Archive for: December 2018

South Sudan’s Fundamental Problems: A New Year’s Perspective

By: Nguen Nyol. Critic and Advocate, DEC/29/2018, SSN;

I write this piece to help project a narrative of peace, stability and good citizenship. It’s my New Year GIFT to the nation I spent my childhood, my youth and now my prime life fighting for it to be a free nation from war but developed and prosperous.

It’s my hope that this article shall not be censored. It’s an uncensored opinion about peace, stability and war in a country that we all fought for, for over 192 years to be a nation among nations.

The point therein is to go beyond mediocrity and understand our country’s fundamental problems – South Sudan’s problems.

Many people have projected false narratives as our country’s fundamental problems. These false narratives are still being projected today to advance hell bent false agendas of misconstrued representation of facts. Therefore, this can’t be allowed!

Amateurs or not, many emerging political analysts, veteran politicians and educated men and women, made some attempts and identified leadership failure and corruption as our fundamental problems in South Sudan.a 

Through my observations, leadership failure and corruption are not our fundamental problems in this country. Leadership failure and corruption can’t be our fundamental problems that have killed half million people, sent 4 million South Sudanese to refugee camps in the neighboring countries and 2.3 million to IDPs in the last five years.

It’s my understanding that greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and faulty old-man-know-how mentality are our problems.

Leadership failure and corruption are misplaced labels, positioned to conceal the truth in the name of preventing the nation’s decay. These are wrong means to allow South Sudan to free itself from abyss and its man-made disasters.

That being said, these attempts are good for general characteristics of our consequential problems, but failed to capture the essence and gist of South Sudan’s fundamental problems.

At this juncture, it’s imperative to stress that the problems we have in this country aren’t the old Sudan’s problems, but the new South Sudan’s fundamental problems, which include greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and old wise man syndrome of faulty know how.

For your information, these days in South Sudan, old age does not equate to wisdom. It doesn’t any longer reflect real meaning of African proverb which says, “what an old man can see while sitting can seen by a young man while standing.”

After having returned to South Sudan for the implementation of the Revitalized Peace Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), I have observed our people’s behaviors and actions with keen interest. Surprisingly, I was taken aback by the mediocrity – sheer idiocy and lust for money in our people.

Most of the problems of our old age folks, learned men and women, veteran politicians and political leaders of different political strips are indifference and succumbing to the reality of the day.

They are far removed from our country’s situational problems. Indeed, their actions and behaviors showcased a pathetic approach to nation building and a new political dispensation in this country.

As such, I came to terms with this sad reality that our people have lost focus. They deviated from managing our crises in order to make this country a viable state among nations.

These issues of greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and old wise man mentality, solely rooted on a faulty “know-how” have destroyed our social fabrics. As a matter of fact, these items are strategically deployed to enhance ill-conceived quest and accumulation of wealth and power.

While I familiarize myself with these realities, I am also mindful that few individuals might argue otherwise.

Settled for the fact that our fundamental problems are nothing but anchored on leadership failure, absence of law and order and rampant corruption, which I respectfully disagree.

However, I gave these positions marginal respect and precautionary understanding in the name of personal opinions.

An essence, this is the beauty of having a diverse political view, opinion and school of thoughts in a country that’s supposed to prosper and develop on a solid foundation, cemented by one people’s blood and sweat.

My fundamental disagreement in this regard is not to deny the fact that we have no leadership problems or law and order and rampant corruption challenges, but rather to point out that these are signs and symptoms of the biggest problems.

These biggest problems in this context are centered on products of greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and entitlement, which I correctly put as an old wise man syndrome. In my best judgment, these are South Sudan fundamental problems. They must be correctly identified, named and address amicably.

Greed

Surprisingly, everyone in South Sudan want to be insanely rich, insanely powerful, and overnight becomes supreme king of all bosses with unquestionably power and wealth but with zero deeds and little education or at times none.

This insane quest of richness and power grab out of thin air and in the midst of abject poverty took root, and few have succeeded.  As a result, it has emboldened and created leadership failure and corruption argument simply because our people have lost moral compass but set a stage for crooks to thrives and kill in earnest.

Our big men and women in position power, centre of power if you will, educated or not, are after uncontrolled search for richness and power without deeds involved. This is solely based on my observation for the last two months in Juba.

Our people are in desperate quest to be rich and wealthy for no good reasons and deeds. But simply because they were in the bush during the war liberation or were in Khartoum making their living in the name of those who were in the bush-fighting or that they are simply from a certain tribe(s). These are the sad realities we have in this country.

Another sad thing is, these issues aren’t rhetorics and politicking anymore. They are the gist of a nation’s dynamic and misplaced development ideals.

As a matter of fact, these people would kill in the name of getting rich and becoming powerful. They have done so even to the maximum and with lethal consequences against those whom they wrongly think have crossed their lines and would hinder their speeds of accumulating wealth and rise to fame.

As these crooks bulldoze their ways through to richness and fame, few learned men and women in this country who still possess some moral compass cowardly refused to say no even for the sake of illiterate innocent and voiceless majority in the village. We are doomed! This country is doomed if nothing changes.

For this reason, it’s fitting to state that there is no more logic and no more good ideals, old days, which sanctioned moral duty for nation’s prosperity and empowerment. Instead, an uncontrollable quest for wealth and fame leads but often patched up by fake lip service.

This is to say that our good old days of moral ideals and nationalism, which were often duty driven by national agendas have died and were buried six feet deep down with our forefathers.

Our people’s nationalism and patriotic zeal died without autopsy. Today’s politics and country national interest in South Sudan are driven by perpetual self interest and tribal agenda.

Almost everyone in South Sudan now is after money, wealth and fame. No political agenda for common man and woman on the street and the next generations.

Few individuals who have consolidated richness and power through faulty schemes are often showing off wealth and richness daily. Sadly for wealth, richness and power they did not sow or sweat for.

When one asked how they could have managed to acquire such a massive wealth in such a short time? Instead of answering the question, they often revert to tribal bigotry and even would want to chop off one’s neck for asking a question just to conceal their ill-gotten wealth.

This is a fact and applies to anyone irrespective of their tribes in this country. Everyone has been and can be a victim.

This is the saddest and paradoxical reality in our country. A country we all fought for with our sweat and blood in order for us to find everlasting peace and stability. It’s sad but true, that any assigned portfolio in South Sudan is deemed a project to gain instant wealth.

This is true across this country, which is the reason why I agreed with president Salva Kiir Mayardit of late. When he stated that all along, all supposed good comrades, men and women whom he has deployed and entrusted to lead in various portfolios in this country turned looters.

To my readers, this is the sadistic state of affairs our country is in. To make the matter was worse, few cadres can thump their chests in agreement but no action.

Vast majority of our people chose insincere route and mistook it for unshakable loyalty, which is wrong. Unshakable loyalty for nation’s prosperity and development isn’t about faulty sincerity but genuine honesty.

Insincerity

Most learned South Sudanese in position of power in South Sudan particularly are amazingly insincere to the core. There are particularly insincere on matters that required nothing but genuine honesty and frankness. The fact of the matter is, our political leadership has not been honest to us – the populace.

For instance, our people were kept in the dark even when South Sudan was becoming independent. We became a nation prematurely with no plans for development, good governance, prosperous and principled frameworks for stable nation.

To put it bluntly, the instruments meant to ensure lasting peace and nation’s viability were not set forth.

Our records have revealed that machinery for nationhood with respect to institutions were left to chances. No prior preparations to prevent internal contradictions after independence.

Especially, internal contradictions such as tribal politic, greed and tribal hegemony which eventually cause civil war in 2013. Our country has no proactive plans then, after independence, and even now.

South Sudan then and currently is operating on the emergency basis, which is often based on tribal undertone. In a layman’s term, we react to events and expect miracles and positive outcomes when in fact failures are proven outcomes in such scenarios.

On a similar note, most of our political leaders and academia have outrightly lost sincerity, intellectualism and moral ideals of revealing nothing but truth about our nation’s decay and misdeeds that caused nation’s decay.

This is the sad state of affairs our country find itself in now and possibly for unforeseeable future if nothing change.

To that effect, few morally conscious political pundits and academia are sadly cowardly to hiding by opportunists and illiterate majority. Especially those who controlled our country’s political stage through gossip, intimidation and threat.

As a result, the nation is paralyzed. Nothing moves and no progress. Yet, up to this point in time, no one dares to tell the ugliest truth.

In the face of these gruesome mistakes, our people still meticulously expected things to change for better, when zero efforts, zero sincerity and zero accountability  prevail. This is the overall situation and behavior of our men and women in this big village, called Juba.

To be honest and for these things to change, and for South Sudan to be peaceful and stable, we must be honest to ourselves and correct our wrongs. We must be proactive; we must plan things ahead. And above all, we must accept the fact that our lack of sincerity is one of our country’s fundamental problems.

Tribal mindset

The question of tribal mindset is huge in South Sudan. To be specific, the Dinka and the Nuer are battling this out in an open. In the field of AK47 where thinking and power of the brain is limited. This is what caused the Juba Nuer massacre and the war of December 15th, 2013.

This tribal mindset is an issue and it’s one of our fundamental problems in South Sudan. To be precise, it’s more prevalent among and mostly pronounced by our elders, who are politicians and military leaders.

For example, these elderly politicians and military men and women have gone as far as labeling tribes with certain names. This is wrong, dangerous and it must be challenged and stopped in earnest.

These false narratives and narrow perceptions of tribes are concocted political realities with selfish end gains. By and large, such concocted political realities have tarnished South Sudan’s good image and reputations aboard.

South Sudan and South Sudanese aboard are nobody but no one business. If anything, we are considered failed state and savages of tall order. Our elders don’t see and hear things because they don’t venture out of  South Sudan. They think everything is good for South Sudan and its people aboard, which is quite the opposite.

It’s time to change course without forgetting that those who’ve committed heinous crimes against innocent South Sudanese, for the last five years of war, and in the pursuit of selfish end gains of wealth and fame, must be held to account on both sides.

Old wise-man syndrome

In South Sudan, old wise-man syndrome is an issue and real. Imagine, in South Sudan, 80 years old men and women are still politically active. They still consider themselves relevant, wise and are heading liquidative portfolios, yet, they cannot think or are physically able. They seem to forgot the fact that they have impaired abstract thinking and level consciousness due to old age.

Because of these impaired abstract thinking and level consciousness, in the line of duty, they nap, sip tea in hotel boardrooms with zero papers, play cards under trees, get married day-in and day- out, and more importantly glorify tribal politics as nation’s agenda.

Thus, as a good citizen, it’s my honest opinion that these veterans, these old men and women have done their part. The time is now for them to transition to glorifying retirement with good legacy intact.

Our elders can no longer pretend and claim to know better, and growing younger yearly without considering natural human’s biological clock kicking in.

It is time for our elders to lay back, take a back seat and allow our young, energetic and educated South Sudanese men and women to take the lead. To stop this nation’s decay, tribal conflict and war but allow development to reach a new height in South Sudan.

Our country is in crisis, and in times like these, we must not allow tribal mindset mentality. It’s a backward thinking and it’s no longer relevant. So much so, it’s an outdated – old age tribal strategy meant to pit tribes, brothers or sisters against each other. We are better than this; South Sudan is better than that considering our long walk to independence.

Thus I asked our elders men and women, to let go of old tribal thinking but pave ways for our young and energetic men and women to challenge themselves intellectually and politically on how to develop South Sudan.

How to mature South Sudan socially, economically and politically among other nations without a single drop of blood.

In closing, I must reinstate that our fundamental problems in this country are not leadership failure and corruption but greed, insincerity, tribal mindset and old wise-man syndrome crowned by faulty know-how.

It’s time to do way with these devious attitudes and correct ourselves for the betterment of this country. We got no time left for wheels spinning or merry-go-around.

Finally, I must remind our people that sincerity, cemented by law and order is key. No nation has thrived and reached a new height based on tribal mindset. So much so, there is nowhere in the world where old men and women died politicking with never-ending political brightness or un-diminishing talents. We are not an exception; South Sudan cannot be an exception.

This is my New Year GIFT to our nation and its people. Happy Holidays! Let’s embrace peace and stability as we celebrates Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019.

  1. Nguen is a South Sudanese political analyst, commentator and advocate. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com

SS National Movement for Change: Calls on leaders to listen to our peoples’ suffering

SOUTH SUDAN NATIONAL MOVEMENT FOR CHANGE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
25 December 2018.

Contact: Daniel Zingifuaboro, Secretary of Information and Official Spokesperson of SSNMC;

Merry Christmas and thriving New Year 2019.
The South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) would like to wish all members, supporters, SSOA, R-ARCSS partners, IGAD Plus, AU, UN, Troika and the entire people of South Sudan a very merry Christmas and thriving New Year 2019. It is our hope that the people of South Sudan live in unity, peace, joy and love in 2019 and beyond.

“It is my hope that all of you are well and preparing to celebrate Christmas bearing in mind that the coming year will bring prosperity and lasting peace to all including those people in refugee and IDP camps”, said the Chairman of SSNMC, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro.

The Chairman of SSNMC, Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro, urges all the people of South Sudan, supporters and well-wishers to pray for sustainable peace in South Sudan so that we return home to begin a new journey towards progress for all.

SSNMC’s resort to bring peace to South Sudan is unwavering. We have heard and witnessed the suffering of our people in South Sudan, in diaspora, especially in the refugees Camps.

We have witnessed the destruction of our beloved country. Our people are living in very degraded circumstances. Our behaviors have shamed us around the globe.

Our people have no shelter, food etc. Our economy is on the bridge of collapse. Our roads are closed and not passable. We have burnt our villages and towns to ashes. We have engaged in inhumane treatment such as rape and child abuse.

We lost respect for life and dignity of human being. We have destroyed our sense of nationalism and social cohesion. Our people are traumatized.

This is time to be honest to ourselves, to our people, to reconcile the people of South Sudan and move-on in unity, with joy, love and peace.

Therefore, SSNMC have resolved that the interest of the country and the people of South Sudan must come first. We have forsaken our individual interests.

We are determined to work with R-ARCSS partners, IGAD Plus, AU, UN, Troika and peace lovers/actors to implement R-ARCSS in letter and spirit.

We urge all R-ARCSS partners to do the same. SSNMC call upon all South Sudanese entities to give peace a chance. We call upon leaders of South Sudan to listen to the suffering voices of our people and do what is/are in the
interest of the country and the people of South Sudan.

Phone: +61 474 047 016, Email: si.ssnmc@gmail.com
####

Who’s mandated to investigate and report on the human rights violations in South Sudan?

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda, DEC/23/2018, SSN;

Summary:

The claim that rape took place in Bentiu is true as there is no smoke without fire. The government investigation that concluded that there is no evidence to substantiate reports that women and girls were raped in Bentiu is not credible as the government cannot investigate against itself and produce a credible report. The team that investigated the report is not the main body under the law of South Sudan to investigate the human rights violations. Human Rights Commission of South Sudan is the legitimate body to have the conclusive report on all human rights violations. We still believe that the rape cases reported on 30 November by the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that they had treated 125 women and girls who were raped, beaten, and robbed over a 10-day period between November 19 and 29 alone in the town of Bentiu is not investigated yet and I call upon the UN Human rights commission not rely on that report but to take its own initiative to investigate the matter to confirm whether the finding of the government is credible.

Since the war broke out in December 2013, the rates of human rights violations in South Sudan have increased. Women have been raped; enforced disappearances have been registered, arbitrarily arrest and detention are order of the day. For instance, individuals have been detained for over years in unhealthy detention centres. The killings with impunity as seen in the case of unknown gunmen have been ongoing. Deprivation of personal and community properties have occurred.

Ruthless oil drilling and other mineral extractions have been reported. The drilling of oil in some areas like Pariang in Ruweng State has left the land barren, which makes it unproductive. As a result,  places where oil is drilled has currently become very dangerous for human beings to inhabit as women are giving birth to deformed children, cows, birds and other animals are dying after drinking contaminated water by toxic chemicals resulting from mining.

At communities’ levels among cattle keeping communities, cattle raids is fueling communal violence among different cattle keeping communities. This has resulted into uncontrolled killings among civilians without accountability that sees, thousands of civilians being killed. In some areas, kidnapping of children is constantly going on while underage girls are being forced to arranged marriages. The forced and arranged marriages have resulted into serious domestic violence against women and because of this women are always the primary victims.

All the violations of human rights stated above and others not reported at different parts of the country have caused untold sufferings and gross injustices among and against citizens. The reasons for not either getting effective redress against the ongoing human rights violations or not reporting some of those human rights violating is due to the following reasons:—

First, the victims are not sure where to appeal for the redress to get justice done in their favor as they do not know their rights and duties that can enable them to fight for their rights and forced the government to listen to them.

This is common a country like South Sudan where citizens are not aware of their rights and they cannot fight for those rights which is different from the country where citizens are aware of their rights and duties, they can struggle for the redress of their rights in case of violations or forced the government out of the power altogether.

In the case of South Sudan, majority of the citizens are ignorant of their rights and this makes them believe that the government is at all the times right and above everything including the law, and because of that anything government does even in clear violations of the law and their rights is seen  as normal.

Hence, the worst thing in the country like South Sudan where majority of the citizens lack proper understanding of their duties and rights, they become parts of the oppression as the government capitalizes on their ignorance and uses them as the tools of destruction against those who resist the fragrant violations of the law as well as the abuse of human rights in the country.

Moreover, in the country like South Sudan where citizens are ignorant of their rights and duties, they do not understand the meaning of the legitimate use of the authority. In UNDERSTANDING DEMOCRACY: A HIP POCKET GUIDE by JOHN J. PATRICK (Published in association with JusticeLearning.org a Project of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands),

Authority is stated to be legitimately used where there is justification for exercising the power over the people within the government’s jurisdiction. Thus, JOHN J. PATRICK is of the view that the people are willing to accept the power of rulers to command them, if they perceive that the power has been acquired and used rightfully or legitimately.

In explaining the impact of the legitimate use of the authority, JOHN J. PATRICK points out that when rulers have authority to use power through the government; the consequence is political order and stability among the people. However JOHN J. PATRICK explains the consequences of the illegitimate use of the authority by pointing out that where rulers use power without authority, they may be resisted by the ruled, leading either to oppression by rulers over the ruled or to disorder and instability.

In my opinion, whether the citizens resist the actions of the authority that may either lead to oppression by rulers over the ruled or to disorder and instability depends on the stage of the development of the people. In the countries where citizens know their duties and rights as it was the case in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia in 2011, Zimbabwe in 2018, South Africa and other countries, citizens are able to resist the illegitimate used of authority.

Nevertheless, in the countries where citizens do not know their duties and rights as seen in the case of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Somalia and other countries in the same category, disorders and instabilities ensue where there is illegitimate use of the authority. This takes me to my next point.

Second and related to the first point, another reason the violations of human rights goes unreported is due to the weak judiciary and quasi-judicial bodies like South Sudan Human Rights Commission. This weakens the rule of law, democracy and effective protection of human rights.

In the countries where rule of law is strong, the body that always acts as balance and checks on the administrative abuse of power is the court assisted by some of the bodies like human rights commission and inspectorate of Government or an ombudsman in some countries as the case in  AlbaniaAndorra  Argentina, Nambia etc. In the context of South Sudan, these bodies are not properly functioning.

Consequently, citizens are not able to get redress against the violations of their rights as they are not able to challenge the illegitimate use of the authority by the government authorities.

Third, the deliberate refusal by the state to implement the decision of the courts or implement the decision of Courts selectively at all level has rendered the judiciary and quasi-judicial bodies such as Human Rights Commission and other tribunal ineffective. This is even made worse by the fact the judges working in courts and other employees working in Human Rights Commission and the Inspectorate of the Government do not oppose the unlawful exercise of the executive power upon acting beyond their powers as provided for under the law.

Fourth, the citizens do not report human rights violations due to the fear of reprisal by the violators of human rights.

Fourth and finally, the lack of proper understanding of the body mandated to carry out investigations in case of the violations of human rights has contributed to the persistent abuses and violations of human rights by the government and some of its agencies in South Sudan. The lack of clear understanding of the avenues where citizens may report human rights violations has made citizens losing faith in the ability of the Courts and human rights commission to protect their human rights. This, by implication has made the citizens to see the President and other government officials as above everything in the country, which is not true according to the Constitution and other existing laws in South Sudan.

The fact that citizens should understand is that constitutionally, it is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for the investigations and reporting of the violations of Human rights. Under Article 9 (4) of the Constitution of South Sudan as amended, it is provided that the Bill of Rights shall be upheld by the Supreme Court and other competent courts and monitored by the Human Rights Commission.

But despite the presence of this Constitutional provision and others that clear mandate South Sudan Human Rights Commission, the issue concerning as the jurisdiction to investigate and report human rights violations is not yet settled as seen in the recent allegations of rape put forward by MSF Holland.

In the recent report concerning the rape of women in Bentiu, the question of who has the mandate to investigate and report the violations of human rights in South Sudan has become prominent. The question has come into light following the report by medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that its staff in the town of Bentiu had treated 125 women and girls who were raped. This report was made on 30 November 2018.

Following the report by MSF, the President constituted Investigative Committee headed by Awut Deng Acuil to go and investigate the allegations. On December 20, 2018, the Awut Committee produced the report and presented it to the President of South Sudan. The report concluded that the allegations of rape as made by MSF were unfounded as there is no evidence to back it ( read; No evidence to back claims of Bentiu rapes: investigation team 21/12/2018 at https://radiotamazuj.org/…/no-evidence-to-back-claims-of-bentiu-rapes-investigation-t…).

Although the government of South Sudan has done a right thing to investigate the alleged recent rape cases in Bentiu, its reports should not be taken to be conclusive and credible for a reason that the government may not be able to investigate itself to the expected standard governing investigations of human rights violations.

Therefore, the investigation was supposed to have been mainly carried out by the South Sudan Human Rights Commission even though the government may carry out its own investigation to confirm or dispute what the Human Commission might have reported.

What is not clear however is whether the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan has taken an initiative to investigate or it is in the process to do so? If the Human Commission of South Sudan has not taken any initiative at it owns to investigate or has failed to investigate such a matter then it has abrogated its duties under the Constitution of South Sudan which raises the question as to who has the mandate to investigate the violations of human rights in South Sudan.

Whereas, the Presidency and executive and other government agencies have the Constitutional duty to protect human rights, their reports are not considered credible unless they are corroborated by the independent human rights investigations and reports. As already pointed in this discussion, one of the bodies whose report can be accepted as credible regionally and internationally is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission which has the main mandate to investigate and report the violations and abuse of human rights in South Sudan.

The mandate of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission is provided for under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011(TCRSS) (as amended). This Constitution provides for the Bill of Human Rights and protection of those rights enshrined it. For instance, Article 9 (1) the TCRSS, 2011 provides for the Bill of Rights, which it defines as a covenant among the people of South Sudan and between them and their government at every level and a commitment to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in this Constitution; it is the cornerstone of social justice, equality and democracy.

In addition, Article 9(2) of TCRSS, 2011 provides that the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups enshrined in the Bill shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons.  Though this article to some extent gives the government some mandate to protect and investigate the violations of human rights, the main body with full mandate to investigate human rights violations in South Sudan is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission as provided for under the Constitution of South Sudan in Article 10.

Article 10 of the TCRSS 2011 provides: Subject to Article 189 herein, no derogation from the rights and freedoms enshrined in this Bill shall be made. The Bill of Rights shall be upheld, protected and applied by the Supreme Court and other competent courts; the Human Rights Commission shall monitor its application in accordance with this Constitution and the law.   As seen in the provision of law in Article 10, except in the Article 189 of the TCRSS which provides for the circumstances under which some of the human rights may be suspended, it is the duty of the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan to monitor the applications of the Bill of Rights in accordance with the TCRSS, 2011and other laws of South Sudan.

Thus, Articles 9-34 of the TCRSS, 2011 provides for all the human rights all South Sudanese are supposed to enjoy irrespective of their tribal, status, racial and religious backgrounds and which the South Sudan Human Rights Commission has to protect. The authority of the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan to protect human rights is provided for under Article 10 of the TCRSS, 2011 read together with Articles 145 which establishes the South Sudan Human Rights Commission and article 145, which provides for the functions of the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan.

Under the Constitutional provisions above, the South Sudan Human Rights Commission has the duty to inter alia to: (a) monitor the application and enforcement of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution; (b) investigate, on its own initiative, or on a complaint made by any person or group of persons, against any violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) visit police jails, prisons and related facilities with a view to assessing and inspecting conditions of the inmates and make recommendations to the relevant authority.

The Commission shall also (i) monitor compliance of all levels of government with international and regional human rights treaties and conventions ratified by the Republic of South Sudan;  (j) express opinion or present advice to government organs on any issue related to human rights and fundamental freedoms; and  (k) perform such other function as may be prescribed by law (2) The Human Rights Commission shall publish periodical reports on its findings and submit annual reports to the National Legislative Assembly on the state of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In summary and based on the foregoing discussion, the question as to who has the mandate to investigate the violations and abuse of human rights and then report it in South Sudan is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission. This implies that though the presidency has the duty to uphold, respect and promote human rights as provided for under the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Sudan of which this includes investigation and reporting such violations, the body mandated to do so is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission.

It therefore implies that the investigation and report on human rights violations in South Sudan carried out by the Executive as seen in the case of Bentiu rape allegations that was presented on 20 December 2018 should not be taken to be credible report unless there is a report from Human Rights Commission of South Sudan Corroborating it.

The report of the Government should not be relied on exclusively as proof of rape not having taken place at all in Bentiu as the current situation which the government is very defensive in protecting its image internationally the government of South Sudan will never make a report against its own image. This is confirmed by the use nationalistic language used by Lam Tungwar Kueigwong on social media who seriously rubbished the rape allegations by MSF.

In short as can be understood from the whole discussion in this work, the report of the Awut Committee investigating the rape allegations in Bentiu without other independent source corroborating its validity is invalid and should not be relied on to prove the fact that no rape has ever taken place at all in Bentiu.

NB, the author is Human Rights Lawyer and the Executive Director of Joth Mayardit Community Centre for Peace and Justice, the Deputy Coordinator of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations in Uganda; he can be reached through: juoldaniel2003@gmail.com;+256781023707

The new U.S policy toward Africa

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, DEC/22/2018, SSN; 

Ambassador John Bolton, the U.S National Security Advisor, delivered a speech on the 13th of December 2018 at the Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C. outlining the Trump administration’s new Africa Strategy. He pointed out the fact that it was achieved two years earlier in comparison to the previous administration that took much longer to come up with a strategy toward the continent.

While commending the new administration for being more proactive in that regard, it’s crucial that it builds on the positives of its predecessor and learn from the numerous flaws that marked that policy.

Reading through the speech, one could sum it up in 4 objectives that the whole strategy revolves around:

Firstly – the promotion of U.S trade and investment across the African continent. It’s clear that the Trump administration would not sit watching while other world powers are flocking to Africa to tap into its vast natural resources. Being a pragmatic person and someone who understands the markets and the world economy, President Trump’s administration would certainly not shy away from competing for those very resources targeted by countries like China and Russia.

Secondly – A robust anti-terrorism policy in collaboration with its allies while using its existing military and intelligence assets in the continent. Despite the numerous successes against Al Qaida, Boko Haram, and Al-Shabaab that had rendered them ineffective – they still pose a significant threat to the world in general and American citizens and interests in particular.

It’s expected that President Trump’s anti-terror approach would be more comprehensive and robust than the one of the previous administration. Hence, it’s likely that the U.S would take the war to the terrorists in their hideouts. Of course, it’s good for Africa as ridding the continent of the likes of the aforementioned terrorist organisations would promote economic growth and investment. It would also enhance peace and stability in many African countries.

Thirdly – Ensuring that the U.S tax-payers funds are put to good use through financial accountability. The Ambassador made it clear that the U.S would review its financial assistance to the African governments that receive U.S aid as well as the U.N humanitarian relief operations and others that are funded by the U.S tax-payers money.

This approach would undoubtedly win the approval of many people in Africa. It’s not a secret that a large chunk of the funds for relief operations are spent on entities other than the people meant to be helped. Corruption is rampant wherever humanitarian relief operations take place in Africa. One of the examples was displayed early in the year when 300,000 ghost refugees were unearthed in Uganda.

Similarly, the funds from individual governments or the international organisations that reach the government of South Sudan often end up in the pockets of the corrupt elites. Ghost employees and ghost soldiers are commonplace in South Sudan. A culture of corruption had flourished and entrenched itself in many African countries including South Sudan. It’s the monster impeding development and progress on the African continent. Fighting it would require standing firm behind financial accountability, the upholding of the rule of law, and assisting in the establishment of governments of institutions.

Fourthly – Counteracting the Chinese and Russian economic and political “offensive” to gain dominance over the African continent. Ambassador John Bolton brought up the case of Zambia as an example where the Chinese have established a strong foothold. It would undeniably compromise the sovereignty of that country.

South Sudan is not far away from the Zambian case, and the trajectory is undoubtedly moving in that direction. It’s unclear how much China owns in our oil sector, but it’s believed to be substantial. The new year would see China starting the construction of the Juba – Torit – Nadapal road that would be linked to the highways in Kenya. It’s mostly funded by the State-owned Export-Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) which brings the issue of ownership to the forefront.

Would South Sudan face something similar to what happened to the Zambian national power and utility company? It’s not a long shot to think of such a scenario. The government already owes China vast amounts of money in loans that are undisclosed to the public.

John Bolton’s speech gives a hint of what the blueprint of the policy would look like. But one of the routine policy themes was left out from the Ambassador’s speech. Contrary to previous U.S administrations, there is no mention of the promotion of democracy on the continent. Surprisingly, the word democracy is nowhere to be found in John Bolton’s speech. I think the omission is deliberate and significant.

The U.S is the leader of the free world and had been supporting democratic transformation across the globe for over half a century. Dissemination of democratic values and the establishment of democratic governments had been a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

Would Africa be an exception to that longstanding policy?  Does it mean the U.S is now ready to do business with any regime in Africa if it meets the above objectives regardless of being a democratic government or not, or committing human rights abuses or not?  Should that be the case, namely the U.S support for democracy had waned in pursuit of economic interests, then the optimism that had arisen by John Bolton’s speech would prove to be misplaced.

Here is an excerpt from the Ambassador’s speech. [To expand our economic relationships in the region, we are developing a new initiative called “Prosper Africa,” which will support U.S investment across the continent, grow Africa’s middle class, and improve the overall business climate in the region.]

Many would welcome the new U.S initiative as the continent is lagging in all fields of economic growth and investment. South Sudan has got massive untapped natural resources that would be attractive to American investors. The focus is more on the oil and the gold reserves while other rich resources remain unknown to investors. The gum Arabica, timber, the massive agricultural potentials and animal husbandry are a few to mention.

However, one would have expected Ambassador John Bolton to talk more about encouraging and giving support to democratic governments and perhaps render a midwifery service to emerging democracies on the continent. Such an approach would furnish a win-win situation for America and Africa’s middle class. It sounds quite far-fetched to seek the growth of Africa’s middle class in an environment dominated by dictatorships and riddled with corruption and human rights abuses.

For the economy to grow and flourish while the middle class expands, a democratic atmosphere with unrestricted civil liberties has to prevail across the continent. It’s the medium that would ensure the free flow of information, job creation, and movement of individuals and goods which are the prerequisites of real economic growth.

In the case of South Sudan, the middle class is under siege where the freedom of speech and other forms of expression are non-existent. Civil liberties are severely curtailed. The only elections carried out was before independence in October 2010 which makes the regime in Juba a de facto government that lacks legitimacy.

Without getting rid of the dictators and the kleptocrats – Africa would continue to have the smallest middle class in the world while African countries remain at the top of the list of the poorest countries on planet Earth.

The past century was marked by the democratic West indulging in controversial and destructive policies toward Africa. Some of them that are pursued up to this day are hypocritical. We have seen the West propping up dictatorial regimes that possessed the worst human rights records worldwide.  Amnesty International would certainly attest to the fact that the situation hasn’t changed much.

Hence, without a clear policy against dictatorships and lawlessness, the U.S new initiative stands little chance for bringing about sweeping reforms.

Does South Sudan need foreign aid? The answer is; we certainly needed help in the years leading to independence, precisely between 2005 and 2010. Indeed the international community, mainly the U.S had been very generous in helping our country. However, dependence on foreign aid should have ceased and not continue beyond those years.

The citizens and the international community expected the young nation to emerge as one of the stable and economically prosperous countries of the region. That optimism wasn’t baseless. When a State possesses that kind of resources, a good number of technocrats, no loans, and support from friends including superpowers, then what on earth could go wrong?!

In the presence of able and responsible leadership, nothing would go wrong. But somehow the SPLM party contrary to all expectations led the country into the current predicament.

The “Prosper Africa” initiative would not be anything near the Marshall plan in Europe after the second world war. However, the Ambassador indicated that they would look into the foundational basis of the Marshall plan and perhaps use that experience in developing and executing the new initiative.

“Prosper Africa” would face a formidable hurdle that was not encountered by the Marshall plan. Democracy and the upholding of the rule of law are the prerequisites of economic prosperity. The quick revival of Germany and Japan wouldn’t have happened without democratic reforms. A democratic government was established in Germany post the second world war that executed the Marshall plan and built the country from rubble. Similar changes in the political system took place in Japan after the second world war that ushered in a new era of economic growth and prosperity.

In contrast, the former Soviet Union with its massive stockpiles of nukes succumbed to the wrath of economic dynamics and realities. Even China had to abandon its strict communist ideology and adopt democratic principles. The living example is North Korea that has one of the formidable armies in the world, yet is very often threatened by famine and economic bankruptcy.

The odds are that President Trump’s African initiative would require a wave of democratic transformation across the continent before it could bear fruits. It’s unrealistic and unachievable without realising those changes beforehand. Apart from less than a handful of countries, there are no real democracies on the continent. The kleptocrats, the dictators, and the Presidents for life have hijacked Africa. But there are glimmers of hope in Tanzania on the east coast, Ghana on the west coast, and Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa.

The best shot for the Trump administration to make “Prosper Africa” succeed is not to support or tolerate the dictatorial regimes on the continent but to keep the pressure on them while providing support for a large-scale democratic change. END

The Party of Blood-Spillers: SPLM holds a retreat in Lobonok County (Central Equatoria)

BY: ELHAG Paul, South Sudan, DEC/17/2018, SSN;

SPLM/A, the party of blood-spillers is a stranger to retreats, conventions and conferences.  Since its inception it was built up to function as a politico-military machine on orders from the top.  From 1983 to 1991 no one dared to question what its leaders did.

I was informed at the time that, when members dissented they got sentenced to firing squad with appeals done after the sentence was carried out.  Terrifying stuff!  In short, the party of blood-spillers does not believe in due process and justice let alone democracy.  The words of its leaders are final and must prevail in their world.

So, any talk of retreat, conventions and conferences is something unheard of.  One had to be crazy to utter these words.

In 1991 the intense battle for the control of Ethiopia between the ruling Dirge (Ethiopian Communist Party) and the revolutionaries fighting alongside the Eritrean separatists influenced the political dynamics in the SPLM/A and the war in the Sudan.

Dissatisfied elements in the SPLM/A party of blood-spillers saw an opportunity to change the leadership of Dr John Garang De Mabior in order to institute structural and ideological reforms.

Thus Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, Dr Lam Akol Ajawin and Gordon Koang launched a coup on 28th August 1991 which failed, splitting the party into two movements: SPLM/A United and SPLM/A Torit factions.

The SPLM/A Torit faction of blood-spillers under Dr Garang was shaken to the core by the failed coup and for it to maintain support of the people it had to accept changes… therefore in 1994 it held its first ever convention in Chukudum, Eastern Equatoria to democratise and also accept the principle of self determination with federalism.

Since this convention, no further voluntary conventions of this kind were done because the leadership did not like them.

However, a second convention was held only as a result of the demands of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, which mandated a general election in the Sudan prior to the referendum in South Sudan.

So in 2008, the party of the blood-spillers had no option but to hold a convention and as expected there was a split, but this time it was Dr Lam Akol who parted company with his colleagues in arms.

After a decade, Surprise! Surprise! SPLM/A the party of blood-spillers out of character and on its own volition holds a retreat in Lobonok county in Central Equatoria from 3rd  to 6th December 2018.

Wonders never cease – of all places President Salva Kiir chooses Lobonok to pontificate about SPLM/A’s liberation of South Sudan.  I will not delve into the possible reasons for this retreat being held in Lobonok together with the newly espoused colour red to represent the party.

In delivering his speech titled, ‘Retracing the footprints of our long liberation’ to the retreat of the faithful, President Kiir stated in clear terms that in order for them to achieve the aims of the revolution they planned it in four phases.

Out of these phases the most important phase for this article is phase three because it proves beyond doubt that what is taking place in South Sudan now was planned and executed according to script.  In short all the grave crimes going on now in the country are premeditated.

President Kiir accentuated that phase three of the liberation is the formation of the state and establishment of the nation being founded.

This stage, according to him, is the most challenging stage because they are all fighting and struggling to find their right places in the free Republic of South Sudan.

The political upheavals South Sudan is undergoing, in the belief of SPLM/A party of blood-spillers, are normal process of shaping and forming a great nation. Through this process they will get to know their allies, their friends, and their enemies alike with the regional and international structures.

They are also learning internally about the best ways they could manage politics and resources.  Going through this stage might take 15 or 20 years to get to phase four and the last of our liberation process. (https://paanluelwel.com/2018/12/06/president-kiirs-speech-at-the-splm-retreat-at-lobonok-south-sudan/)

The most important excerpt in President Kiir’s speech is: “we are all fighting and struggling to find our right places in the free Republic of South Sudan. The political upheavals we are undergoing are normal processes of shaping and forming a great nation.”

The key words here are: ‘fighting’ ‘struggling’ ‘shaping’ and ‘forming’.  Fighting and struggling obviously translate into a calculated engagement in violence to realise/achieve an aim.

Whereas, shaping and forming in political as well as sociological speak means that SPLM/A party of blood-spillers want to frame South Sudan ideologically, socially and economically in such a way as to suit the interest of the ruling group.

So in their calculation the best way to go around it is to wage war against the people in order to establish an ethnic state hegemony in South Sudan.

President Kiir at last has acknowledged that the ongoing ethnic cleansings, massacres of other ethnicities, mass rape, mass displacement etc are part of what he calls, “normal process of shaping and forming a great nation.”

To him or rather the SPLM/A party of blood-spillers, the loss of three quarters of a million lives through violence, destruction of the economy and depopulation of various regions is a price worth paying to establish an ethnic state.

In a nutshell, the African Union Commission Report into South Sudan is spot on by concluding that the ethnic cleansings are policies of the state.

Please see clauses 1135 and 1136 of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (http://www.peaceau.org/uploads/auciss.final.report.pdf)

Given that this plan was hatched back in 1983, it must be the work of the Dr John Garang the first leader of SPLM/A who was educated in the USA.  President Kiir and the JCE now are merely executors of the plan, dare I say, for the greater good of their ethnic group.

The ideas of domination and subjugation might have been learnt from educational institutions in America.  In the minds of SPLM/A strategists they want to create an ethnic state just as the white settlers have done in Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand etc.

These countries were constructed by “shaping” the state through the eye of the ‘White’ settlers.  Although this method of domination succeeded in the mentioned countries by extermination of the indigenous people (Indian tribes, Aborigines and other people), in South Africa and Zimbabwe it did not work because of the fierce resistance erected by the indigenous people.

This so called phase three is completely unnecessary.  The reason being South Sudan was created or rather formed on 9th July 2011 through the struggle of the people from 18th August 1955.

Therefore the “shaping” of the state of South Sudan should be to achieve a democratic state ruled through law and order under a robust constitution that safeguards and enables the various ethnicities in the country to live freely as equals. Not the nonsense of creating an ethnic state.

The SPLM/A party of blood-spillers should look to the constitutions of most professed democratic states and learn a lesson about the inclusion of its citizenry in the affairs of the state.  This is what is wanted in South Sudan – Democracy!! Not Dinkocracy.

The most surprising thing is that President Kiir and the SPLM/A party of blood-spillers have failed to see that their implementation of phase three, negates the struggles they sing about in phases one and two of the same plan.

The reason for this is because it simply allows for the emergence of the same conditions of marginalisation, peripheralisation, sectarianism and ethnicisation which blighted the Sudan causing the birth of South Sudan.

This contradiction tells us that the story of South Sudan’s liberation is not about true liberation but rather a problem of jealousy of the SPLM/A party of blood-spillers with the elites in the Sudan.

They hijacked the agenda of South Sudan’s wish to secede for them to shape the new state like the Riverian Arabs shaped the Sudan into an Islamic and Arab nation in defiance of the reality of the diverse people of that country.

The leaders of the party of blood-spillers envied the elites of the Sudan and wanted the same privileges which they felt was not available to them.

Now that they have curved for themselves these goodies in South Sudan the country should move ahead by adopting welfare programs as the final phase four.

What these blood-spillers of South Sudan do not see is that by recreating the same conditions of the Sudan in South Sudan will also recreate similar conflicts and instability as in the Sudan.

The Sudan has been at war with its self since its independence in 1956.  Equally South Sudan is now at war with itself for the last 5 years and it continues.

As President Kiir honestly put it: “Going through this stage might take 15 or 20 years to get to phase four and the last of our (their) liberation process.”

So the liberation of South Sudan according to SPLM/A party of blood-spillers is incomplete without South Sudan being panel beaten into an ethnic state.  The job to shape it started in December 2013.

Indeed now there is a serious conflict and those struggling for the rights and survival of the people will continue as there are no options left other than to resist the ideologies of domination adopted by the regime of terror underpinned by their policies of reshaping South Sudan into an ethnic state.

President Kiir has categorically stated that the reshaping of South Sudan will take nearly quarter of a century.

So the recently signed Khartoum Peace Agreement under the auspices of IGAD is a ploy – to lull the opposition signatories before the big bang for the reshaping of South Sudan to move on.

This latest IGAD engineered Khartoum Peace Agreement is a fake peace forced on South Sudanese through violence by Khartoum, Kampala, Juba and IGAD.

It will not work and it will not translate into real peace.  Temporarily, it may do but ultimately it is bound to self-destruct.

To be fair to IGAD, the South Sudanese job hunters masquerading as opposition politicians in SSOA got carried away by the dangled carrots of positions in the proposed bloated transitional government in the agreement and they sold out to the regime.

Most unfortunately they let the people down and granted President Kiir legitimacy to continue abusive ruling.

If peace is to be attained in South Sudan, it is imperative that a new process of peace making is started with all the stakeholders in South Sudan included and the principle leaders of the party of blood-spillers specifically President Kiir and Dr Riek Machar excluded – these are the creators of chaos in the country full of delusions of ethnic supremacy.

Such a peace negotiation must be in a neutral place without any intimidation and threats with the participants allowed to negotiate in good faith without any conditions of time or unnecessary pressure from outsiders.

In the face of SPLM/A party of blood-spillers plans to ethnicise South Sudan, there needs to be a peaceful re-negotiation of the social contract.

Therefore, in any future negotiations the mediators should adopt the transcendent approach of peace making of professor John Galtung which emphasizes understanding of the core issues of the conflict, legitimacy anchored on legal instruments and human rights conventions.

((Please see Galtung’s method on Youtube video: ‘Breaking the cycle of violent conflict with Johan Galtung’)) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16YiLqftppo)

Jamming the break, so far South Sudan has paid with three quarters of a million people dead; quarter of a million people politically quarantined in the United Nations Protection of Civilians Camps around the country; over three million people are displaced…. forced into refuge in the neighbouring countries; destruction of the economy and opening the country up to ethnic and foreign looters.

Is this acceptable to the Jieng people? The ball is in their court either to sincerely oppose President Kiir and the JCE and side with the people to say clearly ‘Not in our name’.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

elhagpaul@aol.com

@elhgpaul

PDM not a Member of SSOA & Neither a signatory to R-ARCSS 2018

For Immediate release –                                                                                                     December 6th, 2018

In the course of this week, the media outlets have been inundated with a surge in statements issued by the compromised factions of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), triggered by the apparent fallout within their ranks.

PDM would like to inform the public, its supporters and sympathizers, that the Movement ceased to be a member of the compromised SSOA factions under leadership of Mr. Gabriel Changson before they signed the R-ARCSS on 12th September 2018. Moreover, PDM has not at any time become a signatory to the R-ARCSS nor joined in its implementation mechanisms.

PDM is hence surprised by the appearance of two new groups purporting to be PDM factions represented by Ms Josephine Lagu Yanga, in Mr. Changson’s faction of SSOA and Mr. Anas Richard Zanga in Gen Peter Gatdet’s faction of SSOA.

PDM would like to condemn the fraudulent use of PDM’s good name by both Ms Josephine Lagu Yanga and Mr. Anas Richard Zanga, the duo are not members of PDM and are not known to be registered members of PDM.

Ms Josephine Lagu Yanga was suspended and subsequently expelled from PDM before R-ARCSS was signed on 12th September 2018.

Mr. Anas Richard Zanga was never known to be a member of PDM.

The public should know that these individuals are fraudulent, masquerading as PDM factions, brought on as convenient substitutes by Mr. Gabriel Changson and Dr. Lam Akol, promising them with R-ARCSS government positions for their support to R-ARCSS of which PDM is not a signatory.

These factions are fraudulent, and the manner in which they were suddenly brought on to assume the name of PDM goes a long way to substantiate the fraudulent nature of the R-ARCSS 2018 and of the so-called SSOA leaders.

The office of the Special Envoy and IGAD mediators are to blame for making the R-ARCSS a flawed, unsustainable agreement in its current form.

PDM would like to distance itself and its name from association with fraudsters Mr. Anas Richard Zanga, and Ms Josephine Lagu Yanga whose PDM-P that she announced on Sudan Tribune a few months back appears to have suddenly vanished and fraudulently replaced as PDM by Mr. Gabriel Changson!

Dr. Hakim Dario,

Chair, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM)

South Sudan: Execution spree targets even children and threatens nursing mothers

FROM: Amnesty International, DEC/07/2018, SSN;

South Sudan has carried out more executions this year than it has done in any year since gaining independence in 2011, with a child among seven people known to have been executed so far in 2018, Amnesty International revealed today.

Amnesty International fears for the lives of another 135 people on death row, who have this year been rounded up from other prisons across the country to two prisons notorious for executions.

“It is extremely disturbing that the world’s youngest nation has embraced this outdated, inhuman practice and is executing people, even children, at a time when the rest of the world is abandoning this abhorrent punishment.” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Amnesty International has established that at least 342 people are currently under the sentence of death in South Sudan, more than double the number recorded in 2011.

“The President of South Sudan must stop signing execution orders and end this obvious violation of the right to life.” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Last year, South Sudanese authorities executed four people, two of whom were children at the time of the crimes for which they were convicted. The executions were a blatant violation of national and international laws, which strictly forbid the execution of anyone who was below the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crime.

This year Amnesty International interviewed a 16-year-old boy, who is languishing on death row at Juba Central Prison, after being convicted of murder. Waiting for his appeal to be considered by the court, he described the crime as an accident.

“Before the accident, I was in secondary school. I was a runner, a very good one and I was also a singer of gospel and earthly songs. […] My own aim was to study and do things that can help others. My hope is to be out and to continue with my school. 16-year old on sentenced to death.

He said he had told the judge that he was 15 during his trial.

The use of the death penalty against people who were children at the time of the crime is strictly prohibited under international human rights law and South Sudan’s 2011 Transitional Constitution. Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of a Child, to which South Sudan is a party, stipulates that ‘neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age’.

State-sanctioned killings

Since independence in 2011, South Sudanese courts have sentenced at least 140 people to death, and the authorities have executed at least 32 people.

This year’s spate of state-sanctioned killings seems to have been sparked by a directive by the Director-General of the National Prison Service of South Sudan on 26 April 2018.

In it, he ordered all death row prisoners held at county and state prisons to be moved to two of the country’s most notorious death chambers – Wau Central Prison and Juba Central Prison.

This year’s spate of state-sanctioned killings seems to have been sparked by a directive by the Director-General of the National Prison Service of South Sudan on 26 April 2018.

In May, 98 death row prisoners were transferred from Kuajok, Tonj, Rumbek and Aweil state prisons in Bahr el Ghazal region, in the north-western part of the country, to Wau Central Prison.

Another 37 death row prisoners, including at least one child and a breastfeeding mother, were also transferred from prisons in the Equatoria region in the south of the country to Juba Central Prison.

Thirty-four people were moved from Torit State Prison in September 2018 and three from Kapoeta State Prison in November 2018 to Juba.

“The South Sudanese government must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, commute all death sentences to prison terms and abolish the death penalty altogether.” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The transfer of 135 death row prisoners to prisons in Juba and Wau where all executions have taken place so far is deeply alarming.

The South Sudanese government must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, commute all death sentences to prison terms and abolish the death penalty altogether, said Joan Nyanyuki.

“Any attempt to execute a breastfeeding woman would contravene South Sudanese law and international human rights law and standards.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to execute the prisoner.

The death penalty – the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice – is the most fundamental denial of human rights.

It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

 Background

In South Sudan, the Penal Code provides for the use of the death penalty for murder; bearing false witness resulting in an innocent person’s execution or for fabricating such evidence or using as true evidence known to be false; terrorism (or banditry, insurgency or sabotage) resulting in death; aggravated drug trafficking; and treason.

Hanging is the method of execution provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Before a person sentenced to death can be executed, the Supreme Court and the President must confirm the death sentence. END

First Legal Case against Kiir’s Government for Gang Rape & Sexual Slavery Lodged.

DEC/06/2018, SSN;

The Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) has lodged the first case against the government of South Sudan led by President Salva Kiir for sexual violence against 30 South Sudanese women and girls by members of the South Sudan army, currently known as the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) and formerly the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Presidential Guards.

The complaint outlines brutal sexual violence, including sexual slavery, sexual torture, rape and gang rape against women and girls during attacks on their villages and whilst they fled the violence from June 2016 to September 2017.

The case has been lodged at the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in Geneva.

The 30 women and girls represented by LAW include ‘K2,’ who was subjected to mass rape with her three sisters and a family friend in front of each other in their kitchen. She was 12 years old at the time.

Muding, 42 years old, was gang raped by SPLA soldiers whilst another soldier blew a whistle indicating when the perpetrators should finish.

Joanna’s nine years old daughter was beaten outside while she was raped inside in her home.

Scovia, a 27-year-old mother of four, was gang raped by five Government soldiers. Whilst she was being gang raped, two of her children disappeared. She has not seen them since.

And Viola, 29 years old, who was tied to a tree, tortured and gang raped by Government soldiers in an army camp.

“The conflict in South Sudan has been ongoing for five years and during this time, tens of thousands of young girls and women have been subjected to horrific sexual violence by Government security forces.

To date almost no one has been held accountable. We have to ask ourselves: Why are we not doing more to protect them?” asked Antonia Mulvey, Executive Director of LAW.

“This is a landmark case which is the first step on a long road to justice for all women and girls in South Sudan.”

Rape has been used as weapon of war against the civilian population and until today, there has not been a case against the Government for its actions.

The women and girls that LAW represents are so frightened of reprisals from their Government and its agents that they have fled their own country and are now living as refugees.

Due to serious concerns for their safety, LAW has requested that the UN Committee protect their full identities during the consideration of their case.

About Legal Action Worldwide (LAW): LAW is a unique non-profit network and think tank of human rights lawyers who provide creative legal assistance to individuals and communities who have suffered human rights violations and abuses in fragile and conflict-affected areas.

LAW works in Africa, Middle East and South Asia and predominantly focuses on addressing sexual violence through legal intervention.

In Bangladesh, LAW co-represents 400 Rohingya women and girls in their victims’ submission before the ICC.

WOMEN, PEACE & SECURITY

LAW will shortly begin an exciting new project that seeks to ensure the UN Security Council Women, Peace & Security Agenda, (UNSC Resolution 1325) is fully incorporated into South Sudan’s peace process and that women and girls, including survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, can effectively participate.

LAW and its consortium partners will empower South Sudanese women to engage with transitional justice mechanisms, and to reduce impunity for conflict-related sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). This will be done through a comprehensive approach.

On 19 May 2016, LAW held an expert panel on accountability for sexual gender based violence (SGBV) in South Sudan to launch the report along with the South Sudan Law Society and Amnesty International. Panellists included: David Deng, (South Sudan Law Society), Ferdinand Von Habsburg-Lothringen, (Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation), Elizabeth Deng, (Amnesty International) and Alicia Luedke, (Justice Africa). LAW’s Executive Director Antonia Mulvey moderated the panel discussion, which highlighted several ways forward for increasing accountability in South Sudan. 

Martyr Isaiah Abraham in the 6th Anniversary of his Death Fights the Juba Regime of Terror.

BY: ELHAG Paul, South Sudan, DEC/04/2018, SSN;

It’s 6 years since Isaiah Abraham was attacked in his own house in the dead of the night by members of the intelligence team of the Tiger battalion directly under the control of President Salva Kiir Mayardit.  Isaiah was shot in the head in cold blood in his own compound.  Isaiah’s sin was to speak the truth about President Kiir.

In one of his last articles, ‘South Sudanese skepticism on security deal with Sudan is real’ published on 19th October 2012 by South Sudan News agency, Isaiah vociferously lamented the sorrowful leadership of President Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar for failing to protect the territory of South Sudan from the encroachment of the Arabs in Sudan.

Isaiah wrote, “President is to blame squarely on our lands being occupied by the Arabs and now he has gone further to sign away Mile 14. His statement that he will not cede an inch of land to North comes too late, too little.  We are not buying this belated chest-thumping statement from a man we all know his frequent promises.  We know him better.”

Isaiah, in voicing the concerns of the people, paid with his life.  In his criticism of President Kiir, Isaiah spoke as a true son of South Sudan.

Though he was a Jieng, an SPLM/A die-hard member and an officer of the SPLA with the rank of  ‘Major,’ he took his duties to South Sudan seriously.

This principled stand made him to contradict his allegiance to the SPLM/A.  He certainly was in a dilemma to chose between standing up for South Sudan or remain firmly loyal to SPLM/A.

To his credit, he chose the former and dared to speak the truth to protect South Sudan.

Did his patriotic stand constitute treason to cost his life?  No! Isaiah as a human being and a citizen of South Sudan has the right to express his views as in the international instruments South Sudan has signed to and also as coded in the interim constitution of South Sudan.

Now even if Isaiah was wrong, why wasn’t he accorded/offered the right to defend himself  in a proper court of law?

The answer is simple, were Isaiah to be howled to court to answer for the contents of his articles, he’d no doubt win in any fair court of law.  This might put President Kiir and his regime in a bad place, possibly with hemorrhaging support of the people.

So the easiest way was for Isaiah to be brutally silenced for the truth to be buried and also for his murder to act as a warning to other writers.

Now, has the silencing of Isaiah worked? You the reader can guess for yourself.  It’s sad that the people of South Sudan didn’t make a deafening noise to call for proper investigation and accountability.

At the time there was a talk of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation joining their counterparts in Juba to investigate the murder.  Unfortunately nothing happened or materialized and the story died without the public realizing it has been swept under the carpet.

The murder of Isaiah mirrors the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabia’s journalist and a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman widely known as MBS.

Khashoggi, according to reports (Aljazeera), was lured by security agents of Saudi Arabia to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where he was brutally murdered with his body dismembered.

Unlike in the case of Isaiah, Khashoggi has the Turkish state on his side pursuing justice for him.  Will Khashoggi get justice?

This remains to be seen as the case has become a highly complex diplomatic game internationally in nature drawing in arguments about business dealings and regional politics.

On the other hand, will Isaiah get justice? I’d like to believe that he’ll because the South Sudanese are committed to bringing President Kiir, the Jieng Council of Elders and the entire SPLM/A leadership to the book.

It may not happen now but it’ll certainly be in the future.  Ultimately Isaiah’s case will have to be handled by any of the courts to be set up in South Sudan.

All the horrific crimes against humanity committed by the SPLM/A leadership must be addressed if South Sudan is to see peace and prosperity.

Since the murder of Isaiah, a total of 9 journalists have been murdered by the Juba regime.  These are: Adam Juma of Raja Radio, Randa George of Raja Radio, Dalia Marko of Raja Radio, Boutros Martin of South Sudan TV, Musa Mohammad of South Sudan Radio Wau, Pew James Raeth of Radio Tamazuj, Peter Julius Moi of South Sudan Corporation weekly, and John Gatluak Manguest of the Radio Community Interview South Sudan.

The murder of these talented young professionals simply because they’re doing their jobs – telling truth isn’t only a horrendous crime but it’s also the destruction of valued human resources South Sudan desperately needs for its development.

The targeting of journalists is the rejection of truth by the privileged dictators who’re enjoying resources of their countries without providing any basic services to the people.

That privilege is derived from the current reigning ideology of neo-liberalism whose values don’t cherish human rights and humanity.  Neo-liberal economic values strictly promote markets, profits and growth.

Human life has a price which seems to be categorized by the standing of each individual in their society.  People from lower strata of society may be expendable.

So in South Sudan journalism hasn’t yet developed to be a profession to be reckoned with.  Without adequate support of the masses journalists will continue to pay with their lives.  Therefore, they’re expendable.

Perhaps President Trump of USA was right when he described the world as a dangerous place in reference to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

How does the ‘West’ see this behavior by Juba regime and other dictators?  In principle, the ‘west’ condemns and announces it cares, but in reality they may not support the suffering people to free themselves from the tyranny of the dictators.

What is important for the ‘west’ is pursuance of business in line with the reigning economic ideology.  So long as they can make profit from these dictators they don’t care what the dictators do to their people.

Indeed, this is now a ‘dangerous world.’  In terms of the abuses in South Sudan by the SPLM/A, it appears that the ugly dragon called racism plays a big role.

Culturally, racism has been inculcated into the minds of people in the West through false scientific teachings and derogatory story telling using the media to the extent that the English language itself subtly has become a purveyor in the continuity of racist discrimination against people of color.

Slavery in the last couple of centuries has helped to cement the belief that the “other” are inferior and unequal to White people.

Eric Williams in his book, ‘Capitalism and slavery’ shines the light on how capitalism dehumanized people of color to justify their commodification for the ‘west’ to make profit and grow their economies.

Black life does not matter whether a single life or tens of thousands of lives.  So South Sudanese shouldn’t expect much that they’ll be supported by the international community.

The songs of we (west) care about the people of South Sudan doesn’t add up.  The way forward is D.I.Y, do it for yourself and rely on yourselves.  Raise your own funds, and do your own thing to prove your sovereignty.

This is precisely what Isaiah was talking about when he said “What is this argument that if the President signs it, the document, it can’t be challenged (?).

Who is this god in South Sudan that when he does something it can’t be reversed?  Whether Kiir or Garang signed it, people are more supreme.  They can redo what has been botched for the good of all.”

Here Isaiah is telling the people that they can do whatever they want that is in their interest to restore their dignity.  It is a matter of determination, conviction and organisation.

Paradoxically, on this 6th anniversary of Isaiah’s silencing, the same President Kiir, Dr Riek Machar and the compromised SSOA have connived with IGAD and the international community to distribute the resources of South Sudan among themselves under an ersatz agreement known as Khartoum Peace Agreement (KPA) of 12th September 2018.

For those who don’t understand the impact of this sell-out agreement, please read the full article of Isaiah.  The agreement is about the negligent management of the abused people of South Sudan (willfully murdered, raped and displaced) and its resources.

The KPA has all the ingredients that led to the collapse of Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) of August 2015 which blew up in July 2016.  So it is highly likely that this fake peace would take the country back to square one in the nearest future without any change to the people – the suffering just continues and the looting of resources of South Sudan goes on unabated.

Think about it, the displacement of people in areas with natural resources is not by accident.  It’s deliberately designed to enable the exploiters of the people’s natural resources to continue looting without any obstacles or alarms being raised.

What does this mean?  One thing is clear: the South Sudanese through President Kiir, Dr Riek Machar, compromised SSOA and IGAD, are being killed and destroyed for their resources to be stolen.

In a sense, The Sentry to a certain extent states the truth when it argues that the problem of South Sudan is grounded in Kleptocracy.  But there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Please see, ‘Kenyan court halts South Sudan’s ‘gold rush’ by Brian Wasuna of Daily Nation. (https://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/Kenya-South-Sudan-gold-rush/1950946-4868608-125mmwl/index.html)

Isaiah sought to enlighten the masses 6 years ago and he paid with his life.  His sacrifice was not for nothing.  What he said then is still the reality of today with the fake KPA.

South Sudan land is being stolen, South Sudan mineral resources are being carted out to Khartoum and Uganda to maintain the ethnic regime in Juba.  South Sudanese people are being massively displaced, murdered, raped and sent into refuge without anybody caring.

Please see, ‘How European and Chinese arms diverted to South fuelled its civil war’ by Robbie Gramer. (https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/29/how-eu-and-chinese-arms-diverted-to-south-sudan-fueled-its-civil-war-small-arms-warfare-east-africa-conflict-china-weapons-exports-humanitarian-crisis-juba-peace-deal-salva-kiir/)

Welcome to the world of neo-liberal economics.  President Kiir and Dr Machar can freely sell and abuse the people with impunity because they hijacked state power in Juba. Thus they can buy IGAD and the international community to do what they want in terms of promoting their ethnic ideologies.

These failed leaders murdered Isaiah.  In death Isaiah continues to fight the failed leaders of South Sudan and this is what he is telling you the people now which is relevant to the current situation:

“My people have suffered under president Kiir and his heartless clique (IO, FDs and compromised SSOA), I have no kind words against these people.  The demonstration we made as people of South Sudan on Monday, not as Northern Bahr El Ghazal people, will go down in history as the beginning of things to come. 

Mr President is not apologetic and this is worrying.  The people of this country deserve a leader that respects their views.  We’ve never had problems with him since he accidentally ascended to power in 2005, because the situation dictated that people exercise patience.  For the past eight years we have learned bitterly that Mr Kiir is the problem and should be removed.  He has failed us in many fronts, and on this matter of land he must not be forgiven.”

Who can dispute this truism?  Isaiah Abraham, rest in peace and God bless.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul

elhagpaul@aol.com

@elhagpaul

Will Khartoum peace agreement bring reform or maintain Kiir’s tyranny?

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, DEC/04/2018, SSN;

Known for operating with a vicious precision, his trademark is ruthlessness, and how he maneuvers his political rivals is irrefutably effective. Salva Kiir, the man in question, is a formidable tyrant with a bag full of cruel leadership practices.

The Khartoum’s peace agreement is one of those political blessings that a calculating dictator like Kiir could easily exploit to further his oppressive techniques.

This is an attempt to show that the Khartoum-brokered deal could end the civil war; however, there are plausible reasons to believe that the pact could merely end up preserving the current tyrannical system, empowering Kiir to further strengthen his grip on power.

It is worth acknowledging that the only best way for South Sudan to move forward would be for peace to return to the country. I assume nearly all South Sudanese are tired of war and ready for peace.

However, there are many contentious issues that, if not properly addressed, will turn the agreement into a pro-Kiir deal, rendering him the ability to continue ruling with impunity.

These issues include hybrid court, legislative, security arrangements, and constitutional amendment body.

All four of these issues are important, but the most important issues that require critical scrutiny are the constitutional amendments committee and future national legislative body.

So, let us dig deeper into the constitutional amendment committee, including the impending role of the proposed legislative assembly.

To refresh your memory, it is good to remember that real political reforms in any established society are done legislatively. This is what South Sudanese expect from the Khartoum’s peace agreement.

Regrettably, a careful analysis of the pact reveals that it would be nearly impossible for the armed opposition and other opposition parties to advance their democratic reforms through parliamentary processes because their anticipated Members of Parliament (MPs) will be outnumbered by MPs representing the incumbent government.

The reality is that opposition MPs will not pass any reform bill Kiir deems as a threat to his presidency. In a logical sense, the incumbent MPs will represent 60.4% while opposition MPs will have 39.6% in the proposed parliament.

Khartoum’s peace agreement stipulates that the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) will have 550 Members of Parliament (MPs).

The deal gives the incumbent TGoNU 332 MPs, whereas the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties will have 218 MPs.

This is not my opinion—it is a mathematical fact. Those who agree with this approach should consult with their consciences.

Precisely, the parliamentary maneuvering is all about the number — the majority to be precise, and back-door deal makings.

Given the nature of the legislative game, Kiir clearly would not allow some of his MPs to be bribed by the opposition leaders, let alone the fact that he will still indirectly be in control of the nation’s financial system.

There are some people within the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) and other opposition parties who care more about making any peace deal with Kiir’s regime so that they can be part of the proposed future Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

These people are desperate—shockingly desperate—and eager to exchange their supposedly reformed political doctrines with positions.

One thing is clear: their desperation is logically irrelevant, because they seem to be focusing more on what they want rather than what the people want.

What the people of South Sudan want is an utter political reform in the country. In the case of constitutional reform, Kiir is clearly not into it.

For instance, the Committee formed to amend the constitution should have been given mandates to amend the current anti-democratic constitution before the proposed TGoNU is formed.

Kiir cunningly frustrated the process in September by claiming in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, that the constitution would only be amended four months after the transitional government is formed.

One wonders where on the planet earth the leaders of the SPLM-IO and other parties would have been deceived by this self-serving strategy.

There is no guarantee Kiir will honor his promise. Remember, Kiir knows what he is doing: 16 weeks is enough time for him to fully implement or reject the agreement.

What is ironic about the constitutional amendment process is that Salva Kiir is sure about his true intention while opposition leaders seem to rely on Kiir’s four-month time frame.

In other words, the leaders of the SPLM-IO and other parties appear to have learned no lesson, let alone the July 2016 Juba one (J1) incident.

Given all these political missteps, one can easily conclude that all opposition parties have either given up their political doctrines in favor of reuniting all ranks of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party and then resume business-as-usual or are clueless about what they are dealing with.

This assertion seems absurd, but the way opposition leaders embraced Kiir’s notion of revising the constitution four months after the formation of the future government explains it otherwise.

Yes, peace is good, but emotion should not blindfold national leaders who, for five years, vowed to transform South Sudan’s political system.

Under the current constitution, Salva Kiir wields an absolute power. For instance, Kiir can dismiss any government official, including the elected ones.

Kiir’s power does not stop at the national level. The constitution simply made him an unchallenged leader. The man can even dissolve both the national and states parliaments as he wishes.

His powers do not end here. Kiir can also remove state governors and parliamentarians at any time of his choosing. He can do all these through a presidential decree because that is what is written in the current constitution.

Salva Kiir is addicted to these broad powers vested in him by the very constitution he orchestrated.

For the opposition leaders to assume that Kiir, for some mysterious reasons, will allow full amendment of the constitution is a mere joke.

Given all these facts, it’d be irrational for any reasonable person to think that Kiir will allow the constitutional amendment committee to remove the tyrannical powers he has been exercising for nearly eight years.

There is no doubt the five-year civil war has caused so much suffering. The recent estimate released in September 2018 by the United Kingdom-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine of at least 382,000 dead shows that the conflict has killed a lot of people, most of whom had nothing to do with the political madness that began in early 2013.

This is the reality any sensible person would not deny. The number speaks for itself. Most of the 382,000 people who lost their lives died because of a political insanity perpetuated by Kiir in December 2013.

History and publicly available data show that most dictators tend to have hard times transitioning into a democratic process.

It is true that some tyrants change, but it would not be a surprise if Salva Kiir happened to be in the category of autocrats who changed their leadership mindsets after their people demanded democratic reforms.

Beware though that it is nearly impossible for a documented dictator who ruled for many years to abandon his or her dictatorial mentality.

It is to be recalled that Kiir was loved by most South Sudanese when he took over the helm of the SPLM soon after the accidental death of late Dr. John Garang in July 2005. This does not mean he is a better leader.

The logic behind this rather reprehensible assumption was that he was the first deputy to Dr. Garang. At that time some people thought Kiir’s personality fit within the meaning of leadership quality.

What many people did not know at the time he was elected as the leader of the SPLM is that Kiir already had a fearsome persona.

It is to be recalled that Kiir captivated this merciless character when he was the head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) military intelligence.

Consequently, Salva Kiir’s destructive leadership has its roots from the mid-1980’s to the early 1990’s.

The current constitution is indisputably dictatorial. The best way to transform South Sudan’s political system from dictatorship to a democratic process is by completely amending the existing constitution and replacing all autocratic constitutional provisions with democratic ones.

This is the right time to do it, especially when a national constitutional amendment committee was established in the pact.

Kiir’s constitution deserves to be thrown into the Red Sea—in fact, it deserves to be given to the master of hell, if any.

The SPLM-IO and other political groups must seize this opportunity to scrap all the statutory provisions that made Kiir a legal tyrant.

The people of South Sudan did not fight against Khartoum’s regime only to face the same despotic leadership practices that were once imposed on them.

If Kiir is serious about peace, then he must allow the constitution to be completely altered.

The only reasonable way to reform South Sudan’s political environment is by changing the current constitution. The people of South Sudan do not deserve to be ruled through decrees.

The current political leaders must differentiate their selfish goals from what the South Sudanese want.

Stopping the war is a good thing, but ending it should not be viewed as a reform demanded by the people of South Sudan.

The tyranny is alive and well and there is no South Sudanese who is still interested in preserving the current ruthless political system.

The constitution is the host of Kiir’s tyrannical tendency — this host must be thrown into the Nile River if the people of South Sudan want their nation to flourish.

The constitutional amendment committee must be allowed unconditional powers to bury this Uganda-borrowed constitution into Kampala’s tomb.

Enough of Salva Kiir’s one-man constitution!

The author is the editor-in-chief of the South Sudan News Agency. He can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.