Category: More Views

A final fake peace and security mediated by IGAD Plus in South Sudan’s conflict

By: Akic Lwaldeng, South Sudan, MAY/08/2018, SSN,

“August, 2015, the Pope Francis, told a group of youth that the greatest challenge in his vocation so far has been finding true peace, and encouraging them to learn how to discern between this peace and the one offered by the devil.” (Source: Catholic News Agency);

South Sudan people are seeking a sustainable peace in the country. In fact, it has been revealed recently that the European Commission Tourist Office advisers warned their citizens about security in Eastern Africa region, such as South Sudan, Kenya and Somalia.

And recently South Sudan, was ranked as the second worst place in the world after Somalia, to live and work in; this is because there is an ongoing conflict in the country and, also, because South Sudan regime faces several forms of malicious violence on foreigners and their own people.

And the question is: what’re the prospects for building a sustainable peace are? What would be the elements in such a peace and how might we bring them about?

In spite of all the militarism that now fills the headlines, I’m feeling less encouraged that the prospects are good for building a meaningful peace over the next few decades.

After all, friends, while I am sharing my thoughts and personal experience on these issues, I often asked myself what motivates a person from Western world to return to the country governed by immoral leaders.

I did study there, but I spent the majority of my life abroad. You could say that my return home represents a reunion with the place of my origin and allows me to gain a more holistic sense of self and identity.

In other words, returning home is an opportunity to be a part of something bigger and better, which could make me positively contribute to the lives of others.

If I could remember well, at the beginning of 2013/14 after having been independent for just two years, South Sudan was deranged, the government was able to control only five regions under the regime, the rest and most of regions were under control by the rebel movement.

There was an incredible number of severe casualties and deaths, women with children were displaced time and time again as we saw many refugees killed by both rebel SPLM-IO and regime SPLM-IG.

Those who were fraught with constant uncertainty many times felt that their freedom has been robbed and they have been disconnected from their family and outside world.

Today they are struggling to maintain a sense of purpose of living, which initially led some of them to leave the country. However, they often contemplated giving up with their lives abroad and just going back to South Sudan.

On the one hand, it was very easy to do it, but on the other hand lack of security was one of the real obstacles and made their returning process difficult, because of causes that prevented them from going back home.

I recognized that the institutional conditions in order to facilitate their returning and integration did not exist in previous years, because of the wicked regime.

In so many years security hasn’t improved, the experiences that I had with my returned colleagues are appalling. They were South Sudanese refugees from the neighbor African countries and all over the globe, but they were not welcome home with dignity.

This is something unbelievable and worthless way of celebrating the returning refugees.

Anybody in this world can easily understand that the current South Sudan regime is an unhealthy system; and that it would be impossible for any sound mind to suggest them to return home.

It is true that the refugees and internal displacement provided by the United Nation camps around the country is a blessing at this stage, but we must acknowledge that a friendly coexistence and the foundations for peace building are not there yet.

In fact, it is unrealistic for refugees from the neighboring African countries to come home to South Sudan under Salva Kiir’s regime: it would be a nightmare for their lives, and it would be the same as we have already witnessed in between 2015 to earlier 2018, genocide in cities such as Juba, Malakal, Bentiu and Bor.

This happened because weak and wicked agreements supervised and undertaken by a failure organisation, so-called IGAD, which was meant to act as a mediating agency, but, in reality, was not able to accomplish this mission at a decent level.

Therefore we are calling them to step down from this worthless negotiation: we realize that to be negotiators became a business for them, and, therefore, the longer it takes, the better and more profitable job they get.

And if we want a real peace, let it be UN or AU to lead the peace process on behalf of South Sudan people and refugees, and not anyone else: in fact, in the past they have done a successful job in Central African Republic. And again they facilitated the entire peace process by the CPA agreement in 2005.

I would give some advice to those who want to help the people of South Sudan, they should put pressure and action on the regime, such as more sanctions on the individual politicians and bans on buying or transporting weapons from some countries, such as Egypt, Uganda and Kenya.

In fact, these countries have no interest in peace in South Sudan, including the toothless so called IGAD plus. In fact IGAD Plus is a dead fish, should not conduct the peace process again, in order to avoid a waste of time.

Africa has so many organisations in the continent such AU, ECOWAS, and others. And I am afraid that IGAD will never ever bring a sustainable peace in South Sudan, with due respect, it looks like a dogs whining and barking with no effect.

Finally, South Sudanese people did put faith and creditable hope on the IGAD Plus to bring peace home, but they have been let down by it.

By Akic Adwok Lwaldeng
NDM’s Representation in the UK and member of the Policy Institute for Africa Economy.

The SPLM finally admits destroying the Republic of South Sudan

BY: Dominic Ukelo, MP, Juba, MAY/06/2018, SSN;

On 4th May 2018, the members of SPLM National Liberation Council, NLC, who met in Juba concluded with their final resolution admitting to the public of:

1. Failing to institutionalize and democratize the exercise of power in their Party, which described mostly by South Sudanese people as the root cause of the current crisis in the Republic of South Sudan.

2. Their collective responsibility, as leaders of the SPLM party, for the crises that have engulfed the country.

3. Their loss of discipline and respect of the Constitution and Basic Rules of the SPLM party, which contributed to the emergence of the current crises over power and leadership.

Indeed, the innocent citizen of South Sudan didn’t commit any wrong doing to be killed or destabilized. The proximate cause of this brutal civil war was a falling out between the SPLM’s top politicians.

Therefore, giving the fact that the NLC of the SPLM, under the leadership of president Salva Kiir Mayardit, has admitted to the public and taken the responsibility of their wacky activities and irresponsibility, the people of South Sudan reserve their rights to hold the leadership of the SPLM/A accountable for their:-

a. Killing, committing rapes/abuses against the civilians in different places in the Republic of South Sudan.

b. Evil acts of destroying and pillaging civilian properties during government forces operations in several areas in the Republic of South Sudan.

c. Destabilizing innocent civilians, as the result, UNMISS continued to shelter more than 1,854,000 Internally Displaced Person IDPs, who’re forced to flee their homes by irresponsible behavior of the SPLM party.

d. Furthermore, as SPLM/A continue waging war on their own people, many civilians fleeing the country as we speak, bringing the total number of refugees so far to 4 million, scattered in the countries around the South Sudan.

4. Additional to the wide range of corruptions by the SPLM leaders, looting the resources of the country continue on daily basis, leaving civilians without basic needs; in which large financial transactions, involving politically exposed persons, defined as SPLM senior government officials and military officers, as well as their families, end up in personal accounts outside the country, those financial transactions have been unlawful or otherwise improper.

5. With all due respect to the SPLM/A and it’s history of liberation, the people of South Sudan are skeptical on the future of the country under the current leadership of the SPLM party.

6. Until the South Sudanese introduce new leaders to work for the interest of the country, to develop a road map in order to put an end to this conflict, and incubate a Marshall Plan for the interest of reviving the broken economy, the Republic of South Sudan will remain ruined and looted by the SPLM leaders.

By. Hon. Dominic Ukelo

Kiir: Stepping down may not be an option, but Reform is the way forward

BY: Apioth Mayom Apioth, South Sudan, MAY/04/2018, 2018;

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him” – Niccolò Machiavelli. Salva Kiir surrounds himself with the likes of Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), the former Khartoum politicians and formerly with Paul Malong Awan when he was popularly known as King Paul.

These sycophantic groups of opportunists do not question the conscientious rule of Mr. Kiir, that is why they continue to linger around whereas those of Majak da Agoot, Pagan Amum, and Joseph Bakosoro are a planet away from the discussion table.

Another significant reason of why South Sudanese and opposition parties, in particular, do not want to leave their lives to be dictated by the perpetual dull whims of Salva Kiir is that he loves to listen to just about anybody.

All kinds of people, whether they number in an entourage or a few people in number want to see and talk to the person with the highest position in the land.

This sole power that comes with being the president of South Sudan is one of the most cheerful things that he so much adores. And by talking to these varied groups of people, he gets to be pulled from one corner of South Sudan to another different dimension altogether.

With Salva Kiir being a natural introvert, he loathes criticism because he sees it as an infringement on his principles and worth.

Combating security challenges that are engulfing our nation do not play into his natural strengths of being naturally a shy person. That is why since 2005, we have had numerous insurgency starting from the likes of the late George Athor, Peter Gadet, David Yau Yau, Riek Machar, Thomas Swaka and Joseph Bakosoro.

Before the onslaught of the current political crisis, Kiir’s military solution on renegade generals was to quickly integrate them back into the mainstream South Sudanese military, because he didn’t know the proper way to create a conducive environment so they won’t be able to return to the insurgency and create a fertile environment for newer militant insurgent groups.

Shortly after the signing of the CPA, politicians were seen carting away money in boxes and every nameable enclosed container.

From 2005 to 2013, $12 billion was collected from the oil proceeds, and yet it is only 2% of the citizens that receive tap water in the capital Juba whilst after twelve years 98 percent of the population still receives water from commercial tankers.

Whereas in comparison, by the year 2004, twelve years after South Sudanese had taken refuge there no one was still receiving water from commercial water tanks in Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.

The only visible developmental initiative of value is the Juba – Nimule Highway which was developed by the funds provided by the USAID.

Had we saved the petroleum proceeds, our people wouldn’t be living on hand-outs from the UN these days, would we? And yet you continue to say it is not easy being the president!

Come on, Mr. Kiir! Your predecessor in South Sudanese politics, Dr. John Garang de Mabior had it worst than you. How did he manage to motivate starving soldiers who didn’t receive any salaries as compared to their counterparts in the North.

John Garang did exactly that for 21 years while living on scraps not like you are living in luxury in Juba, and yet the chaos continue to proliferate each brand new day.

During the public viewing of the late James Ajongo Mawut, Salva Kiir said the opposition groups were calling for impossible demands.

Mr. Kiir, your resume speaks volume for itself: your leadership is a complete disaster, the circumstantial nagging issues continue to plague us as years passed us by without an end in sight.

We may eventually give in to our call for you to step down, but one thing that needs a complete makeover is the parliament.

There is just no way for you to take 75% of High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), while the opposition groups remain with only 25%.

I say 75% because the presidency itself is 25 percent added on top of the 50 percent for the government groups.

It is totally fair to share HLRF 50 – 50 among the major stakeholders of the opposition and the government groups.

By starting over with a clean slate, we could generate the best candidates for the parliaments on both sides and bring them to the new Transitional Parliament of National Legislative Assembly (TPNLA).

We have all seen what your current parliamentarians have done, so why is it in your best interest to continue on this same path and just cobble together the opposition and government into one unquestionable piece of junk?

Both the government and opposition groups need to scrutinize their members and select their best-qualified candidates so we won’t fail our people this time around.

“It is said that power corrupts, but it’s actually more true that power corrupts the corruptible. The sane are actually attracted by other things than power” (David Brin).

In South Sudan, Salva Kiir has put himself above the law, mindlessly going about his business and toying with us as if we are mere playthings.

The power has corrupted his very being from his unused gray matter down to the last fiber of his simplistic cells.

The same military that he commands belong to all of us: they are South Sudanese nationals. And never has it been in our recent memory that the military has been so fragmented like these challenging days.

Our military goes for four to five months without pay. We are a resilient people and every circumstantial and trying times produce its own heroes.

In the first Sudanese civil war, we had Deng Nhial, Joseph Oduho, Joseph Lagu and Abel Alier; and the second Sudanese civil war we had Dr. John Garang.

There is no doubt that the end is near for Salva Kiir to see the might of collective power.

Our people may be spread over across different terrains of unfamiliar lands, but a new hero may be sharpening his wits and indomitable intelligentsia, so he/she may rescue her people from the jaws of a fool.

Some people may be gifted with talents of a natural hero from birth, but it is the trying and challenging times like ours that create distinguishable heroes and heroines among us.

A peerless hero in the fold of John Garang might be lurking around the corner. Our military is in total disarray, thanks to neglect from Kiir and so with this mess as a daily occurrence, anybody can stage a coup and kick Mr. Kiir to the curb.

Apioth Mayom Apioth has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA USA. He is an Admission Counselor from the University of North Dakota. He can be reached at:

Pres. Kiir and Machar must be given a chance so that peace may reign in the country

By: Apioth Mayom Apioth, USA, APR/29/2018, SSN;

It has become commonplace knowledge that both Pres. Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar, are political liabilities and unfit to steer South Sudan toward a new dawn of a bountiful fortune.

Salva Kiir’s promiscuous personality would never allow him to stick to any consistent strategic policy formulation.

After the breakout of the war in December 2013, he allowed himself to be controlled by two hardcore ethnic chauvinists in the name of Paul Malong Awan, the Army Chief of Staff, and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), and to a certain extent by a group consisting mostly of former Khartoum politicians, whose political allegiance is questionable at best.

Paul Malong Awan’s infamous greed for everything is well known. He wants to have more wives than everyone else. He wants to be the wealthiest person in history that ever lived at the expense of the taxpayers.’

He is rumored to have two mansions in Uganda and Kenya: one in Kampala and another in Nairobi as we speak. On his last SBS Radio’s interview dated April 10th, Ateny Wek Ateny stated that “during his time in office as army Chief of General Staff, banks were opened at night for General Malong to take the money and he squandered a lot of money that time.”

During the first attempt at peace which ended in Riek’s escaping from Juba in July 2016, Malong was heard to have said that he’d only allow Riek to come to Juba over his dead body.

Now after stirring up trouble with Kiir, he now sees himself as a harbinger of peace. Paul Malong Awan should never be near at any position of power in South Sudan because he only cares about getting something out of people and leaving them in tatters.

Salva Kiir is naturally an introvert, meaning he is an inward seeking individual as opposed to extroverts who seek outside challenges for pleasure. That is why he can’t handle criticism very well.

The widespread security challenges run counter to his natural strength. Even if Salva Kiir stays on in the August House for twenty to thirty years, he’d never have the urge to resolve the security challenges afflicting our nation.

Riek Machar is only interested in the highest position in the land, and nothing else in the universe will compensate for his thirst to occupy that seat of South Sudan.

Time again and again, his military’s past grievances tell the whole story. During the 1990’s or the current conflict, whether he was fleeing from a victorious militia group or South Sudan government soldiers, he was always seen fleeing single-handedly, leaving his bodyguards and his people in total danger, just to save his dear life.

A leader’s first priority must be to see that the security of his/her respective constituents is well taken of before embarking on a newer project.

This is also the man who opined that Donald Trump had a chance to win the US general presidential elections after he was interviewed by the Foreign Policy magazine sometime in 2016 after the peace deal came into effect.

How in the name of our Lord, can a South Sudanese presidential aspirant liken a dirty racist White supremacist to occupy the highest seat in the US?

Donald Trump envisions a world where black Africans are wayward, mere inferior savages and susceptible to be used by white people as their toy-things.

Riek Machar may have one of the most infectious widest smiles ever, but he has a hidden corrupt part of himself that has eluded us for quite a long time.

In sub-Saharan Africa, politics is seen as the most legitimate means to propel oneself to a higher-celebrity like figure since there are few other economic prospects to become someone like Oprah Winfrey, Lebron James, Bill Gates and so on and so forth.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic prospects are still poor in that respect. It is the president of the nation that gets to welcome someone like Rihana when she visits for a charity cause or any significant cultural phenomenon.

And also because, institutions of democracy that protect the common person from corruption are still in their infancy, all sorts of what have individuals flock to the leadership mantle to preach to us about how they will better our prospects from dire poverty.

Some of these individuals are sheer wretched of the earth and pitiful looters like Paul Malong Awan and others are like Salva Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon who are what I call the political moths, who just like moths can’t subdue the temptation to jump at the beauty of the light (leadership in this case).

Salva Kiir and Riek Machar were subdued by the sheer novelty and power of the leadership when in reality they have nothing to offer us.

Like it or not, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have an enormous wealth of power and following in the nation.

Riek Machar has become almost like a cult-figure simply in that he has been at the forefront of South Sudanese politics for over thirty years.

Even now in his confinement in South Africa, he is still seen as a peerless leader of the opposition.

During the short-lived and failed attempt at peace by which he was installed as the Vice President in 2016, things were beginning to look rather peaceful.

Salva Kiir still occupies the most coveted seat that every South Sudanese aspires to. And he has the means to occupy it for twenty or thirty years more to come, even if we may still languish in unspeakable poverty in the diaspora for that long.

Both Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have an insatiable thirst for power and they will always try one thing or another to come back again and again unless we give them a chance to serve their heart-content for this time around, and that is the only way they may leave us alone for good.

Kiir says he would only leave the presidency after they snatched the last breath out of his flesh and bones. Riek Machar believes his dream will only be fulfilled after having served as the commander in chief.

South Sudan may be one of the newest nations on planet earth, but her people have been on the block just like everyone else in sub-Saharan Africa.

South Sudanese were dwelling in East Africa and all over Africa even when the Europeans were still ruling Africa.

It is out of place for our innocent citizens to expect any politician to be free from deep-pocketing his/her personal suitcases with public money because they have learned every possible trick of corruption from their East African brethren.

Earlier this year, an honest and one of the few politicians we all thought to be free from all the ills of corruption and mismanagement of leadership was caught red-handed to have stolen $1.2 million and bought a mansion in Australia. James Hoth Mai, our former general Chief of Staff was the leader who did all that behind our backs.

We may rush to the sides of our current crop of leaders in celebratory mood, and may even compose songs to highlight their accomplishments, and say that he/she is our son/daughter and our tribesmen, but at the end of the day, he/she may hire a few people, five or ten people to be precise out of tens of thousands.

His/her first priority and perhaps the only reason why she became a politician in the first place was to loot as much as wealth that he/she can gather during her time in office.

We tend to be going through the same roller-coaster ride over and over again crying crocodile’s tears for something that we as individual beings in our localities can prevent from ever taking shape in the first place.

Unknown gunmen are rampant; here you are putting an end to a life of an innocent person and you will cry foul later saying it was caused by a failed leadership of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.

Kiir may have failed as a leader, but he wasn’t responsible for ending the life of that sweet citizen of ours.

In a lawless society like ours, the same incident could be taken up by another heartless individual and that is exactly what happened.

Our young people are still lured into believing that we can only bring down the leadership of Salva Kiir through the barrel of a gun; one problem with that ideology perhaps lies in our shared brotherhood and sisterhood and attachment to our common motherland called South Sudan; in essence we are the same people, even if we may go by different tribal names.

It is out of the question and totally unthinkable to fight your brother/sister over a grievance that you can settle through dialogue.

Another problem is our big grandfather staying next door in the Pearl of Africa who goes by the name of Yoweri Museveni. When Riek tried to take the war to Juba, he was stopped in his tracks by some bloody manna of death that was falling from the sky.

Our politicians are only in politics to make a living for themselves. In sub-Saharan Africa, politics attracts unspeakable and downtrodden pitiful wretched of the earth individuals who only see the wealth flowing from the Ministry of Finance as if they have seen the fabled biblical heaven itself.

“The highest result of education is tolerance,” says Helen Keller. South Sudanese have been through three different separate wars: the first Sudanese civil war from 1955 to 1972; the second Sudanese civil war from 1983 – 2005; and the current South Sudanese malaise which started in 2013.

In totality, we have suffered for a total of 42 years and counting. Every time a war breaks out, South Sudanese flee to different lands and we all witnessed first hand the sad living conditions in those countries.

When an Azande youth says he wishes Awado was one of their own. He meant it would have been great if Awado, who is a Bari by affiliation, was an Azande. Our young people still do not know how to tolerate the people different from their own ethnic group.

They may be in their twenties, but they still possess the thinking of those of our grandparents. That is why illiteracy rate still stands at 73%. While the war was fought on land in South Sudan, it was also transferred to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

No matter how great the social media may be in connecting people from distant lands at the same time, it is one crazy battlefield that possesses the worst arena to opine one’s views especially when no institution of higher authority could filter its content.

As one people who have been through many trials and tribulations of life, we should never allow ourselves to be swayed by the greed of our politicians whose utter interests do not align with the interests of our own: which is to live in one peaceful and prosperous South Sudan.

The reason why 70% of South Sudan population is comprised of youth is that the older generation paid dearly with their blood so we may be a free nation and live in total peace and enjoy all the civil liberties that the freedom can afford us.

After everything else in the world has failed us and we have run out of places to turn to; the only place we can turn to is home and the only home we have always known is South Sudan.

And South Sudan is comprised of 64 tribes. We have to stop turning to violence every time our politicians lose their positions because we also have livelihoods to sustain.

Some 2.5 million South Sudanese perished in the second Sudanese civil war, so perhaps we should take a second look at ourselves this time around and think again whether we deserve this utter and out of this world suffering.

Apioth Mayom Apioth has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA USA. He is an Admission Counselor from the University of North Dakota. He can be reached at:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicola Bringi
A member of Western Bhar el Ghazal community.

Politicians’ indifference as South Sudanese continue to suffer


When the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, made remarks at the Consultative Meeting on South Sudan, with UN, IGAD and the African Union that— “first of all, it is clear to me and, I’m sorry to say so, but I’ve never seen a political elite with so little interest in the well-being of its own people,” some people expressed outrage that it was against the sovereignty of South Sudan for him to make such remarks.

However, he was and he is still right up to now. In my opinion, he made a very precise observation about the conduct of South Sudanese leaders. The leaders of South Sudan do not have any interest in serving citizens as their interests solely lie in power and wealth.

The desire by the leaders to have power and resources has reduced the human values in South Sudan to nothing. This is because South Sudanese have become less human beings since what the leaders look at is not how to improve their welfare but how to enhance their power and acquire more and more wealth.

Thus, citizens have been reduced to objects and because of that they have lost the intrinsic human values due to the indifferent conduct of the leaders of South Sudan. In other words, in the politics of South Sudan, welfare of the citizens no longer matters.

But what matters to South Sudan politicians are wealth and power. Hence, leaders use citizens just like objects to maintain their power and wealth.

Therefore, the way human values and citizenry are understood in South Sudan explain the problems being faced by the people at present. The following problems:

1- Shortage of foreign currency which was caused by corruption facilitated among others through the Letters of Credit (LC). By implication, the shortage of foreign currencies has pushed up prices, which in turn has led to runaway inflation.

Unfortunately, the runaway inflation has worsened because it is not matched with the increase in salaries or business activities. The overall implication of this nature of inflation is the emergency of abject poverty facing all citizens except some of the leaders and their families.

2- Deteriorating conditions of the citizens. The liberation war of 1983-2005 whose negative impact was not reduced and the present war which is the continuation of that war has had a negative impact on the citizenry.

The war in particular has psychologically affected citizens but South Sudanese authorities have not come up with policies that deal with post-traumatic stress that result from the psychological consequences of the past war and the present.

In a study recently conducted by the US-based National Centre for Biotechnology information, it has been found that at least 40% of the participants asked across South Sudan showed symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

The prevalence of post-traumatic stress caused by the war has made majority of the citizens live a hopeless life and has led many of the citizens to committing or attempting to commit suicide.

Hence, on 15 September 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that South Sudan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

In addition, on 29/03/2018, News24 reported that suicide in South Sudan rises as years-long war grinds down South Sudanese. The many suicides in South Sudan are caused by the post traumatic stress that has affected the citizens uncontrollably.

Thus, the PTSD has had a great toll on many citizens though the authorities live as if things are normal with citizens.

3- The Problem of the Unknown Gunmen. Many citizens are being killed across the country and in Juba in particular, without accountability. It appears that the Unknown Gunmen is the government project intended to deal with her critics.

The government on many occasions has been accused of forming the unknown gunmen which is said to be organ of the National Security. In fact, what made many people to believe in that theory is the fact that it is common with the unknown gunmen to target the civilians perceived to be against the government and those with property, and yet the government has never made any attempt to apprehend any member of the unknown gunmen.

4- The problem of communal violence among rural, and in particular, the cattle keeping communities. This is a type of violence perpetrated across ethnic or communal lines. It’s where the violent parties feel solidarity for their respective groups, and victims are chosen based on group membership.

The above is the kind of violence that is eating up South Sudanese communities found in different states in South Sudan.

For instance, this type of violence is common in Gok State, Western Lakes, Eastern Lakes, Tonj, and Gogrial State and in some of the states in the Upper Nile.

The presence of the communal violence has led to many citizens abandoning their original homes as their livestock are stolen or robbed and their crops destroyed yet the government does not even try to find a solution to this kind of violence, which shows that politicians of South Sudan are indifferent to suffering of ordinary citizens.

5- The drilling of oil in disregards to the safety of the local citizens of South Sudan inhibiting areas where oil is found. This has resulted into waste water not processed being disposed of in unprotected areas.

Recently, the report prepared by the German NGO, Sign of Hope, estimated that 180,000 people face life-threatening risks from oil-related water pollution.

The Sign of Hope further reported that heavy metals, from leaking pipelines and refineries have affected the soil and citizens. This has further resulted into massive displacement of the people in oil producing areas.

Despite negative effects on citizens of unmonitored mining of oil, the government of South Sudan does not care about the welfare of citizens as it is busy drilling oil purposely to sustain the war against the rebels with illusive hope of winning it.

This fact has been confirmed by the recent report which made it clear that the leadership in South Sudan is using oil revenues from Nile Petroleum Corporation-NilePet and the National Oil and Gas Corporation of South Sudan to fuel the ongoing conflict.

Though the government rubbished this report by denying it in totality, it has instead put up a defence that it has been using oil money to pay salaries to the employees.

This is not true because civil servants including those working in different embassies of South Sudan are going to ten months or more now without being paid.

This therefore confirms the fact that the government is lying, but in reality, it is using the money gained from oil to fund the war.

Sadly enough, as South Sudan‘s elite uses the country’s oil wealth to sustain the war as well as to terrorize the civilians and to get rich, the country is sinking deep into financial quagmires.

The economic uncertainty and limbo has made the country hostile for its own citizens to live in.

In general, South Sudan can properly be described as the sick man in East Africa since it is a country with suffering population but indifferent leaders.

In fact, the suffering has not spared any person including the soldiers who now beg on the streets though they are the ones defending the same leaders to remain in power.

Those widows whose husbands have been killed defending rebels or government are now begging on the streets because people in South Sudan are viewed like machines that become useless as soon as they are not able to produce more.

In summary, looking at the war as the war of power struggle not reforms, it is not easy for the leaders to reach compromise to achieve peace in order to save the citizens.

For that reason, there is no hope for achieving peace in the near future. This fact has been clearly confirmed by the recent statement from the First Vice President, Taban Deng, that he did not see any prospect of achieving peace very soon since the differences between the government and the oppositions are too wide.

NB// the author is South Sudanese Lawyer residing in Uganda and he can be reached through

Pres. Salva Kiir’s Gestapo Mentality is killing South Sudan

BY: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudanese, MAR/24/2018, SSN;

It was a common perception in Adolf Hitler’s Germany that working as an assassin for the notorious Nazi’s secret police, the Geheime Staatspolizei (Gestapo), was a noble career in the Deutschland. It is now clear that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has adopted Gestapo-like tactics to terrorize the people of South Sudan.

Kiir’s use of a Gestapo against his critics, political opponents, and civilians is not just wrong, it is hauntingly familiar and a threat to the very existence of South Sudan.

Most politicians like to make bold political statements, proclaiming better days ahead for their citizens or countries even when they know their promises are unjustified— or, rather, absurdly imaginary.

This is also the case in the minds of many ruthless tyrants. In Kiir’s mind, it is all about killing anyone who refuses to abide by his cruelty, imposing an ethnic reign, looting state resources and blaming it on unidentified culprits or unknown gunmen whom he owns.

This is exactly what Hitler did when he conducted a brutal campaign against those he believed to oppose his leadership.

It should be clear to the people of South Sudan that Kiir is a modern admirer of Gestapo methods who believes that he can kill with impunity and remain untouchable.

There are many similarities between Kiir’s unknown gunmen and the Gestapo’s assassins. For many years, Kiir’s unknown gunmen have terrorized, arrested, tortured, kidnapped, and killed people, and yet none of the assassins have ever been put on trial.

The reason why Kiir did not use his submissive Judges to punish members of his killing squad is the fact that he is the one who employed them to commit atrocities on his behalf.

What intrigued me about Kiir is the fact that he likes to accuse people whom he disagrees with of wrongdoing. He believes that anyone who refuses to abide by his brutality is wrong and that such a person deserves punishment.

For example, Kiir, with the help of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, orchestrated a scheme to make his rivals look as if they were working on a plan to topple his government.

He put his plan in motion on December 15, 2013 by accusing them of plotting a coup, presenting groundless evidence to support his self-managed claim, and then turning around to blame them for being the ones who started the war by attempting to remove him from power.

This was, in fact, a colossal lie. Kiir later used this misleading allegation against his opponents the morning following the outbreak of war.

He declared that his then-deputy Dr. Riek Machar, along with many senior leaders of the Sudan People’s s Liberation Movement (SPLM), planned a coup against his government and that some of the plotters were detained.

Kiir also demonstrated this seemingly blame-the-victim strategy in July 2016 after he colluded with Taban Deng Gai to try to assassinate Machar at Juba One (J1), his residence.

Most South Sudanese were shocked when they saw Kiir accusing Machar of starting the J1 fighting. Kiir’s policy of blaming the victims is the same tactic Hitler used against his rivals.

The recent politically motivated death conviction of former Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet Dak, and South African William John Endley has exposed Kiir’s deceit in a stunning way.

The decision by the court proves that Kiir’s mentality is no different from the former Nazi leader, who was very good at targeting his critics.

Kiir, through his sycophantic Judges, alleged that Dak committed treasonous acts and that Endley was a spy for the rebel leader Machar.

Kiir then falsely blamed the two men for being the masters of their legal troubles — troubles that were carefully fabricated at J1 and given to a Kangaroo court in Juba to punish the men.

All the charges labeled against both men were unreasonable in merit. The truth is that Mr. Dak was a critic of Kiir’s regime and Mr. Endley was simply an ordinary South African who happened to be a friend of Machar.

In a logical sense, Juba’s tyrant does not want anyone who likes Riek Machar. The man has developed a very serious hatred towards Riek Machar. His hatred for the rebel leader has reached the level of madness.

Kiir’s policy of rewarding the killers and punishing the victims reminds me of an ancient King who is so consumed by the fantasy of wanting to make people embrace his cruelty, justify his atrocities, and glorify his madness.

The real reason behind the convictions was simply an attempt by Kiir to tell his critics that he is capable of punishing anyone who criticizes his leadership — this is exactly how Hitler operated through his Gestapo-managed courts.

Kiir’s decision to use a court to punish Dak and Endley is probably the biggest act of hypocrisy to ever be committed in South Sudan.

There are many people who have carried out far more serious crimes than Endley and Dak, and these people are still working for Kiir’s government.

So, if Kiir wants to punish people, he could have started with his tribal militiamen who massacred innocent Nuer civilians in December 2013, crooked elites, and former ministers who looted hundreds of millions of dollars.

Salva Kiir is simply not a national leader as I indicated in some of my preceding writings. His actions will be an indisputable living testimony in the history of South Sudan.

The man is simply too destructive for the country. For instance, prior to the outbreak of the war in Juba, Kiir became increasingly brutal, visibly enraged, spoke out in a tribally-motivated tone, and publicly recalled past divisive events.

This was a dangerous move displayed by the very person whom the people thought was their leader.

I believe Kiir’s political opponents also contributed to what was then a looming political tragedy by not speaking out against his divisive language.

All these actions led Kiir to falsely accuse his rivals of planning a bogus coup, which resulted in a spate of targeted killings in Juba — it was a gruesome display of his leadership that went down in history as his biggest political blunder.

The South Sudanese tyrant has turned the country into a graveyard for greedy empires. It is good to remind people that the empires in question are Uganda, Egypt, Ukraine, Morocco, Kenya, and Eritrea.

There is no doubt in my mind that these nations are the main investors in Kiir’s atrocious regime and benefit from the ongoing war, all in complete disregard of humanity.

The leaders of these greedy countries are fueling the conflict by dressing up in sheep’s clothing, crying peace, and shedding crocodile tears.

Kiir always likes to accuse his critics of treason and other crimes, but he is the one who should be accused of committing treasonous acts because he has sold South Sudan to these greedy kingdoms.

Salva Kiir has no feeling for any loss of life unless such a loss poses a direct threat to his own life. Kiir is a cold-blooded leader who would kill, smile, and then blame the victim.

What I find puzzling about his tyrannical mindset is that he does not recognize the fact that those who feel oppressed by his leadership have the right to fight for their rights; be they cultural, social, economic or political rights.

It is worth mentioning that many dictators who persistently oppressed their citizens ended up facing serious ramifications. This is what happened with Hitler: he announced that those who opposed his leadership had no reason to live, yet he ended up being the victim of his own brutality.

If this is what Kiir wants, then he must publicly declare that he is the enforcer of a 21st century Gestapo and that he has decided to deny the South Sudanese much-needed democratic changes.

Kiir is now the obstacle to the democratization and development of South Sudan. The only reasonable thing for him to do now is to denounce his destructive leadership and vacate the presidency.

Salva Kiir’s leadership is built on the ideology of a tribal supremacy. He empowers ethnic ideas created by the hooligans of the infamous Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), deceives everyone in his inner circle, and robs the people of South Sudan from their national pride by cunningly changing the constitution to legitimize his tyranny.

The sheer size of his crimes is appalling for any reasonable person to comprehend.

If there are people who still support Kiir’s Nazi mentality, then I’d argue that allowing him to continue ruling the young nation will be a bonanza for his viciousness.

The Republic of South Sudan is now a modern version of a Gestapo-run state where everyone is expected to think sycophantically.

The South Sudanese must not allow Kiir’s Nazi mindset to give birth to a Gestapo baby with a “kill-with-impunity” statement written on its forehead.

The author can be reached at

Open Letter to Dr. Francis Mading Deng: Waste of time with National Dialogue

BY: Kuir GARANG, Poet, Novelist and Political Commentator, MAR/14/2018, SSN;

Many of us have read your books and reports on behalf of the United Nations. When I tell people, casually, during conversations, that the person who formulated the ‘Guiding Principles’ and ideas now used by the UN to take care of the internally displaced is [South Sudanese], they stare at me with a confused sense of wonder and admiration.

It is a good feeling in terms of the human communion and in terms of intellectual relatedness.

The Principles have not only been adopted by aid agencies and different governments, they have also been translated into different languages since they were introduced in the January of 1998.

“A number of governments,” you wrote in a paper in 2001, “publicly praised the development of the Principles and several governments in countries with serious situations of internal displacement have actively supported and participated in seminars on the Principles.”

This is indeed instructive on how valuable these Principles were and still are. You can understand why I’m inclined to speak about the fact that you were the brain behind these Principles with such a global appeal.

Besides your work with the Sudanese government in terms of your foreign affairs services, your books and other scholarly works, these PRINCIPLES speak loudly about how you perceive, and take seriously, the suffering of the internally displaced persons relative to their governments and your concept of ‘sovereignty as responsibility.’

This is a concept that I wished many African governments understood and practiced.

This brief reminder of your work with the internally displaced plays well into what I want to say and why I decided to write to you an open letter.

This letter is about what is happening in South Sudan and what the government of South Sudan has become: a vengeful, suspicious force against the average South Sudanese and all critical voices.

As you correctly said in your 2001 paper, The Global Challenge of Internal Displacement, that “Instead of being seen as citizens who merit protection and humanitarian assistance, these persons are often perceived as part of the enemy, if not the enemy itself.”

This, sadly, captures the reality of what is happening now to the average civilian in South Sudan. The government that is supposed to protect them sees them with a scary suspicion.

So when someone of your caliber works for the government that is doing exactly what you used to advise governments against, someone like me assumes that you are doing something internally, something that would mitigate the suffering of our people.

When you were appointed as the UN ambassador, my hopes were up. I told myself that “a cautious voice of reason will finally speak on behalf of the government of South Sudan.”

But I was being too optimistic or, to some extent, naive. Ambassadors are nothing but mouthpieces of governments.

However, when I heard that you’re again appointed as part of the national dialogue-ND, my hopes were high again.

But then I realized that the ND was merely a face-saving initiative with no real normative intent as resolving the conflict for it was very exclusive.

Since President Kiir Mayardit is being opposed by the likes of Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition figures, it’d have been clear to you that they’d not want to be part of an initiative that was started by their ‘enemy.’

That Riek Machar refused to meet your delegation in South Africa was common sense.

This statement, which you gave in December of 2017 in Addis Ababa, is troubling.

You said that, “On the issue of inclusivity, however, it must be noted that it’s a two-way challenge. When all the stakeholders are invited to dialogue, with flexibility on a mutually agreeable venue, and some individuals refuse to join, where does the responsibility for the lack of inclusivity lie?” That is strange.

Why’d you expect these ‘stakeholders’ to join something that was formed by someone they’re fighting?

You’ve worked with many governments and in politics to know the vanity and self-interestedness of ‘realpolitik.’ Why are you surprised by something you expected?

Did you expect Riek Machar to say, “Yes, it’s a good initiative, we’ll join it” without caring about the fact that this ND was formed by his archenemy?

You dashed my hopes here when it comes to rational expectations.

However, you always have a way of warming our hearts by saying the right thing when we need it the most.

You recently, in the February of this year, presented a noble address in Addis Ababa during the ill-fated ‘High-Level Revitalization Forum’ aimed at reviving the [2015] August Agreement that was meant to end the December 2013 crisis.

You wrote, with an eerie sense of impeccable humanness that: “I’ve always said that while it’s sad and painful to hear that the outside world cares more about the suffering of our people than their own leaders, our response should not be anger or defensiveness, but to convince them that we indeed share that concern, perhaps even more than outsiders, and that we’d join hands and work together to mutually reinforce our efforts toward our shared objective.

We must also convince our people that we’re indeed concerned about their suffering, and we can only do that through affirmative action.”

Undoubtedly, this is a reminder of ‘leadership as responsibility’ as Robert Joss would say. That outsiders sound more alarmed than the very leaders who’re supposed to be the most affected ones is deeply troubling.

However, given your history with the internally displaced, I do believe that you mean those words.

I’ve seen your calm demeanor, calculated and carefully reasoned arguments that makes one feel the need to listen.

You bring out that traditional African wisdom within a value-impoverished contemporary African politics.

Despite the fact that you’re with a group of hardened and desensitized men, who’ll find it hard to listen to the suffering of the people, I still believe that you can help change things.

However, I also believe that you’re approaching this in the wrong way.

First, for the ND to be inclusive, it has to be an entity formed by all the ‘stakeholders.’ This would force them to respect it and commit to it if they know they’ve people they can trust in the ND.

These would be people they chose themselves.

You also need to remember that the problem in South Sudan is the leaders, so for peace to come to South Sudan, these leaders are the ones who’re required to dialogue.

Even if the average South Sudanese in the villages and in towns reconcile, the bitter differences among the leaders will always divide them.

Unless the leaders reconcile and the war ended, any ND would be futile. How do you reconcile people who are still fighting one another?

While the ND is an excellent initiative, it’s being used for the wrong reason and applied to the wrong people.

You need to start by convincing President Kiir to dialogue with Riek and other stakeholders. You don’t even have to go to Addis Ababa.

Unless you help the leaders reconcile and end the war, you are wasting your time.

Just imagine you going to Akobo and the people accept to forgive those who’ve wronged them. But then the government and the rebels fight again in that area and the very people who’d accepted to forgive had their relatives killed.

Would they still respect such a dialogue?

Dr. Francis, while your heart is in the right place, you need to rethink what it means for something to be inclusive and who exactly needs to dialogue with whom and when.

Inclusivity shouldn’t only be in the intended execution of the ND but also in its very formation.

The idea that calling people to be part of the ND is what it means to be inclusive, worries me.
Kuir Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. For contact, visit

Peaceful Governance in South Sudan: Lessons from Kenyan Leaders Coming of Age

From: Dr. Hakim Dario, People’s Democratic Movement, Press Statement – For Immediate Release, MAR/12/2018, SSN;

On 8th July 2016, as if 15th December 2013 was not enough, the world looked on at South Sudan as political violence erupted again in Juba instigated by the JCE and President Salva Kiir against his FVP Dr. Riek Machar, in the wake of no more than three months into ARCSS implementation, which triggered renewed civil war in the country instead of extinguishing its flame.

(Editor: 15th December 2013 was the date pres. Kiir launched a genocidal war in Juba targeting and killing members of the Nuer tribe)

President Kiir chose and preferred violence over peaceful means to settle differences with former FVP Riek, the grave consequences of which the country and millions of its population today in refugee camps and POCs suffer in silence without a glimmer of hope in yet another HLRF search for an illusive peace.

President Kiir as head of the TGONU in the country on 8th July 2016, did not pose the legitimate question of “what will become of South Sudan from the repeat resort to uncalled for violence against fellow country men and ARCSS peace partners” that is now destroying the people’s social fabric and what hope was there now for peaceful governance in an ethnically polarized country bent on violence?

Last year in October 2017, the world witnessed a political contest in presidential elections in ethnically polarized Kenya between arch political rivals; incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga, which was concluded in a court ruling, the first of its kind in Africa for coming of age of the rule of law and the independent judiciary in Kenya.

This appeal to law and peaceful means to political conflict resolution in July 2016 would be far fetched in President Salva Kiir’s and JCE world in South Sudan ruling with impunity!

PDM notes that while Kenya’s court ruling raised hopes and held promise of a new start for the country, however, the events that followed confirmed that the Kenyan nation and people were divided down the middle, unashamedly largely on ethnic lines if not exclusively so.

This turn of events were watched with great anxiety and trepidation worldwide. What will become of Kenya and what does it mean for African democracy?

What hope is there for Africa if a country like Kenya, until recently, one of few success stories of African nationhood and democracy was cracking under the weight of ethnic division, corruption and strive over power before our very eyes on the world stage!

And since its independence 55 years ago, a grim prospect of civil war was on the horizon for a deeply divided Kenya.

On 9th March 2018, what was seemingly an unlikely political event happened in Kenya, as President Uhuru Kenyatta and Chief political rival Raila Odinga, stood together to address Kenyans about the state of their nation and the way forward.

This came as a shock, unexpected but also as a great relief, not just to Kenyans but also to their immediate neighbours in South Sudan, the African continent and the world at large.

PDM commends the phenomenal event seeing the two arch-rivals – who only a few months ago couldn’t see eye to eye, making a joint statement – standing together to address Kenyans and to face the world: a huge victory for the two leaders; a victory for Kenya and a lesson for her conflicted neighbours.

President Kenyatta and Hon. Odinga evaluated their options, decided to heed to the voice of reason. Both leaders are third generation of Kenyans, are schooled and exposed to statesmanship, which is lacking in President Salva Kiir’s and JCE world leadership of South Sudan.

It is instructive which by contrast makes leadership of our country appear to be from the bygone ages of violence and despotism.

PDM applauds the stance and steps taken by the Kenyan leaders – to subordinate their personal rivalries and political ambitions in order to serve the interest of Kenya and Kenyans first.

These two leaders had and have the capacity to destroy Kenya and destroy themselves in the process, but chose not to.

The good news is that they chose the path to resolution of potential conflict through peaceful political means as the preferred option to avert violent and destructive conflict where nobody wins but everybody looses.

PDM looks to Kenya as a valued peace partner to extend their new policy of respect for rule of law, human and peoples rights and security inside Kenya and beyond its borders to effect our country South Sudan to uphold a culture of peace and put the people first.

PDM takes particular interest in what happens to Kenya that matters to South Sudan, as Kenya is not only a home to thousands of fleeing refugees since 2013 but Kenya morally and materially supported South Sudanese throughout two wars of liberation.

The two countries share not just common borders but peoples of common linguistic and ethnic origins.

It was among the first to recognize the legitimate right of our people to self-determination.

Unfortunately too however, today’s South Sudan under President Salva Kiir shares in common with Kenya what “Building Bridges to a new Kenyan Nation” describes as the lack of national ethos in that both South Sudan and Kenya are increasingly being defined by politics of corruption and violence.

The Sentry organization chronicled in numerous reports, how the current crop of political and government leaders in South Sudan are defined by corruption, impunity, lack of vision and lack of respect for human rights and public property.

As Kenyan leaders have acknowledged what it takes to build bridges to a new Kenyan Nation, South Sudanese leaders should know too that before you can build a bridge, you must acknowledge the need to have one to bring people together.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga have set their goal to pull Kenya back from the brink and collapse, history and the people will not judge them harshly if they remain true to the promise they made in their address to Kenyans to create the political space and opportunity for all Kenyans to live together in peace, harmony and dignity.

That will require the support, dedication and commitment of all Kenyans and the international community, not least their neighbours.

The leaders of Kenya have come of age, graciously risen to the challenge of leadership, called a “spade a spade” and averted destruction of their country.

PDM supports the courageous steps they have taken in the interest of Kenya and all its peoples.

As the search for South Sudan peace through the HLRF continues in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, will IGAD mediators and the parties to HLRF put the people and country first?

Hakim Dario PhD
CHAIR _________________________________________________

South Sudan: The ‘Last Chance’ Call for Peace

BY: Samuel ATABI, South Sudan, MAR/05/2018, SSN;

Dear Troika Ambassadors,

The other day I watched, with tears in my eyes, a television news of a perilous journey by South Sudanese internally displaced people (IDP) being displaced again by a government attack in their camp somewhere in the Upper Nile region.

The TV footage featured young people, old people, and even pregnant women trudging along a bumpy dirt road, in a rickety truck, towards the Ethiopian border.

There, they hoped they would be safe from the government soldiers’ guns. Along the way, the footage showed a young pregnant woman who went into a sudden labor, clearly as a result of the bumpy journey.

The truck stopped and she, accompanied by some three women, walked away from the other passengers to an isolated grassy spot so that she could give birth to her baby with some dignity.

The arrival of the baby was announced by the usual lung-opening cry of neonates. A few minutes later, without ceremony or post-natal medical care, the young mother and her baby were brought back to the vehicle to resume the journey.

The vicarious pain I experienced by watching the footage brought it home to me that this war has reduced us to the life of wild animals; to a life in the wild where the struggle for survival is dictated by the Darwinian precept of ‘survival of the fittest.’

Whereas in the wild, predators such as the wild dogs, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles are the skilled killers and devours of both the old and the young preys, in South Sudan, those who have got to the guns first and are armed to the teeth pick their unarmed victims (old and young, including babies) and kill them with complete impunity.

Failed concept of nation-state:

But why should the world stand by and watch this debasing and degradation of innocent lives of South Sudanese without doing something decisive?

Those of us who question this paralysis on the part of the international community in the face of the genocide taking place in South Sudan, are often reminded of the right of a sovereign nation-state to govern its territory without interference from other nations or institutions.

This notwithstanding, and driven by the Wilsonian vision of the American exceptionalism, the US government has spent billions of dollars in support of the people of South Sudan over the last decade.

And to their credit, the US and other Western governments have tried to stop the violence by introducing arms embargo on the warring parties in that country.

But their effort has been thwarted by the two Eastern powers, Russia and China, through vetoing of resolutions aimed to institute the embargo at the UNSC.

The two powers have no visible assistance program for the people of South Sudan, but they continue to make money from the oil industry in this unfortunate country.

The behaviors of these two latter powers continue to perplex South Sudanese; surely, they do not enjoy seeing South Sudanese killed and displaced in millions?

Although it is not profitable anymore to debate whether or not South Sudan is a nation-state as conceived by Cardinal Richelieu in the seventeenth century Europe, in his raison d’état precepts, it is still important to question whether, as structured, the South Sudanese state is the most stable and is fit for purpose.

South Sudan was itself a part of Sudan, a nation-state construct designed by the colonial power in the last century.

The peoples of the Sudan were far from homogeneous; homogeneity is one of the acceptable defining characteristics of a nation-state.

Because it lacked this feature, and as expected, the black and mainly Africans inhabitants of the south of the country, who shared very little with the brown and Muslim Arabs of the north, did challenge the credential of Sudan as a nation-state: they waged a war of liberation for decades starting in 1955 until 2011 when they managed to secede and gain independence.

In acceding to the South Sudanese secession, the international community implicitly and tacitly accepted the argument that Sudan was not a sustainable nation-state as previously constructed.

The tensions that led to the break-up of the colonial Sudanese nation are emblematic of the current challenges faced by several African nation-states: there are increasing calls for secession in some of these countries.

Examples of the countries include Niger, Nigeria, Cameron, DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

The calls are a consequence of some of the leaders of these nations behaving more like emperors of mini-empires than leaders of nation-states.

Those groups of elite or ethnicities, who are in power in these countries, discriminate against those groups of citizens who are out of it, effectively rendering their fellow compatriots as secondly class citizens.

Second-class citizenship was an enduring feature of empires, such as the Roman Empire, and not that of Richelieu’s “national-state”.

Ironically, it is this lack of homogeneity among the citizens of South Sudan that is now the cause of conflict in the country; it is ironic because this young country has purportedly bolted away from Sudan to escape discrimination, marginalization and second class citizenship for its people.

South Sudan is now at the front of the queue of African countries being threatened by disintegration because of complaints about discrimination against certain categories of citizens.

Peoples of South Sudan are not homogeneous.

As stated above, the black Africans of the then colonial Southern Sudan were put together by the British, most probably with their blackness being the main uniting factor.

This, however, is not to say that the British were entirely oblivious to the glaring differences, in physical attributes, cultures, levels of education and temperament, among the people of Southern Sudan.

This is because in their wisdom, the British divided the region in three provinces, which approximately reflected these differences.

These sub-divisions or provinces were named Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

In Equatoria, the population shared a number of characteristic: a multiplicity of ethnic groups (>30 tribes) with sedentary and agricultural lifestyle; relatively higher literacy, thanks to sustained education provided by the Catholic and protestant churches; because of the latter, the Equatorians were less prone to violence and vengeful temperament, which, in turn entrenched respect for life and property among the inhabitants.

The remaining provinces, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile, were dominated by, respectively, single majority tribes with the Dinka dominating in Bahr el Ghazal and the Nuer having preponderance in Upper Nile. (There are, in addition, other significant minorities both in Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile).

Both Nuer and Dinka are related anthropologically, are steeped in their main tradition of pastoralism based on ownership of cattle, and share similar temperament of being quick to anger and fight over cattle rustling.

(The fight over cattle rustling, which can be either within each tribe or directed at other ethnic groups, have become more dangerous with the wide ownership of modern weaponry).

The levels of education among the general population of both these tribes were lower than those in Equatoria, probably because of diminished presence of the Christian churches in their provinces.

Genesis of antagonism among South Sudanese.

The differences described above are at the core of the present post-independence conflict in South Sudan.

The war of independence for South Sudan was fought in two phases: the first phase started in 1955 and was largely led by the Equatorians. The phase ended in 1972, when the first Addis Ababa peace agreement was signed, giving the South an autonomous government.

This was the first ever opportunity for South Sudanese to administer themselves. The autonomous government ran for approximately 10 years.

It was during that time that other South Sudanese began to recognize discriminatory tendencies among the Dinka elite who were involved at various levels of government.

They were seen to be nepotistic, tribal and physically aggressive.

The Equatorian elite in that autonomous government countered these tendencies by successfully lobbying the Sudan government to divide the autonomous government into further three autonomous governments.

The Sudanese government agreed and duly created, respectively, the Equatoria, the Bahr el Ghazal and the Upper Nile regional autonomous governments.

The Dinka elite, whose strategy of dominating the Southern government depended on a single and centralized administration in Southern Sudan, strongly opposed this move.

The Dinka elite were alone in this opposition because the rest of the Southerners had welcomed this re-division as it gave them the opportunity to govern themselves without the domination from the Dinka elite.

It was this opposition to the further decentralization of the autonomous government that led the Dinka elite to withdraw to the bush and start an armed rebellion in 1983.

Later, this primary reason for the rebellion was hidden from the public when Dr John Garang, the head of the lead rebel army, the SPLA, disingenuously claimed that the objective of the insurgency was the “creation of a New Sudan”.

In 2005, following the Naivasha Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Khartoum government and the SPLA, the interim administration that was set up in Southern Sudan was initially dominated by the Dinka and the Nuer.

It is important to note that the Dinka elite had not abjured their earlier strategy to dominate governance in South Sudan during the more than two decades of the war.

South Sudan: The ‘Last Chance’ Call for Peace opportunity to re-assert their divisive objective of domination presented itself in December, 2013, when they started the present civil war by killing thousands of unarmed Nuer civilians in the capital of the country, Juba.

Now, they are fully in-charge of the country, while at the same time excluding other South Sudanese from meaningfully participating in the government.

Root causes of the war

With the foregoing background in place, it is now possible to delineate the root causes of the war in the Republic of South Sudan.

i) The primary cause is the selfish and hegemonic design by the Dinka elite to perpetually dominate the governance of South Sudan. This historical strategy has neatly dovetailed with the prevailing orthodoxy in Africa where the first or some intermediate ethnic group or elite to head the early post-independence governments refuse to pass the mantle of power to any other group of citizens.

The incidence which triggered the present conflict in 2013 was singularly motivated by fear among the Dinka elite that they would lose power in the planned general election to take place in 2015 to the Nuer elite headed by the then Vice President, Riek Machar.

Therefore, the obstacle to the resolution of the conflict is the determined effort by the Dinka elite to first, maintain the centralized government system and second, to use this centralization to deny other groups any meaningful roles in the governance and development of South Sudan.

ii) A secondary course of the war is the interference from the neighboring nation-states in the South Sudanese civil war. There are some nations in the vicinity of the Republic of South Sudan, particularly Uganda, which, for reasons yet unknown to the public, are selfishly shielding and supporting the regime in Juba.

They are fomenting war and disunity among the citizens of the young country and are bent on turning the country into battleground for wars in the Nile valley; the recent entry of Egypt, again, on the side of the government in Juba makes this likely.

Their support for the regime makes the regime arrogant and defiance to any suggestion for peaceful resolution of the civil war.

Solutions to the war

In August 2015, a peace agreement to end the conflict in South Sudan, also known as ARCSS, was successfully negotiated and signed in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

For reasons which history will reveal later, those charged with its implementation neglected to enforce it strictly and timely.

As a consequence, the government’s side violated several of its clauses and Dr Machar, the leader of the opposition SPLA-IO and a key signatory to the agreement, was chased out of Juba and into enforced exile in South Africa.

This left the agreement practically dead. Now a new peace process, called High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) for ARCSS has been launched.

Key participants to the forum have signed a Cessation of Hostility agreement on December 22, 2017 as a prelude to a more substantive discussion of the ARCSS itself in February, 2018.

Disappointingly, already, the government side has been accused of several violations of the ceasefire clause contained in the latest agreement.

Thus, the prognosis for the success of the next phase of the revitalization does not look good.

Despite this pessimistic assessment, we propose and recommend the following as the most reliable solutions to the conflict:

1. The mediators should adopt the following as their strategic objective:
Redefinition and restructuring of the STATE known as South Sudan in such a way that no one tribe or individual again can capture and monopolize power in order to entrench self with the purpose to subjugate and become a hegemon over the other tribes in South Sudan.

2. The mediators should encourage the participants to accept:
A clause, in the agreement, which will authorize the re-division of South Sudan into three FEDERAL states of Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile.

This should include a provision of freedom for any minority group to opt for a shift to another state which is different from that where it traditionally belongs.

For example, if a minority tribe in Bahr el Ghazal, who feels oppressed by the majority Dinka and would want to shift to Equatoria, it should be allowed to do so.

3. Participant should endorse:
Mandatory arms embargo through the UNSC on any party who violates the ceasefire agreement and any other clauses of the resulting agreement.

4. The members of IGAD should agree and sign on:
Promise to strictly refrain from transferring arms to any participants in the armed conflict on the pain of UNSC sanctions.
These are the key pillars that should hold the resulting agreement and on which other clauses will lean.

Consequences of failure
We respectfully urge the UN, the Troika and the AU to seriously consider adopting our suggested Strategic Objective listed in (1) above.

Were it to be successfully applied in the South Sudanese conflict, it might provide a future template for a wider application in the various African conflicts that will surely result from the failing nation-states as alluded to earlier.

The creation of meaningful federal units, in South Sudan and elsewhere in Africa, within a united entity (state) must be preferable to a complete fragmentation into successively tiny and unstable ‘independent’ countries.

This opportunity must not be lost.

The international community has repeatedly announced that the present peace process on the South Sudanese conflict is the last chance for the leaders of that country; but the community has not revealed what are the consequences if this ‘last chance’ fails.

We want to invite the international community to again consider our suggestions for what should be the consequences in case of failure.

a) Seek and pass a UNSC resolution establishing a UN-AU Trusteeship to govern South Sudan for a defined period and prepare the country for a general election; or

b) For a specified period, the dollar proceeds from the sales of oil by the regime in Juba should be managed by the UN for the benefit of the people of South Sudan and not for the ruling elite or nor for the purchase of armaments which are used for killing the population; or

c) The military power of the government in Juba should be forcibly degraded either: through a UN-sanctioned forces attacking the SPLA; or through the intervention of forces from a coalition-of-the-willing, regardless of the resistance at the UNSC; or through the judicious and selective arming of the South Sudanese opposition coalition forces to force a hurting stalemate that should in turn force the government in Juba to the table for a realistic peace settlement ; and

d) If all of the above fail, then the world should be prepared to countenance a scenario of generalized and internecine warfare in South Sudan, perhaps which will be worse than the Somalia debacle both in intensity and scope.

The opposition, in desperation, might seek support from states that sponsor of terrorism for supply of arms and ammunitions. They might form liaisons with terrorist fighters and adventurers in return for religious conversion and future economic benefits.

(There are mineral resources such as uranium, gold and diamonds, in South Sudan, which the opposition might use for illegal purchase of armaments and supplies).

The military presence of Egypt in South Sudan might facilitate the attraction of its terrorist enemies to shift their battleground to South Sudan.

As history and experience have shown, the costs for delayed action to bring peace and normality to a country devastated by conflicts are usually enormous and higher than those for an early intervention; these elevated costs will not only apply to the South Sudanese but will also be applicable to the region and to those who have security and economic interests in eastern Africa.

I should, however, hasten to add here that this is not just an idle speculation from our side; during her recent visit to South Sudan, Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, had expressed similar concern on the possibility of South Sudan turning into a breeding ground for terrorists if the conflict is inordinately prolonged.

(In an appreciation of Ambassador’s Haley stance to side with the people of South Sudan, the following poem was written by one of our members in response to an American female blogger urging Ambassador Haley, from the US, to choose side with the regime in Juba:

‘Have you ever seen the earth from a distant space?
It is a ball of navy blue water with swirling clouds
At that distance, one cannot see the rotting bodies of soldiers and civilians on the Juba streets.
Neither can you see a young mother giving birth in the bush like a wildebeest in a wild park.
Nikki is no dewy-eyed sentimentalist, arm-chair observer talking from New York.
She is a street-level observer who has been to the refugee and IDP camps.
Nikki talked to the victims of war about their sufferings
She shares their pains.
Between the two women, I would choose Nikki for a mother’)

The ‘last chance’ call made by the international community to the leaders of South Sudan should equally apply to the leaders in the region (IGAD), the AU, the UN and world powers.

It is time the Darwinian experiment now being conducted in our country was stopped. Our people need peace and dignified life.

Yours sincerely,
Samuel Atabi