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Federalism isn’t the cause of war in South Sudan

BY: Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, AUG/19/2018, SSN;

Five days ago, Roger Alfred Yoron Modi, published an article under the title “Federalism does not deserve war in South Sudan.” The title is quite misleading and nothing could be further from the truth.

The whole world knows that the war in South Sudan was the result of a power struggle within the SPLM party between President Kiir and his deputy, the then sacked Vice President and Deputy Chairman of the SPLM party, Dr Riek Machar.

The South Sudanese people were not responsible for igniting the war, but it was imposed on them by their leaders.

The government narrative was that it was a coup d’etat orchestrated and executed by Dr Riek Machar and his followers. That narrative fell flat under scrutiny and gained the regime Four Pinocchios on The Fact Checker Rating System.

Even President Museveni, Kiir’s main ally, refuted the claim that what happened in Juba in December 2013 was a coup d’etat.

Many of us know that Riek Machar was against federalism. It’s well documented in a meeting with the Equatorians in Nyakuron Cultural Centre in Juba before the conflict where Riek Machar threatened the Equatorians for pursuing federalism.

He needed the support of the Equatorians in his fight against President Kiir. Hence Riek Machar resorted to a tactical move by embracing federalism and even becoming more vocal about it than the pioneers.

It’s no wonder that Riek Machar has foregone federalism at the earliest opportunity to reclaim his previous position in the government. It’s clear that federalism was never the cause of the rift within the SPLM party nor the reason that South Sudan ended up in a protracted civil war.

The government went to great lengths to suppress any debates about federalism be it in the media or among the populace. Even a media gag was imposed by the government not to engage in any activities related to federalism.

A poor man was shot dead in Maridi for voicing out his support for federalism. Such an act would have drawn condemnation from the President and members of his cabinet because it was a politically motivated act of extreme violence by members of the security organs.

The case of the unfortunate man was deliberately left to fall into oblivion with no investigation, arrests or convictions. But there were numerous cases of assassinations that went unnoticed by the media.

It was noted that around that time the activities of the unknown gunmen suddenly picked up to unprecedented levels. It was common knowledge that the unknown gunmen targeted those who were vocal in their support for federalism.

At that time, no one knew for sure the identity of the unknown gunmen. It’s only recently that General Paul Malong, the former Chief of Staff of the SPLA unveiled the identity of the unknown gunmen.

We now know that they are members of the National Security Service (NSS) under the direct orders of the President and led by General Akol Koor, the Director General of Internal Security at the NSS.

Such is the environment Roger Alfred Yoron Modi thinks is conducive for a democratic discourse on the issue of federalism with all the opposition groups in Juba. One must be blind, deaf or incredibly naive to believe what our eminent journalist is alluding to.

It’s an oversimplification or just outright dishonesty to claim that the National Salvation Front (NAS) is rejecting the agreement on the Outstanding Issues of Governance because of non-inclusion of federalism.

Likewise, it’s illogical to suggest that by doing so, NAS is opting for war. It’s turning into a familiar theme that whoever does not sign the cumbersome deal is a warmonger.

At this juncture where the future of the country is in doubt, those sincere sons and daughters of South Sudan need to tell the truth.

Where in the world that you find a government having 5 Vice Presidents?! The superpowers of the world (America, Rusia, China) all have one Vice President each.

Furthermore, South Sudan represents only a fraction of the territory and population size of those superpowers. Are we being made by our leaders into a laughing stock across the world?!

But the most critical thing concerning peace is the Security Arrangements. NAS has already appended its signature to it showing its full commitment for peace. It did sign the Cessation of Hostility Agreement (CoHA) in Addis Ababa in December 2017.

The National Salvation Front continued to honour the CoHA with no single violation recorded against it by the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM).

It’s because of an unambiguous policy that gives priority to peace. NAS could undoubtedly cause problems for the government in various ways, but its leaders are more concerned about the plight of the ordinary people of South Sudan who are yearning for a just peace.

Our journalist also brought up the issue of NAS signing the Security Arrangements but not the Outstanding Issues on Governance as a sort of inconsistency or contradiction.

Looking at previous peace talks across the world; shows that what NAS did was never a precedent but consistent with numerous past experiences.

In peace negotiations, the parties could agree on some points while disagreeing with others that could take months or even few years to resolve. The talks could be adjourned, and when they are resumed, they do not start from square one but from where they stopped in the previous peace talks.

I am sure that our journalist is aware that the government refused to sign the Declaration of Principles (DoP) in Addis Ababa in March 2018, yet the negotiations were allowed to continue.

So now the government has signed the agreement on governance because it gives it what it wants but not the DoP that was approved by NAS and the other members of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA).

So, where is the difference between the two positions? And why is the government’s position right while the one that belongs to NAS is wrong?! Are we dealing with a worthless, biased view?!

It’s important to understand that federalism is not the only reason that led NAS to reject the agreement on governance.

NAS is pursuing a holistic solution to the conflict that would put an end to the war and bring about a lasting peace. It’s untrue that NAS didn’t propose the type of federalism that suits South Sudan.

It was contained in NAS’s proposal to the pre-Forum Consultations of the High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) for the Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

But to our surprise, our proposal, as well as the ones from the other opposition Movements/Parties, were ignored by the IGAD mediation team. There are good reasons to insist on the institution of federalism in the transition.

Firstly, ARCSS stipulates that the National Constitutional Amendment Committee (NCAC) drafts a Constitutional Amendment bill within (21) days upon signing the agreement.

The bill shall incorporate the agreement into the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (TCRSS). Federalism could be incorporated into the TCRSS within that timeframe.

All are supposed to occur in the pre-transition period. All are doable and in good time.

Secondly, Federalism is a popular demand since 1947, and there’s no any convincing reason to further delay its implementation.

Thirdly, The government track-record and apparent hostility against federalism as outlined above is no comfort for leaving the matter to be addressed well into the transition.

The notion that our people need understanding and enlightenment on the various types of federalism is flawed. How many among the elites in South Sudan who know the types of federalism? Not very many.

I contend that the percentage of those who know would not be much different from the one belonging to their peers in America, India or Brazil.

According to the US Department of Education, 32 million adults (9.8%) in the US can’t read. The federal government was established in 1789, that’s 229 years ago. If the illiteracy percentage is 9.8% now, what was it over two centuries ago?!

The Americans managed to run a successful federal government and made America a superpower.

The federal government of Brazil came into being in 1889, which is 129 years ago. At that time the literacy in Brazil was 16%. It means, 84% of the Brazilians were illiterate people when federalism was introduced.

Regardless of the population size, the case of India is much closer to ours. The literacy percentages in India in 1951 and 2001 were 17.02% and 21.59% respectively. Our current literacy percentage is 27% which is higher than that of India.

India is the biggest democracy on earth enjoying a prosperous and stable federal system of governance. Roger Alfred Yoron Modi would struggle in vain to make people favour such an assertion.

Regarding the Presidency, there seems to be an assumption that all the opposition groups have agreed for Kiir and Machar to lead the transition.

NAS position is that any individual who had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity should be excluded from the transition. The same applies to those who are suspects of embezzlement of public funds.

There’s a valid argument for adopting such a stance which is to avoid conflict of interests. How could the Hybrid Court of South Sudan (HCSS) function independently and fairly with President Kiir and Dr Riek Machar at the helm of the government?!

The following is an excerpt from the report of the African Union Commision of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS). “The commision therefore, finds that in order for the reconciliation process to begin, those with the greatest responsibility for atrocities at the highest level should be brought to account and mechanisms should be established to address other concerns specific to victims of violations and crimes, which include reparation.”

NAS position takes the moral high ground and conforms with the AUCISS recommendations in its entirety. It addresses the issue of accountability which seems to have been thrown out of the window in the agreement on governance.

Of course, there are some within SSOA who are more interested in power-sharing than addressing the root causes of the conflict. They do not mind letting Kiir and Machar lead the transition as long as they are given the positions they want.

NAS argument in this regard is to institute the right system of governance (Federalism) at the beginning of the transition with full accountability. That alone would address the issue of who participates in the transition and who doesn’t.

The number of States should have been a non-starter. The journalist knows very well that ARCSS is based on the pre-conflict 10 States. The inclusion of the illegal 32 States for negotiation by IGAD re-enforces the view by many that the mediation team is biased.

The Independent Boundaries Commission (IBC) and the Referendum Commission on Number and Boundaries of States (RCNBC) shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were never a part of ARCSS.

Now a paradox has arisen because IGAD talks of revitalising ARCSS while incorporating violations into it at the same time.

Those in the opposition who have caved in and chosen to go along with the 32 states, ought to stop deceiving their followers that there is still a chance to reverse the measure when they go to Juba. By then, they would have appointed their own as Governors for the States allocated to them. What argument would they come up with to challenge the 32 States which they have already become part of it?!

Our journalist has rubbished the renewal of armed conflict during the upcoming transition like what happened in July 2016. He cited that the signing of the Security Arrangements by all the parties including NAS is enough evidence that such a thing would not happen.

But a similar signing did happen in August 2015, and yet war broke out. Even the body language of the President and his refusal to shake hands with Dr Riek Machar at the Khartoum Peace Agreement signing ceremony; is quite ominous.

When you add to that President Kiir’s speech on arrival at Juba International Airport – it becomes a matter of not “if” but “when” would the said peace agreement collapse.

Roger Alfred Yoron Modi is a very “prolific” journalist. I want to draw the reader’s attention to another article that he published one day before this one. It’s under the title “Collusion and harmful actions against South Sudan peace process.”

But much of the article is a talk about himself which I find contradictory to its title. The gist of his talk is that he is under threats for what he stands for from the government as well as from undisclosed individuals best known to him.

South Sudan under President Kiir is decidedly a dangerous place for journalists. Here is the list of journalists who were killed in South Sudan since 2012.

1. Isaiah Diing Abraham – Sudan Tribune – killed outside his home in Qudele, Juba on 05/12/2012.
2. Musa Mohammed – South Sudan Radio Wau.
3. Boutros Martin – South Sudan Television.
4. Dalia Marko – Raja Radio Station.
5. Randa George – Randa – Raja Radio Station.
6. Adam Juma – Raja Radio Station.

From 2 to 6 – killed by unknown gunmen in Wau on 25/01/2015.

7. Pow James Raeth – Radio Tamazuj – caught in gunfire between warring groups on 20/05/2015 in Akobo.
8. Peter Julius Moi – South Sudan Corporate Weekly – killed a few days after President Kiir threatened journalists.
9. John Gatluak Manguet – killed by government forces in Terrain Hotel, Juba on 11/07/2016.

We know that Roger Alfred Yoron Modi was the former Managing Editor of Juba Monitor and former Chief Editor of Bakhita Radio. Also, we do know that Alfred Taban, the Editor-in-Chief of the Juba Monitor was appointed as MP to the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) on the ticket of First Vice President (FVP) Taban Deng Gai.

Now we all know that Taban Deng Gai’s group has gone back to the SPLM mainstream under President Salva Kiir Mayardit. So, I don’t understand why Roger Alfred Yoron Modi should feel insecure in Juba.

His previous boss who is now part of the ruling party could phone the Chief of Intelligence, General Akol Koor, and his name would immediately be removed from the blacklist in case of a mistaken identity.

As for those individuals who continue to pose a threat to his life and who are not members of the regime, General Akol Koor could similarly be contacted, and the problem would be sorted out in no time. He would unleash the unknown gunmen to hunt-down those “criminals.”

Notwithstanding the above, our journalist wants the opposition including NAS to go to Juba on board an agreement that consolidates the status quo.

It’s ironical that while he feels unsafe in Juba despite not being identified as a potential threat to the regime, he wants those who went through the J1 shooting ordeal in July 2016; not to worry about their safety. It’s beyond logic!

The National Salvation Front is a people-centric Movement driven by the need to realise the aspirations of the people in the form of equality, justice, development, and peace.

It would leave no stone unturned in its quest for a just and sustainable peace.

NAS has prioritised peaceful settlement of the conflict over other means as long as opportunities for peace talks remain on the table for all the parties.

It’s out of NAS conviction that the victims on both sides are the same South Sudanese people. Therefore, if there’s a way to resolve the conflict peacefully and save lives, then it’s the option NAS would choose.

Finally, it’s important to state that federalism is not a recipe for war but a means to avoid future wars.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

US, Human Rights Watchdog urge Hybrid court for South Sudan

By: FRED OLUOCH, THE EAST AFRICAN, AUG/14/2018, SSN;

That is the question most observers are asking, as the key partners appear to have been forced by regional and international leaders to sign the deal on August 5 in Khartoum.

First, President Salva Kiir refused to shake Riek Machar’s hand after they signed the agreement. This seemed to send the message that President Kiir was unhappy.

Yet, as part of the agreement, the president issued a presidential decree pardoning Dr Machar, paving the way for the rebel leader to return to Juba.

But Dr Machar’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement — In Opposition (SPLM-IO) has rejected the amnesty, instead asking the president to apologise to the people of South Sudan for plunging the country into chaos.

President Kiir had earlier opposed Dr Machar’s participation in the transitional government but was pressured by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) at a meeting in Entebbe with Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Omar al-Bashir on July 8.

Such was the pressure that President Kiir, while addressing the crowd on his arrival at Juba International Airport, made it clear that regional leaders forced him to sign the deal.

“Even if we are expelled today and they are brought to power, for how long will they stay in power before you overthrow them?” President Kiir posed.

Gen Thomas Cirillo Swaka, leader of the National Salvation Front, accused President Kiir of engaging in ethnic rhetoric.

    Reconciliatory?

One of the first things the president is supposed to do is reinstate Dr Machar, who will stay in Khartoum until the mediators set the implementation timetable.

James Oryema, SPLM-IO representative in Kenya, said that while President al-Bashir has a lot of leverage on President Kiir, there is scepticism and concern that the Juba leadership is not reconciliatory.

However, the Khartoum talks, which are still going on until August 19, have made major strides compared with previous efforts to stop the five-year civil war.

In the next eight months, during the pre-trial period, the two parties must form a Cabinet of 35 members, appoint new members of parliament, constitute the National Boundary Committee and integrate the armed groups into a single national army.

Negotiations will continue in Khartoum in the next two weeks to deal with the “bracketed” areas, such as who to appoint to the National Pre—Transitional Committee between President Kiir and IGAD; the composition of the National Boundary Committee and its leadership.

Others are establishing a hybrid court to try those who have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes.

—-(Additional reporting by Joseph Oduha.)

Let’s face it: There is no DEAL, no PEACE for now.

BY: Akim Salah , Wau-South Sudan, AUG/11/2018, SSN;

The mix reactions to the Khartoum-Kampala coerced peace deal demonstrate the difference between naïve tribal opportunists and rational thinking citizens.

To begin with, the peace is all about maintaining the status quo, keeping the same failed pilot (Kiir) and co-pilot (Machar) with their respective manipulated blind followers to continue dominating the national stage/affairs regardless of contemporary history of disastrous results of epic proportion in their names.

As long as these two safeguarded the interests of the Sudanese and Ugandan demi-gods at the expense of the common people suffering in POC and refugee camps there is no problem.

M7 (Uganda’s president Museveni) turned deaf ears to testimonies of fleeing refugees in his backyard because he reaps big from aid, hence sees no reason to review relationships with Juba or at least ask his partner in crime (kiir) to change the game for the sake of the suffering people.

Yet he can afford to taunt the junior friend for failing to unite the people – What a paradox!!

Much as the old man is keen to bolster the Juba regime, economic realities back home biting hard, the Blood Dollar is no trickling in right volumes hence he has to find a way of getting back the lost trade without compromising his own regime (I will come to that latter).

While the economic meltdown in Sudan, coupled with its ambitious development plans quickly reminded El Bashir that after all, it has always been South Sudanese resources boosting Khartoum’s socio-economic development, even after the CPA, the oil dividends make more resounding proportion for development in Khartoum than Juba.

Whereas, in South Sudan itseif, looters squandered their fraction of the pie on lavish cars, properties abroad, prostitutes, and a good amount going to appease their godfathers in East Africa.

Only stupid optimists will think that the two warlords (godfathers) believe that the signed agreement will last. It was written all over their faces and eluded to only in words.

However, if one has to decode the unsaid statements “do not use these ceasefire to prepare for war” said Museveni. Yet reports indicate that he is training SPLA-IG snippers possibly in fear of a repeat of the humiliating clash in July 2016, when the meager, tactfully superior SPLA-IO forces mourned their brothers (IGs) at Jebel with a terrifying catastrophic speed – Only those who have not been in Juba/jebel can deny this fact.

Reports from credible sources intimate that if only there were 5,000 IO forces armed with artilleries, Juba would have gone, and all the same it took the better trained SPLA Units of National security to dislodge them, much like in 2013 when General Mamur had to wrestle out conquered Giada from the Nuers.

With inferences to these tragedies that cost lives of thousands of young men and women including children some of whom are still an accounted for, it’s safe to say mistrust, suspicion, the old vices of tribal hatred and vengeance have taken root to the extend of foiling any peace effort unless it’s addressed in good faith.

That brings us to the Equatoria puzzle. Relatively muted but heavily marginalized, the Equatorians’ aspirations are grossly ignored in the Khartoum deal.

That’s not because they do not have genuine stake/claim but because their forces are construed weak, not to possess real threat to Juba Regime.

These Groups found their backs against enemy friend’s wall hence logistically challenged, let alone the intelligence gathering.

More so, there is what I can call the Equatorian Phobia by both Juba and Kampala Regimes. Kampala, especially M7, knows too well semi-autonomous or independent Equatoria could pose real threat given its cultural ties with the northern Uganda and DR Congo tribes, if Idi Amin’s reign is something to go by.

It’s in Equatoria, too, that the landlocked country’s major roads linking it to the sea ports of Mombasa and Dar El Salaam are found.

Any major war with the host taking an upper hand will paralyze trade and bring the economy to its knees.

The bitter truth that the regime hates but can’t be denied is the fact that some of the Equatorian Brethren are well advanced culturally, educationally, are hardworking and development minded.

They have to be marginalized to bridge the gaps.

Of late the Equatoria phobia manifested itself in Upper Nile where the youth agitated for Equatorian employees’ expulsion from NGOs.

This was also echoed in some sections of Bhar El Ghazel and still rolling. One can be forgiven to make a guess that some of these moves are politically engineered.

The disturbing question is: will the Equatorians continue to fold their hands, endure the continuous marginalization under the watch of Wani Igga all in the name of peace?

Or will they rally behind Thomas and Bakasero to demand for a version of Federalism that suits their aspirations?

Choosing the latter means war, banditry attacks…etc, hence denying Juba to eat their looted delicacy at peace.

The Way Out:
If lasting peace is to be realized, the governance question must be renegotiated to give each region a fair share of power to run its affairs though we can still have same army, money, etc….

Summarily, mistrust, suspicion, the old vices of tribal hatred and vengeance, the Equatoria-Phobia & marginalization are set to deny lasting peace a chance.

***************Time be my Judge****************************

LATEST BREAKING NEWS: Arab Sudan security coercing South Sudan Opposition Alliance member to sign peace deal!!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE From: SOUTH SUDAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE (SSOA): FDP, NAS, NDM, PDM, SPLM-FDs, SSNMC, SSPM, SSLM, SSUM, UDRA. Date: 4th August 2018;

Intimidation of SSOA members by Sudan Security Personnel: South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) through its last two press statement in past two days had made it very clear they will not sign nor be part of this Khartoum Peace Agreement in its current form.

This agreement has failed to address the root cause and core issues fueling the crisis in South Sudan.

Following SSOA’s firm stand of not to sign this agreement, this evening Khartoum local time, Sudan Security personnel has resorted to extreme intimidation and armtwisting coercing SSOA members to sign on behalf of their constituent parties.

At this moment some members of SSPM, SSLM, and NAS have been coerced to sign the agreement tomorrow.

SSOA would like to alert the IGAD mediation, the AU, the Troika, UN, USC and the world at large that such mediation of “Peace at all Cost” by the Sudan will not usher a genuine sustainable peace in South Sudan.

Also, we would like to register our official complaint against Sudan mediation and its security personnel interference and intimidation.

To all our members and supporters, we would like to assure you SSOA will continue to stand firm advocating for the interest of people of South Sudan.

We will continue engaging to bring about Just and genuine sustainable peace in South Sudan.
###

Contact: Kwaje Lasu
+1-336-575-5965 (Direct/WhatsApp)
Email: jointoppositionpressrelease@gmail.com

SOUTH SUDAN OPPOSITION ALLIANCE (SSOA)
FDP; NAS; NDM; PDM; SPLM-FDs; SSNMC; SSPM; SSLM; SSUM; UDRA

Naath (Nuer) suffering under power-greedy Riek Machar is still at large

By: Cornelius Khan, South Sudan, JUL/28/2018, SSN;

I absolutely have no personal grudges against Riek Machar but his 30 years plus reign as Nuer and South Sudan leader and his proven never-dying-greed-for-power, his reckless and ignorant decisions, his lack of strategies and his satanic desire to throw the country on fire if his desires are not met, made me dislike him.

Now, after thousands have died, millions displaced, billions of national resources went to waste, livelihoods vandalized and the country is brought to her knees, Riek Machar wants to come back to Juba as First Vice President (FVP).

-Is he wise or foolish for him to destroy our lives just for him to remain in the South Sudan leadership?

-Is Riek Machar really coming back to Juba just because of the title FVP?

– What is new that he coming to offer to South Sudan?

– Now, does any one doubt what Riek Machar was fighting for position?

Honestly, everyone doesn’t want him back to Juba because death, destruction, instability and suffering accompany him.

Now, civilians hearing that he is coming back are scared to death because his presence Means War and destruction. He is simply a symbol of death and destruction and the whole Naath people have been characterized that way. Sad!!

After all the noise, the slogans about “Salva Kiir must go,” and failing to achieve a single item of his demands and failing to overthrow the Government by force, why can’t he simply step aside honorably instead of him waiting for his supporters to push him aside?

We all know, his supporters now have come to know him better and are willing to overthrow him since all he is killing people for the position of FVP.

It is always wise to step aside peacefully instead of waiting for the angry mob to push you out.

He has failed and there is absolutely no question about it and the best he can do is call it a day. But, we know him and his greed for power, he will never give way to others unless he is pushed by force.

If he failed in the frontlines, failed to achieve his goals in negotiations and finally forced to sign what was asked of him to sign, can he do anything after that in Juba?

Again, this time round, he is coming to Juba alone because we will not allow him bring his militias to Juba. No Riek Machar’s militia will be allowed to come and caused havoc again.

We will be the ones to protect him and it will be up to us to decide his fate. He will be allowed to Juba just to give peace to the ignorant villagers whom he misled otherwise his time is up.

Lastly, we still call upon the Nuer (Naath) to stop putting their hopes in the weak Riek Machar and start paying their loyalty and support to Gen. Taban Deng Gai, the man whose actions speak louder than words.

Be wise, be bold, be decisive and stop following the lost crowd, make that decision right now!!

Did I hear that the so-called South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA) has refused to sign the peace agreement? I must thank them for sparing us time and space and letting them go lick their financial wounds since that’s what they are fighting for.

Maybe they are misled by the American slogans but they will regret this for a very long time.

CONTINUE TO FOLLOW RIEK MACHAR AT YOUR OWN RISK!!

LATEST: US doubts ability of South Sudan’s president Kiir and rebel leader Machar to bring peace

NAIROBI, July 22 (Reuters); The United States doubts whether South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have the leadership qualities needed to deliver peace to the country at war since 2013, the White House said on Sunday.

Peace talks last week in the South Sudanese capital Juba need to be more inclusive to succeed, the White House said, adding that it will impose fresh sanctions on anyone who threatens the country’s stability.

The statement constitutes tough U.S. language about South Sudan, a country whose independence in 2011 Washington backed after a war with Sudan that lasted decades. Since then, tens of thousands have been killed in a civil war.

“We are deeply concerned about the direction of the current peace process …. A narrow agreement between elites will not solve the problems plaguing South Sudan,” said the statement.

It implored the warring parties to implement a ceasefire as a first step and condemned a move by the country’s parliament to extend the government’s term in office.

“South Sudan’s political leaders … have not demonstrated the leadership required to bring genuine peace … We remain sceptical that they can oversee a peaceful and timely transition to democracy and good governance,” it said.

On June 13, a U.S.-drafted resolution at the United Nations Security Council imposed an arms embargo..

South Sudan’s parliament voted this month to extend Kiir’s mandate until 2021, a move likely to undermine the peace talks as opposition groups say the change is illegal.

Last week Kiir said he is ready to accept a peace deal to end the war and set up an inclusive new government. The proposed deal would give the country five vice presidents and also covers security and power sharing arrangements. (Reporting by Omar Mohammed Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

Position of Chiefs from Equatoria Region on the on-going Peace Talks in Khartoum, Sudan

TO: Mr. Antonio Gutereas,
The Unted Nations Secretary General,
UN Headquarters, New York,
United States of America (USA)

JUL/14/2018, SSN;

We, the chiefs of Equatoria Region in Uganda deliberated on the relevence of the recently signed ‘Khartoum Declaration of Agreement’ and we would like to bring your attention to our position if a lasting peace is to prevail in South Sudan.

1) IGAD mediation team, AU and Troika countries that are trying to help in bringing peace to South Sudan should address the root causes of the conflict before signing of any agreement. We shall not be part of any peace agreement that is imposed on us by the mediators.

2) The most important step is to focus on the immediate ending of the sufffering South Sudanese from brutal killings, rape, violent displacement, looting of properties and many other forms of mistreatments instead of focusing on oil production. When there is peace then automatically economic activity thrives and the country’s economy improves

3) Federal system of governance.
Equatorians have suffered a lot since the successive wars of liberation till to date. We offered our own sons, daughters, men, woment, lands, resources and more for peace for all in South Sudan. It’s our desire that for any inclusive peace agreement to be signed, the federal system of governance should be a core/principal item in the agreement.

4) Relocation of South Sudan National Capital out of Equatoria land. We, the chiefs are supporting the idea that the national seat of the government of South Sudan be relocated to Ramciel from Juba as proposed earlier on.

5) Your excellences, we would also like to bring to your attention that the chiefs fully participated in the successful referendum in 2011, thus any peace agreement signed by president Kiir of Bahr el Ghazel and Riek Machar of Upper Nile without considering our views in Equatoria is not national in character. We shall not be part of that agreement and shall be ready to our region at all costs.

6) Youth and Women.
We, the chiefs of the Equatoria Region would appreciate the participation of the youth and women in the peace process and leadership in future government unlike the recently signed agreement between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, where youth and women are excluded and we even believe not consulted altogether.

Your excellencies, we confidently believe and trust that you will consider our views to be extended to IGAD, AU and Troika, so tht a comprehensive and inclusive agreement for a lasting peace can be celebrated by all South Sudanese.

Yours Sincerely,

Chief, Scopas Lobur Peter,
Executive Chief, Bori Boma, Kangapo 2 Payam
Kajo-keji County.

For Chiefs of the Equatoria Region in Uganda

CC.
Chairperson African Union
Chairperson of the African Union Commission
IGAD Chairperson
IGAD Council of Ministers
Troika
US Secretary for African Affairs.

LATEST: Implications of the Kiir-Machar Khartoum peace ‘kidnapping’

By Dr Remember Miamingi, JUL/01/2018, SSN;

In Summary
What is tragic here is that the UN, the US government and international non-governmental organisations have said that the oil sector, which is the central focus of this paragraph, has provided the resources needed to fund the war in South Sudan and nourish the intransigence of the regime in Juba.

The regime in Juba and other armed and political parties to the conflict in South Sudan signed a framework document which appears to be a mixture of declaration of principles, declaration of intent and agreement on some substantial issues.

For the purpose of this very brief analysis, I will divide the document into three: issues on which there is an agreement, items with partial agreement and those issues that the parties have agreed to discuss and agree to in the future.

1. Areas of agreement

1.1. The oil sector
Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to “immediately” rehabilitate, manage and jointly defend the oil wells and infrastructure. The phraseology of this agreement is interesting. The parties agreed that “if need be,” “they shall” work collaboratively and in coordination to “immediately” undertake efforts required to get the oil production to its pre-war levels.

So, whether the parties agree or not, whether there is a new government or not and whether there is a revitalised agreement or not, the implementation of paragraph 5 of the Khartoum Declaration on the oil sector can and will go ahead.

What is tragic here is that the UN, the US government and international non-governmental organisations have said that the oil sector, which is the central focus of this paragraph, has provided the resources needed to fund the war in South Sudan and nourish the intransigence of the regime in Juba.

It is even very strange that oil production which was not within the remit of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) and, therefore, not one of the outstanding areas of disagreement between the parties became an agenda item in the first place without any protest from the parties.

1.2. Deployment of troops in S. Sudan
The parties agreed to “kindly invite”, “Igad and African Union member states to deploy the necessary force to supervise the agreed ceasefire”. This is of gross concern. First, the agreement is not to ask Igad or the AU to deploy, but the agreement is that any member state of Igad or AU can accept this invitation and kindly deploy forces it considers necessary.

This is a front door for Uganda and Sudan, for instance, to deploy UPDF or SAF into South Sudan under the guise of supervising a ceasefire while their unexpressed purposes are to protect their interests and prop up a government that shed off all its rights and capacity to be one.

2. Areas of partial agreement

2.1. Permanent ceasefire
The parties agreed to declare a permanent ceasefire in three days. This permanent ceasefire will be based on the 2017 cessation of hostilities agreement (COHA). This is indeed a breakthrough except it might just be a mirage.

First, normally, the sequence is that you negotiate a COHA, then reach an agreement on all contentious issues and sign a permanent ceasefire. But Khartoum is not a normal circumstance. So, first there is an agreement on a permanent ceasefire, then the parties must discuss and agree to all the details before leaving Khartoum. There is a problem, a ceasefire monitored through bilateral arrangements and by countries who are either proxies to the conflict or parties to the conflict has an in build propensity to fail.

3. Where there are agreements to agree to discuss

The parties agree to continue to discuss the details of a permanent ceasefire agreement and conclude that within three days, to discuss and agree on power sharing before leaving Khartoum and the parties appear to agree not to discuss federalism or decentralization of powers. This is telling in a number of ways.

First, these are the real issues that led to the failure of the HLRF. So, a failure to reach an agreement on sustainable peace, on an acceptable system of governance that devolves power to the people and on reconstruction of the security sector, will not only undo gains on permanent ceasefire but will not attract international funding to reboot the economy and pay for peace time recovery and institutional building.

4. Conclusion

The winners in Khartoum are Bashir and Yoweri who by the way graciously agreed to grace the event. Now they have the consent of all the parties to walk right back into South Sudan. The losers are the parties to the conflict, the people of South Sudan and the country.

Khartoum is a mirage! I am tired of being a prophet of bad news. I want peace and I wish I can convince myself that it will come out of Khartoum. Unfortunately, I see parties jumping away from the Khartoum framework and I see countries with vested and conflicting interests use the Khartoum Framework to jump in back into South Sudan.

Dr Remember Miamingi, South Sudan Human Rights Observatory

Blunders of SPLM-IO and betrayal by Taban Deng Gai

By Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudan, JUN/30/2018, SSN;

Fighting against an established system is not theatrical. The general rule for an armed rebellion is not to appease people; it is to fight for a cause using necessary political and military means.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition’s (SPLM-IO) strategy of focusing too much on peace and ignoring arming its military wing, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), is not a plausible policy.

If the SPLM-IO wants to win the hearts and minds of its supporters, then it must change its overall strategy, which has consisted of a series of blunders so far.

In October 2015, the SPLA-IO military intelligence personnel discovered that the current First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, who was then chief peace negotiator for the armed opposition, colluded with the government.

When the issue was brought to the attention of the SPLM/-IO leadership, they brushed it off as if that was not the case.

It is worth mentioning that in late 2015, Taban was also discouraging SPLM/A-IO’s foreign friends not to assist the rebellion in any way, whether it be arms or financial.

The rebel leadership did not consider the intelligence reports about Taban’s activities, committing a mistake that the armed opposition must not ever repeat.

There is no doubt in my mind that the SPLA-IO suffers because of the political decisions made by the rebel leadership.

In January 2016, Taban was recalled to the town of Pagak to consult with the leadership of the armed opposition. This occurred after Juba’s regime refused to allow the SPLA-IO to transport thousands of its soldiers as stipulated in the August 2015 power-sharing deal.

But when he landed in Pagak, the SPLA-IO intelligence agents suggested that Taban must be removed from his position as the chief negotiator or else be arrested. However, the rebel leadership refused to act.

It was a colossal mistake on the SPLM-IO’s part. What the armed opposition’s political leadership did not understand was that Taban was visibly furious because he had been appointed as mining minister, instead of petroleum minister, a position for which he once secretly campaigned.

During the consultative meeting in Pagak, Taban surprised the leadership of the armed opposition by declaring that SPLM/-IO has no power to reverse Juba’s demand to reduce the number of its troops even though the number of the armed opposition troops was stipulated in the agreement.

After Taban deceived the rebel leadership, he flew back to Juba and resumed his duties as the chief peace negotiator for the rebels.

However, in April 2016, Taban resigned as the rebel chief negotiator, claiming that his new role as mining minister was enough and that he wanted to focus only on running his ministry.

His claim was an elaborate lie. Taban was not resigning because he was committed to his new role as South Sudan’s mining minister: the resignation was merely the first calculated step to dissociate himself from the rebel leadership.

What’s more, some SPLM-IO officials were quick to praise Taban as a role model because he was committed to his new assignment as the mining minister.

The problem was that the armed opposition was methodically fooled by Taban, forcing some rebel officials to publicly defend him. The irony was that their defense of Taban in the media turned out to be a regrettable mistake.

In July 2016, Taban, President Kiir, and former chief of staff, Paul Malong, attempted to assassinate the armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar in a meeting at Juba One (J1).

Fortunately, SPLA-IO’s forces emerged victorious, killing almost all of Kiir’s soldiers who were deployed with the intent to kill Machar and then blame it on “rogue soldiers.”

Another strategic mistake the rebel leadership made in 2014-2016 was that it placed too much of a focus on peace without properly arming its soldiers.

This is not to say that the SPLM-IO should not focus on peace. What I am saying is that it must find ways to supply its army wing with weapons while working for peace at the same time.

One of the main reasons why Kiir is refusing peace is that he knows his soldiers are well-equipped.

If the armed opposition were to be equipped with modern weapons and sophisticated missiles capable of destroying tanks, shooting down helicopters or jets, I guarantee you, peace would return to South Sudan in the blink of an eye.

When Machar and other top rebel leaders fled for their lives, most South Sudanese immediately concluded that Taban was behind the fighting and that his true intention was to kill Dr. Machar and take over the leadership of the SPLM/A-IO.

Prior to the assassination attempt on Machar’s life, Taban knew he was not popular in rebel-controlled areas, and he also knew that his collusion with Juba’s regime to hijack the 2015 peace pact was discovered. But he was lucky because of SPLM-IO’s inaction.

These notable mistakes must not be repeated by the SPLM/-IO’s leadership.

The armed opposition must engage in the peace revitalization talks, knowing that one of its own could become another Taban.

The rebel leadership must also negotiate reasonably and consider people’s demands, avoiding a repeat of Taban’s greedy strategy.

One of the SPLM-IO’s critical political mistakes was that it failed to act or use powers granted to it under the armed opposition constitution.

The top leadership could have removed Taban when he was working against interests of the SPLM/A-IO while serving as its chief peace negotiator at the same time.

The rebel leadership could also have used its legal powers to punish Taban or anyone the intelligence operatives deemed as a threat to the movement — and the best thing it could have done was to dismiss him from the SPLM/A-IO and allowed the intelligence personnel to arrest him.

If the leadership of the armed opposition had acted in this way, all those who joined the rebellion or anyone who lied his or her way to the movement’s top leadership could have left voluntarily.

The action could also have discouraged anyone who wished to join the rebellion with the intent of spying on the SPLM/A-IO. We witnessed this sad reality when Taban conspired with Kiir and Paul, among others, to kill Machar in July 2016.

We know who joined him after Machar fled Juba and this is what the rebel intelligence agents tried to tell the rebel leadership.

Being slow to act is not always the best strategy — it is a plan that must be scrapped if the SPLM/A-IO wants to succeed.

Taban is known as someone who would slit the throat of anyone who refuses him a position he wants. Taban is also known in South Sudan as someone who is only interested in lucrative positions.

If Machar had appointed him as the petroleum minister, the July 2016 fighting would not have happened, and the 2015 peace would have been implemented.

Taban is a world-class greedy politician and co-hijacker of the 2015 peace accord. Those who know Taban from his childhood would tell you the man is a very dangerous politician.

This does not surprise me since he once plotted to kill Machar in Unity State during 2010 gubernatorial elections when it was clear that he forced the electoral committee in Bentiu to declare him as the winner and threatened the head of the committee unless he inflated the number of people who voted for him.

Taban used all these dictatorial tactics when it was clear to him that Dr. Machar’s wife and his chief rival, Angelina Teny, was the clear winner.

The notion that the armed opposition should strike a deal with Salva Kiir’s regime while Taban is a Kiir’s ally is rather perverse. Taban knows he has no future in the SPLM/A-IO’s areas because he betrayed the movement in 2016.

Taban knows it, and that is why he pledges his full allegiance to Kiir’s destructive regime. It would be a mistake if the rebel leadership thought that Taban no longer posed a threat to its existence.

So, remember that Taban’s 2015-2016 evil plan is still very much alive.

An armed struggle is not a joke and the leadership of the rebel movement must not continue to make the same blunders while the regime in Juba continues looking for the best way to destroy the rebellion.

What the SPLM-IO decision-making body should do is to reorganize its rank and file and strengthen its political and military rules to make sure that a July 2016 J1 scenario does not happen again.

The rebel leadership must also know that focusing too much on diplomacy without a strong army is useless. It is no longer feasible in this modern world for any rebel leader to succeed on a diplomatic front alone.

For Kiir to accept peace, the SPLA-IO must be heavily armed, and the armed opposition must develop strategies that can identify traitors and those who joined the SPLM/A-IO with the intent of destroying it.

The SPLA-IO intelligence operatives must exercise their utmost powers to confront anyone who undermines the movement’s vision for the country. Taban’s collusion with Kiir must be the last.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

LATEST: Machar’s rebels now demand peace deal amendments

JUN/27/2018- Various Sources;

Dr. Riek Machar’s rebel group are now demanding amendments to the framework agreement signed with the Kiir’s Juba government in Khartoum on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.

The rebel movement’s director of information and public relations, Mabior Garang de Mabior, said that they were opposed to the dividing of the country into three regions, the invitation of foreign forces and the resumption of oil production prior to a comprehensive negotiated settlement.

“South Sudan is one country and cannot be divided into three,” said Mabior in reaction to proposals that the country should have three capitals—Juba, Wau and Malakal.

So far, however, there are no details as to what is behind the proposal of having these so-called ‘three capitals in the country’ and what kind of governance system is envisioned for the country.

According to a document leaked to the media on Tuesday, the two sides had agreed to a peace deal, including the declaration of ceasefire in the country.

However, rebel leader Riek Machar was later quoted saying that his side needed two days to review the peace deal.

Dr Machar said in Khartoum that they had asked to be given two more days for consultations within their party and with other opposition factions before signing the deal.

Unconfirmed reports coming out reportedly from sources within the meeting hall say that there was allegedly some kind of intimidation and pressure on Dr. Riek Machar from the notorious Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) to sign the agreement or else no single opposition groups members would be allowed to leave Khartoum.

Dr. Machar had requested the secretariat to allow him to further consult the other opposition forces but that was clearly impeded and Machar had no way out except to sign the agreement.

Further, it’s being revealed that the head of the Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), Salah Goss, reportedly exerted pressure on the South Sudanese political groups to initial the so-called ‘peace deal.’

Khartoum peace talks resumed in Khartoum on Monday under Sudanese President Omar Bashir and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.

According to the Framework Agreement, the two rivals — President Salva Kiir and Machar — agreed, among other things, to allow the Khartoum government to secure the oil fields in South Sudan in coordination with the Juba administration, and to rehabilitate the wells to restore the previous levels of production.

They also declared to work together again for the third time after their long disagreement proved difficult for peace and stability.

Peace efforts

President Bashir on Monday promised to end the war in South Sudan and pave the way for rigorous development in the war-torn state.

“I would like to assure everyone that Sudan will work hard and try all measures based on our experience during the war and peace times to ensure that this initiative is a success.

“We shall use our experience in the management of national and community dialogues to address all the issues,” President Bashir said.

Interestingly, however, the Sudanese leader is a suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide committed in western Darfur region.

South Sudan attained independence from Sudan in 2011 but descended into a civil war two years later.

The war erupted following a power wrangle between President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Dr Machar.

The conflict has caused one of the largest humanitarian crises in the continent, according to the UN.

About two million South Sudanese have become refugees in neighbouring countries.

The International Crisis Group estimates that more than 100,000 lives have been lost in the young nation from from 2013 to 2015 alone.