Archive for: November 2018

PDM Leader response to IGAD and Council of Ministers

Dear Excellency Ambassador Ismail Wais,
 
Please accept my greetings and I sincerely hope this finds you well.
 
Your Excellency, 
 
Further to IGAD’s Council of Minister’s communique in which it directed you to reach out to the R-ARCSS non-signatories to either join its implementation or otherwise be labeled as spoilers of the peace process for non-compliance with the directive, PDM is dismayed by the unfortunate and threatening directives.
 
PDM would like to caution that IGAD’s  threats to label the R-ARCSS non-signatories as peace spoilers for not joining the R-ARCSS implementation without conditions nor incorporation of their positions in the R-ARCSS which they did not participate in negotiating, are in the least uncalled for, but seem to toe Juba government’s intolerance for legitimate dissent.
 
PDM has issued a public statement a copy of which is attached for your info and attention. PDM stands with its proposals ready to join in a negotiated opening up of R-ARCSS for review to incorporate our people and constituents driven proposals for a just and sustainable peace which addresses the root causes of conflict and governance crisis in our country.
 
Accept assurances of our highest regards
 
cc: TROIKA 
 
Kind regards
Dr Hakim Dario
PDM Chair

The Dialectic of the South Sudanese State: NAS & the R-ARCIS 

BY: Moses Nyara, South Sudanese, NOV/19/2018, SSN;

There is a persistent question in every Sudanese and in particular a South Sudanese mind. Why is that the Sudan and South Sudan never seen any peace? Why is it that in spite of the many signed agreements the Community in this great Nation call the Sudan has subjected itself to wars for so many years?

The latest of the many of agreement to be signed and would most likely be dishonored is the Revitalized-Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCIS) The agreement was inked on the 12th September 2018 and celebrated the 31st October 2018.

The accord was mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda facilitating the negotiations. Khartoum and Kampala duped the agreement the final solution to the South Sudan problems.

The agreement is to address the root causes of post-independence issues and political differences between the various political actors in the nascent Country. But the question is, has it and would it? That is the big dilemma in everybody’s mind.

During the negotiation and at the signing ceremony, like many agreements before it, the people of South Sudan watched the interlocutors on their television and social media platforms dancing jubilantly,  singing Kumbaya we have brought you peace.

Many commentators were quick to point out that the agreement was mainly to serve the interest of the dominant warring parties that is the incumbent government of Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in opposition of Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon. The South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance (SSOA), an umbrella of nine opposition entities also took part in the negotiation.

While six of the group were happy or pressured to sign the agreement as some would say. Three members of the group distanced itself from the coalition and rejected the signing of the final document of the revitalized peace agreement by its leader.

The opposition National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirillo; the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) of Hakin Dario and the SPLM- Former Political Detainees – FDs, rejected the final version of the peace agreement, citing unresolved outstanding issues in the peace document.

In a classic textbook counterinsurgency style, Maj. Gen. Julius Tabule, a one general in the National Salvation Front (NAS) movement was airlifted to Khartoum, declared new leaders of the NAS and made to initial the agreement. To add to the confusion, General Khalid Butrous a member of NAS’s high command also proclaimed himself the interim leader.

Within hours of this renegades’ announcements, Thomas Cirillo moved swiftly and dismissed these two military figures, a move designed to put him in full control of the forces following their suspicious activities.

In the time when there is a yearning for peace around the country, many in public and the international community were not able to comprehend the Thomas Cirillo’s resistance to peace.

In this opinion piece and the series to follow, I would like to attempt to analyses the arguments the NAS has put forward for rejecting the R-ARCISS.  My focus will be on whether R-ARCISS adequately addressed NAS grievances or not.

For a start, some understanding of the factors that drove the NAS rebellion is warranted. There is no rebellion without a cause(s).

This first opinion thus focuses on the post-independence political maneuvering that left the country in chaos and the NAS rational for its subversive activities. It only fits that one tries to understand why NAS took up arms.

While one is not a political scientist, one does have some reasonable comprehension of  South Sudan issues and some knowledge about what a political cause means.

So, what caused a well-respected Lt General to turn against his party and take up arms? Though attempt is made here to answer that question, I am afraid the answer is not a straight one.

Political theorists have pondered over the big question of what caused the world’s revolutions for years. While theorists, such as Theda Skocpol sees revolutions as a rapid transformation of a society’s class and structure.

Political scientist such as Jack Goldstone sees revolution as a state breakdown which only happens when a government becomes weak.

Sure, most Sudanese and South Sudanese, in particular, are used to rebellions in the Sudan. One would say, it is almost a badge of honor for a Sudanese to have to survive or lived through one or two revolution(s).

From Mahdi revivalism; Anya Nya independent struggles to New Sudan projects or the current SPLMism.  The Sudanese masses have endured it all. My maternal mother was born, lived and survived the Anya Nya rebellion only to die in the SPLA/SPM struggle.

My siblings and I are no exceptions. We lived and survived the SPLAM/SPLAM revolution. My children are surviving the current waves of rebellions.

The Sudan and South Sudan are not the only countries to have revolutions. Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration and motivating ideologies. From my limited reading of the literature and knowledge on the causes of revolutions.

Historical, many of the world’s revolutions have ‘both structural and transient causes; structural causes are long-term and large-scale trends that undermine existing social institutions and relationships and transient causes are contingent events, or actions by particular individuals or groups, that reveal the impact of longer-term trends and often (Jack A. Goldstone, p10).’

The author proposes to apply that definition in analyzing  the causes of NAS rebellion, which, it is argued, are:

— (1) demand for change, which is derived from (a) provocations and (b) solidified public opinion; — (2) hopefulness of success, which comes from (a) programs of reform and (b) leadership; and  —– (3) the weakness of the SPLM as a party which has been caused by disputes amongst itself; disaffection in the SPLA and international complications.

Theda Skocpol theorizes that political crises are often the trigger points for launching revolutions. One would agree that many trigger points lead to the current circle of rebellions in South Sudan.

I shall restrict this to the political triggers or what may be termed a crisis within the SPLM and now defunct SPLA.

There may be points of contentions regarding when and how the crisis started. Nevertheless, one would still reasonably accept that it is a political crisis which had its genesis in 1990s splits in the SPLM/SPLA.

In particular, when Dr Lam Akol and Riek Machar questioned Dr John Garang’s leadership in that infamous ‘Why Garang Must Go Now’ declaration or what they profess to be a rejection of Dr Garang’s ‘dictatorial leadership”.

Dr Lam Akol and Dr Riek Machar’s promised for human rights and an independent South Sudan lead to years of meaningless rebellions and counter rebellions leading to the period of chaos that reigned within the SPLA/SPLM.

Equally a crisis worth mentioning was the failed SPLA attacks on Juba in June–July 1992. The harsh National Islamic Front’s reprisals that followed lead to summary executions of suspected SPLA collaborators who were mainly intellectuals from the Equatoria region.

They include, from the army, Major Joseph Ladu, Major Andrew and over 60 soldiers of other ranks; from the police, Colonel David Kenyi, Lieutenant Colonel Lado Peter and Captain Arkangelo Yugu; from the prisons service, Major Pitia Kenyi, Captain Kamillo Koma, Captain Mohamed Khamis, and First Lieutenant Mark Taban. The torture or killings of these intellectuals created a gap and wound in the heart of many Equatorians.

One would also be justified in saying that the post-independence circle of rebellions in the country began in December 2013, when President Kiir charged his once Deputy Riek Machar and ten other historical members of the SPLM of attempting a coup d’état.

There is no argument in concluding that the fighting that broke out between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and SPLM-IO was the trigger for the South Sudan civil war. It was something to be expected. I say this due to the following reasons.

While many see the crisis as a struggle for power and wealth, I see it as the dialects of the South Sudan Nation. The contradictory process of nation-building among the nation’s idealist. A class of beliefs about the proper ordering of the South Sudanese society.

During the struggle for South Sudan independence, the various members of the SPLA/SPLM were each driven by different ideologies and motives. What united them all was the dream of an independent South Sudanese country.

Whatever ideologies and motivations the leaders had at the time, the masses were oblivious.  The yearning was for an independent South Sudan republic by any means necessary.

To properly contextualize this, it is necessary to understand the drivers of ideological opinions.

Since the time of the French Revolution, ideological opinions have been classified most often in terms of a single left-right dimension, which originally referred to the seating arrangements in the French parliament after the Revolution (1789–1799).

On a left-right spectrum, communism and socialism are usually regarded internationally as being on the left, whereas conservatism and capitalism are on the right. This formulation of the left-right distinction and many others contain two interrelated aspects, namely (a) advocating versus resisting social change (as opposed to tradition), and (b) rejecting versus accepting inequality ( Jost et al. 2003b,c).

In the Sudanese context, this translates to those who were advocating for outright independence of South Sudan and those who whose primary objective was a secular New Sudan. Under the separatists’ umbrella, many of the leaders harbor their ideological leanings.

There were those who adhered to the communist or socialist cred; others who preferred tribal fascism and there were many others whose reasoned ideals centered on liberal democracy. Some were simply Jesus Christ foot soldiers for whom  Nimeiry’s Sharia was an Arab man’s middle finger aimed at their bottoms.

While it is reasonable for one to hold  the view that the majority of the SPLM members were on the separatist spectrum from the revolutionary standpoint, when it came to the school of political reasoning, many preferred to flow with the eternal leaders.

A minority of them just swim with the tides, a cleverly designed art of political survival and resilience at almost any price. It is no surprise that the surviving founding members of the SPLM were those members that only washed one half of their face at a time and slept with one eye open like a meerkat or mongoose.

The dominating eternal leaders from the South Sudan leadership standpoint were Dr Garang and Dr Riek Machar. While their contempt for Al-Turabi’s muslimization and Arabization was the unifying cause.

Dr Machar disagreed with Dr Garang over the revolutionary objectives. Garang philosophy was ‘Sudanism. Garang believed, for the people of Sudan to live in cohesion, they must not separate themselves into the many existing ethnic factions present within the nation but, rather, to collectively renounce the belief that Arabness, Black African-ness, Islam or Christianity were to be the ultimate defining characteristics of Sudan.’

This was  the guiding philosophy of the SPLAM/SPLA under Garang’s leadership. The aim was to achieve a  secular and multi-ethnic New Sudan.

That was rather a different philosophy to that of Dr Riek Machar. Machar wanted a fully independent South Sudan. Although both agreed on the methods that was required to achieve victory over the Islamic fundamentalist, the two were not in tango with one another when it came to administration of the rebellion.

Dr Machar was pushing for more democratic leadership; accountability and internal reform. For Dr Garang  everything was to be run in the ‘Political Military High Command.’ Things were to be run the Soviet style.

It was inevitable that when the independence objective was achieved in 2012, the political ideologies and opinions within the SPLM would again become more divided and more centered to their identities.

According to social psychologist, there are relational motives, epistemic motives, and existential motives which helps to explain why certain people—once they are exposed to certain political ideas—stick with those ideas.

The  reality is that with the independence, it was inevitable that, the idealist within the SPLM would again meet other idealists who were dormant or were on the opposing side during the war, and the struggle for power would resume in the form of the present South Sudanese rebellions or civil wars where both tried to maintain and assert their status as the legitimate rulers of South Sudan.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) made this all possible. During the CPA negotiation, the National Congress party had the advantage over their Southern or SPLM counterparts, owing to its many years of experience in governing the Sudan.

The NCP had mastered a political strategy for dealing with other political parties in the Sudan. Oblivious to Dr Garang and his boys. The NCP had cleverly shifted the War from military boots on the ground to “war by other means.”

The conventional war was proving an expensive exercise, so the regime’s favored course of action was for dealing with rebellions was ” counterinsurgency on the cheap, co-opting opponents and internal subversion, propaganda and dirty tricks operations.”

The NCP has worked out that at the end, negotiations are cheaper than jihad. The regime was to hedge its bets on South Sudan.

The regime knew it was not powerful enough to enforce its will on all of Sudan’s factions at one time but is strong enough to hold onto political and economic power at the center. With John W Bush’s access of evil line running through the NCP corridor.

The NCP strategist knew negotiations was the only means of holding onto power, to level the playing field against the stronger opponents, and to co-opt and disarm them.  It was at the risk of the South succeeding from the rest of the Sudan.

To overcome the possibility and the reality of losing South Sudan’s vast resources, the NCP pulled out the last trick out of its political playbook. Let the South succeeded if it needs to be. If circumstances change, the regime can always renegotiate with the new South Sudan Republic based on new realities.

To achieve this, the NCP strategist weaved a clever political trap into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was designed to infiltrate the SPLM and eliminate the separatist or nationalist base and replace them with people whose allegiance were with the NCP during the Civil War or people who are only there for the dime. The NCP is to permeate all sectors of the economy in South Sudan and all levels of the state apparatus.

The program was set, in that, the SPLM party and government was to observe all of the NCP political and military machinery that was in the South, by this, the author means the southern members of the NCP, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) Southern agents and the NCP next work of counterinsurgency militia.

The counterinsurgency security and political set up that was designed during the War to fight and oppose the South separatist agenda was to be observed into the new South Sudan Government and institutions.

The NCP Junubin members; intelligent agents; Judges and funded militias were to be either integrated into the Southern government, the SPLM party or the SPLA during the interim period.

Having been trained by the NCP, these Junubins were very experienced in politics, negotiation, and deception and better prepared than any other political entity in South Sudan. They are to bring about the change in circumstances in the post-independent South Sudan.

On the other hand, the poor South Kordofanians and Blue Nile SPLM and SPLA members were to be left to fend for themselves. There was to be no truth and reconciliation commission to provide proof against the Junubins who were doing the dirty work for the National Congress Party (NCP) during the 21 years of civil wars.

Instead, they were to be observed and to continue to run the Southern Sudan security, judicial, and other state institutions. It was a broad parasitism strategy designed for realigning and manipulating the political leadership in South Sudan with the aim of returning Southern Sudan under North Sudan’s sphere of influence.

It is no surprise that with the birth of the independent Republic of South Sudan, the alt-racial National Congress Party (NCP) trained political and military strategists within the South Sudan institutions; security sector and political parties took out the NCP’s playbook and were able to apply it with ease.

They begin to evict all the host pro-genies from their nests methodically. Like a common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) chick they rolled out most of the original SPLM leaders and cadets out of the nest and replaced them with their own or those who subscribed to the new project.

The ones that survived are those who read Mao Zedong “On Guerrilla Warfare” and  understood Mao, when he said, we must not belittle the saying in the book of Sun Wu Tzu, the great military expert of ancient China, ‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a thousand battles without disaster.’

While the National Congress Party (NCP) agents and original SPLM vie for influence, the mercurial President just waffles between these two power centers, while consolidating his power and remaining entirely in control of the two elements.

It was all facilitated or was made possible with the money coming from the friends of the West, as well as, the booming oil economy of the New Republic.

With the new regime awash with money. The National Congress Party (NCP) trained tacticians were at ease in executing the NCP manuscript.

Like their North Counterparts, these Jububins are brutal pragmatists, well-educated but toxic cosmopolitans, ready to negotiate, to deal, to compromise to tighten their grip on the real levers of power in South Sudan.

Their strategy is a constant state of negotiation with friends and foes alike. Bribe, loot, build clientalistic networks along tribal lines and break agreements, if circumstances change, you can subsequently broker a better deal.

Be prepared to escalate into mass murder and outright defiance if it calls for, the unknown man is to be allowed to swim in the turbid South Sudan waters when required.

In this internecine struggle between institutions and individuals, the friendship and support of the IGAD countries and especially Uganda and Kenya are a commodity like no other.

The birth of the holy grail of South Sudanese politics, a deliverable that Dr Riek Machar failed to deliver in the heady days of his ascendancy as the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan and SPLM Co-Chair of the Joint Executive Political Committee.

It has been this struggle for dominance which allowed militant rebellions to thrive in South Sudan and the cause for the immense suffering in the country.

With the continued struggle for power and the political chaos that has engulfed the Country, the National Salvation Front (NAS)  has followed the rebellion manuscript and posited itself as the alternate savior of South Sudanese.

The question the movement has asked itself is, how can the descent into abyss be stopped; using what means; what the possible options are and what should be the outcome of such an undertaking.

The movement has offered ten facts which it believes signify gross mismanagement of the affairs of the people of the Republic of South Sudan.

The facts NAS list includes:  (i) General security (ii) Food insecurity (ii) economic stagnation (iii)  security sector discord (iv) corruption (v) absence of basic services (vi) personalized constitution (viii) Tribal Loyalty ( ix) Human rights abuses.

In a series of opinions to come, I want to look at each issue. In particular, whether the signed Peace agreement addresses the issues NAS has raised, or whether NAS Cirillo is justified in its continuation of the war.

The author, Mr. Moses Nyara  can be reached via: nyara007@hotmail.com. Disclaimer: the views are solely mine and do not represent any institution or government.

 

Three Federal States (Equatoria, BharGhazel, UpperNile) during Transitional Period: PDM Release

For Immediate release –  November 16th, 2018, SSN;

The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) would like to reiterate its position for laying down the foundation and roadmap to a genuinely just and sustainable peace in South Sudan, based on three Federal States during the Transitional Period.

This approach gives power back to the people in the former autonomous regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr al Ghazal.

It would also help to rebuild trust and start the process in earnest to repair the damaged social fabric and governance crsis in the country between all the 64 ethnicities of our peoples.

PDM had earlier during the HLRF process proposed People’s Regional Conventions in Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal to ensure participation of the people in all their 64 ethnicities in consultations and decision making processes to nominate and mandate their representatives to a Transitional Federal Government at regional and national levels.

These regional people’s conventions would take place in the pre-transitional period in ample time, for the formation of the Transitional Federal Government of South Sudan (TFGOSS) at regional and national levels, in which all the 64 tribes and ethnicities would be fairly represented.

As it stands, R-ARCSS is devoid of people’s participation except for the elites of the incumbent SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SSOA elites and OPP elites, which makes the R-ARCSS exclusively elitist, clearly non-inclusive of all the 64-ethnicities, and falls short of addressing the root causes of conflict, and is thus far without legitimacy and authority of the people.

The National Dialogue Steering Committee on account of media reports (http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article66607), now seems to echo and recognize the position of PDM throughout the HLRF process to be the more viable way forward, including proposals for rotational presidency between the peoples of the three former autonomous regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal during the Transitional Period.

The R-ARCSS that is sharing power between the elites at the expense of all the 64 tribes of our people is squandering another opportunity to reset the clock for a new start with the people fully onboard the driving seat in South Sudan.

The National Dialogue steering committee further decried SPLM failure but said nothing of its lack of legitimacy to rule by means other than the twin weapons of serial wars and agreements to stay in power as SPLM-IG or SPLM-IO.

The people have yet to question why the SPLM-Xs should be rewarded to rule over the country rather than sanctioned for senseless wars of power struggle and corruption at expense of our people’s innocent lives.

The R-ARCSS needs to be re-opened to make it into a people-centric agreement, with 33% power sharing allocation to each of the three regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal.

This would secure a realistic chance for a sustainable peace, and thus give a start to democratic transformation of the country in a strong Federal governance of the three regions by the people’s making.

The country should not be held hostage to failed SPLM IG and IO rule for peace to prevail, and given the opportunity the people of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal regional conventions may bring the stability that has eluded SPLM elites since 2011, including Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the twin enduring symbols of corruption `and impunity in South Sudan governance.

PDM takes the opportunity once more to repeat its maiden call to our people in Upper `Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal to forge a broad based socio-political National Alliance for Democracy And Freedom Action (NADAFA) in our country, to end SPLM impunity, lead democratic transformation to usher in a just and sustainable peace.

The proposals of regional conventions, through the power of the people, can transform and extricate South Sudan from the uninterrupted tyranny of the R-ARCSS elites rule, and who cannot be trusted with governance of our country for another three years.

The country is for the people, not made for the elites rule.

Urgent recommendations to IGAD, AU and UNSC:

  • Revisit R-ARCSS to open it up for a critical review to incorporate provisions for Pre-Transitional People’s conventions in Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal before start of the Transitional Period and its possible extension thereof.
  • Revisit and review R-ARCSS to incorporate provisions for a federal governance system during the transitional period based on three regions and their colonial districts, which are well known and thus avoid the need for unnecessary imposition of the illegal 32 states in South Sudan.
  • Review R-ARCSS to incorporate provisions to address the root causes of conflict, justice and accountability.
  • Review R-ARCSS to limit undue influences or direct infringement upon the sovereignty and economic resources of South Sudan by foreign or IGAD sponsored regional powers, Sudan and Uganda in particular, not to be authorized as Guarantors by the UNSC.
  • Review R-ARCSS to lift the state of emergency, release of all abducted political detainees and prisoners of war, accountability for missing abductees, Agrey Idri and Samuel Dong who were kidnapped from Nairobi and whose fate still remain unknown

PDM calls upon the people of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal as herein represented by the three shining stars, for NADAFA of their country from endemic impunity, misrule and corruption.

Let no one party rule that, devoid of vision for the country and the people, ruin the new born that is our country and nation, united by the Nile, and by the promise of a bright future.

However, the people must go to work for NADAFA of the country in the regional conference before it is too late to change direction of the country.

Dr. Hakim Dario,

Chair, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM)

The Doctrine of Terra Nullius not applicable to South Sudan: The Case of Ramciel

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, NOV/15/2018, SSN;

Since the formation of the Government of South Sudan in 2005 that was followed by the formation of the government of independent South Sudan, the relevance of doctrine of terra nullius has become apparent. Terra nullius is a common law doctrine later adopted in the international law. In Latin, ‘terra nullius’ means a “land belonging to nobody.”

The issue of whether any land in South Sudan belongs to no one was never an issue during the liberation struggle of 1983 to 2005. But with the formation of the Government of Southern Sudan in 2005 and the formation of the government of independent South Sudan in 2011, the discourse over the land in South Sudan changed as seen in the plan to build Ramciel as the Capital city of South Sudan.

Currently, there is a heated debate on social media that Ramciel is no man’s land. Those who claim that Ramciel is a no man’s land based their reasoning on the fact that Ramciel is a vast land with no inhabitants on it and because of that, it is the land that belongs to no one.

This argument is a reminiscence of the British Colonial Masters’ argument during the colonial period.

That time, the British Colonialists argued as they grabbed African land that since the land was not occupied permanently by any community, then it belonged to no one or if the land was occupied by “uncivilized communities” in their understanding of civilization, then it is terra nullius, meaning land belonging to no one.

It was under that argument the British Colonialists grabbed African land and put it under the crown hence large part of African land became Crown land owned by the Queen or King of England as was seen in Kenya and Uganda. This was in 18th and 19th Centuries.

In 21st Century however, we are struggling with the same question of terra nullius in South Sudan in respect to Ramciel.

I must begin with the location of Ramciel located in the former Lakes State and it currently is part of Eastern Lakes State in South Sudan. Ramciel is located about 250 kilometres (155.343 mi) north of Juba on the western side of the White Nile.

Majority of the inhabitants of Ramciel are cattle keepers, which is a means of their livelihood. They move from place to place looking for pastures as the weather changes. This makes Ramciel appear as if it belongs to no person.

But some people should not be misled by the fact that if the inhabitants of Ramciel lack permanent settlement on that land then Ramciel belongs to no person or no man’s land as many argue.

The implication of the argument that Ramciel is a no man’s land is that it is a territory which is up for grab.  Those who put forward this kind of argument appear to suggest or invoke the principle of Terra nullius in South Sudan that it should be applied to all land which appears to belong to no one. If that is the case, then I must say that this argument is wrong and the people of Eastern Lakes State are justified to defend their land in Ramciel because the whole argument is intended or an attempt to grab the land in disregard to the pre-existing community rights.

The doctrine of Terra nullius they are trying to invoke in the case of Ramciel is no longer a good law as courts in different jurisdictions have declared it invalid. This was held in Australian case of Mabo v Queensland (No 2)[1992]HCA 23. This was a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia in 1992, which recognized a native title in Australia for the first time and ruled that the argument that when the British came to Australia the land there was terra nullius was erroneous.

The ruling in this case is to the effect that indigenous land rights which had not been extinguished by subsequent grants by the Crown continued to exist in Australia up to the present.

In that case five judgments were delivered and all judges, except one, agreed that:  there was a concept of native title at common law; the source of native title was the traditional connection to or occupation of the land; the nature and content of native title was determined by the character of the connection or occupation under traditional laws or customs; and native title could be extinguished by the valid exercise of governmental powers provided a clear and plain intention to do so was manifest.  The decision in this case recognized that the indigenous population had a pre-existing system of law, which, along with all rights subsisting thereunder, would remain in force under the new sovereign except where specifically modified or extinguished by legislative or executive action.
The decision in Mabo case clearly shows that the indigenous communities like those in Eastern Lakes State and other parts of South Sudan have inherent rights to their land though such land may not be effectively under their occupation but as long as there is something showing that the land belongs to them then they have a right to own it. The proof of the customary ownership by the indigenous people can be shown through cultivation and marks where cattle are kept such as cattle camps. Once proved that land belong to a particular community as in the case of Ramciel, it can only be taken away in accordance with the law as provided for under the Local Government Act of South Sudan.
The court ruling in Mabo case was in December 2004 applied in the Noonkanbah people’s case in which the Court recognized the rights of the traditional owners of a 1,811 km©˜ plot of land in Western Australia. Applying the same principle in the Northern Territory, the Government granted 40 per cent of the land, which put most of its coastline in the hands of Aboriginal peoples in Australia.
Moreover, on 26 June 2014 in the case of Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia, 2014 SCC 44 at para. 69, the Supreme Court of Canada in its unanimous decision made clear that “The doctrine of terra nullius (that no one owned the land prior to European assertion of sovereignty) never applied in Canada, as confirmed by the Royal Proclamation (1763), R.S.C. 1985, App. II, No. 1.”
The Supreme Court of Canada in the same case further held that the Crown title as coined by the British Colonialists, however, was burdened by the pre-existing legal rights of Aboriginal people who occupied and used the land prior to European arrival. … The Aboriginal interest in land that burdens the Crown’s underlying title is an independent legal interest, which gives rise to a fiduciary duty on the part of the Crown.”” This means that the interests of indigenous people in traditional land as seen in Ramciel are protected by customary law is recognized by the Constitution of South Sudan.
The ruling of the Australian High is the reflected the position of the international law in respect to land rights of the indigenous communities which have been developed in two key areas. The two areas are seen in the protection of the rights of indigenous people as well the rights of women to land. The protection involves land access and it use, which are frequently tied to the spiritual, cultural and social identities of peoples. Under the International human right law as represented in the Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the rights of the indigenous people are protected.
The above Convention was adopted by the International Labour Organization in 1989 purposely to protect the rights of indigenous people to land and to eliminate or minimize the adverse effect of the principle of no man’s land that was used by the European colonialists to grab the land from indigenous people. The Convention 169 is now legally binding on all the States of the world including South Sudan. It is reported that the Convention 169 is the only binding international instrument related to the rights of indigenous peoples and it is relevant in the present case of Ramciel of the rights of indigenous people of Ciec to land is being violated.
The Convention 169 further establishes the right of indigenous peoples in independent countries to “exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development,” in a number of areas. The Convention includes a section on land, and requires States Parties to identify lands traditionally occupied by indigenous peoples like in the case of Ramciel and ensure that the rights to that land are protected.
In addition, the Convention provides that the State Parties (which include South Sudan) must take “measures in appropriate cases to safeguard the right of the peoples concerned to use lands not exclusively occupied by them, but to which they have traditionally had access for their subsistence and traditional activities”. This is the most applicable part to the case of Ramciel.
Even if South Sudan is not a party to the Convention 169, this Convention has become part of the international customary law which is applicable to all countries in the world which are members of the United Nations.  The Convention 169 therefore protects the rights of the people of Eastern Lakes State to the ownership of Ramciel.
Under the South Sudan law, the Constitution provides for the right to own land under Article 170 of the South Sudan’s Transitional Constitution of 2011, which provides for the land ownership. It provides that land belong to the community. Article 28 of the same Constitution provides for the right to acquire and own property by the communities. Hence, the principles of international human rights law and in particular the principles of law that protects indigenous people as enshrined in the Convention 169 read together with Article 28 put it beyond doubt that Ciec Community in Eastern Lakes State has the right over Ramciel. This put argument to rest that Ramciel is not a no man’s land.

Having concluded that Ramciel is the land that belongs to Ciec Community in Eastern Lakes, then, in the process of acquiring it by the National Government of South Sudan, the provision of law as provided for under section 88 of the Local Government Act of South Sudan, 2009, must be observed. Thus, the authority of the Local Government Council of the County which Ramciel falls under in Eastern Lakes State must be officially involved who must in turn consult the members of Ciec Community.

In other words, the Local Government Council administering Ramciel on behalf of the Ciec community must be involve to deal with the State Government and this must be done in consultation with the Community if the government of South Sudan wants to acquire Ramciel to be developed as the city of South Sudan.

After observing section 88 of the Local Government Act, the process of acquisition by the State or national Government of South Sudan of any land not only in Eastern Lakes State but in South Sudan in general must be carried out in accordance with section 89 of the Local Government Act of 2009 of South Sudan.  Section 89 provides for land acquisition and the procedure that must be followed. It provides that it shall be the function of the respective council, save that the concerned council shall—

(a)    Respect the existing customary practices, protect local heritage and observe international trends and practices in land acquisition;
(b)    Consult the community concerned on the land acquisition or usage as the case may be; and
(c)    Protect the rights and interests of the communities in areas within the local council, where subterranean natural resources are being explored or exploited, to ensure their rights to share in the benefits accruing from such resources.

Thus, section 89 of the Local Government Act of South Sudan recognizes the right of the communities to land not only in Eastern Lakes State but in the whole of South Sudan which the government of South Sudan must recognize and protect. This means that the government of South Sudan is duty bound to ensure that in case it wants to acquire any land, it must conduct consultation with the local communities before the land in question is acquired. Therefore, the communities have all right to reject the acquisition of their land if their concerns over the land are not properly addressed and met.

In summary, the doctrine of terra nullius is not applicable to Ramciel and South Sudan in General. In South Sudan the concept of terra nullius is not applicable as all the land has been under occupation by different traditional communities even before the independence of South Sudan. The fact that there is no permanent settlement in Ramciel or other land in South Sudan does not justify the other people to make careless statement that such land and Ramciel in particular does not belong to community.

The statement that Ramciel or any other land in South Sudan does not belong to any community stripping citizens (who do not have means to develop their land) of their right to land, which is fragrant violation of their rights to land or property contrary to article 28 of the Constitution of South Sudan, 2011.

What South Sudanese must understand is that Ramciel is a land owned by the people of Eastern Lakes State based on their tradition and customs. This means that land in Ramciel is owned by the Community in accordance with customary law. This customary law is derived from ancestors. This means that all members of a community of Ciec are entitled to land for purposes of deriving a livelihood and within that Ciec Community the right of the clan which own that area must be recognized.

In short, the people of Eastern Lakes should not be misunderstood, what they are claiming is not that the land in Ramciel should not be developed as capital city of South Sudan but their argument is that their rights to land in Ramciel must be recognized before it is developed into the capital city of South Sudan. This means that they must be consulted and assured of any benefits that come with the development of the land. If the communities in State where oil is found are assured of two percent (2%), which not the Ciec Community in Eastern Lakes? The benefits may be in term of employment.

NB//: the author is human rights lawyer and can be reached through +256781023707 or juoldaniel2003@gmail.com

WE’LL RULE FOREVER: Declares the Jieng “Popular Movement Party of Dinka”— Press Release

NOV/13/2018, SSN;

This is an unsigned and nameless Political Statement purportedly written and circulated by a jieng group calling themselves as The Popular Movement Party of Dinka, and here below is the statement.

“It’s known that we were the Dinka who fought in wartime from 1983 tp 2005 when we signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

And then the leadership of South Sudan receives the team of Salva Kiir.

We see that we, as the Dinka, received the team of Salva Kiir.

We see that we as the Dinka, we have the right to rule South Sudan as long as we paid 99% of the price of freedom and independeance in Southern Sudan and have the power and resources, weapons and power, army, police and militia.

“Our Political Project:”

Rule South Sudan and control it completely.

“Our Vision:”

Unification of the Dinka in Southern Sudan and beyond.

“Objectives:”

1/ Stop the rebellion of Dr. Riak Machar in South Sudan and everyone who begs for himself.

2/ Create a strong relationship between the Dinka in South Sudan and in other countries.

3/ Provide the necessary efforts to be the next president of the Dinka.

4/ Marriage from other tribes.

5/ Find a mechanism to contain the other tribes in one culture, that’s the Dinka.

6/ The extension of the Dinka language as the official language in South Sudan.

7/ Make the city of Wau as capital of Bahr el Ghazal major and all the Dinka the right to own residential land with the possible change.

8/ Creating an environment that is not suitable for security in the places where the Fertit and Jur tribes are located, so that they can hope where they come from.

9/ Use their children against them.

10/ Non recognition of the opposition in Western Bahr el Ghazel and Western Equatoria and must be dealt with by other names.

11/ Making the peace agreement impossible to implement.

12/ All the Army, Police and Militia must be members of the Dinka and must coordinate with the judicial system not to hold them accountable no matter what they did.

13/ Attack and destruction of areas of the presence of the opposition and the distance from the area of Bazia and Nksa and Bagari and the city of Wau from each Fertit.

14/ All managers in Wau must be regular troops from the Dinka tribe.

15/ Do not give regular forces and staff in the ministries salaries at all time.

16/ Annexing the Raja lawl area and creating different policies to displace them from their land.

17/ To dispose of the sons of the Fertits and the absence of their entry, whether that by night or by day, and the lootiong of their vehicles and other properties.

Our Achievements:

1/ The flag of the State of South Sudan is the SPLM wing of the Dinka.

2/ The image of Dr. John Garang is in the currency.

3/ The partition of South Sudan into 32 states.

4/ Changing the car plates of the names of the states (sso).

5/ More than 70% of the Jur and Fertit areas are currently inhabited by Dinka, starting from Mboro city, Raja, even Farajallah in Wau. END

(NB:

The Editor cannot verify the authenticity of this press release)

 

 

 

We Lost faith in leaders’ non-implementation of agreements: From United Voices of South Sudanese in the Diaspora

From: Benjamin Avelino, From The Global Coalition of Advocates, GCASS- the United Voices of South Sudanese in the Diaspora, OCT/22/2018.

Subject: The revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan

Extended Letter addressed to the undermentioned by the Global Coalition of Advocacy for South Sudan (GCASS) representing the united voices of the South Sudanese people in the diaspora and friends of South Sudan.

Address to-
    Salva Kiir Mayardit- Incumbent President of the TGNU
    Political leaders in the Incumbent TGNU
    Dr Riek Machar Dhurgeon, Chairman SPLA/M-IO
    Hon. Gabriel Changson Chang- Interim Chairman SSOA
    Other opposition parties
    Civil Society and Concerned Citizens
    Faith Based Organisations
    South Sudan Community leaders

Copy to-
    IGAD Special envoy
    IGAD Council of Ministers (commission)
    AU Special Envoy
    UN Special envoy
    UNMISS
    EU Special envoy
    Troika – Chris Trott- Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan
    Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs,
    Hon. Marise Payne Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs
    China- The Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China
    Russia- The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
    Japan- The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan

Dear Sirs,
1.    Introduction

1.1 About US: The Global Coalition of Advocates for South Sudan (GCASS) represents the united voices of South Sudanese Diaspora and their friends in the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, Canada, United States of America and around the Globe. GCASS advocates for ending the conflict, rebuilding mutual relations among divided communities and promoting good governance, social justice, democracy, freedom of expression, human rights protection and rule of law in South Sudan.

1.2; Purpose of the Letter: The signed peace agreement on the Revitalization of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and appending the Khartoum declaration should be encouraging news to all South Sudanese. GCASS applauds the government of South Sudan, opposition leaders, regional authorities, Troika, the AU and UN for making this possible.

This letter, seeks to highlight the plight of South Sudanese, who have lost faith in their leaders in implementing peace agreements. The majority of our people feel, leaders from both governing and opposition parties are unsympathetic to their situation, hence demands the negotiating parties and guarantors to ensure this agreement is implemented to the satisfaction of the citizens and South Sudan people.

The South Sudanese leaders from all backgrounds and the citizens, should deal with the challenges of the implementation of the R-ARCSS with great fortitude and urgency;

2.    Our Observations and Concerns
2.1. The South Sudanese people are grateful to IGAD, AU, UNSC and the Troika, for their rapid intervention in the senseless armed conflict in South Sudan, and for helping to resolve the conflicts through peaceful negotiation. We are encouraged by your efforts, the leaders from all sides to continuously agree to resolve issues amicably, please don’t let the people down this time.

2.2. The responsibility of all heinous acts to the citizens and the country lies solely with the elected representatives in the legislative assemblies at all levels of governments at the states and national, for failing to contain the conflict at the earliest.

We are at the moment very concerned the COHA signed in Addis Ababa in December 2017 and in Khartoum in June 2018, are frequently violated, putting the security and life of citizens under constant danger; this is unacceptable to all South Sudanese people.

2.3. The breakdown of the August 2015 peace agreement signed in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, the ARCSS, led to escalating insecurity, atrocities, large population displacement, and economic crisis. Below are highlight of our further observations;

a) Nearly three years after the signing of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) in August 2015, the signatory parties to the agreement, failed to implement the agreement.

b) Although there was a clear mandate by the IGAD head of states for the HLRF to be inclusive, some armed & unarmed groups including the South Sudanese communities in the diaspora, were inadequately represented at the HLRF.

C) Concern for the lack of security, safety and protection of all citizens, from all divides, during the peace implementation process. The South Sudanese Citizens are not yet assured particularly by the two principal leaders President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar, and including the IGAD leadership as the guarantor.

The people expect them to stand on the same platform announcing publicly their total commitment to the peace agreement signed in August 2018, and that there will be no return to armed conflict; and stating that any group who violates the COHA and promoting violent conflicts should be immediately held accountable and brought before a court of law to be tried for war crime; the IGAD should fairly and firmly enforce the mandate.

d) Trust and confidence in the political parties and the agreement is low.  Some groups are opposed to the agreement or have serious reservations because of past experiences, especially the July 2016 resumed armed conflict in Juba; this left a bitter pill to swallow.

Lack of fair representation, inclusion and participation in the peace negotiation and decision making process, and the exclusion of some opposition parties who were not satisfied with the signed agreement, may seriously undermine the peace agreement; therefore these concerns should be instantly, truthfully and fairly resolved;

e) The lack of proper control and accountability mechanisms in security, governance and reform; there should be an independent adjudicator made of an expert panel to act as an ombudsman to the whole implementation process; this will provide trust and confidence to the R-ARCIS.

f) The proposed deployment of Ugandan (UPDM) and Sudanese forces (SAF) in the South Sudan territory in key security sensitive locations and in training of the national armed and organised forces, compromises national sovereignty; this mandate should be specified and authorised by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and under its supervision;

g) Transparency on the cost of the implementation, including cost of running the revised TGoNU, reform program, sources of funding, cost effectiveness and accountability mechanism of public finances. We are concerned that these factors have not been considered in the decision making during the peace negotiations; we would like to see the cost analysis and prove of affordability to assure the people of the effective peace implementation, this we believe will establish confidence in the people of South Sudan.

3.    Our Expectations

a) We call upon the incumbent TGoNU and all the opposition parties to this agreement to put the interest of South Sudanese people first by honouring this agreement in good faith. This agreement must be a vehicle in which South Sudanese leaders with the people of South Sudan people can be able to meet the basic aspirations (e.g. Justice, Freedom and Equality…) of all South Sudanese.

GCASS calls upon all the parties to provide security to all South Sudanese citizens who want to return to normal life in their ancestral lands; this means the COHA must be sincerely and faithfully observed as agreed, this must be a priority goal that can be measured.

b) We urge the main parties the incumbent government, the SPLM-IO and other opposition groups, to lead South Sudanese people responsibly, and reach out to other opposition groups who have not signed the final agreement to ensure that nobody is left out in the national dialogue and peace building.

4.    Our Appeal

We, echo the aspiration shared by the people of South Sudan, believing a just peace is the only viable option. Similarly, we have been greatly encouraged by the commitments made by all stakeholders to pursue peace building. There are a number of issues to be resolved and some key principles to adhere, to improve the chances of lasting peace; including upholding all parties to the peace agreement individually and collectively responsible “uniting for peace” and nation building, therefore we:

4.1. Appeal to everybody concerned, to work together & fully cooperate to ensure the prevalence of peace; be fully mindful of your moral, constitutional and legally shared responsibilities & duties. Parties excluded in the peace agreement must be brought back to continue searching peacefully for a sustainable, inclusive and just peace.

4.2. Plead for all your compassion and natural goodness to commit and deliver an accountable leadership, peace, ceasefire, equality, justice and giving freedom, self-dignity, and respect for humanity to the people of South Sudan, to fully realize their potential and freedom, not just hope.

4.3. Pledge with you to actively and genuinely support, promote and implement a just and inclusive peace this time round; not use it to regroup and consolidate power to yourself, your group and associates, the return of power to the people must begin now;

4.4. Request for meaningful participation of, and reinforce actions from the diaspora, women and youth in the peace building process and decision making;

4.5. Urgently petition all the warring parties and supporters to stop the war and hostile propaganda adding fuel to violence and hatred; doing so will protect the peace agreement and millions of civilian lives in South Sudan.

4.6. Demand unrestricted access for humanitarian services to the needy people, repression of critics and press freedom to cease, and all crimes should be fairly and timely investigated;

4.7. Greatly encourage all to embrace, support and join forces to revitalise the transitional justice mechanism for the benefit of truth, justice, reconciliation and healing in South Sudan. There cannot be lasting peace without accountability, faith and truth.

4.8. An enlarged government is a mockery to the suffering people who are in need of basic services and protection; there is no justification for voluminous government that will only provide resources and opportunities to the only few privileged elites;

4.9. Petition you to continue exerting genuine efforts and determination to address legitimate local grievances, inclusive and responsible governance, meaningful federalism; stopping violence and oppression that South Sudanese experience daily to allow all internally displaced persons to return to their ancestral land. Legitimate local grievances and conflicts are synonymous to the success of any agreement, and cannot be assumed resolved just because conflict in the centre is managed.

4.10. Other Mechanisms for alternative conflict resolution should be encouraged and developed, other than resolving conflicts by violence and rebellions. Recommend that traditional methods of conflict resolutions should be respected and given highest authority; the council of state should adapt this role, and should represent the image of all the ethnic tribes and representatives of highly skilled and experienced personnel;

5.    Our Role
The members of GCASS, welcome with humble appreciation the 2018 R-ARCSS, we shall endeavour to step up and play our role through leadership in our respective regions and around the globe through:

5.1. Organising positive information transmission mechanisms to inform the public and help in campaigning against negative publicities and propaganda against peace.

5.2. We (GCASS) shall endeavour to organise the South Sudanese communities in the diaspora, to engage in the peace agreement implementation, actively participate and be involved in the reconciliation, peace and nation building.

5.3. Help in the implementation process and promoting collective responsibility in ensuring the peace agreement is successfully implemented, and to the satisfaction of the citizens.

5.4. Lobby the support of our host countries, friends and charitable organisations, to help in the rehabilitation of returnees and rebuilding of the South Sudan Communities in the country.

5.5. Work with the government of South Sudan and all parties on pre-and post-implementation matters, to ensure the diaspora contribution is utilised effectively.

5.6. Act as the people’s check for an inclusive and fair implementation of the agreement;

6.    Conclusion

a)    While armed rebellion has been experienced, peaceful rebellion can be a useful way to seek change. The armed conflict in South Sudan is a hindrance and destruction to the country and its people, it must stop immediately; the warring parties must adhere to their commitment to implementing the signed agreement in earnest and good spirit.

b)    It is critical the parties to the conflict should take this agreement as a baseline and compromise to start the journey towards peace, reconciliation, social & economic rehabilitation and development. Just peace is the only viable option for sustainable co-existence and democratic governance but bad peace is a recipe for destruction.

c)    We are grateful for the continuous effort in search for sustainable, meaningful peace in South Sudan. We recognise the Khartoum declaration as a mere power sharing agreement, though disappointed, it is positive steps towards concessions or business enterprise the government, the opposition and others are willing to make to resolve the ongoing conflict. Its exclusivity and lack of transparency was stark.

However, we must not miss the opportunity to address fundamental political, core security and constitutional issues in South Sudan; the details should come in the implementation of the agreement where every citizen should effectively and truthfully participate and be honestly involved.

d)    We demand our leaders to lead responsibly, uncompromisingly, sincerely, in good spirit and put their difference aside, to concentrate on common goals for the sake of the people and the national unity.

e)    We would like to see some key measurable indicators such as total cessation of hostilities and commitment demonstrating honesty, determination, and progress of the leaders in the implementation of the agreement signed in August 2018 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

f)    We do highly appreciate ALL your cooperation to consider the issues outlined in this letter, and we look forward to your honest response and invite engagement to discuss further areas of importance and cooperation with your esteem offices.

Contact: Benjamin Avelino; email; btavelino@gmail.com; Tel: +447962206688,

Date: 22nd October 2018

We Must’nt Allow Our Tribal Allegiance to Destroy Our Urge for Political Stability

By: Ngoi Thuech, Dodoma, Tanzania, NOV/05/2018, SSN;

South Sudanese don’t know how lucky and blessed they’re. We’ve never had a shortage of patriotic leaders even before we became known as South Sudanese but separate entities living in tribal kingdoms.

Our people, whether we came from Azande nationality, Dinka dynasty or Shilluk kingdom, we all fought various wars to stop the invasion of Arabs who were hell-bent on enslaving our people, misappropriating our land and writing us off the history books.

After Sudan gained her independence from the Anglo-Egyptian rule, a plethora of Southern Sudan national leaders rose up and shouldered our cause for freedom from Jellaba economic exclusion.

A number of popularly known leaders from that era ranged from William Deng Nhial to Joseph Lagu. Eleven years after the breakdown of trust between the southern Sudanese and the North Sudanese ruling elite for dishonoring the 1972 peace agreement, a new group of leaders emerge in the fold of John Garang, William Nyuon Bany, Salva Kiir, and Riek Machar.

We’ve always had patriotic leaders and people who would go out of their way to protect the interests of our people no matter how hard their trials may seem.

During the first and second Sudanese civil wars we have had people who were easily bought off by the deep pockets of Khartoum. These people, in turn, came around and put the light out of what we were truly fighting for; our people were up in arms giving all their lot which resulted in countless generations of South Sudanese losing countless age-groups and age-sets, meaning people who traditionally were born and grew up in the same era.

Early in the 1990s, our leaders were once again at each other’s throats fighting to own the chairmanship of the SPLM/A; truly it was an incidental war which caused us dearly to delay our chance to garner independence from the jaws of persecution emanating from the preoccupied Sharia Law enforcers of Sudan.

And in 2013, twenty years from the prior break-up of SPLM/A into SPLM/A- Torit and SPLM/A-Nasir in 1991, our leaders armed their respective tribal dynasties to contest the presidential crown.

Every time we fight among ourselves, we unknowingly underdeveloped our collective cause for progress for a number of years.

When we splintered into various liberation movements in 1991, we didn’t get a chance to claim our independence until 14 years later; similarly, the war of 2013 has destroyed everything from infrastructure to thousands of people perishing in the process.

The Igbo people of Nigeria and Cameroon state, “when brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate. We live in an Eastern and Central African block where people might soon fight themselves to the bone for the few limited and scrappy economic resources availed to them by their representative governments.

Kenya has 49 million people; Uganda has 41 million; Sudan has 39 million; DR Congo has 79 million; Ethiopia has 102 million; Central African Republic has 4 million.

If one looks carefully at the statistics illustrated above, the only exception is the case of the Central African Republic which is populated by a mere 4 million people.

The other five countries straddling our borders have each 30 million plus people within the confines of their nation-states. Our very own South Sudan brags of being blessed with 12 million people.

Sudan at independence in 1955 had 17 million people and it had 49 million in 2011 shortly before independence gave way to South Sudan.

So, by 55 years into the future, our population might be 50 million or more depending on whether we choose to live in a state of fear and hatred or a land where people respect their differences so they may live in harmony and serene peace.

Abiy Ahmed, the PM of Ethiopia had this insightful observation about upholding tolerance at all cost: “Ethnic differences should be recognized and respected. However, we should not allow them to be hardened to the extent of destroying our common national story.”

How we allow corrupt and tribal opportunistic leaders to continue to drive a wedge among us is a thing of wonder.

It is okay to be pleasantly prideful of one’s ethnic background, but we should never allow it to destroy what we truly stand for as South Sudanese, which is to say we are a union of multifaceted tribes, while at the same time we also belong to one geographical enclave and sovereignty of South Sudan.

We may come from different tribes, however, we also self-identify as South Sudanese.

Once South Sudanese from any specific tribe has one of the own tribal member promoted to a powerful ministerial position, you would find them celebrating all over the place for such a gift.

Some of us now get denied medical attention because he or she hails from the tribe where recently one of their tribal members called on the military to sent members of a different tribe to their early graves.

If the leader had special powers, then he would have helped the subjective individual who was in need of a medical attention; however, the leader in question was ordinary like every one of us, or perhaps less intelligent than most of us; that was probably why the war started in the first place.

Since 2005, countless foreigners have made our motherland their permanent homeland. After the war broke out in 2013, ethnic hatred and a plethora of fear mongering became commonplace which culminated in chauvinistic tendencies by certain tribes to deny land purchasing to certain tribal nationalities, because the leader of the nation is a member of their tribe.

Just like Abiy Ahmed recognized the existence of ethnic differences; we should never entertain our tribal pride and heritage to cloud our judgment or blind us into seeing the bigger picture of our national identity.

Some of our South Sudanese people are too culturally attached to their ethnic tribes, that they are too often falsely led by these exclusive tendencies into believing that it is us only the Lotuho people or no one else out there.

South Sudan can’t just belong to the Lotuho people when there are other 63 tribal nationalities that carry a bulky uncompromising vast array of our nation.

Teth Wuol had this insightful observation about the corrosive division of tribalism: “Why do we let tribes define us? When we have one of the oldest cultures in the world. Rich with hard working people, dedicated to and faith. Many focus on our differences and play into the cultural divide prevent true peace. My goal is to bring South Sudan out of the ashes and build a future booming with technology, education, logic, and visionaries. I guess I can only dream until we start really caring about our South Sudan’s legacy.”

Riek Machar came to Juba for peace celebration and some people hated him for gracing hands with Salva Kiir, and Salva Kiir was given a free rein to lead our nation in the Pre-Transitional Period, and again he was vilified for failing to do enough to prevent the nation from disintegrating into a wasteland of conflict.

We don’t have a choice to propel the leader of our liking onto the crown helm of the presidency; we are stuck to work with Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in the meantime until we manage to figure out who is better suited to manage our affairs in J1.

Furthermore, once everything is up and running smoothly after the Transitional Period, we wish to continue to push for democratic reforms which will enable us to form impartial three branches of the government which encompasses the judiciary, the executive and the legislative assembly.

South Sudan is endowed with a few oil reserves here and there, and if we continue treading on the same path of the last 13 years; wars would never cease to cause us enormous losses in lives and properties.

Petrol dollars, unlike foreign aid handouts, do not come with string attached, meaning if we happen to have a dictatorial president in office, chances are that everyone would be rushing to Juba to scavenge for the loot of the oil collective wealth since there would be no Norwegian government sanctioning us to elect a democratic leader into office.

They don’t associate petroleum with the curse for nothing. Frank Matata, the former SPLM/ commander and governer of Yei River State was caught with the illegal sales of teak in the documentary Profiteers.

Corruption comes from the evil side of our human nature which is susceptible to get easily tempted to rent-seeking or self-serving. An impartial and sagacious judiciary would help us tremendously to bring to justice those who may get too greedy to get more for themselves while they are serving their tenures in office.

The famed Kenyan cartoonist, Gado, pointed out that one of the root causes of the major issues holding us back is ignorance. Ignorance is born out of too much faith we placed in tribal allegiances we grew up associating with.

John Dewey once said that “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.” His warnings do not only necessarily mean that for democracy to make a profound change in the society, a brand new generation of people must be at the forefront leading the pack to create the much-needed environment to effect change.

He also meant that each and every one of us must play their part to learn and adapt to the new cultural trends making headways in the society.

This is a social science analogy to the biological phenomenon of the survival of the fittest whereby those with most adaptable genes to their immediate inhabitable environment are more likely to survive environmental catastrophes and pass their genes to the next generation of their offspring.

In our case, the few hard-headed bunches among us are more likely to drag people into major conflicts that we can’t afford to be a part of.

“You can not carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invest the future”- says Thomas Sankara.

Old habits do really die hard, but there is nothing eviler than allowing a few attachments to one’s ethnic group to let them determine our shared national urge for political stability in our country. There is no doubt that these tribal attachments mean more to some people than other others.

We are profoundly blessed with a nation that is not too populated to cause major competition for available collective wealth, and even with these blessings of fertile land and its great we continue to let our ethnic differences get in the way of our collective progress.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people,” as Eleanor Roosevelt would say.

When we strive to live in a culture of tolerance toward our fellow human beings who may hail from a tribe, we give way for peace to reign and therefore, we all end up giving chance to everyone so they may focus on the basic necessities of their lives.

Everyone wins when tribalism, corruption, nepotism ignorance are not commonplace practices in our mainstream society.

Our continual adaptation to cultural phenomenon is the way forward for us to have a chance of building a small space for our fellow countryfolks.

We don’t have to adapt to everything that may come our way, we just have to incorporate some beneficial elements into our communal localities so we can enjoy a little peace for our dear lives.

Ngoi Thuech is a South Sudanese blogger that works and lives in Dodoma, Tanzania. He is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam. He blogs about a mirage of issues ranging from politics to culture on www.ngoithuech.blogspot.com. He can be reached at mawangrieth@outlook.com.

What PDM stands for after R-ARCSS: Ending the Tribal Hegemony

For Immediate release – November 5th, 2018, SSN;

The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), has an obligation to set out in our people’s and the public’s right to know, what it stands for, and reiterate once again, its lack of leaps of good faith in the latest IGAD iteration of the failed ARCSS, the R-ARCSS[1] 2018.

The public needs to know that, our being defined solely by opposition to R-ARCSS in its current form, is an understatement of what PDM stands for. There are fundamental structural deficits in the R-ARCSS, which makes this agreement inoperable as a negotiated and inclusive political resolution to the conflict in South Sudan.

Far from it, the R-ARCSS was not negotiated by all the parties in the HLRF process, rather on account of many participants in the process, it was imposed by the Sudan and Uganda who coerced the opposition into signing the agreement under undue influences in Khartoum, to reward the incumbent President, and serve Sudan and Uganda’s economic and political interests.

A just peace after all is what the people want, and what PDM stands for, is certainly not R-ARCSS in its current shape and form.

The elites and R-ARCSS signatories stood to be the first to benefit, from the desire of our people for peace in their country.

This agreement concentrated power-sharing in the hands of the elites from the incumbent Government, from SPLM-IO, SSOA and other political parties inside the country, in the shape of IGAD sponsored, unprecedentedly bloated R-TGONU for South Sudan in the making.

The sole purpose of which is to give another lease of legitimacy to the incumbent President to rule with impunity and unfettered corruption, which serves the conflicted interests of some IGAD countries.

To make this palatable to the international community, the Entebbe deal of R-ARCSS brokered by Sudan and Uganda, was designed to pacify SPLM-IO by creating a role for Dr. Riek Machar, as First Vice President.

Apart from the position of the incumbent President and revitalized Dr. Machar as FVP with whom power is shared, the R-ARCSS took no notice of power sharing fairly and equitably between the people of South Sudan in their three former autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria, and Bahr al Ghazal.

This IGAD’s elites-centric design is unforgivable sin, which entrusted continued rule of corrupt elites, with impunity, over our people and country.

PDM stands for an inclusive, and people-centric political resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.

The current R-ARCSS does not meet with that required threshold by the people to reach a political settlement, one that is for the people and not for the elites as it is the case in the current form of R-ARCSS which does not address the root causes of the conflict.

As it stands in its current form:

  • The R-ARCSS which was signed under duress by the signatory opposition groups, and undue influences of Khartoum Oil Agreement 2018, commands no legitimacy and authority of the people of South Sudan who had no significant role in negotiating it.
  • The R-ARCSS approves of direct infringement upon the sovereignty and economic resources of our country by ceding to the vested and conflicted sandwiched interests of Sudan and Uganda governments as guarantors. The two countries dictated the terms of R-ARCSS and its implementation modalities in the oil, economic and security sectors to serve their own interests.
  • R-ARCSS does not meet the minimum threshold required by the people for addressing the root causes of the conflict in our country
  • R-ARCSS celebration is occurring while the incumbent President is carrying on with violation of CoHA[2], refusing to lift the state of emergency, blocking the release of some abducted political detainees and prisoners of war, specifically Agrey Idri and Samuel Dong who were kidnapped from Nairobi and whose fate still remain unknown

The way forward is people-centric in NADAFA of the country by all the people from endemic corruption:

While we stand for peace in our country, PDM is convinced that the people hold the key to their emancipation from the ruling and oppressive SPLM elites policies, who are held responsible for the atrocious civil war in our country, destroyed the social fabric, squandered the country’s wealth and opportunities, economic and natural resources in unfettered corruption for the personal benefits of the elites and their families, without accountability of any of them for economic crimes, human rights violations and abuses, and a genocidal war on the people.

This state of affairs under the current elites is unlikely to be changed by the celebrated R-ARCSS in its current form.

Media[3] reports and revelations of corruption in South Sudan by investigative journalists and the Sentry[4], including untendered huge oil sector deals, illicit financial transactions by well-connected Government leaders, politicians, army generals and merchants, facilitated by profiteering banking institutions in the region, have littered the media outlets[5] across regional and international capitals[6], carrying a statement of government failure in South Sudan under the watch and current rule of the SPLM elites in Juba.

How does the country hope to break loose from the tight grip of corruption and impunity of the elites in which it is currently wallowing without fundamental changes of leadership and system of governance?

The SPLM leaders under whom all this corruption has festered on unchecked since 2011, conveniently fostered no-system and no-questions asked for years, are to be entrusted yet again with the flawed R-ARCSS implementation to deliver fundamental reforms a second or third chance in vein!

The people seem to have no escape from the grip of the elites tyranny or its imposition by another celebrated R-ARCSS in Juba a few days ago.

The people must find the confidence and capacity to reject R-ARCSS elites and demand to exercise their rights over affairs of their governance and existence in their country, without the dictatorship of the SPLM elites, and break their monopoly once and for all over the country’s resources and pillage by oil merchants in government, with their illicit financial networks.

What the country urgently needs is a rebirth of a new political struggle to cleanse our country from filth of unfettered corruption, impunity and looting of state financial resources for the personal benefit of few elites at public expense, which has destroyed the country’s future and with it that of future posterity.

The incumbent President and his would be FVP partner in R-ARCSS, with other four Vice-Presidential minions, are not competent and credible to transform South Sudan after their pillage, and failure to govern in the public interest.

The country should not be held hostage to their leadership, both are discredited, and both should voluntarily step aside from the R-TGONU and let the people pick up the shattered pieces of their country in peace to move away from their legacy.

This however, will not come about without mass political action, in new wind of change to transform South Sudan.

This political struggle, PDM believes and advocates for, is now urgent at all levels of society.

It needs to take shape in action for freedom and social justice by the thousands of masses of our people both at home and in Diaspora to pick up the shattered pieces of our country from the elites who destroyed it, and to stitch the social fabric back together.

This is our maiden call for the birth of a new National Alliance for Democracy And Freedom Action – NADAFA – in our country, and by the masses of our people.

It is our strong conviction that the elites alone, suffer a high deficit of incentive to bring decisive and fundamental change to transform South Sudan without the people driving the transformation mindset, and move the country out of where it is reeling now in tribal hegemony, endemic and systemic corruption of the elites to maintain political power and control in their hands over the new nation.

This endemic corruption, driven and enabled by tribal hegemony in which our country is reeling under, is what urgently needs #NADAFA, the time of which is now.

The people are possessive of the incentive to be free from Corruption

NADAFA is nothing short of your social justice and democratic political movement for the masses of our people in Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Bahr al Ghazal to take back democratic control of their country, and clean up the system, clean up endemic impunity, clean up the country and its shattered image to regain our dignity and control from the hands of corrupt elites, from the hands of unfettered waste of our country’s natural and economic resources away from tribal hegemonic elites to benefit the public and raise standards of living and service delivery for all our population equitably and fairly.

NADAFA needs to end the parasitic existence of oil merchants in the supply chain of our vital economic and natural resources, which deprives the people of their birth right to development and equitable access to share in the country’s wealth and prosperity.

Across South Sudan, mothers often woke up day in, day out, to clean their homes routinely from dirt and of mess of the other day.

We all know how they do it in routine #NADAFA and we all have the incentive to be free from dirt, who isn’t, and from corruption that has run our country dry without social services, but impunity of the tribal SPLM leaders.

That has to change, that has to stop, and you the people have the power to stop it, not the elites sharing power at the expense of the people without accountability.

PDM is hopeful and optimistic of the message of change that the people can drive, in a new social and political movement of NADAFA in our country. If there is peace, there must be NADAFA for there to be a just and permanent peace, which has to start now with NADAFA of our streets in Juba by the youth to whom the future belongs, in concert with Anna Taban, Anna Mozloom voices of our people.

The NADAFA mission and journey to transform our country, South Sudan, lay in your hands the people. PDM members, our well-wishers, and supporters are obligated to the people to advocate for and to bring about a just and inclusive peace for all. Join in our #NADAFA of the country together and transform South Sudan.

Dr. Hakim Dario,

Chair, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM)

[1] Revitalized-Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, signed on 12th September 2018

[2] Ceasation of Hostilities Agreement signed on 21st December 2017.

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCpLfNiMhx8

[4] War crimes shouldn’t pay – https://thesentry.org/

[5] The Profiteers – http://africauncensored.net/the-profiteers/

[6] https://citizentv.co.ke/news/the-profiteers-kenyans-to-protest-alleged-south-sudan-looting-214619/

Protecting South Sudan’s Peacekeeping Mission from the Regional Actors who Brokered Peace

BY: Lauren Spink, Center for Civilians in Conflict, NOV/01/2018, SSN;

“Accepting Ugandan & Sudanese troops in peace-keeping mission (UNMISS) would be a Mistake.”

After five years of civil war, egregious violence against civilians, and seemingly countless failed ceasefires, politicians are celebrating the latest round of South Sudanese peace and security agreements.

Today, President Museveni of Uganda and President Bashir of Sudan will be in the spotlight at the celebrations in South Sudan’s capitol, Juba. The two leaders played an important role in brokering the revitalized peace agreements and now, they are making a bid for inclusion of their troops within the United Nations peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

Accepting Ugandan and Sudanese troops into the ranks of the peacekeeping Mission would be a mistake that would significantly undermine the Mission and expose civilians to harm.

It matters which troops are deployed to a peacekeeping mission. Putting aside the incredibly concerning human rights records of Uganda’s and Sudan’s security forces, their long-time involvement in South Sudan raises two equally important concerns.

In countries like South Sudan where government security forces are a major perpetrator of violence against civilians, peacekeepers are one of the few actors that can offer protection to civilians—but peacekeepers need the will and credibility to do so.

In the eyes of South Sudanese civilians, the impartiality and credibility of Ugandan and Sudanese troops is compromised by their governments’ past support of parties to South Sudan’s war.

Moreover, because of the political alliances of their governments, Ugandan and Sudanese troops would be unlikely to take robust action against the parties to the conflict in order to protect civilians.

Impartiality is one of the core principles on which peacekeeping was founded. It is what distinguishes peacekeeping troops from parties to the conflict and allows peacekeepers to maintain access and consent for their presence from all actors.

It is also crucial to maintaining the trust of the population. When civilians do not trust a peacekeeping mission, they stop interacting and sharing information with the mission, and without vital information coming from engagement with the population, a mission cannot protect itself, protect civilians, or achieve its mandate.

South Sudanese civilians are acutely aware of the politics in their country and region. In displaced person camps where families shelter in makeshift tents without reliable sources of water, people are still well versed in the latest news stories on South Sudan circulated through social media outlets.

Any mention of Uganda or Sudan in these camps will either stir up anger or words of appreciation. That is because when civil war broke out in South Sudan in 2013, Uganda and Sudan took sides with president Kiir.

In 2013 as fighting erupted, Ugandan troops entered the capital and fought alongside government security forces of primarily Dinka ethnicity against opposition soldiers from the Nuer ethnic group.

While South Sudan’s civil war is rooted in a political power struggle between the president, Salva Kiir, and rival politicians, violence by the parties to the conflict has largely been committed against the civilian population along ethnic lines.

A recent report funded by the United States Institute of Peace estimated that the conflict has been responsible for 383,000 civilian deaths, including 190,000 people killed in violence.

Uganda has continued to provide support to government troops since the outbreak of the civil war. The Sudanese government, for its part, has been providing weapons and supplies to Riek Machar’s opposition group.

Both Uganda and Sudan have been far from impartial actors in the violence of South Sudan’s civil war.

If Ugandan or Sudanese troops are deployed under the blue helmets of the peacekeeping Mission, regardless of their actions once deployed, their very presence would undermine the Mission in the eyes of many South Sudanese people.

In addition to undermining the credibility of the Mission, there is good reason to believe that Ugandan and Sudanese troops would fail to protect civilians at risk of attack from the forces in South Sudan with whom their governments are aligned.

The success or failure of peacekeeping missions to protect civilians often depends on the willingness of its troops to take rapid and pro-active action when a threat to a civilian population emerges.

Although UNMISS troops are authorized to take immediate action to protect civilians under threat of violence, because the Ugandan and Sudanese governments have political ties to South Sudan’s warring parties, they will likely avoid any robust action by their troops on the ground against their allies or, at least, delay action while they seek guidance from their respective capitals.

Some regional troops from countries with political and economic ties to South Sudan are already deployed to UNMISS. Ethiopian soldiers currently serve in the Mission and, in the past, Kenyans did as well.

However, none of the troop-contributing countries has been so deeply or problematically involved in the conflict as Uganda and Sudan. If the UN needs additional personnel or specific military assets in UNMISS, it should look elsewhere, even if generating troops is not an easy task.

The regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which led the recent peace revitalization process, has endorsed Uganda’s and Sudan’s drive to have their troops included in UNMISS. That is no surprise.

Uganda and Sudan are, after all, two of IGAD’s prominent member states, and they stand to gain financially and politically from participation in the peacekeeping Mission.

IGAD has taken a concerning additional step related to UNMISS: the body has been pushing for a larger role in reviewing and revising UNMISS’s mandate.

Greater consultation with regional actors on the role of peacekeeping missions and peace processes can help ensure that peacekeeping operations are relevant and reflect political realities.

However, granting regional actors too large a role in shaping UNMISS’s mandate will likely lead to a weaker mandate in relation to the protection of civilians.

That is because regional countries are sometimes more concerned with reinforcing state sovereignty and their political influence in neighboring countries than they are with saving civilian lives on foreign soil.

Last week, on October 22, IGAD military leaders met in Khartoum to discuss the mandate of UNMISS and deployment of their troops into its ranks. A Sudanese news outlet reported that the military chiefs established a joint working group on the issue.

Uganda and Sudan seem set to quietly but resolutely push forward their agenda. This bid should draw widespread attention and urgent opposition. It would set a dangerous precedent for UNMISS and other peacekeeping missions that would be difficult to walk back, even if it proves a misstep.

There is cause for hope in South Sudan as politicians converge on Juba to celebrate the latest revitalized peace agreements. But these celebrations may be premature.

Violence between South Sudan’s armed factions has not stopped just because ink was put to paper in Juba. Protection of civilians by an impartial actor like UNMISS is still desperately needed.

As South Sudanese opposition leaders fresh off the battlefield return to the capital to begin implementing the agreements they have signed, tensions between the long-time rivals are more likely than ever to rise and violence flare.

Allowing the deployment of Ugandan and Sudanese troops to UNMISS now would handicap the Mission at a time when it needs to be more prepared than ever to respond robustly to violence against civilians.

END