Category: Featured

What have we learnt from “KOKORA” in South Sudan?

BY: Yakani Taban, AUG/10/2017, SSN;

At least every informed South Sudanese is aware of the political waves that wracked the south in the early nineteen eighties when the former military leader, Field Marshal Jaafar Mohamed Nimeri, issued a presidential decree dividing the then Southern region into three sub-regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and the Bahr El Gazal.

The move was received with mixed reactions by the southern Sudanese masses; simply because of its implications, which denoted that Equatoria was for the Equatorians, Upper Nile for the people of the region and Bahr El Gazal for the Bahr El Gazalians.

While most Equatorians, led by the last president of the higher executive council, Joseph James Tombura, jumped at the decree, the people from Upper Nile and Bahr El Gazal regions, ground their teeth as they swallowed the above fire into their hearts.

No one can tell exactly the reasons behind that, however some just felt deprived from the symbolic capital of southern Sudan, Juba, while others had some major items in their heads.

At that very time the Addis Ababa agreement that halted the Seventeen years old Anyanya 1 guerrilla war was also brought to an end.

Coupled up with the Turabis baked Islamic September laws, Southern Sudan and other parts of the country were turned into blood fields.

Although not all the Equatorians supported the idea of the Kokora, they were all seen as the master minds behind the issuance of the decree. It was a concept that they did not like other people in their territory just because those people are different.

Indeed some differences existed between the Equatorians and people from the other regions of the South, but those ethnic difference per se did not pose any tension. On the contrary all the row that erupted were judgmental based on practical malpractices between the predominant pastoralists of the other regions on one hand and the mainly agriculturist Equatorians on the other.

Furthermore nobody could under estimate the level of political, social, security and economic crises southern Sudan was facing by then. Yet there were differences of opinions on the issue of Kokora which came at a time when people were still ignorant about the so-called federalism or decentralisation of power.

BUT the very big question that demands a critical answer is, why did some people opt for that Kokora? One may look into it as synonymous with asking the question, why did southern Sudanese demand a self determination from the Arab Islamic northerners?

Well, Sir Isaac Newton said, “to every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction”. Although Newton’s law is now fully engulfed in the text books of Physics, the day to day practices have proved that not all actions receive equal and opposite reactions.

Nevertheless every body reacts to a specific action in order to acquire a condition that will suit its status at that given time. So perhaps the demand that resulted to the attainment of the Kokora was simply a reaction to other events in the then integrated southern region for which Kokora was seen as a solution.

The single semi-autonomous Southern region under the Addis Ababa agreement might have fallen into hands that irrigated the germination of Kokora.

The idea of a “Kokora” [be divided], which emerged spontaneously among the people when other conditions could no more be tolerated by some in the then Southern region; did not just erupt because people wanted to live alone.

The sons and daughters of the greater Equatoria that embraced the kokora {the jungle federalism}, might have had their voices higher for some of the faults generated in the region; but the referees turned deaf ears to them. Whether it was because of ignorance that people did not know what was happening on the ground, no one could tell.

But the broad daylights revealed clearly the destruction of all those elements that are needed for human cohesion.

Men from different socio-cultural backgrounds can only be bound together by universal norms that are governed by basic principles of “Respect for one another” and abidance by the rule of law. Once the universal norms are undermined due to ignorance, tribal or selfish desires, then there is no any excuse for the fragments that follows.

So it should be made clearly that the new South Sudan that has emerged after the signing of the CPA should have been the direct beneficiary from the 1983 incident and embarked itself to provide the best for her people through proper governance.

It is not an easy task to accomplish as people are still recovering from poverty and post-war situation where the AK-47 rifles are still the best friends for some individuals. However more and more effort has to be exerted to allow a reasonable atmosphere for our minds to operate in so as to change the South for the better.

Good governance among others just entails avoidance of some elements, and adhesion to the universal norms which include the following:-

1-The rule of law:
Every body is equal before the law and no one is above it. As such the duty of every citizen is to respect and abide by what is rated as a law. In this respect a man who understands and respects the law will not be happy seeing some body stepping his feet on it while forcing others to be the prey.

It is also of much significance that the barrel of the gun remains as far away as possible to matters relating to laws to ensure that law and order are strictly observed. Equally important is the avoidance of judiciary biasness which is usually influenced by tribalism in areas where judges happen to be from one particular zone.

2- Avoidance of Nepotism.
A state grows rapidly when the right man automatically fits in to the right position regardless of where he comes from. And if the right man operates because of his capabilities, let him work in peace. However widespread practices of nepotism in both government and non-governmental organisations is a very serious disease that cripples every giant society.

No any sound society would tolerate selfish and greedy men rounding all their state properties for their relatives and friends and letting the vast majority go hungry; especially if the very relatives constantly prove to be incompetent.

3- No to Civil unrest.
Any normal person would not tolerate any sort of disturbance to his tranquility. It is crystal clear that the ultimate goal of every man on the earth is to have happiness or comfortable life. You can have all the resources but still will not be happy if you are constantly afraid of the uncertainty; not about the natural ones but those created by men’s barbaric behaviors.

Best examples include the use of force in what does not belong to you to the point of even killing the owner {i.e. banditry]. Let the fisherman, tailor, farmer, driver, butcher man etc, alone and they will be your friends. But you will be a worse enemy to a farmer if you happened to be his LOCUST, worst enemy to the trader if you are his bandit etc.

A lot of malpractices might have happened in the post-Addis Ababa agreement era that ultimately nursed the emergence of a group of people who felt that they would be better off alone than being constantly subjected to ways of life that do not please them.

“Kokora,” which is still a fresh history in people’s minds, was just the beginning of what is now being adopted as federalism in the whole country with the South having ten states instead of the three of 1983 being governed by people from the respective states.

There are those who saw that the division of the south in 1983 was the application of divide-and-rule principle intended to weaken the southerners; while others saw it as a decentralisation of power. Moreover, few enjoyed that status of keeping the fisherman near the sea, the teacher in a classroom and the pilot at the airport.

All the same, whatever it was, let its negative legacy be a lesion to every Southern Sudanese citizen. It has created a history that only the open-minded will benefit from. Wise man learns from his past mistakes.

As such it is my personal hope that our wise southerners will not let us down again by creating a vicious cycle. No man would wish to stumble twice on the same stone without thinking of either to remove or dodge it.

If Kokora was bad, and also other negative behaviours happened which resulted to the creation of Kokora; then it is time that people move with torches to avoid stumbling on the same stone again.

Southern Sudan is now in the era of the CPA where old wounds have healed and people are strongly working together to build a giant region.

No one should think it is now time to punish those who called for the kokora, or feel reserved because of the legacy created by kokora. As such negative thoughts will take the South to nowhere other than the journey to Rwanda 94, or to the former Yugoslavia.

So, unless people remove themselves from the African hang-over where one refuses to learn positively from his past mistakes, then the desire to create a solid southern region will just remain an illusion on the minds of the policy makers and our beautiful South will constantly be a region that will not hold her children.

Two to three generations will pass and the region will still continue supplying the rest of the world with malnourished deprived children.

No one is condoning the circumstances that produced Kokora or the existence of that perceived Kokora, as everybody is hoping for a stable South Sudan. And this stable South demands a stronger unity of minds that is free of all sorts of tribal, regional or selfish influences. END

Caught in South Sudan’s War: Dinka Juba govt abuses in Equatoria

BY: Audrey Wabwire, EastAfrica Press Officer, Human Rights Watch, AUG/03/2017, SSN;

One hot Tuesday afternoon last January, about 10 South Sudanese government soldiers came to Elizabeth’s village, Romoji, in Kajo Keji county, near the Ugandan border. Many of the farming villages in her area have become the front lines of South Sudan’s four-year civil war.

“The soldiers came close to the house around 4:00 pm,” said Elizabeth, a tall, slender woman in her thirties. “I was cooking at home when my son told me that soldiers had come. My husband Kristofer went outside the house to check. They shot him.”

When her two sons, aged 10 and 5, went out to check on their father, the soldiers shot them dead too. Elizabeth (not her real name), ran from her home, hearing soldiers firing their guns. One soldier chased her and caught her. He was tall, like the rest of them. He did not speak to her, but threatened her with a knife and twisted her arm, breaking it. Elizabeth believes he wanted to kill her, though she’s not sure what stopped him. “Maybe they let me go because they had already killed 3 people,” she says.

Despite a 2015 peace agreement, fighting between South Sudan’s government and rebel forces has spread to the country’s southern Greater Equatorias region, which had been somewhat insulated from the war until late 2015 when it began to spread.

As in elsewhere in South Sudan, the fighting split communities down ethnic lines – with mostly Dinka government troops and armed militia targeting the mostly non-Dinka communities they suspected of supporting the rebels.

The violence and abuses – largely committed by government forces during counter-insurgency operations in western parts of the country and in the southern Equatorias region – have displaced hundreds of thousands in the last year alone, mostly to Uganda, which now hosts almost a million South Sudanese.

Since the conflict started in December 2013, igniting in Juba and spreading north, more than 2 million people fled to neighboring countries with another 2 million displaced internally, making South Sudan the largest humanitarian disaster in Africa today.

Soon after this attack, Elizabeth’s mother and her 3 remaining children fled to Uganda. Elizabeth told Human Rights Watch how she hid in a riverbed nearby for four days, drinking water with one hand because her other arm was broken.

She said she ate soil to survive. When she came out of hiding, her village was abandoned. She managed to find transport with assistance from the UN, and came to Uganda, where she now lives with her family as a refugee.

Elizabeth’s past torments her and her future hangs in the balance. In May 2017, when Human Rights Watch spoke with Elizabeth, she could not stop crying.

Five months later, she is clearly still traumatized – not just psychologically but physically: her arm hangs limp by her side and it is difficult for her to find a way to care for her family. She worries about finding food and does not sleep at night, she says.

When she pauses in her story, Elizabeth stares listlessly into the horizon. “My husband was a farmer, why did they kill him? With one arm, how do I care for the children and my mother? I want to commit suicide,” she says.

Although the camp offers some security, no one truly feels safe. Family members who dare to venture across the border to collect food from home face further attacks. Elizabeth walks back to her tent to prepare an evening meal for her children, a task she used to enjoy, but now struggles to perform. END

IGAD’s High Level Revitalization Forum on South Sudan is a Hoax, Deeply Flawed & Driven by Financial Gains

BY: J. Nguen, JUL/27/2017, SSN;

The Nuer Supreme Council (NSC) would like to take this opportunity to declare that Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is no longer a credible peace broker in South Sudan, but rather, a sham and hallowed financial profiteering institution driven by IGAD’s nation States political and financial gains.

The recent IGAD)’s High Level Revitalization Forum on South Sudan is a Hoax, Deeply Flawed and Driven by Financial Gains. This is showcased by IGAD’s position on the SPLM/A-IO, the main opposition armed Movement in South Sudan.

Due to IGAD’s deeply flawed and monies driven position on the South Sudan peace, the Council demands that IGAD relinquishes its mandate on the South Sudan Peace Agreement to the African Union.

The IGAD’s approach going about with the High Level Revitalization Forum is not genuine. The Revitalization Forum is high selective, ill-conceived and we believe such a method will fail.

Thus, the Council agreed that IGAD’s approach is “exclusionary initiative” and only meant to prolong the war efforts and suffering of the people of South Sudanese, while IGAD’s member States representatives continued to get their paychecks in the name of unachievable peace.

To recap, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is an East African regional bloc, mandated by the African Union (AU) in 2013 to oversee and mediate the peace negotiation efforts on South Sudan. IGAD is supposed to be non-partisan, genuinely honest and objective in all its approaches.

IGAD came to such a prominent position when President Salva Kiir falsified a coup d’état against his own Government, and then, mass murder 20, 000 innocent Nuer civilians, which then caused the civil war. IGAD was entrusted with responsibility to bring the warring parties to the negotiation table.

Despite the murderous nature of the political problem in South Sudan, the East African’s leaders and the African Union maintained that the path to peace in South Susan be an African driven approach meaning – “Africans’ solutions to Africans’ problems”.

The intent was to deny the international community’s involvement and influences on what African’ leaders called “Africa’s state of affairs”. The international community accepted the proposal in principle to avoid false accusation of imperialism or neocolonialism intent by the West in Africa in the 21st century.

However, with this African’ driven approach, of Africans’ solutions to Africans’ problems, the problem arose on the financing. The African nation States are bankrupt and lack financial muscles to ensure ownership in the process and also to guarantee that the method is indeed for Africans, by Africans and on the African continent.

Instead, the Africa’s nation States particularly the IGAD asked for financial supports from the West, particularly the Troika (USA, United Kingdoms and Norway), EU and China to help facilitates the peace process in South Sudan.

This contradictions created a setback on the Africans’ solutions to Africans’ problems objective. In reverse, it created financial dependency. This financial dependency turned IGAD a beggar and hallowed financial profiteering institution meant to benefit no one but themselves. Today, the Council can state this with straight face that IGAD is a sham and hallowed financial profiteering institution.

With resounding confidence, the Council declared that the High Level Revitalization Forum aimed to revive peace in the South Sudan is a scum and subject to fail.

The initiative is nothing but a mockery and grossly incompatible to the 2015 failed Peace Agreement. For example, in 2015, IGAD patched a weak Peace Accord on South Sudan. IGAD did not and still not protecting any peace accord in South Sudan. Its failure in protecting the signed accord add to IGAD’s lack of sincerity and commitments. Therefore, the Council concluded that IGAD can no longer be trusted. It motivation on South Sudan peace is financially driven and not a genuine search for peace.

The weak Peace Accord broker by IGAD for South Sudan collapsed on July 8th, 2016 and IGAD failed to hold to account the violators. Instead, IGAD continued with deafening silence even though people were dying and being displaced in their thousands all-over South Sudan.

Due to the deadly nature of the war, those whose intentions was to achieve genuine peace for South Sudan called for peaceful revitalization process through political means. Sadly, IGAD’s nation States blatantly refused and claimed that the Peace Agreement was intact and being implemented.

Of late, IGAD subtly acknowledged that the peace agreement on South Sudan has collapsed and required a political revitalization process. In June 2017, IGAD tabled the High Level Revitalization Forum and subsequently followed by timeline.

The High Level Revitalization Forum aims to revitalize the collapsed Peace Agreement on South Sudan. To achieve this objective, IGAD has initially declared that the process will be inclusive. All the warring parties and other oppositions would be involves including the estranged groups. IGAD also stressed that all would be engage in a transparent processes.

The Council and the world at large were delighted and endorsed the IGAD’s initiative and change of heart without second guess that IGAD’s initiative could be a financial scum and deeply flawed. We lauded the IGAD’s nation States for such a decisive move at the eleven hour after a year of deafening silence on South Sudan.

To everyone surprise, the IGAD Executive Council, Workneh Gebeyhu of Ethiopia had this to say on July 24, 2017 in Juba, South Sudan: “revitalization forum is not a fresh negotiation or a renegotiation to implement the agreement, but rather an opportunity for all South Sudan stakeholders to return to the implementation of the peace agreement.”

First, the Council would like to reinstate that the peace in South Sudan has collapsed and there is no peace agreement to be implemented by all South Sudan stakeholders. Instead, there is a raging war in the country. In our view, the first attempt must be to stop the war before IGAD’s rubbish talks of implementation of the peace agreement that does not exists.

Second, for IGAD to say that “Dr. Machar will be allowed to send representatives to the Revitalisation forum which is due in September, but will not be allowed to attend the forum by himself” is deeply troubling and irresponsible.

With that statement, the Council believe that IGAD nation States has killed their initiative, the High Level Revitalization Forum and we think this was not accidental but IGAD’s intention in the first place. Similarly, with this position, we suspect that IGAD has secured some financial supports for the initiative which the donors have no way of reclaiming.

Third, it’s improbable to think and talk of peace in South Sudan when the SPLM/A –IO’s top leadership is excluded in the High Level Revitalization Forum. It must be noted with clarity, that the SPLM/A-IO is the main signatory to the Peace Agreement which is falsely being claim to be revitalizes and the only armed force on the ground fighting Salva Kiir’s forces in South Sudan.

Their exclusion by the IGAD in the High Level Revitalization Forum means no peace and no genuine High Level Revitalization Forum for all South Sudanese, which is what IGAD wants. Another IGAD’s intention is continued financial gains which we precisely believe to be a financial profiteering in the name of South Sudan’ peace.

Fourth, IGAD cannot call for an inclusive forum of all South Sudan stakeholders and yet denied the SPLM/A-IO’s top leadership participation in the form. This is hypocrisy and true conduct of a financial profiteering institution.

In closing, it’s fitting to say that the High Level Revitalization Forum was a hoax and meant to lure in Western Governments to fetch-in financial supports to benefit IGAD’s Nation States. The IGAD’s High Level Revitalization Forum is not genuine. It’s a sham and whose objective is to racketeer in the name of suffering people of South Sudan.

Therefore, the Council call on the African Union to take-over the South Sudan’s peace portfolio from IGAD.

The Council also call on the Western nation States, particularly the Troika, EU and other International body to defund the High Level Revitalization Forum under IGAD.

The Council asked the Troika, EU and other International body to only fund genuine and inclusive initiative whose goal is to bring lasting peace to South Sudan under African Union.

The Nuer Supreme Council is an independent think tank, whose objective is to advance peace, research and bottom-up development in the rural South Sudan. The Council is also an advocate for fair treatment and equal representation of all South Sudanese in the South Sudan state of affairs.

J. Nguen
Chairman of the Nuer Supreme Council
Email; jamesnguen@gmail.com

Mayiik and Ateny: The Dead Woods in the Kiir’s Juba Palace (J1)

Quote: “The real prison is the wall of silence erected around you by your colleagues, which prevents you from seeing or hearing the truth, until I have arrived to this place (Paris), I didn’t know I have been overthrown in Khartoum” says Sudanese President late Jafaar Mohammed Nimeri in 1985.

By Kharubino Kiir Garang, Juba, South Sudan, JUL/20/2017, SSN;

One of the revulsions of history is that it often repeats itself. After dethronement of Mayen Wol Jong and Yel Luol Koor from J1 on financial scandals, there was hope that J1 is liberated from all sorts of corrupt cartels.

Unfortunately, here arose other bastards in J1 in person of Ateny Wek Ateny, the president’s spokesperson, and Mayiik Deng Ayii.

These dudes are not only administratively corrupt but intellectually bankrupt to serve in the highest office of the land. They erected the wall of lies to block the truth from reaching the president.

They control President’s ears, they determine what to give to the President to hear and what to ignore. They deprive him from hearing the truths from grassroots.

Not only that, but they are also depriving him of meeting good people carrying gospel messages. They are destroying him!

Honestly, his office is filled with people attributively incompetent. His office is packed of people that are either unschooled or functionally illiterate. Others are gifted bloviates, introverts and loquacious people. They are a disgrace to the Presidency in disguise.

They are unproductive and unappreciative. They helped a lot in destroying this man, a man of adjustable coats and characteristically humble. Socially cordial but politically less absolved. That believes in people and trusts them without verification; though he is a strategist, he is not decisive, wise but doesn’t have common sense, a strong leader but doesn’t command.

Nevertheless, by his side always is good luck.

A man that forgets more than he remembers, doesn’t evaluate the performance, fails to hire qualified ones, recycles the bad confidants and expects different outcomes. At times, he finds it hard to penetrate through political traps.

His patience and good luck are enormous that his match is rare. That is our President Salva Kiir described in few short sentences.

Like most elders from his ethnic extraction, he over-trusts. In most cases, he suffices within the circle of his foes.

Although his fickle personality has denied him the best description a revolutionist deserves, he still holds a significant respect within the circles of his society.

Despite these great characteristics, he can as well be well described with negative adjectives ordinarily to the considerable displeasure. He is a man who has allowed incoherent aides to encircle him and erected the bulwark to prevent truth from reaching him.

In other words, he will be remembered for his love of espousing the gossip mongering.

One such character is the perpetually bragger and eyeless Ateny Wek Ateny, the man in the President’s press room. He is a man with an open-mouth, a holder of a certificate in criminology and criminal justice, who pretends to be a lawyer.

To call a spade a spade, this creature is fit for a job of investigator and thus a true suitor for Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in the National Police Service.

He is a barricade to progress in the media sector of the big office. He has done nothing to shine the Presidency in media fraternity. In fact, he struggles to utter suitable English words when addressing the media.

He sometimes hire maverick writers to defend the Presidency if the Presidency comes under media attack. He has totally failed the Press office in the Presidency.

Another creature is the freaky Mayiik Ayii Deng who doubles as a functional illiterate. He never graduated from University.

Rumor-mongers and trust tellers have on equal note and in unison accepted that Mayiik Ayii Deng outsource the presidential speeches.

He cannot write a good speech. He can’t piece a significant document. The man is a thick-head. He is always cheesed off. An empty barrel, huge but hollow. Masura!

With their lots of nothingness, they are contributing very much to its downfall. Zilch —–success though they are kept there for decades.

They have projected the President in bad light. With Mayiik Ayii Deng, presidency became the centre for deals. Ateny has turned the Presidency as an honor to brag about. They have never created any positive image for the big man.

Reliably, both men have been alleged to might have failed to even read a page from the two volumes of a book that is a collection of President’s public speeches.

Like elsewhere, that book is an independent source of the part of the contemporary history of our liberation struggle. It is a very great book that President can appreciate if he is served with a copy.

Skeptically, they didn’t take a copy of the book to the President to read his well authored biography and a great collection of his own speeches including those he cannot even remember.

Had he gotten the book, I believe the President would have sponsored the publication of second edition because there are some errors in the book.

In other words, President Kiir would have called these writers that had volunteered to waste their time, resources and energy to compile the speeches for a ‘thank you’ meeting and handshake.

I bought one from the bookshop and it is appealing. It has great collections of the President’s speeches, interviews, articles and letters. These young men deserve appreciation for transcribing videos into scripts. Very hard work, just imagine transcribing ‘BBC Hard Talk’ video into a script!

One may wonder, where on earth would a president be surrounded by people who cannot do research? People who do not have ability to go through the compiled information? It is only in South Sudan!

These people have failed in many aspects. Ateny has never effected the job, instead he has been stammering while inconsistently addressing the media. He loves the cameras that he feeds it with falsehood that are indefensible.

It is as well alleged that majority of those in the office of the President depend on magic powers and that their passports would tell you how they frequently visit Nigeria in search for magic powers.

President should help himself by booting out all such dysfunctional dead woods.

To conclude, the strength of any leadership is determined by the intelligence of closet cohorts. It is pathetic that these cohorts of Kiir in J1 are worthless.

Starting from the perpetually inebriated Tor Deng Mawien, the mentally desiccated Gen. Awet Akot, to the legally dull Lawrence Korbandi.

Like the semi-illiterate group of Ateny and Mayiik, this group of blue blood people can’t produce anything good for the greatness of this country.

With ongoing shrinking of the President’s legacy, Kiir must sack them all to save his reputation and claim it back again. I have my own reservations but a lot can be said.

Writer can be reached at kharubinokiir83@gmail.com

Festus Mogae’s Moral Dilemma: Why he’d quit and go home

BY: Dr. Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, JUL/17/2017, SSN;

Bringing peace to a war-torn country is the pinnacle of political achievement that any politician would love to be associated with. It’s not in any way less important than the attainment of independence.

In fact, to some extent the two are interrelated. For Ex-Presidents, like Festus Mogae, it’s an opportunity for adding good things to their reputations and expanding their legacies from national to international and perhaps from continental to worldwide recognition.

It’s also a golden chance to keep them busy in their retirement and relative inactivity. It’s often difficult to adapt from having a high demanding job to a state of more or less redundancy.

Perhaps this is why Ex-Presidents occupy their time by establishing libraries, going around delivering speeches and lectures, running charity organisations, taking up consultancy jobs and getting involved in peace initiatives across the globe.

I would like to think that, when an Ex-President or an Ex-International official, is given the honour of helping to realise peace anywhere in the world – he or she, would be in the best possible position that any politician would like to have. It’s because of the following reasons:

Firstly – he or she is deemed a neutral figure, thus is not under any political pressure other than the need to expedite the peace process within the adopted time frame. And certainly, he or she is under no obligation to give in to pressure from any side or heed the demands of the lobbying groups.

Secondly – he or she is also free from the self-restrictions and hidden obligations of the career politicians who would do anything to keep their jobs.

Thirdly – Such personalities usually enjoy generous pensions and do have significant life insurances. They do not need the financial gains from their given positions, and to some, what is offered amounts to peanuts.

Hence, one would have expected Mogae to act with full impartiality, diligence and straightforwardness. Most importantly, people had hoped that he would call a spade a spade particularly in the case of peace spoilers.

We must remember that we have already lost tens of thousands of lives and still more lives are at stake due to the escalating war. There is no room for appeasements or half-solutions because they would not result in a lasting peace in a country that’s already on the brink.

Mogae’s recent statement to the 18th JMEC Plenary on 12/07/2017 raised many questions and evoked a lot of concerns. The general theme is overblown unsubstantiated progress regarding the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the downplaying of glaring failures.

For example, he claimed that good progress had been made by the National Constitutional Amendment Commission (NCAC) towards review and amendment of relevant legislation.

Do we call it a real progress, given the fact that it took over a couple of years to happen?

The provisions of the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) state that the NCAC should come up with the appropriate Constitutional Amendments before the commencement of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

It transpires that the unrecognised current TGoNU has got no Constitution. Then, where is the progress here?!

The JMEC boss admits that the graduation of the first batch of the joint integrated Police took place without adherence to the required vetting process. It’s certainly a major concern given the current environment of mistrust between the parties.

The question is, what did Mogae do to rectify the situation and avert a potential source of conflict?

His talk regarding the economy is merely for public consumption. It’s very unconvincing to speak about government institutions and public finances reforms when the layperson in South Sudan knows that the economy has tanked and corruption is on a large scale.

It’s even less believable that, the TGoNU has a 3-5 years national development strategy while unable to pay the wages of its employees for months. People have even started to entertain the idea of the government of South Sudan declaring bankruptcy.

The Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) which is supposed to be an independent entity, is now to be discussed with the “TGoNU.” So, how credible that accountability would be well-served through such a court?!

Lack of real achievements has reduced the JMEC boss into talking about and highlighting some insignificant events. For example, he pointed out the sensitization and awareness missions that were conducted by the Technical Consultative Committee for the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH).

If he admits that the conditions for successful consultations are far from optimal, then what is the point of bringing the whole issue up?

Furthermore, there is no mention of the security arrangements and cantonment in the document. Everyone agrees that this single matter takes precedence over the other provisions in the Peace Agreement for obvious reasons. So, how could the JMEC boss talk about the CTRH while omitting the security arrangements that have a direct bearing on the reconciliatory process? It implies that the implementation of the security mechanisms and cantonment hasn’t moved forward in a meaningful way to allow the JMEC boss to talk about it.

Surprisingly, Mogae turns 180 degrees saying he is concerned that the permanent Constitution-making process is yet to commence and that they are clearly out of time. It sounds like he has inadvertently admitted failure to effect the full implementation of ARCSS in spirit and letter.

Now it seems the embattled JMEC boss is putting all his hopes for being relevant on the High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) that was prescribed by the IGAD leaders following his recommendations. If the JMEC could not effect a meaningful progress over a period of 2 years, how plausible that it would be successful this time?

Mogae has made it clear that the HLRF is not for renegotiation. Then, what would be the role of the so-called estranged groups in the forum? And how could the forum be inclusive and accommodative without taking the views of all the stakeholders into account?

A scrutiny of the measures suggested by JMEC boss reveals that what he is pushing for is point number (3) which is the development of a revised and realistic timeline and implementation of a schedule towards democratic elections at the end of the transition period.

Now they have realised that the clock is ticking and the moment of truth is drawing closer which is the end of the TGoNU next year as specified by ARCSS. So, is he pushing for preparation for elections without the recognised TGoNU ever being formed? Or that he wants the extension of its tenure before it even started?

The reality is that ARCSS is dead. There is no path to a lasting peace emanating from what Mogae and the JMEC would want us to believe.

It’s sad that the JMEC boss continues to issue statements like the following one, I quote: “The Peace Agreement is still alive but has been wounded, the revitalization forum formed by the IGAD heads of states on the 12th of June 2017 in Addis Ababa is set to get the Agreement back on track.” The audience could see how he contradicted himself in a single statement.

There are similarities between the tragedy in Syria and the one happening in South Sudan. Coincidentally, the situation facing Mogae is akin to what Ex- UN Secretary General Kofi Annan went through when he was the UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy for the Syrian Crisis. It only took Kofi Annan 5 months to tender his resignation on the 02/08/2012.

The following is an excerpt from his resignation letter, “My concern from the start has been the welfare of the Syrian people. Syria can be saved from the calamity – if the international community can show the courage and leadership necessary to compromise on their partial interests for the sake of the Syrian people.”

What Kofi Annan did compels everyone to bow to him in full respect. It re-inforces what I always believed that politics is not all about Machiavellianism and material gains, but there is a moral obligation tied to it.

Festus Mogae is, of course, free to follow his conscience but at this juncture, a real friend would advise him to go home right now. His presence is sending the wrong message that a peace process is underway while in reality, nothing of that sort exists. His departure would pave the way for genuine endeavours to find a solution to the crisis in our beloved country.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Not Yet Happy Independence of South Sudan

By: James Okuk, PhD. JUBA,JUL/10/2017, SSN;

July 09th every year marks a significant Day for Declaration of Independence of an additional country in the world that made the 193rd UN full member and 54th AU recognized brother/sister.

The first launching occasion in 2011 was jubilantly a thrilling event to the admiration by all, South Sudanese and foreigners alike, as they sang the dignified sacrifices of past liberation struggle as well as the expected future glory from hopes in dividends of “the land of great abundance” united in peace and harmony.

The following first and second anniversaries of such a rare Great Day in 2012 and 2013 were still euphoria despite the economic austerity measures that resulted from oil production shut-down by Juba due to bad politics with Khartoum, the conduit of its crude piping and marketing to international outreach.

The strength of the South Sudanese Pound was still competitive and attractive for business and purchasing power of the active citizens. The Bank of South Sudan was capable to have amounts of hard currency reserves from oil business incomes and remittances from donor countries and other foreign friends/partners.

Daily lives of the people was basically dignified and without serious political, economic and social hardships. Many of them ventured into successful micro-economic functions and they were happy.

Alas! The bad regrettable times for South Sudanese got launched by the destructive conflict of the SPLM/A leaders and their supporters in December 2013. From then, neither the Christmases, the New Years, nor the Independence Anniversaries (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) were meaningful to the majority of South Sudanese whose livelihoods got disrupted by ‘un-conscientious’ politics and abhorrent bad economy of the antagonistic selfish civil war.

Instead of leading their people wisely with collective enjoyments of the hard-won and deserved blessings of “land of great abundance” built firmly on sustainable peace foundation of its Eagle Vows (of Liberty, Justice and Prosperity), the power greed of South Sudanese leaders relapsed the country into a despairing and disgusting “land of great abandoned” disintegrated by massive displacement and unprecedented refuge of the population in the neighbouring countries.

The worst is for the government in Juba to abandon all-together the official celebration of the very national independence that gave it the power it has now.

Put under critical prism in regards to provision of basic life amenities and upholding of human rights, South Sudan can almost now be called “Republic of NGOs” surviving on mercy of foreign humanitarian sympathy and moral obligations of the natural law (enforced by human conscience).

Whoever is persistently proud in leading or wanting to lead such an abandoned powerless embattled country, must be a beast or a Lucifer who thrives on blood and suffering.

According to modern political definition a viable state is nothing much if not the integration of legitimate and sovereign land, people, government and international relations.

Evaluating keenly the 6th Anniversary of the Republic of South Sudan, we can evidently see the biggest challenge of abandoned land (surface, underneath and sky) with no utilitarianism.

We have also witnessed the conduct of government and opposition that have failed to protect the civilian population from grave bad news, and consequently the alarming displacement and refugees exodus.

Weakening/Isolating international relations and criticism has put South Sudan into top list of undesirable countries against good governance and sustainable development indices/perceptions.

Though famine has subsided for a short respite imposed by the natural grace of the rains season, yet hunger is still a hanging stick on many households, mainly due to man-made insecurity from havoc on population by the “gun-class” who are currently leading the monopoly of violence. The Responsibility-to-Protect is seen nowhere.

This abhorrent irrational civil war situation, if allowed to continue for some more bad times ahead, could become the un-making of the Republic of South Sudan. It adds to the evidence of Daron Acemoglu’s and James A. Robertson’s 2012 Book ‘Why Nations Fail’ when they fail from establishing institutions that keep the fundamentals of the origins of power and prosperity, and when they are incapable of addressing the recurrent abject poverty of their citizens.

It also validates freshly the facts/values of Peter H. Schuck’s 2014 Book ‘Why Government Fails So Often’ when it operates without realistic people-centred goals; worst acting ineffectively on morally hazardous policies, domestic and foreign.

The hot case in point as we officially un-celebrated the independence anniversary is the push by some heartless decision-makers in economic sector to lift the subsidy on the strategic fuel prices. Their flawed superficial argument is that South Sudan has become the fuel cheapest country in the region and the world at large.

But have these uncaring elites asked themselves the core question: What is the current price of an ordinary South Sudanese, especially those hired by the government, compared to that of the people of the region and the world?

As the real economy is supposed to be centred on the people (not mere marketing competition of commodities values of pricing calculus), especially the ordinary citizens, the answer to this question should form any prudent decision on the current fuel subsidy.

By the way, maintaining the fuel subsidy is the good thing so far the current government of South Sudan in Juba has done to the remaining resilient citizens living patiently in its controlled territory. Hence, removing fuel subsidy shouldn’t be attempted at all before the current poverty of our people is addressed first so that their normal purchasing power is back as it used to be.

South Sudan has been living under abnormal hardships of war and no culture of peace. It can’t afford any experimental comfort-zoning and theorising of elites on free-market economy. A war-torn country needs controlled and planned economy that supports the welfare of its suffering ordinary people.

Lifting fuel subsidy could become the final straw that will break the remaining camel back, perhaps, as it may spike “Fuel Revolution” akin to historic French “Bread Revolution”. Also blaming climate change for our current economic woes is misplaced argument.

The uncaring rich government’s top officials who spent millions of dollars on trips abroad should become sensitive to plight of deprived common citizens, the inevitable power house of South Sudan.

Despite the disappointments with current status of keeping the Republic, it is not yet too late to build a South Sudan that can last but with avoidance of “grand political corruption” from the behaviour/conduct of “our turn to eat”.

The political coalition and patronages who have captured the state or struggling to do so should reverse their gears and re-drive to the current IGAD’s and Partners’ move to revitalise fully the 2015 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement (ARCSS). END

Daniel Awet lets the cat out of the bag: Jieng cattle-camp mentality

BY: Prof. Peter Adwok NYABA, Ph.D., JUL/02/2017, SSN;

It isn’t possible that people who’ve been struggling together against a common enemy for nearly six decades could turn in the end against themselves as if nothing strategic bounded them. Many people in the civilized world find it difficult to comprehend South Sudanese leaders’ attitude towards their country and people.

South Sudan has been at war since 2013 in which more than half a million people perished; four to five million South Sudanese dislocated from their natural habitat and are living in the forests, swamps, in UNMISS Protection of Civilians Camps or in Refugee Camps in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the DR Congo.

Famine and diseases like cholera and malaria are taking their toll on the people in towns and villages. Internecine fighting over grazing and cattle rusting still claim lives in the erstwhile peaceful Dinka territories.

In its current social, economic and political configuration, South Sudan depicts a complete breakdown of state and a recoil to what the world was in the Stone Age era.

Not that many of us did not know the consequences of this Jieng parochial vanity, but we had hoped the logic and imperatives of constructing a state in modern times would impel prudence on the part of these Jieng chauvinists to prevent backward drift towards savagery.

In a talk to the so-called ‘lost boys’ on 9 June 2017 in Syracuse, NY, transcribed and posted on the Facebook, Hon. Daniel Awet Akot, in his usual ingenious honesty, let the cat out of the bag.

On piecing together the threads of Awet’s clumsy presentation, it was possible to decipher and explain South Sudan’s current predicament.

Mr. Daniel Awet Akot was a subsidiarity to the SPLM/SPLA Politico-Military High Command. In his own words, he is one of the six surviving members of that defunct body, which adamantly shunt ideological orientation and political education to raise the social awareness and political consciousness of the SPLM/SPLA cadres, combatants as well as the masses of our people during the war of national liberation.

He is a member of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) and advisor to President Salva Kiir Mayardit. Therefore, Daniel Awet was acting in that capacity to convey official policy to the Dinka Diaspora.

The JCE comprising the Jieng political, military and business elite is the driver of Jieng ethnic nationalism and its ideology of hegemony and domination, which is an important driver of the raging civil war.

Daniel Awet’s talk to Dinka audience in the USA could not have come at an opportune time and therefore warrant serious attention and response.

Most of his talk impinged on policy issues aimed at engineering a false reality that only the Dinka fought for the independence of South Sudan. That all the nationalities in South Sudan, including our regional supporters, contributed in one way or the other for the independence of South Sudan goes without saying. It is therefore unjustifiable to continue to hammer this falsehood.

The message Mr. Daniel Awet delivered was not in any manner a revelation. The people of South Sudan including some Dinka compatriots have painfully been enduring the atavistic behaviour of the JCE only to enable the people of South Sudan to exercise the right to self-determination and achieve sovereignty.

The dull chauvinists fail to grasp the reality that constructing Jieng ethnic state, tantamount to imposing a primitive ‘mode of production’ and archaic ‘relations of production’ on the people of South Sudan, is not only moribund but will also inflict immense suffering to the people.

The politics of exclusion, discrimination and marginalization led to dismemberment of the Sudan

The JCE, rather than the SPLM, constructed a system of governance akin to the cattle camp governance in accordance with the rule of the thumb.

The cumulative effects of this governance system, whereby Jieng community leaders occupy senior positions in the executive, legislative and judicial organs of the political establishment, which outwardly occur as tribalism, nepotism, corruption, inefficiency, incompetence, impunity, insecurity and finally the civil war, have plunged South Sudan into the abyss.

This is not a system Mr. Daniel Awet or any sensible individual would advocate for in a place like New York.

The Jieng social system or mode of production – pastoralism – upon which the JCE would want to model South Sudan state, lies at the lowest level of human socio-economic and cultural development. It would constitute a serious contradiction in the age of science and technology.

As an acephalous society, the Jieng are in a state of perpetual segmentation and therefore never evolved a tradition of indigenous statehood or centralized authority.

Therefore, the attempt to impose Jieng hegemony and domination by physical force will historically parallel the destruction of the Roman Empire by the primitive tribes of Northern Europe and Scandinavia sometimes in the medieval ages.

One aspect Daniel Awet admittedly attributes to Jieng model of governance is the corruption in the government of South Sudan since its inception in 2005. No government would tolerate the theft of a staggering figure of US$25 billion.

However, that nobody has been taken to the courts of law means that this theft came in the context of Salva Kiir’s project of economic empowerment of Jieng individuals and businesses christened ‘payback time’.

The ‘dura saga’, the ‘Letters of Credit saga’, the ‘crisis management committee saga’, the ‘Nile Pet saga’ and the ‘theft in the Office of the President saga’ all link to Jieng individuals and businesses.

The JCE undertook this enterprise to achieve Jieng politico-economic hegemony and domination by combining the control of political and economic power.

The JCE leadership of South Sudan produced a totalitarian dictatorship, whereby President Salva Kiir governs by decrees.

Unlike some benevolent totalitarian regimes that generated socio-economic development, JCE totalitarianism triggered civil war, massive impoverishment of the people of South Sudan and the bankruptcy of the state.

The reason is simple; being a backward class, in terms of primitive mode of production, they did not plough into productive enterprises the billions of dollars they stole; instead stashed it in foreign lands in the form of real estate, cash in banks, luxuries cars or froze this money in form of cattle. The huge herds of cattle in Equatoria is contributing to ecological degradation and environmental pollution.

The kinship nature of the JCE modality of state in respect of those opposed sprouts in Daniel Awet’s diatribe reflecting a conversation with Mama Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior. His question, “are you now ‘Maan baai’ or ‘Man baai’, transliterating to whether Madam Rebecca de Mabior is a ‘mother’ or ‘enemy’ of the Jieng nation’.

This thinking encapsulated a social psychology – herd mentality, typical of kinship mode and relations of production that equates dissent with treachery.

This explains why many Jieng intellectuals opposed to the JCE will never speak out against it openly lest they suffer social boycott.

I hope my Padang Dinka compatriots will rubbish off Mr. Daniel Awet’s falsified knowledge of Chollo (Shilluk) history.

His reference to the so-called national dialogue (ND), ostensibly as the forum where the Jieng would raise issues with others, speaks volumes.

Like the Establishment Order 36/2015, with which the JCE torpedoed the agreement on resolution of conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS), I believe the so-called ND will be another JCE ploy to coerce the other South Sudan sixty-three nationalities into accepting Jieng hegemony and domination.

It is likely that the anticipated recommendations would translate into Jieng communities and their cattle herds unlimited access to land in Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal, which underpins the current land grabbing and dispossession of communities of their ancestral lands inherent in redrawing of boundaries as per Establishment Order 36/2015.

Mr. Daniel Awet went at some of the SPLM Leaders former political detainees speaking of them disparagingly smacks of unveiled deep-seated jealousy. His pinch at Dr. Lam Akol and Dr, Riek Machar describing them as “two nyagats”; was uncouth as it was a hit quite below the belt.

Speaking of SPLM reunification, and the Arusha Agreement between the three factions [IG, IO and FPDs], signed on 21 January 2015, nothing could be more insincere.

First, the formation of the JCE consigned the SPLM to the dustbin of history, which was its raison d’être. The idea of forming ethnic caucuses in the executive and legislative organs of the government as well as ethnic and regional associations and unions in the schools and universities was to undercut the SPLM and render it dysfunctional.

The SPLM reunification, now the Entebbe process, is something different. Its contours run around certain individuals among the FPDs, which links to Salva Kiir’s quip, “what I will regret till my death bed is that I did not kill the former political detainees”. The task of the process technical advisor is to ensnare to Juba the FPDs such that Salva Kiir may have a chance on them. They should watch out.

Having discoursed Awet having let the cat out of the bag, I want to pause and ask ourselves whether the desire to erect a Jieng ethnic state in South Sudan is worth the suffering, sacrifices, tribulations and the agony the people of South Sudan are experiencing daily and a possible dismemberment of the country?

Author
Dr Peter Adwok Nyaba

Response to Religious Leaders’ call for inclusive National Dialogue to end S. Sudan war: “You’re a brood of vipers”

BY: Rev Daniel Amum Odwel, South Sudan, MAY/23/2017, SSN;

First and foremost, the call for genuine inclusive dialogue is welcome by all, if it is initiated by a neutral patron who is not part of ongoing atrocities in South Sudan. Honestly, the religious leaders seem to support ‘national dialogue’ of Kiir and his inner circle groups blindly.

The public these days is too disappointed with contrary words uttered by the Bishop Isaac Dhieu who said “he denounced the voices that advocate war and glorify violence in the name of reforms.”

Those words were preached by the government against opposition, so when people heard those words in the month of Bishop Isaac, immediately they concluded that Bishop Isaac and his colleagues are agents of government in clerical robes.

Critically, Bishop Isaac and his colleagues were not authentic and genuine in their remarks. It is much easier to notice that they were supporting one side of the coin…that is the government.

Did they want to convince the public that violence is only caused by reform forces? In case the answer is yes, they must illustrate to the public that the massacre that took place in Wau town was committed by those for reforms?

Were the atrocities in the whole Equatoria regions committed by them? The exodus that’s taking place in Upper Nile at the moment, was it caused by reforms as you proclaim in your remarks?

Bishop Isaac and his colleagues, now you look odd in sight of the nation, for they see you as hardline supporters of Salva Kiir.

The Church must stand on its ground without wavering under worldly pressure, look at how John the Baptist was able to challenge the criminal leaders of his times by telling them that they are ‘a brood of vipers’ (Luke.3:7).

The true Church leaders should uphold the right things, and should never be conforming to the world but should be the transformers of the world into harmony and tranquility, peace and justice. Indeed, any church leaders who support a criminal entity, whether the government or opposition, are also criminals.

People thought that your position should have been to advise Salva Kiir, that he shouldn’t be the patron of the National Dialogue and also to plead with him that this dialogue can’t take place at this moment because the true owners of the dialogue, the communities in South, are on the run for their safety.

Look, Salva Kiir calls it inclusive but contrarily, he stresses that he doesn’t want Dr. Riak Machar to take part in this so-called national dialogue. To me it is not a national dialogue but party dialogue that has nothing to do with national issues.

Here, let me point out another loose, vague and compromised statement, that the church leaders, who support the government cited: “The country’s political leaders (should) use the national dialogue as the opportunity to resolve the differences and call on religious leaders to persevere in their role as educators, by preaching love and brotherhood within families, communities and places of worship”.

Who are the religious leaders you are indicating here? Your provocative statement betrayed the church and implied that you are government agents and appointed propaganda, and not God’s appointed leaders.

Ironically, any agent of the government or IO in clerical robes can’t play the role of educators or proclaim the gospel of love in the communities because they will only uphold the message of their party.

When they stand before the congregation, people will recall tragedies committed by their party on the communities, and people instantly become skeptical and suspicious.

Indeed, could such agent of government or IO in clerical rob reconcile such communities? I real doubt it; will the agents of the government be ready to admit offences and holocaust committed by their party against targeted communities?

The fact is, will church leaders who are supporters of the government, have courage enough to tell the members of their party to leave grabbing of land, the invaders to leave for their original land peacefully, and the raiders to give back livestock to true owners and the kidnappers of kids to give children back to the real parents?

Moreover, will the church leaders who support the government be able to encourage their party to come up openly to apologize nationwide and ask for forgiveness?

In case the church leaders, who are part of the system, failed to ensure what are mentioned above, then they shouldn’t speak about national dialogue or reconciliation. For it is hard for targeted communities in South Sudan to believe what had been initiated by killers.

In relate to extermination that was committed by warring parties in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal, Waw and Equatorial regions, what was the position of so-called Church leaders, the agents of doom in that regard?

Are the agents of the government in clerical robes ready to come out publicly to admit their deadly mistakes and accept their responsibilities? If not, it will be difficult to accomplish national dialogue.

The reconciliation at this moment is quite difficult to be attained because atrocities are fresh, vivid and obnoxious in the minds of people, for they are still mourning for loved or missing ones in the family.

In South Sudan, it is too hard to easily achieve the reconciliation in traditional societies where the idea of forgiveness is obscure and revenge is the only thing they know.

We know the ministry of reconciliation is God’s ministry that He entrusted to His appointed ministers, in order to maintain peace, harmony and tranquility among his creatures. For sure it can’t be accomplished by agents of government within the church.

Christ has given himself to die on the Cross as ransom to reconcile the world to God the Father. The question that poses itself is, will Kiir and Riak be ready to step down from their positions as ransom for reconciliation?

Reconciliation is God’s motto, this is why Christ reconciled us to God and gave the ministry of reconciliation to God’s agent that is the church, but not to church leaders who support criminal institutions that killed their own people.

Indeed, the church leaders, who are agents of government or IO couldn’t be peacemakers, peace builders or reconciliators because they are part of evil-doers.

Tell me, can a pastor that supports warring parties preach about reconciliation in communities murdered by their party members and be welcomed? The answer is big no.

Jesus Christ rendered his life for the sake of humanity, but tribal church leaders in South Sudan are part of the problem rather than being part of the solution. In most cases they politicized everything to pass as tribal agendas.

To champion the reconciliation in South Sudan, the church leaders should stop being partial in their approaches to public issues.

I strongly oppose that the government of Salva Kiir in the South Sudan can’t and will not champion national dialogue or reconciliation because he is a part of holocaust. Indeed, the question of national dialogue or reconciliation must be suspended because the government and its agents within the church are not qualified to shoulder that task.

Imagine there is good slogan used in South Sudan…”One nation and one people”, but the speeches and languages uttered by those who initiated the slogan are deadly poison and will not make South Sudan to be one nation and one people.

In case the government of Salva Kiir and its agents within the church are serious to achieve the national dialogue and reconciliation, than the following giant diseases must be dealt with first:
1- Laws must be put in place to avoid segregation, nepotism, favoritism, superiority and inferiority complexes among one people;
2- People must avoid undermining the rights of minority communities and discrimination of others at the expense of not being members of a particular party, and;
3- Provision of opportunity to every individual on equal basis using educational qualifications and skill experiences.

The war in South Sudan is continuously claiming many innocent lives because the church leaders lost the right path and started to worship the government and IO and forgetting why they were called.

Let me refer you to what God said to Jeremiah: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.” (Jer.17:5, 7). END

SPLA changes to SSDF: Is Malong a baptismal sacrifice?

By: Samuel Atabi, South Sudanese, MAY/16/2017, SSN;

The sacked Chief of Staff, Paul Malong, of the re-named tribal SPLA is a character from the ‘Lord of the Flies’, a 1954 novel published by the Nobel prize-wining English author William Golding. The book tells a story of a group of young British boys’ disastrous attempt to govern themselves on a remote and isolated island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The novel plots a story of power struggle between two characters, Jack and Ralph, as to who will be the leader on their new territory.

Jack, a power-hungry maniac plots to kill Ralph, a level-headed boy whose main concern is the well-being of every boy on the island.

Jack frightens the young ones with a false story of a presence of a beast on the island; this is a ruse to justify galloping ambition to be a leader in order to save the group.

In contrast, Ralph says there is no such a beast. Jack, with the help of a hatchet boy, Roger, forcibly grabs symbols of power from Ralph: these are a conch, for a democratic right to speak in a gathering and eye glasses, which is the only means of starting a fire in the wilderness of the island.

Jacks set up a shrine of a false god, actually a severed head of a wild pig mounted on a stick with swarming flies. The name of the god is the ‘Lord of the Flies’.

The struggle becomes deadly where two boys are killed, one by Roger using a boulder thrown from an elevated position, while the other is crushed by worshippers of the new god. Roger helps Jack to hunt down Ralph who has run away and hid in another part of the island.

The hunting party, armed with sticks sharpened at both ends, flashes Ralph out of his hideout by setting fire to the forest. It then pursues him for a final kill. Ralph strips and falls down prostrate, on the ground.

And at exactly that moment, an adult in the form of a naval officer appears on the scene. The officer has been alerted while on a nearby ship by the raging fire that is almost burning down the whole of the island. He helps stop the madness and Ralph is thus rescued.

Can one see a resemblance of this dangerous childhood prank to the recent happenings in South Sudan?

If one has knowledge of where the ruling clique of the burning South Sudan came from, then equating these leaders to the child-characters in the ‘Lords of the Flies’ cannot be considered as far-fetched.

The infantile manner in which they refuse to take responsibility for their genocidal action can be largely blamed on the deceased leader of the SPLA, Dr John Garang. He led the now defunct SPLA with an iron fist. It was as if he was the only adult in the liberation army.

He controlled everything, from store-keeping to training and promotion of the rank and file. He negotiated the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) by himself, because he could not trust any of his lieutenants to lead a delegation to the peace talks. The Sudan delegation was led by the deputy to Omer Beshir.

Garang sneered at formal education, (despite his PhD) and he lulled the barely educated soldiers that un-education was not necessarily a bad thing.

In any case, he predicted, those who were educating themselves away from the front lines would eventually be clerks to his victorious liberating, if functionally illiterate, soldiers.

The title ‘Dr’ was only reserved for him while those with similar qualifications and titles were forbidden from appending them to their names. He brooked no criticism and indiscipline.

And he was famously quoted as saying that “rebellion (in his army) can be forgiven but not rewarded”. Rebels such as Riek Machar, Lam Akol and Kiir himself, were forced to return to Garang’s fold without any concession to their original complaints for rebelling.

Garang was thus acting as the famous Banyan tree, under which other seedlings are smothered and cannot grow. When death took him away in the late 2005, his ‘children’ were left as orphans, bereft of any knowledge of leadership skills and statecraft; not unlike those in the ‘Lords of the Flies’.

The conclave that sat to choose a successor to Garang selected Salva Kiir, knowing very well that he was the least qualified and the least able candidate. Their choice was dictated by juvenile selfishness, thinking they would be able to manipulate him much more easily than they were able to do with the haughty Garang. They could not have predicted the disaster that Kiir would become.

On ascending the throne, Kiir quickly surrounded himself with advisors whom he chose from among his own tribe mates.

Now known as the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), these advisors decided on one thing: that Kiir must remain in power indefinitely and for this to happen, he must become a dictator.

It was the process of turning Kiir into a dictator that precipitated the power struggle, which like the case in the ‘Lord of the Flies, has led to the conflagration that has engulfed and is consuming our country.

The leading stoker of this firestorm is Paul Malong, who until recently, the Chief of Staff of the SPLA. He mobilized and recruited Dinka youth from his home in Bahr el Ghazal region into a horde of primitive militia that has burnt homes, raped and killed their owners and sent millions into refugee and IDP camps. He was the Roger of the ‘Lord of the Flies’.

Adults in the form of UN officials, UNMISS, US, UK, and Norwegian envoys have constantly stepped on the scene to restrain Kiir and Malong and others from burning down this island known as South Sudan, but to no avail.

Of late, Kiir and the JCE have come to note that their ship named the ‘SPLA’ is listing very badly and to save their skin, they have thrown overboard the man who saved his (Kiir’s) bacon, Paul Malong.

In a swift follow-up, Kiir and his advisors have re-baptized their ship, South Sudan Defense Force, the SSDF.

All these attempts at salvage will not fool anybody. Kiir and his advisors are not seven-year old children playing with fire and petrol in South Sudan. They are conscious adults who are clearly aware of their responsibility in causing genocide in our country.

Therefore, this article, despite its use of William Golding’s book as an allegory, disavows any notion of excusing the horrendous crimes committed by Kiir and his JCE. They must be held accountable and tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

Samuel Atabi is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reached at: samuelatabi@gmail.com

South Sudan rebels form alliance to oust President Kiir

By REUTERS, The EastAfrican, May/13/2017, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:

***Seven South Sudan’s opposition groups agree to work together against government.
***The opposition leaders say they would hold a conference “with a view to seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues”.
***Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the government would not negotiate with any new opposition members.

Seven South Sudanese opposition groups, including that of rebel leader Riek Machar, said on Saturday they had agreed to work closely in their bid to oust President Salva Kiir’s government, as the civil war drags on in the oil-producing nation.

Signatories of the agreement included former government ministers Kosti Manibe and Lam Akol, as well as Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the military’s former head of logistics, who resigned in February citing rampant human rights abuses by the military and the dominance of President Kiir’s Dinka ethnic group.

“In working together, our efforts – political, diplomatic, and military efforts – can be more effective than when we operate as different units,” said Nathaniel Oyet, a senior official in Machar’s SPLA-IO group.

South Sudan won independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged into civil war just two years later after Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired his vice president, Machar, an ethnic Nuer.

The move triggered a conflict fought largely along ethnic lines, pitched parts of South Sudan into famine, and forced a quarter of the population – 3 million people – to flee their homes.

The United Nations has said the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing and risks escalating into genocide.

Splinter rebel groups:

Machar’s SPLM-IO group has battled soldiers loyal to Kiir for more than three years but several of his generals broke off to form their own movements or to join Kiir’s government.

Other anti-government groups have also emerged since the conflict erupted. Some have battled each other.

In their statement on Saturday the opposition leaders said they would hold a conference “with a view to seeking a united front on common strategic and operational issues”.

“We feel that if we have one objective that is to remove the government … then we need to coordinate our effort and we need to speak one language,” said Oyay Deng Ajak, a member of a group of exiled former officials of the ruling SPLM party who have stayed neutral in the conflict.

Ajak said some contentious issues remained, including over the appointment of a chairman.

The opposition’s move toward unity comes as cracks appeared in Kiir’s ruling coalition. This week, Kiir fired his army chief Paul Malong, raising fears of armed confrontation.

Presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the government would not negotiate with any new opposition members.

“The government is not recognising this kind of group,” he told Reuters. “We have no timetable for them.”

Malong returns to Juba

Meanwhile Gen Malong returned to the capital Juba on Saturday, saying he had no intention of staging a revolt against Kiir’s government.

On Friday, Kiir said Malong was in a “fighting mood” and had not obeyed orders to return from his home state to Juba three days after his sacking, raising the prospect of further turmoil more than three years into an ethnically-charged civil war.