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

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

Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

State-sanctioned killings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Background

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

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

South Sudan, the Way to Economic Growth

BY: Dominic UKELO, South Sudanese, NOV/22/2018, SSN;

Today, more countries are experiencing violent conflicts than in the last 30 years and as stated in Robert Ricigliano’s book, “Making Peace Last,” 25 percent of peace agreements relapse into violence within five years, and these failures significantly increase the likelihood of these conflicts becoming more violent, leading to the economic distress.

In the Republic of South Sudan, economic prospects remain bleak due to the unresolved political, social, and economic fragility. The civil conflict has resulted in serious humanitarian and social crises and diverted resources from development needs.

The critical question facing the countries newly emerged from conflicts, such as South Sudan, is how to achieve a sustainable peace and therefore the economic growth.

It is in this context that the international community has been attempting to turn its attention toward the goal of sustaining peace, in order for the economy to grow.

However, a recent report reads that sustaining peace remains critically under-recognized, under-prioritized and under-resourced globally.

After the World War II, in an attempt to achieve an economic growth in the Western Europe, the United States of America initiated the Security operation to bring a sustainable stability, implemented by NATO, together with European Recovery Program ERP known as Marshall Plan.

The $13.2 billion the United States dedicated by then to the Plan from 1948 to 1952 would be worth a substantial $135 billion in today’s money.

Compare to Afghanistan and Iraq, through 2017, the United States of America spent enormous sum of total $208 billion, in today’s dollars, on the both countries. This is over 50 percent more than the totality of Marshall Aid, in today’s dollars.

Yet the United States has tragically failed to bring about a sustainable peace, therefore, has little to show in term of economic growth in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

There are many differences in the circumstances then and now, but there are two bear particular notices that we can summarized from Western Europe and the two counties, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The first is the presence of a capable, largely a political bureaucratic infrastructure, willing and able to carry out coherent reconstruction and reform programs, in the Marshall countries.

The second, more important, is the presence of far greater internal and external security in the Marshall countries. The two above notice were critical in order to achieve economic growth in the Western European countries

Unlikely in the Afghanistan and Iraq, governments have faced vastly less favorable circumstances than those of the Marshall countries.

They never achieved full sustainable peace, in order for their economy to develop. Instead, they have corrupt politicians and have been under constant war from armed domestic and foreign opponents, such as the Taliban and ISIS.

In short, the foundation that enabled American economic statecraft to be so successful in postwar Europe is lacking in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given the insatiable desire to create new Marshall Plans around the globe, it is important to recognize that physical security and political will are prerequisite for economic growth in any country, such as the Republic of South Sudan.

Dominic Ukelo

22 November 2018

The Dialectic of the South Sudanese State: NAS & the R-ARCIS 

BY: Moses Nyara, South Sudanese, NOV/19/2018, SSN;

There is a persistent question in every Sudanese and in particular a South Sudanese mind. Why is that the Sudan and South Sudan never seen any peace? Why is it that in spite of the many signed agreements the Community in this great Nation call the Sudan has subjected itself to wars for so many years?

The latest of the many of agreement to be signed and would most likely be dishonored is the Revitalized-Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCIS) The agreement was inked on the 12th September 2018 and celebrated the 31st October 2018.

The accord was mediated by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda facilitating the negotiations. Khartoum and Kampala duped the agreement the final solution to the South Sudan problems.

The agreement is to address the root causes of post-independence issues and political differences between the various political actors in the nascent Country. But the question is, has it and would it? That is the big dilemma in everybody’s mind.

During the negotiation and at the signing ceremony, like many agreements before it, the people of South Sudan watched the interlocutors on their television and social media platforms dancing jubilantly,  singing Kumbaya we have brought you peace.

Many commentators were quick to point out that the agreement was mainly to serve the interest of the dominant warring parties that is the incumbent government of Salva Kiir Mayardit and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in opposition of Dr Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon. The South Sudan’s Opposition Alliance (SSOA), an umbrella of nine opposition entities also took part in the negotiation.

While six of the group were happy or pressured to sign the agreement as some would say. Three members of the group distanced itself from the coalition and rejected the signing of the final document of the revitalized peace agreement by its leader.

The opposition National Salvation Front (NAS) led by General Thomas Cirillo; the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) of Hakin Dario and the SPLM- Former Political Detainees – FDs, rejected the final version of the peace agreement, citing unresolved outstanding issues in the peace document.

In a classic textbook counterinsurgency style, Maj. Gen. Julius Tabule, a one general in the National Salvation Front (NAS) movement was airlifted to Khartoum, declared new leaders of the NAS and made to initial the agreement. To add to the confusion, General Khalid Butrous a member of NAS’s high command also proclaimed himself the interim leader.

Within hours of this renegades’ announcements, Thomas Cirillo moved swiftly and dismissed these two military figures, a move designed to put him in full control of the forces following their suspicious activities.

In the time when there is a yearning for peace around the country, many in public and the international community were not able to comprehend the Thomas Cirillo’s resistance to peace.

In this opinion piece and the series to follow, I would like to attempt to analyses the arguments the NAS has put forward for rejecting the R-ARCISS.  My focus will be on whether R-ARCISS adequately addressed NAS grievances or not.

For a start, some understanding of the factors that drove the NAS rebellion is warranted. There is no rebellion without a cause(s).

This first opinion thus focuses on the post-independence political maneuvering that left the country in chaos and the NAS rational for its subversive activities. It only fits that one tries to understand why NAS took up arms.

While one is not a political scientist, one does have some reasonable comprehension of  South Sudan issues and some knowledge about what a political cause means.

So, what caused a well-respected Lt General to turn against his party and take up arms? Though attempt is made here to answer that question, I am afraid the answer is not a straight one.

Political theorists have pondered over the big question of what caused the world’s revolutions for years. While theorists, such as Theda Skocpol sees revolutions as a rapid transformation of a society’s class and structure.

Political scientist such as Jack Goldstone sees revolution as a state breakdown which only happens when a government becomes weak.

Sure, most Sudanese and South Sudanese, in particular, are used to rebellions in the Sudan. One would say, it is almost a badge of honor for a Sudanese to have to survive or lived through one or two revolution(s).

From Mahdi revivalism; Anya Nya independent struggles to New Sudan projects or the current SPLMism.  The Sudanese masses have endured it all. My maternal mother was born, lived and survived the Anya Nya rebellion only to die in the SPLA/SPM struggle.

My siblings and I are no exceptions. We lived and survived the SPLAM/SPLAM revolution. My children are surviving the current waves of rebellions.

The Sudan and South Sudan are not the only countries to have revolutions. Revolutions have occurred through human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration and motivating ideologies. From my limited reading of the literature and knowledge on the causes of revolutions.

Historical, many of the world’s revolutions have ‘both structural and transient causes; structural causes are long-term and large-scale trends that undermine existing social institutions and relationships and transient causes are contingent events, or actions by particular individuals or groups, that reveal the impact of longer-term trends and often (Jack A. Goldstone, p10).’

The author proposes to apply that definition in analyzing  the causes of NAS rebellion, which, it is argued, are:

— (1) demand for change, which is derived from (a) provocations and (b) solidified public opinion; — (2) hopefulness of success, which comes from (a) programs of reform and (b) leadership; and  —– (3) the weakness of the SPLM as a party which has been caused by disputes amongst itself; disaffection in the SPLA and international complications.

Theda Skocpol theorizes that political crises are often the trigger points for launching revolutions. One would agree that many trigger points lead to the current circle of rebellions in South Sudan.

I shall restrict this to the political triggers or what may be termed a crisis within the SPLM and now defunct SPLA.

There may be points of contentions regarding when and how the crisis started. Nevertheless, one would still reasonably accept that it is a political crisis which had its genesis in 1990s splits in the SPLM/SPLA.

In particular, when Dr Lam Akol and Riek Machar questioned Dr John Garang’s leadership in that infamous ‘Why Garang Must Go Now’ declaration or what they profess to be a rejection of Dr Garang’s ‘dictatorial leadership”.

Dr Lam Akol and Dr Riek Machar’s promised for human rights and an independent South Sudan lead to years of meaningless rebellions and counter rebellions leading to the period of chaos that reigned within the SPLA/SPLM.

Equally a crisis worth mentioning was the failed SPLA attacks on Juba in June–July 1992. The harsh National Islamic Front’s reprisals that followed lead to summary executions of suspected SPLA collaborators who were mainly intellectuals from the Equatoria region.

They include, from the army, Major Joseph Ladu, Major Andrew and over 60 soldiers of other ranks; from the police, Colonel David Kenyi, Lieutenant Colonel Lado Peter and Captain Arkangelo Yugu; from the prisons service, Major Pitia Kenyi, Captain Kamillo Koma, Captain Mohamed Khamis, and First Lieutenant Mark Taban. The torture or killings of these intellectuals created a gap and wound in the heart of many Equatorians.

One would also be justified in saying that the post-independence circle of rebellions in the country began in December 2013, when President Kiir charged his once Deputy Riek Machar and ten other historical members of the SPLM of attempting a coup d’état.

There is no argument in concluding that the fighting that broke out between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and SPLM-IO was the trigger for the South Sudan civil war. It was something to be expected. I say this due to the following reasons.

While many see the crisis as a struggle for power and wealth, I see it as the dialects of the South Sudan Nation. The contradictory process of nation-building among the nation’s idealist. A class of beliefs about the proper ordering of the South Sudanese society.

During the struggle for South Sudan independence, the various members of the SPLA/SPLM were each driven by different ideologies and motives. What united them all was the dream of an independent South Sudanese country.

Whatever ideologies and motivations the leaders had at the time, the masses were oblivious.  The yearning was for an independent South Sudan republic by any means necessary.

To properly contextualize this, it is necessary to understand the drivers of ideological opinions.

Since the time of the French Revolution, ideological opinions have been classified most often in terms of a single left-right dimension, which originally referred to the seating arrangements in the French parliament after the Revolution (1789–1799).

On a left-right spectrum, communism and socialism are usually regarded internationally as being on the left, whereas conservatism and capitalism are on the right. This formulation of the left-right distinction and many others contain two interrelated aspects, namely (a) advocating versus resisting social change (as opposed to tradition), and (b) rejecting versus accepting inequality ( Jost et al. 2003b,c).

In the Sudanese context, this translates to those who were advocating for outright independence of South Sudan and those who whose primary objective was a secular New Sudan. Under the separatists’ umbrella, many of the leaders harbor their ideological leanings.

There were those who adhered to the communist or socialist cred; others who preferred tribal fascism and there were many others whose reasoned ideals centered on liberal democracy. Some were simply Jesus Christ foot soldiers for whom  Nimeiry’s Sharia was an Arab man’s middle finger aimed at their bottoms.

While it is reasonable for one to hold  the view that the majority of the SPLM members were on the separatist spectrum from the revolutionary standpoint, when it came to the school of political reasoning, many preferred to flow with the eternal leaders.

A minority of them just swim with the tides, a cleverly designed art of political survival and resilience at almost any price. It is no surprise that the surviving founding members of the SPLM were those members that only washed one half of their face at a time and slept with one eye open like a meerkat or mongoose.

The dominating eternal leaders from the South Sudan leadership standpoint were Dr Garang and Dr Riek Machar. While their contempt for Al-Turabi’s muslimization and Arabization was the unifying cause.

Dr Machar disagreed with Dr Garang over the revolutionary objectives. Garang philosophy was ‘Sudanism. Garang believed, for the people of Sudan to live in cohesion, they must not separate themselves into the many existing ethnic factions present within the nation but, rather, to collectively renounce the belief that Arabness, Black African-ness, Islam or Christianity were to be the ultimate defining characteristics of Sudan.’

This was  the guiding philosophy of the SPLAM/SPLA under Garang’s leadership. The aim was to achieve a  secular and multi-ethnic New Sudan.

That was rather a different philosophy to that of Dr Riek Machar. Machar wanted a fully independent South Sudan. Although both agreed on the methods that was required to achieve victory over the Islamic fundamentalist, the two were not in tango with one another when it came to administration of the rebellion.

Dr Machar was pushing for more democratic leadership; accountability and internal reform. For Dr Garang  everything was to be run in the ‘Political Military High Command.’ Things were to be run the Soviet style.

It was inevitable that when the independence objective was achieved in 2012, the political ideologies and opinions within the SPLM would again become more divided and more centered to their identities.

According to social psychologist, there are relational motives, epistemic motives, and existential motives which helps to explain why certain people—once they are exposed to certain political ideas—stick with those ideas.

The  reality is that with the independence, it was inevitable that, the idealist within the SPLM would again meet other idealists who were dormant or were on the opposing side during the war, and the struggle for power would resume in the form of the present South Sudanese rebellions or civil wars where both tried to maintain and assert their status as the legitimate rulers of South Sudan.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) made this all possible. During the CPA negotiation, the National Congress party had the advantage over their Southern or SPLM counterparts, owing to its many years of experience in governing the Sudan.

The NCP had mastered a political strategy for dealing with other political parties in the Sudan. Oblivious to Dr Garang and his boys. The NCP had cleverly shifted the War from military boots on the ground to “war by other means.”

The conventional war was proving an expensive exercise, so the regime’s favored course of action was for dealing with rebellions was ” counterinsurgency on the cheap, co-opting opponents and internal subversion, propaganda and dirty tricks operations.”

The NCP has worked out that at the end, negotiations are cheaper than jihad. The regime was to hedge its bets on South Sudan.

The regime knew it was not powerful enough to enforce its will on all of Sudan’s factions at one time but is strong enough to hold onto political and economic power at the center. With John W Bush’s access of evil line running through the NCP corridor.

The NCP strategist knew negotiations was the only means of holding onto power, to level the playing field against the stronger opponents, and to co-opt and disarm them.  It was at the risk of the South succeeding from the rest of the Sudan.

To overcome the possibility and the reality of losing South Sudan’s vast resources, the NCP pulled out the last trick out of its political playbook. Let the South succeeded if it needs to be. If circumstances change, the regime can always renegotiate with the new South Sudan Republic based on new realities.

To achieve this, the NCP strategist weaved a clever political trap into the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was designed to infiltrate the SPLM and eliminate the separatist or nationalist base and replace them with people whose allegiance were with the NCP during the Civil War or people who are only there for the dime. The NCP is to permeate all sectors of the economy in South Sudan and all levels of the state apparatus.

The program was set, in that, the SPLM party and government was to observe all of the NCP political and military machinery that was in the South, by this, the author means the southern members of the NCP, the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) Southern agents and the NCP next work of counterinsurgency militia.

The counterinsurgency security and political set up that was designed during the War to fight and oppose the South separatist agenda was to be observed into the new South Sudan Government and institutions.

The NCP Junubin members; intelligent agents; Judges and funded militias were to be either integrated into the Southern government, the SPLM party or the SPLA during the interim period.

Having been trained by the NCP, these Junubins were very experienced in politics, negotiation, and deception and better prepared than any other political entity in South Sudan. They are to bring about the change in circumstances in the post-independent South Sudan.

On the other hand, the poor South Kordofanians and Blue Nile SPLM and SPLA members were to be left to fend for themselves. There was to be no truth and reconciliation commission to provide proof against the Junubins who were doing the dirty work for the National Congress Party (NCP) during the 21 years of civil wars.

Instead, they were to be observed and to continue to run the Southern Sudan security, judicial, and other state institutions. It was a broad parasitism strategy designed for realigning and manipulating the political leadership in South Sudan with the aim of returning Southern Sudan under North Sudan’s sphere of influence.

It is no surprise that with the birth of the independent Republic of South Sudan, the alt-racial National Congress Party (NCP) trained political and military strategists within the South Sudan institutions; security sector and political parties took out the NCP’s playbook and were able to apply it with ease.

They begin to evict all the host pro-genies from their nests methodically. Like a common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) chick they rolled out most of the original SPLM leaders and cadets out of the nest and replaced them with their own or those who subscribed to the new project.

The ones that survived are those who read Mao Zedong “On Guerrilla Warfare” and  understood Mao, when he said, we must not belittle the saying in the book of Sun Wu Tzu, the great military expert of ancient China, ‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a thousand battles without disaster.’

While the National Congress Party (NCP) agents and original SPLM vie for influence, the mercurial President just waffles between these two power centers, while consolidating his power and remaining entirely in control of the two elements.

It was all facilitated or was made possible with the money coming from the friends of the West, as well as, the booming oil economy of the New Republic.

With the new regime awash with money. The National Congress Party (NCP) trained tacticians were at ease in executing the NCP manuscript.

Like their North Counterparts, these Jububins are brutal pragmatists, well-educated but toxic cosmopolitans, ready to negotiate, to deal, to compromise to tighten their grip on the real levers of power in South Sudan.

Their strategy is a constant state of negotiation with friends and foes alike. Bribe, loot, build clientalistic networks along tribal lines and break agreements, if circumstances change, you can subsequently broker a better deal.

Be prepared to escalate into mass murder and outright defiance if it calls for, the unknown man is to be allowed to swim in the turbid South Sudan waters when required.

In this internecine struggle between institutions and individuals, the friendship and support of the IGAD countries and especially Uganda and Kenya are a commodity like no other.

The birth of the holy grail of South Sudanese politics, a deliverable that Dr Riek Machar failed to deliver in the heady days of his ascendancy as the Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan and SPLM Co-Chair of the Joint Executive Political Committee.

It has been this struggle for dominance which allowed militant rebellions to thrive in South Sudan and the cause for the immense suffering in the country.

With the continued struggle for power and the political chaos that has engulfed the Country, the National Salvation Front (NAS)  has followed the rebellion manuscript and posited itself as the alternate savior of South Sudanese.

The question the movement has asked itself is, how can the descent into abyss be stopped; using what means; what the possible options are and what should be the outcome of such an undertaking.

The movement has offered ten facts which it believes signify gross mismanagement of the affairs of the people of the Republic of South Sudan.

The facts NAS list includes:  (i) General security (ii) Food insecurity (ii) economic stagnation (iii)  security sector discord (iv) corruption (v) absence of basic services (vi) personalized constitution (viii) Tribal Loyalty ( ix) Human rights abuses.

In a series of opinions to come, I want to look at each issue. In particular, whether the signed Peace agreement addresses the issues NAS has raised, or whether NAS Cirillo is justified in its continuation of the war.

The author, Mr. Moses Nyara  can be reached via: nyara007@hotmail.com. Disclaimer: the views are solely mine and do not represent any institution or government.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Child soldiers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conflict resolution:

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

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

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

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

Latest developments:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Days of fighting:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neocolonialism:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dismantling the violent kleptocracy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Revitalized Peace Agreement is Unsustainable for South Sudan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Sept/19/2018;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Governance, the Opposition demanded inter alia that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signatories:

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

Hon. Pagan A. Oketch okiechpagan@gmail.com

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

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

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

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