Category: Featured

Pull out of South Sudan – Uganda Parliament tells Uganda Army

UGANDA MONITOR, KAMPALA, Wednesday, MAY/27/2015, SSN

BY: Nelson Wesonga, Uganda Parliament;

Uganda National Parliament yesterday called for the withdrawal of Ugandan troops from South Sudan.

The committee’s resolution, informed by a report by the Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, said the cost of maintaining the troops in South Sudan is high.

“The committee urges government to continue engaging Igad to ensure a neutral force is deployed,” the report said. “This is because the continued presence of the UPDF in South Sudan is proving to be a very high cost to the Ugandan taxpayer.”

The report did not, however, say how much money has been spent on the UPDF in South Sudan.
According to the Defence ministry, the monthly expenditure for the Uganda People’s Defence Force in South Sudan is Shs7 billion.

Unlike the UPDF’s operations in Somalia under the African Union, which are financed by the AU, Uganda largely meets the costs of its operations in South Sudan.

Bearing in mind that the government deployed the UPDF in South Sudan in December 2013, the government has so far spent about Shs119 billion to maintain the troops there.

Not moving out
However, Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga during the plenary, said the UPDF would remain in South Sudan. “The Igad force that was supposed to take the place of the UPDF has not yet become a reality. To that extent, therefore, we will remain put in South Sudan.”

He said South Sudan meets the UPDF’s fuel bills for operations within South Sudan adding: “When it comes to any allowances they might be entitled to, these costs are met by the taxpayer of the Republic of Uganda.”

The numbers: Money Uganda Army spent so far—- Shs119b (One hundred nineteen BILLION shillings). Amount UPDF has spent on the mission in South Sudan since 2013.

nwesonga@ug.nationmedia.com

Vetting and Verification (V&V) Should Always be Upheld with Pious Passion

BY: Kuir ë Garang, Author, Canada, May/21/2015, SSN;

When President Kiir fired his entire cabinet and appointed a new one in July of 2013, many of us thought it was the advent of a new era of accountability. Sadly, as the subsequent series of events would prove, it was actually the advent of a gloomy era of serious flood of errors.

Even for some of us who knew that Mr. Kiir was already an incapable leader as early as 2005, we didn’t know his incompetence would be this destructive and eternally damning.

As he metaphorically and fatefully said when he assumed power after the demise of late Garang, the country is running with no ‘reverse gear.’ So it is easy to see why there is no stop to killings, meaningless decrees, economic deterioration, and political intimidation.

But when the cabinet was initially named, a semblance of a democratic process was exercised with a nominal ‘vetting’ of the ministers. There was even a rejection of one of the president’s nominees.

South Sudanese therefore thought the dawn of democracy was in the air. However, the acrimonious vetting process of Telar Ring Deng for Justice Minister soon revealed something sinister.

Mr. Telar was the only one actually vetted as the rest of the cabinet wasn’t seriously vetted. Telar’s rejection was later understood to be ‘revenge’ as he was seen to be the power behind the president’s decisions.

Our democratic utopia was therefore dashed. The process was even aggravated when the president warned the parliament after they expressed desire to subject the president’s nominees for the speaker of legislative assembly and Vice Presidency, to scrutiny.

The president warned parliament that there’d be consequences if they reject his nominees. It was the classic African preference of personality cult as opposed to democratic or parliamentary principles.

While the president found it easy, or even necessary to do away with the vetting process to bolster his hold on the presidency and power, he can now see that the chicken are coming home to roost.

The constant defection of the likes of Peter Gatdet and Johnson Oliny is a result of not following due process in the institution of any given policy proposals.

The incorporation of militia into the national army needs to be done in a manner that reduces any chance of such rebellion-prone folks to rebel. A government, or even the army, can’t just make decisions because they feel they are necessary at the time. Long-term effects have to be put into consideration before any decision is made.

We all know South Sudan has become a totalitarian regime that has copied Khartoum’s theocratic totalitarianism letter by letter and word by word. The political atmosphere is stifling in Juba and any political opposition is treated with pious brutality.

There are people who are in government’s controlled areas but they disapproved of the government. They just don’t see rebellion as a solution to the problems in South Sudan.

However, the government doesn’t take it seriously that the more they stifle the political breathing space in South Sudan, the more they drive the disgruntled minds toward rebellion.

The SPLA and National Security Agents arrest people anyhow and detain them without any due process of the law.

Ateny Wek, the presidential spokesperson, argues that the president doesn’t order such arrests. If the president doesn’t order such arrests then who has the authority to do so?

Without doubt, we know such arrests are unconstitutional, so why doesn’t the president stop such arrests given the facts that he’s the guardian of the constitution, ideally speaking?

The government brags about having been elected; that it is a democratically elected leadership. However, the president doesn’t explain to the people — who gave him the mandate to rule — the logic behind some of the decisions he makes.

He breaks constitutional provisions and finds it unnecessary to explain to the people the reason why.

In what nation on earth, even dictatorial ones, does a president select the leadership and board members of the supposedly independent bodies such as media authority?

Media authority is supposed to be an independent body that employs people of merit by subjecting them to credential assessment in their hiring process.

Doesn’t the president have something to do, something presidential? It has come to the point in which the president is going to pass decrees employing janitors for his office and the parliament.

This president has either been reduced to this level by those who’d want to see him destroyed; or he’s reduced himself to his level through incompetence. Either way, the president needs to wake up and salvage what’s left of his legacy.

The failed Nigerian former president, Goodluck E. Jonathan, salvaged his legacy in the last minute. He’s going to be remembered for having conceded election loss and for having peacefully handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, rather than through his failures.

It’s time for President Kiir and Riek Machar to realize that time is up for them and that the leadership needs to go to a different, younger class of South Sudanese leadership.

It’s high for the leadership in South Sudan to subject policies to verification and stern vetting mechanics. We know with certainty that cabinet ministers contradict each other day in day out because of lack of systematized verification process.

Ministers have to consult one another before they go public in order not to reflect the government as confused and incompetent. The minister of information says one thing but he’s soon contradicted by either the minister of foreign affairs or presidential spokesperson.

Transparency, information verification, respect for human rights and respect for democratic ideals have never harmed any civilians or leadership.

Kuir ë Garang is the author of “South Sudan Ideologically.” For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info

SPLM/SPLA-IO captures Paloich Refinery and asks oil companies to close down and evacuate workers

May 19, 2015;

Latest News: The SPLM/A-IO forces under Dr. Riek Machar reportedly has captured a refinery near the Paloich Oil fields in Upper Nile state, this is in line with their stated objective that they wanted to cut off President Kiir’s SPLM last source of money that has enabled Kiir to fight the rebels.

According to Aljazeera live TV broadcast, the capture of this oil refinery will severely suffocate the last source of income for the Juba government of Kiir.

Now read the latest press release from SPLM/A-IO:

For Immediate Release

SPLM/SPLA leadership has asked all oil companies operating in Upper Nile state to shut down their operations and evacuate their staff immediately. We also ask them to do the process of closing down in a safe manner that will not damage the oil facilities and cause environmental damage. This is a matter of urgency!

This is due to the ongoing clashes between our forces and pro-Salva Kiir’s troops near the oilfields.

Our gallant forces have repulsed and pursued government forces up to the oilfields this Tuesday morning. We have on Tuesday night captured Tangrial Bil, the site of oil the refinery, which is about 10 kms away from the main Paloch oilfields. SPLM/SPLA forces from a different direction are also 5 kms away from Melut town.

In the Tuesday clashes we have captured government’s warship mounted with heavy artilleries. In response to the government’s full scale offensive on our positions in the three states of greater Upper Nile region, we have decided to take control of the oilfields and deny Salva Kiir from using the oil revenues to perpetuate the war.

Regards,

James Gatdet Dak

Spokesman, Office of the Chairman, SPLM/SPLA

For further inquiry contact me at: gatdetdak2013@gmail.com, or +254 703 474748
——————————————————————————–

Machar’s SPLM-IO claims capture of Malakal town as govt. declares Gen. Olong a rebel

JUBA, Daily Nation, Saturday,16, 2015;

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: The government SPLA spokesman, Col. Phillip Aguer, today, Saturday, May 16th, officially announced that General Johnson Olong has joined the SPLM-IO under Dr. Machar and “he’s no longer with the government and should now be treated as a rebel.”

According to Juba government minister of information, Michael Makuei, who also acts as government spokesman, “it was (Gen) Olony who transported the rebels across the river bank to Malakal. This means that he is not with the government. He has rebelled and will be treated as a rebel.”

Rebels in South Sudan have launched a large-scale attack on the strategic northern oil hub and state capital of Malakal, an official and aid sources said Saturday.

Fierce fighting was reported to be raging inside the town, situated in the country’s oil-rich north, in what appeared to be a major counter-attack against a several weeks-old offensive by government troops.

“The rebels of Riek Machar have attacked Malakal from all directions, from east, west, north and south, and the fighting up to now is continuing,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told AFP.

He said government troops had so far “managed to repulse the rebels” to keep them from capturing the town, the capital of Upper Nile State.

Malakal has changed hands several times since South Sudan’s civil war broke out in December 2013, when President Salva Kiir accused his sacked deputy Machar of attempting a coup. The country has since been carved up along ethnic lines, divided between Kiir’s Dinka tribe and Machar’s Nuer tribe.

Since the war began tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting in the world’s youngest nation, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

POWERFUL COMMANDER

Officials said the attack began just before darkness on Friday, with rebels crossing the White Nile river on boats — apparently aided by a local militia commander from the ethnic Shilluk people who had been a pro-government general.

The commander, Johnson Olony, is a powerful commander in the key oil-producing state of Upper Nile. He has also been accused of abducting scores of children to fight in his force.

“It was Olony who transported the rebels across the river bank to Malakal,” Makuei said.

Aid workers in the town who spoke to AFP reported intense gunfire as well as the thump of heavy explosions from artillery or mortar fire.

On Friday a report by the regional bloc pushing peace efforts accused South Sudan’s army of carrying out “grave” human rights abuses in their all-out offensive.

East Africa’s eight-country IGAD bloc — whose peace initiative collapsed in March — condemned the “unwarranted and appalling actions” of the government, reporting “violence targeting civilians, grave human rights abuses and destruction of villages.”

The assault, which began in late April, is one of the heaviest government offensives in the 17-month long civil war, with gunmen raping, torching towns and looting aid supplies in the northern battleground state of Unity, according to the UN and aid agencies.

The UN’s aid chief in South Sudan, Toby Lanzer, this week said the number of civilians left without “life-saving aid” due to the offensive in Unity alone had risen to 500,000, after the UN and aid agencies pulled out due to a surge in fighting.

Over half of the country’s 12 million people are in need of aid, with 2.5 million people facing severe food insecurity, according to the UN.

Forty three years of chaos and disorder in South Sudan

BY: ALHAJ PAUL, MAY/12/2015, SSN;

“It is unfortunate that one of the well mannered and highly disciplined officers at the ministry of defence could not stand the test of pressure which is regretful.” General Kuol Manyang Juuk, the minister of defence of Republic of South Sudan declared. “I have always admired him” he continued, “for being one of the well mannered officers but one of the officers we have trained to the international standard. He holds a masters of Arts from Liverpool University.”

This lamentation speaks for itself, but it is important to mention Mr Juuk got it totally wrong; Major Lasuba Lodoru Wongo did not attend Liverpool University. He did his masters degree at Manchester University.

The agony of losing Major Wongo is coursing through the system like electric current causing shock to President Kiir’s government. Kuol Manyang was not only shocked but his thinking got paralysed due to the disorientation caused by the departure of the impeccable officer.

In trying to explain away the rebellion of Major Wongo, Kuol makes an empty statement subtly trying to associate the clean officer with being weak. “It is unfortunate…………(Major wongo) ………could not stand the test of pressure.” This is a baseless accusation with no credibility in it whatsoever.

To add to the already obscured comments Kuol is a well known chauvinist who parades his insensitivity to women openly. To understand his mindset just read, ‘SPLA vows to end rebellion in Greater Upper Nile region’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53180

Kuol’s derogatory announcement of Major Wongo’s rebellion reflects the larger picture of the constant taunts the Jieng throw at the Equatorians as ‘cowards’ , ‘slaves’, ‘colonised’ and so on. If people ever wanted to know where the average Jieng gets these abusive words from they should look no further than the minister and the ignominious Jieng Council of Elders. This is a self styled group of national thieves and criminals responsible for the rot in the country masquerading as respectable elders.

Although Mr Juuk has resorted to a sexist and abusive language he unknowingly reveals the system’s worries about the prowess of Major Wongo’s potential in ending the abusive system in Juba.

Mr Juuk confesses, “(Major Wongo’s) rebellion could undermine economic activities with neighbouring countries of Uganda and the Democratic of Congo (DRC) if he takes advantage of his knowledge of the triangle region straddling Uganda to the south of Juba and the DRC to the south west. “ Please see, ‘S. Sudan army expresses concern over defections in W. Equatoria’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53835

These worries are not without foundation. First, Major Lodoru’s declaration has been well received sympathetically by the majority of South Sudanese. He has ably and competently identified the malaise of South Sudan and skilfully prescribed the right medicine. His group’s objective is captured in this excerpt from his, “Why REMNASA was formed” received on 2nd February 2015 and published by South Sudan Nation website.

“For this reason, REMNSA therefore having been deeply touched by the urgent need to salvage the country from complete disintegration has developed firm determination to unite and reconcile all the 64 nationalities of South Sudan in order to maintain the existence of the country everybody fought to liberate for prosperity of the people and posterity of the future generation.”

What Major Wongo offers here is hope and peaceful existence for all the people of South Sudan, unlike the myopic recipe shoved down the people’s throat by the Dinkocratic system in Juba.

Who does not want to live in a secure and safe environment? Who does not want to see his/her family exist and develop in peace while knowing the future is assured? Who does not want to see their family and their children grow and develop socially, educationally and economically in happiness?

Everybody of-course wants that but the SPLM does not offer it. What they have offered so far is theft of public funds, ethnic cleansings, rampant killings, tribalism etc.

So the future clearly lies in the Lodorus, the Sules, the Mullas, the Paride Tabans, and many others. The people of South Sudan have a choice to make between evil and good, between totalitarian rule and democracy, between terror and secure respectable existence, between Jieng tribalism and a pluralistic order.

The SPLA, as the minister of defence confesses, will not be able to stop REMNASA from paralysing the country. The leadership of the SPLA is already damaged beyond repair by their poor behaviour.

The top brass have turned themselves into super businessmen owning huge business partnerships. Their capital was creamed from stolen salaries of the foot soldiers and the massive unsupervised budget accorded to the defence establishment.

Most of the generals have become physically shapeless due to over indulgence in eating. Their tummies protrude meters in front of them impacting on their mobility. These are people who can no longer afford to fight. Their only interest in life now is in protecting their loot. Even their existence in the army is towards that end.

SPLA currently is comparable to Idi Amin’s army routed by Tanzania in 1979; Joseph Mobutu‘s army routed by Kabila in 1997 and the list continues. Once an army becomes corrupt and business minded they can no longer defend a country.

No wonder, had UPDF of Yoweri Museveni not come to President Kiir’s rescue in December 2013, SPLA for certain would have crumbled and President Kiir and his Dootku Beny would have been history.

With the emerging patriotic rebellion in Equatoria it is just a matter of time before the SPLM/A and its Dinkocracy is cleared out from South Sudan once and for good. It must be noted that this rebellion can be traced to two crucial events.

First, and foremost, the pains of December 2013. The Equatorians are victims of President Kiir’s grave crime against humanity. The killings of the Nuer in the presence of the Equatorians have had a huge psychological impact on them emotionally and mentally.

In addition to nursing this destructive pain, the Jieng audaciously threatened the very existence of Equatorians. Having witnessed the horror of the cleansing of the Nuer and listening to the threats on their well being convinced the majority of Equatorians that the only way to safety is to struggle for freedom.

After all, they are being killed daily, their lands are being grabbed daily, their women and daughters are being raped daily so on and so forth. Please see, ‘The Jieng’s Vile Plan to Ethnically Cleanse Equatoria’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201407280866.html

Secondly, IGAD’s incompetence and lack of professionalism infuriated the Equatorians. The Equatorians as stakeholders found themselves excluded from having a say on the country’s affairs. Basically IGAD indirectly in a naive way was encouraging the Equatorians to rebel because the peace talks actually became the talks “of those holding arms” and not of stakeholders in general. IGAD was thus rewarding the men of violence and despising the men of peace.

IGAD’s conduct in the whole peace mediation at best is disgraceful and at worst is a downright promotion of violence in South Sudan. It is disgraceful at best because the whole foundation for the solutions to the conflict is built on the belief that if SPLM/A is reunited peace can return to South Sudan.

This view and the narrative that follows it ignore the real cause of the problem which is tribalism and President Kiir’s cleansing of the Nuer in December 2013 to silence his critics and challengers in the rotten SPLM party.

Furthermore it is not right that power is yet again to be concentrated in SPLM/A which has failed the country.

In mediating, IGAD behaved like an Ostrich. It hid its head in the sand expecting peace to magically appear. This is the stuff of a deranged mindset. Peace will not come to South Sudan out of a biased mediation process, spiced with self serving interests and a hypocritical approach to the conflict.

IGAD’s approach at worst is a promotion of violence in South Sudan because IGAD itself has taken sides in the conflict in support of President Kiir who de-legitimised himself by engaging in ethnic cleansing of South Sudanese citizens whom he has a duty to protect.

This is in spite of the fact that President Kiir in breach of the interim constitution recruited his own tribal militia who he unleashed on the Nuer people and opponents of the regime.

Plainly President Kiir is a criminal and should not be supported to remain in power. He cleansed Juba of the Nuer people in December 2013. Please see, ‘Timeline: formation of Mathiang Anyoor in South Sudan’ https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/timeline-formation-%E2%80%98mathiang-anyoor%E2%80%99-south-sudan and ‘Generals say Juba massacre was done by private militia, not SPLA’ https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/generals-say-juba-massacres-done-private-militia-not-spla

Once you have read these two pieces on Radio Tamazuj website, please proceed to watch ‘President Salva Kiir of South Sudan on BBC hard talk’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_-WncqcZ5o

Given the available evidence, the right place for President Kiir now is in the International Criminal Court to answer for his grave crimes against humanity. IGAD shamelessly in condoning impunity interferes with the release of the African Union report to the atrocities of December 2013. If this is not stalking the flames of war I do not know what it is. Please see, ‘IGAD on the Issue of Stakeholders’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201406060656.html

The man responsible for the trashing of President Kiir’s grave crimes against humanity is none other than his nemesis Dr Riek Machar. Right from the beginning he callously downplayed this serious crime by not calling it an ethnic cleansing of the Nuer. His reluctance allowed the IGAD to define the conflict from its own perspective dismissing the mass murder as the real cause of the conflict.

What was disheartening was that on 22nd December 2013 a week into the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer, Riek in an interview with Al Jezeera naively announced to the world his wish to be the president of South Sudan. It seemed to him the killings of the Nuer did not matter at all. What was important for him was the presidency of South Sudan.

Here, Riek as usual has disappointed the people of South Sudan. In 1991 he correctly challenged Dr John Garang over the objective of the movement only to fall prey to President Omar Bashir of the Sudan. He was greatly deceived by Bashir to enter into an alliance of the devils without a clear strategy. They then set out to conquer South Sudan militarily. Within a period of less than one and half years the SPLM/A was ruthlessly beaten to a near total annihilation. The alliance with Bashir’s regime succeeded to capture the whole of South Sudan save Nimule.

Dr Garang sensing the demise of SPLM/A and triumph of Khartoum, he coiled his tail and literally begged the Equatorians to forgive the ills of the movement and return to save the country. Were it not for the late Eliaba Surur, Yaba Saverino Fouli, Rev. Kinga and the Equatorian leaders of the time who intervened and mobilised the Equatorians to re-join the fight, SPLM/A would have been history.

When the Equatorians returned to the field they rolled back all the gains the unholy alliance of Bashir and Machar made. As expected the Jieng shamelessly claimed the victory as theirs pushing the Equatorians once again away from the centre of power.

The Equatorians have always been the saviours of South Sudan. Just prior to the independence of the Sudan in January 1956, the Equatorians rose up in Yambio, Juba and Torit igniting a war of resistance and secession against the Sudan. This initial war from 1955 to 1972 was fought to a large extent in Equatoria by Equatorians. They gave their all to realise South Sudan.

After signing the Addis Ababa agreement of 1972 granting South Sudan self rule, out of good will and in belief of South Sudan’s welfare, General Joseph Lagu took the highest patriotic act by handing political power to Mr Abel Alier while he remained in the army.

Lagu then went out to train the next leaders of South Sudan. He identified John Garang and Salva Kiir among others and proceeded to train them. Here was an Equatorian working for the interest of the people and South Sudan. Unfortunately, Abel Alier instead of building the South, he embarked on fragmenting it tribally which led to Kokora.

Abel Alier’s right hand architects of tribal division and destruction unbelievably make the core of the current Jieng Council of Elders. Any wonder why the country is in chaos. These are the very people who created the environment that led to Kokora. Kokora simply was a reaction of Equatorians to Jieng abuse of power from mid 1970s to early 1980s just like now.

Again, in mid 1990s Equatorians saved SPLM as narrated above. Now, once more Equatoria is stepping in through REMNASA to rescue the country. This time round Equatoria needs to do a thorough clean job to ensure that proper institutions are set in place to ward off any abusers of power.

In the 60 years of South Sudan’s tragic existence – from 1955 to 2015, the Jieng have directly been responsible for 43 years of the chaos and disorder in the then region and now a country. This makes 72 percent of valuable time wasted. It is what can honestly be called a period of continuing darkness. The remaining 28 percent was lost to the oppression of the Arabs. Had South Sudan under the Jieng utilised this time productively South Sudan would perhaps be far ahead by now in all spheres.

Although the 72 percent of wasted time partly was also locked in the war of liberation, what needs to be recognised is the real failure of the Jieng to understand the real needs of South Sudan which is the forging of a united people under values that promote equality, justice and prosperity.

However, the humiliation and abuse Equatorians suffer, with the constant elimination of their leaders capped with constant taunts is bound to lead into a conflict. It is a no brainer to know that this kind of humiliation and subjugation of a once stout and proud people is eventually going to result in an ugly show down.

Here is where Major Wongo comes in. His rebellion is a reaction to 43 years of relentless humiliation. There is nothing the Dinkocratic system is going to do, that they have not already done. If it is killing, they are already doing it with style. If it is rape, they are already doing it to both women and men. If it is land grab, they are doing it. If it is marginalisation, they are doing it. If it is mass displacement of Equatorian communities, they are already doing it.

In such an environment though violence is undesirable and unacceptable, it is understandable why Major Wongo has taken up arms to resist and save the country from disintegration. The theory of Just War clearly endorses war when the victims have no recourse to peaceful solutions to their suffering and problems.

In interest of self defence and saving the country Major Wongo can not be faulted. His situation is similar to Dr John Garang’s situation in 1983. If it was right for Garang and Salva Kiir to pick up arms against the oppressors in Khartoum then, it is equally right for Major Wongo to pick up arms against them the oppressors of today in Juba.

Knowledge accumulated from experiences from various conflict situations over the centuries tells us that abused persons are likely to become the future abusers or oppressed persons are likely to become the future oppressors. The evidence to this theory has been vindicated in post colonial states of Africa. South Sudan itself is the latest glaring indisputable case.

Please see letter sent to President Salva Kiir by a group of pro-South Sudan American activists. It proves the point by saying: “This violence is shocking and has included rape, murder, theft, and destruction of property. We are particularly concerned about the evidence emerging of abuses by government forces in Jonglei. These terrible crimes occur because government forces believe they have the power to act with impunity. We joined you in your fight against these very abuses by the Khartoum regime for many years. We cannot turn a blind eye when yesterday’s victims become today’s perpetrators.” http://enoughproject.org/files/FriendsofSouthSudanLetter_July2013.pdf

Franz Fanon in his book, ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ beautifully sheds light on the pitfalls of violence. While he endorses it as a means of breaking the shackles of oppression he disagrees passionately with the supposed liberation fighters’ inability to break free from the ways of the ‘master’ which paradoxically is what they fought against.

In a nutshell yesterday’s oppressed become tomorrow’s oppressor. What a curse? President Kiir and the SPLM/A are the living example of this curse articulated by Fanon.

The SPLM fought claiming it was liberating the oppressed people. Now see what they are doing and what is the difference between Bashir and Kiir. For instance, Bashir is intolerant of free speech and media and so is Kiir. The security services of Khartoum abuses the people in exactly the same manner the security of Juba does.

In other words, the break away from the Sudan has not provided the people of South Sudan with the true freedom they fought for. Thus there is need for the liberation to be finished.

It is only the conscious liberation movements such as the South West Africa People Organisation (SWAPO) of Namibia to some extent that can deliver to their people. Now, will Major Wongo and REMNASA be able to deliver on their promise.

On balance of probability they are better suited to rescue the country especially given the fact that REMNASA’s declaration captures the real issues of South Sudan. Major Wongo comes across as a more clued up person on the issues of South Sudan.

There is no reason for a humble, well educated and disciplined army officer to break ranks unless he/she has come to a logical conclusion that things are at the tipping point. Indeed in South Sudan things have reached a tipping point.

The only hope was in the IGAD peace talks. Unfortunately IGAD the mediator itself sexed out the stakeholders removing the vital required element for a real credible lasting solution.

Unsurprisingly it has as a result of its naivety hit the buffers ending with a grand failure on its hands on 6th March 2015.

The survival of the country is in dire straits and an internal intervention is needed. Major Wongo has selflessly answered the call for the internal intervention and salvation of the country. His appearance on the national stage in many ways is comparable to that of Dr John Garang in 1983.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

But Mr Vice president, have we tried to save our economy before asking other countries to save it for us?

BY: Agok Takping, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, APR/08/2015, SSN;

Vice president James Wani asked East African countries to save his country’s deteriorating economy, but have South Sudan tried enough to help itself? Since February this year, most people have been speculating that the South Sudanese economy is about to collapse. However, the South Sudanese government only started to share that view of many in April that the economy is indeed on the free fall.

The elite or the policy makers only came to that realization because inflation has reached new heights and the country has faced an increasing shortage of essential consumer goods like bottled water and fuel. The black market price of the dollar has risen close to 9 SSP and as I write this article, that rate may have gone up.

There are many reasons why the dollar is a hot commodity in South Sudan. Firstly, South Sudan is a country living on imports, there is absolutely nothing produced in South Sudan. Everything from vegetables to construction materials are imported.

Secondly, almost all South Sudanese who have regular incomes have rented houses for their families and put their children in various schools in East African countries.

Thirdly, students whose parents or guardians cannot afford rents in Uganda or Kenya but can afford to pay their school fees are all studying in boarding schools in East African countries.

Fourthly, there are no hospitals in South Sudan, the few that are there are poorly equipped and can hardly treat even little sicknesses like flu or malaria. This means the majority of people who have an income travel overseas for treatment.

Finally, a large number of big businesses are owned by foreigners. What this means is that these foreign nationals exchange a huge amount of South Sudanese pounds into dollars and take the dollars back to their countries.

All the mentioned factors have always been there, however the difference this time is that the oil prices in the international market has dropped dramatically, this coupled with an ongoing civil war, which forced the closure of some oil wells in Unity and Upper Nile states, means that there is a lot less hard currency going into the South Sudanese economy.

As a result, dollars become scarce. Here the law of demand versus supply kicks in, as demand increases while the supply dries up, it pushes the black market price up. This pushes up the inflation as well as import prices rise.

The long term fear is that as more people want dollars and not enough dollars coming into the economy, inflation will keep rising. In extreme cases this can cause hyperinflation where the pounds could become useless as was the case with the Zimbabwean dollar in 2009.

Another factor why the black market for dollars rises higher and higher is that the government of South Sudan has a system of fixed exchange rate. What the fixed exchange rate does is that it overvalued the pounds, while the demand is in dollars, this swings the exchange price against the pounds in favour of the dollar.

Fixed exchange rates can only be a good thing if the South Sudan central bank has enough dollars in its reserves to maintain the fixed rate.

However, this is not the case, the Bank of South Sudan as acknowledged by the government itself is running low in hard currency. The shortage of dollars, which pushes up the exchange rate means that everything in South Sudanese markets will become more expensive, and South Sudanese living in East African countries will not be able to pay their rents and school fees for their children.

This prompted the government to send the vice president to Kenya and Uganda to ask those sisterly East African countries to rescue South Sudan’s economy by accepting the South Sudanese pounds (SSP) inside their countries.

Currently, South Sudan has two different exchange rates. The official rate is about 4 SSP per dollar and the black market rate is 9 SSP. Can you see the potential problem here?

The black market differential is too big, what this means is that it increases the incentive for corruption.

Think about it for just a moment. If you can get access to dollars at the rate of 4 SSP, which is the official exchange rate and then sell those dollars at the rate of 9 SSP (the black market exchange rate), you would be 5 SSP richer. This is corruption at its finest.

This is precisely what is going on in South Sudan, the elites with their families and friends are mostly exclusively the ones who get the dollars at the official rate of 4 SSP.

To answer the question I asked earlier, before going to East African countries and asking for help, there are few things which Wani Igga and his government can do to mitigate the short-term and the long term crises of the exchange rate.

In the SHORT TERM, the government needs to take some hard decisions and devalue the pound and get rid of the fixed exchange rate.

Adapting the floating exchange rate where the market forces determine which currency go up or down in value will unify the official and black market exchange rates. By unifying the exchange rates, the issue of discriminatory distribution of dollars will be eliminated.

Consequently, those corrupt officials who used to supply the black market with dollars will see no incentive in that crooked business.

By taking these measures, the government must have to introduce subsidies for essential goods like basic food items and fuel to cover the price shock which would force those households with not enough income to go without food as they wouldn’t afford it.

The few outlined solutions above for the quick fix are achievable. However, for the long term, the task is huge and it can only be done if the government of South Sudan is serious about fixing the economy.

To bring the South Sudan’s economy to a minimum regional standard, the government must embark on constructing 2000 or more residential houses annually in Juba. States governments will also need to do the same.

In addition to housing, there is also a need to uplift the face of education in South Sudan, funding for education must be the same or even more to that of the military.

With good education system where teachers are paid based on their qualifications and performance, there will be no need for South Sudanese students to go and study in Kenya or Uganda.

Moreover, if there are enough clean and affordable standard houses for rents, all the South Sudanese families in their thousands renting in Uganda and Kenya at the moment will come back to South Sudan.

These will almost half the number of people looking for dollars now in South Sudan, the result will be a healthy economy where investors will find it attractive to invest in South Sudan.

Another important project that the government will need to initiate is building cross-country highways. Connecting all major urban areas in the country with tarmac roads will not only reduce transportation costs of goods which will then reduce food prices, it will also ensure even distribution of population (less people in Juba).

Finally, the government will need to look at cash repatriation, in Ethiopia for example, an individual is only allowed to carry a maximum of $3000 if they are leaving the country.

Cash repatriation must be capped to whatever amount deemed reasonable, this will ensure that foreign nationals are not crowding forex bureaus in search of dollars only to take them back to their countries of origin and invest there.

There are many more the government will need to do to fix the economy for the better, however the above few points are at the core of everything that needs to be done in order to have economic growth.

Agok Takpiny is a concern South Sudanese citizen residing in Melbourne Australia, he can be reached at his email: agoktakpiny@ymail.com

IGAD peace talks must be inclusive

BY: ALHAG PAUL, MAY/05/2015, SSN;

By virtue of my membership of an Equatoria internet forum I came across an article authored by Mr Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi titled ‘South Sudan needs fresh start without Kiir, Machar – Dr Miamingi,’ published by the Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor on 26th April 2015. This article features a photo of Dr Remember Miamingi wearing the famous Nelson Mandela shirt.
http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/PeoplePower/South-Sudan-fresh-start-Kiir-Machar-Dr-Miamingi/-/689844/2697290/-/ecinnuz/-/index.html

In addition to this article Dr Miamingi also appeared in an NTV debate discussing the same topic. Please watch the video: ‘Fourth estate: South Sudan, a conflict with no end in sight’ on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiRx1hb7bII

On reading the article, I found it very stimulating. The timing of this piece obviously suggests Dr Miamingi may have doubts about the ability of the newly revamped IGAD-Plus mediating team in bringing peace to South Sudan unless it abandons its flawed strategy of wanting to concentrate power to the two principals of the conflict by diversifying the peace talks to reflect the entire social groups in the country.

Who can blame Dr Miamingi for thinking like that?

IGAD since appointing itself to the role of mediator in South Sudan has done nothing to demonstrate its impartiality. Throughout it has been biased in favour of the regime in Juba and so its failure on 6th March 2015 was not a surprise to South Sudanese. Please see, ‘To achieve in South Sudan, IGAD talks must be diversified.’ http://www.southsudannation.com/to-achieve-peace-in-south-sudan-igad-talks-must-be-diversified/

Dr Miamingi brightly highlighted the obstacles to peace in South Sudan. It must be emphasised, his arguments are not new. Many writers have articulated these views in the last 16 months of the conflict and IGAD for reasons best known to it ignored them.

For example, the South Sudanese professionals produced a document titled ‘South Sudanese professionals in Diaspora’ capturing the issue. https://paanluelwel2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/negotiating-peace-through-federalism.pdf

There can be no doubt that the arguments raised are useful in the current atmosphere of hopelessness created by the failure of IGAD in mediating peace. If only IGAD could unplug its ears, the key to peace in South Sudan lie in some of the arguments Dr Miamingi is promoting which will be slightly modified in this piece.

Having given this brief background, let us look at the point of view expressed by Dr Miamingi as reported by Mr Sserunjogi. In the article, Dr Miamingi under the sub title ‘Who are the “We”?’ describes himself as a member of diverse group at home (South Sudan).

He asserts ‘the ”We” represent South Sudanese who are in the Diaspora, who are in refugee camps and have been basically uprooted from their home, who are united in the desire for peace in the country.’ What is intriguing is that this “we” has no name given its wide membership. Dr Miamingi claims this identity less organisation is ‘organised around what we call the “Four point campaign for a just peace in South Sudan”.’

He goes on to outline them as: 1) Just peace through inclusivity. 2) The architects of the war should be excluded from the process of peace making. 3) Peace talks and establishment of an interim government, and 4) Military intervention by African Union (AU) backed by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Article 7.

These points Dr Miamingi encapsulated and promotes are useful in helping those involved in the mediation. Since there are only 4 points let us briefly talk about all of them in their current order and they can then be re-arranged in order of priority suitable for resolving the problem in South Sudan.

It goes without saying that for peace to return to South Sudan the peace talks must produce a “just peace” through an inclusive process that values all the people of South Sudan. What this translates to is that all the stakeholders and civil societies of South Sudan must have a say so that the process and outcome is owned by the “people”. It becomes a “people peace” and not an “SPLM/A peace” in which the “people” are excluded.

The question asked is: Why is IGAD naively conniving with the abusive SPLM/A to deny the people of South Sudan their right in deciding their own future? Is the sovereignty of South Sudan not vested in its people? If it is, then the right thing is to let the people participate in the peace talks as of right. If it is not, why not? Why are criminals allowed to run the show? Please see, ‘President Kiir, Riek and the SPLM are the problems of RSS.’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201405070248.html

If IGAD truly is seeking a lasting “Just Peace” it must abandon its short sighted strategy of pursuing grand empowerment of the destructive SPLM/A, the very party responsible for the chaos as a solution. Otherwise, whatever outcome from its mediation will be short lived and the region will once again sooner or later find itself in the same position like now. This takes us to the second point for barring of the culprits responsible for the chaos from the peace talks.

This point is plainly clear and no reasonable person will disagree with it. All over the world people involved in crimes are apprehended and arraigned in court of law. They are not tolerated and treated as if they were decent people. The mistake the world has done with South Sudan’s case is to tolerate ethnic cleansers and listen to them as if they have not committed grave crimes against humanity.

The world unfortunately seems to have not learnt a lesson from the history of the Second World War. The major powers of the time appeased Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany and treated him initially as a decent person possibly in the false hope that he might change. But what did the world get from this unethical act? Holocaust! with a sharp shock to the global system.

In terms of saving lives, the late intervention of the world to save the Jews was too little too late. The lesson from this horrific and heinous crime of Hitler tells us not to entertain dictators and totalitarian rulers who have tendencies of extreme hate of rival social groups especially if such leaders have already started ethnic cleansing on small scale.

The late President of Iraq Sadam Hussein gassed the Kurds of Halabja and the world paid a blind eye. Sadam got emboldened and he went on to further his military adventures in Iran and later on Kuwait. As a result the whole region eventually got thrown into turmoil.

President Salva Kiir with his false image as a peaceful person indisputably belongs to Sadam Hussein-like class of dictators. The world should deal with him appropriately now to account for his crimes before he plunges the region into turmoil. He should therefore not be allowed to call the shots in Addis Ababa.

Does this make sense? Yes, certainly it does, he should be barred from the talks. Please watch this video, ‘President Salva Kiir of South Sudan on BBC Hardtalk’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_-WncqcZ5o

As I write now, the economic mismanagement initiated on the watch of both President Kiir and Dr Machar from 2005 following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and promoted by the entire SPLM/A leadership coupled with the political mismanagement of the last decade which blew up in December 2013 has brought the country to its knees socially, economically and politically.

When the country was at a relative peace the SPLM/A entire leadership looted the coffers of the state and in war as now the revenue is spent on lethal weapons and the regime supporters. Unsurprisingly, South Sudan has just gained a new name, ‘Kleptocratic State’. Please see, ‘In IMF view, a kleptocratic state bordering on bankruptcy.’ https://mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-gb/suite and ‘Corruption saga: the SPLM five big guns or the quintet squirrels’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/corruption-saga-the-splm-five-big-guns-or-the-quintet-squirrels

The third point Dr Miamingi raises is very crucial as it relates to the issue of security of the stakeholders itself. Dr Miamingi argues that the peace talks should be taken back home. In other words he wants to see the peace talks held inside South Sudan. This proposition is imprudent and fails to take into consideration the safety of the stakeholders.

Any talks held inside the country will not yield a lasting solution. The reasons are:

1) Lack of security for the participants. What will stop President Kiir from intimidating the stakeholders? What will stop President Kiir from arresting some or all the stakeholders and declaring peace achieved?

Let us not forget, the regime in Juba has neither respect for human rights nor values of decency. To understand these points just think about the experiences of Mr Peter Sule and Dr Lam Akol Ajawin with regards to their invitation to the IGAD peace talks. Did President Kiir’s government not deliberately obstruct their travel plans to the peace talks and threatened to harm them?

If the regime was intolerant to allow stakeholders to attend the peace talks in Addis Ababa, would it tolerate their participation in such talks inside the country under its jurisdiction?

Actually as much as nobody would want to say it, should the talks be held inside the country President Kiir may be pushed to silence a good number of the stakeholders whose voices he does not like hearing.

2) The regime does not believe in freedom of speech and expression. Those who speak freely in the past like Isaiah Abraham paid the ultimate price with their lives. The outspoken leader of civil society organisations Mr Athuai Deng narrowly escaped death on two occasions for speaking out.

The first time the security agents of President Kiir kidnapped him, beat him up thoroughly and threw him into a garbage site by the river Nile thinking he had died. He was lucky to be rescued by locals.

The second time, President Kiir’s agents in broad day light shot him in public. Luckily the bullet hit his leg and he survived.

These are just few examples of the government’s usual tactics to muzzle the people. With such an environment of terror, how could Dr Miamingi make the futile proposition for the talks to be held inside the country. For the sake of a lasting peace the peace talks need to continue being held outside the country in a neutral secure venue.

This brings us to Dr Miamingi’s final point of African Union intervention backed by United Nations Security Council Article 7. The first thing South Sudanese need to acknowledge is that since the Independence of South Sudan on 9th July 2011 the country has been under UNSC Article 7. So the UN can actually exercise this power any time if it wants.

Military interventions are always fraught with difficulties to both the interveners and the intruded because of the issue of emotions linked to pride and humiliation.

Apart from this, it is not clear whether the international community will want to commit to such a project given its costs and the uncertainties around success.

Nevertheless it is something worth pursuing because already there are foreign forces in the country – the Uganda People Defence force (UPDF) in addition to the Blue Helmets of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

UPDF can not be part of a solution as it actually deployed to protect the government of President Kiir which has been carrying out ethnic cleansing of the Nuer. Therefore, UPDF needs to withdraw back home soonest. It has no business being in South Sudan – Uganda interest or no interest is immaterial.

These four points delineated by Dr Miamingi are poorly arranged and for them to be effective, the order should be reversed starting with the last point and ending with the starting one.

Therefore, African Union backed by the United Nations should take over the country for a strictly specified period as recommended by the leaked Draft Report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan. http://nyamile.com/2015/03/07/draft-report-of-the-au-commission-of-inquiry-on-south-sudan/

There should be no worries because the report clearly sets out a hybrid plan of action (comprising South Sudanese and international experts) regarding the intervention.

Point three should take the second place. The interim government can be set up as envisaged by the Obasanjo report without any peace talks, but with wide consultation with all the stakeholders without those allegedly involved in illegal acts like the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

Point two becomes redundant simply for the reason that when the country is taken over by African Union and United Nations, the architects of the chaos would vanish into exile or they will have been arrested and farmed off to some detention facilities to await trial for their grave crimes.

Point one becomes feasible and essential to implement in a violence free and peaceful environment. The main purpose would be to address the vital constitutional issues and the critical problem of national reconciliation and healing.

Following the above re-arrangement, the modified “Four point campaign for just peace in South Sudan” of Dr Miamingi now becomes ‘Three point campaign for just peace in South Sudan’. This can offer a solution to the quagmire South Sudan is in now.

However, whether this plan will be considered by IGAD or not, the most important thing is not to let the SPLM/A in all its different forms and shapes to dictate and monopolise the peace talks.

For South Sudan to be de-tribalised socially and politically, state power must equally be de-tribalised which means the talks must include all the stakeholders and it must be in a neutral venue.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

Devaluation is burial of our current slim social economic structure

BY: Chier Akueny Anyithiec, JUBA, MAY/02/2015, SSN;

Suggestion of currency devaluation is a total nightmare that it would be the best way to destroy the lingering economic quickly. By a continuing process of inflation, the solution wouldn’t be at the first place a suggestion of currency devaluation.

It was a useful proposal, but I felt like, I wonder in other way if I list down the shortcoming when suggestion is adopted. The proposer would send me an academic paper showing that devaluation currencies were often associated with shrinkages or running away economy.

I would write responding that I wasn’t disputing that; instead, I was saying that devaluations made economic adjustments easier; this is simple and its simplicity complicates everything in the process.

Is it showing that devaluations would little bit help relieve the situation? The inflationism (devaluation) has serious impoverished effect, not less than of the proletariat (people employed).

As the inflation proceeds and the value of the currency fluctuates wildly from time to time in frequent, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of entrepreneurship, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a bet and a raffle.

There is subtler here; is there no surer means of overturning the existing problem in the country than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and it does it in a manner which not one man in this Country will able to establish influence.

The quotation of well known Economist Keynes is perfect here. It does such a good job of succinctly describing why currency devaluation is a destructive policy, both economically and socially because it undermines both sides in such confused and fragile economy like such of South Sudan today.

It seems that Keynes understood the problems fashioned by policies designed to debauch (devalue) the currency, the modern-day economic followers never see this one the solution to shrinking economy.

Instead, the degree of sense has been discarded by the Keynesians of today in favour of a total focus on “aggregate demand”.

If you wrongly believe that economy to be a vague blob driven by changes in “aggregate demand”, then you are looking at the economy through a quilt that creates such a distorted view of the world that what you perceive is the opposite of reality.

When looking through such medium, currency-devaluation policy can appear to be unjustifiable process economic anodyne.

Yes, we know that currency devaluation makes local exporters more competitive; but what are we exporting from this country?

I think, according to my meager knowledge of economic; a country devalues the currency to promote her local exports. The problem immensely, we are consumers rather than exporters and so, it would seriously be at our EXPENSE as consumers and importers.

There can be no net benefit to our trembling economy and indeed such act may lead economic to total oblivion.

The reason is that a persistent reduction in a currency’s value on the foreign exchange market requires relatively high monetary inflation, which leads to rises in domestic prices that not only counteract any benefit to exporters from the exchange-rate decline, but also distort relative prices in a way that makes the overall economy less efficient.

The real policy stands that you devalue your currency in some stable countries in case to increase the exports if reaches her trade deficits but are we trading/exporting?

According to orthodoxy of real economists, every dollar that flows out of the country due to a trade deficit is a dollar less of spending within the domestic economy, which, in turn, leads to a weaker domestic economy and higher unemployment.

Indeed, even-though our employment rate is at nutshell, then it would be better for us to maintain the same tract and make sure we adjust some misplaced policies for us to regain.

There is a need for the redirection of these policies to make sure that consumers and importers are favoured and by doing this; we made sure there is a reduction too to net loss of jobs. I always wonder to why people jump the same hole in this country because this very same hole will be forcing you to unnecessary/wanted hurdles.

The first face of economic reform would be support of local productions that include set employment policies of the country to make sure that there are little bit itches of inputs to our society.

Here if currency devaluation is achieved then, it would be a veracity that you have added hands to killing real wages and thus gets around the problem that the nominal price of labour tends to be ‘sticky’.

The idea is that insignificant wage rates are excessively slow to fall in response to reduced demand for workers, and that currency devaluation helps by furtively reducing the real price of labour. So, are we intending to reduce the price of wages or to increase wages in this dilapidated war torn country?

I request the real economists to assist me here!

Second, the sticking of wages is not only the problem such severe economic downturn but we have to unequivocally consider another point that government indirect payments to the unemployed can reduce the incentive for able-bodied people to accept lower wages to re-enter the workforce. In other words, if nominal wages are problematically ‘sticky’ it is because of government intervention.

Third, the knowledge that modern money relentlessly loses purchasing power over time would tend to make nominal wages ‘stickier’ than they would otherwise be but how do we lose the purchasing power? The answer is low value of the coin you have at hand.

I would agree with proposer to disagree with him that the primary problem with currency devaluation is that it always leads to non-uniform changes in prices throughout the economy.

In effect, the of devaluation policy send false price signals into the economy, which leads to more investing mistakes than would otherwise happen. As a result of the greater number of investing mistakes, there ends up being less wealth to the country, but are we ready stand with less wealth when we do not have wealth already?

I remember the policy of economy on the proverbial “slippery slope; I think you want to put this country to this slippery slope if you are longing for currency devaluation.

In summary, Keynes wasn’t right about much, but early in his career he was absolutely right about currency devaluation. It is a process that engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and it does it in a manner that not one man in a million will be able to diagnose.

The currency devaluation policy is the root cause of worldly fixation on “inequality”. Unfortunately, none of the most popular writers on this topic understand the cause of the perceived problem.

But we can you do, you have to go ahead with you suggestion of solving one problem so that you get more problems. Therefore; I don’t support currency devaluation at the expenses of average consumers.

BY: Chier Akueny Anyithiec,
Currently living in Juba,
Reach me at: chieryako@gmail.com
Phone: +211954201211

Malakal: Series of massacres and destruction

By Dengdit Ayok, South Sudan, APR/28/2015, SSN;

Malakal, that town which had fallen on the bosom of river Nile as if she was thirsty and wanted to keep herself, drinking from its pouring mighty stream and in fact she is, was and still is one of the most beautiful towns in the country.

It is a glorious and glamorous town that had seen calmer days and much relative peace and stability during the wartime, which was considered to be the longest war of this continent — than post war time.

It was an umbrella sheltering her sons and daughters under her leafy shadows as a hen hides her chicks under her wings, where there is safety and sense of tenderness and passion.

The town had been visited by evil and frivolous hands after the guns went silent and the emergence of peace in 2005. It was during this time that the ruling Ingaz regime (meaning salvation) in Sudan, and which did not save a single soul, used Gabriel Tanginya (a warlord) to spread death and corruption, resulting into the killing of innocent people in Malakal in 2006.

Sadly, the same warlord repeated the same tragedy in the same town in 2009.

I had wished to visit Malakal in peacetime; nevertheless, I could not make it, except in wartime, a few days after the eruption of war in Juba in December 2013. She had appeared attractive and charming to me from the air, but I found her utterly destroyed after the aircraft landed.

The airport was in good condition, but the neighborhoods and shops and marketplaces were an exposure of a massive destruction.

Her children who survived death in the crossfire painstakingly made it to the UN headquarters, some had fallen. Their bodies were horribly inflated in a scene that makes the heart shed tears before the eyes.

Vultures fed on bodies of the poor people that were redeemed by the blood of the martyrs who had sacrificed their lives for them in the liberation war in order for them to live!

Birds of prey from the sky gathered to feed on the corpses of our beloved people who should have lived in peace!

In the army barracks, I held my breath in an attempt to avoid inhalation of the air which was overshadowed by the bad smell of the rotten corpses of the soldiers who were said to have been engaged in sporadic shooting, but I almost lost breathing.

I took pictures of those dead soldiers. A Kenyan journalist working for the Associated Press captured a very horrible picture that was widely circulated on social media. Here is the picture in words:
“A soldier in full uniform, fallen on his back, with his face towards the sky, a raven flying over him, and an eagle devouring his carcass. He was lying down near an old bulldozer, in the barracks”.

On our way back to the airport, the UN team was digging mass graves for the dead people whose bodies have filled the town and the river. Woe to warmongers and warlords!

The town later witnessed attacks and battles of hit and run between the government troops and rebel forces; death toll grew higher among our people in Malakal. The town was devastated and broken into pieces, due to the repeated battles over its control by the government troops and the insurgents.

In the middle of last week, when fighting intensified between the soldiers under the command of Gen. Johnson Olony and the bodyguards of Mr. Governor Simon Kun Pouch, according to reports, I knew that citizens who have returned to Malakal in the recent times were the victims of that senseless fighting.

All those battles have turned that beautiful town, lying on the bank of the river Nile, to nothing.

I wondered: Has the warlords finally designed the fate of Malakal to death and destruction? If so, as it is the case now, how long will it go on? Why the war seems to have refused to abandon it since those chaotic days of Tanginya? Why should the civil population be subjected to such a disaster?

This must stop, and the perpetrators must one day face the court of justice, not under this government, but another government.

The magnitude of desolation and killing that Malakal town had witnessed is higher than the rest of the towns in Upper Nile region – it is a double destruction. If the ongoing destruction and killing in the region was to be distributed in portions, then Malakal shall undoubtedly have the greatest portion.

Woe to killers and devastators! The stage that the ruin has reached in Malakal is like that of Jerusalem, the capital city of the Jews in the ancient times.

I am weeping for that town which became a mass grave for her sons and daughters, when it was their beautiful town and their home, in which they lived and had their dreams.

It is so sad that their lives ended in that horrific manner, which is not acceptable to the heaven before the earth.

When Peter the apostle of Jesus Christ drew his sword from its sheath and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant during the arrest of Christ in the orchard, Christ said to him: “Those who kill by the sword, will also perish by the sword,” and so, was it the case for those who brandished their weapons in the face of Malakal.

People do not deserve killing and death, but life, peace and dignity.

I was very much affected by what happened in Malakal last mid-week. The impact of that damned war on me was a serious psychological blow on my mind.

Nonetheless, no matter how long this night may take, the daybreak will surely come. And I have expressed this faith and hope in a poem I called, “A Hopeful Cry for “Land of Great Abundance”.

Here are its words:
Oh, my land,
I cry for you…
Thy sons whose hearts
Hatred has settled,
are devastating you day and night…
They have forgotten you;
they have forsaken you and your welfare…
Shelling, bombing of towns;
and militarization
has become a daily culture…
Malakal is burning,
Hands of treachery are still causing
More disruption and division
among our communities..
Your sons have fallen all over,
They have fallen for no right!
Died for no cause!
Thou shall not be at ease,
and taste peace and tranquility
except when the hands of treachery are gone,
The sun of eternal peace shall then rise all over you,
then the desolated towns shall become houses of smile,
then shall we see you beautiful,
and glamorous in giggling of children;
in the joyful ululations of our mothers,
and in songs of our shepherds…
Then the sun of hope will rise again,
We make our way forward,
Strong and united,
Build the homeland of our
pride and the land of our ancestors;
live in harmony,
Sleep with our eyelids fully closed…

Mr. Ayok is a journalist and political commentator. He is reachable at dengdit_a@yahoo.com

South Sudan military spending doubles to $1bn, highest in region

By: ALLAN OLINGO, The EastAfrican, Posted Saturday, April 25 2015, SSN;

IN SUMMARY

Africa’s youngest nation relies on oil revenue to fund about 80 per cent of its budget.
South Sudan’s military spending rose to $1.08 billion last year, up from $982 million in 2013.
Since December 2013, South Sudan has been fighting dissident soldiers and armed civilians led by former vice president Dr Riek Machar.

Region counts the cost as S.Sudan crisis goes into second year. South Sudan has nearly doubled its military spending since 2010, and now ranks as the region’s biggest spender — a skewed spending policy that will hurt key sectors such as health, education and infrastructure.

Africa’s youngest nation relies on oil revenue to fund about 80 per cent of its budget. However, output has reduced significantly due to the ongoing conflict in the country and the rapid decline in oil prices.

Last year, total income from oil stood at $3.38 billion. However, after deducting $884 million in payments due to its neighbour Sudan and $781 million as loan repayments to donors as well as international financiers, South Sudan remained with just $1.715 billion from oil revenue.

A report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released last week shows a rise in South Sudan’s military spending to $1.08 billion last year, up from $982 million in 2013. This means that Juba spent more than 60 per cent of its net oil revenue on the military.

Since December 2013, South Sudan has been fighting dissident soldiers and armed civilians led by former vice president Dr Riek Machar.

Early last year, the Cabinet approved an emergency fund of $2.6 million mainly to finance its military forces as it engaged the rebels.

In July, during the budget presentation, the country’s former finance minister Aggrey Tisa Sabuni, said that the government would spend 41 per cent of its budget on security, including the military.

“I have allocated $737.8 million to the national army and $262.9 million to the police, prison and fire services. We expect that oil revenue will contribute about 80 per cent of this year’s budget,” said Mr Sabuni.

In 2012, South Sudan ordered close to 100 Ukrainian T-72 tanks; part of this military hardware was delivered last year.

In contrast, Kenya cut its military spending last year to $819 million, from $861 million in 2013, despite the fact that the country continues to face an increasing threat from transnational terrorists.

Homegrown terrorists sympathetic to the Al Shabaab militants, whom the Kenyan forces have been fighting in Somalia since 2011, have proved to be a challenge for the country, yet in its 2014/15 financial year, Kenya did not allocate any funds for crime research and investigations.

Funding operations

In the 2014/15 financial year, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that the bulk of the security vote of $800 million would go to the military, which is involved in operations in Somalia.

So far, the Kenyan military has spent $447 million in Somalia, with the government providing $215 million for the mission, and the United Nations expected to shoulder the rest.

The country’s defence budget was to go into acquiring 10 new military helicopters, refurbishment of three grounded Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters and installation of closed circuit (CCTV) surveillance cameras in 10 cities.

Tanzania, for its part, increased its military spending marginally in 2014 to $460 million from $408 million in 2013, according to SIPRI’s estimates.

Tanzania has been sprucing up its navy over the past two years as it seeks to defend its newly discovered offshore petroleum resources. Last year, the country acquired 14 new J-7Gs fighter jets, Type 63A amphibious tanks, A100 multiple rocket launchers and Type 07PA self-propelled mortars from China.

Meanwhile, Uganda increased its military budget to $322 million last year, up from $302 million the previous year.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the conflict in South Sudan has increased Uganda’s military spending. The Ministry of Defence allocation in the 2014/15 budget was 12 per cent higher than the previous year, and the Defence Ministry requested two supplementary budgets amounting to $64 million.

Uganda allocations

In its 2014/15 financial year, Uganda allocated $400 million to its army that was expected to finance its interventions in Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where its forces are hunting down the notorious warlord Joseph Kony and his Lords Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

“Over the 2013/14 financial year, the government has continued to strengthen the capabilities of our armed forces and other security agencies through the acquisition of modern security, defence equipment and other logistical facilities, as well as the improvement of staff welfare and training,” Uganda’s former finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said in her budget speech.

Uganda has bought MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets in the past few years, which are still being delivered, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Sukhoi SU-30 combat aircraft.

Rwanda, on its part, makes for interesting statistics. Despite being the only country that has been actively involved in military campaigns in the DRC over the past five years, the country’s military spending remains the lowest in the region. Last year, Kigali’s military spending grew by 4.1 per cent to $85.9 million, up from $82.3 million in 2013.

Rwanda has acquired the reputation as a reliable peacekeeper, all the while benefiting from training as well as from reimbursements for purchases of weapons. The country has peacekeepers in South Sudan and Sierra Leone. Last year, it bought new Mil Mi-17 helicopters and a medium-range surface-to-air defence missile system from China.

Burundi also increased its spending last year to reach $62.2 million, up from $60.9 million in 2013.

South Sudan: The Only Country where Army Generals never retire from Service!

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, Doctoral student, USA, APR/18/2015, SSN;

It was not long ago that South Sudan was part of the then united SUDAN. After the secession, the new nation went on its own way, taking no system of the host nation. The ululations and giggling shortly after independence poured lots of hopes in the hearts of the civil population, but no enough preparations were put in place to run an independent South Sudan.

The worst part being that South Sudanese celebrated their independence for too long, forgetting that the newly independent nation was in need of Infrastructures and Security in order to sustain itself in the face of economically advanced neighbors.

Throughout the country, supposedly former army officers took oaths of their offices (constitutional/political posts), but continued to behave in their capacities as military officers despite their new roles as lawmakers and civil servants.

Unlike any other country in the Region, South Sudan was submerged under military rule, and all the officers who once served under the SPLA never believed in their minds that fundamental changes have taken place in their lives.

While in the governments (Central & states’ levels), they remained as SPLA officers, and even went further and encouraged former child soldiers to take up military training in order to fill positions in governments’ institutions.

The nation’s leadership (South Sudan) seems to support such mindsets, and the president dresses in military attires whenever he feels like it, and when he is sharing a security meeting.

Well, dressing in military uniforms means being ready for war or show of superiority. But do the majority of South Sudanese really want to see that?

As a matter of raw facts, all of today’s youths grew up in huts that had military uniforms and guns all over. So, dressing in military uniforms means an aggression, and that by itself energizes youths raised in wars to entertain and commit more violence against civil population.

Verify if terroristic attitudes of Governor Matur Chut Dhuol has reduced violence in Lakes State? Verify if an eye-for-an-eye has resolved problems in Jonglei and other states?

Verify if military aggression against disoriented SPLA’s deserters has deterred them from committing more atrocities on Government’s supporters and communities in their vicinities?

There is nothing wrong with military as a profession, but our people must know that most people who became soldiers were either conscripted into the Rebels groups or forced by conditions that South Sudanese were in, and to liberate the Region from successive Khartoum-based regimes that were hostile to African South Sudanese and other nationalities in the SUDAN (Dar Fur, Funj & Nuba).

With current military lifestyle being the new reality, majority unknowingly surrendered the nation to be run more like a military camp/base, and the same command has strayed into other areas: economy and social life.

As of recent months, the Army Chief of General Staff went head to head with religious leaders, particularly leader of the Cush International Church/Ministries also known Prophet as many of his prophecies have materialized in a rather a bad way.

They (national leaders) cannot command every aspect of citizens’ lives and expect a free State where citizens will contribute to development of the country without constraints.

For the last number of years, President Salva Kiir has been making changes in the nation’s military leadership, but never retired Army Generals as it is the norm in other parts of the world (some were short-listed as reservists).

Over the years (2005-to-present), Generals/army officers have been serving in civilian posts for extended periods of time, and then returned to military branches as active Generals.

For example, the current SPLA’s Chief of General Staff was Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State between 2008 and 2013. He was removed by presidential decree, reinstated into the Army, promoted to the rank of Lt. General and given his new assignment as the SPLA’s Army Chief of General Staff, and also where he doubled as Chairman of the SPLM in his home state (Northern Barh El Ghazal).

There are other instances where those who were counties’ commissioners and states members of the parliaments returned to military service.

Where can we draw a line between the SPLA as the national Army and the SPLM as the ruling political Party in the Republic of South Sudan? Remember, their military ranks are earned titles, but they cannot practice military while serving in civilian posts.

Along the same line, caretaker Governor of Lakes State, Gen. Matur Chut Dhuol was appointed by a presidential decree as a Governor & retained his military status, runs the state more like a military barracks, terrorizing civilians, detaining politicians indefinitely and imprisoning them without charges.

He defied call by the Council of States (Constitutional posts holders). Can somebody tell Matur to mature and Malong to adopt rule of law (Lööŋ as his name referred to in Jieeŋ).

What kind of State do South Sudanese really want to have? Do they want a Nation where a minister smacks his subordinates in the face and expect to stay as a minister or do they want a State where Government’s officials are hold to the account?

To have a functioning system in a democratic State, it got to start with few steps and should start from somewhere, and be followed by those entrusted with the nation’s highest authority.

The kind of leadership that South Sudanese leaders have shown is likely to be copied by those who work directly under them. Let’s be factual, “what you sow is what you harvest.”

We fear not the current leaders, but those who would be tempted to walk the path walked by their mentors (money can recruit an army of ruthless loyalists).

There is no way that South Sudanese would expect to see responsible leaders in the near future if the ones we have misbehave publicly, overstep their authorities, abuse their subordinates physically and misappropriate nation’s wealth with impunity.

For one thing, the ones being bred in Juba and elsewhere would be no better than their mentors unless they follow the order of the world they live in.

No human is made of wires, and those who labor under the presumption that their immunity is God given are completely wrong. No wonder, our people (South Sudanese) are very disconnected with today’s world (no borders & no secrets), and they behave as if they live in their own isolated Universe.

In conclusion, brutality at the top is too dangerous for the nation of South Sudan. How can youths possibly distinguish good leadership from bad/toxic leadership if national figures keep doing the unthinkable?

For those who were in the bush (SPLA’s controlled areas), stories about officers physically abusing their subordinates were everywhere, and some of us thought those would be things of the past.

Sometime, one feels guilt-free for having not worked under brutal leaders in modern South Sudan. In reality, most of these leaders are well known for the bad things that they have done, and the bad image they have created onto themselves and the new republic.

The mentality of being an army officer for life must be discarded altogether or South Sudan would keep producing bad leaders prone to violence, and who believe in physical abuse of their subordinates and authoritarian running of the State’s affairs.

The author is Mayak Deng Aruei, a doctoral student in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development. He is also the author of ‘Struggle Between Despair and Life: From Sudan’s Marshland Village, Child Soldiering, Refugee Camp and America.” He can be reached at Kongor.da.ajak@gmail.com