Archive for: August 2018

Federalism isn’t the cause of war in South Sudan

BY: Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, AUG/19/2018, SSN;

Five days ago, Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, published an article under the title “Federalism does not deserve war in South Sudan.” The title is quite misleading and nothing could be further from the truth.

The whole world knows that the war in South Sudan was the result of a power struggle within the SPLM party between President Kiir and his deputy, the then sacked Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the SPLM party, Dr Riek Machar.

The South Sudanese people were not responsible for igniting the war, but it was imposed on them by their leaders.

The government narrative was that it was a coup d’etat orchestrated and executed by Dr Riek Machar and his followers. That narrative fell flat under scrutiny and gained the regime Four Pinocchios on The Fact Checker Rating System.

Even President Museveni, Kiir’s main ally, refuted the claim that what happened in Juba in December 2013 was a coup d’etat.

Many of us know that Riek Machar was against federalism. It’s well documented in a meeting with the Equatorians in Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba before the conflict where Riek Machar threatened the Equatorians for pursuing federalism.

He needed the support of the Equatorians in his fight against President Kiir. Hence Riek Machar resorted to a tactical move by embracing federalism and even becoming more vocal about it than the pioneers.

It’s no wonder that Riek Machar has foregone federalism at the earliest opportunity to reclaim his previous position in the government. It’s clear that federalism was never the cause of the rift within the SPLM party nor the reason that South Sudan ended up in a protracted civil war.

The government went to great lengths to suppress any debates about federalism be it in the media or among the populace. Even a media gag was imposed by the government not to engage in any activities related to federalism.

A poor man was shot dead in Maridi for voicing out his support for federalism. Such an act would have drawn condemnation from the President and members of his cabinet because it was a politically motivated act of extreme violence by members of the security organs.

The case of the unfortunate man was deliberately left to fall into oblivion with no investigation, arrests or convictions. But there were numerous cases of assassinations that went unnoticed by the media.

It was noted that around that time the activities of the unknown gunmen suddenly picked up to unprecedented levels. It was common knowledge that the unknown gunmen targeted those who were vocal in their support for federalism.

At that time, no one knew for sure the identity of the unknown gunmen. It’s only recently that General Paul Malong, the former Chief of Staff of the SPLA unveiled the identity of the unknown gunmen.

We now know that they are members of the National Security Service (NSS) under the direct orders of the President and led by General Akol Koor, the Director General of Internal Security at the NSS.

Such is the environment Roger Alfred Yoron Modi thinks is conducive for a democratic discourse on the issue of federalism with all the opposition groups in Juba. One must be blind, deaf or incredibly naive to believe what our eminent journalist is alluding to.

It’s an oversimplification or just outright dishonesty to claim that the National Salvation Front (NAS) is rejecting the agreement on the Outstanding Issues of Governance because of non-inclusion of federalism.

Likewise, it’s illogical to suggest that by doing so, NAS is opting for war. It’s turning into a familiar theme that whoever does not sign the cumbersome deal is a warmonger.

At this juncture where the future of the country is in doubt, those sincere sons and daughters of South Sudan need to tell the truth.

Where in the world that you find a government having 5 Vice Presidents?! The superpowers of the world (America, Rusia, China) all have one Vice President each.

Furthermore, South Sudan represents only a fraction of the territory and population size of those superpowers. Are we being made by our leaders into a laughing stock across the world?!

But the most critical thing concerning peace is the Security Arrangements. NAS has already appended its signature to it showing its full commitment for peace. It did sign the Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA) in Addis Ababa in December 2017.

The National Salvation Front continued to honour the CoHA with no single violation recorded against it by the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).

It’s because of an unambiguous policy that gives priority to peace. NAS could undoubtedly cause problems for the government in various ways, but its leaders are more concerned about the plight of the ordinary people of South Sudan who are yearning for a just peace.

Our journalist also brought up the issue of NAS signing the Security Arrangements but not the Outstanding Issues on Governance as a sort of inconsistency or contradiction.

Looking at previous peace talks across the world; shows that what NAS did was never a precedent but consistent with numerous past experiences.

In peace negotiations, the parties could agree on some points while disagreeing with others that could take months or even few years to resolve. The talks could be adjourned, and when they are resumed, they do not start from square one but from where they stopped in the previous peace talks.

I am sure that our journalist is aware that the government refused to sign the Declaration of Principles (DoP) in Addis Ababa in March 2018, yet the negotiations were allowed to continue.

So now the government has signed the agreement on governance because it gives it what it wants but not the DoP that was approved by NAS and the other members of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA).

So, where is the difference between the two positions? And why is the government’s position right while the one that belongs to NAS is wrong?! Are we dealing with a worthless, biased view?!

It’s important to understand that federalism is not the only reason that led NAS to reject the agreement on governance.

NAS is pursuing a holistic solution to the conflict that would put an end to the war and bring about a lasting peace. It’s untrue that NAS didn’t propose the type of federalism that suits South Sudan.

It was contained in NAS’s proposal to the pre-Forum Consultations of the High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) for the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

But to our surprise, our proposal, as well as the ones from the other opposition Movements/Parties, were ignored by the IGAD mediation team. There are good reasons to insist on the institution of federalism in the transition.

Firstly, ARCSS stipulates that the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) drafts a Constitutional Amendment bill within (21) days upon signing the agreement.

The bill shall incorporate the agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (TCRSS). Federalism could be incorporated into the TCRSS within that timeframe.

All are supposed to occur in the pre-transition period. All are doable and in good time.

Secondly, Federalism is a popular demand since 1947, and there’s no any convincing reason to further delay its implementation.

Thirdly, The government track-record and apparent hostility against federalism as outlined above is no comfort for leaving the matter to be addressed well into the transition.

The notion that our people need understanding and enlightenment on the various types of federalism is flawed. How many among the elites in South Sudan who know the types of federalism? Not very many.

I contend that the percentage of those who know would not be much different from the one belonging to their peers in America, India or Brazil.

According to the US Department of Education, 32 million adults (9.8%) in the US can’t read. The federal government was established in 1789, that’s 229 years ago. If the illiteracy percentage is 9.8% now, what was it over two centuries ago?!

The Americans managed to run a successful federal government and made America a superpower.

The federal government of Brazil came into being in 1889, which is 129 years ago. At that time the literacy in Brazil was 16%. It means, 84% of the Brazilians were illiterate people when federalism was introduced.

Regardless of the population size, the case of India is much closer to ours. The literacy percentages in India in 1951 and 2001 were 17.02% and 21.59% respectively. Our current literacy percentage is 27% which is higher than that of India.

India is the biggest democracy on earth enjoying a prosperous and stable federal system of governance. Roger Alfred Yoron Modi would struggle in vain to make people favour such an assertion.

Regarding the Presidency, there seems to be an assumption that all the opposition groups have agreed for Kiir and Machar to lead the transition.

NAS position is that any individual who had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity should be excluded from the transition. The same applies to those who are suspects of embezzlement of public funds.

There’s a valid argument for adopting such a stance which is to avoid conflict of interests. How could the Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) function independently and fairly with President Kiir and Dr Riek Machar at the helm of the government?!

The following is an excerpt from the report of the African Union Commision of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS). “The commision therefore, finds that in order for the reconciliation process to begin, those with the greatest responsibility for atrocities at the highest level should be brought to account and mechanisms should be established to address other concerns specific to victims of violations and crimes, which include reparation.”

NAS position takes the moral high ground and conforms with the AUCISS recommendations in its entirety. It addresses the issue of accountability which seems to have been thrown out of the window in the agreement on governance.

Of course, there are some within SSOA who are more interested in power-sharing than addressing the root causes of the conflict. They do not mind letting Kiir and Machar lead the transition as long as they are given the positions they want.

NAS argument in this regard is to institute the right system of governance (Federalism) at the beginning of the transition with full accountability. That alone would address the issue of who participates in the transition and who doesn’t.

The number of States should have been a non-starter. The journalist knows very well that ARCSS is based on the pre-conflict 10 States. The inclusion of the illegal 32 States for negotiation by IGAD re-enforces the view by many that the mediation team is biased.

The Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) and the Referendum Commission on Number and Boundaries of States (RCNBC) shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were never a part of ARCSS.

Now a paradox has arisen because IGAD talks of revitalising ARCSS while incorporating violations into it at the same time.

Those in the opposition who have caved in and chosen to go along with the 32 states, ought to stop deceiving their followers that there is still a chance to reverse the measure when they go to Juba. By then, they would have appointed their own as Governors for the States allocated to them. What argument would they come up with to challenge the 32 States which they have already become part of it?!

Our journalist has rubbished the renewal of armed conflict during the upcoming transition like what happened in July 2016. He cited that the signing of the Security Arrangements by all the parties including NAS is enough evidence that such a thing would not happen.

But a similar signing did happen in August 2015, and yet war broke out. Even the body language of the President and his refusal to shake hands with Dr Riek Machar at the Khartoum Peace Agreement signing ceremony; is quite ominous.

When you add to that President Kiir’s speech on arrival at Juba International Airport – it becomes a matter of not “if” but “when” would the said peace agreement collapse.

Roger Alfred Yoron Modi is a very “prolific” journalist. I want to draw the reader’s attention to another article that he published one day before this one. It’s under the title “Collusion and harmful actions against South Sudan peace process.”

But much of the article is a talk about himself which I find contradictory to its title. The gist of his talk is that he is under threats for what he stands for from the government as well as from undisclosed individuals best known to him.

South Sudan under President Kiir is decidedly a dangerous place for journalists. Here is the list of journalists who were killed in South Sudan since 2012.

1. Isaiah Diing Abraham – Sudan Tribune – killed outside his home in Qudele, Juba on 05/12/2012.
2. Musa Mohammed – South Sudan Radio Wau.
3. Boutros Martin – South Sudan Television.
4. Dalia Marko – Raja Radio Station.
5. Randa George – Randa – Raja Radio Station.
6. Adam Juma – Raja Radio Station.

From 2 to 6 – killed by unknown gunmen in Wau on 25/01/2015.

7. Pow James Raeth – Radio Tamazuj – caught in gunfire between warring groups on 20/05/2015 in Akobo.
8. Peter Julius Moi – South Sudan Corporate Weekly – killed a few days after President Kiir threatened journalists.
9. John Gatluak Manguet – killed by government forces in Terrain Hotel, Juba on 11/07/2016.

We know that Roger Alfred Yoron Modi was the former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor and former Chief Editor of Bakhita Radio. Also, we do know that Alfred Taban, the Editor-in-Chief of the Juba Monitor was appointed as MP to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) on the ticket of First Vice President (FVP) Taban Deng Gai.

Now we all know that Taban Deng Gai’s group has gone back to the SPLM mainstream under President Salva Kiir Mayardit. So, I don’t understand why Roger Alfred Yoron Modi should feel insecure in Juba.

His previous boss who is now part of the ruling party could phone the Chief of Intelligence, General Akol Koor, and his name would immediately be removed from the blacklist in case of a mistaken identity.

As for those individuals who continue to pose a threat to his life and who are not members of the regime, General Akol Koor could similarly be contacted, and the problem would be sorted out in no time. He would unleash the unknown gunmen to hunt-down those “criminals.”

Notwithstanding the above, our journalist wants the opposition including NAS to go to Juba on board an agreement that consolidates the status quo.

It’s ironical that while he feels unsafe in Juba despite not being identified as a potential threat to the regime, he wants those who went through the J1 shooting ordeal in July 2016; not to worry about their safety. It’s beyond logic!

The National Salvation Front is a people-centric Movement driven by the need to realise the aspirations of the people in the form of equality, justice, development, and peace.

It would leave no stone unturned in its quest for a just and sustainable peace.

NAS has prioritised peaceful settlement of the conflict over other means as long as opportunities for peace talks remain on the table for all the parties.

It’s out of NAS conviction that the victims on both sides are the same South Sudanese people. Therefore, if there’s a way to resolve the conflict peacefully and save lives, then it’s the option NAS would choose.

Finally, it’s important to state that federalism is not a recipe for war but a means to avoid future wars.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Change IGAD’s Peace Agreements Model for rewarding Impunity in South Sudan

By Hakim Dario, PDM Chairman,
14th August 2018, SSN;

President Salva Kiir Mayardit will go down in history as one of the worst rulers rewarded for impunity by none other than IGAD in the newly independent country, South Sudan. After a decade in power since 2008 – 2018, his ministers and many generals, Members of Parliament and politicians, as well as many communities in the country rebelled against him and fought battles to resist his authoritarian and autocratic grip on power to rule with impunity.

The rebellions by George Athor, Athurjong, David Yau Yau, Murle and Chollo communities from the fallout of the SPLM polit-bureau inspired rigging of elections in 2010 rang the alarm bells of what was in store awaiting the fate of the country under Kiir’s rule in the lead up to independence in 2011.

The weight of expectations for the once in a lifetime opportunity, after more than 50 years, to exercise the right to self-determination referendum and usher in the world’s newest 193rd independent and sovereign state of their own, has held the people to together at this historic crossroads.

On 11th April 2011, the first Equatoria Conference was convened in Juba, as if inspired by and echoing the 1947 Juba Conference, albeit at a new crossroad that was within the peoples and nation’s grasp.

The conference resolutions reminded the people of the new nation “to be” of the historic calls of the 1947, five decades earlier, for a federal constitution and governance in a new interim social contract as we celebrate our deserved and long fought for independence.

This lofty goal now or then, without much quarrel, seemed to be fully within our grasp to chart at the onset of the country’s independence. It was not to be.

The opportunity, unjustifiably, was lost to peacefully enact a Transitional Federal Constitution of South Sudan (TFCSS2011) as an interim social contract between the people in the new “to be” state. However, Salva Kiir, John Luk and SPLM caucus had other ideas and plans in store for the nation.

What we got instead was the TCSS2011 which concentrated and vested unlimited power in the hands of President Salva Kiir to make him an autocrat who ruled by decrees with impunity. The people were cheated, and had the outcome been a TFCSS in 2011, today’s war would have certainly been averted by a genuine devolution of power.

The SPLM chose otherwise, but beat a too familiar path to make Kiir another long lived African dictator.

The SPLM politbureau members too (Dr Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, Rebecca Nyandeng), not long afterwards as did Athor, Yau Yau, Dr Lam Akol, Peter Sule before them, soon found cause and reasons for rebelling against Kiir autocratic rule in 2013, which led to the nearly four years genocidal civil war in the country today.

This surely has had the effect of dashing the nation’s hopes for embracing a peaceful democratic political order in the newly independent nation.

The pattern of rebellion against Kiir’s rule with impunity has become something of a statistical normal, with some rather significant standards of deviation from the normal, in the most unlikely of Kiir-insider Generals of Paul Malong category, his former Chief of Staff, also rebelling against Kiir at the 11th hour in 2018.

How is it that there is such wide spread rebellion against Kiir’s rule all these past 10 years?

The missed opportunity of instituting a TFCSS in 2011, has now come back full circle to haunt the people and the country four years on in the ARCSS 2015, and in the yet to be concluded revitalized ARCSS 2018.

A Transitional Federal Constitution was resisted by SPLM and Kiir in 2011, furthermore in ARCSS2015, and lately in so-called Khartoum Revitalized ARCSS 2018 through the HLRF process.

This serial and persistent rejection by President Kiir of a TFCSS as an interim social contract for the people and the country, in 2011, 2015, and 2018 is now very ominous.

The very existence of South Sudan under Kiir’s and JCE rule as a country is in question. In the face and throes of the ongoing polarization and ethnic fault lines fueling the current civil war in the country, destroying what was left of the social fabric, the people are left with stark and difficult choices to make for their own future existence and governance.

In this Kiir’s business model for the country, at highly incalculable operating cost to the country, Kiir has become the law of the land and CEO, deriving his authority from a small minority of so called Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

A clique and assembly of his section of Dinka tribesmen and women from the tiny state of Warrap, now running the government business in Juba as the clan’s owned business. This business model bears unashamedly no resemblance to that of a state.

The clan government does not forbid Salva Kiir to sell all the wealth of the country, deny or delay all justice, deny the rule of law and deny responsibility to protect villages, homes, and rights of hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens who were either killed or displaced by Mathiang Anyor Dinka militia and army in Equatoria, Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile.

As recent evidence shows, Kiir’s business operating costs in the $40,000 order of magnitude per MP for car purchases, pales into insignificance, when resources are diverted as unquestionable urgent expenditure to buy Kiir’s rule tenure extension, without the least regard for austerity the country’s economy is reeling under.

To date, there is no accountability for government business profit and loss, and it is most unlikely there will ever be one with Salva Kiir as CEO, or with Dr. Riek Machar as his Deputy CEO under the regional IGAD countries’ “impunity business model” Agreements for South Sudan.

The autocrat, since 2010 quickly morphed into a kleptocrat, who didn’t hesitate to disown the interim social contract which the TCSS 2011 represented, and illegally decreed the creation of 32 states without due process nor by any legitimacy conferred by ARCSS 2015 that he was expected to implement in letter and spirit but had chosen not to.

In July 2016, Kiir without opting for peace unashamedly chose violence against his peace partner, and disowned ARCSS 2015 in its wake, sadly did so with utter impunity.

This is the unseemly peace partner to be rewarded and entrusted with heading government business to implement another revitalized ARCSS 2018 that gives Kiir the legitimacy he desperately needs to stay on in power for another three years.

Another three years for the people of Greater Equatoria Region, with half of the 64 tribes in its territory, meant continued denial of entitlement to their economic, social and cultural rights, peoples and human rights, and for them to have no say in the affairs of their governance and existence under Kiir’s kleptocratic rule.

The same is said of the people of Greater Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile regions. Having disowned the transitional social contract of the TCSS 2011, there is no basis of legitimacy for Salva Kiir to rule the country and to further resist the establishment of a new peoples transitional social contract for a union of peoples by an agreement under a new Transitional Federal Constitution 2019.

Salva Kiir is now without doubt an obstacle to peace in South Sudan, and he must resign and go to let the country pick up the pieces of the damaged social contract and fabric.

To stitch them back together after he completely destroyed it, requires a new people’s driven social contract and the will to affect the three autonomous regions people’s union in a Transitional Federal Constitution for a Transitional Federal Government (TFGSS).

The denial of justice and rule of law for another three years of rewarding illegitimacy and impunity by the Kiir Revitalization Agreement (KRA 2018) in Khartoum, is not what the people wanted, rather it is what IGAD wanted, it is what Sudan and Uganda wanted for SPLM and other elites to grant Kiir another lease of underserved legitimacy.

The way forward is people-centric

There is no other fairer way that the SPLM and Kiir’s tribal elites strangle hold on power in South Sudan can be broken without returning to the historical devolution of power to the people in the former three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal under a Transitional Federal Constitution.

This is with the view that the regional state governments together with the people’s union government would derive legitimacy, authority and power from the people of the three regions.

Legitimacy is shareable between peoples but is indivisible and inseparable for sharing between elites without representation and mandate. The elites-centric power sharing of the KRA 2018 rewards the elites at people’s expense.

The responsibility sharing equally between the three regions in a federal social contract offers a fairer basis on which to rebuild the country’s broken social fabric and restore the rule of law and justice under the constitution. The restoration of the ruptured social fabric, justice and the rule of law is needed to maintain the unity of South Sudan as a nation.

This will not be complete without bringing Salva Kiir to stand trial for the crimes he committed against the people and the state after independence.

Until Salva Kiir is tried before a competent court of law for crimes of state corruption and atrocities against the people under his rule and policies, the rule of law and due process in South Sudan would not be restored or established for future posterity to live in peace.

Kiir must be tried under the rule of law for the country to save and redeem itself. It’s only when the rule of law is taken for granted in South Sudan, that the human and people’s rights, their social, cultural, economic and political rights, and equality of opportunity will be protected for all citizens, communities and peoples of the 64 ethnicities.

There is no way individual accountability will be skipped by a People’s Democratic Government for crimes committed by political leaders in any public office of the state. The long arm of the law will reach near and far places to end impunity and corruption in every corner of the country. All those identifiable leaders in public office roles who are found to be associated with aiding corruption whilst in public office or were directly engaged in commission of corruption for self-interest at the expense of the public interest, will be held to account under the law. That is what the country needs in order to change and move forward.

The authority, legitimacy and power of the Government lay with the people, not with Salva Kiir, nor with SPLM factions and elites without representation and explicit mandate of the people. This premise is essential to set expectations of negotiation for a realistic and sustainable peaceful settlement to the conflict, and without conditions for rewarding sacred cows by the agreement.

Thus, in order for any current or new genuine efforts to succeed and restore peace in South Sudan, the efforts need to shift the focus away from rewarding elites-power sharing to a distinctly people-centric peace-making, one in which the people are active participants in decisions on fundamental matters of their existence and governance.

Compelling grounds both humanitarian and political now exist that impunity, in which the people and the country are trapped for perpetuity must be challenged and ended with Kiir’s rule once and for all.

The people, an entire one third of the country’s population and size, as that in Equatoria region who demanded a federal constitution and governance for the country, like those calling for the same in Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal regions, are without voice, rights or authority to freely exercise political power and decision making by legitimate constitutional mechanisms over affairs of their governance and existence.

The 64 different ethnic groups, 32 of them in one region alone are together treated as an insignificant minority whose voices through multiple peoples conferences in 2011 and 2012, are disregarded and accorded no political space so that Kiir can continue to rule with impunity.

The people in Equatoria, Upper Nile, Bahr al Ghazal must stand up to challenge Salva Kiir’s illegitimacy and demand to exercise and enjoy their economic, social, cultural and political rights, human and peoples’ rights in their region without encroachment by concentration of unlimited powers in the hands of a President who is not himself or herself subject to the rule of law.

And without this constant of the rule of law, peace in South Sudan would remain an illusion, as long as IGAD’s “impunity peace agreements” model continue to be the regional favored game plan for South Sudan.

The international community and the region could help end the war and facilitate the negotiation of a realistic and sustainable peaceful settlement by standing with the people against impunity and tyranny, and de-recognizing Salva Kiir led government as illegitimate, led by a kleptocrat who must be denied diplomatic recognition and support. END

US, Human Rights Watchdog urge Hybrid court for South Sudan

By: FRED OLUOCH, THE EAST AFRICAN, AUG/14/2018, SSN;

That is the question most observers are asking, as the key partners appear to have been forced by regional and international leaders to sign the deal on August 5 in Khartoum.

First, President Salva Kiir refused to shake Riek Machar’s hand after they signed the agreement. This seemed to send the message that President Kiir was unhappy.

Yet, as part of the agreement, the president issued a presidential decree pardoning Dr Machar, paving the way for the rebel leader to return to Juba.

But Dr Machar’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement — In Opposition (SPLM-IO) has rejected the amnesty, instead asking the president to apologise to the people of South Sudan for plunging the country into chaos.

President Kiir had earlier opposed Dr Machar’s participation in the transitional government but was pressured by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) at a meeting in Entebbe with Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Omar al-Bashir on July 8.

Such was the pressure that President Kiir, while addressing the crowd on his arrival at Juba International Airport, made it clear that regional leaders forced him to sign the deal.

“Even if we are expelled today and they are brought to power, for how long will they stay in power before you overthrow them?” President Kiir posed.

Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the National Salvation Front, accused President Kiir of engaging in ethnic rhetoric.

    Reconciliatory?

One of the first things the president is supposed to do is reinstate Dr Machar, who will stay in Khartoum until the mediators set the implementation timetable.

James Oryema, SPLM-IO representative in Kenya, said that while President al-Bashir has a lot of leverage on President Kiir, there is scepticism and concern that the Juba leadership is not reconciliatory.

However, the Khartoum talks, which are still going on until August 19, have made major strides compared with previous efforts to stop the five-year civil war.

In the next eight months, during the pre-trial period, the two parties must form a Cabinet of 35 members, appoint new members of parliament, constitute the National Boundary Committee and integrate the armed groups into a single national army.

Negotiations will continue in Khartoum in the next two weeks to deal with the “bracketed” areas, such as who to appoint to the National Pre—Transitional Committee between President Kiir and IGAD; the composition of the National Boundary Committee and its leadership.

Others are establishing a hybrid court to try those who have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes.

—-(Additional reporting by Joseph Oduha.)

SPLM-IO’s flawed peace strategy against Kiir

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, AUG/11/2018, SSN;

The recently signed Khartoum’s power-sharing deal between the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FDs), and Other Political Parties (OPP) has flaws that need methodical scrutiny.

This seemingly Juba’s predetermined pact will not bring about changes demanded by the people of South Sudan.

The agreement shows that the SPLM-IO abandons its ambitious reform agenda which it has been fighting for more than four years. This is a serious political blunder and pure embracement for the tyrannical system which the armed opposition countlessly vows to reform.

This is an attempt to show that the SPLM-IO’s overall peace strategy is seriously flawed; perhaps it is on life-support if it is not dead.

There are many political mistakes that the supposedly reformist SPLM-IO party has committed. These mistakes include expansion of the government, the issue of 32 states, transitional security arrangements, failure to address the root causes of the civil war, among others.

But the most important strategic blunder made by the SPLM-IO is probably the legislative one.

Since early 2014, the armed opposition has consistently claimed that its main goal is to change the political system in the country.

The people of South Sudan embrace the idea because they know the only way to reform the current oppressive system is by having a truly and independent legislative body to pass laws that reflect South Sudanese wishes.

But the recent pact clearly failed the people. It is baffling to see the leadership of the SPLM-IO abandoning demands of the people by accepting a deal which embraces Salva Kiir’s ruthlessness.

If this peace ends the conflict, it will be good for the country. But the irony is that it will still maintain Kiir’s tyranny because the SPLM-IO parliamentarians will have no means to limit his grip on power.

In any nation, reforms are done through legislative means, not by wild assumptions. It would be a mistake to think that Kiir will support the armed opposition reform agenda in the parliament.

The man still fantasizes about his one-man rule. He likes ruling the country through presidential decrees.

So, the notion that reforms will be done after the SPLM-IO rejoined the government is a pure fantasy.

Statistically, Kiir has the numbers to deny any reform agenda he does not like or want. He can do it by instructing his parliamentarians not to vote for any bill that would limit his powers.

The signed document, for example, proposes that the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) will have 550 Members of Parliament (MPs).

The revitalized text gave the incumbent TGoNU 332 MPs (60.4%), whereas 23.3% (128 MPs) will represent the SPLM-IO, 50 MPs (9.1%) allocated to SSOA, 5.5% (30 MPs to OPP, and 10 MPs (1.8%) are awarded to FDs.

In the war of numbers, it is 60.4% vs. 39.6%. Meaning, the government MPs clearly outnumbered all opposition MPs combined.

It is strikingly a solemn misjudgment on the SPLM-IO’s part. It is worth noting that the government does not have a two-thirds majority in the TNLA — which would have been 366.7 MPs (66.7% to 33.3%) out of the proposed 550 MPs.

This calculation has a +1 margin of error. In a logical sense, Kiir parliamentary bloc needs an additional 34.7 MPs to pass any law it wants.

Remember, South Sudan is full of briefcase political parties. Most of these parties are not fighting for the people of South Sudan, they are fighting for themselves.

For them, it is a war over positions and Kiir could still bribe 34.7 MPs from these self-serving parties to pass any law he wants. These are Mathematical truths.

The SPLM-IO can create its own excuses, but I am certain that any opposing view, denying these facts would be indisputably counterintuitive.

The SPLM-IO’s central argument is that it signed the deal because it wants South Sudanese refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to have a sense of peace and possibly return to their homes, let alone its reform agenda.

This is indisputably a good humanitarian gesture. However, signing an agreement simply because you want IDPs and refugees currently under the protection of the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers to come out and go back to their houses is not a plausible idea.

The SPLM-IO cannot force civilians it cannot possibly protect to go back to their homes where they will be vulnerable to Juba’s brutality.

It would be better for the SPLM-IO to just sign any pact it desires and not allow any provision in any deal that would then force refugees and IDPs to leave UN-run camps for their homes where insecurity is widespread.

Calling for innocent civilians to leave their secured places for their homes which are under the control of Juba’s oppressive regime reminds me of Salva Kiir who always wants to grant an amnesty to anyone who opposes his regime so that he can prolong his tyranny without a formidable opposition.

I suggest the leadership of the SPLM-IO thinks deeply about this issue.

Why would the SPLM-IO sign a peace which embraces Kiir’s ruthlessness, forgets the victims of the SPLM self-made war, and ignores people’s demands for change?

Did the armed opposition forget what it has been fighting for the last four-and-a-half years? What really happens to SPLM-IO’s reform agenda? Is the armed opposition reform agenda dead?

There is no doubt in my mind that the legislative branch will pose a daunting challenge to the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties.

However, this challenge could be minimized or even frustrated if all opposition MPs work together as a united bloc in the parliament.

If this happens, then the incumbent government could be forced to collaborate or make deals with opposition MPs which would then allow the SPLM-IO and other political parties to enact some laws.

Leaving this obvious political risk aside, I honestly believe that political and economic reforms under this deal will not be feasible given the fact that Kiir still cherishes the idea of appointing and removing people through his dictatorial decrees.

As I have already indicated, the agreement has many pro-Kiir provisions.

But ending the suffering of South Sudanese who are now living under dire conditions in refugee camps and foreign countries is the number one priority.

If the incumbent TGoNU and the SPLM-IO are serious about peace and fully implement it, then they will be thanked by the people of South Sudan for ending the war.

However, the fact that the armed opposition lacks the necessary number of MPs to reform the political system in the country is even worse.

It would be a wishful thinking for the SPLM-IO to assume that its transformation agenda will be magically done when it knows the number of its MPs is not enough to execute its policies through parliamentary processes.

The Khartoum’s power-sharing deal will not bring the much-needed political reforms in the country.

This agreement is merely a classic case of a new political marriage between the government and SPLM-IO.

This pact is also a reminder for the people of South Sudan that reforms championed by the armed opposition could be a thing of the past.

It is clear, however, that all factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) seem to be interested in reuniting themselves under the same old dictatorial umbrella.

It is good to remind people that Kiir and Machar have already agreed to cantonments of their troops and deployment of the East African and African Union forces to enforce the cessation of hostilities.

However, this is not new since the two leaders had previously signed many agreements before and violated them. One of these violations occurred in July 2016, when Kiir colluded with the current First Vice President Taban Deng to hijack the August 2015 compromise deal.

Kiir is not for a lasting peace in the country.

His main concern is not to end the war, rather it is to sign any peace that maintains its ruthlessness, lures leaders of the SPLM-IO to Juba in a pretext of the pact and refuses to implement the agreement.

Kiir demonstrated his unwillingness to implement the deal on August 8 at Bilpham military headquarters when he told his troops that they should be prepared to receive and integrate the armed opposition soldiers.

This is not what the security arrangements stipulate. The security pact specifies that both incumbent government and rebel forces shall be screened and classified based on established military standards and those who pass such a screening will be combined and given proper training during the Pre-transitional period.

This provision was included in the proposal to make sure South Sudan has a professional army after the three transitional periods.

Kiir is the one who does not want peace to return to the country. He violated many pacts by refusing to release the armed opposition officials he kidnapped as well as Prisoners of Wars (POWs) even though this demand was clearly stipulated in the previous ceasefire agreements.

The people of South Sudan are not interested in this elitist agreement. As you can see, Kiir is trying to deceive people before the deal is even finalized — this is how he operates.

The man is a cunning oppressor who cannot be trusted when it comes to peace. The armed opposition should not succumb to this dubious accord — an accord which irrefutably castoffs reforms demanded by the people.

Having a defined and well-developed political doctrine is essential for any political party to succeed.

The SPLM-IO is theoretically an opposition party. It’ll, supposedly, if all things go as planned, have its own political and economic agendas that it would want to be passed by the parliament.

The armed opposition knows its success in the TNLA may not be feasible given the fact that it lacks numbers to wage a successful legislative fight.

Politics is all about strategies, numbers, games, back-stabbing, making closed-door deals, and selling your policies to the people.

If the SPLM-IO wants its reform agenda to survive, it must have specific policies in place and these policies must be staunchly championed and defended by the leadership of the SPLM-IO as well as its proposed parliamentarians.

If the armed opposition deserts its reform agenda, then it will be a new chapter for Kiir’s cruelty to continue and the death for a democratic hope for the country — it would be a chapter that the people of South Sudan would not like to see happening.

The SPLM-IO must not allow its democratic vision to die; it must continue to use all necessary means to make sure that those who lost their lives in the war did not die in vain.

The leadership of the SPLM-IO must rethink its peace strategy or it risks being an extension of Salva Kiir’s tyrannical regime.

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

Let’s face it: There is no DEAL, no PEACE for now.

BY: Akim Salah , Wau-South Sudan, AUG/11/2018, SSN;

The mix reactions to the Khartoum-Kampala coerced peace deal demonstrate the difference between naïve tribal opportunists and rational thinking citizens.

To begin with, the peace is all about maintaining the status quo, keeping the same failed pilot (Kiir) and co-pilot (Machar) with their respective manipulated blind followers to continue dominating the national stage/affairs regardless of contemporary history of disastrous results of epic proportion in their names.

As long as these two safeguarded the interests of the Sudanese and Ugandan demi-gods at the expense of the common people suffering in POC and refugee camps there is no problem.

M7 (Uganda’s president Museveni) turned deaf ears to testimonies of fleeing refugees in his backyard because he reaps big from aid, hence sees no reason to review relationships with Juba or at least ask his partner in crime (kiir) to change the game for the sake of the suffering people.

Yet he can afford to taunt the junior friend for failing to unite the people – What a paradox!!

Much as the old man is keen to bolster the Juba regime, economic realities back home biting hard, the Blood Dollar is no trickling in right volumes hence he has to find a way of getting back the lost trade without compromising his own regime (I will come to that latter).

While the economic meltdown in Sudan, coupled with its ambitious development plans quickly reminded El Bashir that after all, it has always been South Sudanese resources boosting Khartoum’s socio-economic development, even after the CPA, the oil dividends make more resounding proportion for development in Khartoum than Juba.

Whereas, in South Sudan itseif, looters squandered their fraction of the pie on lavish cars, properties abroad, prostitutes, and a good amount going to appease their godfathers in East Africa.

Only stupid optimists will think that the two warlords (godfathers) believe that the signed agreement will last. It was written all over their faces and eluded to only in words.

However, if one has to decode the unsaid statements “do not use these ceasefire to prepare for war” said Museveni. Yet reports indicate that he is training SPLA-IG snippers possibly in fear of a repeat of the humiliating clash in July 2016, when the meager, tactfully superior SPLA-IO forces mourned their brothers (IGs) at Jebel with a terrifying catastrophic speed – Only those who have not been in Juba/jebel can deny this fact.

Reports from credible sources intimate that if only there were 5,000 IO forces armed with artilleries, Juba would have gone, and all the same it took the better trained SPLA Units of National security to dislodge them, much like in 2013 when General Mamur had to wrestle out conquered Giada from the Nuers.

With inferences to these tragedies that cost lives of thousands of young men and women including children some of whom are still an accounted for, it’s safe to say mistrust, suspicion, the old vices of tribal hatred and vengeance have taken root to the extend of foiling any peace effort unless it’s addressed in good faith.

That brings us to the Equatoria puzzle. Relatively muted but heavily marginalized, the Equatorians’ aspirations are grossly ignored in the Khartoum deal.

That’s not because they do not have genuine stake/claim but because their forces are construed weak, not to possess real threat to Juba Regime.

These Groups found their backs against enemy friend’s wall hence logistically challenged, let alone the intelligence gathering.

More so, there is what I can call the Equatorian Phobia by both Juba and Kampala Regimes. Kampala, especially M7, knows too well semi-autonomous or independent Equatoria could pose real threat given its cultural ties with the northern Uganda and DR Congo tribes, if Idi Amin’s reign is something to go by.

It’s in Equatoria, too, that the landlocked country’s major roads linking it to the sea ports of Mombasa and Dar El Salaam are found.

Any major war with the host taking an upper hand will paralyze trade and bring the economy to its knees.

The bitter truth that the regime hates but can’t be denied is the fact that some of the Equatorian Brethren are well advanced culturally, educationally, are hardworking and development minded.

They have to be marginalized to bridge the gaps.

Of late the Equatoria phobia manifested itself in Upper Nile where the youth agitated for Equatorian employees’ expulsion from NGOs.

This was also echoed in some sections of Bhar El Ghazel and still rolling. One can be forgiven to make a guess that some of these moves are politically engineered.

The disturbing question is: will the Equatorians continue to fold their hands, endure the continuous marginalization under the watch of Wani Igga all in the name of peace?

Or will they rally behind Thomas and Bakasero to demand for a version of Federalism that suits their aspirations?

Choosing the latter means war, banditry attacks…etc, hence denying Juba to eat their looted delicacy at peace.

The Way Out:
If lasting peace is to be realized, the governance question must be renegotiated to give each region a fair share of power to run its affairs though we can still have same army, money, etc….

Summarily, mistrust, suspicion, the old vices of tribal hatred and vengeance, the Equatoria-Phobia & marginalization are set to deny lasting peace a chance.

***************Time be my Judge****************************

Why PDM rejects Khartoum Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance

People’s Democratic Movement, August 6, 2018, press@pdm-rss.org, UNITED KINGDOM, SSN;

The PDM wishes to share with the people of South Sudan its views and reasons for why it rejects Khartoum Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance as proposed by Sudanese mediators, and hence did not append its signature to the agreement for a number of reasons, chiefly:

 The agreement does not put the people first before SPLM factions of IG and IO.

 It is a bilateral agreement in the context of SPLM unification between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, to maintain the status quo, giving a renewal of lease of legitimacy for the failed TGONU.

 The agreement, with IGAD’s blessing, is rewarding impunity, illegality of 32 states and violations of the Constitution TCSS 2011 and ARCSS 2015 by President Salva Kiir. The IGAD, AU and the International community is not standing with the people of South Sudan, are oblivious of over 4 millions of the population in refugee camps, IDPs and POC sites who are not consulted in the decision making process for a sustainable peace in the country.

 The agreement entrusts corrupt leaders with power to lead fundamental reforms in the country that they failed to deliver since independence in 2011.

 ARCSS 2015 made provisions for adoption of federalism, and three years on, the Ministry for Federal affairs established by terms of ARCSS 2015 has reached no conclusion nor made a recommendation for the type of federalism suitable for the country. The agreement, unjustifiably, does not provide for implementation of a federal system during the transitional period.

 Federal Governance during the transitional period, based on three (3) autonomous regions with their borders of the three provinces of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal as they stood on 1st January 1956, provides the most optimal number of federal units of governance amid the country’s collapsing economy.

 By comparison, ten (10), twenty one (21) or thirty two (32) states represents excessive burden on the country’s economy during transitional period, and results in a bloated government of over 100 Ministers at state level alone, 550 members of national legislature, 50 senators, 32 governors, 32 state legislative assemblies and their MPs.

 The Agreement does not promote a people-centric power sharing between the people in three federal regions on 33.33% for each region, and not allocation of power to political elites and their movements by a stroke of a pen. The mediators proposal for power sharing is elites-centric, with high concentration of parties to the agreement from one or two regions only, which makes elites-centric power sharing unfair to the people of South Sudan three regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghzal.

 In SSOA alone, there are 9 parties, 3 from Equatoria, 5 from Upper Nile, 1 from Bahr al Ghazal and a host of other political parties in Juba, without a fair formula for power sharing between them, IO and the IG

2. PDM proposes that the responsibility sharing at all levels of government shall give representation and power back not to the elites but to the people in the three regions. Therefore the responsibility sharing shall be only through the people in accordance with the following percentages for each autonomous Region of Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal:
a- Upper Nile Region: 33%
b- Equatoria Region: 33%
c- Bahr al Ghazal Region: 33%

Through regional people’s convention in the pre-transitional period, the parties to the Agreement shall seek mandate by the people in each region for each region’s share of 33%.

This is to ensure legitimate and fair participation of the 64 ethnicities of the people of South Sudan in the decision-making processes.

This avoids elite-centric responsibility sharing, which allocates percentages to elite political groups by the stroke of a pen without putting people first and their participation in the process.

Addressing root causes to the civil war:

The critical issues that have surfaced post-ARCSS which have not been incorporated in the Agreement and proposed structures of the Transitional Federal Government and its institutions are:-

 The root cause to the civil war is the determination by ethnic-based political elite to dominate power in South Sudan since 1972, when South Sudan became for the first time ever, a self-governing autonomous region in Sudan. The 2013 incident which triggered the present war was, therefore, the latest manifestation of this same attempt to dominate power in our country.

 The power-sharing proposals on %ages for IG, IO, SSOA and OPPs, tabled during the last phase of Khartoum talks are unrealistic, and any such effort to bridge the divide between the parties to the HLRF on power sharing should be holistic and beyond mere arithmetical computation of the Executive and the Legislature composition.
A holistic power sharing approach should now become synonymous with ‘inclusivity’ of the people from all of the 64 ethnicities who are not represented in the HLRF but are entitled to participation in various arms of government and institutions. At present these institutions are dominated by one single ethnicity, the Dinka.

 Power-sharing should be based on a broad set of pillars and principles that include at a minimum, the following five core categories of institutions and territorial or regional population:-

1. The Army and the Security Sector
2. The Executive
3. The Legislature
4. The Judiciary
5. The Territory or Region Population Representation

1. The Army and the Security Sector.
The present army is a tribal, Dinka army. Even President Kiir has acknowledged this fact.
The power-sharing (inclusivity) proposal in the army rests on the call by the Opposition that a new army, in which all the 64 ethnic groups are represented, equitably and qualitatively be established.
This should follow a review of the entire security sectors-the army, the police, National Security Service, Wildlife, Fire Brigade, and Prison- to come up with new doctrines and criteria, which must encompass equal representation of the ethnic groups.

2. The Executive.
In the Agreement, the mandate for being a president must ultimately come from the people. Therefore, the rump population in the regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile should and shall organize respective People’s Convention to nominate whom they want to be the President.

This Convention must also nominate those they want to be their Ministers at National and Regional levels. They shall also nominate the Governor of their region.
It is not right that SPLM/A-IG or SPLM/A-IO leaders should be the ones selecting Ministers from other regions, the people of the region shall select their Ministers so that they are made accountable to the people.
The distribution of the Ministerial portfolios shall be non-discriminatory; members from any ethnic group should be able to head key ministries of Defence, Finance, Petroleum, or Central Bank etc.

3. The Legislature.
The People’s Convention mentioned above should and shall also nominate who they want to represent them at National Legislative Assembly and the House of Nationalities, and at the State or regional legislatures.
It is not acceptable that SPLM/A-IG or SPLM/A-IO should pick a Speaker of the National Assembly on behalf of Equatorians, for example.
The Transitional Federal Government shall upon its inception, institute the House of Nationalities to which each ethnic group shall nominate two of their respective representatives.

4. The Judiciary.
The present Judiciary, headed by a member of Jieng Council of Elders (from the President’s ethnic group), serves at the behest of the Presidency. Recent judgments by courts portray strange jurisprudence, where excessive sentences of death by hanging or imprisonment for life are meted out to the perceived opponents of the regime.
Defendants who are abducted from foreign countries and returned to the country illegally are permitted to be tried by the courts against all modern best practice and internationally accepted standards.
Therefore a complete overhaul of the judiciary shall be implemented, first by a wholesale resignations of the judges at all levels; followed by the institution of a new Judiciary Service Commission based on transparent, non-discriminatory and meritorious criteria in the appointment of the members, who in turn will follow the same principles in the recruitment of judges.

5. The Territory or Regional Population Representation.
The stranglehold by certain ethnic groups elites on the centralized government shall be broken through the establishment of autonomous Regional Governments.
Through the Federal Government, fair distributions of budgets, independent regional judiciary and local government shall be instituted.
This principle shall be applied to the creation and thereby establishment of three (3), autonomous Federal Regions or States consisting of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile with their borders as provinces as they stood on the 1st of January 1956.
The merits of sub-division into more number of states shall be discussed at an appropriate time in the constitution making process.
The people of South Sudan in all of their 64 ethnicities are sovereign and they shall be consulted and shall participate in the Agreement implementation during the pre-transitional and Transitional Period.
Their views, which were collected during the pre-HLRF consultations by the IGAD Special Envoy shall be incorporated in the Agreement; and the people shall be the final arbiters on the number of Federal States in the emerging new South Sudan during the Transitional period in the Constitution making process.

Dr. Hakim Dario
PDM Chair
press@pdm-rss.org

Machar signed his Death Warrant as Pres. Kiir refused to shake his hand for peace

BY: Nicola Bringi, Concerned Diaspora elder, AUG/08/2018, SSN;

We have watched the signing of the mockery peace agreement with great concern, since this peace agreement is not going to prevail as it is not addressing the root causes of the conflict.

Some may think that the problem is only between SPLM-IO leader, Riak Machar and South Sudan president Salva Kiir, but the problem is between the Kiir government with the people of South Sudan; because the government of South Sudan has let their own people down.

Instead of focusing on development and services for the people of South Sudan, Kiir turned to nepotism, uprooting other tribes from their land and relocating his tribe into other peoples’ places.

As a result, some tribes such as people of Western Bhar El Ghazal rebelled in 2012 against the Salva Kiir Regime. By that time, Riak Machar was still the first Vice President and he then supported Kiir’s policy toward people of Western Bhar El Ghazal.

In 2013 when the fight broke out between Kiir and Machar, Machar was expelled from Juba and he became a rebel. The people of Western Bahr El Ghazal thought “the enemy of their enemy was their friend.”

Now they know they were wrong, as Machar only focuses on his personal interests and does not care about the people. Many people from the ethnic group of Machar have been killed, yet he does not think about their lives, their families, or communities in general.

Some of Western Bahr Ghazal’s people joined Machar based on the following conditions:
1. The policy of Wau County’s move to Baggari must be reversed
2. The annexing of Raga to Awiel must be reversed
3. Wau and Raga must remain as one state as pre-independence from Sudan in 2005
4. There must be an adaptation of the federation of governance in South Sudan so that every group can work to develop their state
5. Accountability must be taken against those who are responsible for the killing and raping of innocent civilians in Western Bhar El Ghazal.

Now Machar is signing the so-called peace agreement without putting into consideration what the people of Western Bhar El Ghazal agreed to when they decided to cooperate with him.

He has not condemned the attacks following the ceasefire agreement and their counties are currently under attack. As they are signing the agreement, Salva Kiir is still attacking people in Baggari, Bringi, Mboro, Beselia, Bazia, Raga, Dulu, Mangayat, and Demzubier… etc.

The participants of the Khartoum so-called ‘Khartoum Peace Talks’ have never honoured any agreement…. we saw this in 2015. We also saw this with the 2016 agreement, as well as the ceasefire agreement that was recently signed in July of 2018.

They violated these agreements many times in Equatoria, Western Bhar el ghazal and Upper Nile.

Machar needs to understand that he is signing an agreement with a culprit. Salva Kiir has never honoured any agreement. Machar believes he is signing a peace agreement, but to Salva Kiir, Machar is signing his death warrant, as Salva Kiir refused to shake his hand for peace during the ceremony.

Nicola Bringi
Concerned Elder – South Sudan ‘ Diaspora

LATEST BREAKING NEWS: Arab Sudan security coercing South Sudan Opposition Alliance member to sign peace deal!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE From: SOUTH SUDAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE (SSOA): FDP, NAS, NDM, PDM, SPLM-FDs, SSNMC, SSPM, SSLM, SSUM, UDRA. Date: 4th August 2018;

Intimidation of SSOA members by Sudan Security Personnel: South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) through its last two press statement in past two days had made it very clear they will not sign nor be part of this Khartoum Peace Agreement in its current form.

This agreement has failed to address the root cause and core issues fueling the crisis in South Sudan.

Following SSOA’s firm stand of not to sign this agreement, this evening Khartoum local time, Sudan Security personnel has resorted to extreme intimidation and armtwisting coercing SSOA members to sign on behalf of their constituent parties.

At this moment some members of SSPM, SSLM, and NAS have been coerced to sign the agreement tomorrow.

SSOA would like to alert the IGAD mediation, the AU, the Troika, UN, USC and the world at large that such mediation of “Peace at all Cost” by the Sudan will not usher a genuine sustainable peace in South Sudan.

Also, we would like to register our official complaint against Sudan mediation and its security personnel interference and intimidation.

To all our members and supporters, we would like to assure you SSOA will continue to stand firm advocating for the interest of people of South Sudan.

We will continue engaging to bring about Just and genuine sustainable peace in South Sudan.
###

Contact: Kwaje Lasu
+1-336-575-5965 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: jointoppositionpressrelease@gmail.com

SOUTH SUDAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE (SSOA)
FDP; NAS; NDM; PDM; SPLM-FDs; SSNMC; SSPM; SSLM; SSUM; UDRA

Equatoria Diaspora Express Concerns on IGAD-led Khartoum Talks

Press Release, 4/AUG/2018;

Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora express serious concerns about the IGAD-led peace talks on South Sudan being held in Khartoum

The Equatorian community leaders in the Diaspora representing over 30 (thirty) South Sudanese tribes/ethnic groups, are seriously concerned about the direction of IGAD-led peace talks currently underway in Khartoum, Sudan.

The peace talks is characterised by the following:
(1) it is conducted under an environment of threats, and bribery;
(2) it is NOT INCLUSIVE in nature; and
(3) the proposed agreement on governance does not meet the aspiration of the people of South Sudan.

1. The host mediator (Sudan Government) has been accused of having used threats of deporting any party who refused to sign the permanent ceasefire agreement (Khartoum Agreement) from Khartoum to Juba; handing them to their enemy – the Government of South Sudan.
The same threats remains for those who refuse to sign the proposed agreement on governance, which is expected to be signed on the 5th August 2018.
The Equatorian leaders in the Diaspora condemn in the strongest possible terms the approach used by the mediator to force the parties who have genuine concerns not to sign the agreement because they believe it is fundamentally flawed and is unlikely to bring sustainable peace to the country.

2. The proposed Governance Agreement is neither inclusive nor fair. It is the design of the mediators that the proposed agreement benefits President Kiir and Dr Machar thus realising the reunification of SPLM/SPLA. The deal excluded all other opposition groups.
Various versions of the draft agreements produced during the negotiation process maintained the core Entebbe proposal, while the proposals of the opposition parties were ignored or very limited aspects of it were incorporated into the agreement, which did not make any material difference.

3. At its core, the agreement put forward by the mediators maintained the current failed system of government: it rewards corruption; ignores accountability to war crimes and crimes against humanity; and it entrances land occupation/grabbing by maintaining the disproportional share of governance at all levels.
The popular demand for federalism to commence from the start of the transitional period was undermined, while there are moves to legitimise the illegitimate 32 states through a dodgy referendum to be supervised by President Kiir who decreed them in the first place.

4. In conclusion, we are for a genuine, just and a sustainable peace agreement. We therefore call for:

a. Federalism to be instituted from the start of the transitional period. This shall be later enshrined in the permanent constitution.

b. Three regions/provinces as the basis of equitable planning (including resource allocation) and governance with substructures within them that safeguard the interest of all nationalities therein.

c. No threats must be made to any party in the peace negotiation so that any party who is not satisfied with any agreement is free to walk away and not be forced to sign it. The presence of international observers (UN, TROIKA, AU, and IGAD) is needed at the peace talks to ensure transparency and the right environment for negotiation.

d. An inclusive peace process that is mediated by a neutral host. The current mediators are all biased in favour of the Government and they have sought to accommodate Dr Riak with the post of First Vice President. The mediators ignored addressing the root causes of the conflict. A bad agreement is not only short-lived, but it costs lives too. Therefore, a bad agreement is not worth signing.

Equatorian Leaders in the Diaspora:

Mr. Federico Vuni,
Chair, Equatoria Community Organisation in the UK
Mr. Juma Piri Piri
President, Federation of Equatoria Community Association in Australia Inc
Mr. Joseph Modi,
President, Equatorian South Sudanese Community Association, Canada (ESSCA-Canada)

For correspondence: Mr. Federico Awi Vuni; Email: federicovuni58@gmail.com

Kiir Government Troops Violate Cease-fire Agreement in W.Bahr el Ghazal Region

PR, AUG/04/2018, SSN;

1. Although the signing of the 21 December 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities and the permanent ceasefire on June 2018, by all woring parties in the Republic of South Sudan, unfortunatly the Kiir Government troops intensified its ofensive in the Western Bahar El Ghazal WBG region and some parts of Equatorian region.

2. The agressions by the government troops in the WBG region raised a serious question about the benefit of the ceasefire agreement and the current peace negotiation in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum, for search of lasting peace in the country. One may ask what is the government’s real intention of waging daily attacks on the positions of Lion Forces during on going peace negotaiton?

3. Even before the signing of the perminant ceasefire, the government troops continued to attack the Lion Forces, an ally forces to the SPLA-IO, under the Comand of Dr. Riek Machar Deny. In which the Lion Forces managed several times to defend their positions, repulse the government troops and cause them heavy casualities. It has been documented that:

a. On 15 June 2018 the government troops attacked civilians in the liberated areas, under control of the Lion Forces in both Wadhelel and Baggari.

b. On 23 June 2018 the government troops attacked the Lion Forces positions in both Baggari and Mboro area.
c. On 26 June 2017 an attack by the government troops on civilians in Ongo Baggari and Ngisa, where governemtn troops killed, burned civilian houses, and looted their proparties.
d. On 27 June 2018 and July 6, 2018 the government troops initiated multiple attacks on Lion Forces position in the Ngo Khaki area, where they used heavy artilarlies to chase away Lion Forces, in order to rabe, kill, loot and destroy civilian properties.
e. On 9 June 2018 an attack by government troops in Mboro area, where they killed 3 civilians, including a pastor who has been serving in the local Church. In the same event the government troops arrested two (2) civilians, including Lewis Mabrouk. Currently, the two (2) arrested civilians have been transfared to new National Security building in Wau. And the list of violation by the government continued.

4. The answer to the above question of why the government intensifying its agresssion during the process of peace negotioation is that, by keeping violating the ceasefire agreement the government intent to gain more teritority from local tribes in WBG region.
The government wants to have larger control over the WBG region, in order to deny the local citizens any present, rights and therefore their demands for reform. These unsolicited firing incidents also allow them to push both the Lion Forces and the inhabitans into Central Africa border, in order to grab WBG lands.
We strongly condemn the constant violations of the 21 December 2017 Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, Protection of Civilians and Humanitarian Access, and the recent perminant ceasefire agreement signed on 27 June 2018. the Lion forces reserve their rights of self defence.

God bless the people of WBG and the people of South Sudan.

Hon. Dominic Ukelo
Former Governor of Wau State in Opposition and
Member of NLC SPLMA-IO
4 August 2018.