Category: Featured

Equatoria! Stop fighting for “second” position

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, FEB/01/2015, SSN;

As an Equatorian who believes that the people of Equatoria have all what it takes to lead South Sudan into stability and prosperity, I was indeed saddened to see my old school mates like James Wani Igga and Martin Elia Lomuro reducing the Equatorian fight to only a fight for the second office in the country.

We Equatorians, we are better than that and our aspirations must truly reflect who we are. Since we are equally capable of running the country from the top position, why not join in the fight for the top job?

Do it for the top position. Those lower positions like the vice what! Or deputy what! Or assistant what… name it, are not worth our fights. And any fights for that matter!

My call to every Equatorian is that ‘if we have to fight for a position,’ then we go fight for the top job in the country. However we must understand that to get the top job in the country needs more than just following others.

Like football, if you want to be on the top, you must not only be contended with good play, acrobatic styles, skillful dribbling. What counts in the end of the day is the number of goals scored and who scored them, before we even talk about the people who created the opportunities for the scorers to score and win a victory for the team.

We Equatorians, we are better than that fighting over deputy positions. The fact we like everyone else also have the best for the top job, then let our aspirations truly reflect who we have and are capable of doing other than being other people’s deputies all the time.

It is time we join in the fight for the top job the fact that we believe we are equally capable of running the country from the top position!

Whatever Mr Martin Elia Lomuro came up with is not representative of the people of Equatoria. His smart move to rally the three governors and dispatch them to Addis Ababa solely to protest what they perceive is injustices towards Wani Igga and hence the people of Equatoria are all nonsense.

Once in Addis Ababa did the three Equatoria governors remember to talk about their people calls for federalism?

Not only were they silent on federalism, but they have already shunned it because the same view is now shared by the SPLM-In-Opposition. What is the name of this news game, my dear Equatorians!

The truth be said and said loud, “Wani Igga who currently is Salva Kiir’s deputy got that position as a favour from Kiir himself. Kiir is the elected president and the only person to decide who works on his team”.

No Equatorian voted for Wani Igga to deputize the president. And all South Sudanese people for that matter did not vote Wani Igga to his current position.

As President Salva Kiir appointed Wani Igga as his deputy, it is also true that the same president still has the powers to keep him in office or kick him out if he so wishes.

Unfortunately, the three Equatorian governors have been misled by Martin Elia Lomuro to travel all the way to Addis Ababa only to protest in solidarity with Wani Igga to continue being the second man.

Again I doubt how many Equatorians would sincerely want Wani Igga to be the president if they were to choose between many.

The truth of the matter is that, per the IGAD proposal, Wani Igga remains where he is now – vice president. Per the same proposal the three governors also remain secure in their places.

Now the only people who become insecure are the types of Martin Elia Lomuro who are more likely to lose their ministerial positions once the transitional government of national unity is constituted.

Is this not why Mr Lomuro is feeling insecure?

Brothers and sisters, if you want an end to this rampant insecurity and helplessness, then you better do something about it, by ceasing to always limit yourselves to being deputies while people from Bahr Ghazal and Upper Nile are doing everything to top the list.

If you are confused you should know where to turn to. Just look beyond your nose and salvation is waiting for you!

Dr Justin Ambago Ramba. A member of the South Sudan’s Political Parties’ Delegation to the IGAD led Peace Negotiations for South Sudan. A voice for the voiceless.

Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation (REMNASA) – New rebel group formed in South Sudan

Press Statement on Launch of REMNASA, 28/1/2015, SSN;

The forces of Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation (REMNASA) on 27/1/2015 launched a successful attack on the sectarian regime security forces in Maridi killing 6 soldiers and wounding many others. They captured arms and ammunition. This attack marks the official launch of second liberation struggle under REMNASA with the aim to dislodge the murderous regime of Dictator Salvatore Kiir in Juba.

It should be recalled that this group rebelled from the South Sudan Army on 9/1/2015 and on 19/1/2015 attacked the SPLA production unit at Mankakara 2 which is located 8 KM from Maridi two nom Maridi-Rumbek road.

REMNASA was formed by SPLA Officers who have been affected by the poor governance and failed leadership in the country. The failure of the SPLM leadership in South Sudan precipitated the crisis in South Sudan which has lead to loss of thousands of lives, rape, human right abuses and crime against humanity.

The crisis has completely destroyed the social fabric of our people. And for that matter the two protagonists can in no way possible be able to reconcile the people and restore genuine peace even if they are to reach peace agreement now.

It appears the IGAD led peace talk is mainly focusing on sharing of positions and unification of the SPLM factions.

Furthermore so many stakeholders inside the country have been excluded from participating in finding solutions to the current crisis.

As such the ongoing IGAD mediation has been turn into solving SPLM problems while neglecting the fundamentals issues that resulted into the current civil war such as poor governance, tribalism, nepotism, dictatorship, lack of inclusiveness, human right abuses, intolerance, corruption, elitism and lack development.

Therefore the current conflict should have been viewed as a national crisis and unless all the various actors in the political landscape in South Sudan are involved, we in REMNASA believe no sustainable peace will be restored in the country.

Hence any peace agreement resulting from non-inclusive process will not resolve the current conflict in the country.

Therefore,
…. mindful that lack of comprehensive peace agreement that involves all 64 Nationalists shall further result into more chaos and total disintegration of the country;
…. acknowledging the deep division between the two antagonistic tribes that has resulted into continuous struggle for power among them;
…. aware of the fact that the regime of Salva Kiir has failed to develop and implement the much needed reforms that could have save the country from the ongoing meaningless war;
…. deeply touched by the suffering of the people and their desperate need for humanitarian assistance and the necessity to salvage the country from complete disintegration;
…. We the officers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army together with our people who voted for the independence with the hope of having a country where federalism, Equality, Justice, Diversity, Peaceful co-existence and Prosperity prevails do hereby resolve to launch a Revolutionary Movement called the Movement for National Salvation of the people of South Sudan to dislodge the current illegitimate and sectarian regime of Dictator Salvatore Kiir Mayardit, the President of South Sudan.

The leadership of the people’s Movement will aspire to restore the squandered liberation aspirations of the people and guide the revolution through a new unifying vision to secure an equal, free and prosperous Democratic Federal Republic of South Sudan.

Signed:
Major Losuba Lodoru
Commander of REMNASA Forces
South Sudan.

A.U. must act to end the rape & torture of women in South Sudan

By NAVANETHEM PILLAY, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nationmedia, JAN/27/2015, SSN;

As the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, I visited South Sudan in May 2012, less than a year after its people voted for a better future as an independent nation state.

There were human rights issues to address but also a great optimism. I returned in April 2014, and found my hopes shattered.

Then, I was made hopeful by discussions with South Sudan’s leaders on discrimination and violence against women. The president and senior officials seemed committed to supporting girls’ empowerment and education.

I had returned in April, four months after tensions within the county’s ruling party Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) boiled over into armed conflict in the capital, Juba. Violence spread rapidly among security forces, with civilians targeted based on their ethnicity or assumed political affiliation.

Armed thugs roamed the countryside, raping women and children and taking them as sex slaves. My hopes were shattered.

GENOCIDE MEMORIES

The ruthlessness of sexual violence in South Sudan brings back memories of Rwanda. In 1998, while serving as a judge on the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, my colleagues and I heard horrendous stories of mass rapes and other sexual crimes.

In our judgment in the case of The Prosecutor vs. Jean Paul Akayesu, we held that sexual violence in war could constitute genocide and crimes against humanity as well as torture.

We found that sexual violence was used as an instrument of war aimed at the systematic destruction of Tutsi women and the Tutsi group as a whole.

While South Sudan is not experiencing genocide, the levels of sexual violence are no less shocking. Zainab Bangura, the UN’s envoy for sexual violence in conflict, recently said she has not witnessed a situation worse than South Sudan in her 30 years’ experience.

One of the main reasons we are seeing such extreme sexual violence in South Sudan is the country’s pervasive culture of impunity. The perpetrators — including members of the police, army, and armed militias — know that there is no rigorous justice system and almost no risk of consequences. Unless this changes, the frequency and brutality of sexual violence will rise as one cycle of violence fuels the next.

For those seeking justice, accountability, and an end to the country’s longstanding culture of impunity, the African Union’s commission of inquiry on South Sudan is a beacon of light.

In Summary
There have been tremendous advances in tackling impunity for serious crimes over the past 20 years, in particular through the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court.
For those seeking justice, accountability, and an end to the country’s longstanding culture of impunity, the African Union’s commission of inquiry on South Sudan is a beacon of light.
Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to be commended for her leadership in forming the first-ever African Union investigation of mass human rights violations on our continent.

DAMNING REPORT

Under the leadership of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, the commission’s final report is expected to be a damning document that details countless human rights violations and even lists names of those recommended for trial. This is what the beginnings of accountability should look like.

Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to be commended for her leadership in forming the first-ever African Union investigation of mass human rights violations on our continent.

Now she faces an even bigger challenge to see life breathed into the commission’s recommendations. It is critical that the African Union Peace and Security Council make Mr Obasanjo’s report public and act upon its recommendation to establish a credible accountability mechanism for South Sudan.

We need accountability and justice to stem the tide of human rights abuses spreading across much of South Sudan. The threat of criminal prosecution can act as a powerful deterrent and may even help convince the warring parties that they have more gain by laying down their guns and committing to the (more difficult) task of making peace and rebuilding their country.

IMPUNITY

There have been tremendous advances in tackling impunity for serious crimes over the past 20 years, in particular through the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and the International Criminal Court.

While international and national accountability processes have contributed immensely to challenging impunity for violations of international law, such efforts on their own cannot stop the cycle completely. Political will on the part of governments is essential and usually constitutes the biggest obstacle.

If the government of South Sudan is not willing or able to put a stop to this insidious form of violence that targets women and girls, the international community has a responsibility to step in.

As African heads of state and AU officials convene in Addis Ababa for the 24th AU Summit, they must do all they can to ensure that the report from Mr Obasanjo’s commission of inquiry represents the beginning of the end of impunity in South Sudan.

Ms Pillay was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2008 to 2014.

Regime sycophants: Talking about elections real or a bluff to change focus on peace process?

BY: Yien Lam, South Sudan, JAN/25/2015, SSN;

I believe this is a public bluffing because there is no reason to believe that a genuine election will be done in south Sudan this time. It is without a doubt in the minds of many if not most people in our country.

People of south Sudan will never be freed under kiir’s leadership. This proposed elections are being manufactured purposely by the regime to sidetrack the ongoing peace process that is being negotiated in Addis Ababa.

This is a known fact that cannot be negated by anyone rather than the decayed regime adherents. It is a naked truth. This is so by the following reasons:

First and foremost, what is an election? According to dictionary, “an election is selection of a person or persons for office by vote.”

If this is its definition, who is going to vote on these elections while people of south Sudan are taking refuge in camps?

Be judicious on this if your rationality is not being impaired by the regime bloody money.

Believe it or not, the regime created this to quell and beguile uprising in the areas that it seems to be safe. There is nothing tangible about this as it has been mendaciously reported on the media by the regime supporters.

This is a simple tactic in order to inveigle the public. It has been designed knowingly to bluff the people of south Sudan. But I believe south Sudanese are smarter that this deceptive regime.

This is laughable if not impossible to do such an elections. It is just a smear tactic as usual. There is nothing as such that would happen in our country at this time until this regime is being ousted out of power.

This government does not believe in power of voters than the power that it got at the expense of south Sudan independence in 2010.

If south Sudanese were not freed from the North at the time, kiir would have not gotten the leadership that he has today because he does not fit to be the leader of the country than being the rustic dweller in the Gogrial.

In this regard, I believe people of south Sudan who have been mentally, physically and spiritually abused by this regime will not buy into this delusive election of this kind.

They must stick on whatever they believe because this regime will never change its divisive tactic on the people of south Sudan. Never!

The only way for the south Sudanese to free themselves is to expel it from the illegal power that it severely abused on the people of this great nation. This will only be the absolute solution in my view for us to once again live in a peaceful society.

This regime has done so much damage to the well being of south Sudanese to live in harmony.

Secondly, a census is the crucial part of an election everywhere in the world if it happens to have any. I believe many of you will agree with me on this point unless one has unknown dementia.

As we all know, there is no census in the country that would determine the representatives in states as well as the nation’s parliament. If there is no census, how are elections going to be done in the crisis as what we are now witnessing in our country?

This plan is ridiculous if not silly in nature because south Sudan population is being scattered into its neighboring countries.

According to Sudan tribune, around 1.9 millions are being dissipated to the neighboring countries as we speak. Namely, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and UNMISS camps within south Sudan.

These individuals are eligible voters. But will not vote if elections are being held today due to this crises. Talking elections while the people that’re supposed to elect their leaders are being dispersed around their neighbors as such shows the world that kiir and his minions care less for the lives of south Sudanese than their leadership in which they did not know come from the people.

As a matter of fact, the regime needs not to bluff South Sudanese again. I certainly believe everybody in the world should have learned this kind of trick in order not to hinder the peace process.

Focusing on the petty elections than being serious about peace is mind boggling. One cannot talk elections while his very country is being engulfed by self-imposed war. This is an absurdity if not insanity. I don’t even know what is going on in the minds of the regime encircled at this point.

Third, the above mentioned facts are not only the reason for the regime to announce an elections. Everybody knows in south Sudan that elections will not have a room at this time to be done. It is a pure fact.

But what the regime means by the elections is different in which it has a full knowledge about the term limit. This is what worry the regime the most.

It knows very well that on July the 9th 2015 will be the end of the kiir’s term in office as our untraceable constitution has been saying.

So, now the regime is erroneously trying to believe in its principle in which many people if not most may regard as the game. Because the dateline is approaching, the regime is now frustrating and trying everything as possible to squeeze in the elections in this circumstance.

It is not an election rather than reinstatement of the regime’s leadership to reclaim its erroneous legitimacy. This is pure and simple. It does not need eyeglasses. There is nothing called election in this sense as we all know that our country is bleeding severely.

Forth, I would like to add what I have been seeing as the passed budget for an election to be held as planned. Is that true? To me, it is not.

It is the same tactic that the regime has been doing since the bringing of this crisis. If there is a budget as it has been the case lately on media, why should the government have a budget for an elections and not having it for building the country’s infrastructures? This is bogus in my view. The elections that the regime supporters are talking about is an empty promise.

This media election is a tactic to restore kiir in power. It is simple as such because there is no point at this time to have successful elections in the middle of the civil war unless one is irrational.

Budget cannot be passed because of an election. Budget is always being passed for the purpose of building the country infrastructure. This is its significance. This budget is a pure propaganda by the regime. What a world!

Believe it for a certain, these elections are intended to distract people’s minds. Not only that, it is too non-factual in my understanding of this regime. It will rather be a show off for the regime to talk elections at this critical time. Singing a song of an elections that it does not lineup with its meaning is ludicrous.

By the way, who is running with kiir in South Sudan now? People! This is a joke. There will never be an election in south Sudan while kiir still is the president. It would be silly for anyone to think as such.

Kiir must go first. When he is gone, south Sudanese will be free to do whatever they want as the citizens. Now, they are being kept hostage in the country they love. Therefore, don’t let yourself be enticed in an empty promise of elections. It is not as you may have thought rather than dictatorial regime reinstating itself.

Fifth, not only those mentioned above, security is a key in elections. Given the magnitude of the situation we face today, how an election would be held in south Sudan while the security is deteriorating as we speak day by day between the regime and the freedom fighters?

Do you think it will be possible for the elections to be held? If so, what would make you believe that in your mind? Do you think the greater Upper Nile will be deserted by kiir’s elections?

This would be difficult for a nationalist to answer those because people of Greater upper Nile matter to the elections of south Sudan. Imagine if you are the ones that being asked with that questions, what would you say to yourself given the fact that the whole region will not participate in the election?

Should this imposed elections relate to what kiir and his circle whisper months ago to keep the war in Upper Nile?

Finally, as we all know, there should be no elections in south Sudan without having census, budget and most of all security. Doing it without the above mentioned will otherwise be considered as the reinstating of the dictatorial regime in the fear of term ending.

The author is a concerned maverick south Sudanese that can be reached at lam981@hotmail.com

Critique of SPLM Reunification Agreement in Arusha

By: James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, JAN/23/2015, SSN;

The Agreement on the Reunification of the SPLM that was signed in January 21, 2015 in Arusha, Tanzania, suggests three problematic trends despite the fact that it is in the name of peace and reconciliation but invitation of more pressure on the principals.

First, the East African leaders are desperate to see peace being restored to the Republic of South Sudan even if this involves farce, contradictions and renewed conflict when the implementation stage arrives down from utopia.

Secondly, the generic content of the agreement leaves a lot to be desired in the level of political thinking and maturity from the SPLM’s factional cadres who negotiated it; you don’t see any amusing sense of rigorous intellectual work in that agreement.

The negotiators might have been pre-occupied with the psyche of ‘what will each of them tell Dr. John Garang in the land of death if SPLM disintegrates’. They seem not to care for the Republic of South Sudan, its people, other political parties, resources and future.

Thirdly, the fate of that agreement is linked to the long-awaited the success of Addis Ababa IGAD-led peace talks. That is, if Addis Ababa peace talks collapse, the Arusha reunification agreement will be declared null and void with regret of wasted resources and time.

Many available indications are not in favor of successful conclusion of Addis Ababa peace talks, particularly the issues of two standing armed forces in one country, management of oil money and government top positions. Thus, there is nothing yet to celebrate about Arusha agreement because it is not a break-through deal.

Oppositely, it is Addis Ababa awaited break-through that would make Arusha a celebrity. The cart is still placed in front of the horse to block it from moving. Hence, pessimism should reign via realism before optimism gets in!

The Critique:—
I

Articles 23 and 39 of the agreement made it hard for my throat to swallow and my stomach to digest the text. Nothing should be allowed to remain vague in-between if the SPLM leaders who converged in Arusha are sincere in establishing the SPLM-Reunited. Why should a reunified body still want to operate as different separate groups?

A party is never united until it has a unified leadership. The current destructible war was a result of the disunited SPLM leadership. We already had the benefits of doubts, especially from the case of SPLM-United of 1991 which was abandoned by Dr. Riek Machar in order for him to form SSIM.

Why repeat experimenting something whose results are known in advance and you expect a different result. Einstein will call this scientific insanity.

The two articles damage the core soul of the Arusha’s SPLM-Reunited beyond repair of CCM Secretary-General even if he builds a permanent home in Juba to follow-up the implementation.

The three SPLM factions shall remain as groups in the Political Bureau and in the Government since they shall be represented there equitably and proportionally respectively.

But perhaps, this is what the SPLM’s Arusha agreement calls ‘genuine pluralism’ (article 5). This will mean that no unity is yet around the corner for the entire leadership of the SPLM-Reunited, apart from tactics of coming to power and staying thereto intact using Machiavellian utilitarianism!

II

As far as there is term limits for holding offices of the SPLM’s National and States Chairpersons (article 30), nothing was said about the offices of the Secretary-General and other Secretariats. No term limits for them. Why? Perhaps, Pagan Amum, Anne Itto, Suzanne Jambo and other secretaries are going to remain the SPLM-SG and Secretaries for life. Lucky are they!

III

The SPLM showed no interest in promoting multi-party liberal democracy in the whole document though militarism and sectarianism was deplored. The document talked of pluralism only (article 5). That could be the reason why Hon. Awet Akot, Hon. Lual Deng and few other SPLM-Diehards would like to see the SPLM-DC abandoning its opposition role and merging with the SPLM-Reunited. At the end, the result will be a one-party state with pluralism of its wider membership. Is this the Republic of South Sudan we fought for?

IV

There shall not be government elections on 30th June 2015. Article 19 puts peace before elections by deferring SPLM convention and other arrangements that necessitate participation in government elections. The lawsuit against holding elections that was announced by NEC, is now gaining momentum of more evidence in favor of the National Alliance of political parties and civil society organizations that are outside the current government.

V

We shall no longer see Gen. Paul Malong Awan chairing SPLM affairs of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State. Article 12 tells him so, though it did not as well prohibit Ambassadors from being SPLM card holders.

As we speak now, many Ambassadors of South Sudan in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation beat their chests of being loyal SPLM members, and they are deployed abroad and to strategic offices based on this manifest loyalty. For example, at the moment there is no any single head of diplomatic mission of South Sudan abroad who is not a declared SPLM loyalist.

The SPLM’s Arusha document had ignored totally this diplomatic anomaly while it tackled the case of armed forces. Diplomats are the unarmed army generals of a country in the forefront of the defense of foreign policy. South Sudan should not tolerate partisanship and sectional politicization in its diplomacy.

VI

For the SPLM to apologize (article 2) for the unforgivable mess it created in South Sudan and for it to account the criminal convicts in its membership (article 11), is a notable acknowledgement of the critique some of us laid on the first signed framework in Arusha last year. What about the commanders and the criminals of corruption? Are they going to be accounted and unwelcome to the SPLM?

VII

Articles 8 and 13 want the SPLM not to be separated from the government. The government is called SPLM’s Government rather than the Government of the Republic of South Sudan.

Why should we have a party government unless we are confirming to be a one-party state? The government should belong to all while the political party to its members only. The Westphalian nation-state dictates so. The two should not be mixed and exchanged at will. It shall look like forcing bull’s horns on a hornless donkey.

VIII

All in all, the SPLM didn’t hint to any move of changing its name within the declared reform agenda so that the reunited party becomes re-brandedly relevant to the Republic of South Sudan. So where is the SPLM-Reunited transitioning to, if it is not willing to separate from the Sudan in order for it to adapt to South Sudan? “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin.

Bye bye to Arusha even without bringing home its real spirit of 1967. All eyes should now be starred towards Addis Ababa, because that is where the salvation of South Sudan is going to come from, if at all, it is to remain a lucky country in the world.

——-
Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer and public analyst in the area of politics. He lives in Juba and can be reached at okukjimy@hotmail.com

Kiir, Machar agree to re-unify fractured SPLM & heal war wounds in South Sudan

By: PSCU, NationMedia, ARUSHA, JAN/22/2015, SSN;

South Sudan peace talks got a major breakthrough on Wednesday as rival factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed an agreement aimed at reunifying the historical party.

Intense efforts spearheaded by regional leaders, which saw the Arusha meeting get into late night hours, marks a turning point in the bloody conflict.

(In Summary:
***** Among the issues agreed upon by both parties is the restoration of peace and stability in South Sudan and, and the demand for SPLM leadership to make a public apology to the people of South Sudan for all the atrocities committed during the bloody conflict.
***** Under the signed agreement, SPLM leaders are required to reform and transform the political party by formulating and embracing policies that allow the culture of tolerance and ideals of democracy to take root.
***** They should also formulate and implement policies that will abolish tribalism, sectarianism and militarism in politics and promote political pluralism.
The pact bans those found to have committed atrocities during the conflict from holding public office
)

The signing ceremony at Ngurdoto Hotel in Arusha was witnessed by an array of regional leaders including the host, President Jakaya Kikwete, President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar and Mr Deng Alor Kuol signed the historic agreement after SPLM Intra-Party Dialogue Summit.
The agreement puts the young African nation back on the path of peace and development.

PUBLIC APOLOGY

Among the issues agreed upon by both parties is the restoration of peace and stability in South Sudan and, and the demand for SPLM leadership to make a public apology to the people of South Sudan for all the atrocities committed during the bloody conflict.

Under the signed agreement, SPLM leaders are required to reform and transform the political party by formulating and embracing policies that allow the culture of tolerance and ideals of democracy to take root.

They should also formulate and implement policies that will abolish tribalism, sectarianism and militarism in politics, and promote political pluralism.

The pact bans those found to have committed atrocities during the conflict from holding public office.

The SPLM leaders agreed to implement and comply with all provisions of the agreement and use the IGAD-led peace talks in Addis Ababa to expedite the peace process.

The leaders are also required to initiate and implement a comprehensive programme for national unity, peace, reconciliation, healing and harmony amongst the people of South Sudan.

The three factional SPLM groups are required to embrace reunification and reconciliation of the party leadership and membership.

LEADERSHIP CODE

The party’s general secretariat shall be restructured to streamline its offices and functions to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

The National Liberation Council, the leaders agreed, shall review the contentious provisions in the draft SPLM constitution to ensure internal democracy within party structures, before its presentation to the National Convention.

The country’s Political Bureau is also required to develop a party leadership code of ethics and disciplinary procedures to be applied and upheld by all members irrespective of their positions.

The term-limit for the SPLM national and state chairpersons of the party shall be two terms of five years each, the leaders agreed.

The reunified SPLM shall abide by the terms and spirit of the IGAD Peace Agreement.

The party shall also form a transitional government in which all SPLM groups and other political parties shall participate proportionally so as to end the war and establish sustainable peace.

South Sudan Election 2015, One-man’s Ideology!

By: Peter Gai Manyuon, South Sudan, JAN/18/2015, SSN;

South Sudan Government said on 16th January 2015, it has fully prepared to go ahead with planned elections despite the United States and other foreign countries refusing to support the ballot. South Sudan’s foreign affairs minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin, called on the international community to work with South Sudan, describing the decision as disappointing.

On the other hand, the electoral commission head, Abednego Akok Kacuol vowed that the elections would go ahead as planned in accordance with the country’s Transitional Constitution.

He assured that the polls would be free and fair, despite criticisms from some political parties and civil society organizations who want peace prioritized before the elections.

The question, which is clicking in people’s minds, is, what is the reason for government of South Sudan claiming to follow the constitution when it was the violation of the constitution that has taken South Sudan to zero level internationally and regionally as per now?

How can one-man interest destroy the demand of all South Sudanese people?

In reality, South Sudanese sometimes are comedians by nature. They sometimes said controversial things that they don’t contextualize/conceptualize first on what might affect people in the Country in the near future.

Most of South Sudanese leaders don’t think for peaceful co-existence of society but rather advocating for the disintegration of society into disarray!

More interestingly, if South Sudanese leaders especially the opposition and government have sense of togetherness and patriotism about their country, why should they unite first before elections?

Very disappointing that most of South Sudanese leaders only think about their stomachs not general public!

Ideally, agenda related to the elections in South Sudan needs proper analytical thinking from all the people because it is not easy to carry out general elections when there are very many burning issues that need re-settlement at first before anything.

Logically, what kind of election could be carried out when thousands of civilians have been displaced? What election is Juba government talking about when half of the population has been massacred in Juba in 2013?

What will help South Sudanese in the election process when Greater Upper Nile region is destroyed by two warring parties?

Who will participate in the election when thousands are under United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protection? What kind of shamelessness and hopelessness is with Juba government?

Does President Kiir Mayardit and his cabinet have sense of humanity or their senses are lost? Is President and his Parliamentarians good mentally, psychologically or they want serious diagnosis from specialized medical doctors?

Truly speaking, if people have sense of humanity, what kind of election could be held when the entire Nation is in mess from National government to the states level? Do South Sudanese who are in the Electoral Commission have mental disorder or they are forced by something else?

The Chairperson of Electoral Commission of South Sudan is advocating for elections to be carried out soon in the Republic of South Sudan, when he is aware that there is civil war that has been going on and still going on in the Greater Upper Nile Region and some parts in
Bhar-Elgazal and Equatoria respectively.

Possibly, elections are supposed to come when two parties answer the reason of killings innocent civilians in South Sudan especially from Bentiu, Malakal, Bor and Juba where thousands have been massacred based on ethnicity by both sides.

President Kiir and his group MUST answer the killing of civilians at the International Criminal Court (ICC) first unless otherwise the world is happy with the genocide carried out in Juba by (Gelweng) of Kiir Mayardit and Malong Awan who is the current Chief of General Staff of the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA)-Juba in South Sudan.

Obviously, the people who are supposed to face charges for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in South Sudan are only seven individuals, the rests will come afterward.

But don’t ask the author about the names and titles of the seven individuals!

Besides, if elections are going to be carried out in all ten states of the Republic of South Sudan, will elections be free and fair or the 2010 malpractices will happen again, where Taban Deng Gai of Unity State, Kuol Manyang of Jonglei, Wani Konga of Central Equotoria, Malong Awan of Northern Bhar-Elgazal were imposed on the Citizens/public by the SPLM government of South Sudan?

Hence, if elections are to be held in South Sudan this year as some people who are not informed upstairs are advocating for, will the elections be free and fair from the National Government to the states Governments or will insurgencies increase and take over the government by force?

In summary, no one globally, regionally and nationally is of the view of carrying out elections in the Republic of South Sudan in 2015 except some few people who run the affairs of the country as tribal, family agenda/manner to fulfill the interest of consumption of country
resources in one way or the other. Very shameful scenario to be advocated for!

Conclusively; I wish Government of South Sudan should adopt evaluation mechanism to resolve the conflict with the rebels first before any agenda to do with election in June 2015.

Author is an Independent Journalist and Columnist who has written extensively on issues of Democratization Processes and Human Rights in South Sudan. Follow him on www.independentjournalistpgm.wordpress.com.

Peter Gai Manyuon,
Chief Editor/Nyamilepedia

Criticizing Pres. Kiir’s leadership is not an endorsement to Dr. Riek

By: Philips Al-Ghai, SOUTH SUDAN, JAN/12/2015, SSN;

When it comes to writing opinions about this unfortunate crisis our country has plunged into, my Nuer folks ‘in opposition’ [or at least the ‘anti-Dinka’ die-hard] unwittingly misinterpret one thing: that slamming the government’s catalytic role in this sorry state chiefly implies an approval to Dr. Riek’s rebellion. This has long become a routine precept in and out of social media.

Last time, in one of those weary October afternoons, I walked up to some of my Nuer friends over a hot cup of coffee after a long day of lectures and midterms. I would be lying if I say I completely had no hint about everyone’s eagerness to know my thoughts on the S. Sudanese issue.

But I have always felt it would only be fair to discuss such stuff with people with established steadfast objectivity.

So the first question was, predictably, whether I buy the ‘it was a coup’ cliché before the hell broke loose in Juba in December 2013, which I answered NO to everyone’s awe.

The rest of the conversation quickly spilled into praises of Dr. Riek’s PhD, his ‘successful’ S. Sudan vision, Ngundeng’s prophecies, his democratic ideas et cetera.

I had no other chance whatsoever to explain why I hold such opinion, let alone questioning some of the bizarre reasons given to justify Dr. Riek’s supposed ‘messianic’ ideas.

Realizing the topic was instantaneously venturing into some of these myopic ideas most S. Sudanese rebels hold, and with remote signs of getting another chance to raise –at least –a query in this ever diverging topic, I hastily gulped down the content of my cup and left politely.

Perhaps it is time we should isolate facts from tribal fantasies. My Nuer folks ‘in opposition’ and their cohorts need to know that Kiir’s Dinka critics do not weigh him against Dr. Riek!

Rather, they condemn him on the premise that he has needlessly allowed himself to go down the history books as the first S. Sudanese president with the blood of his voters in his hands. It is a bad precedence for a groomed son of his caliber.

For a man who had fought so relentlessly for freedom of his people, it is not only a shame but also a poison to Dinka norms.

Growing up as a young Dinka lad in the heart of liberation war, I was often told about how the Arabs enslaved our people. Stories of how our people were persecuted were narrated.

I grew up knowing that, like my elder brother (R.I.P) and every able Dinka man, I would be called upon to fight for ‘people’s freedom’ at some point. Fighting for people’s freedom was an internalized ideology; the ideology that became a social responsibility across Dinka cultures.

Having fought the war himself, Kiir was expected to champion the rule of law. That was the next level in the quest for achieving people’s freedom.

That’s why most of us are enraged when Kiir blatantly try to sit above the constitution. It is deemed a betrayal to this ideology; one of the very reason he and his comrades waged one of the world’s longest wars against Khartoum.

It is no secret most S. Sudanese vilifying the name ‘Dinka’ today either masqueraded as East Africans, or intermittently run to Khartoum when the going gets tough.

This does not justify making S. Sudan a Dinka monopoly though. But Kiir was in the heart of resilience to fight on despite series of despicable betrayals from own countrymen.

That is why we don’t want him to lose sight of the cause that has wiped his age mates out. We want traitors to watch him seeing this sacred dream through, so they might tell their offspring of their shame.

We want him to join his comrades, in the next world, if ancestors beckon, as a smiling man, a decorated executioner of the ideology that cost his tribesmen so dearly.

These expectations might be proving unrealistic for now, but we revoke him to be a great leader.

He is expected to be someone who can make selfless decisions in the glaring face of adversity, but not someone who surround himself with unproductive stooges.

We want to see him striving to bring the best of developmental services to S. Sudanese, but not disaster.

We want to see him working, and taking credit from hardworking citizens, who are giving back to their diverse societies, regardless of their political affiliations, but not someone who rewards sheer propagandists contributing little to national development and co-existence.

We want to see him standing tall for socio-politico-economic development of the country, but not social ills. You can’t simply put these expectations on a traitor and political satellite like Dr. Riek.

As things stand, Kiir might no longer fit the bill of a leader most of us envisaged him to be. But that doesn’t make Dr. Riek an alternative.

Agreed, the supposed push for the democratic change within the SPLM might not have brought about full-blown democracy, but it would have set the foundation to build on. It was a necessity.

However, a closer examination of his subsequent actions suggests it was a fluke. One can assert with certainty that Dr. Riek’s ambition was nothing more than being the next president in 2015.

Forget democratic change. This ambition became disguised in the democratic change when he accidentally found himself the highest-ranking SPLM member among those who were rightfully fighting Kiir against power monopoly.

We shouldn’t be oblivious of a huge difference between being a freedom fighter, and being a tribal warlord. The latter fittingly describes Dr. Riek.

When the reports of his apology about the 1991 Bor Massacre surfaced in 2011, I was tempted to think that his mistake was forgivable.

Most of his then comrades had hurt many S. Sudanese during the war after all, although with varying degrees. Even Dr. Garang had his, and might have been compelled to apologize to the people he hurt if he were alive.

I saw such mistakes as consequences of a long costly war, not to mention the pulling force of Sudanese Dinars from Khartoum at the time.

But the current conflict has badly exposed Dr. Riek as a blind opportunist, a poor critical thinker, and a ferocious megalomaniac. I still maintain there was NO COUP in Juba. But rebellion was never the best option for anyone harboring this enormous dream of democratic change.

Great changes are not achieved through violence. Even if that was the option, he went ahead and slaughtered the remnants of the same civilians he slaughtered in 1991.

He hunted and executed S. Sudanese contributing to the development of Nuerland (teachers, traders, engineers, lawyers…) simply because they hail from Dinka. What has tribal revenge got to do with democratic change? What is democratic about slaughtering the same citizens you purport to bring democracy to?

Precisely, Dr. Riek is using the government’s blunder to:
1) avenge his Nuer tribesmen that Kiir slaughtered in Juba,
2) get a chance to be at the helm of power, or
3) liberate Nuer nation [I’ve been hearing], of course if his dreams can be that illusive.

All these have nothing to do with democracy. Any claim that he is fighting for democratic change is nonsense, and an insult to democracy per se.

So, do not be too presumptuous when encountering a Dinka criticizing Kiir sometimes. Unlike Dr. Riek, the president has a communal ideology he is expected to fulfill. It is the same ideology that brought S. Sudanese this far. It is the same ideology that will take them even further.

That is why some of us take off tribal lenses and go hard on him. If he fails, as it seems, a new hero from the Dinka, the Nuer, or other tribes will accomplish the job for the benefit of all.

I am optimistic a hero will come. But Dr. Riek is not one, I am afraid. Because he has demonstrated again and again that he has no mental capacity, patience, and resilience required to bring the diverse people of S. Sudan to a common goal. It is the inborn leadership qualities that lead people, not PhDs!

Philips Al-Ghai is a proud S. Sudanese and can be reached at alghai211@gmail.com or on Twitter @ Al_Ghai211.

2015 Elections: The Legal Facts, Political Fictions & Democratic Fantasies

BY: JUMA Mabor MARIAL, JUBA, JAN/08/2015, SSN;

In the recent weeks, a vigorous debate has been had on the 2015 elections in South Sudan and the debate is on-going. The Elections Commission, an institution sanctioned by the law to carry out this task has made it abundantly clear that the election will take place. Political parties and other political actors have also shared their thoughts on whether there should be elections in 2015 or not.

Nonetheless, whichever views are put forward, I have reasons to believe that most of these commentators are wearing political camouflage and metal head gears.

It is within this context that a professional and neutral opinion is needed to set the rules on this debate straight and I wish to lead in this discourse not with political or other spectacles but with transparent eyeglasses as someone who is not just posting an opinion but a person who is giving an analytical view on whether there should be elections in 2015 or otherwise. I wish to do this in the following sub-headings.

The Facts and Legal Framework
Article 100 (1) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011, stipulates that; ‘the tenure of the office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan shall be five years’ and sub-article (2) of the same article states that; ‘notwithstanding article (1) above, during the transitional period the term of the President shall be four years beginning from July 9, 2011.’

This article should be read and interpreted along with Article 66 (1) of the Transitional Constitution, 2011 which states that, ‘the term of the National Legislature shall be five years and sub-section (2) states that notwithstanding article (1) above, the term of the current National Legislature shall be four years from July 9, 2011.

What these articles tell us is that the term for both the Executive and Legislature runs and ends concurrently. It also means that both their mandates end on July 9, 2015.

Article 26 of the Transitional Constitution talks about the rights of the citizens to participate in elections and it states that, ‘every citizen shall have the right to take part in any level of government directly or through freely chosen representative, and shall have the right to nominate himself or herself or be nominated for a public post or office in accordance with this constitution and the law.’

It added that, ‘every citizen shall have the right to vote or be elected in accordance with this constitution and the law.’ Whether the spirit of this article can be achieved in the proposed elections is a topic of debate as we move along this article.

The South Sudan Elections Act, 2012 talks generally about the procedures to be used in approaching elections. The act deals with issues of registration of candidates, screening and creating polling centers. The list is long on the ethics and guidelines through which the Commission is supposed to conduct elections but above all, the Commission is tasked with conducting free, fair, transparent, democratic and peaceful elections.

It is in regard of the above articles that concentrated debate on the elections is provoked because, typically, the elections as per the above provisions should take place in June 2015 while a new democratically elected government is expected to be sworn in and take over office by July 9, 2015.

This is also the basic reason why most of the proponents of elections talk about the legitimacy of the government and the necessity for holding elections in 2015.

Customarily, most countries carry out their general elections after every four or five years, examples in this case are Kenya, USA, and Uganda. Rwanda holds its Presidential and Parliamentary elections after every seven years. This is just but an illustration of systematic renewable of political mandate within the region and beyond but the issue here is what happened in case the elections do not take place within the constitutionally stipulated time?

This question looks first at the circumstances under which the delay in elections come in and then, legal measures are taken to address what is likely to amount to constitutional crisis and power vacuum.

For instance, Kenya after the promulgation of its constitution in August 2010 had stipulated that its general elections under a new constitutional dispensation shall take place in August 2012; unfortunately, this didn’t happen largely due to a number of reforms agenda that were supposed to be carried out including establishing an independent Judiciary before the elections.

The Kenyan Parliament (now Defunct) felt that it was necessary to extend the term of the incumbent government for at least five months in order to create time and establish the institutional reforms needed, this wasn’t done by decrees but through amending the provisions that deals with elections in the constitution. Ultimately, Kenya held it elections successfully in March 2013.

Several models of postponed elections on numerous circumstances are in abundance and this leads me to the next question; Is South Sudan general election, in fact its first general election after her independence faced with the circumstances as experienced by other countries?

This question can be answered in the next sub-heading if I were to answer it adequately.

Political Fictions
South Sudan has been engulfed in conflict with itself for over a year now and consequent of this conflict, it democratic rating, economic strengths, the unity of its people, social and political fabrics have been highly obstructed.

Such factors do not provide not only room for elections but also poison the environment for any significant and meaningful elections to take place legitimacy of the government notwithstanding. This is just a hypothesis as I am yet to draw my conclusions at the end of this article.

But before I reach there, we must quickly answer the question as to whether the circumstances that our country are in now allows for elections to take place. The first answer would be NO on many grounds.

One, there is insecurity across the country and carrying out elections in such an environment would not allow the citizens to freely exercise their democratic rights and vote for whoever they want as there would be fears all over.

Secondly, elections need funds and throughout the world, no single country can afford to fund its own elections, international funding is needed to help in conducting successful elections and in the absence of this support as that is the likely probability, contemplating to fund elections single handedly is an economic suicide.

Thirdly, in each election, at least two or more political parties must contest and as things stands now, almost all the political parties except SPLM mainstream are against any holding of the elections and this therefore means, if the elections were to take place as advocated for by some actors, it would mean SPLM contesting against itself.

Fourthly, doing elections in 2015 is an official declaration of subsequent instability in the country as those who may lose will have no choice but to go Athor-Yau Yau’s direction. Unfortunately, their retreat will not be independent as was that of Athor and YauYau but will immediately lean towards joining the other side against the government.

Fifthly, elections are about asking people to freely select those they think can represent them efficiently and deliver service to them effectively. The 2015 elections will not do that because anyone who does not vote for a candidate especially if such a candidate comes from SPLM will be branded as from the other side, this therefore means that, there will be a lot of intimidation, coercion and other irregularities than what had happened in 2010.

The 2015 elections if it is allowed to happen shall be a replica of what happened in Uganda in 2012 elections when the incumbent Ugandan President sent his troops to the streets across the country to ensure that all the votes are tailored in his favour.

Lastly, the time is so limited if the Chairperson of the election Commission said that the elections are scheduled to take place on June 30, 2015. Voter registration needs up to three good months, primaries by political parties need at least two or so months and many other pre-election arrangements have to be put in place including the security set up for any meaningful elections to take place.

All these are underlying challenges that should not be overlooked because ideally, no country can risk going for elections with these long list of challenges. But…

The question of legitimacy of the government comes in here; the proponents of 2015 elections are quoting precedents from countries like Syria and Libya as countries that did their elections during the crises. Yes, it is true but again, how legitimate was their legitimacy?

The question of legitimacy should not only be looked at as stipulated in the constitution, there are other thresholds that should be considered in addition to the constitutional provisions on legitimacy and some of these prerequisites include but not limited to;

Will the region and international community recognize the legitimacy of the government elected? Are the citizens or electorates happy and will they recognize the government and the process?

Is the environment in which the elections are being conducted free and fair to the extent that all electorates shall have the freedom to choose who they wish should represent them in the government plus, would there have been any other better alternatives in which the tenure of the executive and legislature legitimized than venturing into elections that would be a pandora box?

All such questions are what should be considered and addressed before any country could talk about going for elections.

Yes, the government may use the elections as the means to put pressure on the rebels to concede to its position in the peace-talks but is this a long term solution to the crises in South Sudan, the government may too be assuming and maybe telling the international community that, despite the crises, the country is still on track and has its plans on course.

Maybe yes, maybe not, but altogether, it should be applauded that the proponents on the government side are now finding it necessary to implement the constitution at some point.

The unfortunate thing is that, since the adoption of the Transitional constitution five years ago, it has occurred on several occasions that the constitution has been implemented selectively and this is manifested on article 101 (s) and (r) regarding the removal and elections of governors.

Nevertheless, the insistence on elections in June 2015 is all a political game that is being qualified by constitutional provisions. It is to some extent a political fiction intended to reaffirm legitimacy and disregard all the consequences that comes with it.

Democratic Fantasies
I named the calls for elections in 2015 in South Sudan “Democratic Fantasy’ because the object for holding elections every five or four years throughout the world is always to allow people exercise their democratic rights and choose people that they think will represent them well in the government.

It is always a social theory contract between the people and the ones that they are giving five or so years to govern them.

But in this case, 2015 elections may not be that kind of theory because, people maybe forced to vote for those they don’t want or are tied with or there could as well be voter apathy since most people may feel that the elections are not carried out not because the government want to renew its vows and political ideologies to the people but it is only doing elections because its legitimacy is in jeopardy.

It means that, after the reaffirmation of legitimacy, it will be business as usual. The fact that other countries like Syria carried out their regular elections despite the crises is not a successful precedent that can be emulated if there are alternatives for extension of the lifetime of the incumbent Executive and Legislature.

Recommendations
Using my transparent spectacles in this debate, I wish to give the stakeholders that are engaged and involved in the elections debate the following recommendations;

1. The government especially the SPLM should use it parliamentary majority in the Legislature to amend articles 66 and 100 of the Transitional Constitution 2011 to extend the life of the current Executive and Legislature for at least two or three years. The amendment bill should be based on the above mentioned challenges while precisely; it should be used to give ample time for the on-going peace talks to come to their logical conclusion.

2. The rebels if they intend to do reforms in this country as they usually claim must not cheat themselves that delaying to sign peace agreement with the hopes to declare the government illegitimate when July 9, 2015 comes are misplaced calculations because this wishful thoughts are taken care of by recommendation number one there above. The best these people can do is to engage the government to sign peace and then come and follow up on the reform agenda that they are so much advocating for. The prerequisite for this will be the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity which will automatically render the debate on elections obsolete.

3. The regional and international community if they want South Sudan to be peaceful and develop democratically must do two things, one, they must take away all the strings that they have attached to the peace talks in Addis Ababa and speed up the process of facilitating and honestly pressurizing the warring parties to sign the peace agreement.

Secondly, they must convince the rebels and government that strategies and conspiracies to provoke elections to take place and render it null and void or forcing it to happen are not going to help the people of South Sudan in both their peaceful co-existence and democratic prospects. The rebels will swallow it bitter if the elections take place and the government gets another five years mandate.

4. The elections Commission instead of now playing a complacent role of telling people that there should be elections on July 9, 2015 should be a professional and neutral body that advises on what should be the best alternative in the circumstances like what the country is in now.

The election Commission is not a government employee or parastatal to the extent that, if the government says there will be elections or no elections, then it follows suit. It must have its own independent opinion on whether or not there should be elections or otherwise. All in all, the Commission has been unable to conduct by-elections in the four states that the governors were sacked on excuses of having no money, where would it now get the whooping 1.5 billion required to conduct country-wide elections. I think some reasoning is needed here.

5. The proponents of elections must look beyond legitimacy question, there is more to elections than just reaffirmation of positions because as this is achieved, the issues of democracy, trust, confidence and even the absolute legitimacy itself would have been thrown out of the window because meeting an electoral date is just one thing but nurturing nascent democracy like ours is another because after all, There are alternatives to renewing the legitimacy of the current government as articulately stated in recommendation one above.

Conclusion
Legally speaking, elections can take place in accordance with the provisions of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 but alternatively, the challenges as navigated through there above can be considered if the unity, peace, stability and democratic future of South Sudan and its people is used as a recipe to determine its future affairs.

I am against the holding of elections in 2015 not because I am speaking for anyone but it is because I feel that, elections in the circumstances our country is in now would be largely an exercise in futility.

Juma Mabor Marial
Trainee Advocate, Juba
jummabor@gmail.com

South Sudan: The New Nation in Sorry Predicament after Independence

By: John Juac, Windsor, CANADA, JAN/06/2015, SSN;

There is no doubt that 2011 was an exciting time for most southerners. The nation, whose existence was denied and held in subordinate attachment to Arab Muslims North’s imperialist dominance, had just established its claim to be its own master. And with that came a deep sense of self-respect and hope for the future. The nationalists who then barely merited the attention of serious statesmen became the heirs of new empire.

Today, there is a dominant sense of disillusionment and disbelief that most people have when they complain about where they appear to have landed in post-independence South Sudan. All the heady hopes seem to have turned into ash and there are few who would be prepared to say they are happy with how things have turned out.

Indeed, things clearly did not work the way the people expected they would. They thought that political independence would just benefit everybody in terms of more jobs and higher wages and personal security and social bond, but political independence is the beginning of a daunting national task.

The nation is the community which has established its preeminent, offering an escape from frustration and a reconstituted social bond to ink individuals together. Despite Western protests that African nationalism has outlived its day, an increase rather than a decline in its hold can be expected in South Sudan.

Thus, there is an urgent need of development along modern lines drawing larger numbers of people into a sense of national consciousness. The multiplication of the educated and partially educated creates a mass audience which is potentially manipulable through the channels of mass communications and to which the symbols and battle cries of nationalism offer the easiest means of access.

It has been pointed out that the more restrained and part-time nationalism of the first leaders, relying largely on rational persuasion with little attempt to secure broad popular participation, has given way to more militant ethnic movements led by men who make politics their full-time career.

The turn of events in Africa’s new nation within a space of three years should be used as a sample of probable future troubles. South Sudan’s progress to independence has been relatively smooth, and yet there is growing popular dissatisfaction with the first President, Salva Kiir, and his Sudan’s People Liberation Movement under whose aegis independence had been secured in 2011.

In part, this represents only the usual swing of political pendulum away from a governing group that has had a long lease on power, but other matters are involved.

The nationalist government’s utter failure to design mechanisms for sharing the fruits of liberation struggle among all communities and attacks by security forces on journalists and human rights advocates have severely undermined citizen’s confidence in the state since independence. A survey conducted in 2013 found that half of the country’s population said their government was “headed in a wrong direction “and that is not a surprise.

At independence, expectations were high among urban residents desiring quick improvements in security, governance and development. While some gains have been made since the peace agreement was signed in 2005, careful observers argued that the needs are enormous and will take time to get them on track.

It is also important to recognize that the territory became an independent state with virtually no physical infrastructure and very limited experience of effective governance.

Managing expectations is a key challenge for the nationalist government, but the depth of frustration among urban dwellers at the slow rate of progress is also a reflection of growing dissatisfaction over corruption and perceptions of government disinterest in meeting citizens’ needs, coupled with ethnic conflicts and power struggle within the ruling clique.

So the nationalist government’s failure to address these pressing problems has exacerbated perceptions of marginalization and discrimination and further alienated some from the state.

Salva Kiir, a man who had involved in twenty-year guerrilla war against the bloody Islam fundamentalist rulers of Sudan, rise to power followed the tragic death of John Garang in a plane crash in 2005. He assumed the reins of power to begin the hard work of rebuilding the war-ravaged self-autonomous region, but his many critics contended that Kiir’s ascension to throne “has been another tragic accident of history.”

According to critics, “his leadership has not only been a hopeless failure but also a disgrace to South Sudanese society….he has lost a sense of circumstances in the nascent country and exposed it to greater risks and the risks are born by those least able to cope with them.”

Critics also noted that the country is run by a small literate minority which has abandoned peasant majority in rural poverty. South Sudan is characterized by peasant masses living at the subsist level, overwhelming illiterate, acquainted not only with the great world but even with their own country and accustomed to a high degree of social stratification.

The further division in the country, emphasizing the group between the Dinka majority and the several minorities and leading to bitter and bloody battles with minorities.

The experience of South Sudan calls attention to one phase of problem which is certain to be increasing importance: the gap between the mass of peasantry and the dominant Westernized few continues to be immense, and must be narrowed as the time goes by.

With rare exceptions, however, it still remains true that the backwardness of the villages and their isolation from each other and from the urban centers has prevented the rural elements from mobilizing sufficient strength to challenge the dominant leadership.

What will be the mood and the outlook of the rising masses of South Sudanese society as they come to awareness that at long last they can have a determining say in their own destiny and that of their rulers?

In part, the answer must depend on the balance between the attachments of the rural people to their traditional ways of life and their effective desire for speedy movement into modern politics.

The tendency of the nationalist parties to be built around dominant personalities rather than on programs focusing on consolidation and economic development has been noted, and Salva Kirr’s rise to power makes it absurd to regard this emphasis on personal leadership as a peculiarly African aberration.

Salva Kiir is a divisive figure. While some are proud of the role he played in making an independent South Sudan possible, others doubt his intellectual attributes and honesty and point to many accusations of corruption within the nationalist government.

Further, his political opponents have raised the questions about his commitment to democratic principles and a process of decentralization, bringing government closer to the people and ensuring political elites cannot risk ignoring the concerns of ordinary citizens in every part of the country.

Subsequent events- such as the government’s imprisonment of some members of the ruling SPLM implicated in a December failed coup- have shown the precariousness in the new nation of basic democratic rights.

Conclusion
The turn of the events in the newly established state of South Sudan clearly illustrates what is often described as paradoxes of independence. With the attainment of national sovereignty in 2011, a spirit of triumphalism swept through the new state.

Euphoric impression was that the long war of independence had finally ended with the victory of South Sudanese people, but this very victory has been stolen from them. It has offered those in power a unique opportunity to impose a tyrannical regime.

We are now witnessing, however, a distrust of and grassroots reaction against the actions of the tyrannical regime and its security forces. People are disenchanted with big government bureaucracies and self-serving nationalist politicians deciding what is best for them. They are also fed up with the government’s bureaucratic process, in which Salva Kirr tries to push manipulations behind closed-doors dealings with a band of armed groups, all the time ignoring the public will.

Salva Kiir has made the happiness of few more important than the happiness of many. The benefits arising from political change has been directed to towards private and not towards public advantage. In addition, the political power within the new nation has not been controlled on behalf of the entire community, but has been entrusted to a few irresponsible individuals.

Salva Kiir and his followers do not even entertain the idea that human life and dignity are matters of great importance. It has been reported over and over that most citizens view his government as the major problem and that there is a growing revolt in the countryside against bureaucratic government policies which have miserably failed to protect them from numerous armed gangs.

The fiasco surrounding the current negotiations in the Ethiopian capital is the case in point. It has become clear to many that Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are playing a self-serving, mean-spirited game of divide and conquer politics, manipulating peace negotiations and closing their ears to the public will.

The two notorious warlords deciding the fate of a nation behind the closed doors appears an arrogant abuse of power which has angered most people because it constitutes a grave insult to them.

The regime’s actions and that of rat age army of rebels have shown how far we have strayed from the goal of participatory democracy and community involvement. It has also become clear to those in the neighboring countries that these two men have not lived up to what they promised they would accomplish.

The inability of state system which they set up at independence to genuinely understand the needs for its citizens in rural areas and urban centers has now dashed away the hope of the entire nation.

South Sudan is an oil producing country which receives millions of petrodollars every month, but there is not a single shirred of evidence that the standard of living for its citizens has improved relative to what it was prior to 2005.

Recent reports by international financial institutions have indicated that the public resources, particularly oil revenues have been diverted into private projects, ranging from business ventures to huge investments in Arab banks and business ventures in Khartoum and Middle East, real estate business in America and Australia, where most of these are registered either in spouses or children’s names.

In 2010, both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar were caught red handed on the Transparency International Report respecting to South Sudanese government officials who were found to have stashed millions of dollars in European banks.

Salva Kiir’s leadership and erratic behavious of Riek Machar have not resulted in peace and security and economic development. The net effect of the current leadership has all benefited party leaders at the expense of many South Sudanese, and one wonders why Riek Machar opted for revolutionary model of overthrowing of the existing party rule when it had singnificantly benefited him before his quick fallout with his colleagues.

For some, it is one of the tricks of history that when a national task faces society, and the class that can carry it out is absent, some self-serving politicians implement it. And in the case of South Sudan, these self-serving politicians are Riek Machar and his militant armed factions that have turned the young country into the slaughtering house.

Riek Machar has excelled in his peculiar environment by mastering one requirement of power: the art of manipulating potent symbols, masking his personal agenda in a larger, legitimating cause.

It must be a cause which justifies extreme measures, and for Nuer peasants, it makes sense to sacrifice their lives. He has played a central part as the leader and unifier of Nuer communities, and above all as manipulator of Nuer soldiers within the army in the current armed conflict, which has left thousands dead and forced thousands more from their homes.

Riek Machar and his militant armed factions have also posed as the neutral arbiters of South Sudanese nation against sectional interests and with a clear concept of what the nation means to them. They see themselves as the exalted agents of political transformation in South Sudan.

In conclusion, Riek Machar’s exaggerated power derives directly from the feebleness of other national political groups and their political nullity. The desire of Riek Machar and his militant armed factions is to rise above society, but this tendency must be checked. If it is free of the constraints and discipline of a wider nation, it will show much more extreme tendencies towards vacillation and splits.

According to his recent interview with foreign journalists, the ruthless warlord asserted that a revolutionary throw of the existing order is the surest path to political power.

Undoubtedly, a revolutionary war often results in the displacement of one ruling class by another, but all ruling classes are minorities against the ruled mass of the people. The following is a conversation between Lucile Desmoulins and Danton: So has the Revolution a philosophy, Lucile wanted to know, has it a future?

She dared not ask Robespierre, or he would lecture her for the afternoon on the General Will: or Camile, for fear of a thoughtful and coherent two hours on the development of the Roman Republic. So she asked Danton. “Oh, I think it has a philosophy, he said seriously. Grab what you can, and get out while going’s good.”

John Juac Deng
Journalist/writer
E-mail: juacd@yahoo.ca