Category: National

Who authorized the Killing of Detainees at Mabur-Zeed Detention Center in Yirol?

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, Tong Law Chambers, Juba, JAN/20/2017, SSN;

When the people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for an independent State, the choice of life over death, it was a choice made as to what kind of future we and the generation to come will enjoy, it was a choice made that we and our offsprings will have a life of freedom, justice and equal rights for all.

This, however, is not the case in Yirol. This hope has been dashed away by the inhumane acts perpetrated on the innocent and vulnerable persons whose freedom and liberties have been unlawfully and arbitrarily restrained.

Mabur-Zeed detention center in Yirol is such an illegal detention center in which most devastating, cruel, degrading and inhumane acts are being meted on the prisoners on daily basis.

As the title of this article suggests, not only did the authorities in Yirol authorized and ordered arbitrary and indefinite detention, incommunicado detention, intimidations and extortion which are common practices, beatings and torture are quite taking a toll as an order of the day.

But most heinous of all, the government ordered a shoot-to-kill on five (5) detainees without any proper due process of the law. The five (5) detainees were shot dead on the orders of the governor of the state in which one (1) died on spot, two (2) died lying on the ground around the detention center as they were refused any medical attention on the orders of the governor.

Worst still, the bodies of the other two (2) detainees were found floating on the waters of Lake Yirol, having been shot and left at the river-bank. This is the state of human rights in Yirol.

Yirol that was hoped by all to be the most peaceful, loving and respectful and the one that is said to be most stable, secured and would rapidly get developed among the 28 states, unfortunately is in complete pain of human rights abuses and violations.

In this part of the world, we’re being subjected to arbitrary, indefinite and incommunicado detention; and we’re being extorted and intimidated on daily basis if one speaks out on matters that concern the wellbeing and welfare of the state and its people and at certain point being killed.

Who authorized the killing of detainees at Mabur-Zeed detention center in Yirol?

Obviously, there’s just no any other person more superior in that particular part of the world other than the governor himself. Reports from most reliable sources and most truth-worthy verified information proved that it was indeed the governor himself who ordered the killings of the detainees under the pretext that they’re thieves who deserve not to live but be killed like chickens.

It was reported too from the close associated circles and right-hand people who fenced the governor that it was the same governor who refused the medics to attend to the badly injured detainees until they died of their gunshot wounds lying on the ground in Mabur-Zeed detention facility.

What kind of leadership is this? This practice of incessant violation of the individual’s rights amounts to a blatant violation of the provisions of article 11 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011, which guaranteed that every person has the inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his/her person which shall be protected by law; and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life.

Not only that, continued indefinite and incommunicado detention of uncharged detainees is a clear violation of the spirit of article 12 of the TCSS, 2011, which as well stipulates that every person has the right to liberty and security of person; no person shall be subjected to arrest, detention, deprivation or restriction of his or her liberty except for specified reasons and in accordance with procedures prescribed by law.

A lot is desired to be said here. As the state authorities beginning with the governor himself have no any idea of what it means to observe tripartite principles of the rule of law, respect for human rights and dignity of the person as well as good governance, the law continued to be kept at bay and rights continued to be violated with impunity.

This is the case of detainees at Mabur-Zeed detention center who are subjected to torture on daily basis which violates the provisions of article 18 of the TCSS, 2011, which guarantees that no person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.

Who does this law protect really? The worst of all is the violation of the right to life which is strictly prohibited under article 21(1) of the TCSS, 2011, that no death penalty shall be imposed, save as punishment for extremely serious offences in accordance with the law.

Nobody should be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life whatsoever the case. I wish the governor has a wise legal advisor to give him tips on how to deal with people who have come into contact with the law and those who are in conflict with the law, and if he does then I believe his legal advisor reads the law upside down or a fresh graduate who has no any idea of how to give wise legal advice concerning people who have come into contact with the law and those who’re in conflict with the law.

These are two different categories of people you’re dealing with on daily basis. It is however highly recommended that a fact-finding committee has to be constituted to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of these innocent detainees and a proper recommendation as to who is responsible for their death be made public and those responsible be made to answer for wrong doing.

The writer is a Barrister at Law at Tong Law Chambers and can reached at tongbullen@gmail.com

Message of unity and hope to all the Opposition political movements in South Sudan

BY: David Lokosang, JAN/14/2017, SSN;

My 2017 message to all opposition movements in South Sudan is, you have to unite and you must unite to bring to an end the suffering of our people sooner than later.

Operating separately doesn’t only prolong the current criminal dictatorial regime in Juba but it prolongs the suffering of our people who deserve the rights for equal opportunities as equal citizens of our nation.

Let us learn from our contemporary history. We have endured more suffering in our quest for freedom than any other citizens in the world. Let us revisit our history in order to correct ourselves and devise a way forward how to put concrete democratic institutions that will bound us together for common good.

When we were divided in 1991 the result was catastrophic but when we united our ranks we were able to defeat our enemies militarily, politically and diplomatically. And it is only then we were able to force the regime in Khartoum for a genuine political negotiation which resulted to CPA agreement.

The recent fighting that took place in Upper Nile which resulted in the death of two generals from Lam Akol’s movement, reminded us of 1991 split which won’t help our endeavour for social justice, equality, freedom of speech, equal opportunities and socio-economic development. Let it not repeat in other places in the greater Upper Nile, nor Equatoria nor Bahr El Ghazal.

What is it that each group wants? If the objective is to change the current rotten system and put in place a robust system of governance, then you must all unite for common objectives acceptable for all.

Believe me or not, operating separately gives a wrong signal to the international community, to our friends and more division among our people. They will look at us as fragmented tribes and power hungry people. It is not about individuals rather the system. Individuals come and go but a good system of governance and the solid democratic institutions will remain.

Every day I see the suffering of our people, the killing of innocent people orchestrated by JCE and the war lord elite in Juba and by unknown gunmen in the name of Transitional Government of National unity or National Dialogue or whatever name they give, make me sick and make me feel I have wasted my time in the last 36 years proclaiming the vision of SPLM which proved to be difficult to achieve under the shallow minded leadership of Salva Kiir.

Kiir and all those war lords around him have failed us and have retarded us 200 years back in human history.

My advice to all political movements in South Sudan, I believe it is reasonable enough to urge all of you to initiate a forum in order to create a South Sudan Democratic Alliance with common objective.

The objective is to remove the current rotten system of government and put in place an interim system that will create solid democratic institutions that recognise freedom of speech, justice and equality, Socio-economic opportunities, rule of law, international human rights and accountability.

The region and the international community will reckon you as the genuine alternative if you are united but if you are fragmented, believe me or not, you are indirectly prolonging the regime and the suffering of our innocent people.

Logically, how are you going to unite the country if you are fighting along tribal lines? You must propagate unity among the fighting force and civilians under your control areas which will then be reflected in the activities of the day when you become the legitimate government.

There is a Chinese saying that ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Therefore you must unite your ranks now with one objective that is easily to be sold to the general public and the international community.

If you are not united, if you cannot inform, persuade and remind your supporters, international community and regional key players, how then would you succeed to achieve your objectives?

In business, no matter how good your products and service are, if you don’t inform and persuade the potential and current buyers about their features and benefits they will never buy from you. Instead they buy from someone who has invested in major promotional activities.

The reason why East African countries are closing doors for the opposition is because since the events of July 8th 2016, the opposition group has not consolidated itself to mobilise its human resources to counteract the lies being played by the regime propaganda machinery.

I hope 2017 will be a year of change. God bless all of you and God bless South Sudan

David Lokosang
lokosangdavid@yahoo.com.au

UK, Norway plan Doha meeting to restore Sudan Sudan peace talks

By FRED OLUOCH, JAN/10/2017, TheEastAfrican, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
***Igad will only be an observer in Qatar where a deal to review the peace agreement is top on the agenda.
***The EastAfrican has learnt that the main agenda is to bring back rebel leader Riek Machar as a key partner in the peace talks.
***Kiir and Machar sides concur that the Aug 15 peace pact has broken down and needs renegotiation.

Two key sponsors of the South Sudan peace process are organising roundtable talks next month in Doha, Qatar, between the government, the rebel movement and other stakeholders to review the August 2015 Peace Agreement.

The talks being organised by two Troika members — United Kingdom and Norway, who have been the main funders of the peace talks together with the United States since the war broke out in December 2013 — are expected to begin in early February to look at the Peace Agreement and challenges facing its implementation.

The EastAfrican has learnt that the main agenda is to bring back rebel leader Riek Machar as a key partner in the peace talks.

The new efforts were initiated by the UK and Norway in conjunction with the African Union. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), which mediated the peace agreement, will be represented as an observer, but will not be an active participant.

This is because key Igad partner states such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, with the support of the US government, have actively participated in sidelining Dr Riek Machar after intensive lobbying by President Salva Kiir’s government. But the Troika feels that this has not improved security in South Sudan.

President Kiir’s government had declared that Dr Machar, who was replaced as first vice-president by Taban Deng Gai in August last year and is currently living in South Africa, should stay out of South Sudan and await the next elections, which is supposed to be held in 2018.

Mr Gai recently confirmed that regional countries have denied Dr Machar entry in their territories and he will be locked out for a foreseeable future.

The new initiative comes after both the government and the rebels concurred that the August 15 peace agreement had broken down – when war broke out again last July – and needs renegotiation.

But on December 14, President Kiir came up with the idea of a National Dialogue that will start at the grassroot. The rebel movement is sceptical about its success, especially without a permanent ceasefire.

Jimmy Deng, the South Sudan deputy ambassador to Kenya, said that the government is aware that Troika has initiated plans for fresh negotiations, but Juba is yet to be officially contacted on the issue.

Mr Deng, however, said that the government’s position is that there is no need for fresh negotiations because the August 2015 peace agreement is implemented.

“The National Dialogue Committee and top government officials are currently at the grassroots talking to people and promoting peace and national unity. We want the church leaders and chiefs to be involved because they represent the view of the grassroots, while the opposition is free to come back to the country because they have been given amnesty,” said Mr Deng.

President Kiir sacked Dr Machar from the Government of National Unity and replaced him with Mr Gai but this did not end the war.

Mr Gai’s biggest challenge is that he does not have sufficient following within the rebel movement to implement security arrangements such as the cantonment and the integration of soldiers from both sides as per the agreement.

Struggling to restructure

According to the latest report by the International Crisis Group, Mr Gai faces an uphill task to gain wider domestic credibility and bring armed opposition groups into the Government of National Unity.

The report says that since most cadres of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) rejected his elevation, the rebel movement, without an internationally recognised leader able to negotiate on its behalf, is struggling to restructure.

In the meantime, the government has been pushing for a military option.

The SPLM-IO presentative in Kenya Lam Jok said that the armed opposition is willing to dialogue with anybody anywhere, but first the security arrangement provision must be implemented if the talks are to bear fruit.

“Any efforts for peace, including the National Dialogue called by President Kiir, are good, but we must first silence the guns because you cannot talk while there is fighting,” said Mr Jok.

The SPLM-IO maintains that future talks should be preceded by the withdrawal of the Mathiang Anyor militias that fight alongside government forces, from the villages of Equatoria and Western Bharel Ghazal, where, according to UN Special Advisor on Prevention of Genocide Adam Dieng, genocide looms.

Fighting has continued in the three Equatorias — West, Central and East — Bahrel Ghazal and of late in Upper Nile State, which had not experienced major fighting since the new conflict erupted in July 2016.

The United Nations Humanitarian Agency (OCHA) reported towards the end of December that the number of South Sudanese fleeing to Uganda continues to grow, with 3,046 new arrivals recorded daily from December 13.

President Kiir had proposed National Dialogue in three phases: Consultations at the grassroots to record grievances; regional peace conferences to discuss outstanding inter-communal conflicts; and the National Conference in Juba to come up with resolutions that would guide the country on the way forward.

But Dr Machar is proposing that the African Union and the international community support a new political process with a reviewed agreement to provide the roadmap for any national dialogue. END

Appointment of Gen. Gregory (Kiir’s in-law): The Question of Nepotism in South Sudan

By: Simon Yel Yel, JAN/09/2017, SSN;

It was on Tuesday, the 3rd of January, the first work day of 2017 when President Salva Kiir Mayardit inked the polemical appointment of Gen. Gregory Deng at J1. It was exactly the third day of the New Year and the New Year’s wishes were still fresh in everyone’s mind. With that appointment, President has controversially coloured the wishes of the New Year.

For some in Gogrial state (Pres. Kiir’s own state) who thought that 2016 was not fair to them economically and politically because of former governor Gum being in power, and they were wishing the New Year to come with many desirable items on its menu ranging from political to economical, I want to say congratulations!

President Kiir has served you with Gen. Gregory on gubernatorial plate as your best New Year wish on the 2017 political menu.

Maburuk! to those who tie their political fortunes to the political success of Gen. Gregory that, please, enjoy but don’t forget that there are many challenges lying ahead there and if you don’t work hard to maintain this seat by delivering what is expected of you to the people of Gogrial state, then be mindful what brought Gregory may take him away any time.

To those who are mourning the removal of Gum and thinking that it is the their end and a bad kick start of 2017, I want to tell them that, be strong, “PINY ATOU ALONG DET”… President Gives and President Takes!

Arguably, the appointment of Gen. Gregory as a governor for President’s home state has glimmered a lot of debate on social media. The appointment did not only draw mixed reactions from Gogrial state natives but throughout the country with some SPLM politicians, writers and analysts defining it in their own terms.

“I disagree sharply with the President’s decision to appoint his brother-in-law as the governor of Gogrial state. This decision is against the SPLM principle of equality and Justice; it is a clear sign of bad governance because this post is electable and any appointment can’t be done based on marital/social or any similar blood/favoritisms relations,” blasts Suzanne Jambo, former SPLM secretary for external affairs (now a opponent of the president).

Meanwhile, Agel Riing Machar, a senior member of SPLA-IO (Vice-president Taban’s faction) Military Council and a former youth leader, chipped in: “The debate should focus on his capability and track records rather than his relationship with the President. He is an excellence choice for the portfolio. The people of Gogrial state can benefit from his connections and influence at the National level as well as regionally and internationally in areas of business and governance.”

To define this appointment based on South Sudanese standard, there is no way that it would fit in any description rather than “nepotism” given the way we view things with our tribal or communal/sectional lenses where one’s relationship with an employer always triumphs one’s capability.

However, to define this appointment based on law, it is on “meritocracy.”

In America, when President John F. Kennedy appointed his younger brother, Robert, as an attorney General, some media pundits and analysts described the appointment as based on nepotism rather than on merits.

Robert Francis was argued to be under-qualified for the job because he was only 35 years old with a few years of legal service as legal counsel to two senate committees; however, with the backing of his brother, he passed the senate vetting.

“It is not simply good enough to name a bright young political manager, no matter how bright or how young or how personally loyal, to a major post in government”, the New York Times editorialized after the nomination.

A member of Senate later observed, “it was nepotism, I mean; he was the brother of the President”. Anthony Lewis, a veteran courts reporter said “though it was simply awful idea, Kennedy was a zealot with no understanding of the terrible responsibilities of an attorney General.”

After the assassination of President Kennedy, his successor, President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 was prompted by the appointment of Robert to lobby and sign into law a Nepotism statue prohibiting a President from appointing a family member.

Legally speaking, it is generally agreed among legal scholars that “Nepotism”, for purposes of the law, refers to the hiring and advancement of un- or under-qualified relatives simply by virtue of their relationship with an employer or officer. In other words, it’s only restricted if the appointee is not qualified for the position.

So, given how nepotism is viewed legally, and therefore could be argued in court, for the purpose of law, Gregory has both academic merits and experiences that can qualify him not only for gubernatorial portfolio but for any portfolio in Kiir’s government or in any other government to come.

The question of nepotism can be licit only if we have anti-nepotism law in our constitution like in the U.S.A and if he were under-qualified for the job. Unfortunately, with the absolute absence of such law as of now in our constitution, we can only objurgate the appointment made by any public officials such as the President, ministers, or governors as based on “nepotism” only if the appointee has no merits or under-qualified to claim that post.

It is also up to our legislators to legislate an anti-nepotism law if they see that the appointment of Gregory could possibly open a Pandora box of nepotism and may be of advantage to some corrupt public officials who might use it as an ambiguity to employ their unqualified relatives.

Therefore, it is upon our legislators whether to legislate it or not or the public should shut up feeble and incoherent arguments of fanciful articles in our constitution being infracted by the appointment of relatives by public officials.

Gregory didn’t become President’s brother-in-law in 2017 nor did he divulge his political ambitions to lead people (in various capacities) after Kiir assumed presidency.

Gregory got his first political assignment in 2002 by late Dr. John Garang as the first commissioner for Gogrial East County. He is brilliant, thoughtful, politically ambitious, undoubtedly articulate, and wondrously learned with good qualities of a leader; however, the history of defunct Warrap politics of “stabbing the back” and his previous records in commissionership office can be the best guide to foretell his success or failure, politically, socially, and security-wise.

He has his own political ambitions to achieve and he had laid bare his desire many times to be a governor of the defunct Warrap state before and after 2010 elections. In 2010, Gregory was among the three gubernatorial aspirants for Warrap state whose names were sent to SPLM political bureau in Juba for final nomination of one candidate to battle it out with other candidates in 2010 General Elections.

Unluckily, Gregory lost the nomination to Nyandeng Malek, however, he accepted the decision of political bureau and campaigned vigorously for Nyandeng to win the election. Sometimes later after her election, Gregory fell out with Nyandeng and joined the voices calling for her removal.

Debatably, with the election time remaining uncertain and the life span of the presidency that you can’t predict, Gregory had run out of long wait for General Election to contest but to lobby Gogrial community and other political deities to support him and convince the President that it is now a high time for Gregory to govern Gogrial state.

Gregory is an entity, a person with his own political ambitions different from Kiir’s and has a right to enjoy all the rights and privileges that every citizen in South Sudan is entitled to in our constitution; and it is unfair to divest him of these rights because of his mere relationship with the President.

Therefore, what matters the most is not how Gregory is related to the President but whether or not he has what it takes to be in that position; for example, does he have clear track records; does he understand the values and ideals of the state that he is going to govern; does he understand the urgent need of the people of Gogrial state; does he understand that he is now a politician and his high military ranks can’t immune him from being condemned if he does something wrong; does he understand that the military philosophy of “whatever your boss says is true” doesn’t work in politics; and does he understand that in politics, critics or dissents are not jailed, intimidated, prosecuted, or exiled, but are given freedom of expression and debate them with open mind and challenge them with your achievements?

In conclusion, Gregory has been looking for this job for so long and now he has it. It is incumbent on him to clearly spell and work out his programs why had he been after this job for so long.

Gregory must take this assignment as a full time job and prove it to all people that he has political agendas in mind to implement and he is capable of holding any other senior government position than gubernatorial post.

In fact, many rich politicians like him often go for politics to top up their richness with power while others go for politics to change the lives of their people. Whether is he going to top up his riches with power or transform the lives of the people of Gogrial state, only time will tell.

Mr. Governor, don’t smile too much, they will think otherwise; remember always, all eyes are on you!

Simon Yel Yel is co-editor (with Paanluel Wel) of the book of the President Kiir’ speeches and essential writings published in two volumes as “Salva Kiir Mayardit: The Joshua of South Sudan”
He can be reached at maandeng2017@gmail.com or +211914474471

Is the President’s Speech on National Dialogue Initiative a Divine Intervention to Salvage South Sudan from Its Total Collapse?

BY: Juma Mabor Marial (Mr.) LLB, MA (Humanitarian & Conflict Studies), Advocate, DEC/22/2016, SSN;

Just like many other South Sudanese citizens who have been victims of bad governance and greedy politics in this country, I had given up every little hope that I had for this country coming back to stability but when I criticized my decision, I came to realize that hope is the last thing a human being should let go in their life if they aspire to live longer than the present challenges.

Due to this self-criticism, I became optimistic that despite the bad situation our country is in now, things will one day change for the better. This desire seemed to manifest itself in different ways and one of them is the recent speech by the President during the launching of the National Dialogue Initiative.

I have never been a fan of President’s speeches since most of them are cut and paste and are only usually given as occasional gifts without matching them with actions and follow-up.

The case in point is when in several platforms the president talks about “Zero-Tolerance to corruption” yet nothing has changed as corruption remains the top and leading vice across all the government institutions in the country.

This irony only confirms to us the extent of lip servicing in his speeches but as they say, give Caesar what belongs to him and give due respect to he who deserves it, I think I was puzzled and deeply surprised with the change of tune that the president brought out on his recent speech.

Thanks to his recent visit to South Africa where perhaps out of his consultations with President Zuma, he realized that his country is in the Intensive Care Unit and despite the Lab technicians and surgeons that are operating with him to try and save the life of the country, he will ultimately remain the lead surgeon to be blamed and charged with negligence when the patient (South Sudan) unfortunately dies.

When people talk about a National Dialogue, it must be understand that, apart from negotiated peace accords and other forced interventions by regional and international actors in an attempt to bring sustainable peace in many countries in Africa – South Sudan included, there has never been any tangible solution to permanent peace and stability other than a national dialogue where all the stakeholders from varying political affiliations, ethnic diversities, religious denominations and backgrounds comes together and deliberate on issues that affect them and set a proper roadmap on how to move the affairs of their country forward.

Therefore, the importance of a national dialogue is that, the government with all its security apparatuses, oppositions with all their blackmail gadgets and external interest groups and all the stakeholders stand on a level playing field and argue out their concerns without intimidation, threats, fear or favor.

And because of this extent of independence, the think tanks that the president referred to as the Secretariat of the up-coming National Dialogue had in 2014 when the current fragile peace agreement was being negotiated in Addis Ababa, proposed National Dialogue as the best mechanism that could have been used to bring a permanent and long-lasting peace to South Sudan.

However, due to several local, national, regional and international interests then, their suggestion was ignored hence resulting into a half-baked compromised peace agreement that later on led the country into abyss.

Had this advice been considered much earlier, the country could have been saved from more crises but as they say, better late than never, the National Dialogue should now take place since it is the only option on the table for all the stakeholders.

The president has done fairly well in launching the initiative and consolidating it with such soul searching speech which I rated to be the best speech that I have heard from him since he inherited this country from Dr. John Garang De Mabior.

If you need more justifications for my rating, here are a few points that earned his speech my approval:
1. He apologized to the people of South Sudan for bad governance and the unprecedented suffering that they went through as a result of his unpopular government policies;
2. He appealed to the citizens and those who usually manipulate them to go on unnecessary demonstrations to stop antagonizing and demonizing regional and international partners as South Sudan is not an Island;
3. He assured everyone who shall attend the National Dialogue of their security and safety which is very important because it will allow those with opposing view against the government to attend and participate freely;
4. He affirmed that, the government just like any other institution or individual will be equal stakeholder and not a police in the process and this is a significant assurance because people will not be intimidated to abstain from contributing effectively to the deliberations for fear of victimization;
5. He gave think-tank institutions the task and the opportunity to facilitate, design programs and streamline the agenda for the National Dialogue which in this regard is very crucial because academic rather than political lenses need to be strategically worn if the country is to be successfully brought out of the deep crises it is in now;
6. The president also outlined very vital ten specific objectives of the dialogue which, if addressed and exhausted will open up a new path for the rebirth of this country.

Now here, the president has done his best but as usually is the case, there are those of whom we have always suspected to be around him and who, due to selfish political interests would never allow such crucial national projects to see the light of the day, this is the group that we must collectively combine forces with the president and fight so as we are able to have this National Dialogue take place as planned.

There will be enormous challenges along the way leading to the process but since the National Dialogue is the only life-saving machine that we have for South Sudan, we must all put our efforts and surmount the challenges that be.

The dialogue needs adequate time to enable all the stakeholders have the opportunity to exhaust all the problems that are ailing South Sudan and therefore, it will be a process not a one day or one week event and as such, the time no matter long it maybe ought to be properly framed.

The dialogue will also need material, human and financial resources and this is where the regional and international partners that have always presented themselves to help South Sudan come in and avail such resources without any strings attached because National Dialogue means South Sudanese talking to one another and trying to put their house in order without unnecessary interference from outsiders.

Through the Launching of the National Dialogue Initiative followed by the beautiful speech of the President, it seems South Sudan and its leaders have realized that it is about time we talk to each other in order to find a homegrown solution to our problems, the regional and international community should give this process a chance and facilitate rather than interfere with it.

Another big challenge that faces the national dialogue initiative will be lack of Political Will not from the president as he has already made clear his position but from the spoilers within his political camp since not all of them are interested in finding a permanent solution to the crises that are facing South Sudan today, instead, majority of them are beneficiaries of the on-going confusion and for them to maintain this status quo, they will put road block after another to ensure that the process does not kick-off.

Last but not the least, South Sudanese should begin from where the president has stopped by grabbing the opportunity and supporting the president in his possible and apparently final attempt to rescue this country from its total collapse.

It is my belief that God is intervening by granting all of us this final opportunity to rethink and refine the destiny of our country. I hope in the spirit of patriotism and great love for our great country – South Sudan, all of us will try through our own very little ways to ensure that the up-coming National Dialogue succeeds.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Peaceful New Year, 2017

By: Juma Mabor Marial (Mr.)
LLB, MA (Humanitarian & Conflict Studies), Advocate.
Contact: jummabor2gmail.com

Mr President Kiir: Only free men can negotiate… (Nelson Mandela)

BY: Lomuchie Nyaloro, Concerned South Sudanese, DEC/19/2016, SSN;

Mr Kiir and his advisors in the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) are shamelessly and arrogantly attempting to fool the whole world by calling for a dialogue and peace negotiations with South Sudanese. This breathtaking arrogance is all the more painful when one considers that it comes after they have:-

• destroyed a peace agreement painfully negotiated by the international community;
• committed genocide against the Nuer and other South Sudanese;
• sent their personal and tribal militia (Mathiang Anyoor) to Equatoria to pillage, rape, burn people alive, and force hundreds of thousands into refuge and displacement camps;
• played ‘cat and mouse’ with the UN Security Council on Resolution 2304 (2016) which they have failed to implement;
• silenced all dissenting voices in South Sudan and particularly in Juba; and
• subjected the people of South Sudan to forced and slave labor without paying them their dues and salaries.

Who is Kiir going to negotiate with after he has turned the whole country, and particularly Juba, into a large open prison?

The whole world now knows that nobody is allowed to criticize the Kiir regime or to whistle-blow on its criminality.

Journalists have been killed for reporting on the atrocities of the regime. Foreign journalists have been deported for reporting on the ongoing slow-motion genocide, which is perpetrated by the agents of the regime.

Politicians, local community chiefs and civil society activists are being incarcerated by the ubiquitous Gestapo-type secret police.

No, Mr. Kiir, there is no one left for you to negotiate with in South Sudan. In the past, a repressive Apartheid regime, after keeping Nelson Mandela in prison for over 25 years without cowing his black followers, asked Mandela to negotiate peace while he was still a prisoner. But Mandela replied, “Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contract.”

Mr. Kiir, you and your people have made prisoners of all South Sudanese by stifling their voices. No, they cannot join you in your call for negotiation and reconciliation.

Mr Kiir, despite the terrible things that you have done to your own people, South Sudanese can still respond positively to your call if you can undertake the following as pre-requisites to the negotiations:-

1. Order the release of all detainees who are being held by the National Security Service (NSS), and at the same time call off the campaign to silence our people through intimidation, arrest and murder by the NSS;

2. Order the release of all prisoners who are being detained in shipping containers at military camps around Juba and all over the country by the military intelligence;

3. Order the withdrawal and disbandment of the private tribal militia, Mathiang Anyoor, from all regions of the country. The presence and maintenance of the militia by the government is unconstitutional;

4. Compel your tribesmen who are occupying the lands of Equatoria to remove their cattle and settlements and return to their original homes in Jonglei and Bahr el Ghazal; and, finally,

5. Revoke the creation of the 28 states and return to the borders of the 10 original states.

These are our bare minimum.

Lomuchie Nyaloro, a concerned South Sudanese

LATEST NEWS: Dr. Riek Machar under ‘House Arrest’ by South African govt. in Pretoria

BY: Peter Fabricius and Denis Dumo, MAIL & GUARDIAN, Pretoria, DEC/13/2016;

South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar, who fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo in August after fierce fighting, is being held in South Africa to stop him stirring up trouble, diplomatic and political sources said on Tuesday.

Removing Machar from circulation would be a blow to his rebel SPLA-IO faction in its three-year war with President Salva Kiir’s mainstream SPLA, and could sway a conflict the United Nations fears is tilting towards genocide.

Over a million people have fled the world’s youngest nation since conflict erupted in late 2013 when Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, fired Machar, a Nuer, as his deputy. The cross-border exodus is the largest in central Africa since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

In South Africa, a well-connected regional political consultant said Machar was being held “basically under house arrest” near Pretoria with his movements restricted and his phone calls monitored and controlled.

“If he wants to go to the toilet he has to hand over his phone and a guy stands outside the cubicle,” the source said.

Department of international relations and co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela denied Machar was being held against his will, describing him instead as a “guest” of Pretoria as South Africa tried to prevent the civil war sliding into genocide.

“Him being our guest here is part of our responsibility as a mediator,” Monyela said, adding that it was “difficult to predict” the duration of his stay.

“It’s very hard to put timelines on these peace and security situations.”

Dickson Gatluak, a Machar spokesperson in Ethiopia, denied there were any restrictions on Machar and dismissed the reports as misinformation. “This is not true. It’s baseless and unfounded,” Gatluak said in Juba.

“Dr. Machar is safe and doing his normal duties as usual. He is communicating to us daily, including his field commanders in the entire country.”

Attempts to speak to Machar in South Africa via his spokesperson were unsuccessful.

Kiir visited President Jacob Zuma, on December 2 to “review … the latest regional political and security developments on the continent”, according to a South African statement that gave no further details.

Refugee accounts and human rights reports point to both sides in South Sudan targeting civilians along ethnic lines.

Juba or Joburg: You decide:

Machar reached a peace deal in 2015 with Kiir but the agreement fell apart in July, leading to several days of intense fighting in Juba, the capital of the five-year-old nation.

Machar himself was wounded and after fleeing to Congo went to Sudan, a long-term supporter of his rebel faction, for medical treatment. He then turned up in South Africa in October for more treatment.

A diplomatic source said the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-country East African group, had asked Pretoria to make sure Machar did not leave. The United States, Britain and Norway had supported that request, the source added.

“He keeps going back and mobilising his people and stirring up problems,” the source said. “It’s best to keep him here for a while.”

Machar flew two weeks ago to Ethiopia, which has also tried and failed as a mediator, but was refused entry and given a stark choice: go back to South Africa or get dumped in Juba, to be left at the mercy of Kiir’s troops, two of the sources said.

“The Ethiopians told him there were two planes sitting on the tarmac – one heading to Juba and one heading to Joburg – and told him he had 10 minutes to decide,” the political source said.

“It didn’t take long.” – Reuters

Land grabbing blamed for ethnic tensions in South Sudan– Latest

BY: Joseph ODUHA, THE EASTAFRICAN, NOV/112016, SSN;

Rampant land grabbing is fuelling ethnic strife in South Sudan’s Equatoria State, an official has said.

The National Land Commission Coordinator, Mr Butrus Apollo, said in Juba Tuesday that the situation could turn tragic if not addressed.

Mr Apollo said some disgruntled politicians were using the land grabbing issue to foment turmoil as they pursued their personal interests.

He noted the the matter was difficult to address without a policy or clear laws on the roles of the various land institutions in place.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a land policy in place….that is the major reason. In 2009, a Land Act was passed into law, but it is not enough,” he said.

The South Sudan transitional constitution provides that land belongs to the people, but the government remains the custodian.

Mr Apollo disclosed that the national land agency had received at least six cases this year alone, while many others ended up in the courts.

After the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005), Juba experienced unprecedented population growth, accompanied by expansion and proliferation of informal settlements, characterised by numerous land disputes.

The disputes at times erupted into violence, according to the Norwegian Peoples Aid 2011 report on land grabbing.

An independent analyst, Mr David De Dau, said the land grabbing claims in Equatoria had taken a more political than socio-economic dimension.

He accused the leaders from the region of being holders of two passports, a situation that put to question their loyalty to the war-torn South Sudan.

“The fact that majority of Equatorians are double passport holders, has divided their loyalty, and a divided loyalty may mean less of patriotism and nationalism in most cases,” he said.

Many things going on in South Sudan that I’m not happy with

By Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala Uganda, NOV/18/2016, SSN;

I am not happy with what is going on in South Sudan. All citizens are being held at the mercy of the leaders, whether in the bush or in the government.

Every day I hear the sad news is that the governor so and so in the state so and so has sacked employees and so and so employees have been removed or relieved from their duties.

Sadly, all sacking that are carried out are not followed by the reasons as to why the employees are being sacked.

In other circumstances, one hears the announcement over SSBC that the ministry so and so informs its employees who are absent to report to work within so and so days and the failure to report will lead to the decision being taken by the board and the decision of the board shall be final.

Such a statement that the decision of the board shall be final is a fallacy because in the country where there is a court of law, the administrative decisions are never final. It is always subject to the review by the Court of law and the decision reached by the Highest Court is always final.

On finds in some occasions that Judges are demanded to work according to the directives of the authorities and if they try to think and behave independently, they are fired. Hence, turning judiciary into mouthpiece of the executives, that fails to protect the rights of citizens.

As a result, citizens are being robbed by some authorities at daylight because they do not have avenues where they can claim their rights against authorities as Courts of law are in the pockets of the executive or power hungry individuals.

The uncertainty created by the actions of the authorities of frequently dismissing workers in the government creates insecurity in the employment and because of that it becomes one of the sources of corruption in the country. This is because an employee as soon as he or she takes office begins to steal the resources as much as he or she can since he or she expects to be removed at any time without being tasked to account.

In addition, the authority who removes the employee does not account by giving reasons for the removal of the employee.

such removal or sacking affects citizens negatively. For example, one finds the governor dismissing doctors or health workers from the hospital simply because they have demanded for the improvement of their working conditions.

In effect, we have fought the war but South Sudan has not got independence as it is part of Sudan that has mutated into South Sudan by replicating all the injustices that were in the North.

Thus, perpetuating the same injustices that we took arms against the Khartoum Regime. In fact, we I am talking about here should not be taken advantage of by the rebels.

To say the less, rebels are not saved from what the injustices I have just explained above. They have the same tendencies of using unwarranted authority. For instance, Riek Machar some time back was purporting to relieve some of the rebel commanders even when he did not have actual authority and control over them.

He was just power hunger and did not know what he was doing. Thus, Riek claims to be a democrat but like some government authorities in South Sudan he does not the rules of democracy in his rebellious mind.

In short, there are many things I hate in South Sudan and unless we change our attitudes towards and the perception of power, we shall never go anywhere.

The way we perceive power is something disturbing. We have perceived power in King’s style. This is why when a person is appointed he or she changes instance.

He or she changes from sociable person to isolationist individuals. It is very bad. Unless we change our perception of power, which is from absolutist views to democratic views then I am afraid, We shall fight endless wars.

When I talk of democracy I should not be mistaken to mean that which exists in the USA but I mean a situation where citizens are treated fairly and given fair hearing when they are wronged and authorities must also learn to be accountable not to the USA or another superpowers but to South Sudanese who are superpowers of South Sudan.

100 days in the Office: Is Gen. Taban Deng a Machiavellian Schemer or Unheralded Prince of Peace?

By Simon Yel Yel, Juba, South Sudan, NOV/13/2016, SSN;

If anybody had told me then, or over any succeeding ten (10) years from the CPA interim period to 15th December crisis in which he was then a Governor of Unity State and later the SPLM-IO chief negotiator, that he was a future First Vice President, I would have summoned those men in white coats. However, his unexpected rise to the country’s second top job is unprecedented political miracle which no one had ever thought of.

Gen. Taban Deng is now 100 days old in the office and it is worth looking into what he has achieved. The 100 days parameter is being used as yardstick by press and public in advanced democracies for gauging presidency take off effectiveness.

This slippery terrain was first introduced into the global leadership framework in 1993 by the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Therefore, I think the South Sudanese should use this yardstick for gauging what Gen. Taban has achieved, if any, in his 100 days in the office.

In this regard, the top priorities vary from a country to a country. In South Sudan, Gen Taban’s top priorities as SPLM-IO chairman and the First Vice President range from improving the security in the country, striking harmonious working relationship with the President to reduce political temperature in Juba, establishing cantonment sites for IO fighters in the Equatoria and Bahr el Ghazal, maintaining the ceasefire between the IO and government troops in the Upper Nile region, integrating the SPLM-IO forces into the national army (SPLA) and organized forces, striving to improve the international image of the country and government, and above all, jointly working with the President to implement the peace agreement in order to achieve peace, unity, reconciliation and stability in the country.

The nomination of Gen. Stephen Taban Deng Gai by the SPLM-IO leaders in Crown Hotel to take over the SPLM-IO leadership as a commander in chief of all SPLM-IO forces and fills in the position of the First Vice President is not only a rare event in South Sudan politics but also his leapfrogging over the SPLM-IO Secretary General and SPLM-IO Deputy Chairman to be the Chairman of the SPLM-IO.

It shows that he is a unifying figure and the SPLM-IO (military and political wing) can coalesce under his leadership than any other leader.

This is a great marque decision ever and it will go down in the history of this great nation as one of the most momentous event. It is a very courageous and surprising decision from SPLM-IO leaders to choose hope over despair; peace and congeniality over a boomerang of war; rebuilding a prosperous country over destruction of the country, to continue implementing the armistice under stewardship of Gen Taban over reverting back to war as Riek Machar has done.

Though he is being branded by enemies of peace as an opprobrium political ninja with posters of Chairman Mao, Machiavelli and Che Guevara on his face who could sacrifice anyone at high altar for a top seat; he will be remembered as a hero who rescued this nation from the war and destruction brought upon it by Riek Machar when the political history of 15th December failed coup attempt and J1 shooting on 8th July is finally recorded by our generation.

Watching Gen. Taban on his inaugural speech on 26th July on SSBC, I felt like watching the total and genuine peace coming to the country. In his inaugural speech, Gen Taban wept and said “you (President) are my commander in chief; this country can’t afford to have two armies.”

Contrast to his former boss, Riek Machar when he was sworn in on 26th April. Riek is a person with amorality and lack of affect; capable of violent acts without guilt feelings.

Unlike most rebel leaders in Africa, Taban acted in opposition of political principle of the SPLM-IO (Kiir Must Go First) inculcated by Riek but in pursuit of genuine peace, restoration of calm, and harmony in the country.

There is no doubt that Taban’s swift move to quash the issue of two armies which he negotiated clearly shows he is for peace and a born again nationalist who would not want their political differences to wreck the country and sweep off its hard won sovereignty.

The appointment of Taban was warmly greeted with mirth rather than derision in Upper Nile region and indeed in the country at large as it was conjectured. Taban has shown the world that he is a unifier and we have witnessed the return of many defection groups to the SPLM-IO like the group of Gen. Gatkuoth Gatkuoth following his appointment as First Vice President.

There was iota of fear that the SPLM-IO will dichotomize into many factions after his nomination, however he proved those doubting Thomases wrong and the SPLM-IO has now united its ranks and files than ever before.

Taban is a decent and team leader. I don’t mean courteous and polite, although he’s, I mean considerate, nationalist and leader. If anyone of his group member is in difficulty or feeling isolated, he surely calls them, to offer support, advice and brief them on day-to-day activities and future plans. In short, he likes teamwork. This is a rare quality in a person, but even rarer in a politician. His cheerful charisma and hospitality has always been able to attract camp-followers.

Below are some of milestone reached by Gen Taban in his 100 days in the office:

1. When Gen. Taban took office as the First Vice President, South Sudan was living in an Ivory tower in terms of foreign relations with the neighboring countries, IGAD, UN, International community, and the West. The foreign relation of South Sudan government with neighboring countries and International Community was at nadir. However, it is improving now, courtesy of Gen. Taban.

2. Immediately after he was sworn in, Gen Taban embarked on his first foreign trips to Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Ethiopia, UAE and the U.S. By these trips, the First Vice President had assured all these nations about their commitments and plans to implement the Compromised Peace Agreement. And now, there is no single country that doubts the velocity of which the Peace is being implemented in South Sudan, courtesy of Gen. Taban.

3. His visit to Kenya has been greeted with the proposal of the motion by Kenyan MPs to sanction and deport SPLM-IO members in Kenya who are spreading war propaganda. And the speaking witness is the deportation of James Gatdek Dak to Juba by Kenyan government for inciting violence; courtesy of Gen. Taban.

4. While his visit to Ethiopia has led to the historical visit of Ethiopian Prime minister and signing of the historical cooperation agreements with South Sudan government that include the joint military force to patrol at the borders to jettison the rebels, banishing the rebel leaders from taking refuge in Ethiopia, and support the Transitional Government under President Salva Kiir and First Vice President Stephen Taban; courtesy of Gen. Taban.

5. Successful maintenance of ceasefire in Upper Nile region and specifically in Fangak, Nasir and Akobo. It shows that the SPLM-IO military chain of command is more united under Gen. Taban than it was under Riek.

In conclusion, Gen. Taban sings a song of peace that the South Sudanese people – who currently despise almost every other SPLM politician in the pack—will crowd and listen to it seriously with their hearts and ears wide open raising a glimpse of hope that the peace and tranquility is on the door-step. They see Taban as the fat white hope, Francis of Assisi, El Gid, Joan of Arc, Indiana Jones, who is salvaging the nation from annihilation, reclaiming the lacerated political glory of the SPLM, and bringing this crisis to an end.

He is the unheralded Prince of Peace who appears at helm at the toughest time when the country is in a deep search of its lost patriotism and peaceful co-existence among the communities.

Can anyone imagine what would the state of affairs, nationhood, political and military sanity in South Sudan be like today if Gen. Taban and his current team had decided to follow Riek to DRC’s forest? Gen Taban and his team deserved to be given courage and support to continue implementing the Compromised Peace Agreement without any about-turn.

Simon Yel Yel, is the co-editor (with Paanluel Wel) of the book of the President Salva Kiir’ speeches and essential writings published as “Salva Kiir Mayardit: The Joshua of South Sudan” he can be reached at maandeng2017@gmail.com or +211955246235