Category: More Views

Causes of South Sudan’s famine and potential genocide: A New Report

New Report Identifies Causes of South Sudan’s Famine and Potential Genocide

March 21, 2017;

In a new report published today, John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, offers an historical review of corruption and profiteering in South Sudan, detailing how a legacy of violent kleptocratic leadership has led the world’s newest nation into a crisis of famine, war, and potential genocide.

The Enough Project report, “How The World’s Newest Country Went Awry: South Sudan’s war, famine and potential genocide” details the history of South Sudan, describing a “den of thieves,” in which battles by profiteers over power and the corrupt spoils of power, including an “oil-fueled gravy train,” have fueled endless cycles of conflict.

The current situation in Sudan is described as a violent, greed-fueled kleptocracy, in which institutions of accountability have been deliberately undermined, and calls for hard-target “follow the money” investigations into the looting of the nation. The report further provides a series of critical recommendations to address the root causes of famine, destabilization and war, and to dismantle the violent kleptocratic system that is driving the suffering of the South Sudanese people.

Selected report highlights:

“War has been hell for South Sudan’s people, but it has been very lucrative for the country’s leaders and commercial collaborators, South Sudan’s war profiteers.”

“In South Sudan today, war crimes pay. There is no accountability for the atrocities and looting of state resources, or for the famine that results.”

“Corruption isn’t an anomaly within the system; it is the system itself, the very purpose of the state.”

“Ethnicity has been used as the main mobilizer for organized violence.”

“The history of conflict and mass atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan is driven in large part by unchecked greed, manifesting itself primarily in the accumulation of wealth and power by the country’s leaders.”

“The competing kleptocratic factions are fighting over a lucrative prize: control of the state, which in turn brings control over oil and other natural resource revenues, patronage networks, some foreign aid, massive corruption opportunities, immunity from prosecution and accountability, control over the army and other security organs, the ability to control or manipulate banks and foreign exchange, the opportunity to manipulate government contracts, and the chance to dominate the commercial sector.”

“South Sudan is not wildly different here. The leading accelerator of most African conflict is greed-fueled kleptocracy in which state institutions have been hijacked for personal enrichment by a small group of leaders and their commercial collaborators internally and internationally, often using extreme violence. The networks are usually composed of leading government officials, generals, businessmen, foreign investors, banks, oil and mining company representatives, money transfer entities, and others connected to the international financial system. They disempower and destroy the viability of those state institutions because they want to avoid both accountability and transparency, and they brutally suppress all forms of dissent and independent expression or political activity.”

“In South Sudan (and Sudan), ethnic-based militias are recruited and armed to attack the communities perceived to be opponents. This practice goes back to the British colonial era, when identities were politicized, just as the Belgians did in colonial Rwanda, establishing ‘tribal authorities.'”
Key report recommendations:

“The missing ingredient in the international response is the creation of sufficient leverage or influence to shift the calculations of these violent kleptocrats from war to peace, from atrocities to human rights, from mass corruption to good governance. The surest way for the international community to build influence is to hit these “thieves of state” in their wallets.”

“What is needed is a hard-target search for the dirty money, the ill-gotten gains from the last decade of looting. Choking the illicit financial flows of the kleptocrats is the key point of leverage available to the international community, given the vulnerability of stolen assets that are offshored in neighboring countries or around the world in the form of houses, cars, buildings, businesses, and bank accounts.”

“Conflict can be transformed when hijacked governing institutions—first and foremost the military, which is simply a mishmash of ethnic militias—are reformed. Establishing measures of accountability is key. There must be financial accountability for the stolen assets; legal accountability for crimes against humanity; and political accountability which could exclude those responsible for the worst abuses from a future government.”

“The most promising policy approach would combine creative anti-money laundering measures with targeted sanctions aimed at kleptocratic networks, the combination of which would be robustly enforced with the objective of not just freezing a few assets, but rather freezing those willing to commit mass atrocities out of the international financial system altogether… This is revolutionary, because it would suddenly give international policymakers and diplomats a major point of leverage to impact the calculations of those willing to commit mass atrocities to maintain or gain power.”

“Given the dominant position of the United States in the international financial system, and the extreme vulnerability to which the assets of South Sudan’s kleptocrats are exposed within that system, the United States is uniquely positioned to help alter the incentives for South Sudan’s leaders away from grand corruption and war, and to give peace a chance in that embattled and long-suffering land.”

“Ultimately, South Sudanese people will drive reform and determine their future. From the outside, the United States, Europe, the United Nations, the African Union, and other concerned actors around the world can provide support and solidarity to the efforts of South Sudanese people who are on the front lines of efforts to build peace, good governance, and accountability.”
Link to full report: http://eno.ug/2mZwPjE

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project, an atrocity prevention policy group, seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

To Gen. Thomas Cirillo: Right Decision & Right Time: Greater Equatoria Council congratulates you!

From: The Leadership of the Greater Equatoria Council of Rights (GRECOR)
To: Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, Chairman and Commander-in-Chief
The National Salvation Front, South Sudan

Date: March 13, 2017;

Subject: Congratulations!

GRECOR would like to seize this opportunity and congratulate you for having taken a right decision in the right direction, at the right time and for the right purpose. This decision demonstrates frustration with and loss of confidence in the regime.

Surely, you now join the ranks of the many southerners who have lost all confidence in Kiir’s regime that oppresses and suppresses its own people.

GRECOR is an opposition social, cultural and political organization that has been advocating for the rights and freedom of equatorians in particular and the oppressed South Sudanese in general.

GRECOR views your wisdom from two angles: First, the decision to resign from serving a dictatorial, discriminatory and an oppressive Kiir’s regime was a real act of valour and audacity.

Second, the formation of an armed resistance movement in the name of the National Salvation Front (NAS) is a welcome positive development that will engender a lucid meaning to the hope of most South Sudanese without exception.

Indeed, and surely it is only through an armed struggle that the regime be brought to a semblance of normalcy. For a long time the majority of South Sudanese have suffered in silence and endured all sorts of abuses and injustices inflicted on them by their own capricious government that has been acting in a complete disregard of many things.

At this juncture, GRECOR would like to cite and expose some of the violations, abuses, injustices being practiced against our innocents’ people by Kiir’s regime soldiers and others:

• Land grabbing – a muse of the gun and authority to evict rightful citizen from the God-given land (Land of their ancestors).

• Insecurity – the rampant and unaccounted for killing in Juba and other towns.

• Plunder, looting and amassing of public funds at the expenses of the populace.

• Lack of basic social services e.g. water.

• Favouritism on the basis of tribe or passive submission to Kiir’s regime.

• Total lack of respect for freedom of expression, lack of respect for the use of the gun by those who hold it, lack of respect for human rights.

• Unknown gunmen – a unique and strange phenomenon, culture and behaviour in the life and history of South Sudanese, which is similar to that of Niggas (outlaws).

• The SPLA – the really worries and armies who had fought for our cause two decades are at last thrown out, deserted, marginalized and replaced by militias, hooligans, robberies and rappers etc.

Surely, the list is endless.

And this shows how the South Sudan is being led on the path of darkness, Jungle laws and wrong side of history. However, South Sudanese need light instead and need to be rescued from falling into a bottomless pit.

In view of the above reasons, GRECOR would like to register its unwavering support to you Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka for the cause that you have initiated and willing to undergo these opaque and enigma pragmatic journey so as to realize and achieve the rights and dignity of the entire people of South Sudan.

GRECOR also is fully aware of your professional military leadership skills that made you a symbol of reliability and trustworthiness among your colleagues’ officers and combatants before and after the secession of South Sudan.

GRECOR founder, late Professor Wani Tombi, was always and often in his briefing to us reminding us of you and some of the insidious things that you had discussed, planned and agreed upon for the future leadership in Equatoria and South Sudan as a whole.

GRECOR acknowledges you’re intuitive sentiments and long patient of enduring underestimation, undermining, disrespect, psychological threats, and surveillance by Kiir’s regime organs. Yet you have overcome them all unprecedentedly.

Lastly, GRECOR would like to draw your attention to its vision, which would be of great help to you and the National Salvation Front to have a vision which is inclusive and comprehensive rather than exclusive and incomprehensive.

If we really want to build a modern state in South Sudan, we need to have a broad vision like GRECOR’S vision: “Let South Sudan be governed with the principles and doctrines of Constitutionalism; the Rule of Law and order; Equality; Democracy; Meritocracy; Accountability; Transparency; and positive foreign policy guided by the respect of all species of International Law for cordial regional and international relations.”

Wishing you every success on the journey towards a definite victory.

Congratulations!
Sincerely,
Dr. Henry Jembi Samson Lokou, GRECOR Chairman, Khartoum Sudan
Email: lokoujungo@gmail.com
Mr. Justin Demetry, GRECOR Coordinator, Canada
Email: tombelodemen@yahoo.com
Mr. Lado Lodoka, GRECOR Leader in the United States
Mr. Alfred Rombe, GRECOR Chairman in Canada
Dr. Jada Yengkopiong, GRECOR Chairman in Australia
Mr. Isaac Mursal, GRECOR Chairperson Western Australia
Mrs. Rita Edward Duru, Women Secretariat Chairperson Khartoum Sudan
Mr. Jada Lako Mathayo, GRECOR Chairman in Finland

An Appeal to Pres. Kiir: Release all political detainees in National Security Services at Jebel & other detention facilities

BY: Professor Leonzio Angole Onek, Univ. of Juba, MAR/12/2017, SSN;

Dear President Salva Kiir Mayardit,

I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I have been encouraged by your move to declare a Prayer Day during which you are reported to have prayed for forgiveness.

I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church like you Sir. The teaching that has remained with me since my baptism day some 50 years ago is that one does not go to pray while he/she still has a quarrel with a brother, neighbor, relative or even a foreigner.

Therefore, I believe that in asking for forgiveness, you have also decided to wipe our personal and governmental plate clean of sins of omission and commission.

What interest do I have in these political prisoners? On December 7, 2015, I was arrested on the street near University of Juba; I have been a Dean of a college at the university since 2014.

Those who arrested me drove me to the Jebel Detention Facility and locked me up for five months, until I was released on April 25, 2016. During the five months I was not interrogated nor interviewed by any officer from the NSS; I did not know why I was arrested.

When the Government Spokesman was asked about my arrest at the time, his answer was that he was not aware of any professor being detained by the NSS. Few weeks before my release, I was interrogated by three senior officers from the NSS, who accused me of being a member of the SPLA-IO.

To spare you a lot of details, I did not make a plea whether I was guilty or not since I was not provided by a lawyer during the interrogation as required by the Constitution. However, I made the following statement to my interrogators:

“If I am a member of the SPLA-IO, which you have accused me of, I should then be released immediately since General Taban Deng Gai, who is heading the Advanced SPLA-IO Team in Juba and a snior member of the SPLA-IO, is free and a guest of the government. Additionally, H.E. The President of the Republic, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayadit has decreed on January 1, 2016 that all those who have rebelled against the government and are in custody should be given amnesty and be released immediately. Therefore, based on these two grounds, I should be released.”

Several days later, I was released.

Sir, while I was in detention, I suffered many things including contracting life-threatening medical conditions. Yet, I am not bitter because I have resolved that this was a destiny dealt to me by my God.

Furthermore, while in custody, I met over 40 persons who were accused of being members of SPLM-IO or some other rebel groups, prior to the August 2015 Agreement. They too have suffered from many diseases and some of them have since died.

These are the prisoners for whom I am appealing to you to have mercy on and order their release. Some of them have been in detention for over three years without being taken to court. It is also probable that Your Excellency is not aware of their detention.

Their names are:

Alison Mogga Tadeo RIP; Aloro John; Andria Baambe; Angelo Banaveso; Ayume Dada; Chandiga Felix;

Daniel Bakumba; Davide Peter; Emilio Paul; George Livio Bahara; John Mboliako; Jorem Eseru;

Justin Yasir; Justin Wanis; Justine Peter; Justine Wanawila; Kennedy Kenyi; Lado James; Lokolong Joseph;

Martin Augustino; Michael Sokiri; Mike Tyson; Ochaya Godfrey Saverio; Ociti Richard Okumu; Otihu Lawrence;

Paul Baba; Richard Otti; Sokiri Felix Wani; Tartisio Oshini; Timothy Nyewe Mori; William Endly; James Gadet (new)

Yours sincerely,

Professor Leonzio Angole Onek
Dean, College of Applied and Industrial Sciences
University of Juba
Juba
E-mail: leoonek@yahoo.com

South Sudan’s government-made famine: Kiir’s and others must be made to pay

BY: George Clooney and John Prendergast, Washington Post, MAR/09/2017, SSN;

Official, U.N.-declared famines are a rare phenomenon. The last one worldwide was six years ago, in Somalia. Famines are declared officially when people have already begun to starve to death. It is the diplomatic equivalent of a seven-alarm fire. That is where the youngest country in the world, South Sudan, finds itself today, as 100,000 face immediate starvation and another 1 million are on its brink.

The maxim is true that famine does not result from purely natural causes but is usually “man-made.” Such a description, however, avoids any real accountability for those who have caused the crisis. South Sudan’s famine would be more accurately described as “government-made.”

The most immediate cause lies in the tactics used by the South Sudan government and its principal rebel opponent in fighting the current civil war. Government and rebel forces attack civilian targets much more frequently than they attack each other. They target the means of survival of civilian populations deemed to be unsupportive.

In particular, they raid cattle in areas where cows represent the inherited savings and means of commercial exchange. Massive cattle raids result in complete impoverishment of entire communities and unleash cycles of revenge attacks that poison relations between neighbors and entire ethnic groups.

The government has also concentrated recent attacks on areas where agricultural production traditionally fed large parts of South Sudan, not only resulting in massive human displacement but also devastating local grain production, which leads to hyperinflation in food prices.

But destroying the means of food production is only one part of the equation that causes famine. If the South Sudan government allowed humanitarian organizations unfettered access to the victims of the attacks, which include approximately 3 million people who have been rendered homeless, then the aid agencies would have been able to prevent a famine from occurring.

But instead, the government has obstructed access by these organizations in a variety of ways, as have the rebels, thus resulting in huge pockets of populations — including tens of thousands of children — who have received little to no assistance at the height of their need.

The South Sudanese people fought for decades for their independence from a rapacious, discriminatory Sudanese regime. The government of Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum, which seized power in a coup in 1989, regularly attacked the means of food production and used starvation as a weapon against the rebellious South Sudanese populations, just as it is still doing in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains in Sudan.

This resulted in localized famines and about 2 million South Sudanese deaths during that North-South conflict. Now that the South Sudanese have won independence, the government of Salva Kiir in Juba is using the same destructive strategies that Bashir used against them.

South Sudanese will starve to death by the thousands, maybe by the tens or hundreds of thousands. As the images of starving babies begin to emerge, hundreds of millions of dollars in relief assistance will be delivered, as long as the South Sudan government follows through on Kiir’s promises to allow unfettered humanitarian access.

But if the only response to these images is a humanitarian one, and the structural causes of this famine are not addressed, then this cycle of death will begin again next year, and the year after.

Yes, the world must do all it can to treat the symptoms of this emergency, but there is also an opportunity, with increased attention because of the famine, to finally begin to address the root cause of the crisis.

In South Sudan today, war crimes pay. There is no accountability for the atrocities and looting of state resources, or for the famine that results. Billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars have supported peacekeeping forces and humanitarian assistance already, and one peace process after another has tried to break the cycle of violence.

But nothing attempts to thwart the driving force of the mayhem: the kleptocrats who have hijacked the government in Juba for their personal enrichment.

The Sentry, an initiative we recently co-founded, conducted an investigation into the wealth accumulated by Kiir and other officials who oversaw a military offensive that contributed to the current famine. We found that immediate family members of these officials enjoy luxurious lifestyles abroad, living in lavish estates while South Sudanese suffer.

There has been no effort to counter the networks that benefit financially and politically from the crisis. The international community needs to help make war costlier than peace for government and rebel leaders and their international facilitators.

Choking the illicit financial flows of the kleptocrats is the key point of leverage for peace available to the international community, given the vulnerability of stolen assets that are offshored around the world in the form of houses, cars, businesses and bank accounts.

The most promising policy approach would combine creative anti-money laundering measures with targeted sanctions aimed at freezing those willing to commit mass atrocities out of the international financial system.

A steep price should be paid for creating famine and benefiting from war. Even while the world responds to the famine, it’s time also to address root causes and make those responsible pay for their crimes.

Ex-Gov. Bakosoro declares: Pres. Kiir’s Call for National Prayer Day is a mockery

BY: Joseph Bakosoro Bangasi, Ex-governor of Western Equatoria & Leader of the SSNMC, (South Sudan National Movement for Change), MAR/05/2017, SSN;

SSNMC has received Kiir’s call for national prayers as mockery and jock in the name of God, which is an insult, very hypocritical and a fallacy. How can a leader of a country that is in total economic collapse, with untold sufferings of his people, call for national prayers when he has not yet asked forgiveness and pardon from God for crimes he has committed?

There are number of questions Kiir must answer to South Sudanese people including but not limited to whether he has:
—Withdrawn tanks and Mathiang Anyor from villages across the country?
—Asked pardon from God for crimes he has committed against South Sudanese people in the past three years or so?
—Desisted himself from his unconstitutional JCE?
—Withdrawn mercenaries from South Sudan territory, and stop bombing innocent civilian targets?
—Freed innocent prisoners languishing in prison of NSS(National Security) for no proper reason?
—Freed IDPS in UN camps to return to their villages and homes?
—Returned refugees who are suffering in camps in neighboring countries back to South Sudan?
—Given chance to peace, freedom of expression, press, and media?
—Stopped hate speeches, bigotry languages towards other ethnic groups?
—Visited villages in Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal, and Upper Nile to verify whether there are civilians in their houses and homes?
—Availed food to the suffering people dying from hunger in villages and bushes?
—Conscious of what he is saying or he had been asked by his JCE to fool South Sudanese people in the name of God?

The people of South Sudan are in real dilemma as a result of the unpredicted actions of the president who unceasingly say one thing and do the opposite. He calls for national dialogue while shipping in war arsenals to kill innocent civilians who do not have anything to do with combat.

When he fails to feed the “mathiang anyor” and the “dut ku beny”, he pretends to agree with the call of the international community that there is famine in South Sudan.

SSNMC agrees that there is famine in South Sudan; by the way the famine is not only in Upper Nile but also in Bahr El-Ghazal and Equatoria. But I accede with Madam Rebecca Garang that the famine in South Sudan is a man-made famine orchestrated by the malicious action and lack of leadership and vision of President Kiir.

I would like to concur with United States legislators, as reported by both Sudan Tribune and Radio Tamazuj on 2/3/2017 and 3/3/2017 respectively, who have written to His Excellency Mousa Faki Mahamat, the new Chairperson of the African Union, that the AU must “take extraordinary steps to avert a looming genocide in South Sudan.”

SSNMC believes that unless the international community is united in its endeavors to finding a sustainable political solution in South Sudan, the lesson learnt from Rwandan genocide and mass atrocities will be averted.

SSNMC believes that the conflict in South Sudan is becoming more complex and will be very catastrophic to regional stability and international equanimity; therefore the international and regional bodies must consider rediscussing the roadmap which is possible to a sustainable peace in South Sudan.

SSNMC warns that failure to renegotiate the current failed agreement would result in the entire country descending into a very
complicated dispute, citing the fact that South Sudan will slope into proxy civil war, which is absolutely costly for South Sudan, the region and the globe because of the fact that ethnic groups will not sit back and watch members of their communities being raped and murdered in their own villages.

SSNMC would like to thank Congressmen and Senators: Benjamin Cardin, John Boozman, Edward Markey, Johny Isakson, Karen Bass, Michael Capuano, Jeffery Merkley, James Inhofe, Richard Durbin, Christopher Coons, Cory Booker and Barbara Lee. You are really true friends of the people of South Sudan and have demonstrated to the suffering South Sudanese that you care.

Rest assured that the South Sudanese will never forget you and without the intervention of people like you, South Sudan will never be a better place for the overwhelming people suffering under the brutal regime of President Kiir and his JCE. You are indeed the voice of the voiceless, far away from the locked land of South Sudan.

It is not enough that the United States supported the independence of South Sudan for which we are all thankful; however, US should also ensure that democracy, liberty, justice and prosperity prevails in the Republic of South Sudan, a country the people of US
supported to attain autonomy.

Thus, SSNMC kindly pleads with the US Government to ensure that the current government of South Sudan must be prepared to renegotiate peace and made accountable for atrocities it has committed on innocent civilians instead of preaching fake national dialogue and prayer that will never be inclusive and will never achieve any positive outcome, but is championed to address Salva Kiir and JCE’s agenda.

I conclude by beseeching the suffering people of South Sudan to read Isaiah 49:14-19.
God bless the people and all the well-wishers of South Sudan.

Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro
Chairman
SSNMC

What the people of Equatoria need to understand about the current war

By: David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/21/2017, SSN;

The present civil war broke in 2013 in Juba. The war began within the SPLM party and later spread like a wild fire to the Upper Nile Region. After several attempts to end the war, the peace was signed in 2015 which led to the coming back of Riek Machar in April 2015.

When Riek came there was a lot of hope that at last peace was at all the corners of South Sudan. However, due to the reckless and chaotic character of Riek Machar the conflict was resumed from where it was left and continued up to date.

As pointed out in the above paragraph, after the war broke out in Juba in July 2016, it spread over all South Sudan and ended killing more people. The war at this point has become complicated as it has taken tribal dimension.

For instance, the people of Equatoria have pushed the conflict to a greater height as they target members of Dinka Community along the major roads in Equatoria Region. Such targeted killings have led to the death of hundreds of Dinka people, which included children, women and elders.

However, Dinka community has been ignoring the action of the people of Equatoria not because they are scared or afraid but because they wanted the people of Equatoria to understand one thing about the present war.

What the people from Equatoria need to understand the current war is that the war is not about tribes but between the government and those who are planning to remove the government by force. Therefore, the people from Equatoria need to understand this fact.

In addition, why the Dinka people ignore the actions of the people of Equatoria though they keep on targeting their members is because they are interested in peace and national unity and to avoid creating more refugees and displaced persons from Equatoria region as many have already fled the conflict.

As I have pointed out above, the Dinka people deliberately ignore the actions of some people from Equatoria because what they are concerned with is how to maintain stability in South Sudan.

However, many youth from Equatoria including the former governor of former Western Equatoria, Hon. Bakasoro, have declared the war on Dinka. This declaration took place on Tuesday 12, January, 2017 as reported by the Dawn Newspaper on 24 January, 2017.

According to that declaration, all Dinkas are to leave Equatoria land, Kiir Mayardit should resign from being the president of South Sudan, overhaul of the constitution, reform of the army and security system and many demands contained in that declaration.

Nonetheless, what I wanted to tell the people who made the above declaration is that they are unrealistic specially the point that all Dinka must leave Equatoria. Whereas it is important that the government returns the land to the people of Equatoria as matter of their right, the demand that Dinka people should leave Equatoria is unrealistic and unattainable.

It is unrealistic because we are in one country which means one people. At the same time, Dinka people will never be forced to leave Equatoria by force unless they decide to do so voluntarily. Thus, those who are making noises that Dinka people must leave Equatoria are dreaming unrealistic dream.

When it comes to the other allegations as to who fought the liberation war, we cannot argue about it as God and the land of Equatoria know it as to whose blood was poured down there. Because of that there is no point of argument since we do not argue facts which are capable of proving themselves.

In summary, what I wanted to tell brothers and sisters from Equatoria is that the issues of South Sudan will never be finished through conflict but only through dialogue. This is because those who live by the sword will die of sword.

I am concluding this article by appealing to the people of Equatoria that let us embrace peace and sit down to discuss our issues in peace because conflict does not provide way forward.

NB//: the author is the South Sudanese student residing in Kampala and can be reached through dengchapath66@gmail.com

The Death of the Rule of Law and Respect for Human Rights: The Case of Eastern Lakes State

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, FEB/19/2017, SSN;

The rule of law is a cornerstone of contemporary constitutional democracy as underscored by its role in cementing good governance and respect for human rights. The rule of law requires that the state only subject the citizenry to publicly promulgated laws and that no one within the polity be above the law. The rule of law doctrine envisages that the power of the state and government be only exercised in consonance with applicable laws and set procedures.

The three essential characteristics of modern constitutionalism are limiting the powers of the government, adherence to the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights.

However, in the absence of the rule of law and respect for human rights, contemporary constitutional democracy would be impossible. Beyond that however, it is not clear what characteristics the rule of law must possess to help sustain its folds and respect for human rights, what specific role it must ensure with regards to individual rights and liberties, and how it might ultimately contribute to help respect human rights of the people and protect their lives in Eastern Lakes State.

In this article, I shall labour to bring to forefront why upholding respect for human rights and the rule of law matters for the present and future Eastern Lakes State.

I know many people, who are aligned to the present government in the state will fail again to comprehend the essential dynamics of what it means to respect human rights of the people and thus misconstrue the essence of this article for their good conscience tells them not to tolerate any criticisms regarding all mistakes and shortcomings of the government.

Their good conscience do tell them not entertain any critical intellectual writing about failures of the government, instead of taking, for their beneficial use, such ideas which they misconstrued as dissenting, and hence disparaging the good image of the government forgetting other people’s rights to freedom of expression in matters that affects them.

This is author isn’t bothered by such empty rhetoric. However, as the title to this article suggested, it is to be pinpointed with dismay that the callous brutalizing way our state government has been dealing with human lives is in a blatant violation of international and regional human rights principles and standards to which South Sudan is a party as provided for under article 9(3) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (as Amended in 2015).

There has been series of shocking events where many citizens lost their lives just in the hands of the government which is indeed tasked with an obligation to defend and protect their lives and properties. A sizeable number of innocent people (innocent until otherwise proven by the court of law) have lost their lives in the hands of government officials since the current government came into existence.

The words of Martin Luther King from Birmingham jail truly remind me that there is a distinction between law and justice. The law, even if it is uniformly applied does not in itself guarantee a just result. This is supplemented by article 39 of the most celebrated Magna Carta (1215), which states clearly that ‘No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land’.

I humbly concur with Dr. King who submits that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.

This is true in the sense that the application of the uncodified, unjust and draconian law which the government of Eastern Lakes uses on the perceived criminals is different from how it should have been used to deter those perceived criminals, if at all they exists.

This is so because the rule of law is intended to promote stability, not impunity, but as a society that has subscribed to operates under the rule of law, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the rule of law serves the interest of justice because the continued strength of the rule law depends on individuals who are willing to risk punishment in pursuit of justice.

Under rule of law and respect for human rights, neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret, and the laws must not be arbitrary. From the very beginning, our national constitution and other laws have laid down great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law.

This noble ideal clearly laid down by our constitution cannot be realized if poor man in Eastern Lakes State charged with petty crimes has to be shot dead by the authorities without any due process of the law. This is a clear violation of the right to life and human dignity as provided under article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 (Amended 2015).

Our jurisprudential understanding of the rule of law is the protection of certain basic rights because the rule of law is linked to efforts to promote protection of human rights worldwide. Respect for human rights and the rule of law is a platform for community’s opportunity and equity and is essential to addressing the most persistent harmful ills that existed and which are commonly meted onto the most innocent in our State.

Yirol was the most peaceful and stable area in greater lakes before the partition of Lakes State into three States. Our people are both law abiding citizens and peace loving communities. They have coexisted peacefully until they got their share of demand for the state. However, while under the leadership of their own sons and daughters, our people continue to face a myriad of repressive treatments.

People in Yirol are subjected to intimidation, subjugation, arbitrary detention, torture and killing. Government response to these myriad of rights violation has been disappointing, marked by lack of political will and accountability, blatant malevolence and a disregard for human life.

Yet, international human rights advocates remained tenacious, not inciting massive protests and public condemnation in an effort to demand for an end to the culture of impunity that has cropped up in Yirol.

Some of the most outrageous travesties of justice that captured our attention and had us up in locking horns with the state government remained unattended to and many atrocious violations and abuses are continuously being meted on the innocent people.

The law presumes everybody to be innocent until proved otherwise by the duly constituted open court of law. Nobody has the power to take away other people’s lives except and unless it falls within the ambits of the law. The law is very clear. There are standards and procedures laid down by the law in both criminal and civil matters.

It is a serious violation of the provisions of the constitution which is the grundnorm governing this country if someone sited somewhere decides to take away innocent people’s lives without any adherent to the due process of the law as laid down in our constitution and other legislations governing the conduct and proceedings regarding criminal and civil matters.

It is indeed a travesty of justice if people are extra-judicially executed by a body not designated by law to impose such penalties and sentences. There can be no free society without law administered through an independent judiciary.

If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, then every man can, and this first means chaos and then tyranny. When we talks about rule of law and respect for human rights, we assume that we’re talking about a law that promotes freedom, a law that promotes justice, and a law that promotes equality.

With current violations and abuses of human rights in Eastern Lakes State, the true meaning of the rule of law has been diverted from and its special meaning has been distorted and immersed into the mud of injustice.

As based on our historical constitutional jurisprudence of looking to the law to fulfill the promises of freedom, justice and equality set forth in our nation’s founding document, the true meaning of the rule of law and respect for human rights has been lost.

#Bring to Justice the Murderers of Pokic Madit Maker# Rest in Peace brother for your innocent life will hunt those who took it away for the rest of their lives.

The writer is a Master of Laws Candidate at the College of Law, University of Juba and a Practicing Barrister at Law before all courts in South Sudan. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

BREAKING NEWS: More than 52,000 South Sudan nationals enter Uganda in one month- UN

FROM: KAMPALA’S DAILY MONITOR & AGENCIES, FEB/09/2017, SSN;

More than 52,000 South Sudanese fled to Uganda in January alone as continued fighting risks creating a situation of mass atrocities, the UN’s special adviser on genocide prevention said Tuesday.

The displaced, primarily from towns south of the capital Juba in Central Equatoria state, have given accounts of the killing of civilians, homes destroyed and sexual violence, said Adama Dieng.

“President Salva Kiir has made a commitment to end the violence and bring about peace, yet we still see ongoing clashes, and the risk that mass atrocities will be committed remains ever-present,” said the special adviser in a statement.

Dieng said he was particularly alarmed at the situation in Kajo-Keji where fleeing civilians have said they fear mass violence.
After several delays, a team from the UN peacekeeping mission arrived in Kajo-Keji on Sunday to report on the situation.

After gaining independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan descended into war in December 2013, leaving tens of thousands dead and more than three million people displaced.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the rate of new arrivals into Uganda has increased, with a total of 24,277 South Sudanese refugees being received in Uganda between January 25 and January 31.

The influx peaked for the week on January 28, when more than 4,500 refugees were received. The average daily rate of new arrivals for the week was 3,468.

And as Uganda hit the one million refugee mark, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme, Rosa Malango, applauded communities for offering land to refugees to settle.

She said: “It is now critical to look at the quality of life of refugees and standards of living in the communities.”

There is growing alarm over the humanitarian crisis in the country where more than six million people — half of South Sudan’s population — are in need of urgent aid. Humanitarian organizations expect this number to rise by 20 to 30 percent in 2017.

Use of force & governance: Is the use of force necessary for good governance in South Sudan?

By: David Deng Chapath, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/08/2017, SSN;

The readers of this article may find it odd for combining force and governance as the co-existence of the two is not always seen clearly in a democratic society. According to the Constitution of South Sudan, South Sudan is a democratic country that must respect human rights and democratic principles.

When we talk of human rights as seen in the above paragraph, we are simply talking of the respect of personal liberties and freedoms, and that is the reason why the use of force is not frequently observed in democratic country.

However, where the country is in chaos as we see in the case of South Sudan, then there is a need for the use of force to reform the people in order to maintain law and order, which means that the use of force is necessary in South Sudan.

It is due to the above arguments that we can give the meaning to the recent statement of the president of South Sudan in which he declares that force must be used against those who rape women and girls.

In the recent press report that was shown live on the television, President Kiir while he was in Yei called for execution of Soldiers who rape civilians as a human rights abuses in South Sudan. The statement has earned him praise and criticism from different circles.

Therefore, in this article I intend to take the statement of the president on the execution of rapists as the entry point to tell the public that the use force and governance are related and necessary in South Sudan if South Sudan is to achieve law and order and the rule of law.

In doing that I will first define force, then the governance, the importance of force in the process of governance and then I will conclude by recommending to the president on how he can use force without being held accountable by the international community.

As pointed out in the above paragraph, I now begin by defining what is meant by the term “force”. It should be observed onset that there is no clear definition of force as used by the government.

In simple language, it’s any action that changes the direction of objects to the desired direction. In relation to our case, force in governance is a process of establishing a new state or government through the use of force, which is also sometimes referred to as conquest theory.

In general, force occurs when a person or a group of people take control of an area, such as a state, and make everyone in that area or state follow their rules and beliefs. For example, if the leader is to be successful, then he or she must come up with a policy and rules and then make everyone in the country abandon their old ways and adopt new rules and if they insist on old ways, then force must be used to ensure that they obey the new rules.

When the rules as discussed in the above paragraph are obeyed and applied consistently and without discrimination, then we talk of the rule of law. By the rule of law, I mean the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.

It is important to note that lack of the rule of law can be found in both democracies and dictatorships, for example because of neglect or ignorance of the law, and the rule of law is more apt to decay if a government has insufficient corrective mechanisms for restoring it as seen in the case of South Sudan.

Importantly, the nature of law does not determine the rule of law but what determines it is the political will coupled with the observance of the laws of state. Hence, a law may be bad but if there is a political will to do what the law requires as guided by human rights then there will be no arbitrariness and people will even respect the law because of its certainty.

When there is a certainty of the law, the rule of law will prevail. Where there is a rule of law then democracy and human rights are respected. The respect of the two means that there good governance.

Good governance cannot be achieved unless there is an effective government, which is a body whose sole responsibility and authority is to make binding decisions in a given geopolitical system by establishing laws. Binding decisions are made when the government has enough power to implement the decision strictly. This can only be established when there is force.

In relation to the above, good governance is achieved through the legitimate use of force. Hence, good governance refers to the way the rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated in order to ensure accountability in the government.

In order to achieve rule of law and good governance that will result into the respect of human rights and democracy, there must be the use of force. For instance, state of emergency is declared in order to legitimize the use of force by the government.

As seen above, the importance of force is that without force there will be no rule of law and law and order. This is because the government is not able to control the citizens. In a country like South Sudan, there is a need for the use of force to maintain law and order.

The presence of law and order indicates the presence of the law of rule and good Governance. Good governance is ultimately concerned with creating the conditions for ordered rule and collective action. In that respect, it must be observed that the outputs of governance are not therefore different from those of government but it is rather a matter of a difference in processes.

In fact, the political theorists define the government in term of force as the formal institutions of the state and their monopoly of legitimate coercive power. In this respect, coercive power is in other word a legitimate use of force. Therefore, the government like that of South Sudan is supposed to have the ability to make binding decisions and capacity to enforce them if its decisions are accompanied by force in case of the failure by those affected to implement such decisions.

However, the problems of South Sudan have been caused by the failure of the Government to use force, and instead, the president always resorts into pleading with citizens and politicians no matter how clearly they are wrong. Hence, people grow horns and put themselves above the law and consequently cause chaos as they wish.

What the government of South Sudan should understand from today onward is that to be a good government the leaders should not be good or soft but they must be ready to use force where necessary to instill fear in trouble makers and then with time introduce the rule of law and democracy when some reforms have taken place.

It is upon the above fact, the government is understood to refer to the formal and institutional processes which operate at the level of the nation state to maintain public order and facilitate collective action.

Nonetheless and as I have already pointed out above, the absence of law and order in most part of South Sudan is due to the fact that the president is not willing to use force against the citizens which corrupt the system thus taking advantage of his good heart.

When I talk of corrupting the system I mean any bad works perpetuated by some citizens that affect majority of South Sudanese negatively.

In reality, a country like South Sudan will never develop without the rule of law and to ensure the rule of the law, there must be force. Hence, force is necessary in South Sudan to control people and to reform them. The fact is that in the country where there is no rule of law, it is stronger group that rules the minority and with time the other stronger group rules the weaker and the cycle goes on and on indefinitely.

In summary, in South Sudan, the President is not respected because they see him not a threat since he does not use force. The overall consequences of the failure to use force by the president are the anarchy, corruption, power struggle, land grabbing and disappearance of judicial system and finally the demise of the rule of law and democracy.

It was good that president realized recently that there is a need for the use force to stabilize the country. A country where everybody is above or equal to the government does not develop or progress as people will not obey the orders. In that regard, there is a need for military rule in South Sudan to ensure that reform and transformation of the citizens are achieved.

However, my advice to the president is that he should look for proper legal advisers to advise him on what to say in the public that affects international law or human rights law. This is because many human rights organizations are out there to do business with what the leaders say in regard to human rights and use of force. Hence, they are likely to take the words out of context although the president well intends it.

NB//: the author is South Sudanese Students staying in Uganda and can be reached through: dengchapath66@gmail.com

The Action of King of Morocco constitutes Political Bribery: A Response to skeptics to the use of the term “bribery”

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala (Uganda), JAN/30/2017, SSN;

In the recent article by Beny Gideon Mabor Esq and published on Sudantribune, which is entitled: “South Sudan: Strategic choice between bribery and right to self-determination for Saharawi people,” one of the problems that many commentators could not comprehend was the reason why Beny Gideon Mabor chose and used the term bribery.

Briefly, in that article, Beny was writing to explain the rationale behind Morocco wanting to go into bilateral relationship with South Sudan. In that article he warned South Sudan to be careful in dealing with Morocco as the dealing may have implications on her duties under the human rights law.

South Sudan has a duty to enforce human rights including the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara which Morocco wanted to suppress.

For that reason, since Morocco’s intention to rejoin African Union after thirty four (34) years of absence from the Union is to use the African Union as a platform to defeat the right to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara, Beny was warning South Sudan and advising its authorities to protect the interests of the people of Western Sahara who have the same history of South Sudanese.

The arguments put forward by Beny in that article read together with the letter of the King of Morocco that he wrote to the African Union in July 2016 in which he informed members of the intention of Morocco to rejoin the African Union as they point to the fact that Morocco is using its soft power (economic power) to ensure that the African Union reverses its previous decision and instead declares the Western Sahara as part of Morocco.

The two sources cited in the above paragraph, show the plan of Morocco that after having gone into bilateral relationships with other African countries including South Sudan and readmitted into the African Union, it will present a resolution of declaring the independent status of Western Sahara as illegal.

Consequently, majority of the countries in bilateral relationships with it will vote in its favour to avoid falling out with Morocco that may bring the bilateral relationships to an end.

To avoid such negative implication, those countries will vote in favour of Morocco and by implication declare Western Sahara as part of Morocco. At that point, Western Sahara will have lost its status as independent entity and the people of Western Sahara will also in the process lose their rights to self-determination.

Beny, therefore, strongly advised the Government of South Sudan that it is free to go into other bilateral cooperation with Kingdom of Morocco for common good of the two countries however, not anything connected with Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

Beny further preempted by warning South Sudan of the consequences of ignoring his advice by saying that “Any attempt by the government to support the position of Morocco over status of SADR is a contradiction of the very principle of right to self-determination where the people of South Sudan fought for decades and finally got their independence”.

He then finally advised the government not take the “blood money” in return of what would be blind support to the kingdom of morocco and by extension support continued occupation of indigenous land belonging to the Saharawi people who have suffered in the hands of Moroccans just like the way South Sudanese suffered in the hand of Arabs.

In using the phrase “blood money”, Beny is alluding to the story of Judas Iscariot in the Bible that betrays Jesus by accepting money that was used to bribe him to show them where Jesus was.

In summary, the arguments of Beny Gideon Mabor as clearly outlined in his article and the communication in the letter of the Moroccan King to the African Union clearly support the view that Morocco is trying to bribe South Sudan and other countries that have already gone into bilateral relationships with it over the issue of Western Sahara.

Thus, this article is in response to unwarranted criticisms from those who have failed to understand the meaning of bribery in the context Beny has used it or subscribe to the wrong concept of the word “bribery “that led them to unjustly criticize him.

What is even disappointing is the fact that those individuals who criticized Beny did support their arguments with any authorities they are relying on to show as to why he is wrong but they only argued based on what they think in their own opinion as to the meaning of the word “bribery”.

For instance, one of the people commented that and I quote, “In diplomatic practice, especially treatment of any sensitive issues between Independent States, the weapons used (soft and hard power) are known as tools of influence but, not bribery, buying or selling” but did not tell us the authority he got it from.

Apart from the lack of authority to back the statement I have just quoted above, it is also backed up by wrong reasons. This is because what he did not understand is that there is a difference between diplomacy and the law.

Diplomatically, his statement might be correct though he might not have any authority due to the fact that countries respect each other and it is in rare circumstances that they may use harsh language against each other.

However, that does not extent to the law and it must be made clear to him that diplomacy is different from law and what may be called in different names in diplomacy due to the respect countries accord to each other may be called by its exact English name as in law a spade is called a spade but not a big spoon as it may be the case in diplomacy.

Having pointed out and explained in the above the weaknesses of the critics of Beny’s article, it is important now to explain to them the reasons why the action of Moroccan King in going into bilateral relationship and giving a lot of money and at the same time challenging the legality of the admission of Western Sahara to African Union constitutes bribery by explaining with the help of the authorities the meaning of bribery, what constitutes it and its different forms and why action of Morocco is bribery.

Then after that, I will conclude by stating that bribery simply means giving something to a person who one expects to do him or her favour now or in future directly or indirectly as a result of the gift given; hence the action of Moroccan King can be described properly as bribery.

Definition of bribery
To begin with and accordance with Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, bribery is the act of giving money, goods or other forms of recompense to a recipient in exchange for an alteration of their behavior which is to the benefit or interest of the giver. The Black’s Law Dictionary defines bribery almost in the same language that bribery is the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or other person in charge of a public or legal duty.

In other words, the bribe is the gift bestowed to influence the recipient’s conduct. It may be money, goods, rights in action, property, preferment, privilege, emolument, objects of value, advantage, or merely a promise to induce or influence the action, vote, or influence of a person in an official or public capacity (T. Markus Funk, “Don’t Pay for the Misdeeds of Others: Intro to Avoiding Third-Party FCPA Liability,” 6 BNA White Collar Crime Report 33 (January 14, 2011) (discussing bribery in the context of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act).

In economics, the bribe has been described as a rent. Bribery in bureaucracy has been viewed as a reason for the higher cost of production of goods and services as it manifests itself in various ways and appears in various forms.

Nonetheless, what is clear is that corruption, and bribery in particular, is widespread in most of the countries. According Carl Jan Willem Schudel, Department of Government University of Essex, United Kingdom corruption is a widespread problem in many countries throughout the world, as it slows down economic growth and development and corrupt practices, such as bribery, favors for favors, and nepotism, are costly to companies and thereby reduce chances for corrupt states to attract necessary amounts of foreign capital.

As I have labored above to give the definition of bribery, its forms, forms it takes and its relationship with corruption, it has to be stated that in relation to the prospect relationship between South Sudan and Morocco, the action of Morocco amounts to bribery.

As Carl Jan observes above, corruption and bribery exist everywhere and they may arise in any situation especially where a country depends on financial support from a richer country that has interests which may conflict with the primary purpose of the country it is supporting or that seeks aid from it.

For instance, corrupt governments like that of Moroccan Government (Morocco is one of the corrupt countries in Africa and for more information see; www.business-anti corruption.com/country-profiles/morocco) are interested in private gains rather than in public benefits of the recipient country like South Sudan.

Therefore, Morocco being private-gains oriented Country it does not care about its conduct as long as its achieve what it has set its mind to and the developmental and moral damages its behavior may cause to a recipient country is not a source of direct concern to it.

As Beny clear explains in his article cited above, if South Sudan goes into bilateral relationship with Morocco that may be accompanied by massive financial support as Morocco has indicated in its readiness to build the Palace and other projects in South Sudan, then, South Sudan must support Morocco in all areas as Morocco is a friend in need which is a friend indeed except if South Sudan has put a condition on their bilateral relationship.

In conclusion, as I have exhaustively explained the meaning and the forms of bribery in the foregoing discussion, it can be concluded that bribery means giving something to a person who the person giving expects to do him or her favour now or in future directly or indirectly as a result of the gift given to the recipient.

In addition, corruption may appear in any form depending on the interests of the briber if his or her interest is just to see the country he or she is supporting develop then there will be no bribery but if the interest of the one giving is to influence the conduct of the receiving country to do something for him or her then there is bribery and corruption.

On that note, it must be concluded that the action of the King of Morocco in going into bilateral relationships with different countries in African and that may include South Sudan and massive financial supports that follow such relationships amount to bribery thus political corruption.

Hence, in this case the argument of Beny that Morocco is bribing countries to destroy the right to self-determine of the people of Western Sahara is correct.

NB//: the author is South Sudanese lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com