Category: More Views

South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings by Kiir’s government

Nairobi, APR/18/2017, SSN;

Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau: Government soldiers and allied militias deliberately killed at least 16 civilians in South Sudan’s western town of Wau on April 10, 2017, in what appears to be an act of collective punishment, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks were against people presumed to support the opposition because of their ethnicity.

The killings followed weeks of tensions in the area, where South Sudan’s government has carried out an abusive counterinsurgency operation since late 2015.

When the UN Security Council meets to discuss South Sudan later in April, it should condemn these crimes and ask the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan what steps it intends to take to deter further revenge killings in Wau and the surrounding area.

“The pattern of abuses by government forces against civilians in Wau has become predictable, with soldiers taking revenge against unarmed civilians based on their ethnicity,” said Daniel Bekele, senior director for Africa advocacy at Human Rights Watch. “The South Sudan authorities need to call a halt to the killings, investigate, and bring those responsible to justice.”

In November, a special investigation commissioned by the UN recommended that peacekeepers should move around in armored vehicles rather than remaining in their bases to better identify threats to civilian lives and prevent rapes on their doorstep.

The UN is expected to release an update on steps it has taken to carry out those recommendations on April 17.

Hostilities erupted on April 8, outside of Wau, when government forces opened an offensive on opposition-controlled areas and opposition groups counter-attacked. The opposition killed two high-ranking government officers, including a prominent member of the Dinka tribe from the neighboring Lakes region.

On April 10, government soldiers and Dinka militiamen went from house to house in ethnic Fertit and Luo neighbourhoods on the southwest side of Wau, and killed at least 16 civilians, apparently in retaliation for the killing of the two men.

Government authorities prevented UN peacekeepers from moving freely around the town, limiting their access to areas where the violence occurred.

The recent violence displaced nearly 8,000 people, about 3,800 of who sought safety in the Catholic church. Others have moved to a site adjacent to the United Nations’ Mission to South Sudan base, where more than 25,000 people had already gathered under UN protection.

A 26-year-old Fertit, mother-of-four, who is married to a Luo and was living in the Nazareth neighbourhood, said she was at home preparing a fire when she heard gunshots in the morning of April 10: “The attackers came over to my house. They wore civilian clothes, had their faces whitened with ashes, and carried spears and guns. I lied and told them that my husband was a Dinka and they said they would not kill me because I am their wife. They said: ‘don’t go out in the streets because we are killing people.’ When it calmed down, I went to my neighbor’s house. She had been shot in the eye. Her four children, between 3 and 15, were hiding under the bed. They were killed too. I saw their bodies.”

Human Rights Watch expressed concern about the possibility of further attacks on civilians, and urged the peacekeeping mission, UNMISS, to increase the number of troops stationed in Wau and to ensure adequate patrols of sensitive areas, such as around the Catholic church and southwest of the city.

After Kenyan troops withdrew from the peacekeeping mission in 2016, the contingent in Wau has been short staffed.

The UN’s response to the deteriorating situation in Wau will be an important test of the mission’s ability to improve protection of civilians in hostile environments, especially following attacks on bases in Malakal and Juba last year, Human Rights Watch said.

In Wau, the abuses have followed a familiar pattern in recent years, with hostilities between government soldiers and opposition forces followed by retaliatory attacks by mostly Dinka government forces and militias against ethnic Fertit and Luo civilians.

In May 2016, Human Rights Watch documented a surge in government abuses against civilians in Wau and surrounding villages beginning in late December 2015, after the government deployed a large numbers of new soldiers, mostly Dinka from the former states of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal and Warrap, to the area.

Government soldiers were responsible for a spate of targeted killings and arbitrary detentions and abuse of ethnic Fertit and Luo civilians in February and again in June. The violence and abuses in June forced more than 70,000 to flee.

South Sudan’s government has taken little action to stop these attacks on civilians. Following each round of violence in 2016, president Salva Kiir appointed investigation committees. The first one visited Wau in March and the second in in early July.

A report submitted to president Kiir on August 1 found that at least 50 civilians had been killed on June 24 and 25, more than 100 shops were looted, and tens of thousands of civilians were displaced; but no further criminal investigations or prosecutions were carried out.

While the media reported that the army executed two soldiers on July 22 who had been convicted by a military court for the murder of two civilians in a residential area of Wau, no other steps were taken.

On April 12, President Kiir announced an investigation of the most recent killings. But the government’s track record of investigating these kinds of incidents in Wau and its weak judicial system raise questions about its credibility. Credible criminal investigations and transparent judicial procedures against those responsible are urgently needed, Human Rights Watch said.

The government forces’ continuing crimes against civilians in Wau and the lack of accountability underscore the urgent need for the hybrid court envisioned in the 2015 peace agreement.

Despite the agreement, government soldiers have committed widespread violence against civilians, not just in Wau, but also in Juba, Malakal and the Equatorias, Human Rights Watch researchers found.

Human Rights Watch has also repeatedly called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on South Sudan to reduce harm to civilians by increasing the cost of weapons used to attack them.

In December 2016, an attempt to pass an arms embargo at the Security Council failed when eights members abstained. They included Egypt and Japan, which still sit on the Security Council.

“South Sudan’s military commanders have once again shown they won’t stop the abuse or hold anyone to account, and instead they obstruct peacekeepers from doing their jobs to protect civilians,” Bekele said. “The UN Security Council should make it clear that there will be a price to pay for this kind of obstruction.”

Governing under Pres. Kiir & vice Taban Gai is more problematic than we expected

BY: Santino Aniek, New York, USA, APR/16/2017, SSN;

I have lived for almost 40 years; I remember the war between South Sudanese and Khartoum regime, the humiliation and the shameless rebellion of 1991, the assassination of John Garang in 2005, and the senseless war of 2013. But, until now, I have never been ashamed to be a South Sudan citizen.

I always believed that, whether SPLM-IG or SPLM-IO, our leaders are basically good people who are reasonable and thoughtful, even if I did not agree with them.

But President Kiir Mayardit seems be not reasonable, his decision against the will of Ruweng people is not thoughtful, and it is considered as a brutal betrayal.

The man who President Kiir and the FVP Taban Deng Gai have chosen is a fraudster, a man who have done business with the mob, a discriminator, and a hater who thinks the people of Ruweng are always there only to serve their interest, a man who knows nothing of the world, and has no curiosity about the interest of Ruweng people.

Moreover, I do not believe that these men are good and decent people, and if they were as other people think, they should not involved in this dirty business of the FVP.

For more than ten years, we have been hearing from the so-called leaders in Juba about how horrible those who rebel against the government were, and this was the best description they could come up with.

But when it comes to cake sharing, the same horrible people will be the best people to the government to share the power with. In fact, a cruel and a rush decision by President Kiir and his FVP Taban that does not seem to have any new ideas or a reason to fix the core problems in South Sudan that has been facing our people since 2005.

It is the same reason that causes many people in South Sudan to rebel against the government of President Kiir. And at this point, it seems to prove that his decision is always about creating a conflict and not actually trying to bring every lasting peace to South Sudanese people.

Now, the ball is firmly on the court of Ruweng people, either to reject or to accept this cruel and rushed decision by two men who seem to adopt Khartoum tactic. The two men control the government and they share power by playing dirty politics.

But President Kiir made a promise in the end by assuring every Ruweng citizens around the country to stay home, the Monday rally has been cancelled, and the dialogue should continue by bringing Ruweng people’s representative to Juba.

However, the question in each and every Ruweng citizens is, did President Kiir or the Presidential Advisor, Hon. Tor Deng Mawien has lied to the people of Ruweng?

Basically a version of as a bigger false promise by President Kiir that would be better tells by the people of Ruweng a fairy tale. And now everyone with the knowledge on this issue knew it that President Kiir is not going to keep his promise because he never did.

As always the case, it is actually has to be made up of words that lead to a false promise in the highest office in the nation. Hence, that false promise has to actually tell us something about who will win, who will lose, and the people of Ruweng are the losers while the FVP Taban is now the winner of this dirty game.

Consequently, it tells who will be marginalized and how much it might cost the people of Ruweng for short-term security. And knowing that Ruweng people have the FVP’S plan in place and our people’s interest is getting picked apart by his supporters and interest groups on all sides is serious concern that need President Kiir’s reconsideration.

Because the key is that the FVP Taban is starting to look as popular as ants at a picnic in South Sudan. Today, the people of Ruweng have to guess that with the FVP Taban is running the show in the entire country, our people in Ruweng land will not like the end result of this dirty game of interest.

Therefore, our powerful friends of Ruweng people should start lining up in opposition to the President’s decision in order to reverse this betrayal against the peace loving people in the nation. This harmful decision will make Ruweng people insecure and toothless in the era of Taban Deng Gai.

Yet, perhaps the most threatening to the long-term security of Ruweng people is the return of the FVP Taban to Wuhn Danluel.

As it shows that ninety nine percent of the Ruweng people are complaining about how rushed this cruel decision was and what will likely happen to the security of our people in Ruwëng State.

Meanwhile, the hardline of power seeking want to see this effort as some sort of Taban lighting up a light to them and also as a business as usual. And they are being propelled by outside groups to welcome this cruel decision.

As a result of this cruel and rush decision, there is a lot of bad analysis in the camp of the FVP’S power seeking about what the presidential decree meant in terms of the security in Ruweng land.

But ultimately, sadly, this will be decided by the people of Ruweng of the world whether to give up and let the FVP Taban to continue to marginalize our beloved relatives one more time in the twenty first century.

Nonetheless, when doing big things is never easy, but making a promise is a lot easier in South Sudan, and this is how Ruweng people once again find themselves in the country where venerable people cannot survive.

In this toxic environment, here we stand as people of Ruweng and President Kiir is swinging the full weight of his Administration behind his FVP Taban leaving the entire population of Ruweng State in a dark hole.

But however, maybe this will be enough to wake up the skeptical people of Ruweng who seem to be overwhelmingly opposing this cruel and rushed decision by President Kiir and his FVP Taban. Or maybe this effort will fall apart in spectacular failure in the history of Ruweng people and continue to do nothing as usual.

As a fact, President Kiir has promised people of Ruweng that he will listen to them and told them that Them Machar will not take the oath of office as a governor of Ruweng State until the matter is resolved amicably base on the popular views.

But, it is likely will dramatic political theater if President Kiir and his FVP Taban refuse to listen to this peace loving people in the nation. It is just a horrible shame that the stakes being toyed with thousands of Ruweng people and their security at risk by letting Taban Deng Gai continues to marginalize our people need a serious response now.

Finally, I understand why so many South Sudanese communities are disenfranchised and disillusioned, why there is mistrust of the government, and deep-seated issues with President Kiir, but I never, ever thought that this will result in putting Taban Deng Gai over the people of Ruweng’s interest because this people stood with President Kiir long enough to be rewarded like any other community who are enjoying due to their minimal contribution.

It is true governing in the entire is difficult, but betrayal and difficulty are not the same. More importantly, I know many people believe that smart people and smart policies makers can fix our corrupt system of government in South Sudan. President Kiir seems to think this way.

I’m assuming that President Kiir suggested during the national prayer day that his government and the community relations could be improved meaningfully by accepting responsibility and accountability. Yes, a responsibility and accountability.

With this cruel and rushed decision, I no longer believe that Juba is willing to fix the problem, as though the leadership in Juba is anything other than a mirror reflecting back to us the true nature of our democracy.

They cannot fix the problem without a revolution of values and radical change to the basic structure of their leadership in Juba. Of course important policy changes can and should be made to improve government practices unless President Kiir reconsider this cruel and rushed decision, or it will cause in South Sudan.

Furthermore, if we are serious about having peace in our country rather than a government at war with its own people, then we are going to have to get honest with ourselves about whom our government actually serves and protect or else to unity.

Santino Aniek is a concerned South Sudanese in Upstate New York, U.S.A. He can be reached at santino.aniek5@gmail.com and find me on Facebook, on Skype and on twitter @saniek.

Exposing The Dirty Politics in the Office of the President

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, APR/13/2017, SSN;

This article is purposely written to expose the dirty politics that’s going on in the Office of the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir. In doing that my approach will be as follows: first, I will describe, define and discuss the meaning of politics in general, then relates it to South Sudan and the Office of the President of South Sudan in particular.

After that I will discuss reasons to support my argument that politics is not a dirty game but a good game played by dirty politicians. Thus, I begin in the order as given.

In order to effectively explain how dirty the politics is, let’s begin with the quotation of James McGreevey who once said, “We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back-seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views”.

Hence, the above quotation of James clearly describes our political scene as we see in South Sudan today as politics that exists in the country is that of destruction but not for development.

Consequently, as Donald Trump pointed out, “One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government”. Exactly, in South Sudan politics is hijacked by sycophants, cronies and miscreants, which have turned politics into a dirty game and blocked out good people of the government.

The summary of the above description of politics is that it is the dirty politics. When politics is being played by wrong people then wrong methods such as bribery, corruption and fraud may be used in order to win the opponents politically, thus some people may conclude that politics is a dirty game.

However, it must be observed and stressed that such a statement is not correct since politics is not a game with general rule because it differs from one country to the other, from one person to the other and from one system to the other.

Because of that the difference in politics as pointed out above proves that what differs are the methods and concept of politics not politics itself, which shows that holding other things constant, then we can say that politics is not a dirty game but it is a good game played by dirty people which makes it become dirty as it is played with dirty hands.

The above statement is true in relation to South Sudan and the office of the president in particular. The Office of the President of South Sudan is run on bad politics as betrayal, original sin, greed, corruption, discrimination, gossip and hatred are order of the day.

That office is turned into business where those working there derive profits as some of those working in that office are more of brokers than government employees.

Thus, there is a lot of evidence to back up the above statement, which shows that it can be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

In other words, it can be proved that Government employees in the office of the President are brokers or business people dressed in presidential aides’ clothes.

For example, two or three years ago senior President Officials were accused of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers and forging the president’s signature, according to Ateny Wek Ateny, presidential spokesman.

The investigation into the allegation of forgery as mentioned in the above paragraph concluded that President Kiir’s signature was forged on documents that ordered the withdrawal of funds from the Central bank of South Sudan on several occasions.

In that respect, millions of dollars, as well as millions of South Sudanese pounds, were allegedly withdrawn with the forged documents.

As a result of the said forgery and stealing of money of the nation, the chief administrator and the executive director were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

What makes the office of the President susceptible to corruption and stealing of the money of the nation is due to the lack of transparency. In fact, opponents have said that the President is to blame for not implementing measures in the office that ensure transparency, due diligence, as well as enforced checks and balances.

They also said the scandal echoes their concerns that the government in Juba is way over its head in the country’s governance.

In general what makes politics a dirty game in the office of the President of South Sudan are the following:—

First of all, majority of those working in the office of the President are brokers. For example, they have turned the office into their personal business ventures. This is because they have controlled over the president and unless if one wants to meet the President then he or she must pay before he or she is allowed to see or to meet with the president.

In addition, as many sources have revealed, if the president has granted some money to any person such a person will never get that money unless he or she gives them percentage of that money based on the scale that they have set themselves and depending on the amount granted.

It also appears that the posts in the government are being sold to the highest bidders and friends. This is proved by the fact that in some instances the decrees that are issued and announced in appointing the person in or in sacking a person from the government are sometimes issued without the knowledge of the president.

This can be explained by the fact that there are many instances where the President may issue a decree today appointing a person but on the following day reissues another decree relieving the same person.

If that is not the case, how will one explain such a scenario?

In addition, there have been instances where the president begins to protest when the decree in appointing or dismissing the government official is being announced on the South Sudan Broadcasting Service (SSBC).

One of the sad and clear examples of manipulation of the President’s decree was when a certain government employee was dismissed because of refusing to sign the documents, which was illegally obtained.

As a result of his refusal, the holder of that particular document was annoyed, and consequently promised that particular government official would be sacked, and indeed, he was sacked the same day. This takes me to my second point.

Secondly, there have been numerous complaints against those working in the President’s office. For instance, the Minister in the office of the President has been termed as the “Poison in the Office of the President”.

This was published on Nyamilepedia website on March 25, 2017, Michael Joseph in his article entitled “Mayiik Ayii Deng – a Poison in the Office of the President” poured out his anger with the way Minister Mayiik treated people including Ministers and army as was indicated by the reference to Akol Paul, the Deputy Minister of Information and General Paul Malong Awan, the General Chief of Staff.

In that Article, Joseph Michael attacked Mayiik Ayii that he is intimidating the Management of Nilepet and conspiring with his cronies to control the Oil Sector.

He further pointed out that Mayiik Ayii Deng intimidated the Management of Nilepet to settle his unnecessary bills and that he had purchased a luxury house in Nairobi in December 2016 after getting kickbacks from Oil Operating Company.

Michael Joseph also pointed out that there is serious administrative strife between the Minister and the Administration in the Office of the President over the Minister’s overspending of the funds, besides that his working relations with Staff are seriously deteriorating.

That Mayiik is conspiring to replace the senior officials in the Presidency with his corrupt friends as he did in the Oil sector.

Michael further pointed out that Mayiik doesn’t want any person who is an obstacle to his organized theft in the Presidency. This proves my first point that decrees are issued without the knowledge of the president.

There have been a lot of allegations of the Minister in the Office of the President refusing to pick up phone calls including the calls from other government ministers. This has created uncertainty and suspicion in the government.

There are also issues of allegations of discrimination in the way advisors to the president are treated. Clearly and in principle, advisors are supposed to be equal and because of that must be accorded equal treatment.

However, those working in the office of the President discriminate against others while favouring other advisors hence creating different classes within the advisory board to the president.

In addition, student leaders have been treated differently. For instance, the student leader from former Warrap State or Aweil is more favoured than those who come from other states.

The clear example is that of Acuil Chok, the former Chairperson of Bhar El Ghazal Youth Union in Uganda who was more favoured than Mabior Ikau simply because Acuil came from Warrap.

In the same way, Makuei Aguer and Akol Akol were favoured because they came from Aweil and the Former Warrap State respectively. Hence, they were allowed without any difficulty to meet with the president.

However, when Arop Kumbai, the current President of South Sudanese Students’ Union in Uganda recently visited South Sudan and when he requested the Minister in the office of the President, Mayiik Ayii to be allowed to meet with the President he was denied because he was not from any of the states mentioned above.

In summary, it is important to let the cat out of the basket so that:
1- the dirty politics in the office of the president is exposed to the public, which is represented by forged decrees to dismiss government officials or appoint them;

2- by the rampant leakages of State secrets that have rocked the office of the President, which has caused a lot of suspicions in the government;

3- the Minister in the Office of the President and others who are working there have completely controlled the president and are now the ones running the country and all South Sudanese should hold them accountable for the mess taking place currently in the country.

In order to save the nation, the President should clear the State House of those brokers who have turned the house of the nation into business centre.

The President should adopt the approach of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple narrative, which tells of Jesus expelling the merchants and the money changers from the Temple.

In that account, Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem for Passover, where Jesus expels the merchants and money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple into “a den of thieves” through their commercial activities.

Hence, the President should shake up the office and recruit those who are ready to serve the nation but not personal interest or benefits.

NB//the author is human rights lawyer and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com or +256783579256
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NB: Since writing this article, the author reportedly said he has received negative response from his Dinka community for his criticism. Even his ‘uncle’ Daniel Awet, an adviser to the president, advised him to apologize and desist from being critical to the president.

This is what the author, Mr. Daniel Juol concluded his response: “In summary, what I wanted to say is that I am not going to apologize to anyone including State Security Personnel whom I heard that they are demanding an apology from me or come for me.
The fact is that the liberation war of South Sudan started when I was there, I know how women, children and elderly suffered under the SPLA/M when they were rebels and how they are still suffering from the problems caused by our leaders including the President.
Because of that I cannot keep quiet or apologize to validate wrong things.
In fact, the State House has its contribution to the sufferings of South Sudanese due to the problems I discussed in that article which I expected that the officials in the State House must reform but demanding from me that I must apologize is going too far.
In addition, I am not a rebel and I do not dream of becoming one but I must fight for the reform through my skills of writing.
Besides, I am ordinary citizen and I am not a politician so my writing was based on the truth as the officials in the State House have acknowledged it.
In short, I would like to conclude by saying that an apology might help, but I can change my life without one.
As I have already promised in the introduction to this work, after writing about dirty politics in the State House, I have completed the project on politics and I am now going to concentrate on subject of peace and national dialogue in South Sudan so that South Sudanese. How peace can be achieved in order to achieve justice, liberty and prosperity.

Vice-pres. Taban Deng Gai’s Abusing Power & Taking Advantage of little guys for selfish goals

BY: Santino Aniek, New York, USA, MAR/26/2017, SSN;

Taban Deng Gai’s long career of abusing power for an endless goal and taking advantage of little guys did not just started but since he observed power in the 1980’s. Those who know Taban, in which myself is included, would agree that this long career of abusing power and taking advantage of little guys did not just start overnight but since when Taban was Itang’s administrator during the liberation war.

In fact, the majority of the South Sudanese are aware of the grimy details of Taban’s infamously governing when he became the Governor of Unity State. As one might expect, Taban claims to represent the interests of the citizenry of this country, as he became the Vice President of South Sudan.

But his governing record reveals a man with a penchant for tyrannizing the little guy and abusing power for his endless goal.

In today’s clannish politics, Ruweng people do not doubt that Taban will do everything he can to achieve his pathetic goal, but his pathetic objective including Wath Danluel, will not be achieved during our generation’s time.

It is very important to bring to the public attention that the abuse of power and the marginalization of our people by Taban and his likes as much as we could so the people of this country would understand what we have been dealing with all these years.

Now, it seems blindingly obvious to me that the government of South Sudan need not only to offer a position to people like Taban, but different solutions to solve our chronic problems like resources and land to satisfy these people needs.

With that being said, T’m getting sick and tired of these people like Taban taking advantage of the little guy and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

Subsequently, we woke up Thursday morning, still grieving with an emptiness that, unfortunately Ruweng people have come to know far too well that Governor Theji Da Adwad Deng has resigned from his Party SPLM in Opposition due to the fact that Taban has started bullying him about the piece of land he occupied in Ruweng State since 2005.

Nevertheless, Ruweng people have woken up that morning wondering what will it take to end this ugly scourge of Taban’s marginalization and taking advantage of little guy all these years without jeopardizing the peace agreement.

However, marginalization and taking advantage of little guy in South Sudan is entrenched in the fabric of those who are faithful to the government and it has become a weapon used often by people like Taban to wear down their opponents.

More importantly, once we became pseudo-free, we no longer serve a purpose and so the time for action for Ruweng people is now if Taban attempts to replace Governor Adwad.

As a result, Ruweng people must come together and combat the marginalization and bullying of our people once and for all. As we are aware of the situation, we cannot remain silent because Taban will never ever stop until we act quickly.

People like Taban have to learn once and for all that every single human being is a human being like him and Nhialic (God) of Ruweng has given has us that land, which it cannot be taken away from us until all Ruweng people have stopped breathing.

Given the situation in South Sudan, it is true that marginalization has become a culture and it is just another form of colonization that has been used to marginalize communities across South Sudan.

People like Taban think that if marginalization is used wisely, it might actually work in a certain situation, but let me assure you all including Taban himself it will never work in Ruweng State. Incorporating marginalization into daily life is what has helped escalate senseless war in South Sudan few years ago.

And so how we get past this era and start to look at people as human beings instead of bunch something known to them, I cannot tell you, but what I can tell you is this, people like Taban cannot take advantage of our people because his boss Riek Machar has tried twice and failed.

Therefore, I have no idea how to change the way people take advantage of little guy, but surely, we will change the way Taban think soon if he is still advancing his pathetic agenda.

I will say having leaders in our country that have an attitude of revenge does not help anything, it is the Taban’s who will never help in the peace process.

Thoughtful as usual, we are certainly not without our own problems in Ruweng State, but so far, we have managed to stay reasonably civil with each other. While our people have, on rare occasion stepped over the line, for the most part conflicts are resolved peacefully and our people do a good job to live in peace with our neighbors.

It is disheartening as a Ruweng citizen, to see the turmoil that seems to pervade other parts of our country at the moment. While we have some important differences, we are much more alike than unlike and seeing this animosity among our people is troubling.

In fact, the problem we are dealing with is not just the politicians like Taban in Juba, but the real problem is the South Sudanese people who emotionally jump on bandwagons and fail to critically analyze the person they’re supporting like Taban.

It seems to me that most of Taban’s supporters are following him based solely on the fact that he is going to reward them with jobs in the government. His appeal is simply that he is perceived as a colorful individual that has commitment to anything life.

Yet, for most of his governing career, Taban has betrayed the very people from whom he is now trying to convince them to achieve his pathetic goal for him. His views appear more in line with those of Adolf Hitler of Germany.

Taban’s supporters purposely overlook his criminal records, dereliction of power, and unabashed pandering. It is well know that Taban’s views change with the political climate.

However, this is a fragment of a problem, but the problem is the people who are supporting him. They completely dismiss the lack of moral and ethical integrity displayed in Taban’s world.

These people supporting Taban are the same people who supported Riek Machar twice. We all know the history of South Sudan and the injustices and marginalization our people starting with the Ruweng people. Nevertheless, this is our country, our people in Ruweng State put their blood, sweat and tears to liberate this country and we have lost half of our population by fighting Khartoum regime.

Ultimately, part of this resignation is shocking because Taban is known for abusing power and bullying.

Finally, any attempt to remove Governor Theji Da Adwad Deng from the governorship post will allow our full operations to liberate ourselves from this too long mistreatment and to allow normality to return to the land of a peace-loving people.

Though I don’t agree to use the war to achieve the end goal, but war happens when people like ours are neglected and their grievances are being ignored all the time. Furthermore, these exercises are also a way of defending and liberating ourselves from this long suffering that will never expire until our people rise against this status quo.

As the fact indicates, we will give this peace a chance to materialize, but on the other hand, we will not take a break until our people are no longer worried about the threat of Taban in Ruweng part of the world.

More importantly, this is a reminder to all friends of Ruweng people, be informed that if Governor Adwad is being removed, we are capable to do the unthinkable and we will also be talking to anybody in the entire world including the number one enemy of South Sudan, Omer El Bashir, to help us to achieve our end goal.

It is not secret because we have been suffering for too long and we cannot leave this suffering and threat to our children. The entire people of South Sudan have no idea what the hell is going on in Ruweng State, it is good if people have a leader that cares about them, but our people in Ruweng State nowadays cannot seriously think they are completely under the care of this government where Taban is a Vice President.

There is probably a lot more to it, I’m not a politician, but repeating Pathou (Heglig, the oil-rich area taken over by Sudan), my birth place’s mistake will be a huge mistake to the entire South Sudanese people, because most of the resources in South Sudan are located in our local area and without hesitation we can at least make a deal with any body in the world including the enemy of South Sudan.

Let that be clear. Yes, marginalization is a hell of a lot more common across South Sudan than we like to admit because we are not allowed to report what is really happening in the country, and certainly, this pseudo gets a special award for his abuse of power on an endless goal and taking advantage of little guys must stop once and for all.

Santino Aniek is a concerned South Sudanese in Upstate New York, U.S.A. He can be reached at santino.aniek5@gmail.com and find me on Facebook, on Skype and on twitter @saniek.

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