Category: Featured

South Sudan’s New Peace Deal Could Bring More War

BY: John Prendergast and Brian Adeba, The Daily Beast, SEP/12/2018, SSN;

Wednesday’s agreement is at its heart simply a crass division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns which the authors described as ‘kakocracy- meaning the “rule or government by the worst of the people.”

The peace deal signed today, September 12, 2018, between the government of South Sudan and armed opposition groups has significant shortcomings that could easily lead the country right back to full-scale war.

The South Sudanese have endured immense suffering in the last five years as the fighting has brought on food shortages and massive displacement. Nearly five million people have been forced out of their homes, inside and outside the country. Uncounted thousands are dead.

The country’s economy is a write-off. Double-digit inflation has ensured that millions are on a knife’s edge of survival and the risk of famine still looms large.

At the root of the conflict in South Sudan is the existence of a state whose institutions have been hijacked and repurposed to benefit a few top-level politicians.

Other groups, each clamoring for a bigger piece of the pie—or the whole of it—then engaged in a violent contest to capture the state, plunging the country into a deadly war.

Today’s agreement is at its heart simply a crass division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns.

It lacks meaningful checks and balances on executive overreach in a country in which the presidency already wields immense powers that are used mainly to loot the country’s resources and deploy extreme violence against opponents, whether military or civilian.

Beneath the veneer of power-sharing arrangements on a host of contentious issues, including state borders being redrawn by the regime to reinforce its control among regional and ethnic bases, lurk several articles that grant undue advantage to the chief executive.

Worst of all, this peace agreement lacks realistic outcomes on many of the most contentious issues.

Over the years, South Sudan’s vast oil revenues have been pocketed by high-level politicians and their families, carted out of the country and invested in high-value property and other businesses.

An inquiry into the root causes of the conflict by the African Union in 2015 identified corruption as a major driver of conflict in the country.

This looting of the public purse requires a solution that will stop politicians dipping into state coffers for their own financial benefit.

Yet in many aspects, the new peace deal fails to undo the theft of government revenue by entrusting the same politicians with final oversight on revenue spending without any meaningful restraint.

Beyond checks on executive power, any peace pact between armed protagonists is underpinned by its security arrangements.

With ambiguous, unrealistic, and unsustainable expectations, the current security arrangements are a mish-mash of stipulations that create doubt and uncertainty for the leaders of armed groups on the critical matter of security in the capital, Juba, and funding for the cantonment of insurgent fighters.

These challenges could unravel the whole agreement and plunge the country into another cycle of deadly violence.

The regional mediators behind this deal succeeded in getting the protagonists talking again and persuaded them to respect a signed ceasefire, but this could be nothing more that the lull before the big storm with the consequences looming on the horizon like a category five hurricane.

However, it need not be this way.

The United States, Europe, and other friends of the South Sudanese people must build more leverage to ensure implementation of a peace deal that addresses the systemic problems fueling the war.

The U.S holds the biggest potential stick. Recent U.S targeted sanctions on individuals and entities behind the war in South Sudan had some impact, giving the government an incentive to sign the current deal, but much greater pressure will be required for its implementation, and for good governance to have a chance.

What is required, specifically, is for the U.S. and other willing nations to impose sanctions on the networks of South Sudanese officials and their commercial collaborators who continue to loot the country’s resources, and to combine those sanctions with anti-money-laundering measures designed ultimately to deny the war criminals and their commercial collaborators access to the international banking system.

America and Europe must raise the cost to those facilitating the destruction of the world’s newest country as well as those benefiting from it, in particular the banking and real estate sectors in countries neighboring South Sudan.

Until the costs of war and chaos outweigh their benefits, the deadly status quo will remain, no matter what pieces of paper are signed. END

Brian Adeba is Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project; John Prendergast is Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry.

Will the Latest Deal Bring Peace in South Sudan?

BY: Aly Verjee and Payton Knopf, United States Insstitute of Peace (USIP) Analysis and Commentary, AUG/20/2018, SSN;

Although welcomed by many citizens, the deal’s serious deficiencies could exacerbate the conflict.

On August 5, the warring parties in South Sudan signed an agreement which calls for the formation of another power-sharing government. The previous power-sharing government collapsed in July 2016, and the war has since spread throughout the country.

USIP’s Aly Verjee and Payton Knopf discuss the developments that led to the deal, identify the agreement’s risks and deficiencies, and assess future prospects for the peace process.

More than four years of civil war in South Sudan have chased millions from their homes, leaving countless farms abandoned. (Kassie Bracken/The New York Times)

Since the peace talks moved to Khartoum, Sudan, several agreements have been signed. Some media reported the August 5 agreement as a “final deal.” What is happening in the South Sudan peace process?

Verjee: The August 5 agreement is not a final deal. Negotiations were recently extended to August 27, and may well be extended again. The August 5 agreement was the sixth interim agreement signed since Sudan assumed control of the mediation process at the end of June, after Ethiopia relinquished its role as the lead mediator.

Assuming the remaining disputed issues and details are agreed, the negotiators will sign a final, consolidated document. That text will serve as the basis for the establishment of a new, transitional, power-sharing government, and require new security arrangements across the country.

It will also continue commitments to earlier economic, social and accountability measures made under the 2015 peace agreement, many of which were unimplemented.

In principle, this sounds fine—but there are major challenges ahead. There are serious deficiencies in the deal that may make things worse, particularly in the security sector.

An unrealistic timeline for the integration of forces may lead to another security collapse.

The uncertainty of measures for the demilitarization of urban areas could set the stage for new confrontations: a risk heightened by the memory of the battles in the capital, Juba, that both began the war in December 2013 and led to the 2015 agreement’s collapse.

Not all the aggrieved parties are yet included in the deal, which may incentivize some to keep fighting.

And perhaps most crucially, there is little evidence of genuine political will and desire to reform among those that signed the deal.

Will they spend the country’s resources to rebuild the ruined economy rather than enrich themselves?

Will they hold accountable those soldiers and commanders responsible for war crimes, and, ultimately agree to downsize the army?

Can they trust each other to govern collectively?

The enthusiasm with which many South Sudanese greeted the deal indicates how desperate people are for any chance of peace. But we are a long way from that peace becoming a certainty.

How have these latest developments in the peace process been influenced by political shifts in the region?

Knopf: The center of gravity in the peace process has rapidly shifted from Ethiopia to Sudan. Ethiopia had forcefully maintained control of the mediation, as well as the related cease-fire monitoring mechanism, since the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013.

But since taking office in April, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has undertaken a dizzying diplomatic effort in the region: he has brokered rapprochement with Eritrea, mitigated tensions on the use of the Nile with Egypt, and attempted to defuse political tensions in Somalia.

These issues have taken priority over efforts to end South Sudan’s civil war.

Sudan has taken the opportunity of being in the driver’s seat to secure its own security and economic interests in South Sudan.

One of the agreements signed allows Sudanese forces to potentially occupy the oil fields.

The government of Sudan’s interests are not likely to align with those of the people of South Sudan nor are they predicated on preserving the country’s sovereignty.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has also played a prominent role in the Khartoum talks, and attended the signing of agreements in June and August in Khartoum.

The Khartoum talks have shown that Sudan and Uganda can align their interests and find mutually beneficial arrangements in South Sudan, in contrast to the conventional wisdom that they are at perennial logger-heads on South Sudan.

But these arrangements may come at the expense of South Sudan’s citizens.

Verjee: Ethiopia’s long-term interests may not be served by withdrawing from the South Sudan mediation process. South Sudan’s dysfunction could once more undermine Ethiopian border security as well as broader regional interests.

Given its comparatively limited economic exposure to South Sudan, Ethiopia remains the region’s most honest broker. But Ethiopia also wants to accommodate Sudanese interests, which may help explain Abiy’s willingness to concede the file to Khartoum.

Khartoum has interests in numerous unresolved issues related to South Sudan’s secession: the apportionment of billions of dollars of debt, the final status of the disputed territory of Abyei and the demarcation of the border, to name but three.

For offering a lifeline to South Sudan’s incumbent president, Salva Kiir, who remains in power as head of the transitional government, Sudan may drive a hard bargain.

What are the implications for the humanitarian situation in South Sudan?

Knopf: There is no evidence to suggest that the deals reached in Khartoum will meaningfully address South Sudan’s humanitarian catastrophe. As discussed above, they are more likely to exacerbate rather than defuse the conflict and insecurity that underlie the humanitarian emergency.

The United States contributes nearly $1 billion out of the $1.8 billion per year in international humanitarian assistance. In May, the United States announced a review “to ensure our assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior.”

While the review is not yet complete, it is hard to imagine that any donor can sustain these funding levels for years to come.

Concurrently, the humanitarian community should use the U.S. assistance review to put forward humanitarian policy proposals that include a rigorous and honest analysis of the interaction between aid and the political economy of the conflict.

Such an approach could help improve humanitarian outcomes for the South Sudanese.

With the likelihood of further deterioration and fragmentation of the political, security, and economic landscape in South Sudan, this is all the more vital.

There is increasing evidence that some relief efforts have been manipulated by the warring parties to advance their own political and military objectives.

Fortunately, there is a wealth of collective experience in South Sudan and other complex humanitarian emergencies for navigating challenges to the integrity of relief operations during periods of conflict that can and should be drawn upon.

What are the future prospects for the peace process and what should the United States do now?

Verjee: Khartoum is not letting go of the peace process. It is essential now that the United States ensures that whatever final deal is put in place, it first does no harm.

The U.S. could help the mediation advance de-escalating, enforceable arrangements for the security aspects of the agreement and be clear about what other provisions it could support.

If the security arrangements fail, the power-sharing component of any deal becomes irrelevant. This should be a key lesson from the collapse of the 2015 agreement.

Knopf: The historic irony of Sudan leading these mediation efforts brings into sharp relief the absence of purposeful U.S. diplomatic engagement in South Sudan and the broader region.

The U.S. should accept that only a new mediation effort could improve the prospects of ending the war and the humanitarian crisis.

The question is whether the United States is prepared to exert its influence to achieve this and ensure that the process does not only benefit Khartoum, Kampala and the South Sudanese elites who have perpetuated a horrific war.

The United States remains the most influential external actor in the region. Uganda is, for example, the largest recipient of U.S. military aid in sub-Saharan Africa.

And there are at present unique diplomatic opportunities: the second phase of the bilateral normalization process between the U.S. and Sudan provides the administration significant leverage to shape Khartoum’s policy approaches toward South Sudan.

Effective action has been hampered by the failure to designate a senior official empowered to develop and execute the administration’s strategy.

Such an individual must have the stature to engage with the regional heads of state, who ultimately call the shots, and have sufficient standing in Washington to bring to bear the coordinated weight of all the agencies of the U.S. government. END

SPLM-IO’s flawed peace strategy against Kiir

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, AUG/11/2018, SSN;

The recently signed Khartoum’s power-sharing deal between the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), Former Detainees (FDs), and Other Political Parties (OPP) has flaws that need methodical scrutiny.

This seemingly Juba’s predetermined pact will not bring about changes demanded by the people of South Sudan.

The agreement shows that the SPLM-IO abandons its ambitious reform agenda which it has been fighting for more than four years. This is a serious political blunder and pure embracement for the tyrannical system which the armed opposition countlessly vows to reform.

This is an attempt to show that the SPLM-IO’s overall peace strategy is seriously flawed; perhaps it is on life-support if it is not dead.

There are many political mistakes that the supposedly reformist SPLM-IO party has committed. These mistakes include expansion of the government, the issue of 32 states, transitional security arrangements, failure to address the root causes of the civil war, among others.

But the most important strategic blunder made by the SPLM-IO is probably the legislative one.

Since early 2014, the armed opposition has consistently claimed that its main goal is to change the political system in the country.

The people of South Sudan embrace the idea because they know the only way to reform the current oppressive system is by having a truly and independent legislative body to pass laws that reflect South Sudanese wishes.

But the recent pact clearly failed the people. It is baffling to see the leadership of the SPLM-IO abandoning demands of the people by accepting a deal which embraces Salva Kiir’s ruthlessness.

If this peace ends the conflict, it will be good for the country. But the irony is that it will still maintain Kiir’s tyranny because the SPLM-IO parliamentarians will have no means to limit his grip on power.

In any nation, reforms are done through legislative means, not by wild assumptions. It would be a mistake to think that Kiir will support the armed opposition reform agenda in the parliament.

The man still fantasizes about his one-man rule. He likes ruling the country through presidential decrees.

So, the notion that reforms will be done after the SPLM-IO rejoined the government is a pure fantasy.

Statistically, Kiir has the numbers to deny any reform agenda he does not like or want. He can do it by instructing his parliamentarians not to vote for any bill that would limit his powers.

The signed document, for example, proposes that the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) will have 550 Members of Parliament (MPs).

The revitalized text gave the incumbent TGoNU 332 MPs (60.4%), whereas 23.3% (128 MPs) will represent the SPLM-IO, 50 MPs (9.1%) allocated to SSOA, 5.5% (30 MPs to OPP, and 10 MPs (1.8%) are awarded to FDs.

In the war of numbers, it is 60.4% vs. 39.6%. Meaning, the government MPs clearly outnumbered all opposition MPs combined.

It is strikingly a solemn misjudgment on the SPLM-IO’s part. It is worth noting that the government does not have a two-thirds majority in the TNLA — which would have been 366.7 MPs (66.7% to 33.3%) out of the proposed 550 MPs.

This calculation has a +1 margin of error. In a logical sense, Kiir parliamentary bloc needs an additional 34.7 MPs to pass any law it wants.

Remember, South Sudan is full of briefcase political parties. Most of these parties are not fighting for the people of South Sudan, they are fighting for themselves.

For them, it is a war over positions and Kiir could still bribe 34.7 MPs from these self-serving parties to pass any law he wants. These are Mathematical truths.

The SPLM-IO can create its own excuses, but I am certain that any opposing view, denying these facts would be indisputably counterintuitive.

The SPLM-IO’s central argument is that it signed the deal because it wants South Sudanese refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to have a sense of peace and possibly return to their homes, let alone its reform agenda.

This is indisputably a good humanitarian gesture. However, signing an agreement simply because you want IDPs and refugees currently under the protection of the United Nations (UN) peacekeepers to come out and go back to their houses is not a plausible idea.

The SPLM-IO cannot force civilians it cannot possibly protect to go back to their homes where they will be vulnerable to Juba’s brutality.

It would be better for the SPLM-IO to just sign any pact it desires and not allow any provision in any deal that would then force refugees and IDPs to leave UN-run camps for their homes where insecurity is widespread.

Calling for innocent civilians to leave their secured places for their homes which are under the control of Juba’s oppressive regime reminds me of Salva Kiir who always wants to grant an amnesty to anyone who opposes his regime so that he can prolong his tyranny without a formidable opposition.

I suggest the leadership of the SPLM-IO thinks deeply about this issue.

Why would the SPLM-IO sign a peace which embraces Kiir’s ruthlessness, forgets the victims of the SPLM self-made war, and ignores people’s demands for change?

Did the armed opposition forget what it has been fighting for the last four-and-a-half years? What really happens to SPLM-IO’s reform agenda? Is the armed opposition reform agenda dead?

There is no doubt in my mind that the legislative branch will pose a daunting challenge to the SPLM-IO and other opposition parties.

However, this challenge could be minimized or even frustrated if all opposition MPs work together as a united bloc in the parliament.

If this happens, then the incumbent government could be forced to collaborate or make deals with opposition MPs which would then allow the SPLM-IO and other political parties to enact some laws.

Leaving this obvious political risk aside, I honestly believe that political and economic reforms under this deal will not be feasible given the fact that Kiir still cherishes the idea of appointing and removing people through his dictatorial decrees.

As I have already indicated, the agreement has many pro-Kiir provisions.

But ending the suffering of South Sudanese who are now living under dire conditions in refugee camps and foreign countries is the number one priority.

If the incumbent TGoNU and the SPLM-IO are serious about peace and fully implement it, then they will be thanked by the people of South Sudan for ending the war.

However, the fact that the armed opposition lacks the necessary number of MPs to reform the political system in the country is even worse.

It would be a wishful thinking for the SPLM-IO to assume that its transformation agenda will be magically done when it knows the number of its MPs is not enough to execute its policies through parliamentary processes.

The Khartoum’s power-sharing deal will not bring the much-needed political reforms in the country.

This agreement is merely a classic case of a new political marriage between the government and SPLM-IO.

This pact is also a reminder for the people of South Sudan that reforms championed by the armed opposition could be a thing of the past.

It is clear, however, that all factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) seem to be interested in reuniting themselves under the same old dictatorial umbrella.

It is good to remind people that Kiir and Machar have already agreed to cantonments of their troops and deployment of the East African and African Union forces to enforce the cessation of hostilities.

However, this is not new since the two leaders had previously signed many agreements before and violated them. One of these violations occurred in July 2016, when Kiir colluded with the current First Vice President Taban Deng to hijack the August 2015 compromise deal.

Kiir is not for a lasting peace in the country.

His main concern is not to end the war, rather it is to sign any peace that maintains its ruthlessness, lures leaders of the SPLM-IO to Juba in a pretext of the pact and refuses to implement the agreement.

Kiir demonstrated his unwillingness to implement the deal on August 8 at Bilpham military headquarters when he told his troops that they should be prepared to receive and integrate the armed opposition soldiers.

This is not what the security arrangements stipulate. The security pact specifies that both incumbent government and rebel forces shall be screened and classified based on established military standards and those who pass such a screening will be combined and given proper training during the Pre-transitional period.

This provision was included in the proposal to make sure South Sudan has a professional army after the three transitional periods.

Kiir is the one who does not want peace to return to the country. He violated many pacts by refusing to release the armed opposition officials he kidnapped as well as Prisoners of Wars (POWs) even though this demand was clearly stipulated in the previous ceasefire agreements.

The people of South Sudan are not interested in this elitist agreement. As you can see, Kiir is trying to deceive people before the deal is even finalized — this is how he operates.

The man is a cunning oppressor who cannot be trusted when it comes to peace. The armed opposition should not succumb to this dubious accord — an accord which irrefutably castoffs reforms demanded by the people.

Having a defined and well-developed political doctrine is essential for any political party to succeed.

The SPLM-IO is theoretically an opposition party. It’ll, supposedly, if all things go as planned, have its own political and economic agendas that it would want to be passed by the parliament.

The armed opposition knows its success in the TNLA may not be feasible given the fact that it lacks numbers to wage a successful legislative fight.

Politics is all about strategies, numbers, games, back-stabbing, making closed-door deals, and selling your policies to the people.

If the SPLM-IO wants its reform agenda to survive, it must have specific policies in place and these policies must be staunchly championed and defended by the leadership of the SPLM-IO as well as its proposed parliamentarians.

If the armed opposition deserts its reform agenda, then it will be a new chapter for Kiir’s cruelty to continue and the death for a democratic hope for the country — it would be a chapter that the people of South Sudan would not like to see happening.

The SPLM-IO must not allow its democratic vision to die; it must continue to use all necessary means to make sure that those who lost their lives in the war did not die in vain.

The leadership of the SPLM-IO must rethink its peace strategy or it risks being an extension of Salva Kiir’s tyrannical regime.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

LATEST: SSOA & SPLM-Former Detainees NOT Signing Khartoum Agreement with Kiir!!

Joint Press Statement by SSOA and SPLM-FDs, AUG/04/2018, SSN;

Further to our press release of yesterday, the 3rd of August 2018, the Mediation today told us in unequivocal terms that nothing will be changed in the agreement that was initialed on Wednesday the 25th and that they are going ahead tomorrow with the signing ceremony. He reiterated that this was their final position, thus closing the door for any further discussion on the matter.
In view of this development, SSOA and the SPLM-FDs have decided not to be part of the signing. It is unfortunate that the Mediation could not see the importance of having an inclusive agreement and decided to rush the process.
For us, this is not the end of the road. We shall continue to be part and parcel of the IGAD led High Level Revitalization Forum and will not abandon our efforts in the search for a just and sustainable peace in our war torn country so that our suffering people could relive their normal lives.
We thank H.E. President Omer Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir for his hospitality throughout the days we spent in Khartoum and for devoting his invaluable time to help bring about peace in South Sudan.
United we stand, divided we fall.
——————————
Joint Press Statement by SSOA and SPLM-FDs: Refusal to sign Agreement

AUG/03/2018, SSN;

Since the “Agreement on Outstanding Issues of Governance” was initialed principally by the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO on the 25th of July, SSOA and SPLM-FDs delegations have been engaging the Mediation on the possibility of making some changes that will make it possible for other Parties to sign so that the document is owned by all.

The discussion centred on Article 4 (number and boundaries of States) and sub-Articles 6.7 and 6.8 (National Pre-Transition Committee and its fund).

Article 5.1 (responsibility sharing in the States and Local governments) was already bracketed in the initialed agreement.

On Article 4, the contentious issues were related to the composition of the Independent Boundary Committee, its decision making and the default position in the event that the IBC Joint Press Statement by SSOA and SPLM-FDs fails to reach a final decision.

We gave several options on each of the three. For instance, we suggested that the default could be adopting the decision of the 55th Extra-Ordinary Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers dated 31 January 2016 or the seventy-nine (79) Counties as they stood on 9/7/2005 or the three regions or, as a last resort, arbitration.

The imposition of the 32 States was an illegality that contravened the Agreement on the bResolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed in August 2015.

It should have just been reversed since we are revitalizing ARCSS. Yet, we went this far because we are keen to bring peace to our suffering people.

Our flexibility should not be seen to be a sign of weakness to the extent that we can contemplate legalizing an illegality by accepting a referendum as a default position.

Also, in relation to NPTC, it cannot be formed by any other than IGAD since it was to work during the Pre-Transitional Period.

We met H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Sudan who is also the Chief Mediator on 29 July 2018 and presented to him the issues we believe should be bracketed for us to be able to sign the Agreement on Outstanding Governance Issues on Sunday the 5th of August.

He promised to look into these points.

Yesterday, the 2nd of August, His Excellency the Minister informed us that he has made consultations with the Parties and that Juba has rejected to have our concerns taken onboard and as such there was nothing he could do.

In view of this development, we would like to inform the public that we cannot sign the said agreement in its present form.

However, we stand ready to ink it if and when our concerns are addressed by the Mediators as above. END

The Tyranny of Greed in South Sudan

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, JUL/28/2018, SSN;

Tyranny comes in many shapes and forms. It’s social, regional, economic, political and foreign. In South Sudan, Salva Kiir’s atrocious regime is being kept in power by Uganda, Egypt, Kenya, Eritrea, and Morocco, as well as arms dealers in Ukraine and Bulgaria, among others, regardless of the level of carnage he has committed.

Kiir’s connection with these countries and international arms traffickers has turned South Sudan into a battleground for greedy nations, institutions and people who lack conscionable judgment.

The military assistance provided to Kiir’s regime directly and indirectly by Uganda, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, and Morocco encourages Juba’s ruthless regime not to accept any peace deal that calls for reforms unless such a pact maintains his cruelty.

For peace to return to the country, the international community must use its mandate under international treaties to punish Juba’s regime and its foreign backers.

Nations like Uganda, Kenya, and Egypt are Kiir’s main backers. They supply him with lethal arms and ammunition, and their main goal is to keep him in power, contrary to what the people of South Sudan demand.

It is good to keep in mind that Uganda and Kenya are members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and their leaders Yoweri Museveni and Uhuru Kenyatta are part of IGAD’s strategy to bring about a lasting peace in the country.

However, their dealings as Kiir’s regional weapons traffickers, money launderers and key players in the peace process make it impossible for the East African regional bloc to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

It is hard to comprehend how Ugandan President Museveni would accept a peace deal that strips power from his ally, Kiir. Those who believe that the Ugandan leader is working for peace are wrong.

Museveni is working to keep his grip on South Sudan’s commerce, and the only way for him to keep his bloody hands in South Sudan’s economy is by keeping Kiir in power.

The income Uganda generates from South Sudan and the undisclosed monthly payment Museveni receives from Kiir’s regime is enough to keep him pretending that he works for peace.

The Ugandan leader’s participation in the ongoing peace process cannot be trusted. The man has too much South Sudanese blood on his hands.

Museveni also committed atrocities on behalf of Kiir. For instance, he dropped poisonous and banned cluster bombs on rebel troops in January 2014, a well-documented incident.

In May 2014, the United Nations released a report detailing how cluster bombs were used against South Sudanese rebels, their destructive capacities, and why they were used. The report pointed a finger at the Ugandan air force.

Kenya is another important ally to South Sudan’s leader. Kenyatta’s government proved its loyalty to Kiir’s government by abducting rebel officials who lived in Nairobi and deporting them to Juba.

The kidnappings of the armed opposition leaders by Kenyan police in November 2016 and January 2017 was a well-coordinated act.

There are strong reasons to believe that South Sudan’s government bribed some of the Kenyan Members of Parliament (MPs). One of those bribed MPs was Weston Wanjohi Wahome, a figure cited in numerous reports by the United Nations (UN) and human rights organizations.

The Nairobi-Juba collusion was evident when rebel officials were abducted from their homes by Kenyan authorities.

After the kidnapping of the armed opposition officials, Weston publicly claimed that the abducted individuals were just going home to their country and that there was nothing to worry about.

The South Sudanese were stunned to see the Kenyan government not say anything or voice any concerns about the actions of its own MP.

The abducted people included former rebel political leadership spokesman James Gatdet Dak, former chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition’s (SPLM-IO) humanitarian affairs committee Aggrey Idri, and human rights lawyer Dong Samuel Luak, among others.

James Gatdet is currently being incarcerated in Juba while Aggrey and Dong are nowhere to be found.

The level of foreign greed in South Sudan is unprecedented. Most South Sudanese are probably not aware of the fact that Kiir’s government spent at least $2.1 million on United States lobbying and public relations firms from early 2014 through the end of 2015, according to U.S. federal records.

The money was meant to influence the administration of former American President Barack Obama through U.S. Congress members and other powerful individuals in American politics.

Kiir’s main goals were to promote his government’s image, improve diplomatic relations with the United States, ensure former President Obama gave financial support to his leadership, and prevent the U.S. from imposing tough sanctions against his regime.

The firms that benefited from these seemingly immoral dealings included R&R Partners, Podesta group, KRL International LLC, and former Republican Representative J. C. Watts.

Under U.S. laws, the actions of these lobbying firms were legal; however, there were serious moral and ethical questions that deserved answers from the representatives of these companies.

Is it rational to promote the image of a leader who killed his own people out of his own political madness?

Do these firms know that they were promoting the image of a ruthless tyrant who massacred the mothers and fathers of tens of thousands of children from December 2013 to 2015?

Where is the morality behind these public relations firms’ decisions to ignore the wishes of suffering South Sudanese over money?

Did the U.S. lose its global moral obligation under Obama?

Why was the United States, under Obama’s leadership, using threatening language towards South Sudanese rival leaders without taking any action?

Was the Obama’s administration influenced by liberal lobbying firms as alleged by most South Sudanese?

Why was the U.S. only actively vocal about South Sudanese suffering three weeks after Obama’s presidency ended?

The United States foreign policy on South Sudan under former President Obama was seriously faulty — in fact, his foreign policy was seriously flawed.

For instance, Obama continued to give financial assistance to Kiir’s regime even when South Sudan’s government was determined by the United States, humanitarian organizations, and the UN to be using child soldiers in its fight against the armed opposition.

Obama’s refusal to deny Juba American security assistance caused widespread allegations among South Sudanese communities that some U.S. liberal corporations were doing business with Kiir’s regime, and that Obama was advised by the representatives of such agencies not to punish South Sudan, regardless of the appalling crimes Kiir committed.

If the alleged accusation is true, then it will go down as one of the greatest moral blunders the U.S. ever committed in South Sudan. The Republic of South Sudan is a country today because of U.S. foreign policy.

There is no question in my mind that South Sudan would still be part of Sudan today if it was not for the U.S.’s influence.

There are some muddled ethnic nationalists who shamelessly deny this indisputable fact. It is clear, however, that these people are making fools of themselves.

Former President Obama was too cautious in his effort to resolve South Sudan’s conflict. His overall strategy for the young nation was, in large part, a failure.

Most South Sudanese were stunned when Obama declared the following on December 16, 2016: “I feel responsible for murder and slaughter that’s taken place in South Sudan that’s not being reported on, partly because there’s not as much social media being generated from there.”

One week later, on December 23, 2016, the United Nations Security Council rejected a U.S.-sponsored resolution, delivering a diplomatic blow to Obama’s administration.

Obama’s comment was not well-suited given the fact that he failed to use his powers as U.S. President for nearly three years to impose punitive measures on South Sudan or deny Juba’s regime from receiving U.S. financial aid.

There is a widely established belief in South Sudan that Kiir’s persistent refusal to accept peace is because of Ugandan, Kenyan and Egyptian influence.

It is worth noting that Museveni deceived the United States a few days after the civil war broke out in December 2013, stating that he was sending his soldiers to rescue Ugandans who were trapped in South Sudan.

Museveni also told the Obama administration that he was going to protect South Sudan’s vital institutions in case the young nation crumbled.

The Ugandan leader even asked the U.S. to finance what was initially presumed to be a rescue mission, but Obama refused to offer any financial assistance after reports emerged that Ugandan military intervention in South Sudan was purely a secret Kampala agenda to fight alongside Juba-backed troops against South Sudanese rebels.

Museveni was a co-founder of the ongoing civil war. He was the one who told Kiir that killing other South Sudanese tribes who are a threat to his leadership was a good thing to do.

Perhaps Museveni was emboldened by the fact that he once committed serious crimes against Acholi people in Northern Uganda while Western leaders turned a blind eye to his atrocities.

It is good to remind people that after seizing power in 1986, the Ugandan leader starved, abused and killed Acholi people on the pretext of hunting down individuals who did not support his government.

This was exactly what Kiir did in December 2013 when he waged a door-to-door killing spree against the Nuer in Juba, claiming that Nuer civilians in Juba were rebel supporters.

Kiir also thought that his massacre of the Nuer civilians would put fear in any South Sudanese who questioned his ruthlessness.

The people of South Sudan are tired of war and do not want to see Uganda, Kenya, and Egypt keep meddling with their internal affairs.

These countries have caused enough suffering and their destructive policies will never be forgotten by the suffering South Sudanese.

The international community must confront these greedy nations if they want this young nation to have peace.

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi must be told that his cunning strategy to harm the Ethiopian Nile Dam project by using Uganda and South Sudan as a launching pad has nothing to do with the millions of South Sudanese who are living under dire conditions in refugee camps.

The Ugandan President must also be told that his economic greed in South Sudan does not help in the peace process and that his January 2014 poisoning of South Sudanese rebels through cluster bombs and other documented war crimes he committed will not go unpunished.

The Egyptian greed for the Nile waters and Ugandan greed for South Sudan’s resources must come to an end.

The citizens of Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, Eritrea, Morocco, Ukraine, and Bulgaria should condemn their leaders for investing in Kiir’s atrocious regime.

The people of South Sudan already have a cruel tyrant, Salva Kiir, as their leader, and they should not additionally be subjected to regional and economic tyranny.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

President Kiir: State of the Nation Address

By: Samuel Atabi, South Sudan, JUN/09/2018, SSN;

The Beginning:

Fellow South Sudanese, greetings. It is now 13 years since the gun went silent in our country. It is seven years since we became independent. However, I am afraid I have no good news to report. Our problems started at the beginning. Our leader, who had prepared himself for the task of nation building died tragically few months after the end of the war. His death is the cause of all these troubles we have.

While he lived, he did not tutor me and other leaders of the SPLM/A in statecraft. So at his death, I was pushed into unfamiliar territory of nation building, while completely devoid of any knowledge on how a nation is run. We had to start from the scratch.

Therefore, in order to steer this country, without the requisite knowledge, I have had to depend on advisors, both in this country and from foreign countries.

Barely two years after independence, was I advised that in order to stabilize the country, I should not allow any change in government, particularly in the presidency. But I was not told how to implement this advice.

Thus, when some other pretenders began to agitate for change of leadership in our only party, the SPLM, I became afraid that this would lead to instability that had been advised against.

I embarked on unchartered path whereby I decided to have my own militia, which you now call Mathiang Anyoor, to protect the presidency. Don’t blame me for this.

After all, the SPLA itself is a combination of many tribal militias: the Paulino Matip’s, Riek’s , Lam Akol’s, Alfred Gore’s, Obuto Mamur’s and others. But I now realize that this was an unwise move.

That is why I have strongly disagreed with Paul Malong who was the recruitment sergeant for the militia.

Despite the presence of lawyers and judges in my cabinet, no one advised me that this was against our supreme law, the constitution.

Unwise decisions:

Once you create an army, you must use it. So, my fellow citizens, I was railroaded into using Mathiang Anyoor in December 2013 to kill not only my former Vice President, but also his fellow tribe people who were resident in our capital, Juba. The consequence of this another unwise move, was a disaster.

From that time up to date, there has never been peace in our country. As if this massacre was not enough, my militia again tried to kill Riek Machar in July 2016, after he had returned, from where he ran, because of the peace agreement signed in August 2015.

This time round, my militia spanned out in the Equatorial (sic) region, burning, killing and raping women. Consequently, parts of the region have now been left vacant because the population has run away to Uganda.

Why Uganda? This confirms what we Jieng have been suspecting: Equatorial people are Ugandans. But again, it is not just Equatorians who have run away.

My own people from Northern Bahr el Ghazal have fled, would you believe it, back to the land of the Jalaba.

The Jieng have no reason to run away. There is no war in our part of the country.

It is the Equatorians and their intellectuals who are pushing propaganda against my government. As I speak, foreign governments are now conspiring with them for a regime change in our beloved country.

That, my fellow citizens, is the state of the matters in our nation; do not allow foreigners to change your elected government.

Peace and lost opportunities:

Let me now turn to the issue of peace talks. Our brothers, and all of them are men, in the Opposition are making unreasonable demands at the negotiation table.

Can you imagine they want to dissolve our lovely and gallant SPLA and replace it with their ragtag forces?

Imagine also that, I, your hero, your protector and your unifier, should vacate this seat…. another demand by the Opposition.

These, I am sorry to say, are red lines. I have instructed my delegates at the Addis Ababa peace talks not to cross them.

They can go to hell, the Opposition, and I would rather die than resign from the presidency. I am sure all of you, my fellow compatriots, agree with me on this.

Let us pose for a minute, close our eyes and think of an alternative world that is peaceful and different from what I have just described above.

Imagine there was no war in our country. Imagine too, I did not try to kill Riek Machar twice and I did not order Mathiang Anyoor to kill Nuer and Equatorial civilians.

Imagine we did not encourage mega corruption among our leaders and people.

Lastly, imagine we treated each other with respect, equality and justice in matters of employment, opportunities and freedom. Then, fellow citizens, we would be far ahead of any of our neighbors. Let me explain.

With billions of dollars accruing from our oilfields, we would have done a lot of developmental things. By this time I would be addressing you from our new centrally-placed, brand new capital of Ramchiel.

We would have built radiating roads from that capital to various compass points of our country: from Ramciel to Malakal, to Raja, to Wau, to Kuaojok, to Mundri, to Source Yubu, to Yambio, to Maridi, to Rumbek, to Yei, to Nimule, to Torit, to Nadapal, to Boma, to Nasir to Pagak, to Bentiu, to Renk etc.

All of them would be tarmacked.

To spur our industrial development and encourage inward direct foreign investments, we would have built a modern hydroelectric plant at Fulla rapids in Nimule. We would have had sufficient electricity to drive our industries and light our homes.

We would have built our own railway line, the much talked-about Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) and pipeline to the eastern African coast to ferry our export and import and to transport passengers to and from our country and transport our oil products, respectively.

Our economy would be booming (forget Lol’s claim) from development in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

We would have mechanized our farming, introduced irrigation in places like Acholi, Aweil (for rice production) and continue to grow crops like coffee and tea in Yei, and Upper Talanga, and wheat in Nagishot.

We would have improved our livestock to produce dairy products (milk, cheese yogurt, ghee etc.), and hide and skin and of course beef. Our fisheries in the Sudd regions would be flourishing as we export fresh fish to the European Union, using refrigerated trucks and cargo aircraft.

We would have built a hospital in every county, trained doctors and paramedics to man them.

We would have built a primary school in every boma and a secondary school in every county to educate our young ones.

We would have built more universities to train our human resources for civil service, health sector, agriculture, economy and of course our culture and heritage.

We would have professionalized our army, welding them from the various ethnic groups into one, patriotic army with clear objective of protecting our hard-earned independence, instead of turning the guns against their own compatriots.

We would now be having a professional police force and national security at par with the CIA or MI5 or MI6 or Mossad. They would safeguard our security while at the same time respecting the constitutional rights of our citizens.

We would have developed a secure hospitality and tourism industry based on the natural endowment of our teeming and unique wildlife and cultures.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen, nothing would stop us from achieving these because we HAD the money, the human resources, and the stamina to persevere.

Didn’t we struggle for decades to gain our independence?

Lastly, I have a message to our comrades in arms. I have seen the growth of mercenary attitudes among you. No one seems ready to undertake any small task without demanding payment of money for it.

If we did not have the spirit of sacrifice, we would not have liberated this country. Show kindness and patriotism in all that you are doing.

I want you to reflect deeply on the two aspects of what our country is in now and what it would have been. After that let us have a serious conservation of the way forward.

Thank you, God bless you and God bless South Sudan.

Samuel Atabi is a South Sudanese political commentator

No Agreement- Only patriotic sons & daughters can save South Sudan from itself and neighbours

From: Prof. Peter Adwok Nyaba , On IGAD Process, MAR/22/2018, SSN;

Introductory remarks:

The IGAD mediation (2014-2018) like the Round Table Conference on the problem of southern Sudan (1965) produced a dead rat in the name of agreement on the resolution of conflict in the republic of South Sudan (ARCISS). Like the resolutions of the Round Table Conference, the parties did not implement ARCISS to its letter and spirit.

President Salva Kiir exploiting the political cleavages within the SPLM/A (IO) engineered with the treacherous collaboration of Taban Deng Gai and Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth; the situation, the return of the country to war after a short lull.

The Obama administration through Secretary of State John Kerry cobbled the IGAD region into acquiescence to recognize, as de facto, Kiir – Taban coup against the SPLM/A (IO). President Festus Mogae, the JMEC Chair, choreographed the false reporting to IGAD, AU and UN Security Council that TGoNU was implementing the ARCISS at a time the security and humanitarian situation deteriorated in the country.

Finally, in June 2017, he admitted that fighting in J1 wounded ARCISS seriously that it needed surgical intervention in the form of high-level revitalization forum (HLRF) to shift the timelines.

17 May 2018 marked the expiry of ARCISS and hence the legitimacy of Salva Kiir as president as well as all the institutions formed in accordance with ARCISS provisions. Had the JMEC Chair been courageous and declared ARCISS dead immediately after the fighting erupted in J1, the situation could have been different and HLRF would have been unnecessary.

In fact, the HLRF is an euphemism for new IGAD peace process necessitated by renewal of Salva Kiir’s legitimacy as president of South Sudan after 17 May 2018. This makes the conflict in South Sudan a kind of employment for retiring regional bureaucrats.

It’s routine work requiring no strategic action to save the millions of South Sudanese refugees, the internally displaced people, or the UN protected individuals in Juba, Wau, Bor, Bentiu, Malakal and a host of smaller POCs in different parts of South Sudan.

The HLRF agenda focuses on power sharing among the parties and superficial reform of the security sector [army, security and police]. News emanating from Addis Ababa speaks of no much progress made and that HLRF may run into trouble, and might produce nothing amicable to the parties.

    The nature of the conflict in South Sudan

The current social, economic and political crises underpinning the civil war in South Sudan essentially represent a contradiction within the parasitic capitalist class that governed South Sudan since 2005. It is a contradiction that revolves around the control of the state and its economic resources and has evoked ethnic sensibilities consequent to low level of social awareness and political consciousness.

This rendered it intractable and complex because the parties, some of them indeed personalities, feign the social, economic and political interests of the respective ethnicities/communities and therefore must include in the complex formula of power sharing.

These leaders forget that the real problem facing the people of South Sudan is poverty and ignorance. Power and its sharing within the parasitic class in Juba or in other states capitals cannot address these deadly ailments.

We have noted and recorded the difficult economic conditions for the people of South Sudan, which the EO 36/2015 created. This bogus power sharing or broadcasting from a personified centre was mere deception of the masses.

The crises emanated from an omission the SPLM/SPLA leadership made during the war of national liberation. The ideological omission led to the evolution of a political military elite completely detached and alienated from the masses.

The complete lacked of correct understanding of the nature of the contradiction that underscored the war of national liberation explains why they failed to undertake the tasks for which the people sacrificed their lives in the war supporting the SPLA with everything it stood in need including human resources.

This was in the hope that the SPLM/SPLA leaders would provide the social and economic development to transform their lives. This failure translated into deadly competition for power and wealth, which finally erupted into war between them as a class.

This war has nothing to do with the masses of the people in Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria or Upper Nile sub regions. It is war between those inside and outside the government.

It would be wrong therefore to categorize the present war as Dinka–Nuer war represented respectively by Salva Kiir and Riek Machar; or to describe it as Dinka war against the other nationalities in South Sudan.

That characterization is also wrong because it’s based on false and incorrect analysis of its elements, and the ignorance of knowledge of the socio-economic situation in the country.

Looking at the political landscape then, what could bring together President Salva Kiir (Dinka), vice President James Wani Igga (Bari), Rt. Hon. Manasseh Magog Rundial (Nuer) Speaker of SSLA, Rt. Hon. Joseph Bol Chan (Shilluk) Speaker Council of States, Justice Chan Riech, Chief Justice of South Sudan, Dr. Martin Elia Lomoro, the Minister of cabinet Affairs, Mr. Kornelios Koryom (Dinka) Governor Bank of South Sudan and Gen. James Hoth Mai (Nuer) SPLA Chief of General Staff, to represent the state on the one side of the war;

And, Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon (Nuer) Chairman and Commander in Chief of SPLM/A-IO, Gen. Alfred Lado-Gore (Bari), deputy Chairman, Dr. Dhieu Mathok Wol (Dinka) Secretary General, Dr. Richard K Mulla (Moro), Hon. Henry D. Odwar (Langi), Mabior Garang Mabior (Dinka), Manasseh Zindo (Azande), Lumumba K Aping (Dinka), Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba (Shilluk), representing the rebellion on the other side of the war, if not their class affiliation?

These are factions of the bourgeois petit representing the two sides in this contradiction. They introduced the ethnic dimension deceptively to render easy mobilization for war. That explains the involvement of the Dinka dotku beny and mathiang anyoor, on one hand, and the Nuer white army, on the other.

The opposition groups in the HLRF focus their attention on rejecting President Salva Kiir as a person while accepting to maintain the system albeit with superficial reforms – of course, this confirms that they are one class; it is a war within the same class.

Nothing therefore prevents an agreement between them except the greed and lack of concern for the suffering people of South Sudan. The government delegation comes in large numbers to Addis Ababa leaving behind civil servants and the army whose salaries they have not paid for several months because of the bankruptcy occasioned by war yet they would mind the perpetuation so long they received their rewards.

This makes the HLRF a public relations exercise that raises false hopes in the people of South Sudan. The resolution to the crises afflicting South Sudan situates in radical transformation of the system.

It is high time the elements of the petit bourgeois opposed to the oppressive and exploitative regime mobilized, organized and united themselves with the masses of our people to create the condition for radical transformation of the system.

    The National democratic revolution

South Sudan and its people are living through the stage of national democratic revolution (NDR) in their socio-economic and political development and engineering of the state and society.

In this historical epoch, the democratic, social and political forces struggle to consolidate the independence of the country and then entrench the people’s sovereignty over all means of production as well as socio-economic and political processes in the state and in society.

A corollary of this is to develop and free the national productive forces (labour, natural resources including land) from all kinds of foreign interference and control.

This means in practice translating the principles of freedom, justice, fraternity and prosperity onto the objective reality of our people. They sacrificed and struggled for these social ideals in the war for national liberation.

South Sudan is imbued with enormous natural resource potentials in agriculture (crops, livestock, fisheries, forestry products), mineral resources (gold, zinc, copper, chrome, line stone, etc.), oil and energy sources and resources (water, solar, wind, hydro-thermal and biogenic) and above all human resources.

Nevertheless, it ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. Its socio-economic development indices are in the negative. Over the last twelve years it’s received more than US$50 billion in oil and other non-oil revenues.

There is nothing substantial in terms of national infrastructural assets to show for this money. The only tarmac road in the country is between Juba and Nimule at the Ugandan borders, USAID funded this project.

The President of the republic charters foreign aircraft for his foreign trips. This demonstrates that the parasitic capitalist class, in collaboration with the regional and international comprador capitalists, is only interested in extraction, looting and stashing in foreign lands the country’s financial and economic resources.

This is the fundamental problem of South Sudan. The civil war is only its outwards manifestation, which IGAD, [Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan] countries with respective deep national security and economic interests in South Sudan, is not only incapable, but also in servicing their national interests are unwilling to resolve the war.

It therefore dawns on the patriotic sons and daughters of South Sudan to stand up to save South Sudan from itself and its neighbours. The relations with our neighbours reminisce an episode in Malakal in 1976 when two hippos took their fight out of the Nile river and continued to charge at themselves ferociously oblivious of the humans who quickly turned them into food.

The sons of South Sudan I referred to includes President Salva Kiir Mayardit who still has the capacity to stop the war to enable peace to rein in order to enable the people to return home and recreate their lives in harmony.

It will also enable a sober and somber political discourse to take place between the different sections of our society. The armed opposition have the duty to ceasefire and let political discourse take its turn.

The armed struggle in its correct ideological context can become an effective antitoxin to many of our social and economic ills. However, when conducted outside its ideological context produces warlordism – leaders interested in their personal incentives not of the masses of the people.

As one of the tools of the NDR, the SPLM/SPLA mismanaged the armed struggle to turn it into the antithesis of liberation. Now it has become a commodity in the political market place of rebellion.

It only serves and services the interest of the leader not the interests of the people because it is undertaken outside its political content of transforming the lives of the masses.

Social and economic transformation occurs concurrently with people’s awareness and consciousness through conscientisation in the context of reflection and action.

In the absence of this process of conscientisation or its subversion by promoting militarism to produce an uncritical mass of followers, how would this transformation take place?

This has been my experience in the armed opposition since 2014 and have concluded that real change can only come about because of raising the social awareness and political consciousness of the people.

Thus, the appropriate tools for NDR now are cerebral and political rather than muscular and military. The people of South Sudan desire peace to enable them stimulate their intellectual capacities to grasp their reality and chart means to transform that reality.

The struggle for social change involves the peasants and cattle herders, salaried workers, civil servants, women, youth and the soldiers all in their different formations working towards a common goal.

In fact, I would say that the people of South Sudan missed this form of organization and political activities. This is because the struggle for independence started in an armed insurrection in 1955 and that froze the political struggle along with the social and political awareness of the people.

Many South Sudanese as a result grew up as political illiterates.

Concluding remarks

The IGAD sponsored HLRF on the conflict in South Sudan may or may not produce amicable results for the opposition. It would be the height of naivety to contemplate that IGAD, AU or UN can impose solutions on President Salva Kiir.

South Sudan is a sovereign state and we are aware how international relations operate. I believe it was wrong to have staked the resolution of the crisis on power sharing, which implied absorption into the system when you add the issue of SPLM reunification.

The armed opposition should have stacked the resolution of the crisis on the complete and radical transformation of the system.

That would suggest that it built strong political and combat capable military organizations, which would undertake protracted struggle to transform life where it operated in the rural South Sudan.

Since this did not occur, the remaining option is absorption into the system.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks whether or not there will be an agreement, the truth remains that the fundamental contradictions underpinning the current socio-economic and political crisis will continue to stare in the face of the people of South Sudan.

Social contradictions do not dissolve; they are resolved. END

South Sudan Addis Talks: Why Peace accord is likely or unlikely to be signed?

By: Peter Gai Manyuon, Journalist, MAY/17/2018, SSN;

As a fact, the 2013 crisis of South Sudan was caused by suspicion of the unknown among the so-called SPLM leaders. The ongoing peace talks or side meetings in Ethiopia’s Capital, Addis-Ababa, might not bring a genuine peace and stability in South Sudan unless otherwise President Trump of United States goes to Addis Ababa in person to witness what is currently going on among the SPLM factions or serious measures are taken by the world.

So far, the SPLM factions are only looking for what accommodates them not what benefits the common citizens in the Country.

On the same note, the issue of setting up the hybrid court is not in the interest of the SPLM factions mainly, SPLM in government and SPLM in opposition, since all these groups or factions committed crimes against humanity in one way or the other.

What’s likely, the two rivals are looking for the forming of a government where they’d together continue looting the country’s resources like what they did since 2005-2018.

According to their supporter’s comments on various social media platforms, any agreement that doesn’t recognize Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr Riek Machar is not an agreement.

The two factions of the SPLMs (SPLM in government and SPLM in Opposition) are confusing their supporters day by day.

Another issue could be their families’ resources that might be frozen and the restriction of their travels in different parts of the world in case the two main parties to this crisis don’t agree on the peaceful resolution of the four years crisis.

Furthermore, the issue of two posts (First Vice President, Vice President) if not handled well in the peace talks will lead to the collapse of these talks in Addis. Only if the two groups compromise on the two positions then peace will be signed automatically.

Kiir and his group, on the one hand, wanted to be in top leadership of the Country in order to sabotage any accountability on their part.

Likewise, Dr Machar also wanted to be in the top leadership in order to protect himself using the little resources he might get in the process of running the government of National Unity along with Kiir.

In fact, these two leaders of the SPLM’s main factions wanted to work together again, however, it’s only their supporters and the G10 or G6 that wanted the government without the two, which is impossible at the moment.

The two leaders (Kiir and Machar) will be forced to work together by the issue of accountability since the two don’t want any process of accountability which might impede their participation in the coming elections.

Importantly, Kiir himself is under serious threat from the world regarding the setting up of a hybrid court and as well, Dr. Machar is partially in support while in fact, he doesn’t want any accountability himself since they both view the accountability process as a threat to their ambitions of contesting any future elections in the Country.

They don’t know organizing elections will come after the full agreement and from there, the world will decide to engage the two to account for what transpired since 2013-2018 or more.

The issue of elections should be left to the citizens of South Sudan but currently, the two leaders are soon facing serious isolation from the world and regional leaders, if they are not careful.

Evidently, the two are having serious threats from Trump administration and therefore, their only focus at the moment is how to tackle this issue of peace initiative and thereafter; they will do away with accountability or any threat regarding their positions.

Therefore, those are the issues that might affect and impede any progress in Ethiopia or bring peace in the Country in one way or the other.

Partly, President Kiir doesn’t want any negotiation since he believes on Uganda’s President Museveni’s support while on the other hand, the opposition of Dr. Machar only believes on the United States President Trump’s recent comments toward the government of Kiir in Juba and nothing else.

However, the two groups are believing in lies and unknown support, what they don’t know is that the United States doesn’t want anyone from the so-called SPLM to lead the Country.

But since the entire population of the Country is severely divided themselves mainly between the two rivals (Kiir and Machar), these two protagonists will be compiled to sign any peace whether shaky or genuine.

Thereafter, hopefully, some serious measures should and must be taken against the duo by the world.

Obviously, what is prolonging the crisis in South Sudan is the fact that the International community hasn’t identified the right choice of the candidate who could unite the Country.

All groups of the SPLM that have divided into the SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-FDs and the other stranded briefcase parties, have the same vision and philosophy of only looting national resources.

All lack focus and direction politically and each one of them for himself or herself and currently 80% of them are criminals blacklisted for crimes related to corruption in South Sudan.

In addition, the regional body conducting the peace talks is only interested in prolonging the conflict in South Sudan as a business to make money.

Unquestionably, leaders in South Sudan lack political ideologies and only focus on divisive politics characterized by hooliganism, desperation, primitiveness and worship of idols.

Similarly, these SPLM/A fragments, whilst not only confusing, dividing and killing the citizens, they sadly have the same goal of self-enrichment by looting the nation’s resources.

All of them are vision-less, only interested in what benefits them not the Country or it’s suffering people.

In conclusion, the International Community must impose time limitation on these talks and have an agreement reached sooner.

Furthermore, the world must question the top leaders of all these parties to account for the war crimes committed, crimes against humanity and cases related to corruption in the Country.

There must be seriousness on accountability on the part of these goons of the SPLM/A into an agreement so that a lasting peace returns to the Country and younger leaders take over.

Peter Gai Manyuon, is an author, Independent Journalist, and Columnist who has written extensively on Human Rights and Democracy in South Sudan He can be reached at southsudanjournalist@gmail.com or www.independentjournalistpgm.wordpress.com
Peter Gai Manyuon |

Is the SPLM/A 16th/May/1983 still a celebratory day in South Sudan?

BY: Bol Khan, SOUTH SUDAN, MAY/15/2018, SSN;

Should the South Sudanese people continue celebrating the official date of SPLM/A foundation on 16th May of 1983 every year, even after the independence of South Sudan? I repeatedly, on some few occasions, put this question to several South Sudanese citizens since May 2011.

Of course, there were both YES and NO groups of people from those that I asked. However, the vindications and answers the YES group would give me were in some ways ambiguous and contradictory.

They would tell me that 16th May was SPLM/A’s inception day; some say it was the day the SPLM/A’s Founder, Dr. John Garang de Mabior, rebelled against Khartoum, some would say it was the day Keribino Kuanyin, William Nyuon and others mutinied in Ayod, others would say NO, 16th May was the day on which Southern Sudanese people shot the first bullet in a fight for total independence of South Sudan from Khartoum’s successive regimes …etc.

Hence, they all believed that 16th May was a national day which people in South Sudan should celebrate every year, even after independence.

Now, it has been exactly seven (7) years down the line —after South Sudan’s independence, 2011. Therefore, today, I would like to bring up a similar question as I did in 2011: Is 16th May still a celebratory day in South Sudan?

Our recent past observations evinced that majority of South Sudanese citizens, including the SPLM/A members have developed a very huge apathy towards 16th May, that’s it’s less important after South Sudan got its independence from Sudan.

Since then, the expected turnout of ordinary people was increasingly becoming low right from 2012-2016. In May 2017, the day was entirely not celebrated/commemorated at all and as this one of 2018.

This tremendous disinterest developed by the people towards 16th May remembrance day did not come out of the blue. Below are varieties of moral and legal reasons identified to be the main causes:

First, after South Sudan’s independence in 2011, the name “Sudan People Liberation Movement” (SPLM/A) morally and lawfully appeared outdated — it bears the name of another country (Sudan).

Therefore, the Transitional Constitution of Republic of South Sudan talked of both military and political transformation and reform of the Sudan People Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

Now, there in the constitution, the ‘Sudan People Liberation Army’ (SPLA) was changed to be ‘South Sudan Armed Forces’ (SSAF). And the SPLM political wing was set to change its name in 2013 National Convention that turned into the 2013 National Carnage.

Again, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, on 16th May 2017, restructured the army and changed the “Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA)—to South Sudan Defense Force (SSDF). All these were legal and constitutional names transformation South Sudan should have used (instead of SPLA) since 9th July 2011 and 16th May 2017 respectively.

Why, because anything enshrined in supreme law of the land or announced by the President in the name of the nation needs to be implemented as long as it is the populace aspiration.

The current SPLM/A’s factionalism are: (1) SPLM/A-N (which is the real SPLM/A without mentioning North Sudan), (2) SPLM/A-IG, (3) SPLM/A-IO and (4) SPLM-FD. Among all these factions, the only faction which took the lead in transforming itself and erasing the name was the SPLM-DC of Dr. Lam Akol.

Perhaps, the SPLM-IO of Dr. Riek Machar was going to change its name in Juba, either in late 2016 or early 2017 (but failed). SPLM/A is plainly extraneous in the Republic of South Sudan.

Secondly, given the past and current events, South Sudanese people have realized that the SPLM/A is a flagrant, hooliganistic and predatory movement which only feigned a war for dictatorship and global terrorism in the name of freedom and democracy.

Historically, the SPLM/A’s ideology is full of hatred, antagonism, blood & loss of lives which are always caused by the ambiguity of its visions and missions!

For instance, going back to those deadly splits that occurred among separatists and unionists in 1983, 1991 and again in 2013, all those events could describe the SPLM/A’s principles in details.

The people of South Sudan are now with such a great dislike of not only seeing the SPLM/A (with all its factions) as ruling party gone but also want to depose its existence in the Republic of South Sudan.

Thirdly, the war and struggle for Independence of South Sudan wasn’t started first on 16th May 1983. The SPLM/A was taking on the same objective which the already existent Southern Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A—Anyanya 1 & 2) of those of nationalists Gai Tut and Akot Atem were fighting for.

Sadly, it was SPLM/A founder, Dr. John Garang and current president Salva Kiir Mayardit who colluded and killed these true nationalists in Bilpham, Ethiopia, the name ironically given to the SPLA Headquarters in Juba.

History is a higher mountain of facts!!

Conclusion:

The South Sudanese people from all walks of life have lost appetite and moral support (not interested any more) to continue celebrating the 16th May 1983 after the independence of South Sudan.

The nation now looks up to the day it will officially integrate the 16th May celebrations into the real day. What is the real day which the nation supposes to be celebrated yearly?

That is your delicious food for thought! So, 16th May 1983 is not a celebratory and popular day in South Sudan.

The author is a South Sudanese freelance Writer. He can be reached for comments on khanrom8@gmail.com

Riek Machar only to return to Juba WITHOUT ONE SINGLE SOLDIER: Kiir declares

From different sources, MAY/12/2018, SSN;

In the latest development, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has set ONE non-negotiable condition, that his arch-rival and rebel leader of the SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, will only be allowed to return to the country without ONE SINGLE SOLDIER OF HIS.

“Riek Machar can come back to Juba here, but without even a single soldier. If they (IGAD) say he will return with his army, I will never accept,” Kiir said at a ceremony of the army flag handover to the new army chief in Juba on Thursday, as reported by Radio Tamazuj.

The South Sudanese president said he would accept his arch-rival, Riek Machar, to return to the country ONLY as a civilian, vowing he would guarantee his protection and safety in the nation’s capital Juba.

“I told them that you people [regional leaders] Riek Machar is a South Sudanese citizen. As government of South Sudan, we have not cancelled Machar’s citizenship. So I told them to bring Riek Machar,” he said.

Kiir said during the SPLM Liberation Council in Juba recently that he wants his exiled former deputy to return to the country, saying he has FORGIVEN him.

However, it’s not clear whether president Kiir’s declared conditionality is also applicable to the other numerous armed groups in the bushes fighting his government such as Gen. Thomas Cirillo’s NAS, Dr. Lam Akol’s group, Gen. Johnson Oling’s, Gen. Paul Malong latest formed armed group and the others.

Machar fled the capital July 2016 after heavy clashes between his forces and troops allied with President Kiir.

He is being held in South Africa to prevent him from going back to his country. The decision was reportedly taken by the region in order to keep him away in the hope of preventing war in South Sudan.

“We cannot allow our chairman to return to the capital without heavily armed forces that are equal to the forces of the government in Juba,” that was the response to president Kiir’s intransigence and stringent conditionality by Mr. Peter Gatkuoth, the deputy head of Machar’s armed SPLM/A-IO opposition’s information committee to Radio Tamazuj.

The official’s remarks came days after President Salva Kiir publicly admitted he had allowed the rebel leader, currently exiled in South Africa, to return the nation he fled from after the July 2016 skirmishes.

Kiir said this during last week’s National Liberation Council (NLC) meeting of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Also, while addressing a military parade in Bilpham, the army headquarters in Juba on Thursday, May 10, 2018, president Kiir said his call for Machar’s return comes from THE BOTTOM OF HIS HEART.

“I said it all from my heart and I told the IGAD Council of ministers that ‘DON’T FIND A PLACE ELSEWHERE FOR DR. RIEK MACHAR TO BE TAKEN TO,” Kiir stated, meaning Machar should only be brought to him in Juba.

But Gatkouth said the exiled armed opposition leader needed to be protected especially after what occurred when he returned to Juba in 2015.

“Machar will return to Juba when there is a negotiated peace agreement through the revitalization forum. We are committed to peace because we know our people are suffering,” he stressed.