Archive for: March 2018

Open Letter to Dr. Francis Mading Deng: Waste of time with National Dialogue

BY: Kuir GARANG, Poet, Novelist and Political Commentator, MAR/14/2018, SSN;

Many of us have read your books and reports on behalf of the United Nations. When I tell people, casually, during conversations, that the person who formulated the ‘Guiding Principles’ and ideas now used by the UN to take care of the internally displaced is [South Sudanese], they stare at me with a confused sense of wonder and admiration.

It is a good feeling in terms of the human communion and in terms of intellectual relatedness.

The Principles have not only been adopted by aid agencies and different governments, they have also been translated into different languages since they were introduced in the January of 1998.

“A number of governments,” you wrote in a paper in 2001, “publicly praised the development of the Principles and several governments in countries with serious situations of internal displacement have actively supported and participated in seminars on the Principles.”

This is indeed instructive on how valuable these Principles were and still are. You can understand why I’m inclined to speak about the fact that you were the brain behind these Principles with such a global appeal.

Besides your work with the Sudanese government in terms of your foreign affairs services, your books and other scholarly works, these PRINCIPLES speak loudly about how you perceive, and take seriously, the suffering of the internally displaced persons relative to their governments and your concept of ‘sovereignty as responsibility.’

This is a concept that I wished many African governments understood and practiced.

This brief reminder of your work with the internally displaced plays well into what I want to say and why I decided to write to you an open letter.

This letter is about what is happening in South Sudan and what the government of South Sudan has become: a vengeful, suspicious force against the average South Sudanese and all critical voices.

As you correctly said in your 2001 paper, The Global Challenge of Internal Displacement, that “Instead of being seen as citizens who merit protection and humanitarian assistance, these persons are often perceived as part of the enemy, if not the enemy itself.”

This, sadly, captures the reality of what is happening now to the average civilian in South Sudan. The government that is supposed to protect them sees them with a scary suspicion.

So when someone of your caliber works for the government that is doing exactly what you used to advise governments against, someone like me assumes that you are doing something internally, something that would mitigate the suffering of our people.

When you were appointed as the UN ambassador, my hopes were up. I told myself that “a cautious voice of reason will finally speak on behalf of the government of South Sudan.”

But I was being too optimistic or, to some extent, naive. Ambassadors are nothing but mouthpieces of governments.

However, when I heard that you’re again appointed as part of the national dialogue-ND, my hopes were high again.

But then I realized that the ND was merely a face-saving initiative with no real normative intent as resolving the conflict for it was very exclusive.

Since President Kiir Mayardit is being opposed by the likes of Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition figures, it’d have been clear to you that they’d not want to be part of an initiative that was started by their ‘enemy.’

That Riek Machar refused to meet your delegation in South Africa was common sense.

This statement, which you gave in December of 2017 in Addis Ababa, is troubling.

You said that, “On the issue of inclusivity, however, it must be noted that it’s a two-way challenge. When all the stakeholders are invited to dialogue, with flexibility on a mutually agreeable venue, and some individuals refuse to join, where does the responsibility for the lack of inclusivity lie?” That is strange.

Why’d you expect these ‘stakeholders’ to join something that was formed by someone they’re fighting?

You’ve worked with many governments and in politics to know the vanity and self-interestedness of ‘realpolitik.’ Why are you surprised by something you expected?

Did you expect Riek Machar to say, “Yes, it’s a good initiative, we’ll join it” without caring about the fact that this ND was formed by his archenemy?

You dashed my hopes here when it comes to rational expectations.

However, you always have a way of warming our hearts by saying the right thing when we need it the most.

You recently, in the February of this year, presented a noble address in Addis Ababa during the ill-fated ‘High-Level Revitalization Forum’ aimed at reviving the [2015] August Agreement that was meant to end the December 2013 crisis.

You wrote, with an eerie sense of impeccable humanness that: “I’ve always said that while it’s sad and painful to hear that the outside world cares more about the suffering of our people than their own leaders, our response should not be anger or defensiveness, but to convince them that we indeed share that concern, perhaps even more than outsiders, and that we’d join hands and work together to mutually reinforce our efforts toward our shared objective.

We must also convince our people that we’re indeed concerned about their suffering, and we can only do that through affirmative action.”

Undoubtedly, this is a reminder of ‘leadership as responsibility’ as Robert Joss would say. That outsiders sound more alarmed than the very leaders who’re supposed to be the most affected ones is deeply troubling.

However, given your history with the internally displaced, I do believe that you mean those words.

I’ve seen your calm demeanor, calculated and carefully reasoned arguments that makes one feel the need to listen.

You bring out that traditional African wisdom within a value-impoverished contemporary African politics.

Despite the fact that you’re with a group of hardened and desensitized men, who’ll find it hard to listen to the suffering of the people, I still believe that you can help change things.

However, I also believe that you’re approaching this in the wrong way.

First, for the ND to be inclusive, it has to be an entity formed by all the ‘stakeholders.’ This would force them to respect it and commit to it if they know they’ve people they can trust in the ND.

These would be people they chose themselves.

You also need to remember that the problem in South Sudan is the leaders, so for peace to come to South Sudan, these leaders are the ones who’re required to dialogue.

Even if the average South Sudanese in the villages and in towns reconcile, the bitter differences among the leaders will always divide them.

Unless the leaders reconcile and the war ended, any ND would be futile. How do you reconcile people who are still fighting one another?

While the ND is an excellent initiative, it’s being used for the wrong reason and applied to the wrong people.

You need to start by convincing President Kiir to dialogue with Riek and other stakeholders. You don’t even have to go to Addis Ababa.

Unless you help the leaders reconcile and end the war, you are wasting your time.

Just imagine you going to Akobo and the people accept to forgive those who’ve wronged them. But then the government and the rebels fight again in that area and the very people who’d accepted to forgive had their relatives killed.

Would they still respect such a dialogue?

Dr. Francis, while your heart is in the right place, you need to rethink what it means for something to be inclusive and who exactly needs to dialogue with whom and when.

Inclusivity shouldn’t only be in the intended execution of the ND but also in its very formation.

The idea that calling people to be part of the ND is what it means to be inclusive, worries me.
Kuir Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. For contact, visit

Peaceful Governance in South Sudan: Lessons from Kenyan Leaders Coming of Age

From: Dr. Hakim Dario, People’s Democratic Movement, Press Statement – For Immediate Release, MAR/12/2018, SSN;

On 8th July 2016, as if 15th December 2013 was not enough, the world looked on at South Sudan as political violence erupted again in Juba instigated by the JCE and President Salva Kiir against his FVP Dr. Riek Machar, in the wake of no more than three months into ARCSS implementation, which triggered renewed civil war in the country instead of extinguishing its flame.

(Editor: 15th December 2013 was the date pres. Kiir launched a genocidal war in Juba targeting and killing members of the Nuer tribe)

President Kiir chose and preferred violence over peaceful means to settle differences with former FVP Riek, the grave consequences of which the country and millions of its population today in refugee camps and POCs suffer in silence without a glimmer of hope in yet another HLRF search for an illusive peace.

President Kiir as head of the TGONU in the country on 8th July 2016, did not pose the legitimate question of “what will become of South Sudan from the repeat resort to uncalled for violence against fellow country men and ARCSS peace partners” that is now destroying the people’s social fabric and what hope was there now for peaceful governance in an ethnically polarized country bent on violence?

Last year in October 2017, the world witnessed a political contest in presidential elections in ethnically polarized Kenya between arch political rivals; incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga, which was concluded in a court ruling, the first of its kind in Africa for coming of age of the rule of law and the independent judiciary in Kenya.

This appeal to law and peaceful means to political conflict resolution in July 2016 would be far fetched in President Salva Kiir’s and JCE world in South Sudan ruling with impunity!

PDM notes that while Kenya’s court ruling raised hopes and held promise of a new start for the country, however, the events that followed confirmed that the Kenyan nation and people were divided down the middle, unashamedly largely on ethnic lines if not exclusively so.

This turn of events were watched with great anxiety and trepidation worldwide. What will become of Kenya and what does it mean for African democracy?

What hope is there for Africa if a country like Kenya, until recently, one of few success stories of African nationhood and democracy was cracking under the weight of ethnic division, corruption and strive over power before our very eyes on the world stage!

And since its independence 55 years ago, a grim prospect of civil war was on the horizon for a deeply divided Kenya.

On 9th March 2018, what was seemingly an unlikely political event happened in Kenya, as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief political rival Raila Odinga, stood together to address Kenyans about the state of their nation and the way forward.

This came as a shock, unexpected but also as a great relief, not just to Kenyans but also to their immediate neighbours in South Sudan, the African continent and the world at large.

PDM commends the phenomenal event seeing the two arch-rivals – who only a few months ago couldn’t see eye to eye, making a joint statement – standing together to address Kenyans and to face the world: a huge victory for the two leaders; a victory for Kenya and a lesson for her conflicted neighbours.

President Kenyatta and Hon. Odinga evaluated their options, decided to heed to the voice of reason. Both leaders are third generation of Kenyans, are schooled and exposed to statesmanship, which is lacking in President Salva Kiir’s and JCE world leadership of South Sudan.

It is instructive which by contrast makes leadership of our country appear to be from the bygone ages of violence and despotism.

PDM applauds the stance and steps taken by the Kenyan leaders – to subordinate their personal rivalries and political ambitions in order to serve the interest of Kenya and Kenyans first.

These two leaders had and have the capacity to destroy Kenya and destroy themselves in the process, but chose not to.

The good news is that they chose the path to resolution of potential conflict through peaceful political means as the preferred option to avert violent and destructive conflict where nobody wins but everybody looses.

PDM looks to Kenya as a valued peace partner to extend their new policy of respect for rule of law, human and peoples rights and security inside Kenya and beyond its borders to effect our country South Sudan to uphold a culture of peace and put the people first.

PDM takes particular interest in what happens to Kenya that matters to South Sudan, as Kenya is not only a home to thousands of fleeing refugees since 2013 but Kenya morally and materially supported South Sudanese throughout two wars of liberation.

The two countries share not just common borders but peoples of common linguistic and ethnic origins.

It was among the first to recognize the legitimate right of our people to self-determination.

Unfortunately too however, today’s South Sudan under President Salva Kiir shares in common with Kenya what “Building Bridges to a new Kenyan Nation” describes as the lack of national ethos in that both South Sudan and Kenya are increasingly being defined by politics of corruption and violence.

The Sentry organization chronicled in numerous reports, how the current crop of political and government leaders in South Sudan are defined by corruption, impunity, lack of vision and lack of respect for human rights and public property.

As Kenyan leaders have acknowledged what it takes to build bridges to a new Kenyan Nation, South Sudanese leaders should know too that before you can build a bridge, you must acknowledge the need to have one to bring people together.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have set their goal to pull Kenya back from the brink and collapse, history and the people will not judge them harshly if they remain true to the promise they made in their address to Kenyans to create the political space and opportunity for all Kenyans to live together in peace, harmony and dignity.

That will require the support, dedication and commitment of all Kenyans and the international community, not least their neighbours.

The leaders of Kenya have come of age, graciously risen to the challenge of leadership, called a “spade a spade” and averted destruction of their country.

PDM supports the courageous steps they have taken in the interest of Kenya and all its peoples.

As the search for South Sudan peace through the HLRF continues in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, will IGAD mediators and the parties to HLRF put the people and country first?

Hakim Dario PhD
CHAIR _________________________________________________

South Sudan’s leadership uses state-owned oil company Nilepet to funnel millions into brutal security services and ethnic militias

GLOBAL WITNESS, Tuesday 6th March, London, ssn;

A new Global Witness investigation shows how South Sudan’s state-owned oil company, the Nile Petroleum Corporation (Nilepet), has fallen under the direct control of President Salva Kiir and his inner circle, and is being used to funnel millions in oil revenues to the country’s brutal security services and ethnic militias, with limited oversight and accountability.

“While South Sudan’s population continue to suffer a senseless war and economic crisis of their leaders’ making, Nilepet is failing its true constituents, serving instead the interests of a narrow cabal, and being used to prolong the brutal conflict,” said Michael Gibb, Campaign Leader for Conflict Resources at Global Witness.

Ahead of resumed peace talks, Global Witness is recommending a renewed focus on the economic drivers of South Sudan’s conflict; including its oil sector, and increased engagement with the international companies and traders that connect Nilepet to international markets.

While South Sudan is a producer of crude oil, it lacks capacity and infrastructure to refine this into the fuel its population relies on. As a result, Nilepet is deeply integrated into global oil supply chains, including international refineries and commodity traders, without which it would be unable to raise revenues.

These international trading partners could play a key role in challenging and holding it accountable.

“Nilepet depends on the international oil supply chain,” said Michael Gibb. “The international companies it deals with have a responsibility and opportunity to use their influence to drive reform and transparency at this critical moment in South Sudan’s conflict. Indifference is tantamount to complicity in the face of clear evidence of Nilepet’s role in the war economy.”

Capture on the Nile draws on secret documents and first-hand testimony to detail the means by which one of South Sudan’s most significant economic institutions has been co-opted to serve the personal aims of President Salva Kiir and his inner circle.

This is illustrated most dramatically by the presence of Lt. Gen. Akol Koor — head of South Sudan’s feared Internal Security Bureau— on the company’s board.

Once captured, Nilepet appears to have become the vehicle of choice for connected elites wishing to evade scrutiny of financial transactions worth millions, linking the company directly to arms transfers and the patronage system at the heart of the conflict.

Nilepet’s successful capture has made it a critical component of the war economy. As a private company, Nilepet is able to operate in near total secrecy.

The report details how this secrecy has been used to finance military operations, arms transfers to ethnic militias, and conceal the looting of millions in ‘letters of credit’ intended to help imports of essential goods as South Sudan’s economy deteriorated.

“South Sudan’s security forces are able to operate with alarming impunity, driving cycles of violence and oppression,” said Michael Gibb. “Nilepet’s ability to finance these operations without scrutiny or oversight is critical and must be tackled as a first step towards confronting this rampant impunity while also creating the economic conditions for peace after years of brutal civil war.”


Contact: Michael Gibb, Campaign Leader – Conflict Resources,, +44 (0)7808 776 340

Notes to editors:

• The report includes new information on Nilepet’s role in the so-called “Letters of Credit” scandal, one of South Sudan’s largest recent corruption scandals. It details how millions in letters of credit intended to facilitate the import of refined fuel, were diverted to Nilepet with almost no oversight, raising the risk of these borrowed funds lining the pockets of connected elites rather than easing the worsening fuel crisis.

• Global Witness have researched South Sudan’s oil sector since the country’s independence in 2011, producing a number of reports that aim to help the young country make the most of its natural resources through sound and transparency governance of its natural resource wealth. For more information about this work, see:

• For more information about Global Witness’ work to disrupt conflict financing through improved due diligence on international mineral supply chains, see:

Global Witness investigates and campaigns to prevent natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses

Nyandeng: IGAD must use the stick to get Kiir out as president, not diplomacy


Warring parties have failed to find solutions to a political crisis that started in 2013. Fred Oluoch spoke with John Garang’s widow Rebecca Nyandeng on the challenges facing South Sudan.

QUESTION: In 2013, you wanted to be the chairperson of SPLM and by extension the presidency. What was your objective?

NYANDENG: At that time, I wanted to inject democracy into SPLM. Two, I was the only woman then who could aspire to the post of the chairperson and I wanted to set an example for women.

If President Salva Kiir had allowed us to contest and he won, we would have accepted and shaken his hand.

I was satisfied with the leadership my husband and I had provided to the people of South Sudan, but after his death I realised that there was a major problem with the way our party was being run, so I offered to set things right.

That has not come and I guess it will not come because what the people of South Sudan want now is peace, and not who is leading them.

This is the last agenda after all of us sit down and decide who is the most suitable to lead and unite them. Even if you have ambitions, you cannot succeed with the current mess.

Again, we have to evaluate the root cause of the problem — which is lack of leadership with the capacity to address the basic needs of the people.

So we need to bring somebody with that capacity to deal with these issues and unite the people. If we focus only on the top leadership, then it is like a house with only the roof minus pillars — which will not stand.

QUESTION: Do you think South Sudanese are receptive to women?

NYANDENG: They are because the movement has taught the people that women can lead. Many women fought in the bush for 21 years and commanded a lot of respect.

But as women we still need to make more people understand that in leadership, you go for the person who can set things right, not the gender.

QUESTION: Having participated in Phase II of the revitalisation talks in Addis Ababa, do you hope for peace any time soon?

NYANDENG: We did not achieve much because the government refused to sign the Declaration of Principles that will guide future negotiations. But I cannot say that it is the end of everything, because as a politician you have to give hope to your people. The challenge was that delegates came to the negotiation hall with a fixed mind set on percentages and positions in government.

It was like negotiating with enemies and not people who belong to the same country. This bitterness, rigid positions and suspicion must change if we are to make progress in the future.

QUESTION: The opposition were resolute that President Kiir be excluded from the transitional government because he has abrogated the 2015 peace agreement. Do you agree with that?

NYANDENG: Yes, I was part of the groups that asked if Dr Machar is isolated and yet he is a major player, why is President Kiir there and yet he cannot bring peace?

We maintained that if the incumbent must be in the transitional government, then Dr Machar must be brought back, because you cannot say that one key signatory to the 2015 agreement is in and the other is out.

So we asked President Kiir to step down honourably and the two of them will be respected because they are our liberators and we don’t want to humiliate them. We want them to retire honourably and give room to new players because they have shown they cannot work together.

QUESTION: Do you think the Igad mediators and partner states are genuinely trying to bring peace to South Sudan?

NYANDENG: The majority of Igad states want peace but there are individual countries, which I cannot name, that are pursuing their interests. The biggest challenge is that Igad and the African Union cannot face President Kiir and tell him to step down.

They are using the carrot and not the stick. Igad should make the stick visible by calling out those who violate the agreement and the consequences that follow.

It happened in Liberia, Ivory Coast, Gambia, South Africa, Sierra Leone and recently Zimbabwe. Why not use the stick for South Sudan? If we and Igad fail, then the African Union and the UN will come in. END

In Summary:

Nyandeng’s Biography:

**** Born: 1956

**** Education: Rebecca Nyandeng did her high school in Iowa, US before, enrolling at Iowa State University where she studied Economics. However, she did not finish her degree course because her husband, Dr John Garang, decided to go back home after finishing his PhD.

**** Role in liberation struggle: Served in the SPLA army as alternate commander. She was promoted to the rank of LT General in the army but later retired.

**** Experience: Mrs Nyandeng served as an executive director of WODRANS, a non profit-making organisation, that takes care of orphans, widows and the disabled.

**** Positions in government: Minister for roads and transport and presidential adviser on gender and human rights.

Where the Machar-led SPLM/A (IO) faltered: Latest Serious Criticism from Inside

South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA)

By: Peter Adwok Nyaba, MAR/05/2018, SSN;

On 1st March 2018, the eight-member South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) released a press statement on the launch of the opposition alliance. It was unbelievable that the SPLM/A (IO) was not among the signatories.

I made an inquiry on the PolitBureau forum and the Chairman, Dr. Riek Machar, responded thus, “There are differences in the draft charter. They have a vision and we have another. They decided to go ahead. We agreed. Still we will continue cooperating meanwhile discussing those differences.”

I did not agree with the Chairman response. A colleague in the PB posted the SPLM/A (IO) response to the draft alliance charter. I was shocked that it was a dialogue between the Chairman and the deputy Chairman as can be gleaned from the quote below.

“… [After] sharing the Charter with the Leadership of my Organization (IO), I would like to give a summary of the changes (minor and major). You may question why major change after we agreed. Well, as I did explain on that Friday, I did not have the direct authority to make the ultimate decision, so I had to share the content of the draft Charter. The fact that an attempt is made to enrich the draft, it shows the seriousness IO has placed on SSOA. Please look at the changes as genuine concerns instead of taking the idea that IO does not want SSOA playing some delaying tactics.”

I thought it was out of order for the deputy chairman to tell the leaders of the other opposition groups that he did not have direct authority to make ultimate decision and so had to share the content of the draft, although that really goes without saying.

It makes him more of a puppet rather than SPLM/A (IO) deputy Chairman; worst, when it becomes public knowledge by his own admission.

I am hearing that Dr. Lam Akol circulated this response. This episode creates serious leadership crisis in the SPLM/A (IO) suggesting that the focal point is not up to the task and that explains the admission by the deputy Chairman of not having direct authority to make the ultimate decision.

The ultimate decision lies with the SPLM/A (IO) Political Bureau, which he and the Chairman short-circuited in what appears like an operation of Limited Liability Company dealings.

There are two or three things involved here.

First, the question of building alliance with other opposition groups. On 11 January, I circulated a paper where I discussed the necessity of forging a working relationship with the groups opposed to the ethnocentric totalitarian regime.

Nobody in the Political Bureau had the courtesy of either agreeing or disagreeing with it. Not even any in the so-called focal point discussed although they knew that they would come face to face with some of the issues I raised.

Secondly, the issue of internal democracy in the SPLM/A (IO). It is obvious the Chairman, the deputy Chairman and Dr. Riek’s appointed Secretary-General (because he unconstitutionally appointed Tingo Peter – the Chairman could have only tasked him in an acting capacity) have no knowledge and/or experience with democratic practice.

This explains why they quickly reached a deadlock, which the Chairman categorizes as ‘difference’.

Differences in an alliance are to be expected but cannot be cause for isolation, unless we admit that we have run out of ideas and what remained in our heads is only power.

I believe once the focal point presented the draft charter, the Chairman should have triggered a discussion on the Political Bureau forum for those not in the focal point to ventilate and make suggestions.

This did not happen and became a two-persons dialogue, in which they acted subjectively occasioning the break.

Thirdly, the issue of SPLM/A (IO) operating in isolation of other political groups whether outside or inside the country.

I could understand the position of the SPLM Political Leaders (FPDs) but their refusal to join the alliance will definitely compound their dilemma of being in and out of government at the same time, which is the falsehood of SPLM reunification and attending various forums on that issue drive.

I am convinced that the SPLM/A (IO) action of boycotting the signing of the SSOA charter on grounds not known by many members of the PB will have resounding negative effect on our standing as people who want to transform the current situation in the country.

We faltered in this and I do not know how we’d mitigate this damage.

In the paper I circulated on 11 January, I said clearly that the opposition group leaders were members of the SPLM/A at one time or the other.

We were all in the national liberation struggle therefore we know each other, which should have been a rallying point to negotiate an alliance.

We in the SPLM/A (IO) seemed to have not learned a lesson. The eruption of violence in July 2016 and the return to war created a dynamically new and different political situation in the country, which required a strategic analysis and a different political thinking.

We assumed that people would just join us in a leadership structure ante. That is why some comrades castigated me when I accepted and committed the SPLM/A (IO) to the Consultative Meeting called by Dr. Lam in August 2016.

I believed and still believe it was the correct line of action. The outcome of that meeting is available for perusal. Whatever happened after that was not my responsibility.

The PB deliberated on it in Khartoum but nothing substantial came out. We were then the only known armed opposition.

However, as I said that a new and very different political situation arose and consequent to the oppressive policies of the regime, other opposition groups…armed or not, sprouted onto the political stage.

This was their inalienable right to be independent and to oppose the oppressive regime.

However, as the dominant armed group, we should have offered cooperation and agreed on how this cooperation would play out in terms of general principles, strategies, tactics and geographic domain of this cooperation.

I thought that was the essence of the Consultative Meeting in Nairobi in August 2016. A politician conversant with multiparty political engineering would quickly capture this evolving political environment and turn it to the advantage of his party and/or movement.

Nevertheless, to hope that others opposed to the regime would come running to join us would be the height of naivety or a demonstration of jejune character not appropriate in complex socio-political situations as obtaining in South Sudan.

The SPLM/A (IO) has failed to capture the political situation on account of the absence of clear political objectives. Whether it was regime change or reform that dominated the debate in the SPLM/A (IO) since its inception in 2014; however the reform agenda driven by Taban’s personal ambition to capture the petroleum portfolio in the TGoNU won the day.

This came to be because of the triangular socio-political relationship [Dr. Riek Machar – comrade Angelina Teny – Gen. Taban Deng (SPLM/A (IO) Chief Negotiator)] had always played the harbinger of SPLM/A (IO) lack of clarity, which Dr. Riek exacerbated through naivety, indecision and/or cowardice to break this triangular socio-political relationship until the disaster stroke in July 2016.

Do we in the SPLM/A (IO) believe others do not see this political/leadership weakness? Why would they follow a person who does not listen or treats his colleagues like pawns?

The SPLM/A (IO) lack of clear political objectives stems from Dr. Riek’s complete ignorance and lack of clear ideological underpinnings of South Sudan socio-economic and political context.

His ambition for power is completely detached from any ideology linked to the socio-economic and cultural underdevelopment of South Sudan and its people.

He believes he has ideas, which he can only implement when in power.

That explains for eight years as first vice Chairman of the SPLM and vice President of GOSS (2005 -2011) and deputy vice president of the republic of South Sudan (2011 – 2013), he remained dormant under Salva Kiir; neither departing to give room to those who would honestly and loyally work under Salva Kiir to make the country move forward.

Nor did his show dissatisfaction with the ongoings in South Sudan for eight years but was deeply involved as minister of housing overseeing the rehabilitation of dilapidated Southern Regional Government infrastructure instead of building new one with the huge budget he managed.

It is not enough to have ambition for power; one must have the ideological and strategic political clout to managed that ambition.

The SPLM/A (IO) started in 2013/2014 with nearly sixty thousand armed combatants [SPLA, Police, Prison warder, Wildlife wardens and Civil Defence officers].

In 2015, the Agwelek Forces under Gen. Johnson Olony joined the SPLM/A (IO), captured Malakal, Akoka, and Melut. They were poised on attacking in order to capture the oil fields in Adar and Paloich, when the Dr. Riek and Taban conspired to sabotage the operation by ordering the withdrawal of other forces from Lou and Jikany eventually leading to the government recapture of Malakal and Melut with the loss of life and the gunboat.

Now, how would Dr. Riek dream of capturing power from Salva Kiir when he lacked the strategic planning of denying Salva Kiir the financial and economic resources for prosecuting the war?

How would Dr. Riek win military victory without organizing and sourcing a combat-capable army but preferring to rely on the Nuer white army who do not subscribe to the laws of war or to the political objective of war?

What next after refusing to sign the charter on account of ‘difference’ with the other political groups?

This is my take on our dilemma, which is different from FPDs dilemma in that we are still the largest political military movement in the opposition but with diminished political and military clout.

Let me warn us here; what we have now is only potential political and military power, which also is diminishing at an exponential rate due to the obvious mistakes we make.

It is not true that the US administration sanctioned us because of the decision in the PB to pursue armed struggle. The US administration sanctioned us because we acted nuerly (announcing publicly our intention to war.

The very idea of publicly circulating classified SPLM/A (IO) documents is not only naïve but also a security risk.

No political party operates with its doors and windows opened to the public and expects to win genuine and actual political victories; perhaps may be only imaginary victories triggered by wishful thinking.

We could transform this potential power by acting strategically within the opposition looking not at the power sharing in the transition period but the long-term socio-economic and political engineering of South Sudan.

This should be the starting point with the opposition groups when the HLRF (IGAD-sponsored talks) resumes.

It is not the short-term gains the parties will collect from the revitalized agreement but rather the long-term impact of the agreement on South Sudan context, which should drive the relations among the opposition groups.

This requires looking at the issues or what the Chairman categorized as ‘differences’ from an objective and patriotic prospective.

The condescending and paternalistic attitude we display towards other compatriots has no basis and should cease henceforth.

We must accept that the Chairman and the deputy Chairman have faltered in deciding to let go the alliance on account of minor and non-fundamental ‘differences’ with the other opposition groups.

It puts the SPLM/A (IO) at par with president Kiir’s SPLM (IG) focused only on power and not the concern for the suffering people of South Sudan.

Kind regards

Peter Adwok Nyaba

2nd March 2018

South Sudan: The ‘Last Chance’ Call for Peace

BY: Samuel ATABI, South Sudan, MAR/05/2018, SSN;

Dear Troika Ambassadors,

The other day I watched, with tears in my eyes, a television news of a perilous journey by South Sudanese internally displaced people (IDP) being displaced again by a government attack in their camp somewhere in the Upper Nile region.

The TV footage featured young people, old people, and even pregnant women trudging along a bumpy dirt road, in a rickety truck, towards the Ethiopian border.

There, they hoped they would be safe from the government soldiers’ guns. Along the way, the footage showed a young pregnant woman who went into a sudden labor, clearly as a result of the bumpy journey.

The truck stopped and she, accompanied by some three women, walked away from the other passengers to an isolated grassy spot so that she could give birth to her baby with some dignity.

The arrival of the baby was announced by the usual lung-opening cry of neonates. A few minutes later, without ceremony or post-natal medical care, the young mother and her baby were brought back to the vehicle to resume the journey.

The vicarious pain I experienced by watching the footage brought it home to me that this war has reduced us to the life of wild animals; to a life in the wild where the struggle for survival is dictated by the Darwinian precept of ‘survival of the fittest.’

Whereas in the wild, predators such as the wild dogs, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles are the skilled killers and devours of both the old and the young preys, in South Sudan, those who have got to the guns first and are armed to the teeth pick their unarmed victims (old and young, including babies) and kill them with complete impunity.

Failed concept of nation-state:

But why should the world stand by and watch this debasing and degradation of innocent lives of South Sudanese without doing something decisive?

Those of us who question this paralysis on the part of the international community in the face of the genocide taking place in South Sudan, are often reminded of the right of a sovereign nation-state to govern its territory without interference from other nations or institutions.

This notwithstanding, and driven by the Wilsonian vision of the American exceptionalism, the US government has spent billions of dollars in support of the people of South Sudan over the last decade.

And to their credit, the US and other Western governments have tried to stop the violence by introducing arms embargo on the warring parties in that country.

But their effort has been thwarted by the two Eastern powers, Russia and China, through vetoing of resolutions aimed to institute the embargo at the UNSC.

The two powers have no visible assistance program for the people of South Sudan, but they continue to make money from the oil industry in this unfortunate country.

The behaviors of these two latter powers continue to perplex South Sudanese; surely, they do not enjoy seeing South Sudanese killed and displaced in millions?

Although it is not profitable anymore to debate whether or not South Sudan is a nation-state as conceived by Cardinal Richelieu in the seventeenth century Europe, in his raison d’état precepts, it is still important to question whether, as structured, the South Sudanese state is the most stable and is fit for purpose.

South Sudan was itself a part of Sudan, a nation-state construct designed by the colonial power in the last century.

The peoples of the Sudan were far from homogeneous; homogeneity is one of the acceptable defining characteristics of a nation-state.

Because it lacked this feature, and as expected, the black and mainly Africans inhabitants of the south of the country, who shared very little with the brown and Muslim Arabs of the north, did challenge the credential of Sudan as a nation-state: they waged a war of liberation for decades starting in 1955 until 2011 when they managed to secede and gain independence.

In acceding to the South Sudanese secession, the international community implicitly and tacitly accepted the argument that Sudan was not a sustainable nation-state as previously constructed.

The tensions that led to the break-up of the colonial Sudanese nation are emblematic of the current challenges faced by several African nation-states: there are increasing calls for secession in some of these countries.

Examples of the countries include Niger, Nigeria, Cameron, DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The calls are a consequence of some of the leaders of these nations behaving more like emperors of mini-empires than leaders of nation-states.

Those groups of elite or ethnicities, who are in power in these countries, discriminate against those groups of citizens who are out of it, effectively rendering their fellow compatriots as secondly class citizens.

Second-class citizenship was an enduring feature of empires, such as the Roman Empire, and not that of Richelieu’s “national-state”.

Ironically, it is this lack of homogeneity among the citizens of South Sudan that is now the cause of conflict in the country; it is ironic because this young country has purportedly bolted away from Sudan to escape discrimination, marginalization and second class citizenship for its people.

South Sudan is now at the front of the queue of African countries being threatened by disintegration because of complaints about discrimination against certain categories of citizens.

Peoples of South Sudan are not homogeneous.

As stated above, the black Africans of the then colonial Southern Sudan were put together by the British, most probably with their blackness being the main uniting factor.

This, however, is not to say that the British were entirely oblivious to the glaring differences, in physical attributes, cultures, levels of education and temperament, among the people of Southern Sudan.

This is because in their wisdom, the British divided the region in three provinces, which approximately reflected these differences.

These sub-divisions or provinces were named Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

In Equatoria, the population shared a number of characteristic: a multiplicity of ethnic groups (>30 tribes) with sedentary and agricultural lifestyle; relatively higher literacy, thanks to sustained education provided by the Catholic and protestant churches; because of the latter, the Equatorians were less prone to violence and vengeful temperament, which, in turn entrenched respect for life and property among the inhabitants.

The remaining provinces, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile, were dominated by, respectively, single majority tribes with the Dinka dominating in Bahr el Ghazal and the Nuer having preponderance in Upper Nile. (There are, in addition, other significant minorities both in Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile).

Both Nuer and Dinka are related anthropologically, are steeped in their main tradition of pastoralism based on ownership of cattle, and share similar temperament of being quick to anger and fight over cattle rustling.

(The fight over cattle rustling, which can be either within each tribe or directed at other ethnic groups, have become more dangerous with the wide ownership of modern weaponry).

The levels of education among the general population of both these tribes were lower than those in Equatoria, probably because of diminished presence of the Christian churches in their provinces.

Genesis of antagonism among South Sudanese.

The differences described above are at the core of the present post-independence conflict in South Sudan.

The war of independence for South Sudan was fought in two phases: the first phase started in 1955 and was largely led by the Equatorians. The phase ended in 1972, when the first Addis Ababa peace agreement was signed, giving the South an autonomous government.

This was the first ever opportunity for South Sudanese to administer themselves. The autonomous government ran for approximately 10 years.

It was during that time that other South Sudanese began to recognize discriminatory tendencies among the Dinka elite who were involved at various levels of government.

They were seen to be nepotistic, tribal and physically aggressive.

The Equatorian elite in that autonomous government countered these tendencies by successfully lobbying the Sudan government to divide the autonomous government into further three autonomous governments.

The Sudanese government agreed and duly created, respectively, the Equatoria, the Bahr el Ghazal and the Upper Nile regional autonomous governments.

The Dinka elite, whose strategy of dominating the Southern government depended on a single and centralized administration in Southern Sudan, strongly opposed this move.

The Dinka elite were alone in this opposition because the rest of the Southerners had welcomed this re-division as it gave them the opportunity to govern themselves without the domination from the Dinka elite.

It was this opposition to the further decentralization of the autonomous government that led the Dinka elite to withdraw to the bush and start an armed rebellion in 1983.

Later, this primary reason for the rebellion was hidden from the public when Dr John Garang, the head of the lead rebel army, the SPLA, disingenuously claimed that the objective of the insurgency was the “creation of a New Sudan”.

In 2005, following the Naivasha Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Khartoum government and the SPLA, the interim administration that was set up in Southern Sudan was initially dominated by the Dinka and the Nuer.

It is important to note that the Dinka elite had not abjured their earlier strategy to dominate governance in South Sudan during the more than two decades of the war.

South Sudan: The ‘Last Chance’ Call for Peace opportunity to re-assert their divisive objective of domination presented itself in December, 2013, when they started the present civil war by killing thousands of unarmed Nuer civilians in the capital of the country, Juba.

Now, they are fully in-charge of the country, while at the same time excluding other South Sudanese from meaningfully participating in the government.

Root causes of the war

With the foregoing background in place, it is now possible to delineate the root causes of the war in the Republic of South Sudan.

i) The primary cause is the selfish and hegemonic design by the Dinka elite to perpetually dominate the governance of South Sudan. This historical strategy has neatly dovetailed with the prevailing orthodoxy in Africa where the first or some intermediate ethnic group or elite to head the early post-independence governments refuse to pass the mantle of power to any other group of citizens.

The incidence which triggered the present conflict in 2013 was singularly motivated by fear among the Dinka elite that they would lose power in the planned general election to take place in 2015 to the Nuer elite headed by the then Vice President, Riek Machar.

Therefore, the obstacle to the resolution of the conflict is the determined effort by the Dinka elite to first, maintain the centralized government system and second, to use this centralization to deny other groups any meaningful roles in the governance and development of South Sudan.

ii) A secondary course of the war is the interference from the neighboring nation-states in the South Sudanese civil war. There are some nations in the vicinity of the Republic of South Sudan, particularly Uganda, which, for reasons yet unknown to the public, are selfishly shielding and supporting the regime in Juba.

They are fomenting war and disunity among the citizens of the young country and are bent on turning the country into battleground for wars in the Nile valley; the recent entry of Egypt, again, on the side of the government in Juba makes this likely.

Their support for the regime makes the regime arrogant and defiance to any suggestion for peaceful resolution of the civil war.

Solutions to the war

In August 2015, a peace agreement to end the conflict in South Sudan, also known as ARCSS, was successfully negotiated and signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

For reasons which history will reveal later, those charged with its implementation neglected to enforce it strictly and timely.

As a consequence, the government’s side violated several of its clauses and Dr Machar, the leader of the opposition SPLA-IO and a key signatory to the agreement, was chased out of Juba and into enforced exile in South Africa.

This left the agreement practically dead. Now a new peace process, called High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) for ARCSS has been launched.

Key participants to the forum have signed a Cessation of Hostility agreement on December 22, 2017 as a prelude to a more substantive discussion of the ARCSS itself in February, 2018.

Disappointingly, already, the government side has been accused of several violations of the ceasefire clause contained in the latest agreement.

Thus, the prognosis for the success of the next phase of the revitalization does not look good.

Despite this pessimistic assessment, we propose and recommend the following as the most reliable solutions to the conflict:

1. The mediators should adopt the following as their strategic objective:
Redefinition and restructuring of the STATE known as South Sudan in such a way that no one tribe or individual again can capture and monopolize power in order to entrench self with the purpose to subjugate and become a hegemon over the other tribes in South Sudan.

2. The mediators should encourage the participants to accept:
A clause, in the agreement, which will authorize the re-division of South Sudan into three FEDERAL states of Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

This should include a provision of freedom for any minority group to opt for a shift to another state which is different from that where it traditionally belongs.

For example, if a minority tribe in Bahr el Ghazal, who feels oppressed by the majority Dinka and would want to shift to Equatoria, it should be allowed to do so.

3. Participant should endorse:
Mandatory arms embargo through the UNSC on any party who violates the ceasefire agreement and any other clauses of the resulting agreement.

4. The members of IGAD should agree and sign on:
Promise to strictly refrain from transferring arms to any participants in the armed conflict on the pain of UNSC sanctions.
These are the key pillars that should hold the resulting agreement and on which other clauses will lean.

Consequences of failure
We respectfully urge the UN, the Troika and the AU to seriously consider adopting our suggested Strategic Objective listed in (1) above.

Were it to be successfully applied in the South Sudanese conflict, it might provide a future template for a wider application in the various African conflicts that will surely result from the failing nation-states as alluded to earlier.

The creation of meaningful federal units, in South Sudan and elsewhere in Africa, within a united entity (state) must be preferable to a complete fragmentation into successively tiny and unstable ‘independent’ countries.

This opportunity must not be lost.

The international community has repeatedly announced that the present peace process on the South Sudanese conflict is the last chance for the leaders of that country; but the community has not revealed what are the consequences if this ‘last chance’ fails.

We want to invite the international community to again consider our suggestions for what should be the consequences in case of failure.

a) Seek and pass a UNSC resolution establishing a UN-AU Trusteeship to govern South Sudan for a defined period and prepare the country for a general election; or

b) For a specified period, the dollar proceeds from the sales of oil by the regime in Juba should be managed by the UN for the benefit of the people of South Sudan and not for the ruling elite or nor for the purchase of armaments which are used for killing the population; or

c) The military power of the government in Juba should be forcibly degraded either: through a UN-sanctioned forces attacking the SPLA; or through the intervention of forces from a coalition-of-the-willing, regardless of the resistance at the UNSC; or through the judicious and selective arming of the South Sudanese opposition coalition forces to force a hurting stalemate that should in turn force the government in Juba to the table for a realistic peace settlement ; and

d) If all of the above fail, then the world should be prepared to countenance a scenario of generalized and internecine warfare in South Sudan, perhaps which will be worse than the Somalia debacle both in intensity and scope.

The opposition, in desperation, might seek support from states that sponsor of terrorism for supply of arms and ammunitions. They might form liaisons with terrorist fighters and adventurers in return for religious conversion and future economic benefits.

(There are mineral resources such as uranium, gold and diamonds, in South Sudan, which the opposition might use for illegal purchase of armaments and supplies).

The military presence of Egypt in South Sudan might facilitate the attraction of its terrorist enemies to shift their battleground to South Sudan.

As history and experience have shown, the costs for delayed action to bring peace and normality to a country devastated by conflicts are usually enormous and higher than those for an early intervention; these elevated costs will not only apply to the South Sudanese but will also be applicable to the region and to those who have security and economic interests in eastern Africa.

I should, however, hasten to add here that this is not just an idle speculation from our side; during her recent visit to South Sudan, Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, had expressed similar concern on the possibility of South Sudan turning into a breeding ground for terrorists if the conflict is inordinately prolonged.

(In an appreciation of Ambassador’s Haley stance to side with the people of South Sudan, the following poem was written by one of our members in response to an American female blogger urging Ambassador Haley, from the US, to choose side with the regime in Juba:

‘Have you ever seen the earth from a distant space?
It is a ball of navy blue water with swirling clouds
At that distance, one cannot see the rotting bodies of soldiers and civilians on the Juba streets.
Neither can you see a young mother giving birth in the bush like a wildebeest in a wild park.
Nikki is no dewy-eyed sentimentalist, arm-chair observer talking from New York.
She is a street-level observer who has been to the refugee and IDP camps.
Nikki talked to the victims of war about their sufferings
She shares their pains.
Between the two women, I would choose Nikki for a mother’)

The ‘last chance’ call made by the international community to the leaders of South Sudan should equally apply to the leaders in the region (IGAD), the AU, the UN and world powers.

It is time the Darwinian experiment now being conducted in our country was stopped. Our people need peace and dignified life.

Yours sincerely,
Samuel Atabi

LATEST-News From Juba: Pres. Kiir prepares for war as he suddenly departs for Nimule

MAR/04/2018, SSN;

Latest news today from highly connected and reliable sources in Juba revealed that President Salva Kiir unexpectedly and suddenly departed today for Nimule, on the Uganda-South Sudan border, in a very big convoy of military vehicles that included heavy tanks and armed soldiers.

This latest development only confirms the clear fact that the Kiir’s Dinka-dominated government does not believe or expect peace in the country but is firmly prepared for war now.

As reported, president Kiir’s objective in Nimule is to receive and expedite the smuggle of arms and other war materials from Uganda into the country in a blatant contravention on the recently imposed United Nations and President Donald Trump’s USA arms embargo on South Sudan.

Clearly, this is undisputed evidence that president Kiir’s terror regime is obstructing and refusing to bring any peace in the country.

Furthermore, it’s obviously clear that the next revitalization peace process scheduled is now doomed by Kiir’s apparent moves to smuggle more weapons into the country and to continue his genocidal war against the people of South Sudan.

The principal criminal actor in abetting the importation and arming Kiir is Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni, who’s shamelessly in complete solidarity with president Kiir. Uganda’s president Museveni has now exposed himself as a true enemy to the people of South Sudan.

With these latest ominous developments, it should be plainly clear to all those political parties and armed groups that recently partook in the failed Addis Ababa IGAD so-called peace revitalization process, that president Kiir is not ready for any negotiations with any opposition groups.

As rightly described by the Trump’s US government, president is indeed an “unfit partner” in the so-called peace process and as such, all the opposition groups that are purportedly ‘fighting’ to oust the Kiir regime must strenuously support the arms embargo on the Kiir regime.

Furthermore, if Kiir’s returns from Nimule armed to the teeth with the Museveni guns, the opposition groups must come out and loudly condemn Uganda and its president, Museveni and also Kenya’s president Kenyatta, as those arms that will be given to Kiir must have originated from Mombasa.

Obviously, the IGAD so-called ‘Revitalization’ talks is a mockery to the suffering people of South Sudan and it’s time for the international community to impose more strenuous sanctions against the Kiir regime with immediate effect.

Finally, it’s imperative that all the anti-Kiir opposition groups must come together to expedite the removal of the Kiir regime. END

Bakosoro’s SSNMC denies & condemns South Sudan Government’s claim of connection to an apprehended arms-loaded UN car

SSNMC would like to deny and condemn in the strongest terms South Sudan Government’s unfounded claims about the apprehension of a UN car loaded with guns, ammunitions and military equipments and that this is connected to the Chairman of SSNMC, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro.

On Friday, the 2nd of March 2018, in Juba, South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), Government’s owned and monopolized broadcaster, reported that on 2/3/2018, “National Security apprehended a UN car loaded with guns, ammunitions and military

SSBC further stated that “the lady who was in charge of the car confessed the items belong to security officer, Doming Ruiz, who was connected to Joseph Bakosoro, who is currently in Uganda mobilizing for war in Western Equatoria”.

SSNMC would like to reach out to our supporters, well-wishers and the entire people of South Sudan that we, as an organisation, or our Chairman Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, as an individual, have/has no knowledge about and no involvement in the said apprehension matter if at all the matter holds ground and can be substantiated any way.

We strongly believe this allegation is unfounded and a shoddy and despicable propaganda by a government that has failed all milestones of a moral and trustworthy leadership/government, but instead has brought disgrace onto its people of good repute.

These are some of the reckless tactics the government will resort to, to justify their incessant violation and abrogation of the 21st December 2017 Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and advancing no political will for the resolution of South Sudan conflict.

We assure the people of South Sudan that we stand for peace and search for durable solution to the crisis in our country.

SSNMC would like to appeal to the UN to investigate this matter and publish its findings to
the people of South Sudan.

Contact: Daniel Zingifuaboro
Secretary of Information
Phone: +61474047016