Category: Featured

Spare us from further humiliation & put the damn expat expulsion circular on the shelf

BY: AGOK TAKPING, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, SEP/25/2014, SSN;

The minister of labour Mr Ngor Kolong Ngor in the government of South Sudan issued a circular last week demanding that NGOs and other private businesses in the country must expel those expatriates who are doing jobs that can easily be done by the host country’S nationals (HCNs) by 15 October 2014 and fill those vacant positions with South Sudanese nationals.

This sparked an overly malicious outcry from our neighbours particularly Kenyans and Ugandans with some media outlets in those countries going as far as calling South Sudan a “kid who doesn’t know how to appreciate” and or a “person who bites the hand that feed him.”

In addition, some individuals in social media from the aforementioned countries called South Sudanese as primitives and monkeys.

However, by looking at the current Kenyan president, his vice president and two former presidents and not to mention the influential opposition leader, Mr Raila Odinga, I see myself (black South Sudanese) not so different from Kenyans in term of colour. Thus the monkey-like insult is simply misplaced and phony.

Calling us “people who don’t appreciate” is also hypocritical, because if I sit down and try to reflect on what Kenyan people have done to South Sudanese during our 21 years civil war, I will not come up with a single good experience.

Kenyans have never been hospitable to South Sudanese despite the fact that the exponential growth of their economy in the last decade or so can be directly or indirectly attributed to South Sudanese.

In 1990’s UNHCR opened up a refugee camp in the middle of the most inhospitable part of Kenya (Kakuma) for South Sudanese refugees. Kakuma became the largest refugee camp in the world which created thousands of jobs for Kenyans.

The same UN turned Lokichoggio (a remote town in northern Kenya) into a coordination centre for South Sudan relief. Again thousands of Kenyans were employed, many small businesses including brothels were booming and Lokichoggio became a thriving major economic centre in Turkana district overtaking Lodwar.

Furthermore other better-off South Sudanese flocked to “down country” including Nairobi, Eldoret, Kitale…etc. and rented thousands of houses, they also took their kids to schools and paid schools fees.

Nevertheless, without appreciating the fortune which South Sudanese brought to Kenya, South Sudanese were openly subjected to some despicable harassments and police brutality.

For South Sudanese, walking down on a street in Nairobi became a warrant for a kidnap-like arrest and to be released one must pay ransom/bribe to the police, it became a way of life for South Sudanese living in Kenya.

It was only after the signing of the CPA in 2005 when Kenyans began to treat us like brothers and sisters. The change of behaviour came about because Kenyans saw the opportunity to exploit South Sudanese, it works.

The exodus to South Sudan has begun, vendors, “professionals” with faked certificates, thieves, prostitutes, you name it, flocked to South Sudan in search for wealth. You could hear them saying, “look at these stupid South Sudanese, we are sucking them up, kabitha, and they don’t see it,” “Hahah” and they laughed.

But can we blame them? We led ourselves down in the last nine years of combined autonomy and independence.

Had we built at least three major cross-country highways, had we built at least one major dam for both water and electricity, had we upgraded at least two major universities to the level of modern universities, had we at least laid down a foundation for modern farming, had we at least built one major food processing centre.

More importantly, if we had been loving and treating ourselves with respect, Kenyans would have at least showed us some respect.

However, at the moment they don’t see themselves in equal terms with us, our government may think there exists bilateral relation between Kenya and South Sudan based on mutual respect but in real sense there is nothing like that.

Kenyans know whatever we import from them including goods, health, education, and holidays is a result of desperation and not that we prefer them over other countries. This perception will continue until the time they see us producing 50% of the things we normally import.

We must, however, give credit where it is due, Ugandans were the only people who treated us with respect when we had nothing. No one was ever arrested on the street in Kampala because he/she was a South Sudanese, we were given the same right that Ugandan citizens have.

Therefore, they are the only people who have a very right to get angry with us if they feel they are being targeted or mistreated in South Sudan.

Back to the circular, the intention of the minister of labour was good, South Sudanese are loitering in Juba doing nothing while all the jobs are taken up by the foreigners.

No government in any country in any continent that would tolerate what is happening in South Sudan where the percentage of expatriates in the entire workforce is higher than that of the HCNs.

However as usual, the minister of labour like many of his colleagues in ROSS just woke up in the morning and begun issuing the circular without thinking it through. The circular was poorly planned and badly written which subjected it to multiple interpretations, assumptions and misconceptions.

Firstly, jobs that the minister would want to be reserved or vacated for South Sudanese should have been precisely defined. The continuous attempt by the foreign minister to clarify the circular make it even more confusing.

For example, the foreign minister in his effort to clarify the circular explained that “by executive directors, we mean executive secretaries and secretaries, and by public relations positions, the circular meant receptionists and other front desk workers, as well as protocol officers” (www.sudantribune.com).

This is embarrassing, where on earth can EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR mean EXECUTIVE SECRETARY? Yes English language is not our language and nobody expects us to speak it like the English people do but in writing, the errors we are expected to make would be grammatical but not writing different words with entirely different meanings and expect people to know what you mean which is totally different.

Executive director is the very top person who is responsible for steering the company, he/she is the one who makes decisions. Executive Secretary on the other hand is a person who keep the executive director’s briefcase (office manager).

Mixing or confusing the two positions indicates the lack of deliberation on the circular and that should be enough to discontinue it.

Secondly, the circular should have never been retrospective, that is, it needs not to apply to those foreigners who are already employed. The process of employing a new employee and training him/her takes a minimum of six months before he/she can do the job independently with confidence.

Thus giving businesses and NGOs one month to terminate their existing workers and hire new workers is dreadful. It will send a very bad message to businesses and that can simply scare away potential businesses from investing in South Sudan.

If the labour minister and the government led by president Kiir is genuinely caring about the rampant unemployment among South Sudanese and they want to tackle it retrospectively, here is what needs to happen:

— the government needs to introduce graduate program. To eliminate the chronic nepotism, the government can hire internationally renowned companies like Deloitte which is already in Juba to run the graduate program; or if the money is an issue, they can also ask UN or its affiliate like USAID to help in running the graduate program.

— The government will need to enter an agreement with all NGOs and private businesses in regard to how the graduate will be employed. In the agreement, businesses and NGOs will have to give the government the list of the positions which are currently occupied by expatriates’ employees, the government will then take the list to the graduate program coordinator.

— The graduate program coordinator who must not be South Sudanese will then advertise the positions and conduct all the employment process. The only graduate needed to apply will be South Sudanese, both at home and in diaspora.

— These graduates will then be taken by NGOs and private businesses and assigned the very person (expatriate) who is holding the position to train and make the transition as smooth as possible. This apprenticeship like training will need to continue for one year and after that the expatriate will need to be redundant and get his/her payout.

— While in training with the business or NGO, the government needs to pay this graduate for one year until he/she takes over from the expatriate. Businesses or NGOs must not be compelled to pay the wages of South Sudanese graduates while in training because the whole thing is not their initiative.

— To prevent private businesses and NGOs from exploiting such a system, any position that has become vacant must be advertised separately, it needs not be included into graduate program although it must as well be given to South Sudanese nationals.

— The aim of the graduate program would be to find competent South Sudanese who would replace expatriates in private businesses and NGOs, it would continue until there are no more expatriates holding common positions (positions other executive director) in those private businesses and NGOs which are operating in South Sudan.

— As with other expatriates who are holding nonprofessional positions, the government can just sit back and wait for each one of those expatriates to have his/her work permit expire and then refuse to renew it again.

Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is a concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on agoktakpiny@ymail.com

Targeting of Ma’di business & community leaders by Dinka security: Where’s Minister Obutu Mamur?

From: David Aju Kanyara, JUBA, SEP/24/2014, SSN;

As the war enters its tenth month, South Sudanese undercover security dogs have caused significant miseries to the ordinary law abiding citizens of this great nation from North to South and from west to east. In the Ma’di corridor, this had started even before the outbreak of the Juba Massacre, Our Head Chief in Nimule was gunned down and as is the hallmark of the Juba government, this was a blackmail, they then twisted the stories leading to humiliating, jailing and torturing of our leaders including the supreme leader of the Ma’di people.

The horror has now returned in full swing hanging over the Madi people. The lawless security apparatus have now intensified their unlawful targeted arrests of Ma’di young people, men in general and business community in particular.

I wish to bring to the attention of the South Sudanese people, the number of our community members disappearing is alarming, this includes members of the business community, opinion and community leaders.

Many of the Ma’di business community in particular have been targeted, tortured, arrested, bullied, intimidated by Kiir security dogs operating in the peaceful Ma’diland where there are no rebel activities reported.

Since the beginning of August till September 12 -2014, there have been more than 7 high profile arrests of Ma’di businessmen, some have been detained in secret security locations for unknown reasons, families have not been informed neither are they given explanations.

Others have been snatched in bright daylight from their homes, taken to unknown location, interrogated by security forces for reasons never revealed to them, while others were harassed, beaten and made to pay high ransoms for their freedoms.

This is happening while the local offices of chiefs were not notified; some were hunted on their ways from their business locations back to their residential areas. The most recent alarming case has set the community in high alert and anger and since then no government representative nor the police in the areas came to inform the family about the disappearance of a prominent business man by name Bosco Wayi who has residence both in Nimule, Loa, and has businesses in Nimule and Elegu.

On Friday the 12th September 2014, in early evening, Mr Bosco Wayi, a well-known, respected Ma’di businessman since 1980’s and a law abiding citizen, who never hold any grudge with anyone nor with the security officers in the areas, was returning from Nimule where his main business is based, and while passing the Aswa River, a journey he repeated every morning and every evening for the last 7 years or so without having problems with traffic police.

On 12 September after passing the traffic police at Aswa river station as usual, this time it was reported that he was followed by men who according to eye witnesses dressed in traffic police uniforms.

The men in traffic police uniforms according to eyewitnesses followed Bosco Wayi up to Orobe village a distant of about 4 kilometer from Aswa River police station. The eyes witnesses have reported seeing the men in traffic police uniform stopping Bosco, and proceeded to beat him until he was unconscious.

They threw him and his motor bike into a white Toyota Pickup which arrived at the scene 15 minutes after the men in white police traffic uniform had stopped Mr. Bosco. After bundling him into the pickup they then headed back to the direction of Nimule.

The men in white traffic police uniforms were heard by the eye witnesses speaking in both Dinka and Arabic.

A woman who was passing by, coming from fetching water from nearby borehole heard Bosco crying in Ma’di “why are you killing me?” and “what have I done wrong to be tortured?”

According the woman who doesn’t want her name to be made public due to fear of repression, she said Bosco did not resist but he was pleading to be brought to Loa chief if there is anything he did wrong, but after the men in uniforms had cocked their guns and pointed it to Bosco’s head.

The cry subsided and at that point she said she too ran quickly to avoid being noticed and beaten by the men.

Since 12 September an attempt to look for Bosco through the public police office in Nimule did not yield any result, as the police there said they have no record nor a name of such individual in their custody.

This raised severe concerns about the security detention center where Bosco could be kept, and the question that begged to be answered is why traffic police are arresting and torturing people? Why traffic police are arresting someone passing the same route without breaking traffic law?

Since 12 September the people of the area and specially the family members of Bosco and his business associates are living in fear and they are worried that something bad has happened to their son, since the police in Nimule denied that Mr. Bosco Wayi has been brought to their custody, and they couldn’t confirm anyone arrested by their police on Nimule–Loa road.

The fact that these arbitrary arrests and tortures are happening exactly one year after the paramount chief of Nimule was gunned down cold blooded that fateful night of 8 September, whose death was blamed on Ma’di community elders by both governments in Juba and Torit, and since then innocent Ma’di Supreme leader, the ‘Lopirigo” Yaba Ret Ambassador Vugo and his deputy Lagu Jabakana and many other community leaders were falsely blackmailed by Juba Security with the help of Dr Anna Itto Leonardo and Amb. John Andruga Duku.

After months of nightmares in Torit prison the leaders were one by one released without any charges and there were no compensation by the government for the tortures inflicted on them by the prison ward while in Torit in particular. This was done to humiliate the Madi leaders to passiveness and their goal has been achieved!

The fact that this unlawful and targeted arrests are happening again, coinciding with the event of killing of late chief has raised serious concerns and furor, and perhaps the hard question that needs to be answered is what does the government gain by torturing Ma’di people who so far have been peaceful and have accommodated the Dinka internally displaced persons without violence despite the constant humiliations of the Madi people by the Dinkas in our ancestral land?

What is the objective of this Dinka led government towards the existence of minority tribes in South Sudan, but the Ma’di people in particular? Could it be that they are preparing another blackmailing in order to jail more of our people as they did last year, could it be they are provoking the Madi people to anger so as to give the Dinkas the excuse to massacre the Madi people as they massacred the Nuer in Juba?

We want our fellow countrymen to be informed about this evil the Dinkas are doing and planning in the Madi land.

Until the security officers who snatched Bosco on his motor bike brings him back unhurt and alive, we the Ma’di community will hold the Commander in Chief accountable for his indifference to the suffering of the Madi people who unanimously voted for him during 2010 presidential election.

President kiir is deaf and blind when it comes to Madi issues, hundreds of letters were sent to his office in regards to IDP roaming with their animals and AK47s in agricultural lands and in market places in Nimule, from the day the late Chief Ajugo was killed, to the forceful imposition of Nimule Town council designed to license and legitimize his Dinka cattle kraal to illegally remain in Nimule now 9 years after CPA and three year after south Sudan gained its independence.

Until now several people have been tortured and Bosco Wayi snatched on his motorbike by none other than Dinka security operatives in Nimule, while they, these Dinkas are unable to control insecurity in Warrap, Lakes state and the violent states of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile.

Why are they importing their insecurity in all parts of South Sudan?

These abusive security personnel in Nimule and other Ma’di areas being paid by public money, have also targeted the people who contributed money to help the widow and the children of late chief Ajugo.

The question is why the government is targeting the individuals for helping a widow, while the government should have been the one looking after the family of the late because he was killed while on duty for this government.

Doesn’t this make it plain that the government was the one that gunned down late Ajugo for renouncing the bloody dirty game created by then deputy interior Minister Salva Matok?

We the community want to summon all the Ma’di politicians, Ma’di MPs both from Torit and Juba to press the security personnel and minister for the security of our people and all those that have disappeared.

We ask Mr. Obote Mamur to find out why the Dinka Security men grabbed Bosco and his whereabouts? What happened to him and others like him? Who ordered his arrest? What kinds of charges are brought against him… etc?

Until these are done in a constitutional manner, we will hold the police traffic at Aswa River station accountable, we will not cease until justice is done and Bosco is given back to us in healthy condition and we want the government to guarantee his security after his return.

Furthermore, we want anyone who is found guilty of carrying out these unlawful targeted arrests, tortures and intimidation on high profile Ma’di businessmen should be brought to face justice, and the government to stop repressions going on in Ma’di corridor against our business community and opinion leaders across the Ma’di land.

The Voice for the voiceless
David Aju Kanyara,
Juba, South Sudan

NGOs: Does Being a Foreigner Qualify Someone as an Expatriate in South Sudan?

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, South Sudan, SEP/21/2014, SSN;

Are foreign experts worth so much? I have kept contemplating, partially failed to understand why do Western NGOs’ top managements bring along with them fellow Kenyans and Ugandans who schooled with some of us at the same schools as experts in our country? Where did NGOs open schools of experiences for East Africans? There is no need for organizations to spend huge amount of dollars on foreigners who have had been doing less than expected for quite long time.

Does being a Kenyan or Ugandan qualify someone as an expert in South Sudan?
These foreign aid workers are plain dealers who have bewitched South Sudan economically. They blindly failed to recognize the existence of educated nationals in the country.

However, Africans are almost educationally equal. The post-protracted civil war in Sudan shouldn’t be taken as an advantage for branding South Sudanese as uneducated. There are South Sudanese who had studied in the West, South Africa than Uganda and Kenya. Are these nationals unable to do anything in their country?

If Prof. Talban Liloyong had branded East Africa as a ‘desert of literacy criticism’, is it anything to celebrate and boast of being an expert from Kenya?

Many East Africans in South Sudan failed to understand that their presence in our country is based on our will and cooperation as neighbors or sisterly countries than their education. These people aren’t contributing something good but exploding our economy. They should acknowledge our generosity.

A Kenyan economist has termed a decision made by the Ministry of Labor, Public Services and Human Resource Development to fire foreign workers who are currently working for NGOs, companies and telecommunications or private sectors in the country as ‘premature and stupid decision’. So why can’t Kenyan government fire South Sudanese workers in Kenya for their stupid decision?

Besides, Babe Cool, a Ugandan singer has also stated on his Facebook page that he is ready to trouble South Sudanese in Uganda if the government in Juba implements its decision to sack foreign workers in the country. Why do Ugandans enforce themselves into South Sudanese affairs?

When the ministry of Interior took a decision to ban Uganda Boda-boda ridders in Juba, people felt it in Uganda as the boys used to send money home and they roared amicably. This is not going to be Boda-boda saga where South Sudanese were targeted in Kampala. It’s a national decision.

All in all, Ugandans are fond of meddling. It’s their nature! Any decision taken by the government regarding foreigners is always being personalized by Ugandans – are Ugandans they only foreigners in South Sudan? If the government in Kenya and Uganda can’t create jobs for you, then it’s not our problem. The decision made by our government to fire foreign workers doesn’t need any foreign reactions.

Deng Mangok Ayuel is a South Sudanese blogger and humanitarian worker, lives in Aweil, South Sudan.He can be reached via mangokson@gmail.com

Threat by Juba to expel foreign workers may be myopic, but isn’t surprising

By DANIEL K. KALINAKI, Daily Nation, SEPT/19/2014, SSN;

The threat by the Government of South Sudan to expel foreign workers is disappointing but not surprising.

Not surprising, because this is the third time in three years that authorities in Juba are threatening to expel expatriates. Although the government appears to have pulled back on its threat, who is to say when the next such edict will be issued?

Disappointing, because it is a dark reminder of how far GOSS has to go to learn the art of statecraft, and how vulnerable the process of nation-building in the country remains to populist politics and tunnel vision.

We can only assume that GOSS wants the best for its people. One can understand the frustration of fighting for independence for almost three decades only for it to arrive without jobs or basic services like health and education for the citizens.

It is a problem most newly-independent states encounter, and one that many in Africa continue to struggle with 50 years later. It appears that South Sudan is tempted to follow the disastrous route of Idi Amin in Uganda where, in trying to redress the genuine economic imbalance, the military regime destroyed the economy in a maddening stampede of xenophobia.

For all its imperfections, the Black Economic Empowerment programme in South Africa offers a better model for South Sudan to emulate. For it to work, however, the rulers of South Sudan are going to have to do something they haven’t done in many years – lead their people and invest in them.

When autonomy, and later independence, came to South Sudan, the leaders of SPLA/M had so much goodwill from the rest of the world and enough examples of countries in Africa whose paths to steer clear of, with their thorny bushes of tribalism, corruption, nepotism, greed and impunity.

Yet far from charting a new course, independence and the new streams of money brought a frenzy of consumption as generals locked horns with generals at the feeding trough, grabbing as much as they could so that they could buy houses in Nairobi and Kampala and take holidays in Dubai.

Corruption is inherently inefficient and before long, the contest between those who were eating and those who wanted a turn at the trough had forced a contest within the SPLA/M that broke out into civil war last December.

POWER SHARING AGREEMENT

To lead the people it rules, GOSS has to first deal with its structural problems. First, it must demilitarise the fight within the SPLA/M by fully implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement and instituting a power-sharing agreement to bring the warring parties back under one tent.

GOSS must then deal with the corruption and impunity among its senior political and military ranks that is undermining, not just its unity, but also its ability to deliver basic services to its citizens.

South Sudan’s per capita income of $1,800 hides a few hard truths: one in two people live on less than a dollar a day; half the population is malnourished; and the country is the second most-dangerous place for women to have babies.

It is all very well to ask companies to employ local staff. Even the most hard-nosed businessman will tell you its benefits; local staff are cheaper and bring valuable local knowledge.

However, this can’t happen overnight. Many young South Sudanese are frustrated at the lack of opportunity, and rightly so, but most of them do not have any skills or formal education thanks to the legacy of war. This is a country where three out of four people can’t read or write.

These angry young men need skills and training for which more investment must be made in education and apprenticeships.

Yet in its budget for last year – before the fighting broke out – GOSS planned to spend 57 per cent on security and less than one per cent on agriculture and job-creation. GOSS did not build a single school using its own money in the first two years of independence, critics allege.

South Sudan needs investment, skills, and support from the rest of the world, not populist politics and dangerous xenophobia. Those in power should know this, seeing as the country is precariously held together by Ugandan troops.

In Summary
To lead the people it rules, GOSS has to first deal with its structural problems. First, it must demilitarise the fight within the SPLA/M by fully implementing the cessation of hostilities agreement and instituting a power-sharing agreement to bring the warring parties back under one tent.
Yet far from charting a new course, independence and the new streams of money brought a frenzy of consumption as generals locked horns with generals at the feeding trough, grabbing as much as they could so that they could buy houses in Nairobi and Kampala and take holidays in Dubai.
For all its imperfections, the Black Economic Empowerment programme in South Africa offers a better model for South Sudan to emulate. For it to work, however, the rulers of South Sudan are going to have to do something they haven’t done in many years – lead their people and invest in them.

Mr Kalinaki is managing editor for regional content at Nation Media Group.
Twitter: @kalinaki

SPLM former political detainees & Civil Society shouldn’t be in Transitional Govt of Nat. Unity

BY: Juma Mabor Marial, JUBA, SEPT/15/2014, SSN;

As peace talks in Addis Ababa resumes today Monday, September 15, 2013, the attention will be drawn to transitional arrangement with formation of the transitional government of national unity topping the agenda.

As already is the case, the IGAD intention is to form an all-inclusive and a broad-based government that would include the two warring parties, other political parties, other stakeholders and of course, the SPLM Leaders Former Political Detainees (LFPD).

The intention here is to ensure that inclusivity, meaning collective involvement and responsibility by all the south Sudanese stakeholders to implement the reform agenda that would be framed in order to circumvent future crisis.

Now here comes the question of eligibility of who and who is not suitable to participate in the transitional government of national unity (TGONU)?

For me, the intention of IGAD to include all the stakeholders in the TGONU arrangement is a brilliant and comfortable idea because, national affairs have to be collectively addressed with stewardship of all members of the society.

It is because of this reason that I am buying the idea of all, except SPLM Leaders former political detainees and members of the Civil Society participating in the transitional government of national unity (TGONU).

I have therefore in my opinion, accepted that, both the warring parties i.e. the government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) and SPLM/A in the opposition (SPLM-IO) must participate in the government of national unity on equal percentage no matter how small; the political parties must also participate in the TGONU, the youth, disabled and women must be represented in the TGONU.

But the SPLM leaders former political detainees and the members of the civil society should not participate in the transitional government of national unity, why?

Here comes the reason, one, I object to the participation of the SPLM former detainees in the TGONU because of the personal analysis of the status of these so-called former political detainees and my case against these guys is comprehensive.

However if I were to give lengthy details about the short comings of each one of them, some of them would take it personal and I wouldn’t want national issues to take that trend as my intention has always been to contribute to the welfare of this country without any baggage of personal grudge.

That said, the reasons why I wouldn’t want the former political detainees to participate in the forthcoming government are simple:

First, these people are of course veteran soldiers turned politicians and their contribution have made great positive impacts in this country including the achievement of independence, they are as well the contemporary politicians that this country has and their participation in the country’s affairs cannot be easily downgraded.

It is by virtue of their contribution to the freedom struggle that successively enabled them to form part of the government both in the government of national unity in Khartoum and government of southern Sudan since the inception of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005.

But it is also because of their consistent salvage in the government that has enabled them show their true colours to the people of south Sudan by looting the meager resources from the people of south Sudan and establishing their empires here and abroad.

The former detainees, if I am not wrong and with the exception of the one former governor that is with them, were among the 75 government officials that were alleged to have squandered 400 million dollars from the citizens of south Sudan.

Other corruption scandals like the most recent Fire Safe Scandal were perpetuated by and had benefited some with them now, the cases of corruption are just a tip of an iceberg.

The other case I have against these former political detainees is their role in the on-going crisis, when they were arrested here in Juba and some of them charged with treason.

The sentiments in the streets of Juba as to their fate varied from one group of citizens to another, some said they were guilty as charged, others said they were innocent.

Others said they should be killed while others felt they should be castrated for having looted the country and lit the fire to kill the innocent civilians while they had hidden their families far away in foreign countries.

Some of us who went to schools and learnt the rules of analysis said everything should be left to the law to take its own course and we also added personal views that these are our brothers who had sacrificed their lives to bring this country to where it is today.

Therefore, castrating, killing or even convicting them should be replaced with their release and forgiveness, our voices, although in the minority ultimately took precedence over all other wild voices.

But little did we knew that their numbers would turned into a political party (G-11) or famously known now as (SPLM leaders former political detainees).

The now SPLM/A in the opposition plus the members of international community where these guys had connections also gave the government sleepless nights by pressurizing it to release the detainees.

Unlike south Sudanese (some of us) who had wanted these guys released because of their past good deeds, members of the international community who wanted the guys released thought that the arrest was not because of the alleged attempted coup but was entirely an attempt by the government to slab democracy.

Therefore, their detention was a straight forward case of war against democracy in Africa, the SPLM/A in opposition on the other hand were of the view that their comrades were put behind bars by a dictatorial government and considering them heavyweights in their opinion, the detained leaders have to be released as a precondition to start peace talks since their presence on their side would add both national and international backing to their claim.

Although with lesser hope of being good old friends again, the government had also thought that by releasing these guys, it would groove two or even three important points.

One, it would bargain the international community to its side that, yes, I can listen and therefore, I have to be applauded for being a good listener.

Two, I can morsel and therefore, anybody who thinks they can do anything and abscond will not do it unless I have consented, this was particularly to the detainees.

Thirdly, the government had hoped that these guys would be more appreciative and ask the government to allow them back to its side after they have been missed by a whisker.

All these hopes and desires whether from the citizens like us who had thought after their release, the guys would be remorseful to the people of south Sudan and ask for forgiveness and be good boys.

And to the international community which had thought after their release, the boys would be the champions of democracy in the country.

And to the SPLM/A in opposition which had thought the guys would join them and make them strong through their Political constituencies in the country and the international connections or even the government which had thought, the guys would come back and say thank you for forgiving us after the sins we committed against you were all wrong.

Instead, the guys went out and attempted to outsmart the citizens, the international community, the SPLM/A in opposition and the government by declaring themselves a neutral group.

The international community and IGAD bought into their idea because they thought this intention had been made in good faith, but the three groups, us the citizens, the SPLM/A in opposition and the government, felt that this was a first signature in the divorce papers between all of us and the so-called SPLM/A leaders former political detainees.

The reason the three groups accepted to sign these divorce papers is because the political detainees thought they are the only gifted people in this country by first looting the country, agreeing with some in the SPLM/A in opposition to overthrow the government, remain behind after the coup failed and when arrested and released, betrayed their brothers in the opposition, failed to appreciate the government that released them and failed to show-case to the international community that advocated for their release that they are now part of the solution.

They instead put themselves as the “clean people in all the crises that have engulfed the country.”

The intention here as is now realized by all the groups is that these people that have hurt everyone think the leader of the transitional government of national unity should come out of their group.

This is not my own assumption, you would all recall and agree with me that soon after their arrival in Addis Ababa for peace talks, the group convened a press conference and declared their position as being neutral and wanted to be considered as a third block in the talks.

This pronouncement derailed talks for sometimes until their case was resolved and they were accepted as third party to the peace talks.

It is because of their insistence that opened the flood-gates for multi-stakeholders style of the talks as IGAD wanted to provide a win-win situation for all south Sudanese stakeholders.

Secondly, Pagan Amum out of his own desire and volatility came out with a paper that was also published in the public media outlining how he would resolve the crisis between the warring parties.

His intention was quickly interpreted by some of the citizens that responded to his paper as being intended to putting himself as the interim president if and when the TGONU is formed.

Not only these, recently….and this is what has provoked me to share this opinion with the citizens, the SPLM leaders former political detainees published a forty three (43) page position paper, a paper that I named ‘SPLM Leaders Former Political Detainees Manifesto’ outlining or rather copy pasting the transitional constitution and other laws of south Sudan to tell people that whatever they had written is what should be done when and if the transitional government of national unity is formed.

The language used there is a straight forward indicator of the fact that SPLM leaders former political detainees want to head the transitional government of national unity.

Something they seem to express better in forty three (43) page position paper than at the round table at the peace talks in Addis Ababa.

The reason why some of us are convinced they want to lead the transitional government of national unity is that, throughout their statements in their forty three (43) page position paper, they have this common phrase of ‘WE’ will do this and that.

When you put this paper together with that of Pagan Amum and shuttle diplomacy that they are undertaking, then you would immediately know that they are the ones who want to be given the TGONU.

The question then that quickly comes to mind is, where were they for the last 10 years, of course some of them were governors, others prime ministers (cabinet affairs minister), all of them ministers, why didn’t they do all these things they think they can do now?

What will be the magic to bring ‘We will do’, or was their first phase for corruption and establishing dynasties and now if given a second phase, they will do this and that for the people of south Sudan?

I still haven’t gotten better answers for their “We will do” slogan and I need some help in that.

Again, recently when President Kiir and other IGAD head of states signed the protocol on transitional arrangement and Dr. Riek refused to sign the agreement, the group of eleven condemned in the strongest terms possible the unfairness of the protocol and made their grievances similar to those of the SPM/A in opposition.

Again, this takes us back to the drawing board of asking ourselves, if they (SPLM leaders former political detainees) have one reasoning or position with the SPLM/A in opposition, then why are they not joining hands and working together?

The only impression one expected they should have made was to suggest solutions on how the stalemate on the protocol would be resolved instead of repeating the same argument as put forward by the SPLM/A in opposition.

Let’s finalize our argument about these guys later on in the conclusion.

Now why should the civil society not be part of the transitional government of national unity?

Simple again, although I know most of the people see civil society as a gateway to politics, we have to be mindful of the future of this country.

It is not strange that some few self-centered characters started as civil society activists but as soon as they are appointed to political posts, they immediately toss out the advocacy clothes and swear never to represent the voiceless.

However, a border must be drawn here and now, the members of the civil society that are participating in the peace talks in Addis Ababa and those here in the country should not participate in the TGONU.

This is because the TGONU is not going to be business as usual, the politicians will head and manage it, yes, but it also needs a strong, independent and viable civil society to act as watchdog in the implementation of the reform agenda that shall be given to TGONU as a blueprint.

The civil society should be there to correct and supervise those who think looting the resources is what only replaces violence.

They, the civil society, should be there to ensure that the TGONU delivers the basic services that the people of south Sudan have been denied for quite too long.

The civil society should be there to ensure that all south Sudanese have the right to live and enjoy the fruits of independence of this country.

In conclusion, the SPLM leaders Former Political detainees have not captivated anybody with their tricks to come to power through the backdoor.

Yes, their contribution to the freedom of this country is acknowledged, their reigns and political strength are known, their intellectualism and generational ability are also known.

But it is also fresh in everyone’s mind that they have been in the government of this country since its inception, they have also looted enough from the citizens at the expense of development and service delivery;
— they have mismanaged the affairs of this country through omission and/or commission;
— they have not repented and said sorry to the citizens that die because of their political ambitions in this country;
— they have failed to meet the expectations of the SPLM/A in opposition;
— they have disappointed the international community and they have declare useless the government that released them from prison.

Here they are, thinking that they know everything out of all these groups yet they have betrayed everybody that has done everything to ensure their release.

Yes, they are south Sudanese, they are still prominent politicians and they are still connected but no, they cannot be part of the transitional government of national unity because I am afraid, should they be returned to the government, it will be business as usual.

They will go back to their old quarters and do what they are known of doing best. These people should be left like any other ordinary citizen.

Let them go back to their people and ask for a fresh mandate and come elections, they shall have the right to contest and if they win, then, they can come back to politics.

SPLM Leaders Former political detainees were supposed to bring solutions to these crises but did they do that, no!

They are busy scheming on how the mediators and international community should get rid of everybody and make them the caretakers of the transitional government of national unity.

This is why I think their conspiracy has now become crystal clear and therefore, they should not be allowed to be part of the TGONU which is now the only hope for south Sudanese to bring the long awaited and lasting reforms. END

Juma Mabor Marial is a Trainee Advocate in Juba & Reachable at: jummabor@gmail.com

IGAD is unfit to mediate in the South Sudan’s conflict

BY: ELHAG PAUL, SOUTH SUDAN, SEPT/12/2014, SSN;

Since the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) assembly of heads of states and governments held in Nairobi on 27th December 2013 arrogated to itself the mediation role in the conflict in South Sudan, it was clear that it would be difficult for it to perform this self ascribed role with impartially.

Collins English Dictionary defines the word impartial as “not favouring one or the other”. In other words it means being neutral; that is not taking sides with any of those in dispute.

The literature on the concept of mediation places impartiality at its heart and makes it abundantly clear that mediators must be impartial if any success is to be achieved.

The glaring and overwhelming reasons for disqualifying IGAD’s mediation were surprisingly overlooked by Mr Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nation who lent his support to IGAD as suitable body for the task. This was then followed by the Troika and others.

Contradictorily, the Troika has a firm policy not to deal with indictees of the International Criminal Court (ICC) like President Omer Bashir of the Sudan. With this policy the Troika should have known that they would indirectly be endorsing President Bashir, contrary to their policy, in his role as an IGAD head of state through their support of the regional body.

They seem to have forgotten about this policy by lending open support to IGAD as a mediator where President Bashir plays an influential role.

With the blessing of the international community IGAD was set to fail in its task and thus the people of South Sudan.

Had the international community paused to scrutinize IGAD’S self appointment to the mediation role, they might have realised that due to several conflicts of interest IGAD would not be fit for the job and hence a different option might have been sought out.

However, at the time the international community appeared anxious and wanted a quick fix or an immediate solution. This oversight was likely due to the international community’s lack of in-depth knowledge about IGAD itself.

A number of reasons disqualify IGAD from the role of mediation it arrogated to itself as a regional body. The first is the history of IGAD’s involvement as a mediator in the Sudan conflict which erupted in 1983 and ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

For over a decade and half IGAD was completely ineffective in coming forward with a solution. The talks drifted from one year to the other endlessly until President George W. Bush of the United Stated intervened in 2002, when the CPA was brokered. So it was clear that IGAD’s record of mediation and peace making is decimally poor.

Secondly, when IGAD arrogated to itself the right to mediate in the conflict in South Sudan, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda already had intervened in the conflict in support of President Salva Kiir‘s genocidal operations against the Nuer people.

Ugandan forces at the time were already heavily involved in military operations in Jonglei state with President Museveni threatening Dr Riek Machar with defeat within 4 days.

President Museveni had declared during his visit to Juba that all of them (IGAD member states) would go after Dr Machar and his group: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article49385

This was unfortunate because President Museveni made this statement out of ignorance of South Sudanese culture. He should have known that South Sudanese do not take kindly to threats.

The Khartoum establishment tried it and backed it up with violence ceaselessly in vain during their occupation of South Sudan from 1955 to 2005. Threatening South Sudanese is an invitation for trouble.

Uganda’s involvement was deep. Not only did it provide political and moral support, but it rained banned cluster bombs on South Sudanese civilians as well as the resistance fighters. With such a level of intervention, Uganda had already ruled itself out as a neutral country to qualify as a mediator for the conflict.

Thirdly, there was the issue of the relationship between the member states of IGAD. The Sudan and Uganda are not in good terms. Sudan is alleged to support Lord Resistance Army (LRA) while Uganda similarly is alleged to support some of the Darfuri liberation movements.

The intervention of Uganda in support of President Kiir was thus seen suspiciously by some of the IGAD member states raising alarms. This opened up the ugly possibility of South Sudan being turned into a battle field. This may already be happening subtly if one thinks about the regional dynamics and the poor relationships among the member states of IGAD.

For example, Ethiopia and Eritrea do not see eye to eye, Uganda and Sudan do not see eye to eye, and Eritrea and Sudan are allies and so on. The poor ties between the member’s states of IGAD thus show IGAD is unsuitable for the task of mediation in South Sudan.

Fourthly, there was the issue of interest of the individual members of IGAD in South Sudan. Please see, ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’. http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html

Fifthly, the role of President Salva Kiir himself creates a serious conflict of interest. Kiir wears three hats at the same time:
1) By virtue of being President of South Sudan and South Sudan being a member of IGAD, he automatically sits with the Heads of States (of IGAD). Therefore, as a result this puts Dr Machar and other stakeholders at a huge disadvantage because President Kiir would have already formed favourable relationships with many of IGAD’s heads of state;

2) By President Kiir’s ongoing position, by default he automatically wears a hat of a mediator invisibly. This accords him huge advantage to influence things in his favour against his adversary/rival and;

3) Abominably President Kiir wears the hat of the accused head of state who has taken genocidal actions which triggered the crisis. He is a major party to the conflict.

Sixthly and finally, there was the problem of varied political cultures in the region. Uganda, Eritrea, South Sudan and the Sudan are dictatorships with Ethiopia and Kenya to a certain extent being subtly repressive.

Some leaders of the IGAD countries have open cases where they are accused of grave crimes against humanity at the ICC which they are vigorously attempting to dismiss by all sorts of obstructions and intrigues.

These vital factors should have raised alarm bells sufficiently enough at the beginning to rule out IGAD’S self appointment as a mediator. After all, the business of mediation is a voluntary one where the warring or disputing parties agree to be helped in reaching a settlement.

SPLM-IO should have been the party to distance itself from the IGAD sham because it is the aggrieved party. How did it sleep walk into this morass is anybody’s guess. Its lapse in foresight and thinking has now allowed it to be portrayed wrongly and unfairly as an intransigent party.

But for anybody who knows the lacklustre style of Dr Machar’s leadership this is not a surprise. It is expected since he is not known as a man of diligence and a thorough thinker.

His performance on the crucial case of Abyei and Panthou in yesteryears at The Hague speaks for itself. Nevertheless, this still can be corrected if only they can take the right decision now with full explanation to the people of South Sudan.

IGAD’S role as a mediator can not stand and it will not resolve the conflict in South Sudan due to its overt prejudice emanating from the factors mentioned above. If IGAD were truly neutral and an impartial body then it would have been able to facilitate the resolution of the conflict satisfactorily.

The proof that IGAD is totally unsuitable can be seen from its latest protocol which has correctly been described as “biased” by Dr Machar with the SPLM-G10 calling it “unfair, biased, and unjust”.

Please see, ‘Rebels accuse IGAD mediators of bias as talks adjourned.’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52263 and ‘Former South Sudan detainees say IGAD proposal “unjust”.’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52263

The rules of mediation make it abundantly clear that a mediator must be neutral and their language too must be neutral, both spoken and written. Mediators as neutral can not impose their decision on the parties.

The decisions must flow from the positions and wishes of the disputing or warring parties. This makes the recently signed protocol by the heads of states of governments of IGAD a total nonsense (Protocol on Agreed Principles on Transitional Arrangement Towards Resolution of the Crisis in South Sudan 25th August 2014. file:///C:/Users/Rosemary/Downloads/Protocol_signed_25_Aug.pdf).

IGAD in this protocol is not helpful at all. It does not work to bring peace. It prescribes and imposes President Kiir (an ethnic cleanser) to continue as the president of the interim period. In a nut shell IGAD is trying to impose more of the same: Dinkocracy, promotion of corruption, ethnic cleansing, and lawlessness.

No wonder the editor of African Arguments has been scathing in his commentary about the IGAD mediated peace talks: http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ID/15613/Default.aspx

Because IGAD is not neutral it ignores all the rules of mediation. It does not listen to the people of South Sudan; it does not use material agreed in the course of mediation; it does not play an impartial role; it does not use neutral language; it threatens; dictates and imposes its will contrary to its role.

This should not astonish because essentially IGAD is a club of dictators and what dictators know best is to threaten, bully and impose their will regardless of the views of the aggrieved or rather the warring parties.

In other words, the sham mediation now indirectly exposes the corrupt and oppressive nature of IGAD itself and the type of leaders it has rather than truly solving the problem of South Sudan.

The real problem in South Sudan is SPLM’s dysfunction and the genocidal actions of President Kiir that fades away in the mediation process of IGAD. With the seriousness of South Sudan’s situation being reduced to a quarrel over positions in government.

How can the killing of over twenty thousand people in Juba alone in December 2013, the imprisonment of over a hundred and fifty thousand people in the UN Protection camps, and the displacement of over one million seven hundred thousand people internally within South Sudan, and externally to the neighbouring countries be down played is beyond any reasonable person’s understanding.

Where is the justice for those criminally killed en masse in Juba? Even the controversial governor of Lakes state General Matur Chut Dhoul acknowledged President Kiir’s crimes. Please see, ‘Lakes governor hits back at over no confidence vote.’ https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/politics-lakes-governor-hits-back-parliament-over-no-confidence-vote

What gives the SPLM factions the right to cause such an upheaval and yet IGAD sees patching them up and handing them power on a golden platter as a solution for the country. Let us not forget that this has since the beginning of the mediation been the plan of IGAD.

Please see, ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’. The link to this piece is already provided above.

If the international community truly are desirous of peace in South Sudan then IGAD must throw away their hopeless objectives and plans, better still if the mediation is transferred to one or more of the eminent persons like Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

SPLM is the problem in South Sudan and it needs to be confronted on the table and held to account.

The Netherlands has taken the right step to distance itself from associating with human rights abusers. Ms Lillianne Plouman, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development announced on 4th September 2014 in Juba, “We have decided to stop cooperation with the government (SPLM) at this point.”

“One of the reasons that (we) have been very worried about is about what happened on December and after that. For example in Malakal in April has to do with violation of human rights. There is no reason at all why innocent women who were in a hospital had to suffer the way that the(y) suffered.”

This is an honourable and ethical stance that must be praised and commended. It is hoped that many other countries especially the Troika will follow suit. Please see, ‘Netherland cuts aid to South Sudan.’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52282

IGAD has whole heartedly bought President Salva Kiir’s nonsense of “democratically elected president” “elected institutions” capped with “red line(s)” as credible. These are shouts of shameless liars.

President Kiir and the SPLM usurped power from the people on the eve of independence. Their election in April 2010 lost validity on 9th July 2011 with the break of South Sudan away from the Sudan.

But even if President Kiir and the SPLM were elected by the people in the right way, he and they have forfeited their right to rule by committing grave crimes against the very people who allegedly voted him and the SPLM into power.

This serious crime overrides their empty songs of “democratically elected”. South Sudan can not afford to have a person who conclusively is a danger to himself, the people of South Sudan and the region to continue as the interim president.

The club of dictators is trying to save one of their own through their dirty protocol at the expense of the people of South Sudan.

Neither President Kiir, nor Dr Machar, nor any of the infamous SPLM-G10 should be president of the interim period. They have disqualified themselves by the sordid criminal behaviours of the last 9 years.

Therefore given the above, IGAD’s partiality and its biased strategies should spur the Secretary General of the UN and the United Nations Security Council to transfer the peace talks to one or some of the eminent persons.

IGAD has on its own discredited itself. After all it’s self-appointment was to protect one of its own, whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocent South Sudanese.

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

No to Ethnic Federalism in South Sudan

BY: Kuir Garang, CANADA, SEPT/06/2014, SSN;

Federalism is not a bad governance system as long as those leading it have the interest of the country at heart; and as long as the mindset leading it is selflessly conducive for development programs.

My only concern, and the word that I’ve always passed to fanatical proponents of federalism, is that ‘Federal System’ in itself wouldn’t change things unless our inter-tribal relations, inter-personal relations and our understanding of leadership and government change.
People’s attitude inform the system not the other way round.

While I’d welcome the Federal System of governance in South Sudan as long as it’s conscientiously structured, I’m gravely opposed to any form of ‘Ethnic Federalism’ … like the ones in Ethiopia or Nigeria.

Many misguided South Sudanese believe that South Sudan Federal system can be modelled after the ones in Nigeria and Ethiopia. While there are presumptions and face-value indications that some people love the system in Ethiopia, one can’t be certain that it’s an advisable, exemplary system of governance.

In a world that’s increasingly moving towards acceptance of diversity, it’d be a bad precedent to move South Sudan toward statehood that exist as pockets tribal homogeneity. We can’t unite a country by compartmentalizing it into pockets of tribal exclusivity.

While it’s a feel-good proposal for some people, it’s a destruction of the country based on parochial presumption of ‘We-ness.’ We, the Nuer! We, the Jieeng! We, the Bari! We, the Kachipo! We….We…We….

While many Ethiopians were happy with Meles Zenawi’s idea of Ethnic Federalism in order to get rid of the Amharic face of the country in what some call the ‘De-Amharization of Ethiopia’, one can clearly see that the example of Ethiopia is a stone-age example South Sudan shouldn’t copy!

The Nigerian example is badly self-explanatory that one can’t even think of it. It’s a disaster!

While it might sound very ambitious, it’s in the best interest of South Sudanese to work toward the creation of a ministry (Tribal Affairs) that should work out long-term models of inter-tribal understand in South Sudan.

Making Tribal leaders, Elders and grassroots part of the governance system in which each and every tribe feels included and heard is better than ethnic fragmentation of the country.

This would help the people in understanding the role of government in their lives. In the long run, it’d bring the government closer to the people with deeper appreciation of their local leaders; thereby making it hard for greedy politicians to mislead them.

Tribes don’t fight because they want to. They fight because they feel marginalization and insignificant. Besides, some fight on behalf of leaders from their own tribe because they don’t understand what government actually means. In South Sudan, we don’t just have ‘individuals’ but ‘individuals from a given tribe.’

Practical Federalism, not Paper Visual Federalism, can bring people closer to those who govern them; however, we have to resist attempts to ethnicize South Sudan any further.

To further tribalize a new nation with no sense of unique, clear and understandable sense of ‘NATIONHOOD’ is to be hellishly irresponsible.

We have to first create an understandable national Identity before we gladly or mischievously disperse into our tribal enclaves in the name of ‘Ethnic Federalism’ or more appropriately, ‘National Destruction!’

We’ve been divided fatally enough! Let’s unite while accepting our differences!

Kuir Garang is the author of ‘South Sudan Ideologically’ and ‘The Pipers and the First Phase (novel). For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info

Museveni holds the key to peace in South Sudan, says Garang Mabior

Publish Date: Sep 04, 2014, www.newvision.ug, KAMPALA, Uganda, SSN;

Below is a full interview conducted by Messrs. Samuel Ouga and Raymond Baguma who caught up with Garang De Mabior of the opposition, SPLM/A-I-O of Dr. Riek Machar.

Question: You have talked about Uganda’s presence in South Sudan. To what extent is it a destabilising factor?

Garang’s Answer: I don’t want to be misunderstood. It has become a destabilising factor but I believe in the intentions of Uganda when they went in. Uganda has been there for South Sudan during our liberation. I don’t think Uganda had malicious intentions when they went into South Sudan.
They went in with the intention to avert genocide and State collapse. They also went at the request of several international actors and Government of South Sudan.
But there is always a difference between theory and practice.Although Uganda intended well when they entered South Sudan, unfortunately the Government of South Sudan has abused the goodwill of Uganda.
The destabilising factor is not coming from the intentions of Uganda; but from the misuse of the Government of South Sudan of Ugandan goodwill towards our people. The presence of Uganda gives the Government of South Sudan an incentive to continue the war. So, this is how it has had a negative impact.
But at the same time, we don’t have to always look at the negative. If we look at how Uganda’s presence can be positive, 80 percent of the forces of South Sudan have defected to the opposition. The effective force that is propping up the regime in Juba is the UPDF. The UPDF’s presence can be utilised by the Ugandan government because it gives them influence on the Government of South Sudan.
Uganda has the ability to persuade the Government of South Sudan to negotiate in good faith since they are the ones propping up the regime. If the Government of South Sudan is not serious about peace, then Uganda can say, ‘We did not come here to prop you up. We came here for the people of South Sudan that we have been standing by ever since the liberation.’

Question: You have had interactions with a number of officials including the Presidential advisor on security, Gen. Salim Saleh. Have you shared this with him? And what has been the outcome of the discussions?

Answer: I don’t want to give too much because this is the initial stage of our coming to Uganda. But like I said before, the presence of UPDF in South Sudan is one of the obstacles in the peace process right now. In seeking peace, we come on a mission to have dialogue with Government of Uganda on how we can expedite the peace process and move forward.
What is preventing us from signing the matrix is the presence of Ugandan troops. So, we come to discuss bilateral issues between the Government of Uganda and our SPLM.

Question: Would you say that the outcome of the meetings has been positive?

Answer: Definitely it has been positive. The atmosphere has been very friendly and it is reminiscent of our past relationship with Uganda as brothers and sisters in the struggle. The children born of the same womb sometimes have misunderstandings and quarrel but will always get back together and find a way. So, this is what we are trying to do and the atmosphere is there.
So, we are hopeful that we shall continue with the dialogue and we shall find a way to overcome the obstacles that are right now in the peace process. We believe Uganda has a big role to play.
And we want Uganda to come on board because Uganda has been involved at the level of Heads of State of IGAD and the council of ministers. But we have been rejecting Uganda’s presence as observers like the other IGAD countries are because our argument was that Uganda is part of the conflict.
So how can they come as mediators? But seeing this impasse of the withdrawal of UPDF, the presence of Uganda in South Sudan is a reality that has to be dealt with.
So, we want to find ways with Uganda to see how we can break this impasse and move the peace process forward. We recognise highly that the important role that Uganda could play in bringing peace.

Question:Do you think it will happen?

Answer: I am confident it will happen because everybody wants peace. Uganda wants peace in South Sudan. I don’t think Uganda is in South Sudan because they love war.
So, anything that will bring peace is what we all want. We are hopeful this relationship will only grow.

Question: The Uganda government spokesperson in a statement said that you had accepted the UPDF presence until the IGAD force is deployed. Is this true?

Answer: It’s true; but it is not something that we discussed here (in Kampala). It’s not an outcome of our dialogue in Kampala. It is something that is enshrined in the agreements that we have signed in Addis Ababa.
We accepted that Uganda would withdraw as soon as the hybrid force of IGAD is deployed and Uganda would withdraw immediately so that a gap is not created where chaos can recur.

Question: After all these fits and starts at the talks in Addis Ababa, do you still believe political dialogue can work given the differences you have with the Government of South Sudan side?

Answer: Dialogue can work; but the intransigence of the Government of South Sudan right now is because of their belief that UPDF will be in South Sudan forever. But if Uganda begins to use their influence, it will break this intransigence and South Sudan will negotiate in good faith.
By bringing Uganda on board in the peace process, it will move the process forward.

Question: The sanctions by EU and US, what effect are they having on the search for peace in South Sudan?

Answer: It’s not having a lot of effect because the people who have been sanctioned are of little consequence in decision-making and financing of the war. These are low level people. For example the commander who has been sanctioned on our side does not travel. So, by saying that you cannot come to America, he does not go to America anyway.
The other army general on the Government side is not the big fish. What would work better would be if countries like Uganda and Kenya came on board. A lot of these people who are big fish in South Sudan have assets in Uganda and Kenya. They have billions in bank accounts in Kenya. If the Government of Kenya wants to make targeted sanctions against selected individuals, then it would have a bigger impact.
We welcome the sanctions to be equally applied on both sides because we on the opposition side have nothing to hide.
We welcome it, if it will speed up the peace process. But if it is sanctions that are going to hurt the people and not have an effect on the major players, we would not want the people to suffer sanctions for the sake of their leaders. We want the leaders to be sanctioned.
NEW VISION, Kampala, Uganda


Drowning State: Public outrage over bad governance in South Sudan

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, USA, AUG/29/2014, SSN;

It took South Sudanese more than half a century to attain their independence from the SUDAN. At the course of fighting successive Khartoum based governments, more than 2.5 million lives have been sacrificed, and the State was born (July 9, 2011) with an abundance of untapped natural resources (Oil being the leading commodity).

Although the host State (Sudan) handed down the newly independent nation as a Federal State, that system of government only existed on paper. There have been many attempts to craft a meaningful system of government in the REPUBLIC of SOUTH SUDAN, and through adoption of the South Sudan Transitional Constitution.

But the political atmosphere has been so rough to the point that no possible presidential aspirant could challenge the incumbent President given overarching powers granted by the Transitional Constitution.

And there is one group to be blamed, and that is the South Sudan Legislative Assembly, for MPs have surrendered/traded away their constitutional duties for special favors from the Executive Branch, particularly the President of the Republic.

First and foremost, South Sudanese must place their Nation above all, and care-less about personal gains and tribal affiliations.

The utterances about federalism seen across various social media and news outlets cannot be a solution to the ailing State, and without getting real with the political plague that caused the blowback.

When the Region (Southern Sudan) was granted self-governing for the second time in history, warlords took everything in their own hands, narrowed the political space and annihilated the civil population.

Instead of looking for new federalism (ethnic federalism), it would be of a great importance to South Sudanese, and for them to fix the Federal system that they have in place (devolve powers to states and empower local governments).

It is undeniable that South Sudan is a federal State, 10 states plus Abyei are federally structured. The loopholes found in the Transitional Constitution were added intentionally, and to make the president more powerful than he should be in a State where citizens fought for democratic ideals and to have a nation where people decide their own destiny.

As a concerned citizen, it is about the right time to advise the populace to stay within the yolk (governing Document).

Even with that precaution, influential members of various ethnic groups in South Sudan, and who have taken strange decisions regarding the bad governance, would not be willing to accept anything less of the reform.

When the war erupted in Juba (Dec. 15, 2013), some high ranking members of the Parliament deserted their posts and joined the armed rebellion. However, instead of mobilizing youth to change the Government militarily, those lawmakers should have voiced their concerns and push hard for reforms from within.

Where in the world can lawmakers take-ups arms against democratically elected regime, and to reinvent something that they would have done without having to pull a trigger at some knuckleheads in the Legislative Assembly?

Because nobody wanted to take blame for having not acted on his/her supposed obligations, some are battling the regime militarily. This new twist is nothing but an opportunity for others to punish their colleagues in the Government.

Despite those noises and fierce fights, South Sudanese are anti-system, ant-rules, and only very few would follow on what they say. And by the way, why do people become too loud when they have been sacked from their positions?

There is no doubt, South Sudan needs a new direction, and all the concerned parties (members of the Civil Societies, Lawmakers, Churches and Elders) in the Republic of South Sudan should come out of their hiding shells and help the Nation rewire itself.

The reforms that people are talking about require full commitment and selflessness to get the State moving again. And this would involve rebooting the stalled mechanisms (independent of the Judiciary, Legislature becoming real and noninterference by the Executive), and not through adoption of anything new.

As per the ongoing Peace Accord, IGAD has proposed the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGONU), and it appeared to be the only opportunity for concerned parties to have their voices heard. But Rebel’s Chief (Dr. Riek Machar) is running around and declining to sign the Document.

For a very simple reason, South Sudan descended into crisis because there has never been a political will from the ruling Elites (Kiir and Riek plus their cronies), and their failures to follow on their own political designs and procedures have added even more fuels on the raging fire/turmoil.

Back to the governed, the general public has been led to believe that South Sudan was never a Federal State, and finding a new federal system would heal the wounds of bad governance seen since the year 2006.

That is not true for a national structures existed in principles: states have their own constitutions, there are Counties’ governments, Payams’ governments as well as Bomas’ administrations, and that tells the world within our reach that South Sudan is not missing anything in terms of the system of government.

In regard to diversity, nationalities have been legally recognized through non-interference, and all have their unique customary laws in place.

That brings us to the question: can more polarization of the State help in solving national political discourses? Well, one has to look at other nations that have distanced themselves from a system that would jeopardize national unity.

And all citizens should thank the Drafters of the Transitional Constitution because they have been attentive to a number of issues with the exception of too much powers vested in presidency.

Again, how possible is it that states can be created based on ethnic lines, and people still expect law enforcement officers to be neutral/impartial in their duties?

Although ethnic federalism seems to be working really good in Ethiopia, people must know that Ethiopia is very different from South Sudan.

Secondly, South Sudan is a very diverse State with 64 tribes, and thinking about how best to make it peaceful and prosperous ought to be everyone concern. Because all tribes are culturally unique and politically volatile, we risk making it worse if tribal states are created.

The fact that warlords who just got out of bush-life like did little to harmonize the State does not warrant going for designs that are likely to create difficult problems.

For those who have been following political developments in South Sudan, the underground networks, all of which are based on tribal affiliations are not good for coexistence.

It is worth noting that any form of government without a political will cannot function accordingly, and embarking on untested form of federalism (Ethnic Federal system) is never a viable choice. There has to be a conducive political environment for that kind of federal system to work effectively.

The fact that South Sudan is a very complex State with too many complex problems, it would be good for South Sudanese to maintain what they have since it has the potential to keep South Sudan united if implemented fully.

On different fronts, people (elders and political commentators) have already taken sides, and seemed to prefer tribal-based states administrations, but they are not talking about why federal system based on 10 states failed?

Without answering questions about the past, there is no way that citizens can guarantee to have a better system than what they have had for the last nine years or so.

What is being debated is more of a new call for further secession/more division of the current Republic of South Sudan!

For those who may disagree with that suspicion, how possible is it that people wanted to live in united South Sudan, and those same people prefer being affiliated within their own tribes?

In the last couple of months, South Sudanese have been jamming internet with their opinions about a new federalism, and opposition to ethnic federalism is now synonymous with DINKA.

It is true that majority of people who are opposed to new federalism are Dinkas, but that does not means they are doing it because of the sitting president, a national figure who happened to be a Dinka by tribe.

Moving forward, what energizes most people to put out their positions on the issue at hand is the fact that polarizing South Sudan along tribal lines can complicate things.

It is also very true that some tribes are too dissatisfied with Dinka’s led Government, and that does not warrant politicizing national issues to the point where tribes consider themselves more than enemies.

Whenever there is a problem along the tribal lines, the kind of archaic/barbaric killings that takes place is beyond anyone’s imagination, and having ethnic federalism would create even more hatreds.

The fact that dominant tribes take things in their hands does not justify people to call for further fragmentation of the State. Even if ethnic federal was to be given a chance, South Sudan national government would still be dominated by the largest tribes. And there would be no way for smallest tribes to escape fierce political encounters with the populous tribes.

Anything more than the existing federal structures is likely to tear the nation apart, and anything impractical of the existing federal system is also likely to propagate more hatreds against largest tribes (Dinka & Nuer).

Thirdly, South Sudan as a State must first extinguish the burning fire before embarking on structuring the Nation. Rushing changes because of the crisis would create new problems.

As of now, there is a big confusion as to what would happen should citizens decide to follow loud voices (Equatorians, Dinka elders & Rebels’) call for revitalization and upgrading of former British-designed districts into states.

People must know one thing, the biggest threats to unity of South Sudan are not the tribes, but politicians who resort to using their tribes whenever they fallout with their colleagues in the Government. What if those politicians come from ethnic based states?

At the present time, oppositions to the ruling Party (SPLM-in-Government) have exploited the unfortunate event of December 15, 2013, and are out pushing citizens too hard to follow their paths.

With all of that, unplanned/unstudied shifts toward new political direction is not the best strategy for political problems to be resolved once and for all.

There is reason to believe that lack of accountability throughout the State has made people (politicians) to care-less about their own responsibilities as public figures, and that is why they keeps deceiving their subjects (citizens) day in and day out.

As a matter of fact, we can all agree on one thing: interference by the president of the Republic in states’ affairs has also contributed to weakening of the Federal System that was inherited from the Sudan.

He (president Salva Kiir) relieved/sacked three Governors (Lakes, Jonglei & Unity states) without the consent of citizens who put/voted them into their offices.

In his most recent presidential decree, president Salva Kiir finalized a controversial Peace Accord with notorious Rebel leader, David Yau Yau & created Greater Pibor Area Administration (GPAA) without consent of the neighboring Counties (Akoba, Bor, Duk, Nyirol, Twic East & Uror counties) or the state of Jonglei.

It has to be recalled that his Excellency, the President of the Republic has been overreaching for years, and some of his decrees have had negative impacts on civil populations (Lakes state).

Furthermore, we must tighten our belts really good because South Sudan is not going anywhere, and finding lasting solutions to governing issues would be the only way for us to have a stable nation.

We all know/should know that the ongoing war in the country has lots to do with bad governance (politicians wasted time and did nothing), and people who have been serving in the GOSS dating back to its inception in 2005 are equally responsible for the mess.

When Equatorians voiced their concerns, Rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar came out with his own proposal that created 21 states based on former British districts in the then Southern Sudan, all of which were ethnic quotas.

In response to that wobbling, another group that called itself Dinka elders proposed 23 states. By the way, who are those elders? What do they represent? And who is behind them? Why now?

Along the same line, Dr. Lam Akol of the SPLM-DC mobilized other political parties, secured his place in the IGAD led peace negotiation and proposed a post of prime minister to be created as a way for resolving the conflict, and then left the Government’s negotiating team.

Because South Sudan’s warring parties share the same political fear when it comes to Dr. Lam Akol, his proposal was rejected altogether and the Government disowned him thereafter.

While addressing all the problems in a combo is not going to be a possibility when the State is at war, citizens must pay close attention to all the missed opportunities.

As a matter of fact, no schooled person would expect South Sudan to be like Australia, Canada or the United States of America in just nine years! But, can we really rewind back and expect to see South Sudan in the image of Australia between 1908 and 1914?

Come on, my people (South Sudanese), the world is now more intertwined than ever before. Even in our most remote areas (Panyagoor and Turalei), people are surfing online, and that tells us that we cannot go behind the line and begin where other nations were some 100 years ago.

That means, aiming high and resolving outstanding issues within a reasonable time would save the State from disintegrating into worthless pieces. If we can all settle on this: no more firing/sacking of states’ Governors by the president, and without consent by voters who voted them in.

And across the Nation, all public offices must be filled through elections, and that should include: Governors, members of South Sudan Legislative Assembly, states Legislative Assemblies, Counties Commissioners, Counties’ Administrators, Town Mayors, Paramount Chiefs, Chiefs and sub-chiefs.

If South Sudan had been doing that from day one, there would have been less mistrust between the governed and their leaders because free and fair elections are the best tools by which citizens can lockout people who’re politically unattractive.

In summary, demanding the same system after it has failed cannot be the solution to future problems. Let’s get it very clear that there has been a Federal System in the Republic of South Sudan before it gained independence from rests of the Sudan. What had been lacking was a political will to follow on what appeared to be a destiny to having a stable State.

Instead of mobilizing tribes to force the Government to adopt ethnic federalism, South Sudanese ought to give themselves time, try to fix all that they had done wrong during the Interim period.

In recap, the jury is out trying to reconnect the dots, but patience would be the best medicine in getting through the aftermath of December 15, 2013. All must know that maintaining a peaceful nation requires more than just hanging out with famous and wealthy people in the Country.

The Author here is Mayak Deng Aruei, a South Sudanese living in the United States of America. He holds Associate degree in Legal Assistant (San Diego Miramar College), BA in Sociology & Philosophy(University of San Diego), completed one year of Juris Doctorate studies at Trinity Law School(Trinity International University), holds MA in Legal Studies(American Public University), pursuing two degrees at the moment: Bachelor’s of Laws(LLB) at the University of London and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development at Grand Canyon University. He can be reached at Kongor.da.ajak@gmail.com

Introduction to Conversations with Lawyer & Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan

BY: MARGARET AKULIA, CANADA, AUG/25/2014, SSN;

“The present catastrophic crisis in our country has exposed in ugly details the monumental wrongs which afflicted our country long before the events of the 15th of December 2013,” began a Preamble to a position paper by Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule. It is the official position of his United Democratic Front Party (UDF) about how to resolve the ongoing carnage in South Sudan.

However, the position epitomizes what the majority of the masses of South Sudan are thinking but unable to verbalize because of fear.

In conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan, we unveil the issues that have brought South Sudan to the brink of total collapse, along with solutions to the issues.

Conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule will include in depth discussions about the best system of government suitable for meeting the aspirations of the multi-ethnic groups of South Sudan in order to avoid future conflicts. These conversations will undoubtedly be very difficult but they are necessary.

To set the stage for the conversations, this is what Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule had to say in response to a question postulated to him about a reference he made to the great mistakes of miss-governance and the excessive crimes committed against the people of South Sudan in his position paper.

He was referring in part to the conflict between Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar and their cohorts which degenerated into the mass murder of innocent South Sudanese from the Nuer tribe under the direction of Salva Kiir Mayardit beginning on December 15, 2013.

“To understand this piece properly, you have to view it from a historical perspective”, began Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule before elaborating.

“During a more than fifty-year freedom struggle, our fore-fathers and ourselves had committed ourselves to a struggle for liberty, dignity and the welfare of our people. This in a nutshell is the concise vision statement of the broad objectives and aims of our struggle against a savage and brutal Arab imperialist dictator.

However, immediately after the SPLM/SPLA took control of the reins of power in the South, it shocked the people by what it really was: a dictatorial, brutal, kleptocratically corrupt and bankrupt system of government.

Soon enough the SPLM elites began to make themselves rich by looting state coffers. Tribal centers of power started to be formed at the top echelons of government, critics were arrested and many disappeared and their property coveted.

The rule of law and due process were thrown to the rubbish bins. Nobody is beyond the gaze of the ubiquitous Military Intelligence or safe from the nightly break-ins, armed robberies and killings every night.

Life and property were no longer sanctified and inviolable, leave alone being considered as indefeasible rights. Entire villages and tribal lands were violently displaced and the villagers terrorized, shot and chased away from their ancestral lands which were seized by the SPLM/SPLA elites and the armies of commanders, officers and men who quickly built tribal colonies for themselves in the looted lands.

They were joined by many others migrating en mass into cities like Juba, Wau, Yei, Kaya and Nimule, to mention only a few; displacing the original inhabitants in the process!

The stand of the Murle tribe was a case in place against an attempted brutal genocidal displacement by the combined forces of Dinka and Nuer.

The Judiciary is no longer independent and impartial, filled with tribesmen most of whom are unqualified and all lacking capacity and training. Judges take sides against the victims whose lands and houses are looted by the gun totting soldiers.

The Civil Service is almost wholly recruited according to tribal considerations with the senior positions filled by men ill-qualified for their posts.

If these are not crimes against the people of South Sudan, then what are they? Indeed, they are not only crimes against the majority of South Sudanese, but are crimes committed against the many innocent Dinka and Nuer in whose names they are committed.”

In conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan, the following themes will be highlighted among many.

Mis-governance and excessive crimes committed against the people of South Sudan including but not limited to torture, looting state coffers, robbing properties of minority ethnic groups, murder, rape and maiming with unprecedented and imponderable impunity.

Lawlessness.

The need for a national army as opposed to the tribal armies that have currently divided the country into two warring camps of Dinka vs Nuer.

Misusing the most dire coercive machinery of the state leading to grievances that will undoubtedly boil over and explode the same way they did on December 15, 2013.

Lack of confidence in the government and total erosion of trust among the people of South Sudan.

The threat of total anarchy when communities such as the communities of the Equatoria region of South Sudan realize that their survival, and in fact their very existence in the country is in peril, unless they also move into the business of acquiring and possessing arms like the others, for their own self defense.

Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule has been consistent in asserting that the current calamitous ethnic war with its dire consequences felt country-wide, together with the mistakes which had led to it, have transcended and gone beyond its main architects: Kiir and Machar; that it has now become a national concern and not limited only to Kiir and Machar.

Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule has asserted that the ethnic war that has pitted South Sudan’s Dinka tribe against the Nuer tribe can be brought to an end through an all-inclusive negotiated settlement by all South Sudanese stakeholders on the basis of a Federal system of governance, founded upon the values of justice, democracy, good governance, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, mutual understanding and tolerance of the diversity within the realities of South Sudan.

Stay tuned for more conversations with Lawyer and Politician Peter Sule about a Blueprint for South Sudan and becoming fully involved in crafting the best “system” of government for South Sudan which will satisfy and live up to the aspirations of the people of South Sudan in the share of power and wealth and the proper governance of their own states, in the long run.

Conversations are intended for all South Sudanese and not just Kiir and Machar’s SPLM in government and SPLM in opposition as they want to have it.

A DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE AT:

http://www.savesouthsudan.com/politician-peter-sule-speaks.html

Margaret Akulia is co-author of the sequel Idi Amin: Hero or Villain? His son Jaffar Amin and other people speak. She brings to the South Sudan dialogue a multidisciplinary professional background including but not limited to “grassroots activism”.

Additional information at:

https://travellinglearningcircles.com/Save_South_Sudan.html AND http://www.savesouthsudan.com/home.html