Archive for: April 2018

Is IGAD complicit in the confinement of Dr. Riek Machar?

By Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudanese, APR/05/2018, SSN;

In most organized societies, keeping someone in detainment who did not commit any crime is a criminal act punishable by law. However, in its 61st extra-ordinary session held on March 26, 2018 in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) released a communiqué stating that it decided to lift the house arrest it imposed on the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), Dr. Riek Machar.

In addition, IGAD demanded that the rebel leader must first denounce violence before it can decide where he should be relocated. The East African regional bloc also asserted that Machar must only be transferred to a country without borders with South Sudan and that a group of designated IGAD ministers will propose and decide where the armed opposition leader will be moved to.

If such a resolution sounds like a conspiracy to you, then you are probably correct, because it fits within the meaning of a carefully-orchestrated political plot.

The statement was not only unreasonable — it was, in fact, a glorification of Salva Kiir’s tyranny and an insult to those who lost their lives in the civil war.

IGAD’s decision to lift Machar’s unlawful imprisonment is a welcome move. I strongly believe that placing Machar under house arrest was questionable. By signaling the release of the armed opposition leader, IGAD identified its blunder for the first time.

However, I wonder why the regional bloc wants the SPLM-IO leader to be relocated to a different nation instead of allowing him to go to any place of his own choosing?

There is absolutely no rational explanation as to why a group of IGAD leaders united themselves to keep an innocent man in confinement against his will when, meanwhile, Kiir committed massacres and enjoyed freedom in Juba.

IGAD leaders should explain to the people of South Sudan why they are willing to punish Machar while simultaneously failing to bring the war to an end. The bloc should also explain why it is interested in preventing Dr. Machar from participating in South Sudan’s politics.

IGAD’s main goal is to work for a peaceful solution to the ongoing civil war, instead of choosing a seemingly one-sided approach.

If the bloc does not change its current stance on South Sudan’s situation, then I suggest that the African Union (AU) and the international community take over the peace process.

The South Sudanese are also interested in knowing whether IGAD is merely an entity for East African leaders to protect themselves or is instead interested in solving regional issues.

It is worth noting that South Sudan’s conflict has become a lucrative business for some countries. What these nations need to know is that tens of thousands of people have died because of Kiir’s political madness.

Protecting Kiir by passing pro-Juba resolutions will not only escalate the war but will increase South Sudanese anger towards Kiir.

The Republic of South Sudan should not be a testing ground where civil liberties and human rights are traded for money, regional interests, or hidden intentions.

If IGAD is working for the goodness of the people of South Sudan, then it must not justify Salva Kiir’s ruthlessness by coming up with motions that are contrary to its own vision.

The March 26th decision by IGAD to transfer the rebel leader to a country outside of the East African region only strengthens the suspicion already present in the minds of millions of South Sudanese that the regional bloc is marred by bribery, illicit deals, greed, and conspiracy.

Is the confinement of Riek Machar an act of complicity? What crime did Riek Machar commit against Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, or Eritrea?

Is IGAD conducting itself impartially in relation to South Sudan’s peace process? Why are the leaders of the East African regional bloc seemingly working in the best interest of Juba’s atrocious regime?

What exactly is IGAD trying to tell the people of South Sudan and the international community? Is IGAD trying to legitimize the regime of a murderous tyrant?

Dr. Machar did not commit a single crime against any IGAD member state. If the bloc’s resolution is not an act of collusion, then I am not sure what it really means.

I agree with the idea that leaders should denounce and condemn violence. However, the notion that Machar is the only leader who should denounce violence is rather fallacious. The conditions set by IGAD are absurd.

Transferring Machar from South Africa to another country should not be called a release — it is, in fact, an extension of his current confinement. The reality is that the bloc is not ready to release the rebel leader.

If IGAD is impartial in its quest for peace, then it must ask all South Sudanese leaders, including Kiir, to denounce violence.

IGAD has been somewhat instrumental before, but the people of South Sudan know that most of its decisions have been anti-SPLM/A-IO.

I am not quite sure whether this apparent help-Kiir-at-all-costs policy is influenced by Kiir’s ally, Yoweri Museveni.

There is nothing wrong with supporting your friend or counterpart, but giving your full support to a leader who slaughtered tens of thousands of his fellow citizens without any good reason is rather reprehensible.

The ethnic carnage Kiir carried out in December 2013 in Juba was so brutal that only a leader who does not care about the suffering of South Sudanese would support it.

The leaders of IGAD should work towards finding a lasting solution to the conflict and not allow themselves to be used by Kiir. Salva Kiir is a cunning person.

He used the 2013 fake coup as evidence to purge Machar and other South Sudanese leaders who he saw as a threat to his leadership. There was no such a thing as a coup in this instance, contrary to what Kiir would like everyone to believe.

The real coup was the bogus one he orchestrated in Kampala with the help of Museveni.

It is good to remind people that in 2016, when the SPLM-IO leader was forced to go to Juba to implement the August 2015 imposed peace agreement, he was nearly killed.

What I find ironic about this specific narrative is that when Machar survived the July 2016 assassination attempt and fled Juba, there was not a single IGAD leader who came out and criticized Salva Kiir.

One would argue that the only thing the East African regional bloc wants is to keep Kiir in power, regardless of what the people of South Sudan want.

Peace is better than war. I am certain that the South Sudanese want peace to return to their country. IGAD must know that peace will not be achieved by imposing anti-peace resolutions on the SPLM/A-IO leader.

Kiir is the one who started the current civil war and Machar is the victim.

Thus, for the bloc to insist that Dr. Machar should continue living in exile instead of completely lifting his house arrest to live a free life is not a plausible decision the armed opposition should endorse.

The bloc must choose between keeping its tainted image, or else risk being declared by the South Sudanese as “not a credible, neutral, or impartial entity.”

Complicit or not, the people of South Sudan are fully aware of IGAD’s pro-Juba stance.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

South Sudan Suffering Population and the Indifferent Politicians

BY: DANIEL JUOL NHOMNGEK, KAMPALA, UGANDA, APR/05/2018, SSN;

When the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, made remarks at the Consultative Meeting on South Sudan with UN, IGAD and the African Union that — “first of all, it is clear to me and, I’m sorry to say so, but I’ve never seen political elite with so little interest in the well-being of its own people,” some people expressed outrage that it was against the sovereignty of South Sudan for him to make such remarks.

However, he was and he is still right up to now. In my opinion, he made a very precise observation about the conduct of South Sudanese leaders. The leaders of South Sudan do not have any interest in serving citizens as their interests solely lie in power and wealth.

The desire by the leaders to have power and resources has reduced the human values in South Sudan to nothing. This is because South Sudanese have become less human beings since what the leaders look at is not how to improve their welfare but how to enhance their power and acquire more and more wealth.

Thus, citizens have been reduced to objects and because of that they have lost intrinsic human values due to the indifferent conduct of the leaders of South Sudan.

In other words, in the politics of South Sudan, welfare of the citizens no longer matters.

But what matters in South Sudan to politicians are wealth and power. Hence, leaders use citizens just like objects to maintain their power and wealth.

Therefore, the way human values and citizenry are understood in South Sudan explains the problems being faced by the people at present. The following problems:

The first problem is the shortage of foreign currencies, which was caused by corruption facilitated among others through the Letters of Credit (LC). By implication, the shortage of foreign currencies has pushed up prices, which in turn has led to runaway inflation.

Unfortunately, the runaway inflation has become worse because it is not matched with the increase in salaries or business activities. The overall implication of this nature of inflation is the emergency of abject poverty facing all citizens except some of the leaders and their families.

The second problem is the deteriorating conditions of the citizens. The liberation war of 1983-2005 whose negative impact was not reduced and the present war which is the continuation of that war has had a negative impact on citizenry.

The war in particular has psychologically affected citizens but South Sudanese authorities have not come up with policies that deal with post-traumatic stress that result from the psychological consequences of the past war and the present.

In a study recently conducted by the US-based National Centre for Biotechnology information, it has been found that at least 40% of the participants asked across South Sudan showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The prevalence of post-traumatic stress caused by the war has made majority of the citizens live in hopeless lives.

The loss of hope has led many of the citizens to committing or attempting to commit suicide. Hence, on 15 September 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that South Sudan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

In addition, on 29/03/2018 News24 reported that suicide in South Sudan rises as years-long war grinds down South Sudanese. The many suicides in South Sudan are caused by the post traumatic stress that has affected the citizens uncontrollably.

Thus, the post-traumatic stress has had a great toll on many citizens though the authorities live as if things are normal with citizens.

The third problem is that of the Unknown Gunmen. Many citizens are being killed across the country and in Juba in particular, without accountability. It appears that the Unknown Gunmen is the government project intended to deal with its critics.

The government on many occasions has been accused of forming the unknown gunmen which is said to be an organ of the National Security.

In fact, what made many people to believe in that theory is that it is common with the unknown gunmen to target the civilians perceived to be against the government and those with property yet the government has never made any attempt to apprehend any member of the unknown gunmen.

The forth problem is the problem of communal violence among rural, and in particular, the cattle keeping communities. This is a type of violence perpetrated across ethnic or communal lines. It is where the violent parties feel solidarity for their respective groups, and victims are chosen based on group membership.

The above type of violence is the kind of violence that is eating up South Sudanese communities found in different states in South Sudan. For instance, this type of violence is common in Gok State, Western Lakes, Eastern Lakes, Tonj, and Gogrial State and in some of the states in the Upper Nile.

The presence of the communal violence has led to many citizens abandoning their original homes as their livestock are stolen or robbed and their crops destroyed yet the government does not even try to get a solution to this kind of violence, which shows that politicians of South Sudan are indifferent to suffering of ordinary citizens.

The fifth problem is the drilling of oil in disregard to the safety of the local citizens of South Sudan inhabiting areas where oil is found. This has resulted into waste water not processed being disposed of in unprotected areas.

Recently, the report prepared by the German NGO, Sign of Hope, estimated that 180,000 people face life-threatening risks from oil-related water pollution.

The Sign of Hope further reported that heavy metals, from leaking pipelines and refineries have affected the soil and citizens. This has further resulted into massive displacement of the people in oil producing areas.

Despite negative effects on citizens of unmonitored mining of oil, the government of South Sudan does not care about the welfare of citizens as it is busy drilling oil purposely to sustain the war against the rebels with illusive hope of winning it.

This fact has been confirmed by the recent report which made it clear that the leadership in South Sudan is using oil revenues from Nile Petroleum Corporation-NilePet and the National Oil and Gas Corporation of South Sudan to fuel the ongoing conflict.

Though the government rubbished this report by denying it in totality and instead put up a defence that it has been using oil money to pay salaries to the employees.

This is not true because civil servants including those working in different embassies of South Sudan are going to ten months or more now without being paid. This therefore confirms the fact that the government is lying, but in reality, it is using the money gained from oil to fund the war.

Sadly enough, as South Sudan‘s elite uses the country’s oil wealth to sustain the war as well as to terrorize the civilians and to get rich, the country is sinking deep into financial quagmires.

The economic uncertainty and limbo have made the country hostile for its own citizens to live in.

In general, South Sudan can properly be described as the sick man in East Africa since it is a country with suffering population but indifferent leaders.

In fact, the suffering has not spared any person including the soldiers who now beg on the streets though they are the ones defending the same leaders to remain in power.

Those widows whose husbands have been killed defending rebels or government are now begging on the streets because people in South Sudan are viewed like machines that become useless as soon as they are not able to produce more.

In summary, looking at the war as the war of power struggle not reforms, it is not easy for the leaders to reach compromise to achieve peace in order to save citizens. For that reason, there is no hope for achieving peace in near future.

This fact has been clearly confirmed by the recent statement from the First Vice President that he did not see any prospect of achieving peace very soon since the differences between the government and the oppositions are too wide.

NB// the author is South Sudanese Lawyer residing in Uganda and he can be reached through juoldaniel2003@gmail.com

“Only a Dinka can be South Sudan president:” Kiir warns Jieng Council of Elders set to meet in June to choose Kiir’s replacement

Apr. 2nd 2018 (The Nation Today); The Jieng Council of Elders is set to meet in June this year to choose the possible alternative to replace the current South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir Mayardiit, an ethnic Dinka who’s been in power since July 2005, shortly after John Garang’s death, The Nation Today has learned.

In an exclusive interview, Joshua Dau, one of the so-called elders of the Dinka community and the co-chair of the Jieng council of elders (JCE), told the Nation Today from Nairobi, Kenya, that the Jieng council of Elders will convene in June this year to elect an alternative to replace president Salva Kiir Mayardiit,

Mr. Dau emphatically stated that president Kiir has accepted to step down BUT ONLY ON THE ONE CONDITION THAT HIS SUCCESSOR AS NEXT SOUTH SUDAN PRESIDENT MUST COME ONLY FROM THE DINKA (JIENG) COMMUNITY.

“The President, H.E General Salva Kiir Mayardiit has accepted to resign without any reservations. He only had a very minor concern about where his successor would come from. He said the successor should come from the Jieng people and this is something minor. To chose the successor, we have called a meeting for June 2018 to decide who will succeed Salva Kiir as our new president,” Dau told The Nation Today on Monday.

Asked whether the Jieng Council of Elders thinks that President Salva Kiir has failed, he replied: “No, he has done a very great achievement. Kiir has built a foundation on which the next person who will be chosen in July by the Jieng Council will continue to build the nation.”

Dau did not mentioned whether the Jieng Council would propose nominating a non-Dinka South Sudanese citizen for the top job.

The Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) is a group of veteran politicians from the country’s largest ethnic Dinka group and closest associates of the country’s president, General Salva Kiir Mayardiit.

They claim to only represent the interests of the Dinka community.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS…..

“South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has pledged to concede defeat should he fairly lose the planned presidential elections when peace comes to the war-torn country,” according to latest news from Radio Tamazuj today.

“It remains unclear who will vie against Kiir, 66, who has been in power since 2005. No elections were conducted since South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July 2011.

Speaking at a dinner party organized at the State House on Monday evening, the South Sudanese leader expressed interest in the next presidential race when peace is restored in the country.

However, Kiir said he will respect South Sudanese citizens’ decision in the event that he loses the election. “If peace comes today and we go for elections and somebody beats me in the election, I will not go to fight. It will be my end of my term in the office,” he said.

Kiir’s term in office will expire in August this year if no election conducted and peace accord signed with the rebels.” End of quote.