Category: Featured

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.

Pres. Kiir shouldn’t Regret having spared the Lives of his Political Opponents

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, Member of Parliament & State minister, MAY/02/2018, SSN;

President Salva Kiir Mayardit has, for the first time, expressed his regret for sparing the lives of his political opponents. He stated this at Dr. John Garang Mausoleum last week in Juba when citizens and members of South Sudan military had gathered there to pay their last respects to the late Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. James Ajongo Mawut.

President Salva Kiir isn’t alone in anger towards his political opponents over their abuse of the president’s goodwill and what the public see as continuous efforts by the same group to destabilize the country either to force President Kiir out or bargain for share of power in any new transition arrangement.

Many supporters of the President across the country have clearly opposed the decision to have the political enemies released into a world of freedom, including the freedom to span more chaos and strengthen the opposition.

For many, President Kiir’s so many amnesties and his reluctance to be tough are the major causes of the country’s problems.

A cross-section of his supporters among all regions and among all tribes of South Sudan think the President, in his being too soft, is the problem. Some of his own supporters already refer to him as “Abuna,” an Arabic word for “pastor” or “Priest”. For being an ardent Catholic who go to church every Sunday, others say his catholic upbringing is a factor in his major political decisions.

The argument among President Kiir supporters is that he is refusing to be John Garang in the sense that Garang used to be feared because he could crush his opponents mercilessly, imprison them or kill them.

So, from this viewpoint it looks like the pressure from the public, mainly from his ardent supporters – and the continuing ugly aggression by his opponents including those that saw freedom through his mercy – have made president Kiir to regret his decision to spare the lives of his political opponents.

Although the members of Former Detainees have, through their spokesman Kosti Manibe, quickly denied that Kiir spared their lives, the truth is all there open to all.

Kosti Manibe, one of Kiir’s beneficiaries, in his talk to Radio Tamazuj said that it is “unfortunate” that Kiir said he spared their lives. He went on to say that, “It is the system he put in place that spared our lives, not Salva”.

This is a whole former minister in so many Portfolios in South Sudan absurdly contradicting himself.

First, did Kosti Manibe not acknowledge that the regime of Salva Kiir has a system put in place contrary to all what they have been saying about reforms and the country being without systems?

Secondly, did our former minister not know that in most parts of Africa, court orders are not obeyed? If it’s Salva Kiir’s system that released them, then the credit still goes to Kiir.

So, it’s not correct for Kosti Manibe to say that Kiir made them “go through a fair process”, the same process which released them and again deny that he didn’t spare their lives.

After all, when has African courts been above the powers of a country’s president? In few recent weeks, a Kenyan politician, lawyer Miguna Miguna was deported out of the country twice against several court orders. The SPLM Former Detainees would not have been freed had the President not allowed what they now called ‘a fair process’.

The fact of the matter is that the SPLM Former Detainees were spared by President Salva Kiir through the influence from both regional and international actors. Again, the hope of the president was that these guys would rethink their decision and join Kiir’s camp rather be on their own. That did not happen, though.

Dr Riek Machar’s coup in 2013 was clever enough and unexpected that government could not establish his whereabouts, let alone an attempt to kill him. But in the J1 fight of 2016, Riek’s forces were badly annihilated leaving him holed up in J1 alone and in the mercy of Kiir.

Indeed, if Kiir had wanted to kill Dr Riek Machar, there was no any better opportunity to do it than during the J1 fight. In a bid to save the peace accord, the president and his second VP Dr James Wani Igga had to hover over him to protect him from the angry soldiers who lost their dear colleagues in the fight and got him escorted to his base in Jebel.

When fighting resumed the following morning, President Kiir went out calling for calm and silencing of the guns as he urged Riek Machar to come back to work. The fight still ensued and it went completely out of hand.

The real and the first time the SPLA wanted to kill Dr Riek was when he defied the president’s call and headed again back to the bush. Gen Malong, who was then the Chief of Staff of SPLA, had immediately pledged that it is either Riek kills him or he kills Riek. But in the end he managed to escape unharmed.

The bottom line is, as much as others refute it, President Kiir actually spared the lives of the Former Detainees and the life of Dr. Riek Machar.

With that said, I am not so much in agreement with those who call Kiir an “Abuna” (pastor) though. No kind of a soft pastor would choose to fight two brutal wars in his life. President Kiir is a tough soldier but with a kind heart.

However, the president should not regret having done that. The decision to spare the lives of his opponents put above the rest. Humanity is happy with it. God is happy with it. It presents a complete opposite of what the people have labelled against the president.

Those who called him a dictator, killer or any other thing were proven wrong. Every problem has its ending. Wars are (and have been) fought and they end; what does remain are their stories.

South Sudanese in many generations have gone through the history of conflicts. One will be on the right side of history if he or she has tried as much as possible to spare lives of those in danger.

It’s a heroic deed that no one should regret about regardless of the pressure from the angry supporters who want to see a tough ruthless president in South Sudan. All leaders must learn to forgive and so, it is a worthy credit to spare lives.

Taban Abel Aguek (MP) is State Minister for Gender, Child & Social Welfare in Eastern Lakes State, Yirol. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

IGAD and the question of impartiality on South Sudan

By: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, APR/29/2018, SSN;

One of the main reasons the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was formed was to maintain peace in the East African region. In its mission statement, the bloc claims that it is the premier alliance for preserving peace in the region. This is an attempt to show why IGAD has not been neutral in its quest for peace in South Sudan.

There are irrefutable problems with IGAD being the lead player in South Sudan’s peace talks. The East African regional bloc began its search for a peaceful solution in 2014 as a capable agency.

For instance, in January 2014, IGAD brokered the first ceasefire agreement between South Sudan’s warring factions.

The pact was praised both locally and internationally. However, the supposedly peace-loving regional entity suddenly resorted to trying to sell Kiir’s tyranny to the people of South Sudan by imposing the August 2015 power-sharing deal and passing questionable resolutions.

IGAD’s protect-IGAD-head-of-states policy has enabled Kiir to commit more atrocities.

In any armed conflict, a lasting peace can only be achieved with the involvement of an unbiased mediator, and only when the root causes of such a conflict are properly addressed and the rival sides compromised reasonably.

It is good to remind people that Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni proclaimed two weeks after the war broke out in Juba that the entire East African region gave South Sudanese rebel leader, Dr. Riek Machar, four days to accept a ceasefire offer or face a collective military action from IGAD’s member states.

In addition, the Ugandan leader claimed that a deal to punish Machar was agreed upon by IGAD’s leaders in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Museveni was in Juba when he announced such a demanding warning to Machar.

Museveni’s assertion was never echoed by any other East African leaders.

It would be unnecessary for me to speak of Museveni’s support of Salva Kiir’s tyrannical regime since millions of South Sudanese were already aware of it before fighting erupted in Juba.

Museveni is a documented co-founder of South Sudan’s civil war. IGAD failed to uphold its mandates as a regional player and instead empowered Kiir to keep obstructing the peace and waging his brutal campaign against the people of South Sudan.

The 2015 agreement was not a plausible pact because the bloc forgot the fact that Kiir was prepared to hinder its peace implementation.

There are reasons to believe that the bloc has not been impartial in its search for peace in South Sudan.

In the 2015 deal, IGAD placed too much emphasis on assigning ministerial percentages to factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and other political parties, and little attention to peace execution.

The bloc gave Kiir’s faction 53 percent, whereas 33 percent were allocated to Machar’s group and 14 percent to Former Detainees (FDs) and other parties.

One of IGAD’s blunders is that when it assigned ministerial positions to all four main groups, it thought the establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) would succeed and that the agreement would be fully implemented.

The power-sharing deal also stipulated that Juba must be demilitarized and it called for an external force to take over security in the capital.

There was also a need to monitor locations and movements of rebel and government forces. IGAD was fully tasked with enforcing and verifying many mandates needed for peace to succeed.

Nonetheless, the regional bloc failed to enforce its own rules. Because of IGAD’s inaction, Juba was not demilitarized: government troops were simply re-positioned into different strategic areas in the capital, and there was no third-party force running the security in Juba.

Besides, when Kiir attempted to assassinate Machar in July 2016, IGAD was disgracefully silent.

As noted above, IGAD’s pro-Kiir position is real. In July 2017, the bloc shocked the people of South Sudan when it declared that it will not allow the South Sudanese rebel leader to participate in the peace revitalization talks.

The reaction against its decision was loud and clear. The people of South Sudan were furious.

After South Sudanese questioned the motive behind its decision, IGAD then turned around and claimed that Riek Machar’s ideas would be incorporated into the negotiations and suggested that the rebel leader send his representatives to the revitalization forum.

Most of IGAD’s actions are not those of a neutral mediator. The bloc acts as if it has been infiltrated by Juba’s regime. Any unconscionable person would argue that IGAD’s position on South Sudan’s conflict has been questionable.

One would argue that trusting the bloc is like trusting a cunning tyrant who tries to convince his people that his ruthlessness mysteriously evaporated into thin air overnight and that they should trust him.

I know for a fact that not all IGAD leaders want to prevent Machar anymore from participating in South Sudan’s politics.

The people of South Sudan know Uganda and Kenya either colluded with Kiir or at least represented his interests in the bloc. Other East African nations should tell Kampala and Nairobi that IGAD is not Kenyan or Ugandan — it is East African — and that ending the suffering of the people of South Sudan outweighs their self-interests.

Is IGAD really an entity for maintaining peace in the East African region as it claims in its mission statement, or a bloc merely meant to protect the leaders of IGAD’s countries?

Does IGAD conspire with Juba to prevent Machar from participating in South Sudan’s politics?

Is South Sudan’s oil money being used to bribe some members of IGAD?

Is there any external power influencing the bloc’s decision on South Sudan? Can the people of South Sudan still trust IGAD?

IGAD’s actions on South Sudan’s peace negotiations speak for themselves. The bloc has simply become a useful tool for Salva Kiir. Kiir uses IGAD’s anti-SPLM-IO resolutions to impede the revitalization of peace.

South Sudan’s peace can only be achieved if parties to the conflict compromise fairly and their concerns are addressed in a way that is acceptable to both sides.

Millions of South Sudanese were stunned when they saw the rather dubious communiqué IGAD issued on March 26, proclaiming that it is ready to lift Riek Machar’s house arrest in South Africa and that it will relocate the rebel leader to a country outside the East African region.

The decision was not only baseless; it was a clear glorification of Kiir’s atrocities. The statement was clearly a resolution to protect Kiir’s regime. It baffles me that IGAD passed such a communiqué when the people of South Sudan have been patiently waiting for more than four years hoping that the bloc would find a reasonable solution to resolve the young nation’s crisis.

If there are entities that hinder the revitalization of the 2015 compromise deal, then IGAD likely qualifies to be in the cluster of organizations standing in the way of peace.

Most of IGAD’s peace proposals have been conducted in secret consultations with Juba’s regime. The bloc is no longer impartial and has proven itself to be an agent for Juba’s atrocious regime.

IGAD’s confinement of Machar is a colossal mistake. His house arrest did not stop the war — in fact, it only intensified the conflict.

If IGAD believes it is working for a real peace in the young nation, it must utterly release Machar. Relocating the rebel leader from South Africa to a different country should not be called a release: it is merely a change of location of the same arrest.

If the bloc really wants a lasting peace in South Sudan, it must also ask Kiir and other political leaders to denounce violence. IGAD’s complicity has allowed Kiir to obstruct the implementation of the 2015 deal, kill with impunity, and loot state resources.

Whether Juba uses plundered oil wealth to bribe several of IGAD’s leaders is another topic. The African Union (AU) and the international community should not allow IGAD to play with the lives of innocent people by crying for peace during the day and colluding with Kiir at night.

The East African regional bloc — which seems to be suffering from a crisis of credibility — is no longer a reliable body and cannot be trusted to play a leading role in the peace process.

If IGAD wants to regain its credibility, then it must stop acting as Juba’s agent. Protecting a murderous tyrant is rather reprehensible.

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

Looking beyond Gen. Paul Malong’s Rebellion: What’s he up to?

BY: Nicola Bringi, APR/19/2018, SSN;

Right after the Juba massacre in 2013, Gen. Paul Malong, a Dinka, then governor of Aweil State, was brought in as SPLA Chief of Staff, to replace Gen. James Houth, a Nuer, based on the recommendation of the so-called Jieng council of elders, to preserve and guarantee the security and continuation of the status quo regime.

Basically illiterate, he was given the job by the Jieng council of elders to ensure all those who oppose President Salva Kiir are crashed and bulldozed, so he began with the mass killings in Juba against the Nuer and any non-Dinka tribes.

Paul Malong then ruthlessly expanded his operations to the Upper Nile, Wau and non-Dinka towns and villages around Wau. The ground troops, infamously known as the ‘Mathiang Anyoor,’ mercilessly burned down houses and killed civilians while helicopter machine guns were in the air to wipe out those who tried to flee the aggression.

All of these operations were targeting civilians who have nothing to do with politics. The main agenda of the Jieng Council is to wipe out the non-Dinka tribes in Wau and surrounding areas so that the Dinka can take over their land.

To execute these plans, Governor Rezik Zakaria was instructed to move the capital of Wau County from Wau City to Baggari town. When the indigenous tribes of Wau went on a peaceful demonstration to protest this decision, they were brutally gunned down; 13 protesters were killed and 15 were injured.

This is all happening with complicit directives of President Salva Kiir, and in the presence of Gen. Paul Malong and Salva Mathok in Wau as they supervise the execution of the plan.

One of the reasons for Malong’s recent so-called rebellion is because Pres. Salva kiir has not implemented the Dinka agenda tough enough, for he is only ruling by the Dinka council of elders ideology.

According to Paul Malong, he wishes for South Sudan to be turned into a Dinka Kingdom with himself as the King.

The second reason for the Paul Malong rebellion is a pretext coordinated by the Jieng council of elders to fool the opposition and enable Malong to infiltrate among them and create division to ultimately weaken them; that way the Jieng council and Salva Kiir regime will continue to rule South Sudan for an unlimited time.

Interestingly, in the Malong’s rebellion declaration paper, he mentioned that he is for Federalism, which is his plan C.

According to Jieng council, they will turn to it if they fail to defeat the oppositions and stop the angry South Sudanese people, or if their government collapses.

The Dinka jieng will have nowhere to go or stay as both Equatoria and Upper Nile will not tolerate their arrogance. As such, The Jieng council now needs to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

To safeguard the future of the Jieng council, Malong must declare a pretext rebellion and go to Bhar El Ghazal region and complete the unfinished plan of 2012 by capturing and taking control over Bhar El Ghazal.

Then, whereby they can declare their Federal or confederal state, or even declare Bhar El Ghazal a separate country as a pressure point for reconciliation with the opposition made of the other regions.

Clearly, the mass atrocities that took place in Western Bhar El Ghazal in 2012 were executed under the direct supervision of Gen. Paul Malong, Governor Rezik Zakaria, Salva Mathok and Damiano Alieu, under the direct orders of President Salva Kiir and the Jieng council.

The Fertit Land of Raga was forcefully annexed to Aweil creating the so called Lol State. With this new revolving Jieng Council plan, Wau will be the nominal capital of Jieng Bhar El Ghazal Federal government.

This is all a prime example of divide-and-rule policy. Eventually the Fertit who are the indigenous tribes of Wau will be expelled from their land, just like what the Dinka did to the Jur tribe in 1958, in both Aweil district and Tonj district.

As a result, the Jur tribe was compulsively uprooted from their land and left to take refuge in areas around Wau whereby they were kindly received by Fertit tribes and now live in harmony. (See Ethno-Geography of Bhar El Ghazal written by Santa Andria).

Based on this narration, we, the people of Western Bhar El Ghazal need to maintain safety and prepare ourselves for any potential harm.

Nicola Bringi
A member of Western Bhar el Ghazal community.

A shattered hope: Revisiting the horrors of Kiir’s Juba’s massacre

By Duop Chak Wuol, FEB/22/2018, SSN;

Sometimes it is better to immerse yourself in other’s experiences to get an understanding of your own imagination. It is not rational to conclude that what you imagine is necessarily the case. However, it is logically valid that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a reasonable way to understand his or her inner self.

It was more than four years ago when a hopeful five year old boy was slit in the throat in Juba and died instantly. His name was Peter Gatwech Nhial. This heartrending episode transpired in front of his parents. A few minutes later, the killers shot his father and mother. Fortunately, his father survived.

Peter’s life was ended by a ruthless ethnic militia employed by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to kill people. His death was a hope shattered: the life of an innocent child unjustly terminated, leaving his father to continue living life in pain. It was an act of violence committed against a helpless young South Sudanese child.

In January 2018, I visited one of the South Sudanese refugee camps located in Ethiopia’s western region, Gambella. The name of the camp is Nguenyyiel, and the site is also known as Kule Three. After my arrival in the camp, I asked for permission from the local authorities to be taken to a public place like a market, health center, or school.

My intention was to see, assess and experience the current refugees’ situations in the camp and compare them with the life I once lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. But I did not expect my tour to be overshadowed by this boy’s shocking story.

After a short walk, I met Peter’s father, Nhial Goy, at a nearby health center’s compound. I have to admit that my meeting with Nhial was accidental. When I first arrived at the compound, I saw a middle-aged man sitting on the compound with his head down. A few minutes later, his face was still leaning downward.

I then felt a moral obligation, though it was probably not a coherent choice, to greet him and perhaps attempt to ask him why he kept his head down for such a long time. It was an uncomfortable decision and my heart was, for reasons unknown to me, beating heavily.

I walked to him, greeted him, and extended my hand to him. A brief conversation transpired between the two of us — I asked him if he was well. He replied, “Yes, of course.” I then asked him why he kept his head down for many minutes. “Is there anything wrong?” I asked.

To my surprise, Nhial responded by lifting his head up, looking around, and bursting into tears. I was stunned to see Nhial’s face covered with seemingly endless tears. It was a throbbing moment — a moment that caused me to keep quiet for a while.

Astonished and not knowing where to begin, I asked him if I could get him a cup of water. Nhial replied, “No, I am fine.” I was baffled. I remember having a strange feeling in my mind that something was just not right about Nhial’s tears. After wrestling with my conscience, I decided to ask him again about his well-being and why he had cried.

Nhial had enough, tearful and determined to share his grief: “I am here to seek medical attention for my gunshot wounds,” he said. “My son and wife were killed in Juba. My only hope was shattered by Salva Kiir,” Nhial added. He explained that his wife, Nyabiey Ruon, died of her wounds a few hours after the attack.

Nhial disclosed to me that they were shot in the early morning of December 16 and he could not remember the exact time. He stated that he was waiting for his wounds to heal so that he could join the fight against South Sudan’s government, saying, “I am willing to fight against the person who took the lives of my wife and son.”

While I was stunned and did not know what to say, Peter’s father decided to take the lead and voluntarily showed me three huge permanent scars: one on his forehead and the other two on the right side of his lower abdomen — a chilling reminder of how horrifying the attack was. How he survived puzzled me, and I know for a fact that his miraculous death-escape needs medical explanation.

Nhial told me he thought he was going to die and that his rescue was God’s work. He explained that he was inside his house in Gudele with his dead wife and son when he heard the sound of an ambulance the morning of December 17, 2013 and decided to crawl out of his blood-filled home.

He said he was lucky enough to reach outside his gate before the ambulance arrived. There, one of the medical workers saw him and asked the driver to stop the car. He was then put into the ambulance and rushed to Juba’s teaching hospital.

As we continued our conversation, I noticed a continuous flow of tears from his eyes: it was one of the most painful moments in my life — my heart was bursting with sadness, I had to end the discussion about the tragedy.

Nhial later revealed to me that he was snicked out of the hospital to a UN-run camp in Juba by humanitarian aid personnel after he was told by a doctor that he was free to leave the hospital. The doctor advised that he should seek further medical attention in another hospital as Juba’s hospital did not have the right medications for his head wound.

He said he did not know whether his wife and son were buried and that he kept thinking about what happened to their bodies. In the back of my mind, I also knew that there were countless numbers of people who probably experienced the same cruelty.

Nhial was lucky enough to be snuck out of the camp by his relatives and escape to Kenya before his final destination, Nguenyyiel refugee camp.

Nhial’s horrifying story kept me thinking for three weeks and helped me to understand what Salva Kiir’s leadership is all about. It was a tough and touching experience for me, but it was an account that I would embrace even though it echoed the pain in my soul.

This narrative gave me opportunities to cry and laugh. But there are times when I get enraged with the level of brutality inflicted on Nhial’s family – especially when emotions get the best of me.

I tried my best to separate my personal feelings from the brutality Kiir’s regime inflicted on Nhial and his deceased family. What enraged me the most about this particular tragedy was the fact that none of Peter’s parents had blood relations with any of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) senior political leaders, whom Salva Kiir accused in December 2013 of plotting a coup.

Nhial, Nyabiey, and Peter were all innocent civilians who were living the life of ordinary South Sudanese. They were not active in South Sudan’s politics and had no known records of supporting any particular political leader or party.

Kiir’s ethnic militia targeted Nhial’s family simply because they were of Nuer ethnicity. Peter and his mother were brutally murdered due to tribally-motivated political madness — it was, indeed, a hope shattered.

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

How likely are states to implement the US proposed arms ban on South Sudan?

BY: Mark Deng, a Law Ph.D Candidate, Univ. of Queensland, Australia, FEB/20/2018, SSN;

The Trump administration has recently announced an arms ban on South Sudan as a response to the seemingly intractable civil war in the country and the resultant humanitarian crisis. President Trump has called on both the regional countries in Africa and the UN Security Council to implement a global arms ban on South Sudan.

The arms ban came a few days after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, called the government of South Sudan an “unfit partner” in the international effort to resolve the South Sudanese conflict.

While the comment may not have been an appropriate diplomatic thing to say to a foreign leader, and, indeed, an ally, it was made out of a frustration at the persistent failures of the South Sudanese leaders to make necessary compromises to break the impasse and bring durable peace to the country.

Adding to the frustration is the fact that the US government has invested over $11 billion dollars in South Sudan since 2011 to support the transitional process, peace talks, and development. Yet the situation in the country seems to be only getting worse.

The war has deeply divided the South Sudanese society and the arms ban was received in the country with mixed reactions.

The rebels and their supporters, on the one hand, welcome the ban as a necessary step to influence the government’s intransigent position on the ongoing consultations to resurrect and implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) signed in 2015 between the government and the rebels.

The ARCISS collapsed in July 2016 after a ferocious fight erupted outside the State House in Juba between the presidential guards and the bodyguards of the rebel leader, Dr Riek.

Dr Riek instantly claimed that the incident was a government’s calculated attempt to assassinate him, prompting him to withdraw from the Government of National Unity in fear for his life.

The government’s response to the arms ban, on the other hand, has not been positive. The First Vice President of South Sudan, Taban Deng Ghai, was quoted recently in a newspaper, saying that the US is no longer a partner in peace.

The Vice President gave this statement shortly after the government of South Sudan recalled its ambassador to Washington in protest to the arms ban. It is unclear as to what these growing diplomatic tensions between the US and South Sudan would lead.

Whatever disappointments the arms ban may have caused to the government of South Sudan, however, the people of South Sudan should never see the US government as an enemy, bearing in mind the indelible role that the Bush administration played to help the South Sudanese achieve their independence.

It is clear that the arms ban raises with it a number of issues, one of which is state sovereignty. According to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, states are to respect each other’s territorial integrity. Put differently, no state should engage in acts that undermine another state’s capacity to maintain its national sovereignty.

The Treaty of Westphalia still holds today, however, it has come under heavy criticism. Some have argued that globalization and other factors that the treaty did not foresee and addressed have rendered the treaty ‘anachronistic’.

Mindful of the need to preserve the treaty, however, others have suggested that there should be exceptions to it. For example, it has been suggested that humanitarian crisis and breakdown of government in a state should be exceptions to the treaty.

I find myself in agreement with this view. A state sovereignty under which citizens do not enjoy the protection of their lives, rights, and freedoms serves no purpose.

The government of South Sudan may claim that the arms ban undermines its sovereignty but the ban, in my view, is justified as it is intended to stop human suffering in the country and further complications to the conflict.

However, the arms ban may have a justifiable ground, but it remains doubtful whether states will follow suit and implement it.

States are generally guided by their own national interests and international treaty obligations in implementing sanctions against a particular state.

The international arms trade is governed by the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) 2014, which is yet to earn the support of all states. As of present, only 93 countries out of the 193 UN member states have ratified the ATT. Among the non-signatory countries are China, Israel, Russia, and Ukraine, which all are the leading arms suppliers to South Sudan.

It is possible that Israel and Ukraine could implement the arms ban on South Sudan, given their close diplomatic ties with the US.

However, it is unlikely that China and Russia could do the same for two main reasons: (1) both countries have vested interests in mining the oil in South Sudan and may not be prepared to jeopardize these lucrative investments; and (2) they are not under ATT international obligations to implement the arms ban on South Sudan since they are not state parties to it.

In addition, the neighboring countries, particularly Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, may not be prepared to implement the arms ban on South Sudan. Aside from being members of IGAD, of which South Sudan is a member, these countries face the same issue of political instability as South Sudan.

On that basis, it is difficult to see how these countries can implement the arms ban on South Sudan due to the fear that any of them could suffer the same fate at any moment.

However, if these neighboring countries were to implement the arms ban on South Sudan, the ban could be effective. These countries are the channels through which arms enter South Sudan from arms suppliers.

In 2015, for example, a Chinese cargo ship, carrying different types of Chinese-made weapons, docked in the Port of Mombasa, Kenya. The cargo was unloaded and the weapons were transported by land to South Sudan.

In 2014, it was reported that South Sudan and Uganda signed a military cooperation agreement. The particulars of the agreement have not been made public but it is generally understood that the agreement authorizes Uganda to purchase arms from third parties on behalf of South Sudan.

While nothing is set in stone in diplomatic relations, the close ties between South Sudan and its neighboring countries, as well as the uncertain future they all face in the region, make it unlikely for these countries to implement the arms ban on South Sudan.

Sure, the Trump administration could apply pressure of any sort to these countries to get them to implement the arms ban but how that would play out cannot be predicted with certainty.

When talking about arms bans, it is important to consult history. History shows that arms bans hardly work. An Arms ban was, for example, imposed on Sudan by the European Union in 1994, yet it did not seem to stop arms supply to Sudan.

Reports indicate that China and Iran, two of Sudan’s close allies, continued to supply Sudan with arms despite the ban.

So, the reality is that it is difficult to control the flow of arms effectively, and the reason is that the arms trade is an international multi-billion dollar business. The states and international arms sale companies will always to try to flout and circumvent the rules in order to continue to make profits from arms sales.

The ATT aims to prevent and eradicate illicit arms trade but its regulatory system does not seem to be effective enough, considering the fact that recent arms sanctions against Syria and Libya have not been successful.

So, in the absence of an effective mechanism that ensures compliance with the treaty obligations for all countries, doubts hang over the success of the proposed arms ban on South Sudan.

It is likely that countries like China and Russia will continue to sell arms to South Sudan and it will all be business as usual.

Mark Deng is a law PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, Australia.
Email: mark.deng@uq.edu.au

Australian Police move to seize ex-South Sudanese General’s $1.5m Narre Warren mansion

BY: DAVID HURLEY, Herald Sun, FEB/09/2018, SSN;

POLICE have moved to seize a $1.5 million mansion in Melbourne’s southeast from the family of a former South Sudanese (Chief of Staff) general linked to the nation’s military elite which fleeced millions of dollars from the war-torn country.

The Australian Federal Police took the case against General James Hoth Mai Nguoth, and several members of his family, to the County Court of Victoria on Tuesday as it pushes ahead with a proceeds of crime restraint.

It is targeting the luxury Narre Warren home, which has an infinity pool, sauna and five-car garage, as well as an Audi owned by the family.

Gen Hoth Mai’s family bought the sprawling property in 2014 when his wife and children were living in taxpayer-funded housing commission accommodation.

Investigators from the AFP’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT) launched a probe into the purchase of the property in September 2016 following allegations that several former and current South Sudanese public officials have bought houses in Australia with the proceeds of corruption.

General James Hoth Mai’s family bought the sprawling Narre Warren property in 2014 when his wife and children were living in taxpayer-funded housing commission accommodation.

Police have moved to seize the $1.5 million mansion in Narre Warren. Gen Hoth Mai was named in a 2016 report compiled by The Sentry, a team of investigators targeting those who profit from genocide in Africa co-founded by actor George Clooney.

Gen Hoth Mai served as the chief of staff in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army from May 2009 to April 2014.

Before that he was the deputy chief of staff for logistics. Investigators understand his biggest salary was no more than $58,000 a year.

J.R. Bailey, Investigations Director at The Sentry, said the group found information regarding the General’s purchase of the Narre Warren house in 2016.

“Gen Hoth Mai is a well-known military commander in South Sudan,” Mr Bailey said. “We discovered his purchase of the Melbourne home during a 2016 investigation into the assets accrued by senior South Sudanese military and government officials.”

“The Sentry found Hoth Mai’s purchase of the Melbourne home to be noteworthy — and worthy of additional scrutiny — for several reasons.”

General James Hoth Mai was named in a 2016 report compiled by The Sentry, a team of investigators co-founded by actor George Clooney.

The Sentry report accuses senior officials on relatively low salaries in South Sudan of profiteering from the country’s civil war.

“First, the cost of the home far surpassed what one could reasonably afford on the salary of a general of Hoth Mai’s rank,” Mr Bailey said.

“Second, the Hoth Mai family had purchased the home shortly after having resided in subsidised housing, a major sudden change in the family’s lifestyle.”

“Finally, the home was purchased in the name of Hoth Mai’s son, who had only recently graduated from college.”

“We considered this a possible attempt to obfuscate the General’s connection to the purchase. Taken as a whole, the circumstances of the transaction, we found, merit more scrutiny from relevant law enforcement and regulatory authorities.”

Shortly after The Sentry published its report — War Crimes Shouldn’t Pay: Stopping the looting and destruction in South Sudan — the AFP launched a probe with help from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Investigators visited the Narre Warren property in August 2016 and saw a BMW 316i, used by one of Gen Hoth Mai’s daughters, in the driveway.

An AFP spokeswoman said: “The investigation, which included assistance from the ACIC, focused on the acquisition of assets in Australia by the family members of an individual who is believed to have held senior positions including chief of staff in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army between May 2009 and April 2014.”

The General and his family did not appear at the County of Court of Victoria on Tuesday when the AFP’s criminal assets confiscation and proceeds of crime matter was heard. The case, before Judge Susan Cohen, was adjourned for three weeks.

Clooney, writing in The Sentry’s 2016 report, said the organisation’s investigators spent two years “following the money underwriting South Sudan’s war economy”.

“The Sentry’s investigation has generated substantial information indicating that top officials ultimately responsible for mass atrocities in South Sudan have at some time managed to accumulate fortunes, despite modest government salaries,” Clooney said.

The original sale documents for the Narre Warren property lists the general’s wife, Nyawarga Hoth Mai, as the buyer.

The luxury Narre Warren home has an infinity pool. The documents were then altered on the day the sale went through in August 2014 and buyer was listed as the general’s son, Nguoth Oth Mai, an Australian citizen.

Barrister Simon McGregor, for the General’s family, declined to comment.

The AFP’s legal proceedings are a civil matter under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The alleged offences are breach of directors’ duties, causing a loss to the Commonwealth and obtaining a gain from the Commonwealth. Criminal charges have not been laid against the General or his family.

david.hurley@news.com.au
@davidhurleyHS

FROM THE EDITOR, SOUTH SUDAN NATION:
LET’S ALL JOIN IN SUPPORT OF THE SENTRY CAMPAIGN BY REVELING AND REPORTING ALL THOSE IN KIIR’S GOVERNMENT WHO’VE STOLEN THE NATION’S MONEY AND HAVE PURCHASED SUCH ABOMINABLE HOMES OR HAVE SET UP BUSINESSES IN THEIR FAMILIES’ NAMES.

THE SOUTHSUDANNATION.COM IS EVER READY TO PUBLISH ANY DOCUMENT PERTAINING TO THESE CRIMES, WHETHER THEY ARE IN CANADA, USA, EUROPE AND AUSTRALIA.

ONE STEP FORWARD FOR JUSTICE IN SOUTH SUDAN.