of proving themselves.

In summary, what I wanted to tell brothers and sisters from Equatoria is that the issues of South Sudan will never be finished through conflict but only through dialogue. This is because those who live by the sword will die of sword.

I am concluding this article by appealing to the people of Equatoria that let us embrace peace and sit down to discuss our issues in peace because conflict does not provide way forward.

NB//: the author is the South Sudanese student residing in Kampala and can be reached through dengchapath66@gmail.com

Brig.-General Camillo O. Aleardo Paul, In-charge of SPLA Logistics Support, resigns from Kiir’s army

FEB/20/2017
Another top-ranking SPLA Headquarters general, Brigadier-General Camillo Otwari Aleardo, the person in-charge of Logistic Support Brigade, SPLA Bilpham has resigned citing corruption and tribal monopoly under Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan and his boss President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Brig-General Camillo Aleardo gave the following reasons for his resignation:
—Mismanagement of public funds to equip and serve only your Dinka ethnicity,
—Promotions of your own people depending on the extent of loyalty to individuals, no merit or qualification;
—Gross violations of the operating laws (SPLA Act 2009) and the national constitution;
—Avoiding the ethics of professionalism,
—Defamation of the SPLA through malpractices such as use of army uniform to commit robbery, theft and rape which are not punishable according to you.

These are many of the disheartening reasons facing the nation at large and shall be dealt with through resignation and stepping up the effort of being vocal about them.

Brig. General Aleardo concluded his remark that, “I am an eye witness, I am sure it is a high time to disclose your tribal intentions and unmasked your corruption. As for me enough is enough, it is up to the people of South Sudan to either be silent or have their say on your regime. As I present my resignation, I am honoured not to be a part of this fascist system ever in the history of the people of South Sudan” he concluded.

LATEST: Kiir’s Govt. declares famine in parts of war-torn South Sudan

By AFP, FEB/20/2017;

IN SUMMARY:
*** The famine classification is according to an internationally recognised sliding scale of hunger in which an extreme lack of food has lead to starvation and death.
*** According to the joint press statement, the number of people facing hunger is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the spread of the food crisis.
*** While the famine in South Sudan is man-made, millions more across the Horn of Africa are going hungry due to a devastating drought following two failed rainy seasons.

President Kiir’s South Sudan’s government said Monday that more than three years of war have led to famine in parts of the nation, a tragedy aid agencies criticised as “man-made”.

Isaiah Chol Aruai, the chairman of South Sudan National Bureau of Statistics, said some parts of the northern Greater Unity region “are classified in famine, or… risk of famine”.

A joint press statement from aid agencies said 100,000 people were affected by the famine, which threatened another one million people in the coming months.

“A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago,” said the statement signed by the World Food Programme (WFP), UN children’s agency UNICEF and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was engulfed by civil war in 2013 after President Salva Kiir accused his rival and former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup against him.

An August 2015 peace deal was left in tatters when fighting broke out in Juba in July last year.

Violence — initially between ethnic Dinka supporters of Kiir and ethnic Nuer supporters of Machar — has since spread to other parts of the country, engulfing other ethnic groups and grievances.

The United Nations has warned of potential genocide and ethnic cleansing, and there is no prospect of peace in sight.

Humanitarians under attack

Unity State, a traditional Nuer homeland and birthplace of Machar, has been one of the flashpoints in the conflict.

“The convergence of evidence shows that the long term effects of the conflict coupled with high food prices, economic crisis, low agricultural production and depleted livelihood options” have resulted in 4.9 million people going hungry, Aruai said.

That figure represents 42 per cent of the country’s population.

The famine classification is according to an internationally recognised sliding scale of hunger in which an extreme lack of food has lead to starvation and death.

“The main tragedy of the report that has been launched today… is that the problem is man-made,” said Eugene Owusu, the United Nation’s Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan.

“The underlining drivers have been there for some time and we have all known that we have a major food crisis.”

He said conflict and insecurity for humanitarian workers, who had suffered attacks while carrying out their work, and the looting of “humanitarian assets” had exacerbated the crisis.

“I would like to use this opportunity to call on the government, the warring parties and all actors to support humanitarians to provide the necessary access so we can continue to bring lifesaving services to those in need,” he said.

Agriculture disrupted

According to the joint press statement, the number of people facing hunger is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the spread of the food crisis.

“Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” said FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot.

“The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They’ve lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch.”

While the famine in South Sudan is man-made, millions more across the Horn of Africa are going hungry due to a devastating drought following two failed rainy seasons.

Famine early warning system FEWSNET has warned that if 2017 rains were again poor in Somalia — as forecast — “famine would be expected.”

The Death of the Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights: The Case of Eastern Lakes State

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, FEB/19/2017, SSN;

The rule of law is a cornerstone of contemporary constitutional democracy as underscored by its role in cementing good governance and respect for human rights. The rule of law requires that the state only subject the citizenry to publicly promulgated laws and that no one within the polity be above the law. The rule of law doctrine envisages that the power of the state and government be only exercised in consonance with applicable laws and set procedures.

The three essential characteristics of modern constitutionalism are limiting the powers of the government, adherence to the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights.

However, in the absence of the rule of law and respect for human rights, contemporary constitutional democracy would be impossible. Beyond that however, it is not clear what characteristics the rule of law must possess to help sustain its folds and respect for human rights, what specific role it must ensure with regards to individual rights and liberties, and how it might ultimately contribute to help respect human rights of the people and protect their lives in Eastern Lakes State.

In this article, I shall labour to bring to forefront why upholding respect for human rights and the rule of law matters for the present and future Eastern Lakes State.

I know many people, who are aligned to the present government in the state will fail again to comprehend the essential dynamics of what it means to respect human rights of the people and thus misconstrue the essence of this article for their good conscience tells them not to tolerate any criticisms regarding all mistakes and shortcomings of the government.

Their good conscience do tell them not entertain any critical intellectual writing about failures of the government, instead of taking, for their beneficial use, such ideas which they misconstrued as dissenting, and hence disparaging the good image of the government forgetting other people’s rights to freedom of expression in matters that affects them.

This is author isn’t bothered by such empty rhetoric. However, as the title to this article suggested, it is to be pinpointed with dismay that the callous brutalizing way our state government has been dealing with human lives is in a blatant violation of international and regional human rights principles and standards to which South Sudan is a party as provided for under article 9(3) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (as Amended in 2015).

There has been series of shocking events where many citizens lost their lives just in the hands of the government which is indeed tasked with an obligation to defend and protect their lives and properties. A sizeable number of innocent people (innocent until otherwise proven by the court of law) have lost their lives in the hands of government officials since the current government came into existence.

The words of Martin Luther King from Birmingham jail truly remind me that there is a distinction between law and justice. The law, even if it is uniformly applied does not in itself guarantee a just result. This is supplemented by article 39 of the most celebrated Magna Carta (1215), which states clearly that ‘No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land’.

I humbly concur with Dr. King who submits that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

This is true in the sense that the application of the uncodified, unjust and draconian law which the government of Eastern Lakes uses on the perceived criminals is different from how it should have been used to deter those perceived criminals, if at all they exists.

This is so because the rule of law is intended to promote stability, not impunity, but as a society that has subscribed to operates under the rule of law, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the rule of law serves the interest of justice because the continued strength of the rule law depends on individuals who are willing to risk punishment in pursuit of justice.

Under rule of law and respect for human rights, neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret, and the laws must not be arbitrary. From the very beginning, our national constitution and other laws have laid down great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law.

This noble ideal clearly laid down by our constitution cannot be realized if poor man in Eastern Lakes State charged with petty crimes has to be shot dead by the authorities without any due process of the law. This is a clear violation of the right to life and human dignity as provided under article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (Amended 2015).

Our jurisprudential understanding of the rule of law is the protection of certain basic rights because the rule of law is linked to efforts to promote protection of human rights worldwide. Respect for human rights and the rule of law is a platform for community’s opportunity and equity and is essential to addressing the most persistent harmful ills that existed and which are commonly meted onto the most innocent in our State.

Yirol was the most peaceful and stable area in greater lakes before the partition of Lakes State into three States. Our people are both law abiding citizens and peace loving communities. They have coexisted peacefully until they got their share of demand for the state. However, while under the leadership of their own sons and daughters, our people continue to face a myriad of repressive treatments.

People in Yirol are subjected to intimidation, subjugation, arbitrary detention, torture and killing. Government response to these myriad of rights violation has been disappointing, marked by lack of political will and accountability, blatant malevolence and a disregard for human life.

Yet, international human rights advocates remained tenacious, not inciting massive protests and public condemnation in an effort to demand for an end to the culture of impunity that has cropped up in Yirol.

Some of the most outrageous travesties of justice that captured our attention and had us up in locking horns with the state government remained unattended to and many atrocious violations and abuses are continuously being meted on the innocent people.

The law presumes everybody to be innocent until proved otherwise by the duly constituted open court of law. Nobody has the power to take away other people’s lives except and unless it falls within the ambits of the law. The law is very clear. There are standards and procedures laid down by the law in both criminal and civil matters.

It is a serious violation of the provisions of the constitution which is the grundnorm governing this country if someone sited somewhere decides to take away innocent people’s lives without any adherent to the due process of the law as laid down in our constitution and other legislations governing the conduct and proceedings regarding criminal and civil matters.

It is indeed a travesty of justice if people are extra-judicially executed by a body not designated by law to impose such penalties and sentences. There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary.

If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, then every man can, and this first means chaos and then tyranny. When we talks about rule of law and respect for human rights, we assume that we’re talking about a law that promotes freedom, a law that promotes justice, and a law that promotes equality.

With current violations and abuses of human rights in Eastern Lakes State, the true meaning of the rule of law has been diverted from and its special meaning has been distorted and immersed into the mud of injustice.

As based on our historical constitutional jurisprudence of looking to the law to fulfill the promises of freedom, justice and equality set forth in our nation’s founding document, the true meaning of the rule of law and respect for human rights has been lost.

#Bring to Justice the Murderers of Pokic Madit Maker# Rest in Peace brother for your innocent life will hunt those who took it away for the rest of their lives.

The writer is a Master of Laws Candidate at the College of Law, University of Juba and a Practicing Barrister at Law before all courts in South Sudan. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

Lt. General Thomas Cirillo’s Resignation Exposes The Tribal Regime Of President Kiir

Press Release, SSDF, FEB/19/2017, SSN;

The resignation of Lt. General Thomas Cirillo Swaka (Mogga Lo Cirillo), the SPLA Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, sent shock waves in all directions. The news is still reverberating in all corners of the Republic of South Sudan. It’s too early to gauge the full impact of this significant development. The glaring fact is that the resignation was welcomed by the majority of the South Sudanese people and probably some of the General’s well-wishers outside the borders of South Sudan.

Lt. General Thomas Cirillo, is a living hero and a role model to many Equatorian and South Sudanese officers and soldiers. His resignation can only encourage more of the same from the real patriots amongst the armed forces.

The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) applauds and celebrates the selfless and patriotic decision taken by our renown General by preferring to be on the side of the people over remaining loyal to an illegitimate regime that’s permanently infested with corruption and tribalism.

His brilliant resignation letter has confirmed what we have been saying all along that the SPLA is not a national army and the government is implementing a divisive policy aimed at domination and hegemony of the Jieng tribe over the other ethnicities of South Sudan.

It’s clear that the General took the decision following plenty of patience and a lot of thought. It was perceived that the General has been under enormous pressure to quit the government from his community and the Equatorians on the one hand, and as a result to the mounting crimes committed by the SPLA and the militias affiliated to it against the civilian populations, on the other.

The General’s resignation letter has exposed what has been hidden away from the public regarding the running of the so-called government of South Sudan. It’s apparent that there is no real institutional work and those at the top of the regime do not adhere to any procedures or regulations. They are above the law, and South Sudan is more or less being run as a Chieftaincy of the Jieng tribe.

The ridiculous attempts to discredit and tarnish the name of Lt. General Thomas Cirillo will all be despised and ignored. His reputation would ever remain immaculate and unscathed. These attempts are cheap and are being propagated by food lovers like Brig. General Lul Rui Koang, the spokesperson of the SPLA , who is not even a real General.

Regarding military education, training, courage and integrity, Lt. General Thomas Cirillo is superior to Kiir, Kuol Manyang Juuk, and Paul Malong. Of course, there are those with twisted minds who seem to tolerate commanders who commit atrocities and kill innocent civilians. Their followers and beneficiaries even call them as brave men and heroes. Well, ruthlessness and savagery are not bravery and massacring unarmed civilians, is not heroism. They are criminals.

Perhaps the only field in which the trio could beat Lt. General Thomas Cirillo without contest – is the field of thievery. Therefore, it was not a surprise that the names of the trio appeared in the Sentry report while the name of Mogga Lo Cirillo was nowhere to be found in it.

In fact, many in his community, who know him very well, have been worrying that his name may get soiled in the course of serving the people of South Sudan in a government full of thieves. His departure is a great relief to his friends, community and the people of South Sudan.

Even if he decides to do nothing more, he has already done the single most important thing which is the unveiling of the fact that we neither have a national army nor an impartial government.

At the time of writing this piece, the social media circulated the resignation letters of Brig. General, Henry Oyay Nyango, Judge Advocate General, Director, Military Justice and Col. Khalid Ono Loki, Judge Advocate, Head, Military Courts.

Now, what would the government say about these resignations? Would the two military judges be accused of misappropriation of funds to blemish their reputations? It’s unheard of that judges resigned their jobs in protest of the absence of the rule of law and widespread impunity in a government. These are testimonies confirming that matters have reached the lowest low. The SSDF commends the patriotic move by the two military judges and encourages others to take similar decisions.

Thomas Cirillo’s departure appears to have the Domino Effect on the course of events within the SPLA. It’s a game changer and would certainly not be confined to the military sector but would include some politicians.

Hence, the SSDF takes this opportunity to appeal to our people in uniform to desert the SPLA and all the armed forces as they were shown beyond doubt to be nothing but tribal and oppressive institutions.

As for the politicians, it’s time to abandon the sinking boat of Salva Kiir and his mentors who are members of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

Lotole Lo Luri,

Deputy Press Secretary – SSDF