Archive for: July 2018

We’ve to start preaching the culture of Openness and Tolerance

BY: Apioth Mayom Apioth, South Sudan, JUL/2018, SSN;

First and foremost, I am thanking Salva Kiir for having swallowed his ego and pride in accepting Riek Machar and other opposition political alliances into the fold of South Sudanese politics.

South Sudan, as a nation, would make no progress when our people are stuck in the vengeful mindset of the past. Our past should only act as a memorial cautionary tale by which we can only remind ourselves to never embark on such a tragic path ever again.

We should also congratulate ourselves for having struck a peace deal sooner rather than later. It would have been too costly on all of us if we had protracted the war for no apparent reason.

Millions of South Sudanese go to bed hungry every night, and the peace deal came at the right time to start stitching things back together.

Some people never wanted Kiir and Machar to work together again, but hey, South Sudanese politics was never about Kiir or Machar for that matter in the first place; it was about putting the interests of South Sudanese above everything else in the realm of politicking.

The bigger than life task at hand has more to do with the unity of South Sudanese; that is why we have to be more inclusive more than ever to bring an eventual lasting peace.

In 2002, John Garang brought all the SPLM/SPLA factions together for a possible reunion. He knew in his guts that a complete lasting peace was never going to be achieved without cementing one solid foundation by which we can all stand and cherish all the fruits that a just peace might bring.

It would have been ill-conceived if we had Riek Machar in his own camp alone and John Garang in another camp and all are campaigning for the betterment of all South Sudanese.

Coincidentally in the same year 2002, the Kenyan political parties joined hands together to bring an end to a dictatorial regime of Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi. When the next election came in 2007, there was no apparent interest to strike a super alliance party again because the rotten beast was thrown into the deepest pits of Hades.

On the same token, we have to come together this time around and continue to cater to our healing wounds, bodies and souls until the election day in three years’ time.

We have three political giants in Salva Kiir, Riek Machar and Taban Deng Gai who wield enormous amount of power and may potentially create another tragic civil war if they don’t curtail their political ambitions and align them with the economic interests of South Sudanese populace.

Let’s say Taban Deng Gai decides to play second fiddle to Salva Kiir for an up coming election; or the same Taban Deng Gai switches sides and becomes Riek Machar’s running mate; would that be a reason to take up arms and declare war on ourselves?

No! No one in his/her right mind would do such a thing just to cater to the needs of a warmongering politician.

The success of our peace deal may also depend on an honest integral dealing of our politicians.

A politician who decides to wear a bow-tie instead of the lengthy neck-tie is not guilty in any way to be kicked out of the Parliament since a bow tie also fits the category of a neck wearable clothing even if it has no bodily length.

Our president did that to Mabior Garang in the short-lived peace deal of 2016. Paul Mator Manyok (South Sudanese pastor from Kentucky) recently stated that this war was going to happen no matter who was the president of South Sudan.

These tribal divisions keep on cropping up and every time they rear their ugly heads, we keep on regressing back to the primordial and primitive ages of an underdeveloped Africa.

In our war of liberation against the Jellaba of Khartoum, we turned on our ourselves, and shortly afterward, Bashir started to capture the profits we won with the blood of our people; and in 2013, the same episode came back to the fore and tens of thousands lost their innocent dear lives.

As South Sudanese, it is time to start preaching the culture of tolerance toward a vast array of cultures and people who might hold different political views.

There is no where we can send the Kechipo people of Boma state; for because the land was divided amongst all the people of Africa during the Scramble of Africa in the 19the century.

The Kechipo are South Sudanese by nationality through birth and every alienable right sanctioned upon them by all the International Organizations that deal with sovereign rights of people and nationalities.

We can’t send Nyangwara people to the Democratic Republic of Congo, because the Nyangwara belong to the nation of South Sudan.

Our tribal pride can’t be any reason whatsoever to subject anyone who may come from a different tribe to any disrespectful inhumane crime of terrorism; it is about time to start accepting that every South Sudanese national has a right to life, and that right must be respected no matter which tribe that he or she may hail from.

For all our 64 tribes to coexist peacefully, we must respect the existential relevance of other tribes, to put it another way, we have a need to tag along with them even knowingly that they practice different customs and cultural norms.

In just four years after the December 2013 onslaught, we turned our country into the land where the vultures could easily get a free meal.

“It is said that power corrupts,” but it’s actually more true that power corrupts the corruptible. The sane are actually attracted by other things than power” (David Brin).

South Sudan is a broken nation. We are still nursing the wounds of the liberation war era when we were busy finishing ourselves off when in reality we were supposed to be pointing guns at Bashir.

And barely eight years later, after a sweet return home in 2005, we started the whole internecine war all over again.

Shortly after his arrival during this round of peace talks in Khartoum, Kiir openly stated that he needs to keep an open mind so peace may come to South Sudan once more.

What David Brin meant by the above quote is that if there was too much evil in you then it is possible that you may end up as a temple of the devil where it can easily spit every unspeakable venom to the passersby.

Now that the peace deal has been struck, some of our most corrupt politicians are going to start campaigning for an election that is three years into the future.

William Arap Samoei Ruto, the current Kenyan Deputy President is running coast to coast and from north to south campaigning for an election that is 5 years away.

He is not dealing with the recent mercury poisoning of a sugar import by an Indian businessman. What he cares about and what he cherishes only is the Kenyan presidency itself.

What our politicians must start doing from day one until the end of the Transitional Period is to keep channeling our energies into reconciliation initiatives and matters concerning forging a national identity.

The reconciliation and conflict resolution efforts may be too much for some of our contemporary politicians because the issues at hands were decades in the making and they won’t be so easily swept under the bed.

South Sudanese politics is changing everyone from the common person to president Kiir himself. If that is not the case, then why change of hearts all of a sudden and decide to make amends with the SPLM-IO and SSOA?

The current peace deal sways leniently towards the power base of GOSS and SPLM-IO, but we must also realize that since 2016, much of the battle has been fought in the Greater Equatoria region, so very much the first two years of the war were fought in the Greater Upper Nile region and then the last two years of the war were waged heavily in the the Greater Equatoria region.

The situation is evenly spaced out and keeping an open mind must be the sure way to start stitching back our lives together.

A great political thinker should know how to play his/her cards of wins and losses shrewdly, and he/she must also know how to control the political sentiment.

An intelligent political thinker must first and foremost play his/her cards of wins and losses very well; he/she must at all times knows that she would never win all her initiated games; that is why it is always essential to be a shrewd schemer whose game plans are hard to shake off.

Political sentiment is another emotional animal that must continuously be fed by consistently doing good deeds to the general populace.

We are a nation that needs rebuilding from the ground up and from north to south and west to east.

When the election comes into play after the Transitional Period, the politicians who will bag the most votes would be those who were the best servant politicians during the Transitional Period.

There is no going around it, or cutting corners about it; otherwise, we would just keep going back to square one where we keep on fighting ourselves when in reality we should starting on taking responsible leadership for our actions and preaching.

*****Apioth Mayom Apioth has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA USA. He is an Admission Counselor from the University of North Dakota. He can be reached at: agutkeu@gmail.com.

LATEST: South Sudan Opposition Alliance rejects The Entebbe Proposal on Governance

SSOA Press Release on The Entebbe Proposal on Governance.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUL/10/2018, SSN;

The South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), along with Other Political Parties (OPP) issue the following statement in response to the bilateral Agreement reached between two of the warring parties (the Juba regime and the SPLM/A- IO, led by Dr Riek Machar) in Entebbe, Uganda on 7th July 2018.

SSOA is deeply concerned about the fate of the Khartoum phase of the peace process undertaken as mandated by the 32nd Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa on 21/6/2018, that Khartoum should facilitate the HLRF with a view to narrowing the gap on the outstanding issues of governance and security.

We are grateful to the government of Sudan for hosting these sessions of the HLRF and the progress on security arrangements that has now been achieved.

However, we are yet to discuss and narrow gaps, let alone agree on, the outstanding issues of governance proposals that were given to us by the Khartoum mediators to which we had submitted our written responses.

Fully cognizant of the fact that Khartoum was the chief mediator, and thus in that capacity it went to Entebbe to seek ideas on how to resolve the outstanding issues of governance, we were not expecting such a turn-around.

To our dismay, the Entebbe meeting of 7/7/2018, attended by H.E. President Omar Hassan El- Bashir of Sudan, H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Dr Riek Machar (SPLM/IO) turned out to be a bilateral agreement between two of the warring parties, namely; the Juba regime and SPLM/A-IO!

In our informed view, any bilateral agreement to the exclusion of other parties will not bring about sustainable peace in South Sudan!

Therefore, we maintain our commitment to the inclusivity principles adopted by the HLRF as the only way for lasting peace.

It is to be noted that the leadership of SSOA and Other Political Parties (OPP) were officially invited to Entebbe for the July 7th meeting but kept out of the 8-hour proceedings between the government and the SPLM/A-IO; only to be invited into the meeting to be briefed about what had been agreed upon by the two parties.

We note the following in the Entebbe Proposal:

1- It is all about jobs, accommodation and maintaining the status quo. Furthermore, the agreement is tailored to suit individuals rather than addressing the fundamental issues of governance.

2- It does not address the root causes of the crisis in South Sudan.

3- It maintains the illegality of imposing the creation of 28 States, which later became 32, in contravention of the ARCSS’ ten (10) States. It is surely a contradiction to talk about revitalizing ARCSS when clear violations of its provisions are upheld. The people whose lands were grabbed as a result of this division of the country will have nothing to do with that.

4- It is a repeat of the ARCSS 2015 in that it concentrates power in the hands of SPLM alone; the party that ignited the war in the first place.

5- It is oblivious to the suffering of the South Sudanese people who are at the receiving end of this devastating war. If peace prevails, they will need every pound for repatriation, resettlement, relief and reconstruction of their livelihoods and infrastructure. The little money available is now to be spent on paying a bloated government of 550 MPs, 45 Ministers and 10 Deputy Ministers in a country with about ten (10) million people. This is why SSOA is demanding a lean government.

6- Lack of inclusivity in the responsibility sharing at the Presidency, States and Counties.

7- It says nothing about the adoption of federalism which all Parties have recognized to be the will of the people of South Sudan.

Therefore, it is crystal clear that the Entebbe meeting was focusing on power-sharing instead of addressing the fundamental issues of governance.

For that reason, we absolutely reject these proposals as they do not serve the interests of the suffering people of South Sudan.

SSOA had all along been advocating for addressing the root causes to the conflict, lean government and a federal system of governance, beginning with a clear devolution of power and resources to the states as well as the localities.

We wish to assure our membership, sympathizers and the public at large that SSOA will continue to engage in the peace process in search foR a just and sustainable peace.

That is the only way to alleviate the suffering of our people and stop the current down-slide of the country into an abyss.

****
Date: 8 July 2018
Contact: Kwaje Lasu; +1-336-575-5965 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: jointoppositionpressrelease@gmail.com.

Revised SSOA Response to the Mediation Proposal on the Security Arrangements Outstanding Issues

JUL/08/2018, SSN;

The following is the response of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance, (SSOA).

1.Demilitarization of Civilian Centres (as per Para 1.11.4)

1.1. The parties agree principally to demilitarize all of the following:

1. The National Capital city, Juba, State Capitals and civilian populated
areas.
2. Schools, Hospitals, Business Centers, Places of worship, Houses, IDP
Camps, Villages, and other civilian populated areas must be free of all
military presence during the pre-transitional period.

3. Livelihood areas, e.g Roads, Water passages, Farms, Grazing areas.

The demilitarization process shall be accomplished within the Pre-transitional period to create a conducive atmosphere for confidence building, repatriation of refugees and return of IDPs in order to allow
humanitarian service delivery to the affected population.

2.Composition of the Joint Transitional Security Committee (as per
Para 5.12)

2.1 In the spirit of inclusivity, the Joint Transitional Security committee
shall be composed as follows:

i. TGoNU-(3 members)
ii. SPLM–IO-(3)
iii.SSOA–(3)
iv. IGAD–(1)
v. UNMISS-(1)
vi. AU-(1)
vii.TROIKA-(1)

2.2 Decisions of these committees shall be taken by consensus.

3. Time frame of Forces Unification (as per Para 7.5)

3.1 The Joint Unified Army/Joint Unified National Security shall be
established within the Pre-transitional period and shall be tasked with:

—- Protection of national borders.
—- Protection of Public installations.

3.2 The functions of the Joint National security shall be limited to data
collection, analysis and reporting the product to the relevant authorities.

3.3 A nucleus of Joint Police and other Security Forces shall be
established within the Pre-transitional period and shall be tasked with
the Protection of civilians and their properties.

3.4 The Transitional period shall begin with joint unified forces, which the
parties shall agree on its size guided by the principles of equal
representation of states/Counties and diversity of our national

4. Third proposal:

In the event that the second proposal is objected to, it is further
proposed that equal numbers of the Opposition and the TGoNU
forces be deployed as Joint Unified Forces to carry out the function
as in the Article 4.5 above.

5. Operationalization of the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement (KDA).

The Parties shall recommit to the Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities,
Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access (2017) and shall implement
the monitoring mechanisms provided for in the Khartoum Declaration of
Agreement (KDA) signed on 27th June 2018 as follows:

5.1 Re-notification of forces by parities leadership including the issuing
of orders to cease military operations, and enforce the freezing of
forces in their locations.

5.2 Declaration of dispositions and locations of forces not previously
declared on the 21st December 2017 (CoH).

5.3 Disengagement and separation of forces in close proximity as per
priorities presented by CTSAMM.

5.4 Establishment of buffer zones and lines of control so as to delimit
possible aggression, unexpected clashes and to allow access and
delivery of humanitarian assistance and free movement of civilians.

5.5 Confirm and recommit to the mandate given to CTSAMM and
enforce the restructuring thereof immediately. END

LATEST: Implications of the Kiir-Machar Khartoum peace ‘kidnapping’

By Dr Remember Miamingi, JUL/01/2018, SSN;

In Summary
What is tragic here is that the UN, the US government and international non-governmental organisations have said that the oil sector, which is the central focus of this paragraph, has provided the resources needed to fund the war in South Sudan and nourish the intransigence of the regime in Juba.

The regime in Juba and other armed and political parties to the conflict in South Sudan signed a framework document which appears to be a mixture of declaration of principles, declaration of intent and agreement on some substantial issues.

For the purpose of this very brief analysis, I will divide the document into three: issues on which there is an agreement, items with partial agreement and those issues that the parties have agreed to discuss and agree to in the future.

1. Areas of agreement

1.1. The oil sector
Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to “immediately” rehabilitate, manage and jointly defend the oil wells and infrastructure. The phraseology of this agreement is interesting. The parties agreed that “if need be,” “they shall” work collaboratively and in coordination to “immediately” undertake efforts required to get the oil production to its pre-war levels.

So, whether the parties agree or not, whether there is a new government or not and whether there is a revitalised agreement or not, the implementation of paragraph 5 of the Khartoum Declaration on the oil sector can and will go ahead.

What is tragic here is that the UN, the US government and international non-governmental organisations have said that the oil sector, which is the central focus of this paragraph, has provided the resources needed to fund the war in South Sudan and nourish the intransigence of the regime in Juba.

It is even very strange that oil production which was not within the remit of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and, therefore, not one of the outstanding areas of disagreement between the parties became an agenda item in the first place without any protest from the parties.

1.2. Deployment of troops in S. Sudan
The parties agreed to “kindly invite”, “Igad and African Union member states to deploy the necessary force to supervise the agreed ceasefire”. This is of gross concern. First, the agreement is not to ask Igad or the AU to deploy, but the agreement is that any member state of Igad or AU can accept this invitation and kindly deploy forces it considers necessary.

This is a front door for Uganda and Sudan, for instance, to deploy UPDF or SAF into South Sudan under the guise of supervising a ceasefire while their unexpressed purposes are to protect their interests and prop up a government that shed off all its rights and capacity to be one.

2. Areas of partial agreement

2.1. Permanent ceasefire
The parties agreed to declare a permanent ceasefire in three days. This permanent ceasefire will be based on the 2017 cessation of hostilities agreement (COHA). This is indeed a breakthrough except it might just be a mirage.

First, normally, the sequence is that you negotiate a COHA, then reach an agreement on all contentious issues and sign a permanent ceasefire. But Khartoum is not a normal circumstance. So, first there is an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, then the parties must discuss and agree to all the details before leaving Khartoum. There is a problem, a ceasefire monitored through bilateral arrangements and by countries who are either proxies to the conflict or parties to the conflict has an in build propensity to fail.

3. Where there are agreements to agree to discuss

The parties agree to continue to discuss the details of a permanent ceasefire agreement and conclude that within three days, to discuss and agree on power sharing before leaving Khartoum and the parties appear to agree not to discuss federalism or decentralization of powers. This is telling in a number of ways.

First, these are the real issues that led to the failure of the HLRF. So, a failure to reach an agreement on sustainable peace, on an acceptable system of governance that devolves power to the people and on reconstruction of the security sector, will not only undo gains on permanent ceasefire but will not attract international funding to reboot the economy and pay for peace time recovery and institutional building.

4. Conclusion

The winners in Khartoum are Bashir and Yoweri who by the way graciously agreed to grace the event. Now they have the consent of all the parties to walk right back into South Sudan. The losers are the parties to the conflict, the people of South Sudan and the country.

Khartoum is a mirage! I am tired of being a prophet of bad news. I want peace and I wish I can convince myself that it will come out of Khartoum. Unfortunately, I see parties jumping away from the Khartoum framework and I see countries with vested and conflicting interests use the Khartoum Framework to jump in back into South Sudan.

Dr Remember Miamingi, South Sudan Human Rights Observatory