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Addis Ababa Agreements are Not New in the Sudanese Politics!

BY: Dr. Justin Ambago, UK, OCT. 9/2012; The Obama US administration can now congratulate itself for finally bringing Omer al Bashir, better known as a wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) sitting head of a state to seal a deal with his southern neighbour none other than General Kiir Mayardit of the new republic of South Sudan, in spite of the bitter tastes the two still have for each other.

As for the two Generals on the political divide it is a hard task to sell this Agreement on the streets of Juba or Khartoum and it is everyone’s knowledge that how much this Addis Ababa Agreement might have been whitewashed by Thabo Mbeki’s African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the fact remains that the masses at the grassroots in the two countries will remain sceptical of it for obvious reasons.

It is not the first agreement to be signed between the two parties with one party well known for systematically dishonouring them in a compulsive repetitive manner, probably a deeply entrenched behaviour ingrained by religiosity and social misconceptions.

This latest Addis Ababa Agreement between presidents Kiir and al Bashir is even seen as a continuation of the former Naivasha comprehensive peace agreement, often referred as the CPA African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the fact remains that the masses at the grassroots in the two countries will remain sceptical of it for obvious reasons.

For the NCP aka NIF this agreement will provide president al Bashir with a breathing space and maybe win for him the love of the US administration. This is necessary for al Bashir in a hope that it will also neutralize the urge of the international community to implement the ICC arrest warrant on his head, at the same time it is also hoped that the economic package that comes with the agreement may also reduce the general discontent in the streets as a result of the collapse in the economy following the secession of the oil rich South. All these are yet to be seen!

In Juba the picture however remains unclear and the news of signing an agreement between SPLM and the NCP is not really seen as a breakthrough in the new countryproblems given the real nature of the multifaceted challenges in interplay. The SPLM-led government cannot praise itself on this occasion because the agreement in its totality was signed out of desperation borne of a purely self-inflicted economic collapse.

The new country is 98% dependent on revenues generated from its only industry which is the Oil. And when president Kiir in a clearly knee-jerk reaction decided the abrupt shut down of the Oil production without a clear set policies as to how the country was going to survive in itself was and still remains a sign of immature leadership.

President Kiir and his colleagues in the SPLM-dominated government are no doubt desperate to put their hands on oil money otherwise their days are numbered. The dream to take foreign loans or get huge packages of financial grants from the so-called the Republic of South Sudan friends both faded out in the first week that followed.

The US and Europe are both in their worst economic situation and cannot afford to splash out money especially so to a government best known for public corruption and embezzlement of funds. How much proof that the international community needs more than the public admission by the South Sudan Head of State General Salva Kiir Mayardit that officials in his government have stolen well above $4 billion of public money before it is put off from lending money to Juba .

The ambitious and luxury dream of building a new capital city in the marshland of Ramciel coupled with the hope to construct an alternative Oil pipeline to the port of Lamu in neighbouring Kenya and another to the port of Djibouti through Ethiopia are all but how Juba intends to distract the citizens from criticizing its chronic financial mismanagement and misappropriations. A government that has categorically failed to bring to book its top officials which the President have identified in name as public thieves, can hardly be trusted to embark on any development schemes, let alone when the cost goes beyond $15 billion.

In this Addis Ababa Debacle, South Sudan in its efforts to reclaim its occupied territories of Kafia Kingi, Hufrat el Nahas, the Megainis Mechanized Scheme Area, al Joda, the Commercial Kaka and the Abyei Enclave, sadly ended up creating a new Abyei in the so-called Mile 14 which is now being ethnically contested by the nomadic Baggara from the Rezeigat tribe.

The flow of oil from fields deep in South Sudan may resume to flow through the pipelines in the northern neighbour though often seen as an enemy. And of course, it is hoped that economic strangulation will be relieved in favour of President Salva Kiir administration. Nonetheless, it is no longer a secret that unless there is a proper disengagement between the different political and military groups across what is now two Sudans, and hopefully to be followed by a healthy neighbourly relationship, no sound-minded human being can expect that this latest Addis Ababa Agreement is actually going to translate into peaceful coexistence in the region.

To compound the South Sudanese worry is the fact that government in Juba has now been internationally established as not only tribalistic, but it is also corrupt and kleptocratic in every meaning of this expression, these are based on the declaration by the country president, and his letters to other heads of states where he sought their help to recover the stolen funds.

To further confirm how deep the new country is in an administrative vacuum and widespread mismanagement, you only need to read the reports of South Sudan Auditor General, Hon. Steve Wondu a diplomat and a world class economist of high calibre. No doubt that this is a well-placed gentleman in his job.

South Sudan probably is the richest country in natural resources in the region, maybe only second to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. However, just like the DRC the people remain entrapped in abject poverty. Plagued with extremely weak and corrupt government institutions and almost non-existent transport network. It is extremely sad that, our country is rapidly sinking in the sea of abundant resources.

At this moment in time it is hoped that the people of South Sudan should learn their lesson, though, through the hard way. The sudden, unplanned and abrupt decision which led to the oil shutdown and what followed thereafter was one disaster after the other. Yet all want not negative though.

This particular period with all its upheavals prompted the South Sudanese politicians and masses alike to revisit their stands in as far as the ruling SPLM party is concerned. Today even the blindest SPLM supporter begins to see the intolerable corruption within the party ranks and files. The Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), South Sudan national army is no exception to this self-discovering.

When the President came out openly to declare that he is leading one of the most corrupt governments in the world with identified 75 top embezzlers of the public funds, hell was let loose and now we are reading the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNIMISS) Human Rights Violation Report in Jonglei. The Report categorically describes in a lengthy detail how the SPLM misconduct during the infamous Jonglei Ethnic Cleansing Campaign (a genocide orchestrated to exterminate the Murle ethnic group from the surface of the Earth).

The UNIMISS Report has received a wide condemnation from the Jonglei State Governor Cdr. Kuol Manyang and he was also supported by South Sudan Chief Human Rights Commissioner Hon. Lawrence Korbandy who went even further to describe the entire report as 100% nonsense(Sudan Tribune). However, those who know how close Ms Hilde Johnson is to the SPLM leadership since the days of signing the Naivasha Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to date would have seen no reason why such an ally suddenly not only abandoned her friends, but even went an extra mile to discredit them.

Oil has become the single factor that pushes things around in South Sudan, and between it and its neighbours and especially with the republic of Sudan ( North Sudan ), this is crucial to understand. The concerns are that the South Sudan Oil Industry must undergo an overhaul, MOT. It is badly in need of overhauling with the introduction of a third party that can guarantee transparency and accountability.

Indeed, there is what one can call a national crisis when a hand picked elites who have turned the country, of size even bigger than states in Europe, into a totalitarian state. The common citizens in South Sudan do not understand how the Oil industry operates and how the money is spent. This has resulted in the general feeling amongst the populace that NOT only is the country only National Capital is being stolen by the government in Khartoum which controls the pipeline to Port Sudan and the oil refineries well placed deep in the north, but there is also a growing concern that the SPLM cadres have also behaved like vampires when it comes to Oil Revenues in the face of a completely neglected development projects and the absence of basic services, e.g. Health, Education, Security, Food and Transport.

Addis Ababa Agreements are Not New in the Sudanese Politics. And dishonouring them is also a common phenomenon. Its obvious that in the absence of real democracy, freedom of speech and expression, free press that can bring to light wrong policies and expose corruption, one agreement will go and another will come, but the status quo will remain the same. As a South Sudanese or friends of South Sudan, who reads this article, you need to come forward to champion a proper nation building. All agree that the real change can only come through the people of South Sudan . The challenge that faces the nation is how to create a people centered state where the people are enlightened and empowered and not just taken for granted. It thus needs no over-stressing that the resumption of Oil Industry under the same corrupt structure only makes things worse. Some will understand the argument, while others may need a while to appreciate it.

However, in a few weeks time we will all see that a badly managed Oil industry will NOT only drive the new republic of South Sudan into a political chaos, but it will as well likely set a precedent to anarchy and precisely ungovernability. Do not ask me how, better ask our neighbours in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the DRC.
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Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba, Secretary General of the United South Sudan Party (USSP). He can reached at: justinramba@aol.co.uk or justinramba@doctors.net.uk or ambagoramba@ hotmail.co.uk

Dinka Malual betrayed: Going North or Going it alone?

The devil is in the details of South Sudan and Sudan oil agreement for Dinka Malual

Martin Garang Aher, AUSTRALIA, SEP 2/2012, SSN; September 27, 2012 will be reminisced by Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal as the month which brought back to life the dark history over the control of the frontiers with Rizeigat Baggara of Southern Darfur. On that day in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, presidents Bashir and Kiir swapped the rhetoric with brotherhood; a new cowboy-hat-on-the-bald amity; and together they signed oil agreement which is courteously wrapped in throngs of other subsidiary agreements to form an angel in the framework.

The entire deal, which comprised of nine bilateral agreements, included the diabolical insertion of Mile 14 pasture-land between Dinka Malual and the Rizeigat into the national frame of both countries, thereby making it a bitterly contested border zone.

Panthou is already a thing of the past and Abyei referendum, always used as a winning bargain or peace mantle by South Sudan, remains as elusive as ever.

To Dinka Malual, nonetheless, Mile 14 situation is almost akin to the time between 1860 and 1880 when Zubeir Pasha formed forces with the Arab Rizeigat and drove Dinka Malual beyond River Kiir/Bahr el Arab.

Though the Rizeigat had had the backing of the authorities most of the times that they ventured southwards, their numerous attempts in the early twentieth century had been prohibited forcefully by Dinka Malual. The result had been continuous traditionally acknowledged seasonal agreements between the two communities on how to access pastures on either side of River Kiir.

It is important to note that Dinka Malual never go to Dar Rizeigat for pastures. Always, it is Dinka Malual that are forced to open up and be accommodating. And judging by the recent Kiir-Bashir agreement, they have once again been forced – perhaps sooner or later – to relent for the sake of peace that ought to kill them.

Of course the anger is enormous in Aweil community worldwide. Some think they have been abandoned by their government through allowing another opportunity for the marauding Arab Murahaleen to resume their rustling; while others view it as a trading off of their land for Abyei, a region that initially legally and administratively chose not to be part of South Sudan.

Common men are asking whether Aweil should shoulder Abyei’s problem. But the reality is that both Aweil and Abyei will always shoulder their own problems with Rizeigat and Misseriya. And all have burdens to share with South Sudan and the Sudan.

Where is Mile 14 conundrum, or what Mr. Magdi Gigouli, a notable Rift Valley scholar, referred to as ‘Abyei in the making’ heading to? Might we be seeing old wounds being pricked once again?

Paul Malong Awan Anei, the governor of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, a former general in the SPLA army, a native of Dinka Malual whose part of his native area lies within Mile 14 and a veteran who sustained more than eight bullet wounds from the Baggara as the then zonal commander in the Second Sudanese Civil war in Aweil area Command Post, made a no less show prior to the conclusion of Kiir-Bashir talks in Addis Ababa.

Upon sensing that his state’s national security would be offered as a sacrificial lamb, he hastily went to the Ethiopian capital where he had talks with his boss, president Kir and the mediating team.

One is unsure if in the tense and pressurized atmosphere of the negotiations Kiir was able to listen to him.

Governor Paul Malong’s message to South Sudanese upon return in Juba and to Aweil citizens in particular was no less categorical.

“I want to assure you that we are in Mile 14 and we will be there to stay. This is our area and we know how to manage relations,’ he said.

He had indeed fumed earlier on that implementation of such an agreement would be done when he is not there. Whether this indicates a resignation or an old adage, ‘over my dead body,’ is a matter open to interpretation.

The whole scenario of withdrawing SPLA forces ten kilometers south of Kiir River thereby paving way for creating a safer border demilitarized zone (SBDZ) carries an emotional charge among Dinka Malual of Northern Bahr el Ghazal.

To the Rizeigat, it may mean an implementation of the boundary which the British governor of Bahr el Ghazal, Mervyn Wheatley and the then governor of Darfur, Patrick Munro agreed on and imposed in 1924; Dinka Malual never accepted the agreement that went any mile beyond Kiir River.

And to Dinka Malual, it is another imposition in which they are never consulted that had just occurred. The Sudanese had a delegation of Rizeigat presenting their case to the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) while South Sudan government never spoke with the Dinka Malual, the custodians of the border clues.

This already justifies trouble. Both Dinka Malual and Rizeigat are a surprise to one another when it comes to what goes on along Kiir River. In all the historical wars on Kiir River, it begins with pastures, picks up in the water, culminates in the rustling and fully accelerates in the blood.

Many South Sudanese would not agree with Mile 14 being a contested area. However, given the economical implications that the oil shut-down had created, sceptics perceive this latest agreement as a sell-out to Khartoum for the oil to flow.

Khartoum might praise its negotiation skills and view Kiir-Bashir agreement as a booty of war of attrition.The economic implication of oil stoppage gives an impression that South Sudan is dying for cash. The national treasury is running dry.

In any sense, South Sudan is now frantically paying heavily for halting its oil torrent which constitutes the mildly-spoken ‘lifeblood’ of the two nations by many analysts.

The craving for economic freedom that accompanied government decision to stop the oil flow in the first place is now being run down by an avalanche of desperation. People are angry and hungry. When South Sudan shut down its oil earlier in 2012, hunger was a minute thing that could be sustained. What was at stake was the national pride and economic freedom.

The South Sudan chief negotiator, Pagan Amum – just like his country men and women who demonstrated on the streets of Juba in support of the decision that halted oil transit through theft-perforated pipeline of the Sudan – asserted his contentment saying it was a matter of national economic freedom. So it was, no doubt.

But to Dinka Malual, the adored economic freedom is now forfeiting their land for cash. The freedom in demand for Malual Giernyang or Malual Buoth Anyaar, as they fondly call themselves, is not only economic or political, it is freedom from dispossession that they must counter from any Sudan, be it South Sudan or Sudan.

And as the governor asserted, so are the people of Aweil who will have to join the land when it goes north, or hang on to it to the detriment of peace between the two Sudans.

Martin Garang Aher is a South Sudanese residing in Western Australia. He can be reached at garangaher@hotmail.com

Regards, Martin Garang Aher.
‘Busara itakulinda, ufahamu utakuhifadhi’
Mithali 2:11
(Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent the website.)

Jonglei revolt gives South Sudan a security headache

By Hereward Holland

JUBA, Oct 1/2012;
(Reuters) – A heavy-handed government disarmament campaign to halt tribal clashes in South Sudan’s swampy eastern grasslands has triggered a small armed revolt against the rulers of the world’s newest state, threatening planned oil exploration in the area.

The budding insurgency in Jonglei state led by Murle militia chief David Yau Yau, a former theology student, may not number more than a few dozen fighters.

But there are fears it could escalate by feeding on local grievances against South Sudan’s army.

The leaders of former civil war foes Sudan and South Sudan struck a border security deal this week that should be enough to restart suspended oil exports from the South, which became independent from Sudan last year.

But with both sides still deeply mistrustful after decades of enmity, serious doubts remain over whether the uneasy neighbors can share their oil wealth in peace.

Anti-government unrest in Jonglei stems from a muscular disarmament campaign by the South Sudanese military, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), to prevent a repeat of clashes in January between the Murle and Lou Nuer tribes which killed several hundred people.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in August it received credible reports that elements of the SPLA had engaged in killings, rape, beatings and torture during the disarmament campaign, dubbed “Operation Restore Peace”.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) also reported similar abuses, saying most of the victims were women and in some cases children.

“This is a recipe for recruitment. The disarmament has created an environment ripe for creating a non-state armed group. It’s utterly predictable,” said one aid worker in the country who asked not to be named.

South Sudan’s army played down the reports of abuses, but said they had already dismissed 30 soldiers.

Authorities in Juba last week accused Sudan of airdropping weapons and ammunition to Yau Yau’s rebels in Jonglei state, which is the site of a vast unexplored oil concession that the government recently split into three.

“There are hawks within the (ruling party) in Khartoum. There are those who are bent on thinking that they can only resolve the issues with the South through war and bringing a lot of instability in this country, supporting various militia groups,” said South Sudan’s government spokesman, Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

“Their intention is to scare off investment, that is basically it,” he added.

Sudan’s government and military routinely deny Juba’s accusations that they are backing insurgencies.

OIL AT STAKE

At its independence in July last year, South Sudan inherited the bulk of the oil output produced by previously united Sudan.

Juba shut down its 350,000 barrels per day at the start of the year, alleging Khartoum was ‘stealing’ its oil by diverting it from pipelines through Sudan. The deal struck by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his southern counterpart, Salva Kiir, in Addis Ababa is expected to restart oil exports.

Key to South Sudan’s future oil development plans, which include a proposed alternative pipeline that would take southern crude through Kenya or Ethiopia rather than Sudan, is a massive oil concession that covers much of Jonglei state.

This month the government in Juba decided to break up the huge Block B largely held by Total into three blocks, giving one to the French company and the others to two more foreign firms.

Total had stopped operations in the block in 1985 after the resumption of Sudan’s long civil war, which finally ended with a 2005 peace deal paving the way for the South’s secession.

Fresh conflict in Jonglei state, where thousands of Murle and Lou Nuer have been killed in bouts of ethnic feuding stretching back decades – although these days automatic rifles have replaced spears and knives – would unnerve prospective investors and embarrass the government.

In August, Yau Yau’s fighters killed at least 24 SPLA soldiers in an ambush. Another 74 South Sudanese troops are still missing and may be dead, the army says.

Local leaders blame abuses committed by SPLA soldiers during the disarmament campaign for pushing local recruits into the insurgency, especially members of Yau Yau’s Murle tribe who feel they have been unfairly targeted.

“If the (army) did not beat civilians, Yau Yau would not have come back because he knew he would not get support,” Ismail Konyi, a member of parliament and a senior Murle leader, said.

“Now I think Yau Yau will recruit these youths easily.”

The Murle tribe see themselves as victims of long-standing persecution and marginalization by the government in Juba.

REBEL ALLIANCE FORMING?

In an email statement, another rebel group, the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), which attacked several towns and planted land mines in Unity state in November last year, says it is on the brink of forming an alliance between anti-government forces, including Yau Yau’s fighters.

“All the rebel groups have formed an alliance which would be announced in a month. Major General David Yau Yau is a commander of revolutionary forces in Jonglei. We are all one,” read the email sent from an account bearing the SSLA name.

The SSLA, which South Sudan also accuses Khartoum of backing, says that Murle militia chief Yau Yau has even courted the rival Lou Nuer militia as a potential ally in his revolt against the government in Juba.

The Lou Nuer’s “White Army” led by purported prophet Dak Kueth was responsible for the massacre of 600 Murle in December and January and was also targeted in the army disarmament drive.

Government spokesman Benjamin, himself a Lou Nuer member of parliament, rejected the assertion that the White Army could join Yau Yau.

Yau Yau, thought to have limited military experience, first rebelled in May 2010 after standing as an independent candidate in the state’s parliamentary election for the Gumuruk-Boma constituency. He lost to the SPLM candidate by a big margin.

During his first revolt, he gained support amongst the youth because he was seen as a champion of Murle interests. But he also lost backing when he accepted a South Sudan government amnesty in June 2011, allegedly in exchange for a house, cars and cash, according to Murle involved in the negotiations.

He defected to Khartoum in April while supposedly being treated in a Kenyan hospital, and later went back to Jonglei with 19 men, arriving in July, Murle leader Konyi said.

According to a radio station called Radio Yau Yau, which the Juba government believes is broadcasting from Khartoum, his rebels are fighting in reaction to abuses committed during the disarmament program, especially the rape of Murle women.

Konyi presents himself and other Murle elders as key mediators to defuse the tense situation.

They have asked the South Sudanese army to end disarmament, prosecute those responsible for the abuses, change the SPLA commanders in Pibor and help civilians return home.

But the underlying sense of marginalization felt by some in the newborn African state will take some time to fade away.

“We Murle, in reality, don’t belong to Jonglei. When everything is divided we are not given anything – food, water, jobs, roads,” Konyi said. “We have some tribes … who don’t even know if there is a government operating.”

(Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Giles Elgood)

Kiir’s boondoggle in Addis: Only a partial deal to sign?

Editorial Analysis; After serious haggling since last Sunday and six face-to-face meetings, the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan, Omar Bashir and Salva Kiir, have finally signed Thursday, September 27, 2012, a partial deal, basically, to resume oil exports from South Sudan through the Sudan and a security arrangement.

1. OIL DEAL: Since President Kiir unilaterally shut down oil production and exports through the north last January, and briefly blundered in the occupation of Heglig (Panthou) oil refinery, the South has been under continuous international pressure to reconsider restarting the oil production, especially in the light of its dismal failure to secure any international financial assistance.

South Sudan is almost 99.99 percent dependent on oil revenues but the Sudan is the main beneficiary of any resumption of oil exports through its territory. Besides paying the Sudan transit fees, South Sudan will unconditionally bear the entire responsibility of repair and rehabilitation of the oil facilities. Experts predict the entire process will take several months before we see oil flowing again and will cost millions.

Now, Kiir has voluntarily and politically surrendered and ceded the South back to the jellaba North, who, given the not-so-long-ago history, will be tightly holding South Sudan at ransom. The oil exports will be at their mercy– any time we disagree, they shut off the pipeline for a million pretexts!!!

More importantly, however, what will now become of the LAPSSET accord that President Kiir recently signed with Kenya and Ethiopia to export South Sudan’s oil southwards, since he will now be deeply entrapped with paying the Sudan in the new Addis Accord?

2. Security Deal: This accord, again, unfairly favours the Sudan than South Sudan, as it encompasses demilitarization and mandatory one-sided withdrawal of South Sudan army (SPLA) 10 miles from an undefined 1200 miles long border not yet demarcated completely. In the event of SPLA supposed retreat beyond the so-called demilitarized zone, would the Arab Sudan be in any more hurry to embark on any negotiations on North-South border demarcation?

3. Disputed territories: Clearly, President Kiir severely lost on this since those disputed areas of Hofar el Nahas, Mile 14, Kaka, Goda, and others, have been conceded as they will continue under Sudan’s firm control.

4. Abyei loss: This is President Kiir’s greatest blunder and loss. Predictably, the proposals of the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) were a non-starter for jellaba Sudan and at the same time, the intransigence of the prominent Abyei sons in the South Sudan side was a complicating factor. For the first time ever, the Arab Sudan is now pushing for complete division of Abyei region into two parts, one for the Dinka Ngok and the other part, northwards, for the Arab nomads. Apparently, all South Sudan inducements to the north Sudan, be it oil money or unfettered grazing rights, are no longer attractive anymore. The Arabs, like the Dinka Ngok, are gunning for the most precious and lasting asset, the land.

Will President Kiir push the South into another war because of Abyei impasse, therefore scuttling the entire peace process? Alternately, how effective will resorting, once again, to international arbitration at The Hague be advisable?

5. The Four Freedoms: These entail the right to work, to move, to reside and to ownership of properties on both sides of the border for citizens of the two countries. Unfortunately, these freedoms are heavily and unfairly in favor of the jellaba and other North Sudanese, who under President Kiir’s dubious policies of accommodation, have allowed South Sudan trade and commerce to be almost completely strangled by the Sudanese who come and go unfettered in South Sudan. They own more businesses in the South than South Sudanese owning any in north Sudan. Conversely and unarguably, South Sudanese in north don’t enjoy any freedoms freely, whatsoever, a fact seen in the numbers of South Sudanese migrating en masse daily back home in utter misery.

HIGHLIGHTS:
*The summit between President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and President Omar Al Bashir of Sudan, which began Sunday, was supposed to last just one day to meet a deadline set by the African Union and U.N. Security Council.

As of Thursday, September 27/2012, the two presidents sign a partial deal.

*An economic deal that would include revenue sharing between the two nations of South Sudan’s oil wealth is desperately needed by both economies.

In January, South Sudan shut off its oil supply — which is shipped and exported through Sudan’s infrastructure — saying that Sudan was stealing oil revenue. The South got around 70% of the formerly united country’s reserves when it became independent last year.

Both countries, especially South Sudan, have seen hyperinflation and a squeeze on incoming foreign currency, which has hurt their economies.

*Under the agreement, the demilitarized zone along the border will mean the militaries of Sudan and South Sudan and other armed groups will not be allowed in a prescribed zone on either side of the border, creating a buffer between the forces.

*The deal as signed is described it will be at best a partial victory, analysts say,

*The status of disputed areas along the border and the fate of Abyei — a border region claimed by both countries — are crucial security issues that will need to be addressed if the two recently divorced countries are to have lasting peace.

In April, Sudan and South Sudan slipped close to all-out war with a series of tit-for-tat air raids and ground attacks that prompted the African Union and Security Council to push the two sides to act.

*The Security Council had given the sides until Sunday to come up with a deal or face sanctions. But the negotiators say that has been informally extended until the end of the talks.

*The status of Abyei has been a matter of contention since the South declared independence on July 9 of last year.

Under a 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan’s two-decade civil war, Abyei residents were to take part in a referendum on whether to join the South or remain a special administrative region within Sudan. The vote was to take place in January 2011, at the same time as the referendum that led to South Sudan’s secession. But disputes over who was eligible to vote prevented the referendum from going forward in Abyei.

*Sudan and South Sudan have been under increasing pressure from the African Union and Security Council to resolve the matter peacefully.

Lack of Legal Representation Jeopardizes Right of Fair Trial in South Sudan

BY: Beny Gideon Mabor, JUBA;
Introduction: The Republic of South Sudan is a country amongst other family of nations with imposition of capital punishment such as death sentence. Article 21 (1) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan says ‘no death penalty shall be imposed, save as punishment for extremely serious offences in accordance with the law’. The enabling law is Penal Code 2008 where death penalty for instance amongst other death related offences is permitted under section 206 of the same Act.

To the contrary, the same Constitution under the Bill of Rights Article 11 says ‘every person has inherent right to life, dignity and integrity of his or her person which shall be protected by law; no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her right to life’.

Worriedly, the legitimate question to the rule of law institutions and private legal consultants is: which provisions of the law is supreme between that of the Transitional Constitution and the Penal Code 2008, with respect of right to life and imposition of death penalty as stipulated under Article 11 and section 206 of the former and the later?

And further what is resolution in respect of current powers, save under Article 11 and 21 (1) of the same Constitution? Although this is not the primary intention and a forum to challenge the death penalty, yet I must highlight something about such legal implications for the government and the human rights campaigners.

However, the underlying idea about my argument is the lack of legal aid services in both criminal and civil disputes across South Sudan. The increasingly victims of this legal vacuum are indigent accused persons, be the criminal offenders or civil wrongdoers or both parties.

For instance, according to a research data released by UNMISS Human Rights department and my colleague David K. Deng, a senior researcher on human rights with South Sudan Law Society, therefore found that there are 109 people on the death row with four women and only six people have undergone legal representation. The rest were tried without right to a fair trial in a manner prescribed by law.

This is very sad news for a country promised to have been founded on the basis of justice, equality, respect for human dignity and advancement of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In fact, Article 19 (7) of the Constitution says ‘any accused person has the right to defend himself or herself in person or through a lawyer of his or her own choice or to have legal aid assigned to him or her by the government where he or she cannot afford a lawyer to defend him or her in any serious offence’.

Additionally, the said legal aid service has been provided in the National Ministry of Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development Organization Act 2008 under section 10 (d) and (g) which says proving legal aid for person in need and educating citizens on their constitutional rights through workshop, seminars and media.

With this situation, one may really wonder why do the government designed good laws but without implementation? It is very challenging in our progress justice system and requires urgent attention from all actors.

Challenges Facing Legal Representation.
After having evaluated the literature review of the both criminal and civil justice trial system through considerable research, I found out numerous challenges facing provision of legal aid to the parties whether such person is capable of hiring a lawyer or an indigent accused person. The very low or even complete lack of awareness of legal aid and access to justice for all remains in a limbo for reasons best known to the rule of law institutions.

Second, there is inadequacy or dysfunctional legal aid strategy in South Sudan despite the explicit provisions of the applicable laws. The appalling situations of suspects awaiting trials in serious offences seemingly remain unmet. However, the legal aid initiative in the national Ministry of Justice is still limited in scope and application. Nobody is aware and when exactly to translate this constitutional obligation into reality to the poor people who are in dire need of legal services.

Third, with the lack of legal aid system in the Republic of South Sudan, causes unnecessary and lengthy detention of people including that of juveniles, women and people of unsound mind without quick and due process of law. How will such watertight legal principle be achieved?

It is of the majority opinion that a strong legal system can be achieved only through constitutional governance where doctrine of separation of powers and subsidiary rules of procedure are respected.

Fourth, as a result of non-observance of the due process of law, the police and public prosecution attorneys usually conduct pre-trial proceedings of the accused persons without legal representation right from earlier stages of interrogation. This is unconstitutional act that often discredits the facts of the case and the prosecution will present what I called a contaminated evidence to court for determination.

Strategic Recommendations
After exhaustively exploring the importance of legal aid services and notifying the hindrance factors, the author in consultation with relevant stakeholders found out and recommends the following strategic suggestions:

First, there should be established a legal aid centre with full and part-time salaried legal practitioners and legal counsels tasked with functions to providing pro bono legal services to the most economically and socially disadvantaged accused persons in the society.

Second, the right of a fair trial will only be achieved in South Sudan when the rule of life must originate from the rule of law. It will also be achieved when all law enforcement agencies like police investigators, prosecutors, prison warders and the court comply with strict demand of legal aid and access to justice for all including that the court must not entertain any case whose party has no legal representation.

Third, the applicable laws are silent about death commuted to life imprisonment. Legally speaking, when a convict is sentence to death and a judicial order is taken to the President for confirmation in accordance with the provisions of Article 101(h) of the Constitution, the President is required by law to have time limit for death confirmation, grant pardon etc… and if the President exceeds the said period without confirmation of the same, then the death penalty is deemed to have been commuted to life imprisonment.

Therefore, I am of the opinion that the Penal Code 2008 be urgently amended and incorporates this provision in accordance with a uniform rule of legislation.

Beny Gideon Mabor is an independent commentator on governance and human rights. He can be reached at: benygmabor@gmail.com

Serious Concerns about the South Sudan Transitional Constitution

BY: Isaiah Abraham, JUBA, SEP. 22/2012; The debate on the national constitution has come back. The discussion is on a small scale, however as people seem to have not, much interest about the constitution debate matters while there pressing daily issues threatening their basic lives. There are real issues facing an ordinary person on our streets in our ten states, especially the liquidity problem. We must not shy to sing them here always.

Many people go these days with their pockets empty, and the future looks so bleak on that matter. The market has grown wild and people have no idea when will their economic woes end. Juba residents in particular have come to terms with trouble after another; no running water, no electricity, no medicine on the selves, not enough cash to buy high rising food commodities, no security in the suburbs of the city, no land/housing, no fuel, not enough public transport, and above all no peace of mind.

Let’s turn to what I think is an important exercise everyone should participate fully in- the constitution of the country. Here we go: South Sudan leadership has formed a Committee to review the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. This constitution was adapted on July 9, 2011 when the country became an independence entity. The text was a flip flop of the Interim Constitution of the Government of Southern Sudan, when the country was still one. Some patches were made with little changes from the original document.

There are fears that nothing will really be changed so long as the politicians are comfortable with the current structure of the text. But quick-fix constitution crumbles before everyone enjoys it, and hence necessary to give ourselves time and go through the constitution, chapter by chapter, clause by clause and item by item. It is a matter of life and death.

Someone must incorporate what people really want, not what a small group of people want or section of a region. Once the views are collected and the constitution is ready for operation, it has to go through a referendum first.

The process leading to the new constitution should have been started way back for the constitution to be finally out in January 2013. The body formed to review the constitution however has complained bitterly that it didn’t have money to start working. It looks like the issue of money has been addressed, what are these people waiting for?

In their two previous meetings we are told that the Committee was still on procedures, regulation and familiarization, how about now when the money is already out? We want the good professor to answer our people and not to expect anyone to give his group any lease of life.

Now that the real work is about to start or has just started, what are some of the envisaged problems we must do without in the Transitional Constitution of this country? Well, this writer will go straight and not to waste your precious time. I have some concerns/clauses or provisions I want them either amended, expunged or partially adapted in the next constitution. I’m not going to talk about bills of rights, they are fine.

One is this baggage body called State Lower House or whatever the name that is, formed somewhere last year. I see this House as unnecessary since there is the Upper One (National Legislative Assembly). There is no need for this country to have replica of another body when we have already representatives of the people to the Upper House. We have State Houses and other County Authorities moreover, what specific role are we expecting from this body again, something the other bodies aforesaid above couldn’t do?

If to demarcate and settle disputes between states, counties that is purely the job of the Upper House and the Executive or Judiciary, what other value could this House offer our people? This is a waste of resources and must be dropped from the new text. I’m happy Senegal has just scrapped it altogether through a vote in the National Assembly represented by both houses.

If to accommodate is the problem of the president then that time was yesterday; we are writing a permanent constitution for the country Mr. President. The number of the National Assembly must not be deluded by people whose political parties or support are nowhere.

Second, I see the president struggling to downsize his government. This must be spelt out clearly here. The government should have specific number of ministers with no assistant ministers or advisors. Assistant Ministers and Advisors are to go; they are doing literally nothing there. Their annual budget would be used by Mr. Gier Chuang to tarmac road going to Rumbek then Bentiu.

This too must be reflected in the formation of the National other bodies. Commissions are to be narrowed; Anti-Corruption must go first among those that are to be merged. This is critical if the government is serious about reform/downsizing and to save money for services. The constitution should be the ground to effect changes so the president to have an anchor. January 2013 isn’t far for a permanent constitution to take effect. So downsizing is a necessary evil that must be done.

Third, the government must introduce a Secretary to the Cabinet, somebody who could be free to run the affairs free of distractions. The current minister in the Office of the President should not be the Secretary to the Cabinet, because his schedules are overshadowed by the president’s. He has no much time to prepare reports for matters to be discuss by the ministers. In fact, the president needs no minister there, but an administrator and Mr. Mayen Wol is the right man there to do the chores for the Head of State. The constitution has to incorporate such an idea and do away with two ministers in the Office of the President.

Security can’t be a ministry; where on earth is that? How about the Attorney General, do we need that post? The answer is an affirmative! This position will help the country on numerous cases against the state as well as do prosecution on financial criminals. Issues of corruption could come here.

Forth, there has to be provision about disqualification of members of parliament. Even if elected by the people, there has to be a clause or two in which those with allegiance, obedience or adherence to foreign states are to be dismissed by the House and new election called in their respective constituencies. We have people around here who fall on that category; this clause will act as a deterrent against these people. There are those who are insolvent, those who are adjudged paranoid or senile but are still pretending to be members of parliament, they too are to be disqualified through an act in the new constitution.

Fifth, the new constitution must include a clause about the First President of the Republic. It might read like this: “the first president shall be the person who was immediately declared the Head of State on July 9, 2011”, or “a person who assumes office and declared president on July 9, 2012”. Matters of the law aren’t assumed, they must appear in white and black. President Kiir deserves this piece in the constitution. Same could be said about the ‘father of the nation’ thing. It has to be written so to avoid confusion of who should be who.

Sixth, the constitution must be specific about some requirements to fill up national jobs. Take for example the Electoral Commission Body, the head of this body requirements will have to come out clear from the constitution. The person must be a lawyer, and the list goes on. Members of that Commission also shall have similar backgrounds to avoid appointing wrong/right people on the /wrong/right places. The Chairman of the Electoral Commission am told is an engineer, and wonder who nominated him there in the first place.

Tenure of that body must be clearly provided in the constitution. I suggest that their life span should be that of the House/Parliament. Once the Assembly time is up, the same could be true to the Electoral Commission. This practice must be applied to all other constitutional posts. The span of the House should be for all. But the point is that a person must fit his/her occupation otherwise there is no point going to college to specialize.

Seventh, there has to be provision on the ‘vote of no confidence’ against the government. Parliament will have to initiate this process to allow the president to re-institute another body that will run the government until the period for election comes. We should have done this legal right against the Republic of South Sudan (RSS) if there is anything concrete in the constitution to bank on. RSS has failed our people in a very big way, and hence important to keep our check close and open for anyone who will bend to abuse the people of this country.

Eight, there has to be Judiciary Commission which shall vet or recommend to the president the appointment of the High Court Judges. In our Transitional Constitution the Judiciary matters aren’t conveniently flattened up for reasons best known to the writers of that constitution. But in this current text, terms are to be spelt out more clearly so to get rid of ambiguity. Deadwoods, people who are ticking 80 years or so, but are still clinging to their benches are to give way to fresh blood.

On the case of the Court of Appeal, the drafters of the constitution must leave no stone unturned. The new constitution must put in place strong references for smooth administration of justice.

Do we need Public Service Commission to gazette names, recruits and appoints civil servants? Yes we do for transparency purposes. The current practice of delegating that job to respective recruiting ministries is susceptible to abuses. May be the constitution needs to empower the current one and not to dissolve it.

How about armed forces, their current Act seems to have so much to do, and it is time to support them

Nine, there is this vague statement that the ‘land belongs to the community’ that must be refined and replace with a clause that would harmonize land distribution or policies. That clause has caused so much confusion in the minds of the people everywhere; something must be done in the current constitution to help people enjoy their rights in this country. The government must be allowed free hand to own and regulate the land on behalf of the people. That is why they’re representative of the people in the central in case there are infringes of rights against the people. But land Policy Act, Land Registration Act as well as Land Court Act are to be developed quickly to help in that area of land discharge and disputes.

Then there is this thing called Appropriation Act, a situation through which the Parliament gives the Treasury the go ahead to spend the approved budget. This is process always come after parliament has already passed the annual budget, and once the budget is passed, it has to go through this Act called Appropriation to make into a law. That means that no any other person whoever that be could to spend beyond what is ‘appropriated’ by the Assembly. In our case that is not followed.

The Treasury, the Presidency and others still violate the law and spend over and above what the law has delineated. In the current constitution it has to be made abundantly clear to all. We write something about our banking rules, about debts, about pension, about contingency or consolidated.

I will return next week or so about other ten concerns things. Your comments, please

Isaiah Abraham lives in Juba; he’s on Isaiah_abraham@yahoo.co.uk

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The unfortunate death of Garang and its implication on South Sudan

BY: ElHag Paul, RSS
The malaise going on in GoSS more and more has something to do with the manner in which South Sudan lost Dr Garang in 2005. The closure to Garang’s death was inconclusive especially given the fact that the circumstance of his death has not been explained Read more →

Betrayal of a nation’s expectation: Why South Sudan is screwed up?

South Sudan is screwed up! The contents and wordings of the recently  released Presidential letter that scandalously alleged that “an estimated $4 billion [are] stolen by Read more →

Tribalism most dangerous enemy to South Sudanese than Khartoum’s regime

By: John Bith Aliap, Adelaide Australia

JULY 12/2012, SSN; We have many times been accused of tribalism, but we have always presented fake voices that Tribalism doesn’t exist in the Republic of South Sudan. However, logical sense would otherwise tell another side of the story.  Typical events like Jongulei crisis which often makes headlines in many global news channels would make it difficult for us to deny the existence of tribalism; and if we are victorious in some cases in our accustomed denial culture which we have imported from Arabs in the north, this leaves us with sour throats.

More than a year now, all South Sudanese celebrated the independence of the Republic of South Sudan, a country they had exceedingly shed their blood for many decades. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of South Sudanese, took part in that independence celebration and pledged their loyalty to the Republic of South Sudan. The scene of celebration was characterized by people wearing flag of South Sudan, a symbol of what they would describe as their homeland. Some were clasping the flag and welling-up with tears as they pledged their allegiance to the Republic of South Sudan.

This celebration has in turn came with its own challenges that require us as people of the Republic South Sudan to compromise the journey of tribalism which we have been undertaking in the last centuries. Although ill-thought attempts are made to put out the flames of corruption, we should not also forget to fight our known enemy called tribalism which the colonists had in the last centuries imported to South Sudan and used it as an exploitative tool of division.

Haven’t we recently deposed the colonists from our territories South Sudanese? If your answer is yes, then why shouldn’t we abandon all sorts of evil practices the colonists have historically imposed on us?

Many of our loved ones have perished in the course of tribal feuding under the swords of their own brothers and sisters. If we really need the Republic of South Sudan to be a free and equal society, then it should be tribally free, but if it’s to be tribally free, it must remain free and equal to all South Sudanese regardless of their tribal supremacy or backgrounds.

In this respect, I cannot falsely argue that some tribes in South Sudan have never been biased against other tribes, this is a part of our human condition, but the problem is not that we are biased; the problem would be when we forget that we are being biased against others. Once people start to believe that their tribes are superior than others’, than they could become the very bigots they are supposedly against.

The Republic of South Sudan is comprised of massive self-righteous groups who would in many ways identify themselves as; Dinka, Nuer, Murle, Bari, Acholi, Ding-Dinga, Anyuak, Taposa, Mundari etc. These groups hold their tribal hatreds to the stage where they would attempt to project all evils deeds- I mean anything which is deemed evil onto other groups. However, in this situation the right of reply or attempt at dialogue is refused, leading to a feeling of helplessness and anger among the accused groups.

As long as our human history is concerned, it’s unquestionably our human nature that we sometimes hold false views of the world, but in reality it’s not an individual’s mistake to choose whether they are to become Nuer, Dinka, Bari etc. The other beliefs we subsequently choose, can only be done through the distorted prism of those early influences and imperfect knowledge of the facts, but should we blame others of being Dinka, Shiluk, Taposa, Nuer, Ding-Dinga and Vice versa? This typical thinking goes against the nature and if we hate others simply because they are members of other tribes, then we must wrongly be blaming the nature.

South Sudanese should acknowledge that all tribes in the Republic of South Sudan are important and those who endeavor to lecture supremacy of their tribes are the worst enemies of the new-born state of South Sudan than Khartoum’s regime. Tribalism in its broadest sense has become our major enemy than Khartoum’s regime which we often talk about day and night and it’s more determined to break the Republic of South Sudan into pieces if not managed adequately, especially at the onset of current national building phase.

We all need each other for the fact that different tribal values, beliefs and life styles form the identity of the Republic of South Sudan.  My experience tells me that we all have rich cultures which if utilized properly in my view can lay a concrete foundation of the new Republic of South Sudan which we should  all as people of South Sudan be proud of now and in the future.

Some people had already pointed their fingers to the government of South Sudan that it has not done enough to end tribalism in South Sudan, but eradication of tribalism is neither government’s nor an individuals’ responsibility. It’s a collective responsibility whereby each and every one of us should perform his/her part.

South Sudanese in all walks of life should come out and preach the goodness of being a nationalist and badness of being a tribalist rather than preaching water during the day and drinking wine and whisky during the night.

You won’t be surprised in Juba or in other major cities in South Sudan when somebody asks you which tribes you belong to. This kind of question for instance, is simply a tribal practice, but those who indulge in such business do not realize that they are engaging in tribal practices. It’s high time now for South Sudanese to abandon their historical tribal culture and its associated regressive practices and embrace the sentiments of nationalism.

Our hopes and expectations have been that after we have attained our independence, so would the development follow, but tribalism appears to be a major impediment to development and also a greater threat to our national security. Are we stupid enough not to stand up and face tribalism with all our strengths? If we do so, let us not forget the role inter-marriage and the church could play in our war on tribalism.

Many South Sudanese have been expecting that church leaders would stand up to their spiritual responsibilities to reduce the magnitudes of tribalism. But I would argue here in this respect if you don’t mind that churches in the Republic of South Sudan are as guilty as other ignorant groups by not standing up to fight tribalism.

The current state of our churches is neither healthy nor promising either as I write this piece. Churches in South Sudan are indisputably maintaining the status quo of tribalism. Church leaders in our contemporary Republic of South Sudan speak of Dinka congregation, Nuer congregation, Bari congregation, etc. It would in turn work this way; all churches in the Republic of South Sudan should work together instead of maintaining the historical tribal divisions.

Another important ingredient that we need in our hands is indeed an encouragement of inter-marriages among different tribes. If this is done, then the next generation born from these unions will be devoid of tribalism. Can we try this step and see if it will work? I think it will definitely work.

In addition, let’s not ignore the fact that our current state structures are established on the basis of tribal lines and it’s not helping us at all if we are really serious about tribalism. We need to make drastic measures if we are to see gains in war on tribalism by abolishing the current state structures. These structures have arguably confined people to the point where they would almost spend approximately 90% of their lives in their traditional geographical tribal territories.

To end this trend however, Equatorians and others should go and work in different states and the rest should also do the same. This will minimize the chances of holding false and imaginary beliefs on others.

In spite of underlying differences, these people can trust each other and they can co-exist peacefully as they share their common traditional foods such as Asida and Kisra with each other. We cannot end tribalism in the Republic of South Sudan if we don’t cross our tribal borders, otherwise our desire to end tribalism in South Sudan may remain as a lips service!

Nevertheless, media which the government of South Sudan sees as its major enemy would also occupy a primary defensive line in this war on tribalism. Although the long-decades war with Khartoum’s regime made it difficult for many talented South Sudanese to explore their educational opportunities, there are still few good writers out there who would otherwise “if they are honest and care about their country” use their writing skills to discourage practices of tribalism in the Republic of South Sudan.

It would be an incurable mistake if these writers idiotically allow themselves to be used by their self-centered tribal politicians in the course of advancing their tribal supremacy and egotistic interests. This is an abuse of professionalism! I would love to see our professional writers using their inks and papers to end tribalism in South Sudan rather than perpetrating it.

As there may be various ways and tactics we can employ to end tribalism, music cannot miss to qualify as one of those tools we should be using to end tribalism in the Republic of South Sudan. Most of music shows mostly shown on South Sudan TV have often been highly characterized by artists singing for their dream girls. However, it would have been worthy enough if we could extend invitations to these talented South Sudanese artists so that they can join the podium and compose songs not only dedicated to their dream girls, but also songs that discourage practices of tribalism in the Republic of South Sudan.

I would acknowledge that few artists have already boarded the plane and set the ball rolling, but other artists are highly encouraged to tag on a similar direction. I’m sincerely encouraging our artists to courageously take a centre stage in the war on tribalism. This step is necessary since artists can effortlessly influence wider audiences and without doubt, it can definitely work when used as a tool to end tribalism. Therefore, utilizing music to close tribal gaps would serve thousands of lives which would have been lost in regressive tribal feuding.

In conclusion, South Sudanese should all come out courageously and truthfully to confront tribalism and its associated evil practices. Engaging on ways to right the wrongs and put up ways to secure a good Republic of South Sudan for us and the next generations would be a brilliant idea.

I would like to pose this question as a home work to all South Sudanese. The question goes like this: Are you sufficiently stupid not to confront tribalism or sensibly judicious to confront it and put it to an end?

The costs of tribalism in the Republic of South Sudan have been very high and its continuation won’t serve our national interest.

The author of this work is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and can be corresponded at johnaliap2011@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent those of the website.

Ramciel is the best place for the capital city of South Sudan!

BY: Matot Akech Matot, AUSTRALIA

South Sudan has just celebrated the first anniversary of our being a new country. After many years of terrible pain and suffering, we triumphed over our enemies. We fought bravely for so many years and were rewarded with success at last. South Sudan Oyee!

One of the many tragic outcomes of the years of war was the untimely death of our beloved Dr. John Garang who died in a helicopter accident. This was and still is a terrible blow to our young nation, but we kept going forward. We knew that John Garang would want us to keep heading towards the life of success that he and many others sacrificed their lives to achieve.

I have decided not to spend a lot of time talking about the recent, foolish letter from Dr Luka Biong Deng, published in the Nation Newspaper this month. In his letter, Mr Luka says that Juba should stay as the capital city of South Sudan. And why? What is his reasoning? Because Juba is there. Because Juba has been the capital for some time now. And then he says, because Dr John Garang is buried there.

Yes, our leader is buried there but on its own, this is not a good reason for having Juba as the capital. There are not real points in these words. John Garang said we will “take the town to the people” and not the other way around. So he is saying let us build new towns, and Ramciel was one place suggested.

In fact, all of Luka Deng’s points are easy-to-beat arguments. John Garang himself did not want Juba to be our capital. With his intelligence, John Garang knew that Juba would not be the best capital city that we can have. Just because something is there already is not a convincing argument. We do not have to accept it.

I have another much better idea. All my arguments add up to my saying Ramciel is the best place for a capital and Juba is not good as a capital of our glorious new country.

Juba does not and will never suit the numbers of people, the size, the numbers of buildings, the necessary infrastructure, the numbers of workers, international tourists and Investors that South Sudan needs to become a strong independent country.

It is not good enough to say that Juba should be the capital because it was already there. The small city existed and we used it as a place to sit and think and plan for the good future of our country. Since our Independence, Juba has seen all of the first days and struggles of this new nation. A lot of new business and overseas people are now coming to South Sudan, wanting to bring investment in business and where do they stay?

Juba, a city that is too small, where the indigenous peoples of this place do not want anyone to come and where it is impossible to develop Juba into a great city of the world.

Juba actually is land belonging to the Bari tribe and their people do not want the capital city to keep growing over their ancestral lands. This has been a cause of violence. The indigenous people do not want their land taken for a capital city. Were the Bari people asked at all by anyone about building a capital city right on their lands? Did someone ask their permission to do this? I do not think so. Juba was there, had some services and so it grew.

Now Juba is not coping well with being the capital city. The roads are narrow and cars rush through them, often knocking down the people on foot and killing them. As well, there is not a satisfactory water supply and waste disposal pipes and treatment plants. Houses are just put anywhere and this looks very untidy and not permanent.  Roads are too narrow. Juba is very close to the borders of Kenya and Uganda.

In Juba, there is not enough land to cover the 31 or so square kilometres (about 12 square miles) needed for the construction of new government buildings in the present capital city. Since the time Juba has been the “stand-in” for our capital city, Juba has grown and grown without planning. Juba was never meant to be a capital city for the whole country. Since that time, Juba has grown buildings and roads which are not suited to large numbers of people who have come there. 

Dr. John Garang commissioned a study and the area of Ramciel was suggested as a good place for a new capital city.  John Garang wanted Ramciel as a capital, but he died before this was accomplished. It is in The Lakes State of greater Yirol people, Even the name “Ramciel” is suitable, because it means where the Rhino meet and it can be now refer as a centre of ten states of South Sudan “town between”. A shared area, a place for different people to come together and meet.

Ramciel is the areas of Awen (Thian) Malek payam of Langmatot Boma. It is more in the centre of the country; at its heart. For the people of all South Sudan it gives a central focal point. It is an area where not many people have lived before. It is not putting buildings on top of family areas and graves.

Ramciel is inhabited by the Awen clan from Ciec, members of Yirol. Ramciel is their land.  These are the indigenous people of this place and they must decide. They have said yes to building Ramciel. Now they have to decide which of 2 possible areas they will move to, take their cattle to and stay in.

The Ramciel area is used by three Greater Yirol communities: Ciec, Aliab and Atut. They understand that the Government of South Sudan has a right to develop land so as to benefit all our citizens. Ramciel has good hills where the city could be developed. There is plenty of space in the hills for a large city.

There are several international examples of a country building a new separate City for their capital. I can talk about Brazilia, in Brazil and Canberra, in Australia, as two examples. There are a tremendous lot of positive reasons for South Sudan building a new capital. The indigenous people of that area will not behave in a violent manner if Ramciel was made into the capital.

The opportunity to build a truly well planned capital should not be ignored. South Sudan needs to build our democracy and part of that building is making a beautiful capital city where our leaders will meet and make important decisions concerning our future. We want a capital city to be proud of. Roads and buildings would be properly planned, with water and waste systems, hospitals and schools included. We would showcase our abilities in designing a capital which would reflect our beloved, great country.

On April 5, 2012, the survey for the proposed new capital of South Sudan, Ramciel, was reported in the Sudan Tribune and in other papers. The survey will be completed within the next six months, reports the official in charge of the project.

This gives us, as proud citizens of the new country of South Sudan, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design a city built for a purpose: to be the centre of the life for our country. In an age where effects on the natural environment are serious issues, South Sudan can employ the best possible environmentally aware architects and road planners. In this way, South Sudan can show the rest of the world that we are good global citizens. We have suffered and lost so much, but now we are starting to say “Look at us. We are building our nation in the best possible way. AUG. 29/2012,SSN;

Comments can be sent to matotakech@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent those of the website.