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Taking a closer look at the controversial 28 states

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, MAY/29/2016, SSN;

Since the announcement of the presidential establishment order for the creation of 28 new states, the regime and its supporters have maintained the assertion that it was an answer to a popular demand. They sought to sell that line of argument which is false to foreign entities and individuals with little knowledge about what is taking place in South Sudan.

The central point that they failed to prove is that the 28 states were a topical issue in the media or among the populace before the presidential decree. In fact there has never been a nationwide debate regarding increasing the number of states. We never heard of proposals or deliberations whether at the level of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) or the Council of States’ level.

There was no mention of the involvement of a technical committee in conducting feasibility studies before the presidential order. Moreover, the opposition parties in the NLA and even the SPLM members were taken by surprise when the presidential decree was read over SSTV.

The first time the issue of increasing the number of states came to public attention was when SPLM/A-IO proposed establishment of 21 new states based on the British colonial districts during the peace negotiations. As we all know, the regime strongly opposed the proposal and even refused to discuss it in the negotiations.

The great irony is that the government that has refused new 21 states, came up with even a larger number of states based on nothing but ethnic interests.

It’s no secret that the 28 new states originated from the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). Thus to say that it was the fulfillment of a popular demand by the government is nothing but an outright fallacy.

At best it could be viewed as a request by a portion but not the whole Jieng community. And even if the entire Jieng community supports the creation of the new states, it will remain the demand of one tribe out of the 64 tribes that form South Sudan.

The regime also propagated a claim that having more states would facilitate the delivery of services and bring about development to the remote areas of the country. It would, as its supporters insist, take towns to villages in agreement with a well-established SPLM objective.

Well, it’s quite easy especially in a dictatorship to enact a particular policy and use the government propaganda machine to organise public demonstrations in support of what the government did. But people would soon realise that their lives haven’t changed much and what were disseminated by the regime were just slogans for public consumption.

There hasn’t been any considerable development of our cities and towns at the expense of the rural areas. Over a decade in power hasn’t brought safe running water to the majority of the households in the capital city, Juba. Apart from the privileged people, the majority of the citizens drink water straight from river Nile ( Supiri ) or wells.

This alone exposes the weakness of the regime’s argument. If it could fail to set up a primary infrastructure like safe water supply for the capital, how plausible that it would succeed in building the far more costly infrastructures like highways, bridges and railways by merely increasing the number of states?

Little details have reached the public domain regarding the 21 states suggested by SPLM/A-IO during the peace talks in Addis Ababa. The proposal is far from being perfect or ideal for the following reasons:
— a) Although it sounds reasonable that it was based on the British colonial districts, however, it didn’t take into account the demographic changes and the economic realities that have occurred since the departure of the British. 60 years after the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium is quite a long time and with our reduced life expectancy this could well be the entire lifetime for a sizeable number of South Sudanese. It means the majority of the people in those districts is now composed of a new generation of South Sudanese. With a new generation of people, significant changes are bound to happen thus the British colonial districts may not accurately reflect the demographic and economic facts on the ground.

— b) Similar to the 28 states, there was no national debate about the pros and cons of having 21 new states. Therefore, it runs the risk of being viewed by some as non-inclusive or lacking a broad-based support.

— c) Despite the fact that SPLM/A-IO represents all the communities of South Sudan, the 21 states’ proposal may not escape the accusation of being heavily pro-Nuer interests. However, the difference between the two is that the 28 states are being illegally operationalised while the 21 states’ system is a proposal subject to discussion and amendments.

Both the proponents of the two views can hardly demonstrate to or convince honest people that all communities in South Sudan have been consulted or their perspectives were taken into consideration.

The views of the Equatorians and the other tribes appear to have been largely ignored. It must be clear that there are on-going grievances in greater Equatoria even with the ten states’ system. The former three regions of Equatoria, Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal have comparable population sizes. Therefore in fairness, there should have been an equal number of states as a result of breaking up the former regions.

Also looking at some of the new states with populations barely reaching 100,000 and meagre or non-existent infrastructure, you realise towns like Kajo Keji and Lainya with area populations of 196,000 and 89,315 respectively according to the 2008 census should have qualified to be made states in their rights.

The biggest grievance, however, is in the allocation of counties. Again the 2008 census showed the populations of Central Equatoria, Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states as 1,103,592, 1,200,000, 964,353 and 600,000 respectively. Only six (6) counties were allocated to Central Equatoria State (CES) while (11), (13) and (9) were assigned to Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity states respectively.

Juba city, the most populous city in South Sudan with a population of 368,436 which is more than half the entire population of each of Lakes state (685,730) and Unity state as above, was maliciously “compressed” into one (1) county while Lakes state enjoys (8) counties.

The case of Mongalla in Jubek State, is kind of interesting hence making elaboration irresistible. Mongalla was the first capital of South Sudan before being moved to Juba in 1930. History tells us that it was the only town in South Sudan visited by the American President Theodore Roosevelt in 1910. A town of great economic potentials as evidenced by the fact that as early as the 1920’s the foundation for growing cotton and a textile industry were established.

A sugar processing factory and a clothing mill were operational albeit for a short period. There were even plans in place for a paper mill that depends on growing the eucalyptus plants. Yet Mongalla was never made a county until recently. It just shows how arbitrary is the process of allocating counties in the Republic of South Sudan.

The process is never straightforward or based on a sound selection criteria. It’s more often than not tainted with the whims and tribal inclinations of the rulers.

The question that comes to mind is – do we need more states? Which is more believable – that lack of development is caused by the ten states’ system or that it is the result of poor leadership coupled with corruption and incompetence?

It is a well known fact that 4 billion US Dollars was embezzled in Juba under the President’s very nose. Also, few incidents of theft and embezzlement involving thousands and millions of US Dollars occurred in the office of the President. With all that in mind – how likely that the situation would improve with the creation of the new 28 states and the expansion of the government apparatus?

In the context of good governance, the issue of the number of states is a secondary one. The primary issue is the system of governance that is acceptable to the people of South Sudan.

Historically, federalism has been the demand of the people since 1947 and remains popular among the overwhelming majority to this day. Therefore, and contrary to the regime’s rhetoric, the 28 states is not a popular demand, federalism is.

Moving the country forward requires visionary leadership, innovative planning, administrative and fiscal discipline and hard work. In essence, the decision to increase the number of states should be based on economic benefits rather than on political or tribal gains.

When a tourist planning to visit our country learns about the new states through the media, and being cognizant of the international norms, he or she would expect nothing less than airports, hotels, restaurants, highways, 24 hours electricity supply, Clean water supply and above all security.

Good Lord! We do not have a single easily passable road between Bor and Pibor. The Road between Malakal and Naser is seasonal and the same applies to many parts of South Sudan. The total length of tarmac roads in the whole of South Sudan is less than 150 miles.

Having a tap water supply in your household is a luxury in the 21st century South Sudan.

Rather than increasing government spending by creating more unproductive posts with the risk of increasing the number of embezzlers – why not use those funds in building the infrastructure all over the country?

Increasing the number of counties to ensure equitable representation in the NLA would be a wiser option at extremely low cost than increasing the number of states.

It has been recognised worldwide that big government seldom delivers the results that people have hoped to attain. It’s prone to maddening bureaucracy and rampant corruption. The keys to prosperity are small government, strategic planning, anti-corruption stance and fiscal conservatism.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Machar, Lam, Taban, Alor, Lado, Nyaba… et al: Back again to your dysfunctional & degenerate Kiir-led SPLM/A?

EDITORIAL, MAY/23/2016, SSN;

To call this new Kiir-Machar government as being made up of former “enemies” is an understatement. Without any doubt, this is still the same SPLM ‘comrades’ government made up of self-preserving, remorseless and immoral criminals and killers who are very much adept at mutating and recycling themselves back into these lucrative positions of leadership mainly because they shared the similar commonalities.

Verily, the road ahead for the new Kiir-Machar (SPLM-IG and SPLM-IO) is already heavily mined by mutual disagreements, obfuscations, dilly-dallying and endemic paralysis which will again end up in mutual self-destruction and another gargantuan disappointment for our people and the international community helping the new nation.

Once more, in their duplicitous and long political lives, Machar, Lam Akol, Lado Gore, Deng Alor, Taban Gai, et al…, have all come back, once again, to their degenerate SPLM political party and its dysfunctional government under their same incompetent leader, Kiir Mayardit.

South Sudan has within a historic world-record time become the most ungovernable country in East Africa not because of its patient and long-suffering people but principally due its so-called miscreant SPLM leaders that incorporates all of you, so-called SPLM In-and-Opposed to Government.

What’s really new or different this time in this SPLM/A new political marriage? For the second, third and God knows how many times, most of you all have been shamefully labelled as thieves and traitors; almost all of you were at one point, publicly dismissed, imprisoned and disgraced from this anarchic and archaic monstrosity called the SPLM/A by none other your Great Satan, Kiir Mayardit himself.

But again and again, like some Satanic incarnations, most of you, despite the imprisonment, near death-misses and public embarrassment, you all shamelessly have silently capitulated and crawled on your knees back to your ‘Almighty Devil’ Mayardit.

Poignantly, according to the latest analysis by “The Sentry.org,” South Sudan (presumably both SPLM’s) elites, after assuming power in 2005, “have built a kleptocratic regime that controls all sectors of the economy, and have squandered a historic chance for the development of a functional state. These predatory economic networks play a central role in the current civil war, because much of the conflict is driven by (SPLM) elites trying to re-negotiate their share of the politico-economic power balance through violence.”

The Report “acknowledges that the (Machar’s) rebels were also part of this kleptocratic system in the past, and are more likely to be involved again in the event of a negotiated settlement.”

The above assessment is absolutely indisputable, you had the privilege to once again ‘re-negotiate’ yourselves back into the politico-economic realm through a war that future generations of South Sudanese will furiously debate whether it was really necessary as a first alternative.

During your collective involvement pre-2013 political disengagement from Kiir’s government, EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU, whilst in the Kiir’s cabinet, illicitly benefited in one or multiple ways in the on-going massive corruption, either indirectly or directly.

IF ANYONE OF YOU WAS EVER CLEANER THAN YOUR ALMIGHTY KIIR, WHY HASN’T ANYONE OF YOU COME FORWARD AND POINT THE FINGER ON KIIR HIMSELF or OTHERS OF YOUR COMRADES WHO ARE UNASHAMEDLY AND LAVISHLY WALLOWING IN THEIR ILL-BEGOTTEN RICHES AS THOUSANDS ARE DYING OF HUNGER AND DISEASES RIGHT NOW ACROSS THE NATION?

In a rare show of honesty, President Kiir in 2012 shocked the nation by revealing that 75 of his officials had stolen a whooping 4 billion dollars but he stopped short of naming a single individual. Then all of you were in the government and top suspects. Why hasn’t Machar or anyone of you in the opposing SPLM come out and name somebody or all in the SPLM in government who are the suspects, just for political expediency?

Regardless, in the public opinion of most South Sudan, now wallowing in poverty and hunger, they know you are completely involved in the corruption and you are suspects till the end.

Interestingly, your Almighty Godfather, Kiir Mayardit and his clown/vice, Wani-Igga, repeatedly and publicly have exposed the ONLY alleged 30 million dollar theft by Pagan Amum, (money given by Sudan’s el Bashir to build your Juba party headquarters), the now reappointed secretary-general of your party, who’s most unlikely to return to Juba because of the embarrassment, intimidation and threat of prosecution.

Your collective silence on and about the past or current corruption is a duplicitous conspiracy to save your own skins and to reassure the Satanic Kiir that you all agree not to rock the boat, a deliberate capitulation to ensure and guarantee your self-preservation even when one of your comrades, Pagan Amum, is being publicly crucified.

Further, it’s apparently indisputable that the recurrence of conflicts within your degenerate SPLM party and the dysfunctional governments shuffled and reshuffled by your almighty Kiir basically stemmed from the unending, long-running competition among you, the ruling elites, for more power and profits.

Interestingly, Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, the most leading SPLM ideologue, frankly attributed all the past and present national problems to what he called ‘the SPLM original sin,’ and that the shortcomings of the Kiir’s Government of South Sudan (GOSS) are wholly pegged on the SPLM, the rot began in the SPLM and there is no way the SPLM leadership can escape responsibility for this cataclysmic failure.

Now surprisingly back once again as a minister in this Satanic government, Dr. Nyaba also once wrote that his ruling SPLM had drastically “cost the people of South Sudan more than 10 years of missed development opportunities,” and he clearly attributed this to the “ideology of these SPLM leaders as informed and shaped by their ethnic environment as the SPLM liberation ideology surely failed to penetrate this ossified jieeng ethnic ideology.”

In the most simplified deduction, therefore, the SPLM liberation ideology was subverted by and subsumed into the jieeng ethnic ideology; all other ethnic groups in South Sudan were, as a matter of fact, naively and inadvertently perpetuating jieeng supremacy and domination as now so clearly apparent.

The question is: Why are you so maniacally obsessed with your collective reincarnation back into this dysfunctional government and your degenerate SPLM party and its severely fractured and ill-famed military wing, the SPLA?

Isn’t this what Dr. Adwok Nyaba himself had once described that “Kiir survived by the malice of fate?”

Momentarily, the current tenuous peace will probably be effected under the JMEC monitoring but at the expense of any justice and accountability on a butch of very disagreeable and disingenuous ‘comrades-cum-leaders’ of an archaic, diabolical and self-destructive organization known as the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army, aka SPLM/A.

More infamously remembered for its historical episodes of horrendous and abominable murders, rapes and human rights abuses, practically every member of this SPLM/A without exception has contributed to the stigmatization of citizens of the nation by their collective criminality.

Thus, with this so-called peace accord, these criminals and murderers, be it president Salva Kiir, Riek Machar, Lam Akol, Taban Gai, Deng, Deng Alor… et al, are soon back to business as usual.

South Sudanese must be painfully reminded that right from the first existence of the criminal SPLM/A in 1983, its founder, John Garang, accompanied by those of president Kiir, Kuol Manyang, Malong and others, without any provocation launched the infamous Bilpham, Ethiopia, attack on the already existent Anya Nya liberation movement, mercilessly eliminating those heroes like Gai Tut, Akot Atem and many others.

Again, more infamously, when the same Riek Machar and Lam Akol launched their internal rebellion in 1991 against mainstream SPLM of Garang, thousands and thousands of South Sudanese were murdered and brutalized by either side, this reign of terrorism continued until their reintegration into the SPLM/A.

It is believed that more South Sudanese have been killed and severely traumatized by you, the SPLM/A leaders, Garang, Kiir, Machar, Lam…. et al, than by our erstwhile enemies, the jellaba Arab North Sudanese.

The current national circulation of the propaganda and euphoria of so-called heroes and peace is a falsification of the reality, what have president Kiir and Rebel Riak Machar seriously accomplished? Where is justice for those South Sudanese needlessly murdered by Kiir and Machar?

It’s only in South Sudan, a nation and a people the SPLM/A has so much traumatized, that criminals freely recycle and reincarnate themselves back into power without repentance, remorse or prosecution.

South Sudan is admittedly a failed state and an outlaw state that has in a stupendous world record time gone through the infamous combined ‘somalization’ and ‘Rwanda genocidal traumatization by its rebels-turned-leaders and with their return, the nation’s and people’s future is once more in the balance.

So, very soon, our murderers and thieves, Kiir, Machar, Lam, Taban, Manyang, Alor and all the infamous SPLM/A comrades will be unashamedly back into the top national leadership and once again recklessly and irresponsibly steering the nation’s ship into another calamity.

Dr. Lual Deng, another SPLM ideologue now sorrily relegated to a mere ‘SPLM headquarters office-boy,’ was rightly suspicious of President Kiir’s choice to replace the dead Garang and of Kiir’s inherent inability to leadership, by writing down that, “..the development of the promised land (South Sudan) is a different mission that requires a different leader, and we expect divine intervention in this respect….”

Has God really not abandoned South Sudan when priests, bishops, archbishops, deacons are immorally cohabiting with those ruling sinners of South Sudan, attending their ostentatious parties and dinners and even blessing the exotic foods, whiskies and beers while the majority of Juba residents are barely eating one meal a day?

Again, Dr. Lual Deng, Ph.D., further opined that, “A government that murders its own people has no moral basis or legitimacy to govern whatsoever,” in his book, ‘The Power of Creative Reasoning.’ He was directly referring to the Kiir Juba junta but sadly, this supposedly top SPLM intellectual, has been mysteriously sucked into this monstrosity, in spite of his hitherto vociferous writings against president Kiir failed and corrupt leadership, perhaps the tribal force known as ‘jieengism’ is more powerful than nationalism, as he’s unscrupulously abetting what he once called the “sclerotic management in the SPLM bureaucracy.”

In conclusion, from 1983 to 2013, most of you have again and again deliberately, conjointly or duplicitiously involved in the deadly and cyclical episodes of political and ethnic, as well personal rivalries in which innocent citizens have needlessly perished.

The conclusion reached by experts is correct: You, “the country’s elites have built a kleptocratic regime that controls all sectors of the economy, and have squandered a historic chance for the development of a functional state.”

Since independence, South Sudan has been controlled by a small, rotating set of elites who move seamlessly between positions in government and the frontlines of the rebellion, as political situations change.

TheSentry.org report ends by the conclusion that, “only reforming and forcing the South Sudanese state to actually serve its people, instead of its leaders, can the country actually move towards a more sustainable peace.”

There must be some accountability and transitional justice, these SPLM/A murderers can’t be simply allowed to evade justice for their habitual acts of criminality. END

The Government of National Unity: What does it entail and what will it bring?

BY: Marial Mach, A’duot, Australia, MAY/12/2016, SSN;

It’s always worth celebrating, at least, by the people with a moral compass, when the rage of war is abridged from the catalysts of disaster to the level of an isolated violence. Whether you are an inept campaigner of an exaggerated and mythical, political legitimacy of the ruler, and the challenger, or an advocate of the dying people, subjected to a war that was avoidable, there is one thing ostensibly inevitable.

The last two-half years, since the war broke out in December 2013, have resembled a netherworld for the impoverish civilians across our great land, as unswayed politicians, military leaders, and their unscrupulous apologists, savage the lives and hopes that were slowly salvaged, after the shocks of the nearly five decades of war with the north and innumerable internal strives.

From the outlooks of radioactive war lobbies, the current window of peace is not good enough to sell political and ethnic propaganda which are not, in any essence, capable of assuring both irrational promises of the regime charge, as posited by some sections of our politics or an illusion at the halls of the power, that the government functioned like a colonial despot with less or no accountability whatsoever.

Having said that, it does not imply the author is under any means of illusion that things will unexpectedly be normal, once comes the government of the national unity.

The new government won’t function from a purposive unitary standpoint, but it will be operated as a utility site where psychotic individuals will be deployed in what I unapologetically called a political psychopathy; a mechanism of political and social moral disengagement which is extensively playing a greater role in the political and military violence.

It will be an avenue for the civil war boosters to continue and have a second chance in the political spotlight and of course, a ticket to mug public funds. What may be affected slightly by the new government, I believe, is the notion of political laisser-faire and perhaps the cherished commitment to the use of violence to force the political change.

That, of course, is not proficient in changing the working hypothesis in the minds of aggravated masses; that no one who stumped for the war, or the current political crisis in the country should give advice about the catastrophe now, or should get listened to.

Hence, the incoming administration will ascend on challenges of enormous scales: peace to build, the war to end and prevent, economy to fix, and large-scale Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) and refugees to settle. And most importantly, preventing the threat of the entire country not only from collapsing but also from becoming resentful between those who have and those who have not.

This assumption lies in the simple truth that the disproportionate privileges enjoyed by those in power may in near future create cumulative inducements for those people who have nothing to demand a systematic change and that call has been violently resisted and it may lead to another crisis unless the leaders rapidly revise their extreme egocentricity and apply moral-political consciousness.

In contrast to these issues, the major question is what does the new government, yet to be formed anyway, bring to the country’s destitute population?
The easiest, straightforward answer is nothing to the population.

This conclusion may seem little too insolent, or to some extent, I may be accused of being ignorant. First, because new political and security arrangement between the two factions of the SPLM did actually end the major part of the war, and second, the transition may lead to long-lasting political consensus, sustainable peace, and stability.

These are probable, and they need to be acknowledged.

What could be said, however, is the reality that such political arrangement pointed to how disputants should be able to divide the stakes, political authority, for instance, but how such arrangement should support the building of effective, accountable, and democratic institutions and civil societies that meet the needs of people is elusive.

The above suppositions are true only in the creeds of the political concession theory and in the conflict resolution and they tend to function only when the war-crazy buffoons test the acrimonious part of the violence they engineered through their intellect of political immaturity and impunity, and that I believe, in not the case in our situation.

Our political leaders have not learned their lesson, nor does it seem to be any consequence for the initiation of the war. What is coming inevitably in the ways of the leaders, which in my opinion, have committed war crimes is the reward for incumbency and reinsertion.

That promise is celebrated in Juba and in a subterranean world of Fagak where the SPLM in Opposition set up their imaginary political capital, as well as in many other mongoose-burrows across the country.

Why this is the case is intricate, but a careful review of the record of our political system and leader’s behaviours show a number of continuities with liberation tendencies, notably concerning with militarized politics and great power presence in the hands of the core political and military leaders.

Thus, various political commentators and experts have ridiculed the surface idea of democracy on the lips of South Sudan’s leaders, and which is, in fact, a falsified euphemism of what really caused the current war that will bring about the power-sharing arrangement.

The experts’ conclusion is that SPLM, in all its factions, operate a kleptocratic system where the power is obtained and used for personal benefit rather than service delivery to the governed, and I am not contesting, I agreed with that accusation.

Kleptocrats, of course, stock the looted money away in foreign accounts to serve as the rainy-day fund in the event they lost the power and that is not foreign to our rulers either. So, what will come with the new administration is an absolute individual ticket to power.

President Salva will keep the continuity of the status quo on behalf of his supporters while Dr. Riek, as First Vice President, will reward his political and military allies for returning him to power, a job well-done. Like those who remained in the government, their position allocations will, of course, be used to access the scarce resources, as well as used as the source of political influence.

The key outcome in this case, is a perpetual continuity of political and economic savagery by the same old leaders through the tactics of violence or the threats that usually come when one feels aggrieved to mobilise an armed faction when dismissed or discharged from lucrative and influential roles in the government, or even in the various rebellion sectors as we have seen recently.

The conclusion of what the government of national unity means to the politicians is what Jean-François Bayart called ‘The Politics of the Belly’. Bayart’s context is a classic portrayal of the nature of many African states buried deep in the mass of the savagery of the present status of political practices.

Bayart emphasis lies on the persistence of deeply entrenched patterns of statecraft, and, insofar as he recalled the impact of despotic formal institutions on the extent of political and economic outcomes. Bayart emphasizes the ordinariness of African societies, referring them as ‘ordinary and particularly ordinary in their politics’.

Whereas most students of contemporary politics study corruption around individual responsibilities, the context of The Politics of the Belly’ includes the role played by the state in aiding and abetting political deficiencies and corrupt practices. It is this process that the current political scientists tend to refer as criminalisation of the state. The criminalisation of the state, if we had to take it in South Sudan’s context would mean chronicles totality of state-supported criminal activities.

The ordinariness of our politics lies in political practices and with leaders who see the forms of political normality in violent competition for power where one form his own militancy to force his employment, institutionalised fraud and the plundering of public resources, the growth of private armies, the privatisation of state institutions, and the development of economies of plunder.

Within these political imperceptiveness lies the weakness of our leaders. No one, especially those who seem to understand politics better ever had a dream to see changes overnight in a country emerging from war and lacking every institutional capacity and at the same time led by almost erudite revolutionaries.

But what is also true is that outright embezzlement in the form of the state-sponsored bourgeoisie, cling to power or attempt to seize it by force are now a historical artefact in some part of the world, even though some leaders in Africa make them seem little exotic.

South Sudan as new states have not reached such dictatorial stage yet, but it has failed or it is failing on multiple fronts and the questions worth debating is what to blame for the failure; the legacy of wars or a blind personal ambitions among the leaders?

To end this note, what the people of South Sudan will get from the incoming government is a constant pattern of despotic political opportunism at different levels. My assumption is that factionalism and political violence is not something that happens only as an accident, but a political scheme glossed in structural condition of the SPLM/SPLA’s politics.

It’s proceeding from a desire to liquidate influences and power into possessions. I believed that the precariousness of our political equilibria is not a demonstration of total ethnic hostilities or an inadequacy of the state, but it becomes the case only because of uncontrolled reciprocal greediness of political elites.

For all the benefits of the doubt, I should say freedom of thought entitled every person to believe, or disagree, and this article is not devoid of that fact either, on my behalf as an author and for others to contest what I said.

Marial Mach, A’duot, is a South Sudanese resides in Melbourne, Australia. He can be reached for comment at pandepiol@yahoo.com

Prioritising the Solutions to South Sudan’s Problems of Political & Tribal Bigotry

BY: Dr. Lako Jada KWAJOK, MAY/07/2016, SSN;

At this point, only a few among the countries of the world could rival South Sudan regarding the massive problems facing it. The simple fact that many tend to overlook is that the majority of these problems are man-made disasters. South Sudan didn’t suffer an environmental catastrophe but what we went through over the past couple of years resulted in devastation on the scale of a tsunami or a major earthquake. These disasters shouldn’t have happened in the first place and were entirely avoidable.

Political and tribal bigotry coupled with incompetence and corruption were what got us into the current sorry state. Clearly, we have a lot on our plates to handle at any particular time. In such a situation the conventional wisdom entails prioritisation as the best line of action to be taken by the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Presently, the most pressing issues are the widespread insecurity and the absence of the rule of law in many parts of South Sudan. Insecurity is the single most crucial matter that needs to be resolved urgently by the TGoNU. I cannot overemphasise how important is the settlement of this issue for the full implementation of the peace agreement and for the maintenance of stability of the country.

People do realise that without significant progress in the way of improving the security situation in the country, there would be modest achievements or not at all on the other fronts. For example, those who have taken refuge in UNMISS camps all over the country, would not leave them if they don’t see tangible results that dispel their fears.

It would even be unrealistic to talk about mending what has been torn apart let alone enacting the Commission for Truth, Reconciliation and Healing (CTRH) while insecurity remains rampant and unabated.

Furthermore, there would be no hope for a robust economic growth and a speedy recovery if the working class and the farmers continue to feel unsafe in their homes.

At any rate, the formation of the TGoNU is the way forward but is not by any means the endgame in the political saga involving the country. Quick and favourable results are needed badly by the populace.

Regarding the issue of insecurity, the three Ministers required delivering sooner than later are the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Interior. The Minister of Defence, Kuol Manyang Juuk, represents the status quo and the way he works and conducts himself is well-known to many on this forum; hence, meaningful reforms are very unlikely under his watch.

However, some degree of change is bound to happen as a consequence of the implementation of the security arrangements and the fact that SPLM-IG is no longer the only political entity running the government.

As for Paulino Wanawilla, the Minister of Justice – he did express frustration with the state of affairs in his ministry back in November 2015. The following are what he said then: “I know in South Sudan corruption is not in one place, but it’s very sad when everybody is stealing. I know there is corruption. I have evidence of people in this ministry (of Justice) who are legal counselors and taking bribes.”

It’s unclear as to whether Wanawilla managed to get rid of his corrupt officials or not. Perhaps the new dynamics emerging with the formation of the TGoNU would offer the opportunity to prosecute and weed out those corrupt elements. A clean up at the top should go hand in hand with a real effort to facilitate justice delivery at the courts. Wanawilla is probably aware of what has become a common knowledge where criminals are apprehended one day and set free the next day without ever being tried in a court of law.

The real potential for reforms emanates from the Ministry of Interior under the newly appointed Minister of Interior, Alfred Lado Gore. Some may say he is not a newcomer to the government as he had previously held the portfolio for Environmental Affairs thus not much of a reformer.

Well, it could also be argued that advocating reforms and democratisation of the SPLM party were the very reasons that led to the purging of him and his colleagues from the government and the SPLM party.

Alfred Lado Gore is a dedicated leader with an unwavering stance. He is a sort of a perfectionist that often set him at odds with his corrupt colleagues in the SPLM party before the split. It’s no wonder that the regime’s cronies regarded him as a thorn in their sides. Also it explains why he was made to lose the 2010 Central Equatoria Governorship election through extensive vote rigging by the regime.

Addressing the issue of insecurity requires setting up a policy blueprint with achievable targets and measurable outcomes. The Minister of Interior, Alfred Lado Gore, certainly has the political will to bring about change in the way things are done in his ministry. He probably has plenty up his sleeve that would define his leadership style.

Nonetheless, talking about the obvious matters that need fixing without delay is worthwhile. There is a consensus across the board, particularly in communities hit hard by insecurity – that something needs to be done now and fast.

In the first instance, the Inspector General of Police, General Makur Arol, ought to be sacked. He has convincingly failed to contain let alone eradicate the cycle of violence that has plagued our cities, towns and villages. He appears to be following the footsteps of his predecessors, General Achuil Tito Madut and General Pieng Deng Kuol.

The infamous phrase, “Killed by unknown gunmen,” came into common use during Achuil’s tenure, flourished under Pieng and reaffirmed with Makur Arol at the helm. Their legacies as the first three Police Chiefs would ever be marred by that telling phrase. And if not an act of sheer tribalism, why the Chief of Police post remains the monopoly of one tribe, the Jieng, despite repeated failures?

Why not give the opportunity to serve the country to a competent officer from another tribe?

The Minister of Interior knows that to succeed, he needs to start with a fresh team at the top of his administration and never “inherit” the same old faces that have failed. An overhaul of the ministry and demotion or purging of incompetent officials can only boost his popularity among the South Sudanese people.

The insecurity in Juba would be the biggest challenge for the Minister. One could argue that the reason for lawlessness is the fact that hitherto the people who have been entrusted with the duty of policing Central Equatoria state, have neither the knowledge of the people and their cultures nor relation or strong ties to the area.

It’s a well known fact that a significant number of crimes have been committed by individuals in uniforms. The time has come for sons and daughters of Equatoria to take over the responsibility of policing their areas. There is absolutely no reason that the Chief of Police in Central Equatoria state should not come from its community.

By the same token, the Police Chiefs and the bulk of the police forces in the other states should be from the indigenous populations. There are clear benefits in adopting such a policy as enthusiasm to tackle crimes would be at the highest level possible if someone is assigned to work in his or her community.

On the other hand corruption and police brutality would be at its lowest as no one would like to be seen mistreating his people. Moreover, it would lead to a substantial revenue savings by cutting down the costs of policing our communities. For example, accommodation and travel allowances would be kept at their minimum as there would be no justification for them if officers are stationed in their areas.

Finally, one could only hope that those who have been calling for reforms and even putting their lives at risk for effecting them – realise that a lot are at stake including their popularity and political survival.

There should be no room for tolerance of incompetent officials or officers. Failing to deliver the goods should equate with getting kicked out of office.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Riak Machar lives as South Sudan’s greatest tragedy

By: John Bith Aliap, Australia, APR/29/2015, SSN;

After fearfully skipping several trips to Juba, Machar finally hit the highly militarist Juba International Airport Tuesday, April 26, in the afternoon. He was then rushed to J1 presidential palace, with a sheen of sweat covering every inch of his body and hurriedly sworn in as Kiir’s First Vice President.

As he now sips tea in his rebels’ capital Jebel Kujur, working out his next war strategies, the people of South Sudan are left scratching their heads, eager to know what Machar holds for them this time. But his supporters think otherwise. Machar’s stay in Juba would make their wretched land find peace at last.

But Machar’s loyalists fail to figure out that their boss has been the most important factor why war lingers in South Sudan for decades. When one war ends, he creates another.

Machar waged a vicious war against the SPLM/A in 1991 largely because he was not in charge of it. His Nuer tribal mates drifted away with him when he stormed off from the SPLM/A’s liberation van wagon largely out of tribal loyalty.

His Western in-laws – particularly the British, and his historical ally Khartoum’s regime which butchered 2.5 million South Sudanese supplied him with cash, missiles and manpower.

Viewed by South Sudanese as a global champion of liars, Machar tells his supporters whatever they want to hear. When he seeks military support from the internationally indicted Sudanese president Omer el Bashir, he tells him that he regrets the split of Sudan and that his movement envisions reunification.

He whispers in Bashir’s ears that he’ll reunite the two Sudans [North & South] when he ousts Kiir’s government.

To his Ethiopian allies, he bills himself as a bridge between Ethiopia and South Sudan and Ethiopians will freely roam South Sudan when he sails to power in J1 presidential palace in Juba.

When wooing support from the west, he pretends to be fan of democracy and human rights despite his track records of mass murdering available on the internet.

To his fellow members of Nuer Community, he presents himself as a king who would restore their ancient glory and drive the Dinka tribe out which he frequently blames for his usual madness into the sea.

Riak Machar perfectly fits the definition of a traitor. He spent a better part of his life running between foreign capitals – preaching the war against his own people while organising his tribal warlords into revolutionary cells.

Machar was popular when he caused mayhem to people’s movement, the SPLM/A in 1991, but now his popularity seems to be at its lowest level as his tactics grow vicious. In both wars – 1991 & 2013, Machar ordered his tribal militia to plant millions of mines in South Sudan’s fertile soil, raze down non-Nuer villages, rape non-Nuer women, loot non-Nuer livestock, drive hordes of refugees away from their ancestral lands so they can become a burden to the government and the international community.

As he now enjoys himself in Juba, a city he fled two years ago like a beheaded chicken, Machar’s officers whom he accused of power grab and other minor crimes when he was in the bush are now still lingering in his bush’s prisons.

Fearing that some of his officers might push him away from power, Machar showed them his brutality by having them killed. Others accused of attempting to pinch off Ngundeng’s rod – a rod of Nuer’s prophet who centuries ago allegedly prophesied his reign of power have been thrown into his unlawful bush prisons – deep pits, sealed with logs and earth, pitch black and inescapable.

With Machar back to Juba, South Sudanese should be reminded that Riak Machar’s war appetite isn’t yet over. He lives his life as a traitor, tribal warlord, despoiler, mass murderer, South Sudanese’ greatest tragedy who wields knife and gun in his hands.

John Bith Aliap is an Australia-based political commentator and can be reached at Johnaliap2011@hotmail.com.

South Sudan old rivals ‘end war’, again!!

BY: Peter Martell, AFRICA REVIEW, APR/28/2016, SSN;

The metal gates are still twisted where troops in December 2013 stormed the house of South Sudan’s now new Vice-President Riek Machar, as war erupted leaving tens of thousands dead.

But on Tuesday, just a stone’s throw away in his heavily-guarded state house, President Salva Kiir called the matter an “incident” as he welcomed the rebel chief turned “brother” Machar back to Juba, saying his return marked “the end of the war and the return of peace and stability”.

Peace doves were released, and after Dr Machar was sworn into office, the two men stood alongside each other with hands on hearts, as a red-coated band played the national anthem, “God bless South Sudan”.

Hopes are high but the challenges — and the expectations the new government will swiftly solve them — are huge, analysts warn.

Many are cautious, pointing out that the pair have previously fallen out, fought, made up and fought again.

Was sacked

Dr Machar, who returned to the post of vice-president that he was sacked from five months before war broke out, said he wanted to work for “full implementation” of an August 2015 agreement “to make sure peace breaks out all over the country”.

For now, the war-weary population appears to be breathing a sigh of relief that for once, there is some hope for peace.

“We want the killing to stop,” said Ms Teresa Nyadet in Juba, a 58-year old mother of eight, one of over 180,000 living behind the razor wire protection of UN bases across the country.

“We women, we want peace in South Sudan, and Dr Machar must make sure the kind of life we are in stops.”

The next few weeks will be critical for persuading people the country has turned a corner.

The camp

“I am happy that Riek Machar has come, as this means that we are now going to get out of the camp,” said Ms Elizabeth Akol, a mother of four, also at a UN base in Juba.

“We are tired and have suffered a lot.”

The conflict, which has torn open ethnic divisions, has been characterised by horrific rights abuses, including gang rapes, the wholesale burning of villages and cannibalism.

Ensuring that the sides work together in a unity government, and that the thousands of rival armed forces now in separate camps inside the capital keep their guns quiet, will be an even bigger challenge.

Both sides remain deeply suspicious, and there is continued fighting between multiple militia forces who now pay no heed to either President Kiir or Dr Machar.

Mr Jok Madut Jok, who heads the Juba-based Sudd Institute think-tank, warned the return was only one of many steps.

“The people of South Sudan may be holding their breath for the war to end… but I think they should also be cautious not to let down their guard,” Mr Jok said.

Rebel leaders

Both President Kiir and Dr Machar are former rebel leaders who rose to power during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war between north and south — a conflict in which two men fought each other — before South Sudan won independence in 2011.

Mr Jok warned the old rivals “may disagree on several things along the way of the implementation, and that could easily return the country to a very messy situation”.

Dr Machar’s return to a country awash with weapons was stalled for a week by arguments that at one point came down to a dispute over some two dozen rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that his security detail was allowed to have.

The pair now face far bigger problems.

The profits

The economy is in ruins, inflation has eroded savings and salaries, and without another round of massive international support there is little cash to rebuild and prove that the profits of peace are better than those of war.

With more than five million people in need of aid and more than two million forced to flee their homes, aid agencies who are struggling to support them said they welcomed any move towards peace but that the crisis was far from over.

“Though the peace process resolves some national level political disputes, it does not resolve escalating humanitarian and protection needs on the ground,” said Mr Victor Moses, who runs the Norwegian Refugee Council aid agency in the country.

Others warned that without justice to address the horrific abuses carried out by all sides, reconciliation would not be possible and hatred would fester.

Mr John Prendergast, who played a key role in drumming up US-backing for South Sudan’s independence in 2011 and who now runs the Enough Project campaign group, warned the root causes of the conflict remained unaddressed.

Deadly patterns

“Forming a government with the same actors responsible for the collapse of the economy and atrocities holds open the possibility that grand corruption will return to its pre-war patterns,” Mr Prendergast said.

“Without an emphasis on consequences for gross corruption and atrocities, it’s unlikely the deadly patterns will be broken,” he added.

But it is the best chance yet for peace. Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, the Episcopalian Archbishop of South Sudan, has spent decades overseeing peace efforts in South Sudan.

“Now is the time for forgiveness, because we have to put all this behind us,” said Archbishop Bul.

“Let’s give peace a chance.” (AFP)

Show Us Your ID’s: Ethnic Patriotism And The Killing of Simon Dhieu In Yei River County

BY: Martin Garang Aher, APR/21/2016, SSN;

Ethnic targeted killing is heightening in South Sudan. The constellation of killings out of tribal detestation, ordinarily executed following effective identification to establish the correct ethnic origin of the person(s) to be killed, has, to this juncture, reached its zenith.

A few days ago, presumably April 13, 2016, Simon Dhieu and his co-worker of the Danish Demining Group (DDG) based in Yei, were gunned down by a group of unidentified Dinka haters on the outskirt of town. They were on their usual routine – which involves locating and destroying mines and other unexploded ordnance – exploring suspected areas to be demined.

Their killers, who stopped the commercial vehicle they were travelling in to the demining site, made no secret of what they were looking for. After forcing them out of the vehicle, they asked about their ethnic origins. The specific identification process employed by these determined killers included asking if there were MTNs or Dinkas among the occupants of the vehicle, numbering about eight people per the narratives of those who witnessed the scene.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, the demining workers grew numb, unable to speak for fear of being caught lying, which might have led to further catastrophic consequences; or as a ploy to hide the identities of their colleagues that the assailants demanded to know. Either of the two, the ploy did not work.

The assailants asked for IDs at gunpoint, which were produced under intense nervousness. Satisfied with their search and identification that Simon Dhieu and his friend were Dinkas (the other who said his mother was a Kakwa from the area was spared), they separated them from the group, undressed them, tied their hands behind their backs, faced them away from the rest, took aims and in an unembellished bestial ferocity, shot them all in the back.

The two young men, intelligent and dedicated nation builders who, on daily basis, risked their lives demining their new country from mines and other unexploded ordnances left behind by two decades of civil war – especially Yei River County – contorted and collapsed in front of their colleagues. The mother earth, unpreparedly, received their lifeless bodies pushed down on it by the curvature of space. On the ground, they lay never to get up again. Their colleagues looked on completely petrified, outraged but powerless.

Dinka The MTNs

The killers were out looking for the MTNs, a euphemism for the Dinka people. MTN is a South African-based Mobile Telephone Network operating in many countries around the world, including South Sudan. But to understand its contextual use in this ethnic-based targeted killing, one has to understand the Hutu paramilitary génocidaires of 1994 – The Interahamwe Militias – that likened Tutsi ethnic group members to cockroaches and set about to exterminate them; the Sudanese president’s likening of South Sudanese to insects (hasharat) that should just be sprayed dead. More broadly, think of any other time someone likens another person to a monkey, a dog or a pig – wishing to do unto them the treatment such animals would receive.

The perpetrators always used these euphemisms to deny themselves any feelings of sympathy or remorse. It is a human way of turning off humanity and revealing the devil within in its full glory. But in this case, a simple analogy is that MTN coverage seems to be everywhere, just as Dinka majority in South Sudan could be found anywhere in the country, hence, the MTNs.

The killing of Simon Dhieu and his Dinka co-worker is one count among many: between Juba and Yei, people have been pulled out of vehicles and killed; between Juba and Mundri West and East, vehicles heading North of the country have been ransacked and travellers killed mercilessly; out of Rumbek to any direction, extrajudicial killings have been meted out on tribal identities.

Even in Juba itself, people say it would be stupid to walk on in the streets at night without checking your back. Suburbs have become lethal tribal areas with people from particular regions of South Sudan settling exclusive from others.

Lethal Tribal Identity

At the moment of their death, and in the realms of the spirits – if there exists a metaphysical ability enabling the dead extend earthly tragedies into conclusive discussions in the worlds beyond the physical, Simon and his colleague would still be questioning their abrupt and tragic human engendered demise.

No doubt, even those alive and have heard or witnessed the killing are probing for answers as well. There is a need to fill-in the gap left by the deaths of these two young nation builders with answers. They had no time to ask their killers. Their killers were filled with rage. Simon and his friend were, in turn, filled with fear and questions.

They died before working out anything for resolution or understanding. The only message that brutally departed with them was the question and confirmation of their Dinka originality.

In South Sudan, a nation that must assert itself among the nations of the world, telling the truth could be part of nation building. But, in telling the truth about who they were, Simon Dhieu and his Dinka colleague stumbled on a mystery: having been born Dinkas was a deadly natural reality that kills at once upon pronunciation or realization.

That was why they were killed. They might want to know why it was lethal to be found or born a Dinka? Would they have survived had their killers known that in the Dinka blood runs a shared DNA strains linking them with Kakwa, Acholi, Shilluk, Anyuak, Nuer, Taposta, Luo, Atuot, Aliap, Didinga, etc? Would they have been spared if they had a chance to remind their killers that, despite being the Dinkas they so much hated, they both shared the history of marginalisation and, now, the independent South Sudan?

The Nation Built on Tribal Allegiances

To suggest that South Sudan is a nation built on the glaring reality of ethnic patriotism, one cannot be accused of overstating the network of the South Sudanese society’s identity crisis.

We have seen this in government, where communities rally behind politicians hailing from their areas; we see it in the South Sudanese army, paramilitaries and militias where people we have blood relations are the ones we support and stand by irrespective of inabilities and misleading, often destructive dreams; we know this when we speak and argue with pervasive national character and suggesting revolutionary changes while discreetly, wishing that these changes be done by somebody closer to home; we see it in employment sector, where entire tribes dominate key structures of subsistence; in the airport and immigration where rules only apply to tribes other than mine; in service delivery queues where if an official delivering services is of my blood relation, tribe, region, or any other category that fits, we must be esteemed queue-jumpers.

If ethnic groups favour themselves over everything, then the end of everything will always be ethnic clash – Clashing over resources, government positions, national projects, administrative areas and all that the country throws at her citizens.

South Sudanese must rise and meet the challenges of true nationalism – It is not right to speak with national rhetoric while practicing ethnic patriotism. Nations of the world that are now considered prosperous, peaceful and strong did one thing: they shunned ethnic allegiances and accepted to be one and subjects of a nation.

It is in shunning ethnic loyalties that the deaths, like that of Simon Dhieu and his colleagues, would be brought to an end. If it starts effectively at the national level, other gruesome deaths related to ethnic loyalties would surely be curtailed. END

Kiir and Malong are two sides of the same coin

BY: Dr. LAKO Jada Kwajok, APR/18/2016, SSN;

As much as peace in South Sudan is within reach, resumption of war and descent into chaos is much closer than you think. The return of the opposition leaders to Juba would have naturally filled every heart with optimism. However, this is not exactly the case in the current environment engulfing the country.

What accurately depicts the situation is what I call as a state of cautious optimism. The Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) is an opportunity for the regime to allow the country to climb out of the hole dug by its catastrophic policies. Squandering this precious chance for achieving a lasting peace would lead to one thing only which is a definite and rapid fall into the abyss.

A common theme among the regime’s supporters is the scapegoating of the President’s aides and colleagues in the cabinet for all the shortcomings of the government. Some would even say that the President was let down by people he trusted but failed to deliver.

What they neglected to explain is – why did he keep all his cronies despite mounting failures? And why no one was dismissed for good or ended up in jail? Those who were relieved from ministerial posts were made Presidential Advisors, Ambassadors with or without portfolios or just allowed to go into hibernation in the SPLM party at taxpayers expense.

Moreover, no one among them seems to have the courage of questioning the President’s personal responsibility regarding the dire situation in the country. It’s a misleading notion aimed at presenting the President favourably and rendering him the false image of being a fair-minded person.

The fact of the matter is that President Kiir is no different from his cronies.

Last week, the media outlets circulated troubling remarks from the Chief of General Staff, General Paul Malong, I quote, “I will wait to see how he would be the president in our presence. He would be a president in my absence.” He was referring to the expected arrival of Dr. Riek Machar in Juba to kick start the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

The word “absence” in his remarks could mean one of two things – either he would resign his post or that Dr Riek Machar can only be President over his dead body. The former is less likely than the latter as there is no way that he would leave his post without being fired. His words displayed a massive ego and implied authority over the regime’s decision-making process.

In a democratic government or indeed any government, such remarks would have cost him his job. A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation was sacked by President Kiir with a decree read over SSTV.

The reasons for dismissal were not given. However, many observers have attributed it to a document signed by him and sent to the UN High Commission for Human Rights, in which he referred to Dr. Luka Biong, who hails from Abyei, as a Sudanese national.

It was a lie meant to mislead that UN organisation. The former Minister indeed made a mistake, but it’s quite trivial in comparison to what other members of the cabinet did but allowed to keep their positions. The said document affected one citizen and not the whole Abyei community – it did not point out that Abyei belongs to Sudan.

Furthermore, the regime did join the Sudanese government in rejecting the unilateral referendum conducted by the Abyei civil society in 2013 that overwhelmingly supported joining South Sudan. That decision by our government though met with dismay from the general public was not perceived as an admission that Abyei is part of Sudan. What the former minister signed did not mean a change in policy or that our government has forsaken Abyei to the Jallaba government.

Therefore, it’s reasonable to believe that there are ulterior motives and a double-standard policy behind the dismissal of the former minister. With that being said, I am not by any means defending the former minister – he is an integral part of the corrupt and failed regime that has destroyed the country.

Coming back to my main topic, those remarks by Malong, should have led to immediate dismissal from his post. It’s a problem because what he said is very antagonistic to the single most important policy benchmark required to be adhered to by the government which is full implementation of ARCISS.

The problem with those utterances is two-fold. Firstly, there is nothing in the agreement that would prevent Dr. Riek Machar from becoming President of South Sudan should the position become vacant for whatever reason during the transition. Also he is entitled to be the Acting President While President Kiir is outside the country or in the event of being incarcerated by illness.

Secondly, Malong’s job description does not give him the right to wade into matters related to government policy. His job is purely non-political, and we have an example of his predecessor, General James Hoth Mai, who had run the military by the book.

Needless to say, Malong has overstepped his authority on several occasions. His outrageous statement in August 2015 that the regime would rather follow the footsteps of the likes of Al Qaeda and Boko Haram than to sign the peace agreement hasn’t been forgotten. That statement alone should have resulted in a swift dismissal because of its enormous implications.

I was amazed that in a world where a war is being vigorously waged against international terrorism that includes the above infamous terrorist organisations, Malong’s statement drew negligible or no reaction at all from the international community. Perhaps the formidable powers that are engaged in the global war on terror, regarded Malong’s utterances as empty threats from the Military Chief of a government that was saved from collapse by a foreign force.

Lack of action does not mean what Malong has said was entirely ignored. It has already tarnished the regime’s image as a government harbouring elements with terrorist inclination. The consequences may come in the form of difficulties in securing loans from the international monetary institutions, problems with admission into international organisations and plenty of others.

However, the most bizarre situation though was Kiir’s refusal to sign the peace agreement in Addis Ababa on 17/08/2015. The reason he gave was that he needed to go back to Juba for consultation with his colleagues in the cabinet. It was a move unheard of in what is known as state protocols.

The typical approach is for the head of the negotiating team to travel to Juba for consultation with the President in the event of a stalemate during the negotiation. The president only attends the negotiation venue at the final stage prior to signing the deal.

The whole thing was unprecedented because he is the top man in the government and as people say “the buck stops at his desk.” That leaves one to conclude that the president does not have total control over the decision-making process and that other strong players have to be brought on board before a final decision could be made.

The above scenarios have led to speculations about who runs the country. If Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin could be relieved of his duties as stated above, why not Malong who has apparently committed much graver mistakes? The fact that he gets away with any destructive statement and remark indicates one of two things.

Either that President Kiir totally agrees with him, or he is the real centre of power in South Sudan backed by the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE). In either case the prospects for a lasting peace is quite grim. South Sudan would be better off with the likes of Paul Malong kept out of office.

Unfortunately ARCISS does not prescribe removing those who are overtly anti-peace from their positions. Nonetheless, the formation of the TGoNU should offer the tools to tame Malong and his cohorts. It will be inexcusable and detrimental for the opposition to allow Kiir and Malong to do business as usual.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Insight into Kiir–Machar upcoming power sharing government

By: John Bith Aliap – Australia, APR/13/2016, SSN;

The Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan also referred to as ARCISS, agreed in August 2015 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is hoped by its architects to end the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. Military showdown between Kiir and Machar who are they key principles in the war raged for nearly two years with devastating outcomes.

The conflict remains one of the most brutal conflict in the continent of Africa. Recent UN figures show that more than 730,000 people have fled into neighbouring countries, 1.5 million people are internally displaced and 50, 000 people are believed to have perished.

The peace talks in Ethiopia were the last attempt to bring Kiir and Machar on the dining table to share the national cake. All previous diplomatic efforts had failed, but the U.S. government which is also accused of having a deadly hand in the conflict pressed Kiir and Machar against the wall until they unwillingly signed the peace agreement for the interest of their people.

The final agreement, dubbed as “ARCISS” or “Imposed Peace Agreement” is seen by many as a result of skillful diplomacy and political trade-offs exerted on the main warring parties. However, while the agreement appears to be a path-breaking, war-ending and peace-keeping tool, it does not seem to be an effective framework to end the vicious cycles of violence in the baby nation of South Sudan.

Although ARCISS is crucial in giving the new country a set of principles, rules and institutions; it doesn’t appear to be providing a universally backed direction capable of guiding the war-wrecked South Sudan through the unchartered waters of democratisation and liberalisation – the two principles of peace-building.

However, given ACRISS’ uncertainty, it is important to assess its intention for the interest of my readers and the policy-makers in the areas of peace and state-building. With a war raging in Syria, Iraq, Congo, Somalia, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Sudan and Yemen such discussions are clearly timely and worthwhile to look into. The idea that Kiir – Machar upcoming “Transitional Government of National Unity” will silence the guns and lay the foundation of South Sudanese’ unity isn’t borne out of experience.

In December 2013 after Machar attempted to grab the power from his would-be boss, Salva Kiir, clashes occurred between their camps of supporters and the civil war quickly appeared on the cards. The international community backed by regional blocks such as IGAD and AU tried to end the bloodshed by setting up a Transitional Government of National Unity with Kiir behind the wheels and Machar as the passenger.

But while Machar and Kiir are forcefully made to swallow their pride and share the much contested power, the conflict on the ground between their tribal-based militias and sections of the security apparatus linked to them will likely continue unabated.

With Kiir–Machar known political rivalry, each side will be yearning to exploit the other in an attempt to seize control of J1 presidential palace; and the so called Transitional Government of National Unity will be a thing of the past.

South Sudan is not the only country in the world where bitter enemies like Kiir and Machar sit together in the government while their forces carry on the conflict. In Iraq for example, the government of national unity, mainly made up of Shia, Sunni and Kurdish was established, but the forces under their direct control continued with, not one, but a number of inter -ethnic conflicts.

In the case of Cyprus, the withdrawal of British and the gaining of Independence in 1960 was accompanied by a handful of uneasy power sharing deals, but these deals collapsed in no time.

So, Kiir-Machar power sharing government doesn’t appear as the step to the elimination of tribal division, but it’s rather an accommodation between the forces that are the architects and expression of these divisions as to how they can carve things up between them.

Kiir and Machar could share the cabinet in J1, while their forces continue to aggressively flex their military muscles on the ground in Jebel Kujur and Luri. Kiir-Machar upcoming Transitional Government of National Unity is a recipe for maintaining tribal status quo, it’s not for achieving reconciliation, or bringing together the tribally- divided communities across South Sudan.

Whether it quickly flies apart or maintained in a relatively stable form for a time will be determined by the intensity of the conflict on the ground, and not fundamentally political miracles performed by those who take their seats in the would-be Transitional Government of National Unity TGONU. Even if Kiir-Machar’s government survives for a lengthy period of time, this doesn’t necessarily indicate the end of tribal feud in South Sudan.

Kiir-Machar power sharing government will only institutionalise sectarianism and perpetuate the conflict in some form. The power sharing government that involves a sectarian politician like Riek Machar isn’t a solution, nor is it a step to a solution. ARCISS has only made Kiir & Machar, who had held opposing positions in a bloody war, sign a document which they may not have agreed with, but which will nevertheless stop them from bashing each other.

John Bith Aliap is an Australia-based political commentator and can be reached at Johnaliap2011@hotmail.com.

Is Dr. Riek Machar “signing” His Death Certificate by Returning to Militarily Fortified Juba City?

BY: J. Nguen, CANADA, APR/10/2016, SSN;

Warmongering is one thing but telling nothing but the truth is another. This piece is one of the truth-telling political commentaries on South Sudan’s political affairs and road to peace and stability. Dr. Machar, the Chairman and Commander in Chief of the SPLM/A-IO, the armed opposition in the country is scheduled to return to Juba, South Sudan 18 April 2016.

This step is in line with the Compromised Peace Agreement signed in August 2015 but I recently developed serious reservations regarding this tentative Machar’s return to Juba based on saboteur evidence or much more.

In March 2016, I wrote a commentary questioning the Government of South Sudan’s readiness for peace, particularly over Lt. Gen. James Gai Yoach saga. I outlined why I was justified and should be concerned over unprecedented prevailing bad intention at the time and still relevant while writing this piece.

On the second week of April 2016, I became more certain over the Government of South Sudan’s intransigence, saboteur attitude toward peace and possible secretive intention to do away with Machar upon arrival to Juba.

My thoughts became more apparent on the following grounds:
I. Juba is not demilitarized as required by the August Peace Deal and this is as one of the crucial steps to ensure Dr. Machar to return to the capital. Unfortunately, this didn’t occur and there are no signs showing its eventuality in the near future.

II. The Government of South Sudan is currently on the military operations; the commanding officer is none other than the army’s General Chief of Staff, Paul Malong Awan. This offensive is ongoing in the West and Eastern Equatoria States and Western Bhar El Ghazal respectively. This is no secret to no one.

III. The operationalization of the illegal 28 States created by President Kiir is also underway unabated despite IGAD’s resolution to suspend such operations.

IV. Gen. Paul Malong Awan has once again mobilized a force outside the regular SPLA-Juba army in Bhar El Ghazal region. This force is reminiscent to the illegal armed Dinka militia which he commanded and carried out the Nuer massacre in Juba in December 2013.

V. Gen. Malong ordered the transportation of this force to Juba and “eight lorries” full of these troops arrived in Juba on the 10th of April 2016 prior to Dr. Machar’s scheduled arrival.

VI. Gen. Paul Malong “vowed never to accept,” South Sudan’s 1st Vice President Designate, Dr. Riek Machar “acting as President in the absence of President Salva.” It was alleged that Gen. Malong has stressed that he will “never allow Dr. Machar to be a acting President or President” but after he is “dead.”

VII. Salva Kiir’s Government has rejected any meeting between Dr. Machar and Salva Kiir to be facilitated by JMEC’s chairman upon Machar’s arrival in Juba. This in itself is an issue of concern since both men don’t talk to each other; maybe, this is where hell will break loose, God forbid!

These articulated points are on the public domain and there are becoming apparent by the day, as Machar’s return to Juba draws closer.

So, the question becomes if indeed, Dr. Machar is “signing” his own death certificate by returning to Juba given the prevailing evidences that Juba is not demilitarized yet and is being fortified with illegal armed militia and by Kiir’s government’s refusal for a neutral body to facilitate the first meeting of these supposed two rivals?

These developments are imminent threats to the implementation of the peace agreement and to Machar’s personal life.

Therefore, I seriously recommend that JMEC take the lead by informing the Peace Guarantors of the apparent troops build up in Juba, possible issue of sabotage of the peace in South Sudan and, finally, Dr. Machar must be advised to withhold plans to return to Juba until further notice because the eventuality of letting these slips go uncorrected would be a grossly deadly ignorance.

J. Nguen is a concerned South Sudan citizen living in Canada. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com