Category: Featured

Former Military Intel Chief Mac Paul and former Minister Gen. Chuol SODOMIZED by Pres. Kiir

Highly reliable sources, NOV/14/2018, SSN;

BREAKING NEWS, JUBA: According to highly reliable inside Intel sources just coming out of Juba, two SPLM-FD members, Gen. Mac Paul, the once powerful former Director of the much-dreaded Military Intelligence and Gen. Gari Choul, the former minister for Roads and Transport in President Kiir’s Juba government, have been sodomized and raped by the secret service agents in the infamous so-called ‘Blue House,’ yesterday after falling out with General Akol Koor.

The ‘Blue House’ is the notorious headquarters of the Intelligence Service of President Salva Kiir’s government in Juba that is run by this Gen. Akol Koor, a man accused for gross and horrendous crimes of inhumanity and human rights abuses.

Hundreds of innocent citizens have been taken there and their whereabouts remain unknown.

The two high-ranking  SPLM-FD (members of the so-called ‘former detainees’ group led by Mr. Deng Alor, who signed the recent peace deal in Addis Ababa) had been allegedly called to Juba on Sunday for a secret meeting with President Kiir.

The meeting, allegedly, was to coerce the two Dinka jieng top military commanders to abandon the SPLM-FD group led by Deng Alor, himself a former foreign affairs minister to President Kiir.

The plot was to make these to generals to join president Kiir’s Dinka-SPLM, but unfortunately, these two generals strongly disagreed.

Instead, reportedly, these two military generals strenously disagreed to cross sides but instead,

a)….. they urged that since President Kiir himself has caused so much damaged South Sudan and has badly tarnished the image of the Dinkas across South Sudan in the region and internationally, and,

b)…..  they accused President Kiir of surrendering the sovereignity of South Sudan back to the Arab North Sudan.

As such, the two generals thought that it was better for President Kiir to Resign and Hand Power to General Thomas Cirillo, whom they think has an overwhelming support of the people of South Sudan  and the international community to lead the transition period.

According to the intelligence, President Kiir was much dissappointed he said he doesn’t want to call the two generals as South Sudanese but he called them as Dinkas and to discuss with them about how to rescue the Dinkas.

He didn’t expect them to speak such nonsense about damaging South Sudan or about Gen. Thomas Cirillo.

Gen. Akol Koor then interjected that Gen. Mac Paul and Gai Choul have betrayed the Dinka and supported Dr. Riak Machar in 2013 and then went out and betrayed the Dinkas to the region and the international community.

“How come now that they are betraying the Dinka by asking President Kiir to resign and supporting the leadership of the non-Dinkas?” said Gen. Koor.

Then President Kiir reportedly walked out of the meeting and Gen. Akol Koor, the chief of intelligence, then took the two generals to the infamous ‘Blue House’ where their fate ended up horrifically like that of current minister, Dhieu Mathok, a Dinka himself, who was sodomized in 1916 for the crime of being a supporter of Dr. Riek Machar.

According to source, the two generals, Mac Paul and Gai Choul, were then sodomized in the Blue House and the shameful crime was videoed as the sodomies were being committed.

The two victims were further warned that if they ever spoke out against the government of criminal president Kiir, the sodomy video will be released to the public.

This is a very worrying and casts serious doubt as to whether the shameless tyrannt and sinful Kiir is really serious about implementing the peace agreement and also the safety of the opposition politicians returning to Juba.

May the Good God have mercy on our people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As it stands in its current form:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Hakim Dario,

Chair, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END

Juba’s Peace Celebration: A Commemoration of Betrayal by SPLM/A Leaders

BY: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, OCT/31/2018, SSN;

The anticipated peace celebration slated to take place on the 31st of October 2018 in Juba will be one of many things to monitor if South Sudanese rival leaders, President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) leader Dr. Riek Machar are serious about peace. The people of South Sudan desperately need calm to return to their country and Khartoum’s peace agreement could well deliver it.

However, there are plausible reasons to believe that this deal appears to be an empowerment of the very oppressive system the armed opposition has been against. Kiir premeditated the celebration merely to widen his scheming strategy and to make sure he maintains an iron-fist on power with impunity.

This seemingly self-serving commemoration is not just wrong — it is a glorification of his atrocious regime and a pure betrayal of democratic changes the South Sudanese have been fighting for nearly five years.

There is no doubt in my mind that Juba’s peace celebration under the theme, “Celebrating the Dawn of Peace, Appreciating Friends, Cherishing Reconciliation and Unity,” amounts to a commemoration of betrayal.

There is nothing to celebrate here because real peace has not yet been implemented. This is pure deception at its best. The actual theme for this rather tyrannical glorification party should have been “Celebrating the Dawn of the Empowerment of Kiir’s Cruelty.”

Kiir is known for being a brutal and cunning dictator drunk with power. His claim to prove he is serious about this peace deal through a self-promotion event is logically absurd.

For instance, Kiir signed many peace deals with Machar and yet he violated them in a matter of hours, if not minutes. The man is known for thriving in deceit, always using flattery to get what he wants.

He is eager to find ways to ensure he uses this pro-tyrannical treaty to cripple the armed opposition and make it ineffective so that he can continue ruling without any formidable opposition.

Trusting Kiir on this pact would be an indisputable regret given his established record of using self-serving strategies to preserve his cruelty.

Kiir is arguably a master of trickery when it comes to issues of national importance. He always says he will release all the prisoners linked to the SPLM-IO but has so far failed to do so.

The current one-man constitution should have been amended before the proposed transitional government begins; again, Kiir intentionally demands that the constitution should only be amended four months after the transitional period begins.

Any reasonable person would have a hard time understanding why the armed opposition and other parties believe that Kiir will allow the constitution to be amended. This is one of many indications that Kiir is using his flattery strategy, which has in the past served him well through this conflict.

He has been using this very tactic in the East African region to make sure his atrocious regime maintains power so that he can continue raping, killing, and torturing South Sudanese.

Celebrating the Khartoum’s peace deal in Juba should not be a priority. The priority should have been for the government and the rebel leadership to order an utter ceasing of all hostilities.

Kiir can simply end this madness by ordering all his military leaders to stop attacking any opposing force. But he is not doing it. His forces constantly attack the opposition forces while claiming that he is committed to the agreement.

Machar should also do the same but the SPLM-IO military wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), seems to be on the defensive as evidence indicates. Nobody wants this agreement to be another 2016 disaster.

If the SPLM-IO is truly working for reforms and serious about bringing about a lasting peace to the country, then it should not let itself be fooled by this theatrical celebration.

Kiir is not about reforming the political system he established in the country. His main objective is to make sure every South Sudanese politician in the country follows his wishes, has a constitution that retains his one-man leadership mentality, and keeps appointing and dismissing public officials even if they were elected by their constituents.

This is not a man people should waste their time imagining that one day he will change. The level of hate Kiir has against any reform agenda is immense.

Kiir does not wish for the country to be a democratic society. His fantasy regarding Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s ruthlessness is what destroys South Sudan. Kiir is not normal. The man has established a fantasy of wanting to be feared.

There is absolutely no rationale behind celebrating peace before implementation. There are many logical reasons to believe that Kiir is very happy about the agreement because the pact itself would technically allow him to rule using the same tyrannical leadership techniques he has been using.

One of the key plausible reasons Kiir embraces this deal is because it will be nearly impossible for any court of laws to prosecute him for his war crimes and the fact that the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties will not pose any threat to his leadership, especially legislatively, let alone amending the constitution to incorporate much-need democratic reforms.

Salva Kiir is also thrilled with the fact that those who once opposed his ruthlessness will again live under his control.

In a recent interview with Citizen TV Kenya, Kiir surprised the people by accusing Riek Machar of plotting a coup in December 2013 and in July 2016. These claims are outright lies.

The people of South Sudan know for a fact that Kiir planned the two violent events. Salva Kiir did not even save Machar’s life as he wants people to believe.

The only reason Machar survived in 2016 was the fact that it was impossible for Kiir himself to escape from the carnage because security guards protecting Machar inside the presidential compound were ready to use deadly force at any time of their choosing.

The only choice for Kiir at the time was to order some of his guards to escort Machar to his house while secretly instructing his troops to attack Machar’s house. This man is a cunning tyrant with a history of deceiving people.

His recent claim that he is ready to face the International Criminal Court (ICC) is simply a part of his calculating persona. He wants people to see him as a caring person when his record speaks for itself.

Kiir’s 2013 political madness has resulted in the death of at least 382,000 people, according to a report released by the UK-based London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine last month. This man cannot be trusted by any sensible person.

Kiir is a tyrant, war criminal, murderer, and money launderer who cannot be trusted. This is not the first time he tricked the SPLM-IO into believing that he was for peace.

The July 2016 assassination attempt on Machar’s life must be enough for any thinking being to understand how this man is a cold-hearted leader with so much South Sudanese blood on his hands.

The people of South Sudan want complete political reform in the country and the armed opposition needs to scrutinize the entire peace process to make sure its democratic vision stays alive.

As such, the SPLM-IO — which has a history of claiming to be a champion of democracy in South Sudan should not settle on exchanging people’s freedom with positions. The South Sudanese have no interest in allowing Kiir to trade their rights with positions.

If the SPLM-IO believes that exchanging freedom with political positions is just, then I wonder why it fought for nearly five years against Juba’s oppressive regime. If this assumption is the case, then it can be logically asserted that the SPLM-IO could be covertly working to rejoin its mainstream, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Machar’s faction appears to be ready to rejoin Kiir’s group so that they can resume their destructive leadership style. If this happens, the losers will be the people of South Sudan who have been hoping for political reforms in the country.

It is increasingly becoming clear that the SPLM-IO reform agenda is slowly being put on a deathbed by the SPLM-IO itself. The armed opposition must know that in any mature political discourse, the political base influences decisions.

In recent months, the SPLM-IO appears more like a desperate entity trying to get whatever it wants to rejoin the very system it previously declared “dictatorial.”

Kiir’s nonsensical peace celebration is an attempt to prove to the world that he is serious about peace. However, it is simply a public relations campaign seeking to promote his tainted image.

The leadership of the armed opposition should not allow itself to be part of this disgraceful commemoration. Kiir’s atrocities should be labeled for what they are: reprehensible.

His victims want justice served. However, if the SPLM-IO cannot transform the nation into a democratic country where justice is truly independent, then it must first explain to the South Sudanese why it believes it can change the existing South Sudanese political system into a democracy after it joined forces with Kiir’s government.

The reality is that facts do not support the armed opposition’s democratic claim.

The people of South Sudan are not interested in seeing the SPLM-IO become another tyrannical political party in the country. For Kiir to call for a celebration of this questionable peace agreement without first implementing it does not amount to a demonstration of a real seriousness.

We cannot allow a documented dictator to deceive people by trying to present himself as a good person through a bogus peace celebration. Kiir’s real character is clear. The man is the destructor of South Sudan who has killed hundreds of thousands of people simply because he wanted to be feared.

This madness cannot be ignored. If Kiir is serious about peace, then he should prove it by changing the current anti-democratic constitution, releasing all prisoners, lifting the state of emergency, and ordering his troops to stop attacking opposition forces.

The commemoration of peace in Juba is clearly a party of betrayal. This elitist pact is only good for those who are desperate for positions. Those who believe that this agreement will bring much-needed political reforms in the country are making fools of themselves.

This agreement is purely accommodative, and the people of South Sudan should not allow job-seekers and peace-fakers to play with their rights. The sad reality is that this deal is a pro-Kiir pact and he is very happy about it. To hell with elitism in South Sudan.

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

Kiir’s South Sudan army SPLA, raped, killed and recruited Children – UN

By: KEVIN J KELLEY, TheEastAfrican, OCT/16/2018, SSN;

South Sudanese soldiers are responsible for most of the killings and rapes of children carried out in the country, the United Nations said on Monday.

“I am especially alarmed by the rampant levels of grave violations committed by government security forces,” Ms Virginia Gamba, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, told the Security Council.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is said to have carried out nearly 80 percent of the 987 killings or maiming of children documented by the UN between October 2014 and June 2018.

The SPLA was also responsible for more than 90 percent of 658 verified incidents of sexual violence against children during that period, the report adds.

Most of these cases involved “gruesome gang rapes,” the UN envoy said.

“The full scale of sexual violence affecting children is believed to be under-reported, in particular against boys, owing to fear of stigmatisation and reprisals and to the lack of adequate support services and avenues for accountability,” Ms Gamba noted in the report.

In Summary:
**United Nations report says government soldiers committed 80pc of documented atrocities against children between October 2014 and June 2018.
**Factions of the armed opposition recruited and used a sizable number of child soldiers, the report says.
**Earlier this year, army leaders agreed to allow UN units to visit all military barracks to screen and release child soldiers. But only one such mission had taken place as of June, the report notes.

The UN cites a rampage by government soldiers and “armed youth” in Unity State six months ago in which “sexual violence was used extensively during indiscriminate attacks on villages.”

Two years earlier, SPLA troops raped or gang-raped 34 girls and 30 women from villages in Koch County in Unity State, the report says.

“Sexual violence was used as a form of collective punishment to instill fear and humiliation within communities,” the UN observes.

Child soldiers

In August 2016, 10 girls fleeing to a UN civilian-protection site in Bentiu in Unity State “were stopped on the way there by some 20 SPLA soldiers and taken into the bush and raped repeatedly,” the report adds.

Most of the attacks on schools and hospitals documented in the period covered by the report were also said to be the work of the SPLA.

Factions of the armed opposition recruited and used a sizable number of child soldiers, the report says.

The UN counted 1,447 children, including five girls, among forces loyal to rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar.

Groups associated with Taban Deng Gai, formerly a prominent figure in the armed opposition and now one of the country’s vice presidents, recruited and fielded 801 children, including 46 girls, says the report.

The SPLA accounted for more than 40 percent of the total number of 5,723 child soldiers reported to be in the ranks of armed groups.

“Children were used to commit atrocities against civilians, including other children,” the report notes.

The UN said poverty was a key reason why children became members of the South Sudan government army.

“Several children stated in interviews that they had joined SPLA owing to poverty, since they were paid between 700 and 1,500 South Sudanese pounds per month (between $5 and $12) by SPLA,” the report recounts.

Earlier this year, army leaders agreed to allow UN units to visit all military barracks to screen and release child soldiers. But only one such mission had taken place as of June, the report notes. END

BREAKING NEWS: Kenyan & South Sudanese activists demand action against beneficiaries of SS War

From Radio Tamazuj & Other sources, OCT/12/2018, SSN;

Latest Development, OCT/15/2018, Nairobi, Kenya: South Sudan politician Paul Malong denies he embezzled millions of dollars in war-torn country. South Sudan politician Gen. Paul Malong has said anything he did that links him to the situation in South Sudan was under instructions from the administration. Speaking during an interview at a local TV station on Sunday night, ‘King Paul’, denied looting South Sudan coffers and stashing the cash in Kenya. Malong said he should not be fully blamed for the situation in South Sudan. “If the crimes committed occurred while I was Chief of Staff, it was because I was under instructions from the Commander in Chief, that’s president Kiir.”
Malong said he has no money hidden in foreign accounts, daring all those making such claims to name the countries and the banks. “I am not a rich man. I am just a family man taking care of myself and my family.” Before he fell out with President Salva Kiir, King Paul was slated as the next in line. Serving as the chief of general staff, Malong wielded power, a fact believed to have placed him at a powerful position to amass his wealth.
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/south-sudan-politician-paul-malong-denies-looting-claims

Hundreds of Kenyan and South Sudanese nationals on Thursday. October 11/2018, staged a peaceful protest in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, requesting the Kenyan government to freeze assets of South Sudanese leaders profiting from the conflict and to sanction Kenyan banks facilitating the looting of funds.

This is the first time ever that any of the neighboring countries, specifically Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, which are involved with the current national war and leaders in South Sudan, that such a public demonstration has been allowed.

The protest follows the public airing of a documentary, ‘The Profiteers’ which depicts key individuals and institutions in South Sudan and neighbouring Kenya and Uganda that are benefiting from the conflict in South Sudan while south Sudanese continue to bear the brunt of the war.

According to the report, a few South Sudanese leaders, including President Salva Kiir, his nemesis, Riek Machar, former Army Chief of Staff, Paul Malong, have been named to have stashed away huge sums of money in Kenyan banks. This prompted a peaceful protest by Kenyan civil society organisations.

Boniface Mwangi, a renowned Kenyan socio-political rights activist and organiser of the protest told Radio Tamazuj that they delivered petitions to the Kenyan parliament and ministry of foreign affairs demanding action against named individuals and institutions.

“We are protesting against Paul Malong and Salva Kiir and other generals stealing money from South Sudan and using Kenyan banks to launder the money. So the money doesn’t come from clean sources. They are looting the country and bringing the money to Kenya and Uganda, buying very palatial homes, living very lavish lifestyles as ordinary south Sudanese citizens die,” he said.

Mwangi added, “We are asking our Kenyan government to freeze their assets and evacuate the money back to South Sudan. We must stop the banks that are involved in money laundering and looting South Sudan because as long as they can loot, the war will never stop, as long as they benefit from the conflict and the civil war, South Sudanese will continue to suffer as these ‘leaders’ live a good life in Kenya.”

The activist further said the documentary provided evidence of actual bank transactions and ownership of high-end properties in Kenya and Uganda.

“We understand how much money they earn as monthly salaries and you can see there is a stark difference between the two. They earn very little but live like they earn a billion dollars. So you can see clearly there is illegally acquired wealth,” he added.

Mwangi also said as much as South Sudanese are suffering the consequences of the war, Kenya is bearing its own share of negative effects.

“It is illegally acquired money, and it’s not only destroying South Sudan, it’s destroying this country as a financial hub and making it a center for criminal activities. And some of those people who are stealing money are under UN Security Council sanctions list, so Kenyan banks should not be trading with war criminals,” he said.

South Sudanese living in Nairobi spearheaded by the Ana Taban Initiative, a group of South Sudanese youth advocating for peace also joined in the protests as well as other South Sudanese civil society organisations based in Nairobi.

Ana Taban initiative coordinator, Manasseh Mathiang urged South Sudanese to seize the opportunity and speak against vices happening in the country.

“South Sudan is our country. Until the time when we decide to stand up for our rights, stand up for what we believe in we will never fix this country. And if a few individuals are enjoying from our blood we need that to stop. We need to love our country enough to stand when the time is right for us to stand,” he encouraged the protesters.

Mathiang said the protest in Nairobi is part of a series of peaceful protests that will take place across the region denouncing the beneficiaries of the South Sudan conflict.

As Socrates once said, “All Wars Are About Money,” indeed, as exposed by many activists, the leaders of South Sudan, specifically, President Salva Kiir and family, former vice-president-now rebel leader-soon-to-be-again vice president, Dr. Riek Machar, are allegedly ‘US Dollar billionaires,” blood money looted from the poor and suffering citizens.

A video exhibited by the Protest Organizers shows the son of ex-chief of staff, Paul Malong, rolling on millions of US dollar bills and boasting as ‘the youngest African BILLIONAIRE,’ blood monies allegedly stolen by his father, former chief of staff-turned-rebel, Gen. Paul Malong, who’s himself reputedly a billionaire.

Whilst Gen. Malong is one of those sanctioned, he still freely flies in and out of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Sudan without any of these countries arresting him.

Interestingly, it was also revealed how the Machar’s SPLM/O-IO that is supposedly fighting the Kiir regime is deeply involved in stealing natural resources in South Sudan. The so-called SPLM/O-IO Governor Matata of the border state of Yei, is deeply involved in illegally cutting rare and expensive wood and looting other resources from South Sudan and smuggling these through Uganda to international dealers.

Very rare and expensive wood is being stolen by these rebel groups. This is a rich man’s war at the expense of the poor South Sudanese blood.

This is a critical moment for all citizens to join those activists in Kenya and to speak out forcefully about the dubious and criminal collusion between the criminals/leaders in South South Sudan and their co-conspirators in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, not to forget our former rulers, Arab North Sudan.

Most poignantly, the famed Ugandan professor Mahmood Mamdani declared that the recently signed peace agreement between Kiir and Machar and Opposition groups, that, “South Sudan is on its way to becoming an informal protectorate of Sudan and Uganda. By formally acknowledging them as ‘guarantors,’ the agreement recognizes their strategic role in determining the future of South Sudan: Ugandan troops are physically present to support Kiir’s faction, and Sudan provides critical support to opposition groups, including those led by Machar.”

Prof. Mamdani strenuously believes that the peace deal signed on September 12 is an agreement between Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda — who are the guarantors of the agreement.

The agreement, he argues, recognizes their strategic role in determining the future of South Sudan: Ugandan troops are physically present to support Kiir’s faction, and Arab Sudan provides critical support to opposition groups, including those led by Machar,”

Further, “Uganda is hoping to play a leading role in training the South Sudan army under the military co-operation, while Sudan has leverage to resuscitate the oil sector and provide troops to protect the installations. South Sudan is also Sudan’s biggest market in the region.”

Sadly, an estimated 400,000 South Sudan have been killed since the outbreak of the Dinka Kiir versus Nuer Machar precipitated ‘civil war’ from 2013 to 2016, and now in 2018, there are two and half million South Sudanese refugees in these neighboring countries. END

Remember South Sudan? Washington Would Prefer Not to as Taban Deng frustrates USA

BY ROBBIE GRAMER/ OCTOBER/ 4/ 2018/ SSN;

Its freedom fighters have turned into brutal oppressors, and it is near to becoming another failed state, despondent U.S. supporters say.

A senior official from South Sudan traveled to Washington this week to solicit U.S. support—and money—for a fragile new peace deal aimed at ending the country’s five-year civil war. In the past, billions of U.S. dollars have flowed into the new nation, along with a great deal of tender American attention. But the mood in Washington is much different now.

This time, the Americans scoffed at and castigated the visitor, Taban Deng Gai, the first vice president of South Sudan, as he tried to assure them the new peace plan would stick.

Through its own abuses and corruption—and after just seven years of existence—South Sudan has gone from being a poor but hopeful nation to something close to a failed state led by a corrupt, oppressive military elite.

Deng met a group of nearly two dozen current and former U.S. officials at a closed-door event this week marked by tense exchanges. He was there to sell Washington on a peace plan signed last month to end the violence that has fractured the country since 2013, two years after it gained independence from Sudan.

It is the latest of more than a dozen cease-fires or peace plans in recent years, all of which have collapsed.

“We believe this peace is not perfect but of course it is better than [the] alternative, which is war,” Deng said to openly skeptical officials at the event hosted by the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank.

Some of Deng’s assertions—that his country was developing rule of law, tackling corruption, and that it was civilians, not the military, carrying out brutal atrocities against the country’s population — were met with a mixture of gasps, muffled laughter, and eye rolls by those in attendance.

When Deng denied that his government security forces were carrying out these attacks and insisted instead it was civilians committing the atrocities, one participant in the event whispered under his breath, “Are you fucking kidding me?”

State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development officials, as well as senior congressional staff and former senior officials, participated in the event—some of whom had devoted decades of their careers to work on South Sudan. Foreign Policy was also in attendance.

“There are people who have worked on South Sudan for decades,” said Joshua Meservey, an Africa expert at the Heritage Foundation. “They poured their professional lives into the Sudan and southern Sudan conflict, and South Sudanese independence was seen as this extraordinarily hopeful moment. For it to go so spectacularly wrong so quickly was a very disillusioning moment for these people.”

Cameron Hudson, a former National Security Council and State Department official who attended the event, told FP afterward that it was easy to feel the frustration in the room. “What you saw around that room was literally hundreds of years’ worth of American blood, sweat, and tears to support these people,” he said. “That’s why the sentiment and emotion … [were] so charged.”

Kate Almquist Knopf, the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, told Deng that the United States had spent $14 billion on South Sudan alone since 2005 to help shepherd its independence and address the burgeoning humanitarian crisis.

Deng’s response, blaming U.S. aid for stoking the conflict, drew audible gasps: “This $14 billion, if it was put into proper use, maybe South Sudan would not be in war today.” He then said he would be requesting more financial assistance from the U.S. government.

Another member of Deng’s delegation brushed off the dollar figure, saying the statistics were manipulated and biased.

“It’s somewhat insulting to all of us who have been working to support the people of South Sudan for so many years to say that those numbers are not reliable numbers,” retorted a visibly frustrated Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the former U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2013 to 2017. “Americans who have supported South Sudan, we deserve more, and I think the people of South Sudan deserve more.”

The sparring, fraught with emotion and frustration, underscored how far South Sudan has fallen in the eyes of many current and former U.S. policymakers who helped orchestrate the country’s independence from Sudan.

South Sudan is a rare test case of the United States midwifing a country into existence, trying to help create a new democracy from scratch. When the country first gained independence seven years ago, after five decades of a bloody guerrilla struggle with Sudan, it was received with a surge of optimism.

Perhaps nowhere outside of South Sudan was there as much optimism as in Washington, where U.S. officials across three presidential administrations had developed relationships with South Sudanese figures over the decades they fought for independence.

“Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible,” then-President Barack Obama said on July 9, 2011, the day South Sudan formally marked independence.

That optimism crumbled in 2013 after political clashes between President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar spilled into a violent rebellion. It followed two years of political strife, economic woes, and little if any progress on development despite billions of dollars in foreign aid, blunted in part by government corruption.

What separates South Sudan from other humanitarian crises, Hudson said, is that U.S. officials for decades have cultivated close ties with South Sudanese rebels-turned-freedom fighters-turned-government officials, adding an emotional investment from the U.S. side that other conflicts may lack.

Kiir, the president, still wears a trademark cowboy hat after one was given to him by President George W. Bush in 2006 — one small symbol of the South Sudanese leadership’s long attachment to the United States.

New estimates have put the death toll in South Sudan at more than 380,000—proportionally a higher death toll than the conflict in Syria based on the two countries’ populations. Currently, there are some 2.5 million South Sudanese refugees who have fled the conflict to six neighboring countries, including Sudan, the country that South Sudanese sparred with for decades to gain independence.

According to Peter Pham, the director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, nearly 63 percent of the country’s population faces food insecurity in conditions that brush close to famine.

The conflict is also marked by atrocities by both government security and opposition forces, including executions, torture, gang rape, and sexual slavery, according to the State Department’s 2017 human rights report on South Sudan and studies by international human rights groups.

Last month, Kiir, Machar — now the head of the leading rebel group—and other rival factions signed the latest attempt at a peace deal following the collapse of one in 2015. Deng, speaking in Washington, insisted that his country had learned the lessons of the last collapsed peace deal.

Under the terms of the new peace deal, South Sudan will have five vice presidents and expand its parliament to 550 to include members from all rival factions. Deng said the peace deal emphasizes inclusivity among all parties, something the last peace deal failed to consider. Critics say the plan will only reinforce tribalism and ethnic divides without addressing the root causes of the conflict.

“Don’t attack it. Don’t understand it with the frame of mind of a Westerner or an American frame of mind,” Deng said, defending the deal. “We are still a Bedouin society where accommodation also is important. Accommodation also brings peace.”

The U.S. government, in a joint statement with the United Kingdom and Norway issued last month, said it remains committed to peace in South Sudan but skeptical it will stick given continued violence and blocking of access to humanitarian aid. “[I]n order to be convinced of the parties’ commitment, we will need to see a significant change in their approach,” the governments said.

Deng’s assurances didn’t appear to placate anyone in the room, all of whom kept pressing him on questions of whether the country would release political prisoners, how it would handle bringing war criminals to justice if the peace held, and how it would tackle corruption and governance issues, as well as becoming increasingly unsatisfied and exasperated with Deng’s answers.

Transparency International, an organization that monitors corruption, ranked South Sudan 179th out of 180 countries in its corruption index. An investigation released in March by the Enough Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors South Sudan, concluded that South Sudanese government officials and elite had plundered the country’s oil wealth to bankroll militias that carried out atrocities against civilians.

“The reality of the regime is anyone in any position of authority is almost certainly going to be deeply, deeply corrupt,” said Meservey, the Heritage Foundation expert.

At the end of the event, after Deng wrapped up his remarks, the other participants got up and left, some sighing and shaking their heads, others brushing past the South Sudanese delegation without saying goodbye to a leader in a country they themselves helped found.

“That was just incredible,” said one participant in attendance who declined to speak on record. “I came to see if they’re taking this peace deal seriously, if they’re taking the U.S. seriously, and it’s clear they’re not. It’s so sad.”

“The audaciousness of this visit and his messages were pretty beyond the pale,” said Hudson, the former U.S. official. “This isn’t like Syria. It’s not like Yemen. We invested in this relationship over decades. And after making all of these deposits of political, social, and economic good will, this is what we’re left with: a failed state.”

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. @RobbieGramer

Neo-Colonialism and a Faustian Bargain Undermine South Sudan’s Peace Deal

By John Prendergast and Brian Adeba, The Enough Project • enoughproject.org, September/20/2018, SSN;

Peace remains elusive in South Sudan. The latest in a line of peace deals – this one signed on September 12, 2018 between the South Sudan government and opposition – does not addressthe primary root cause of the war: the hijacking of governing institutions and the creation of a violent kleptocratic state that enriches senior officials and their commercial collaborators while doing nothing to provide social services, build infrastructure, create transparency, introduce accountability, reinforce the rule of law, or grow the economy of South Sudan.

Fueling this ongoing strife is a misguided focus on power-sharing instead of transforming the systems of governance.

By simply re-assigning positions of power, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), through its September 12, 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), has encouraged elites within the various warring parties to continue plundering the country’s economic and natural resources.

That some of the agreement’s official mediators, including Uganda and Sudan, stand to benefit politically and economically from this outcome reinforces the need for enforceable reforms that take aim at the kleptocratic system standing in the way of a sustainable peace.

The absence of a long-term diplomatic endgame allowed the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, and the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, each representing different sides in the conflict, to exploit the IGAD-led process for their own political and economic gain.

Fundamentally, this is a governance challenge, rooted in a political culture that views state resources as spoils, their value accruable to the elite alone.

Changing this mindset will require measures that force the costs of kleptocracy to far outweigh its gains.

Network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, for example, can disincentivize those at the top from prioritizing personal financial interests as their primary motivation.

Otherwise, political agreements like the one signed on September 12, 2018, will only provide a short-term stop gap to the conflict, not the long-term systemic change that the people of South Sudan need and deserve.

As personal financial gain takes precedence over common interests, political allegiances give way to the fragile alliances of self-serving kleptocrats.

Since these alliances are only as sustainable as their ability to siphon more of the country’s resources to rival elites, they hold little promise for forging meaningful consensus around the R-ARCSS.

A precursor to the likelihood that alliances will continue to shift during the peace accord’simplementation phase was the July 2016 splintering of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The move then was motivated, in part, by a feeling among some of its leaders that the ruling SPLM party should have offered them more of a stake in the then-Transitional Government of National Unity.

When such elites seek to obtain more power— and, thus, wealth— by defecting, many taking up arms, they send a strong message to others who might otherwise be inclined to support governance reform.

It is no accident, for example, that some of those who voiced reservations and refused to sign an earlier precursor deal on governance in June have now splintered into subgroups that signed the September 12 peace accord— the better to take advantage of the financial opportunities they are convinced it affords.

Nowhere is this model of financial benefit through powersharing better exemplified than in the case of South Sudan’s military.

The recent move by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to promote 123 officers to the ranks of major-generals, in addition to promoting numerous other officers of lower rankson the eve of the peace agreement, will be countered by similar promotions on the part of the armed opposition groups, leading to an even more top-heavy security sector.

This represents a “brigadiers, but no soldiers” approach, motivated by a fear among elites that they could lose allies to rival camps.

This fear, of course, is misplaced: a top-heavy military, anchored in the expectation of material reward, undermines stability in the whole of South Sudan, weakening the state and making it more susceptible to chaos. That outcome ultimately benefits no one.

Still, finding common ground on institutional reform remains too high a price for these kleptocrats and their supporters, making peace — or its pre-requisites, security and stability— as elusive as ever.

Complicating the situation further, the September 12 peace arrangement is unlikely to garner international financial support for some of its vital components, including the cantonment of forces.

This, in turn, may negatively affect the agreement’s security arrangements, leaving only a bloated government, marred by red tape and ill-equipped to deliver vital services or support development efforts.

The implications are clear: reconstruction will be slow or non-existent; refugees may still be stranded in camps, refusing to go home without financial support and security guarantees; and South Sudan’s future will remain in doubt.

A dangerous marriage of convenience: Two independent outcomes— the threat of financial network sanctions from the main sponsors of the peace talks and corruption-induced bankruptcy— brought President Salva Kiir and the main opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, to the negotiating table in June of this year.

As a result, President Kiir, who only a week earlier had refused to work with Dr. Machar in a transitional government, rescinded his decision after realizing that he was likely to be singled out by the international community as the main obstacle to peace.

Dr. Machar, on the other hand, has gone easy on the two-army arrangement and accepted the ultimate reunification of the armed forces while also playing down his principal demand for a federal system.

All indications are that Dr. Machar and President Kiir together forged a marriage of convenience with their Sudanese and Ugandan counterparts, whose influence grew as the Troika —the United States, Britain, and Norway— exited the peace process.

This left the process exposed to the influence, motivations and machinations of Sudan and Uganda, which prioritized their own interests.

Although this outcome allows Kiir and Machar to maintain their grip on power in Juba, retaining their titles as President and First Vice President, it amounts to a kind of Faustian bargain, with Khartoum securing the resumption of crude oil production in South Sudan as well as $26 for each barrel produced over the next three years, according to the Cooperation Agreement between Sudan and South Sudan signed in 2012.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s remaining share from each barrel sold will be spent buying goods from Uganda, creating a trade imbalance that vastly advantages Kampala.

Critics of these capitulations say they owe to coercive negotiating tactics, particularly by the Sudanese delegation.

Although key South Sudanese stakeholders attended the talks, including civil society, women, and youth, their participation was limited by Khartoum’s aggressive mediation strategy, which curtailed participants’ ability to provide input, critique the proposals, and serve as equal partners at the negotiating table.

When smaller opposition groups expressed reservations about the outcome, they were threatened into signing the accord, thus raising questions about their commitment to its implementation.

What is clear is that any “peace” arrived at through coercive and exclusionary tactics will only harden distrust between South Sudan and neighboring countries.

Just as this atmosphere led to the collapse of the August 2015 peace deal, it bodes ill for the current agreement.

True to form, the final text agreed to by al-Bashir, Museveni, Machar and Kiir glosses over numerous important issues that remain disputed.

These include the number of contested states, the quorum of cabinet and parliament meetings and the constitution-making process.

Each of these could spark a disagreement over boundary issues, which could reignite the conflict and delay the reintegration of rebel forces.

Neocolonialism:

While the realignment of relationships in East Africa has led to the normalization of ties between Eritrea and its former enemies Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan, cooperation between Uganda and Sudan in this case has regrettably come at the expense of the South Sudanese people.

The blatant attempt by Sudan and Uganda to control and dominate the future economic and political dispensation in South Sudan, together with the silence of IGAD and the broader international community, has emboldened both countries to take a new posture akin to that of a neo-colonial master.

The passive stance of South Sudan’s other neighbors as well as other international actors has allowed al-Bashir, a ruthless dictator, to gain an

What is clear is that any “peace” arrived at through coercive and exclusionary tactics will only harden distrust between South Sudan and neighboring countries.

unacceptable level of control over South Sudan’s oil sector, despite the fact that the country was born through a referendum in which 98.8 percent of South Sudan’s people voted for an independent and sovereign nation.

IGAD has given al-Bashir an opportunity to inject Khartoum’s influence into a peace agreement that was meant to end the suffering in South Sudan.

Instead, the deal ultimately has allowed the Sudanese regime to buttress its collapsing economy. Al-Bashir has been working hard to achieve this goal.

He has managed to see the core SPLM dismantled while also working to defeat or contain the myriad rebellions in Sudan by ensuring great influence over the flow of resources as well as the military of South Sudan.

Even the mechanisms for monitoring and verifying compliance with the September 12 agreement will be led by Sudan and Uganda.

After so many died for South Sudan’ssovereignty, Juba’s elites are returning power to Khartoum to further their own interests.

The powerful role that Uganda and Sudan have enshrined for themselves in the outcome of this agreement represents neocolonialism at its worst and serves as an economic coup by those in Khartoum and Kampala who seek to benefit at the expense of the people of South Sudan.

Once the implications are fully understood by the country’s population, further instability could ensue.

Dismantling the violent kleptocracy:

In South Sudan, power-sharing agreements have proven to be inadequate short-term fixes for underlying systemic challenges to governance.

It is of vital importance that South Sudanese leaders continue negotiating long-term solutions that directly address the causes of the conflict, transforming societal structures through internal dialogue and reform of the country’s security and financial sectors.

The international community must employ network sanctions targeted against the key military and civilian officials in South Sudan and their commercial enablers both inside and outside the country.

These network sanctions, along with robust anti-money laundering measures, can change the incentive structure for those benefiting from the cycles of violence and absence of rule of law.

Only then can South Sudan move from a weak, near-term power-sharing agreement to a framework for long-term change, one that dismantles the country’s violent kleptocracy.

For this to happen, South Sudan’s leaders must ensure that financial crimes, such as theft of state assets and exploitation of natural resources, do not continue with impunity.

Structural reform should focus on transforming the institutions of national security, including the military, the expenditures and abuses of which have hampered socio-economic development.

And instead of leaving economic sectors to be controlled by a handful of individuals who are well-connected to the country’s leadership, South Sudan must foster inclusive institutions at all levels of government.

This inclusiveness can be shepherded by civil society. By maintaining pressure on South Sudanese leaders during the implementation phase of the R-ARCSS, reform-minded civil society organizations can do what the international community has failed to do: hold these actors accountable for their commitments, lend transparency in resource management, and ensure participation in the constitution-making process.

Conclusion

*** As it stands, the R-ARCSS all but ensures that very little will change in South Sudan, with those in power continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of their country.

*** Government officials will continue to award themselves generous allowances regardless of the budget, those in power will continue to move the proceeds of corruption and natural resource exploitation outside the country and into the international financial system, and decision-makers will continue to grant virtually condition-free government contracts to their supporters.

*** Indeed, South Sudan will lurch from crisis to crisis until the levers of financial pressure, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, as well as the establishment and robust implementation of the Hybrid Court called for in the R-ARCSS, change the calculus of the self-interested power brokersin Juba.

*** Until then, rampant corruption and natural resource looting, combined with meddling from Khartoum and Kampala, will continue to economically exploit a young nation that fought so hard for its freedom.

John Prendergast, report co-author and Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “As it stands, the peace deal all but ensures that very little will change in South Sudan, with those in power continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of their country. Government officials will continue to award themselves generous allowances regardless of the budget, those in power will continue to move the proceeds of corruption and natural resource exploitation outside the country and into the international financial system, and decision-makers will continue to grant virtually condition-free government contracts to their supporters. Indeed, South Sudan will lurch from crisis to crisis until the levers of financial pressure, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, as well as the establishment and robust implementation of the Hybrid Court change the calculus of the self-interested power brokers in Juba.”

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “In South Sudan, power-sharing agreements have proven to be inadequate short-term fixes for underlying systemic challenges to governance. It is of vital importance that South Sudanese leaders continue negotiating long-term solutions that directly address the causes of the conflict, transforming societal structures through internal dialogue and reform of the country’s security and financial sectors.”

South Sudan: Kiir’s Government troops and militias given free rein to commit new atrocities

SEPT/09/2018-Press Release, Amnesty International;

The staggering brutality of a recent military offensive in South Sudan – including murder of civilians, systematic rape of women and girls and massive looting and destruction – was fuelled by the authorities’ failure to prosecute or remove suspected war criminals, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

‘Anything that was breathing was killed’: War crimes in Leer and Mayendit, South Sudan is based on the testimonies of around 100 civilians who fled an offensive by government forces and allied youth militias in southern Unity State between late April and early July this year.

“A key factor in this brutal offensive was the failure to bring to justice those responsible for previous waves of violence targeting civilians in the region,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Regional Director for East Africa at Amnesty International.

“Leer and Mayendit counties have been hard hit in the past, and yet the South Sudanese government continues to give suspected perpetrators free rein to commit fresh atrocities. The result has been catastrophic for civilians.”

Civilians murdered in villages and swamps

Unity State has witnessed some of the most ruthless violence since the conflict in South Sudan started nearly five years ago.

The most recent wave of violence broke out on 21 April 2018 and lasted until early July – a week after the latest ceasefire was brokered on 27 June.

Dozens of civilian women and men told Amnesty International how the offensive was characterized by staggering brutality, with civilians deliberately shot dead, burnt alive, hanged in trees and run over with armoured vehicles in opposition-held areas in Mayendit and Leer counties.

Soldiers and militias used amphibious vehicles to hunt down civilians who fled to nearby swamps. Survivors described how groups of five or more soldiers swept through the vegetation in search of people, often shooting indiscriminately into the reeds.

Nyalony, an elderly woman, told Amnesty International she witnessed soldiers killing her husband and two other men:

“When the attack started, early in the morning while we were sleeping, my husband and I ran to the swamp together. Later in the morning, after the fighting was over, the soldiers came into the swamp looking for people, and sprayed the area where we were hiding with bullets. My husband was hit; he cried out in pain. He was still alive, though, and the soldiers caught him, and then they shot him again and killed him. He was unarmed and wasn’t a fighter; just a farmer.”

Those unable to flee – especially the elderly, children and people with disabilities – were often killed in their villages. Several people described how elderly relatives or neighbours were burnt alive in their tukuls – traditional dwellings – and one man over 90 years old had his throat slit with a knife.

Nyaweke, a 20-year-old woman, told Amnesty International she witnessed the soldiers shooting her father and then brutally murdering several children in the village of Thonyoor, Leer county:

“There were seven men [soldiers] who collected the children and put them into a tukul and they set the tukul on fire. I could hear the screaming. They were four boys. One boy tried to come out and the soldiers closed the door on him. There were also five boys whom they hit against the tree, swinging them. They were two [or] three years old. They don’t want especially boys to live because they know they will grow up to become soldiers.”

Other survivors described similarly horrific incidents, including one in Rukway village in Leer, where an elderly man and woman and their two young grandsons were burnt to death in a house. When their daughter ran out, carrying a small baby, a soldier shot her and crushed the baby to death with his foot.

‘They lined up to rape us’

Survivors also told Amnesty International that government and allied forces abducted numerous civilians, primarily women and girls, and held them for up to several weeks. Their captors subjected them to systematic sexual violence – as one woman put it, “the Dinka lined up to rape us”.

Many women and girls were gang-raped, with some sustaining serious injuries. Those who tried to resist were killed.

One interviewee said a girl as young as eight was gang-raped and another woman witnessed the rape of a 15-year-old boy.

A 60-year-old man described finding his 13-year-old niece after she was gang-raped by five men:

“My brother’s daughter was raped and she was going to die. When they raped her, we came and found her and she was crying and bleeding … she couldn’t hide … she told me she was raped by five men. We could not carry her and she could not walk.”

In one village alone, Médecins Sans Frontières reported treating 21 survivors of sexual violence in a 48-hour period.

In addition to being raped, many of the abducted women and girls were subjected to forced labour, including carrying looted goods for long distances, as well as cooking and cleaning for their captors. Some of those abducted – including women and men – were held in metal containers and were beaten or otherwise ill-treated.

Trail of destruction

Government forces and allied militias engaged in massive looting and destruction during their attacks in Leer and Mayendit, apparently aimed at deterring the civilian population from returning.

They systematically set fire to civilian homes, looted or burned food supplies, and stole livestock and valuables.

Many survivors returned home from weeks or months in hiding only to find that everything had been destroyed. They described how food supplies in particular had been targeted – with crops burnt, livestock looted or killed, and even fruit trees uprooted.

This deliberate attack on food sources came as civilians in Leer and Mayendit were just beginning to recover from a famine had been declared in their counties in February 2017 – the first time since 2011 that famine was declared anywhere in the world.

Vicious cycle fuelled by impunity

Amnesty International previously visited Unity State in early 2016 and documented violations that took place during the previous military offensive on southern areas of the state, including Leer county.

Following that visit, the organization identified four individuals suspected of responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity and called on South Sudan’s military chief-of-staff to investigate them. There was no response. Recent UN reports have suggested that some of these individuals may also have been involved in the atrocities committed during the 2018 offensive.

“It’s impossible to ignore the cruel reality – if the South Sudanese authorities had acted on our warnings back in 2016, this latest wave of violence against civilians in Leer and Mayendit might have been avoided,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

“The only way to break this vicious cycle of violence is to end the impunity enjoyed by South Sudanese fighters on all sides. The government must ensure that civilians are protected and that those responsible for such heinous crimes are held to account.”
Amnesty International is urging South Sudan’s government to end all the abuses and to establish immediately the Hybrid Court, which has been in limbo since 2015. The organization is also calling on the United Nations Security Council to enforce the long overdue arms embargo adopted in July.

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Have the Opposition’s “Reservations” been addressed in the revitalised peace agreement?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, South Sudan, SEP/16/2018, SSN;

Finally, the revitalisation process for the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) drew to a close. The South Sudanese people and indeed the world at large, witnessed the signing of the peace agreement on the 12th of September 2018 under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and in the presence of the IGAD Chairman, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr Abiy Ahmed.

But the striking feature that emerged from the signing ceremony was that people were not all smiles. We saw how Dr Riek Machar extended his hand to shake President Kiir’s hand while the latter did the same but not looking him in the face.

It’s reminiscent of what we saw in Khartoum at the initialling ceremony of the Peace Agreement where President Kiir refused to shake hands with Dr Riek Machar.

If such an attitude could not be hidden away from the cameras on a world stage, is it realistic to expect a minimum of a healthy working relationship between the two leaders?!

People still do remember President Kiir’s statement that he can never work with Dr Riek Machar and that the latter can only be allowed to return to South Sudan as a citizen.

Would the attitude mentioned above not reinforce the fact that Salva Kiir hasn’t indeed changed his mind about working with Riek Machar?!

The South Sudanese people do not deserve such leaders to fill up positions doing nothing while plotting against each other. They expect a lot of hard work from those at the helm to move the country forward.

Our people want a government that would ensure the upholding of the rule of law, the provision of services, the commencement of development projects, and above all a lasting peace in the country.

It’s evident that such aspirations are to be put on hold in the presence of the current sort of relations between the President and his would-be First Vice President. At best, it would be more of the same if the July 2016 scenario doesn’t recur.

Mixed reactions received the peace agreement both from the South Sudanese people and from the international community. From the government side, it was quite obvious how jubilant was the Information Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, declaring that all have signed the peace agreement which was untrue.

The National Salvation Front (NAS), the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), the United Democratic Republic Alliance (UDRA), Former Political Detainee (FPD) – in opposition if you will, the National Resistance Front (NRF), and the United People’s Democratic Movement (UPDM) rejected the peace agreement.

The reason that the Minister of Information could hardly hide his glee is that those who signed the deal have handed the government legitimacy on a silver platter. Should things go wrong, and the agreement isn’t adhered to, it would continue as a legitimate government, and that would allow her to conduct elections on its own.

As for the majority of the South Sudanese people, it looks like a Deja vu of what happened in August 2015 albeit this time the reservations were from the side of the opposition. Scepticism is rife because as we speak, violence is underway in many parts of the country.

It’s only yesterday that the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – In Opposition (SPLM IO) Deputy Spokesperson brought to our attention the on-going fighting in the Yei area and Unity State. But on top of that, there are new factors that weren’t there before complicating the whole situation.

The recent deployment of the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) in Equatoria and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Upper Nile has introduced a new dimension to the conflict that could quickly degenerate into a regional war.

The great African war (aka the African World War) of 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is still vivid in the memories of many people. The notion of such a situation happening in South Sudan is not far-fetched.

These forces are there to prop up Kiir’s government making it almost impossible to establish any trust between it and the parties to the agreement.

The international community did send out a message of its own regarding the revitalised ARCSS. Firstly, we noticed that the Troika group of countries and the European Union (EU) did not append their signatures to the revitalised peace agreement.

Secondly, the Troika showed its scepticism concerning the deal unequivocally. In a statement following the big event, it said a significant change from the parties in the implementation of the agreement needs to be seen on the ground before it could support the deal. It also cited the repeated ceasefire violations that resulted in the recent death of civilians in Wau and the killing of 13 aid workers since the beginning of the peace talks.

Thirdly, it did cast some doubts on the implementation of the agreement in spirit and letter to the extent that it threatened to withdraw funding should nothing tangible happens.

Many international personalities thought what was signed in Addis Ababa on 12/09/2018 was a caricature of a credible peace agreement. John Prendergast, Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said I quote, “Today’s peace deal lacks meaningful checks and balances on a presidency that already wields immense powers, which are primarily used to loot the country’s resources and to deploy extreme violence against opponents.”

Such are the reactions of the majority of the stakeholders in South Sudan as well as the friends and well-wishers of the South Sudanese people. Those in the opposition who chose to sign the peace agreement are now trying vainly to sell it to the populace. They are saying that they signed the peace agreement because the IGAD heads of States resolved their 4-point reservations.

I do not believe in the first place that there were genuine reservations but rather a ploy to save face for abandoning SSOA’s stated positions.

I have seen a document purportedly written by Dr Lam Akol and also read what he said on Radio Tamazuj. He was trying to justify their decision to sign the agreement stating that their reservations were all met.

However, he was deliberately inaccurate as he said all the opposition groups have agreed to sign the peace agreement. But now we know that there is a split within his Movement, the National Democratic Movement (NDM).

Likewise, SSOA appears to have split up into two groups. Yesterday evening I came across the joint statement to the people of South Sudan and the international community issued by some members of SSOA explaining their reasons for rejecting the revitalised peace agreement. The group included NAS, PDM, FPD-in opposition, NDM, and UDRA. Ambassador Emmanuel Aban signed on behalf of the NDM.

But I would like to present a counter-argument to Dr Lam’s assertion that all issues were resolved. Lam Akol is presumably talking on behalf of SSOA being the person tasked with matters related to governance.

It’s apparent that the agreement takes care of the elites by the formation of a bloated government but not the problems facing the common man on a daily basis in South Sudan.

1. The number of States: ARCSS is based on ten states; thus it cannot be revitalised by legitimising a violation namely the 32 States. Dr Lam Akol talks of two committees one for tribal boundaries and the other for the number of States. It means that they have recognised Kiir’s 32 States.

Furthermore, they have accepted the use of tribal boundaries to resolve a political problem setting a precedent for creating States on that basis. Perhaps it’s the first time in contemporary history that tribal boundaries would now be employed to establish what is necessarily required for good governance, efficient administration, and equitable services delivery.

The move would likely open a Pandora’s box that would exacerbate the conflict. For example, what would they say if every tribe in South Sudan asks for a separate State? What would be their argument to deny the smaller tribes of having their States? Then would it be realistic to have 64 States based on tribal boundaries?!

2. Quorum in the council of ministers: The government still maintains the majority with the inclusion of 6 members from the opposition. It can decide on something without the opposition and enact whatever it wants. It would also be possible for the government to use covert means to recruit allies and achieve the quorum for a cabinet meeting.

Here; those members of SSOA seem to forget that Kiir and his government lack legitimacy. The solution would have been a rotational Presidency and insistence on increasing the quorum.

3. Constitution: The explanation given is that the government wanted a review of the Constitution while the oppositions demanded a Constitution-making process. The resolution is to commence a workshop on the matter that would be facilitated with a renowned international institute like the Max Planck. The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011 (TCRSS 2011 amended 2015) never required a workshop, why now?! It’s a deviation from the main issues.

Strangely enough, there was no mention of federalism anywhere in the statement. It makes one wonders whether these leaders have fallen prey to the delaying tactics of the government or still worse, they might have foregone federalism.

4. The issue of the guarantors on the Security Arrangement: It’s untrue to say that no force can enter South Sudan without permission from the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) because of the Arms Embargo. Sudan and Uganda have sent troops into South Sudan while the Arms Embargo is in full force. I have seen a video clip showing the UPDF entering the Yei River area. Have the two countries sought UNSC permission before sending their troops into South Sudan? As far as I am aware and presumably all of you, nothing of that sort happened.

As the war rages on even during the signing of the revitalised peace agreement, the beginning of the end is not in sight. Hence, peace remains elusive in the views of the majority of the people of South Sudan.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok