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Nations are not Built by Whiners

BY: Kuir ë Garang, ALBERTA, Canada, NOV/23/2014, SSN;

South Sudanese still have, by and large, a very long way to go when it comes to development of a unifying, enduring sense of nationhood or statehood. As things stand now, we are merely a collection of tribal nationalities with conflicting interests.

In the past, our only unifying factors were our common struggle against the oppression from Khartoum and the fact that we were enclosed by the same geopolitical boundary set by the colonial dividers of Africa in 18th and 19th centuries.

The gravest onus is now on us to create a sense of ‘South Sudan-ness’; an identity that’d make an Acholi of South Sudan identify more with Zande of South Sudan rather than with Acholi in Uganda. This is by no means an easy task; however, it’s a task we’ve neglected in vain search for tribal voice and hegemony.

We’ve become a nation of whiners, who offer nothing by way of alternative solutions.

Whining, polemics and acrimonious writs have become our source of solace. We keyboard divisive pomposity and verbosity that make us feel good about ourselves but at the end of the day contribute towards the divisiveness the same writing was supposed to combat.

With no doubt, this has become an oxymoron that typifies what it means to be a South Sudanese; and that’s a sense of self we wouldn’t want to be our defining identity.

Everyone in South Sudan has become a whiner!
The President of the country and his officials have become nothing but a bunch of whiners, who believe everything that’s wrong with South Sudan isn’t their incompetence but a work of some evil man called Riek Machar.

The officials whine about international community favoring rebels, about UNMISS siding with Riek’s forces, about journalists siding with rebels, about IGAD’s impartiality, about the venue of the ‘Peace Talks’ and about everything!

Respectable leaders don’t just whine incessantly. They only point out all the obstacles and problems they face and then rush to suggest workable solutions and alternatives.

If these whiners say anything as an alternative, it’s always something that benefits them. South Sudanese citizens only feature as pawns in the leaders’ quest for power and wealth.

The rebels, who present themselves as a clean alternative to the government, are nothing but another bunch of the same: opportunistic whiners. They whine about President Kiir remaining president, about IGAD’s partiality, about government atrocities while forgetting their own atrocities, about Nuer marginalization when Nuer still stand next to Kiir and fight against fellow Nuer who are part of government’s forces, about dictatorship when they were part of the same system they just left…etc.

If the rebels think they are a formidable alternative to the government then why is it that we only hear the problem stalling the talks being the issue of power-sharing? Why is it the question of who’s to have what powers that’s the problem? Why’s anything in the interest of the citizens taking back stage?

We’ve seen so far what the rebels are! They’ve whined their way from complaints about internal reforms within SPLM to their claim on South Sudanese echelons of power. For the rebels to be seen as credible voice fighting on behalf of South Sudanese citizens, it has to be clear at the talks that they represent the people.

And South Sudanese tribes have mastered the art of whining. The Jieeng whine about Nuer being prone to violent rebellion and Riek Machar being the ultimate killer while forgetting the atrocities committed by a government controlled largely by Jieeng men.

Jieeng’s self-righteousness has a lot to do with everything that’s wrong in South Sudan.
Nuer too complain about being marginalized by the Jieeng while Nuer officials still hold senior positions in both the government and the rebellion.

The third most powerful man in South Sudan, Magok Rundial, the current speaker of the national assembly, is a Nuer.

While hundreds of Nuer civilians were brutally massacred in cold-blood by government’s forces in Juba in December, it’s always prudent to remember that Nuer forces, let by the notorious White Army, have also committed atrocities. There’s respect in accepting one’s wrongs before labeling accusations on others.

One of the arguments always floated around by Nuer is that the Nuer in Kiir’s administration are mere puppets and don’t have a voice. Well, it’s not the fault of the president if they allow themselves to be used like puppets. Where are these people’s morals?

And to top it all, ‘Equatorians,’ as a sociopolitical collegiality for all the tribes in the three southern states of the country, whine of having been marginalized by the Jieeng and the Nuer despite the fact that the second most powerful man in the country is from Equatoria.

The cabinet affairs minister, Dr. Elias Lomoro, is the forth in government hierarchy after the Vice President, the President and the Speaker of the national assembly.

And now many Equatorians, even the Vice President himself, believe that the question of the VP position in the transitional period is an attempt to marginalize Equatorians. And the VP argues that it’s not about his job while he’s repeatedly warned that he’s not going to resign this time around for the sake of Riek Machar. Using Equatorians to safeguard a job is base!

I don’t want to sound naïve. I understand that there are junior Jieeng officials in Kiir’s administration, who are more powerful than some senior government officials from other tribes. However, we have to remember that the problem lies with the officers, who allow themselves to be subordinated by subordinates.

Why see oneself as a subaltern in an administration in which you’re not? Why can’t these officers confront the president? Why can’t they speak on behalf of South Sudanese and straighten things out? Why are these officers afraid of the president even when what they would say would benefit the country?

There’s a clear difference between whining and criticizing the government. Whiners are fond of badmouthing without offering any workable alternatives. Criticisms are excellent mirrors to conscientious leadership, however, to merely whine without offering alternatives and to show the government that the current path is wrong, is a waste of time.

Many non-Jieeng officials subordinate themselves. They see Jieeng officers make bad decisions and applaud them only to claim self-righteousness when they are out of the government.

It’s with no doubt that there are many well-meaning leaders from Equatoria and among the Nuer in the current government, who can stand up to President Kiir (behind closed doors) and advise him in good faith to help rescue the country. However, they are too timid and only think about their positions rather than their constituents and the nation.

We keep on blaming the Jieeng and the President but how about this: Why can’t all the Equatorians and Nuer officials working in the government threaten the President with resignation if he doesn’t change the country for better?

The government would collapse in an instant if they resign en masse. However, they will never do that because they, like all South Sudanese politicians, care more about their jobs rather than the interest of the nation and South Sudanese citizens. (Watch the video commentary here)

So stop whining and see into it that what would change this nation isn’t vacuous whining and foul-mouthing but procurement of workable alternatives!

Kuir ë Garang is the author of “South Sudan Ideologically.” For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info

Late Honorable Cecilia, a victim of SPLM policies of settlement & orphanization.

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, NOV/19/2014, SSN;

The long list of murdered Equatorians by the SPLM system continues to get longer day by day. The latest victim is Cecilia Oba Tito, a young, intelligent and promising leader of Equatoria. Cecilia hails from Morsak village near Yei. She was born in 1974 to late Tito Towongo and Araba of Kakwa tribe. From 1981 to 1987 Cecilia attended Kagelu primary school after which she went to Yei Girl’s Secondary School.

However, due to the war at the time Cecilia relocated to Uganda in 1991 where she continued with her secondary school education at Nyangilia secondary school in West Nile district. After completing her secondary education in 1994 she proceeded to do a one year course in 1996 at Nsameji National Institute where she graduated with a certificate in social development.

Armed with her qualifications Cecilia returned to South Sudan and did a lot of community work promoting human development in former Yei district. In 2005 Cecilia served as a minister in Central Equatoria government. From 2008 to 2013 Cecilia went to South Africa for further studies where she graduated with a master’s degree.

On her return home, she was elected as the first female mayor of Yei town. http://southsudantoday.net/default/2014/07/29/through-intricate-corridors-to-power-a-story-of-yei-mayor-cecilia-oba/

Painfully, Cecilia’s life was cut short to advance the Jieng expansionist policy of settlement and orphanization in Equatoria.

Upper Nile Times on 10/11/2014 reported the murder of Cecilia under the heading ‘Mayor Hon Cecilia Aba Tito dragged and gunned down over a plot of land.’ http://upperniletimes.net/south-sudan/hot-topics/mayor-hon-cecilia-aba-tito-dragged-and-gunned-down-over-a-plot-of-land/

The motive for the crime could not have been clearer. Equatorians have suffered and endured the most degrading and humiliating treatment from SPLM over the issue of their land. To put this in context, it is important to go back to the recent history of the SPLM/A.

Right from the inception of this monstrous organisation in 1983, as argued elsewhere, the SPLM/A was formed with the aim to conquer and subjugate Equatoria. The rebellion of Bor which was a product of corruption was seized on by the Jieng as a means to avenge Kokora.

Kokora itself was a reaction of the Equatorians to the unruly behaviour of the Jieng under the leadership of Abel Alier in the regional government of South Sudan during the reign of General Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiri in the late 1970s. Please see ‘Fudging the issue – President Kiir and Corruption in RSS’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/fudging-the-issue-president-kiir-and-corruption-in-rss and Jacob Lupai’s articles on the subject in South Sudan Nation and South Sudan News Agency websites.

When SPLM/A ventured into Equatoria, it treated the people brutally as if they were not South Sudanese brothers and sisters. It killed more people and raped more women and young girls than at any time in the entire history of South Sudan.

From early 1990s, ironically it was common to hear people in Equatoria preferring the Arabs to the Jieng because of the rampant atrocities meted on the people.

During the war, the Jieng soldiers routinely displaced Equatorians from their homes in their villages under gun point. This continued until 2005 when the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was concluded.

After the CPA land grab became the order of the day with Equatorians frequently murdered without any accountability, for example, the disappearance of engineer John Lewis. Often, the Jieng boldly and promptly declare their intention to settle all over Equatoria. They refer to Equatoria as a Jieng colony.

A certain Deng Ajak on 13th August 2014 had this to say to a certain Ben Tombe: “Ben Tombe, let me remind you slaves don’t talk like that to the masters. Dog without tooth? You are colonized remember? Is it dog without tooth that colonized you or us Dinka, the hero tribe in South Sudan? Just for your information colonization is not over yet. Those of you who don’t want to respect our right to colonize will very soon have no where to put their heads. We colonized Bari Speakers, Zande, Kakua, Madi, Taposa, Acholi, Lotuka and every single tribe in Equatoria and Western Bahar el Ghazal. We will continue to neutralize you people until you diminished. It is true you people are not humans. You don’t have the right, we do. Clement Wani Konga is misleading you today, but if we want tomorrow he will disappear. He talked about no one will sit on the heads of Equatorian, do you people really are human? do you think you have any home left? There is not Equatorian family which have never given birth to a Dinka. If being Gay is to be legalized today, all Equatorian men will marry to Dinka men. Even today almost all the servants in Dinka homes every where in the country are Equatorians too. You feel ashamed, Ben Tombe.”

Please see the comments on this article, ‘Angry Security Council visiting Nairobi for South Sudan sanctions talk’ http://www.southsudannation.com/angry-security-council-visiting-nairobi-for-s-sudan-sanctions-talks/

Indeed they (Dinka) are in every nook and cranny of Equatoria with their cattle terrorizing the locals to realize this objective. Nobody in Equatoria is against the Jieng coming to live in Equatoria, but this needs to be done through the right channel following the law of the land and not through thuggery and abuse of state power.

Now, Cecilia, a promising daughter of Equatoria has become a victim of this heinous policy of the Jieng. But the murder of Cecilia must not be seen from this angle only as it also fulfills another horrendous policy of the Jieng which is to render Equatoria leaderless: orphanization.

As already pointed out, the Jieng desperately want to control Equatoria and its people and this goes back to the first Anyanya war of liberation. From 1983 Dr John Garang cleverly adopted the undeclared policy of destroying Equatorian leaders in order for the Jieng to prevail.

Equatoria had to be made an orphan for the Jieng to control it.

The literature on social control and domination posits that for any powerful group to exercise their power in order to have control over any other group depends on their ability to render the targeted group leaderless. Without this, it is almost impossible to succeed in colonising any people.

This is why the imperialists and colonialists in the yester century destroyed indigenous leaders in their colonies and replaced them with handpicked leaders honed to serve their interest.

The SPLM has consistently since its birth worked to destroy Equatoria leadership. In the bush, capable Equatorians were not recognized and promoted in the forces even when they have all the necessary qualifications.

Deliberately, they were kept in the rank and file to be led by illiterate and incapable Jieng officers such as the likes of President Salva Kiir.

Those whom they could not control whether in the forces or civilians were brutally murdered. For example, Peter Kidi, Luka Kpakaciro, Col. Martin Kejivura, John Nambu, Didinga chief, Acholi chief, Madi chiefs and so on.

Prominent Equatorian leaders like Bishop Paride Taban and late Dr Samson Kwaje were slapped literally by Kuol Manyang Juok and others for no good reason but to humiliate them in front of their people reducing them to nothing.

These acts in themselves not only erode authority but have a huge psychological effect in how these respectable people would view themselves and in turn how others view them. This was deliberately done to make Equatorians feel helpless in order to submit to Jieng.

From 2005 the SPLM targeted the would-be future leaders of Equatoria and they set out to kill them. For example, the Equatorian police officers murdered in Yambio, the doctor murdered in Yei, the two new graduates from Makerere murdered in Maridi over the issue of federalism recently and now Cecilia.

The common factor in all these cases is that these eliminated young lives possessed acumen and have demonstrated promising leadership skills and qualities. In addition, all those cases have not been investigated and allowed to fizzle out with the killers roaming the streets in contempt of the people.

No accountability and no justice!!!!

The destruction of these Equatorians who would have been future leaders is met by constant training and promotion of young Jieng to positions of power.

The ministry of education discriminatively sends young Jieng abroad for training using state resources while obstructing the other tribes from receiving the same service.

The purpose is Jieng investment in education to build future leadership capability that will allow them to dominate South Sudan for generations to come. Their formula is: kill the skilled Equatorians and replace the same with Jieng and over time Equatoria will be properly subjugated and settled.

The impact of these evil Jieng policies if not stopped will have grave consequences for Equatoria in less than two decades from now.

The immediate consequence which is seen now is that they have almost succeeded to decide who can lead Equatoria and not who Equatorinas want as their leaders of choice.

So, in a sense the Jieng have taken the power of decision from the Equatorians which means Equatorians basically are subjects. Here the red light should be flashing to any concerned Equatorian to think of the future.

The relentless killing of skilled Equatorian persons and prospective leaders without corresponding training to replace the lost would-be-leaders due to: 1) deliberate marginalisation in education, 2) pauperisation – the inability to afford educational fees, means that there is a constant reduction of talents and skills in Equatoria.

The net effect will be the re-stratification of South Sudan social groups with Equatoria turned into an underclass, a group without leaders and educated people to protect the community and their lands.

Should the Jieng succeed in this policy, it will directly feed into their settlement plan because powerless people without leaders can not protect themselves and their land such as the case of the Aborigines in Australia and the Indians in the Americas.

Given the danger facing Equatoria now, SPLM/A needs to be stopped. The key to halting this deadly plan lies with Equatorians and it is a simple one.

First Equatorians need to desert the SPLM to deal a mortal blow to the Jieng power base in South Sudan.

Secondly, they need to follow their true leaders who no doubt have plans to stir the whole country away from the ongoing catastrophe.

Though the murder of Cecilia might have been done by few people from the ‘born to rule’ for their personal gain, the force behind its implementation comes from a policy that advances the interest of an entire group: settlement and orphanization of Equatoria.

The whole Jieng ethnic group benefits from this barbarism in terms of depleting skilled Equatorian people and also in terrorizing the people to deepen control over Equatoria which surely constitutes an aggression on Equatoria.

Cecilia’s murder is not only a political homicide case, but it is also a case of violence against women. Men in South Sudan generally are uncomfortable with women leading them or women in position of authority.

The fact that the accepted policy that women must occupy twenty five percent of positions across the board in South Sudan government has not been implemented is due to the male-centric attitude that have long permeated the South Sudanese society.

The suffering of women, especially Equatorian women under the SPLM system is heart breaking. The Jieng are taking liberties with Equatorian women simply to humiliate them.

For example, working Equatorian women are daily subjected to threats of sackings and unemployment if they refuse to have intimate (sexual) time with the illiterate ‘born to rule’ placed as their bosses. Other women, especially the morally principled ones face threats of death.

The Jieng have gone as far as to design something called I.I.B. which means interview in bed. If a woman applies for a job, she is likely to be subjected to this degrading and humiliating process.

The worse case scenario which people do not want to talk about due to shame is the forceful rape of mothers in front of their husbands and children by Jieng soldiers. This happens frequently in Equatoria.

The victims need to speak out about these crimes to remove any shame or stigma attached to it. Keeping quiet allows the assailants to continue with their crimes without the prospect of accountability. Equatorians need to support such families as a duty to help them recover from their traumas.

The gruesome murder of Cecilia symbolizes two things. First, the intense hate towards women. For if it was not the case why did the murderers abuse the body of the late? Cecilia being an Equatorian, intelligent and a woman combined all the elements hated by the the Jieng.

The brutal murder is to send a message to all Equatorian women that they either submit or they face the consequences.

Secondly, Cecilia is a symbol of resistance. Her personal fight to protect her property is one of the cases that make the millions of cases of land grab in Equatoria.

Therefore, she is the embodiment of Equatoria’s struggle against the Jieng policy of land grab and forceful settlement.

As a woman, that must have come across to her murders as an affront.

Thirdly, even if Equatorians are members of the ruling party the SPLM, they are not protected. If they stand up to the system they will be kidnapped and murdered like Cecilia. They are only there to be used to advance Jieng’s interest and once they are not needed they will unceremoniously be disposed of.

Sadly, no prominent woman has come out openly to condemn the gruesome murder of Cecilia. Even Rebecca Nyandeng who masquerades as a leader has failed to advance the cause of sisterhood.

Indeed, tribalism has taken deep root in South Sudan. Were Cecilia to be a Jieng, the media, Jieng Council of Elders and the Jieng SPLM machine would have been roaring with its loudest voice condemning the barbarity of the crime and asking for justice.

But since it the Jieng machine operating its well laid out policies of settlements and oprhanization, it goes eerily quiet.

Will Cecilia get justice? Not easy to answer given the pattern of similar crimes committed against Equatoria. However, justice may come to all the victims of SPLM’s policies through other means in the future. Ryszard Kapuscinski in his book, ‘Shah of the Shahs,’ shines some light on such means. Here, he argues:

“It is authority that provokes revolutions. Certainly, it does not do so consciously. Yet its style of life and way of ruling finally become a provocation. This occurs when a feeling of impunity takes root among the elite. We are allowed anything, we can do anything. This is a delusion, but it rests on a certain rational foundation. For a while it does indeed look as if they can do whatever they want.

Scandal after scandal and illegality after illegality go unpunished. The people remain silent, patient, wary. They are afraid and do not yet feel their own strength. At the same time, they keep a detailed account of the wrongs, which at one particular moment are to be added up.

The choice of that moment is the greatest riddle known to history. Why did it happen on that day, and not on another? Why did this event, and not some other, bring it about? After all, the government was indulging in even worse excesses only yesterday, and there was no reaction at all. “What have I done?” asks the ruler, at a loss. “What has possessed them all of a sudden?” This is what he has done. He has abused the patience of the people.” (Kapuscinski 1985, p105 Kindle version)

Kapuscinski wrote his book in the mid 1980s to tell about his experience of the Iranian revolution of late 1970s. But the above quote since then has been vindicated in Tunisia, Burkina Faso and many other places. Nobody expected a radical change in Tunisia and Burkina Faso at the time.

It came as a complete surprise to the Tunisian and Burkinabe rulers with Mohamed Bouazizi setting himself on fire in a market and the Burkinabe masses setting the parliament on fire. The rest is history.

While the Jieng terror machine concentrates on its war with Riek, the real problems are in Juba. It demise will come from within and not without. For three decades they have abused and terrorized the people.

Their main weapon: fear, is losing its power to subjugate. Soon or later they will be seen fleeing with their system in tatters. It is then that true accountability for their excesses will be appropriately addressed.

Finally, as Cecilia is a victim of long practised policies of SPLM/A to promote Jieng settlement and orphanization in Equatoria, it is absolutely important for Equatoria to not let Cecilia’s death be just another statistic.

Cecilia stood up against both policies in her life. She never shied away from leading and she personally fought the land grabbers though she lost her life. Cecilia should be kept alive by Equatoria government naming a road in each of the Central Equatoria major towns and also by naming a land mark building in Juba in her name. This should ensure that the murderers’ intent to destroy her comes to naught.
[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]

Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

Causes of Current War: Tribal Politics & Idea of Leadership in South Sudanese Society

BY: MALITH KUR, LONDON, Canada, NOV/14/2014, SSN;

The current state of affairs in South Sudan hasn’t come as a surprise, but it’s a manifestation of the ugly face of the political class in our nation. It’s shown that the idea of leadership in South Sudanese society is the antithesis of political leadership in other nations. It’s out of this conception of leadership that South Sudan has faced this crisis before its third independence anniversary.

What follows identifies the causes of this unfortunate crisis. It also proposes possible steps forward to re-establish peace in South Sudan.

Tribal Politics:
The reason the country is facing this situation is that South Sudanese politicians, and most of us for that matter, define leadership in terms of tribal and regional affiliations. We do not have a national agenda when it comes to politics in the country.

What we have is a glorification of some politicians, which is what most of us take seriously. A politician’s achievement doesn’t matter in South Sudanese politics; what matters is where in the country a politician comes from.

If we take John Garang as our example, we see that he is popular now because he is dead; otherwise, he isn’t a popular leader, given his regional or tribal backgrounds.

Although his political strategies had paved the way for our independence, his contribution would have been irrelevant if he were alive and led the country today.

Throughout the years of the struggle, his leadership was considered as a continuation of Dinka domination, but no one wanted to speak about the number of Dinkas who died fighting for South Sudan’s independence.

In historical reality, however, the so-called Dinka domination remains a political myth if one takes a brief tour of South Sudan’s recent history.

History of Political Leadership in South Sudan
It’s true that tribal political orientation is at the heart of the current crisis. However, this crisis has its roots in the history of political leadership in South Sudan. This history does not go beyond 1955 because South Sudan did not have formal governmental structures then.

Formal leadership began, for instance, when Equatorians led the Anyanya I Movement in Torit in 1955. Nonetheless, when the Addis Ababa Agreement brought peace, Jaafar Numeri appointed Abel Alier to lead the subsequent, tenuous self-rule administration in the then Southern Sudan beginning in 1972-78.

For political reasons, Numeri dismissed Abel Alier and appointed Joseph Lagu, former leader of Anyanya I, in his place in 1978. Alier came back few years later, but he was removed again by presidential degree.

When Alier and Lagu were gone, Joseph James Tambura assumed the leadership in the South.

Following these political changes, the Addis Ababa Agreement was dissolved, and the re-division of the South into three regions occurred under Tambura’s watch in 1982 before the second civil war began in 1983.

When the second civil war started, John Garang emerged as the leader of the SPLM until his demise in 2005. After the death of John Garang, Salva Kiir assumed the leadership of the SPLM. Kiir’s ascension to power followed the hierarchical design of the SPLM leadership.

Now, if you look at this historical sketch of governance in South Sudan since Anyanya I, the communities out of which top leaders emerged are Madi among the Bari speaking groups, Azande, and Dinka.

The historical truth here is that none of these communities made any efforts to help those politicians come to power. Why is this important to mention? It is important because this is where the root causes of the current crisis lie.

Causes of this war
First, no member of Nuer ethnic group has ever taken top position in South Sudan. Therefore, some members of the Nuer community want this to happen now.

The demand for Riek Machar to become South Sudanese president is the real cause of the war, which has nothing to do with the democratization of the SPLM as a political party. The myth of Dinka domination has strengthened this resolve.

Consequently, South Sudanese, who lost their lives in Juba in December 2013, cannot be the cause of this war because most of the dead were soldiers taking part in active combat with the security forces.

Second, one-party dictatorship has developed in South Sudan. SPLM in South Sudan has become like the ANC in South Africa. A politician in South Africa must first become the leader of ANC before dreaming of leading the country. The SPLM has assumed this character.

For this reason, every politician in South wants some association with the SPLM. We now have the SPLM-DC, the SPLM-in-Opposition, the SPLM leaders, and who knows some other funny names of the SPLM may come up later. The role of the SPLM as a source of power is another major cause of the current war in South Sudan.

Third, the other causes of the war are political impunity, corruption, and weak state institutions. These factors are playing a major part in the current crisis. The weak institutions of governance in South Sudan provide fertile grounds for political violence.

None of the politicians leading the current uprising or those who are protecting the regime expect responsibility for their actions. No one will hold them accountable for anything.

Fourth, proxy warfare did not end with the independence of South Sudan. Sudan’s territorial ambitions in relation to disputed areas remain a catalyst of instability in South Sudan.

People who rebel in South Sudan, for whatever reason, will have no shortage of arms coming to them from Sudan. Unstable South Sudan allows Sudan to keep Abyei and Panthou (Heglig, to the Sudan. Ed.).

As long as the political class in South Sudan places its interest in power over the future of the country and the welfare of its citizens, this war will not end.

Fifth, South Sudan has ten states with a population of approximately 12 million people, which means that each state could have an average of 1.2 million inhabitants. However, we are asking for more while we know that the country relies on oil revenues.

This demand has raised a number of questions. What economic energy will those small states have? Where the money is going to come from to fund those states? These are not new questions.

South Sudanese who opposed the decentralization policies of 1980s raised them. They asked these questions because what South Sudan needed then, and still needs now are not more divisions but development. South Sudan needs a way out of this mess.

The Way forward
South Sudan needs unconditional peace now, not tomorrow, and the search for peace must be a people-driven exercise. The people of South Sudan must be the first stakeholders in the decision-making process when it comes to the settlement of the current crisis.

The parties to the conflict who are negotiating in Addis Ababa are not interested in peace, but war to gain power or maintain it. In the end, those who will continue to suffer are South Sudanese, who have nothing to gain in this senseless destruction.

Furthermore, what we can do, as responsible citizens, to avoid unnecessary political troubles is to leave political ambitions in the hands of politicians. Individual political leadership is not a tribal responsibility. Politicians are responsible for their political programmes.

As we search for peace, we need to avoid for two reasons the impression that there is a war between Dinka and Nuer:

First, South Sudan does not belong to Dinka and Nuer. It is a community of different ethnic groups bound to live together in peace and prosperity.

Second, Dinka and Nuer as communities are not responsible for political differences in the government. But if some members of the Nuer community want to fight against the government of South Sudan, that would be their choice that has nothing to do with all Nuers because all South Sudanese are in that government.

Most of the time we blame the political class inside South Sudan, but the Diaspora South Sudanese community needs to avoid incitement of violence. People inside South Sudan do not want war, but the people who are recruiting children to fight on their behalf, children who are supposed to be in school, rely on Diaspora’s political support.

South Sudanese Diaspora communities have become reliable constituents for the opposition forces inside the country. They have become their gateway to promote their destructive cause, but what South Sudan needs is a peaceful change, which promotes co-existence instead of division and killing.

In our collective search for meaningful political change, we need to understand that change is a process. It takes time to build democratic institutions and establish fair political practices. Violent opposition is not a political change but destruction.

In this context, South Sudan needs to discourage the creation of ethnically motivated federal system. It has the potential to cause more problems than solving the ones we already have.

Federalism in South Sudan is not the prerogative of those who are engaged in a power struggle; it is the prerogative of South Sudanese and their elected representatives.

South Sudanese do not need to be told how to be ruled; they must tell the politicians how they should be ruled.

South Sudanese are the principal stakeholders in the debate about federalism. A federal system South Sudanese have sanctioned provides the central government and the state governments with certain responsibilities to manage the affairs of the country within the boundaries of national laws that promote South Sudanese nationalism that transcends ethnicity.

South Sudan as a society should take these steps as part of comprehensive political reforms, constitutional review, and national reconciliatory process, which must lay the foundation for social reconstruction of South Sudanese society.

By Malith Kur (malith_kur@yahoo.ca)
London, Canada

SPLM-IO proposes removal of Vice Pres. Wani Igga, so Machar is next

ADDIS ABABA, RADIO TAMAZUJ, NOV/11/2014, SSN;

Latest BREAKING NEWS: The SPLM-In-Opposition faction led by Riek Machar have dropped their demand for President Salva Kiir to step down but now propose instead the removal of Vice President James Wani Igga as well as the elimination of the vice presidency itself.

Igga was appointed vice president in August 2013, a month after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar. He belongs to the same party as Kiir but hails from a different region of the country, Central Equatoria.

Now the armed opposition faction SPLM-IO is calling for his removal as part of a power-sharing deal that is being negotiated at peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“We believe that the positions of the Vice President and the two deputies to the Prime Minister will complicate the working relations between the two principals [Kiir and Machar] and therefore should be expunged from the government structure,” SPLM/A-IO chief negotiator Taban Deng announced on Monday.

Taban argued that SPLM-IO has already made “strategic concessions” on the issue of the powers of the Prime Minister, during the most recent talks held at the IGAD Summit meeting in Addis Ababa late last week.

In particular, SPLM-IO conceded their earlier demands that Riek Machar should be considered head of government and chair the Council of Ministers.

“This means that we have given him [Kiir] everything. He is now the head of state and the head of government. We have nothing to concede more,” said Taban Deng at a press conference in Addis Ababa on Monday.

He noted that Salva Kiir’s negotiators have proposed that the leadership of the transitional government should consist of a president, vice president, prime minister and two or three deputies to the prime minister.

Taban opposed this structure saying it would “lead into confusion,” adding, “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

He called on Kiir’s party to make ‘sacrifices’ to reciprocate SPLM-IO’s concessions and bring peace. He compared the proposal to remove Igga to a Sudanese precedent, in which the vice president in 2005 was demoted in order to bring rebel leader John Garang into the government.

“We have given the example of the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement]: Ali Othman was the First Vice President. But because President Bashir wanted peace in his country and he wanted the war to end he has to make that big sacrifice, removing Ali Othman and putting John Garang in his place.”

Taban Deng suggested that Igga could return to the parliament after his removal from the vice presidency: “The current vice president was the Speaker of the Parliament, and as you know Speaker of Parliament is a very high position.”

It is not yet clear whether Igga’s position is a red line for SPLM-Juba negotiators or instead some might be open to considering the proposal.

Igga was reportedly not Kiir’s first choice for the vice presidency; the current health minister Riek Gai Kok was approached to accept the position but declined.

The vice president has also been in tension with some leading Equatorian politicians. During a dispute within the ruling party in July, involving Equatorian proponents of federalism, Igga was referred to derisively by another very senior Equatorian politician who implied that he was a mere puppet of the president.

Igga is from Central Equatoria but he is not from the state capital Juba, instead hailing from Lobonok Payam south of the city.

The SPLM-Juba faction headed by Salva Kiir is yet to make a public response to the proposal to remove the position of vice president, though Igga himself has previously said he is not willing to stand aside for Riek Machar to take his place.

On a related matter, it is unclear whether the negotiators have yet discussed options for the line of succession for the proposed transitional government. Taban Deng’s proposal did not specify whether, in the absence of a vice president, the Prime Minister would be next in line for the presidency.

Such a line of succession would be unacceptable to the SPLM-Juba negotiators because it would put Riek Machar second in line to the presidency.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the SPLM-Juba delegation Michael Makuei told press on arrival at Juba Airport yesterday that the two sides made progress in the most recent talks in Addis Ababa.

He said the talks were adjourned until 25 November to allow for further consultations on the proposed structure of the transitional government. In the meantime, a joint security committee will begin meeting to discuss implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement.

The marginalisation of Equatoria- Enough is enough!

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudanese, NOV/02/2014, SSN;

Whether by design or coincidence, once again Equatoria has been marginalised in the affairs of the country. President Salva Kiir’s SPLM-IG, Dr Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO and their off shots the SPLM-G10 together with IGAD have to a large extent connived to exclude Equatoria to maintain the strangle hold they have over the people of the most peaceful part of the country.

SPLM’s creation from the outset was intended to fight and subjugate Equatorians. The silent policy of this organisation towards Equatorians has been crystal clear. It strove to oppress and marginalise the Equatoria region through violence to disempower its people within and without the movement.

This was done through the policy that stated no groups are allowed to join the movement but only individuals. This policy evidently was designed and intended to keep individuals isolated and weak.

It is associated with predatory groups wanting to dominate and control people. This had a devastating effect on the Equatorians within the movement because what it did was it directly eliminated Equatorian leadership.

It cut Equatorian leaders and potential leaders from being recognised by their own people while at the same time installing and building Jieng as their direct bosses.

(Please see ‘The broken social boundaries in South Sudan.’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201307050284.html)

However, this policy was not applied to the Nuer. The Nuer joined the movement in all sorts of groups with their leaders intact and recognised. This obviously ensured the continued survival of Nuer power within the SPLM/A.

Unlike the Equatorians who became victims of violent elimination under the watch of the current useless Vice President James Wani Igga.

For example, a certain notorious cousin of Dr John Garang by name Deng Agwang openly executed Equatorian officers and soldiers of the SPLA at will in Eastern Equatoria during 1980s and early 1990s without any accountability.

The net effect was total disempowerment of Equatoria. The Nuer continued to grow in strength because as a group they could assert their interest. This group approach to the membership of SPLM is the single act that has helped the Nuer to resist and face down the Jieng at different critical times including the current conflict.

The balance of power between the Nuer and the Jieng in South Sudan has always been maintained through this unspoken arrangement. Now that the two are at each other’s throat, both want to use Equatoria to strengthen their positions in order to control the country without any discernible benefit for Equatorians.

Basically both groups view Equatorians as their donkeys or slaves to be exploited.

Equatoria’s patriotic stand to always fight for the freedom of South Sudan unfortunately has made them to ignore their inalienable rights in South Sudan to their own detriment.

By default, their patriotism has turned them into the underclass in the country they greatly sacrificed for. This is unacceptable and Equatoria must re-strategise to regain their rightful place in the social structure of the country. They should no more play second fiddle.

The exclusion of Equatoria from the talks in Addis Ababa should serve as the final straw that broke the Camel’s back.

Dr Machar has openly claimed that he is fighting for implementation of democracy in South Sudan. This is welcome and everybody in the country is looking forward to it. However, a mere statement stating a noble position is not good enough if it is not followed by action.

If the actions of a supposed leader who promises something contradict his words, then alarm bells ought to ring loudly lest the people are taken for a ride.

This article is the alarm bell. Dr Machar has been part of the system (Dinkocracy) since 2002 when he returned to the fold of the SPLM after having led a rebellion against it from 1991.

For nine solid years he fought the system in order to change its objective of united Sudan. He did not succeed. The rebellion movement that he led fractured into two. The other part that Dr Machar led which was renamed South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) ended up signing the Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 which granted him the position of Vice President of General Omer Bashir.

While he was a ceremonial Vice President in Khartoum he found himself powerless and this led to his return to the SPLM under Dr John Garang in 2002. In the process of defecting, Dr Machar basically abandoned all those he took with him to Khartoum. They remained at the mercy of President General Bashir.

There is a crucial thing here to be noted. The quality of leadership of Dr Machar, his values and principles and his ability to hold a group together is highly questionable.

It is important to note this point because Dr Machar may eventually sacrifice the Nuer and the Equatorians with him now exactly in the same manner he did in 1997 and in 2002 if he sees an opening for seizing personal power.

The alliance with Nuer must not be confused with support for Dr Machar. South Sudanese standing with the Nuer is based on the fact that they were subjected to horrendous and unacceptable killings by President Kiir and the Jieng.

Everybody acknowledges, accepts and condemns the ethnic cleansing done on them. Because of this, the Nuer have all the rights in the world to be given support to fight for their own survival.

Dr Machar as a Nuer happened to have been targeted and so people sympathise with him. But unfortunately Dr Machar is taking the fight of Nuer as a chance to advance his own personal interest.

He seized on the massacres of the Nuer to promote his personal ambition to accede to power. The evidence can be gleaned from the interview he held with Al Jazeera on 22nd December 2013, a week into the ethnic cleansing.

Dr Machar categorically stated that he wished to become the president. There was no need for Dr Machar to unequivocally express his ambition when the Nuer people were being hunted down in Juba by the Dootku Beny militia. This reckless behaviour exposed his lack of care for his own people.

As far as Dr Machar was concerned he wanted to be president and that was all. The ongoing killing of the Nuer was not an issue. Initially, he even resisted naming the targeted killing of Nuer as ethnic cleansing.

If Dr Machar was a true leader, he should have used the interview to articulate the horrendous experience of the Nuer and by extension the suffering of South Sudanese people. This would have presented him as a conscientious leader in waiting which would be exactly like what he verbalised.

Others could argue that Dr Machar is an ally of Equatorians because he championed the cause of federalism. Yes, it is indisputable that Dr Machar has called for the implementation of federalism.

However, the question to ask is why did he not show his support when he was the vice president?

Crucially, in July 2011 at the adoption of the infamous interim constitution of Mr John Luke Jok and following the three Equatorian conferences Dr Machar did not side with the Equatorians.

This evidence raises serious issues with the integrity of Dr Machar. Simply put, when Dr Machar was in alliance with President Kiir and as his Vice President, he was happy to step firmly on Equatorians with his Jackboots. He was happy helping President Kiir and the Jieng to lord it over Equatorians mercilessly.

Since Dr Machar rebelled following the mid December 2013 incident, he sung all the right songs to woo Equatorians to support him. He has succeeded to some extent but unbelievably he has started to backtrack in a very worrying manner.

Those people in SPLM-IO should not just be carried away by the heat of the moment. They need to scrutinise Dr Machar’s speeches (some through his spokesperson James Gadet Dak) and actions carefully to see the very worrying signs in the open political space now.

Dr Machar is already displaying dictatorial and tribal tendencies akin to Dr John Garang’s behaviour at the early stages of SPLM inception which morphed into the monstrous organisation that we now know.

The evidence to this lies in:
– 1) the manner Dr Machar makes his appointments,
– 2) in how he dismisses the participation of the stake holders in Addis Ababa by emphasising direct talks between him and Kiir only and
– 3) in how he neglects the rights of other oppressed groups.

The second and the third parts are very crucial because these are the bits responsible for marginalisation of Equatorians from the talks in Addis Ababa.

As it is now, the talks technically are clearly between Bahr El Ghazal on one hand led by President Kiir and Upper Nile on the other led Dr Machar as an armed opponent of the system (Dinkocracy) with the SPLM-G10 playing the role of supporting both regions ensuring Equatoria is kicked into the long grass.

The exclusion of Equatoria is a combined effort of President Kiir, Dr Machar and the IGAD.

First of all, President Kiir used the machinery of the state of South Sudan to exclude the Equatorian leaders from the process by quarantining them in Juba. Although they were officially invited by IGAD to the talks, the system (Dinkocracy) illegally denied them the right to travel and on top of that, their passports were confiscated. This severely oppressive action amounted to direct exclusion of Equatoria from the talks.

Secondly, all the other parties invited to the talks in Addis Ababa found themselves abused and corralled to accept being represented by Dr Lam Akol as their leader. Dr Lam himself has now been fouled and quarantined by the system. This shameful act was done by IGAD and the delegation of government of South Sudan exposing the collision between them.

Thirdly, IGAD from the outset has all along been interested in patching the SPLM as a solution to the problems of the country. Within this position, they deliberately ignored the violation visited on the Equatorian leaders and the other invited participants.

Not only that, but they participated in forcing the other parties to be led by others whose ideology and values widely differs. This was a violation of the very principle of stakeholder participation.

The question that IGAD must answer is: why have they violated their own principles by denying all the lawful South Sudanese political parties participation individually in their own right? Please see, ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html?viewall=1 and ‘Reflections on Justice Peter Sule’s indefinite incarceration’, http://allafrica.com/stories/201305080235.html

As it can be seen, the quartet: SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-G10 and IGAD have all connived to exclude and marginalise Equatoria. There is no doubt that the views of Equatoria are not represented in Addis Ababa.

This raises serious issue of legitimacy of the talks going on in Ethiopia. Now that the views of a third of the country (Equatoria) are not taken into consideration, whatever the outcome, it may not be binding on Equatoria.

Equatorians should not accept any outcome from Addis Ababa as binding upon them because their interest was not represented, articulated or considered in the current talks taking place in Addis Ababa.

If Dr Machar was a democrat and an ally of Equatoria he should have demonstrated it by fighting for all the stakeholders regardless of whether they are his supporters or not.

As a freedom fighter (based on his claim) espousing the ideal of justice, he should have been in the forefront showing that he wants to see the country return to peaceful co-existence by insisting on the participation of all stakeholders including the Equatorians.

Unfortunately, he only fought for the participation of his own people and in my opinion Dr Machar has failed the test of a truly national democratic leader.

Therefore, clearly without any doubt, Equatoria is on its own. It remains marginalised and oppressed by grand design of Jieng, Nuer and IGAD. What does that mean? Simple, Equatoria is not weak as perceived and believed by others and some Equatorians. Equatoria is the sleeping giant. It only needs to wake up.

The only thing crippling Equatoria is the dysfunctional SPLM. Equatorians must first desert the SPLM or the Equatorians in this hopeless organisation need to think outside the box and join their sisters and brothers to realise its interest.

Equatorians, therefore, need neither the Jieng nor the Nuer for allies. What it needs is internal unity of purpose, unity of survival and unity of destiny. Without such unity, the options before it are limited.

Thus this suggested kind of approach is a must to offset the brutal jungle politics employed by fellow countrymen from the other two regions.

On its own Equatoria can lead and bring stability to South Sudan. After all, South Sudan numerically (population) is equally divided between the three regions. Each region is a third of the country.

If Equatoria organises itself, it has equal chances of winning the presidency in any elections held in the country. This should now be the policy of Equatoria. Go it alone and if any alliance is to be made, the leadership must be of Equatoria. Anything less than that should not be entertained or accepted.

Equatoria must not take this insult from the SPLM warring factions and IGAD lying down. Enough is enough because the unnecessary bloodletting in the country needs to stop.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

Conflict Alert: Looming Military Offensives in South Sudan

BY: Casie Copeland, CRISIS GROUP.ORG, OCT/29/2014, SSN;

Warring parties in South Sudan’s civil war are preparing for major offensives as seasonal rains ease. Hardliners in both the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) are entrenching their positions, and think, as one opposition commander declared, “we will settle this with war”.

Renewed conflict is likely to be accompanied by widespread displacement, atrocity crimes and famine. Despite some progress, nine months of peace talks in Addis Ababa have been unable to stop the fighting.

With splintering interests, weak command and control and proliferating militias and self-defence forces, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body mediating peace talks, must expand and strengthen its political links on the ground with senior commanders, armed groups and militarised communities not represented in Addis Ababa if a future agreement is to have meaning.

The coming violence will present new challenges for UNMISS as it prioritises protection of the nearly 100,000 civilians sheltering in their bases.

The soon-to-end rainy season was accompanied by reduced fighting, which allowed both sides to import arms and marshal forces that were hastily mobilised at the outset of war in December.

The government is emboldened, perceiving a diplomatic swing in its favour, following Kiir’s July visit to Washington and the August IGAD heads of state summit, giving it the space to launch a major offensive while stalling in Addis Ababa.

It has spent tens of millions of dollars on arms – largely from oil revenues – (rather than humanitarian assistance for its people); strengthened its military cooperation agreement with Uganda; undertaken mass recruitment, including of children; and mobilised police units in efforts to regain some of the strength it lost with the defections of troops and loss of weapons to the SPLA-IO.

However, major government victories are unlikely to end the rebellion. Furthermore, given the Ugandan army and Sudanese rebel deployments on its behalf, government advances will likely threaten Sudan’s national security interests, increase regional tensions and further inflame the conflict.

At the same time, state and opposition-supported, ethnically-based armed groups, such as the Nuer White Armies, have flourished and are only tenuously controlled by their sponsors.

Including the Ugandan army and Sudanese rebels backing the government, there are now at least two dozen armed entities operating in South Sudan.

The fragile coalitions threaten to further fracture, particularly in oil-producing Upper Nile State. Many of them, as well as some powerful generals from both the government’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-IO, have expressed their intention to fight on, even if the political leaders sign an agreement.

Despite these obstacles, the IGAD mediation team has focused on trying to broker a deal between Kiir and Machar in Addis Ababa, ignoring other actors.

As Crisis Group warned in July, this lack of broad-scale engagement has led many commanders and armed groups to reject the political process. Most of these parties have their own interests.

IGAD should work with the African Union High-Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP)(that is supporting the Sudanese dialogue process), led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, in order to secure the withdrawal of the Sudanese armed groups as called for in the January cessation of hostilities agreement and previous AU-mediated agreements.

Furthermore, despite many threats, IGAD has not taken punitive measures against the two main parties for violating cessation of hostility agreements, committing war crimes and otherwise undermining the peace-talks, and nor has it requested the African Union or UN Security Council to do so.

Armed actors increasingly believe there is little muscle behind the mediation, which is challenged by divisions within the regional body.

IGAD should continue the process with the two main parties, but given the deteriorating situation on the ground, it must expand its efforts and strengthen its links to other groups and militarised communities not represented in Addis Ababa, through increased political presence on the ground (not simply the Monitoring and Verification Teams observing the ill-implemented cessation of hostility agreements).

Its mediation should be supplemented by separate but linked negotiation tracks on issues not being comprehensively discussed in Ethiopia, particularly the Tanzanian-led SPLM party talks; a re-activated Political Parties Forum; engagement with armed groups; and processes to address violent communal conflict.

Promising internal SPLM party talks have begun, sponsored by Tanzania’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM; in English Party of the Revolution), however they have not yet changed the calculus for war on the ground.

The Political Parties Forum should be re-activated and the leader of the largest opposition party, the SPLM-Democratic Change, should be permitted to travel from South Sudan to re-join the talks.

Much of the dialogue and work with community representatives, armed groups and militarised communities should take place in South Sudan, not in Addis Ababa.

China and the U.S. should play a more active, neutral, consistent and transparent role in ameliorating the regional divisions to help break the impasse.

The two should take a harder line with their allies within the region who continue to enable the war and are party to cessations of hostilities violations.

The limited U.S. and EU individual sanctions, aimed at punishing a few commanders on both sides that are seen to have broken the cessation of hostilities, have thus far had little impact on the combatants’ calculations and individual IGAD, AU or UNSC sanctions are similarly unlikely to turn the tide unless used as leverage to further political negotiations.

In light of the anticipated intensification of fighting, UNMISS’ mandate, due to be renewed on 30 November, should continue to focus on civilian protection.

This is particularly true of protection of civilians already sheltering inside UNMISS and, where possible, it should extend protection beyond bases.

Hosting nearly 100,000 civilians inside of its bases for an extended period is far from ideal, however the mission must continue to provide protection until conditions allow for their safe and voluntary exit from the bases.

Civilians should not be moved into less protected UN humanitarian sites or other specially-designated sites where protection standards will not be the same as within a peacekeeping base.

Supporting further ethnic divisions by moving people to their “ancestral” lands where famine and conflict are likely in the coming months is also not a viable option.

Many recommendations Crisis Group made in its December 2013, Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General, its April report, A Civil War by Any Other Name, and July conflict alert, Halting South Sudan’s Civil War, remain relevant to averting further escalation, improving the peace process and ensuring UNMISS has an appropriate mandate and posture.

To stop further intensification of the war, IGAD should take the following steps:-

* increase its political presence on the ground in South Sudan, with a specific focus on engagement with commanders and armed groups;

* start dialogue with all armed groups and militarised communities;

* open four separate negotiation tracks, both in Addis and South Sudan, sequenced and pursued so as to contribute to the broader national political dialogue and focused on:
-1) the SPLM (supported by Tanzania’s CCM party);
-2) a re-activated Political Parties Forum;
-3) armed groups; and
-4) communal conflict; and

* work with the African Union High-Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP) to secure the withdrawal of the Sudanese armed groups as called for in the January cessation of hostilities agreement and as well as previous AU-mediated agreements between Sudan and South Sudan.

As the conflict threatens to intensify once again, the United Nations Security Council should take the following actions:-

# institute an arms embargo for South Sudan, which must then be carefully monitored to prevent further escalation;

# identify the government’s and opposition’s sources of weapons and how they are paying for them; and increase leverage over the parties;

# establish a Contact Group that includes IGAD, the AU, UN, Troika (U.S., UK, Norway), EU, China and Tanzania to facilitate coordination and discussion on the way forward; and

# maintain UNMISS’ core protection of civilians mandate, including allowing civilians to shelter within UNMISS bases until they are able to make a safe and voluntary exit.

Greater coordination between regional and international actors is urgently needed to ensure the high-level peace talks better reflect the growing number and power of increasingly autonomous armed groups in South Sudan as well as the regional dynamics behind the war.

A clear strategy for engagement with armed groups and facility for linking local negotiations with a wider national process will help prevent the civil war deepening and spreading further in South Sudan and the region.

Casie Copeland

Towards SPLM unification, again? What a tragedy for South Sudan

EDITORIAL ANALYSIS: OCT/21/2014, SSN;

As president Kiir and arch-rival Machar met face to face to initial yet another futile agreement deal on October 20th, 2014, at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge outside Arusha, Tanzania, the day will stand out as an inauspicious and unpropitious day in the political evolution of South Sudan nation as specifically pertaining to the political behavioral evolution of our so-called political leaders.

If the assertions by both rival sides (SPLM ruling and SPLM-in-Opposition) that the goal of the talks and the agreement thereof is the re-unification of this monstrosity known as the SPLM again, then the oppressed peoples of South Sudan are once again being callously and unashamedly betrayed by the same personalities.

Yes, not only once, twice or thrice in our life time, but for the nth time, is the nation of South Sudan silently witnessing another duplicitous realignment of personalities who until this very moment have combined, colluded and commissioned the murders of hundreds of thousands of the citizens.

Sadly, the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge parody comes after the abysmal and clear failure of the IGAD-negotiated Peace Talks in Ethiopia, whereby both sides of the government and the rebels came out immensely disappointed by the IGAD mediators.

In the latest statement from government spokesperson, the unpredictable minister of information, Makuei, the IGAD mediators were more interested in the participation of one politician at the peace talks and that was Dr. Lam Akol was deliberately prohibited by Kiir from traveling to Addis.

But more pertinently, IGAD also wanted to dish out an almost equal proportion of the share in a new government of national unity to each of the three, i.e. SPLM ruling, SPLM-in-O and SPLM ex-detainees, which didn’t bode well with Makuei’s boss, Kiir, hence the adjournment of the Addis talks.

Now, seriously, if after all those many months that the IGAD has been coercing, cajoling and counselling these same SPLM ‘compatriots’ in Ethiopia but to no avail, what difference would Tanzania’s ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi and Pres. Kikwete do differently to achieve concordance among a bunch of diabolically cantankerous and self-seeking persons?

Nonetheless, one important anomaly needs to be pointed out about this gang of so-called SPLM ‘leaders’ and that is their selfish propensity to fully and criminally exploit any chances whereby they are being feted and accommodated luxuriously and freely at someone’s expense, and even get paid for their irresponsibility.

We clearly saw this behavioral manifestation during the unnecessarily prolonged pre-CPA talks in Nairobi and Naivasha, where greed became a prominent characteristic of these SPLM gangsters. The IGAD Addis is a rendition of their greed of financial exploitation.

According to Tanzanian President Kikwete, he had invited the Kiir and Machar “to a dialogue aimed at reunifying the South Sudanese SPLM ruling party.”

Furthermore, quoting the Secretary-general of Tanzania’s ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi, Mr. Abdulrahman Kinana, Kiir and Machar had been invited “to the intra-SPLM dialogue with the hope to re-unify the party.”

However, it should be recalled that a week before (October 12 to 18) the so-called Kiir-Machar Summit at Ngurdoto Lodge, a bunch of SPLM ruling and SPLM rebel and ex-detainees representatives had been meeting in Arusha and according to Mr. Kinana, “the SPLM family have reached progress on establishing a framework for the SPLM dialogue, including shared principles, objectives and agenda for engaging dialogue.”

Seriously, for many of us concerned South Sudanese, this is the biggest and scandalous exposé of the SPLM dishonesty and dis-ingenuity. What’s there that the two SPLM protagonists have to talk about to ‘unify’ their long-exipired party?

The SPLM for all intents and purpose is a dead party, what Kiir, Machar, Pagan or Lam Akol are supposedly leading are mutually antagonistic and mutually destructive, self-serving but deadly clones of the former SPLM that only serve the particular interests of these personalities and their tribal peoples or criminal gangsters.

Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, who incidentally is leading the SPLM-in-O group at Ngurdoto, posed the following in his latest book, ‘South Sudan: The State we aspire,’ “What’s the difference between confusion and a vicious circle? In essence, there’s no difference between the categories…… but in the context of South Sudan, confusion-cum-vicious circle is the political environment the political elite engineers in order to de-conscientise the masses and prevent them from appreciating the oppressive reality in which they are submerged.”

Dr. Adwok further goes on: “Because most political leaders practise double talk, it becomes absolutely necessary for them to generate confusion about their real intentions and they create a psychological environment which could be described as a comedy of political impotence.”

Precisely and unfortunately, the Ngurdoto document just signed by the so-called ‘three’ factions of the SPLM, which will serve yet again as another roadmap for further negotiations to reunite the SPLM and end the war, epitomizes the ‘confusion-cum-vicious cycle’ Dr. Adwok Nyaba referred to above.(pp 148)

Succinctly, Dr. Adwok Nyaba concedes, “…the comedy of political impotence is the havoc the political elite, former revolutionaries of the national liberation struggle, pursuing a personal agenda for power and wealth, are wrecking havoc with the destiny of the people of Southern Sudan.”

The biggest misfortune is that the civil societies and other stake holders in the current predicament facing our nation were deliberately excluded by Tanzania’s president Kikwete with the obvious complicity of the three SPLM leaders and this doesn’t bode well for any possible or probable future resolution of the crisis in the nation.

The SPLM as a whole is seriously and permanently debilitated by internal contradictions, schisms and rivalries which have cumulatively wrecked havoc among these so-called leadership or former revolutionaries.

Nothing good will ever materialize even if God himself came down and took these SPLM ‘leaders’ up into Heaven to negotiate among themselves.

These SPLM criminals, like the biblical people of Babel who disobeyed God himself and built the metaphorical ‘towers of Babel’against God’s will, must be destroyed and dispersed into different directions (many into prisons for life).

More concisely, the SPLM leaders have collectively lost their legitimacy to rule the country anymore because of the crimes they have committed or commissioned that, as Dr. Adwok Nyaba even wrote in his book (pp 148), that with the preponderance of evidence, “it would be easy to pick up and send to the International Criminal Court-ICC- in The Hague many of those in positions of authority today in South Sudan.”

Since coming to Juba in 2005, Pres. Kiir and his ex-deputy, Machar have never really resolved their political differences from the bush era, on top of their bitter tribal differences, a fact overtly exacerbated by the big educational disparities, the latter a PhD holder and the former an primary school leaver.

On the other hand, Kiir has never forgiven or forgotten those so-called Garang’s Boys, such as Pagan Amum, the leader of the former detainees group, for their mischievous role in his (Kiir’s) marginalization and abuse during the bitter animosity with Garang when the late briefly contemplated dumping his deputy, Kiir,

Moreover, in the current opposition groups, those of Machar and Lam Akol still behave like two bitter ex-wives married to the one husband, never will they ever consensually collude and come together to even overthrow the Kiir regime, a near-miraculous expectation those many South Sudanese opposing the Kiir government had hoped would happen sooner than later.

Lately, the Machar’s SPLM-in-O, has publicly and wholeheartedly embraced the popular demand for federal system of governance in the country. If now SPLM unification has become a top priority, is Dr. Machar not once again exhibiting his traits of betrayal to the Equatorians, the Nuer and Western Bahr el ghazel supporters who stood out to support the rebel SPLM?

If the improbable were ever to materialize that a united SPLM came back to life and took over the running of the Juba junta, that would be the biggest tragedy of our nation and its people.

A South Sudan government with Kiir, Machar, Pagan, Alor and company would be diabolical mockery and a painful insult to all those innocent compatriots needlessly eviscerated during the so-called struggle for regime change.

Once again, one would imagine Kiir boldly and without shame stand up in the dead beat parliament to pronounce a general amnesty for his own crimes and for the crimes of other SPLM co-conspirators.

Bitterly, the nation will be again forced to swallow the painful realities that they will and must have to live with once again ad infinitum, the ‘confusion-cum-vicious cycle’ of SPLM political disasters, one after another.

Like it or not, tribal domination will be overtly expedited, there will be no accountability for any crimes commissioned by the ruling SPLM gangsters, people will be murdered and brought with decapitated heads to the government morgues and other unimaginable egregious crimes perpetuated blatantly and lawfully.

In conclusion, whatever the case, the nation should not countenance or allow the tragedy of SPLM unification and the comeback of the SPLM monstrosity to again damage, desecrate and disintegrate the stalled progression and evolution of our nation.

The construction of future conflict in South Sudan

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, OCT/11/2014, SSN:

It is over 9 months since President Salva Kiir unleashed his dogs of war, the ‘Dootku Beny,’ on the Nuer and the people of South Sudan killing tens of thousands and destabilising the country. President Kiir, Michael Makuie, General Wani Igga, Dr Martin Elia, Ateny Wek Ateny and their blind supporters are still in place engaged in violence and disinformation blitz to entrench Dinkocracy.

Defensively and in a persistent manner they bark loudly hoping to dupe the international community. “This government was democratically elected by the people of this country and the time for elections has not yet come”, “Any moves to replace an elected government by force was unconstitutional and unacceptable.” http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article52545

Obviously, these Dinkocrates have conveniently forgotten that they usurped power on the eve of independence on 9th July 2011. The democratic mandate they received in April 2010 expired with the break up of the then Sudan into two countries.

As everyone knows, elections have not been held in the new state of South Sudan. So what are they talking about?

Listening to and observing these Dinkocrats misbehave conjures up images of people who are out of touch with the reality. They speak with confidence while blocking their ears to the truth being told to them. To the world they are deaf and yet they want the world to listen and believe their side of the story which is completely false.

These Dinkocrats seem to believe in what they say to be the ultimate truth, even when the average person in the streets of South Sudan does not perceive it so. They have unreasonably convinced themselves that they are democratically elected and they must not be asked to cede power.

Whether it is President Kiir or his deputy General Wani Igga or Majok on the street, the vigour, fervour and the conviction with which they spread their lies is just the same. As social theory postulates – when something or a lie is repeatedly said, it gradually becomes a reality to the preacher with the bombarded listener turning into a believer.

In the process the preacher and those being preached to lose touch with reality. In a sense they become mentally corrupted. Could this be the thing that is affecting the Dinkocrates?

Could it be the same thing that sunk IGAD? Or was it IGAD’s partiality? Or is it a combination of both?

Whichever, IGAD is doomed to failure mostly due to its partiality. The songs of “democratically elected” only became sweeteners to solidify their biasness. IGAD does not offer any hope. It prescribes more of the same (SPLM misrule).

This is not peacemaking but rather the construction of future chaos and instability. Where then is the peaceful future that IGAD’s mediation promised? Who in South Sudan wants more of the same?

Who wants the continuation of the current tribalism, thuggery, and the Jieng engineered ethnic cleansings?

In a nutshell IGAD’s mediation represents doom and gloom for South Sudan. IGAD is not working for peace. It is working first for the interest of its heads of states and secondly for an entrenched instability in South Sudan.

So, in order to address the problem of South Sudan it requires focusing on the real root causes of the current problem namely: SPLM’s resistance to democratisation and diversification of power; the creation of private tribal armies like Dootku Beny; vicious Jieng tribalism; lawlessness and the ethnic cleansing of the Nuer.

These are the critical issues that must be addressed by all South Sudanese stakeholders if a lasting peace is to be achieved in South Sudan. What does IGAD then do? It embarks on one plan to patch the SPLM as a solution without plan “B”: http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html

In the last 9 months it has done everything to realise this objective knowing very well that SPLM is the real problem. It is the cancer destroying South Sudan. SPLM in reality is a Jieng machine through which Jieng tribalism is detrimentally implemented in the country.

Disappointingly and unethically, IGAD has consistently worked with President Kiir frustrating the participation of the stakeholders to the extent that now the only parties left in Addis Ababa are the SPLM factions responsible for the chaos.

Interestingly, IGAD now shouts that peace is within reach. Do you see the hypocrisy of this club of dictators? What hope is there for South Sudan under the mediation of this hypocritical body?

Sweeping the real issues that plunged the country into chaos under the carpet and rewarding the very party responsible for it is not going to help in the healing process and the stabilisation of the country.

These issues will not go away, they will not disappear but they will fester and grow until they explode with devastating consequences. What IGAD is doing now in Addis Ababa is the deliberate construction of a future conflict.

So whatever deal they sign now will only afford South Sudanese a temporary respite. More over this deal would only be between Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile only. President Kiir and the SPLM-IG represent the former and Dr Machar and SPLM-IO represent the latter.

Equatoria which would have been represented by the other political parties has been frozen out. So Equatoria is already marginalised and its horrific experiences under the SPLM murder machine have been dismissed.

How can the exclusion of Equatoria which comprise a third of the country lead to a lasting peace? I leave that to you to think about it.

Could IGAD’s behaviour not be seen as sending messages to Equatorians to follow in the footsteps of those who have plunged the country into chaos should they want to be counted, listened to and taken seriously? How responsible is IGAD when it becomes part of the problem by marginalising a third of the country?

IGAD is messing South Sudan and creating for itself two serious problems that will come to bite its members.

First, the manner in which IGAD has failed to fairly mediate the South Sudan conflict has displayed to the world its weakness. In addition to losing credibility in the world, new non-state actors emerging in the region in future will not take it seriously and it may not be accepted to play any role.

Secondly, the South Sudan conflict has shown that IGAD has no fangs. It is all talk and threats without any power to enforce it. Take for example, it declares targets with datelines and nothing happens when these datelines are breached.

Its target of 60 days issued in June 2014 to achieve peace agreement in South Sudan expired in August 2014 without any outcome. Again in August 2014 it issued another target of 45 days for same purpose and it is about to expire within this week without any ray of hope in sight.

These targets have been blatantly breached without any consequences. The question is: why does IGAD bother to set these deadlines if they are unable to see them through?

South Sudan will continue to remain in problems not because South Sudanese are trouble makers, but because IGAD makes choices that prolong instability as if it has rights in doing so.

It is the South Sudanese people’s failure to make use of their sovereignty that has led IGAD to assume the right of a decision making in the country’s affairs in support of a criminal party (SPLM).

The responsibility of this failure falls squarely on the SPLM. To break it down, it is President Kiir’s idiotic government; Dr Riek Machar’s inability to have a foresight and vision and the well proven incompetence of the SPLM G-10.

Who is IGAD to dictate terms and decide for a sovereign people? If this situation was reversed to the IGAD member states, would they accept it?

IGAD is only a mediator. Its role is to assist in bringing peace between the warring parties. It is not an arbiter or a judge to dictate or bully left and right. It does not have that mandate to impose decisions on South Sudanese people.

South Sudanese must realise that without a genuine lasting peace there will not be any security in the country. Thus leaving the country in the hands of a hopeless organisation (SPLM) and incompetent “leaders” who do not know the rights of a sovereign state invites abusive treatment of South Sudan as is played out in Addis Ababa by IGAD.

The state of South Sudan did not come to life without huge sacrifices. Millions have paid for it with their blood and the people endured decades of painful oppression.

For SPLM to allow the state of South Sudan to be played with by IGAD is tantamount to gross negligence. The IGAD process glaringly reveals the ignorance of the SPLM and all the supposed leaders of the various SPLM factions as people who have no idea about what a sovereign state is.

Inward looking, corrupt to the bone, and short sighted they connive with IGAD to make all the wrong decisions about fate of millions of South Sudanese people. Remember, the Troika correctly named the problem in South Sudan as “man made”.

Who are the men who made this catastrophe? Is it not President Kiir and the entire SPLM machine? Think about this.

This catastrophe is made out of a mixture of personal ambitions, tribal interest and abuse of state machinery. Was it really necessary to go to war just to settle a disagreement within the SPLM party?

As it may well be obvious to everybody at this point it is clear that this war is a result of power struggle within the SPLM and the irresponsible short sightedness of the supposed Jieng elites. If they only listened to the American friends of South Sudan in early July 2013 this tragedy would have been averted. Please access this link to see it: http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/news/press-releases/friends-of-south-sudan-warned-of-serious-consequences

SPLM is making all the wrong decisions for South Sudan and this is why the country is collapsing. South Sudan can only pull itself out of this mess if it is represented by caring, responsible, and knowledgeable people who make right decisions about its well being and welfare.

Daran Acemoglu and Jones Robinson in their book ‘Why Nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity and poverty’ convincingly point out that, “poor countries are poor because those who have power make choices that create poverty.”

This finding is highly pertinent in the case of South Sudan and it actually illuminates the bleak situation facing the country.

In spite of all the resources South Sudan is endowed with, the people are likely to perpetually remain poor because of the obvious wrong decisions made by the SPLM leaders described by Gerard Prunier as “idiots……rotten to the core” in their various shapes and forms.

The evidence is already clear. Since 2005 all the decisions made by the SPLM leaders stunted the country socially and economically. First they started by entrenching tribalism. Both President Kiir and Dr Machar ensured their tribes controlled the security sector.

They then distributed over 80 percent of the government positions to their tribesmen without any merits. After this they encouraged an alliance of convenience between the Nuer White army and the Jieng of Bor against the Murle people at the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012.

All these were done while they were busy raiding the coffers of the state mercilessly. As if this was not enough they triggered a war with the Sudan over Panthou (a legitimately South Sudanese area) which they negligently left to Sudan to occupy and claim ownership.

So, right from the start the catalogues of poor and wrong decisions have ceaselessly continued up till December 2013 when it took a deadly turn.

Due to his limited capacity and with the influence of the Jieng cartels President Kiir deliberately ignited the current crisis in the country and encouraged ethnic cleansing in the belief that this would make him and the Jieng powerful, feared and a superior tribe.

This delusion of grandeur as a result has seen the country fall apart. The Jieng need to understand that they can not construct a tribal superiority by crude barbarism. They can not be what they dream on the back of other people blood.

Conventional wisdom tells us that such delusions will be resisted and eventually crashed at a certain point and that point for South Sudan is fast approaching whether they like it or not.

The jieng have the key to halt the gathering Tsunami of South Sudanese anger. The Jieng should not deceive themselves that the support the regime is receiving from IGAD will save the status quo.

The idea of a superior tribe milking everyone else as in Juba now frankly speaking is fatuous. It is unsustainable in this modern world.

While the Jieng may control the army, security, police and the economy, that is not enough in itself to ensure their safety and eternal survival. Some tribes like the Gaddafi of Libya and the Boers of South Africa tried it but it ended in tears.

South Sudan as a country is a socio-political system. All the component parts of the country work smoothly when the system is in equilibrium. What this means is that if all the people of South Sudan are happy the country becomes stable and development takes off. But if some people or tribe are unhappy the country loses stability.

Therefore, the currently destabilised socio-political system in South Sudan can not be repaired or cured by keeping it under the management of the very people and party (SPLM) responsible for its political malaise which is exactly what the IGAD mediation is doing.

The system is broken because one of its components (Jieng tribe) has embarked on a puerile project of superiority. The Jieng have become infected with tribalism and grown too big in the social arrangement that kept the system in equilibrium pre-1983.

IGAD by destroying the initially agreed principle and arrangement of bringing all the people (stakeholders) together to deliberate on a way out has just done a huge damage to the stabilisation of South Sudan.

The SPLM factions and IGAD can strike their own peace agreement without the stakeholders but they must know that their peace product is the seed for future conflict.

Therefore, the people of South Sudan need to fight back to stop this construction of future conflict by:
– Petitioning the UN and Troika about IGAD biasness and demand transfer of the talks to a neutral mediator.
– Highlight the fact that SPLM is the problem of South Sudan and it can not be handed power again after it has destroyed the country. The Interim Government should be lead by people with integrity.
– The SPLM should be held accountable for the destruction of the country and the killing of tens of thousands of innocent South Sudanese people. Principally president Kiir must account for the lawlessness and the ethnic cleansing in South Sudan.
– Highlighting the reasons for IGAD’s failure:
a) its open biasness;
b) narrowing and restricting the talks to SPLM factions only thus disenfranchising the people of South Sudan;
c) rewarding failure and criminality in South Sudan;
d) promoting interest of IGAD member states at the expense of the people of South Sudan;
e) promoting instability in South Sudan and potentially in the region.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

Federal system of government the salvation of South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, OCT/06/2014, SSN;

South Sudan is in crisis that could have been avoided. The crisis has brought untold sufferings to many innocent people, probably more than the sufferings endured during the bitter wars of liberation for independence of South Sudan. It is with horror that in independent South Sudan people should turn ferociously on each other in a senseless struggle for power and leadership.

There could have been a peaceful way out in winning the hearts and minds of the people for power and leadership. Unfortunately the use of guns and bullets as a shortcut to power and leadership was erroneously conceived with little or no conceptualization of the consequences. Poor calculations have resulted to unnecessary destruction and senseless loss of innocent lives notwithstanding the deep polarization of communities along ethnic lines.

The ongoing crisis in South Sudan is a litmus test of the political leadership whether they have the guts and the will to climb above partisan politics and ethnic cleavages in the national interest. There is no denial that this senseless armed struggle for power and leadership has taken ethnic dimension where members of one ethnic group in the wrong place have been brutally dealt with. The ethnic dimension of the ongoing armed struggle for power and leadership is well documented in the Interim Report on South Sudan Internal Conflict December 15, 2013 – March 15, 2014 by South Sudan Human Rights Commission.

The ethnic dimension of the ferocious conflict suggests that those who imagine that South Sudanese are one people are nothing but merely wishful thinkers. South Sudanese will never be one people even if the Son of Mary comes for the second time. What they can only be is as people of one destiny. Being of one destiny was the only unifying factor that brought independence to South Sudan.

Before and after independence of South Sudan

Before independence of South Sudan in 2011we were all people of one destiny because we were oppressed and marginalized, being forced to occupy second class citizenship in the old Sudan. As people sharing the same fate we were untied for strength to liberate ourselves from the yolk of Arab oppression and marginalization. We therefore fought as people of one destiny for equality, justice and freedom.

As people of one destiny the unity of people during the struggle transcended ethnic, religious and regional divide. South Sudanese were united in their strong desire for freedom and an independent homeland where they could live in dignity. Arab marginalization and the treatment as second class citizens were too painful that the people of South Sudan preferred to die in the battlefield for freedom and dignity.

According to the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Manifesto 2012 the people of South Sudan are united by a common history of struggle against oppression, different forms of colonialism. This clearly suggests that South Sudanese are people of one destiny but not necessarily one people as the propagandists would like us to believe.

The Manifesto affirms in no uncertain terms that the people of South Sudan are forever inspired by the ideals of human rights and dignity, and by the insistence on respect for fundamental freedoms, social justice, equality, prosperity and democracy. Now the question to ask do those ideals still hold after independence of South Sudan.

After independence the fear and hatred of Arab colonization that had previously united South Sudanese as people of one destiny seemed to have vanished overnight. There was nothing much to unite people as before. The project was over and there was the lack of concepts for other projects to unite people as during the struggle. South Sudanese appeared to have become individuals, tribes or clans looking first after their own interests where national interest was taking the backseat.

The euphoria after the referendum results gave way to bitter disappointment in deficiencies in the ability of the government to deliver security and basic services as some of the most anticipated peace dividends and rewards for independence. There were also claims of corruption, nepotism, exclusion and domination of government and business by some ethnic groups. This was not in line with people’s expectations and aspirations before independence.

People had expected that in an independent South Sudan security of individual and property would have been provided. That was not the case. For example, land grabbing should not have been of concern in independent South Sudan. However, according to the International Republican Institute public opinion poll in all the 10 states of South Sudan, land grabbing is of concern but only in Equatoria.

The cries of poor victims of land grabbing in Equatoria by citizens from Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile are often ignored while the land grabbers are rewarded. For example, land grabbers terrorise legitimate landowners with guns yet these criminal land grabbers do not face the law nor are the guns collected from them as a security measure to preempt anarchy. One can only speculate as to what is going on and how is that going to promote national cohesion and unity.

Systems of government

There are many systems of government in the world. Each country adopts a system that is seen to address its unique needs, compatible with its vision. However, a system that works perfectly well in one country may not necessarily be suitable to another country. What may happen is that a country adapts a system to address issues of diversity and development. However, the system must be seen to be reducing social and regional inequalities and poverty.

A system of government adopted must be seen to be efficient in service delivery for a high standard of living of the people. The system adopted must also be a response to deep social fissures along ethnic, cultural and regional lines where a civil war may be looming. An adoption of a system of government to defuse tensions may save a country from collapsing.

Some of the systems of government are unitary, federal and confederal. A unitary system is the one with only a single, centralized, national tier of government. In the unitary system powers may be highly concentrated in the centre to the disadvantage of the peripheries. It is here that problems sometimes arise when the peripheries are ignored or starved of development to improve living standards.

In a unitary system of government a single ethnic group may consolidate its grip on power over the whole state through nepotism to the detriment of national unity. A unitary system of government can therefore be seen as inappropriate to a country full of ethnic, cultural and regional diversities.

In a federal system powers of government are divided between the national government, state and local governments. Under the federal system each level of government has sovereignty in some areas and shares powers in other areas. For example, both the national and state governments have the power to tax to generate revenue to deliver services but only the national government can declare war.

In a federation, the self-governing states as well as the division of powers between them and the national government, are constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision neither of the states nor the national government.

The confederal system is usually limited to a permanent union of sovereign states for common action in relation to other states. The closest entity to a confederation is the European Union. However, any existing federal state can be transformed into a looser confederation instead of breaking up into totally different independent nations.

Diversities in South Sudan

In the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, South Sudan is considered a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-racial entity where such diversities peacefully co-exist. However, the statement in the last part where it is asserted that “such diversities peacefully co-exist” is arguable. There are always inter and intra ethnic clashes and violence. There are also regional diversities in physical features that can provide comparative advantage in development.

In South Sudan there are mainly two modes of livelihoods. Some communities are pastoralists while others are sedentary farmers. Clashes between pastoralists and farmers are not uncommon with poor delivery of security, characteristic of a centralized system that may be hopelessly too remote to be effective.

Sometimes, arrogance and insensitivity of pastoralists to the feelings of farmers make things worse. It is common for pastoralists to drive deliberately their animals into cultivated fields for the animals to feast on food crops. This is adverse to farmers’ food security. When the farmers complain the pastoralists do not listen and hardly control their animals for a peaceful co-existence with farmers.

It is very clear that the diversities in South Sudan call for a system of government that is robust, closer and adequately responsive to peoples felt needs at the grassroots. A highly centralized system that is hopelessly remote and cannot deliver services as anticipated is not for South Sudan. South Sudan is apparently in need of a system of government that accelerates development for a high standard of living of its people.

Federalism for salvation of South Sudan

The present system of government in South Sudan is quasi federalism. It is a quasi federal system because it is midway between a centralized and a federal system with many attributes of federalism, of course, lacking. There are 10 autonomous states but are limited in powers. For example, the states have limited powers of having their own judiciary, police, prisons, wildlife and fire brigade. The states also may have limited power to tax to raise the needed revenue for development.

For the states to perform and deliver the badly needed services a federal system of government is the most appropriate because the states will then have more powers. Some people have argued that the existing 10 states show that South Sudan is already a federation. This, however, is false. This may be partly due to ignorance of what a federal system entails or it could be the case of those tunnel vision reactionary centralists who exploit and benefit the most from a centralized system of government.

A federal system of government is the most recommended because it will turn South Sudan into a strong vibrant united country where diversities are a source of strength with more powers to the states to address the current deficiencies in service delivery for development.

Conclusion

As mentioned above there are three types of system of government under consideration and they are unitary, federal and confederal. For South Sudan it is envisaged that a federal system is the most appropriate and a good compromise. Although at first it was shunned, the federal system is now widely recognized in the nation and regionally. What remains are the details. In principle federalism is already accepted.

The Sudan Tribune website on September 27, 2014 showed the Government of the Republic of South Sudan agreeing to a federal system of government.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Protocol on Agreed Principles on Transitional Arrangements Towards Resolution of the Crisis in South Sudan, 28 August 2014, in part, stipulates that the “Transitional Government of National of Unity (TGONU) to initiate and oversee a permanent constitution-making process, during the Transitional Period, based on the principles of federalism and taking into account unity in diversity, and to devolve more power to the states”.

One wonders what will the opponents of federalism make of the government’s acceptance of a federal system and the acceptance of principles of federalism by IGAD. It is hoped the opponents of federalism are not out of touch with the reality unfolding.

In conclusion, a federal system is the only way for the salvation of South Sudan for national unity in diversity and sustainable development out of the mess and turmoil that has been unnecessarily created.

Jacob K. Lupai is the author of a new book, South Sudan, Issues in Perspective, which will shortly be launched in Juba, South Sudan.

Unnecessarily Deep-rooted Hatred, Empty Pride and Unhealthy Competitions are bringing us quickly to Doom!

By: Deng M. Koch, South Sudan, OCT/03/2014, SSN;

An Open Letter to the people of Lakes state:

Dear my people of Lakes state, first before I bring your attention into the heart of my message, kindly allow me to highlight the following story:

Once upon a time, a group of nine (9) individuals (men) set out deep into the surrounding forest near their village with the purpose of harvesting wild honey located in a hollow of a very big tree previously known to them. Not known to them however was the fact that in the very hollow in the trunk of the tree ‘resided’ a very big Viper (Snake) with deadly venom which kills instantly once it bites and injects venom (poisonous substance) into human or animal blood system.

The men arrived to their intended destination under the big tree and as is in line with the crude traditional ways of extracting honey, started a fire and a thick smoke began billowing and the men positioned themselves from top of the tree where the mouth of the hollow in the tree trunk was to under the tree on the ground.

The aim is usually to pass fire with smoke up to the tree and insert smoke into the trunk’s hollow and scare bees away from the honey-rich hive and on the other hand, extracted honey is passed down the same line of people to the last person on the ground under the tree who then packages the sweet substance into containers.

The expert “master honey extractor” on top of the tree inserted fire and smoke into the tree and the poor Bees quickly made way for his hand to grab the honey, but the Viper, alerted by smoke and movement near the hollow (kok) was already angered by the intrusion into its territory and hence was on its striking position; the poor guy’s hand was bitten by the deadly snake which he could not see because it was dark in the middle of the night.

Nonetheless, the bitten man had a bad heart and didn’t want to die alone, so he said to the one next to him, “please get hold of this fire thing and continue to harvest the Honey, something has fallen to my eye; let me go down the tree so I can wash it off.”

His unsuspecting friend quickly took up the deadly position and as he rushed his hand into the trunk of the tree, another deadly strike met his hand at the entrance! The same story of excusing oneself was done by the second man as he too realised it was a deadly snake bite and hence did not want to die alone just as the first victim of the snake did.

Number three, four, five, six and seven all followed in the same way and were all bitten and as they climbed down the tree, they all succumbed to the Viper’s venom/snake poison and died.

When it came to number eight, a man of good heart and full of love for others, he was in the same fashion, bitten in the hand and as soon as he realized it was a deadly snake bite, he shouted in agony, “Oh God, my God, why would you allow the Satanic Viper to finish my people like this!”

His crying in despair alerted the number 9, the last man who was standing; he quickly turned and inspected all those others previously bitten and found out they had all kicked the buck! Alas, bad heart and ill intentions of the first seven victims made it possible for snake to annihilate almost the entire group!

Thanks God the 8th victim was pure in heart, loving and caring for others’ welfare; his warning stopped the last member of the group from falling into the same abyss of tragedy. He dared not to approach the death trap which finished his friends! He became the sole survivor to tell the tragic tale of the honey hunters to the village people and beyond.

So, my people of Lakes state, haven’t we allowed the “Viper snake” of hatred, tribalism propelled by tribal or clannish chauvinism and hegemony with all its by-products of cattle rustling, highway banditry, targeted cold-blooded murders of innocent including sleeping victims to finish us individual by individual, clan by clan and county by county?

For far too long we have been burying our heads in the sand, pretending that the escalating violence was a “normal traditional practice of community’s rivalries over pastures and watering points for their cattle”.

Now that towns such as Cueibet, Rumbek the capital of state, Pacong, Wulu and you name them all, as well as along the Highway serving five states, the Greater Bahr El Ghazal highway from Juba – Yirol – Rumbek – Tonj – Wau – Aweil and which branches off in Rumbek to Bentiu, had been turned into human Abettors by gunmen from the very “normally rivaling community groups” in the state, hadn’t the chickens returned home to Roost?

There is nowhere is the story of single snake finishing 8 people out of 9 reflected in practical terms than in our volatile Lakes state in the Republic of South Sudan!

The South Sudanese public and the world community are reeling to absorb and comprehend the scale and frequency of death, destruction or looting of properties of innocent victims coming out in the new Country’s centrally located Lakes state on daily basis.

People there are almost psychologically resigning to the fact that their lives could easily be terminated at any time of the day and that living to see the next day, week, month or a year was a matter of privilege; a privilege granted not by the divine powers as is usually the case with humanity’s beliefs, but rather by the decision and will of criminal human hunters who initiates killing of unsuspecting innocent people at will; or act in the name of Revenging and counter-revenging their lost loved ones regardless of the circumstances leading to such loses.

None is safe anymore and age, gender, occupation, status or physical ability no longer exempts one from falling victim to the raging practice of innocent human beings elimination!

More questions than answers abounds as to how and why have the people of the once glorious province of South Sudan allowed themselves to fall so lowest.

But none including the author have the real and convincing answers to these questions, hence the search and guessing for answers to the questions and solutions to the escalating destruction of lives and properties in the volatile state is ongoing.

As the communities are confused and the core of their social fabrics in tatters, our state politicians are in disarray with no unity of purpose forged amongst themselves and “bunch of self-hating idiots” we becomes in the eyes of the South Sudanese nation.

Practically a major source of sympathy to the well-wishers and a bunch of laughing stocks in the eyes of Scorners and haters!

None in the Republic of South Sudan but the very people of Lakes state themselves can bring an end once and for all to their mini-wars and unnecessary death tolls.

The national government, already stretched thin by other more pressing national emergencies can only facilitate and where necessary, impose in collaboration with local institutions of governance and people in the state, the rule of law and Justice for the victims.

Any perception that the solution is entirely external is void of logic. We must thus put our house in order and cease idle whining and lamentation about the menacing problems.

Things are not being helped by the fact that the state Assembly, a Legislature that was tasked with formulating laws and policy direction has become nothing more than a gossip house!

They no longer know what to do nor what not to do, a vast majority of them have become Residents of Juba by choice or against their choice as talks of “threat” to their lives, real and imaginary are ripe in the corridors of lamentation and one no longer understand where the real cause or solutions lies.

If the members of the most powerful institution, people with the mandate from their electorates to change course of things in the state have become ‘roaming’ whiners and like ordinary citizens, helplessly pointing fingers of blame to one man (Caretaker Governor) and shadowy figures!

The question is then begging itself, is this one man (Caretaker Governor) the real problem or are we (people of Lakes state) spearing the shadow of unknown animal?

Didn’t we complain time and again before that the previous Governors were the problems? Were they not removed in their different times of office and did the madness of killing one another stop?

How can one person be a problem to the extent that Hundreds of Thousands of citizens in the state are helpless in finding solutions to their issues?

To me, I do think that our individual attitudes as well as collective perceptions and actions, more than anything else are to blame for the now ensuing mess which left us with nothing but shame of enormous proportion in the eyes of the nation and beyond.

When shall we come to our collective senses as people of the volatile Lakes state, isn’t our dignity and collective image not battered enough and hence the need to quickly salvage what we can before it all together become uselessly too late to do so?

There is a fundamental problem of perceptions and understanding within us as a society!

Again, there is an old adage which goes “the bigger and influential the position that one occupies in employment, the bigger the size of trousers and shirts one wears.”

This simply means people desperately want big positions in order to enrich themselves more than serving the constituents and this seems to be the trend among politicians of Lakes state.

And this may also explain why almost every politician in the state is eyeing the position of governorship, either for him/herself or his/her “Nominee” to fulfill certain interests; be they individual or collective in the case of clan or tribal politicking.

A pattern of “See nothing say nothing as long as you are in the state government cabinet; and see everything everywhere and shout the loudest as soon as you are reshuffled out,” has manifested itself ominously amongst the amateurish state politicians since the formation of government in 2005.

There is no doubt the governor, whether in the past, in the present or in the future has and will have his shortcomings just as all other human beings are, but to propagate or assume all the ongoing mess including rampant cattle rustling, robbery with violence, cold-blooded killing of innocent people and even Hyenas and dogs gone amok in killing or eating people in the state on one man or woman in position of Governor is a mockery to logic and self-defeating to say the least.

Therefore, I humbly call upon you my people in Lakes state and by extension, in all other violence prone areas in the Republic of South Sudan to rise to the challenge and stop acts of barbarianism and savagery.

It is time each citizen in the affected places of communal violence, cattle rustling and highway banditry begin to ask themselves what criminal acts brought upon them and their communities; and what their obligations to their communities, states and the country at large are.

We all ought to collectively strive to live in peace and harmony and appreciate our cultural and linguistic diversity as an invaluable asset which we must all work hand-in-hand to preserve. Multicultural society we are and differences in opinion, ways of life and religious beliefs we must accept, as long as they are not detrimental to the security and wellbeing of our country.

Our leaders too at different levels of governance need to fully understand and appreciate the needs and challenges pertaining to their constituents and constituencies; formulate clearer road maps for both short term and long term solutions to such and adopt consultative approach as opposed to unilateralism in decision making.

Decisions which affect or have the potentials to affect citizens’ lives are not a matter of clique rushing with it and excluding others, rather they deserve wider consultation and in the process create collective sense of belonging to and ownership of decision making process and hence acceptance of the outcome.

The growing culture of assigning people based on who they know more than what they know is by no mean lesser evil in the debilitating problems of Lakes state and by extension the wider country.

It is my sincere hope and prayer that my people in Lakes state will one day come to their senses and begin to seriously work to restore peace, unity and stability; and regain appreciation and respect by others in the Republic of South Sudan and beyond.

The sooner the better for all! South Sudan, a country for which you (Lakes state people) always walked in the forefront with your compatriot during the liberation struggles of various time, until the people of South Sudan achieved their full independence, need your positive input in the development of the country, not your aimless self-killing.

It is thus heart-breaking to witness the deteriorating situation of senseless killing of innocent people and the acceleration of politics of gossiping and sabotage among the political class of the state, thereby in the process leaving the needs of the citizens unattended to.

While the phenomenon of the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a factor in the psychology and actions of individuals in Lakes state, it is not an excuse as it is neither a monopoly of you nor endemic (confined) in Lakes state; it affects all the post-war communities around the globe and other South Sudanese are no exception!

Therefore, let us rid ourselves of this glaring shame we finds ourselves in, my people. Dragging down with you the whole community including innocent, vulnerable and helpless children, women, elderly, physically hindered people, and all the people in the society is no noble cause for sensible and objective-oriented men.

So, to all the warring Gelweng, leave these groups of innocent people as well as innocent travelers through your land out of your self-annihilating fights and think of the future of your children, parents or partners before you act.

To local politicians, you can only be a proud leader of the living people, not of the dead; hence it is high time we all pull our acts together without allowing our individual political interests to interfere with the process of restoring peace and harmony to the lives of our people.

Great men and women in the political history are they who were selfless and who suffered in emancipation of their people.

On the other hand, the most reviled are they who were selfishly self-cantered, greedy and lustful of power; history is not and will never be so kind to them.

What legacy do we want to leave behind in our communities, state and the beloved country? I leave that for you to digest.

Seriously, I mourn all the slain victims of the senseless inter-community or inter-clan fights, particularly those very innocent victims shot dead in their homes, on the roads etc.

The great men who laid the foundation of unity and pride of the people of Lakes state, the like of great chiefs, spear masters, Christian religious leaders, wise and noble men and women of this great but now self-demoting state must be watching down on us in great agony.

But still, it is not and will never be too late to correct the mess and save the peace loving people of South Sudan and the world the heartache and headache of hearing bad news after bad news coming out of Lakes state.

Stop, stop, and stop my people stop the senseless bloodshed now!

“Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to men who are his friends,” The Friends of God according to Holy Bible, are the righteous who fear God and think of God’s instructions before they act. The instructions of God include “Do not kill” and “love your neighbour as you love yourself”.

Deng M. Koch Dengdit,
The Author is the Former Gurtong Peace Trust Correspondent for Australia and now in South Sudan. He can be reached through: deng.koch2014@gmail.com