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Who’s mandated to investigate and report on the human rights violations in South Sudan?

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda, DEC/23/2018, SSN;

Summary:

The claim that rape took place in Bentiu is true as there is no smoke without fire. The government investigation that concluded that there is no evidence to substantiate reports that women and girls were raped in Bentiu is not credible as the government cannot investigate against itself and produce a credible report. The team that investigated the report is not the main body under the law of South Sudan to investigate the human rights violations. Human Rights Commission of South Sudan is the legitimate body to have the conclusive report on all human rights violations. We still believe that the rape cases reported on 30 November by the medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that they had treated 125 women and girls who were raped, beaten, and robbed over a 10-day period between November 19 and 29 alone in the town of Bentiu is not investigated yet and I call upon the UN Human rights commission not rely on that report but to take its own initiative to investigate the matter to confirm whether the finding of the government is credible.

Since the war broke out in December 2013, the rates of human rights violations in South Sudan have increased. Women have been raped; enforced disappearances have been registered, arbitrarily arrest and detention are order of the day. For instance, individuals have been detained for over years in unhealthy detention centres. The killings with impunity as seen in the case of unknown gunmen have been ongoing. Deprivation of personal and community properties have occurred.

Ruthless oil drilling and other mineral extractions have been reported. The drilling of oil in some areas like Pariang in Ruweng State has left the land barren, which makes it unproductive. As a result,  places where oil is drilled has currently become very dangerous for human beings to inhabit as women are giving birth to deformed children, cows, birds and other animals are dying after drinking contaminated water by toxic chemicals resulting from mining.

At communities’ levels among cattle keeping communities, cattle raids is fueling communal violence among different cattle keeping communities. This has resulted into uncontrolled killings among civilians without accountability that sees, thousands of civilians being killed. In some areas, kidnapping of children is constantly going on while underage girls are being forced to arranged marriages. The forced and arranged marriages have resulted into serious domestic violence against women and because of this women are always the primary victims.

All the violations of human rights stated above and others not reported at different parts of the country have caused untold sufferings and gross injustices among and against citizens. The reasons for not either getting effective redress against the ongoing human rights violations or not reporting some of those human rights violating is due to the following reasons:—

First, the victims are not sure where to appeal for the redress to get justice done in their favor as they do not know their rights and duties that can enable them to fight for their rights and forced the government to listen to them.

This is common a country like South Sudan where citizens are not aware of their rights and they cannot fight for those rights which is different from the country where citizens are aware of their rights and duties, they can struggle for the redress of their rights in case of violations or forced the government out of the power altogether.

In the case of South Sudan, majority of the citizens are ignorant of their rights and this makes them believe that the government is at all the times right and above everything including the law, and because of that anything government does even in clear violations of the law and their rights is seen  as normal.

Hence, the worst thing in the country like South Sudan where majority of the citizens lack proper understanding of their duties and rights, they become parts of the oppression as the government capitalizes on their ignorance and uses them as the tools of destruction against those who resist the fragrant violations of the law as well as the abuse of human rights in the country.

Moreover, in the country like South Sudan where citizens are ignorant of their rights and duties, they do not understand the meaning of the legitimate use of the authority. In UNDERSTANDING DEMOCRACY: A HIP POCKET GUIDE by JOHN J. PATRICK (Published in association with JusticeLearning.org a Project of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands),

Authority is stated to be legitimately used where there is justification for exercising the power over the people within the government’s jurisdiction. Thus, JOHN J. PATRICK is of the view that the people are willing to accept the power of rulers to command them, if they perceive that the power has been acquired and used rightfully or legitimately.

In explaining the impact of the legitimate use of the authority, JOHN J. PATRICK points out that when rulers have authority to use power through the government; the consequence is political order and stability among the people. However JOHN J. PATRICK explains the consequences of the illegitimate use of the authority by pointing out that where rulers use power without authority, they may be resisted by the ruled, leading either to oppression by rulers over the ruled or to disorder and instability.

In my opinion, whether the citizens resist the actions of the authority that may either lead to oppression by rulers over the ruled or to disorder and instability depends on the stage of the development of the people. In the countries where citizens know their duties and rights as it was the case in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia in 2011, Zimbabwe in 2018, South Africa and other countries, citizens are able to resist the illegitimate used of authority.

Nevertheless, in the countries where citizens do not know their duties and rights as seen in the case of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Somalia and other countries in the same category, disorders and instabilities ensue where there is illegitimate use of the authority. This takes me to my next point.

Second and related to the first point, another reason the violations of human rights goes unreported is due to the weak judiciary and quasi-judicial bodies like South Sudan Human Rights Commission. This weakens the rule of law, democracy and effective protection of human rights.

In the countries where rule of law is strong, the body that always acts as balance and checks on the administrative abuse of power is the court assisted by some of the bodies like human rights commission and inspectorate of Government or an ombudsman in some countries as the case in  AlbaniaAndorra  Argentina, Nambia etc. In the context of South Sudan, these bodies are not properly functioning.

Consequently, citizens are not able to get redress against the violations of their rights as they are not able to challenge the illegitimate use of the authority by the government authorities.

Third, the deliberate refusal by the state to implement the decision of the courts or implement the decision of Courts selectively at all level has rendered the judiciary and quasi-judicial bodies such as Human Rights Commission and other tribunal ineffective. This is even made worse by the fact the judges working in courts and other employees working in Human Rights Commission and the Inspectorate of the Government do not oppose the unlawful exercise of the executive power upon acting beyond their powers as provided for under the law.

Fourth, the citizens do not report human rights violations due to the fear of reprisal by the violators of human rights.

Fourth and finally, the lack of proper understanding of the body mandated to carry out investigations in case of the violations of human rights has contributed to the persistent abuses and violations of human rights by the government and some of its agencies in South Sudan. The lack of clear understanding of the avenues where citizens may report human rights violations has made citizens losing faith in the ability of the Courts and human rights commission to protect their human rights. This, by implication has made the citizens to see the President and other government officials as above everything in the country, which is not true according to the Constitution and other existing laws in South Sudan.

The fact that citizens should understand is that constitutionally, it is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission, which is responsible for the investigations and reporting of the violations of Human rights. Under Article 9 (4) of the Constitution of South Sudan as amended, it is provided that the Bill of Rights shall be upheld by the Supreme Court and other competent courts and monitored by the Human Rights Commission.

But despite the presence of this Constitutional provision and others that clear mandate South Sudan Human Rights Commission, the issue concerning as the jurisdiction to investigate and report human rights violations is not yet settled as seen in the recent allegations of rape put forward by MSF Holland.

In the recent report concerning the rape of women in Bentiu, the question of who has the mandate to investigate and report the violations of human rights in South Sudan has become prominent. The question has come into light following the report by medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) that its staff in the town of Bentiu had treated 125 women and girls who were raped. This report was made on 30 November 2018.

Following the report by MSF, the President constituted Investigative Committee headed by Awut Deng Acuil to go and investigate the allegations. On December 20, 2018, the Awut Committee produced the report and presented it to the President of South Sudan. The report concluded that the allegations of rape as made by MSF were unfounded as there is no evidence to back it ( read; No evidence to back claims of Bentiu rapes: investigation team 21/12/2018 at https://radiotamazuj.org/…/no-evidence-to-back-claims-of-bentiu-rapes-investigation-t…).

Although the government of South Sudan has done a right thing to investigate the alleged recent rape cases in Bentiu, its reports should not be taken to be conclusive and credible for a reason that the government may not be able to investigate itself to the expected standard governing investigations of human rights violations.

Therefore, the investigation was supposed to have been mainly carried out by the South Sudan Human Rights Commission even though the government may carry out its own investigation to confirm or dispute what the Human Commission might have reported.

What is not clear however is whether the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan has taken an initiative to investigate or it is in the process to do so? If the Human Commission of South Sudan has not taken any initiative at it owns to investigate or has failed to investigate such a matter then it has abrogated its duties under the Constitution of South Sudan which raises the question as to who has the mandate to investigate the violations of human rights in South Sudan.

Whereas, the Presidency and executive and other government agencies have the Constitutional duty to protect human rights, their reports are not considered credible unless they are corroborated by the independent human rights investigations and reports. As already pointed in this discussion, one of the bodies whose report can be accepted as credible regionally and internationally is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission which has the main mandate to investigate and report the violations and abuse of human rights in South Sudan.

The mandate of the South Sudan Human Rights Commission is provided for under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011(TCRSS) (as amended). This Constitution provides for the Bill of Human Rights and protection of those rights enshrined it. For instance, Article 9 (1) the TCRSS, 2011 provides for the Bill of Rights, which it defines as a covenant among the people of South Sudan and between them and their government at every level and a commitment to respect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in this Constitution; it is the cornerstone of social justice, equality and democracy.

In addition, Article 9(2) of TCRSS, 2011 provides that the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups enshrined in the Bill shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons.  Though this article to some extent gives the government some mandate to protect and investigate the violations of human rights, the main body with full mandate to investigate human rights violations in South Sudan is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission as provided for under the Constitution of South Sudan in Article 10.

Article 10 of the TCRSS 2011 provides: Subject to Article 189 herein, no derogation from the rights and freedoms enshrined in this Bill shall be made. The Bill of Rights shall be upheld, protected and applied by the Supreme Court and other competent courts; the Human Rights Commission shall monitor its application in accordance with this Constitution and the law.   As seen in the provision of law in Article 10, except in the Article 189 of the TCRSS which provides for the circumstances under which some of the human rights may be suspended, it is the duty of the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan to monitor the applications of the Bill of Rights in accordance with the TCRSS, 2011and other laws of South Sudan.

Thus, Articles 9-34 of the TCRSS, 2011 provides for all the human rights all South Sudanese are supposed to enjoy irrespective of their tribal, status, racial and religious backgrounds and which the South Sudan Human Rights Commission has to protect. The authority of the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan to protect human rights is provided for under Article 10 of the TCRSS, 2011 read together with Articles 145 which establishes the South Sudan Human Rights Commission and article 145, which provides for the functions of the Human Rights Commission of South Sudan.

Under the Constitutional provisions above, the South Sudan Human Rights Commission has the duty to inter alia to: (a) monitor the application and enforcement of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution; (b) investigate, on its own initiative, or on a complaint made by any person or group of persons, against any violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) visit police jails, prisons and related facilities with a view to assessing and inspecting conditions of the inmates and make recommendations to the relevant authority.

The Commission shall also (i) monitor compliance of all levels of government with international and regional human rights treaties and conventions ratified by the Republic of South Sudan;  (j) express opinion or present advice to government organs on any issue related to human rights and fundamental freedoms; and  (k) perform such other function as may be prescribed by law (2) The Human Rights Commission shall publish periodical reports on its findings and submit annual reports to the National Legislative Assembly on the state of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In summary and based on the foregoing discussion, the question as to who has the mandate to investigate the violations and abuse of human rights and then report it in South Sudan is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission. This implies that though the presidency has the duty to uphold, respect and promote human rights as provided for under the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Sudan of which this includes investigation and reporting such violations, the body mandated to do so is the South Sudan Human Rights Commission.

It therefore implies that the investigation and report on human rights violations in South Sudan carried out by the Executive as seen in the case of Bentiu rape allegations that was presented on 20 December 2018 should not be taken to be credible report unless there is a report from Human Rights Commission of South Sudan Corroborating it.

The report of the Government should not be relied on exclusively as proof of rape not having taken place at all in Bentiu as the current situation which the government is very defensive in protecting its image internationally the government of South Sudan will never make a report against its own image. This is confirmed by the use nationalistic language used by Lam Tungwar Kueigwong on social media who seriously rubbished the rape allegations by MSF.

In short as can be understood from the whole discussion in this work, the report of the Awut Committee investigating the rape allegations in Bentiu without other independent source corroborating its validity is invalid and should not be relied on to prove the fact that no rape has ever taken place at all in Bentiu.

NB, the author is Human Rights Lawyer and the Executive Director of Joth Mayardit Community Centre for Peace and Justice, the Deputy Coordinator of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations in Uganda; he can be reached through: juoldaniel2003@gmail.com;+256781023707

South Sudan: Execution spree targets even children and threatens nursing mothers

FROM: Amnesty International, DEC/07/2018, SSN;

South Sudan has carried out more executions this year than it has done in any year since gaining independence in 2011, with a child among seven people known to have been executed so far in 2018, Amnesty International revealed today.

Amnesty International fears for the lives of another 135 people on death row, who have this year been rounded up from other prisons across the country to two prisons notorious for executions.

“It is extremely disturbing that the world’s youngest nation has embraced this outdated, inhuman practice and is executing people, even children, at a time when the rest of the world is abandoning this abhorrent punishment.” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Amnesty International has established that at least 342 people are currently under the sentence of death in South Sudan, more than double the number recorded in 2011.

“The President of South Sudan must stop signing execution orders and end this obvious violation of the right to life.” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Last year, South Sudanese authorities executed four people, two of whom were children at the time of the crimes for which they were convicted. The executions were a blatant violation of national and international laws, which strictly forbid the execution of anyone who was below the age of 18 at the time of their alleged crime.

This year Amnesty International interviewed a 16-year-old boy, who is languishing on death row at Juba Central Prison, after being convicted of murder. Waiting for his appeal to be considered by the court, he described the crime as an accident.

“Before the accident, I was in secondary school. I was a runner, a very good one and I was also a singer of gospel and earthly songs. […] My own aim was to study and do things that can help others. My hope is to be out and to continue with my school. 16-year old on sentenced to death.

He said he had told the judge that he was 15 during his trial.

The use of the death penalty against people who were children at the time of the crime is strictly prohibited under international human rights law and South Sudan’s 2011 Transitional Constitution. Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of a Child, to which South Sudan is a party, stipulates that ‘neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age’.

State-sanctioned killings

Since independence in 2011, South Sudanese courts have sentenced at least 140 people to death, and the authorities have executed at least 32 people.

This year’s spate of state-sanctioned killings seems to have been sparked by a directive by the Director-General of the National Prison Service of South Sudan on 26 April 2018.

In it, he ordered all death row prisoners held at county and state prisons to be moved to two of the country’s most notorious death chambers – Wau Central Prison and Juba Central Prison.

This year’s spate of state-sanctioned killings seems to have been sparked by a directive by the Director-General of the National Prison Service of South Sudan on 26 April 2018.

In May, 98 death row prisoners were transferred from Kuajok, Tonj, Rumbek and Aweil state prisons in Bahr el Ghazal region, in the north-western part of the country, to Wau Central Prison.

Another 37 death row prisoners, including at least one child and a breastfeeding mother, were also transferred from prisons in the Equatoria region in the south of the country to Juba Central Prison.

Thirty-four people were moved from Torit State Prison in September 2018 and three from Kapoeta State Prison in November 2018 to Juba.

“The South Sudanese government must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, commute all death sentences to prison terms and abolish the death penalty altogether.” Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The transfer of 135 death row prisoners to prisons in Juba and Wau where all executions have taken place so far is deeply alarming.

The South Sudanese government must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions, commute all death sentences to prison terms and abolish the death penalty altogether, said Joan Nyanyuki.

“Any attempt to execute a breastfeeding woman would contravene South Sudanese law and international human rights law and standards.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to execute the prisoner.

The death penalty – the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state in the name of justice – is the most fundamental denial of human rights.

It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

 Background

In South Sudan, the Penal Code provides for the use of the death penalty for murder; bearing false witness resulting in an innocent person’s execution or for fabricating such evidence or using as true evidence known to be false; terrorism (or banditry, insurgency or sabotage) resulting in death; aggravated drug trafficking; and treason.

Hanging is the method of execution provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Before a person sentenced to death can be executed, the Supreme Court and the President must confirm the death sentence. END

We Must’nt Allow Our Tribal Allegiance to Destroy Our Urge for Political Stability

By: Ngoi Thuech, Dodoma, Tanzania, NOV/05/2018, SSN;

South Sudanese don’t know how lucky and blessed they’re. We’ve never had a shortage of patriotic leaders even before we became known as South Sudanese but separate entities living in tribal kingdoms.

Our people, whether we came from Azande nationality, Dinka dynasty or Shilluk kingdom, we all fought various wars to stop the invasion of Arabs who were hell-bent on enslaving our people, misappropriating our land and writing us off the history books.

After Sudan gained her independence from the Anglo-Egyptian rule, a plethora of Southern Sudan national leaders rose up and shouldered our cause for freedom from Jellaba economic exclusion.

A number of popularly known leaders from that era ranged from William Deng Nhial to Joseph Lagu. Eleven years after the breakdown of trust between the southern Sudanese and the North Sudanese ruling elite for dishonoring the 1972 peace agreement, a new group of leaders emerge in the fold of John Garang, William Nyuon Bany, Salva Kiir, and Riek Machar.

We’ve always had patriotic leaders and people who would go out of their way to protect the interests of our people no matter how hard their trials may seem.

During the first and second Sudanese civil wars we have had people who were easily bought off by the deep pockets of Khartoum. These people, in turn, came around and put the light out of what we were truly fighting for; our people were up in arms giving all their lot which resulted in countless generations of South Sudanese losing countless age-groups and age-sets, meaning people who traditionally were born and grew up in the same era.

Early in the 1990s, our leaders were once again at each other’s throats fighting to own the chairmanship of the SPLM/A; truly it was an incidental war which caused us dearly to delay our chance to garner independence from the jaws of persecution emanating from the preoccupied Sharia Law enforcers of Sudan.

And in 2013, twenty years from the prior break-up of SPLM/A into SPLM/A- Torit and SPLM/A-Nasir in 1991, our leaders armed their respective tribal dynasties to contest the presidential crown.

Every time we fight among ourselves, we unknowingly underdeveloped our collective cause for progress for a number of years.

When we splintered into various liberation movements in 1991, we didn’t get a chance to claim our independence until 14 years later; similarly, the war of 2013 has destroyed everything from infrastructure to thousands of people perishing in the process.

The Igbo people of Nigeria and Cameroon state, “when brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate. We live in an Eastern and Central African block where people might soon fight themselves to the bone for the few limited and scrappy economic resources availed to them by their representative governments.

Kenya has 49 million people; Uganda has 41 million; Sudan has 39 million; DR Congo has 79 million; Ethiopia has 102 million; Central African Republic has 4 million.

If one looks carefully at the statistics illustrated above, the only exception is the case of the Central African Republic which is populated by a mere 4 million people.

The other five countries straddling our borders have each 30 million plus people within the confines of their nation-states. Our very own South Sudan brags of being blessed with 12 million people.

Sudan at independence in 1955 had 17 million people and it had 49 million in 2011 shortly before independence gave way to South Sudan.

So, by 55 years into the future, our population might be 50 million or more depending on whether we choose to live in a state of fear and hatred or a land where people respect their differences so they may live in harmony and serene peace.

Abiy Ahmed, the PM of Ethiopia had this insightful observation about upholding tolerance at all cost: “Ethnic differences should be recognized and respected. However, we should not allow them to be hardened to the extent of destroying our common national story.”

How we allow corrupt and tribal opportunistic leaders to continue to drive a wedge among us is a thing of wonder.

It is okay to be pleasantly prideful of one’s ethnic background, but we should never allow it to destroy what we truly stand for as South Sudanese, which is to say we are a union of multifaceted tribes, while at the same time we also belong to one geographical enclave and sovereignty of South Sudan.

We may come from different tribes, however, we also self-identify as South Sudanese.

Once South Sudanese from any specific tribe has one of the own tribal member promoted to a powerful ministerial position, you would find them celebrating all over the place for such a gift.

Some of us now get denied medical attention because he or she hails from the tribe where recently one of their tribal members called on the military to sent members of a different tribe to their early graves.

If the leader had special powers, then he would have helped the subjective individual who was in need of a medical attention; however, the leader in question was ordinary like every one of us, or perhaps less intelligent than most of us; that was probably why the war started in the first place.

Since 2005, countless foreigners have made our motherland their permanent homeland. After the war broke out in 2013, ethnic hatred and a plethora of fear mongering became commonplace which culminated in chauvinistic tendencies by certain tribes to deny land purchasing to certain tribal nationalities, because the leader of the nation is a member of their tribe.

Just like Abiy Ahmed recognized the existence of ethnic differences; we should never entertain our tribal pride and heritage to cloud our judgment or blind us into seeing the bigger picture of our national identity.

Some of our South Sudanese people are too culturally attached to their ethnic tribes, that they are too often falsely led by these exclusive tendencies into believing that it is us only the Lotuho people or no one else out there.

South Sudan can’t just belong to the Lotuho people when there are other 63 tribal nationalities that carry a bulky uncompromising vast array of our nation.

Teth Wuol had this insightful observation about the corrosive division of tribalism: “Why do we let tribes define us? When we have one of the oldest cultures in the world. Rich with hard working people, dedicated to and faith. Many focus on our differences and play into the cultural divide prevent true peace. My goal is to bring South Sudan out of the ashes and build a future booming with technology, education, logic, and visionaries. I guess I can only dream until we start really caring about our South Sudan’s legacy.”

Riek Machar came to Juba for peace celebration and some people hated him for gracing hands with Salva Kiir, and Salva Kiir was given a free rein to lead our nation in the Pre-Transitional Period, and again he was vilified for failing to do enough to prevent the nation from disintegrating into a wasteland of conflict.

We don’t have a choice to propel the leader of our liking onto the crown helm of the presidency; we are stuck to work with Salva Kiir and Riek Machar in the meantime until we manage to figure out who is better suited to manage our affairs in J1.

Furthermore, once everything is up and running smoothly after the Transitional Period, we wish to continue to push for democratic reforms which will enable us to form impartial three branches of the government which encompasses the judiciary, the executive and the legislative assembly.

South Sudan is endowed with a few oil reserves here and there, and if we continue treading on the same path of the last 13 years; wars would never cease to cause us enormous losses in lives and properties.

Petrol dollars, unlike foreign aid handouts, do not come with string attached, meaning if we happen to have a dictatorial president in office, chances are that everyone would be rushing to Juba to scavenge for the loot of the oil collective wealth since there would be no Norwegian government sanctioning us to elect a democratic leader into office.

They don’t associate petroleum with the curse for nothing. Frank Matata, the former SPLM/ commander and governer of Yei River State was caught with the illegal sales of teak in the documentary Profiteers.

Corruption comes from the evil side of our human nature which is susceptible to get easily tempted to rent-seeking or self-serving. An impartial and sagacious judiciary would help us tremendously to bring to justice those who may get too greedy to get more for themselves while they are serving their tenures in office.

The famed Kenyan cartoonist, Gado, pointed out that one of the root causes of the major issues holding us back is ignorance. Ignorance is born out of too much faith we placed in tribal allegiances we grew up associating with.

John Dewey once said that “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.” His warnings do not only necessarily mean that for democracy to make a profound change in the society, a brand new generation of people must be at the forefront leading the pack to create the much-needed environment to effect change.

He also meant that each and every one of us must play their part to learn and adapt to the new cultural trends making headways in the society.

This is a social science analogy to the biological phenomenon of the survival of the fittest whereby those with most adaptable genes to their immediate inhabitable environment are more likely to survive environmental catastrophes and pass their genes to the next generation of their offspring.

In our case, the few hard-headed bunches among us are more likely to drag people into major conflicts that we can’t afford to be a part of.

“You can not carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invest the future”- says Thomas Sankara.

Old habits do really die hard, but there is nothing eviler than allowing a few attachments to one’s ethnic group to let them determine our shared national urge for political stability in our country. There is no doubt that these tribal attachments mean more to some people than other others.

We are profoundly blessed with a nation that is not too populated to cause major competition for available collective wealth, and even with these blessings of fertile land and its great we continue to let our ethnic differences get in the way of our collective progress.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people,” as Eleanor Roosevelt would say.

When we strive to live in a culture of tolerance toward our fellow human beings who may hail from a tribe, we give way for peace to reign and therefore, we all end up giving chance to everyone so they may focus on the basic necessities of their lives.

Everyone wins when tribalism, corruption, nepotism ignorance are not commonplace practices in our mainstream society.

Our continual adaptation to cultural phenomenon is the way forward for us to have a chance of building a small space for our fellow countryfolks.

We don’t have to adapt to everything that may come our way, we just have to incorporate some beneficial elements into our communal localities so we can enjoy a little peace for our dear lives.

Ngoi Thuech is a South Sudanese blogger that works and lives in Dodoma, Tanzania. He is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam. He blogs about a mirage of issues ranging from politics to culture on www.ngoithuech.blogspot.com. He can be reached at mawangrieth@outlook.com.

Kiir’s South Sudan army SPLA, raped, killed and recruited Children – UN

By: KEVIN J KELLEY, TheEastAfrican, OCT/16/2018, SSN;

South Sudanese soldiers are responsible for most of the killings and rapes of children carried out in the country, the United Nations said on Monday.

“I am especially alarmed by the rampant levels of grave violations committed by government security forces,” Ms Virginia Gamba, the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, told the Security Council.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) is said to have carried out nearly 80 percent of the 987 killings or maiming of children documented by the UN between October 2014 and June 2018.

The SPLA was also responsible for more than 90 percent of 658 verified incidents of sexual violence against children during that period, the report adds.

Most of these cases involved “gruesome gang rapes,” the UN envoy said.

“The full scale of sexual violence affecting children is believed to be under-reported, in particular against boys, owing to fear of stigmatisation and reprisals and to the lack of adequate support services and avenues for accountability,” Ms Gamba noted in the report.

In Summary:
**United Nations report says government soldiers committed 80pc of documented atrocities against children between October 2014 and June 2018.
**Factions of the armed opposition recruited and used a sizable number of child soldiers, the report says.
**Earlier this year, army leaders agreed to allow UN units to visit all military barracks to screen and release child soldiers. But only one such mission had taken place as of June, the report notes.

The UN cites a rampage by government soldiers and “armed youth” in Unity State six months ago in which “sexual violence was used extensively during indiscriminate attacks on villages.”

Two years earlier, SPLA troops raped or gang-raped 34 girls and 30 women from villages in Koch County in Unity State, the report says.

“Sexual violence was used as a form of collective punishment to instill fear and humiliation within communities,” the UN observes.

Child soldiers

In August 2016, 10 girls fleeing to a UN civilian-protection site in Bentiu in Unity State “were stopped on the way there by some 20 SPLA soldiers and taken into the bush and raped repeatedly,” the report adds.

Most of the attacks on schools and hospitals documented in the period covered by the report were also said to be the work of the SPLA.

Factions of the armed opposition recruited and used a sizable number of child soldiers, the report says.

The UN counted 1,447 children, including five girls, among forces loyal to rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar.

Groups associated with Taban Deng Gai, formerly a prominent figure in the armed opposition and now one of the country’s vice presidents, recruited and fielded 801 children, including 46 girls, says the report.

The SPLA accounted for more than 40 percent of the total number of 5,723 child soldiers reported to be in the ranks of armed groups.

“Children were used to commit atrocities against civilians, including other children,” the report notes.

The UN said poverty was a key reason why children became members of the South Sudan government army.

“Several children stated in interviews that they had joined SPLA owing to poverty, since they were paid between 700 and 1,500 South Sudanese pounds per month (between $5 and $12) by SPLA,” the report recounts.

Earlier this year, army leaders agreed to allow UN units to visit all military barracks to screen and release child soldiers. But only one such mission had taken place as of June, the report notes. END

BREAKING NEWS: Kenyan & South Sudanese activists demand action against beneficiaries of SS War

From Radio Tamazuj & Other sources, OCT/12/2018, SSN;

Latest Development, OCT/15/2018, Nairobi, Kenya: South Sudan politician Paul Malong denies he embezzled millions of dollars in war-torn country. South Sudan politician Gen. Paul Malong has said anything he did that links him to the situation in South Sudan was under instructions from the administration. Speaking during an interview at a local TV station on Sunday night, ‘King Paul’, denied looting South Sudan coffers and stashing the cash in Kenya. Malong said he should not be fully blamed for the situation in South Sudan. “If the crimes committed occurred while I was Chief of Staff, it was because I was under instructions from the Commander in Chief, that’s president Kiir.”
Malong said he has no money hidden in foreign accounts, daring all those making such claims to name the countries and the banks. “I am not a rich man. I am just a family man taking care of myself and my family.” Before he fell out with President Salva Kiir, King Paul was slated as the next in line. Serving as the chief of general staff, Malong wielded power, a fact believed to have placed him at a powerful position to amass his wealth.
Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/south-sudan-politician-paul-malong-denies-looting-claims

Hundreds of Kenyan and South Sudanese nationals on Thursday. October 11/2018, staged a peaceful protest in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, requesting the Kenyan government to freeze assets of South Sudanese leaders profiting from the conflict and to sanction Kenyan banks facilitating the looting of funds.

This is the first time ever that any of the neighboring countries, specifically Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, which are involved with the current national war and leaders in South Sudan, that such a public demonstration has been allowed.

The protest follows the public airing of a documentary, ‘The Profiteers’ which depicts key individuals and institutions in South Sudan and neighbouring Kenya and Uganda that are benefiting from the conflict in South Sudan while south Sudanese continue to bear the brunt of the war.

According to the report, a few South Sudanese leaders, including President Salva Kiir, his nemesis, Riek Machar, former Army Chief of Staff, Paul Malong, have been named to have stashed away huge sums of money in Kenyan banks. This prompted a peaceful protest by Kenyan civil society organisations.

Boniface Mwangi, a renowned Kenyan socio-political rights activist and organiser of the protest told Radio Tamazuj that they delivered petitions to the Kenyan parliament and ministry of foreign affairs demanding action against named individuals and institutions.

“We are protesting against Paul Malong and Salva Kiir and other generals stealing money from South Sudan and using Kenyan banks to launder the money. So the money doesn’t come from clean sources. They are looting the country and bringing the money to Kenya and Uganda, buying very palatial homes, living very lavish lifestyles as ordinary south Sudanese citizens die,” he said.

Mwangi added, “We are asking our Kenyan government to freeze their assets and evacuate the money back to South Sudan. We must stop the banks that are involved in money laundering and looting South Sudan because as long as they can loot, the war will never stop, as long as they benefit from the conflict and the civil war, South Sudanese will continue to suffer as these ‘leaders’ live a good life in Kenya.”

The activist further said the documentary provided evidence of actual bank transactions and ownership of high-end properties in Kenya and Uganda.

“We understand how much money they earn as monthly salaries and you can see there is a stark difference between the two. They earn very little but live like they earn a billion dollars. So you can see clearly there is illegally acquired wealth,” he added.

Mwangi also said as much as South Sudanese are suffering the consequences of the war, Kenya is bearing its own share of negative effects.

“It is illegally acquired money, and it’s not only destroying South Sudan, it’s destroying this country as a financial hub and making it a center for criminal activities. And some of those people who are stealing money are under UN Security Council sanctions list, so Kenyan banks should not be trading with war criminals,” he said.

South Sudanese living in Nairobi spearheaded by the Ana Taban Initiative, a group of South Sudanese youth advocating for peace also joined in the protests as well as other South Sudanese civil society organisations based in Nairobi.

Ana Taban initiative coordinator, Manasseh Mathiang urged South Sudanese to seize the opportunity and speak against vices happening in the country.

“South Sudan is our country. Until the time when we decide to stand up for our rights, stand up for what we believe in we will never fix this country. And if a few individuals are enjoying from our blood we need that to stop. We need to love our country enough to stand when the time is right for us to stand,” he encouraged the protesters.

Mathiang said the protest in Nairobi is part of a series of peaceful protests that will take place across the region denouncing the beneficiaries of the South Sudan conflict.

As Socrates once said, “All Wars Are About Money,” indeed, as exposed by many activists, the leaders of South Sudan, specifically, President Salva Kiir and family, former vice-president-now rebel leader-soon-to-be-again vice president, Dr. Riek Machar, are allegedly ‘US Dollar billionaires,” blood money looted from the poor and suffering citizens.

A video exhibited by the Protest Organizers shows the son of ex-chief of staff, Paul Malong, rolling on millions of US dollar bills and boasting as ‘the youngest African BILLIONAIRE,’ blood monies allegedly stolen by his father, former chief of staff-turned-rebel, Gen. Paul Malong, who’s himself reputedly a billionaire.

Whilst Gen. Malong is one of those sanctioned, he still freely flies in and out of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and the Sudan without any of these countries arresting him.

Interestingly, it was also revealed how the Machar’s SPLM/O-IO that is supposedly fighting the Kiir regime is deeply involved in stealing natural resources in South Sudan. The so-called SPLM/O-IO Governor Matata of the border state of Yei, is deeply involved in illegally cutting rare and expensive wood and looting other resources from South Sudan and smuggling these through Uganda to international dealers.

Very rare and expensive wood is being stolen by these rebel groups. This is a rich man’s war at the expense of the poor South Sudanese blood.

This is a critical moment for all citizens to join those activists in Kenya and to speak out forcefully about the dubious and criminal collusion between the criminals/leaders in South South Sudan and their co-conspirators in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, not to forget our former rulers, Arab North Sudan.

Most poignantly, the famed Ugandan professor Mahmood Mamdani declared that the recently signed peace agreement between Kiir and Machar and Opposition groups, that, “South Sudan is on its way to becoming an informal protectorate of Sudan and Uganda. By formally acknowledging them as ‘guarantors,’ the agreement recognizes their strategic role in determining the future of South Sudan: Ugandan troops are physically present to support Kiir’s faction, and Sudan provides critical support to opposition groups, including those led by Machar.”

Prof. Mamdani strenuously believes that the peace deal signed on September 12 is an agreement between Presidents Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda — who are the guarantors of the agreement.

The agreement, he argues, recognizes their strategic role in determining the future of South Sudan: Ugandan troops are physically present to support Kiir’s faction, and Arab Sudan provides critical support to opposition groups, including those led by Machar,”

Further, “Uganda is hoping to play a leading role in training the South Sudan army under the military co-operation, while Sudan has leverage to resuscitate the oil sector and provide troops to protect the installations. South Sudan is also Sudan’s biggest market in the region.”

Sadly, an estimated 400,000 South Sudan have been killed since the outbreak of the Dinka Kiir versus Nuer Machar precipitated ‘civil war’ from 2013 to 2016, and now in 2018, there are two and half million South Sudanese refugees in these neighboring countries. END

South Sudan ‘Kiir versus Machar’ civil war killed about 382,900

From: AFP, SEP/26/2018, SSN;

South Sudan’s civil war has caused the deaths of at least 382,900 people — far higher than previous estimates and more than the conflict in Syria, according to a new study.

The statistical research carried out by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine university was published Tuesday after being commissioned by the US Institute for Peace in partnership with the US State Department.

Researchers measured both the number of deaths that were a direct result of the violence as well as deaths caused by the increased risk of disease and reduced access to healthcare.

Previous estimates have put the toll in the tens of thousands.

The new figure is comparable to Syria, where more than 360,000 are estimated to have died since the conflict began in 2011.

In Summary:
The new figure is comparable to Syria, where more than 360,000 are estimated to have died since 2011
President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a much-anticipated peace deal this month
South Sudan voted to leave its northern neighbour Sudan in 2011, becoming the world’s youngest country

Conflict resolution:

The UK study found that the deaths from the civil war in South Sudan, which started in December 2013, were concentrated in the northeast and southern regions of the country.

Researchers analysed mortality data, combining it with media reports and some 227 surveys carried out by humanitarian agencies to single out conflict-related deaths.

They said their findings “indicate that the humanitarian response in South Sudan must be strengthened, and that all parties should seek urgent conflict resolution”.

Their innovative statistical approach “has the potential to support those involved in humanitarian response and policy to make real-time decisions” in other conflicts, the researchers said.

Latest developments:

A rights group on Wednesday accused the government of South Sudan and its allied militias of carrying out “war crimes” of “staggering brutality” during an offensive earlier this year.

Amnesty International’s report, based on research following a government offensive on Leer and Mayendit counties in the northern Unity State between April and June, catalogued the testimonies of around 100 civilians who escaped the attacks.

“The offensive was characterised by staggering brutality, with civilians deliberately shot dead, burnt alive, hanged in trees and run over with armoured vehicles,” Amnesty said.

The group also documented “systematic sexual violence”, rape and gang-rape as well as abductions of women and girls, and the deliberate killing of young boys and male infants.

The killings echo the type of brutality meted out to civilians that has characterized South Sudan’s war since the start.

Amnesty said the latest offensive began in April and continued until early July, “a week after the latest ceasefire was brokered on 27 June”.

That ceasefire paved the way for the signing last week of another peace agreement between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar aimed at ending the vicious five-year-old civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people, pushed millions to the brink of starvation and scattered refugees across East Africa.

Days of fighting:

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed a much-anticipated peace deal this month, the latest attempt to end a war that has torn the world’s newest nation apart.

Since the civil war — which broke out after President Kiir claimed Dr Machar was plotting a coup — the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) regional bloc, chaired by Ethiopia, has taken the lead on peace negotiations, to little effect.

The previous peace pact collapsed in July 2016 during days of fighting in the capital Juba that forced Dr Machar to flee for his life.

After decades of civil war, South Sudan voted to leave its northern neighbour Sudan in 2011, becoming the world’s youngest country.

The split deprived Sudan of most of its oil reserves, and production was disrupted by the outbreak of war in South Sudan just two years after independence. END

Neo-Colonialism and a Faustian Bargain Undermine South Sudan’s Peace Deal

By John Prendergast and Brian Adeba, The Enough Project • enoughproject.org, September/20/2018, SSN;

Peace remains elusive in South Sudan. The latest in a line of peace deals – this one signed on September 12, 2018 between the South Sudan government and opposition – does not addressthe primary root cause of the war: the hijacking of governing institutions and the creation of a violent kleptocratic state that enriches senior officials and their commercial collaborators while doing nothing to provide social services, build infrastructure, create transparency, introduce accountability, reinforce the rule of law, or grow the economy of South Sudan.

Fueling this ongoing strife is a misguided focus on power-sharing instead of transforming the systems of governance.

By simply re-assigning positions of power, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), through its September 12, 2018 Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), has encouraged elites within the various warring parties to continue plundering the country’s economic and natural resources.

That some of the agreement’s official mediators, including Uganda and Sudan, stand to benefit politically and economically from this outcome reinforces the need for enforceable reforms that take aim at the kleptocratic system standing in the way of a sustainable peace.

The absence of a long-term diplomatic endgame allowed the President of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, and the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, each representing different sides in the conflict, to exploit the IGAD-led process for their own political and economic gain.

Fundamentally, this is a governance challenge, rooted in a political culture that views state resources as spoils, their value accruable to the elite alone.

Changing this mindset will require measures that force the costs of kleptocracy to far outweigh its gains.

Network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, for example, can disincentivize those at the top from prioritizing personal financial interests as their primary motivation.

Otherwise, political agreements like the one signed on September 12, 2018, will only provide a short-term stop gap to the conflict, not the long-term systemic change that the people of South Sudan need and deserve.

As personal financial gain takes precedence over common interests, political allegiances give way to the fragile alliances of self-serving kleptocrats.

Since these alliances are only as sustainable as their ability to siphon more of the country’s resources to rival elites, they hold little promise for forging meaningful consensus around the R-ARCSS.

A precursor to the likelihood that alliances will continue to shift during the peace accord’simplementation phase was the July 2016 splintering of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

The move then was motivated, in part, by a feeling among some of its leaders that the ruling SPLM party should have offered them more of a stake in the then-Transitional Government of National Unity.

When such elites seek to obtain more power— and, thus, wealth— by defecting, many taking up arms, they send a strong message to others who might otherwise be inclined to support governance reform.

It is no accident, for example, that some of those who voiced reservations and refused to sign an earlier precursor deal on governance in June have now splintered into subgroups that signed the September 12 peace accord— the better to take advantage of the financial opportunities they are convinced it affords.

Nowhere is this model of financial benefit through powersharing better exemplified than in the case of South Sudan’s military.

The recent move by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to promote 123 officers to the ranks of major-generals, in addition to promoting numerous other officers of lower rankson the eve of the peace agreement, will be countered by similar promotions on the part of the armed opposition groups, leading to an even more top-heavy security sector.

This represents a “brigadiers, but no soldiers” approach, motivated by a fear among elites that they could lose allies to rival camps.

This fear, of course, is misplaced: a top-heavy military, anchored in the expectation of material reward, undermines stability in the whole of South Sudan, weakening the state and making it more susceptible to chaos. That outcome ultimately benefits no one.

Still, finding common ground on institutional reform remains too high a price for these kleptocrats and their supporters, making peace — or its pre-requisites, security and stability— as elusive as ever.

Complicating the situation further, the September 12 peace arrangement is unlikely to garner international financial support for some of its vital components, including the cantonment of forces.

This, in turn, may negatively affect the agreement’s security arrangements, leaving only a bloated government, marred by red tape and ill-equipped to deliver vital services or support development efforts.

The implications are clear: reconstruction will be slow or non-existent; refugees may still be stranded in camps, refusing to go home without financial support and security guarantees; and South Sudan’s future will remain in doubt.

A dangerous marriage of convenience: Two independent outcomes— the threat of financial network sanctions from the main sponsors of the peace talks and corruption-induced bankruptcy— brought President Salva Kiir and the main opposition leader, Dr. Riek Machar, to the negotiating table in June of this year.

As a result, President Kiir, who only a week earlier had refused to work with Dr. Machar in a transitional government, rescinded his decision after realizing that he was likely to be singled out by the international community as the main obstacle to peace.

Dr. Machar, on the other hand, has gone easy on the two-army arrangement and accepted the ultimate reunification of the armed forces while also playing down his principal demand for a federal system.

All indications are that Dr. Machar and President Kiir together forged a marriage of convenience with their Sudanese and Ugandan counterparts, whose influence grew as the Troika —the United States, Britain, and Norway— exited the peace process.

This left the process exposed to the influence, motivations and machinations of Sudan and Uganda, which prioritized their own interests.

Although this outcome allows Kiir and Machar to maintain their grip on power in Juba, retaining their titles as President and First Vice President, it amounts to a kind of Faustian bargain, with Khartoum securing the resumption of crude oil production in South Sudan as well as $26 for each barrel produced over the next three years, according to the Cooperation Agreement between Sudan and South Sudan signed in 2012.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s remaining share from each barrel sold will be spent buying goods from Uganda, creating a trade imbalance that vastly advantages Kampala.

Critics of these capitulations say they owe to coercive negotiating tactics, particularly by the Sudanese delegation.

Although key South Sudanese stakeholders attended the talks, including civil society, women, and youth, their participation was limited by Khartoum’s aggressive mediation strategy, which curtailed participants’ ability to provide input, critique the proposals, and serve as equal partners at the negotiating table.

When smaller opposition groups expressed reservations about the outcome, they were threatened into signing the accord, thus raising questions about their commitment to its implementation.

What is clear is that any “peace” arrived at through coercive and exclusionary tactics will only harden distrust between South Sudan and neighboring countries.

Just as this atmosphere led to the collapse of the August 2015 peace deal, it bodes ill for the current agreement.

True to form, the final text agreed to by al-Bashir, Museveni, Machar and Kiir glosses over numerous important issues that remain disputed.

These include the number of contested states, the quorum of cabinet and parliament meetings and the constitution-making process.

Each of these could spark a disagreement over boundary issues, which could reignite the conflict and delay the reintegration of rebel forces.

Neocolonialism:

While the realignment of relationships in East Africa has led to the normalization of ties between Eritrea and its former enemies Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan, cooperation between Uganda and Sudan in this case has regrettably come at the expense of the South Sudanese people.

The blatant attempt by Sudan and Uganda to control and dominate the future economic and political dispensation in South Sudan, together with the silence of IGAD and the broader international community, has emboldened both countries to take a new posture akin to that of a neo-colonial master.

The passive stance of South Sudan’s other neighbors as well as other international actors has allowed al-Bashir, a ruthless dictator, to gain an

What is clear is that any “peace” arrived at through coercive and exclusionary tactics will only harden distrust between South Sudan and neighboring countries.

unacceptable level of control over South Sudan’s oil sector, despite the fact that the country was born through a referendum in which 98.8 percent of South Sudan’s people voted for an independent and sovereign nation.

IGAD has given al-Bashir an opportunity to inject Khartoum’s influence into a peace agreement that was meant to end the suffering in South Sudan.

Instead, the deal ultimately has allowed the Sudanese regime to buttress its collapsing economy. Al-Bashir has been working hard to achieve this goal.

He has managed to see the core SPLM dismantled while also working to defeat or contain the myriad rebellions in Sudan by ensuring great influence over the flow of resources as well as the military of South Sudan.

Even the mechanisms for monitoring and verifying compliance with the September 12 agreement will be led by Sudan and Uganda.

After so many died for South Sudan’ssovereignty, Juba’s elites are returning power to Khartoum to further their own interests.

The powerful role that Uganda and Sudan have enshrined for themselves in the outcome of this agreement represents neocolonialism at its worst and serves as an economic coup by those in Khartoum and Kampala who seek to benefit at the expense of the people of South Sudan.

Once the implications are fully understood by the country’s population, further instability could ensue.

Dismantling the violent kleptocracy:

In South Sudan, power-sharing agreements have proven to be inadequate short-term fixes for underlying systemic challenges to governance.

It is of vital importance that South Sudanese leaders continue negotiating long-term solutions that directly address the causes of the conflict, transforming societal structures through internal dialogue and reform of the country’s security and financial sectors.

The international community must employ network sanctions targeted against the key military and civilian officials in South Sudan and their commercial enablers both inside and outside the country.

These network sanctions, along with robust anti-money laundering measures, can change the incentive structure for those benefiting from the cycles of violence and absence of rule of law.

Only then can South Sudan move from a weak, near-term power-sharing agreement to a framework for long-term change, one that dismantles the country’s violent kleptocracy.

For this to happen, South Sudan’s leaders must ensure that financial crimes, such as theft of state assets and exploitation of natural resources, do not continue with impunity.

Structural reform should focus on transforming the institutions of national security, including the military, the expenditures and abuses of which have hampered socio-economic development.

And instead of leaving economic sectors to be controlled by a handful of individuals who are well-connected to the country’s leadership, South Sudan must foster inclusive institutions at all levels of government.

This inclusiveness can be shepherded by civil society. By maintaining pressure on South Sudanese leaders during the implementation phase of the R-ARCSS, reform-minded civil society organizations can do what the international community has failed to do: hold these actors accountable for their commitments, lend transparency in resource management, and ensure participation in the constitution-making process.

Conclusion

*** As it stands, the R-ARCSS all but ensures that very little will change in South Sudan, with those in power continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of their country.

*** Government officials will continue to award themselves generous allowances regardless of the budget, those in power will continue to move the proceeds of corruption and natural resource exploitation outside the country and into the international financial system, and decision-makers will continue to grant virtually condition-free government contracts to their supporters.

*** Indeed, South Sudan will lurch from crisis to crisis until the levers of financial pressure, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, as well as the establishment and robust implementation of the Hybrid Court called for in the R-ARCSS, change the calculus of the self-interested power brokersin Juba.

*** Until then, rampant corruption and natural resource looting, combined with meddling from Khartoum and Kampala, will continue to economically exploit a young nation that fought so hard for its freedom.

John Prendergast, report co-author and Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “As it stands, the peace deal all but ensures that very little will change in South Sudan, with those in power continuing to enrich themselves at the expense of their country. Government officials will continue to award themselves generous allowances regardless of the budget, those in power will continue to move the proceeds of corruption and natural resource exploitation outside the country and into the international financial system, and decision-makers will continue to grant virtually condition-free government contracts to their supporters. Indeed, South Sudan will lurch from crisis to crisis until the levers of financial pressure, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, as well as the establishment and robust implementation of the Hybrid Court change the calculus of the self-interested power brokers in Juba.”

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “In South Sudan, power-sharing agreements have proven to be inadequate short-term fixes for underlying systemic challenges to governance. It is of vital importance that South Sudanese leaders continue negotiating long-term solutions that directly address the causes of the conflict, transforming societal structures through internal dialogue and reform of the country’s security and financial sectors.”

The Revitalized Peace Agreement is Unsustainable for South Sudan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Sept/19/2018;

On 16 September 2018, a group of leaders within SSOA who signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), issued a press statement reacting to the press statement of 14 September 2018 in which we, the non-signatories, categorically rejected the R-ARCSS.

In their press statement, they asserted and rightly so, that our people “are now reeling under a ruthless and unscrupulous regime that does not care a farthing about their plights.”

It’s tragic and very unfortunate that, after reaching such a damning conclusion, these leaders will opt to legitimize, entrench and agree to work with such regime to perpetuate the suffering of our people.

What is even laughable is that these leaders who caved in under the heavy-handed tactics of the Khartoum Government and opted to surrender for fear of being kicked out of Khartoum or the region and who themselves are stationed in foreign capitals, have the audacity to accuse us of fear.

We have taken the bold and courageous decision to say no to a mediation that is conflicted and parties in the conflict.

We opted to stand with our people and to continue the struggle until they are liberated from the hegemonic and kleptocratic regime and its policies.

Our objective as SSOA Leaders who rejected the surrender agreement, is not to engage in recrimination with our colleagues, but to set the record straight to the people of south Sudan and the international community.

The commencement of the High Level Revitalization Forum in December, presented a rare opportunity to learn from mistakes committed by the defunct 2015 peace agreement that eventually collapsed in July 2016.

Its agenda was confined to discussing two Chapters that formed the edified 2015 signed peace agreement. These were chapter (I) on the Governance and Chapter (II) of the security sector.

The opposition both SSOA and the SPLM-IO presented a joint position of all the various issues pertaining to the two chapters.

On the Governance, the Opposition demanded inter alia that:

–“the country shall adopt a federal system of governance during the Transitional period through effective division of powers and resources among the federal, state and local government; and lean government during the Transitional period at all levels of government;
— President Kiir shall not lead the Transitional government; and
— the annulment of the thirty (32) states and revert to the ten (10) states as stipulated in the TCRSS 2011 and ARCSS 2015.’’

Unfortunately, these noble and just demands to address the root causes of the current civil war raging in the Republic of South Sudan were poignantly rejected by the dictatorial regime in Juba.

Equally, the signed agreement on the 12th September doesn’t contain these fundamental demands (except for a passing reference to Federalism in the Permanent constitution making) that could’ve truly transformed our country towards a genuine democratic state and ushering of true sustainable peace agreement for our suffering masses.

We were shocked that in violation of the Charter of SSOA, inconsistent with our common position and the aspirations of our people, our colleagues went ahead and signed an agreement that ignored our fundamental principles and failed dismally to address our demands.

It is even tragic to vociferously claim that all the demands have been accepted and incorporated into the agreement.

We are not aware of a split within SSOA but differences of positions.

We the SSOA constituent members who refused to surrender and to legitimatize the corrupt and murderous regime of Kiir, will continue undeterred, with the struggle to free our masses from the tyranny and the ethno-centric regime of Kiir Mayardit.

Signatories:

Name Organization Signature
Gen. Thomas C. Swaka National Salvation Front (NAS) +256 771 938 721

Hon. Pagan A. Oketch okiechpagan@gmail.com

Dr. Hakim Dario People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) press@pdm-rss.org

Amb. Emanuel Aban
National Democratic Movement (NDM) ojwokj@hotmail.com
Tel: +1917-3279842

Dr. Gatwech K. Thich
United Democratic Republic Alliance (UDRA) +1(515) 771 3541

Contact: Amb. Emmanuel Aban
+44 7466 800244 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: jointoppositionpressrelease@gmail.com

South Sudan’s New Peace Deal Could Bring More War

BY: John Prendergast and Brian Adeba, The Daily Beast, SEP/12/2018, SSN;

Wednesday’s agreement is at its heart simply a crass division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns which the authors described as ‘kakocracy- meaning the “rule or government by the worst of the people.”

The peace deal signed today, September 12, 2018, between the government of South Sudan and armed opposition groups has significant shortcomings that could easily lead the country right back to full-scale war.

The South Sudanese have endured immense suffering in the last five years as the fighting has brought on food shortages and massive displacement. Nearly five million people have been forced out of their homes, inside and outside the country. Uncounted thousands are dead.

The country’s economy is a write-off. Double-digit inflation has ensured that millions are on a knife’s edge of survival and the risk of famine still looms large.

At the root of the conflict in South Sudan is the existence of a state whose institutions have been hijacked and repurposed to benefit a few top-level politicians.

Other groups, each clamoring for a bigger piece of the pie—or the whole of it—then engaged in a violent contest to capture the state, plunging the country into a deadly war.

Today’s agreement is at its heart simply a crass division of the spoils between the rival factions with the biggest guns.

It lacks meaningful checks and balances on executive overreach in a country in which the presidency already wields immense powers that are used mainly to loot the country’s resources and deploy extreme violence against opponents, whether military or civilian.

Beneath the veneer of power-sharing arrangements on a host of contentious issues, including state borders being redrawn by the regime to reinforce its control among regional and ethnic bases, lurk several articles that grant undue advantage to the chief executive.

Worst of all, this peace agreement lacks realistic outcomes on many of the most contentious issues.

Over the years, South Sudan’s vast oil revenues have been pocketed by high-level politicians and their families, carted out of the country and invested in high-value property and other businesses.

An inquiry into the root causes of the conflict by the African Union in 2015 identified corruption as a major driver of conflict in the country.

This looting of the public purse requires a solution that will stop politicians dipping into state coffers for their own financial benefit.

Yet in many aspects, the new peace deal fails to undo the theft of government revenue by entrusting the same politicians with final oversight on revenue spending without any meaningful restraint.

Beyond checks on executive power, any peace pact between armed protagonists is underpinned by its security arrangements.

With ambiguous, unrealistic, and unsustainable expectations, the current security arrangements are a mish-mash of stipulations that create doubt and uncertainty for the leaders of armed groups on the critical matter of security in the capital, Juba, and funding for the cantonment of insurgent fighters.

These challenges could unravel the whole agreement and plunge the country into another cycle of deadly violence.

The regional mediators behind this deal succeeded in getting the protagonists talking again and persuaded them to respect a signed ceasefire, but this could be nothing more that the lull before the big storm with the consequences looming on the horizon like a category five hurricane.

However, it need not be this way.

The United States, Europe, and other friends of the South Sudanese people must build more leverage to ensure implementation of a peace deal that addresses the systemic problems fueling the war.

The U.S holds the biggest potential stick. Recent U.S targeted sanctions on individuals and entities behind the war in South Sudan had some impact, giving the government an incentive to sign the current deal, but much greater pressure will be required for its implementation, and for good governance to have a chance.

What is required, specifically, is for the U.S. and other willing nations to impose sanctions on the networks of South Sudanese officials and their commercial collaborators who continue to loot the country’s resources, and to combine those sanctions with anti-money-laundering measures designed ultimately to deny the war criminals and their commercial collaborators access to the international banking system.

America and Europe must raise the cost to those facilitating the destruction of the world’s newest country as well as those benefiting from it, in particular the banking and real estate sectors in countries neighboring South Sudan.

Until the costs of war and chaos outweigh their benefits, the deadly status quo will remain, no matter what pieces of paper are signed. END

Brian Adeba is Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project; John Prendergast is Founding Director of the Enough Project and Co-Founder of The Sentry.

Human Rights and Opposing Political Opinions in South Sudan

BY: Kuir ë Garang, Poet & Author, Ph.D. Candidate, Toronto, SEPT/10/2018, SSN;

There is no question that South Sudan will take time to get used to civil societies expressing strong positions in sociopolitical issues and of strong personalities, that are not political players, to be strongly opposed to some government fundamentals.

As I’ve always reiterated, no one expects the SPLM to build Ottawa in Juba in ten or twenty years. This is a commonsense given.

Most, if not all of us, expect South Sudan to produce development results incrementally.

However, it would be foolhardy to expect South Sudan not to put in place economic and political structures that make prosperity possible. Starting structures, rudimentary maybe, should’ve been in place since 2005.

Sadly, all we’ve are rotten systemic models copied wholesale from Khartoum.

These copied governance models, such as too much powers vested in the presidency and the national security censorship of the newspapers, have shredded South Sudanese social and political fabric; that’s, what’s left by the North-South war up to 2005.

Amnesty International has argued that “Since the start of South Sudan’s internal armed conflict in December 2013, hundreds of people, mostly men, have been detained under the authority of the National Security Service (NSS) and Military Intelligence Directorate in various detention facilities across the capital city, Juba.

Many of those who’ve been detained have been held under the category of “political detainees” on allegations that they’ve communicated with or supported the opposition.”

These are usually assumptions made to scare people away from opinions that go against government narratives.

In June 2017, the Associated Pressed (AP) reported that “15 South Sudanese journalists have been arrested, beaten, jailed, threatened or denied access to information in the past four months, according to the Union of Journalists in South Sudan.

At least 20 members of the foreign press have been banned from or kicked out of South Sudan in the past six months, the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa says.”

However, there has to be a point at which we can sigh and say that ‘things are bad now but they’ll improve in due course.’

Undoubtedly, there must indeed be a point at which things should take a positive turn. For many South Sudanese, this positive turn would only come with the end of the civil war and the advent of peace.

This state of mind, for all intent and purposes, is a bad.

Waiting for the war to stop completely for things to start taking a positive turn is to do a great disservice to the country and the civil population. The civil population is already suffering like it has been for the past sixty years.

In the mid-1990s, the SPLM under the leadership of Dr. John Garang de Mabior, under intense pressure from international aid agencies, regional bodies and internal split in 1991, and the pressure to build civil structures and democratic governance, knew that it didn’t have to wait for the war to end to start institutionalizing its administrative infrastructures.

The Civil Administration for New Sudan (CANS) was one such response. Even if CANS was still subordinated to the military Modus Operandus of the SPLA like the SPLM was, its creation is a manifest testimony that war doesn’t have to end for the turning point to be created.

As Dr. Luka Biong argued in “Social capital and civil war:” The Dinka communities in Sudan’s civil war, wars don’t necessarily destroy communities’ social capitals. While some strong social fabrics are weakened during the civil war period, social capital isn’t completely eradicated because new social relations are built.

Biong writes that “recent thinking has begun to challenge the premise that civil wars undermine social capital, arguing instead that violence is less about social breakdown than about the creation of new forms of social relations.”

Since 2005, when the autonomous government was established in Juba, and more so after 2013 crisis that led to a vicious and costly armed conflict, there has been no respect for diverse opinions and human rights in South Sudan.

The Ruling SPLM has relied on the inexcusable and the now cliched “we are still a young nation” to get away with human rights abuses and incompetence.

While countries can be considered young in terms of capacities (human and technological), no country is too young to know moral imperatives such as respect for human rights and diverse political opinions.

While Juba prides in the fact that it’s a democratic state and that it doesn’t stifle political opinions, its practical actions say otherwise.

Intolerance to opposing political opinions, political intimidations, arbitrary arrests, political assassinations and media censorship have become the ‘new normal.’

They aren’t merely the subversion of the normative systemic functions but the system itself, to use Alex De Waal’s phrase.

The recent arrest of Peter Biar Ajak on July 28, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge and a very vocal personality and analyst in favor of younger leadership for South Sudan (which he dubbed ‘Generational Exit), is a clear testimony that Juba isn’t willing to take a positive turn.

Bashir Ahmed Mohamed Babiker, another South Sudanese activist, like Ajak, was also arrested on August 4 by the South Sudanese National Security in Yambio and he’s being held without any charges as his health deteriorates.

Kerbino Agok Wol, a South Sudanese businessman and philanthropist, is also being held by SSNS in Juba since April 27 without charges being brought against him.

Governments have every right to take any citizen to court if they clearly demonstrate that such a citizen has violated the constitution or committed a crime of any form.

And this is the work of South Sudanese courts and the judicial system. Charges need to be brought and proven in front of a competent judge before someone is arrested.

Sadly, the ghost of the SPLA militarized mentality is still ruling Juba. SPLM is a quasi-political party that is actually a military entity draped in a political attire.

So, when will the turning point begin?

The answer is now and e-very-day. As the peace agreement being finalized in Khartoum gives us hope for a peaceful South Sudan, it doesn’t follow that respect for human rights and diverse political opinions will come with it.

With no doubt, as it has been recently noted by some analysts, like Brian Adeba of the Washington-based Enough Project, South Sudanese agreements are usually pacts among powerful elites that don’t put the needs of the average civilian into account.

So, it’s common knowledge that the advent of the peace agreement wouldn’t guarantee respect for human rights and diverse political opinions.

It’s therefore time Juba not only speaks about the respect for human rights, but actually acts on it. Diverse opinions should be allowed as long as they’re conveyed in a respectful manner.

No country can develop — unless it’s a dictatorship — as a nation of a single opinion. Progress needs different and diverse ideas. END

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese author and poet. He’s also a PhD student at York University in Toronto, Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.com