Category: Featured

Need to adjust the Kiir’s National Dialogue for successful outcomes

BY: Lomuchie Nyaloro, JAN/20/2017, SSN;

The declaration of the National Dialogue process by President Kiir in December 2016 has drawn mixed feelings among South Sudanese and the international community. Some people welcome it while others dismiss it as just a bogus ruse for Mr. Kiir and his Jieng advisors (The Jieng Council of Elders, JCE) to consolidate power after they have violently ejected the armed opposition from Juba.

Those who are dismissive point to recent utterances by the members of the Kiir regime as evidence of lack of sincerity regarding the declaration: Members of government contradict each other whether or not the 4,000-strong protection force approved by the UN Security Council are welcome to deploy in Juba; a junior official makes serious allegations against key supporters (the Troika) of peace in South Sudan of seeking to topple the Juba regime; the President himself revealing his nostalgia for the death of his predecessor (Dr John Garang), which made it possible for him to take the mantle of leadership.

(Is this a secret wish of the President for the death of Dr Riek Machar, his opponent, so that Taban Deng Gai can effortlessly succeed the latter?). All these sayings undermine any positive reception of the National Dialogue.

Despite these worrying signs, the National Dialogue can succeed if certain adjustments are made to its form and procedures.

In its present form, where the membership of its steering committee is wholly chosen by President Kiir and its unstructured method of consultations with grassroots that excludes the armed and other opposition groups, the National Dialogue has very high chance of failing.

For some observers, the desire of the President to come up with the National Dialogue might have been prompted by the realization that the country is at a great and an unacceptable risk of disintegration as the war and the attendant bitterness escalate.

In other words, there is now a “hurting stalemate” in the civil war. When there is such a stalemate, then the protagonists opt for negotiations. This stalemate is not just hurting for the government, it is also hurting for the armed opposition, because the violent rupture of July 2016 has not only removed it from Juba but the rupture has also weakened the opposition militarily and diplomatically.

The only way for the opposition to be relevant in charting the future of the country is now through negotiations. If it hurts both ways, then the stalemate becomes “mutually hurting.”

To most watchers of the civil war, the extension of fighting to Equatoria region represents a dangerous escalation. The widely expressed apprehension about the impending genocide and the flight of hundreds of thousands of civilians into refuge give credence to this view.

Less obvious to external observers is the creeping radicalization of the Equatorians who now demand that their region be exited from the Jieng-dominated South Sudan.

This demand should be taken seriously, because it was in Equatoria that the war for liberation from the Arab-dominated Sudan was started in 1956 and sustained until 1972. So, the Equatorians determination and endurance in fighting for their rights should not be doubted.

The other source of concern about this demand is that a number of Equatorian ethnic groups (the Kakwa of Yei, the Madi and the Acholi of Magwi, the Azande of Yambio) have also their kith and kin in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

If there were to be a political change in Uganda that replaced the present government, (which is perceived by some people to be indifferent to the sufferings of the Equatorians), with a more sympathetic one, then the war could take a more regional and international dimension.

Therefore, there is every incentive for the government to bring this war to a speedy end. A prolonged war in Equatoria, will eventually exact a higher price for peace, suck in the neighboring countries, and lead to adjustments to national borders among South Sudan, Uganda and DR Congo. There are justifications for holding this view.

Historically, Central Equatoria was called the “Lado Enclave” and had belonged to Belgian Congo (the present DR Congo). Furthermore, a significant portion of Eastern Equatoria was an integral part of the colonial Uganda Protectorate.

To date the border between the Equatoria region and Uganda has not been officially surveyed and ratified; thus, this unfinished colonial business makes the demand of the Equatorians for self-determination abundantly credible on historical grounds.

Here, a warning for those members of the Jieng community who routinely refer to the Equatorians as foreigners or Ugandans is in order: Beware; your prayers may be granted sooner or later.

A modified National Dialogue that will be inclusive and capable of bringing a satisfactory agreement can prevent such an existential threat as expressed above.

In this new version of the National Dialogue, the Steering Committee can be converted into a delegation representing those citizens who are still in the country and are in agreement with the government to some extent. The delegation can be called, for example, the “Home/Internal Front”.

Facing this front at a negotiating table will be a united opposition group, comprising those who, for political reasons, are in exile and are either armed or are just political opposition parties. The latter grouping can be dubbed the “Opposition Front”.

Joining the two delegations at the table will be a credible, dispassionate, well resourced, and diplomatically strong Mediator. Preferably, the mediator should come from among the Troika countries.

The two delegations should accept a mediation role for the Troika country this time round; South Sudanese have been greatly disappointed by the IGAD and the African Union roles in mediating this conflict so far.

Norway and the US have in the past mediated conflicts in the Middle East (e.g. Syria and the Palestinian-Israeli issue) despite the existence of regional organizations such as the Arab League; the same approach can be made for South Sudan to avoid reliance on the discredited IGAD.

In conclusion, irrespective of what motives that prompted the President to declare the National Dialogue, South Sudanese and the larger international community should seize this opportunity in order to bring about the sorely needed peace and respite to South Sudanese.

The National Dialogue has the potential to succeed if it becomes inclusive and is transparently implemented. The government should ensure complete unanimity among its members in support of the dialogue and its outcomes.

Equally, the opposition should be united in their aspiration for and participation in the dialogue. This opportunity must not be missed.

Lomuchie Nyaloro, a concerned South Sudanese.

The failure of forced peace: South Sudan’s apprehensive future

BY: Andrew Edward Tchie, Conflict Advisor, Ph.D. candidate and Associate Fellow, University of Essex, JAN/16/2017, SSN;

In July last year opposing forces loyal to South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his then first vice-president Riek Machar engaged in heavy fighting in the capital Juba. The date marked nearly five years since South Sudan had secured formal independence from Sudan.

The fighting in Juba may have come as a surprise to many. But it had long been expected among people living and working in the world’s newest state. The country had spiraled into civil war two years earlier after Kiir, from the dominant Dinka ethnic group, sacked Machar, a Nuer.

Juba’s political crisis took a turn for the worse in December 2015 when Kiir decreed the formation of 28 new states after dissolving the country’s 10 regional states. This was just a few months after he had signed a new peace agreement.

The president’s decision has been viewed by many as a way for the Jieng Council of Elders to create states that benefit the Dinka communities. The council is a group of Dinka elites and elders who control the political scene in South Sudan. The result is that the country’s oil fields are now placed in the hands of one dominant ethnic group, further dividing and intensifying tensions along ethnic lines.

Kiir took the decision to form the new states to a new level in June 2016 when he ordered the appointed of the governors of all of them as interim leaders of the ruling party in their respective states. He did this in his capacity as chairperson of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The recent bout of unrest has led to one in five people in South Sudan being displaced as 2.3 million citizens have been forced to flee their homes. Over 720,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries in search of safety.

If violence continues and the controversial policies are not reversed, full scale fighting across the country is highly likely. Hundreds – if not thousands – of civilians are likely to die as ethnic groups form small militia groups and take up arms to defend what they see as their territory.

The straw that broke the camel’s back

The president continues to buckle to pressure from his peers in the SPLM despite calls from international bodies to reverse the presidential order. These calls have come from the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission of South Sudan, the eight-country East Africa bloc the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the United Nations (UN)2015.

Kiir’s move is creating a detour away from peace, despite recent efforts by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) to reconcile and move towards a Transitional Government of National Unity.

Civilians living in the newly created states were never consulted about their formation or the demarcation of land. Many are not happy.

At the time of the decree, tribal leaders in the Raja County area rejected it saying they would not accept being merged with the Dinka-inhabited counties of Aweil West and North. Under the 10 states system of South Sudan’s constitution, Raja County belongs to Western Bahr al Ghazal State with Wau as the state’s capital.

There are reports that the army has been conducting heavy military activities in several of the contested states. These include the Upper Nile, Unity State, Equatorias and Western Bahr el Ghazal.

In May last year clashes between local militias and government-backed troops erupted in Lol State, one of the 28 states created by Kiir’s decree.

Machar’s departure from South Sudan to Sudan and then on to South Africa has not helped quell the fighting in many parts of the country. Battles continue between forces linked to the opposition or local militias who oppose the president. As recent as October last year there was fighting in Malakal town where opposition forces attempted to take back the town, leaving 58 rebels killed.

Another civil war?

The attacks in Juba highlighted the instability of South Sudan. And it appears that the government is gearing up for another civil war.

There is also no clear plan addressing disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of the country as an integral part of a post-conflict peace consolidation.

And there are concerns that peacekeepers working under the leadership of the United Nation Mission aren’t equipped and prepared to deal with another ethnically driven civil war in the country. A UN investigation into a raid in Malakal found that peacekeepers had a “lack of a proactive mindset with regards to the protection of civilians” and “confusion with respect to command and control and lack of coordination”.

Nothing has been done to address these failures, as many of these same peacekeepers are still serving in Malakal. This means that there’s no guarantee that peacekeepers will be able to protect civilians in the way the Security Council mandate intends them to.

This situation points to gaps – and highlights the fragility – of a peace agreement that was forced through by the international community. The failure by the international community as well as international monitoring bodies to address flaws in the agreement has in fact contributed to South Sudan devolving into a failed state.

In principle, the Proposed Compromise Peace Agreement (CPA-II) hammered out in June 2016 and backed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development member states and international community, should create a political arena which has a single coordinated purchaser of loyalties. This would reduce uncertainty and competition which in turn would reduce the price of loyalty and allow the political class to focus on longer term issues.

But state and political leaders are engrossed in short term political management. Political leaders are generally unconcerned about the urgent prospect of the country’s macroeconomic crisis. One of the indications of this is rampant inflation.

Conflict resolution, peace-building and reconciliation initiatives at local level have become extremely challenging. For example, the Upper Nile and Eastern Equatoria and Equatoria regions have become ethnic enclaves, each with its own defence forces. Inter-communal violence is widespread.

The question is whether the international community can establish a more practical peace agreement that will prevent further escalation in violence against civilians. END

Why Economic & Political Uprisings are Civil means to end the Kiir’s Repugnant & Unproductive Government of South Sudan

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, LL.M. Candidate, Law School, Univ. of Nairobi, Kenya, JAN/14/2017, SSN;

South Sudanese are indeed a great people, they’re a people endowed with very strong hearts who continuously suffer in dignified silence even when there’s need to rise up in demand for certain rights. This is exactly the situation South Sudanese find themselves in at a time when their own government should have stood up for them.

The economic hardships we’re facing are not less than the economic hardships and situation which caused President Ben Ali of Tunisia to flee, President Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen to leave office and flee and the great President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to resign and be put on trial till now.

The causes and conditions of this so-called Arab Spring which almost swept through the Arab world are not less than the economic hardships we’re facing here in South Sudan. Our economic situation is much worse than that of the Arab Spring World.

Our unemployment rate is beyond hundred per cent level. Hundreds of south Sudanese go to bed with empty stomachs. Some are already dead and the rest are on their way to the grave. This is worse than that of the Arab Spring.

The only difference is that we’re used to enduring hardships of all sorts while the citizens of the countries where the Arab spring burst aren’t used to this kind of situation.

But the questions many south Sudanese are asking: what’s the government of South Sudan really doing? What exactly is the role of the Ministry of finance and Economic Planning? How about the Central bank, what’s its role? Which institution is truly responsible for economic policies and planning? And which institution is responsible for the implementation of national monetary policies in South Sudan?

Hard questions a layman like me is grappling with. But, to answer some questions on matters of facts and law, the Central Bank has its own share of failure for it is the one that is charged by law to formulate monetary policy, promote and maintain price stability, maintain a stable exchange rate, and maintain sound, efficient and effective banking system.

But the Central bank instantly failed in its function to strictly regulate, maintain sound, effective and efficient banking system when it allows all Forex Bureaus and Commercial Banks to commercialize the dollar instead of keeping it as a medium of exchange.

The Central Bank commercialized the dollar, making it an item for trade and not a medium of exchange causing hikes in almost every item on sale in the market.

Today, the rate of 1 dollar stands at 10.2 SSP, meaning that one hundred dollars equal to 10,200 SSP (South Sudanese Pounds), causing the inflation rate to shoot up to more than 800%, something which never happens in any country around the world.

The two institutions, ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Central Bank have completely failed us with their weak measures and an untenable modality of strategizing the efficiency of economy. It seems that in South Sudan, everything runs on its own.

Traders are selling and raising prices on their own, the Central bank floating the rate of the hard currency as it wishes unquestionably.

The luckiest rich few are manipulating everything from the Ministry of Finance to the Central Bank to the market at the expense of the majority downtrodden poor South Sudanese who have no ability or the energy to do anything about it or change the status quo.

The authorities both at the ministry of finance and economic planning and the central bank together with their cohorts are responsible for this economic downturn.

We entrusted hyenas with responsibility to look after our goats and sheep. We gave them power to roast any goat or sheep they wish amongst the flock. This is why this economic turmoil ensued and is the sole reason you can’t understand the head and the tail of who is responsible or not responsible in this country.

The country seems to have been left on its own economic downturn. We’re convinced that truly our government is indeed a boondoggled government.

Where’s the supposed Joshua? Or is he the same driver of this vehicle that is taking South Sudanese to hell earlier than the day that God planned?

Let our government know that the root causes of the Arab Spring aren’t more worse than ours and that an Arab Spring may inevitably ensue in this part of the world as we may be forced to violently demand our socio-economic rights to food and decent living like others.

We can’t permit others to enjoy live at our expense on resources that belongs to all of us. What a country?

If the president can’t think twice to bring in responsible personalities with expertise especially at the Central bank to turn things around, he must be prepared for eventualities for the people of South Sudan will not in any way continue to suffer at the hands of selfish and corrupt leaders who buy their positions at the expense of the people.

There will be time when the people of South Sudan stand up to forcefully demand their socio-economic rights from these oligarchs and mafias. We will surely touch these untouchable mafias and oligarchs who scoop all our money for their selfish enrichment unless they rescue themselves from these shambles.

I assure you, economic and political uprisings as civil means of ending the life of a repugnant and an unproductive government like the government of South Sudan will be inevitable.

Mr. President, this is a fact. Look at the faces of South Sudanese; listen to their voices on the streets on how they are suffering and you will dismiss these failed leaders who buy their positions using public money.

You’ve a weak, lousy and ailing governor of the Central Bank and this is a danger that’s haunting you and it will surely reach your gates if you don’t act swiftly.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

South Sudan Bishop Santo condemns South Sudan political leaders of bad governance

BY: JOSEPH ODUHA, TheEastAfrican, JAN/03/2017, SSN;

A South Sudanese cleric has warned political leaders in the country against violent takeover of power.

The Catholic bishop, Santo Laku Pio, lamented that last year was associated with fear, rape, hatred, and lack of political will to implement the peace agreement.

The bishop made the remarks while celebrating the New Year mass at St Theresa Cathedral, Kator, in the capital Juba.

He cited bad governance and misuse of resources for personal and political gain as key elements retarding the progress of peace and development in the war torn country.

“2016 was associated with bad governance. Our resources have been mismanaged. Our ethnicities have been used for personal and political gain,” he said.

He urged the political leaders across the country to embrace dialogue for the development of the nation.

The bishop further condemned the destruction of properties including food, deliberate killing, robbery, unnecessary use of force to displaced people and war propaganda by the parties to the conflict in the country.

“You can’t say I signed peace with reservation, reservation is lies. Peace is peace and nothing else,” he said.

He criticised both the government and opposition leaders who don’t want peace to prevail in South Sudan saying they wanted to continue looting the nation.

“It is true that there are people among us who don’t want peace. They want war and they are sons and daughters of violence.

“Don’t follow them. Don’t follow the violent people in our country. Make the violent people irrelevant in our community,” he told the congregation.

Two years after seceding from Sudan, South Sudan plunged into a war on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. A peace agreement signed in August 2015 has since crumbled after fresh fighting erupted in July last year.

Time for Pres. Museveni to reconsider his unlimited support to Kiir

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF, JAN/01/2017, SSN;

President Museveni’s persistence to prop up Kiir has been the subject of discussions in the South Sudanese intellectual circles, particularly among the Equatorians. It’s also true that the lay people are aware of the ever-increasing influence of the Ugandan leader over the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

Many believe that had it not been for the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) intervention, the regime in Juba would have collapsed in early January 2014. Museveni’s intervention gave the embattled government a lifeline.

In reality, the regime is heavily dependent on Uganda for its survival. The UPDF has been deployed in Western Equatoria since 2005. Its mission, as we were made to believe, was to pursue and uproot the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in collaboration with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The Americans were also involved in providing logistical support, special forces and funding. The Garamba Offensive (code-named Operation Lightning Thunder) between 2008 and 2009 was the culmination of the coalition’s efforts including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to eradicate the LRA.

But for the last 5 to 6 years, the LRA is nowhere to be found in Western Equatoria. Many observers are now of the opinion that the LRA is no more or if at all it existed, it will be in the form of a negligible group in the depths of the remote jungles of the Central African Republic (CAR).

As such it fits the description of a group of bandits rather than a rebel group to be reckoned with. Yet the UPDF remains deployed in Western Equatoria State. There are now reports that they are present in Eastern Equatoria and even in disguise within the capital city, Juba.

No one would dispute the fact that President Museveni has done a lot of good things for the people of South Sudan during the war for independence.

In addition to whatever legacy he is going to get in his country, the people of South Sudan would remember him as one of the few African leaders who gave them unwavering support.

However, that good reputation is in jeopardy or has already been damaged following his involvement in South Sudan’s conflict.

An operation aimed at evacuating the Ugandan Nationals as was initially announced by the Ugandan authorities was swiftly modified into safeguarding the strategic infrastructures in Juba in the aftermath of the December 2013 massacre of the Nuer civilians.

Ultimately the operation ended up with the UPDF taking sides and decisively tilting the power balance in favour of the government.

People were told that there was an Agreement/Treaty between the government of South Sudan and the Ugandan government to intervene in such a situation. The fact of the matter is that if such an Agreement/Treaty ever existed, it would have been unconstitutional because the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) did not deliberate on it or pass it.

In fact, the NLA was unaware of such an arrangement between the government of South Sudan and the government of Uganda.

Furthermore, a Mutual Defence Treaty is universally for defence against foreign invasion and not for defending the government against the opposition or an uprising of its own people.

Museveni’s motives are quite unclear. Following his statement that there was no coup d’etat in Juba, people expected a change in policy towards a more neutral position.

What he said showed a government that fabricated a coup, plunged the country into civil war just for the sake of maintaining the status quo. That alone should have been enough for the Ugandan leader to review his backing of Kiir’s government.

Also, it was reported that Museveni did say while addressing a rally, that if security in Uganda was to be like the state of affairs in South Sudan, he would hang himself.

It’s a clear admission that the government of South Sudan has failed its people. Then why would the Ugandan leader continue to support such a government?!

I believe “It’s the economy, stupid!” if I may borrow President Bill Clinton’s phrase that was first coined by James Carville, Clinton’s campaign strategist in the successful 1992 Presidential campaign. Probably other weird calculations do exist in the Ugandan leader’s mind that are subject to speculations.

There is no doubt that Uganda’s economy is “booming” because of unfettered access to the South Sudanese markets. Foreign trade regulations are rudimentary in the new country with Uganda and the other regional powers taking full advantage of the situation.

Rampant corruption is also attracting bogus foreign investors and traders who hardly pay taxes. Juba has become the centre of attraction for all the thieves in the world.

South Sudan is the top consumer of Ugandan goods with trade deficit almost 100% in Uganda’s favour. However, the policy of shoring up an unpopular regime is short-sighted and risky.

History has shown us that the outcomes are usually grim than when foreign countries show solidarity with the people or at least remain neutral.

The case of Iran during the Shah era is a classic example. The US blanket support for the Shah did not save the regime from collapse or ensure the furthering of American interests and influence in that nation.

Instead, it led to the radicalization of the society, marginalisation of the moderate political figures and extreme animosity against the US. It was apparent that for decades the US lost a big consumer market and a major trading partner in that region. The Europeans, the Japanese, the Russians and the Chinese were quick to seize the chance and fill the gaps.

Even from a practical point of view, the gains to the Ugandan economy under the current turmoil are unsustainable in the long term.

As the war continues to rage in South Sudan, and due to reasons of proximity to a war zone – Uganda’s economy would be negatively affected one way or another. Refugees are crossing the borders into Uganda in their thousands.

Ironically they are fleeing the SPLA atrocities to safety in Uganda, while the government of Uganda is helping the SPLA to acquire lethal weapons to commit those atrocities.

With the steady increase in the refugee population, a drop in the buying capacity would occur coupled with a decrease in the number of consumers. Both would certainly have a negative impact on Uganda’s exports to South Sudan.

There is no doubt that the war will have a significant effect on the flow of goods from Uganda to South Sudan as the major routes between Uganda and South Sudan would be at the mercy of the opposition forces.

Additionally, the Equatorians have reached a level of awareness that may push them towards boycotting Ugandan goods in protest to the support rendered by the Ugandan government to the murderous regime in Juba.

Most of the commodities imported from Uganda are produced locally in Equatoria. It’s the absence of help from the government and widespread insecurity that’s preventing our farmers from producing those commodities.

The best strategy for Uganda to protect its economic gains and ensure sustainability is to be on the side of the people of South Sudan rather than throwing its weight behind a government that has no future.

The relations between the people of Equatoria and the Ugandan people goes beyond politics. There are strong ethnic and cultural ties between the two peoples. The colonial borders are artificial as it has divided families with the result of some having both nationalities among their members.

The constant flow of refugees into Uganda who are clearly in a dire situation is bound to evoke sympathy towards them from the Ugandan people. Museveni’s policy would likely backfire. The heinous crimes that are being committed in South Sudan, would certainly push the Ugandan people into solidarity with their brethren across the borders.

Should that happen; which is quite likely, it would mean that the Ugandan leader has stirred up the hornets’ nest. A host of problems could arise as a result.

The Equatorian people have been instrumental in the efforts to ward off the LRA attacks on Ugandan soil. In particular, the Arrows boys have been battling the LRA in the jungles of Western Equatoria for at least 5 years.

Their contribution cannot be underestimated particularly in providing accurate intelligence about the whereabouts of the LRA. With the current policy of the Ugandan government, the locals will have no incentive to help in the war against the LRA.

That leaves the door wide open for the possibility of LRA resurgence. The UPDF presence on South Sudanese soil would likely be viewed differently than it used to be. Many are seeing it increasingly reminiscent of the infamous 1998 UPDF invasion of the DRC in collaboration with Rwanda.

During a recent unannounced visit to Juba, the Ugandan leader issued statements that raised eyebrows. The following quote which is attributed to him appeared in the Sudan Tribune on December 22, 2016 – “Any other issue that needs to be handled will be handled in order to allow elections should be done now.”

It showed that Museveni is now pushing for early elections in South Sudan. He knows that his friend lacks legitimacy and the only way to overcome that is by organising an election. It will, of course, be a fake one but still carries the name election which is all that Kiir needs to cling to power.

However, the Ugandan leader committed a serious breach of diplomatic protocol by dwelling on a matter that touches the sovereignty of the host state. Such a statement would have caused a diplomatic and media uproar should it be delivered in a democratic or indeed any sovereign country.

In 1967, General Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, during a visit to Canada said the famous phrase, “Long live free Quebec!”

He received harsh diplomatic and media criticism both in Canada and in his country France. De Gaulle had to cut his visit short and return to France. What he said was perceived as an attempt to undermine Canada’s sovereignty.

I am absolutely sure that Museveni’s statement was outrageous to many South Sudanese including members of the media. But with the assassination of journalists like Isaiah Abraham, Boutros Martin, Isaac Vuni, Dalia Marko, Musa Mohammed, Randa George, Adam Juma, Peter Julius Moi and others lingering in people’s minds – any criticism would seriously compromise the safety of the critic.

According to Sudan Tribune, Kiir gave the reporters the following response – “We discussed bilateral issues and listened to his (President Museveni’s) advice and we will do what he told us.”

Kiir’s statement transpires two things; either he is unaware of Museveni’s breach of diplomatic protocol or that he knows it but has become a pawn for Museveni.

Many of us still remember President Kiir and the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth saying in the face of mounting international pressure to implement the Peace Agreement over a year ago -that Kiir was being treated as a school boy. Well, with the above statement following the meeting with President Museveni, the question that comes to mind is – who is to blame?!

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

Why’re the People of Raga Deemed Separatists and Traitors When They Oppose an Ill-Advised Decision by the JCE?

BY: Amma Emmanuel , USA, DEC/24/2016, SSN;

The people of Raga, Western Bhar el Ghazel, like any other agricultural community in South Sudan, are a peace-loving and law-abiding society. For decades, they coexisted in peace and harmony alongside their neighbors from Aweil. Raga people respectfully hosted them when they came and sold their cattle in Raga Market and received competitive deals on agricultural products when they returned back home.

In general, the mistreatment of people not from the area, as the case might be somewhere else in the country, was unheard of.

Furthermore, people of Raga of all faiths— Christians, Muslims, or those who believe in superstition— are god-loving people. They fear and believe in God’s punishment above all man-made rules or regulations.

That is illustrated in the event that, until recently, women left their homes unlocked when they went out to market or left their kids unattended when visiting neighbors or relatives. Likewise, prisons—until recently—were roofed with grass and inmates transported from other areas to occupy empty cells.

It is for these reasons that Raga was the exemplar in discussions about peace and security in Greater Bahr el Ghazal. In sum, these are the norms in Raga and the ways in which 17 tribes peacefully existed with their neighbors.

Moreover, this is how they managed to be the greatest suppliers of agricultural products to various parts of Greater Bahr el Ghazal, reaching as far as Southern Kurdufan and Darfur. Unfortunately, some perceive this to be a sign of inability and cowardice.

When everyone’s right is respected and protected and their lives free from fear, to them, it is a weakness. When God bestowed on his people an abundance of land and valuable resources—from forestry to copper, uranium, and petroleum—they believed they should be entitled to own and enjoy them due to their role as liberators.

Hence, land grabbing and occupation are the new and acceptable practices initiated by Jieng Council of Elders (JEC), facilitated by the government, and executed by security organs—institutions whose lust for money has led the country to its current dire economic situation.

This is what liberation meant to JCE and resulted in the establishment order that divided the country into 28 states.

The main goal of the establishment order was to institutionalize land-grabbing and target other communities’ resources. If this is not the case, then why rush and not reach out to all the stakeholders—as dictated by our Constitution—in order to issue thorough, concrete, and researched results that satisfy all.

And how can the people of South Sudan be convinced that the main vision of the SPLM and its founder, the late Dr. John Garang, of taking towns to rural areas meant taking Raga to Lol or Western Aweil, or meant in any way carving up oil-rich areas in Unity and Upper Nile states and annexing them to other territories of the JCE’s choice?

Did the shadow government in Juba, the JCE, intend to damage the legacy of this great man by alluding to this establishment order as an implementation of his vision?

Is it not absurd to connect what Dr. Garang meant by moving towns to rural areas to this ill, destructive ambition?

The people of Raga unanimously rejected the establishment order from day one. They believed and continue to believe that there will be no harmony among and peace between two ethnically and culturally divergent groups when brought to live together in one area, especially when forced; people should have learned from examples of pastoralists in Western Equatoria and, once again, when President Kiir ordered the pastoralists in central Equatoria to move northward.

They maintain that imposing and implementing this order will add the area and Western Bahr el Ghazal, in general, to the already collapsing regions of Upper Nile, Unity, and Equatoria. They wrote memo after memo to the President and the Parliament in Juba; held talks in Wau; and sent a delegation to Juba to explain their position to no avail.

Lastly, they decided to take matters into their own hands in the form of the famous attack and capture of Raga in under one hour, thereby making their voices heard.

The unexpected attack took Juba by surprise. It took the government in Juba some time to release a statement regarding the alleged identity of the attackers who overran the military and administrative headquarters in no time.

In their statement, which came days after the incident, they talked about the group of bandits behind the attack. In another statement, they claimed them to be a group of terrorists—loyal to Ali Tamim—who intended to annex Raga to Darfur.

In 2011, when South Sudan seceded from Sudan, the people of Raga unanimously voted for the secession. Thus, it is absurd to now accuse them of wanting to be annexed to Darfur due to their rejection of policies that were maliciously created to ruin their lives and that of future generations.

This is an allegation that was fabricated to conceal the huge defeat inflicted upon the army they continue to call the “gallant forces.” The swift capture of Raga was an embarrassment to the governments in Juba and Raga and a symbol of the Lions’ growing vigilance.

Taban Deng, upon his visit to Khartoum in August, promised to solve the issue of Sudanese rebel groups—including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)—in South Sudanese territory within 21 days. Accordingly, in October, Kuol Manyang, the Minister of Defence, gave them 30 days to leave the country.

JEM—a Sudanese rebel group founded by the late Dr. Khalil Ibrahim, who was killed in an air strike by the Khartoum government—is being sponsored by the government in Juba and fights for and beside the SPLA in Unity, Upper Nile, and recently in Raga.

Dr. Khalil was known to be a leading figure in the National Islamic Front (NIF), founded by Dr. Hassan El-Turabi, which declared a holy war on South Sudanese people during the liberation war. In that case, if the National Congress Party (NCP) and the government in Khartoum categorized JEM as a terrorist movement, who is to blame for supporting and accommodating terrorists and, thus, betraying the South Sudanese people?

And is the government aware of the atrocities these mercenaries have committed against our people in these regions or is it of no concern because they do not constitute part of the lands considered sacred by the President and his Chief of Staff?

These people—whom JEM and other rebel groups from Sudan have looted, raped, and killed and whose homes they have reduced to ashes—are sons and daughters of this great country. They fought for this country, voted for its independence, and remained loyal to it; they deserve protection and respect.

This is what our Constitution dictates and our religious beliefs teach us. Therefore, any form of discrimination will not be acceptable and a double standard in the treatment of citizens denounced and rejected.

The shooting and killing of innocent civilians while they are exercising their constitutional and human rights in a peaceful demonstration—whether in Wau, Torit, or Warrap—is unwarranted and a violation of freedom of speech.

It is unprecedented, even during the worst era of NIF in Khartoum, that we experienced such brutality. Above all, it is ridiculous for the President of the Republic to salute and embrace such killings instead of comforting the grieved and pursuing justice.

I cannot imagine the repercussions of the massacre of 2012 if it were to have occurred in Madding Aweil or Warrap. This crime deserves condemnation from the international community and the issuance of criminal indictments by the International Criminal Court (ICC). It will remain in the memories of the people of Western Bahr el Ghazal for years to come.

Why are the people of Raga deemed rebels and traitors who wanted to sell the country to Khartoum when they oppose ill-advised decisions by the JCE, while a peaceful solution is sought and an advisory position is created when Abel Baggi Ayii in North Aweil rebels against injustices of Juba?

The people of Raga do not need the counsel of Ali Tamim, just as they did not seek his guidance in voting for independence in 2011—when they overwhelmingly voted for the South to secede.

Yes, Tamim is from Raga and may have pledged to al Bashir and prayed behind El-Turabi—just as Abdalla Deng Nyal, Mongu Ajack, or Suliman Jula and other South Sudanese had done before independence—but, above all, he is a South Sudanese who is free to choose whatever religion to follow and place to reside.

That which the people of Raga, Malakal, and Bantiu will not accept is meddling in their affairs, annexing their lands, and/or using them to achieve any political gains that do not serve South Sudan and its people.

Folks, neither Malong and Mathing Anynor nor the JCE and the 28 states will bring peace to this country; kneeling and kissing Uhuru Kenyatta and Hailemariam Desalegn’s feet will never bring peace; and ordering police to shoot and kill criminals in Juba will not restore law and order in the capital.

Above all, a National Dialogue that is not inclusive of all political parties will never be successful and, correspondingly, bring about peace.

This country will not see peace if we do not embrace one another and uphold legislation that enforces equal treatment irrespective of religious affiliation or linguistic differences.

Lastly, peace cannot be realized under government malice and corruption.

Mr. President, the ship is sinking! Let go of all these deterrents to peace before it is too late.

‘Juba Hypocrites’ and the Empty Call for National Dialogue!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, DEC/19/2016, SSN;

While the world community is commemorating the 3rd Anniversary of the December 2013 Juba Massacre, the same genocidaire regime chose to distract everyone’s attention by releasing a speech by the same president announcing the commencement of a so-called National Dialogue. A Dialogue with a tyrant, my foot!

Notwithstanding the fact that I didn’t listen to the speech while it was being read out by Salva Kiir Mayardit himself, nonetheless, I have read through the entire document of the speech dated 14th December 2016. My personal conclusion is that this is just another well-ruminated speech prepared for him by his speech writers who often engage more on the what should be said but not necessarily what can be done.

The Call by dictator Salva Kiir Mayardit for a National Dialogue under his auspices and yet oblivious to his personal role in the current crisis if anything to go by is itself utterly absurd.

With the demise of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflicts in South Sudan (ARCISS) in July 2016 following the failed attempt on the life of SPLM-IO’s Chairperson and Commander in Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny in Juba, the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) legally ceased to exist.

Whatever is there now, is simply what the International community and the outgoing President Barrack Obama’s administration would like to maintain as a face-saving exercise, no more, no less.

Let me be very sincere with those who continue to think that anything good can still be achieved under the pathetic leadership of General Salva Kiir Mayardit, General Taban Deng Gai, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, and General Paul Malong Awan, that they are indeed hostages of a ‘Big Lie.’ For it is these generals who chose the path of violence as a way of addressing South Sudan’s political issues.

The generals would like to remain relevant to the politics of the country, and they can only achieve that by further dragging the entire country into more devastating, yet senseless civil war. I wish to believe they have reached their goals so far. To come out of it is not what they can be entrusted to accomplish.

Characteristic of Salva Kiir Mayardit and coterie, they have often portrayed themselves as peace loving people, but wherever they go, a trail of blood follows them. Maybe this little extract from the president’s Independence Day Speech can serve to shade light on what often trademarks his speeches and essentially, they are all about empty promises that the least sophisticated South Sudanese doesn’t even buy into anymore:

“It is my ardent belief that you are aware that our detractors have already written us off, even before the proclamation of our independence. They say we will slip into civil war as soon as our flag is hoisted. They justify that by arguing that we are incapable of resolving our problems through dialogue. They charge that we are quick to revert to violence. They claim that our concept of democracy and freedom is faulty. It is incumbent upon us to prove them all wrong!”.

Does anyone need reminding that the genesis of the 13th July 2013 crisis was a breakdown in dialogue within the ruling SPLM party!

The people of South Sudan deserve to have a better leadership than those murderers masquerading as statesmen. War is obviously not the best way to go about addressing national issues, yet this is what Salva Kiir’s regime has opted for. But there must be an end to this destructive war.

And while there is an urgent need to restart the process of a peaceful settlement, Salva Kiir will always be part of the problem and never of the solution.

Hence, until we can all see that this is the case, worse things will likely continue to happen in this new country while the culprits with the blessing of the inaction of the international community continue to enjoy financial and moral support in the regional and beyond.

No one with conscience including President Barrack Obama and his entire administration can miss seeing the many squandered opportunities that could have saved South Sudan should the situation continue to deteriorate, which indeed is already the case.

For many observers, including the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, headed by South Africa’s Yasmin Sooka and Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, have recently warned that the current violence, much of it inter-tribal and increasingly directed at ethnic cleansing, is sliding towards genocide.

Repeatedly, Sooka has said: ‘The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda and the international community is under an obligation to prevent it.’ The last time was on 1 December after visiting South Sudan with her commission.

Sadly indeed, nothing tangible has been coming from the African Union although we all know that the AU’s Constitutive Act permits forcible intervention in the case of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

As the number of South Sudanese who have abandoned their homes because of this war has already surpassed the one million mark, the crucial importance of the International community to continue with the provision of the much needed humanitarian assistance without hindrance cannot be overstressed.

However, a real process to reverse the precarious situation on the ground in South Sudan necessitates a new inclusive political process. This process MUST be outside South Sudan to enable the participants the freedom to delve into the various root causes of the conflict.

And whether they like it or not some very painstaking decisions must be reached to re-structure the future political, social and economic outlook of the new country be it in one piece or several pieces.

Yet the very crucial step must begin by immediately operationalizing the Hybrid courts for South Sudan to consider all the crimes committed in the period that started from 13th December 2013 to date. While preparing for all these, it is also important that Salva Kiir and his regime are held responsible for the demise of the ACRISS.

All leaders who are responsible for war crimes and offenses committed against humanity must also receive targeted sanctions in forms of travel bans and freeze of ALL their assets.

Finally, the time has come for this country to be put under severe forms of the arms embargo to stop this brutal and savage regime from continuing its vicious assaults on unarmed civilians cowardly using lethal Helicopter gunships and jet fighters.

It is the time that the international community comes to the realization of the wrong path the Obama administration has imposed on it by erroneously giving recognition to Salva Kiir-Taban Deng regime in Juba. They will come to regret it if they are already not doing so.

It is the time that they see the administration for actually what it stands for, as it is bent on imposing its violent kleptocratic nature on the country with wider ramifications for the entire region. Kiir’s regime is presiding over a pariah state that deserves isolation and not embracement.

Author: Justin Ambago Ramba. A Concern South Sudanese Citizen and a Voice for the Voiceless.

The Prospects of Peace in South Sudan: A Case of Double Standards?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, DEC/16/2016, SSN;

The commemoration of the December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians arrived while peace remains elusive in our troubled country. In fact, since those terrible days, the country has slid deeper into violence involving communities that were not part of the initial conflict.

The regime has since committed atrocities against the Chollo people, the Western Bahr Ghazalians and now the Equatorians. The war has spread to all parts of South Sudan.

The international community has been warned by Human Rights organisations and the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, that genocide is indeed looming in Equatoria unless effective measures are undertaken to avert it.

The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) remains supportive of the regional and international efforts to realise a lasting peace in South Sudan. However, those endeavours thus far lacked consistency or direction and appeared chaotic.

The IGAD group of countries have been sending conflicting messages – on the one hand, they suggested that the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) could not be implemented without one of the principal signatories.

On the other, they indicated the contrary. Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae tenure as the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) failed to make an impression on the course of events. Apart from infrequent statements that were merely for public consumption, the JMEC was largely an outsider to conflict resolution.

The Troika group is no better either. To explain this, let’s shed some light on the US position or positions. It appears Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, are in one league. They are advocating continuing with the damaged ARCSS.

Princeton Lyman, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Institute of Peace and Kate Almquist Knopf, Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Department of Defense – seem to be in a league of their own. In a joint article, published in the Financial Times on July 20, 2016 – they came up with the idea of a UN/AU transitional administration for South Sudan for a period ranging from 10 to 15 years.

For the records, a UN Trusteeship is not a new idea. This author first suggested it in two articles on this website [ (UN Trusteeship is the best option to resolve the crisis in South Sudan on July 16, 2016) and (The Root Causes of Political Violence in South Sudan – What’re the solutions? on July 31, 2016 )]. They also suggested that Kiir and Machar should be offered immunity from prosecution and safe haven abroad!

It makes us wonder whether the US has backtracked on its stance regarding accountability. If the US on several occasions has emphasised the need for accountability, then who will be the individuals to face justice if the persons who issued the orders are to be left alone?

More confusing is that the views of the two officials are at odds with what their boss previously indicated. I quote what President Obama said while addressing the AU in Addis Ababa in July 2015, “The world awaits the African Union Commission (AUC) report because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace.”

At the UN, we saw Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN abandoning a plan to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposing arms embargo on South Sudan. It’s understandable that it wouldn’t have passed because of the Russian and Chinese Vetos.

But the US and its allies could have gotten the job done anyway. South Sudan is a landlocked country making arms embargo a lot easier.

The problem is that there appears to be some complacency and lack of political will to deal with the issue at hand once and for all. The US is the ultimate superpower until further notice, and we believe it could do more if it wants to.

In 2003, President George W Bush, formed the “Coalition of the willing” to circumvent the Russian and Chinese Vetos against the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein. It’s arguable that such a coalition though for a different purpose, does exist between the Troika countries, the IGAD group of countries and the regional powers.

The way Dr Riek Machar has been shut out from the neighbouring countries tells us that something of that kind is already underway. The question that begs for an answer is that – if an “embargo” has been successfully imposed on Dr Riek Machar, why can’t an arms embargo against the regime in Juba be imposed using similar means?

Are we witnessing a case of double standards?

The calls for an arms embargo from the numerous Human Rights organisations, the relief agencies and the UN relevant institutions were regrettably ignored. A dictatorial regime led by an illegitimate President is allowed to buy and increase its stockpile of weapons. The result would certainly be more atrocities against the innocent civilians in Equatoria and other parts of South Sudan.

The Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is damaged beyond repair. Pretending that it’s still workable is deceptive and a counter-productive exercise. It was inherently flawed because of exclusion of major players from the Peace Agreement.

The first mistake committed by the brokers of ARCSS was to think that striking a deal between those who possessed arms would solve the problem. They overlooked the overwhelming majority of the South Sudanese people who were indeed opposing the regime peacefully.

The second mistake was that they were not bold enough to exclude the two rival leaders from leading the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Again, it was the view of this author in an article published on this website (No Deal is better than a Bad Deal on July 31, 2015) that a neutral national figure, preferably a member of the clergy, should be made to lead the Transition.

That would have brought some confidence in the system as a starting point and hastened the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

The brokers have now learned it the hard way – you cannot exclude a significant constituency, in fact, the cornerstone of the country from power-sharing and expect the Peace Agreement to succeed. At best it would be a piecemeal Peace Process and never comprehensive.

Re-negotiating ARCSS by all the stakeholders won’t work because the government already has reservations and regarded it as an imposed Peace Agreement. Also, the newcomers to the negotiating table would certainly have issues with what was agreed upon by the two sides.

Furthermore, the brokers themselves have shown a lack of neutrality on numerous occasions. The two options that have better chances of success are the following:

(a) Broad-based Peace negotiations inclusive of all the stakeholders under the auspices of the UN and the AU. Choosing the right system of governance for South Sudan would be at the centre of the negotiations. Exclusion of Kiir and Machar from presiding over the Transition would be a pre-requisite. A government of technocrats led by a neutral figure preferably a clergyman would be the right option to lead the country in a Transition of 3 to 5 years.

A general election shall then be held at the end of the Transition with the participation of all the political parties.

(b) A UN Trusteeship in collaboration with AU for at least five years would set the country on track and bring about a lasting peace.

Similarly, as in option (a), general elections would be carried out at the end of the Trusteeship.

As things stand right now, the so-called international community (depends on which group of countries you refer to) appears complacent, and some countries are displaying sheer opportunism. Those who have been lecturing us about democracy and the rule of law, ought to redeem themselves as their credibility is on the line.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

Juba Govt in a Dilemma: Disengagement with SPLM-North versus Reinstatement of Dr. Machar to Resuscitate Peace Agreement

BY: Joseph Odhok, NOV/07/2016, SSN;

The story of SPLM/A North dates back to the days of the revolutionary war of struggle waged by the Sudan People Liberation Army under the command of Dr. John Garang De Mabior against the Sudanese successive governments. The people of Southern Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile States, attracted by the vision of “New Sudan” joined the ranks of the movement in their tens of thousands.

Their aspirations had been the realization of development, justice and equality based on citizenship in their neglected and least developed areas. The “New Sudan” motto then being advocated by Dr. John Garang seemed the answer to these aspirations.

Having received military training, many of graduating soldiers of these people were deployed in the South and fought alongside their comrades from the South against the government army.

When the war ended in 2005, their forces remained an integral part of the SPLA under the peace deal though they have a separate protocol referred to as “The Resolution of Conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.” This Protocol provided for “Popular Consultation” by the fourth year of the Interim Period.

Under popular consultation, the CPA would be subjected to the people of the two States to ascertain their view on implementation by means of a “Parliamentary Assessment & Evaluation Commission,” tasked to assess and evaluate the implementation and subsequently report to each State which in turn should endorse it or rectify its shortcomings.

On Security Arrangements, under “Redeployment of Forces”, the two forces, SAF & SPLA, were to disengage and separate.

Forces of Sudan Armed Forces SAF deployed in Southern Sudan were redeployed North of South/North border of 1/1/1956. While SPLA forces deployed in South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile were redeployed south of the South/North border of 1/1/1956. Thus putting the two areas under SAF control.

With this brief background, the reader will be able to a certain extent, make some inference of what would be the nature of future relationship configuration between the SPLA/North and SPLA/South after cessation of South Sudan from Sudan.

The people of Southern Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains felt betrayed by the new leadership which succeeded Dr. John Garang when they abandoned the movement’s original vision of “New Sudan”.

A united Sudan under new political dispensation would have guaranteed their rights for development, justice and equality, and as a consequence meeting their aspirations.

In fact the CPA offered them nothing tangible than the hope of getting their fair share of development and political participation within the new politically restructured country, where the alliance of the SPLM and the people from the least developed regions would be the dominant political force.

Faced with uncertain future, and given their significant influence in the composition of SPLA forces, and to avoid the negative impact their resentment may cause if their grievance is not addressed, there is a possibility of some kind of a deal having been reached between the two parties on the fault-line. This would include the fate of their forces after South Sudan got it independence.

Which is why all the efforts to transform SPLA into a National professional army of South Sudan came to no fruition, and thus the country’s leadership deliberately retained its name ostensibly to resist disengagement to appease their comrades and also to use them for their secret purposes.

Technically, SPLA/North remains part and parcel of the SPLM/SPLA-IG despite political rhetoric of disengagement by the Juba regime. They are still based in the country and get their weaponry and other support from the SPLA and the government.

They also fight alongside SPLA forces against the Opposition forces across the country. Its leadership is also embroiled in corruption scandals together with the country’s political elite and the military top brass.

At present, they are the strongest military force that the regime has got after the SPLA disintegrated and reduced to a tribal weak force following the current raging ethno-political war across the country.

Last Month, the Sudanese President, Omer Al-Bashir issued an ultimatum to Juba regime to immediately disengage from the Sudanese rebels and force them out of its territories. He gave the regime until the end of the current Month of December 2016 to act or else face the military might of the Sudanese Army.

In response, President Kiir summoned Malek Agar, the Commander in Chief and Chairman of SPLM/A-N and gave him orders to that effect. But Agar downplayed the President’s orders and walked away.

Kuol Manyang Juuk, the Minister of Defense after meeting the US special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, said he would fight the Sudanese rebels if they refused to leave the country.

The question is: Will the regime risk fighting its allied forces while at the same time fighting the Opposition forces? If not, will it succumb to the mounting pressures of the realities on the ground and reinstate Dr. Riek Machar to his position and revive the peace agreement?

In the event that the regime chooses the first option as the defense Minister Juuk would want it to be, then it would be putting its combat capability on line.

Battling their former allies will certainly contribute to further decline of their military capacity and shift the balance in favour of the Opposition forces groups.

One would assume that the Sudanese rebels would not voluntarily march to their death without a fight after all the sacrifices they made in order for the regime to cling to power. As a consequence, Juba would lose its control over many parts of the country as the ethno-political war continues between communities allied to the main warring rivals.

The international community appears to take at face value what the regime in Juba tells them. The truth is, the war in South Sudan took a dramatic turn from initially being a political power struggle within the ruling party, to ethno-political conflict.

Prompted by losing parts of their lands as a result of President Kiir’s decree #34/2015 which further divided the country into 28 tribal States, and coupled with systematic settlement of the Dinka nomadic tribes in community’s land of Greater Equatoria, many rebel groups sprang up and the waves of rebellion kept on growing.

These groups — The Chollo, The Equatorians, The Fertit and most recently The Murle— all formed a loose alliance with the SPLM/A–IO which is predominantly Nuer.

These groups are now fighting against the government and its allied militia (Mathiang Anyoor & Padang dinka). It is unfortunate that the regime continues to mislead the world by calling them bandits and persistently continues to use its military machine against the unarmed communities which it blamed for supporting these groups.

The second option: Is the most viable option if the government wanted to see peace return to the country. But it must equally be prepared for all that comes with it, which means making compromises for the sake of peace.

The return of Dr. Riek Machar as the recognized Opposition leader in the Peace Process means uniting the other rebel groups allied to SPLM/A–IO under one chain of command and hence stopping the current raging war and looming genocide.

It means resuscitating the peace agreement and opening it up to incorporate the concerns of other rebel groups who rebelled following July 8th Juba J1 Incident.

It means reinstatement of Dr. Riek to his former position as the 1st Vice President and subsequently his new Ministers.

With the peace agreement revived and the TGNU in place, a responsible and meaningful dialogue could be arranged with SPLM/A–N rebels aimed at finding peaceful means to the conflict with the Sudan Government and concluding mutual agreement that would be witnessed by South Sudan Government.

It is now up to the government to choose the path it deems feasible to salvage the country from total collapse and anarchy. The situation across the country is worsening and calls for an urgent intervention.

If the country’s leadership still lacks the political will then the UNSC must exercise it obligation and place South Sudan under UN Trusteeship but not just sit by and watch genocide being committed which has actually begun in some parts of the country. END

LATEST: UN Rights experts fear intense fighting in South Sudan as “the nation is crumbling”

By AFP, WEDNESDAY, NOV/30/2016, SSN;

UN human rights experts on a fact-finding mission to South Sudan warned Wednesday, November 30, 2016, of an escalation in ethnic violence in the war-torn country.

“Many expect intensified fighting now that the dry season is setting in,” said Yasmin Sooka of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

Sooka was speaking to the press in the capital Juba at the end of a 10-day visit during which the three-member team spoke with civilians in the battleground towns of Bentiu, Malakal and Wau, as well as government officials and members of civil society.

“There are unprecedented levels of violence and ethnic tension all over South Sudan,” Sooka said.

“Any sense of national identity is crumbling and tribal or ethnic identity is taking over. I repeatedly heard of the desire for revenge,” she added.

South Sudan’s current conflict began nearly three years ago when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy and political rival, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. Since then the world’s newest nation has fractured along ethnic lines in a civil war characterised by atrocities.

Sooka said government and rebel armies were both forcibly recruiting soldiers — including children — and warned that “renewed recruitment is an indicator that all the parties are preparing for the next conflict”.

The UN rights experts repeated calls for an arms embargo, sanctions, the deployment of another 4,000 peacekeepers and the establishment of a special war crimes court.

The US on Wednesday also warned of escalating violence.

“We have credible information that the South Sudanese government is currently targeting civilians in Central Equatoria and preparing for large scale attacks in the coming days or weeks,” Keith Harper, the US representative at the UN Human Rights Council, said in Geneva.

“In the last two weeks, the government has mobilised at least 4,000 militia from other areas of South Sudan and is staging these fighters in Equatoria to begin conducting attacks,” Harper said.

Earlier this month the UN’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, told the Security Council there was a risk of “outright ethnic war” and the “potential for genocide”.

The UN rights experts are expected to publish a report of their findings in March. END