Category: Most Popular

The OXFAM should be guided by principles & goals, not become a branch of South Sudan Govt.

BY: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, FEB/06/2017, SSN;

The Organization called the Oxfam is a confederation of 19 affiliate groups of companies working in over ninety countries, all working as one Oxfam on six goals that support their shared vision of a just world without poverty.

The principle is that whether the Oxfam is running life-saving emergency responses, life-changing development projects or campaigning at the grassroots to tackle poverty, it’s work is always rooted in a vision of a world where women and men are valued and treated equally, able to influence the decisions that affect their lives and meet their responsibilities as full citizens.

In achieving the above-mentioned vision, Oxfam operates on six goals that put local communities and the voices of poor people at the centre of change. The purpose of these goals is to enable the Oxfam to end the injustice of poverty in the long run. (For more information visit: www.oxfam.org.uk › what we do › about us › How we work).

In sticking to those goals, Oxfam operates on the following principles as provided for under its constitution—

1- Humanitarian Principles:
In all their work, the Oxfam members aspire to uphold the humanitarian principles of humanity (responding to need), independence and impartiality. They comply with these principles when they give assistance to civilian populations. This is because the Oxfam and its affiliates are signatories and accountable to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct and the Sphere standards of humanitarian response.

2- Accountability and Learning:
The Oxfam and its members have internal control systems and professionally qualified staff to ensure that they are effectively using the funds of Oxfam. They aspire to be a learning organization, with real time evaluations, program reviews, a published accountability report, and complaints and whistle blowing policies. Through these procedures, the Oxfam and its members seek to hold themselves accountable to their supporters, partners, beneficiaries and the general public. The Oxfam and its members welcome all opportunities to discuss with any person their performance, and how they can improve. Oxfam is part of an on-going worldwide effort of nearly 70 international NGOs to assess their performance according to the views of the local partners that these NGOs help to fund and with whom they work.

3- Staff code of conduct:
Oxfam seeks to ensure that its entire staff is aware of its values and principles, and abide by them. Hence, the Oxfam has a staff Code of Conduct that forms part of its contract of employment. This Code establishes the behaviors that they expect staff to display in their work, and in their private life where this may affect Oxfam’s reputation. A staff member in breach of our Code may be disciplined.

4- Sharing Platforms:
Oxfam will not knowingly provide a platform to people or groups that engage in activities that are contrary to Oxfam’s values or principles. However, Oxfam may decide to share a platform with those who do express views contrary to its own, where the Oxfam believes it needs challenging and where sharing a platform is an appropriate and effective way of doing that. For that reason their decisions to provide platform is assessed on a case by case basis.

4-Political activities and campaigning:
The Oxfam allocates some of its resources to understanding the root causes of poverty. It does so to persuade governments, inter-governmental agencies, private sector bodies and citizens to change the policies and practices that are detrimental to its beneficiaries’ interests, and to encourage those that will improve their lives. The Oxfam undertakes its work in an objective manner, based on evidence and analysis. Some of the issues are controversial but the Oxfam will always seek to engage with its critics in a rational and open way, deploying argument and reason. This is because the Oxfam is a non-partisan organization and does not support any political party.

As seen in the foregoing discussion of the goals and principles on which the Oxfam operates, it may be realized that the intention of the Oxfam is good and it is an organization established to help vulnerable people over out of poverty.

However, the recent report I received from one of the States in South Sudan indicates that the Oxfam is not operating independently but being directed by the government officials on who and how to recruit the employees and how to give services. This is contrary to the Oxfam’s principles of humanitarian and human rights.

Sadly enough as seen in the above paragraph, the Oxfam, instead of protecting the right to equality, human dignity and values as provided for in its constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, it is now working according to the will of the government officials such as the commissioner and other county authorities in that particular State.

One of the disturbing issues I understood in that report was that the Oxfam staff accepted the demand of the county commissioner and other authorities to employ his wife and other people who did not apply for a job and sit for the interview or those who applied but failed the interview.

Unfortunately, and because of that, some of the applicants that applied for that job, interviewed and passed the interview were dropped in favour of the commissioner and county authorities. This created a lot of tension and hatred towards the government of that county.

Thus, I have found it necessary to remind not only the Oxfam and its members but also any other humanitarian organizations operating in South Sudan to stick to their principles but not to be influenced by the government officials to discriminate against South Sudanese in those states.

Of course, it is the duty the State governments to direct an organization like the Oxfam to employ the citizens of the State in which it is operating, however, it should not compromise its principles on fairness and equality through accepting the demand of the authorities to employ citizens they recommend to them because the authorities are not honest enough to give those who are qualified.

However, the State authorities act based on the political interests or motivation and are likely to recommend those who blindly obey them though not qualified. The Oxfam, therefore, should remember that in South Sudan all people are poor including the authorities and because of that they always work towards favoring their relatives leaving out the vast majority of citizens without anything.

Hence, it is the duty of the Oxfam and other Organizations to work in accordance with their principles and goals to ensure that the citizens of the State in which they are operating are treated and have access to services equally.

This means that the Oxfam and other humanitarian organizations should work on merit but not on political considerations.

Flowing from the above statement, it is logical to state that if the state authorities threaten the Oxfam or any other organizations to leave the states unless they have accepted their demands for who to employ or how they should deliver their services to citizens, then the best option is to leave those states instead of compromising their values and principles and creating division among the citizens of those states.

In other words, as long as they are operating within the laws of South Sudan, then, they should not accept any direction from the authorities on how to give services to South Sudanese because there is a risk of them becoming another branch of the government and because of that they may fail to follow their values and principles.

In summary, the Oxfam and any other organizations operating in South Sudan should try by all means to avoid becoming another branch of the government. They must be guided by human rights and humanitarian principles in delivering their services.

NB//: The author is human rights lawyer residing in Uganda and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com; or +256783579256

Collo (tribe) must mend fences or face ultimate doom!

By Gwado J. Ador, United Kingdom, JAN/12/2017, SSN;

The snobs are out again managing an atmosphere of hate and fear amongst sons and daughters of one mother and father. With the heroes falling one after another, the battle for Malakal is certain just at our doorsteps and will soon be decisive.

Brave Collo young men and women are ready to respond to the calls of liberation in Collo land. As natural soldiers by birth, it was possible by the grace of our ancestors for Collo youth to defeat forces of occupation at every available opportunity. Collo would surely determine the outcome of war. They will eventually win the battle for Malakal in just a brief encounter on leveled ground.

Beforehand, Collo will have to come to terms with the inevitable consequences of vulgarism and fatal consequences of infighting among themselves, which benefits none other than prophets of doom in South Sudan.

The issue at stake is the claim staked by Dinka Apadang on a chunk of Collo land. Apadang said Malakal and other Collo areas lying East of the Nile belong to Dinka. This claim which was based on a false ground was duly effected by Kiir’s Presidential Order No. “36/2015” which enhanced the practical annexation of Malakal town to East Nile State.

Since then, Collo young men and women have formed armed resistance movements. Training centres were opened and started to spring up in many areas. Collo were ready to wage armed struggle against Dinka Apandang’s forces on legal and moral grounds.

Many bitter wars have been fought along the Nile and in Collo areas. Agwelek forces managed to put up fierce resistance and defeated the heavily armed SPLA and its Dinka militias of Abu Shok and Darfur Rebels on numerous occasions. Juba however, sustained defeat and embarrassment of losing battles on high tech military equipment to Collo liberation army.

Against all odds, the regime in Juba and its strategist from Jieng Council of Elders “JCE” have become hysteric and paranoid about the ensuing revelation in Upper Nile. A new strategy to deal with what they have termed as “Shilluck menace” have been adopted.

Skillfully, President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his Jieng Council of Elders ‘JCE’ started to move buying off some wicked elements who were adept to serve selfish interests. A congregation of disgruntled groups in Juba known for their lust for power and money relentlessly competed for kiir’s trust and favors. Some of them ended up being appointed into fake positions of elusive states.

Hence, sharp divisions coupled with military provocation started to surface among Collo sons and daughters. Competing factions who were pledging to fight for ancestral land turned the barrels of their weapons against one another.

Shot by friendly fire, heroes and heroines started to fall one after another. All have happened as a result of lust for power and money. The enemy exploited this and the issue of Collo land confiscation has become even more real than at any time before.

Collo military leaders from both sides have been engaged in polarising public opinion to the extent that desperate Collo natives and victims of injustices became confused. They were sharply divided antagonising one another and on social media platforms.

In order to win our objectives for which we have taken up arms, Collo should vigorously start mobilising youth to face Apadang aggression aimed to confiscate our ancestral land. By now we should have learned how to live together in peace and harmony especially following last incidences of which we lost fine lives of our young men and women. At our political and social spectrum, we must always strive to avoid provocation at all cost.

The fact that Collo traditional leaders worked tirelessly to mediate between the opposing Collo forces but unfortunately these forces often agree to work together half-heartedly. There are threats still casting a shadow on peaceful coexistence among Collo forces, which were bound to fight for our heritage and values. The ensuing threats in the Collo Kingdom might likely cost serious setback and loss of our ancestral land to our enemies.

What struck me further is the amount of death and the quality of fine lives of our young men and women being lost in ‘Upper Nile killing fields’ as a result of the work of twin evils within our midst, which turned Collo people into a laughing stock.

Undoubtedly, this has set a record that some Collo elements could even stride further to accept being bullied or used to fight in order to protect the interest of the enemy for food and positions. Overwhelmed by power, they were ready and could even be fooled to butcher themselves to the finish.

While nothing is being done to stop the bloodshed in the Collo Kingdom, some circles with ulterior motives started to move horizontally causing more chaos and mayhem and the latest is Hamara incident.

How many hero’s and heroin would we want to see falling before we could come to our senses and to conclude saying enough is enough?

On whose account are we paying the high price in terms of lives being lost in the course of our struggle?

Why do unnamed politician(s) and some food lovers keep on provoking the situation of hatred and unnecessary blood being spilt within Collo circles?

Until when will we remain to dig our heads into the sand, and be in utter denial about the threats surrounding Collo motherland?

Fair enough, under the auspices of Collo Kingdom, Reth (King) Kwongo Dak Padiet made several attempts to bring Collo youth together so as to discourage acts of defiance, especially sentiments of hatred and antagonism within the same members of one family.

Thus, Collo competing forces of Agwelek Under Gen. Johnson Olony Thubo and New Tiger under late Yoanes Okic were ritually bound to harmonise their aims and objectives so that they could bottle up their differences. They were set to fight shoulder to shoulder should there be any threats from outside, mainly from forces of marauding vulgarities surrounding Collo land.

But, on many occasions than not, the spirit of unity forged with the blessings of our great grand ancestors of which the two sides pledged to respect have often been a waste. It is abrogated in mysterious circumstance unleashing thus terror and latent hostility in the area. Collo young men and women arrogantly revert to challenging and savagely killing one another.

The sad news is that, following the latest incident, Agwelek and Tiger staunch supporters on social media, instead of investigating the circumstances under which this incident took place, they reverted to antagonising and abusing one another in stark contrast with the past incidences. This situation has unfortunately let to hurting and savage killing among members of one family. This situation has never been witnessed before.

Subsequently, supporters of both parties on social media were seriously embroiled and engaged in cyber warfare. Blame game flared up making most of them busy to mock one another. They often point fingers of accusation of siding with Juba’s “Mathiang Anyor” making it further hard for some of us to believe and digest the ensuing revelation.

But thank God, nothing serious has been advanced to substantiate the wild allegation made against our gallant forces and their leading figures in the battlefield.

It is being rumoured, however, that Kiir’s regime has mysterious hands behind what was going on in Upper Nile because, his forces have failed miserably to achieve their military objectives in the Collo Kingdom and now would want to attain these objectives through other means, including playing each individual against one another.

The question being raised today is how much success has Kiir achieved his military objectives in Collo land? The answer is perhaps a score of 75% certainly because his forces of Mathyang Anyor and other militia allied with the rebel groups in Northern Sudan are still occupying Malakal town including the entire Collo land on the Eastern part of the River Nile.

However, Mathyang Anyor and Dinka Apadang are entrenched in Collo land since Presidential Order “36/2015” of which Malakal was illegally annexed to what they named as “East Nile State”. Stephen Dhieu who comes from Baliet area makes necessary funds available.

The portion of war efforts is estimated in Billions of US Dollars to advance the cause of land confiscation in Collo areas. Dhieu was appointed in various lucrative economic positions to ensure the blazing fire is kept blowing and burning everything in the Collo Kingdom. It should consume the last soul and must erase traces of Collo heritage in that part of Upper Nile.

Strangely enough, others are still leaving in delusions and in abject denial arguing that things will soon become normal under Kiir’s leadership. They said only 25% of objectives have been realised and that explains why Kiir and his ‘JCE’ resorted to discreetly buying-off some top politicians and high ranking military officials who in turn would unconditionally join the government later as part of Gen. Taban Deng Gai’s IO ‘desperate mission for power and recognition’.

Although Gen. Taban Deng Gai was the top leading figure at the negotiating table on the side of IO during peace talks; both ‘SPLA IO and IG’ sides have explored to renegotiate the deal and resolved to settle the issue of decentralisation and federalism based on the new reality on the ground. Kiir and JCE stuck fast on the 28 States and for now, they were not ready to back down.

Taban was warned not to touch the issue of 28 States but allowed to operate within the small margin. He was given an opportunity to slightly improve on the deal by proposing additional states so as to resolve competing interests in certain areas.

Thus, Taban was forced to speak a different tongue. He would want to appear that he was still in control. Taban however, wants to pursue another phase altogether with risks to his safety, guarding thus against any threats which could jeopardise his newly acquired position.

After joining the government following July 2016 Palace Coup conspiracy, Taban alleged success in ousting his former boss Riek Machar Teny. As First Vice-President, he wants to put on a brave face to show his supporters that he was still capable to protect and to safeguard their interests. But sooner doubts started to overwhelm him, especially His uncertainty to take up his responsibility and poor perception on how to follow in his boss’s footsteps.

He embarked on subtle campaign to challenge Riek Machar in an attempt to keep him out of politics in Juba. Taban ensured that Riek is kept away as far as possible, and preferably in exile so as to prevent him to come back and to resume power as the legitimate IO Chairman.

Shortly, Taban became disillusioned with his position, he was in constant nightmare about Riek’s come back. At every opportunity he seizes, Taban vigorously started to dismiss Riek as irrelevant, who is like ‘a vehicle parked in exile without wheels’. President Kiir confided in him and entrusted him to chattel flights abroad to pursue this strategy, which will make Riek confined to one place in exile.

Simultaneously, Taban started to chattel flights between Juba and Khartoum on official visits to iron out issues of bilateral nature, including meeting with some opposition groups active at the border with Sudan.

Observers believe that Gen. Taban managed to strike a deal with some top military (IO) officials, including Collo high-ranking commanders in the area. His mission to attract followers and boost support for his leadership has yielded very little results and subsequently managed to barely lure Nuer or Collo forces to his own camp.

Implausibly, Taban with his bizarre character proposed to create Upper Nile Central States, which will include Panyikango and all areas of the Collo Kingdom lying on the Eastern bank of the River Nile joining thus, Dinka Areas of Akoka, Baliet and Adong with Malakal as the capital city. But, ironically, Dinka Apadang forced Taban to shut-up hinting, “non-coexistence with Collo people under one roof in Malakal.”

Emerging reports have obviously revealed that Taban has thoroughly discussed the issue of Malakal at different forums including church centres showing a clear departure from his previously held position to maintain JCE interests in Upper Nile.

Apparently, Taban would want to bring about peace and tranquility in the remaining conflict prone areas through newly set strategy provided that his proposal would not anger his new boss Salva Kiir Mayardit, and his Dinka supporters who maintained saying the issue of Malakal is non-negotiable. He has appealed for both Collo and Apadang to accept coexistence in Malakal as before, but neither side would want to back down on held positions.

Interestingly enough, Kiir’s recent expression which revealed saying he has done nothing wrong and that he seeks forgiveness for mistakes he might have committed unknowingly has cast doubts about his genuine search for peace and reconciliation.

It was rather unpalatable because of the nature of his approach and the character of his appointees whom some of them under no delusion were people with past bad records on the management of public resources and peaceful coexistent.

Take, for example, Simon Kun Pouch who served as the governor of Upper Nile State for more than two decades has been presiding over the ruins in Malakal. His reign as Governor during those days showed wanton destruction on physical infrastructure, including social fabric in the area. Thus, Malakal was reduced to just a mere rubble.

What could we expect from a bunch of idiots who knew nothing besides hatred? Simon Kun in league with other like-minded Nuer and Dinka individuals destroyed the whole town of Malakal beyond recognition. They massacred thousands of innocent people, including children, women and elderly in just a matter of some few days, what a farce!

Similarly, Bona Malwal who is currently serving, as a leading member of JCE is known for his avid dislike for unity and non-sharing resources with other non-Dinka in South Sudan. He strongly believes in disunity, and a tribesman at heart.

In fact, Bona Malual is the very person behind the idea of ‘Dinka absolute power for two hundred years to come’. He has relentlessly traveled around the world to preach for Dinka super power and imposition of the policy of divide and rule in the Republic of South Sudan.

However, both men and some more others are posing real threats and insecurity for the people of South Sudan. They will certainly defeat the purpose by which any genuine call for dialogue and reconciliation. With their likes on top of affairs, the prospects for dialogue will not only become harder to realise, but it will be a more risky venture in the context of South Sudan.

As devoted Churchgoer, President Kiir is still far away from the spirit of true repentance, thus he is not worthy to receive the divine of forgiveness or remorse yet. God the almighty saviour has not yet come any closer to his side, because of the amount of sins he committed against innocent people of South Sudan.

Honestly speaking, if he were serious about his recent intention, he would have at least scrubbed his establishment order No. “36/2015” as a gesture to attract sympathy and to remove suspicion and doubts still lingering around his neck.

Secondly he would have accepted without any precondition to dismantle all the illegal establishments crippling political, economical and social welfare institutions in the country.

Thirdly, he would have taken a courageous stance to dismiss JCE as unconstitutional non-existence.

Lastly, he would have shown signs to step down voluntarily, paving the way for the advent of real democracy and unity of the people in the country. But instead, President Kiir ignored all these vital gestures. Therefore, he was not really serious about his latest call.

The good news is that many people, however, have not taken him seriously, because he was known for such misleading and compelling appeals. Obviously, he was making a mockery of the system. However, fighting against injustices will still go further. We will preach and call for unity of all the tribes to rise up against policies of ‘Kiir’s fascism’.

Albeit, Collo must be prepared this time to fight for survival. Collo must come together united with other communities facing the same enemy to fight against injustice, corruption and malicious antagonism within South Sudan. Threats are real and will go nowhere any sooner. Collo forces should take the lead and put its forces on alert to response rapidly for calls of duty against forces of disunity and destruction.

The established social spectrum on various media platforms must observe the spirit of brotherhood and desist from making unnecessary provocations or irresponsible move. Collo various military forces must abide by pledges made before the King of Collo people and paramount chiefs in respect for the spirit of our ancestors and for the sake of our motherland.

Let us stand side by side for the protection of our traditional values and our rights to leave decent life. Let us reject forces of evils in our midst by assuring that we wouldn’t be intimidated or misled by forces of darkness again.

The spirit of our ancestors reinforced by the blessings of Jesus Christ will always be upon all the Collo people, especially those who have taken up arms to fight for our rights against forces of occupation and disunity.

Finally, the issue of Malakal is central to everyone in the Collo Kingdom. This is not a private affair or a monopoly of politicians or groups of individuals armed or otherwise. We will never accept any bargain that would not place Malakal at the centre of final peace to resume its role as inherent Collo commercial town.

Certainly, Agwelek and New Tiger forces, including the entire Collo people won’t take any further provocation or aggression lightly while lying down. Victory is ours and certain.

To our fallen heroes, have mercy and rest in peace.

South Sudan Bishop Santo condemns South Sudan political leaders of bad governance

BY: JOSEPH ODUHA, TheEastAfrican, JAN/03/2017, SSN;

A South Sudanese cleric has warned political leaders in the country against violent takeover of power.

The Catholic bishop, Santo Laku Pio, lamented that last year was associated with fear, rape, hatred, and lack of political will to implement the peace agreement.

The bishop made the remarks while celebrating the New Year mass at St Theresa Cathedral, Kator, in the capital Juba.

He cited bad governance and misuse of resources for personal and political gain as key elements retarding the progress of peace and development in the war torn country.

“2016 was associated with bad governance. Our resources have been mismanaged. Our ethnicities have been used for personal and political gain,” he said.

He urged the political leaders across the country to embrace dialogue for the development of the nation.

The bishop further condemned the destruction of properties including food, deliberate killing, robbery, unnecessary use of force to displaced people and war propaganda by the parties to the conflict in the country.

“You can’t say I signed peace with reservation, reservation is lies. Peace is peace and nothing else,” he said.

He criticised both the government and opposition leaders who don’t want peace to prevail in South Sudan saying they wanted to continue looting the nation.

“It is true that there are people among us who don’t want peace. They want war and they are sons and daughters of violence.

“Don’t follow them. Don’t follow the violent people in our country. Make the violent people irrelevant in our community,” he told the congregation.

Two years after seceding from Sudan, South Sudan plunged into a war on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, of plotting a coup. A peace agreement signed in August 2015 has since crumbled after fresh fighting erupted in July last year.

Time for Pres. Museveni to reconsider his unlimited support to Kiir

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF, JAN/01/2017, SSN;

President Museveni’s persistence to prop up Kiir has been the subject of discussions in the South Sudanese intellectual circles, particularly among the Equatorians. It’s also true that the lay people are aware of the ever-increasing influence of the Ugandan leader over the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.

Many believe that had it not been for the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) intervention, the regime in Juba would have collapsed in early January 2014. Museveni’s intervention gave the embattled government a lifeline.

In reality, the regime is heavily dependent on Uganda for its survival. The UPDF has been deployed in Western Equatoria since 2005. Its mission, as we were made to believe, was to pursue and uproot the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in collaboration with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The Americans were also involved in providing logistical support, special forces and funding. The Garamba Offensive (code-named Operation Lightning Thunder) between 2008 and 2009 was the culmination of the coalition’s efforts including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to eradicate the LRA.

But for the last 5 to 6 years, the LRA is nowhere to be found in Western Equatoria. Many observers are now of the opinion that the LRA is no more or if at all it existed, it will be in the form of a negligible group in the depths of the remote jungles of the Central African Republic (CAR).

As such it fits the description of a group of bandits rather than a rebel group to be reckoned with. Yet the UPDF remains deployed in Western Equatoria State. There are now reports that they are present in Eastern Equatoria and even in disguise within the capital city, Juba.

No one would dispute the fact that President Museveni has done a lot of good things for the people of South Sudan during the war for independence.

In addition to whatever legacy he is going to get in his country, the people of South Sudan would remember him as one of the few African leaders who gave them unwavering support.

However, that good reputation is in jeopardy or has already been damaged following his involvement in South Sudan’s conflict.

An operation aimed at evacuating the Ugandan Nationals as was initially announced by the Ugandan authorities was swiftly modified into safeguarding the strategic infrastructures in Juba in the aftermath of the December 2013 massacre of the Nuer civilians.

Ultimately the operation ended up with the UPDF taking sides and decisively tilting the power balance in favour of the government.

People were told that there was an Agreement/Treaty between the government of South Sudan and the Ugandan government to intervene in such a situation. The fact of the matter is that if such an Agreement/Treaty ever existed, it would have been unconstitutional because the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) did not deliberate on it or pass it.

In fact, the NLA was unaware of such an arrangement between the government of South Sudan and the government of Uganda.

Furthermore, a Mutual Defence Treaty is universally for defence against foreign invasion and not for defending the government against the opposition or an uprising of its own people.

Museveni’s motives are quite unclear. Following his statement that there was no coup d’etat in Juba, people expected a change in policy towards a more neutral position.

What he said showed a government that fabricated a coup, plunged the country into civil war just for the sake of maintaining the status quo. That alone should have been enough for the Ugandan leader to review his backing of Kiir’s government.

Also, it was reported that Museveni did say while addressing a rally, that if security in Uganda was to be like the state of affairs in South Sudan, he would hang himself.

It’s a clear admission that the government of South Sudan has failed its people. Then why would the Ugandan leader continue to support such a government?!

I believe “It’s the economy, stupid!” if I may borrow President Bill Clinton’s phrase that was first coined by James Carville, Clinton’s campaign strategist in the successful 1992 Presidential campaign. Probably other weird calculations do exist in the Ugandan leader’s mind that are subject to speculations.

There is no doubt that Uganda’s economy is “booming” because of unfettered access to the South Sudanese markets. Foreign trade regulations are rudimentary in the new country with Uganda and the other regional powers taking full advantage of the situation.

Rampant corruption is also attracting bogus foreign investors and traders who hardly pay taxes. Juba has become the centre of attraction for all the thieves in the world.

South Sudan is the top consumer of Ugandan goods with trade deficit almost 100% in Uganda’s favour. However, the policy of shoring up an unpopular regime is short-sighted and risky.

History has shown us that the outcomes are usually grim than when foreign countries show solidarity with the people or at least remain neutral.

The case of Iran during the Shah era is a classic example. The US blanket support for the Shah did not save the regime from collapse or ensure the furthering of American interests and influence in that nation.

Instead, it led to the radicalization of the society, marginalisation of the moderate political figures and extreme animosity against the US. It was apparent that for decades the US lost a big consumer market and a major trading partner in that region. The Europeans, the Japanese, the Russians and the Chinese were quick to seize the chance and fill the gaps.

Even from a practical point of view, the gains to the Ugandan economy under the current turmoil are unsustainable in the long term.

As the war continues to rage in South Sudan, and due to reasons of proximity to a war zone – Uganda’s economy would be negatively affected one way or another. Refugees are crossing the borders into Uganda in their thousands.

Ironically they are fleeing the SPLA atrocities to safety in Uganda, while the government of Uganda is helping the SPLA to acquire lethal weapons to commit those atrocities.

With the steady increase in the refugee population, a drop in the buying capacity would occur coupled with a decrease in the number of consumers. Both would certainly have a negative impact on Uganda’s exports to South Sudan.

There is no doubt that the war will have a significant effect on the flow of goods from Uganda to South Sudan as the major routes between Uganda and South Sudan would be at the mercy of the opposition forces.

Additionally, the Equatorians have reached a level of awareness that may push them towards boycotting Ugandan goods in protest to the support rendered by the Ugandan government to the murderous regime in Juba.

Most of the commodities imported from Uganda are produced locally in Equatoria. It’s the absence of help from the government and widespread insecurity that’s preventing our farmers from producing those commodities.

The best strategy for Uganda to protect its economic gains and ensure sustainability is to be on the side of the people of South Sudan rather than throwing its weight behind a government that has no future.

The relations between the people of Equatoria and the Ugandan people goes beyond politics. There are strong ethnic and cultural ties between the two peoples. The colonial borders are artificial as it has divided families with the result of some having both nationalities among their members.

The constant flow of refugees into Uganda who are clearly in a dire situation is bound to evoke sympathy towards them from the Ugandan people. Museveni’s policy would likely backfire. The heinous crimes that are being committed in South Sudan, would certainly push the Ugandan people into solidarity with their brethren across the borders.

Should that happen; which is quite likely, it would mean that the Ugandan leader has stirred up the hornets’ nest. A host of problems could arise as a result.

The Equatorian people have been instrumental in the efforts to ward off the LRA attacks on Ugandan soil. In particular, the Arrows boys have been battling the LRA in the jungles of Western Equatoria for at least 5 years.

Their contribution cannot be underestimated particularly in providing accurate intelligence about the whereabouts of the LRA. With the current policy of the Ugandan government, the locals will have no incentive to help in the war against the LRA.

That leaves the door wide open for the possibility of LRA resurgence. The UPDF presence on South Sudanese soil would likely be viewed differently than it used to be. Many are seeing it increasingly reminiscent of the infamous 1998 UPDF invasion of the DRC in collaboration with Rwanda.

During a recent unannounced visit to Juba, the Ugandan leader issued statements that raised eyebrows. The following quote which is attributed to him appeared in the Sudan Tribune on December 22, 2016 – “Any other issue that needs to be handled will be handled in order to allow elections should be done now.”

It showed that Museveni is now pushing for early elections in South Sudan. He knows that his friend lacks legitimacy and the only way to overcome that is by organising an election. It will, of course, be a fake one but still carries the name election which is all that Kiir needs to cling to power.

However, the Ugandan leader committed a serious breach of diplomatic protocol by dwelling on a matter that touches the sovereignty of the host state. Such a statement would have caused a diplomatic and media uproar should it be delivered in a democratic or indeed any sovereign country.

In 1967, General Charles de Gaulle, the President of France, during a visit to Canada said the famous phrase, “Long live free Quebec!”

He received harsh diplomatic and media criticism both in Canada and in his country France. De Gaulle had to cut his visit short and return to France. What he said was perceived as an attempt to undermine Canada’s sovereignty.

I am absolutely sure that Museveni’s statement was outrageous to many South Sudanese including members of the media. But with the assassination of journalists like Isaiah Abraham, Boutros Martin, Isaac Vuni, Dalia Marko, Musa Mohammed, Randa George, Adam Juma, Peter Julius Moi and others lingering in people’s minds – any criticism would seriously compromise the safety of the critic.

According to Sudan Tribune, Kiir gave the reporters the following response – “We discussed bilateral issues and listened to his (President Museveni’s) advice and we will do what he told us.”

Kiir’s statement transpires two things; either he is unaware of Museveni’s breach of diplomatic protocol or that he knows it but has become a pawn for Museveni.

Many of us still remember President Kiir and the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth saying in the face of mounting international pressure to implement the Peace Agreement over a year ago -that Kiir was being treated as a school boy. Well, with the above statement following the meeting with President Museveni, the question that comes to mind is – who is to blame?!

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

South Sudan, My Country: A Nation at the Mercy of Madmen!

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei , DEC/23/2016, SSN;

The tears shed and suffering experienced by those who have lost loved ones in South Sudan brutal civil war will be a curse on all the actors. Each morning comes with bad news, highway killings and disappearances credited to the Juba’s unknown gunmen.

The leaders who are supposed to be custodians of the nation are not living up to people’s will and expectations. Their thirst for overarching powers doesn’t yield to the call by people who have known nothing but deaths and hunger throughout their existence.

The population so dependent on what they hear from leaders verbally have their hopes subsidized, and the joy supposedly associated with independent South Sudan disappeared before delivery. Taking issues by the hierarchy of importance, South Sudan security situation must be addressed before anything else can be resolved.

The political elites and their bloodsucking cohorts are directly responsible for the current crisis. With the situation so volatile as entailed by the records, not even the strongest men/women in the country can stop the little known gangs from wrecking the nation apart.

It’s never too late for the citizens to reach to the bottom of South Sudan’s fundamental governance problems. The callousness and political cult that instigate fighting among different ethnic groups in South Sudan must be dealt away with.

To begin with, this article is about the madmen of South Sudan. Who are they, by the way? The madmen in the context of South Sudan present political anarchy are those politicians and warlords who have had a joint venture, and on the rampage of killing everyone who disagrees with them.

If anyone has to ask some of the Dinka/Jieng’s Army officers & youths who joined the death squad on behalf of the SPLM-IO, and why they chose such political path, their answer would not be different from those who had taken up arms against South Sudan’s government in the recent years.

Obviously, it would be presented as a call to reform the corrupt and decayed system of governance in the country. And from the perspective of bystanders(South Sudan political commentators), it’s a quick move to rise to the top without merits.

As I write this piece, key Jieng’s youth leaders have relinquished their allegiances to the SPLM-IO, and are either returning to South Sudan or continuing to reside in East Africa according to unannounced amnesty offered to them by the Government of South Sudan.

Just a day ago, an eloquent colleague online pointed out that some Dinka/Jieng’s youths who left for the bush empty handed are returning home empty handed. What a scar on their names?

On the other hand, if an outsider has to ask the Oil suckers why they labeled their own as being Rebels, threatened their lives and forced them to choose SPLM-IO as an alternative, they would be like… the whole thing was very confusing, but we just need them back badly.

Give us a break, madmen, you have destroyed South Sudan, and have shamed our independence.

More than a decade since South Sudan gained self-governce, different armed groups have operated in the countryside, killing, looting and raiding livestock. And there is more to what emerged after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement(CPA).

As a matter of records, South Sudan’s current governance problems dated back to those days when the Region was governed in Khartoum, and when Southerners believed/claimed to have no freedom to realize living side by side as one people.

In the olden days, successive Khartoum based regimes used “divide and rule”, the very method that worked best to the advantage of the people in the north (rest of the former Sudan). The elites, both northerners and southerners to some extent, exploited ethnic differences and ignited the fire that kept Southerners in a constant fight for many decades.

When the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army emerged in 1983, the political fault lines shifted, and those who once considered themselves pro-Arabs became enemies of the State(Sudan). It was rather a well calculated drastic change that crippled the nation’s economy and displaced millions within the first five years of the war.

There were steep resistances by Southern Sudanese politicians who relocated themselves to northern Sudan, chasing town life. Despite that, the momentum was so huge that other marginalized Sudanese joined the guerrilla warfare.

It was something never seen by the Sudanese Establishment, and majority never thought that a Southern political & military front would ever force Sudanese government to make sense of some of the proposals put forth by the SPLM/A in negotiations that never materialized.

With all of that being an eye opener, proxy war strategy which made Southerners to fight themselves along ethnic lines continued to tear apart their social fabric wherever they lived around the world. Knowing where we all came from can help us deal with future governance challenges of our new country.

Following through with series of events before South Sudan’s independence, tribal conflicts were usually apolitical, fierce fight over resources(pastures & waters). While war raged in the South(1983-2005), power struggle among the officers of the Movement led to internal fighting, and Khartoum gave hands to those who chose to fight the SPLM/A in the South.

In the heart of what was northern Sudan, three fronts(Nuba Mountain, Southern Blue and Eastern Sudan) stayed intact with the SPLM/A Mainstream and helped the Movement to survive until major breakthrough was reached in 2002.

The same Allies who fought alongside South Sudanese in the war of liberation, and who are now known as members of the SPLM-N helped the current Government of South Sudan from being overwhelmed by SPLM-IO fighters in northern South Sudan(2013-2015). Localized wars are hard to win, and defeating armed rebellion has proven to be the hardest thing since guerrilla fighters usually have nothing to lose.

In practice, there are things that don’t come to surface when nations are in peace and doing well economically, but do become exposed in times of war. It serves great importance to point fingers at paranoids who are used to fighting wars on behalf of their masters.

Chunks of the back and forth wrangling in the country would have been settled peacefully if leaders were not too busy off-shoring public money. In every level of the South Sudanese society, grudges built up and matured into actual war.

Deep down the villages in South Sudan, the actions of madmen are seen through crooked officers who often take sides in local conflicts. The tribal elements seen in South Sudan’s many fights aren’t necessarily the launching pads for all the conflicts in the country.

For example, former Lakes and Warrap states scored high in Jieng killing themselves. It was just a matter of time, and the whole situation was expected to explode. Foreign organizations and Journalists based in South Sudan all these years described events as catastrophic, but authorities didn’t take serious notes.

Now come the big bomb, a rift between President of the Republic and his former Vice President whom he sacked after trying to challenge him in a ruling Party democratic exercise. The rhetoric right after December 6, 2013 were very alarming, yet people chose to be muted until mass-killing became the new reality in South Sudan’s major towns(Juba, Akoba, Bortown, Bentiu and Malakal).

Just to stamp on the historical account of the events leading to the independence of South Sudan, quite a number of incidents showed that running the new nation would be hell of a job for those who never had a real government.

Khartoum never had interest in training responsible leaders, and its actions have backfired on them in Dar Fur, Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In 2006, an extension of the Popular Defense Forces resulted into a lethal fight in the garrison town of Malakal.

The long time militias of “divide and rule”, allied to Sudanese government in Khartoum, and commanded by Gen. Gabriel Gatwech Chan(Tangynyang), and Gen. Mohamed Chol felt left out in the central command, and staged a door to door gun-battle.

That conflict should have been an eye opener for authorities in the South, but they failed to take serious notes despite the fight being an entrenchment by the untamed militias to join the organized forces without some kinds of power-sharing.

In the same Region of the Sudan, now South Sudan, junior officers in the SPLA formed their thoughts, flocked to the bushes and started fighting the Government of Southern Sudan in Juba.

The political rivalry among different groups in South Sudan is a syndrome in its own right, and blame had always been on Khartoum. Slowly by slowly, a blame game between largest tribes (Dinka and Nuer) in South Sudan started to gain popularity, and military confrontations ensued.

But with SPLA not being national enough, soldiers turned guns on their closest colleagues in the Army. The skirmishes of the political flip-flopping have left deep marks on all South Sudanese, and Representatives of different ethnic groups in South Sudan, and at different levels of the governments should take blame for failing the country.

As the world watches South Sudan disintegrating and descending into bitter political pieces, the ethnic intolerance shown by politicians holding higher positions in both the Government & the opposing sides is very troubling.

When madmen are termed as being corrupt, organized criminals and so forth, they want to reach for guns or hire a Hit-man to kill the person who talk sense. Duh, they cannot win the fight until they are disengaged from repetitive nature of their deeds. There shouldn’t be any illusion about the current state of affairs in South Sudan because suffering has always been the work of madmen.

Lastly, the recently announced “National Dialogue” as being discussed across the board is rather a new thing given unsettled legitimate leader of the SPLM-IO. I’m afraid that those who termed the new political Machine as “National Monologue” are describing the would-be national reconciliation as a one-sided.

The first few signs of the promised dialogue are troubling, and that has been the nature of things in South Sudan for quite too long. No doubt, the Dialogue include prominent and veteran politicians who have served South Sudanese on different fronts, but it is a little too sketchy for anyone to envision success of such mechanism.

Already, concerned citizens and opposition parties have voiced their fears, and saw nothing tangible coming from the so-called “National Dialogue.”

On its face, it is an assurance to supporters of the Government that power isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. The President has doubled-down on many agendas. Lack of genuine interest in resolving the conflict is a serious challenge, and must be dealt with before lost hopes can be resuscitated.

Had top leadership of South Sudan’s Government and the Rebels put the interest of the nation first, this senseless conflict which has consumed much of our resources, would have ended on January 24, 2014.

The arrival of Advance Team in Juba after the August 2015 Peace Accord (ARCSS) was promising, but skepticism turned into shoddy hope, and faded away when fighting erupted again around the Presidential Palace (J1).

In making the concluding remarks, South Sudan’s ongoing political and military turmoil can be traced back to many things that have gone wrong over the years, and those in charge of the nation’s affairs have failed numerous times to address them appropriately.

With so many mixtures of what make South Sudanese fight themselves, ethnicity need not be ignored when dealing with the country’s central issues. The warlords who come from all tribes in South Sudan are the madmen, and South Sudan is at their mercy.

Unless citizens look after their lives and properties, these energetic ruthless killers plus aged egomaniacs, Council of Elders from all tribes must be scrutinized and sidelined from making decisions on behalf of those who seem to give them everything they want.

As we move into 2017, we should all be thinking about proper ways for fixing the mess in the country. The huge vacuum left by security apparatuses failing to discharge their functions and uphold their responsibilities accordingly has brought the nation to where it is today.

It is important that solutions be availed to solve the complex issues that keep setting South Sudan ablaze.

The Author here is Mayak Deng Aruei, he holds undergraduate degrees, a graduate degree, and currently a Doctoral student in Organizational Leadership & Organizational Development, and can be reached at Kongor.da.ajak@gmail.com

‘Juba Hypocrites’ and the Empty Call for National Dialogue!

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, DEC/19/2016, SSN;

While the world community is commemorating the 3rd Anniversary of the December 2013 Juba Massacre, the same genocidaire regime chose to distract everyone’s attention by releasing a speech by the same president announcing the commencement of a so-called National Dialogue. A Dialogue with a tyrant, my foot!

Notwithstanding the fact that I didn’t listen to the speech while it was being read out by Salva Kiir Mayardit himself, nonetheless, I have read through the entire document of the speech dated 14th December 2016. My personal conclusion is that this is just another well-ruminated speech prepared for him by his speech writers who often engage more on the what should be said but not necessarily what can be done.

The Call by dictator Salva Kiir Mayardit for a National Dialogue under his auspices and yet oblivious to his personal role in the current crisis if anything to go by is itself utterly absurd.

With the demise of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflicts in South Sudan (ARCISS) in July 2016 following the failed attempt on the life of SPLM-IO’s Chairperson and Commander in Chief, Dr. Riek Machar Teny in Juba, the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) legally ceased to exist.

Whatever is there now, is simply what the International community and the outgoing President Barrack Obama’s administration would like to maintain as a face-saving exercise, no more, no less.

Let me be very sincere with those who continue to think that anything good can still be achieved under the pathetic leadership of General Salva Kiir Mayardit, General Taban Deng Gai, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, and General Paul Malong Awan, that they are indeed hostages of a ‘Big Lie.’ For it is these generals who chose the path of violence as a way of addressing South Sudan’s political issues.

The generals would like to remain relevant to the politics of the country, and they can only achieve that by further dragging the entire country into more devastating, yet senseless civil war. I wish to believe they have reached their goals so far. To come out of it is not what they can be entrusted to accomplish.

Characteristic of Salva Kiir Mayardit and coterie, they have often portrayed themselves as peace loving people, but wherever they go, a trail of blood follows them. Maybe this little extract from the president’s Independence Day Speech can serve to shade light on what often trademarks his speeches and essentially, they are all about empty promises that the least sophisticated South Sudanese doesn’t even buy into anymore:

“It is my ardent belief that you are aware that our detractors have already written us off, even before the proclamation of our independence. They say we will slip into civil war as soon as our flag is hoisted. They justify that by arguing that we are incapable of resolving our problems through dialogue. They charge that we are quick to revert to violence. They claim that our concept of democracy and freedom is faulty. It is incumbent upon us to prove them all wrong!”.

Does anyone need reminding that the genesis of the 13th July 2013 crisis was a breakdown in dialogue within the ruling SPLM party!

The people of South Sudan deserve to have a better leadership than those murderers masquerading as statesmen. War is obviously not the best way to go about addressing national issues, yet this is what Salva Kiir’s regime has opted for. But there must be an end to this destructive war.

And while there is an urgent need to restart the process of a peaceful settlement, Salva Kiir will always be part of the problem and never of the solution.

Hence, until we can all see that this is the case, worse things will likely continue to happen in this new country while the culprits with the blessing of the inaction of the international community continue to enjoy financial and moral support in the regional and beyond.

No one with conscience including President Barrack Obama and his entire administration can miss seeing the many squandered opportunities that could have saved South Sudan should the situation continue to deteriorate, which indeed is already the case.

For many observers, including the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, headed by South Africa’s Yasmin Sooka and Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, have recently warned that the current violence, much of it inter-tribal and increasingly directed at ethnic cleansing, is sliding towards genocide.

Repeatedly, Sooka has said: ‘The stage is being set for a repeat of what happened in Rwanda and the international community is under an obligation to prevent it.’ The last time was on 1 December after visiting South Sudan with her commission.

Sadly indeed, nothing tangible has been coming from the African Union although we all know that the AU’s Constitutive Act permits forcible intervention in the case of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes.

As the number of South Sudanese who have abandoned their homes because of this war has already surpassed the one million mark, the crucial importance of the International community to continue with the provision of the much needed humanitarian assistance without hindrance cannot be overstressed.

However, a real process to reverse the precarious situation on the ground in South Sudan necessitates a new inclusive political process. This process MUST be outside South Sudan to enable the participants the freedom to delve into the various root causes of the conflict.

And whether they like it or not some very painstaking decisions must be reached to re-structure the future political, social and economic outlook of the new country be it in one piece or several pieces.

Yet the very crucial step must begin by immediately operationalizing the Hybrid courts for South Sudan to consider all the crimes committed in the period that started from 13th December 2013 to date. While preparing for all these, it is also important that Salva Kiir and his regime are held responsible for the demise of the ACRISS.

All leaders who are responsible for war crimes and offenses committed against humanity must also receive targeted sanctions in forms of travel bans and freeze of ALL their assets.

Finally, the time has come for this country to be put under severe forms of the arms embargo to stop this brutal and savage regime from continuing its vicious assaults on unarmed civilians cowardly using lethal Helicopter gunships and jet fighters.

It is the time that the international community comes to the realization of the wrong path the Obama administration has imposed on it by erroneously giving recognition to Salva Kiir-Taban Deng regime in Juba. They will come to regret it if they are already not doing so.

It is the time that they see the administration for actually what it stands for, as it is bent on imposing its violent kleptocratic nature on the country with wider ramifications for the entire region. Kiir’s regime is presiding over a pariah state that deserves isolation and not embracement.

Author: Justin Ambago Ramba. A Concern South Sudanese Citizen and a Voice for the Voiceless.

South Sudan: Too Many Problems but So Many Hopes

BY:Taban Abel Aguek, MP, and Govt. Chief Whip, Easten Lakes State, DEC/18/2016, SSN;

South Sudan is a country that emerged to be an independent State from a wave of turbulent eras of uncertainties. It’s history is largely an account of a series of protracted conflicts. In fact, South Sudanese people have, for the past centuries, invested more in wars than any other thing.

The history of the struggle of the black people of Sudan and South Sudan goes back to as early as prehistoric time. According to some recorded materials, the black people of the ‘Sudans’ were continually pushed way beyond Egypt until they found themselves in the present day Sudan and South Sudan before and after the 14th Century, following the collapse of the Christian Nubian Kingdoms of Makuria and Alodia.

Then the South Sudanese continued to wage bitter wars later against the Anglo-Egyptian colonization and then again against successive Arab Islamic regimes in Khartoum. And for all the wars the South Sudanese fought both in the ancient days down to most recent ones, there was one chief cause among all other things: Identity.

Generations, one after the other, lived in an environment of war. So basically, South Sudanese have lived with a culture of war of identity to an extent that war itself has almost evolved into a habit of settling their issues.

On January 9, 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan led by its ruling party, National Congress Party (NCP). Finally, a brutal conflict that started in 1983 (and cost millions of lives) was brought to an end.

Peace was just a general thing but out of all the protocols in the agreement, there was only one clause that actually meant peace; and that was the ‘South Sudan Referendum’.

For the first time in history of the struggle of South Sudanese, they would get a chance to choose to either remain in a united Sudan or secede and become an Independent State. In that, the referendum presented a choice of Identity (for which South Sudanese had fought for so long) or remain in an Arab dominated United Sudan and continue to live as second class citizens.

South Sudanese, on 9th January, 2011, voted 98.83% in favor of separation and passing over the 60% turn-out threshold for the Independent South Sudan. On July 9, 2011, the flag of the world’s youngest nation was hoisted to the wild jubilation of South Sudanese of all ages and of all creed.

But two years after Independence, the new country descended into another terrible conflict, this time against itself. Anyone who saw the exultance of the crowds in the streets of all major cities in the country could not believe their eyes.

A dreadful conflict has just broken out. What began like a simple game of politics had swayed from the peripheries of talks to the barrel of guns just in a very short time. Major towns were raced down, hundreds of thousands of people displaced and lives lost in huge numbers.

South Sudan, as an independent state, had come along with a plethora of problems. The old problems have coupled with new ones, and the burden is sure heavy. From independence it started from scratch. There is very little or no infrastructural development at all. Poverty is wide spread. Its healthcare is one of the worst in the world. Illiteracy is so high and so many things are just at an infant stage.

The region of Upper Nile and some parts of Equatoria have been left devastated by rampant insecurity. Targeted killings of people of certain ethnicities continue unabated. Tribalism has heightened and the economy is all but in tatters. This has not only left South Sudanese disillusioned but also very much forlorn.

With these facts, it is hard to deny that we are in problems. Yes, South Sudan is a country in deep problems but we are also a country with so much hope too. Pessimism is a disease that possesses the same effects as war itself.

As a result, south Sudanese should not give up faith in themselves and in their beloved country. South Sudan has so many problems, but people fail to realize that her hopes greatly outweigh her problems.

People should be mindful that we are not the only people fighting on earth. The problems in our country are the same problems associated with every new African country.

Chinua Achebe once said that there is nothing difficult than telling people that have been fighting for freedom for so long that you are now free; they will not know where they will begin.

Moreover, we still have the destiny of our country in our hands. We have not squandered all our chances. One only has to look at Syria, Somalia, Iraq or Libya to see the difference.

Much as our people suffered and continue to suffer today, not all is lost. Many times in the past, our revolutionary movement used to be written off, but we defied all odds until we reached to the ultimate goal.

Just like the SPLM/A under Dr. John Garang de Mabior struggled through thick and thin for over two decades and survived, South Sudan will make it.

We are where we are (as an Independent Country) because of things we did right; but there are things that we did not do well, and I believe we have time to right all the wrongs.

One of the key battles we lost from the word go is the fight against corruption. Secondly, we never made the right policies or properly implemented the policies that existed.

This, I believe, is because of the confusion of amalgamation of political ideologies and work forces that had been of distant methodologies, competences and experiences.

After the signing of the CPA, South Sudanese choices for vital public offices came from various people who did not have any agenda for the country. The convergence of different SPLM chapters from SPLM-Bush, SPLM-Khartoum, SPLM-Diaspora and SPLM-Former Militias culminated into one unit that was good at theft, and not formulating a strong ideology for the country.

The worse then is; these people were recycled over and over again as they climbed the ladder to a point of the Biblical Tower of Babel, where they finally disagreed.

However, much as the country was terribly failed by the members of various groups, we must acknowledge that we exist and we are not totally off the mark. We have not lost it all. The situation South Sudan is facing has happened before and is still happening today in other countries that were established long, long ago.

As reported last week by CNN, Brazil and Greece, for instance, are suffering the economic problems just like South Sudan. Government workers in Nigeria go for months without salaries just like in South Sudan. War in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq are worse than the current unrest in our country.

Meanwhile, there’s no government in Somalia, South Sudan has a fully functioning government. Meanwhile we suffer fuel shortage in the country, people in Zimbabwe, according to one witness testimony aired by BB, experience severe water shortage for drinking and bathing.

Nothing is too late for South Sudan. We may be down but having fallen down is not the problem. The problem is if we fail to rise up against each fall. We have the potential to turn things over. Our people are among the world’s strongest people.

Our land is large and fertile. We have enough annual rainfall. Our natural resources are largely untapped. No situation is permanent. We shall not depend on imports for all our entire existence.

Generally, our identity project is not a failed endeavor. One of the strongest hopes South Sudanese have is their ability to reconcile. We have done it in the past and we can do it again.

One more time we need to stand strong and prove our skeptics wrong. With that we can surmount the challenges we face and one day we will build a nation that we aspire for. What we need now is to shun tribalism, foster unity, work hard in our different capacities to stitch together a working solution for the problems of our country.

The initiative by President Salva Kiir Mayardit for National Dialogue provides the chance to reinvigorate our combined efforts to make peace and reconcile our people. People of South Sudan need to embrace this initiative, give their full support, enrich it and own it.

We must put our hopes above the feeling of despair; for we have more hopes than problems in this country.

Taban Abel Aguek (MP) is the Government Chief Whip of Eastern Lakes State. His views do not represent the position of the Government of Eastern Lakes State. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

The Prospects of Peace in South Sudan: A Case of Double Standards?

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, DEC/16/2016, SSN;

The commemoration of the December 2013 Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians arrived while peace remains elusive in our troubled country. In fact, since those terrible days, the country has slid deeper into violence involving communities that were not part of the initial conflict.

The regime has since committed atrocities against the Chollo people, the Western Bahr Ghazalians and now the Equatorians. The war has spread to all parts of South Sudan.

The international community has been warned by Human Rights organisations and the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, that genocide is indeed looming in Equatoria unless effective measures are undertaken to avert it.

The South Sudan Democratic Front (SSDF) remains supportive of the regional and international efforts to realise a lasting peace in South Sudan. However, those endeavours thus far lacked consistency or direction and appeared chaotic.

The IGAD group of countries have been sending conflicting messages – on the one hand, they suggested that the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) could not be implemented without one of the principal signatories.

On the other, they indicated the contrary. Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae tenure as the Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) failed to make an impression on the course of events. Apart from infrequent statements that were merely for public consumption, the JMEC was largely an outsider to conflict resolution.

The Troika group is no better either. To explain this, let’s shed some light on the US position or positions. It appears Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Donald Booth, are in one league. They are advocating continuing with the damaged ARCSS.

Princeton Lyman, Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Institute of Peace and Kate Almquist Knopf, Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Department of Defense – seem to be in a league of their own. In a joint article, published in the Financial Times on July 20, 2016 – they came up with the idea of a UN/AU transitional administration for South Sudan for a period ranging from 10 to 15 years.

For the records, a UN Trusteeship is not a new idea. This author first suggested it in two articles on this website [ (UN Trusteeship is the best option to resolve the crisis in South Sudan on July 16, 2016) and (The Root Causes of Political Violence in South Sudan – What’re the solutions? on July 31, 2016 )]. They also suggested that Kiir and Machar should be offered immunity from prosecution and safe haven abroad!

It makes us wonder whether the US has backtracked on its stance regarding accountability. If the US on several occasions has emphasised the need for accountability, then who will be the individuals to face justice if the persons who issued the orders are to be left alone?

More confusing is that the views of the two officials are at odds with what their boss previously indicated. I quote what President Obama said while addressing the AU in Addis Ababa in July 2015, “The world awaits the African Union Commission (AUC) report because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace.”

At the UN, we saw Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the UN abandoning a plan to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposing arms embargo on South Sudan. It’s understandable that it wouldn’t have passed because of the Russian and Chinese Vetos.

But the US and its allies could have gotten the job done anyway. South Sudan is a landlocked country making arms embargo a lot easier.

The problem is that there appears to be some complacency and lack of political will to deal with the issue at hand once and for all. The US is the ultimate superpower until further notice, and we believe it could do more if it wants to.

In 2003, President George W Bush, formed the “Coalition of the willing” to circumvent the Russian and Chinese Vetos against the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein. It’s arguable that such a coalition though for a different purpose, does exist between the Troika countries, the IGAD group of countries and the regional powers.

The way Dr Riek Machar has been shut out from the neighbouring countries tells us that something of that kind is already underway. The question that begs for an answer is that – if an “embargo” has been successfully imposed on Dr Riek Machar, why can’t an arms embargo against the regime in Juba be imposed using similar means?

Are we witnessing a case of double standards?

The calls for an arms embargo from the numerous Human Rights organisations, the relief agencies and the UN relevant institutions were regrettably ignored. A dictatorial regime led by an illegitimate President is allowed to buy and increase its stockpile of weapons. The result would certainly be more atrocities against the innocent civilians in Equatoria and other parts of South Sudan.

The Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) is damaged beyond repair. Pretending that it’s still workable is deceptive and a counter-productive exercise. It was inherently flawed because of exclusion of major players from the Peace Agreement.

The first mistake committed by the brokers of ARCSS was to think that striking a deal between those who possessed arms would solve the problem. They overlooked the overwhelming majority of the South Sudanese people who were indeed opposing the regime peacefully.

The second mistake was that they were not bold enough to exclude the two rival leaders from leading the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Again, it was the view of this author in an article published on this website (No Deal is better than a Bad Deal on July 31, 2015) that a neutral national figure, preferably a member of the clergy, should be made to lead the Transition.

That would have brought some confidence in the system as a starting point and hastened the implementation of the Peace Agreement.

The brokers have now learned it the hard way – you cannot exclude a significant constituency, in fact, the cornerstone of the country from power-sharing and expect the Peace Agreement to succeed. At best it would be a piecemeal Peace Process and never comprehensive.

Re-negotiating ARCSS by all the stakeholders won’t work because the government already has reservations and regarded it as an imposed Peace Agreement. Also, the newcomers to the negotiating table would certainly have issues with what was agreed upon by the two sides.

Furthermore, the brokers themselves have shown a lack of neutrality on numerous occasions. The two options that have better chances of success are the following:

(a) Broad-based Peace negotiations inclusive of all the stakeholders under the auspices of the UN and the AU. Choosing the right system of governance for South Sudan would be at the centre of the negotiations. Exclusion of Kiir and Machar from presiding over the Transition would be a pre-requisite. A government of technocrats led by a neutral figure preferably a clergyman would be the right option to lead the country in a Transition of 3 to 5 years.

A general election shall then be held at the end of the Transition with the participation of all the political parties.

(b) A UN Trusteeship in collaboration with AU for at least five years would set the country on track and bring about a lasting peace.

Similarly, as in option (a), general elections would be carried out at the end of the Trusteeship.

As things stand right now, the so-called international community (depends on which group of countries you refer to) appears complacent, and some countries are displaying sheer opportunism. Those who have been lecturing us about democracy and the rule of law, ought to redeem themselves as their credibility is on the line.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

The SSDF VISION for Equatoria and South Sudan

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF, NOV/28/2016, SSN;

The struggle for an independent South Sudan was pioneered by the Equatorians as evidenced by the Torit Mutiny on 18 August 1955. Subsequently, the struggle took the shape of a full-blown liberation movement under the leadership of Fr Saturnino Ohure, Aggrey Jadden, Joseph Oduho, Gordon Mortat and Joseph Lagu. Then the South Sudanese were seemingly one people united around one common goal which was getting rid of the Jallaba rule.

The tribal prejudices and inclination to tribalism were kept at a low level. Tribalism was bound to disappear or remain insignificant had we kept the nationalistic approach of the Equatorian leaders.

South Sudanese nationalism was on the rise since the Torit revolt only to be hampered by Alier’s administration following the Addis Ababa Peace Accord, impeded by Garang’s SPLM/SPLA and totally derailed by Kiir’s regime, thanks to the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

South Sudan would have been in a better place by now had the government put the people’s business as its top priority. Instead, it pursued a policy that lacked impartiality, favouring the interests of one ethnicity (the Jieng) and pitting communities against each other.

The Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians on 15/12/2013 was a mortal blow to the South Sudanese nationalism. The Equatorians, the Chollo and the people of Western Bahr Ghazal were subjected to atrocities and heinous crimes as well. The regime has destroyed the social fabric of the country.

Now there is a great concern among the Equatorians and the international community as well that the government in Juba is preparing to commit genocide. Many human rights organisations have sounded the alarm bell and most important was the statement of Adama Dieng, the UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide on the 11/11/2016. Mr Dieng confirmed that all the ingredients for genocide, do exist in Equatoria at present. He has urged the international community to move fast to avert a catastrophe.

It’s clear that there is no such thing as South Sudanese nationalism at present. You will be deceiving yourself if you think the contrary. However, the SSDF believes that Equatoria is already a nation. South Sudan is not yet a nation but has got the potential to become one.

There is peaceful coexistence among the Equatorian communities despite diverse ethnicities. They have developed a unique common language (Arabi Juba) which is spoken all over Equatoria and beyond. They have a common psychological make-up or culture.

When you add to the above the fact that they come from a territory with well-defined boundaries, then the conclusion is that a nation is in existence. There is no ambiguity here, but many Equatorians seem to lack awareness of this fact just because they never gave it a thought.

There are reasons to believe that the JCE and some among the Jieng elites knew it and are working day and night to see it unravelling. It’s not a coincidence that the name Equatoria has been removed and never featured in the newly created 28 states.

We have seen the attempts to avoid using the name Equatoria and the increasing tendency to address the Equatorians individually according to their respective tribes. An undeclared war is being waged against Arabi Juba to stop it from spreading all over South Sudan. These desperate acts would come to no avail.

Between the late 1950’s and the second half of the 1960’s, a policy of cultural and religious assimilation was adhered to by the Aboud’s regime and the democratically elected governments. Some South Sudanese were coerced into changing their religion and names to Arabic names.

But as soon as the first winds of relative freedom blew over South Sudan after the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement – those South Sudanese swiftly discarded their coerced names and rapidly abandoned the adopted religion they were made to believe in. It’s too obvious that going against an insurgency or an army is a lot easier than fighting a culture.

Turning the country into a big prison, bugging people’s phones, torturing and eliminating perceived opponents, will only strengthen the people’s resolve to topple the regime. The JCE plan is bound to fail but would, unfortunately,
come at a high cost for the country both in human lives and material.

Our vision revolves around two central points. Firstly – Equatorian nationalism does not work against South Sudanese nationalism. In fact, it facilitates and enhances the process towards that end. The presence of Equatoria as a Sovereign State within a stable South Sudan would set the ground for peaceful coexistence, more cultural interactions and the emergence of one dominant language (Arabi Juba).

In essence, Equatorian nationalism would be the Launchpad for the greater South Sudanese nationalism.

It’s evident that the regime in Juba which is heavily under the influence of the JCE has its agenda for transforming the country into a Jieng State. The Dinka Development Plan (DDP) is at odds with fostering a South Sudanese nationalism.

The domination of the government by the Jieng and the operationalisation of the 28 states all point to the implementation of the DDP.

Therefore, a confederacy is the only way to salvage Equatoria and the other states as Sovereign entities and at the same time to safeguard the evolution of South Sudan into a nation where unity in diversity is upheld.

Secondly – We are not poor people but impoverished by poor policies and the absence of visionary leadership at the helm of the government. We do own vast swathes of fertile lands, numerous water resources and massive untapped mineral reserves.

South Sudan was lucky to have a reasonable number of technocrats at the time of independence as compared to the other African countries. With a visionary approach and the right policies in place, South Sudan would have leapt several steps forward in the way of development by now.

The formula for a rapid growth and improvement in services delivery to the populace encompasses three things. Prioritising the objectives, proper planning and setting up achievable targets within a specified time-frame.

The SSDF has ambitious plans for a robust economic growth and development guided by the principles of fiscal conservatism and a small government. We believe that with peace, the right policies and well-placed efforts, South Sudan could become a stable and wealthy country in the middle of Africa similar to Switzerland in the midst of Europe.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok,
Chairman and C-in-C of the SSDF

A Broken Nation: Torn between army and rebels, South Sudan refugees speak out

By Michael O’Hagan, THE EAST AFRICAN, posted Thursday, NOV/17/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
***Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the world’s newest country since renewed fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July following the collapse of a peace deal between the government and rebel forces.
***In the western town of Yei, units of the Dinka mainly South Sudan’s army are using machetes to kill the local Equatoria people accused of joining armed rebel groups, according to those who have recently fled the region.
***Other refugees described how dissident fighters forcibly recruited them into their ranks.
***Nearly 2,400 refugees arrive daily in the camps in Uganda.

South Sudanese refugees in Uganda have described being forced to flee soaring ethnic violence at the hands of the Kiir Juba government army while avoiding forced conscription into rebel forces.

Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the world’s newest country since renewed fighting broke out in the South Sudanese capital Juba in July following the collapse of a peace deal between the government and rebel forces.

In the western town of Yei, units of South Sudan’s army are using machetes to kill people accused of joining armed rebel groups, according to those who have recently fled the region.

“About two weeks ago, soldiers came to my brother Emmanuel’s house at night and demanded that he open the door,” said Abraham Aloro, a 20-year-old from a former tobacco plantation about two miles from Yei.

The town, which is 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the Ugandan border, has been a flashpoint for clashes between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those of his former vice-president, ex-rebel Riek Machar, who is now in exile.

“They accused him of joining the rebels,” said Aloro. “He hadn’t but they cut him to death with pangas (machetes). We found his body in the morning. He was 24.

“I ran with five friends. We were so scared. We had to take shortcuts because the government soldiers are on the main roads but there are rebels in the bush.”

Aloro then made it to Kuluba Refugee Transit Centre in northern Uganda, about seven kilometres from the South Sudan border.

Ethnic tensions

On average, around 2,400 new refugees arrive in Uganda from South Sudan daily, fleeing political violence that followed the collapse of a peace deal between Kiir and Machar inked in August last year that had raised hopes of peace. Some 330,000 have arrived so far this year.

From Kuluba, refugees are taken to Bidibidi Settlement, which is now the third largest camp in the world, where they receive essential supplies and land on which they can cultivate crops and build a shelter.

But Aloro, who is from the Kakwa tribe, is concerned about continuing ethnic tensions in the settlement.

“The SPLA (government) soldiers are Dinka and we don’t like to be with them. They are the very people who caused the problems. They will come and kill you while you are sleeping,” he said.

Robert Baryamwesiga, the top Ugandan government official in Bidibidi, accepts there is a risk of ethnic tensions spilling over into the camp.

“There’s a lot of resentment between the other tribes and Dinka. They say that the Dinka are the ones who chased them out of their country… but we are quick to sensitise them to explain that Dinkas are equally vulnerable,” he said.

“Once they are in Uganda the tribal conflicts are very minimal.”

Forceful recruitment

Sarah Kakuni, from the Pojulu ethnic group, fled South Sudan along with her two young daughters. Sitting in a communal tent in Bidibidi Settlement on a mat that the UN refugee agency had just given her, she described what life was like in Nyombwe, on the outskirts of Yei, before she fled.

“During the night you can hear shooting in town,” she said.

“When it stops, that’s when they’re slaughtering people with knives and pangas… Dinkas will open your door and kill you if you don’t have their tribal scars,” said the young mother, referring to the distinctive triple parallel lines many Dinka men have on their forehead.

Lino Rosa from Morobo county said that he was forced to fight alongside the rebels.

“They caught me and I stayed with them for one month… If you refuse they will slaughter you with a knife,” said the 26-year-old as he drew his finger across his throat.

“On 28 September they went to attack somewhere at night. I was able to sneak away. I threw down my gun and ran back to Morobo. I got my wife and children and we went to Congo,” said the father of three, who hails from the Kaliko tribe.

He then took an arduous, indirect route alone to Uganda where he joined 530,000 South Sudanese refugees already there.

“When I get more money I will go and get them,” he said of his family.

-AFP