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2015 Elections: The Legal Facts, Political Fictions & Democratic Fantasies

BY: JUMA Mabor MARIAL, JUBA, JAN/08/2015, SSN;

In the recent weeks, a vigorous debate has been had on the 2015 elections in South Sudan and the debate is on-going. The Elections Commission, an institution sanctioned by the law to carry out this task has made it abundantly clear that the election will take place. Political parties and other political actors have also shared their thoughts on whether there should be elections in 2015 or not.

Nonetheless, whichever views are put forward, I have reasons to believe that most of these commentators are wearing political camouflage and metal head gears.

It is within this context that a professional and neutral opinion is needed to set the rules on this debate straight and I wish to lead in this discourse not with political or other spectacles but with transparent eyeglasses as someone who is not just posting an opinion but a person who is giving an analytical view on whether there should be elections in 2015 or otherwise. I wish to do this in the following sub-headings.

The Facts and Legal Framework
Article 100 (1) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011, stipulates that; ‘the tenure of the office of the President of the Republic of South Sudan shall be five years’ and sub-article (2) of the same article states that; ‘notwithstanding article (1) above, during the transitional period the term of the President shall be four years beginning from July 9, 2011.’

This article should be read and interpreted along with Article 66 (1) of the Transitional Constitution, 2011 which states that, ‘the term of the National Legislature shall be five years and sub-section (2) states that notwithstanding article (1) above, the term of the current National Legislature shall be four years from July 9, 2011.

What these articles tell us is that the term for both the Executive and Legislature runs and ends concurrently. It also means that both their mandates end on July 9, 2015.

Article 26 of the Transitional Constitution talks about the rights of the citizens to participate in elections and it states that, ‘every citizen shall have the right to take part in any level of government directly or through freely chosen representative, and shall have the right to nominate himself or herself or be nominated for a public post or office in accordance with this constitution and the law.’

It added that, ‘every citizen shall have the right to vote or be elected in accordance with this constitution and the law.’ Whether the spirit of this article can be achieved in the proposed elections is a topic of debate as we move along this article.

The South Sudan Elections Act, 2012 talks generally about the procedures to be used in approaching elections. The act deals with issues of registration of candidates, screening and creating polling centers. The list is long on the ethics and guidelines through which the Commission is supposed to conduct elections but above all, the Commission is tasked with conducting free, fair, transparent, democratic and peaceful elections.

It is in regard of the above articles that concentrated debate on the elections is provoked because, typically, the elections as per the above provisions should take place in June 2015 while a new democratically elected government is expected to be sworn in and take over office by July 9, 2015.

This is also the basic reason why most of the proponents of elections talk about the legitimacy of the government and the necessity for holding elections in 2015.

Customarily, most countries carry out their general elections after every four or five years, examples in this case are Kenya, USA, and Uganda. Rwanda holds its Presidential and Parliamentary elections after every seven years. This is just but an illustration of systematic renewable of political mandate within the region and beyond but the issue here is what happened in case the elections do not take place within the constitutionally stipulated time?

This question looks first at the circumstances under which the delay in elections come in and then, legal measures are taken to address what is likely to amount to constitutional crisis and power vacuum.

For instance, Kenya after the promulgation of its constitution in August 2010 had stipulated that its general elections under a new constitutional dispensation shall take place in August 2012; unfortunately, this didn’t happen largely due to a number of reforms agenda that were supposed to be carried out including establishing an independent Judiciary before the elections.

The Kenyan Parliament (now Defunct) felt that it was necessary to extend the term of the incumbent government for at least five months in order to create time and establish the institutional reforms needed, this wasn’t done by decrees but through amending the provisions that deals with elections in the constitution. Ultimately, Kenya held it elections successfully in March 2013.

Several models of postponed elections on numerous circumstances are in abundance and this leads me to the next question; Is South Sudan general election, in fact its first general election after her independence faced with the circumstances as experienced by other countries?

This question can be answered in the next sub-heading if I were to answer it adequately.

Political Fictions
South Sudan has been engulfed in conflict with itself for over a year now and consequent of this conflict, it democratic rating, economic strengths, the unity of its people, social and political fabrics have been highly obstructed.

Such factors do not provide not only room for elections but also poison the environment for any significant and meaningful elections to take place legitimacy of the government notwithstanding. This is just a hypothesis as I am yet to draw my conclusions at the end of this article.

But before I reach there, we must quickly answer the question as to whether the circumstances that our country are in now allows for elections to take place. The first answer would be NO on many grounds.

One, there is insecurity across the country and carrying out elections in such an environment would not allow the citizens to freely exercise their democratic rights and vote for whoever they want as there would be fears all over.

Secondly, elections need funds and throughout the world, no single country can afford to fund its own elections, international funding is needed to help in conducting successful elections and in the absence of this support as that is the likely probability, contemplating to fund elections single handedly is an economic suicide.

Thirdly, in each election, at least two or more political parties must contest and as things stands now, almost all the political parties except SPLM mainstream are against any holding of the elections and this therefore means, if the elections were to take place as advocated for by some actors, it would mean SPLM contesting against itself.

Fourthly, doing elections in 2015 is an official declaration of subsequent instability in the country as those who may lose will have no choice but to go Athor-Yau Yau’s direction. Unfortunately, their retreat will not be independent as was that of Athor and YauYau but will immediately lean towards joining the other side against the government.

Fifthly, elections are about asking people to freely select those they think can represent them efficiently and deliver service to them effectively. The 2015 elections will not do that because anyone who does not vote for a candidate especially if such a candidate comes from SPLM will be branded as from the other side, this therefore means that, there will be a lot of intimidation, coercion and other irregularities than what had happened in 2010.

The 2015 elections if it is allowed to happen shall be a replica of what happened in Uganda in 2012 elections when the incumbent Ugandan President sent his troops to the streets across the country to ensure that all the votes are tailored in his favour.

Lastly, the time is so limited if the Chairperson of the election Commission said that the elections are scheduled to take place on June 30, 2015. Voter registration needs up to three good months, primaries by political parties need at least two or so months and many other pre-election arrangements have to be put in place including the security set up for any meaningful elections to take place.

All these are underlying challenges that should not be overlooked because ideally, no country can risk going for elections with these long list of challenges. But…

The question of legitimacy of the government comes in here; the proponents of 2015 elections are quoting precedents from countries like Syria and Libya as countries that did their elections during the crises. Yes, it is true but again, how legitimate was their legitimacy?

The question of legitimacy should not only be looked at as stipulated in the constitution, there are other thresholds that should be considered in addition to the constitutional provisions on legitimacy and some of these prerequisites include but not limited to;

Will the region and international community recognize the legitimacy of the government elected? Are the citizens or electorates happy and will they recognize the government and the process?

Is the environment in which the elections are being conducted free and fair to the extent that all electorates shall have the freedom to choose who they wish should represent them in the government plus, would there have been any other better alternatives in which the tenure of the executive and legislature legitimized than venturing into elections that would be a pandora box?

All such questions are what should be considered and addressed before any country could talk about going for elections.

Yes, the government may use the elections as the means to put pressure on the rebels to concede to its position in the peace-talks but is this a long term solution to the crises in South Sudan, the government may too be assuming and maybe telling the international community that, despite the crises, the country is still on track and has its plans on course.

Maybe yes, maybe not, but altogether, it should be applauded that the proponents on the government side are now finding it necessary to implement the constitution at some point.

The unfortunate thing is that, since the adoption of the Transitional constitution five years ago, it has occurred on several occasions that the constitution has been implemented selectively and this is manifested on article 101 (s) and (r) regarding the removal and elections of governors.

Nevertheless, the insistence on elections in June 2015 is all a political game that is being qualified by constitutional provisions. It is to some extent a political fiction intended to reaffirm legitimacy and disregard all the consequences that comes with it.

Democratic Fantasies
I named the calls for elections in 2015 in South Sudan “Democratic Fantasy’ because the object for holding elections every five or four years throughout the world is always to allow people exercise their democratic rights and choose people that they think will represent them well in the government.

It is always a social theory contract between the people and the ones that they are giving five or so years to govern them.

But in this case, 2015 elections may not be that kind of theory because, people maybe forced to vote for those they don’t want or are tied with or there could as well be voter apathy since most people may feel that the elections are not carried out not because the government want to renew its vows and political ideologies to the people but it is only doing elections because its legitimacy is in jeopardy.

It means that, after the reaffirmation of legitimacy, it will be business as usual. The fact that other countries like Syria carried out their regular elections despite the crises is not a successful precedent that can be emulated if there are alternatives for extension of the lifetime of the incumbent Executive and Legislature.

Using my transparent spectacles in this debate, I wish to give the stakeholders that are engaged and involved in the elections debate the following recommendations;

1. The government especially the SPLM should use it parliamentary majority in the Legislature to amend articles 66 and 100 of the Transitional Constitution 2011 to extend the life of the current Executive and Legislature for at least two or three years. The amendment bill should be based on the above mentioned challenges while precisely; it should be used to give ample time for the on-going peace talks to come to their logical conclusion.

2. The rebels if they intend to do reforms in this country as they usually claim must not cheat themselves that delaying to sign peace agreement with the hopes to declare the government illegitimate when July 9, 2015 comes are misplaced calculations because this wishful thoughts are taken care of by recommendation number one there above. The best these people can do is to engage the government to sign peace and then come and follow up on the reform agenda that they are so much advocating for. The prerequisite for this will be the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity which will automatically render the debate on elections obsolete.

3. The regional and international community if they want South Sudan to be peaceful and develop democratically must do two things, one, they must take away all the strings that they have attached to the peace talks in Addis Ababa and speed up the process of facilitating and honestly pressurizing the warring parties to sign the peace agreement.

Secondly, they must convince the rebels and government that strategies and conspiracies to provoke elections to take place and render it null and void or forcing it to happen are not going to help the people of South Sudan in both their peaceful co-existence and democratic prospects. The rebels will swallow it bitter if the elections take place and the government gets another five years mandate.

4. The elections Commission instead of now playing a complacent role of telling people that there should be elections on July 9, 2015 should be a professional and neutral body that advises on what should be the best alternative in the circumstances like what the country is in now.

The election Commission is not a government employee or parastatal to the extent that, if the government says there will be elections or no elections, then it follows suit. It must have its own independent opinion on whether or not there should be elections or otherwise. All in all, the Commission has been unable to conduct by-elections in the four states that the governors were sacked on excuses of having no money, where would it now get the whooping 1.5 billion required to conduct country-wide elections. I think some reasoning is needed here.

5. The proponents of elections must look beyond legitimacy question, there is more to elections than just reaffirmation of positions because as this is achieved, the issues of democracy, trust, confidence and even the absolute legitimacy itself would have been thrown out of the window because meeting an electoral date is just one thing but nurturing nascent democracy like ours is another because after all, There are alternatives to renewing the legitimacy of the current government as articulately stated in recommendation one above.

Legally speaking, elections can take place in accordance with the provisions of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 but alternatively, the challenges as navigated through there above can be considered if the unity, peace, stability and democratic future of South Sudan and its people is used as a recipe to determine its future affairs.

I am against the holding of elections in 2015 not because I am speaking for anyone but it is because I feel that, elections in the circumstances our country is in now would be largely an exercise in futility.

Juma Mabor Marial
Trainee Advocate, Juba

An Open Letter to Pres. Kiir Mayardit: You’re the worst president ever

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, JAN/03/2015, SSN;

Leaders the world over think about two paramount things: the PRIMACY of the citizens’ needs and the LEGACY they leave behind long after they have gone. It seems, Mr. President, you think less about the two mentioned above and more about staying in power.

There is one thing you have to remember as you stay on: Time will come when you’ll be gone either by political necessity or by biological and physiological necessity.

Power ends, but your legacy will not end regardless of what it is. You might go down in history as the first and the worst president South Sudan will ever have; or you can change course and be the best leader South Sudanese will remember for generations to come. The onus is on you!

Here are some things to consider as we begin the New Year.

You are the President: The only person who has the ultimate say in what happens in South Sudan is you. Sometimes your speeches and interviews don’t reflect that.

When asked once by a journalist when peace would be realized in South Sudan, you asked the journalist to ‘go and ask Riek Machar.’ That was both ‘unpresidential’ and irresponsible.

You were mandated with confidence by South Sudanese in order to do things for them and in order to show optimistic way forward.

Riek Machar is a man who’s shown time and again that he wants to lead South Sudan. That we understand very well. However, he’s not the president of South Sudan.

You claim legitimacy but you fall short of portraying that. It’s time you remembered that you are the president of South Sudan so act like it.

Professing being the president is not what presidency is about; you have to act in the interest of the people.

Stop talking and acting as if there’s someone else; someone who’s actually the decision maker in South Sudan!

As the president, you need to account for the atrocities committed by people under your command. Riek Machar will account for his own atrocities.

As president of South Sudan, who still has Nuer leaders in your government, what would you tell millions of Nuer, who lost their loved ones in December of 2013?

You are the president so answer them like a president!

The Peace Talks
Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was made possible because there was a will to bring peace and the understanding that Sudanese had had enough of war. Taha and Garang, in the interest of Sudanese people, took charge of the talks, showed courageous leadership and made very painful concessions.

You are very much aware that Seyoum Mesfin and IGAD have failed miserably. Unless you take initiative or take charge of these talks, the very people who gave you the mandate will continue to die of diseases, hunger and war.

Dr. John Garang has left his legacy in a very beautiful manner. It’s high time you make peace your legacy because developing South Sudan will NEVER be part of your legacy.

Stop the PRIDE and POWER game you and Riek Machar are playing and humble yourself in order to bring PEACE to your people.

Listen to the Citizens
It’s very easy for leaders to be out of touch with people and their needs. And being an African leader, people around you usually lie to you to win favors and be seen as the most loyal.

Make an effort to be in touch with South Sudanese citizens without any mediators. This could be in form of well-organized town hall meetings or a monthly radio show in which citizens can call in from rural areas and express their concerns directly to you.

In this way, you’ll have a chance to gauge what your aides tell you and what the average citizen’s experiences are.

Media Freedom and Political Opposition
South Sudan is doing exactly what Sudan was/is doing. Your administration is doing the same thing you took up arms to fight. I don’t know whether you don’t see it or you just don’t care.

Newspapers are censored if they criticize your administration, political opponents are intimidated, arrested or killed and you rule through a decree like dictators do.

These are not part of democracy you seem to sing on regular basis. You’re doing exactly what the likes of Nimeiri, Abboud and Beshir did. It’s high time you make South Sudan different from Sudan.

Political opposition and the Media are a mirror through which you can evaluate your performance.

Allow people to criticize your administration and then answer them with facts about what you’ve done for South Sudanese. Intimidating journalists and opposition figures gives an impression you’ve failed to deliver.

Let different political parties debate openly on South Sudan Television. Get your best political brains to tell South Sudanese your side of the story in open televised debates. This will garner you more respect than the way opposition figures are intimidated now.

What you have to request through relevant ministries is journalistic integrity. Journalists who violate their codes of ethics shouldn’t be arrested by security personnel. They should have charges filed by government lawyers and it’s up to the judge to decide.

The word decree appears only once in the South Sudanese Transitional Constitution. And it’s only something to do with failure by parliament to pass the budget bill within 45 days: 88 (7).

So where does ruling by decrees get constitutional legitimacy? Dictatorial leaders rule by decrees because they override their constitutions or don’t care about it.

Whoever advised you to rule by these unconstitutional decrees is contributing towards your unpalatable legacy. It would have been better if these decrees where constitutionally mandated.

Building a nonpartisan Civil Service
No country that hopes to prosper can walk even a mile without a functioning civil service.
There has to be nonpartisan civil service that should remain in place regardless of what party is in power.

Civil Servants shouldn’t be loyal to any political party. The main purpose is to make a given ministry streamlined and functional.

In South Sudan now, the minister is everything. And when the minister is removed, there’s hardly anything that remains to tell the next minister what to do. If you hope to do anything in South Sudan without a nonpartisan civil service then you are living in a delusional limitless dimension.

Ask seasoned experts in neighboring countries, or even in the ‘west’, on how to build and strengthen a civil service sector in South Sudan. Records in any ministry should remain for future records even when the minister is gone. How do you expect to develop a country when the minister goes with records of that given ministry?

President Museveni and Uganda People’s Defense Force
No right-minded South Sudanese would dismiss the role Uganda played during the liberation struggle. Museveni and UPDF have helped us a great deal.

However, Museveni is a political and diplomatic brother and everything he does for us is primarily in the best interest of Uganda and Museveni’s political ambition. Museveni’s help to South Sudanese wasn’t and isn’t offered pro bono.

And we also know that without UPDF, the ‘White Army’ would have probably gone to Juba and this could have caused a bloodbath. But as you are well aware, Museveni’s help to us during the liberation struggle was a function of Beshir’s backing of Lord Resistance Army (LRA).

And his current help is an attempt to keep Sudanese president Omar el Beshir away from South Sudan and to project himself as Eastern African ‘strong man.’

The gravest part of UPDF presence in South Sudan is that it portrays you as an impotent president whose army can’t protect the capital and the government.

Museveni tells the world that he’ll only withdraw from South Sudan if Juba is secure. This tells South Sudanese and the world one thing: you are incapable of protecting your capital city and that you are president only because UPDF is protecting you.

That doesn’t sound like a situation of a strong president. It doesn’t matter what you say about your military strength, UPDF presence and actions have portrayed you as weak, incompetent and someone whose presidency they have protected. That undermines South Sudan as a nation!

So wake up Mr. President and listen to your people, allow free media and free political opposition, build real civil service, bring peace to South Sudan and create respectable South Sudan’s army instead of the current medley of tribal militias that make up the SPLA.

Kuir ë Garang

Our intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology

BY: Peter Adwok Nyaba PhD, KENYA, DEC/30/2014, 2014, SSN;


Dr. Lual Deng, in his rejoinder to my response to Mr. Abraham Lueth’s piece in reference to revocation of South Sudan membership in AGOA while cautioning Dr. James Okuk and me to focus the debate on the issues facing our country, introduced an important concept of ‘our intellectual journey towards coherent political ideals.’ I preferred to reword this conceptual construct as ‘intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology,’ However, while retaining its structure I believe its important constituent concepts should be ‘liberation’, ‘state’ and ‘society’ put in a reverse order to place the discourse in its South Sudan historical context.

Many South Sudanese researchers and writers have published books, in referral journals and newspapers on the social and political configuration of South Sudan with little or no policy impact in the sociology and political economy of the country. The dominant political remains impervious to the oral and published critique. The rate at which our young republic of South Sudan is sliding back into prehistory is alarming. This is a modest contribution to the discourse on the inordinately huge challenges facing the people of South Sudan as they construct their state and build their nation.

The research we conducted in the context of ‘the House of Nationalities’ [Nyaba, 2000] revealed that sixty seven nationalities in their variegated demographic weight differentials, with the Dinka and Makaraka being the single largest and smallest nationalities respectively, populate South Sudan. This fact is important to note, given that these nationalities constitute the building blocks of the South Sudan nation. Indeed the concepts of inclusivity and visibility of each nationality in the national liberation process drove the idea of the house of nationalities in the context of unity in diversity.

Having said that, I want now to problematize the issues that face our young republic of South Sudan along the concepts of ‘society’, ‘state’ and ‘liberation’ in this order. In this exercise, I hope my tools for analysis and synthesis will not fail me. My theoretical foundation of this discourse grounds in Marxist analysis of history that state is a superstructure of society. That is to say, society predates the emergence of state as a social construct. The Sudanese state and for that matter South Sudan as a state is an extension of Westphalian state model transmitted to us through the agency of colonialism in the nineteen century.

Colonialism and colonial rule distorted, indeed interrupted and froze at a primoval stages what would have been the autochthonous development of Sudanese nationalities. While the colonial administration united them in one country nevertheless it instituted the policy of ‘divide and rule’ to segregate, weaken their resistance and prevent solidarity among them. The ‘Closed Districts Ordinance’ was intended to insulate the people of Southern Sudan, the Nuba and Funj from modernizing ideas and ideologies. The colonial administration tasked the Christian Missionaries with the job of block and blunting the social and political consciousness of their converts. Paradoxically the Church inadvertently produced such radical clergy as Fr. Saturnino Lohure..


Except in certain cases where slavery and disease decimated their population, the nationalities that inhabit South Sudan have remained for nearly three hundred years unaffected by industrialization, communication and information technology. Their mode means and relations of production have unchanged over the last two hundred years since the Turco-Egyptian occupation of Sudan [1821 -1885]. There has been extensive social segmentation and migration due to internal or external wars, disease and depletion of resources resulting in differentiation and emergence of subnational groups in adjacent or distant locations. Consequent to separate and sometimes isolated existence some of these subnational groups developed different dialects, traditions and customs.

This phenomenon pronounces more among the Dinka [found in Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile and Kordofan], Nuer [found in Upper Nile and western Ethiopian], Moro [found Equatoria and West Nile in Uganda], the Ateker group [South Sudan, Southwest Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda] and the Murle group [found in Upper Nile, Equatoria and Kenya]. The most characteristic feature of this phenomenon, which anthropologists described as ‘ethnic federation’, is the absence of centralized authority and with it the concept of state.

This contrasts development with the segmentation and migration of the Luo [found in Bahr el Ghazal, Upper Nile, Western Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and DR Congo], who wherever they settled established some form of centralized authority in the person of the ‘Nyie’ [Anywaa], Reth [Chollo], Ruot [Acholi, Luo (Jur Chol), Luo (Kenya)] representing a primordial state. The Azande [found in South Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic] established a state, which the French and the British destroyed consequent to the cooperation between Gbudwe and the Mahdist state. The key point in this theoretical configuration is, whether in acephalous or cephalous societies (where centralized authority has evolved) that society and state remain undifferentiated and power not emancipated (through institutionalization) from the person wielding and exercising it.

On the political economy plane, the mode of social production ranges from gathering, hunting/fishing to subsistence agriculture in crop production and traditional animal husbandry. The relations of production remains communal which also defines the social identity and all that goes with it. The community dominates and defines the individual’s attitudes, perceptions and preferences. The individual remains hostage to the society s/he hails from, which also expects he/r to respond according to its concerns, interests and aspirations. This plays out negatively where the individual holding public office behaves according and responds to society’s expectation in respect of public property. This resulted, more often than not, in abuse of office, corruption, nepotism and similar mal-administrative practices. When you find government, ministry or department, populated by the ethnic community from the top person to junior then you know what I mean.

Although a successor state from the Sudan following independence on July 9, 2011, state formation in South Sudan is at its rudimentary stage precisely because of the development of society and other contributing factors linked o colonialism. The Turco-Egyptian (1821-1885), the Mahdiya (1885 -1898) and the Anglo-Egyptian (1899 -1956) states in the Sudan were brutal, extractive, exploitative and oppressive that linked the Sudan to the world capital system of exploitation. This prompted massive resistance on the part of the people in different parts of the country. The state expanded establishing finally its 1917 international borders at the expense and subjugation of the various kingdoms and nationalities.

The struggle for liberty, freedom and human dignity that characterized the resistance of the people of South Sudan did not end with colonial pacification. It continued after independence of Sudan on January 1st, 1956 against the national governments. In order to achieve independent statehood and international recognition the people of South Sudan had to fight two wars. The two wars and the culture of armed resistance to political exclusion, domination and oppression meant that South Sudan had to forfeit socio-economic development of its human and huge natural resources.

The underdevelopment of the natural resources of South Sudan registers in the low level of social awareness and political consciousness of its people. Social awareness and political consciousness reflected in the culture of political organization and action are a function of socio-economic development. Industrialized parts of the Sudan [Khartoum and Gezira] demonstrate high level of social awareness and political consciousness compared to the less developed parts. In South Sudan, the wars and culture of resistance operated to block potentialities for social and economic development while at the same time unlocking the potentials for violence and war.

This explains why it is easy to mobilise South Sudanese for war than for passive political resistance characteristic of urban proletariat and lumpens in North Sudan. The struggle for social and economic rights in the cities and towns in northern Sudan translate into political struggle resulting in change oppressive regimes e.g. in 1964 and 1985 popular uprisings. It is worth noting that the civil wars fought in southern Sudan created conditions for the success of the two respective popular uprisings.


The concept of liberation links up with the struggle against oppressive reality, which submerges people’s consciousness. As a process liberation obtains in the context of conscientisation, whereby people conceive and change reality consequent to praxis – reflection and action [Paulo Fererri, 1974]. Thus transforming an oppressive reality essentially means liberating the oppressed and the oppressor. In this context, liberation must occur initially at the personal level before it works to produce a counter society emerged from oppression. In 1983, Dr. John Garang de Mabior deserted his post in the Sudan Armed Forces to establish and lead the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army [SPLM/SPLA] to wage the ‘revolutionary’ war of national liberation. The SPLM/SPLA, a section of the national democratic revolution, emerged from South Sudan, which due to its underdevelopment constituted the weakest link in the Sudanese state system and an unlikely spot for revolution .

The ‘society’, ‘state’ and ‘liberation’ linkages played out in a contradiction that produced the current social and political environment in South Sudan, which justifies the notion that revolution leading to social change or transformation can only spearheaded by a conscientious organized working class armed with a political ideology for this transformation. South Sudan consequent to its underdevelopment had no organized working class. The onus of liberation therefore fell on what Amilcar Cabral termed ‘bourgeois petit’ the literate section of society whose dominance in the state and society accrue not from social production of economic wealth but from letters.

According to Cabral, for the petty bourgeois to transform a socially and economically underdeveloped society as obtaining in South Sudan it must commit class suicide to resurrect in the guise of revolutionary intellectuals closely allied in solidarity with the masses of the people. The war of national liberation the SPLM/SPLA spearheaded instead produced a military elite – the SPLA generals, who due to lack of political ideology of transforming society, emerged completely detached from the masses of the people. The clutch slipped and the wheel turned full circle to the starting point of social domination and oppression.

South Sudan is in a state of civil war. Its people have never been as fragmented as today along ethnic and regional fault lines in a manner that jeopardizes its sovereignty and independence. The war quickly eroded the social capital that bounded the people for decades if not centuries enabling them to resist their common enemies. The state in South Sudan is at risk of failing and total collapse. The writings on the wall suggest that UN Security Council or IGAD Regional intervention is imminent. Several factors conspired to construct this socio-political architecture.

The SPLM/SPLA lacked political ideology

As mentioned above the SPLM/SPLA emerged from the backward parts of Sudan characterized by shallow culture of social and political organization. It was a military rather than political insurrection. The failure to evolve a political ideology reflecting the objective reality obtaining in the country and the aspiration of the people condemned the SPLM/SPLA to militarization of society and militarism as its modis operandis rather than political organization for military action. The subculture of militarism eclipsed the political message and character of the SPLM/SPLA pushing to the background the liberation process of conscientisation and transforming the oppressive reality through praxis. The SPLM/SPLA therefore became a militarist machine conditioned by military doctrine and routine that produced and promoted a cult of personality and a subculture that emphasized hierarchical rather than horizontal or comradely relations in the ranks and file as well as between the combatants and civil population among whom they operated. The execution of military action outside its political and ideological context generated serious contradictions within the SPLM/SPLA ranks.

The SPLM/SPLA shunt political education and organization

The conventionalization of the guerrilla war, consequent to availability and external access to abundant military logistics, accelerated the pace of war [Nyaba, 1997]. This deprived the SPLM/SPLA of the opportunity to undertake political mobilisation, education and organization. It is not feasible to conceive of social transformation of an oppressive reality without political education and organization. Political enlightenment and education is necessary for attitudinal change to enable correction perception of the oppressive reality, which submerges the people. Organization is a necessary tool for uniting the people for action.

The absence of political education and organization inadvertently forced the complete and absolute reliance on military discipline leading to alienation of the masses of the people. The SPLM/SPLA interaction with the civil population in essence appeared like liberating the people with the tools of domestication. It produced and passive, rather than active, mass not involved in their own liberation. The condescending attitude of many SPLA combatants that ‘we liberated you’ smacks of this militarist arrogance.

Without change of attitudes, because of political education, it was not possible to disseminate and inculcate in the masses of the people the ideas and principles of social justice, equality, freedom and democracy without which we cannot envisage liberation. Therefore social awareness and political consciousness of the masses fossilized at the primoval level of society.

The SPLM/SPLA leadership disdained institutions and democratic structures

As a corollary of shunning political education and organization was the SPLM/SPLA’s disdain of institutions and structure in the SPLM. That explains why the SPLM produced its draft constitution only in 2008 exactly twenty-five years after the launch of the SPLM/SPLA and the publication of the SPLM Manifesto in July 1983. The resistance to construction of institutions and structures in the SPLM corresponded to the certain logic of absolute power whereby the leader did everything from reflective thinking and conceptualization to the distribution of material goods military or otherwise.

This led to marginalization and exclusion of colleagues in decision-making process of the SPLM generating contradictions within the SPLM/SPLA leadership leading to factionalisation and splinterism. Dr. Lam Akol’s clandestine paper “Why Garang must go now” (1990) came in this context. The refusal to construct institutions that defined the roles and responsibilities in the SPLM/SPLA eventually led to the Nasir Declaration [August 1991] and precipitated the split with the SPLM/SPLA.

The absence of political structures, rules and procedures to resolve the internal contradictions meant that no avenues existed in the movement for venting the excessive internal pressures the leadership contradictions generated. This condemned the SPLM/SPLA to rely on violence and military action as means of resolving the contradictions.

The SPLM/SPLA lacked political programme

It is virtually impossible to envisage liberation without a minimum political programme for social and economic transformation. To date (December 31, 2014), the SPLM has not produced a political programme, which is an elaborate document that translate the SPLM vision and strategic political objectives in policies and plans of action the SPLM government implements to transform the lives of the people in accordance with liberation agenda.

During the war and SPLM/SPLA’s emphasis on war efforts registered in two negativities. The first one was that it failed to evolve a society in the liberated areas counter to the society under the oppressive regime. The concept of ‘counter society’ encapsulated in the concept of ‘strong rear base’ developed by the Chinese [against the Japanese and the Nationalist] and the Vietnamese [against the Americans] is relevant to the situation in South Sudan. The rear base is the social, economic and political bases of the guerrilla army where the SPLM would implement its political programme and exercise political authority establishes its administration and implements the concepts of justice, social equality, freedom and democracy. In the rear base, the SPLM would build an economy to support its war efforts instead of relying wholly on external resources.

However, instead of developing and applying the concept of rear base in the liberated areas, the SPLM/SPLA encouraged migration of the population to become refugees [Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda] as a means of accessing logistics and food for the army. This generated another negativity. The SPLM/SPLA became dependent on external resources unlike the Anya-nya, which relied on the people in matters of food, health care and other necessities. The SPLM/SPLA forced the population that remained behind in the villages to rely on international humanitarian assistance to generated food for the army. This produced relief dependence syndrome, which still stalks the people to date in some areas.

The second negativity involved the relation between the SPLA combatants and the civil population among whom they operated characterized by brutality, dehumanization and abuse of human rights. Absolute dependence on external resources produced in the combatants an attitude that engendered disrespect for and condescendence upon the civil population.

Inability to transform the SPLM/SPLA into their respective professional spheres

The factors above combined to prevent the separation of the SPLM/SPLA into their respective professional spheres. In fact, the SPLM/SPLA evolved like Siamese twins conjoined in the heads that a surgical operation to separate them into their respective professional spheres would result in their mutual death . The lack of political education and organization; absence of constitutional order implying lack of institutions and structures in the SPLM/SPLA and lack of political programme virtually delegitimized the SPLM, demystified its leadership and disempowered its cadres. Thus, the SPLM/SPLA failed to self-transform into a mass based political party sensu stricto on the one hand and professional army on the other.

The CPA thrust the SPLM unto an unfamiliar domain of government and governance. The tragic and sudden disappearance of Dr. John Garang complicated the SPLM/SPLA political predicament as it embarked on CPA implementation. The new SPLM leadership was inept and could not manage the baggage of contradictions accumulated without resolution over twenty-one years of armed struggle.

One such contradictions is the lack of institutionalization of the SPLM/SPLA political and military power. Since its inception in 1983, power in the SPLM remained personified in the person of the Chairman and SPLA Commander in Chief that all contradictions in the SPLM/SPLA leadership revolved around that issue. It was the drivers of the split with Anya-nya two in 1983 and again within the SPLM/SPLA following the Nasir Declaration 1991. Power was the driver of the Yei crisis 2004 at the eve of the CPA and finally of the events leading to December 15, 2013 and the current civil war.

The wielding and exercise of SPLM political authority without rules and procedures negatively affected the relations within the Movement. It engendered a subculture of political patronage and clients, which eschewed democratic principles and practice. In this connection, the political tact and stature of the leader became the determinant factor in the functioning of the SPLM system. Thus although patronage system obtained Dr. John Garang managed through his personal charisma to keep the system functioning, what Dr. Lual Deng (2012) described as ‘the power of creative thinking.’ That explains how the SPLM/SPLA survived through difficult and challenging political and military situations in spite of its internal contradictions generated by the factors I discussed above.

The contradictions rocked the SPLM/SPLA generating strong ethnic under currents and civil war barely three years after independence because of those factors and the failure to resolve them through political and ideological debate, and internal dialogue. However, it was more the leadership style of comrade Salva Kiir Mayardit that permitted the fashions to reach boiling point and eruption of violence. Comrade Salva Kiir employed his military intelligence skills rather state and the SPLM institutions to manage the government of South Sudan. He built a series of spies and informants networks to inform his decisions. For the first time ethnic and regional lobbies surrounded the SPLM leadership the most notable being the Bahr el Ghazal Elders mainly from Warrap and the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) entailing Dinka also from Upper Nile.

Through his style of leadership, President Salva Kiir Mayardit has brought South Sudan to the edge of disaster. In less than three years, the state in South Sudan made a quantum slide from fragility to failure and now tending to collapse. The society is demoralized and in despair. The economy is in shambles as the only foreign exchange earner is pumping incredibly at a loss that it might as well been better to stop production. The IGAD peace process hung up unconscionably at the sharing of power between President [Salva Kiir] and the proposed Prime Minister [Dr. Riek Machar] while innocent lives continue to perish. The current context of South Sudan is pathetic. No patriots would countenance it on account of speculation for whatsoever advantage.


Having attempted above to locate the political malaise, I want to discuss the intellectual journey proposed by Dr. Lual Deng at the beginning of the discourse. The elements of this journey are the present social and political context in South Sudan, which we attempted above to analyse. The social and political forces capable of participation in the journey, their ideological disposition, the time span of the journey. The journey trajectory situates in the globalized world defined by high level of technological and scientific development.

Before embarking on the journey I realize that South Sudan and its people have yet to place their feet on the first step are the bottom of the world socio-economic and technological development ladder hundred ninety three years since the Ottomans linked the Sudan to the world capitalist system of extraction and exploitation. This is subject of Eddie Thomas eye-catching latest title “South Sudan: A Slow Liberation” [Zed Books in press].

What then have the political, military and business elite that drive the social and political engineering processes of the state in South Sudan being doing? A cursory look into this dominant class reveals an astounding reality that it remains primitive intimately attached to archaic values and traditions of their respective ethnic formations. In 1999, I participated in a study that became the basis of implementation of USAID funded multimillion-dollar Sudan Transition Aid for Rehabilitation [STAR] Programme in ten counties of Central and Western Equatoria and Lakes in Bahr el Ghazal. The Programme provided cash to the civil society groups to engage in business that would generate wealth. After three years, the Programme discovered that the recipients of the STAR loans had invested much of the money in traditional economic activities that frustrated its strategic objective of recycling to other beneficiaries the reimbursed money.

Between 2005 and 2011 when South Sudan became independent, it had received in total about US Dollars sixteen billion from the oil revenue. I want to ask the economists what percentage of this money was invested in productive economic projects [agriculture, industry], in services sector and in education? Our people instead of ordering new cars from manufacturers in Japan, carrying cash dollars went to Uganda to buy dilapidated second sometimes third hand right-hand steering wheeled mini buses that became traffic hazards on our roads. South Sudan because the only country in the world where the US dollar note became a commodity on the formal and informal markets and which worked to service the economies of its neighbours than its own.

The political, military and business elite most of them former SPLA combatants were now involved and entangled in an intertwined blackmail that they closed their eyes and ears to what they were doing bringing down the country. They eschewed the SPLM vision and concepts of social justice, equality, freedom and prosperity as they engaged in cutthroat competition in the context of primitive accumulation of wealth. They jettisoned the comradeship cultivated in the context of the war of national liberation. This is how social and blood relations, rather than institutional and political relationships, imperceptibly crept into their practice. This engendered corruption, nepotism and ethnic favouritism (tribalism). The social, economic and political environment favoured erection of ethnic and regional lobbies as agencies for extracting favours in the form of government contracts, appoints to constitutional post and others.

The experience of the last ten years epitomizes the historical failure of bourgeois petit as agents of social transformation of an underdeveloped country like South Sudan. This brings me back to Cabral that the bourgeois petit represented by many of us must commit class suicide to resurrect in the guise of revolutionary intellectuals armed with a political ideology that places the people at the centre of our development discourse. In this connection, the class suicide blends well with the intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology for transforming South Sudan. It cannot be another way.

Are we ready to commit class suicide to have solidarity with our people? Many of us outshine ourselves opportunistically endearing ourselves to our ethnic communities when in the heart of our hearts we foster different value systems. Do the elements that make up the Jieng Council of Elders genuinely believe in what they are doing propping up President Salva Kiir Mayardit in all the horrible things he is doing? Do they countenance the collapse of South Sudan as long as Salva Kiir is president? It is necessary to reflect before the suicide lest we may not resurrect after all. For committing class suicide means eschewing archaic ideas, false beliefs and deflating inordinately large self- or collective-ego.

This brings me to another question: in what coherent political ideology do we encapsulate the concepts of social justice, equality, freedom, democracy and prosperity for all? According to Marxist historical materialism, history does not repeat itself. You cannot catch a train that has already left station. South Sudan is in such pains today because the bourgeois petit are generating contradictions trying to recreate the conditions of primitive accumulation humankind passed five hundred years ago. This is not permissible. We should start where the world is while we live.

It is feasible and possible to implement social justice in South Sudan. Why not? The social stratification in terms of economic is bridgeable. The Government of South Sudan, with the resources available, can create conditions for social justice by combating the tendency to ethnic and regional favouritism in ditching out government contracts in order to promote equality in society. Since the bourgeois petit is not economically powerful to undertake large scale industrial installations, the government of South Sudan should undertake the construction of large industrial and infrastructural projects like railways, huge hydroelectric power planta and dams, power transmission grids and highways which need huge investments. The government can undertake these in the context of public private participation. In this way of wealth generation and distribution, it is possible to realise prosperity for all and in short time of ten to twenty years.

Democracy is another component element of social transformation. Democracy is not a raincoat you put on only in summer. A cultural trait stays with you in all that you whether private or public. The society cultivates and internalizes democracy [theory and practice] through participation in social, economic and political engineering processes of state formation and nation building. There is no other way you can parachute democratic principles and practice except in the context of the struggle for social transformation of society. That is why the concepts of democracy and democratic transformation blends with the class suicide the bourgeois petit must undertake. In this case, the concept and practice of democracy registers in active participation in the engineering processes and not establishment of bogus and briefcase political parties.

This brings me to the political format and organisation for participation. In the recent SPLM/SPLA Consultative Conference on the IGAD Peace process in Pagak, I was put to task explaining why it was necessary to reconcile the SPLM leadership and reunite the SPLM. The conference was negative charged against the Intra-SPLM Dialogue in Arusha, Tanzania. I had to mark every word I uttered. I told the conference the story of the conference of reconciliation of Jikany and Lou in Akobo in 1994. The Moderator of the reconciliation conference was a Ugandan Bishop of seventy-seven Churches. He told us a story concerning his two-year old son. I hope I will not be bothering you.

“As I prepared for Sunday service my son kept interrupting my preparation. I would give him arithmetic problem to solve. He would do it correctly. I did it several times while the time for my sermon in the Church was approaching. This prompted me to pull down and tear to pieces the world map that hung on the wall. I asked him to fix it and in two minutes, he came back with the map fixed correctly. I asked his to tell me how he did it.” The boy replied, “on the reverse side of the world map was a man, so what I did was to fix the man”. “Fixing man to resolve the problems of the world became the subject of my sermon that Sunday.”

There is nothing wrong with the SPLM per se; the people who make up the SPLM constitute the crisis in the SPLM. You will find this in what I recounted above that the SPLM leadership lost the vision that attracted the masses of the Sudanese to the SPLM to sacrifice their lives for the ideals of social justice, equality, freedom, democracy and prosperity for all. The Arusha process is an exercise in self-appraisal, criticism and self-criticism the entire SPLM membership, the half-hearted hang-ons who believe in the arrival rather than the journey, must urgently undertake to save the country from collapse.

The young republic of South Sudan and its people are in the present situation because of the SPLM historical failure to evolve a political ideology, to construct a constitution with institutions and structures, to formulate a political programme for social and economic transformation of the oppressive reality that submerged our people. In this context and for over twenty-one years the contest for power at the top consumed the energy of our people. This divided instead of uniting them as soon as the contradiction with the north had been resolved through the referendum.

The SPLM remains the only viable political forces that united South Sudanese across ethnic and regional fault lines. It is therefore the only guarantee against fragmentation of South Sudan. However, it must reconcile and reunite its ranks, reorganize and revitalize itself, build its institutions and institutionalize its relationship along the ideology of social democracy as practiced by the labour Parties in northern European countries.


The intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology spurs serious reflections and I hope we can discourse this to its logical conclusion. For those of us in the DPF who are not SPLM members or who have an axe to grind with the SPLM I would implore that we discuss these issues sombrely. We should learn to live with our differences whether gender, political ideas, facial marks or body complexion. This is the essence of democracy. They may lead us to unity of ideas

There is nothing outrageously fatal with having one strong political party in South Sudan. If we have to catch up with the rest of humanity by stepping onto its development ladder, we cannot do that while struggling against ourselves in futile and meaningless battles that prevent us from focusing on building our country and improving our people’s quality of life.

We may have to explore the different experiences on the African continent and elsewhere and draw leaf from them. The social and political stability in Tanzania attributes to the maturity demonstrated by Chama Cha Mapenduzi (CCM) initially under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius K Nyerere. The ethnic federalism implemented by Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Party (EPRDP) has somehow created conditions of political stability in Ethiopian.

Let us pursue the dual processes of peace making and Intra-SPLM Dialogue as elements of our intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology, a stable and peaceful South Sudan.

Thanks you very much for your time.

Nairobi, Kenya
December 30, 2014.

Self-determination for Nuer-Land should be the focus for the rebels

BY: BEL DENG, South Sudan, DEC/29/2014, SSN;

As long as the current leadership in Juba exists, with foreign backing intact, the citizenry (NUER) need to know that enduring more devastation in the next coming few months is imminent. The politicians and generals in Juba see that there is a window of opportunity to crash the Nuer rebels by military means and compel them to submission.

The rebels though having a weak leadership and disorganized military operations against the Juba regime won’t yield to Juba regime and hence continuation of war without clear attainable cause.

Nuer as community will continue to carry a load heavier than its weight. Nuer cannot sacrifice heavily as such in the name of change triggered by revenge ambition meanwhile others are watching at the sideline. The Nuer cannot face the rest of tribes in South Sudan with foreign mercenaries backing in the name of democratic change.

This community is not a sacrificial lamb. It must fight for a better cause. Nuer should only focus on how its members must survive among the predators in the region by demanding the self-rule for Nuer-land.

The following points are reasons why Nuer should demand self-determination as the objective for the war:
– foreign interference in the conflict,
– the desire by the Juba group to subdue the rebels,
– acquisition of advance weaponry by Juba group,
– symptoms of weaknesses in the rebels camp,
– the power of money and other myths.

Foreign intervention particularly Uganda has significantly transformed the conflict and increased the duration of fighting for the unforeseeable future. This war would have been short and decisive if it was left in the hands of the two warring parties. The fact that Ugandan Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) threw their weight on Kiir’s side remains an igniting factor among many in the rebels camp.

The use of cluster bombs by these foreign troops against the citizenry by the order of someone once they called their leader will always have a lasting effect among rebels and the Nuer community in particular. This in addition to door to door killing of unarmed Nuer women, children, pastors, elderly and unarmed men which became the cause of eternal distrust between the Nuer and Dinka communities.

Many in Nuer community have no other option but to choose death over humiliation. And the insistence of Juba group to keep foreign troops in the fighting is a slap in the face.

To avoid the cycle of violence between the Nuer and Dinka, separation between the two communities should be the objective. Better be good neighbours than hateful citizens of the same country.

Among the politicians in Kiir regime and generals in the South Sudan Army, there is a strong desire for military solution to this conflict. They are determined to subdue the rebels as well as the Nuer civilians in their villages.

Today, as we speak South Sudan Army is on the move. They are preparing to launch the mother of all battles yet in this civil war against Greater Lou counties of Akobo, Nyirol and Uror. They are assembling in Gadiang, Twi East, Duk and possibly through Pibor and Pochala corridors.

The battle for control over Greater Akobo counties will definitely occur between January and April 2015 depending on dryness of the area that may allow the passage of tanks, personnel carriers and vehicles mounted with artilleries, rocket launchers and logistics supplies.

Imagine a Dinka leadership inserting its control over Nuer people with a long history of harsh rivalry and hatred, what would be the consequences?

Nuer should only give lives in that battle in the name of Nuer-land self-rule from the rest of South Sudan otherwise it would be a waste of precious lives without a cause. Riek Machar and his group should not continue to fight for meaningless reasons such as revenging the massacre of Juba 2013 and democratic change within the same country.

Many South Sudanese have hidden their tails between their legs, while others suffering under the same regime are singing side by side with the evils in killing the Nuer. Nuer cannot afford to carry this huge load.

There is going to be no peace so long as Juba regime has acquired the newest advanced technology of weaponry; it’s hope is to use them fully to subdue the rebels to submission. Today, they have amphibian tanks which they have used against the rebels in Fangak, they have several BM/system rocket launchers, ZUK (6 barrels) and many others.

However, the regime and their allies need to be reminded that war is not won by technology but the will of those using the technology. The willingness to die for what a person believes in delivering South Sudan out from the bondage of Khartoum.

Based on what I know, willingness to stand up against the odds determines the end point as young Nuer are currently showing, but the community needs to have a political and survivability strategies otherwise Nuer will be wiped out on the face of the earth.

Nuer must lobby for either joining Khartoum or Addis Ababa so that we have a full backing of anyone of the two countries we may think would offer us better protection. I believe survivability of Nuer as a community is in question.

Nuer is no longer facing only Dinka and her South Sudanese allies but East African troops and Sudanese rebels. This is a big load for Nuer to withstand without political strategy. Political partnership with a foreign country would safeguard the survival of the remaining Nuer instead of relying only on Nuer power as the solution.

Nuer can live without Dinka or Shilluk, so there is no reason to stick on maintaining South Sudan as one country. Split it up into tribal kingdoms so that this cycle of violence is curbed.

Also, Juba leadership is successfully employing its economic power in subduing it enemies to submission. People who once rebelled against the regime are now returning to Juba because of money.

In addition, the regime has a comfortable diplomatic superiority over the rebels in East Africa and around the world whilst there is a weak leadership displayed by rebels. Riek Machar leadership style remains the biggest issue that will cause the extinction of Nuer.

He has a huge ambition for leadership but he does not know how he can achieve it. I advise Riek to rectify his political objective for Nuer-land and lobby either Khartoum or Addis Ababa for political and military protection for the Nuer-land and its people.

Failure for Riek and his group to commit to this cause will mean the doomsday for Nuer people will be unavoidable. Nuer must not be misled by voices that do not have soldiers on the ground. Lip service is not worth it.

Meanwhile, militarily, the regime is continuously gaining ground from the rebels. The capture of Phom, Ayod, Nasir and Mathiang by Dinka regime demonstrates the weaknesses of Riek Machar’s fighting strategy. As a resistance movement the first that should have been in place was the military command for the direction of military operations across the country.

Riek is also failing to transport the war to Bharel Ghazal and Equatoria regions. Concentrating the war in Nuer-land is stupidity and lack of knowledge about war strategies.

Riek and his team are demanding blindly when they have no military achievements to back them up. Kiir and his co. will not give a damn about powerless demands. Failure by Riek and his co. to poise a formidable threat encourages the regime in Juba to pursue military solutions to the conflict..

The economic power, military, and diplomatic success for the regime means peace won’t come to South Sudan unless rebels do something extraordinary or else surrender. Nuer should know that surrendering to Dinka leadership in Juba would mean total destruction of Nuer people once and for all.

Separation tendency where Nuer should opt for outside powers for political and military sanctuary would be better choice rather than accept the Dinka hegemony with devastating consequences.

The surrendering of some Nuer to Juba regime is a lack of far-sightedness among those elements and would surely enforce the myth in Dinka community that Nuer are food lovers and that they do not resist tough situations. This is painful smear for those of us that have endured suffering as children at the age of 12-13 years in the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1980s.

My fellow Nuer, this war is not about individuals such as Riek Machar but the whole Nuer society is in trouble. Personally, I would have lived and continue working in Juba/Bhar el Ghazale then but the situation was not conducive for me just because of my being who I am.

I wonder how some Nuer who support the regime handle this! I have witnessed how hard it was in early days of the conflict in 2013-2014 and in 1991 where I remained a dedicated member of SPLM/SPLA mainstream but nearly faced death for being a Nuer.

Finally, I believe true reconciliation and forgiveness between the Nuer and South Sudanese communities particularly Dinka and to some extent Shilluk and Maban will only prevail when Nuer-land goes its way from South Sudan.

I do not see a fruitful future for Nuer so long as Dinka with foreign backing and remaining dominant in South Sudan’s affairs.

Demand for self-determination for Nuer-land with serious lobbying for political and military protection from either Khartoum or Addis Ababa would ensure the survivability of Nuer in the midst of predators.

Bel is a concern citizen and can be reached at

Economic disaster for South Sudan, its oil now sells for only $20-25 a barrel!!!!

Various media sources, DEC/22/2014, SSN;

A looming economic disaster is predicted for the failing nation of South Sudan now enduring its second year of a national civil war and its oil is selling at what traders call the lowest oil prices IN THE WORLD, AT ONLY $20 TO $25 A BARREL.

The reasons are attributable obviously to the rapidly falling oil prices worldwide but also more importantly due to poorly conceived and what can best be called as short-sighted polices of the current president Salva Kiir’s government such as the unfavourable pipeline contracts with the Khartoum government and other oil contracts with foreign countries and companies or individuals.

South Sudan is surely to become one of the biggest casualties of the oil crunch. OPEC members specially led by Saudi Arabia as its biggest oil exporter, have decided to keep pumping oil at their current production levels as a way to counteract the United States shale oil boom, driving down oil prices.

Reportedly, oil companies in some new shale regions in the US and the tar sands in Canada are also realising prices significantly below international benchmarks because of a lack of pipeline or rail capacity to transport their production. But traders said none were making as little as South Sudan.

Against the Brent, the North Sea benchmark selling at around $61, the extremely low realised price is partly due to the low quality of South Sudanese crude.

But most importantly, the South Sudanese oil is sold cheaply due to an ill-advised, ill-fated and hurriedly made decision that was agreed upon by Kiir’s government to introduce a fixed payment for the use of a pipeline that runs north through neighbouring Sudan, rather than a sliding scale linked to global prices, as the industry favoured.

“The lack of a sliding scale is a big mistake,” says a South Sudan-based oil executive. “They are making a very small amount of money.”

In 2012, the governments in Juba, in the south, and Khartoum, in the north, signed a deal for the use of the pipeline running from southern oilfields to Port Sudan on the Red Sea after months of negotiation to secure South Sudan’s independence.

Against the advice of the industry and despite the memory of an oil price crash in 2008-09, during the global financial crisis, Juba government of president Salva Kiir agreed a fixed payment.

In effect, the government banked on oil staying at $100 or more a barrel and pledged to pay $11 per barrel for the use of the pipeline plus another $15 a barrel as compensation to Sudan for the loss of oil income after independence.

The package was seen as an expensive political necessity to secure independence from the Khartoum regime after decades of war. But international officials say the decision to back a fixed fee, rather a sliding one linked to prevailing international price, “is now unravelling”.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that oil accounts for 95 per cent of the South Sudanese government revenue and forecast that the African country’s fiscal deficit will balloon to 12 per cent of its gross domestic product next year.

“Developments in the oil sector in South Sudan constitute a quadruple whammy . . . the government of South Sudan is facing the severest of fiscal contractions,” said an international official who asked not to be named.

South Sudanese revenues have now fallen to about $100m a month, equal to an oil price of about $20.5 per barrel based on output of 160,000 barrels a day.

“They are squeezed,” says the same international official.

Oil executives believe South Sudan could become an example of how falling oil prices can exacerbate political risk as countries are forced to slash budgets.

The US Department of Energy said: “Geopolitical risk may also be elevated because of lower government spending”.

Oil production in the world’s youngest country has more than halved since civil war broke out last December. Oil executives and diplomats say a return to full production is unlikely without a peace deal between the warring factions.

Unfortunately, at the never-concluding so-called peace talks between the Kiir government and Machar’s rebels, the government has been accused of borrowing heavily to execute the current civil war and against the future well-being of future generations of South Sudanese.

This accusations came from the rebels after the government refused to to disclose its national debt or how much it owes to investors and foreign countries. Billions of dollars have allegedly been borrowed by the Kiir government and with the prevailing rampant corruption in the country, most of these monies have allegedly ended in the private accounts of those in government and the military generals. END

Government Militia Training Field Opened in Panyikwara, near Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State

From: Micheal Okia Amuru, Magwi County, Eastern Equatoria State, DEC/20/2014, SSN;

Militia Training Field Opened in Panyikwara, few kilometers from Magwi County Headquarters.

Many South Sudanese likely cannot exactly locate where Panyikwara is. This is a place located in Magwi County in Eastern Equatoria State. The government of South Sudan has opened a militia training field here, recruiting young boys from the age of 13 among some elders who are joining massively. I would like to point out that this training is been carried for wrong reasons. The government of South Sudan has already lost legitimacy to rule the country; it’s absurd to see this kind of recruitment and training in this area.

The government of Eastern Equatoria State is mistaken to allow these kinds of activities in Magwi County. If the national army, the SPLA, are there, it’s their duty to defend the nation, but not recruiting young boys and innocent men to fight a war they don’t understand.

I am condemning it in the strongest terms possible and demanding that these individuals must be let to go home. These boys are the future of South Sudan; therefore their rights to education must not be deprived by teaching them false hope. Those men too have the duty of supporting their families; therefore, they have a lot to do than been an unpaid militia.

Louis Lojore Lobong, Governor of Eastern Equatoria State should dissolve this Training Field immediately. This time we will not allow the confusion of the 1980’s where the same SPLA recruited from around the same area just to hunt down one particular tribe.

Brigadier Johnson Juma Okot and Clement Otto must stop selling the boys and men in Magwi County to the government which does not care very much about its people.

Can those of Brig. JJ Okot and Clement Otto tell us what are the benefits of this government to our generations as Acholi?

Some people called themselves Holy in the Catholic Church. But I would like to point out that an-Ex Catholic Priest from the Apostle of Jesus by name Justin Oyet Bongomin is making the matter worse here at home by supporting JJ Okot, Clement Otto and others in their plan of killing innocent people without fault and without choice.

This ex-Catholic priest now resides in the USA. Instead of planning to bring development at home, I strongly believe with evidence that he is part of a convoy of the devils in the Republic of South Sudan.

Thank God he did not baptist any of my children.

However, since from the beginning of this Kiir government I noticed dozens of acts of evil, one of which infamously manifested itself in the Killing of the Nuer in Juba last December.

Long before this incident, there was apparent systematic killing of people from Madi tribe here in Maqwi County. In 2009 dozens of Madi where killed in their homeland which include Mulunge, Opari, Owyi Ki Bull, Amme, Moli, Natalingwa among others. The people of Madi were chased out of Magwi County Headquarters under direct order of JJ Okot and Clement Otto. The State governor played his role by covering up the killing.

In 1980’s the same recruitment by SPLA in this area ended up in a serious bloodshed between Madi and Acholi tribes.

Why do I condemn the current recruitment? I am one of the victims of 1980’s recruits centred in Owyi Ki Bull. In state of teaching us to fight the Arabs, Dr. John Garang taught us differently. His teaching ended with the assassination of Joseph Kibulu (one of the top South Sudanese Education Officer) which turned to be a very serious miscalculation.

My brothers and sisters who are still hooked-up with the divisive and fatalistic philosophy of JJ Okot and Clement Otto and their advisers have to reflect deeply about what actually is happening today in South Sudan.

In the first place, when the Madi elder politician Joseph Kibulu was assassinated by the SPLA, the same SPLA quickly dumped the blames on us. Although his killer was an Acholi, by then he was already an SPLA soldier.

Furthermore, tThe chief of Nimule was assassinated by the same SPLA/M over the contentious issue of the demarcation of Nimule town. At the same time his killers turned around and arrested all the Madi elders and intellectuals in the area and were all taken to Torit, and put in prison without trial.

Today, we are fully aware about the death of our Lady Cecilia Ote Oba. She is a lady who stands firm defending the right of Kakuwa people over their land. But what happened, she was assassinated by the SPLA/M from Dinka tribe. Her body was recovered chopped into pieces, dumped in garbage and half way rotten.

Long before her dead, chiefs and intellectuals including MPs from Yei were arrested, taken to Juba and were detained over the same issues (LAND).

Equatorians intellectuals who are still supporting this government are not ignorant that Dinka wanted to create imperialism in South Sudan. They can settle anywhere in the country. Take other peoples land and properties by force. Abuse Equatorian women without love, just to produce children.

Today people like James Wani Igga, Louis Lobong, Anne Itto, Isaac Obutu, JJ Okot, and Clement Otto are not ignorant that Dinka made it a tribal rule that no one other than Dinka will own a piece of land in their homeland. As of today, there is no Equatorian which owns a piece of land over there.

With this imperial kind of tribal rule, why can’t Equatorian politicians openly point out what the Dinka are doing to the people and to their resources in Equatoria which is terribly wrong. We are not that cheap.

I don’t hate anybody, but I hate poor government policy in Equatoria. I cannot sit idle by, watching JJ Okot, Clement Otto and State Governor Louis Lobong training militia in Panyikwara.

In the first place, what will these militias fight for? I believe South Sudan must be re-founded in a new covenant. There must not be any government-sponsored militia in Equatoria.

President Kiir recruited his own militia and they are indisputably responsible for the infamous Juba massacre last December.

Today, recruiting militia in Panyikwara means a lot to me. I am requesting all peace loving Equatorians to step up by publicly and wholeheartedly condemn such activities by the Kiir tribal government.

It might not be limited only here in Magwi County, but this militia recruitment could soon be enforced also and sooner in other places too.

Micheal Okia Amuru
Maqwi County-Eastern Equatoria State

“Power is not forever, it’s not a village thing,” Archbishop Lukudu tells Kiir

RADIO, DEC/16/2014, SSN;

Catholic Archbishop of Juba, Paulino Lukudu Loro, warned Monday that “power is not forever,” while urging South Sudanese people to accept they are ethnically divided and seek forgiveness.

Archbishop Lukudu was speaking at at a special service in Juba to mark the one year anniversary of the South Sudan Civil War in which the ruling SPLM government of president Salva Kiir, himself a Catholic, massacred thousands of Nuer citizens in Juba last December 15, 2013.

“Somebody wants to be in power forever? It is not like that. It cannot be like that. You have a period to serve, and once it is finished, go and enjoy your brothers and sisters, and you become a normal servant. It is for a period of time, it is never forever,” he said.

The special mass took place after a memorial march from Malakia to Saint Theresa Kator Cathedral where mourners wearing black remembered the dead by walking through Juba with “candles of peace.”

At one point during the mass, South Sudanese security personnel entered the church, searching for one of the suspected organizers of the peace march.

In the days prior to the peace protest, security personnel sought to prevent the march from taking place, but it went ahead anyway.

“I think they are misusing power,” the Archbishop told the congregation. “I think we are misusing power, we are overvaluing power, misunderstanding power.”

Lukudu stressed that leaders are mere “servants” who derive their power from the people, not by birthright.

“Power is a humble gift of service to the people at large through the voice of the people for some specific period of time and not forever,” he said. “It is not a thing of my village. Power is not from my village. It is not from my father. It is a vocation.”

Archbishop Lukudu cited the Pope in Rome as an example of a leader who views power appropriately.

“Our Holy Father the Pope generally calls himself the servant of the servants of God,” he explained. “He is the top leadership in the faith and the Pope calls himself ‘servant.’ Very correct. Leadership is not yours.”

‘We have ethnic problems’

The church leader went on to say that South Sudanese citizens must accept that they are divided by ethnicity.

“My brothers and sisters, at times we seem just to be burying our heads in the sand and we do not want to accept some realities of our situation,” he said.

“We need to recognize that we have a problem. We have tribal problems. We have ethnic problems.”

He said the problem of tribalism can only be addressed if it is acknowledged first.

“We must accept [our problems],” he said. “Then we should be able to address them peacefully, honestly, and correctly…rather than hiding them.”

The church elder closed his sermon by encouraging South Sudanese to begin reconciliation.

“Let us have the courage to say, ‘I forgive you. I am sorry. Forgive me, and I’ll forgive you,’ ” he said.

“Let us forgive one another, forgive and pardon, give and receive, so that we can be forgiven in this country…so we can begin a new life. Enough is enough, let us not again be bitter towards one another, we don’t want again to fight and kill ourselves.”

The pains of 15th December 2013

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, DEC/14/2014, SSN;

15th December is here, the day evil descended on Juba last year similar to 8th July 1965. It comes with those horrific memories of the murky atmosphere devised by President Salva Kiir. A deeply sickening environment that has traumatised the residents of Juba and the entire country.

15th December 2013 will remain an indelible stain in the history of South Sudan. It is the day that saw the beginning of the spilling of blood of innocent children, youth, women, men and elderly people and with it the destruction of a new emerging South Sudanese identity.

President Salva Kiir last year around this time facing leadership challenge from Dr Riek Machar in the SPLM lost his head unleashing his tribal militia on the Nuer people. While going to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa he fabricated an imaginary coup and imposed a curfew to isolate the Nuer and his opponents after which his militia went door to door murdering the Nuer.

    ‘South Sudan: A state that fell apart in a week’

Within a week, the Dootku Beny militia under the command of the Jieng generals: Marial Chinoung, Marial Nour, Salva Mathok, Aleu Ayieny Aleu, Paul Malong Awan and so on…. massacred over 20 thousand people mostly children, women, and the elderly.

This act of Jieng savagery has shocked the entire country. No South Sudanese ever expected one of its own ethnic groups to commit such a crime on another using the machinery of the state.

The contemporary history of South Sudan psychologically programmed the people to expect such acts from the Arabs of the Sudan but not from a supposed fellow South Sudanese.

Back then on 8th July 1965, the Arabs under the leadership of the UMMA party committed similar massacres in Juba and other towns against South Sudanese. Please see, ‘To achieve peace in South Sudan SPLM/A must be scrapped’.

The mass murder of the Nuer brought those ugly memories back to the minds of the people. A good number of people have asked the question: what is the difference between the Jieng and the Arab?

They say, in 1965 the Arabs massacred us en mass in Juba, Wau and Malakal regardless of tribe. Now the Jieng are doing what the Arabs did to us all. How can the Jieng ever be trusted with state power?

Hold on to this question, we will come back to it down in this piece in search of answers.

The day, 15th December matters because it is important to remember the innocent lives taken by President Kiir and his militia. Those were people who had nothing to do with the power struggle going on between President Kiir and Dr Riek. They were ordinary people going about their daily business only to find themselves targeted and murdered.

15th December remains a day of pain because the murdered have not been accorded justice. Their murderers are still holding the levers of the state and this is obviously why this important date will not be honoured and remembered now inside the country in the manner it deserves.

Today is the first anniversary of his heinous crime which is still ongoing and justice appears to be like a mirage. The adage, justice delayed is justice denied may be true in this South Sudan case.

So far, no reports of investigations into the ethnic cleansing by the UN and the African Union have been released. Why the silence?

Where is the transparency of these organisations over a crime that every South Sudanese knows about? Why are the perpetrators of this grave crime against humanity not been brought to book? What is going on?

In the 1990s the UN failed to prevent grave crimes against humanity only to regret after a huge damage occurred. The signs are that the UN has not yet learnt anything from its experiences.

The failure of the UN in Rwanda in 1994 and in Srebrenica (former Yugoslavia) the following year brought sharp reminder to the world that the brutality and savagery of yester decades and centuries have not been tamed by advance in science and culture.

To the contrary advance in both fields have become the tools to perpetuate the unimaginable crimes against humanity.

Modern media and broadcasting appliances were used in Rwanda in 1994 effectively to mobilise the Hutu extremists against Tutsi to a devastating effect, while in former Yugoslavia a supposed refined and civilised European country used its technologically advanced military to commit mass killing in Bosnia.

When Rwanda genocide happened in broad day light with UN watching while another war was ragging on in former Yugoslavia in which the Serbs were ethnically cleansing the Bosnians, the world leaders focused on the latter not giving the former any attention it deserved.

Bill Clinton in his biography, My Life, regretted his inaction. He writes, “The failure to try to stop Rwanda’s tragedies became one of the greatest regrets of my presidency.” (Clinton 2004, p594)

Nevertheless, the USA tried to ameliorate the post genocide situation by contributing to the mechanisms of social recovery in Rwanda. On the other hand the Former Yugoslavia situation led to the UNSC Resolution 780 which provided legal base for tackling perpetrators of the future.

The sad thing is that with all the above, South Sudan, in December 2013, that is 15 years later experienced same crimes against humanity seemingly without any concern of the world shown.

This suggests the journey to a more civilised world charted by the UNSC resolution 780 may not include the South Sudan case. Why is this?

The answer may be found in one short phrase: “African solutions for African problems”. This proposition obviously has an important history to it, the centuries old interaction between Europeans and Africans.

The abuse and disrespect the Africans experienced in this interaction are supposed to be brought to an end by letting Africans do things in their own way. Unfortunately and painfully as it is African leaders are abusing this noble principle by dancing around it and not applying it as it should.

Although the events of December 2013 constitute an international crime as defined by UNSC Resolution 780, the powers of the world happily allowed IGAD and the AU to take lead based on the said proposition.

This reduced an international crime to a continental issue removing the safeguards intended for global peace. This decision appears to reflect the coloured view of the world about Africans and the value placed on their humanity.

African Union and IGAD which should have acted robustly and fairly, sadly resorted to playing politics with the problem in South Sudan.

If these crimes against humanity committed by President Kiir and his tribal militia are not accounted for fairly and the perpetrators punished like the Nazis in Nuremberg in 1940s, the Hutus in Rwanda in 1990s and the Serbs, Croats, and Bosnian in the former Yugoslavia as ongoing now, the world should know that such crimes are then likely to recur in South Sudan in future.

There is no way that the people are going to forget the excesses of President Kiir and his tribal militia without justice being seen to be done.

If the world fails to take the duty of collective responsibility to bring the government of President Kiir to account, they may encourage other social groups with irresponsible leaders to take matters into their own hands which in my opinion is wholly inappropriate. The UNSC has a duty to act and it should do so.

One of the major problems of South Sudan is the culture of violence and abuse of state machinery by groups in power to promote their parochial interest. This is largely the outcome of SPLM’s wrong policies under Dr John Garang.

After his death, President Kiir continued with these policies to advance the interest of his ethnic group as opposed to promotion of the notion of “common good”.

The cleansing of the Nuer is supposed to protect this narrow interest. So it is not a surprise that right from 2005, the government of South Sudan failed to take the right path.

The government of South Sudan to the Jieng is a tool to be used to advance their interest. It is not about common good and the protection of all South Sudanese people. Aldo Ajo, a member of the notorious Jieng Council of Elders made this point clear in his recent interview with SSTV.

The Jieng are not interested in promoting peace, reconciliation and healing in the country. Just look at their prevarication in the peace talks and everything becomes clear.

President Kiir and his Jieng Council of Elders including the top military brass are engaged in total waste of time in Addis Ababa under IGAD while innocent people continue to lose their lives.

They forcefully talk of their commitment to peace, yet they obstruct every opportunity there is to bring peace. Why? The Jieng do not want to lose power and they will hang on to it until the people oust them by any available means.

The Jieng leadership is despotic. Despots don’t cede power peacefully as expected. They always act selfishly. To understand the behaviour of the Jieng, here is a quote from Ryszard Kapuscinski’s ‘Shah of the Shahs’ illuminating the mind of the despot:

“The Shah’s reflex was typical of all despots: strike first and suppress, then think it over. What next? First display muscle, make a show of strength, and later perhaps demonstrate you also have a brain. Despotic authority attaches great importance to being considered strong, and much less to being admired for its wisdom. Besides what does wisdom mean to a despot? It means skill in the use of power.

The wise despot knows when and how to strike. This continual display of power is necessary because, at root, any dictatorship appeals to the lowest instincts of government: fear, aggressiveness towards one’s neighbours, bootlicking. Terror most effectively excites such instincts, and fear of strength is well spring of terror.

A despot believes that man is an abject creature. Abject people fill his court and populate his environment. A terrorized society will behave like an unthinking, submissive mob for a long time. Feeding it is enough to make it obey. Provided with amusement, it’s happy.

The rather small arsenal of political tricks has not changed in millennia. Thus, we have all the amateurs in politics, all the ones convinced they would know to govern if only they had the authority. Yet surprising things can also happen. Here is a well-fed and well-entertained crowd that stops obeying.

It begins to demand something more than entertainment. It wants freedom, it demands justice. The despot is stunned. He doesn’t know to see a man in all his fullness – or rather, because it is lawless and it strives for appearance of legality. On this point it is exceedingly touchy, morbidly oversensitive.

Moreover, it suffers from a feeling (however deeply hidden) of inferiority. So it spares no pains to demonstrate to itself and others the popular approval it enjoys. Even if this support is a mere charade, it feels satisfying.

So what if it’s only an appearance? The world of dictatorship is full of appearance” (Kapuscinski, p115 kindle version)

The appearance of Juba regime of terror is captured by their baseless famous phrase “democratically elected”. This, of-course is a lie which the regime has stuck on to sell itself and hide its crimes internationally.

The fact that President Kiir engaged in ethnic cleansing, a grave crime against humanity, automatically disqualified his legitimacy as a president. He turned into a criminal and therefore whatever mandate he had before his horrific act evaporated. What does that then mean?

Technically South Sudan is ruled by people without mandate. Thus President Kiir, his cabinet and the SPLM-IG should not be making loud noise with the song of “democratically elected”. It is hollow; it is empty and a total nonsense.

Somewhere above I posed the question: how can the Jieng be trusted with power? With the information given I leave you to draw your own answer.

Dr Riek Machar, the leader of the armed resistance movement of SPLM-IO should actually be making loud noise about the illegality of the regime in Juba.

Unfortunately, he is not clued on. He has totally missed and failed to articulate this crucial point which should have been the centre of the talks in Addis Ababa. Pathetically he now advocates for the atrocities of President Kiir to be forgiven and forgotten for the sake of peace.

In his speech in Pagak he said, “To prevent this (ethnic cleansing) from happening and in order for us to save our people and country, we must seriously look for ways to achieve peace. We must be ready to exercise magnanimity [i.e. generosity}. We must forgive atrocities committed against us and likewise ask forgiveness from those we have harmed.”

Can South Sudan really become peaceful without accountability to the atrocities of 15th December 2013 which is still ongoing?

It is vital to remember that ethnic cleansing is still going on now as we speak. So 15th December 2013 is only the start date but it has not yet ended. Members of the Nuer tribe and opponents of the government are daily being arrested and disappeared throughout the country.

This dark ongoing episode is not only about the loss of Nuer and the Jieng. All the silent majority of the people of South Sudan equally suffered and continue to suffer emotionally, psychologically and mentally by witnessing these atrocities.

They too are victims and have rights to demand justice. They now live with damaging internal injuries. Therefore, it is not up to Dr Riek to dismiss the grave crimes against humanity in South Sudan for his convenience to accede to power.

Peaceful South Sudan can only be realised after justice to the victims and the injured living victims is done as in the cases of Nazis in Germany, Hutu in Rwanda and Serbs in Bosnia.

Therefore, it is only right that SPLM/A leaders too must be made to pay for their grave crimes in South Sudan. There should be no buts, ifs or disputes over it because in Arusha, Tanzania all of them in their supposed reconciliation and reunification meeting chaired by President of Tanzania voluntarily confessed and admitted responsibility for the crimes and destabilisation of the region.

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Mon and the Troika have repeatedly said there would be no business as usual. It is hoped that they will make these words meaningfully and weighty for the sake of justice to the victims and peace in South Sudan and the region.

Human Rights Watch has already made useful suggestion on page 6 of their report ‘Ending the Era of Injustice’

Finally, South Sudanese must not allow these grave crimes against humanity to go without accountability. Once that is done and when President Kiir and SPLM are gone it will be necessary to erect a memorial for the victims of ethnic cleansing in Gudele in Juba to remind us of the scourge of SPLM and the ideologies of ‘born to rule’ and Jieng supremacy.

Such a memorial will serve as a national mourning site, educational centre for the young and act as a symbol of resistance to injustice, tribal ideologies and crimes against humanity.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
Elhag Paul

No More Resource Curse: Unregulated World Oil Market is a Peace for South Sudan

BY: DENG LUETH YUANG, Canada, DEC/08/2014, SSN;

Faced with US shale oil boom and lower global oil demand, oil cartel, OPEC met on 27 Nov, in Switzerland to discuss a way forward for the plunging oil prices. That meeting ended with no tangible breakthrough, in that its members failed to cut production to boost oil prices, and therefore decided to allow free hand of the market to reign.

However, with such dim prospects of falling revenues from oil, South Sudan economy is in tatters. It would be hard for the government to keep operations and projects afloat in such a dicey environment where its expenditures outweigh revenues. And yet there are two wars to fight – Dec. 15, 2013 Crisis and Nation Building.

With oil now selling at 65 dollars a barrel and production dropping to 160,000 from 350,000 barrels a day pre-Heglig and current wars, it is therefore unsustainable for the economy which is 95% dependent on oil revenues.

Rather than relying on expanded tax base, the South Sudan government has no any concrete source of revenues to back up the flailing economy. It is a gloomy and doom situation, not only for the government but also the rebels who wanted to form or be part of the government.

You cannot run a government without a healthy and sound economy!

For instance, when oil was discovered in the Sudan around 1978, successive regimes in Khartoum had used it as a ‘tool of war’. They appropriated it as a collateral to borrow money and vital materials from other world powers especially China, USSR and the Gulf countries.

It became a derivative by which future contracts were tied upon. Obligations such as new weapons, loans, aids, and others were supplied on the basis that the oil resources would one day suffice to compensate the creditors.

Besides, numerous wars e.g. the Southern Sudan and Darfour’s were fought on the premise that the regime was extracting these resources and marginalizing the host regions. That however prolonged these wars and regime of the day did everything it could to frustrate and defeat their arch enemies.

Similarly, the rebels were auctioning the oil resources to fund their war engagements with the government.

It is therefore imperative that when cash-starved government can no longer afford loans and advance payments from friendly international community and oil companies operating in South Sudan such as Chinese, Malaysians and Indians, and under-resourced rebels could no longer bargain and convince their friendly international community that they will be offered future oil concessions, the end is near for South Sudan to agree permanent peace.

However, without that, the worst case scenarios could be:
– Expensive for south Sudan’s oil companies to produce oil below their marginal cost
– South Sudan with no domestic refineries will have to embrace for higher oil imports and local prices or lack thereof;
– Oil executives will harden up on providing more loans and advance payments to South Sudan government ;
– Rebels’ international supporters will have to soften up on agreements they wish to sign with in order to supply them with weapons and other vital assistance for future oil concessions;
– Becomes expensive for South Sudan government and rebels to keep on prolonging war for lack of hard currency to maintain their negotiators, and bulging armies;
– With no foreign direct investment and lack of hard currency coming into government coffers, South Sudan whose economy heavily relies on imports, is more likely to fall into abyss – imports more expensive than they were before this civil war;
– Higher inflation – prices of basic commodities and services shooting up the roof;
– Western interests fraying up in South Sudan since oil is no longer considered an important commodity for them to intervene and defend their interests.

Hence, falling oil price is a blessing in disguise for South Sudan peace to hold forever. The times when a commodity like oil was considered precious are over.

In economics, all resources are limited and hence unsatisfiable for human consumption. But once such scarce resources are depleted, there are no more to satisfy his needs.

On the other hand, when there is too much supply, the law of demand states that the prices have to dive in order for the consumer to continue enjoying. Otherwise, the supplier or producer risk running out of business.

In this case, South Sudan and most OPEC members are very likely to go out of oil production business sooner rather than later.

The end of resource war such as oil is near as the world is devising other alternative means of energy efficiency and sufficiency.

The commentator is an Economist. Follow him on Facebook at Deng Lueth Yuang

Kuol Manyang needs to apologize and resign


Contrary to Kiir’s supposed quest for peace in the war torn South Sudan, our nation is made to understand through a graduation speech delivered by the country’s failed defense minister Kuol Manyang Juuk, whose name in most circle is synonymous to blood bath. Indisputably, Kuol Mnyang killed single handedly more southerners than any single Jalaba has ever done in the war of liberation and he lives to tell it.

It must be recalled that the violence in Jonglei state started when Koul Manyang was the state Governor, he failed miserably at state level to broker peace and his state became the most violent even before the outbreak of the current war.

He did nothing to address the unrest; instead he exacerbated it by arming his Dinka tribesmen and disarming the Murle so that his kin can penetrate and strike freely, and to commit genocide against the minority Murle tribe.

Juuk’s speech is not only despicable and must be condemned by all peace loving citizens of this great nation, but it is also advocating for more bloodshed and violence against Women in particular and children who have suffered disproportionately in this genocidal tribal war initiated by Kiir.

His disgraceful speech has revealed that it is all lip service and to draw wool over people’s eyes when the Kiir’s government claims the 23% of ministerial and other posts in his government are allotted to women.

Something that is clearly to fool the world and to portray to the world that this oppressive regime abides by and protects issues of importance to women and their rights, but in actuality the speech by the blood-drenched defense minister reveals to the contrary and made it crystal clear that women in South Sudan amount to nothing.

According to Koul Manyang, simply because they, the Women, wear skirts and walk around with braided hairs, they are the lowest of the low. He said in no uncertain terms, that his tribal government has no ability to protect the vulnerable and that only those with guns matter and if you cannot kill in South Sudan, you amount to nothing! If you refused to kill in South Sudan, you should be arrested!

On Saturday 29 November at a graduation ceremony attended by both, the defense Minister Koul Manyang, and the belligerent south Sudan’s general chief of staff Paul Malong Awan, the failed Defense minister Juuk urged the 3000 graduates mainly from his Dinka tribe to defend the so called constitution of the country, but at the same time he instigated the youth to violence against the vulnerable, by equating them to women if they do not want to fight.

Thus he called for more of the genocidal war, absolutely unacceptable view coming from someone occupying a very responsible position that of the defense Minister.

In the speech published by Sudan tribune on 29 November, the defense minister made despicable utterances, he warned that youths who attempt to escape from the army would be punished while those who decline to join were “merely women”.

This is an insult to all women of South Sudan to include his mother, sisters, and daughters not only that but also including the acting secretary general of the SPLA Dr Ann Itto, and other prominent women like Gamma Nunu Komba,Nyandeng Malek Deliech, the governor of Warrap state just to mention a few great females of our nation.

In his mind these are all decorative objects!

However the defense minister continues with his abusive language against women by saying “If you refuse to join the army, let your hair be plated and we will buy you a skirt. It means you will no longer be a man, but a typical woman”.

This is utterly pathetic and backward remarks coming from such an important position of the Minister, while some women in our country including those in uniform of which Koul Manyang is their boss continue to take bullets on daily basis in the frontlines to protect the narrow minded individuals like the defense minister.

Moreover this is also violation of Article 2, of UN convention of December 1948, the universal declaration of human rights; article II clearly stated “No inflammatory discrimination.”

These rights belong to everybody, whatever the gender. In fact what this article is saying is that all men and women have equal fundamental rights regardless of their sex, race, age, career etc.

In traditional Scotland, men wear skirts and that do not make them women whatever being a woman is supposed to mean by the derogatory remarks of the defense minister.

What about when the defense minister was growing up in cattle camps wearing nothing, running around naked after cows, was he still superior to any women as naked and primitive as he was?

The women in South Sudan then better start wearing trousers and cut their hairs short instead of braiding them! Oh and start killing like the mindless, primitive tribal men of South Sudan who have become agents of death and killing machines, whose existance is converted to solely keeping these bigots in power, than of development else they will forever remain “Typical women” and amounts to nothing leave alone respect and right to life!

These forms of rhetoric is nothing more than an intentional design, to undermine the great contribution made by women in our nation, it is a common knowledge if Women where in charge of our nation we shall not see this kind of blood bath.

Instead of appreciating and encouraging women in peace finding and nation building, the defense Minister acted in violation of women’s right as if he was not born of a woman.

Are we hardly surprised by this attitude of one whose place should have not been the head of the ministry of defense but rather indicted in international criminal court /ICC in The Hague, for murdering hundreds of innocent Fellow Southerners during the war of liberation to include by some report the murder of his very own biological mother who had refused to give her cows to feed the SPLA.

If he can killed his own mother, is it any wonder he disregards women?

The defense minister’s view is not compatible with life in 2014, it indicates he still thinks women are properties of men; as such their duties are to do domestic works including milking cows as is in his cattle culture.

I urge all intellectuals, men and women, to protest again the devaluating remarks of the defense minister. We cannot allow such attitude to prevail in our nation, and we must strongly demands apology and the resignation of the defense minister for encouraging crimes against women.

As of recent when the head of civil society, Mr. Deng, declared “ those who are paying the cost of the war are the grassroots, the leadership do not feel the weight of the war because the president and Riek have no sons in the army” he was forced to apologized to the president.

If the civil society leader can be forced to apologized to the President for what is plain fact and truth, then why can’t the blood drenched and the failed defense minister quit his post for insulting our mothers, sisters, daughters and wives?

What he said constitutes discrimination and abuse and inflaming the culture of violence against our women including his own wife but also that of President Kiir’s wife or wives.\

“He who maintains silence in the face of massacre is murderer himself”

Dr. Peter Kopling, MD.
Juba, South Sudan.