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Riek Machar: Prolonging the war causes more unnecessary deaths and sufferings

BY: Choromke Jas, CANADA, MAY/13/2015, SSN;

Dr. Riek Machar: It was unsurprising to read in the news that your commanders are grumbling about your lukewarm attitude towards the prosecution of the war against the Butcher of Juba, Salvar Kiir ( It is unsurprising because, earlier in the war we had cautioned your leadership (in this forum) against being taken in by “diplomatic” overtures on peaceful settlement of the conflict. True to our prediction, the tribalists in Juba have resisted any move towards peaceful solutions.

Two things stand out from the reported complaint of the battle commanders:
— lack of interest on your part to seriously mobilize sufficient military materiel and munitions to counter the advance of the Juba genocidal army;
— and the pressure from the Americans to go easy on the military front.

First, I will comment on the former and later, on the latter.

Dr Machar, you did not appoint Taban Deng Gai to head the peace delegation by chance. Governor Deng Gai was the one receiving the 2% of the oil income earmarked for the Unity State. We know from banking records that Mr Gai did not deposit these huge sums (in USD) in formal banks but kept them in designated monetary depots in his compounds.

During his term, he lavishly dined, wined, nay, paid, the dictator in Juba and the national MPs from Unity State handsomely.

He formed a State Development Corporation which constructed houses and real estate that were allocated to dignitaries from the same State free of charge!

What I am driving at is that you appointed him head of the delegation because he would be crucial in the procurement of military equipments and other requirements for a successful prosecution of the war using the public funds he had accumulated.

The young people of Nuer have sacrificed enough; you and Gai should use some of these monies to invest in the final push of the war so that their sacrifice will not be in vain.

On the issue of the American pressure, I can only repeat here the caution some of us expressed on this site about listening too much to Western diplomats. We had cited two contrasting examples of Raila Odinga of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

In the period preceding the last Kenyan general elections, Raila was praised for his statesmanship and was assured of ascending to the Kenyan presidential throne after winning the election.

On the other hand Raila’s opponents were vilified and there were talks among the diplomats that their government would not be recognized on the account of them having been indicted by the International Criminal Court.

The casting of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto as villains “freed” the duo from the strictures of diplomatic niceties; they thumbed their nose at the diplomats and used tribal and establishment resources (hate speeches, secret service, judiciary and others) to go and “win” the election.

In the end Raila was robbed of his victory in the election. A number of people have since concluded that if Raila had shown some “fire in his bell” (meaning fighting fire with fire), perhaps he would not have been mistreated by the Kenyan Supreme Court the way it did when he contested the election results.

Kaguta Yoweri Musevein’s case is a different kettle of fish. He waged a war against Obote II government, and later against the two Okellos (Tito and Bazilio). There was a lot of pressure for sorting the war in Uganda peacefully. Peace talks were taking place in Kenya. There were few issues to be cleared before the agreement was due to be signed. But this was not to be!

Museveni, while having a delegation at the talks, marched (militarily) into Kampala and took over the government. At this putsch, many a Western diplomat promised fire and brimstone on the houses of Kaguta. But in the end just like the case in Kenya, the West recognized Museveni’s military government.

Need I say that Museveni is now the “blue-eyed boy” of the West? He is even involved in this war with impunity; knowing that the West will not pressure him to withdraw.

I hope these two examples from the region will bring it home to you that nothing stands still: if you show resolve and overthrow the evil and Jieng Council-inspired dictator, the West will have no choice but to deal with you as a de facto leader of South Sudan.

One more other thing. Ulysses S. Grant, the General who commanded the Union army against the Confederate army of General Lee during the America Civil War believed that prolonging civil war causes more and unnecessary deaths and sufferings; he hastened the defeat of General Lee by mobilizing vast resources and showing great resolve in defeating the enemy in the field.

It is imperative that you work hard to bring this unjust war to a speedy conclusion as your commanders are demanding.

Good luck and best wishes.
Choromke Jas

IGAD peace talks must be inclusive


By virtue of my membership of an Equatoria internet forum I came across an article authored by Mr Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi titled ‘South Sudan needs fresh start without Kiir, Machar – Dr Miamingi,’ published by the Ugandan newspaper, Daily Monitor on 26th April 2015. This article features a photo of Dr Remember Miamingi wearing the famous Nelson Mandela shirt.

In addition to this article Dr Miamingi also appeared in an NTV debate discussing the same topic. Please watch the video: ‘Fourth estate: South Sudan, a conflict with no end in sight’ on youtube.

On reading the article, I found it very stimulating. The timing of this piece obviously suggests Dr Miamingi may have doubts about the ability of the newly revamped IGAD-Plus mediating team in bringing peace to South Sudan unless it abandons its flawed strategy of wanting to concentrate power to the two principals of the conflict by diversifying the peace talks to reflect the entire social groups in the country.

Who can blame Dr Miamingi for thinking like that?

IGAD since appointing itself to the role of mediator in South Sudan has done nothing to demonstrate its impartiality. Throughout it has been biased in favour of the regime in Juba and so its failure on 6th March 2015 was not a surprise to South Sudanese. Please see, ‘To achieve in South Sudan, IGAD talks must be diversified.’

Dr Miamingi brightly highlighted the obstacles to peace in South Sudan. It must be emphasised, his arguments are not new. Many writers have articulated these views in the last 16 months of the conflict and IGAD for reasons best known to it ignored them.

For example, the South Sudanese professionals produced a document titled ‘South Sudanese professionals in Diaspora’ capturing the issue.

There can be no doubt that the arguments raised are useful in the current atmosphere of hopelessness created by the failure of IGAD in mediating peace. If only IGAD could unplug its ears, the key to peace in South Sudan lie in some of the arguments Dr Miamingi is promoting which will be slightly modified in this piece.

Having given this brief background, let us look at the point of view expressed by Dr Miamingi as reported by Mr Sserunjogi. In the article, Dr Miamingi under the sub title ‘Who are the “We”?’ describes himself as a member of diverse group at home (South Sudan).

He asserts ‘the ”We” represent South Sudanese who are in the Diaspora, who are in refugee camps and have been basically uprooted from their home, who are united in the desire for peace in the country.’ What is intriguing is that this “we” has no name given its wide membership. Dr Miamingi claims this identity less organisation is ‘organised around what we call the “Four point campaign for a just peace in South Sudan”.’

He goes on to outline them as: 1) Just peace through inclusivity. 2) The architects of the war should be excluded from the process of peace making. 3) Peace talks and establishment of an interim government, and 4) Military intervention by African Union (AU) backed by United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Article 7.

These points Dr Miamingi encapsulated and promotes are useful in helping those involved in the mediation. Since there are only 4 points let us briefly talk about all of them in their current order and they can then be re-arranged in order of priority suitable for resolving the problem in South Sudan.

It goes without saying that for peace to return to South Sudan the peace talks must produce a “just peace” through an inclusive process that values all the people of South Sudan. What this translates to is that all the stakeholders and civil societies of South Sudan must have a say so that the process and outcome is owned by the “people”. It becomes a “people peace” and not an “SPLM/A peace” in which the “people” are excluded.

The question asked is: Why is IGAD naively conniving with the abusive SPLM/A to deny the people of South Sudan their right in deciding their own future? Is the sovereignty of South Sudan not vested in its people? If it is, then the right thing is to let the people participate in the peace talks as of right. If it is not, why not? Why are criminals allowed to run the show? Please see, ‘President Kiir, Riek and the SPLM are the problems of RSS.’

If IGAD truly is seeking a lasting “Just Peace” it must abandon its short sighted strategy of pursuing grand empowerment of the destructive SPLM/A, the very party responsible for the chaos as a solution. Otherwise, whatever outcome from its mediation will be short lived and the region will once again sooner or later find itself in the same position like now. This takes us to the second point for barring of the culprits responsible for the chaos from the peace talks.

This point is plainly clear and no reasonable person will disagree with it. All over the world people involved in crimes are apprehended and arraigned in court of law. They are not tolerated and treated as if they were decent people. The mistake the world has done with South Sudan’s case is to tolerate ethnic cleansers and listen to them as if they have not committed grave crimes against humanity.

The world unfortunately seems to have not learnt a lesson from the history of the Second World War. The major powers of the time appeased Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany and treated him initially as a decent person possibly in the false hope that he might change. But what did the world get from this unethical act? Holocaust! with a sharp shock to the global system.

In terms of saving lives, the late intervention of the world to save the Jews was too little too late. The lesson from this horrific and heinous crime of Hitler tells us not to entertain dictators and totalitarian rulers who have tendencies of extreme hate of rival social groups especially if such leaders have already started ethnic cleansing on small scale.

The late President of Iraq Sadam Hussein gassed the Kurds of Halabja and the world paid a blind eye. Sadam got emboldened and he went on to further his military adventures in Iran and later on Kuwait. As a result the whole region eventually got thrown into turmoil.

President Salva Kiir with his false image as a peaceful person indisputably belongs to Sadam Hussein-like class of dictators. The world should deal with him appropriately now to account for his crimes before he plunges the region into turmoil. He should therefore not be allowed to call the shots in Addis Ababa.

Does this make sense? Yes, certainly it does, he should be barred from the talks. Please watch this video, ‘President Salva Kiir of South Sudan on BBC Hardtalk’

As I write now, the economic mismanagement initiated on the watch of both President Kiir and Dr Machar from 2005 following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and promoted by the entire SPLM/A leadership coupled with the political mismanagement of the last decade which blew up in December 2013 has brought the country to its knees socially, economically and politically.

When the country was at a relative peace the SPLM/A entire leadership looted the coffers of the state and in war as now the revenue is spent on lethal weapons and the regime supporters. Unsurprisingly, South Sudan has just gained a new name, ‘Kleptocratic State’. Please see, ‘In IMF view, a kleptocratic state bordering on bankruptcy.’ and ‘Corruption saga: the SPLM five big guns or the quintet squirrels’

The third point Dr Miamingi raises is very crucial as it relates to the issue of security of the stakeholders itself. Dr Miamingi argues that the peace talks should be taken back home. In other words he wants to see the peace talks held inside South Sudan. This proposition is imprudent and fails to take into consideration the safety of the stakeholders.

Any talks held inside the country will not yield a lasting solution. The reasons are:

1) Lack of security for the participants. What will stop President Kiir from intimidating the stakeholders? What will stop President Kiir from arresting some or all the stakeholders and declaring peace achieved?

Let us not forget, the regime in Juba has neither respect for human rights nor values of decency. To understand these points just think about the experiences of Mr Peter Sule and Dr Lam Akol Ajawin with regards to their invitation to the IGAD peace talks. Did President Kiir’s government not deliberately obstruct their travel plans to the peace talks and threatened to harm them?

If the regime was intolerant to allow stakeholders to attend the peace talks in Addis Ababa, would it tolerate their participation in such talks inside the country under its jurisdiction?

Actually as much as nobody would want to say it, should the talks be held inside the country President Kiir may be pushed to silence a good number of the stakeholders whose voices he does not like hearing.

2) The regime does not believe in freedom of speech and expression. Those who speak freely in the past like Isaiah Abraham paid the ultimate price with their lives. The outspoken leader of civil society organisations Mr Athuai Deng narrowly escaped death on two occasions for speaking out.

The first time the security agents of President Kiir kidnapped him, beat him up thoroughly and threw him into a garbage site by the river Nile thinking he had died. He was lucky to be rescued by locals.

The second time, President Kiir’s agents in broad day light shot him in public. Luckily the bullet hit his leg and he survived.

These are just few examples of the government’s usual tactics to muzzle the people. With such an environment of terror, how could Dr Miamingi make the futile proposition for the talks to be held inside the country. For the sake of a lasting peace the peace talks need to continue being held outside the country in a neutral secure venue.

This brings us to Dr Miamingi’s final point of African Union intervention backed by United Nations Security Council Article 7. The first thing South Sudanese need to acknowledge is that since the Independence of South Sudan on 9th July 2011 the country has been under UNSC Article 7. So the UN can actually exercise this power any time if it wants.

Military interventions are always fraught with difficulties to both the interveners and the intruded because of the issue of emotions linked to pride and humiliation.

Apart from this, it is not clear whether the international community will want to commit to such a project given its costs and the uncertainties around success.

Nevertheless it is something worth pursuing because already there are foreign forces in the country – the Uganda People Defence force (UPDF) in addition to the Blue Helmets of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

UPDF can not be part of a solution as it actually deployed to protect the government of President Kiir which has been carrying out ethnic cleansing of the Nuer. Therefore, UPDF needs to withdraw back home soonest. It has no business being in South Sudan – Uganda interest or no interest is immaterial.

These four points delineated by Dr Miamingi are poorly arranged and for them to be effective, the order should be reversed starting with the last point and ending with the starting one.

Therefore, African Union backed by the United Nations should take over the country for a strictly specified period as recommended by the leaked Draft Report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.

There should be no worries because the report clearly sets out a hybrid plan of action (comprising South Sudanese and international experts) regarding the intervention.

Point three should take the second place. The interim government can be set up as envisaged by the Obasanjo report without any peace talks, but with wide consultation with all the stakeholders without those allegedly involved in illegal acts like the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

Point two becomes redundant simply for the reason that when the country is taken over by African Union and United Nations, the architects of the chaos would vanish into exile or they will have been arrested and farmed off to some detention facilities to await trial for their grave crimes.

Point one becomes feasible and essential to implement in a violence free and peaceful environment. The main purpose would be to address the vital constitutional issues and the critical problem of national reconciliation and healing.

Following the above re-arrangement, the modified “Four point campaign for just peace in South Sudan” of Dr Miamingi now becomes ‘Three point campaign for just peace in South Sudan’. This can offer a solution to the quagmire South Sudan is in now.

However, whether this plan will be considered by IGAD or not, the most important thing is not to let the SPLM/A in all its different forms and shapes to dictate and monopolise the peace talks.

For South Sudan to be de-tribalised socially and politically, state power must equally be de-tribalised which means the talks must include all the stakeholders and it must be in a neutral venue.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag paul

“Predator Genes:” A threat to public funds and a cause of economic collapse in South Sudan

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, MAY/04/2015, SSN;

The independent Indian Ocean Newsletter has recently exposed the institutionalized corruption network of the infamous Jieng “Dinka” Council of Elders in South Sudan. In its report, the Newsletter ascertained that there is a small number of “privileged people close to the ruling circles” in South Sudan who are benefiting from the country’s collapsing currency and shortage of dollars.

According to the report those well placed corrupt individuals continuously access dollars from the Central Bank at a rate of about 3.1 and then sell them for pounds at a rate of about 9.1. God knows, this could just be the tip of the iceberg on how damaging the hidden hands of the infamous Jieng Council of Elders can be.

It is also true that the IMF made no secret of it when it recently warned the regime in Juba of the imminent economic catastrophe. Summing all these whistle blowing, one conclusion comes to mind… that this new country’s economy is literally now gasping its last breath.

Yet many who have keenly followed the developments in South Sudan can tell you that in actual fact this new country has never had any economy to start with, and it would be too much of a courtesy to thus talk about its collapse.

A country totally dependent on Oil revenues and again spending the whole of that revenue on paying millions of unproductive soldiers, security agents and idol civil servants cannot be said to have an economy. I mean, what is the economic activity here!

A country dependent on Western Aid for the last decade to run its rudimentary institutions while services like schools, hospitals, roads, clean drinking water, and electricity are all non-existent or run by foreign NGOs cannot be claimed to have an economy.

Even the claim that the government was working towards diversifying the economy to shift from Oil dependence to agriculture, is itself becoming an empty rhetoric. This overdue and long term plan will not solve the immediate economic crisis in a country looted dry by its own government.

What agriculture are they talking of in South Sudan when an average member of its ruling nomadic pastoralist community still cannot tell the difference between spinach and wild vegetation or between maize, millet, cassava and elephant grass?

Indeed South Sudan has a lot of potential to diversify its economy, especially in the area of agriculture and other resources, including untapped minerals and livestock, but not in a population genetically ingrained with “predator genes” for cattle rustling, child abduction, lawlessness and revenge killings.

Under the incumbent Salva Kiir regime it can be argued that the Kleptocracy, corruption and nepotism currently crippling the state institutions of the new country are the direct off-springs of the widespread predatory attitudes towards public funds on display.

These in turn are the direct products of the deeply seated “cattle rustling mind-set” characteristic of pastoralist communities worldwide. .

The only hope is in a future government that is prepared to embark on introducing legislations that does not tolerate any complacency with government officials known to be Public Fund Predators. Impunity must end and accountability must prevail. Government appointments must be based on meritocracy and sound track records.

The priority of the future administration must be to improve the management of local revenues by developing and introducing a revenue management system in what will be a federated system of governance, preferably starting immediately with the transitional government of national unity.

On a quick reflection we can say diversification of the economy has been a much talked policy of President Salva Kiir’s government for many years. However, under his rule this policy has remained a talk that has never been walked.

This is likely to puzzle a few as it remains unclear to them why this “much cry little wool” talk on diversification was never effected, leaving the government to solely depend on oil revenues to run the system!

The answer to this central question squarely lies in the “chaos by design” policy hatched by the infamous Jeing “Dinka” Council of Elders.

The existing socio-economic and political chaos in South Sudan are without a grain of doubt, the brain children of the Jieng Council of Elders. It is its way of securing an economic advantage for itself and its wider membership and political constituency.

This is a tribal capacity building project that’s being achieved at the expense of the national capacity building.

This same policy is also designed to relegate the members of the others 63 ethnic groups to a yet another designed state of destitution characterised by both political and socio-economic disenfranchisements, except of course for a few who serve as widow dressings for corrupt Jieng Council of Elders.

The much publicized current tour of East African nations by the country’s vice-president, James Wani Igga, a co-accomplisher of the corrupt Jieng Council of Elders, can be seen to have come at a time when the official exchange rate for the South Sudan pound has reached 16 pounds for one US dollar in these East African countries.

And although the deputy president and chief co-accomplisher for the Jieng “Dinka” Council of Elders, James Wani Igga might have been to invite these East African countries to send their financial experts to participate in an economic conference scheduled for May 6, 2015 in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, the tour is likely to have become an end in itself.

Inviting East African economic experts whose countries are themselves caught up in the same economic crisis and tasking them to strategize on how to remedy the dire economic situation in South Sudan, sounds more like a blind man asking directions from other blind people.

A crazy thinking at its best, especially when salvation is expected to come from these very East African countries that not long ago turned down South Sudan’s request to join the East African Economic Community because the former does possess what constitutes an economy in the real sense of the term!

Common sense dictates that you must have an economy to start with if you are ever to join an economic community. It is straight forward like this, isn’t it?

Those who keep count of events, they will remember how many international experts including East African advisors have ever since been advising President Salva Kiir and his corrupt Jieng Council of Elders government on all kinds of issues on economy and governance from since 2005.

How many times has President Salva Kiir and his corrupt Jieng “Dinka” Council of Elders regime visited countries like Botswana and Rwanda to hear their success stories? Were they not impressed by what they were told in those countries or did it all fall on deaf ears leaving the inherent “predator genes” to dominate.

No wonder, the only diversifications to the source of government revenue in South Sudan under this ailing regime has become confined to begging from neighbours and friends, taking high risk loans, and of course over-printing of worthless South Sudanese bank notes!

“The Zaire of Mobutu”, we are becoming!

Author. J.A.C Ramba. A South Sudanese citizen and a voice for the voiceless.

Jieng equals Jallaba Council of Elders

BY: Michael Koma, APR/26/2015, SSN;

Attitude and Practice:
The Executive Director of the Community Empowerment Progress Organisation, Mr. Edmund Yakani, had at one time informed that they had planned to organize a public lecture in the University of Juba entitled, “Attitude and Practice,” to be held on 24 April of this year but it did not materialize for now. I thought this is a wonderful topic chosen by CEPO. CEPO deserves my congratulation; Mubruk yaa nas CEPO for this vital topic and the location to discuss it.

I hope it will happened soon. From the onset, it looks like an irrelevant topic. But in fact it is relevant and excellent as South Sudan is concerned. It is important to reflect on our attitudes as individuals and as a nation and its relation on the recurring of conflicts in our communities.

So what is Attitude?
Attitude is an opinion or general feeling about something. In our context what is that “something” we view it as negative in our South Sudanese society that keeps tearing us apart; or keeps us to fight from time to time among ourselves especially after we had some sort of peace agreement in 1972 and 2005.

Following the Addis Ababa Peace agreement, Junubeen were in state of fighting.
After the Addis Ababa deal it took us only 10 years. We are back to war with Sudan. That was understandable because the Addis Ababa Agreement did not address all the grievances of the South Sudanese people.

But before we jumped into the bush against the Arabs, the ten years period of self-rule was full of problems. One was Kokora (re-division) of southern Sudan regions into three provinces (Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile).

By then Juba was a very small town, in places such as Konyo Konyo and Gabat there are fighting along tribal lines. In markets there are grouping along tribal lines, settling in neighourhoods were along tribal lines.

The Bari speakers, the Madis, Mundari, and the Dinka are not in peace among themselves. Emotions were very high. A Dinka and a Bari cannot see eye to eye, eat together, stay together or dance in the same Disco Hall. You can clearly see there was a problem but the politicians tended to hide them that there are no problems; everything is fine.

In one of Francis Mading Deng book called the war of vision, he wrote that “what is not being said is what divides us.” In that book Francis was talking about the situation in the old Sudan. Why the south and the north are divided, why the Arabs felt superior to the so-called African brothers in South Sudan.

By then we were divided because Khartoum saw there was no problem in the Sudan. Kulu Sii tamam (everything is alright) they claimed on insisting that “nahnu ikwa”. We are brothers while the facts and realities on the ground say we are not.

It was a pure posturing. Khartoum defines Sudan as an Arab-Islamic State where Christians are forced to coexist with the Islamic salafists; the jihadists or the hardliners against their will.

Can we or can you, who is an African Christian really co-exist with the types of the current Islamic State as is the case now in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and by then in Sudan.

South Sudanese have foreseen that the imposition of Arab Islamic identity on the whole Sudan was a problem. But Khartoum attitude was that there was no problem. The setback was constant denial of no problem. So Attitude can be equated to arrogance. (Arrogance is a pride, overconfidence, superiority).

The Arab-Islamic face of the Sudan were/are (Saggiya, Jaaliya and Dongolayi). These are the first class citizens of the Sudan. They are positioned in strategic ministries: – Defence, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Energy, Mining while the Junubi (a South Sudanese) was given the Ministry of Stores.

These classifications were not in the constitution. The constitution was fine. These things were in the unwritten constitution of the Jallaba Council of Elders as is the case now with the Jieng Council of Elders (mostly represented by southerners who served under the Jalabas in the old Sudan).

The problems were not being said as Francis Deng noted in his book but were being implemented arrogantly against the cries of the Junubeen (South Sudanese). Whether you like it or not, it is not their business. If you want to rebel, it is your choice. If you want to stay humiliated as a second class citizen in your own country it is your choice.

After years of wrangling with the Arabs, this abnormal relation between the Arabs and the Africans in Sudan was clearly demonstrated in the signed peace deal of the year 2005; the CPA.

The CPA accepted the late Dr. John Garang de Mabior to assume the position of the First Vice President but on condition that when the post of the president falls vacant, constitutionally Garang was not allowed to become the President.

By that arrangement the ruling Arabs elite in the Sudan have cemented that an Arab person is a first class citizen of this country where Africans are the majority. It is a country where an African Muslim person is a second class while an African Christian or Animist person is a third class citizens and the others are the commoners.

So what is the link between Khartoum and Juba; does that attitude relate to our situation as of today?

First let me say this. You may agree or disagree with me on this. What was then in Khartoum wasn’t different from today’s South Sudan political and economic situation. As you read this opinion piece, it might reflect in your mind that some of us are too arrogant and aggressive. We are missing humility.

The attitudes of Khartoum’s elites are deeply embedded in some of us. That is why there is conflict in our country. To move away from old Sudan style we need to embrace modesty in our lives.

Humbleness is peace. It can create relative form of homogeneity in a diverse society such as South Sudan. One of the characteristics of a nation-state is uniformity and equality.

Unfortunately we are full of arrogance. This unnecessary pride is the tearing us apart. I have reached to a conclusion that we are a tribal nation. We are a country made of tribal kingdoms.

We are more proud of our tribal belongings than positive nationalism. We are overconfident of our tribes. We are blinded of our superiority. With all these do we still have courage to say that we are really one nation and one people?

Are we relatively homogeneous people who inhabit a sovereign state? The answer is simply no.

How this arrogance is demonstrated:
Even before the 2013 crisis erupted, the language of not only politicians but many South Sudanese was of violence or was preparing for war. In the internet you find words such as you are a “nyagat,” a reference to a Nuer as a traitor or an enemy. How come you have betrayed us in 1991 and you want the presidency by any means?

The statement such as “the problem is that he wants to become president” is an expression of arrogance. It has to do with inner feelings, it represents emotion of the speaker that nobody deserves the presidency except him or his tribe.

It is a similar attitude of the Jaaliyin. The statement cited above indicates that those speakers are against anybody having or have expressed ambition to rule, to become a governor, minister or commissioner.

He is expressing a sinful desire that “others” should not ‘think’ of leading this nation.

This is an attitude that encourages conflict in a diverse volatile society such as South Sudan. As an example, even in the University of Juba there is one group which wanted to dominate student’s bodies. The attitude of conquering others is a colonial attitude. Colonialism has no specific colour. It is not necessarily related to the white man or an Arab.

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South Sudan: The Only Country where Army Generals never retire from Service!

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, Doctoral student, USA, APR/18/2015, SSN;

It was not long ago that South Sudan was part of the then united SUDAN. After the secession, the new nation went on its own way, taking no system of the host nation. The ululations and giggling shortly after independence poured lots of hopes in the hearts of the civil population, but no enough preparations were put in place to run an independent South Sudan.

The worst part being that South Sudanese celebrated their independence for too long, forgetting that the newly independent nation was in need of Infrastructures and Security in order to sustain itself in the face of economically advanced neighbors.

Throughout the country, supposedly former army officers took oaths of their offices (constitutional/political posts), but continued to behave in their capacities as military officers despite their new roles as lawmakers and civil servants.

Unlike any other country in the Region, South Sudan was submerged under military rule, and all the officers who once served under the SPLA never believed in their minds that fundamental changes have taken place in their lives.

While in the governments (Central & states’ levels), they remained as SPLA officers, and even went further and encouraged former child soldiers to take up military training in order to fill positions in governments’ institutions.

The nation’s leadership (South Sudan) seems to support such mindsets, and the president dresses in military attires whenever he feels like it, and when he is sharing a security meeting.

Well, dressing in military uniforms means being ready for war or show of superiority. But do the majority of South Sudanese really want to see that?

As a matter of raw facts, all of today’s youths grew up in huts that had military uniforms and guns all over. So, dressing in military uniforms means an aggression, and that by itself energizes youths raised in wars to entertain and commit more violence against civil population.

Verify if terroristic attitudes of Governor Matur Chut Dhuol has reduced violence in Lakes State? Verify if an eye-for-an-eye has resolved problems in Jonglei and other states?

Verify if military aggression against disoriented SPLA’s deserters has deterred them from committing more atrocities on Government’s supporters and communities in their vicinities?

There is nothing wrong with military as a profession, but our people must know that most people who became soldiers were either conscripted into the Rebels groups or forced by conditions that South Sudanese were in, and to liberate the Region from successive Khartoum-based regimes that were hostile to African South Sudanese and other nationalities in the SUDAN (Dar Fur, Funj & Nuba).

With current military lifestyle being the new reality, majority unknowingly surrendered the nation to be run more like a military camp/base, and the same command has strayed into other areas: economy and social life.

As of recent months, the Army Chief of General Staff went head to head with religious leaders, particularly leader of the Cush International Church/Ministries also known Prophet as many of his prophecies have materialized in a rather a bad way.

They (national leaders) cannot command every aspect of citizens’ lives and expect a free State where citizens will contribute to development of the country without constraints.

For the last number of years, President Salva Kiir has been making changes in the nation’s military leadership, but never retired Army Generals as it is the norm in other parts of the world (some were short-listed as reservists).

Over the years (2005-to-present), Generals/army officers have been serving in civilian posts for extended periods of time, and then returned to military branches as active Generals.

For example, the current SPLA’s Chief of General Staff was Governor of Northern Bahr El Ghazal State between 2008 and 2013. He was removed by presidential decree, reinstated into the Army, promoted to the rank of Lt. General and given his new assignment as the SPLA’s Army Chief of General Staff, and also where he doubled as Chairman of the SPLM in his home state (Northern Barh El Ghazal).

There are other instances where those who were counties’ commissioners and states members of the parliaments returned to military service.

Where can we draw a line between the SPLA as the national Army and the SPLM as the ruling political Party in the Republic of South Sudan? Remember, their military ranks are earned titles, but they cannot practice military while serving in civilian posts.

Along the same line, caretaker Governor of Lakes State, Gen. Matur Chut Dhuol was appointed by a presidential decree as a Governor & retained his military status, runs the state more like a military barracks, terrorizing civilians, detaining politicians indefinitely and imprisoning them without charges.

He defied call by the Council of States (Constitutional posts holders). Can somebody tell Matur to mature and Malong to adopt rule of law (Lööŋ as his name referred to in Jieeŋ).

What kind of State do South Sudanese really want to have? Do they want a Nation where a minister smacks his subordinates in the face and expect to stay as a minister or do they want a State where Government’s officials are hold to the account?

To have a functioning system in a democratic State, it got to start with few steps and should start from somewhere, and be followed by those entrusted with the nation’s highest authority.

The kind of leadership that South Sudanese leaders have shown is likely to be copied by those who work directly under them. Let’s be factual, “what you sow is what you harvest.”

We fear not the current leaders, but those who would be tempted to walk the path walked by their mentors (money can recruit an army of ruthless loyalists).

There is no way that South Sudanese would expect to see responsible leaders in the near future if the ones we have misbehave publicly, overstep their authorities, abuse their subordinates physically and misappropriate nation’s wealth with impunity.

For one thing, the ones being bred in Juba and elsewhere would be no better than their mentors unless they follow the order of the world they live in.

No human is made of wires, and those who labor under the presumption that their immunity is God given are completely wrong. No wonder, our people (South Sudanese) are very disconnected with today’s world (no borders & no secrets), and they behave as if they live in their own isolated Universe.

In conclusion, brutality at the top is too dangerous for the nation of South Sudan. How can youths possibly distinguish good leadership from bad/toxic leadership if national figures keep doing the unthinkable?

For those who were in the bush (SPLA’s controlled areas), stories about officers physically abusing their subordinates were everywhere, and some of us thought those would be things of the past.

Sometime, one feels guilt-free for having not worked under brutal leaders in modern South Sudan. In reality, most of these leaders are well known for the bad things that they have done, and the bad image they have created onto themselves and the new republic.

The mentality of being an army officer for life must be discarded altogether or South Sudan would keep producing bad leaders prone to violence, and who believe in physical abuse of their subordinates and authoritarian running of the State’s affairs.

The author is Mayak Deng Aruei, a doctoral student in Organizational Leadership: Organizational Development. He is also the author of ‘Struggle Between Despair and Life: From Sudan’s Marshland Village, Child Soldiering, Refugee Camp and America.” He can be reached at

Dr. Machar on right side of South Sudan history and his opponents on the reverse

By: Gatkuoth Lok, APR/16/2015, SSN;

In this rigorous analysis, we’ll focus on Dr. Machar, the SPLM/SPLA- IO chairman and his politico-contemporaries namely Dr. John Garang and president Kiir Mayardit. In this respect we shall briefly explore and detail the grounds on which it is inevitably right and suitable to attribute the independence of South Sudan to Machar and necessarily ascribing democracy to him undoubtedly.

Besides, we will further be able to explicitly expose Machar’s political pursuit in 1990s on compared to Garang’s as well as his political ideology in evaluation to Kiir’s political ideology.

In the course of this demanding discussion we expressly ought to figure out the ideals harbored by the said troika-political-leaders and to find out who among these leaders truly became instrumental in terms of his ultimate goal plus his political ideology as well during and after the SPLM or SPLA liberation struggle and who remains truly non-instrumental, not workable to date.

This in the end shall land us to sincerely and wholeheartedly admit that Dr. Machar Teny is the only politician in this Republic with his country deeply seated in his very heart.

Based upon his unquestionable nationalism and patriotism in objectively choosing what works best for the citizens of this blossoming Democracy, Machar qualifies himself not only the father of this country but also the leadership best exemplary for the country as a whole, Africa and indeed fits himself for the rest of the world at best.

Having seen the topic under discussion-being workable, sounding and resounding worthy proving thesis, the key questions one is about to ask here are what the author does have in mind on the issue in question and whether or not he may be knowledgeable about the history of South Sudan. Have it gone through and examined.

Prior to embarking on the matter and giving some possible solutions to those mentioned doubts I would rather like to inform us dear readers whether or not you like it, that politics per se, in South Sudan political perspective, in my viewpoint and probably beyond is to politically morally and militarily fight for the total freedoms and benefits of the people of one’s own politically defined territory.

Coming back to the topic at issue, the question is, has Dr. Machar fought for what about which this author places him at the right side of the history of this politically defined territory known as the Republic of South Sudan?

Can we rationally and empirically give undoubted and undeniable vindications to make our thesis valid? Next we shall get settled in the succeeding dialectical reasoning. What for?

Good enough, we are going to work out to give sufficient rejoinders in the following subtopics notably; ‘Machar over Garang’ and ‘Machar over Kiir,’ two of which function for substantiating the given thesis. Have a look below then.

Dr. Machar over Dr. Garang

Did Machar win the history of the liberation struggle over Garang? I answer, yes he won it. Now scrutinize critically, in 1991 Dr. Machar disagreed with Dr. Garang on what to fight for. Why?

Simply because Machar thought it right that to fight for Self-determination consequential to the Independence- the total beneficial freedom to the people of southern Sudan, would rather work best for the common good or will of southern Sudanese.

This Machar’s better off antithesis opposed to Garang’s below worse off thesis became the best choice during the referendum on Machar’s self-determination.

Dr. John Garang thought it, erroneously right that to fight for unity of Sudan under new basis would rather be workable for the greater good of all marginalized Sudanese. This was or is a good idea however, unworkable. This is the straw which broke the camel’s back.

This hot rupture got resolved when Machar and Garang themselves realistically agreed to sign the comprehensive peace agreement, CPA, that enshrined their pursuits and the two principal leaders made what is documented as Nairobi declaration, in 2002.

This courageous decision from our dear leaders helped us to choose between their said pursuits, namely Machar’s secession and Garang’s unity of Sudan in a conducive environment. The question pops up, which one did we choose for its workability and which one did we not choose for its unworkability?

In answering this question, what got actualized in favor of southern Sudanese destiny was Dr. Machar’s political pursuit; being self-determination resultant to our breathtaking Independence, on 9.7.2011. This is now Machar’s victory. And this historic and historical victory for Dr. Machar happened when Dr. Garang died in Museveni-Kiir helicopter crash, unfortunately.

Where did we leave Garang’s pursuit then? Eh, Dr. Garang’s pursuit, unanimously and contemptuously was left to Malik Aggar and Yasir Saed el Arman (SPLM or SPLA-N leaders) in the North Sudan by us who have chosen freedom in the sovereign South.

Without any doubt, it follows that our thesis that Dr. Machar won over Dr. Garang in terms of their political pursuits has been proved beyond any reasonable reservation.

Any shadow of doubt yet? No, not at all, though it shall bewilder ordinary readers yet clear to those who are able to discuss ideas, ideologies and philosophies. What of the death in 1991?

Looked at superficially, one may ask why Dr. Machar’s 1991 correction declaration victimized a lot of people from different communities. And another person may enquire whether possible blames can be objectively put on both sides of the then conflict and lifting irrational bias of being unjustly judgmental on Machar and excusing Garang to remain blame-free, while in reality Garang himself was the prime cause of the war.

Yet another may still in confidence think that Garang is blameworthy while Machar is praiseworthy. A concerned person still might further ask of who will be liable for the deceased death between these opposing protagonists.

Giving somewhat answers to the proceeding questions, I must say that because the prime cause of the 1991 split was Garang himself for he imposed unworkable pursuit – unity of Sudan, he, Dr John remained answerable.

Garang influenced a lot of South Sudanese including my granddad to fight for what they were less aware of. That was inhuman to use people who were unable to know the purpose of their fight against anyone, or right exponent as Machar.

All those people just followed Garang for the sake of following him. They all got lost in the world of they-ness, epistemologically speaking, so to speak. So correcting this trend, for Machar was or is never ever sacrosanct, rather the reverse.

When hearing people today blaming Machar for fighting for Self-determination consequential to dream became true Independence, as pronounced by Dr. Machar himself the day before the Independence celebrations, they merely do that in hope to assassinate his very personality and to vilify his name in order for him to have no chance to become president of this country for the man shall change the false history of South Sudan, Garang’s new converts fear.

We can see that it is a manifestation of a deep seated hatred against Machar for it is known in general ethics that when two evils occur you rather go for the lesser evil.

Now what do we benefit from that lesser evil which Machar opted for?

Looking into those queries and speculations-they get resolved partly by Machiavellian theory which is applicable here, for it says ‘the end justifies the means.’

Then, that partly the death of our people in the aforesaid war year was never intended whatsoever. This necessitates forgiveness and reconciliation countrywide in due time.

Again in the light of Machiavellian theory mentioned, the rational question to ask is, is the aforementioned 1991 case an exception? To me the answer is negative that it isn’t.

Is South Sudan Independence a valuable freedom for all South Sudanese of different walks of life? I answer with affirmative, then why brooding over the death of our people whose untimely death, which is sacrificial one, turned out as our today’s pride?

Can we not be heartened and solaced by this fact, which reads in this embodiment: our fallen heroes and heroines died in fighting for the extant independence in one form or the other; hence they did not die in vain?

For we all cry when commemorating their lives and duties as well as we all laugh when remembering their epoch achievements on our existent Independence. This kind of political action is not sacrosanct as I alluded to somewhere above. It is one of the useful-meaningful side of politics. It might resonate resembling what is known as necessary evil politically speaking. Let it be.

We have to bear it embracing the spirit of tolerance resulting to realization of our common good minus what takes us apart genuinely loving what binds us together effecting prosperity coming into existence, and this is tantamount to happiness of us all.

Next we turn to discuss how Machar’s political ideology is overshadowing Kiir’s.

Dr. Machar over Mr. Kiir

Dr. Machar is now winning over Mr. Kiir. What is the reason for this? To right away answer you without any further ado, I must say that Dr. Machar has got a doable political ideology opposed to Kiir’s. This brings us to wonder of what the two political key players’ ideologies may be. What are their political ideologies then?

Let us answer in the following order. Machar be first and Kiir next.

What is Machar’s political ideology? In short, Machar’s political ideology is none other than Democracy. In this democracy or government, Machar’s system of governance as he already fine-tuned, is federalism. And this federal government shall get undergirded by a federal constitution, which is the skeleton of the sovereign state of South Sudan.

Then this constitution embodies all fundamental rights, especially inalienable rights of all men and women viz: South Sudanese and others. It also contains diverse provisions on how best different public institutions can get re-established and how preeminent they ought to function.

It implies that justice content too, is guaranteed; be it the rule of law, rights and equality ….etc. Such a tremendous success be compelling us to impose both transparency and accountability rigorous application in all state public institutions and this encompasses all three government levels, notably; federal, state and county.

This is synonymous to radical eradication of corruption in the country; hence it is the potential emergence of much needed prosperity.

This exactly is consequential to Machar’s would-be prosperous African tiger: a democratic federal state of South Sudan, in which Mabior, Ajawin, Udiki, Gatdet, Tombe, to mention a few from our beautiful diverse ethnic groups, all indiscriminately shall be enjoying Machar’s state of equal rights, identical dignity, equivalent opportunities based on merit and so on.

Next is the instillation of the what-ness of Kiir’s political ideology, what is it all about?

Well, Kiir’s political ideology is all about dinkocracy as ElHaj Paul oftentimes labels it or what the distinquished Professor David Dechand characterizes as Kiirocracy or it was also characterized as benyocracy by professor Taban Loliong of the university of Juba and this typical government by definition is a government of Dinka by the Dinka for the Dinka. Such dinkocracy is for Dinka elders, a real substitution of democracy and its definition.

The system of governance in this respect is totally a confused way of intermittently talking to use decentralized system of governance and ending up practicing centralized system of governance that is branded as quasi-decentralized system of governance directed by Dinka elders based on a policy known as muonyjiengism that embedded the necessity of institutionalizing a Jieng state, in which non-Jiengs have been criterioned to die in anywhere they are found.

South Sudanese have already witnessed the genocidal program of this Kiir’s Jieng state early when what I called Kiiroproject first got applied on Lou Nuer in 2006. This war by President Kiir killed approximately 6,000 or more.

Then the sequential killings went on to Shulluk (Chollo) kingdom where in Owacj 2010 and so more or less thousands of unarmed people were mass-massacred, Gawaar and Laak Nuer in Kaldak in 2011 were mercilessly annihilated. Bol Nuer in 2010 too were given the same treatment of their cousins and it reached Murle people in 2010-2013 where Kiir worked harder and harder to eliminate the whole tribe by all means, God forbids.

This paradigmatic Kiir’s ill-sequentialism of genocide resulted to its irrational action peak on 15.12.2013 during which all Nuers of different walks of life were criterioned as 91s by none other than president Kiir Mayardit himself.

All the aforesaid homicides of non-Jiengs were meant to pave Kiir’s way to possibly institutionalize an exclusively Jieng State in which Dinka’s ‘we-are-born-to-rule-and-not-to-be-ruled’ be implemented to its fullness.

This has been proved right by Bona Malual, one of the Jeing council of elders who explicitly put it clear that such a state has to exist by all means necessary, or else Dinka will have nowhere to go, Malwal argued.

Such killings to institutionalize Jieng state, need to be stopped by all the targeted abovementioned Nations plus targeted Nations in potency.

For if these Nations leave the problem to one Nation like Nuer, it will come to annihilate them one by one, should the Nuer be unable to stand their ground in full support of the SPLM or SPLA-IO, this is the intentionality of Kiir Mayardit.

I call upon all people South Sudan, particularly the experiencing Murle, Shulluk, Fertits and Equatorians, and Dinka Pandang that they should not easily forget the struggle for appeasement ranks and money. That all of you have to say enough is enough in a nationalistic way to Dinka government.

To sum up our thesis, existential logic obliges us to admit that Dr. Riek Machar Teny won over Dr. John Garang. And president Kiir is being won over by Dr. Machar Teny.

Based upon his mission, the independence of South Sudan that got actualized plus his vision, democracy tied with federalism, Dr. Machar has qualified himself to be called the founding father of this country who right now settles assured at the right side of this Republic history and his rivals settle uncertain at the reverse.

I expect a bitter reaction from Kiir’s Sycophants, tribal bigots, Jieng indoctrinated lackeys, radicalized diehards, quasi-professors and care-free cronies, all those who unknowingly or knowingly refuse objective knowledge, may be tempted to make some premature conclusions or shall start writing non-reflected upon responses, attacking personalities.

Should any one feel like doing so, let them, for methinks it is true for me to give you this simple piece of critique. If anyone should choose to write in a scientific way, let them, for that’s what I entertain most than the opposite. Have your strictures on this or otherwise. END

Buom Lok

The Chollo Defense Forces Betrayed by the President Kiir’s Administration

By: Jwothab Othow, APR/07/2015, SSN;

First and foremost, allow me to extend my deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the Chollo (Shilluk) fallen heroes including the late Major General James Bwogo Olew and 14 other Chollo officers who were killed in a barbaric act in ambush at Lul by Akoka Dinka militias. Akoka and Dongjol clans militia who recently killed Major General Bwogo Olew in an ambush along with 14 other officers at Lul are part of Padang Dinka in the context of their master plan.

To refreshed your memory about the background of Conflict between the Dinka-Chollo land conflicts in Upper Nile State. It could be recalled when the unprovoked attack on Chollo in Malakal town, the capital of Upper Nile State on January 9, 2009 during the celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the CPA.

The Padang Dinka in Upper Nile State claimed that the town belongs to them and, therefore, they should lead the procession. They attacked the Shilluk who were put before them in the procession. This incident happened in the presence of President Kiir and his former Vice President Dr. Riek Machar. Both Kiir –Machar did nothing about it until today. The same year in 2009 the Dinka attacked two Chollo villages of Abaniim and Anakdiar killing innocent Chollo citizens.

The current President of South Sudan Kiir gave Dinka a site called Pigi in the Chollo land which made it clear that President Kiir is supporting and behind the Padang Dinka claimed for Chollo ancestral land. Juba’s betrayal against Chollo Defense Forces would be a strategic failure of the President Kiir’s administration.

The recent attack on Chollo Defense forces which led to the killing of Major General James Bwogo, self-explanatory and maybe proof of the President Kiir’s administration betrayal against Chollo Defense Forces who made allies with Kiir’s government in 2013.

The giving of Chollo ancestral land to the Dinka by President Salva Kiir has continued to cause ongoing violence in Upper Nile between Dinka and Chollo land conflict unless Juba drops its support for Padang Dinka false claim and abandon their strategy to dislodge Chollo from the east bank.

The Dinka militias ambush at Lul are not an isolated incident but part of Padang Dinka elements within Kiir’s administration who are supplying the Dinka militias in Upper Nile state ammunition to terrorize the Chollo community.

There are reliable reports on the ground that some elements from Akoka Dinka elites and their collaborators from the Nuer of Upper Nile state within President Kiir’s administration are the ones arming the Dinka militia.

It is clear that there is a well coordinated plan to dislodge Chollo people from their ancestral land. The government in Juba is downplaying what happens at Lul recently as Dinka and Chollo youth clashes in Upper Nile state.

Juba is trying to misinform the public through their owned false media about what happened in Upper Nile State recently. According to the various sources, the Minister of Defense in Juba refused to meet the Minority Opposition leader in South Sudan legislative Assembly (SSLA) on the same subject playing down Dinka and Chollo youth clashes.

As part of Juba media propaganda on April 6, 2015, the well known Nuer opportunist Gordon Buay published statement on SPLM-DC forum and Juba smart forum where he claimed that General Johnson Olony issued the statement. This is totally false and fabricated.

These are elements of Akoka Dinka unfounded claims since in 2004. Thereafter, nothing was done despite Chollo’s legitimate demands that the President Kiir’s administration set up a committee to demarcate the border between the two tribes which is based on 1956 boundaries once and for all.

We are told by the various sources that President Salva Kiir made remarks to the Chollo who were trying to approach Kiir to resolve the matter that, “The Chollo–Padang Dinka boundary is in the middle of the Nile.”

The Padang Dinka elites who are supporting Dinka militias in Upper Nile with their strategy are aiming to occupy Chollo land on the East bank. They think the Chollo Defense forces have been weakened as a result of ongoing fighting in Upper Nile against the rebels.

Now Akoka Dinka militias are waging the war against Chollo Defense Forces. If the Padang Dinka think they can occupy the Chollo land on the East bank they are mistaken. The enemies of the Chollo nation will be defeated regardless how mighty they are.

There is evidence that the Padang Dinka elites and their militias are getting material support from Kiir’s government to implement their strategy and agenda to exterminate the Chollo nation from existence.

We condemned this criminal act by Akoka Dinka militias who carried out the ambush killing 15 Chollo officers including Major General Bwogo Olew.

The tension is getting high these days in Upper Nile State due to the deterioration of the situation in the last few days following the killing of Major General Bwogo and 14 other officers at Lul by Akoka Dinka militias.

To the adversaries who seek to dislodge Chollo nation from existence in Upper Nile state should know that our founding fathers have fought multitudes of enemies including the Dinka, Nuer, Funj, Mahdi, and Turko-Egyptian rule in Sudan etc. Yet we have survived and will continue to fight those who seek to dislodge us from existence.

The whole Chollo community is saddened and devastated for the loss of Chollo officers in cold blood. The killing of Major General Bwogo and 14 other officers is pure betrayal from President Kiir’s government.

There are serious concerns among the Chollo whether alliance between General Johnson Olony’s defense forces and the government will continue if the President Kiir continues to support Padang Dinka militias against Chollo forces.

The Padang Dinka agenda to remove the Chollo from their land on the East bank of the Nile from Nyijwado in the Southern kingdom to Detwok in the Northern Kingdom is clearly supported by Kiir’s administration.

There is no doubt that assassinations of Major General Major General James Bwogo who is a deputy of General Johnson Olony and 14 other Chollo officers killed in an ambush were an insider’s work of Padang Dinka elites within the President Kiir’s government.

This proven beyond doubt that the President Kiir’s betrayal against General Johnson Olony’s Chollo Defense Forces after General Olony’s force liberated most places in Upper Nile state.

Chollo all over the world are mourning the loss of their fallen heroes with bitterness. We pray that Almighty God rest their souls in peace but the Akoka Dinka perpetrators who murdered them in cold blood should know that their blood will not go in vain.

We pray that Almighty God gives comfort to their families at this difficult time and the Chollo community. The perpetrators who carried out this mindless and barbaric cowardly act will be held responsible for their death.

Major General James Bwogo was killed on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 on his way to Lul. The plight of Chollo people and the secret war being waged against Chollo nation by the Dinka militias’ with the support of President Kiir’s administration to dislodge Chollo people from ancestral land will not prevail.

This is a clear indication that the ambush was coordinated by pro-government militias from Padang Dinka mainly Akoka as part of their strategy to occupy Chollo land.

One thing Padang Dinka should know is that Shilluk would rather have Padang Dinka take their ancestral land over their dead bodies. This betrayal by President Kirr’s government will affect future relations between Kiir’s government and General Johnson Olony allies.

This unfaithfulness by the government of Kiir and their Padang Dinka militias could jeopardize the relationship between Gen. Jonson Olony’s forces and the government.

Major General Bwogo Olew was a “true hero” and he died for the cause of his people. The ambush was coordinated by Akoka Dinka militias and the President Kiir’s government to kill both Major General Bwogo and General Johnson Olony but General Johnson Olony was not with Major General Bwogo at the time of the ambush.

Major General Bwogo will be remembered and admired for his bravery and his blood will not be in vain. Late Major General Bwogo Olew will remain in the memories of many Chollo for generations to come.

The Dinka perpetrators who are plotting and fuelling violence in Upper Nile state are within the President Kiir’s administration. According to many sources those who are responsible for ongoing violence in Upper Nile State between Dinka and Chollo conflict over the land are: President Kiir himself, the current Governor Simon Kun Pouch, and Stephen Dieu, South Sudan minister of Petroleum, Joshua Dau, a member of Jieng Council of Elders, and Gen. Johnson Gony etc. Just to mention the few.

The ongoing war waged by Padang Dinka in Upper Nile state against the Chollo people have been “coordinated” by President Kiir’s government. If we could recall right after Chollo forces liberated Wadakona the perpetrators mentioned above plotted to assassinate Gen. Johnson Olony at Renk when the Dinka militias shot at Gen. Johnson Olony‘s vehicle but. thank God, he was not in the vehicle and no one was hurt.

The authorities in Juba did not say anything about that incident until Major General Bwogo was killed on April 1, 2015 along with 14 other Chollo officers at Lul. So it is very clear that Juba was behind the conspiracy and is involved in what happened recently in Lul.

President Kiir’s government is trying to discredit and betray Chollo Defense Forces after they have liberated most places in Upper Nile state from the Rebels.

President Kiir’s administration refused to send a delegation to attend the burial of late Major General James Bwogo despite his high rank is an indication that Juba was behind the killing and has betrayed General Johnson Olony.

Sadly, after the Dinka militias killed Major General Bwogo according to the sources on the ground that his body was cut into pieces by the mindless cowardice of Dinka militia. This is pure senseless act and barbaric crime. The blood of Chollo martyrs will not go in vain.

Major General Bwogo Olew was a “true hero” and he died for the cause of his people. Such inhuman and barbaric acts will be met with tough action against the Dinka militia perpetrators. President Kiir’s administration and Padang Dinka is a threat to Chollo existence.

In conclusion, we are deeply concerned that President Kiir’s administration is not serious in resolving the issues of land conflict between the Dinka and Chollo because of his double standards.

It is time for Chollo to think carefully and collectively and to act. I strongly believe that the Chollo people will defeat the adversaries who want to dislodge the Chollo nation.

Major General Bwogo and other fallen heroes….. Chollo people will never forget your sacrifices and your blood will not go in vain.

We thank them for their service and courage. They died for the cause of their people. We salute you and May God rests your souls in eternal peace.

The author is a South Sudanese concerned citizen; he can be reached at

To achieve peace in South Sudan, IGAD talks must be diversified

QUOTE: “South Sudan does not belong to SPLM rather it is the other way – SPLM belongs to South Sudan and it is a small part of its constituent parts.” Elhag Paul.

BY: ELHAG Paul, APR/04/2015, SSN;

The collapse of South Sudan’s peace talks in Addis Ababa under the mediation of IGAD on 6th March 2015 comes with mixed emotions. The failure in reaching peace is painful because it means the suffering and the senseless war will continue further laying waste to the resources of South Sudan including its people.

On the other hand the failure may be a blessing in disguise to allow a genuine process under an impartial body (not IGAD) to deal with the real problem of South Sudan which is the diversification of power and holding the SPLM to account.

The failed IGAD talks erroneously preferred to again concentrate power in the hands of the SPLM, a criminal organisation, to the exclusion of all other stakeholders in the country.

Although its 9th May 2014 agreement clearly and rightly so opted for an inclusive approach, breaching its own brokered agreement, IGAD deliberately set out to sex-out all the other stakeholders from the peace talks in favour of the SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO. Basically South Sudan and its people have been reduced to the property of SPLM.

Some of IGAD’s tactics for disenfranchising the people of South Sudan were very crude. For example, it invited the representatives of other political parties and civil society groups to Addis Ababa for the talks. Then it denies these groups of their per diem and travel expenses ensuring their expenses were impossible to meet.

On the other hand it pays the delegates of SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO thousands of dollars of per deim creating an unequal level playing field. Even things like stationery and support services for preparation of documents were denied to the others.

It is in this Dr Riek Machar’s advocacy of the exclusion of the South Sudanese people represented by the other political parties and the civil society groups, that Dr Riek Machar decimally failed the test of being a democrat.

In playing such a negative role, Riek just proved beyond doubt that he is not to be believed and trusted at all. He is not better than President Salva Kiir. Please see, ‘Like a leopard can not change its spots, Machar can not change’

President Kiir and Riek with the support of IGAD were bent on amassing power to themselves repeating the grave mistakes committed during the negotiations of Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005.

The concentration of power in the SPLM then translated into creation of two dominant powerful tribes which is to the detriment of the country. Now these tribes are fighting it out using the state’s machinery and resources for a monopoly of power in the new country.

The leaked report of the African Union Commission of Inquiry in South Sudan (AUCISS) argues correctly that the CPA was responsible for the “creation of unchallenged armed power” in South Sudan.

Without doubt this is the problem of South Sudan and IGAD wanting to repeat the mistake it did a decade ago beggars belief. This is why the collapse of the IGAD peace talks may be a blessing in disguise.

Given the grand theft of public resources, the cleansing of the Nuer and the lawlessness of the tribal government in Juba, power of the state of South Sudan must be diversified if any meaningful peace is to be attained.

The failure of IGAD talks offers a golden chance for democracy to be appropriately built into the system that emerges after any peace talks, this is to be negotiated under any body taking the process over.

Thus it is critically important for the IGAD agreement of 9th May 2014 to be revived by the new body taking the talks over. All the stakeholders must be part of the talks to ensure diversification of the state power to the rest of the country.

Addressing this issue of power leads to another basic but vital problem relating to the foundation of South Sudan. The current foundation is laid on a very soft ground and that is why the country imploded in December 2013. For any country to survive, the foundation must be right.

So if South Sudan is to properly stand as a credible country that will withstand the storms and quakes of turbulent politics the foundation must be built on a solid ground.

The ingredients of a good foundation are a balanced constitution that accommodates everyone, bill of rights, fiercely independent judiciary and a truly self determined parliament. All these are things that exist in South Sudan theoretically but not practically.

A state can not be constructed on the tissue of a lie. For example, South Sudan under SPLM/A makes a lot of noise that it is a democratic country when visibly and practically it is a tribal dictatorship.

Another example is that SPLM/A falsely claims South Sudan is starting from scratch when the history of the country clearly shows the territory has since 1821 been under different administrations: Turko-Egyptian, condominium rule of Egypt/Britain, and the Sudan government.

SPLM/A fabricated this lie to allow them to mismanage the country while hiding their incompetence behind such a claim.

The importance of a good foundation must not be under estimated. Sudan broke into two and possibly it may break up into more countries because its foundation was faulty from the word go.

The elites in that country buried their heads in the sand and decided to give the country an identity that is not correct resulting in discriminatory policies and practices to fit the imagined false identity.

In contrast, even the United States of America which is founded on a solid Constitution to this date suffers from human imperfection. Issues of race, slavery and discrimination routinely surface as a reminder of human weakness in upholding noble principles in the US Constitution.

Nevertheless, it still progresses on a daily basis towards an ideal society because the majority believe and uphold those beautiful principles found in the Constitution of America. The US is able to withstand the cracks on its foundation because the principles and the practice to a certain extent balances out.

Please see President Barack H. Obama’s speech addressing the human imperfection of Americans when he was campaigning for the presidency, ‘A more perfect Union’

In the mother continent Africa the late president of South Africa Nelson Mandela and former President Fredrik De Klerk laid a reasonably good foundation for post Apartheid South Africa in the 1994 settlement.

The racist Afrikaners with their Apartheid regime who came to power in 1948 nurtured a wrong ideology which undermined the concept of a state. Because of the wrong foundation of Apartheid South Africa crumbled under the resistance of the people.

Equally Dinkocracy in South Sudan like Apartheid in South Africa will crumble soon either by revolution or through the expected coming peace talks.

South Sudan has endured a lot of pain since 1821. It needs breathing space to recuperate from its traumas. The panacea for these traumas is democracy. The South Sudan of today as it is known is a product of a democratic process.

The choice of independence is a result of the people’s decision in a referendum in January 2011.

Although the SPLM usurped the power of the people and plunged it into chaos, the people have the right to have a say in its rebuilding.

The mediation set up under IGAD unfortunately was undemocratic. It pushed away the people of South Sudan (stakeholders: other parties and civil society) from the process. IGAD was happy to concentrate power and hand it on a silver platter to the SPLM to do whatever it wanted to do so long as it would stop the war.

IGAD appeared to have no intention of bringing real peace to South Sudan. That was not right at all because practically their approach meant postponement of the war to some future date.

South Sudan as a young country made its choice in January 2011 through the provision of the CPA to be a democracy.

The people of South Sudan believe in this ideology except the SPLM party which trumpets the ideals of democracy but brilliantly practices Dinkocracy, a tribal form of totalitarianism.

Although it is very sad that the SPLM plunged the country into chaos, good should be harnessed out of this tragedy to entrench democratic principles and practices in the country. This should start with the coming mediation process wherever it would be.

For democracy to take root the talks needs to be conducted by the “people” and it must not be made an SPLM affair.

South Sudan does not belong to SPLM rather it is the other way – SPLM belongs to South Sudan and it is a small part of its constituent parts.

Thus all the people must have a say in stopping the war and what the transitional government should be like. Which means all the stakeholders must be part of the coming talks without discrimination.

Ultimately if South Sudan is to overcome its ills including tribalism to achieve full security and stability it must whole heartedly embrace democracy with its element of free speech to act as a balance against the excesses of state.

Democracy provides safeguards against violence in all its forms because in situations where anger and frustrations builds up to a boiling point, it regulates the building pressure by releasing it through the in-built safety values and practices: routine elections based on the constitution; freedom of press and speech; and the rule of law.

These ensure security and stability which are important for economic and human development.

When the government of the day becomes a problem it is safely replaced/changed without traumatising the country. The beauty of democracy is that its structures are adaptable to various political opinions.

In contrast just see what Dinkocracy has done to South Sudan in only three years of independence. The reason the country imploded is simply because Dinkocracy unlike democracy has no safety valves.

The ideologies of totalitarian regimes usually have an assured end in self destruction no matter what development they achieve. Observe the destruction Iraq, Libya, and Syria are facing now. All those sky scrapers and magnificent buildings developed in those countries are being torn down in anger.

Will the wretched development in Juba survive the brewing anger now developing in people’s hearts? The virtues of democracy are proven by the stability and real development seen in the Western world.

In the IGAD peace talks the SPLM/A warring factions of President Salva Kiir, Dr Riek and Pagan Amum were treated favourably and lavished with gleeful per deim in thousands of dollars daily.

Worse still these murderous groups were allowed to dictate the terms. SPLM/A must not be allowed to monopolise power through the process of peace talks.

The failed IGAD talks had again like the CPA negotiations tried to concentrate power in the hands of the criminals of South Sudan. They pretend by claiming that they can bring peace.

This is nonsense. They are the very people who manufactured the catastrophe in the country and therefore they should not be rewarded by being listened to.

Where on this earth are criminals considered as negotiators in solving their crimes? What was happening in Addis Ababa is akin to asking accused foxes who ransacked a chicken pen to bring safety to the remaining traumatised chicken.

If the Hutus who committed genocide in Rwanda were not listened to; if Dr Radovan Karadic and General Ratko Mladic of the Bosnian Serbs who committed ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia were not listened to and made part of their respective peace talks, why then is President Kiir and his SPLM allowed to be part of the talks and treated like decent people?

Does the leaked AUCISS report not make clear that the Juba regime is responsible for the ethnic cleansing?

What is the difference between the ethnic cleansing of the Croats and Bosnians by the Serbs and the one of the Nuer by Jieng controlled regime of Juba?

The only difference as far as can be seen is that the former involves Europeans and the latter involves Africans. It may be this difference that blurs the eye with which the UNSC sees the problem of South Sudan.

The rush and desperation of the international community to broker peace before the expiry of the mandate of the President Kiir on 9th July 2015 does not bode well for South Sudan.

What is important should be identifying the right body and personalities to lead it rather than leaving the process yet again to the failed IGAD to try to revamp itself under their declared new – IGAD Plus body which seeks to incorporate the Troika with some other countries.

Please see ‘IGAD unveils new process to end South Sudan crisis’

The failure of IGAD simply is based on the fact that their strategy was wrong and unjust, and as long as it continues with this strategy they will never succeed in bringing peace with Troika and others or without.

Please see, ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’

IGAD’s hurry to rejuvenate itself appears to indicate anxiety, confusion and the poor thinking on the matter going on in the mediation team. They seem to be more interested in salvaging their already damaged reputation than getting the right and workable peace deal.

All along IGAD appears to focus on the short term rather than the long term. Like their already failed strategy they look certain to commit the same mistake, because they have not learnt anything from their failure.

Lesson number one for IGAD and the international community is that the talks must be an affair of all South Sudanese and the South Sudanese should be the ones to decide the agenda.

The importance of this point can not be overstated because ownership of the peace will translate to a lasting peace for South Sudan and the region.

Lesson number two is that Uganda must not be part of the talks because it is belligerent and on the government’s side, with Uganda’s troops on the ground involved in the war.

Lesson number three is that IGAD should not make threats that they are not ready to follow through.

Lesson number four is that IGAD must strictly follow the rules of mediation.

Lesson number five IGAD must treat all stakeholders equally.

Lesson number six SPLM must not be given any preference – It must be treated like all the other stakeholders.

Finally, it is unbelievable that the international community is bent on continuing with empowering the monstrous SPLM/A. The leaked report of African Union Committee of Inquiry in South Sudan (AUCISS) which IGAD is struggling to keep under wraps identifies the source of the current problem in the country.

In clause 89 the report argues that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement created SPLM/A as “unchallenged armed power in South Sudan” Please see, ‘Draft Report of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.’

Therefore, the simple strategy for bringing peace to South Sudan should involves the diversification of power to all its constituent social groups through a democratised peace talks.

This entails the international community starting the whole process anew. Just as agreed and accepted on 9th May 2014 agreement in Addis Ababa, the new body without IGAD should invite all the stakeholders of South Sudan to hammer out a lasting deal.

The shenanigans of IGAD which favoured the culprit and discriminated against the victims (the people) should be thrown into the bin.

[Truth hurts but its also liberating]
Elhag Paul

Why South Sudanese shouldn’t trust the Obasanjo Report on South Sudan Crisis?

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, RUMBEK, MAR/30/2015, SSN;

Is it out of love or mockery that Africa appears to care too much about South Sudan? From the first day the conflict erupted in South Sudan, Africa has been suggesting possible remedies to the crisis in the country.

Apart from hosting peace talks in Addis Ababa, the African Union (AU) also promptly formed a five member commission of inquiry to “investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.”

The commission of inquiry is composed of prominent and respected individuals with exceptional skills and experience. The Chairperson of the Inquiry Commission is composed of former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, other members include Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo who is the Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Makerere University (Uganda), Bineta Diop who is AU Chairperson’s envoy for Women, Peace and Security, AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security and Prof. Pacifique Manirakiza who is a commissioner at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, the Gambia.

No doubt, this is a team of well placed African leaders that equally possess huge experience and tested competence.

Now, one wonders why a series of very dirty wars were allowed to rage on in Sudan long before the separation of South Sudan the former O.A.U couldn’t take such a step. Until today, another bad war is raging on in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Darfur region and the AU instead of investigating crimes committed – genocide included – chooses to protect the main perpetrators of the crimes and conflicts in Sudan.

No investigative team of inquiry has been set for Sudan. And President Beshir stays insulated from the ICC by the AU. So, there are two AU’s: one that investigates crimes in South Sudan and the other one that shields Beshir from going to the court in the Hague.

But maybe for the AU loves South Sudan so much, there can be nothing else anyone can say than to appreciate such a concern.

The report of this Commission of Inquiry has not yet been made public. But there had only been a leaked report purported to have been prepared by AU. The ‘leaked’ report almost caused an outrage and misunderstanding both in the Government and the opposition camps. Not because it carried such weird and witty recommendations like the axing of both the President and the rebel leader Dr. Machar in the formation of a transitional government, but it also looks shallow, unprofessional and lacking content to match the jurisdictions and standards of a veritable inquiry.

The AU, in person of Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamina-Zuma, has already disowned the report. That has helped a bit fix the mess.

Regardless of the fact presented by the AU in delaying the report – for fear that it may obstruct peace process in Addis Ababa – the US, the EU and so many other affiliate NGOs, still call for publication of the official report.

That makes it quite perplexing how the same agencies and organizations that call for a speedy peace process also adamantly demand for the release of the AU Commission of Inquiry report when we all know that it could delay peace.

As seen in the leaked report, any document that carries coined stories and discrepancies may likely bang the door closed on the Addis Ababa talks.

The leaked report of the Commission of Inquiry, since it now lacks any official backing and rightful authenticity, can be assumed a bluff. But the question remains: can the current team of experts investigating into the country’s crisis produce an honest, credible and unbiased report? And can this commission be fair enough in their findings and recommendations?

Methinks No!

With due respect to each and every member of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan crisis with regards to ‘human rights violations, atrocities and so much more, not many South Sudanese believe that this commission of inquiry is one that they should trust to carefully and honestly analyze the crisis, make proper findings and suggest the right recommendations on the conflict in South Sudan.

This is not because we may suspect the competence of the team. Neither do we think they can be manipulated by some interest groups with stakes in the war in the country.

We all know who President Olusegun Obasanjo is. He is a well respected African statesman who made a name in the making of both modern and the old Nigeria. He handed over power peacefully in 1979 after he lost elections to Shehu Shagari.

In 1976, he ascended to power by the privilege of death as President Murtala Mohammed, who he deputized, died in assassination. But he could not hold onto power during the election. Nigeria, through him, saw a peaceful transfer of power.

That he handed over power peacefully made him a darling of the West, particularly the US, Germany and Britain. But just like Dr. Riek Machar he attempted coup in 1995. The coup failed and he was not as fortunate as Riek Machar who miraculously found his way out of Juba simply to embark on a rebellion in a matter of days.

Obasanjo was arrested, tried and jailed for life. The West, because they were the architects of his failed coup, pressurized for his release. Due to that pressure his sentence was reduced to 15 years.

By a complete twist of fate, he was again a beneficiary of death as his arch enemy Gen. Sani Abacha died of an illness in 1998. A year later Obasanjo contested elections and won comfortably. Like an American President who served two complete terms he led Nigeria for eight straight years.

That Obansanjo is a believer of coups is not the point of concern. Rather, the issue – and relevance to the case of South Sudan – is his concept of reforms. Nigeria, in so many aspects, does not resemble South Sudan. So, Obasnajo’s reforms for Nigeria cannot marry up with the South Sudan reforms.

Still one asks himself if everything has worked well for Nigeria. President Obasanjo’s homeland, just like South Sudan, is until today deep in crisis. It has for a long time been engaged in a series of insurgencies and is still held knee-deep in one of the worst corruption in Africa.

The Boko Haram poses a big threat to Nigeria the way Riek’s rebels are to South Sudan. That begs the question: has Obasanjo put right his home country to even dare look into issues of other countries?

There is a belief that Obasanjo holds experience and valid solutions to Africa’s problems as he is taken to be a symbol of reform and democracy. Yet, Africa has moved much more than Obasanjo. It seems Africa is still being driven by personality cult.

Much as we hail President Obasanjo’s huge experience, there is a question of his age. It is my personal feeling that Uncle Obasanjo has not very much energy left in him. The Obasanjo of 1998 cannot be the Obasanjo of 2015. He can easily be outwitted and asked to sign a blind cheque for South Sudan.

The commission of inquiry on South Sudan crisis can be manipulated under his watchful eyes by those that hold very dangerous views on South Sudan. And that might be the greatest fear of South Sudanese.

One such fear is the inclusion of Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Uganda in the same commission of inquiry. Like Obasanjo, Prof Mahmood Mamdani possesses an intellectual power but that cannot stop us from interrogating his inclusion into this important commission. This is because Prof. Mahmood has a long held view that Dr. Riek, South Sudan’s rebel leader, is a reformist.

At the Annual Retreat of the National Resistance Army (NRM) at Kyankwanzi on February 11th, 2014, which was later published by the New Vision of Uganda on 16th Feb, 2014, Prof Mahmood Mamdani delivered a lecture on South Sudan conflict titled “No power sharing without political reform.”

In the lecture, the well endowed Professor gave his analysis on the genesis of South Sudan crisis, its ripple effects and the way forward.

In some instances he made his views clear on Riek being a reformist – how he arrived at that only God knows – but there was never clear inclination anyone would easily put him in since he appeared spread all over and pointing the issues of the ethnicity between the Dinka and the Nuer.

True to his writing, the British heightened ethnicity in South Sudan. But he equally has his own views and one dangerous thing among them is his criticism of the independence of South Sudan.

Prof. Mahmood made it clear that he was against the independence of South Sudan. He said, “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 turned out to be a shoddy affair, rushed by those in a hurry to birth an independent South. The people of South Sudan are just beginning to pay the price for that haste.”

Poignant to the feeling of South Sudanese, Prof. Mahmood believes that South Sudan is a “child of the war on terror.” That explicitly means that South Sudan statehood was driven not from our own struggle but born out of the war on terror. There has been no abuse like this on the history of struggle of South Sudan.

In short, Prof Mahmud Mamdani is one guy that has long formed an opinion about South Sudan. He made his position clear that he is inclined to support Dr. Riek’s reforms. He continues to blame what he termed as ‘rushed’ independence of South Sudan.’

Therefore, there can be no reason he could have been appointed into the team of inquiry on the crisis of South Sudan. According to global criteria on choosing an inquiry team should not have been a member of the team of inquiry for south Sudan. It is like sending a sensitive case of a sheep to a wolf.

Looking already at the leaked ‘fake’ report of the commission of inquiry, one wonders if you don’t see the hands of Prof. Mahmud Mamdani. While Mzee Obasanjo leads by his good name, the dirt may continue to be done by the enemies of South Sudan.

Prof. Mahmud has also been fighting against the term limits of President Museveni of Uganda. His inclusion in the committee of inquiry on South Sudan crisis only helps him find another podium from which he could fight Museveni away from home.

So there goes the story of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan! South Sudanese have to waste not their time in laying hope on this commission. They should expect a bad report that is based on manipulations under the supervision of a helpless old man.

South Sudanese shall forever continue to give their respect to President Obasanjo as one of the living fathers of the modern Africa. But that people will agree with the report of an important inquiry committee may only come as a surprise.

Taban Abel Aguek is an MP in Lakes State Legislative Assembly – Rumbek. He can be reached at

South Sudan: War without end

By Richard Dowden, Posted on March 26, 2015 by AfricanArgumentsEditor, SSN;

Last week President Salva Kiir of South Sudan rejected all the main proposals put forward by the African Union to bring peace to Africa’s newest state. Standing on the temporary podium erected for Independence Day just over three and a half years ago, he refused all attempts at compromise with Riek Machar, the former Vice President.

Standing in a black suit and cowboy hat, surrounded by praise singers, ministers, religious leaders, foreign ambassadors and school children, he read laboriously from a script. With a few thousand others I stood in the searing Sudan sun listening to his rejection of a peace deal.

No to more parliamentary seats, he said. No to more ministers. No to federation – unless the people demand it. That was, I suspect a private joke: no one is allowed to demand anything here.

There were no substantive concessions to anything that Machar, now at war with the president, is demanding. President Kiir rejected the idea of a ceremonial head of state with an executive presidency. “Riek must be number two to me,” he said. He did offer an amnesty but that they “must accept the line I give them”.

This means war.

The crowd was peppered with suited security men. Some of them stopped me and asked why I was not wearing a pass. I didn’t have one. They didn’t know what to do next so I wandered freely around the podium but as I, and two western journalists left, we were stopped and questioned. “Why are you leaving before the President finished speaking? You are insulting the President.” Of course I denied it but it would have been a perfectly sensible reaction.

What, I kept thinking, have the Southern Sudanese learnt from the rest of Africa’s post-independence mistakes over the last 50 years? How could South Sudan avoid the coups and bitter personal enmities that rivals tribalised to make war on each other?

Who was able to stop the gross theft of state funds? Why did so many African rulers live in paranoid secrecy and total security? Above all why did those rulers lack any interest in development for their own people? I had seen it in Idi Amin’s Uganda, in Moi’s Kenya, in Mobutu’s Congo, in Abacha’s Nigeria, in Houphouet-Boigny’s Cote d’Ivoire.

And here, now, in 2015, in Africa’s newest country all those criminals are being mimicked by this scarcely literate clown in a black cowboy hat.

The rival armies have already fought a few rounds. As the war develops further a few more fighters will be killed but thousands of South Sudanese, mainly women and children, will die of preventable diseases having been forced to flee from their homes. I was in South Sudan in 1991, the last time they fell out with each other. They seemed to fight with more bitterness towards each other than they fought the Khartoum government. Whole villages were sacked and burned and women and children slaughtered.

Maybe, despite being handed one of the most beautiful and potentially wealthy countries in the world, the leaders simply decided that killing, looting and raping were more rewarding than development.

There is not much to choose between the two warlords and their numerous fickle allies. Riek is admittedly a far better educated man. He holds a PhD from Bradford University in engineering and can discuss global issues with great insight and knowledge. He deploys great charm to foreigners. But he is allied to the White Army, a militia of young Nuer killers and rapists who have committed some of the worst atrocities. If the International Criminal Court had been a success, Machar would be a prime target.

Perhaps war is what they are most comfortable with. The region has been a warzone on and off for more than 1000 years. From the 10th Century, maybe longer, Arabs began to raid what is now South Sudan for slaves. In the 19th Century the British took over the region to control the Nile from the source to the sea, but their administration was more like an imperial military occupation than colonialism. There was no development for the people except what the Christian churches managed to organise. Each denomination was given an area to Christianize.

Independence came suddenly in 1956 and the south was then ruled from Khartoum. War broke out immediately but paused in 1972, which allowed 11 years of peace and a little development. That changed in 1983 when Colonel John Garang, one of the few southerners with a university education, launched the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – not to fight for independence, but to turn the whole of Sudan into a “united, democratic and secular Sudan”.

The war officially ended in a US brokered peace agreement in 2002 and South Sudan became independent with the agreement of the north nine years later. That brought another brief period of peace but also theft on a vast scale as some ministers have simply stolen the entire budgets of their departments.

In 2011 the American ambassador had some of these thefts tracked, made a list of the names and bank accounts, and handed it to the President. Nothing happened.

As Alex de Waal wrote in African Affairs in July last year: “Kiir’s strategy for managing the SPLM/A’s fractious leaders was to indulge their appetite for self-enrichment.” He argues that when the money ran out the recipients simply went back to war – it being what they were used to.

One positive thing that has emerged from this horrific tragedy is an African Union report that has been leaked. African Union reports do not normally leak and if they do, they are so anodyne and inconsequential that no one can be bothered to read them. But this report is different. It is bluntly honest, quotes ordinary South Sudanese, attributes blame to individuals – including the President – and recommends extraordinary measures.

It reveals that a South Sudan Army has never been created. It remains a collection of tribal militias amounting to officially, but improbably, 480,000 men. Each general – for which you can read ‘warlord’ – gets paid and is supposed to pay his men. Many do not. That is in part what caused the return to war.

Here are some of the gems from the report:

A quote from the street:

“They put a knife into what bound us, turned the crisis from political to ethnic.”

The population of South Sudan is 10 million people and its revenue is $5 billion. 75% of the population is illiterate. One in 50 dies at childbirth (this is the worst indicator in the world). There are a large number of returnees from Sudan. 70% of government budget goes to pay people in arms. Small arms are proliferating. Socially excluded youth have evolved into a volatile force, and a very large group of unemployed youth are ripe for manipulation.

The violence, which originated as a schism in the governing elite of South Sudan, targeted one particular ethnicity, the Nuer. Its intent and effect was to divide the civilian population along ethnic lines, to destroy the middle ground, thereby to polarize the society into ‘us’ and ‘them.’

“Every time we integrate, someone declares in Khartoum that we have a militia. We integrate them and give them a rank. Most of these militias are illiterate – led by illiterate Major-Generals. Even today, we have not integrated them. We tried to demobilize them, but that was difficult. You cannot demobilize someone who has a gun. You give him money under DDR. When the money is finished, he will go back to the bush.”

South Sudan has never had an election. Salva Kiir was elected Vice President of Sudan, but never President of a state called South Sudan.

It is wrong to think of South Sudan as a failed state – for the simple reason that South Sudan never was a state. There was no bureaucracy, no judiciary, there was nothing to fail. There were only fighting forces, most of the time fighting one another and a make believe state whose leadership was propped up and fêted by important sections of the international community. South Sudan may exist as a state on paper, but more as a juridical fiction than an institutional reality.

To think of South Sudan as a failed state is to overlook the simple fact that the very political foundation for the existence of a state – a political compact – has yet to be forged within the elite and between the communities that comprise the country.

Jok Madut Jok, a South Sudanese academic, described the looting spree during the CPA: “The period following 2005 was a period of entitlement, we are entitled to eat, we liberated this country. But…flagrant theft of public money created serious injustices.”

President Kiir publicly accused 75 top officials of being responsible for the cumulative theft of $4.5 billion. There are three main sources of corruption in South Sudan: oil money, government employment and land.

Haile Menkerios, former Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN (SRSG) to Sudan and South Sudan, told the Commission: “Oil revenue for Sudan as a whole was $50-60 billion from 2005 of which 50% came to South Sudan. There is nothing to show for it.”

He said oil is sold in two ways, in the open market and in the spot market: “None of the spot market money got into the bank. It is divided between individuals.” (Definition: Spot market is where the oil is sold for cash and delivered immediately. Contracts bought and sold on these markets are immediately effective. The spot market is also called the “cash market” or “physical market”, because prices are settled in cash on the spot at current market prices, as opposed to forward prices. Also, Crude oil is an example of a future that is sold at spot prices but its physical delivery occurs in one month or less—Investopedia, from Editor)

“International donors,” wrote Peter Ajak, the presidential advisor, “deployed legions of foreign technical assistants who, eager to showcase immediate results, ended up doing everything themselves, transferring little know-how to South Sudanese civil servants.”

The prime targets of large scale land acquisition, what has come to be called ‘land-grabbing’, are the areas of peasant cultivation in the south of the country, mainly Equatoria. The editor of Juba Monitor told the Commission: “Equatorians are very unhappy. Their major grievance arises from land grabbing. A lot of land around the President’s house was taken with no compensation.”

Elite reconciliation has evaded South Sudan for decades. The only program around in which different factions managed to come together was the campaign for independence. Since independence, the South Sudan political class has lacked a project around which to coalesce.

The responsibility for this falls squarely on the shoulders of those who designed and steered the six year transition period ushered in by the CPA. By focusing on Sudan to the north as the enemy to be confronted the CPA lost an opportunity both to confront its past failure at reconciliation and forge a national project around which the South Sudan political elite could unite.

The split in the SPLA in 1991 was never resolved – it was simply deferred. The accommodation that was made at Wunlit in 1999 was pragmatic, not principled. Former President Thabo Mbeki recalled 1991 as a recurring theme in his discussions with President Kiir: “Salva told us: Riek killed a lot of Dinka, and we will not give him the opportunity to do so again. Rebecca (Garang) said we agree with Machar that Salva must go but I will never allow Riek to be President – never a fellow who did that.”

Hilde Johnson, UN Representative, “This crisis is beyond anything we have seen in scale, magnitude and depth. A quick fix power-sharing agreement will not work – problems of the country and leadership are too deep.” She repeated, for emphasis: “We need to re-boot South Sudan – no quick fix, no deal, will do it.”

The ambassadors of the Troika (the U.S., U.K. and Norway) agreed that President Kiir should step down and, indeed, both Kiir and Machar should both step aside.

The British envoy: “Dinka without Kiir will not settle; Nuer without Machar will not settle; and yet, the two will not work together.” The US envoy said “there is so much hatred they can’t move forward even with both of them there.”

The Norwegian envoy concurred: “There is no reflection yet on why things went wrong.”

Commission therefore recommends a transitional period with three distinctive features:
–(a) a High Level Oversight panel to guide the period of transition;
–(b) a transitional government that excludes those politically accountable for the crisis; and –(c) a transitional program that address the question of justice in different forms.

Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society.