Category: Featured

“Deal with Pres. Kiir, don’t kill yourselves or rob others:” Advice to unpaid SPLA soldiers

EDITORIAL: JUN/25/2016, SSN;

Sadly, because of Pres. Kiir’s SPLM misrule, South Sudan is today a nation morbidly in a state of exacerbated schizophrenia. A few days ago, an SPLA national army soldier in Juba, after helplessly watching his children die of hunger because he wasn’t paid his salary for months, reportedly “decided to shoot himself dead after realizing that he’s nothing at hand to support his remaining family and there was nobody willing to pity his situation and offer psychological support after losing some of his kids due to hunger.” (Quoted from Sudan Tribune, June, 21, 2016)

It is not uncommon in Juba and across the country these days to hear stories of soldiers and other citizens walking around like zombies having not eaten any proper meal for days. Many incidents have been reported of SPLA soldiers, especially Dinka from Aweil and other areas of Bahr el Ghazel, who’re recently deployed to Juba, impulsively walking into a restaurant and occupying a table but have no money to make an order.

Pathetically, these severely desperate soldiers sincerely confess that they’re seriously starving for days because they’d no salaries paid and hence no money; thereby, the restaurant owner and other sympathetic patrons would cash in and pay for these soldiers’ once-in-a-life-time-chance of a good meal.

Without any doubts, the blame for such tragedies and abomination squarely lies with their leaders, specially president Salva Kiir himself, his ministers and the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Paul Malong, and it’s they who’re morally and politically responsible for the reported deaths of the soldier himself and his kids from starvation.

Yes, it’s they, these aforementioned so-called leaders who should deservedly get the blame or the bullet for their egregious crimes of misruling the nation, misappropriating the monies and redeploying to an evidently alien Jubek State of these soldiers at a time of supposed peace, unless, of course, if them leaders have a hidden and sinister agenda.

It’s utterly unimaginable that the world’s newest nation which at its inception in 2005 had billions of dollars at hand and was the envy of all its neighbours as it had a promising future to rise up as the Qatar or Dubai of the whole Eastern and Central Africa.

More billions of dollars poured into the newest country’s coffers from sympathetic and benevolent nations across the world, all this aid was meant to speedily expedite the economic and social recovery of the long disenfranchised and oppressed citizens of the South Sudan nation.

Unfortunately, a bunch of senseless, selfish and unpatriotic so-called ‘leaders’ in this monstrosity known as the SPLM/A who in 2005 usurped the power in Juba, criminally ex-sanguinated this promising nation to death.

Today, the South Sudan is visibly and palpably in a state of political rigor mortis, the economy has totally collapsed with a valueless currency, the government is practically dysfunctional as the two antagonistic factions of the ruling SPLM are impeding each other’s efforts and there is no national, moral or political cohesiveness.

The nation, without any argument, is on unstoppable path of mutual destruction, politically, economically and socially. From the judges, doctors, teachers and other sectors of the government, workers are on strikes because the government simply has no more money to pay salaries or provide basic services.

Of course, South Sudan isn’t the first country in Africa to experience the disappointments and disasters of post-independence misrule by own national rulers, however, we are exceptionally unfortunate in the sense that unlike the other African countries, no soldiers have intervened by means of a coup to rid us of these hooliganistic rulers in Juba.

In our particularity, nonetheless, eleven years (??probably more to go) of Kiir’s SPLM tyranny is obviously too long a time to endure and by all means it mustn’t be needlessly extended as this will only bitterly and painfully exacerbate the deplorable suffering of our people.

Post-independence across Africa, as their previously perceived leaders who rightly usurped power from the colonials became corrupt and dictatorial, the countries’ soldiers toppled these presidents to save their own particular countries from disaster.

One by one, those once highly esteemed and famous independence leaders from Egypt to Sudan and Algeria, from Ethiopia to Somalia and Zanzibar, from Lumumba’s Congo, to Chad and Central Africa, and from Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana, Guinea’s Sekou Toure to Dahomey, all were shamefully deposed from power and were either incarcerated, exiled or deliberately assassinated.

Even our immediate neighbors, Jomo Kenyatta’s Kenya, Milton Obote’s Uganda and Julius Nyerere’s Tanganyika all suffered foiled attempted coups at that time and each of these had to dramatically change his political compass to ensure some political longevity.

Of the three, only Uganda’s Obote eventually succumbed to a military coup as a result of his perceived ‘dictatorial reign of terror’ but he luckily escaped with his life.

South Sudanese are seriously in extreme state of melancholia, despondency and wretchedness that have been irresponsibly brought and imposed on them by those of president Kiir and his corrupt clique in the country.

Sadly, the road ahead is heavily mined with difficulties as recently decried by President Festus Mogae of Botswana, who is heading the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission to expedite the implementation of the peace accord.

Mr. Mogae is sadly pained with “a heavy heart” over the impending risks facing the implementation of the peace in South Sudan which is currently in a stalemate because there’s no tangible progress that has materialized on the vital issues, namely:
1- Revocation of the Establishment Order regarding the number of States
2- Reinstatement of Civil Servants
3- Release of prisoners and detainees
4- Cantonment areas creation in Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazel regions and lastly,
5- The expanded National Legislative Assembly formation.

Obviously, it’s president Kiir’s pigheaded intransigence to accede to the above changes that is proving the greatest impediment to the realization of peace in the country and the major obstacle to the flow of financial assistance into the country.

In short, perhaps it’s rightly the time to call for a second liberation struggle to finally rid from power in Juba of Kiir and his regime who’ve undoubtedly proven themselves as the main causes to all the suffering, desolation and wretchedness now needlessly brought on the once heroic freedom-fighters SPLA soldiers in particular and the rest of the citizens in general. END

Accountability is the vehicle for stability in South Sudan

BY: Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok, JUN/21/2016, SSN;

The alleged joint letter by the President and the First Vice President that was published by the New York Times couldn’t have come at a better time. It provided the South Sudanese people with the opportunity to know early on how committed are the principal parties to the issue of accountability as stipulated in the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS).

The revelation of the hiring of a public relations firm in drafting the letter and in ensuring its publication on New York Times shows how desperate the regime has become in its bid to evade justice.

Ironically, the government that has mistreated and accused some honest citizens of undermining South Sudan’s sovereignty finds nothing wrong in enlisting the services of a foreign firm in a matter that has far-reaching national security implications.

It’s unbecoming of the President to incorporate the name of the First Vice President in a fake letter without his consent. One would have expected the President to come forward and state his case before the nation rather than trying to share the responsibility of his actions and positions with his First Vice President.

It’s a bizarre and a fraudulent act at the highest office in the land. The scenario is quite damaging to the office of the Presidency, and as usual, under Kiir’s reign, we ended up being ridiculed around the world.

Three weeks ago, Daniel Awet Akot, the Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs criticised the international community for pushing for the establishment of the Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) as prescribed by ARCISS. He argued that it would derail the peace process and that it should be delayed, and priority should be given to reconciliation and to building trust between the parties.

But how can we build confidence while criminals are left on the loose?! And how long should the formation of the HCSS be delayed? Will it be for the entire period of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) as suggested by some supporters of the regime?

And should that be the case, will it not interfere with the expected elections in 2018? President Kiir, who is topping the list of suspects has already unofficially declared his intention to stand for election in 2018; will that not result in a serious conflict of interest and hindrance to the functioning of the court?

The HCSS is an integral part of ARCISS; hence, the postponement of its formation is in itself a violation of ARCISS. Either we have an agreement that needs implementing in its totality or we haven’t got one. Forgoing one of the pillars of the peace deal would leave the door wide-open for reluctance or refusal to honour the rest of the commitments and a consequent collapse of the whole peace process.

It’s a calculated attempt to water down the provisions of the peace agreement. Accountability does not cancel reconciliation or vice versa. Both processes could be carried out side by side if a lasting peace is to be realised.

It transpires that some are worried about individuals who may well be targets for indictments by the HCSS thus would pose a threat to the peace process as a whole. Whether these concerns are genuine or a sort of scare tactics employed by the regime – Justice cannot be held hostage by a bunch of individuals who may well be criminals and continue to hold positions of authority.

I believe the South Sudanese are not in a position to appease those who have committed war crimes and are certainly not afraid of what such people might do. Many countries went through similar circumstances as South Sudan but they did the right thing.

In Rwanda, where an estimated 800,000 people were killed between April and June 1994 in the worst genocide ever on the African continent – the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was established on 08/11/1994 by the UN Security Council resolution 955. That was within 5 months from the end of the war. There was no such thing as delaying justice for the sake of building trust between the adversaries.

In the case of the massacres in the former Yugoslavia, the UN Security Council Resolution 827 for the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was passed on 25/05/1993, while the war was still raging in some parts of the country. The Srebrenica genocide where 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslims) men and boys were killed actually took place after the formation of the ICTY.

Therefore, the formation of the HCSS is most required sooner than later and is already overdue. Its establishment would bolster the chances of a genuine reconciliation between the communities as people would be encouraged to engage in a national dialogue for peace knowing that the rule of law is being upheld. It’s unlikely that a well-informed community would defend or hide a criminal even if he or she is one of its own.

President Slobodan Milosevic’ of Serbia, President Radovan Karadz’ic’ of the Bosnian Serbs and General Ratko Mladic’, the Bosnian Serbs Military leader were all extradited to The Hague to face justice for their roles in the Bosnian genocide through the cooperation of their people.

Some suspects may seem invincible to some people or they may think they are so but once the indictments are handed down by the HCSS – that invincibility would vanish in no time. As for those in the government who have threatened to follow the footsteps of Al Qaeda and cohorts – they should be mindful of the fact that the terrain in South Sudan is not similar to the Tora Bora mountain range in Afghanistan that facilitates hiding.

With the collapse of the economy and failure to pay salaries for the soldiers – our bogus Generals would likely find themselves on their own. The HCSS may have little to do tracking down the fleeing Generals as their soldiers would no longer be keen to protect them thus would rather hand them over to the court.

It must be clear the accountability we mean is the one that will bring all criminals from all parties to book. There should be no one above the law. It’s not just a matter of seeking justice for the grieving families and victims but is a moral obligation on our part as citizens.

It also sets up the foundation for a just, law-abiding and peace-loving society. Some may say atrocities have been committed since 1983, so why precedence is given to the December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians than the others?

My answers to this valid question are as follows: Firstly, the HCSS has a specific mandate and jurisdiction that does not include war crimes committed before the December 2013 massacre.

Secondly, the trial of suspects for the recent atrocities does not negate setting up a special court for the previous crimes if deemed practicable. However, such a court would face insurmountable difficulties in collecting evidence for crimes committed over a quarter of a century ago. The forensic evidence has already been lost, and the credible eye-witnesses might have perished in the course of that war or indeed in the recent conflict.

Thirdly, the chances for the international community to establish a court for the previous atrocities are quite remote. The international law is based on precedents among other things. What happened before were atrocities committed by rebel factions in the absence of the rule of law. The international community has never set up a court in the past for trial of leaders of rebel factions. There is no precedence.

Therefore, such an undertaking by the international community is very unlikely. However, we do realise that some of the suspects in the previous atrocities are also suspects in the recent ones, hence, would not escape justice this time if proven to have recommitted crimes.

Many observers and even supporters have been wondering about what is going on in the SPLM/A-IO camp. The majority of the South Sudanese people would certainly give Dr Riek Machar a thumbs-up for his endeavours to reach out to the communities by delivering speeches at church congregations and private meetings. Organising public rallies would have been a much effective way of getting his message across to the populace.

He has been talking about reconciliation and the need for forgiveness which resonated very well with the majority of the people. However, it has been noted that the word accountability never came up in his speeches.

Despite the fact that the alleged joint letter has now been proven to be a scam, yet a cloud of suspicion continues to hang over Dr Riek Machar regarding his real position about accountability. A direct statement from him would have dissipated that cloud of suspicion immediately and for good.

It’s one thing when the Press Secretary, James Gatdet, refutes the letter and it’s another when the denial comes straight from Dr Riek Machar because it will not be merely a denial but a reaffirmation of his position.

The SPLM/A-IO leadership has much to lose with the delay or the abolition of the HCSS than SPLM/A-IG. In fact, Kiir and cohorts would like the HCSS to be no more, and should that happen; they would be the ultimate winners.

Therefore, the SPLM/A-IO should be wary of public support because it’s never absolute and could change rapidly simply because of lack of clarity or when politicians give mixed messages about important issues like accountability.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

To Salva Kiir and Riek Machar: Don’t promote amnesty for killers

By: Dr. Remember Miamingi, South Sudanese, Univ. of Pretoria, South Africa, JUN/17/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: What has most destabilised South Sudan is not fear of justice, but perpetual impunity and the rewarding of war crimes with power and wealth.

In December 2013, South Sudanese soldiers of Dinka ethnicity, under the command of President Salva Kiir, went on a house-to-house rampage shooting, hacking and decapitating defenceless men, women and children of Nuer ethnicity. Many who tried to escape were herded together into grass-thatched-houses, which were doused with kerosene and set alight. Others were handcuffed and thrown into the River Nile.

A rebel movement under the leadership of former vice president Riek Machar reacted by mowing down several others, decapitating the bodies of those killed, amputating the limbs and raping children and women. These chilling eye witness accounts were documented by the UN, AU and other human rights organisations and media outlets.

A peace deal was finally signed in August last year, which called a Truth and Reconciliation process as well as an international tribunal, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, which would punish those found guilty of war crimes. On June 7, Mr Kiir who remains South Sudan’s president, and Dr Machar, who is once again First Vice President, co-authored a New York Times Op- Ed piece arguing that the Hybrid Court should be scrapped in order for the country to move on and rebuild. The Truth and Reconciliation process would provide healing, they wrote, but disciplinary justice would only open old wounds.

I beg to differ. What Kiir and Machar are suggesting is amnesty for the killers, and denial of justice for the victims in the name of stability. This is blackmail. Certainly, South Sudan’s people and the rest of the world need to know the truth, but Truth and Reconciliation Commissions should not serve as veils to protect truth-telling-criminals. In any case, many of the details of the worst abuses are already in the public domain. For Kiir and Machar, reconciliation and justice is a zero-sum game.

In their Op-Ed, Kiir and Machar cite the examples of Northern Ireland and South Africa, both of which help Truth and Commissions, but not trials. The assumption that these models worked and on the basis of a blanket amnesty provision is misleading. In both cases, the quest for accountability remains the unfinished business of these societies threatening to further destabilise these countries, especially in the South African case.

In 2009, Eames-Bradley Report recommended justice through accountability for Northern Ireland. In South Africa, the TRC recommended prosecution as a complementary mechanism to its mandate. In addition, the context and the nature of the conflicts in these two countries are also different.

It is not true that the quest of accountability through trial is unavoidably destabilising. Sierra Leone and Rwanda provide examples where trials did not lead to return to war. In Sierra Leone, the Hybrid Court tried individuals bearing the greatest responsibility for international crimes. In Rwanda, in addition to a UN Criminal Tribunal, the Rwandese government conducted mass trials using traditional mechanisms. These two countries are still stable today.

What has most destabilised South Sudan is not fear of justice, but perpetual impunity and the rewarding of war crimes with power and wealth. Can we really trust these two men to preside over a process that provides healing and justice to their victims?

It was the failure of Kiir and Machar to talk in the first place that led to the brutal war and to its prolongation. How can the two now say the world should leave them to talk their way out of criminal culpability and expect the world to trust them? And will powerful nations fail to respond firmly to those who sent thousands of children and women to their untimely graves?

Dr Miamingi is a South Sudanese and a human rights practitioner. He is affiliated with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria.
remember.miamingi@gmail.com

President Kiir and JCE’s obstruction of the implementation of the ARCISS

BY: Elhag Paul, JUN/10/2016, SSN;

Obstruction is the order of the day in the current transitional government of national unity in the Republic of South Sudan. Cambridge Dictionaries define it as, “behaviour or actions that prevent something from happening or working correctly.” If our understanding is correct and if we are to believe President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar repeated pledges that they are wholly committed to the implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS), we should be seeing them working together amicably to bring peace.

The transitional government by now should have demonstrated itself as a viable united entity capable of carrying out its duties and obligations as stipulated in the agreement. The realities, however, are different.

President Kiir under heavy influence of his tribal group the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) has mined the road to peace, obstructing the smooth implementation of the agreement.

President Kiir’s obstructions appear to be a carefully thought out design to first waste time, secondly to provoke a conflict and thirdly to ensure that the Jieng prevail at the end.

Let us look at these points to broaden our understanding of this phenomenon of obstruction. President Kiir and his supporters are not happy with ARCISS right from the beginning because they see this agreement as the tool for ‘rebooting’ the country.

They hate change, after all they are the people benefiting from their own misrule and they would not want to lose the spoils.

In the last ten years, President Kiir’s regime has managed to fill 90 percent of the entire civil service with Jieng people most of whom are either unqualified or under qualified. Just go to any office in the country and the stark reality of Jieng domination will stare you in the face.

This Jienganisation of the civil service is also replicated in the security sector (army, police, prisons, wild life, intelligent services..etc).

With such violently obtained benefits the Jieng regime is uncomfortable with ideas of change. However, for the sake of peace the country must be a country for all and not a single tribe. Thus change is a must.

The regime having been cornered and forced by the international community to form a transitional government of national unity, the Jieng cabal in Juba now wants to wriggle out of the agreement to maintain their domination and the continuation of their grip on power.

It appears that time-wasting is one of the strategies President Kiir and company have adopted to realise that end. Since the agreement was signed in August 2015 they created obstacles after obstacles to obstruct the implementation of the agreement.

Contrary to the agreement, President Kiir started by issuing a decree (Establishment Order 36/2015) slicing the country into 28 ethnic states. Then he heavily militarised Juba by bringing in thousands more of Jieng militia from Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile. These two actions effectively put a break on the implementation process.

From then on to now this has consumed nearly ten months of wasted time. This strategy works for President Kiir and group because it is buying time for them in the sense that they continue to rule.

So long as the Jieng are in charge the type of government does not matter to them because essentially they see it as a cow to milk and they will shamelessly milk it. In fact they are partially happy that ARCISS has given them 3 more years of legitimate tenure.

If such obstructions aren’t firmly stopped the envisaged 30 months of implementation will soon run out without any tangible change from the agreement and no doubt President Kiir will declare the agreement null and void. Dinkocracy then continues and everything is back to square one – no change.

The second strategy appears to be around provoking another conflict to kill the agreement. The fact that the demilitarisation of towns as envisioned in the agreement did not happen is very concerning. This has had the effect of emboldening President Kiir in two ways.

First, it has given him the confidence to violate the agreement without fear of consequences. Secondly it has allowed him to bolster his tribal hard power.

President Kiir after signing the agreement in August 2015 consistently allowed his troops to conduct military operations openly against his opponents. For example, the attacks in Wau, Malakal UN Protection camps, Western Equatoria etc are good evidence that the regime does not want peace.

Sadly, civilians paid the price with their lives and luckily all these attacks have not degenerated into a wider conflict. Nevertheless should the provocations continue this peace will be doomed.

Thirdly, President Kiir wants to ensure that Jieng hegemony prevails. The Jieng cabal are aware that their decade long ruinous rule in South Sudan has reached its peak. Nobody in South Sudan apart from the Jieng will vote for another Jieng president. Also nobody in South Sudan will accept to put up with a tribal militia masquerading as national army.

The chances are that President Kiir is their last president. So potentially with him going, the Jieng are likely to lose their stranglehold on the country. Without support from the other 63 tribes, without brilliant intellectuals, without control of finances in the country and without a tribal militia they will be unable to dominate politics in the future the way they have been.

This is making the Jieng cabal go crazy. They just can not contemplate such a scenario or reality emerging in South Sudan. Hence, they are positioning themselves to play hard ball using their hard power.

This point is what the South Sudanese need to think carefully and deeply about. For it is the most likely source of the near future deadly conflict.

Think about it: why is President Kiir ferrying more and more militia from Bahr El Ghazal to the capital? Why is President Kiir ferrying more and more troops to Malakal? Why is it that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, an ally of President Kiir redeploying in South Sudan?

The militarisation of the country appears to be the card of last resort for President Kiir and his group to fall back to, to maintain Jieng hegemony in South Sudan. However, this gung-ho and irresponsible act could lead to the other tribes seeking arms in order to protect themselves and also assert their right.

Yengkopiong in his book, Golgotha, opines that, “because of the unbearable activities of the tribal regime, it is now possible that some South Sudanese communities will acquire guns to protect with themselves, their land and property. However, as we know it, this form of human instinct for survival will only ferment more violence and vengeance and it will only benefit the ferocious people” of whom South Sudan has plenty.

What is very interesting in all this is the stand of the international community. In spite of being the guarantors of ARCISS, they seem to be paralyzed and unable to act to honour their role. They seem to be sitting and watching the country gradually slide into another deadly conflict because they can not hold President Kiir to honour his side of the deal.

The question is: what was the point of imposing an agreement they can not guarantee?

The genesis of President Kiir and JCE’s obstructions are located in one document – The Position of the JCE on the IGAD-Plus proposed compromise agreement (file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/JCE%20-%20Position%20on%20Proposed%20Compromise%20Agreement%20(1).pdf).

In order to make full sense of the collective Jieng mindset, this document should be read in conjunction with another of their pieces headed ‘Jieng Council of Elders rejects imposition of peace on South Sudan’ (https://paanluelwel.com/2015/04/01/jieng-council-of-elders-rejects-imposition-of-peace-on-south-sudan/).

It is important for all to take this document seriously because that is where Jieng intent has clearly been made public and also it is their operational plan for undermining the transitional government of national unity, a product of ARCISS.

President Kiir and his group hate the agreement because it whittles away on Jieng power base. But if one looks carefully, the Jieng are neither losers, nor are the Nuer. The real losers are the Equatorians, Fertit, Chollo, Anyuak etc. This ‘other’ is the stabilising force in the country which unfortunately has been excluded from all the deliberations to broker this peace agreement.

ARCISS, constructed on theory of elitism by the international community may fail to deliver peace in South Sudan simply because it is incompatible with locally known modalities of peace making anchored on inclusivity and grounded on the concept of justice.

Elitists’ theories of conflict resolutions in the context of South Sudan are flawed as they are based on the belief that if the warring elites (parties) who have vested interest in the country can be reconciled then the whole country can be returned to peace.

This disregards the people and excludes them from participating in the country’s affairs. In a sense this model is anti-democracy and pro-dictators and oppressors.

De Waal and Ndula in their cartoon piece titled ‘South Sudan: The price of war, the price of peace – a graphic story’ highlight this anomaly by saying, “The mediators remain stuck in a model of peace making that includes only the leaders of the warring parties.” “The mediators never once got to meet the South Sudanese people, civil society views aren’t taken seriously.” (http://africanarguments.org/2016/02/05/south-sudan-the-price-of-war-the-price-of-peace-a-graphic-story/ )

Unbelievably this is what has been imposed on South Sudanese by the international community. In this act, the mediators recognised only two tribes, the Jieng and the Nuer who dominate the SPLM/A excluding the Equatorians who make and inhabit a third of the country from the deal.

It also worth noting that other tribes in Bahre El Ghazal such as the Fertit tribes and in Upper Nile the Chollo, Anyuak, the Maban, Uduk etc were also excluded.

If this deal was ever meant to work, the third force which holds the centre (Equatorians, Chollo, Anyuak, and the Fertit etc) should never have been excluded. Had they been included they would be playing a balancing act between the Jieng and the Nuer offering both groups the sense of security in the transitional government of national unity.

Unfortunately this was not to be. Although the Equatorians are deeply hurt by their exclusion, they have accepted this agreement only because it offers a chance for peace and a democratic exit at the end of three years.

Now the South Sudanese have ended up with a dysfunctional transitional government at war with itself. The president does not interact positively with his First Vice and he continues to rule with defunct powers ignoring the provisions of the agreement he signed up to while the First Vice President acts as an opposition leader constantly reacting to initiatives of the president.

Therefore, the agreement has created a government with split personality. A government with an opposition built in it, the two in one. Will it really work? Time will tell.

However, with this unique transitional government things look bleak and the future does not look promising as President Salva Kiir and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) seem determined to derail the agreement and carry on with their tribal agenda.

What is the way forward? The international community was sensitized to the dangers ahead should the guarantors of the agreement fail to take action on the breaches of President Kiir. As usual IGAD, African Union and the Troika ignored the message. Please see, ‘Forming transitional government of national unity without addressing violations is playing into the hands of President Kiir and the JCE’ (http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/index.php/2016/02/11/forming-transitional-government-of-national-unity-without-addressing/)

To save the country from returning to conflict the priorities in the agreement need to be rearranged with the leader of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) robustly backed by Troika rising up to the challenges posed by President Kiir and the JCE.

First and foremost, the continuous militarisation of Juba should be brought to an immediate halt to avoid repeat of December 2013. The disarming and barracking of Jieng militia should be seen to happen to ease anxieties of the residents of Juba.

President Kiir’s SPLA troops should be reduced to the agreed number in the agreement and this should be verified accordingly by the relevant tasked bodies. President Museveni should be ordered to withdraw all his troops from South Sudan immediately. He has no business being in South Sudan.

Secondly, Michael Makuei and the entire JCE should be severely sanctioned. For the sanctions to be effective the members of JCE should be denied travel outside South Sudan, not even to the neighbouring countries.

This is important because this group is destroying every aspect of services in the country, yet they freely travel abroad to receive first class medical treatment and other services using money stolen from the people who die due to lack of services they do not provide in the country. This group does not want peace because nothing hurts them individually. Hence, the need for the sanctions.

Thirdly, should the 30 months period of the agreement expire without full implementation, neither President Kiir nor First Vice President Riek, nor Vice President James Wani Igga should be allowed to continue or form a new government.

The reconstituted parliament should be allowed to elect a transitional government composed of technocrats to run the country for 18 months after which a national election is held. It is important now to think post 30 months as it is clear that ARCISS is unlikely to sail smoothly.

Fourthly, the international community should use the only leverage available to it effectively to starve the government of any cash. Support should go directly through aid agencies to the suffering people without any penny passing to the government. Baseless and nonsensical arguments such as the one advanced by Dr John Akec in his paper, ‘Economic consequences of peace in South Sudan’ should be ignored completely (http://newsafricanow.com/2016/05/economic-consequences-of-peace-in-south-sudan/).

Akec is simply promoting chaos in South Sudan by wanting to reward the people responsible for the mess in the country. This is one of the most irresponsible pieces of writing I have read. Perhaps it should be expected since the author is a Jieng and possibly he could not control his bias. He has a lot to lose should President Kiir and JCE lose power as this could have a bearing on his position as Chancellor of Juba University, a position he earned through his identity rather than hard work.

In conclusion, given the above, the guarantors of ARCISS need to act in response to President Kiir and JCE’s obstruction.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
Elhag Paul
Elhagpaul @aol.com

South Sudan Needs Truth, Not Trials: Kiir & Machar, in a letter to NYTimes, don’t want justice!

By SALVA KIIR and RIEK MACHAR, JUNE 7, 2016, from NEW YORK TIMES;

JUBA, South Sudan — Building a nation is not an easy task. We know this because it is our life’s work.

We once fought together as brothers to win independence for South Sudan from the north. When our new country was born in 2011, we were full of hope. We believed we could move forward as one nation. Yet we then realized that what bonded our people in their quest for freedom was the struggle itself; what held us together in combat could not be so easily sustained in peace.

South Sudan descended into a conflict lasting over two years. By its end, tens of thousands of people had died and over a million and a half were displaced. We are committed to ensuring that our country never again goes through a civil war.

After a peace agreement signed in August 2015, we have come together as brothers once more in government, as president and first vice president. Even with our differences — in fact, because of them — we are determined to reconcile our communities and create unity.

But bringing South Sudan together can be truly guaranteed only through one route: an organized peace and reconciliation process with international backing. In such a process, everyone in South Sudan might engage in the act of remembering through dialogue, and by so doing affirm the truth of what happened during our bloody civil war.

We intend to create a national truth and reconciliation commission modeled on those of South Africa and Northern Ireland. This commission would have wide-ranging powers to investigate and interview the people of South Sudan — from the poorest farmer to the most powerful politician — to compile a true account of events during the war.

Those who tell the truth about what they saw or did would be granted amnesty from prosecution — even if they did not express remorse.

The purpose of such a process is not to seek forgiveness, but to prepare the people of South Sudan for the immense task ahead: building a nation alongside those who committed crimes against them, their families and communities.

We realize this path is not straightforward, but it will do more than any other to guarantee lasting peace. It would also lessen the risk that one side perceives itself compromised, or held more responsible than the other for the events that occurred.

In contrast to reconciliation, disciplinary justice — even if delivered under international law — would destabilize efforts to unite our nation by keeping alive anger and hatred among the people of South Sudan.

That is why we call on the international community, and the United States and Britain in particular, to reconsider one element of the peace agreement to which they are cosignatories: support for a planned international tribunal, the Hybrid Court for South Sudan. We call on them instead to commit to global backing for a mediated peace, truth and reconciliation process.

The international community must consider the current state of our country. Years of war have left South Sudan with one of the highest levels of military spending by gross domestic product in the world. The army and its former opponents now need to be integrated. Over time, tens of thousands of soldiers must be decommissioned and introduced into civilian life.

We fear that this task could be put in jeopardy if members of once opposing forces — from officers to privates — find themselves targeted with legal action. It is easy to see how some people, having known nothing but war, may prefer to return to the battlefield than stand trial in a foreign country.

By taking this path we understand the consequences. We know that it could mean that some South Sudanese guilty of crimes may be included in government, and that they may never face justice in a courtroom.

However, there are recent precedents that demonstrate that this route is the most certain guarantee of stability. In Northern Ireland, a peace process brought bitter enemies to the negotiating table under a pledge of legal amnesty, and then into high office. Now, the country has guaranteed peace. The same is possible in South Sudan.

We do not wish to forget what happened during our civil conflict. Indeed, the recollection of the catastrophe unleashed during those terrible months must remain in our memories as a warning.

Neither side won our war. But both sides, together, must now win the peace. That is all that matters. In that quest, it is why anything that might divide our nation is against our people’s best interests.

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar are the president and first vice president of the Republic of South Sudan, respectively.

Taking a closer look at the controversial 28 states

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, MAY/29/2016, SSN;

Since the announcement of the presidential establishment order for the creation of 28 new states, the regime and its supporters have maintained the assertion that it was an answer to a popular demand. They sought to sell that line of argument which is false to foreign entities and individuals with little knowledge about what is taking place in South Sudan.

The central point that they failed to prove is that the 28 states were a topical issue in the media or among the populace before the presidential decree. In fact there has never been a nationwide debate regarding increasing the number of states. We never heard of proposals or deliberations whether at the level of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) or the Council of States’ level.

There was no mention of the involvement of a technical committee in conducting feasibility studies before the presidential order. Moreover, the opposition parties in the NLA and even the SPLM members were taken by surprise when the presidential decree was read over SSTV.

The first time the issue of increasing the number of states came to public attention was when SPLM/A-IO proposed establishment of 21 new states based on the British colonial districts during the peace negotiations. As we all know, the regime strongly opposed the proposal and even refused to discuss it in the negotiations.

The great irony is that the government that has refused new 21 states, came up with even a larger number of states based on nothing but ethnic interests.

It’s no secret that the 28 new states originated from the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). Thus to say that it was the fulfillment of a popular demand by the government is nothing but an outright fallacy.

At best it could be viewed as a request by a portion but not the whole Jieng community. And even if the entire Jieng community supports the creation of the new states, it will remain the demand of one tribe out of the 64 tribes that form South Sudan.

The regime also propagated a claim that having more states would facilitate the delivery of services and bring about development to the remote areas of the country. It would, as its supporters insist, take towns to villages in agreement with a well-established SPLM objective.

Well, it’s quite easy especially in a dictatorship to enact a particular policy and use the government propaganda machine to organise public demonstrations in support of what the government did. But people would soon realise that their lives haven’t changed much and what were disseminated by the regime were just slogans for public consumption.

There hasn’t been any considerable development of our cities and towns at the expense of the rural areas. Over a decade in power hasn’t brought safe running water to the majority of the households in the capital city, Juba. Apart from the privileged people, the majority of the citizens drink water straight from river Nile ( Supiri ) or wells.

This alone exposes the weakness of the regime’s argument. If it could fail to set up a primary infrastructure like safe water supply for the capital, how plausible that it would succeed in building the far more costly infrastructures like highways, bridges and railways by merely increasing the number of states?

Little details have reached the public domain regarding the 21 states suggested by SPLM/A-IO during the peace talks in Addis Ababa. The proposal is far from being perfect or ideal for the following reasons:
— a) Although it sounds reasonable that it was based on the British colonial districts, however, it didn’t take into account the demographic changes and the economic realities that have occurred since the departure of the British. 60 years after the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium is quite a long time and with our reduced life expectancy this could well be the entire lifetime for a sizeable number of South Sudanese. It means the majority of the people in those districts is now composed of a new generation of South Sudanese. With a new generation of people, significant changes are bound to happen thus the British colonial districts may not accurately reflect the demographic and economic facts on the ground.

— b) Similar to the 28 states, there was no national debate about the pros and cons of having 21 new states. Therefore, it runs the risk of being viewed by some as non-inclusive or lacking a broad-based support.

— c) Despite the fact that SPLM/A-IO represents all the communities of South Sudan, the 21 states’ proposal may not escape the accusation of being heavily pro-Nuer interests. However, the difference between the two is that the 28 states are being illegally operationalised while the 21 states’ system is a proposal subject to discussion and amendments.

Both the proponents of the two views can hardly demonstrate to or convince honest people that all communities in South Sudan have been consulted or their perspectives were taken into consideration.

The views of the Equatorians and the other tribes appear to have been largely ignored. It must be clear that there are on-going grievances in greater Equatoria even with the ten states’ system. The former three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal have comparable population sizes. Therefore in fairness, there should have been an equal number of states as a result of breaking up the former regions.

Also looking at some of the new states with populations barely reaching 100,000 and meagre or non-existent infrastructure, you realise towns like Kajo Keji and Lainya with area populations of 196,000 and 89,315 respectively according to the 2008 census should have qualified to be made states in their rights.

The biggest grievance, however, is in the allocation of counties. Again the 2008 census showed the populations of Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states as 1,103,592, 1,200,000, 964,353 and 600,000 respectively. Only six (6) counties were allocated to Central Equatoria State (CES) while (11), (13) and (9) were assigned to Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states respectively.

Juba city, the most populous city in South Sudan with a population of 368,436 which is more than half the entire population of each of Lakes state (685,730) and Unity state as above, was maliciously “compressed” into one (1) county while Lakes state enjoys (8) counties.

The case of Mongalla in Jubek State, is kind of interesting hence making elaboration irresistible. Mongalla was the first capital of South Sudan before being moved to Juba in 1930. History tells us that it was the only town in South Sudan visited by the American President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. A town of great economic potentials as evidenced by the fact that as early as the 1920’s the foundation for growing cotton and a textile industry were established.

A sugar processing factory and a clothing mill were operational albeit for a short period. There were even plans in place for a paper mill that depends on growing the eucalyptus plants. Yet Mongalla was never made a county until recently. It just shows how arbitrary is the process of allocating counties in the Republic of South Sudan.

The process is never straightforward or based on a sound selection criteria. It’s more often than not tainted with the whims and tribal inclinations of the rulers.

The question that comes to mind is – do we need more states? Which is more believable – that lack of development is caused by the ten states’ system or that it is the result of poor leadership coupled with corruption and incompetence?

It is a well known fact that 4 billion US Dollars was embezzled in Juba under the President’s very nose. Also, few incidents of theft and embezzlement involving thousands and millions of US Dollars occurred in the office of the President. With all that in mind – how likely that the situation would improve with the creation of the new 28 states and the expansion of the government apparatus?

In the context of good governance, the issue of the number of states is a secondary one. The primary issue is the system of governance that is acceptable to the people of South Sudan.

Historically, federalism has been the demand of the people since 1947 and remains popular among the overwhelming majority to this day. Therefore, and contrary to the regime’s rhetoric, the 28 states is not a popular demand, federalism is.

Moving the country forward requires visionary leadership, innovative planning, administrative and fiscal discipline and hard work. In essence, the decision to increase the number of states should be based on economic benefits rather than on political or tribal gains.

When a tourist planning to visit our country learns about the new states through the media, and being cognizant of the international norms, he or she would expect nothing less than airports, hotels, restaurants, highways, 24 hours electricity supply, Clean water supply and above all security.

Good Lord! We do not have a single easily passable road between Bor and Pibor. The Road between Malakal and Naser is seasonal and the same applies to many parts of South Sudan. The total length of tarmac roads in the whole of South Sudan is less than 150 miles.

Having a tap water supply in your household is a luxury in the 21st century South Sudan.

Rather than increasing government spending by creating more unproductive posts with the risk of increasing the number of embezzlers – why not use those funds in building the infrastructure all over the country?

Increasing the number of counties to ensure equitable representation in the NLA would be a wiser option at extremely low cost than increasing the number of states.

It has been recognised worldwide that big government seldom delivers the results that people have hoped to attain. It’s prone to maddening bureaucracy and rampant corruption. The keys to prosperity are small government, strategic planning, anti-corruption stance and fiscal conservatism.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Machar, Lam, Taban, Alor, Lado, Nyaba… et al: Back again to your dysfunctional & degenerate Kiir-led SPLM/A?

EDITORIAL, MAY/23/2016, SSN;

To call this new Kiir-Machar government as being made up of former “enemies” is an understatement. Without any doubt, this is still the same SPLM ‘comrades’ government made up of self-preserving, remorseless and immoral criminals and killers who are very much adept at mutating and recycling themselves back into these lucrative positions of leadership mainly because they shared the similar commonalities.

Verily, the road ahead for the new Kiir-Machar (SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO) is already heavily mined by mutual disagreements, obfuscations, dilly-dallying and endemic paralysis which will again end up in mutual self-destruction and another gargantuan disappointment for our people and the international community helping the new nation.

Once more, in their duplicitous and long political lives, Machar, Lam Akol, Lado Gore, Deng Alor, Taban Gai, et al…, have all come back, once again, to their degenerate SPLM political party and its dysfunctional government under their same incompetent leader, Kiir Mayardit.

South Sudan has within a historic world-record time become the most ungovernable country in East Africa not because of its patient and long-suffering people but principally due its so-called miscreant SPLM leaders that incorporates all of you, so-called SPLM In-and-Opposed to Government.

What’s really new or different this time in this SPLM/A new political marriage? For the second, third and God knows how many times, most of you all have been shamefully labelled as thieves and traitors; almost all of you were at one point, publicly dismissed, imprisoned and disgraced from this anarchic and archaic monstrosity called the SPLM/A by none other your Great Satan, Kiir Mayardit himself.

But again and again, like some Satanic incarnations, most of you, despite the imprisonment, near death-misses and public embarrassment, you all shamelessly have silently capitulated and crawled on your knees back to your ‘Almighty Devil’ Mayardit.

Poignantly, according to the latest analysis by “The Sentry.org,” South Sudan (presumably both SPLM’s) elites, after assuming power in 2005, “have built a kleptocratic regime that controls all sectors of the economy, and have squandered a historic chance for the development of a functional state. These predatory economic networks play a central role in the current civil war, because much of the conflict is driven by (SPLM) elites trying to re-negotiate their share of the politico-economic power balance through violence.”

The Report “acknowledges that the (Machar’s) rebels were also part of this kleptocratic system in the past, and are more likely to be involved again in the event of a negotiated settlement.”

The above assessment is absolutely indisputable, you had the privilege to once again ‘re-negotiate’ yourselves back into the politico-economic realm through a war that future generations of South Sudanese will furiously debate whether it was really necessary as a first alternative.

During your collective involvement pre-2013 political disengagement from Kiir’s government, EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU, whilst in the Kiir’s cabinet, illicitly benefited in one or multiple ways in the on-going massive corruption, either indirectly or directly.

IF ANYONE OF YOU WAS EVER CLEANER THAN YOUR ALMIGHTY KIIR, WHY HASN’T ANYONE OF YOU COME FORWARD AND POINT THE FINGER ON KIIR HIMSELF or OTHERS OF YOUR COMRADES WHO ARE UNASHAMEDLY AND LAVISHLY WALLOWING IN THEIR ILL-BEGOTTEN RICHES AS THOUSANDS ARE DYING OF HUNGER AND DISEASES RIGHT NOW ACROSS THE NATION?

In a rare show of honesty, President Kiir in 2012 shocked the nation by revealing that 75 of his officials had stolen a whooping 4 billion dollars but he stopped short of naming a single individual. Then all of you were in the government and top suspects. Why hasn’t Machar or anyone of you in the opposing SPLM come out and name somebody or all in the SPLM in government who are the suspects, just for political expediency?

Regardless, in the public opinion of most South Sudan, now wallowing in poverty and hunger, they know you are completely involved in the corruption and you are suspects till the end.

Interestingly, your Almighty Godfather, Kiir Mayardit and his clown/vice, Wani-Igga, repeatedly and publicly have exposed the ONLY alleged 30 million dollar theft by Pagan Amum, (money given by Sudan’s el Bashir to build your Juba party headquarters), the now reappointed secretary-general of your party, who’s most unlikely to return to Juba because of the embarrassment, intimidation and threat of prosecution.

Your collective silence on and about the past or current corruption is a duplicitous conspiracy to save your own skins and to reassure the Satanic Kiir that you all agree not to rock the boat, a deliberate capitulation to ensure and guarantee your self-preservation even when one of your comrades, Pagan Amum, is being publicly crucified.

Further, it’s apparently indisputable that the recurrence of conflicts within your degenerate SPLM party and the dysfunctional governments shuffled and reshuffled by your almighty Kiir basically stemmed from the unending, long-running competition among you, the ruling elites, for more power and profits.

Interestingly, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, the most leading SPLM ideologue, frankly attributed all the past and present national problems to what he called ‘the SPLM original sin,’ and that the shortcomings of the Kiir’s Government of South Sudan (GOSS) are wholly pegged on the SPLM, the rot began in the SPLM and there is no way the SPLM leadership can escape responsibility for this cataclysmic failure.

Now surprisingly back once again as a minister in this Satanic government, Dr. Nyaba also once wrote that his ruling SPLM had drastically “cost the people of South Sudan more than 10 years of missed development opportunities,” and he clearly attributed this to the “ideology of these SPLM leaders as informed and shaped by their ethnic environment as the SPLM liberation ideology surely failed to penetrate this ossified jieeng ethnic ideology.”

In the most simplified deduction, therefore, the SPLM liberation ideology was subverted by and subsumed into the jieeng ethnic ideology; all other ethnic groups in South Sudan were, as a matter of fact, naively and inadvertently perpetuating jieeng supremacy and domination as now so clearly apparent.

The question is: Why are you so maniacally obsessed with your collective reincarnation back into this dysfunctional government and your degenerate SPLM party and its severely fractured and ill-famed military wing, the SPLA?

Isn’t this what Dr. Adwok Nyaba himself had once described that “Kiir survived by the malice of fate?”

Momentarily, the current tenuous peace will probably be effected under the JMEC monitoring but at the expense of any justice and accountability on a butch of very disagreeable and disingenuous ‘comrades-cum-leaders’ of an archaic, diabolical and self-destructive organization known as the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army, aka SPLM/A.

More infamously remembered for its historical episodes of horrendous and abominable murders, rapes and human rights abuses, practically every member of this SPLM/A without exception has contributed to the stigmatization of citizens of the nation by their collective criminality.

Thus, with this so-called peace accord, these criminals and murderers, be it president Salva Kiir, Riek Machar, Lam Akol, Taban Gai, Deng, Deng Alor… et al, are soon back to business as usual.

South Sudanese must be painfully reminded that right from the first existence of the criminal SPLM/A in 1983, its founder, John Garang, accompanied by those of president Kiir, Kuol Manyang, Malong and others, without any provocation launched the infamous Bilpham, Ethiopia, attack on the already existent Anya Nya liberation movement, mercilessly eliminating those heroes like Gai Tut, Akot Atem and many others.

Again, more infamously, when the same Riek Machar and Lam Akol launched their internal rebellion in 1991 against mainstream SPLM of Garang, thousands and thousands of South Sudanese were murdered and brutalized by either side, this reign of terrorism continued until their reintegration into the SPLM/A.

It is believed that more South Sudanese have been killed and severely traumatized by you, the SPLM/A leaders, Garang, Kiir, Machar, Lam…. et al, than by our erstwhile enemies, the jellaba Arab North Sudanese.

The current national circulation of the propaganda and euphoria of so-called heroes and peace is a falsification of the reality, what have president Kiir and Rebel Riak Machar seriously accomplished? Where is justice for those South Sudanese needlessly murdered by Kiir and Machar?

It’s only in South Sudan, a nation and a people the SPLM/A has so much traumatized, that criminals freely recycle and reincarnate themselves back into power without repentance, remorse or prosecution.

South Sudan is admittedly a failed state and an outlaw state that has in a stupendous world record time gone through the infamous combined ‘somalization’ and ‘Rwanda genocidal traumatization by its rebels-turned-leaders and with their return, the nation’s and people’s future is once more in the balance.

So, very soon, our murderers and thieves, Kiir, Machar, Lam, Taban, Manyang, Alor and all the infamous SPLM/A comrades will be unashamedly back into the top national leadership and once again recklessly and irresponsibly steering the nation’s ship into another calamity.

Dr. Lual Deng, another SPLM ideologue now sorrily relegated to a mere ‘SPLM headquarters office-boy,’ was rightly suspicious of President Kiir’s choice to replace the dead Garang and of Kiir’s inherent inability to leadership, by writing down that, “..the development of the promised land (South Sudan) is a different mission that requires a different leader, and we expect divine intervention in this respect….”

Has God really not abandoned South Sudan when priests, bishops, archbishops, deacons are immorally cohabiting with those ruling sinners of South Sudan, attending their ostentatious parties and dinners and even blessing the exotic foods, whiskies and beers while the majority of Juba residents are barely eating one meal a day?

Again, Dr. Lual Deng, Ph.D., further opined that, “A government that murders its own people has no moral basis or legitimacy to govern whatsoever,” in his book, ‘The Power of Creative Reasoning.’ He was directly referring to the Kiir Juba junta but sadly, this supposedly top SPLM intellectual, has been mysteriously sucked into this monstrosity, in spite of his hitherto vociferous writings against president Kiir failed and corrupt leadership, perhaps the tribal force known as ‘jieengism’ is more powerful than nationalism, as he’s unscrupulously abetting what he once called the “sclerotic management in the SPLM bureaucracy.”

In conclusion, from 1983 to 2013, most of you have again and again deliberately, conjointly or duplicitiously involved in the deadly and cyclical episodes of political and ethnic, as well personal rivalries in which innocent citizens have needlessly perished.

The conclusion reached by experts is correct: You, “the country’s elites have built a kleptocratic regime that controls all sectors of the economy, and have squandered a historic chance for the development of a functional state.”

Since independence, South Sudan has been controlled by a small, rotating set of elites who move seamlessly between positions in government and the frontlines of the rebellion, as political situations change.

TheSentry.org report ends by the conclusion that, “only reforming and forcing the South Sudanese state to actually serve its people, instead of its leaders, can the country actually move towards a more sustainable peace.”

There must be some accountability and transitional justice, these SPLM/A murderers can’t be simply allowed to evade justice for their habitual acts of criminality. END

The SPLM Leadership fails to fix the most pressing challenges of South Sudan

By: John Juac, Windsor, Canada, MAY/18/2016, SSN;

The greatest problem facing South Sudan is a leadership crisis in all areas of the state activity, and this leadership crisis stems from the inability of those in power to meet the basic material needs of their population. In terms of natural resources, South Sudan is one of the richest countries on African continent and yet the bulk of its people live as if they were citizens of deserts.

In rural South Sudan, most villagers either live in unnecessary frustration, hopelessness and die of poverty and preventable diseases or move away from the countryside to the major urban cities to gain appreciation. Some 85 per cent of South Sudan’s poor live in rural areas and depend predominantly on traditional agriculture for their livelihoods.

Cities ought to play a key role as drivers of growth in a country’s development. In the newly independent state of South Sudan, they play opposite role.

Populations of the major urban cities like Malakal, Wau and Juba have grown larger than ever before. This huge influx of new settlers in South Sudanese cities has not been matched by a growth in widespread structures, facilities or public services like water systems, electricity, roads, houses, sewer, schools or health facilities.

Deep poverty, leave alone urban slums, is the fate of most South Sudanese city dwellers. Unemployment and underdevelopment are the rules rather than exception.

The vast numbers of newcomers are driven to urban areas by the harsh conditions of peasant life. Most soon become disillusioned, discovering that their only escape from chronic urban poverty is to eke out a meager living through the informal economy.

Few have become better workers for foreign capitalist investors exploiting the cheap labor, consumers of the expensive imported junks, as opposed to being producers of their own food crops in the rich land. Vastly more South Sudanese rely on this informal and haphazard way of making a living than on the formal economy that characterizes developed countries.

President Kiir and his cabinet ministers never give urban issues, especially urban poverty, substantial attention in their analyses or their policies and the international institutions that profoundly influence them have equally failed to make it a priority.

In the view of the local rights activists, the lack of work for young South Sudanese is a political and social time bomb waiting to explode. Many are under twenty five and are unemployed.

All these indicate that the Juba regime must find ways to disarm this time-bomb, but its leaders cannot figure out where to find the tens of millions more that are needed. It is no laughing matter because millions of South Sudanese are suffering for no reason other than the terrible choices and failures of the so-called nationalist leaders.

This crisis in South Sudan is not due to the civil war and famine as most foreign observers would make us believe, said one rights activist, noting that all those things are tied to the leadership in some capacity.

In fact, the failure to give a substantial attention to poverty, unemployment, and a mobilization of the population to produce its own food from the millions of natural resources, is primarily due to backward type of non-progressive leaders of the ruling party.

These leaders are naive, vision-less, opportunistic and totally compromised. How can they be good leaders when they have failed to fix the most pressing challenges of their nation?

They have left brothers and sisters behind the enemy line of poverty, and this is in contrast to the view that the people do not struggle for things in the heads of individuals. The people struggle and accept sacrifices demanded by the struggle in order to be able to live a better life in peace, to see their lives progress and to ensure their children’s future.

The struggle against colonialism, working for peace and progress- independence- all these are empty words without meaning for the people, unless they are translated into a real improvement of standards of living.

There are testimonies in South Sudan of the older people asking members of the ruling party when they can see political order and economic and social benefits of independence. This is a strong indictment of the failure of the post-independence state to provide at the very minimum the basic necessities of life, health centres and schools with adequate equipment, furniture and supplies in the rural regions, and good roads and transportation facilities to make it easier for peasant farmers to bring their products to urban markets.

Liberation from colonial domination is meaningful only when it goes beyond the political realm to involve the development of production, education, health facilities and trade. Some experts have argued that priority must be given to the development, modernization and transformation of agriculture.

Then the real challenge for the rulers of South Sudan is to be able to conceive and execute development strategies that satisfy the deepest aspirations of the popular masses for economic development and material prosperity. The rulers must also make common cause with their people by opting for those policies that meet their needs.

Nevertheless, the pathological rulers have sided with the international capitalists and accepted antisocial development strategies and polices imposed by the international institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. When one considers the topic of development it is important to realize that all conceptions of development necessarily reflect a particular set of social and political values.

Indeed, it is true say that development can be conceived only within an ideological framework, and this is evident in the dominant understanding by the majority of governments and international institutions which view development as synonymous with economic growth within the context of a free market international economy.

Economic growth is identified as necessary for combating poverty, defined as the inability of people to meet their basic material needs through cash transactions. A key issue in the debate about economic system is the choice between economic growth and economic development and one starts by drawing a distinction between economic growth and economic development.

One can have economic growth without economic development. Economic growth is a necessary but not sufficient condition of economic development. Economic growth simply means that the pie measured by GDP has grown bigger, but it says nothing about how the pie is divided. Economic development differs in being concerned with whether the average person’s standard of living has increased and whether the person has more freedom of choice.

Economic development can be measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI takes into account literacy rates, gender parity and life expectancy, which affect productivity and could lead to economic growth. Economic development implies an increase in real income for most families.

Economic development seeks to alleviate people from low standards of living and works toward providing citizens with jobs and suitable shelter. It seeks to improve lives without compromising the need of future generations. On the other hand, economic growth does not address the question of the depletion of natural resources and pollution and global warming.

The difference between economic growth and economic development can be well illustrated by Angola, where the GDP grew by 20 per cent and yet poverty increased substantially. Much of the higher GDP flowed into the pockets of the ruling elites and their relatives and cronies. The daughter of the president of Angola herself was a billionaire and yet did nothing to create value for Angola. By contrast, Bill Gates built a business called Microsoft that made him billionaire many times over, but at least the business contributed to the development of the U.S. economy and jobs

Furthermore, Egypt’s past ruler, Hosni Mubarak, had a fortune estimated at $42 billion, but also did nothing to create value for Egypt. In South Sudan, the central and state ministers are billionaire. But where did this money come from? A great deal came from petroleum dollars and foreign assistance designed to help with the economic development. Many South Sudanese blame poverty and unemployment problem on the incompetency, the corruption and the greedy of their leaders.

On final note, think South Sudan and many people think of endless ethnic strife, brutal civil war, pervasive corruption, universal poverty, diseases out of control and unworthy rulers. South Sudan faces a daunting list of challenges and its citizens live with no hopes and dreams. Their dreams of peace and prosperity have been shattered by the greedy, corrupted and unscrupulous rule of the nationalist leaders for most years of independence.

One would be contented with just a modest of development of better opportunities, health services, better education and eradication of poverty in urban centres and rural regions. But unfortunately even these modest goals are being thwarted by power hunger and rapacious leaders who can only achieve their very goals by depriving their people of the basic needs.

That much is understood by most southerners. What is less clear to an outsider is why many good people accept the warlords as their rulers and even celebrate their bad governments?

The answer has two parts: administrative corruption and traditional culture. Tribalism is the stumbling block to peaceful coexistence and progress. Ethnic ties in South Sudan are a magnified expression of family loyalty that become a fault line at times of political and economic distresses.

Like Islam in Muslim Arab Sudan, tribal attachments indeed can be convenient lever for a divide-and rule ploy by cynical political leaders. But, like nationalism, such solidarity is not necessarily a destructive force. South Sudanese are patient and long suffering to an extent probably unparalleled in East African region.

Indeed, any foreigner who knows the daily lives of most southerners must marvel that a percentage of the new country’s people is in civil turmoil. And those conflicts are largely the result of small groups vying for control of the nation’s resources rather than mass movements of protest against unjust governments.

Many southerners had sacrificed their lives during the national struggle to winning political freedom, but now most are passive and unwilling to interfere with what they see as the natural wheels of life. In this respect, they are like the rest of people in Western world. Few people in free countries write letters to the editor or campaign actively to change laws. But the extent and duration of dictatorship in South Sudan are such that political police or military force is not enough to explain it.

The ability of southerners to put up with difficult and mistreatment is reflected in the historically low incidence of depression and suicide in the country. There is a pain and suffering in South Sudan and yet people continue to accept bad governments for three reasons. First, the local culture induces them to respect their elders and accept their fate.

Second, patronage and corruption have a complex stranglehold on national life. Third, South Sudan has become a heavy-handed police state and dictatorship, where President Kiir and his cohorts do the dictating. Like the former colonial master, it is a one-party state, but the ruling elite is not disciplined and serious.

It lies on an elaborate network of the cell leaders who suppress inconvenient points of views, and these kleptocratic leaders have given South Sudan a bad name. They have plunged their people into abject poverty and despair, and incited bitter ethnic violence and even armed conflicts. They are the ones largely responsible for underdevelopment, food scarcities, rising infant mortality rates, soaring budget deficits, human rights abuses, breaches of the rule of law and prolonged serfdom for million South Sudanese.

They have, in short, brutally complicated the very sever political, economic, ethnic and health issues that challenge South Sudan. The new state will most probably continue to crumble until the new leadership come to value the long-term betterment of its population over its own personal and political interests.

With terrible weak national and state governmental institutions exacerbating South Sudan’s trauma, the leaders of the capitalist West, whose timorous approaches to African problems have been documented, cannot be expected to take strong hands in helping to resolve the political, social and economic problems.

Even as regards peace making and conflict prevention, only other African countries are likely to see the Western activity. On the other hand, there are ongoing conversations in the various South Sudanese online media about the lack of political democracy, but elections are merely indicator of the democratic process. They are not worth very much if one leader, or group totally dominates the system and if oppositions are harassed, intimidated, often shoot at, even arrested, and obligated to campaign fearing for their very lives. Sometimes they are even killed along with critical journalists.

South Sudan held elections in 2010, the year before independence, but now it is a new authoritarian state dominated by Kiir and Machar and their respective supporters. The lack of political democracy overall, the general weak economic growth, poverty, rampant diseases and sweeping neglect of the country’s agriculture by politicians does not bode well for South Sudan’s near-term future. As some local rights activists have indicated, South Sudan’s positive role models need to be offered to the new leaders.

John Juac Deng
Journalist/writer,
Juacd@yahoo.ca
Country: Windsor, Canada

Prioritising the Solutions to South Sudan’s Problems of Political & Tribal Bigotry

BY: Dr. Lako Jada KWAJOK, MAY/07/2016, SSN;

At this point, only a few among the countries of the world could rival South Sudan regarding the massive problems facing it. The simple fact that many tend to overlook is that the majority of these problems are man-made disasters. South Sudan didn’t suffer an environmental catastrophe but what we went through over the past couple of years resulted in devastation on the scale of a tsunami or a major earthquake. These disasters shouldn’t have happened in the first place and were entirely avoidable.

Political and tribal bigotry coupled with incompetence and corruption were what got us into the current sorry state. Clearly, we have a lot on our plates to handle at any particular time. In such a situation the conventional wisdom entails prioritisation as the best line of action to be taken by the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Presently, the most pressing issues are the widespread insecurity and the absence of the rule of law in many parts of South Sudan. Insecurity is the single most crucial matter that needs to be resolved urgently by the TGoNU. I cannot overemphasise how important is the settlement of this issue for the full implementation of the peace agreement and for the maintenance of stability of the country.

People do realise that without significant progress in the way of improving the security situation in the country, there would be modest achievements or not at all on the other fronts. For example, those who have taken refuge in UNMISS camps all over the country, would not leave them if they don’t see tangible results that dispel their fears.

It would even be unrealistic to talk about mending what has been torn apart let alone enacting the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) while insecurity remains rampant and unabated.

Furthermore, there would be no hope for a robust economic growth and a speedy recovery if the working class and the farmers continue to feel unsafe in their homes.

At any rate, the formation of the TGoNU is the way forward but is not by any means the endgame in the political saga involving the country. Quick and favourable results are needed badly by the populace.

Regarding the issue of insecurity, the three Ministers required delivering sooner than later are the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Interior. The Minister of Defence, Kuol Manyang Juuk, represents the status quo and the way he works and conducts himself is well-known to many on this forum; hence, meaningful reforms are very unlikely under his watch.

However, some degree of change is bound to happen as a consequence of the implementation of the security arrangements and the fact that SPLM-IG is no longer the only political entity running the government.

As for Paulino Wanawilla, the Minister of Justice – he did express frustration with the state of affairs in his ministry back in November 2015. The following are what he said then: “I know in South Sudan corruption is not in one place, but it’s very sad when everybody is stealing. I know there is corruption. I have evidence of people in this ministry (of Justice) who are legal counselors and taking bribes.”

It’s unclear as to whether Wanawilla managed to get rid of his corrupt officials or not. Perhaps the new dynamics emerging with the formation of the TGoNU would offer the opportunity to prosecute and weed out those corrupt elements. A clean up at the top should go hand in hand with a real effort to facilitate justice delivery at the courts. Wanawilla is probably aware of what has become a common knowledge where criminals are apprehended one day and set free the next day without ever being tried in a court of law.

The real potential for reforms emanates from the Ministry of Interior under the newly appointed Minister of Interior, Alfred Lado Gore. Some may say he is not a newcomer to the government as he had previously held the portfolio for Environmental Affairs thus not much of a reformer.

Well, it could also be argued that advocating reforms and democratisation of the SPLM party were the very reasons that led to the purging of him and his colleagues from the government and the SPLM party.

Alfred Lado Gore is a dedicated leader with an unwavering stance. He is a sort of a perfectionist that often set him at odds with his corrupt colleagues in the SPLM party before the split. It’s no wonder that the regime’s cronies regarded him as a thorn in their sides. Also it explains why he was made to lose the 2010 Central Equatoria Governorship election through extensive vote rigging by the regime.

Addressing the issue of insecurity requires setting up a policy blueprint with achievable targets and measurable outcomes. The Minister of Interior, Alfred Lado Gore, certainly has the political will to bring about change in the way things are done in his ministry. He probably has plenty up his sleeve that would define his leadership style.

Nonetheless, talking about the obvious matters that need fixing without delay is worthwhile. There is a consensus across the board, particularly in communities hit hard by insecurity – that something needs to be done now and fast.

In the first instance, the Inspector General of Police, General Makur Arol, ought to be sacked. He has convincingly failed to contain let alone eradicate the cycle of violence that has plagued our cities, towns and villages. He appears to be following the footsteps of his predecessors, General Achuil Tito Madut and General Pieng Deng Kuol.

The infamous phrase, “Killed by unknown gunmen,” came into common use during Achuil’s tenure, flourished under Pieng and reaffirmed with Makur Arol at the helm. Their legacies as the first three Police Chiefs would ever be marred by that telling phrase. And if not an act of sheer tribalism, why the Chief of Police post remains the monopoly of one tribe, the Jieng, despite repeated failures?

Why not give the opportunity to serve the country to a competent officer from another tribe?

The Minister of Interior knows that to succeed, he needs to start with a fresh team at the top of his administration and never “inherit” the same old faces that have failed. An overhaul of the ministry and demotion or purging of incompetent officials can only boost his popularity among the South Sudanese people.

The insecurity in Juba would be the biggest challenge for the Minister. One could argue that the reason for lawlessness is the fact that hitherto the people who have been entrusted with the duty of policing Central Equatoria state, have neither the knowledge of the people and their cultures nor relation or strong ties to the area.

It’s a well known fact that a significant number of crimes have been committed by individuals in uniforms. The time has come for sons and daughters of Equatoria to take over the responsibility of policing their areas. There is absolutely no reason that the Chief of Police in Central Equatoria state should not come from its community.

By the same token, the Police Chiefs and the bulk of the police forces in the other states should be from the indigenous populations. There are clear benefits in adopting such a policy as enthusiasm to tackle crimes would be at the highest level possible if someone is assigned to work in his or her community.

On the other hand corruption and police brutality would be at its lowest as no one would like to be seen mistreating his people. Moreover, it would lead to a substantial revenue savings by cutting down the costs of policing our communities. For example, accommodation and travel allowances would be kept at their minimum as there would be no justification for them if officers are stationed in their areas.

Finally, one could only hope that those who have been calling for reforms and even putting their lives at risk for effecting them – realise that a lot are at stake including their popularity and political survival.

There should be no room for tolerance of incompetent officials or officers. Failing to deliver the goods should equate with getting kicked out of office.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Resolving Madi land grabbed for Dinka by SPLM/A Government stooges

BY: Micheal Okia Amuru, Magwi, MAY/05/2016, SSN;

Do not cheat each other; tell the truth, and the truth will set you free. Long before December 2013, I published an article depicting the act of South Sudan government in Magwi County. The SPLA/M inaugurated Magwi as a county before the independence. The Madi and Acholi were brought together in one County supposedly as good neighbors and above all as a family, because we the Acholi and the Madi ethnic shared a lot of things in common.

As an Acholi, I was critical about some developments in Magwi County, in particular how the government of South is treating Madi people. It was clear that some SPLA generals like JJ Okot and others were directly used by South Sudan government to punish the Madi tribe as the land of Nimule and Mugale was forcefully taken and given to Dinka settlers.

Today, I would like to assure South Sudanese that it was a mistake that Magwi County officials supported the act of violence imposed by the government of South Sudan in Madiland.

As I said it before, and I will mention it again, JJ Okot and his legion that signed a document with SPLA/M in 1980’s on behalf of the Acholi Community against the Madi tribe was a grievous mistake.

As an Acholi, personally I regret when Simon Deng exposed the secret and threatened us for breech of a treaty. Today, I would like to assure South Sudanese that the treaty JJ Okot signed with SPLA/M in the 1980’s was not on behalf of the Acholi tribe.

That was a treaty between JJ Okot, his legion and the SPLA/M. We the larger members of Acholi Community are innocent until Simon Deng exposed the secret in 2014 when some members of our community joined the SPLA-IO.

The claim that Kit, Amee, Opari and Owiny Ki Bul areas belong to us, the Acholi Community, was a nightmarish imagination of SPLA/M and JJ Okot. It was an illusion set to keep us divided so that Dinka can do what they want in Madiland and other part of Equatoria.

SPLA/M claim of land for resettling Dinka in Equatoria is not felt in Madiland only, but across the wide Equatoria region. Nakapal in Taposa land was taken. Yei, Tombura Yambio, Mundri, Juba, Western Bhar el gazal were subjected to the same situation.

Pitching one tribe against another tribe was a policy of SPLA/M and the problem between Madi and Acholi was not exceptional.

Surprise! The same government of South Sudan decided now to grant Madi people a County. The land, Owiny Ki Bul, Opari, Kit and Amee which SPLA/M and JJ Okot and his team signed to be given to us Acholi people was declared by the same government to be land that belongs to Madi people by right and now it falls under Pageri County.

In the first place, I’m glad the government of South Sudan came to its senses to clear the doubts from the minds of those who know nothing about the history of Madi and Acholi people.

On other hand, it was unfortunate because the confusions set by the government and JJ Okot had caused serious damages between the two peaceful ethnic communities. We are neighbours, we are cousins and we are a family.

Now that we the Madi and Acholi learned a lesson from the government. The government was only concerned about the Dinka policy of expansionism, but it does not care about us.

We are in a total dilemma. To be honest, as Acholi, the government of South Sudan had slapped us in the face. We knew the land of Kit, Amee, Opari and Owing Ki Bul belonged to Madi people.

But the policy of SPLA/M exposed us to an illusion which led to the consistent mistake of attacks on the Madi tribe and the Madi people responded violently in self defense and defense of their right to land. There are mistakes from both sides.

Today, I am appealing to both Acholi and Madi community elders. Since the same government had withdrawn their support to JJ Okot and his legion and made a public declaration about the land of Kit, Amee, Opari and Owing Ki Bul as belonging to the Madi people by right and by nature, we now understand the reason why there is too much confusion among us.

The current governor of Imatong State said, “there is no such thing that those lands belong to Acholi tribe, it is politics.” The governor pulled out a document which showed that the disputed land is part of Madiland and no one can argue it.

A lot of people disagreed with me in my previous articles just because they live in the world of illusions, but as a teacher, I vow to tell the truth. It is the Truth which will set us free, not the lies from the government of South Sudan. Those who opposed my previous articles about the Land of Owing Ki Bul, Opari, Amee and Kit as part of Madiland should not sit and watch, but pay attention to the activities of the government of South Sudan.

Now the new era has begun. The Acholi and Madi communities have to do the right thing that will keep us together. Our elders will know how to fix the damages done by JJ Okot and his legion and the government of South Sudan against the Madi people. A true chapter of reconciliation must begin.

I am a teacher and an Adventist. As a Christian, I know it is the right thing to “give to Ceasar what is Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God.”

Although parts of Madiland became an issue in the past, some of us from the Acholi community knew it was not going to be an easy journey to take land which does not belong to us. Thanks to the government of South Sudan for clarification. Such mistakes must cease to exist.

Do not cheat each other, tell the truth and the truth will set you free.

Micheal Okia Amuru
Professional Teacher-Magwi County