Category: More Views

You can’t straighten an object’s shadow without first straightening the object itself’

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, South Sudanese, FEB/28/2015, SSN;

Following the conspicuous absence of President Salva Kiir Mayardit from what is largely supposed to be final round of the IGAD mediated Peace Talks for South Sudan, many observers begun to doubt the sincerity of the Juba administration to realise an inclusive just peace in a country ravaged by a civil war of its own making.

Also of concern to all is the implication of what seems to be an ill-intentioned absenteeism given the fact that any backtracking from previous signed positions by any of the principals of the two warring factions will adversely destroy any chances of bringing peace back to this new African country.

However there is much that in president Salva Kiir‘s absence than that meets the eyes. In a personal interview President Kiir gave a statement to the Kenyan Daily Nation in its Thursday, February 26, 2015 edition under the heading: “Why Machar will not be my Number 2”.

You may forgive me for not being keen to go into the details of President Kiir’s interview with the Kenyan Daily Nation which can be accessed by following the link provided below :http://www.nation.co.ke/news/politics/Kiir-Why-Machar-will-not-be-my-Number-2/-/1064/2636950/-/7sx1q/-/index.html

However for the purpose of this article it suffices to know that contrary to previously signed agreements between himself and Dr Riek Machar, the president has abundantly made it clear that he is reneging on all those agreements and won’t be sharing any power with Dr Riek Machar Teny, a man who served as his deputy for nearly eight calendar years.

Yet it all seems to me that President Salva Kiir Mayardit was not only being blatantly obvious, but what he said should in fact have been the case from the very beginning given the great visionary disparity and apparent incomparability and incompatibility between the two men.

And to be very fair to all – it really takes a lot of sacrifice from any learned person to accept being second to an individual like Kiir who shouldn’t be presiding over a sovereign country to start with, although it was only those several unplanned events that brought him to the top office.

The African Union, the IGAD and the international community have all said that President Salva Kiir should have kept his word when he signed a deal to attend the final rounds of the Peace Talks that kicked off in Addis Ababa on 20/02/2015.

The United Nations Security Council and the US administration have both talked of possible sanctions plus or minus arms embargo on individuals or entities who directly or through their policies are seen to be blocking the progress of the peace talks.

Well to say the least, President Salva Kiir now squarely lies in that category of “spoiler” of peace and rightly deserves all sanctions from ban on global travel to freezing of assets, of course a heavy embargo on the flow of arms to his notorious army and allied militias.

It is equally important that the UNSC understand that the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF) is part of the ongoing war in South Sudan and must also be included in the arms embargo and any other sanctions for that matter.

Any attempt to exclude President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda from facing similar sanctions as his partner in crime President Salvatore Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan will not bring about the anticipated outcome.

In fact the only way to have an effective and water-tight sanctions is by including the Ugandan military and political leadership into the lot as a share of their role in sustaining the crazy war and directly engaging in the battles.

Museveni and his UPDF must taste their share of the bitter medicine soon to be declared by the UNSC, be it in the form of sanctions or ban on foreign travels or freezing of all assets and a total arms embargo.

It will not be too much for international justice to demand that both Museveni and his friend Salva Kiir Mayardit enjoy equal level of punishment. Together the duo are partners in the crime of setting South Sudan ablaze. This should remain so until such a time that they are both prepared to negotiate peace in good faith. I rest my case.

As for my fellow compatriots in the reform camp, urgently reconsidering our priorities where we stand now could mean the difference between succeeding and failing.

To allow for a timely achievement of the tabled list of reforms, it is necessary to adequately reprioritise these programs, for otherwise there is a real risk of not being able to implement them any time soon.

Informed by the quickly changing dynamics of both the political and socio-economic parameters of our joint struggle for a peaceful coexistence and regardless of whether at this stage one believes in the IGAD mediated talks or not, certain things are much of foregone issues.

However there is one truth that all reformists in South Sudan need to know at this particular point in time and it is the one fact that Salva Kiir and reforms can never coexist in the same administration. In other words there is no daylight between the two. Each one will do everything to obstruct and eventually eliminate the other.

So if you are indeed a person or a group who is contemplating to see reforms dawn in South Sudan then you are practically only left with this one single priority and that is to partake in the removal and disposal of Kiir administration from power as a first step towards any anticipated national reforms.

Salva Kiir Mayardit and his administration are the very opposites of reform and they can never at any time become your partners in actualizing any dreams which are more likely than not to bring an end to their corruption riddled existence.

Everyone who believes in reforms for that matter should have long known that allowing Salva Kiir to continue running the country under any pretext is in itself a defeat to the very realisation of any reforms how big or small they be.

It doesn’t any more whether he extents his stay in power through a manipulated approval by his rubber stamped parliament or as a part of a hard won transitional government of national unity.

You are not expecting Salva Kiir to negotiate himself out of office and negotiate his bitter enemies (the reformists) into power, are you? I hope not, otherwise you are being naïve and rather simplistic.

For as top as Kiir is now on the list as the most powerful person in Juba (obviously not all over South Sudan any more), his removal from power should equally top the list of any constructive reform agenda aimed at salvaging whatever is left of our beautiful country.

It is only after getting the priorities right then and only then can reformists celebrate the start of a new dawn characterized by a good and focused campaign.

And regardless of how tough the implementation of each and every stage might seem, yet down inside we also know that every step the struggle takes is being informed by a total conviction not to compromise its very basics – the Peoples’ quest for Justice, Good Governance, Equality, Economic Prosperity, Accountability, Stability and Peaceful Coexistence which is now in full gear.

After all no one in their right state of mind will even for a second consider being second to Kiir as an end in itself.

In another turn of event I found it quite refreshing to read the article by Bol Mathieng A, titled: “Lack of Accountability and Causes of Current Political Instability: A Case of South Sudan,” which appeared in the southsudannation.com, Feb/26/2015, and SSN; http://www.southsudannation.com/lack-of-accountability-and-causes-of-current-political-instability-a-case-of-south-sudan/

Although it was ironically written entirely to project President Salva Kiir Mayardit as the only saint in the midst of SPLM political sinners, I still consider it another beautiful article in a long series of articles that not only condemn the rampant corruption that continues to engulf South Sudan, but also one that went on to suggest accountability as the way forward.

The article was absolutely on spot when it pointed out that the current sad state of affairs in the country could have been avoided if only we had a competent leadership and administration from the word go in 2005 to deter the widespread corruption and glaring impunity displayed by the incumbent Salva Kiir’s “rotten to core” administration.

However when we talk about the introduction of accountability as suggested by the author, Bol Mathieng A, as a one important aspect which has completely been absent since the beginning of the CPA era of the SPLM administration under Salva Kiir Mayardit, it will be an impartial demand to see to it that all are held responsible – from top to bottom or better still to put it in the authors’ own words,” regardless of the title of the culprit”.

Being in total agreement with Bol Mathiang in his suggestion for a national pursuit of an impunity free South Sudan as an entrance to a peaceful and stable South Sudan, although I wonder how much thought has he given to the fact that for such line of thought to succeed, it is paramount to hold each and every one who wronged the people of South Sudan accountable beginning with those who abused the public office the most!

In such a top down approach the weeding of corruption must start right at the top from the office of the president – then the naming and shaming can successful be allowed to proceed down that gradient.

The logic is that had the person at the top acted promptly on corruption from day one, given the fact that he wields more constitutional powers in the country than anyone else, then we would be today living in a corruption and impunity free South Sudan.

However no one should attempt to sell us the “too cheap” narrative that the president was indeed a saint in the middle of a cabinet of sinners who in fact were his own buddies.

Birds of the same feather flock together – and this explains why the president never took an action past his “in famous” letter writing, to either pin corruption right in the bud or to weed it afterwards.

For all practical purposes when cannot be so blinded to the obvious that the true salvation of South Sudan lies outside the incumbent administration, given the fact the administration all across its decade long history has repeatedly resorted to corrupt means of extracting loyalty from the few that it succeeded to blackmail using what literary amounts to an institutionalized trend of a nationwide corruption and impunity network.

You may agree with me that, ‘you can never straighten an object’s shadow without first straightening the object itself’.

Author: Dr Justin Ambago Ramba. The Voice for the voiceless all across South Sudan.

Lack of Accountability and Causes of Current Political Instability: A Case of South Sudan

BY: Bol Mathieng A, JUBA, FEB/26/2015, SSN;

Accountability can be defined in a layman’s language as giving an account on how a given action was taken or a sum of money has been spent, this has been lacking since formation of Government of South Sudan. The aim of this article is to show where the notion of accountability has been seen lacking, the article will give a way forward.

Accountability has been lacking in our governance system since 2005 as evidenced by the following arguments: In CPA, two percentage of total production of oil revenue was to be given to the producing area. That sounded developmental because the two percentage could cater for relocation of those affected villages in terms of developing the areas that they would be settled in.

The development was expected to bring into those particular affected communities or states at large, things like modern schools fully equipped laboratories, well stocked libraries and employing most qualified teachers that the oil money would fetch, hospitals, tarmac roads, electricity and employment of youth in various sectors.

In fact, given that the writer has never been to greater Upper Nile, the writer has been assuming that Unity state and Upper Nile state are the most developed states in South Sudan. However, Colleagues of the writer that have been there have vehemently refuted that fallacy.

Failure to make the governors (particularly for Unity state) to strictly account for the 2% of total oil revenues is widely believed to have boosted his ego for bigger positions in GOSS.

In other words, having looted the oil money, his accounts fattened and made him fund the coup and the current rebellion. If every dollar sent to those states was accounted for, they (governors) would have remained with their basic pay necessary for their families’ upkeep, but because they were not quarterly audited since they assumed offices as governors, their money accumulated and they thought that they could be bosses of themselves, if not top men in GOSS.

The next area where the accountability has failed to be seen and heard respectively, is at GOSS level. The publication of the 75 top corrupt people is evidence to that claim.

I also believe that if the stringent system was established since 2005, the so-called G10, SPLM-IO or whatever group, would have not been available. They would have remained loyal to the president or else, they would lose getting their basic pay necessary for their basic requirements.

The presidency should note that, in Africa here, weakening political opponents economically whether in the same party or in opposition, explains why some countries in Africa are not having serial rebellion.

Therefore, failing to make every government official accountable explains why, most of the former ministers looted some money and started their own companies, became critics of the government they were part of and eventually rebel when they were removed.

Corruption or lack of accountability is not a new phenomenon in South Sudan, just visit www.southsudannation.com, read particularly in the archives article titled “top 13 corrupt.”

In conclusion, if we want to live a peaceful life, and develop this nation by spending every coin rightfully as budgeted, and if the political opponents of the government of the day are to be tamed economically so that they cannot harm this nation through useless wars, accountability must begin from today not tomorrow and it has to be implemented in a merciless format regardless of the title of the culprit.

The writer is south Sudanese living in juba …you can reach him by mail bullenbolm@gmail.com

Don’t just stand there: Do something about South Sudan! Part 1

BY MARGARET AKULIA, CANADA, FEB/20/2015,
(REFERENCED ARTICLES ARE LOCATED AT THE BOTTOM IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE);

“My life had become so unbearable that I was forced to take the perilous option of crossing our borders secretly,” Peter Abdelrahman Sule, the leader of South Sudan’s United Democratic Front Party had relayed in a communication he sent to very influential friends of South Sudan ahead of being granted expedited political asylum by the United Nations under Article 1(2) of the 1951 Geneva Convention on refugees yet again!

Before fleeing for his life and applying for political asylum, Peter Abdelrahman Sule had endured the most abhorrent forms of human rights violations under the so-called democratically elected government of Salvatore Kiir Mayardit.

A government that resulted from a cooperative Plebiscite and not a Presidential Election but disqualified itself immediately by violating the Interim Constitution of South Sudan in its entirety! REFER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “PRESIDENT KIIR’S SPLM GOVERNMENT IS NOT DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED“ AND THE INTERIM CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH SUDAN.

Peter Abdelrahman Sule’s only crime was insisting on a just society and promoting actual democracy, not the felonious version being ballyhooed by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his lawless cronies. He became a marked man when he campaigned for law and order in South Sudan and pursued his Blueprint for South Sudan which is premised on negotiation and consensus!

As an articulate lawyer with extraordinary communication, diplomacy and innumerable other indispensable skills and attributes, the Kitante Hill Senior Secondary School Alumnus who went on to pursue law at the University of Khartoum and years later post graduate law studies at the University of London, brings exceptional constructs and competences to the table.

His Blueprint for South Sudan is the actual solution for the carnage in the country and it echoes the agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014 by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon. REFER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “JUSTICE PETER SULE ON A LEGAL AND GRASSROOTS SOLUTION FOR SOUTH SUDAN AND THE AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS IN SOUTH SUDAN.

Since his days as a young and very bright Sudanese student at Kitante Hill Secondary School in Uganda, Peter Abdelrahman Sule has been an ardent believer in consensus building. That is the reason why his collaborative problem solving Blueprint for resolving the multiparty dispute currently unfolding in South Sudan echoes the agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014 by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon.

However, IGAD contravened that agreement by excluding him and the other stakeholders!

As articulated by him, the South Sudan carnage has transcended and gone beyond both Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon and their cohorts. Consequently, Peter Abdelrahman Sule’s Blueprint for South Sudan and the May 9, 2014 “agreement to resolve the crisis in South Sudan” need to be compelled at once.

Until his “prison break” from lawless South Sudan, Peter Abdelrahman Sule was not allowed by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his uncontrolled cronies to pursue the very Blueprint that will usher in peace, development, law and order in South Sudan. However, the people’s front is now able to implement Peter Abdelrahman Sule’s Blueprint with no qualms, unlawful restrictions and reservations.

This is because he is now protected by the United Nations, away from Kiir’s trigger-happy government and the hullabaloo about being democratically elected while criminals who double as security agents continue to break the law with impunity.

Peter Abdelrahman Sule’s Blueprint seeks to involve all the people of South Sudan from the ground up and not just the uncontrollable SPLM-cum-SPLA oligopoly that continues to wreak havoc on citizens and foreigners alike.

As he elaborates on his Blueprint for South Sudan and the world rallies behind this actual solution for the country, it is anticipated that the people of South Sudan and their friends will recognize who South Sudan’s actual leaders are.

Kiir and his cronies need to be obliged to stop latching onto a cooperative Plebiscite because a president who surrounds himself with criminals and allows some of them to double as Presidential Guards is unfit to lead a modern state like South Sudan. REFER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “PRESIDENTIAL GUARDS ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT IN ARMED ROBBERIES IN JUBA“.

Integrally, the SPLM cum SPLA oligopoly is a criminal syndicate and therefore incapable of leading a South Sudan where law and order are paramount. To say that the wrangling and unruly so-called Liberation Movement is unable to guarantee civil and human rights and it is in a league of its own is an understatement.

Not even the United Nations as an institution that is unassailable around the world is spared the outlandish consortium’s irreverent conduct. This habitual iniquity is occurring while the so-called Liberation Movement that IGAD is bent on rewarding is continuing to commit the most abhorrent forms of human rights violations. REFER TO ARTICLES TITLED “SOUTH SUDANESE TROOPS STEAL BACKPACKS MEANT FOR CHILDREN”, “ROADBLOCKS ARE PREVENTING AID CONVOYS TO REACH THEIR DESTINATIONS IN SOUTH SUDAN: UN“, S SUDAN WARRING PARTIES BLOCKING FOOD DELIVERIES WITH ILLEGAL CHECKPOINTS: UN“ AND “PRES. KIIR, RIEK & THE SPLM ARE THE PROBLEM OF REP. SOUTH SUDAN”.

South Sudan under the genocidal SPLM cum SPLA oligopoly is so lawless that even the legal concept of Diplomatic Immunity is violated with no scruples. Foreign diplomats aren’t exempted from the combine’s disordered behaviours. So why is everyone just standing there and doing nothing? Why on earth would IGAD want to hand over the country to such a depraved cartel? REFER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “SHOTS FIRED AT US DIPLOMATIC VEHICLE IN S. SUDAN CAPITAL“.

The utter contempt for the rule of law in a country where thugs are emboldened to commit armed robbery while all eyes are on them, takes audacity and brazenness to a new tier. The reckless abandon with which South Sudan security agents currently assault lawyers as defenders of nomocracy while miming “ democratically elected“, “democratically elected“, “democratically elected“ gives new meaning to shamelessness!

The Interim Constitution of South Sudan is being contradicted with reckless abandon and yet everyone is just standing there and doing nothing. REFER TO ARTICLES TITLED “SOUTH SUDAN SECURITY RAID LAWYERS’ ASSOCIATION MEETING, ARREST JOURNALIST”, “LAWYERS’ MEETING IN WAU HALTED BY SECURITY PERSONNEL“, “SPLM-JUBA SECURITY REMAINS HOLDING JOURNALIST” AND “NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE HAS BEATEN A JOURNALIST UNCONSCIOUS”.

A president who feigns ignorance about his own security agents breaking laws has no business being president of a contemporary country like South Sudan. One who grants criminal security agents immunity as they relentlessly violate the main yardstick of democracy which is freedom of speech and assembly has no business invoking democracy to latch onto a cooperative Plebiscite. REFER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “SOUTH SUDAN PRESIDENCY SAYS NOT FORMALLY NOTIFIED OF REASONS FOR CLOSURE OF NATION MIRROR.“

To add insult to the country’s wholesale shame and injury to its unassuming people, Salvatore Kiir Mayardit appointed a fractious bully to the powerful position of Army Chief of General Staff and yet everyone is just standing there and doing nothing. REFER TO THE ARTICLE TITLED “OPINION: THE ILLEGITIMATE ‘KING’ IN NORTHERN BAHR AL GHAZAL.“

These are the anarchists IGAD is proposing to hand South Sudan to while the country’s neglected people continue to be assaulted by the same cruel nihilists. The regional organization is considering its condemnable proposal as a so-called Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders is crying foul and inciting the continuation of South Sudan’s vicious war. REFER TO ARTICLES TITLED “JIENG (DINKA) COUNCIL OF ELDERS: WE’LL RESIST OUR DEMISE BY ALL MEANS” AND “THE NUER SUPREME COUNCIL’S RESPONSE TO THE CHAIRMAN OF “JIENG COUNCIL OF ELDERS INTERVIEW.”

Revered elders in all African tribes scold and extricate themselves from thoughtless, lawless and cruel younger generations but not the Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders. That is the reason why to say that Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his so-called Jieng (Dinka) Council of Elders have made South Sudan a laughing-stock is lax.

IGAD needs to be disqualified from mediating the South Sudan bloodbath with immediate effect. The regional organization has failed to bring about a peace agreement or deal with the root causes of the savagery in South Sudan because it contravened the May 9, 2014 agreement signed by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon.

Because of its lack of discernment, the organization and its affiliates are setting the stage for more lawlessness, death the destruction in South Sudan instead of securing a lasting peace agreement. REFER TO ARTICLES TITLED “ARUSHA RESETS SPLM FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE” AND “SOUTH SUDANESE POLITICAL PARTIES CAUTION OVER PEACE DEAL”.

IGAD has not succeeded in resolving the conflict between Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon and their cohorts because it broke the rules of mediation by:
1) Taking the side of Salvatore Kiir Mayardit.
2) Imposing judgment on the issues being discoursed instead of facilitating a mutually acceptable settlement by ALL the stakeholders (in mediation, the mediator will not and cannot impose a settlement).
3) Imposing itself as a mediator in a dispute in which its members have financial and personal interests in the result of the mediation.
4) Refusing to defer the mediation to an objective forum.

Prior to imposing itself as the mediator, IGAD did not disclose any circumstance likely to create a presumption of bias. Moreover, the regional organization has enabled the conflicting parties to negotiate in bad faith by excluding the other stakeholders.

To salvage the object of the agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014 by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, the South Sudan mediation effort needs to be reconstituted to include ALL the stakeholders, along with advocates from the African and South Sudan Diaspora.

Simply stated, all the people of South Sudan and not just a lawless SPLM cum SPLA oligopoly should participate in pulling South Sudan from under the rubble actuated by the very murderous cartel IGAD appears to be dead set on rewarding. IGAD countenancing the genocidal SPLM cum SPLA oligopoly to act as judge, jury and executioner in dictating how “The people of South Sudan vs the SPLM cum SPLA” is adjudicated is immoral at best.

That is why the organization needs to be stopped from continuing to jumble the South Sudan Peace Talks. The world should not just stand there and do nothing about the criminal mindset that was responsible for the genocide that created the murderous domino effect that is now threatening to sink the entire East and Central African region as IGAD is doing.

Just standing there and doing nothing is tantamount to aiding and abetting genocide. It is recreating Germany’s Auschwitz Concentration Camp genocide, the Rwandan genocide and the countless other genocides that occurred because the international world just stood there and did nothing!

The people of South Sudan and their friends have good cause to replace IGAD in the South Sudan mediation immediately to avert bloodshed. Furthermore, IGAD does not have the authority to decide any issue for the people of South Sudan so it can be substituted because it has failed in facilitating the voluntary resolution of the dispute between the conflicting parties who now include REMNASA (The Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation).

Simply stated, IGAD’s immoral scheme to reward genocide will not go unchallenged! REFER TO PRESS RELEASE TITLED “REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT FOR NATIONAL SALVATION (REMNASA): IT’S OBJECTIVES” AND ARTICLES TITLED “S. SUDAN ARMY EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER DEFECTIONS IN W. EQUATORIA” AND “LAUNCHING THE PEOPLE’S FRONT TO OPPOSE THE GENOCIDAL SPLM CUM SPLA OLIGOPOLY IN SOUTH SUDAN!“

South Sudan’s defence minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk is very accurate in many of his statements in the article titled “S. Sudan army expresses concern over defections in W. Equatoria” but he couldn’t be more wrong when he said, “It is unfortunate that one of the well-mannered and highly disciplined officers at the ministry of defense could not stand the test of pressure, which is regretful.”

Losuba Lodoru Won’go’s defection has nothing to do with pressure but defending and protecting the suffering masses of South Sudan. Contrary to his erroneous superficial comments, Kuol Manyang Juuk knows what a formidable opponent Losuba Lodoru Won’go is. He is absolutely right in discerning that Losuba Lodoru Won’go’s “rebellion could undermine economic activities with neigbouring countries of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) if he takes advantage of his knowledge of the triangle region straddling Uganda to the south of Juba and the DRC to the south west”.

If Losuba Lodoru Won’go had the ability to successfully defuse a Congolese rebellion of ethnic Kakwa in 2012, it is not far-fetched to anticipate the opposite. If Nuers from all over the world including ones from the Gambela region of Ethiopia can converge on South Sudan to defend their kin without the least bit of care for the restrictions imposed by transnational borders, it is not illogical to expect that Kakwa people, their relatives and friends from all the countries of East and Central Africa will descend on South Sudan to fight inhumanity.

Kakwa/Bari speaking tribes know that when a big man places his hand on his head, it signifies fear, hopelessness and defeat so it is anybody’s guess who is not standing the test of pressure in the innumerable defections from Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s anarchic government to the opposing sides including Losuba Lodoru Won’go’s REMNASA (The Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation).

It is anybody’s guess which side is running scared when all that is needed to bring about sustainable peace in South Sudan by peaceful means is implementing Peter Abdelrahman Sule’s Blueprint for South Sudan and the agreement that was signed in Addis Ababa on May 9, 2014 by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon. REFER TO ARTCILES TITLED “SPLA-IO SHELL BENTIU WITH MORTARS” AND “S. SUDAN’S “COBRA” FACTION ABANDONS KIIR’S GOVERNMENT, JOINS REBELLION”.

Every conceivable group could take up arms against Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s depraved government but why spill more blood when a reconstituted mediation effort that includes ALL the stakeholders, along with advocates from the African and South Sudan Diaspora can avert bloodshed. Why continue depending on a biased IGAD that is bogging down proper dialogue when a different forum can be speedily reconstituted?

Why should more precious lives be lost when a reconstituted mediation effort will ensure that every fair and just South Sudanese gets what they need and all the 64 tribes of South Sudan are guaranteed protection from murderous bullies? Why continue fighting when a reconstituted mediation effort can be a successful avenue for building consensus about the way forward in relation to rebuilding the country, proper accountability and proper restitution?

“Yi laga Kakwa/Bari kilo yi moro ku Lemi. Kuje ‘bayi”, I had encouraged Losuba Lodoru Won’go in a missive I sent him in Kakwa. The phrase loosely translates to we Kakwa/Bari speaking tribes fight with just cause. We don’t pick fights unnecessarily. We fight for justice and we fight evil. That is the reason why the karmic forces are always aligned in our favour.

There is no fear when you fight for justice. I had pursued Losuba Lodoru Won’go to convey that if he and his group REMNASA (The Revolutionary Movement for National Salvation) must fight Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and his cronies in self defence and to protect the suffering masses of South Sudan, they should let the God of the Bible lead.

I had included a link to the Bible Stories of Exodus 17:8-13, Numbers 13:1 – 14:35, Joshua 1:1-9, 3:1-17, Joshua 6:1-27, Joshua 7:1-12, Joshua 7:14-8:29, Joshua 10:1-14, Joshua 23:1-24:28, Judges 4:1-9, Judges 4:10-17, 5:19-21, Judges 4:17-23, Judges 5:1-31, Judges 6:1-24, Judges 6:25-32, Judges 7:1-7, Judges 7:12-25, Judges 13:1 – 14:19, Judges 15:1-17, Judges 16:4-22, Judges 16:23-31, Luke 8:26-39, Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-21, Matthew 27:33 – 28:20 and Ephesians 6:10-18 and encouraged Losuba Lodoru Won’go to learn from the stories and stay strong.

“Scroll to the bottom of the page to click on “Kakwa: Congo” or “Arabic, Sudanese Creole: Juba” and listen to the same stories recorded in audio format by clicking on the soldier with the sword and shield” I had instructed while praying that the South Sudan carnage will be resolved without firing a single shot and spilling more blood. This is because it is possible to resolve the conflict peacefully provided the complex mediation effort is reconstituted to include ALL the stakeholders, along with advocates from the African and South Sudan Diaspora. CLICK ON THE “GLOBAL RECORDINGS” LINK.

“I am just a simple person but moved by the suffering of our people” Losuba Lodoru Won’go offered in a reply missive where he explained why he picked up arms in defence and protection of the suffering masses of South Sudan who are “being killed daily in cold blood, harassed, looted and raped with impunity”.

“I am shocked with the way our so called leaders behave” Losuba Lodoru Won’go expressed before continuing.

“I asked myself. Why did we fight and separate from the Sudan? Was it to get a country per se? My answer was big NO. We fought because we felt we were not free, we were not treated equally and we had no opportunity to develop our natural talents as well as no democratic space to be equally represented in the governance affairs of the country we call our own”.

“Option one was to fix the problem if not then go to option two which is to separate. The same but even worse is happening in South Sudan now under Kiir. Our options are to topple him or fix the problem under a new interim leadership” Losuba Lodoru Won’go declared with conviction.

“I have decided with my team that we will continue till freedom, equality and democracy is attained in South Sudan so that we have a conducive environment where for the first time in history we shall have decent and quality education and health services with safe water for all South Sudanese children, women and men” Losuba Lodoru Won’go stated emphatically.

The solution to South Sudan’s current “free-for-all“ and total breakdown in law and order is ingrained in Peter Abdelrahman Sule’s Blueprint for South Sudan and Losuba Lodoru Won’go’s vision for South Sudan, both of which are complemented by proposals from professionals in the South Sudan Diaspora. The common thread is the stakeholder involvement implanted in the May 9, 2014 agreement signed by Salvatore Kiir Mayardit and Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon and guaranteed by Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairman of the IGAD Assembly.

All of Peter Abdelrahman Sule, Losuba Lodoru Won’go and professionals in the South Sudan Diaspora accredit the importance of dialogue and participation by ALL stakeholders and not just a lawless so-called Liberation Movement that is bent on continuing to murder and short change the people they have abused and battered for decades. That is why the world needs to listen to the clarion call to replace IGAD in the complex South Sudan mediation which requires particular skills, extraordinary sensitivity, prudence and inside information.

Losuba Lodoru Won’go is standing up to the lawless bullies of South Sudan by taking up arms against them to defend and protect the suffering masses of South Sudan and I have every reason to believe that he has no intention of backing down! In fact I see a Nuer-Equatoria alliance that can and will obtain proper accountability and restitution for the callousness that has reduced South Sudan to killing fields instead of the ludicrous focus on a crooked power sharing deal.

Why should Salvatore Kiir Mayardit’s lawless government be rewarded with 53% of power and Riek Machar’s splinter SPLM cum SPLA be rewarded with 33% while everyone else gets nothing in an agreement that is not even worth the piece of paper it is written on?

Who gives a hoot about Wani Igga’s job of Vice President when the people of South Sudan are being murdered and violated with impunity? The SPLM cum SPLA oligopoly has violated the Interim Constitution of South Sudan in its entirety so it should not be rewarded with a power sharing deal that swindles the rest of the citizens. REFER TO ARTICLES TITLED “REBEL COMMANDERS RECEIVE ARUSHA DEAL WITH A FIST”, “NUER FIGHTERS REJECT ANY ARUSHA DEAL THAT KEEPS SALVA KIIR IN POWER, THREATEN TO FIGHT ON WITHOUT RIEK MACHAR IN THE MOVEMENT”, “EQUATORIANS IN EXILE REJECT THE STATEMENT BY EQUATORIAN BENEFICIARIES, GOVERNORS AND VICE PRESIDENT!”, “SOUTH SUDAN EQUATORIANS FIGHT VICE PRESIDENT IGGA” AND “SOUTH SUDAN DRAWS “REDLINE” ON FIRST VP PROPOSAL”.

Please Don’t just stand there: Do something about South Sudan! Forward this article to anyone.

Margaret Akulia is co-author of the sequel Idi Amin: Hero or Villain? His son Jaffar Amin and other people speak. She brings to the South Sudan dialogue a multidisciplinary professional background including but not limited to “grassroots activism”.
Additional information and registration for webinars at www.savesouthsudan.com
REFERENCED ARTICLES IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE

PRESIDENT KIIR’S SPLM GOVERNMENT IS NOT DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED

http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/editorials/kiirs-government-not-democratically-elected

THE INTERIM CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH SUDAN

http://www.gurtong.net/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=SHBZGArJ8Ks%3D&tabid=106

http://www.sudantribune.com/IMG/pdf/The_Draft_Transitional_Constitution_of_the_ROSS2-2.pdf

JUSTICE PETER SULE ON A LEGAL AND GRASSROOTS SOLUTION FOR SOUTH SUDAN

http://pachodo.org/latest-news-articles/pachodo-english-articles/8645-justice-peter-sule-on-a-legal-and-grassroots-solution-for-south-sudan

AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS IN SOUTH SUDAN

http://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2014/05/10/agreement-to-resolve-the-crisis-in-south-sudan/

PRESIDENTIAL GUARDS ACCUSED OF INVOLVEMENT IN ARMED ROBBERIES IN JUBA

http://talkofsudan.com/president-kiirs-guards-accused-of-involvement-in-armed-robberies-in-juba/

SOUTH SUDANESE TROOPS STEAL BACKPACKS MEANT FOR CHILDREN

http://world.time.com/2014/02/04/south-sudanese-troops-steal-backpacks-meant-for-children/

ROADBLOCKS ARE PREVENTING AID CONVOYS TO REACH THEIR DESTINATIONS IN SOUTH SUDAN: UN

http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/news/top-stories/roadblock-prevent-aid-convoys-to-reach-destinations

PRES. KIIR, RIEK & THE SPLM ARE THE PROBLEM OF REP. SOUTH SUDAN

http://www.southsudannation.com/pres-kiir-riek-the-splm-are-the-problem-of-rep-south-sudan/

WARRING PARTIES BLOCKING FOOD DELIVERIES WITH ILLEGAL CHECKPOINTS: UN

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/s-sudan-warring-parties-blocking-food-deliveries-illegal-checkpoints-un

SHOTS FIRED AT US DIPLOMATIC VEHICLE IN S. SUDAN CAPITAL http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53051

SOUTH SUDAN SECURITY RAID LAWYERS’ ASSOCIATION MEETING, ARREST JOURNALIST

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/south-sudan-security-raid-lawyers-association-meeting-arrest-journalist

LAWYERS’ MEETING IN WAU HALTED BY SECURITY PERSONNEL

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/lawyers-meeting-wau-halted-security-personnel

SPLM-JUBA SECURITY REMAINS HOLDING JOURNALIST

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/splm-juba-security-remains-holding-journalist

NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE HAS BEATEN A JOURNALIST UNCONSCIOUS

http://upperniletimes.net/world/africa/national-security-service-has-beaten-a-journalist-unconscious/

SOUTH SUDAN PRESIDENCY SAYS NOT FORMALLY NOTIFIED OF REASONS FOR CLOSURE OF NATION MIRROR

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/south-sudan-presidency-says-not-formally-notified-reasons-closure-nation-mirror

OPINION: THE ILLEGITIMATE ‘KING’ IN NORTHERN BAHR AL GHAZAL

https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/opinion-illegitimate-king-northern-bahr-al-ghazal

JIENG (DINKA) COUNCIL OF ELDERS: WE’LL RESIST OUR DEMISE BY ALL MEANS

http://www.southsudannation.com/jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-well-resist-our-demise-by-all-means/

THE NUER SUPREME COUNCIL’S RESPONSE TO THE CHAIRMAN OF “JIENG COUNCIL OF ELDERS INTERVIEW” http://upperniletimes.net/contributors/the-nuer-supreme-councils-response-to-the-chairman-of-jieng-council-of-elders-interview/

ARUSHA RESETS SPLM FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE

http://www.southsudannation.com/arusha-resets-splm-for-another-round-of-senseless-violence/

SOUTH SUDANESE POLITICAL PARTIES CAUTION OVER PEACE DEAL

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53923

REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT FOR NATIONAL SALVATION (REMNASA): IT’S OBJECTIVES

http://www.southsudannation.com/revolutionary-movement-for-national-salvation-remnasa-its-objectives/

S. SUDAN ARMY EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER DEFECTIONS IN W. EQUATORIA

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53835

LAUNCHING THE PEOPLE’S FRONT TO OPPOSE THE GENOCIDAL SPLM CUM SPLA OLIGOPOLY IN SOUTH SUDAN! http://southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/launching-the-peoples-front-to-oppose-the-genocidal-splm-cum-spla-oligopoly

SPLA-IO SHELL BENTIU WITH MORTARS https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/spla-io-shell-bentiu-mortars
S. SUDAN’S “COBRA” FACTION ABANDONS KIIR’S GOVERNMENT, JOINS REBELLION

http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/news/top-stories/s-sudans-cobra-faction-abandons-kiirs-government-joins-rebellion

CLICK ON “GLOBAL RECORDINGS” http://globalrecordings.net/en/script/en/420

REBEL COMMANDERS RECEIVE ARUSHA DEAL WITH A FIST

http://upperniletimes.net/south-sudan/times-nation/rebel-commanders-receive-arusha-deal-with-a-fist/

NUER FIGHTERS REJECT ANY ARUSHA DEAL THAT KEEPS SALVA KIIR IN POWER, THREATEN TO FIGHT ON WITHOUT RIEK MACHAR IN THE MOVEMENT

http://upperniletimes.net/news/nuer-fighters-reject-arusha-deal-keeps-salva-kiir-power-threaten-fight-without-riek-machar-movement/

EQUATORIANS IN EXILE REJECT THE STATEMENT BY EQUATORIAN BENEFICIARIES, GOVERNORS AND VICE PRESIDENT!

http://nyamile.com/2015/02/03/equatorians-in-exile-reject-the-statement-by-equatorian-beneficiaries-governors-and-vice-president/

SOUTH SUDAN EQUATORIANS FIGHT VICE PRESIDENT IGGA

http://chimpreports.com/south-sudan-equatorians-fight-vice-president-igga/

SOUTH SUDAN DRAWS “REDLINE” ON FIRST VP PROPOSAL

http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53982

Letting Juba into EAC would condone impunity: The East African Editorial

FROM: Editorial, The East African, Sat, FEB/14/205, SSN;

When regional leaders meet in Nairobi next week for their delayed EAC Heads of State Summit, one issue expected to come up for debate is South Sudan’s application to join the regional bloc.

Although the country does not meet the minimum conditions for membership, officials are expected to ask for a waiver on the basis that being part of the EAC will accelerate improvement in the required parameters.

“We always argue with our sisters and brothers in the EAC over why they want to wait for South Sudan to reach the level they want and yet these standards can be achieved when we are inside. It is possible to admit us so that other members can shape us in the way they want us to conduct ourselves,” says Barnabas Marial Benjamin, South Sudan Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation.

The EAC Summit should postpone a decision on the application. While this newspaper has empathy for the people of South Sudan, we do not believe that the leaders on both sides of the conflict that started in December 2013 have done enough to end the fighting.

The 1999 EAC Treaty sets out conditions for membership, including adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice.

None of the EAC member states can be said to offer a perfect model of any of these qualities. In fact, many will argue that none of the member states fully adheres to universally acceptable principles in any of those areas. However, the civil conflict in South Sudan, which is a self-inflicted wound on the people of that country and on the conscience of humanity, cannot be simply brushed aside as growing pains.

The conflict, which is primarily a contest between warring factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, is neither about ideology nor fundamental differences, but simply about power and patronage. SPLM is a remarkable organisation that successfully resisted the tyranny of Khartoum to create a secure homeland for the people of South Sudan.

Having shown its military mettle, the SPLM must now prove that it is capable of governing and of being accountable to its people before it can be fully embraced by the region.

South Sudan’s first application to join the EAC, in December 2012, was rejected because of the risk of renewed war with Khartoum, the failure to hold democratic elections and the lack of a culture of democracy.

Since then the country has gone backwards, not forward, on building an inclusive state and an accountable government. To allow it into the EAC in spite of that fact is to celebrate impunity and undermine good governance.

The region has a long history of reaching out to support the people of South Sudan, but the country’s leaders must resolve their political differences and stop the fighting before they are let into the bloc.

Those who come into the EAC may not have the cleanest of hands but they surely shouldn’t come with hands dripping with the blood of their own citizens. END

Strangling Press Freedom in South Sudan

From: MICHAEL ABRAHA, Doha Center for media freedom, FEB/08/2015, SSN;

The polarisied political landscape in South Sudan continues to affect the media and press freedom which remains under threat from the authorities.

Since the outbreak of civil war in December 2013, the media in South Sudan have been among the civil society institutions to have suffered the most. The ongoing violence has resulted in victims being targeted because of their ethnicity or perceived political association or loyalty.

President Salva Kiir, a member of the Dinka tribe, has accused former Vice President, Biek Machar, a member of the Nuer tribe, for inciting the violence in a bid to “overthrow the government.”

The ensuing polarisation has resulted in an intensifying of the dangers facing journalists.

“Whatever the media says goes into the wounds of either [feuding] side,” stresses Michael Thon, former political commentator and talk show host of Catholic Church-run Bakhita Radio Station.

The station was closed in August and then reopened on government orders that it broadcasts only faith-related programs. Elsewhere in South Sudan, there are reports of rampant detentions, harassment and intimidation of journalists, as well as the closure of publication houses and seizures of newspapers by security officers.

Thon holds there is a general phobia throughout the media, including state media which appear to encourage the government to clampdown harder on independent journalists labelling them as enemies if they cover rebel activities.

Incessant media crackdown

Even before the present crisis, independent media were largely viewed as being in opposition to the government, regardless of whether a journalist belonged to the Nuer, Dinka or Equatoria ethnic groups. Observers point out, however, that the major concern for South Sudanese media houses and journalists had been whether they could safely report or comment on issues of national interest relating to the current politicised ethnic conflict or the long standing questions of corruption and governance. But these challenges, new and old, have proven to be too sensitive for the government, resulting in draconian measures being taken against journalists and publishers since the country achieved statehood a little over three years ago.

On February 3, 2015, government agents seized all copies of the Nation Mirror daily newspaper and ordered its closure for alleged ant-governmental reports related to fighting against rebels.

The previous month, on January 15, security authorities similarly ordered the Juba Monitor newspaper to close for publishing articles which the government said were against the system. The Monitor’s chief editor, Alfred Taban, said his paper was being punished for criticising the two major tribes, the Dinka and the Neur, for going to war with the aim of dominating the “country at the expense of all others.” The decision to close the paper was reversed after Taban apologised for the article.

Seizures of newspapers and closures of media houses affect the livelihoods of owners and journalists alike. They also intimidate journalists into compromising their professional obligation and integrity.

Nhial Bol, editor of The Citizen daily and owner of Citizen TV in Juba, has opened a hotel restaurant business as an alternative survival measure in case he loses his media business. Bol, who has been in and out of detention several times since independence, says he is disappointed that balanced reporting has become impossible because of the conflict.

The government seems intent on controlling freedom of expression as a “strategy of creating a situation of fear on the public,” says activist, Edmund Yakani.

Yakani, who heads the South Sudan Community Empowerment for Progress and Organisation, told Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF) that the government seems to believe that suppressing freedom of expression will prevent the armed SPLM-in-Opposition from using propaganda to influence citizens and boost its membership.

Yakani says that restricting press freedom instead contributes to prolonging the war, arguing that media tolerance from both sides would indicate good faith in wishing to bring the conflict to an end.

Need for effective implementation of media law

The media has continued to come under attack by the ruling political establishment despite guarantees set out in the country’s 2011 transitional constitution as well as safeguards set out in a press code adopted last September.

The new law, which was in the making for nine years, provides for the establishment of an independent agency to oversee content and deal with complaints. It stipulates that no criminal charges will be leveled against journalists for what they report, according to the Association for Media Development in South Sudan (ADMISS).

Secondly, the new legislation provides for the establishment of a public broadcasting corporation, and it also allows citizens the right of access to information, as long as doing so does not endanger national security.

Head of the Union of Journalists of South Sudan (UJOS), Victor Modi, believes the suspicion and mistrust between the government and the media has been built over a time when no legal framework existed to clearly define the rights and obligations of both sides. Speaking to DCMF, Modi urged fair interpretation and effective enforcement of the provisions of the new press law.

Balancing national security interests and the citizen’s right to state information will be influenced by the ongoing conflict and whether the government wishes to involved the public in finding a resolution to the conflict.

As a result of the extreme polarisation in South Sudan, such a move has been difficult for the state to undertake. This made it unsurprising, therefore, that Information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth announced in September 2014 that journalists would be prosecuted as agitators and enemies of state if they opt to report news of views from the rebel Machar group.

The minister’s threat coincided with President Kiir signing the press bill into law.

While the people wait for the proclamation of a new national security law, the violent conflict continues. At the same time, the authorities have continued to harass and arrest journalists, such as in the case of Benedictson Ezikia James, Manager of Maridi Community Radio, who was detained in Western Equatoria State last month before being released.

The National Security bill which gives sweeping powers to security service agents is currently in the hands of parliament being returned for further debate by the president. As it stands, the bill grants security officers the right to arrest and detain anyone without judicial authorisation.

It has been widely denounced by national and international rights groups including the African Freedom Expression Exchange, AFEX, which fears its passage will further stifle free speech and free press.

Free Press in conflict situation

Before secession from its northern neighbour, South Sudan was subjected to Khartoum’s outdated and repressive media policies. Current South Sudanese leaders are products of that media environment, which for decades, stood in the way of the people’s path to freedom, dignity and basic human rights. But journalists continue to argue that the existence of injustice in the past does not justify the continued sluggish development of media freedom.

“We are already in the 21st century and as such, we must instantaneously and without any excuse delve into a free press that is critical of the state,” says Dr Peter Wankomo, founder and chief editor of SouthSudanNation.com.

“The palpable nervousness and the unlawful actions against journalists by the Kiir government are symptomatic of a failed leadership,” he argued.

The government accuses the media of a lack of sensitivity when it comes to the conflict in South Sudan, criticising them for a perceived lack of professionalism.

However, journalists do not regard objective coverage of rebel activities as espousing anti- government views, but rather feel that it is their duty to inform people and make them aware of the truth about the civil war which has so far killed tens of thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

At the same time, journalists continue to be caught up in the violence, facing the same dangers as any media workers operating in conflict zones. Last month, four journalists working for state media organisations were killed in an ambush, providing a clear reminder of the daily difficulties faced my journalists during war time.

With neither side willing to make concessions in the peace talks, there is bound to be more violence causing further loss of life and revenue.

Under the circumstances, many hope that despite some professional shortcomings, the media can play a positive role in changing public beliefs about the underlying forces propelling the conflict and in contributing to the establishment of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan.

What is needed is for the Kiir government to work with journalists and media institutions to create a safe, free and responsible media by ensuring that all legal safeguards are implemented.

Confusion on ‘Government’ & Joke of ‘Equatoria Community’

By: James Okuk, PhD, JUBA, FEB/03/2015, SSN;

I read the agreement by President Kiir and Dr. Riek on “Areas of Agreement on the Establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) in the Republic of South Sudan” and its annex on proposed power sharing formula.

Also I read the Conference Resolutions of Equatoria Community presented by its three governors to the IGAD’s Mediators Envoys in Addis Ababa.

1. The agreement could be termed as semi-break-through because IGAD seems to be reaching the tipping point of the dead-end of the whole affair. IGAD warns: Finalize it before it is too late for you or count us out of it if you don’t compromise to reach final peace agreement by
April 2015.

I hope this is a real final call from IGAD before its flight kicks off for good. Arusha got buried in Addis Ababa; requiem mass for it is the only wait!

2. As the principals of war and their negotiators go back to Addis Ababa next three weeks, I would like some clarification on the term ‘Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS).’

There is confusion in the usage of this term, unless the negotiators and mediators have come up with another meaning from what we know from literature of politics.

Who shall be that ‘Government’ when the implementation of any sharing of power is finalized? Will the government be composed of SPLM party’s members at home (e.g., Salva Kiir, Wani Igga, Manase Magok, Joseph Bol, et al)?

Will it be composed of the SPLM party’s members at home in addition to other political parties’ members who are participating in the current Kiir’s government (e.g, Elia Lomuro, Martin Tako, et al)?

In short, will those political parties who are part of the current government (executive) be sharing the proposed 60% for the GRSS so that the proposed (10% or 14% or 20% or whatever
leftover %) share remains reserved for ‘Other Political Parties’ who are not part of the current government? Not only this, but also who shall be called the ‘Government’ after the implementation of the percentages of the shares have been actualized?

Will it be all of those parties’ members participating institutionally in the government from the agreed shares or it shall remain to be referred to those with Kiir?

In my understanding, the power sharing needs to be for the government. It does not make sense but confusions if a government shares power for a government! The use of ‘SPLM-IG’ could make sense in sharing for government positions than the use of term ‘GRSS.’

3. The Equatoria Community is killing political partism in the Republic of South Sudan. Its resolution is an evidence that those who came up with the resolution are not loyal to the SPLM but their own region only.

If governors of every regional community (Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Ghazal) adopt the same political behavior, I don’t think South Sudan is going to head anywhere politically as far
as governance is concerned.

Perhaps, it would be better we encourage creation of political parties called ‘Equatoria Party,’ ‘Bahr el Ghazal Party’ and ‘Upper Nile Party’ rather than allowing and supporting the scrupulosity of one region.

4. I laughed when I read in the resolution that Equatorians are for Salva Kiir to remain as the President of the Republic but at the same time proposing rotational presidency during the transitional period.

Why rotate Kiir to a lower level if you are sincerely for him at the top post? Why mix courage with cowardice! Equatoria Community is joking. I tend to think so.

—————————————————————-
Dr. James Okuk is lecturer and public analyst in area of politics. He can be reached at okukjimy@hotmail.com

Treacheries in South Sudan’s conflict: Call for federal system, tribalism, regionalism, tactical warmongering are tools to power & political objectives not genuine political reform

By: Morris K. Yoll, CANADA, JAN/30/2015, SSN;

Many South Sudanese are heartbroken and afraid. Despite peace talks in Addis Ababa, we are uncertain as to the future of our country even if peace is achieved today. December 15th and its merciless consequences instilled horrors and fears in our minds, anguish in our hearts, and disillusionment and mistrust in our coexistence as people of common destiny.

Tribalism, regionalism, hatred, confusion, fear, delusion, and uncertainty appear to rule much of our thoughts. The conflict started as power wrangling within the SPLM. And then it turned into deadly coup attempt on December 15th 2013 and mercilessly continued as a hotly contested tribal civil war between Dinka and Nuer, though the government and rebels downplay it as such.

Yet, people were targeted repeatedly in Juba, Jonglei, Malakal, Unity State, Baliet based on their ethnicities. With all targeted ethnic onslaughts meted against our coexistence as one people, some politicians advocate Federalism as a solution to current crisis, which is absolutely disingenuous.

Per se, not that Federal system is bad for the country or unachievable, but it is not the root cause of the conflict and called for when our coexistence is racially predisposed and debilitated.

Else, haven’t we crippled our cohesion as people in this conflict? And wouldn’t it make sense to first correct things that went wrong to ease ourselves into federal system with love and understanding that would bind us again as one people?

To achieve a sensible Federal system of governance, we need to understand first that Federalism is a democratic system of governance meant for power sharing and service distribution to the people for development; a system in which people exercise their democratic rights to change things and to govern themselves; and not a system meant to divide or separate the same citizens of one country base on ethnicity, tribe or region and so forth.

Having read various writings and comments from many South Sudanese in various forums, Medias, and hearing simple discussions in South Sudanese public conversations, I can attest that majority of South Sudanese hardly understand how federal system of governance function or are simply confused or trying to confuse people of South Sudan in fishing for glory.

Firstly they missed the fact that Federalism wasn’t the cause of the conflict; power struggled was. So Federalism is a bad prescription as a solution to this conflict.

Secondly, some failed to realize that Federal system of governance, in other parts of South Sudan, will group, in one state, the same ethnic groups or tribes that targeted themselves on tribal line in this conflict; so how would it solves ethnic or tribal violence if the essence is to address tribal conflict?

Thirdly, some politicians deliberately want federalism to separate South Sudanese along tribal, regional and ethnic lines. In other words, they think that under Federal South Sudan if you are, for example, from Equatoria region, than you would not work or even live in Warrap, Upper Nile States, etc; that if you are a Dinka or Bari or Chollo and vice versa, you will not have mobility rights in the state other than your state or call a state of your choice a home to stay.

How are sensible are these ideas or thinking since we will live in one united country as one people? Indeed, I once read a ridiculous statement in South Sudan forum, in which a contributor asserted that he wants federal South Sudan, so that in his state they would be able to arrest, jail and deport back to their states those who come from other states and disturb their peace.

Such trivial talks are frequent in most of South Sudanese discussion forums. They are informal but those who are engaged in them believe in what they say.

Anyhow, I have reasons to believe that Sentiments of some of our people who are against or who are for federalism are guided by some kind of hatred and misconceptions or guided by past illusions of kokora era and fueled by December 15th incident views that try to justify premeditated actions as solutions.

During re-division era of Southern Sudan in 80s, decentralization policy turned divisive. Both People of Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile regions were expelled from Equatoria when decentralization was decreed as a law.

Due to the Kokora’s rhetoric and divide, people were killed, targeted based on their ethnicity and region, which forced people from Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile regions to repatriate from Equatoria region to their respective regions and Equatorians in Bahr el Gazal and Upper repatriated back to Equatoria Region.

Re-division of Southern Sudan started with the theme of decentralization for development, but in the process turned regionally and ethnically violence having failed to make distinction between decentralization as a governing administrative local autonomy granted to regions to govern themselves and as a system in which rights of citizenship and freedom of movement and settlement of the people of Southern Sudan, regardless of provinces or districts of their origin, are granted, observed and as well protected.

As Re-division of Southern Sudan started as decentralization mechanism meant for development and later turned tribally and regionally divisive, call for federalism as mean for development, today, is slyly and shrewdly deployed with intent to achieve what it is really not a good type of Federal system.

The division of South Sudanese based on ethnicity and tribe has a discriminately built in notion that delimits mobility rights of citizens, a ploy in what would be tribally or ethnically polarized country; a bad example type of Federalism.

The Federalism, by any stretch of imagination is a system of governance that recognizes rights of citizen to choose where to live, work regardless of ethnicity and where one originally hailed from if one is a citizen of the country in question.

With this in mind, the way some of us think our Federalism should be applied base on regional or tribal divide just to do away with people of the tribe one doesn’t want, in a country with strong tribalism practices like ours, is incompatible with unity of the country that needs to achieve “one people one country” idea; and thus viewed by some with skepticism that is prevalent in negatively polarized discussions generated along tribal and regional lines.

Such skepticism, for example, is discerned in the way that youth of Bahr el Gazal Region feels about Federal system proposed by the SPLM-IO. In June 2014, the Greater BAHR EL GAZAL CONCERN YOUTH met in Panthou, Warrap State, and stated some of the followings in the forum, just to mention a few statements in the resolution:
(1)This forum believes the current call for federal system is designed to delimited particular regions or Tribes from power rather that used of democratic process.
(2) We cannot form federal state of governance in poorest country in the world with no industries, infrastructures and its economic dependent on revenues collected at the state borders; a situation that shall make some closed-borders states more at risk/Advantages than the others. These negatively major issues that can even provoke fights even at a larger scale. (3) The federal government cannot control insecurity and across border conflicts as well as cattle ridding, the aspect of creating a civil defense will increased tension among the states. (4) The forum warns the federalists not to used rebellion as ways and mean to achieve a mechanism designed to target a particular region and tribe, (http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/15295/Bhar-El-Gazal-Youth-Oppose-Federalism-Support-Devolution.aspx).

The youth of Greater Bahr el Gazal believe that Federalism, in current conflict, is a conspiracy intended to get rid of certain region or tribe [in this case the Dinka] in politics.

Although some of the points stated by the Greater Bahr el Gazal Youth are valid concerns, they have reacted out of fear, and as well, they apparently misconstrued concepts or functions of federalism due to the fact that the SPLM-IO leaders who called for Federalism cannot be trusted in this regard and did it as tactics to gain support for their rebellious movement, because “Federalism” wasn’t a bone of contention that started the conflict but it could accord them support, especially, in Equatoria.

The Bahr el Gazal youth, even though they did not allude to kokora’s divide as an exemplary conflict, they demonstrated their fear of conflicts that could arise between regions or states boundaries. In 80s call for decentralization turned regionally or ethnically divisive for people of Southern Sudan.

Fears raised by Bahr el Gazal Youth forum implicitly linked call for Federalism to the Kokora’s era in the 80s in which people of Southern Sudan were politically divided based on regions. The Bahr el Gazal Youth appear to insinuate that Federalism separate people of the same country.

But Federalism doesn’t limit rights of citizens of the same country to choose where to live or work. Federalism doesn’t make states in the same country to collect taxes from one another at the borders. If anything, than Federalism “pool” revenues collected at the borders with others foreign nations plus Federal taxes collected within the country in order to re-distribute taxes equitably to each states for development and services and social welfare.

In comparison, current call for Federalism by some Equatorians and some Nuers counterpart who are Dr. Riek’s supporters is similar to the call of decentralization in 80s. That is to say, advocating Federal system of governance in pretext of the development and service distribution, but with conspicuous proliferations of hateful speech deliveries along ethnic and regional lines, could potentially ignite civil strife along tribal divide in long run.

Equatorians and Nuers Extremists’ statements in various forums and internet mediums preach that Federalism would liberate them from alienation and domination of Bahr el Gazal, specifically the Dinkas tribe.

Even moderates South Sudanese who are pro federalism shrewdly deploy misguided or crafty assertions to promote divide in order to attain Federalism: The ethnic dimension of the ferocious conflict suggests that those who imagine that South Sudanese are one people are nothing but merely wishful thinkers.

South Sudanese will never be one people even if the Son of Mary comes for the second time. What we could be only is as people of one destiny. Being of one destiny was the only unifying factor that brought independence to South Sudan, (Jacob K. Lupai, Federal system of government the Salvation of the South Sudan, http://www.southsudannation.com;http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/federal-system-of-government-salvation-of-south-sudan).

Unlike many Equatorian writers that I mostly read their contributions on this subject, I consider Mr. Lupai to be a moderate South Sudanese. However, Mr. Lupai in his statement above stunned me. Perhaps, he is lost in trying to put pun into his philosophy or is trying to justify division of South Sudanese base on tribal and regional differences.

This is absurd because three known regions of South Sudan, Equatoria, Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile are not homogenously inhabited; they are all occupied by various, different tribes of South Sudan that make up these regions.

If Mr. Lupai is trying to justify Equatorians to be one people who are categorically different from people of Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile regions, then such presumption is erroneous at best, because equatoria is a region inhabited by various ethnic groups or tribes, which implies that if people of South Sudan cannot be one people for ever because they are different and so never would people of Equatoria be one forever.

Nevertheless, nations are amalgamations of different ethnicities, race, cultures, religions, etc that form one unique national identity as one people. Besides, Federations all over the world are created with understanding to embrace cultures in one country and to ease equality of development and distribution of services equitably to the people of the same country.

That is to say, in one country, certain regions or all regions maybe or may not be inhabited by ethnically or culturally or religiously the same groups of people; yet Federalism, as a system of governance, is instituted to attain and promote oneness, equality of development and above all to achieve understanding and promotion of all cultures as proud and unique heritages of one united country.

South Sudan cannot be exception to this harmonious rule and belief in Federal system, though we are in fact homogenously African race, homogenously and culturally African descent, and almost homogenously animist and Christian nation. We have commonalities in cultures, religion, race and ethnicity that we can embrace and value as our heritages.

By historical struggles, by religions, by people and cultures and by geographical delineations, South Sudanese are simply “one people.” We fought for seventeen (17) years and gained autonomy as one people and struggled again in unity for twenty (22) years and achieved independence as one people. Indeed, we have mixed and intermarried now more than previous years or centuries.

Then ethnically, religiously and culturally, we are almost the same African tribes subdivided into groups of linguistically related tribes. Realistically, out of 64 tribes, Tribes in South Sudan are grouped into 8 or 7 categories.

With all these commonalities, why would one capitalized or preached being different to justify adaptation of Federalism in the country and diminished oneness that we indisputably are?

Unless one has a hideous plan in mind or lack ideas that justify better system of governance.
South Sudan is geographically and culturally diverse, vast and remotely undeveloped.

Devolution of power in form of Federalism would assist in promoting rapid development, better exploitation and utilization of resources, and accessibility of basics services needed. Without prejudice and in quest of development that would address marginalization in any of the regions in the country, we can claim any democratic system- federal, circular, unilateral, etc base on our love of democracy and freedom we fought for to achieve for half a century as people.

We should value, development, freedom and democracy because we sacrificed 2.5 million, un-quantified lost of properties and unimaginable indignities to achieve better ways of life and coexistent as people. Freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, as American termed it, should be our quest and motto as a nation regardless of our current limited development.

Instead of the government or unscrupulous politicians withholding better democratic ways of governance, after independence, the SPLM ruling party should be conscious of what it fought for- “the liberation of marginalized people of the Sudan.” After having achieved our independence, I consider Lack of civil liberties and clear democratic system as a mockery to our quest for freedom, “a shame on the SPLM’S ideology” that advocates liberation of “marginalized” people in the Sudan.

Apparently lack of civil liberties had driven us, unnecessarily, to current civil war in which some masquerading leaders in opposition are now trying to champion attainment of civil liberties, democracy or struggle to adopt certain system of governance.

Having achieved our hard earned independence, we should be mindful of our rights and willingly give them so that, collectively, we invest our might and energies to explore our resources, economics and human potentials, to improve our wellbeing as people with no discrimination.

Only in a politically sound environment, free of hatred and ethnic rivalries, shall we achieve understandings that would lead us to explore our collective potentials and as well value our tribal and political differences for our common goods and prosperity as people.

Views that tend to embrace tribal differences to justify regional divide than unity by tribal and regional extremists, are destructive and thus scrutinized with contempt by people of other regions or tribes with intended wrong judgement of issues, let alone considering gentle disagreement to agree on fundamental issues necessary for our progress as a nation.

Extreme and obnoxious views would lead us, as a nation, to a senseless, unnecessary self-destruction for no reason(s) or for no benefits to be reaped but doom in the end-like it is in current civil strife. This should not be of any surprise or ignore, because in the past Equatorians advocates of decentralization in 80s wanted decentralization to “escape” what was termed as a “Dinkas’” or in general “Nilotics’ domination” that subsequently ended up with violence along ethnic and regional line.

Hence, call for regions or tribes to rise up against other tribes or regions, as it was proclaimed by Dr. Tombe Wani, is an impediments to genuine discussions on Federalism, nation building and governance reform in general, because they can only promote hatred and tribal rivalry that obstruct openness and sincerity in debating issues that matter for better future as a country.

Such rivalry has already been generated by the December 15th incident and some Equatorian leaders like Dr. Wani Tombe’s called for Equatorian youth to take up arms and join Dr. Riek’s movement to fight for their rights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIcJ6IQw-SI).

The Jieng Council of Elders press releases on December 14, 2014 that urged Jieng people to defend themselves could be interpreted as a response to their fears of what they see as anti-Jieng: “As the Council of Jieng, we want the Jieng people to know that the anti-Jieng [Dinka] conspiracy to demise the entire Jieng community marches on and to alert our people that we must all stand up to defend and protect ourselves from the world that seems so pleased to celebrate with our haters, our demise,” (http://paanluelwel.com/2014/12/14/press-release-the-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-south-sudan/).

It is scary, sad and pathetic to read such a bellicose call from an elderly council of Jieng that, in this crucial time of crisis in our history, should wisely reach out to amend damages done in our sociopolitical fabrics by December 15th target killings and by senseless and revengeful civil war that ensued afterward in our country.

It is scary to know that even a wise council of elders stooped to duke it out policy. As well, it is pathetic to see a revered body of wisdom giving in to hatred. Not the least, it is sad to comprehend that Jieng society known for its peaceful and careful approach to war conflict issues succumbs to warmongering plot.

It is a bad precedent that our elders are setting on behalf of Jieng society and has to be rejected by Jieng, for there is better ways to go around hatred of Jieng in South Sudan than warmongering defensive call. Never in the history of the Sudan had Jieng ever had political intention to unite to dominate or to fight their enemies in solidarity.

Not even during slavery era when Jieng were enslaved by Arabs; not even during modern Sudan (in 80s) when slavery was revived by Araba in the Sudan; not even during Kokora when Jieng were targeted in Equatoria; not during civil war struggle when Arabs and tribal militias were deployed to attack Dinkas village; not even as of recent era when Jieng villages from Awiel to Abyei and up to Pan-thou and Karsana occupied, and still contested, by Arabs in the Sudan, did Jieng declare their solidarity to fight their enemy or to reclaim their stolen land by Arabs neighbors.

Despite having not declared tribal solidarity in the past to fight its enemies, sub-Jieng communities confronted by hostility of any kind fought their enemies, and in conjunction, as priority, sought peace with enemy for peaceful coexistence.

So why is it now that Jieng’s solidarity is rallied against South Sudanese when Jieng are in better position to change things diplomatically and peacefully? Why now when the Jieng are the ones ruling or in control of South Sudan? Our elders have even gone far to the point of attempting to silent or taunting Jieng members who view current affairs in the country differently: due to what Jieng elders perceive as collaboration with non-Jieng to annihilate Jieng people, they down cast their own who disagree with them: “The hate for Jieng within the South Sudanese community is now very obvious, even to you, the few Jieng, who had been driven by anger and disagreement with the ruling system of South Sudan to join this movement of Riek Machar Teny, so clearly bent on the destruction of Jieng,” (http://paanluelwel.com/2014/12/14/press-release-the-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-south-sudan/).

This is preposterous! However, it is obvious to assert that Jieng Council of elders is coerced by hateful messages directed to Jieng as a society in current conflict. In other words, hateful views in response generate no better understanding but the same hateful views.

Nevertheless, the so called “anti-Jieng conspiracy” should not make Jieng elders to stoop low as they did in the quotation above. As well, Jieng Council of elders went far to obstruct freedom of association in politics of our country in the second quotation. Let me reiterate the same quote for clarity: “The few Jieng…………..driven by anger and disagreement with ruling system…..to join……..Riek Machar Teny …clearly bent on the destruction of Jieng,” (http://paanluelwel.com/2014/12/14/press-release-the-jieng-dinka-council-of-elders-of-south-sudan/).

What have we really become! In a democratic setting, citizens are accorded right to religiously and politically association as they want regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. Our elders have abused this right by trying to intentionally silent Jieng members with different views.

I quoted the above quotes to make my point in the light of this article. Though, I intend in the near future, on different topic, to comments on such attempts to exacerbate the conflict than solving it.

My advice to MY beloved Jiengs and South Sudanese readers, in general, is to tell them that extreme comments from various writers quoted above, drive us apart as people for no goods but self-destruction. Hatred and extremism of these kinds are intended by those who make them to confuse people and not forgetting their trials in this fashion to discourage diversity in thinking by silencing those who see things differently.

I doubt not that future of Jieng, as a society, is in diversity in thinking than in a collective oriented single view as a society. Jieng, as a society, in South Sudan, has always been in a good side of South Sudan’s history of struggle.

Today, when South Sudan is independence and many people of South Sudan desire Federalism as a system that suites their cultural diversity, Jieng as a society should value this aspiration than to be seen discouraging it. Not the least, Jieng as society, as majority in the country, should be aware of what many would view as a tyranny of society in which a ruling society collaborates with government to withheld rights of others.

As people of South Sudan with no exception, nothing could really drive us, at this point in our history, to hate or divide ourselves when God has answered our prayers in granting us freedom we long for when we were collectively subjugated and bused in the Sudan.

Even brutal December 15th incident, its aftermath onslaughts and ensuing civil war should not drive us extreme or apart as some want it, because they were engineered and forced down our throats to swallow by circumstances. We should treat December 15th incident as a result of weak point in our political system that finally broke loose and needs wise, collective views of all South Sudanese people to address and fix it.

So, if our intent is to accomplish good governance in form of federalism, then we should emphasize on our unity as one people of one united country first, who simply desire implementation of Federalism to achieve democracy, good governance, devolution of power, and equal development to all people of one united country with no discrimination.

In a society like ours in which illiteracy rate is high, with no laws to fight hateful views and no civil liberties and rights to fight discrimination, emphasizing on our tribal differences to justify Federalism would create unnecessary alienation that would result into discrimination and violence.

While discussing Federalism as a system we want to adapt, it is important to bear in minds common or collective citizenship and rights and that Federalism is just a governance system that does not withhold nor interfere with citizens rights to live where one choose in one’s country. And by definition, if the system of governance, in one nation, is divided between Federal [central] authority and the various constituents, namely states, provinces, etc.; then the system of governance is referred to as Federalism.

Indeed, the following definition of Federalism stated in the Principle of Democracy, April 2005 Update captures the essence of Federalism as a system of governance: “When diverse groups of free people — with different languages, religious faiths, or cultural norms — choose to live under an agreed constitutional framework, they expect a degree of local autonomy and equal economic and social opportunities. A federal system of government — power shared at the local, regional, and national levels — empowers elected officials who design and administer policies tailored to local and regional needs. They work in partnership with a national government and with each other to solve the many problems the nation faces,” (http://www.ait.org.tw/infousa/zhtw/DOCS/prinDemocracy/prinDemocracy.html).

One can strongly argue that the above definition doesn’t really capture our cultural, religious and even linguistic realities, but we are indeed diverse and free people who could adopt Federal system to govern ourselves. Anyhow, examples of federal states are the USA, Canada Australia, India, and Nigeria, just to mention a few federal systems that we could explore for better understanding.

In Canada, citizens have mobility rights defined in Constitution Act, 1982 chatter of rights and freedom that state:
(1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.
(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right (a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and (b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
(3) The rights specified in subsection (2) are subject to (a) any laws or practices of general application in force in a province other than those that discriminate among persons primarily on the basis of province of present or previous residence; and (b) any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html).

All Federal states in this world have similar mobility rights and freedom of their citizens. Where I reside in Alberta, as a citizen of Canadian an Albertan, Federal laws will not limit my rights if I move from Alberta to Toronto or British Columbia to live there as a Citizen.

I will live and work anywhere in Canada that I call home. If I or my child has political ambition, he/she could become a Member of Parliament, Mayor or a premier of any province they called home, a Prime minster of Canada if he/she has what it takes to be a leader. Federal systems in the USA, Australia, you name them, function the same or similarly when it come to the rights of citizens.

However, in our case, some advocates of South Sudan Federalism appear to suggest a different kind of Federal system that doesn’t conform with any federal system in the world. Some of us think that if you are, for example, from Warrap State you have no right to call Yambo your home to stay, and that you would never become a governor Warrap or a mayor of Kwacjok City, Warrap State even if you were born in Kwacjok but your parents originated from Juba despite having been born in Warrap and having a political ambition to serve people of Warrap.

Whereas, some of us have totalitarian’s tendency to dominate or control others socially, economically, and politically by wanting to control wealth and politics of the country by denying Federal or any democratic system that DEVOLUTIONIZES governance system in the country.

Clearly, our problems with Federalism seems to be a failure to perceive recognition of mobility rights and freedom of our citizens in one united South Sudan, and lust of political domination by certain groups.

As I know, every prominent political and non-political group-the opposition parties, the ruling government, and all regional elders of our three regions of South Sudan appear to have agreed on considering Federal system of government, however; the devil is in details and contents of their proposals.

But first let us take a look at type of governing system in South Sudan at this movement, because some argue that South Sudan is a Federal State when others views disagree with such postulation. After independent, in 2011, South Sudanese inherited Sudan’s system of governance.

Under the Sudanese authority, South Sudan was divided into current ten states. It followed that, during Sudan’s ruling regimes, governors of ten states in South Sudan were appointed by Central government authority. However, in 2005, after CPA peace agreement, the government of Southern Sudan was formed under ruling authority of the SPLM political party that took over governing authority of Southern Sudan region from the NCP regime of the Sudan.

Hence, in 2010 elections, in the Sudan, ten governors of Southern Sudan states and the President of Southern Sudan were for the first time elected democratically. With democratically elected President and elected governors of ten states, South Sudanese view their country as a democracy and some even considered South Sudan Federal State because of its ten states.

Considering South Sudan a democracy is plausible; yet debatable. But calling South Sudan Federal State is contradictory, because federal system is proposed in draft interim constitution that is yet to be passed.

Else, many feel that having ten states in the country with elected governors doesn’t amount to having a federal system since states have no defined powers granted to them and despite the fact that drafted interim constitution is not passed to legitimize Federal system of governance of the country.

Equally, in true Federalism, states must have independent functional government, judiciary, and parliament, economic system, and so forth that operate independently from central authority or federal government. In our case, as a comparison to functional Federal system elsewhere, our country is really not Federal.

Even so, if we consider having ten states and election of our governors as a proof, there are still incidences in which Central government interfered or meddled in individual state’s affairs. Elected governors were fired with executive Federal government decrees and impeachments conducted by state local authority as exercise of state’s democratic process and as state’s independent judiciary laws process, were reversed by Central government authority.

Likewise, appointment of state government ministers, members of parliament and other important positions were influenced if not decided by Central Government Executive’s authority which makes the hold process not democratic, and much to say that it makes State Authority dependent of Central government than self-regulating authority.

All in all, one could argue that South Sudan is more unilateral system than being a Federal system at present. This ushers us into debating current proposals presented by Dr. Riek and his Opposition group, the elders of Bahar el Gazal proposal and how South Sudanese in general think of federalism as a system of governance to be adapted.

When Dr. Riek Machar proposed Federalism as one of his quests in his current rebellion, it raised tremendous alarm and fear in the country. After failed December 15th coup attempt, Dr. Riek’s several attempts to militarily overrun Juba also failed, while his vicious pyrrhic’s victories in occupying most of greater Upper Nile state also lasted shortly.

It was also speculated that had Dr. Riek’s forces captured the whole of Upper Nile State including oil rich county of Renk, Jongeli and Unity State and militarily maintained the whole areas of greater Upper Nile regions, he would have been politically tempted to solicit international support and regional alliance with neighboring countries like the Sudan, Eritrea and even Ethiopia and then declare some kind of greater Upper Nile autonomy.

This was a possibility that was foiled when government troops managed to retake occupied states Capitals of greater Upper Nile region and forced Dr. Riek’s rebels out of strategic areas in greater Upper Nile to defend oil installation in Paloch and in Unity State.

Equally, the manners of which Dr. Riek rebels captured and ransacked towns did not accord him support or sympathy of the Greater Upper Nile people. The Greater Upper Nile is an ethnically/tribally diverse region and brutality of ethnic/tribal targeted revenge killings was horrifying enough to immediately discredit Dr. Riek’s rebellion and making it a movement with no clear objectives, but unbecoming revenge and destruction of both lives and properties.

Having failed to maintain his strongholds captured, Dr. Riek introduce his plan to help fight a long time gorillas’ warfare. This he would never be able to achieve with his predominately tribal based White Army militia alone, so he thought it wise to declare his quest for Federal system of governance to at least draw support, especially, from Equatoria region.

In the Greater Upper Nile Region, the mercilessness of Dr. Riek White Army’s target revenge that did not even spare lives of members of other tribes and ethnic groups of Greater Upper Nile Region plus lack of vision, hampered Dr. Riek’s needed unification of Greater Upper Nile Region to Support his appeal for Federalism. But in the Greater Equatoria, Dr. Riek’s call for federalism was revered.

Immediately, the Central Equatoria Governors Clement Wani and Western Equatoria Joseph Bakosoro plus many Equatorians intellectuals welcome Dr. Riek’s call for Federal South Sudan governance as a good gesture.

Paradoxically, governors of Greater Equatorian States and Equatorians intellectuals dismally failed to realize that Dr. Riek rebelled against the government of which Greater Equatoria is a part and parcel of the legitimate government and recognizing a call by a rebel leader fighting against the government was a mistake that would caused more instability of the ruling government and the country.

This prompted the President’s of South Sudan criticism and warning of Equatorians in general. President Kiir asked Equatorians not to join Dr. Riek’s tricks. Though the President did not oppose call for Federalism, he warned of division of South Sudan as a result.

Dr Riek’s Federalism, according to July 17, 2014 press release, proposed dividing South Sudan into 21 states in conformity with colonial districts ruling. In the Greater Upper Nile Region, Dr. Riek carved following states, (1) Fashoda State, (2) Renk State, (3) Sobat Sate, (4) Akobo State, (5) Pibor State, (6) Bor State, (7) And Bentiu (Unity State), (8) Nasir State. This proposal produced eight states in the Greater Upper Nile Region.

However, Dr.Riek released new state names recently as follow, Adar (North East Upper Nile State), Phou, Liech State. It is yet unclear whether these states names are replacement of some of the state name above or additional states to the list of states created in the Upper Nile Region.

Then in the Greater Equatoria, Dr. Riek carved total of six states namely, (1) Yambio State, (2) Maridi State, (3) Yei State, (4) Juba State, (5) Torit State, (6) And Kapoeta State. Whereas in Greater Bahr el Gazal Region he carved seven states, (1) Northern Bahr el Gazal, (2) Wau State, (3) Raga State, (4) Gogrial State, (5) Tonj State, (6) Rumbek State, (7) And Yirol State. Dr. Riek based his creation of states in accordance with Colonial District policy,

however; he did not recognized, Tumbura District in Equatoria, and Pangak District in the Upper Nile Region as states. Yet, skeptics could deduce that Dr. Riek carved himself a lion’s share by creating 8 states in his region of the Greater Upper Nile Region and less number of states in Greater Bahr el Gazal and Equatoria regions.

This is questionable because Bahr el Gazal and Equatoria are the most populated regions of South Sudan and would also desire creation of more states in them to meet the so called SPLM’S philosophy of taking town to the people or developmental demands.

Indeed, there are views that Dr. Riek’s call for Federal system and creation of more states in general is intended to balance the majority domination in this fashion that would give him comparative advantage in politics.

That is to say, out of ten current states of South Sudan, Dinkas are found in seven (7) states and creation of more non-Dinkas states in all three greater regions of South Sudan would overcome such domination that would help the cause of Dr. Riek and his political allies.

Indeed, some supporters of Dr. Riek’s Federal system proposal advocate representative type of democracy in which the President of the country would be elected by members of the house or senate, nominated by each state regardless of tribal majority in the state to elect the president, and not by straight public elections.

In the light of this, both political collusion and coalition of states would define ruling political dominance group. Not the least, Dr. Riek advocates restructuring of the military (the SPLA) based on states. Thus, creation of more states in his strongholds also gives him comparative military advantage.

In his recent Pangak’s convention, Dr. Riek verified his call for two armies in the country by forming his military high command and states led by appointed military governors, which is viewed with great concern and skepticism.

For majority in Greater Bahr el Gazal Region, there is more cynicism to be deduced from Dr. Reik’s call for Federalism that needs cautious approach in embracing his call for Federalism if unity of the country is considered paramount or a MUST maintain necessity by all stake holders. Therefore, Dr. Riek’s call for Federal system of governance was out-rightly rejected by many in Greater Bahr el Gazal Region.

Nonetheless, the elders of Greater Bahr el Gazal Region, in consultation with the elders of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria regions, came up with parallel proposal that supported Federal system according to colonial district governance. It is similar to Dr. Riek’s proposal but it divides South Sudan into 23 states.

After elders of Bahr el Gazal revealed their proposal, the Federal politics and tension that took hold of the country, at the time, quelled down at least. According to the elders of Bahr el Gazal, South Sudan would be divided into 23 states that composed of six (6) states in Greater Equatoria {Imatong Lomurnyang, Maridi, Gbudwe, Jubek and Yei States}; nine (9) states in Greater Bahr el Gazal {Wau, Aweil, Lol, Aweil East, Kiir, Gogorial, Tonj, Lakes, and Rumbek}; and eight (8) states in Greater Upper Nile {Liech, Rwueng, Eastern Nile, Western Nile, Jonglei, Biech, Latjoor, Boma states}.

As one could see, the Greater Bahr el Gazal region has a lion’s share of nine states compare to the rest of the regions. The skeptics have already criticized this as unfair rationing of states between three regions. However, and according to the Jieng elders, the proposal was widely debated by consulting committee from three regions, and as well the proposal has more flexibility given to changes to meet understanding of all regions.

So far, we have seen the proposal of Dr. Riek and his SPLM-IO, the proposal of three greater regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr el Gazal regarding Federal system of governance from their documented and released communiqué. To satisfy our curiosity, it is practical to present the position of the ruling government, the rest of the public and the stand of the SPLM party, as liberation party that brought us independence, in Federal system political saga proposed.

The opinion of the ruling government is drawn from speeches and press releases by government officials in response to the call for Federal system by the SPLM-IO. Whereas, shared opinions of some members of general public are drawn from individuals with whom I have discussed adopting Federal system of government for the country, while the SPLM Party’s stand on Federalism is a pure observation.

Therefore, I portray the position of the government of South Sudan on Federal system, as opposed to the SPLM-IO (rebellious opposition proposal), from perception and response of the President of the country. The President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir said that he has no objection in adopting Federal system in the country, but he would let South Sudanese public decide, in the referendum, on the issue.

This statement is fair enough and gives us clue to government intention in dealing with Federal system of governance proposed. Based on the President’s response, I can speculate that the public is asked in this fashion, with no farther details, to anticipate referendum on this issue when the time comes.

With regard to the general opinion of various people from different regions of South Sudan that I have met and discussed the idea of Federalism for South Sudan, I have deduced divided opinion on implementation of Federal system in the country. Some think that the Republic of South Sudan is already a Federal country and also assert that having not stated word “federal” in the title of the country means nothing and doesn’t amount to the Republic of South Sudan not being Federal.

Indeed, this group of people suggest maintaining current state of affairs, but give more powers to states. In fact, people of South Sudan are divided based on regions and ethnicity on this issue: many people from Bahr el Gazal and Upper Nile, mainly Dinkas especially, do not want Federalism but prefer unilateral system with devolution of powers; while majority in Equatoria and many Nuers of Greater Upper Nile regions want Federal system of governance.

There is a great confusion and lack of knowledge of Federalism as a system of governance. It is of no surprise for South Sudanese, in general, to be confused on this issue, for since Sudan’s independence, South Sudanese have been ruled undemocratically and unilaterally by the Sudan and as well by current SPLM government. Hence, great majority of citizens do not mind about system of governance to say the least, however; the big surprise is the SPLM’S weird position in this issue.

The SPLM’s vision and constitution of 1998 stipulated decentralized democratic system of governance as a ruling system in the new Sudan. Startlingly, the ruling SPLM party since the CPA peace agreement was signed between the south and the north Sudan espoused Sudan’s unilateral system of governance and thrust aside “decentralization and devolution of power” proposed in the constitution as the New Sudan’s ideology system of governance. It is quite challenging though to understand why the SPLM failed to utilize its ideology to rule the country. Indeed, it is mind-boggling to see that none of the SPLM groups, including the government, emphasizes on the decentralization and devolution of power as a prepared SPLM’S system of the governance since they are custodians of the Dr. John Garang’s ideology; yet all camps professed being the SPLM by history and soul. Surprisingly, the spilt within the SPLM and current conflict was caused by the accusation that the President of the Republic, General, Salva Kiir Mayardit and his group has deviated from New Sudan ideology, when the accusers (the SPLM-IO) themselves now called for Federal system that is inconsistent to Dr. Garang’s decentralization and devolution of power system of government for the new Sudan.
The SPLM’S conflict and its senseless perpetual Civil War have caused great damage to our social and political fabric. It is therefore important to highlight that the conflict was created by the SPLM power struggle between the President, General Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former Vis President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and later joined by Secretary General of the SPLM Party, Mr. Pagan Amum Ukech. Subsequently, the coalition of fired Vice President, fired ministers, fired General Secretary and Dr. John Garang family who backed fired Garang’s Boys, formed against the President. The President responded by firing the whole of his cabinet plus general secretary of the party.
As the result, the SPLM coalition of fired oppositions held political rally in Juba on December 14 in which they released their detailed grievances as in following: (1) The anti-Garang elements inside and outside the SPLM encircled comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit’s leadership of the SPLM and the Government of Southern Sudan [2005-2007]……….. (2) The shift in decision making process from SPLM national organs to regional and ethnic lobbies around the SPLM chairman when it came to appointments to positions in government; that membership of the SPLM and one’s participation in the revolutionary struggle became irrelevant……….. (3) The efforts to transform the SPLM from a liberation movement into a mass based political party have totally been frustrated by the Chairman. General Salva ignored the grassroots views and demands garnered between July and August 2012 for the SPLM re-organization. (4) There is no formal communication between the party organs at the national level and those in the States, County, Payam and Boma levels. The Government drives the SPLM rather than the other way round, (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article49087).
If one compares the SPLM-IO grievances on December 14th Juba rally with Dr. Riek’s speech in Pangak SPLM-IO Conference, one would find lots of contradictions in the causes of the conflict and the SPLM-IO demanded solutions to address the “root causes of the conflict. For example, the SPLM-IO demands formation of two armies in the country, establishment federalism system, restructuring of parliament, judiciary, just to mention a few that do not really conform to initial causes of the conflict. I have given the background of the conflict, stated above, to point out that the government offers and SPLM-IO positions and claims are unsteady and peace talks in Addis Ababa are not geared toward addressing the root cause of the conflict as a result. This prompts many questions in the minds of many South Sudanese, questioning the seriousness; the sincerity and political moral consciousness of our political leaders, now locked in bitter fight for power, in bring peace in to the country by first reconciling their differences and then address system of governance differently and constitutionally.
Since all of them, leaders, claimed being the SPLM gurus that cherish the New Sudan ideology, why would a democratic system of governance like the one promised in their SPLM’s constitution in which system of governance, military duties, parliamentary duties, citizens’ rights and participation strongly stipulated and encouraged, unacceptable to them as a solution! Are they really oblige to devise system of governance, restructuring of government, the Army, the Judiciary, etc in this peace talks rather than stopping bloody war and later use democracy and elected parliament to address reform?
The real problem is in the SPLM party, and so is the solution in the SPLM vision and constitution! It will be nice of all the SPLM leaders if they just stop war mongering and flip-flop and get their acts together by reconciling their ranks and share their government? This way, many lives will be spared from senseless war. The public is well aware that all the SPLM leaders, now fighting, were in the government and followed no rules, constitution, promises, etc. Does it matters that old rules discard and new written to be followed by the same people? It is illogic! I read an article in global witness entitled, “Blueprint for Prosperity-How South Sudan’s New Laws Hold the Key to a transparent and Accountable Oil sector” November 2012 issue that stated the “New Laws” if followed would address corruption and so forth. This suggests that are already New Laws in place that can address problems, but they are hardly followed. Anyhow, in this conflict, people were targeted based on their ethnicity particularly in the greater Upper Nile Region where it is hard to delineate or carve tribal state without including other tribe in the same state. Here, the question is: what is the significance of using Federal system to address current conflict? Is it to address tribal domination or racial discrimination or both and on what level-State or Federal level? Since proposed states carved minorities in some of the states in which they were ethnically targeted in this conflict, how would Federal system proposed address racial and tribal violence in this faction? Likewise, since proposals also recommend creation of tribal states, how would this address the necessity of our needed unity in the country? In view of the above questions, the following recommendations would help pave our way to achieve a lasting peace and unity in our country:
• Cease hostility. Commit to peace talks to end the war by agreement. Accept power sharing. Reconcile leadership differences to ease transformation of the SPLM party. Resettled displaced and immediately stage reconciliation and healing processes.
• Adopts the SPLM decentralization and devolution of power systems that distribute powers up to the Boma level or start implementing Federal system by giving more powers to current 10 states while developing towns, laws and people to meet future demands and creation of more states.
• Establish democratic governance first by building independent institutions like judiciary and parliament at both Central and state level to safeguard democracy and rule of law.
• Gradually Limit Central powers and authority over states by allowing states to develop their autonomous local governance independent of central government and by identify where central government and state government can jointly work and where they can independently work to ease devolution of powers and to avoid frictions.
• Elect credible National Assemblies, at both level of state and Federal, as an institutions capable of writing and overseeing laws of the land to independently and efficiently address problems facing the country.
• Address corruption, tribalism and racial divide by outlawing them and establish institutions of law and laws to fight and punish discrimination and violence cause by tribalism, and as well educate public about importance of unity and dangers of tribalism and racial hatred.
• Educate public about democracy and objectives of federalism or decentralized system of governance by democratically encouraging citizens’ participation and awareness in their governance.
• Demarcate state boundaries and address cattle seasonal migration, stealing and raiding by establishing both Federal and state police forces and security posts to address cattle raiding, thief and migrating problems.
• Democratically transform the SPLM as a ruling party to address devolution of powers democratically and creditably.
• Separate the SPLA/M by developing them as independent institutions.
• Develop the SPLA as an independent national military institution free of political affiliation that is accountable to all the parties in the country and capable of carrying its military duties without political, tribal, and regional inclination or influence.
• Clearly spell out citizens mobility rights and educate states, counties, Payams, and Boma government authority about mobility rights of the citizens to move freely, settle freely, do business freely and work anywhere in the county without discrimination or harassment.
• Initiate targeted development to address unnecessary migration from Greater Bahr el Gazal and Greater Upper Nile Region to Equatoria by developing Malakal town, Wau town, Rumbek, Unity State, Aweil, Kwacjok, Nasir, etc., and then construct main transport roads that connect all three regions ( Equatorial, Bahr el Gazal, and Upper Nile) from the Capital city Juba to Rumbek, Wau, Ragj, Aweil, Kwacjok, Turalei, Abei, Unity State, and from Juba to Jongeli, Akobo, Malakal and Renk and Nasir, etc, so that availability of goods and basic services reach all regions.
• Encouraging South Sudanese Diasporas communities to denounce tribalism promote unity by form one uniting South Sudanese community in their localities.
• Encouraging SPLM chapters and non-SPLM chapters in the Diasporas to encourage unity and denounce tribalism.
• Solicit Diasporas expertises by encouraging them to bring back home their diverse knowledge in business, education, skills, ideas, etc to help in addressing development and as well help in promoting living in multicultural society.
• Encourage South Sudanese at home to embrace multiculturalism by culturally intermingle through learning one another languages and cultures, through intermarriages, through visitation, work or live or school in each other’s states to know themselves well.
• Establish media (radio and TV station) in State, Counties, Payams, and Bomas to help in promoting peace and unity and fighting tribalism. Indeed, establishing a broad based media would bring government’s important messages to the locals.
• Grant civil liberties like freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and opinion, etc
• Grant Medias (press, radio, television, etc.) rights and freedom to help in fighting tribalism and corruption and help in promoting nationalism and above all, help in informing and educating the public of all the laws, rights, duties, and responsibilities of the citizens including promotion of peace, reconciliation and coexistence as one people.
In summation, what is hurting the country right is insecurity and civil war. We should, as people, think of doing the right think first. Stop the War. Reconcile our people to jointly work in unity to devise a system of governance that would adequately address our needs and problems: whether be it development, coexistence, political, economic, racism or tribalism, lack of democracy, marginalization, etc in clear minds. We cannot come up with a viable system of governance in a situation where insecurity rules, where lack of democracy and freedom of expression is absence. Indeed, there is no a successful federal system or a successful decentralized system of governance without democracy in which citizens democratically, politically, and economically participate in the affairs of their country. Currently, South Sudan is almost one party state though there is a recognized official opposition party, the SPLM-DC. The SPLM controls National Assembly, 93 %. The SPLM controls National Army, (the SPLA), which is subordinated to the SPLM ruling as specified in the SPLM constitution. The ruling government should realize that successful nations are built through participations and contributions of all citizens in various walks of lives. That is to say that the government has to recognize that oppositions parties in the country also contribute to nation building in constructively criticizing government shortcomings and in participating devising laws in the country; that civil society contribute to nation building in making sure that citizens’ rights are granted, respected and protected by the government; that every citizen’s views count in building the country; and mostly importantly recognizing that we do not have to become one party members to know what is good for the country or love our country. Secondly, the SPLM-IO should know that our people do not deserve this war considering what they went through during liberation struggle. To be sincere, people of South Sudan suffered war atrocities for nearly 50 years; they do not desire nor deserve reform through the barrel of the gun. This particular war perpetuated by the SPLM-IO brought much hurt to us as people of common destiny and should immediately stop! Let us use dialogue not war to agree on issues that matter to us as a nation.

Morris Kuol Yoll is a concerned south Sudanese Canadian residing in Alberta-Canada. He could be reached at myoll2002@yahoo.com or 403 228-3290. Preferably, Morris welcomes your response via email. Thanks in advance.

2015 Elections: How many carts should Pres. Kiir be allowed to place before the horses?

By: Riang Yer Zuor Nyak, South Sudan, JAN/25/2015, SSN;

Introduction
In my last article, titled ‘Salva Kiir’s Attack on His Own Legitimacy Claim,’ I made a point that the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 provides for four years of transition ”… before a new election could take place under a new and permanent constitution.” The most important part of that statement is the area talking about elections under the permanent constitution.

It signifies that there is no chance for any elections to take place under the current transitional period under the Transitional Constitution. I am only glad that the Opposition Parties have picked up that point and made a move to challenge the government in court for unconstitutionally wanting to conduct elections under the Transitional Constitution.

I want to state that the Opposition Parties have a standing to challenge unconstitutionality of any government’s act, as do any other citizen in the country, so long as the case is justice-able, ripe and not moot.

But, they are wrong as far as timing is concerned. Filing their case at this time goes against ripeness doctrine. The current statements are only threats of action. The government has not yet taken any tangible step towards executing this threat. They should have waited for the time when the government actually releases the election money to the Elections Commission. That would trigger a case for an injunctive relief.

The premature action of the parties is only giving the court an opportunity to throw the case out on the ground that the case is not ripe yet. Nevertheless, there is no chance that the parties can win any case (ripe or not ripe, constitutional or unconstitutional) against Salva’s government in Chan Reech Madut’s court.

Elections
Before March 2013, the issue of elections in 2015 was never problematic. It suddenly started becoming a controversial one after March, when a number of SPLM leaders started showing their interests in the Party’s Chairmanship.

After Salva’s leadership was openly challenged in the party, Salva and Wani started talking about the impossibility of the elections, citing lack of money to fund the exercises, as there were loans, to be repaid, which resulted from the 2012 oil shut down.

This position was taken at the time because Salva and his group did not yet know what to do with those who had shown interest in the Chairmanship of the party. It has to be noted that the party issue had a bearing on the 2015 elections.

The SPLM Constitution stipulates that the Chairman of the SPLM shall be the flag bearer in the presidential election. So, something had to be done first to ensure that the Chairmanship of the SPLM remained with Salva before elections could be allowed to take place. The situation remained as such.

The whole thing started changing after the dissolution of the SPLM structures before the 6th of December 2013. This was the time after the group (Salva’s) seemed to have come up with a plan of action. They had decided to leave the opposition out of the party processes of passing the party basic documents and preparing for the National Convention. This was done to ensure that Salva controlled the process so that the Convention could end up electing him.

Before the Convention could take place, Wani started talking about the elections to be carried out on time. Their actions, beginning with the dissolution of the party structures, pre-determined the outcome of the Convention. They were sure that Salva would remain the Chairman of the party.

To make sure that these opponents did not have freedom to speak or take part in the political process, a plan was put in place to eliminate them one way or anoteor. It had already begun with the home confinement and gagging of Pagan Amum and the removal and accusation of Deng Alor and Kosti Manibe on the basis that they had committed corruption.

For Dr. Riek Machar, they could not come up with any corruption charges. This led to the false accusation of a coup attempt. This was meant to take him out on charges, which would fetch him death sentence. That way, he could be eliminated for good. Carrying this plan out resulted in the current war breaking out, and the issue of elections became mute on its own.

Unilateral Postponement of the Elections
As the Peace Talks were going on last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Salva Kiir while arriving at Juba Airport from an IGAD Summit in May, made a unilateral declaration that he had postponed the elections to 2018 or so. It did not matter to him whether or not he had a reason for such an act.

To him, he was exercising some imaginary constitutional power, or he might actually have thought of himself as the constitution, needing no one else to consult. To other ordinary South Sudanese, it was a clear show of dictatorship. It also showed that he had no regard for the Talks in Addis Ababa.

It was after the declaration that Salva received criticisms both internally and externally. These criticisms came from all directions, including Yoweri Museveni himself—Salva’s most trusted external advisor. As a result, the idea of running elections was dropped altogether. It timing was left to be negotiated at the IGAD-led Peace Talks.

Legitimacy
Suddenly, the nagging issue of legitimacy has become one of desperation on the part of the government. It has now brought the 2015 elections to the fore. I suspect that it is not well thought out. It might have come up during some form of an ordinary conversation that the constitutional period of transition was approaching its end. Then someone might have tried to put himself in the position of a problem solver by suggesting elections as an ingenious way of restoring legitimacy.

But, would that really solve the problem? Not a chance. The current Transitional Constitution is a big stumbling block.

Whatever Happened to the Transition?
Arguments for and against the 2015 elections have been advanced by many a people, following the first time that the government started declaring its intentions to conduct elections so as to avoid “leadership vacuum”.

These arguments for the conduct of elections include the government carrying out a constitutional mandate, avoiding being categorized as illegitimate, and allowing the people to exercise their constitutional democratic right of choosing their leaders. Whatever they are, the arguments have no constitutional basis.

Arguments against the elections include insecurity, lack of a conducive atmosphere for the elections, state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile and the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa. They all suggest the impossibility of conducting a free and fair election. They are very sound and legitimate reasons. However, they are secondary.

The primary focus should be on the fact that the current period in the country is transitional. As such, the current Transitional Constitution’s role is to transition us from the period when South Sudan was an autonomous part of the old Sudan to the period when we could have a permanent constitution.

It follows that the period is for the preparation of a new and permanent constitution of our own for the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. It is the government constituted or created by such a new and permanent constitution that officials should be elected to. It is not the current transitional government that officials should be elected to, as advocated by Salva and group.

Putting Pressure on the SPLM/A?
Someone made a suggestion that the government might be trying to put pressure on the SPLM/A by trying to conduct national elections. This is a laughable assertion. There is no way that one can put pressure on another by doing the wrong thing. One would be best served by doing the right thing in the interest of the people so that the opponent, if trying to go the opposite way, can find him/herself against the people.

The government, if that is part of the plan, will find itself under its own pressure by ending up antagonizing the people by trying to conduct unconstitutional elections. The people have a lot of things on their minds. There is war raging on in the country, which would make it impossible to conduct a free and fair election; there is a state of emergency in Greater Upper Nile; there is a threat of war-induced famine looming; there were fellow citizens killed in cold blood and no accountability procedures in place yet; and there are many more. Faking an election for the sake of a manufactured legitimacy would be the last thing to hear.

Insisting on the elections without legal basis would see the government ending up putting pressure on itself, as it will find no support from the ordinary people and the international community as well.

A Cart Before the Horse
The government should, now, be concerned with what to do with the transitional period as the first priority. Or else, whatever Juba does other than that, is meaningless. At this point, it has only two options to choose from before contemplating the conduct of elections. Going for the elections before going for one of the two options is like placing the ‘cart before the horse.’

1. Writing the Permanent Constitution
Paragraph 8 of the Preamble to the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011 talks of the use of that Constitution and the period for which it shall be in use. It is only and strictly to be used for the Transitional Period. It talks about how the Constitution should be referred to upon adoption “…and shall be the supreme law by which the independent and sovereign South Sudan shall be governed during the Transitional Period…” It is at the end of this period that the new constitution should come in to force.

Article 199 (2) of the Transitional Constitution supports the point made above. It states, “This Constitution shall remain in force until the adoption of a permanent constitution.” By “This Constitution”, it refers to the Transitional Constitution.

Therefore, the task that the government should be prioritizing, if it is not concerned about the on-going war, should be to write and promulgate the permanent constitution—instead of wasting time and energy talking about preparing the country for what it calls ‘June 30th elections’. It is after the promulgation of the permanent constitution that elections could be conducted. It should not be the other way around.

2. Extending the Transitional Period
In the alternative, Salva could use the provision of the current Constitution to amend the same so as to have an extended period of transition. Article 197 of the Transitional Constitution, in regards to amending, states that, “This Constitution shall not be amended unless the proposed amendment is approved by two-thirds of all members of each House of the National Legislature sitting separately and only after introduction of the draft amendment at least one month prior to the deliberations.”

Knowing the nature of the current National Legislature, I believe Salva would not have difficulties getting the Constitution amended. Getting two-thirds of members in each house to support his amendment would be an instant event.

However, the extension of the transition would not allow elections. The extended period would only be used for the writing of the permanent constitution. It is after this that the elections would result.

Either way, Salva has no legal way of avoiding writing the permanent constitution before he can actually go for any elections.

Concluding Remarks
Whether the government acts alone or in agreement with the SPLM/A, elections—under the current constitutional dispensation in the country—can never be legally conducted to give legitimacy to the current government. There is just no constitutional mandate for elections into the current constitutional regime. It is under the permanent constitution that national elections can be conducted.

Instead of elections, the government should only start thinking on how to embark on writing and promulgating the permanent constitution, if it has the legitimacy to do that alone given the current war situation. It is after this that an election can be talked about. Otherwise, the government would be putting carts before horses.

The current transitional period is not for elections. It is for our transition to the next period to be ushered in by a new constitution. It is the next government that leaders will be elected to. This and other reasons, such as insecurity, peace talks that are on-going, etc will never allow this much-talked about elections to happen.

The author is a South Sudanese. He can be reached at riangzuor@yahoo.com

Why South Sudan should mourn dead Saudi’s King Abdullah Ibn Saud

BY: Deng Leuth Yuang, CALGARY, Alberta, CANADA, JAN/24/2015, SSN;

“The fear of the unknown is going to be supportive to crude oil prices. King Abdullah was the architect of the current strategy to keep production high and force out smaller players instead of cutting,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

Following the death of Saudi Arabia King, the US West Texas Intermediate benchmark rose by more than 2% selling at $47.76 a barrel and the international Brent Crude benchmark rose by more than 1.5% selling at $49.10 a barrel.

Wow! A world of Unbelievables, a Little United States of America in the heart of Middle East is exerting its pressure upon world’s energy giants – oil and gas economies, companies and individual dealers to either adjust, stay put or do away with oil. Unbelievable!

This brings me to the South Sudan’s economy. There was some uproar among certain quarters of South Sudanese when Pres. Salva Kiir sent condolences to the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the death of their leader. These critics claimed that late King Abdullah was an Islamic Jihadist, and hence there are better things Mr. Kiir should spend his time on such as expediting the peace process or mourning those killed in the country by his self-made senseless war.

That is great, but one thing is crystal clear. I do think President Kiir was playing out his international diplomatic role as a leader in his own right to ‘appease and recognize the Kingdom’ as an important partner in the world market today.

In any particular market set up, there are two main sets of competitors, the major vs the fringe. Saudi Arabia is a major player whereas South Sudan is a fringe or minor.

Actions by Saudi Arabia can send waves across the energy markets whereas South Sudan’s actions are just a drop in the ocean.

The answer lies in the production capacities of approximately 9.7 million vs 160, 000 bpd for Kingdom and South Sudan respectively. Look at those numbers!

Henceforth, Saudi Arabia is holding the energy world hostage. How South Sudan economy fares well in the next 2-3 years will be determined neither by US nor the Arusha intra-party or Addis Ababa national peace talks, but by this relatively small superpower, not weaponry or technology but oil guru, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

That is to say, if you live in South Sudan and you want an end to that scarcity of hard currency in Juba, especially that exorbitant Forex rate of up to 7.3 SSP a dollar; or you are looking for US dollars for your overseas treatment, rental and other family obligations such as studies and other accessories, pray to and plead with the new King Salman Ibn Saud to cut oil production in his country.

Saudi Arabia holds the key to South Sudan finding its footing again in the community of nations. Meanwhile, the US government is just a mere spectator waiting for an opportunity from OPEC to wink so as to exploit the situation.

The US laissez faire system is unregulated and run by a myriad of greedy oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and others, competing for profits. They won’t cut anything till the invisible hand of the market reigns them out.

However, such intricacies make us to understand why President Kiir did that unremarkable thing to mourn the death of the KING to our economy.

That is the big reason why South Sudan should not go it alone but dance to the tune of other singers.

The commentator is an Economist. Reach him at delyuang@gmail.com

South Sudan: The need to eradicate tribal politics & dictatorship

By: James Gatdet Dak, SPLM/A-IO, JAN/18/2015, SSN;

Oxford dictionary defines tribalism as a behavior or attitude which is based on being loyal to a tribe or other social group; or the state of being organized into tribe or tribes.
By that social definition allow me to add that tribal politics is about the identity of a given group or tribe that is based on common ethnic identity or cultural factors that are used to induce the group into a functioning political unit subtly or in a dynamic pattern.

A tribal grouping although based on a defined or understood interest may have some disagreements on how to express a common purpose but will, likely, ultimately rally behind that common purpose.

Formations of groups or tribes for mere social reasons have some advantages, such as clear communication and the establishment of traditions that are expected to be observed for tranquility and social development.

However, tribal politics always has bold negative side as it creates a barrier between the various other tribes that make up a given societal political constituency in a given country.

The consequence of this is that ascending to or maintaining political power in many instances becomes less about presenting attractive ideas such as visions, principles, policies and programs that are for the welfare of the collective all, but rather about manipulating tribal political alliance.

Groups and individuals therefore concentrate on struggle for influence, position and money, and in most cases play along without concerns about the consequences for cohesiveness and national development, which is being ignored and eroded.

This phenomenon also carries the danger that societies may become oligarchies by default, as an outgrowth of the shifting alliances of tribal leaders.

Thus, groups or individuals with a strong sense of tribal unity and identity can benefit from kin selection behavior such as common property and shared resources.

The tendency of these tribal members to unite against an outside tribe and the ability to act violently and prejudicially against that outside tribe is in this situation likely seen to be boosting the chances of survival in prolonging the reaping of the fruits of that unity of tribal purpose.

South Sudan Crisis
In the light of the above description one may confidently say the ongoing crisis in South Sudan emanated mainly from the curse of tribal politics.

A group of tribally motivated elites, which became desperate to scapegoat and avoid genuine national issues, unfortunately bent on entrenching dictatorship in order to dominate political power and control the country’s resources at the expense of the rest in the country?

Prior to the 15 December 2013 violence, cues were clearly written on the wall.
This group led by the president of the Republic, chairman of the ruling Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement (SPLM) and commander-in-chief of the organized forces – in government – was driving at it.

General Salva Kiir, in a seemingly mindset which combined tribalism and dictatorship, perfectly concluded his plan by first dismissing reformist leaders from his government and further dismantling organs of the ruling party.

In that he unconstitutionally dissolved the SPLM structures including the Political Bureau (PB) and the National Liberation Council (NLC).

He strangely further declared that only his office survived that unconstitutional undertaking and that the secretariat should single-handedly report to him. All these he did as the party’s national convention was to be conducted.

Coincidentally or by design, his action was more or less a replica of what he previously accused our late chairman of 10 years ago with these remarks.

“The Chairman killed the national Executive Council (NEC) by creating the leadership Council. But there is no provision in the Convention for a ‘Leadership Council’. Does he want to revive the Political Military High Command? The Leadership Council creates a situation where all are directly reporting to the Chairman – including SPLM County Secretaries. When I mentioned these facts, they should not be construed to be my personal or family problems. Those around the Chairman don’t tell him the opinion of the public. The Chairman is everything, from a finance officer to one at the lowest level,” Salva Kiir Mayardit, from the minutes of Rumbek meeting in November 2004 while reconciling with the late chairman, Dr John Garang de Mabior.

As if he was not the same leader who later on became president and administered tribalism as a silent criteria for selections in employments to public and civil service jobs, in which more than 90% of the civil servants at the ministry of finance, for example, came from one tribe; and as if 90% of the culprits and beneficiaries of the infamous Dura Saga were not from his home region, he further accused the late chairman.

“…Corruption, as a result of the lack of structures, has created a lack of accountability which has reached a proportion that will be difficult to eradicate….,” also from the Rumbek meeting.

General Kiir in that meeting also clearly showed that his primary interest and obligation as a leader was to first and foremost look after the welfare of his tribesmen or region when he stunned the same meeting with this anti-nationalistic statement.

“I assure you that the allegation that I am against peace is not true. I am really for peace so that the International Community could rescue our suffering people. People of Bahr El Ghazal have suffered too much from repeated famine and from the Arab militias – and for these reasons I am the first to embrace peace to relief them from suffering,” Salva Kiir.

When in 2013 he felt that he was losing popularity in the Political Bureau as colleagues declared intention to constitutionally contest for his chair, General Kiir went to his home region and uttered tribal remarks in which he asked his kinsmen whether or not they would allow “their leadership to be taken away.”

The answer was a big NO followed by an assurance that the homeboys would defend “their” leadership with bloody iron fist.

From that moment he relentlessly continued to play up threats against the Nuer community from which a leading reformist and challenger, Dr Riek Machar, hails.

Immediate recruitment of tribal private militias was then entrusted to the then governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal state, Paul Malong Awan.

The recruitments ensued in the president’s regional states of Warrap and Northern Bahr el Ghazal without the knowledge and consent of the then army’s Chief of General Staff, General James Hoth Mai.

This is the private militia group which teamed up with the presidential guards and carried out the targeted massacre of Nuer unarmed civilians in the capital, Juba.

General Awan was later on given the new task as army chief in recognition of his role in the recruitments of the tribal militia group and the subsequent massacre.

Thousands of the Nuer civilians butchered inside their houses and in the streets of Juba for many days knew nothing or had nothing to do with the political debates in the SPLM.

They were simply targeted due to sharing ethnicity with the leader who happened to come from their tribe.

I want to reiterate by underlining that before the 15 December crisis, reformist leaders were much concerned about the prevailing state of tribalism, insecurity, corruption, stagnant economy, poor foreign relations and lack of vision and direction in the ruling party.

The leaders were also from different ethnic groups, of whom members from the Dinka tribe were the majority.

However, the ongoing challenge to democracy in South Sudan is not the prevalence of ethnic diversity, but the use of tribal politics to promote narrow tribal interests. This is tribalism.

This is a worrying trend given its obvious negative consequences. The 15 December tribally motivated violence by Salva Kiir and his accomplices revealed the extent to which tribal forces could deny freedom, democracy and development and quickly plunge the country into civil war.

The regime would argue that their blood tainted administration recognizes inclusivity in ethnicity. But this is just a coated cover on a bitter pill.

It is crystal clear that elite leaders in Juba have exploited tribal loyalty, coupled with the treason of surrendering the country’s partial sovereignty to foreign agents to advance personal gains.

These unsecure leaders also engage in patronage to these foreign agents and continue to dwell on parochial interests at the expense of the suffering masses.

In essence, tribal chauvinism and practices have occupied a vacuum created by lack of strong democratic institutions in the country.

South Sudan needs peace and introduction of various reforms including political reforms under an able leadership so as to build genuine democratic institutions and viable political parties that compete on the basis of ideas, not tribal groupings, as foundations for political platforms and competitions.

There should also be concerted efforts to organize and step up civic education among the populace as well as create a common identity for South Sudanese with the aim to discourage tribalism and dictatorship and instill nationalism and democratic values in the minds of the people.

We should not allow the gains of the decades of our collective struggle for freedom, democracy, justice, equality and prosperity, etc to be swept under the carpet by these unremorseful elite leaders in Juba.

We should be one people, free, secure, equal, prosperous and happy.
The struggle continues…and may God bless South Sudan!

The author is a Spokesperson in the Office of the Chairman, SPLM/SPLA. The opinionated contents in the article are however his personal views. He can be reached at gatdetdak2013@gmail.com.