Category: Featured

The exile of Dr Machar: Did Pres. Obama repudiate Roosevelt’s anti-colonial doctrine?

By: Samuel Atabi, South Sudan, JUN/20/2017, SSN;

It is now confirmed: Riek Machar has been exiled and is under detention in South Africa. In a recent teleconference with the members of the UN Security Council, Machar himself cleared any doubt whether or not he has been exiled and detained in that beacon of self-determination and black freedom, the Republic of South Africa.

Exiling one on account of being a political or military leader was a tool extensively employed by the white colonial invaders of the African continent.

Even the Germans, who had the briefest presence in colonial Africa, forced into exile a number of leaders among who was the Paramount Chief of Kapando from Togo who was exiled to Cameroon, in 1913; the Germans had fear that he would lead an uprising against them.

The main practitioners of exiling leaders were the French and the British. This is not to disregard the roles of the other minor colonial powers such as the Portuguese, Belgians, Spanish, Italians, and the racist Afrikaner of South Africa.

The French operated mainly in parts of West Africa and the Maghreb. In one memorable episode, the French deposed Behazin, the King of Dahomey Kingdom and deported him as far as Martinique in 1894. The rest of the continent was under the domination of the British.

African traditional leaders, Chiefs and Kings in eastern Africa region were routinely exiled away from their homeland and followers.

An example of the British highhandedness, which resembles the present Machar’s predicament, was the exiling of the Buganda King to the UK in the 1950s.

The Governor in-charge of the then Uganda Protectorate, one named Cohen, demanded that Kabaka (King) Freddie of Buganda integrate his kingdom into the soon-to-be-born independent nation of Uganda. Kabaka Freddie refused. For this pain, he was removed and deported to London for a ‘comfortable’ exile.

Generally, these colonial exile cases did not achieve their main objectives. Some of the aims were directed at ending of dynasties, silencing defiant leaders, facilitation of wholesale seizure of land and forcible settlement of white settlers. The natives always fought back, some with extreme violence.

After the independence, a number of Africa heads of governments have behaved just like the colonialists. The case of the Angolan rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi will help to illustrate this view.

The path to independence of Angola from its colonial master, started in the 1960s, and was bedeviled by a vicious civil war among the anti-Portuguese and liberation movements.

The main protagonists were Jonas Savimbi of UNITA versus Agostinho Neto and Edwardo dos Santos of the MPLA. Independence was handed to the MPLA in 1975 but UNITA continued with armed struggle against the new government.

There were several attempts at negotiated end to the war between the two rival movements but all of them failed.

In 1989, during one of the attempts, a group of African leaders (an equivalent of IGAD?), from Angola (an interested party), Congo, Gabon, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe, met in Harare to get a peace agreement.

In an action similar to that meted out to Riek Machar in 2016, these leaders unanimously decided to exile Savimbi, also to South Africa.

They also recommended the integration of UNITA forces into the MPLA and its institutions in a similar manner to that being advocated for the absorption of the SPLA (IO) into the Kiir’s faction of the army.

As might be expected, Savimbi violently refused to go into exile and resumed fighting. Years later, Savimbi was killed in 2002 under suspicious circumstances.

We shudder at what might be the fate of Riek Machar. God forbid!

The African leaders at Harare imitated their past colonial masters in prescribing ‘exile’ as a solution to a complex and desperate political and military situation that existed in Angola at that time.

The secretive decision of the IGAD and its supporters to exile and detain Riek Machar in South Africa was a desperate attempt to imitate the Harare outcome; prescribing a palliative to cure a chronic and almost terminal disease ailing South Sudan body politics.

Most observers were not surprised by the decision of the IGAD et al to lure Machar into exile. After all, some of the key IGAD members have their own sinister interest in the current war in South Sudan.

What has really pained and surprised many in South Sudan and internationally, is the apparent acquiescence of the Troika countries, USA, UK and Norway in this unjust and devious scheme.

We in South Sudan continue to agonize over what might have been the aim of countries like USA in propping up the dictatorial regime in Juba. We are not alone in this agony.

In its report of April 28, 2017, an American think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, asserts that American government’s warnings and threats to the genocidal regime in Juba have been tepid.

It goes on to say that South Sudan armed forces targeted for physical abuse and tried to kill senior US diplomats without consequences.

Lastly, it recommends that the US Congress should set up a Commission to study what went wrong with US engagement in South Sudan.

While we must await any outcome from such a Commission (if it will ever materialize), we are wondering whether the Obama administration, in giving a tacit encouragement to this antiquated colonial tool of exiling leaders, has in effect repudiated decades-long Roosevelt’s anti-colonial doctrine first enunciated at the end of World War II.

Like the Africans in colonial time, South Sudanese have characteristically reacted even more violently after the exiling of their leader; exposing the vacuity of the action.

The sooner Machar’s exile and detention are reversed the better for the future of South Sudan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPLA changes to SSDF: Is Malong a baptismal sacrifice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Sudan rebels form alliance to oust President Kiir

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

IN SUMMARY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splinter rebel groups:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Malong returns to Juba

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

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

No National Army in South Sudan: A Lesson learned from Malong’s sacking

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, MAY/12/2017, SSN;

On May 9, 2017 South Sudanese national army (SPLA) Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan was fired by President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and replaced him with General James Ajongo Mawut. Consequently, tension began to grow between the President and the sacked general.

In fact, the tension was more exacerbated due to the fact that soldiers were deployed on Juba streets and around the sacked General’s home while plainclothes national security agents drove in and around the capital telling people to go inside their houses (according to www.southsudannewsagency.com/index.php/…/south-sudan-army-chief-sacked-2/).

As the government went on preparing for war as seen above, Malong was preparing for peace. Therefore, he left Juba with intention of going to his hometown, Aweil, the same night as a way of reducing tension. However, leaving Juba was another problem as the government began panicking.

That kind of hysterical behaviour shown by the Government stroke the nation with fear and in particular, those who were overwhelmed with fear were those along the path he was about to pass when he was going to his home area, Aweil. The places that he was about to pass through were: Yirol, Rumbek, Gok State, Tonji and other places he would have passed as going to Aweil.

Many friends of mine I talked with in Rumbek in respect to the same matter expressed the same fear of war breaking out at any time. This was made worse when General Matur Chut laid the ambush to attack General Malong if he had passed through Western Lakes.

Fortunately, the governor of Eastern Lakes, Bor Phillip and the goodwill of the sacked General saved South Sudan from bloodshed. For that reason there is a need to appreciate the two personalities for the good work they have done.

Nonetheless, the incidence exposed the weaknesses on the side of the government in Juba as it’s shown that it does not know how to handle the matter. The same weaknesses explains the outbreak of 2013 South Sudanese war, which is still ongoing now. Had the SPLM handled the crisis within it at that time, the war would have been averted like it is done now.

However, that was not my interest as my interest was not whether there would be war or not but my interest was to see the reaction of “South Sudan National Army.” I have put the word South Sudan National Army in quotation because in reality there is no national army in South Sudan.

The above assertion was confirmed by what happened during the present crisis as it has clearly exposed the true nature of the national army of South Sudan. In short, there is no national army as I will give the reasons shortly but first, what is the national army.

The term national army typically means the lawful army of the state as distinct from rebel armies or private armies that may operate there. For the army to be regarded as lawful, it must be established by law of a country duly passed by the Parliament. In that respect, the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 in Article 151 establishes the National Army of South Sudan and its functions.

The functions of the National Army (SPLA) are to:
—(a) uphold the Constitution;
—(b) defend the sovereignty of the country;
—(c) protect the people of South Sudan;
—(d) secure the territorial integrity of South Sudan;
—(e) defend South Sudan against external threats and aggression; and
—(f) be involved in addressing any emergencies, participate in reconstruction activities, and assist in disaster management and relief in accordance with this Constitution and the law.

In order to perform the above functions, the national army must not be controlled by an individual person or it must not owe allegiance to an individual. The national army is other words must be there to protect the nation but not the interest of any person including the president.

This was proved by the Egyptian Army in 2011 when it asked Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak to step aside when people went on the street demanding for his resignation. The same army did the same thing with Islamist President, Morsi.

As explained above, where the army is national then it also strong army. In addition, where the army is strong, there is also strong law and rule of law. This has been observed by Niccolo Machiavelli in his book, the Prince, “the main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow”.

I wished the President of South Sudan would read the Prince by Machiavelli and put it into practice and had he done that South Sudan would have had strong army and the good law.

It is also important to stress based on the above quotation that without strong army, no matter how good the laws are there will never be strong law. In simple term, strong army is the foundation of strong law.

Nevertheless, with regard to South Sudan, there is no national army and this is why there is no bad law. The weaknesses of the army of South Sudan are rooted in the fact that the army is highly politicized, polarized and composed of bunch of militias and auxiliaries.

Thus, it is the fact that has been exposed by the removal of Former Army Chief, General Paul Malong Awan which is troubling. The main lesson learned about the nature of the army we have in South Sudan in the recent incident is that our army is tribal army but not national army. This is because a national army defends the nation not tribe mate as seen in the case of General Malong.

When the army heard that Malong was sacked, many SPLA soldiers from Aweil took their guns and followed him, which shows that the SPLA from Aweil are not there for the interest of South Sudan but to protect personalities. What saved South Sudan, however, was Malong not National Army because the SPLA Army from Aweil was ready to shed blood if Malong had not changed his mind to come to Juba.

The incident has also proved what happened in 2013 when the conflict broke between Riek and Kiir. As soon as conflict started, all the SPLA members from Nairobi ethnicity deserted the government in defense of Riek. At the same time, Dinka SPLA members began targeting Nuer members because of their ethnicity and moreover, both sides have been accused of killing South Sudanese citizens because of their ethnicity.

In addition, the recent conflict between Bor and Murle and Bor and Mandari, exposed the same fact that SPLA is not a National Army. This was shown by the fact that the SPLA members from Bor Community supported Bor Youth in killing Murle forgetting that they have a national duty to defend South Sudan.

Defending South Sudan means defending citizens of South Sudan and all people inhabiting South Sudan including Murle are citizens of South Sudan. This further means that the SPLA has a duty to protect all citizens where their lives are under threat.

In the same way to show that there is no national army, it is not wrong to state from personal observation that almost all SPLM leaders including the President are guarded and protected by their tribe-mates.

In addition, people are appointed in the SPLA based on tribes not because a person desires to serve the nation called South Sudan. The SPLA has been turned into business and employment forum where generals employed their own people leaving tribes without any generals out in the army no matter how capable a person is.

Because of that the army is highly fragmented as all members have different agenda and expectations.

In summary, as one of my friends observed sometime back and which I have learned in the present crisis caused by the removal of General Malong, I can simply conclude that there is no national army in South Sudan.

What is there is not national army but something composed of militias, auxiliaries, businessmen and women, untrained individuals.

All the above groups are made up of different persons with conflicting loyalties and interests; hence they are always weak in protecting interest of South Sudan since they put their interests or interests of their tribe mates above the nation.

In order to have strong national army that puts the interests of South Sudan above their own interests, the Government should sieve the present army to find out who are really trained and who are not. Those who are trained should be reoriented to take up responsibility of protecting the nation not individuals. Then, those who are not trained must be sent to the field for at least three years to undergo intensive training.

If the above is not done, then, I am afraid, South Sudan will remain weak in everything and people will continue to suffer as they bear the brunt of negative force of bad governance caused by corruption, or which causes corruption as the two are symbiotic.

Therefore, if there were a strong army and good law, then, the bad governance and corruption would have been controlled and citizens lead happy lives. As a result, South Sudanese would have lived in justice, liberty and prosperity.

NB//: the author is Human Rights lawyer that can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com

It’s Time for A Nonviolent Revolution in South Sudan to remove all SPLM/A Leaders!

By: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, MAY/03/2017, SSN;

South Sudan has arrived at a point where SOMETHING HAS TO HAPPEN But what that something shouldn’t be, is VIOLENT. Changing governments through violence has never bred any peaceful, inclusive and democratic governance. Violent removal of leaders leaves behind bottled-up bitterness, which usually results in another violent removal.

But we all agree that the government in Juba is not only a failure, but also a destructive, myopic force for any peaceful coexistence of South Sudanese.

While I believe South Sudanese leaders have committed unspeakable and horrendous atrocities, I don’t necessarily see them as bad people. They are just horrible quasi-politicians, who failed to transition from a militarized tradition to a purely, democratized political system.

Additionally, I don’t see them necessarily, contrary to how Alex de Waal’s perceives them, as people who maliciously went out of their way to consciously design a destructive system. Disorganized and jittery of Khartoum’s attitude toward the South, and lacking creative leadership capacities, South Sudanese leaders got lost in the complexities of state-building.

SPLM leaders had no ideological base and creative internal avenues to solve their problems. Lack of leadership, tribalized politics and the general desire to be powerful and wealthy, destroyed South Sudanese leaders.

Instead of focusing on solving their internal political problems, they resorted to building their tribo-military bases to defend themselves against their imagined and real politico-military enemies. This helped create a system in which what politicians and military leaders did was to compete in a survivalist system.

It was about survival. And in a survivalist system, what you need are people you can trust and people who support you no matter what. Sadly, in South Sudan, these people turn out to be one’s fellow tribesmen.

Since these leaders have tribalized the military and politics in a survivalist system, it’ll be almost impossible for them to be the ones to make South Sudan a peaceful environment. They have to be forced out as they’ll not leave on their own accord. Nonviolent defiance is the only way to force these leaders to change.

In 2008, it had to take the intervention of elder statesmen like Joseph Lagu and Abel Alier to avert the crisis. In march of 2013, these leaders failed to compromise their differences so they postponed the problem. In December of 2013, instead of resolving their differences, they resorted to public ridiculing of themselves.

There was no reason why these leaders couldn’t reconcile their differences. Problem-solving is what leadership is about. What John Garang did in Rumbek in 2004 could have been a superb example. Sometimes the leader has to eat a humble pie to avert a crisis.

December 15 crisis was a result of lack of internal mechanism within SPLM to solve problems. This is the problem that continues to break South Sudan apart, and will continue to do so.

But once given a golden opportunity through the Agreement for the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) in 2015, they shamefully squandered the only chance for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in July of 2016. Greed, incompetence and lack of strategic vision continues to plague South Sudanese leadership.

In the light of this, it’s time for South Sudanese from all walks of life and from all tribes in all towns and villages in South Sudan to shout ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.’ The war has to end!

But the war will NEVER end as long as SPLM is in charge. The current leaders need to be forced out. However, they can’t be forced out violently. They need to be forced out peacefully.

Students, women, youth, wounded veterans, civil servants, shopkeepers, religious leaders, police, prison wardens, need to occupy government offices and Dr. John Garang’s mausoleum until Juba accept to bring peace. Villages and towns should refuse to fight for any rebel groups. SPLM forces should refuse to fight for leaders who don’t care about anyone; those who have brought the country to its knees.

It’s time for the war to stop; but it’ll not stop as long as we continue to support these leaders. We praise these leaders when they brought the very conditions that are now killing civilians.

In 12 years, all that SPLM and SPLA have brought South Sudanese is misery. SPLM is too deformed to be reformed, to use John Garang’s words.

It’s time for Juba to be led by fresh and younger eyes. SPLA and SPLM have done their jobs. It’s time for the names of the mighty two to be archived as someone once suggested. President Kiir and senior military leaders need to be replaced by younger, non-tribal military leaders. You can tell me “good luck with that!” but that’s the necessary reality: they have to go!

There’s nothing left for SPLM leaders to bring to South Sudanese accept destruction, misery and destitution. The people of South Sudan are more powerful than a few politicians. Take your country back! It’s time for a South Sudanese revolution!

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author living in Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.com

South Sudan as the Jieng State in the Image of Salva Kiir

By: Stephen Par Kuol, APR/24/2017, SSN;

After half a century of armed struggle by successive generations of our people, the Republic of South Sudan was founded with optimistic and euphoric celebration on July 9, 2011. The flag of the nascent nation was hoisted with tearful hysteria. It was like daydreaming, but in real life, we became a sovereign geopolitical entity under the international law.

The new geopolitical creation changed our national identity in earnest. Our new nation became the Republic of South Sudan and we then became South Sudanese (not Southern Sudanese).

Paradoxically, the new country we all created with blood, bullets, ballots, sweats and tears has been turned into a slaughterhouse for us (the humans) in no time.

Subsequently, the Republic of South Sudan has become a failed state by all conventional definitions of the term.

Among other institutional shortcomings, South Sudan under Salva Kiir has miserably failed to uphold the most cardinal responsibilities which according to Hobbes Doctrine legitimizes the state in its social contract with the populace: public security and equal protection under the rule of law.

Without any morally convincing cause, we have been locked in a protracted war of self-destruction fragmenting the very common national identity we have been laboring hard to forge.

Even the sovereignty we have been clamoring for is diminishing by the day. In shame and emotional anguish, we have been flocking back to seek refuge in the same nation (Sudan) whose citizenship we renounced through the ballot to create our own nation in January 2011.

At home in South Sudan, we have been reduced to destitutes and displaced within our own Promised Land of “milk and honey.” So, far and wide, the people of South Sudan have become the laughing stock of the world!

Currently, South Sudan is known on the world map for nothing but political violence and humanitarian crisis. Our downtrodden people have been plunged deep into a bottomless pit of death and destruction.

Lives and properties have been destroyed in scale and magnitude we have never seen even during the decades of war with the Republic of Sudan. Far worse, this disaster of shame has wrecked the social fabric of our society beyond description.

In sum, it is a history of failed state, systemic genocide, civil war, famine, intra-communal violence, institutionalized corruption, economic crisis and mass trauma.

The question lingering in so many heads is: what is it that has gone wrong to turn us into this pathological society of murderers?

You can do all the diagnoses modern science would allow but end up with empirical findings that the prevailing violence is not predisposed in our DNA. In another word, there is nothing wrong with the people of South Sudan.

Our predicament is squarely that of leadership failure in the person of none other than our inept and accidental President. Whether it is death by famine or bullets, President Kiir is the culprit.

Beyond any reasonable doubt, that cowboy clown legally named Salva Kiir Mayardit is guilty by both omission and commission.

President Kiir has created South Sudan in his own image to rule it without reference to any institutions. He deliberately abandoned all the constitutionally mandated public institutions including the national army (SPLA) and invested heavily only on his tribal killing machine infamously known as Manthiang Anyor and the security agency he single-handily established from his bush heydays to eliminate political leaders in the SPLM/A.

Kiir has also politicized the civil service and institutionalized mediocrity, nepotism and corruption in the national public institutions. With straight face, Kiir has institutionalized tribalism by syndicating his Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) to serve as a law giving institution and shadow cabinet.

Kiir’s apologists and the pundits in his pay-roll have been toiling hard to deny that JCE is the government of the day but its heading letter which reads as “Republic of South Sudan, Jieng Council of Elders (JCE)” exposes the clumsy image of the elephant in the room that JCE is a state institution.

It thus goes that Jieng is the state and the state is Jieng. The rest of the 63 ethnicities are condemned to second-class citizenship at will and whims of the ruling Jieng ethnicity.

In practice, the ethnocentric police state can accommodate only those who have accepted eternal servitude and their lower caste status as subjects of the ruling caste (Jieng).

Those who dissent, whether they are Jieng or non-Jieng face the violent wrath of Mathiang Anyor and Kiirs’s hoodlums. The records must be informed that Kiir ordered his first atrocities against the Jieng community of Luach in Khorfulus County during his war with George Athor in 2011. The first journalist to be murdered by his security operatives was also a Jieng man by the name of Isaiah Abraham from Twic East County in Jonglei State.

Just like his cowboy hat, Kiir’s trademark is the political violence. As well documented in the AU Commission of Inquiry Report, it was Kiir who fabricated a coup as a ploy to eliminate his opponents in December 2013 and committe genocide against ethnic Nuers in the process.

According to the findings of the UN Penal of Experts report, it was the same Kiir who reintroduced violence by attempting to murder his First Vice President in violation of the Agreement (ARCISS) last July, returning the country to the ongoing bloodletting.

It is Kiir who has just introduced state terrorism kidnapping journalist and civil society activists in the neighboring countries. It is Kiir who is killing aid workers and journalists.

It is Kiir who is pitting communities against one another other in his proxy war of counter-insurgency in Greater Upper Nile. His current project of fueling Murle–Dinka Bor intra-communal violence by supplying both communities with lethal weapons is the hallmark of that deadly policy.

It is Kiir who is committing genocide by famine, killings and forced displacement to the swarms in Dr. Riek Machar’s constituency of Southern Unity State. Kiir has also refused to acknowledge prevalence of famine in the government-controlled areas delaying international humanitarian intervention to save lives in those areas.

It is Kiir who is using food as a weapon of war by denying humanitarian access to the opposition controlled areas.

It is Kiir who is now launching a dry season scorched-earth campaign of genocide throughout the country. Fresh in mind are the most recent mass killings in Cholo Kingdom, Wau, Pajuok, Keju-keji and Yei River county.

It goes without telling the cold truth that with the ongoing orgy of genocide in the name of Jieng Power, Kiir is committing the worst moral crime against the Jieng Community he has been pitting against all other communities to mobilize political support.

Kiir’s mischievous administration and divisive local politics have caused even more deaths in his own Jieng communities of Lakes and Warrap states where inter-communal violence has claimed thousands of lives since 2005.

As elaborated afore, South Sudan in the image of Salva Kiir is violent, corrupt, politically incompetent and ethnically polarised. That is an unacceptable image of the proud people of South Sudan.

Hence, we must all unite our ranks to change this ugly image of our nation by ousting this monster. Only then can the people of South Sudan mend their social fabric and chart a new path to peace and prosperity. END

BREAKING STORY: Kiir signs suspicious oil agreements to turn around fortunes of economy

By: JULIUS BARIGABA, TheEastAfrican, APR/15/2017, SSN;

The South Sudanese government is signing deals with suspected wheelerdealers, some of whom may be out to take advantage of Juba’s financial crisis.

In less than four months, President Salva Kiir, who is presiding over a cashstrapped economy torn apart by a conflict that is teetering towards genocide, has received offers from agents of established companies, organisations and non-descript financing groups, all dangling deals worth billions of dollars that critics warn will mortgage the country and its resources for generations.

Critics in Juba worry that President Kiir’s desperation to get cash may push him into the hands of outright conmen and that even genuine companies could take advantage to secure sweet deals for themselves while leaving the country with peanuts.

International fixers are reportedly operating out of the regional capitals of Kampala, Nairobi, Addis Ababa as well as other African cities and some European capitals, setting up meetings between the president himself and other top government officials — the Juba teams are only too willing to go along.

First in was the Luxembourg-based investment fund Suiss Finance Luxembourg AG, which towards the end of 2016 made an offer of €10 billion ($10.5 billion) that could rise to €100 billion ($105 billion), to finance projects through joint ventures in infrastructure, transportation, oil and energy.

IN SUMMARY:
International fixers are reportedly operating out of the regional capitals of Kampala, Nairobi, Addis Ababa as well as other African cities and some European capitals.
Juba government is looking to new entrants and deals in its oil sector to boost oil production and provide an escape route from empty coffers.

READ:

President Kiir’s critics and Sudan observers immediately flagged this deal after it was publicised in the media.

A South Africa-based South Sudan academic familiar with goings-on in Africa’s youngest country warned the deal was bogus. Refusing to give his name for fear of endangering his family still trapped in the intricate war in the south of the country, the academic challenged journalists to dig deeper into the deal.

Investigations conducted by this newspaper revealed that shadowy Kampala businessmen had brokered the deal but efforts to get one of the principals to speak on it were futile as multiple phone numbers given as his contacts were unavailable.

On March 6, Juba signed a deal with Oranto Petroleum to invest $500 million in the country to develop South Sudan’s oil in Block B3 covering 25,150 square kilometres, paving the way for the oil company’s “comprehensive exploration campaign, starting immediately.”

South Sudan’s Ministry of Petroleum and Oranto Petroleum signed the exploration and production sharing agreement for the block, in which Oranto will be the technical operator and 90 per cent shareholder, while the Juba government’s Nile Petroleum (Nilepet) takes a 10 per cent stake.

The EastAfrican could not confirm with the South Sudanese embassy in Kampala, if the cash from any of these deals has come through as Ambassador Samuel Luate was reportedly out, attending a meeting, and the only official in the mission was “not in line to speak about the matter.”

Mr Luate’s office promised to respond later, but by press time had not returned our calls.

Another deal on oil and gas collaboration was signed on March 20, this time with Equatorial Guinea, to share knowledge and resources, promote investment and for Equatorial Guinea to provide training to South Sudanese personnel and advise on licensing as Juba’s current licensing round nears conclusion.

Details on the progress and execution of these offers so far remain scanty, although the Oranto deal has attracted the most criticism in Juba.

Apparently, technical officials in the Ministry of Petroleum compiled and handed over a report to Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lul Gatkuoth, indicating that Oranto lacked both the technical expertise and financial capacity to handle 90 per cent of the block.

In spite of the report, critics indicate that powerful figures and wheelerdealers in Juba were holding the government to ransom and pushing for the deal to be signed, regardless of any amount of criticism and queries over Oranto’s transparency and capacity.

Prince Arthur Eze, founder and chairman of Oranto Petroleum said his company is “at the vanguard of African firms exploring and developing African assets” but also hinted that the company would collaborate with “our partners to bring to light the immense potential of Block B3.”

Oranto is a subsidiary of Atlas Petroleum International Ltd, both forming the Atlas Group, a wholly owned Nigerian private firm.

“We believe the petroleum resources of Block B3 are vast. To reach our target of more than doubling current oil production, we need committed new entrants like Oranto,” said Mr Gatkuoth.

The sister companies of the Atlas Oranto Group own and operate 20 oil and gas acreages in 10 African countries in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal and South Sudan. Founded in Nigeria in 1991, the group is Africa’s largest domestic explorer by acreage.

But in a number of countries, Oranto has been cited in irregular deals that enabled it to get oil deals over the line, usually, acting as a middleman for big oil companies to whom it sells its exploration rights later on.

In 2006 and 2007, a report by the Liberian Auditing Commission named Oranto in a bribery scandal for allegedly paying a total of $118,400 to legislators as the company sought parliament’s approval to grant it the right to develop or sell concessions to bigger oil companies.

Oranto had negotiated production sharing contracts for three out of four concessions with the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) but the company needed parliament to ratify them before it could sell to another party, hence the bribes.

Rights to sell concessions
Once the lawmakers were handed the sweeteners, Oranto was granted the right to sell its three concessions to Chevron in 2010, and as of 2012, the US oil giant owned a 70 per cent stake in each of Oranto’s offshore blocks.

Industry watchdog Global Witness also says NOCAL awarded Oranto concessions without the oil prospecting firm ever putting in a bid, while in Mali, Oranto’s was one of a dozen exploration agreements cancelled in 2014 over “various offences.”

The manner in which the Nigerian firm acquired exploration blocks in Sao Tome and Principe was also characterised by irregularities.

By press time, Oranto had not responded to The EastAfrican over the issues of lack of transparency and the risks in investing in conflict-ridden South Sudan.

Yet the Juba government is looking to these new entrants and deals in its oil sector to boost oil production and provide an escape route from empty coffers.
“The government is working hard to reinvigorate the petroleum industry in South Sudan by creating an enabling environment for international oil and gas companies to invest and operate. It is up to the oil companies to come in, explore and produce. Partnership is what fuels the oil industry,” said Mr Gatkuoth. END

‘Pres. Kiir et al, they’re all Bastards:’ Dutch Minister calls out South Sudan leaders over famine

BY: Ben Winsor, www.sbs.com/au, MAR/31/2017, SSN;

Dutch Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, isn’t one for holding back.

“The leaders of South Sudan are bastards who starve their own people,” she told Dutch TV station RTL4 this week.

“The people of South Sudan have been abandoned by their leaders, left in the lurch, and they need help desperately,” she said.

(((((Link provided: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/30/theyre-bastards-dutch-minister-calls-out-south-sudan-leaders-over-famine))))

The outspoken politician made the comments during a nationwide campaign which has seen the Dutch government and the public donate tens of millions of euros to UNICEF and Dutch NGOs as they struggle to address four major famines.

UNICEF says that nearly 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from starvation in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

While few have stated their views on South Sudan’s leaders in terms as strong as Minister Ploumen, the Dutch politician isn’t alone in blaming South Sudan’s own government.

According to Reuters, a confidential UN report said the government should he held responsible for the famine, with President Salva Kiir using millions of dollars in oil revenue to back his forces in an ongoing civil war.

President Kiir also came in for criticism from UN Secretary General António Guterres in a report to the UN Security Council last week.

“All the optimism that accompanied the birth of South Sudan has been shattered by internal divisions, rivalries and the irresponsible behaviour of some of its leaders,” the Secretary General said.

“One hundred thousand people are enduring famine, 1 million are on the verge of that fate, and 5.5 million may be severely food insecure by this summer,” he said.

The UN says the situation has been driven ongoing conflict and a drought which had created the world’s “fastest growing refugee crisis.”

“There is a strong consensus that South Sudanese leaders need to do more to demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of the country’s people, who are among the poorest in the world,” Secretary General Guterres said.

But despite the success and popularity of Ploumen’s ‘She Decides’ initiative, her days in the job are numbered.

While the politician’s personal popularity helped her leapfrog a candidate in her own Labour party to win a seat in recent Dutch elections, the party has been reduced to minor-party status and is unlikely to be included in an eventual coalition government.

‘Klootzak’ in Dutch is a commonly used derogatory term in the Netherlands, equivalent to ‘bastard’ or ‘a—-hole’.

END

A Warning to Gen. Cirillo from the Nuer S.C: Mistakes Any Armed Opposition MUST not Do

BY: J. Nguen, Chairman, Nuer Supreme Council, Lawyer, MAR/20/2017, SSN;

South Sudan has been at war by itself since 15 of December 2013. This internal strife sent the new country to a new low and finally to a failed state status by all accounts. This failed state status is undeniably tragic development.

So much so, it’s a heart-rending confirmation that our peoples’ expectations and hopes during independence have been shattered. Sadly, at the moment, the same people who were so jubilant 5 years ago are now running for their dear lives.

Some are disturbingly starving to death in the north part of the country, particularly in Leer and Mayiendit Counties, Unity State, because the same failed state’s authorities denied them humanitarian aides.

It’s even more troubling to report that peoples’ hopes for prosperity and prosperous South Sudan were crushed through an ill-conceived tribal hegemony of one tribe led by Salva Kiir and his tribal group –the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

As such, the implications of this tribal project are enormous. For example, these implications destroyed our nation’s social fabric, which in turn rendered the new country worthless and then brought profound disgrace to the nation’s pioneers and martyrs.

During the Sudan’s second civil war, South Sudanese including Salva Kiir detested and blamed northern Sudanese’ for their marginalization policies toward the rest of us in the Sudan. But, ironically, in a reverse satanic devised policy, Salva Kiir followed similar dogma of marginalization and neglect against other nationalities in South Sudan for Dinka Community rule.

In this regard, unknowingly, Salva Kiir set up the Dinka community against the rest of South Sudanese which will take years to reverse. Salva Kiir’s discriminatory policies allowed him to deny humanitarian aides reaching those in need simply because they are not from the Dinka Community.

Salva Kiir has effectively used this card of starving innocent civilians from other tribes in South Sudan as a weapon of war, while on the other hand undeniably advocating for humanitarian aides to Dinka.

By all measures, this is dreadfully appalling and it must be condemn morally and on the grounds that all South Sudanese are one and that South Sudan shall ever be one nation, where everyone ought to be treated with respect and dignity irrespective of their tribes.

In an attempt to achieve stability in South Sudan, the agreement aimed to address its internal strife was signed on August 2015. Internationally, it was an agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic South Sudan brokered by the IGAD and the international community.

Unfortunately, this agreement formally collapsed on July 8th, 2016, ten (10) months after signature for reasons beyond the scope of this commentary.

After that brief cessation of hostilities in most part of the country, when the agreement was signed, all armed oppositions’ leaderships converged in Juba to implement the peace. However on July 8th, 2016, South Sudanese’ common men were once again forced to take up arms against Kiir’s regime in order to reduce another ethnic -driven killing of innocent civilians, raping of women and girls, looting of properties, arbitrary arrest and burning down of villages, mostly in non-Dinka areas in South Sudan.

While Salva Kiir was progressively pursuing ethnic cleansing, another policy took a centre stage. For example, military officers of non-Dinka nationalities, who sided with Salva Kiir’s regime all along fighting for Salva’s tribal agenda were now rendered irrelevant and sometime openly harass and told that their services no longer needed after Kiir consolidated and emboldened his grip on power.

Recently, this new policy forced some military officers to divorce the regime. For example, LT. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka defected and called for the removal of Salva Kiir by force while citing abuses and Dinkanization of South Sudan. On March 7th, 2017, Mr. Cirillo formed a new movement called “National Salvation Front/Army (NAS).

The NAS’s aim is to depose Salva Kiir from power militarily. Many applauded Mr. Cirillo’s defection citing that it was a right step in removing the dictator. For some, it was a good decision because it further explained and justified the Dinkanization of South Sudan led by Salva Kiir and the JCE.

Above all else, I should say, Mr. Cirillo’s defection declaration statement was a serious indictment of Kiir’s regime. The document speaks to the truth why other oppositions took arms against Kiir in the first place.

Despite these positive underpins, there are worrying signs of mistakes on Gen. Cirillo’s move. Therefore, if these worrying mistakes are not dealt with carefully and with care, they may undermine the whole badly needed possible alliance of convenience among the armed oppositions in the Republic of South Sudan.

These mistakes which I will note shortly were more or less due to lack of political foresight and experiences on Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka’s part. Precisely, Gen. Cirillo is full of himself and clearly not thinking.

Therefore, the best thing he should do now, if I may suggest, is to take a leap backward and rethink strategically of what he really wanted to do to achieving the NAS’s goal. Frankly speaking, recent Gen. Cirillo’s statements and that of his supporters are not in any way helping the NAS.

Since Gen. Thomas Cirillo declared his movement, the NAS, the move was welcomed by many including the SPLM/A (IO) as I mentioned earlier. For example, the Governors of Greater Equatoria in the SPLM/A (IO) wrote a well thought-out letter of appreciation to Gen. Cirillo.

In the letter the Governors called for an alliance of convenience among the armed opposition and with Gen. Cirillo. By all standards, that letter was welcomed news and a great way to start moving forward.

However, some shortsighted opportunists and more so Mr. Cirillo himself see this as a weakness on the SPLM/A-IO part. Evidently and wrongly so, Gen. Cirillo and others see the NAS as an opportunity to springboard the Equatorians’ “cause.”

Frankly, this is a wrong thinking and it must be discouraged strongly. As matter of fact, there is no Equatorians’ “cause” without the cause of the people of South Sudan, Equatorians included.

For example, those who jumped ship or switched sides from the other oppositions and joined the NAS, notably from the SPLM/A (IO) attacked the SPLM/A –IO and accused its leadership falsely.

These attacks on other armed oppositions, particularly the SPLM/A–IO were somehow endorsed by Gen. Cirillo himself as he detailed some of these claims on his letter to Hon. Moussa Faki, the newly elected chairman of Africa Union asking for recognition.

In my view, these kinds of thinking and action are genuinely a cause of concern. As a result, Gen. Cirillo and supporters must be called out.

They must be warned and reminded that there is no Equatorians’ “cause” without the rest of us in South Sudan. Also, it must be made crystal clear that all armed oppositions are in this together, and must work as a team if Gen. Cirillo’s intention is indeed to remove Salva Kiir from power.

Hence, as far as this commentary is concerned, the above narrative was a “cause” of this piece. It was basically intended to warn all armed oppositions in South Sudan that the prevailing undertaking is a mistake and a “NO GO ZONE” or cannot be repeated whatsoever.

More importantly, I must point out that recent Gen. Cirillo’s and supporters’ rhetoric serves no moral and military interest to any armed opposition but the common enemy.

It must be made categorically clear that all armed oppositions are victims of misrule. All took up arms to oppose the Dinkanization of South Sudan spearheaded by Salva Kiir and the JCE, nothing else.

Similarly so, I like to remind Gen. Cirillo about previous mistakes along the same vein and I would like to draw his full attention particularly to the G10 and Dr. Lam Akol’s faction.

First, the G10. This group is headed by Gen. Pagan Amum and has committed the same mistake that Gen. Cirillo is about to commit or has committed. To recap this point further, when some G10 members were detained, the other armed oppositions particularly the SPLM/A (IO) advocated for their release.

However, when the G10 were released, Mr. Pagan Amum and his group took the high road and betrayed the other armed oppositions by declaring neutrality in the war.

It was even reported that Mr. Pagan Amum went as far as saying that the killing of 20,000 innocent Nuer civilians shouldn’t be the “cause” for war in South Sudan. This was a serious mistake on their part.

Since 2014, the G10’s position didn’t only fail but prolonged the war and in reverse has emboldened Salva Kiir’s grip on power. In this light, I would think, Gen. Cirillo and supporters would take note and are smart enough to do the math.

Similarly, Dr. Lam Akol’s action was another mistake. Around November 2016, Dr. Akol’s forces attacked SPLM/A (IO)’s positions in Upper Nile State. The consequences of this miscalculated maneuver were not good simply because it resulted in unnecessary lost of lives of two brave Generals from Dr. Akol’s faction.

Such deaths were uncalled for and would have been avoided if Dr. Lam was indeed thinking at the time. More importantly, these unnecessary lost of lives were not only detrimental to Dr. Akol’s faction but more so to all armed oppositions.

As such, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka and supporters must be warned that they MUST not repeat the same mistake.

Logically, I surely believe that as much as other armed oppositions needed this supposed holy coalition of convenience with Gen. Cirillo, Mr. Cirillo himself needed this alliance the most to prove that he is indeed genuine and not just a poor soul sent to distract brave Equatorians who are fully committed in toppling Salva Kiir’s regime by all means necessary.

However, given Gen. Cirillo’s moves in the past few weeks, the question of trust has emerged and is in everyone’s mind. At this point, I should point out that no one is certainly sure of Gen. Cirillo’s serious allegiance.

To bring this issue of trust closer to home, Gen. Cirillo has served in Salva Kiir’s regime in many capacities and for many years. Most of all, he has helped Salva Kiir’s regime in the Dinkanization of South Sudan more than any other person in the country.

For example, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka was a point man for Salva Kiir’s arms sale and logistics for many years. Hence, all the sophisticated weaponries used by Salva Kiir’s regime today against civilians in South Sudan were approved and purchased by Gen. Cirillo himself.

Adding more doubts, Gen. Cirillo has declared his defection and formation of the new armed group in the hotel room in Ethiopia. Imagine, a person of his caliber and coupled with his position in the army has defected without a single bodyguard and has not taken to the bush, why? I leave this lingering question for military experts to ponder.

On the question of trust again, I am afraid a seed of mistrust between Gen. Cirillo and other armed oppositions is already planted.

In my personal opinion, it’s simply unbecoming for any armed opposition to attack another armed oppositions falsely and especially when their ultimate overall goal is to topple the regime of which they oppose, militarily.

To support this point, in the past weeks, Gen. Cirillo and supporters attacked or made grandiose claims about the SPLM/A (IO)’s establishment falsely and this is a cause of concern for me.

Further, against all odds, Gen. Cirillo has requested recognition from the Africa Union’ chairperson. Therefore, it’s high time for someone to tell Gen. Cirillo that no revolutionary has ever requested recognition either directly or remotely from anyone.

It’s rather wrong for Gen. Cirillo or anyone of his caliber to beg for recognition from anyone.

Gen. Cirillo must be told that his approach or strategy in this regard is flatly wrong and raised a lot of questions among many moving forward. At least for many like me, it displayed lack of self-worth and inexperience.

Moving forward, I like Gen. Cirillo to consider the following recommendations:
I. Never again ask anyone to recognize your stand, prove it to them, if indeed your intentions were genuine and for armed opposition.
II. Never attack other armed oppositions on baseless grounds, for they are your best companions in arms. If anything, cherish their successes in defeating the enemy.
III. If your intentions are genuine and for armed opposition, be vigilant and never fall prey or allow yourself to be manipulated by some hovering crooks or never solely believe in any promises. Know that promises are just promises until proven.
IV. Take a leap backwards and immediately change your tone towards other armed oppositions and formally apologize to the SPLM/A (IO) establishment for the inconvenience.
V. Call for armed oppositions’ alliances’ conference to dispel any misinformation about your loyalties.
VI. Never claim military support falsely from any other armed opposition, for the reverse rule is you would be their first target to prove that you are not one of them.

J. Nguen is the chairman of Nuer Supreme Council (NSC), South Sudanese advocate, political commentator and analyst. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com