Category: National

The “Crucifixion’’ sentiments by Mabor Achol Kuer is blasphemy and provocation to Christian faithful across South Sudan

The ‘Crucifixion’ sentiments by Mabor Achol Kuer is nothing but blasphemous, Satirical and deliberate provocation to Christian faithful across South Sudan.

By: Solomon Yak, Rumbek, SOUTH SUDAN, APR/26/2013, SSN;

The recent crucifixion statement by the deputy governor of Lakes state (Titled Lakes State threatened to “Crucify” critical Journalists and Activists, Published by Sudan tribune April,23,2013) should not go un-condemned and as such, I must from the outset state that this is the worst and irresponsible statement being uttered by a ruthless and self-serving politician in the person of Mabor Achol Kuer.

My fellow Christians, here is what he said, “those who are writing negatively about this state government will be crucified like Jesus Christ if we capture them.” Adding that “we‘ll catch you and crucify you on wood.”

He made such obscene utterances on Sunday during a dinner attended by most of the State Ministers and Director Generals for a thanksgiving occasion and organized by one of the Director Generals appointed in Dhuol’s recent Cabinet reshuffle, is indeed seen as blasphemous, satirical and a deliberate provocation by many Christians across South Sudan based on the comments sparked by the news report on Sudan tribune website and other media outlets.

However, it’s absurd and an abuse to our Religion as Christians and inhuman to say that they will crucify human beings like Jesus Christ, who we believed was crucified for good cause to wash away our sins, in other words Jesus was not a sinner but a messiah and saviour of the world.

Mr. Achol’s statement has triggered anger among Christians community in South Sudan and is equated to 2005, Danish cartoon controversy depicting the Prophet Mohammed which reignited religious tensions between Muslims and Christians around the world.

People wondered why a cartoon can sometimes be enough to provoke violence, but a public sentiment expressed by Mr. Achol is largely enough for Christians in South Sudan and in the whole world to provoke violence in South Sudan and to take mass action against Mabor Achol for the depiction of our saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, to demand the removal of this uncouth, hopeless and brutal creature, so-called Achol.

Another scenario in point Christian should emulate, is the Libya’s in Sept 2012 attack where Islamist militants armed with anti-aircraft weapons and rocket–propelled grenades stormed a lightly defended United States diplomatic Mission in Benghazi, Libya, killing the American ambassador (Christopher Stevens) and three members of his staff.

The fighters involved in the assault said in interviews during the battle that they were moved to attack the mission by anger over a 14-minute American-made video that depicted the Prophet Mohammed, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon. Their attack followed by just a few hours the storming of the compound surrounding the United States Embassy in Cairo by unarmed mob protesting the same video while new crowds of protesters gathered outside the United States Embassies in Tunis and Cairo.

Having eaten sumptuous lunch and inspired by his new appointment as Deputy Governor as well as Minister of Education, Mr.Achol was prompted to utter what just came in his mind without knowing the implications of such reckless statement can impact on his intended audience and the wider Christians world to say the least.

Mr. Achol is a known controversial figure who one time in his tenure as a Commissioner of Yirol East County issued a provocative statement in a meeting to Agar Community leaders who went to Yirol to recover the stolen cattle by youth of Yirol East County. He was quoted as saying that “how do we know these cows are for Agar community, since they have no marks on their-foreheads?”

He was cynically referring to Agar’s traditional marks on men’s foreheads. Which was widely condemned by Agar Community both at home in the Diaspora.

These Journalists and Activists who Mr. Achol want to Crucify, stood up for the bill of rights, freedom of expression as enshrined in the traditional Constitution of South Sudan and human dignity of the people of Lakes State who are being tortured, maimed, arbitrary arrested without trials by uncouth and ruthless Military junta of Matur Chut Dhuol who was sent by President Kiir on a mercenary mission to Lakes State as a revenge mechanisms due to Kiir flattery relations with people of Lakes State.

To end this orchestrated mass arrest, torture and under development in our State, our people must come back to their senses united as people of one state and to avoid killing themselves and work tirelessly with people of different States in South Sudan to vote Kiir out comes 2015 general elections, with all his corrupt and self-serving ministers or rather well known as cabinet of thieves who robbed South Sudanese citizens of the so-called Dura saga and $4 billion earmarked by donor Countries for dire needed infrastructure, Education, health services, among others to the people of South Sudan which ended up in individual pockets.

President Kiir’s war on corruption isn’t bearing any meaningful fruits since he himself is implicated in corrupt practices and instead of leaving the South Sudanese alone, Kiir’s failed officials still release such vexing sentiments on the silent majority of South Sudanese masses.

Due to Kiir’s poor policies in his government, he is greatly losing popularity and wider speculations are that, despite the split of 1991 which killed scores of South Sudanese and displaced many others, still there is room to forgive each other and try Dr. Riek and other potential candidates of SPLM in 2015.

If our party makes a mistake of declaring Kiir as its Chairman and flag bearer in the upcoming SPLM Convention and in 2015, believe me or not, South Sudanese will opt for a non-SPLM candidate and that will mark the last nail on SPLM’s coffin.

Last but not least, I would like to categorically inform Military junta Matur Chut and his Deputy Mabor Achol that no amount of threat, intimidation, and torture will make Journalists and Activists who you want to “Crucify” to stop writing and watch helplessly while heinous human rights violations are being carried out by you and your Deputy whose tenure has expired since March 21, 2013.

You are still being imposed on the Citizens of Lakes State by President Kiir when elections should have been conducted as per article 101(r) of the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan.

Instead of Journalist and Activists being crucified, it will be South Sudanese who your failed president have denied Freedom, right to life, justice and development, that will surely crucify you and president Kiir in 2015 elections for depicting our Lord Jesus Christ, in your ugly and stammered throats.

Solomon Yak, is a South Sudanese Citizen living in Lakes State and could be reached on yaksolo@gmail.com

The Here and Not Yet of National Reconciliation Debate in South Sudan

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, South Sudanese, APR/18/2013, SSN;

With the latest Republican decree issued on 15 April, 2013 that relieved Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar of some of his delegated duties by President Mayardit, including the Vice President’s surprising assignment in the first place to spearhead a nationwide reconciliation process, the here and not yet of national reconciliation debate in South Sudan has been firmly reignited.

In light of the looming power struggle over the leadership of the ruling SPLM party, and the tense political climate in the country, perhaps many South Sudanese anticipated some action of firing and hiring, or demotion and elevation or some changes of power and personnel if you like, in the government as well as in the ruling party. At the moment, even drinking a cup of tea under the tree is politicized in South Sudan, and so was the case with this whole national reconciliation thing.

While it is true that a national reconciliation exercise is overdue in this beleaguered state, and is called for by our Transitional Constitution, neither the timing nor the technicalities and nature of the current reconciliation process was going to yield any meaningful social harmony and reconciliation in the country.

This process was always prematurely born, and was bound to be a slippery slope. I held this same position in a piece entitled “how to redress the violent past in South Sudan,” published on 30 November, 2012 on South Sudan Nation website when the national reconciliation debate was a hot topic then, and I maintain the same position now.

On that occasion, I concluded that the current reconciliation attempt can only generate the intended effect of “healing, closure, and a sense of national unity and cohesion between the diverse tribes of South Sudan, if it is perceived as a democratic project, intricately linked to other issues of good governance.”

Without this, I argued then that “the touted comprehensive national reconciliation project is as good as dead even before it is born.”

As detailed in that piece, there are ethical practices of reconciliation that must be pursued concurrently, in order for the process to come full circle and achieve the desired end. This includes adopting practices from sociological conflict resolution and reconciliation models, that may include the need of the government to be seen to be building just state institutions, particularly impartial rule of law enforcement institutions, and security sector reform; the need of acknowledgment of the crimes committed by perpetrators, or those under whose leadership the crimes were committed; the need to establish a mechanism for reparations for the inflicted damage, or if possible restitution of the loss; law enforcement through punishment of the culprits to remain an option; the need to for public apology, and finally the need for forgiveness by the end of the reconciliation process.

While some of these ethical factors conducive to the practice of reconciliation can be seen to have ushered in, in South Sudan, including the apology by the Vice President, and efforts in building state institutions, as well as discussions of reforming and professionalizing the security sector, nonetheless, many of the aforementioned conditions are yet to be met.

In this context, I am inclined to agree with President Kiir that the decision to suspend this process was a wise one, regardless of the reasoning behind it.

I am not a legal expert, and therefore, I cannot speak for the constitutionality of this decision, and whether or not the decision to suspend the reconciliation process is in breach of our Transitional Constitution.

But my fifty cents on this is that article 36 (2b) of our Transitional Constitution, which legislates the conduct of a national reconciliation process, and which is seen as being breached by the latest Presidential decree in suspending this process as some have argued, does not provide for a specific time frame for this process to be completed.

Along this line, it is within the right of the President to suspend the process as he deems fit. I am sure the Presidential legal advising team would do what they are paid for best in debating the legality of this issue, and it is not my role here.

What I want to point out here, much like I did before is that for a genuine reconciliation to hold in South Sudan, the process must also be context specific and conflict sensitive.

It must be context specific in that it must be locally grown and tailored to the local needs of the victims the way they have experienced the trauma, if it is to bring healing and closure and receive local blessing, ownership, and therefore sustainability.

What this also means is that the process must be time-sensitive and unrushed, and must enjoy nationwide consultations with local cultural agents and those directly affected by the past atrocities and human rights violations.

This can be accomplished through a nationwide conflict impact assessment and fact finding mission that should take no less than six months at least.

In South Sudan, contrary to the current reconciliation attempt, for the process to enjoy any integrity devoid of politics at all, it must be presided over not by politicians, and certainly not by those perceived to be culpable in perpetrating the human rights violation in the first place, but by the church.

Few will disagree that the only institution that boasts moral credibility and authority to foster such local ownership of such an important national healing event is the church. Moreover, the church does not only hold moral authority and credibility in the eyes of most South Sudanese, but it is also the only remaining symbol of unity in this ethnically polarized country.

In furtherance, the church by its nature is an agent of reconciliation.

During my recent visit to Juba, I was amazed and indeed encouraged to see Dinka, Nuer, and presumably other tribes attending the early morning Bari officiated mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church in Juba.

Indeed the tremendous role played by the church in the life of South Sudanese in war and peace alike, often filling the void left by the absence of state institutions through the provision of moral, spiritual, and physical support, makes the church the only viable institution that should have been tasked to execute the national reconciliation process.

This is particularly true in a spiritual and devout society like South Sudanese, for whom the only reason they continue to tick in their endless suffering is because they have placed their hope in God.

As an example, throughout the liberation struggle it is a common knowledge that the church was the only institution that did not relent from accompanying South Sudanese and sharing in the pain of the innocent afflicted by the conflict.

The church not only consoled us, but also delivered much needed humanitarian aid, as well as working tirelessly to be our voice in international fora and influential policy making powerhouses, through robust policy advocacy and awareness raising.

The church also fostered intra-South-South peace and reconciliation processes, as in the successful church mediated people-to-people peace and reconciliation process (P2P), from 1997 through 2002. As we all know, that process managed to reconcile the belligerent Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups, particularly in the Greater Upper Nile region, and consolidated the rapidly disintegrating second liberation movement due to the 1991 schism and ugly Southern in-fighting, so that we became a force to be reckoned with on the CPA negotiating table that ultimately bought us our independence.

The current reconciliation attempt was meant to pick up from where it was left off and amend the standing wound of injustice mostly resulting from the 1991 atrocious schism in the rebel movement. If this is the case we should not, therefore, water-down the deep pain caused as a result of that schism and the ensuing catastrophic violent carnage.

As Jok Madut Jok and Sharon E. Hutchinson forcefully pointed out in their article entitled “Sudan’s Prolonged Second Civil War and the Militarization of Nuer and Dinka Ethnic Identities,” “the number of Dinka and Nuer who have died in these fratricidal conflicts and in other South-on-South confrontations since the re-eruption of full-scale civil war in Sudan in 1983 exceeds those lost to atrocities committed by the Sudanese army.”

It was against this horrific background that the church stepped in to end the violence and promoted reconciliation between the warring communities in South Sudan.

Now, how the church was left out from leading the current renewed national reconciliation attempt to bring healing and closure to this deep wound, defeats me. For this reason I think the President was right to suspend the process, and hopefully assign the right institutions and local leaders who boast moral authority to spur the process forward.

In short, for any genuine attempt of national reconciliation to deliver the desired objectives, it must not be seen as politicized, and must be complete, namely, a methodological blend of local and traditional reconciliation practices, wedded with God-given church reconciliation mandate, and buttressed by modern-day sociological conflict resolution and reconciliation models.

The current reconciliation attempt that has been suspended by the President seemed to posses little of these attributes, but more of a political game to score cheap political points which lends itself to futility.

That said I applaud the calm and maturity displayed by the Vice President in handling the latest Republican decree. I also commend the sharp political awareness of South Sudanese as a whole in recognizing that these are just political maneuvers, arms-twisting, and muscle flexing and stretching that must not be allowed to provoke any tensions across ethnic divides.

Reconciliation in South Sudan is here and much needed yesterday rather than today, but the time is not yet ripe.

The process must be seen to be a genuine one that will truly seek to close a chapter and open a new one in our history, and the church must play a leading role in it, if the process were to achieve its objectives.

I am just a concerned South Sudanese, and happy to entertain questions and concerns at: tloloyuong@gmail.com

The Stress of South Sudanese in Diaspora: A personal experience narrative

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, Finland, APR/10/2013, SSN;

Words cannot accurately explain the gravity of South Sudanese physical, emotional and psychological stress in Diaspora as I have experienced it firsthand. And I consider myself among one of the fortunate few South Sudanese who with a combination of hard work, resilience and determination, have managed to persist and climb that social ladder, and ultimately rub shoulders with the social elites in the countries that I have lived in both in the East and the West.

The East —and by East I mean most of the Middle Eastern countries— the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Lebanese and the like, suffer from what I call “inferiority complex.”

In Damascus for instance, one is often left smiling in disbelief when walking down the street and Syrian children crowding around you chanting “chocolata, chocolata,” while their women whisper to each other’s ears, about who knows what. One can only guess, but chances are the observation that is being exchanged by Middle Eastern women in such silent voices is often related to some dubious claims about a black man’s sexual organ! There is eschewed perception of the black man in these societies.

Unlike their women, the Syrian men much like their Lebanese counterparts and presumably the Egyptians too, are more vocal in passing their racial ruling on the black man. I have had to exercise self-restraint on numerous occasions in the face of racial discriminatory remarks that one often receives from random people in the streets in these societies because of skin color.

Some racial discrimination comments often come in the form of wordplay where what appears as an honest greeting may in fact be a smear observation aimed at reminding you of your skin pigmentation, such as the Syrian greeting phrase “shou lownak.” Depending on which syllables are stressed, this phrase can both mean how are you, or what is your color and more often than not it is the latter meaning that is being conveyed when one hears a “greeting” from random folks in the street, particularly by youth.

In Beirut’s streets, some men derogatory ask you what time is it, even when you are not wearing a watch to imply that you should look at your skin color. Racial discrimination in Lebanon has at times even morphed into physical abuse. There was a time when I was thrown and hit by an empty beer bottle from a moving car, while minding my own business walking down the street. Often, rotten eggs are hurled at you from balconies without any provocation save that your skin color is black.

Assigning labor and professional tasks in these societies are overwhelmingly determined not by professional qualifications, but by skin color or citizenship—nepotism writs large. I have seen black men who hold college degrees, and who in normal circumstances would pursue a professional career in their field of expertise, but who were often condemned to working in the field of what the Lebanese called the “black man’s job,” referring mainly to the undignified task of cleaning toilets and doing dishes in restaurants and hotels or working as a ghafir (janitor), for residential complexes and offices.

The same selection criteria for jobs apply in Syria, and Egypt where some of our South Sudanese brothers and other disfranchised foreign nationals, have been largely confined to the hard labor of construction work. Humiliating, isn’t it?

Our children and women too are not spared from inhumane treatment on the basis of race. The children often come home from school crying and feeling emotionally disturbed, for being verbally abused and called monkeys and what not by their “white” peers.

Our women are made to work as (khadamat) housemaids and often under poor working conditions and abuses that may include working long hours without adequate return, as well as often being subjected to physical coercion, torture and sexual harassment, if not outright rape.

Seemingly, there are no laws against inhumane treatment of black people or Far East Asians in countries like Lebanon. Lebanese jails, for example are replete with South Sudanese and other foreign nationals who are often arbitrary imprisoned for disproportionately prolonged periods of time that did not match the petty crimes committed, mainly related to the violation or failure to acquire legal residential documents or status.

I know this, because I have also received my share of arbitrary and long detention time in Lebanese jails for merely being an illegal alien and refugee without rights or status.

Surprisingly, along this line and contrary to what one would expect from the Arab countries, our northern Sudanese Arab brothers have also not been spared from the unjust treatment based on racial profiling. To the Lebanese authorities, Sudanese “Arabs,” Muslims or not, all the same, we are apportioned the same share of mistreatment.

As a result, due to our common sufferings both South and northern Sudanese have found themselves in a strong bond of solidarity, and unity with each other.

Likewise, with minor exceptions, South Sudanese in Diaspora in general do not interact with each other thinking across ethnic belonging lines. We are more united in exile than at home, and relate to each other as one South Sudanese family.

However, unlike the developing world, the inferiority complex in the East and countries like Lebanon look favorably toward the West and more developed world, and hence the usage of the term here. When you hold a Western European citizenship in Lebanon, for instance you are guaranteed a professional job, even if you have not completed college.

The only setback is that your path must cross the paths of extremist groups, like Hezbollah and others. On the social side, however, Lebanese women will flock you and entice you into marriage in order to get a slice of that European passport in your possession.

South Sudanese are suffering in the East and often without any alternative of better prospects elsewhere. Few lucky ones were recognized as refugees or have paid their way into being accepted as refugees by UNHCR offices in the region, and have been resettled to third countries in the West with a seeming offer of a second chance to start afresh and rebuild their war-shattered lives.

But the overwhelming majority has been unfortunate and failed to secure official recognition as refugees in the UNHCR offices. As a result they have nowhere to go and are still grinding it out in the Middle East and elsewhere in the region.

I happen to be one of the many unlucky ones who could not secure an official refugee status at the UNHCR offices in both Syria and Lebanon, despite my legitimate claim during the war years, to the right of being recognized as a refugee if only by virtue of being a South Sudanese.

But I had to scrap my way out of the East to the West through determination to pursue education and generous unconditional scholarships that I received from some good willing academic institutions first in Lebanon and then in the U.S. In the Lebanese case, my scholarship to complete my bachelor’s degree was facilitated by a friend who was not even Lebanese. But his initial support opened the subsequent doors.

However, while I am grateful for receiving the second chance to climb up the social hierarchy and improve my social status through education, from my experience and contrary to the East, the tragedy of the West is that it suffers from what I will call “superiority complex.”

In the U.S. racial discrimination is a commonplace. Is it conceivable that in my interactions, most African-Americans, for instance are more racist toward Africans than some of their white American fellows?

In an attempt to uncover the reasons behind this trend, I once raised the question to a random African-American elderly man as to why this is the case. His candid response was that most African-American communities in general, tend to favor whiter skin color.

Most have been indoctrinated to believe that the whiter the color of your skin, the better. But also, he continued, many African-Americans tend to hold Africans responsible for their tragic enslavement history that contributed to their current misery of continuing to live as most see it as second class citizens in the U.S., even though they are American citizens.

The elderly man further noted that the story circulating around in most African-American households is that Africans hate them, and therefore, sold their African ancestors out as slaves to the White European slave master that ultimately landed them in their difficult lot in the U.S. throughout their history.

Consequently, this may have contributed to the reciprocal hate perception and mistreatment of Africans at the hands of some African-Americans. In a word, Western superiority complex seemed to have driven a wedge between African and African-American peoples.

In terms of the plight of South Sudanese who have been resettled as refugees in Western countries, more generally, only few have succeeded in rebuilding their lives and improving their social status. Most of these are those who came younger, such as the Southern lost boys’ community of Sudan, because the young are easily adaptable to foreign cultural demands.

Else, the majority of South Sudanese have been written off as first generation, and the story of any first generation migrants is the same— it is not about them anymore, and as such they contend themselves with sacrificing their future for that of their children.

Chances of them bettering their social status through the pursuit of education or professional career in their areas of expertise are slim. Because of the Western superiority complex syndrome, only college degrees that have been acquired in Western academic institutions warrant consideration for a professional job.

Holding any degree from outside the Western confines means one is immediately relegated to pursue hard labor in factories, restaurants, mines… etc., for livelihood. Of course, there are opportunities through taking loans from banks for instance, in order to pay and pursue higher education. But only a handful of South Sudanese in Diaspora have followed that route, and it is understandable why.

In the rigorous Western academic institutions, completing a college degree is no easy task. Earning a degree in the West demands full commitment as a student and hundreds of hours spent in the university library. But with the several mouths to feed in a South Sudanese household, most South Sudanese have found the commitment of being a full time college student hard to pursue.

Some determined South Sudanese try to study part-time and work for the other half of the time. But while some have managed to ultimately graduate from college, others have either dropped out or are taking several years, sometimes decades to complete a mere four-year bachelor’s degree program.

Even so, Western superiority complex still negatively affects those South Sudanese who are Western educated in their job places. From my experience in the U.S., and currently in the European Nordic region regardless of Western education credentials, I still got to be looked upon with sympathy, especially by those you have just been introduced to me in professional conferences and public events.

Often, most are surprised to see you in these kinds of elitist functions to begin with, and you can rest assured that before the end of the event curiosity about your who-abouts will be displayed.

The problem is not with being curious about a unique phenomenon, because curiosity is the foundation in any given quest for knowledge. What irritates me the most is when you tell your curious enquirer that you are from South Sudan, their first reaction is to make you feel sorry for yourself, and often rightly so because ours is a society to be pitied.

But sometimes one does not want to be reminded and be made to feel like an inferior creature that must be exorcised with some urgent “make a difference” action. Sometimes I joke back by requesting a napkin to wipe my tears!

Moreover, in most Western countries, but particularly more so in the Nordic countries, the superiority complex has been taken to a whole different level by the feminist and gender sensitization of the culture. Mere conversations have been rendered complicated let alone gestures of good will.

For instance in some of these countries, I have now learned to think twice before committing to assist anyone perceived to be in need of assistance, even if it is a woman that has just slipped in the icy and slippery roads of the excruciatingly extreme cold Nordic winters.

I have learned to turn the other way and mind my own business, because the last time I tried, my services were not only rejected, but I received the look of, here is another symbol of male dominance who thinks women are dependent on men to complete any given task.

Especially as a black man any unintentional utterance or gesture that is seen as politically incorrect, however the term is defined, will most likely land you in trouble in these countries.

For similar reasons, I recently landed in hot waters for failing to complete a task assigned to me at work place by a senior female co-worker. When I explained to her I have been in meetings all morning and have just returned to my desk, and when I asked her why did “you not complete the task yourself” if it is too urgent, she immediately rushed to my female boss and complained that I refuse to take orders from women.

My reasoning is that as a black man coming from a patriarchal culture and living in these highly gendered and feminist sensitized cultures, I am a sitting duck for being perceived as representing patriarchal sentiments, even though I like to think of myself as an ally and advocate of social justice and equality, including gender equality.

But I have consistently found my world ever shrinking to the extent one feels being strangled.

South Sudanese are equally suffering in the West. But what now is the alternative? Can our elite brothers in GoSS now see why we ignorantly bicker and whine, and why we in Diaspora come across more frustrated in our free expression against current political malpractices in Juba?

One of the waves we rode during the liberation struggle was the hope that our suffering will one day come to pass when we have a country we can call home. This hope is now turning into despair when all opportunities for building a peaceful, united, equal, just and prosperous nation are being squandered by mis-governance in the Republic.

All we ask for from Kiir’s regime and whatever regime of the day that might ensue, is that we are tired and want to have a place we can call home, a place we can return to and help build. We are not asking to be rich, but merely to have access to basic rights, liberties, and services, such as security, rule of law, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and livelihoods.

Are these too much to ask?

I am a concerned South Sudanese citizen, and happy to entertain questions and concerns at: tloloyuong@gmail.com

Sour politics of conflict and suspicion due to adversarial relationship between SPLM leaders

BZ: Akot Marial, SOUTH SUDAN, MAR/30/2013, SSN;

South Sudan is increasingly and ominously gripped by a palpable anxiety and fear in the preparation for SPLM forthcoming National Convention which precedes the expiration of the five-year term of the SPLM leadership, culminating with four SPLM luminaries expressing their interests for the top job.

Among them are Dr. Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, Madam Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior and James Wani Igga. All of whom except James Wani who’s decided to throw his weight behind Mayardit, but the rest plainly vowed challenging the incumbent SPLM Chairman Salva Kiir Mayardit in the run up to the National Convention.

Several failed attempts have been made by SPLM highest political organ, the Political Bureau, to put its house in order and to go to the national convention with just one voice as per 2008 convention, but found it outrageous this time round to convince the contestants to submit to Mayardit for another 5 year term in office.

The contenders are expressing their dissatisfaction that under Kiir’s Chairmanship, the SPLM has lost its vision and direction and needs to be rebuilt, which of course has to gain a popular support among the party members.

Eight years down the line have shown no proficiency in handling of party affairs and the nation as a whole given the current economic crisis, rampant insecurity, corruption, rebellion in the part of Jonglei and regular SAF incursion at the border areas of Kiir Addem, Warguet, Jau, to mention a few even after the withdrawal of our gallant forces.

All these amount to believing that Mayardit is losing popularity. Thus for him not to jeopardize his good deeds to the people of South Sudan, it’s therefore advisable that he should retire early and allow the party to select the best candidate among the contestants to lead the Country to the next level based on democratic principles.

Pres. Kiir has been given due respect as father of the nation and being a hero for the many remarkable achievements that he has done during the last civil war and for sailing our Country through to the shore of Independence.

As the nation gears for the ruling party national Convention, it has become a topic of discussions among the South Sudanese populace on the street and in public places both in the states and Juba. This proves a fragile situation in our Country that a wild rumour can grip the nation so quickly indicating the uncertainty and nervousness that underlie the body politic of our young nation, and graphically illustrating how precarious and precious is the stability of this recently independent State.

Nonetheless, the rumour of power struggle within SPLM rank and file masquerading as a fact surrounding the race for the top job of who will become the chairperson of SPLM as well as flag bearer come 2015 in the next convention among the SPLM luminaries.

The president of the Republic oscillated between a certain audacity and a prudent realism and indeed, that perpetual oscillation between despair and distracted joy of running a fair party politics or being rigged to widen the already despairing views of our Country.

President Kiir’s Speech during the Independent celebration on 9th July, 2011, outlining of his Vision for the future is for calmer and more confident South Sudan where endless confrontations no longer dominate the domestic agenda.

But the fate of our Country is still in the melting-pot where some leaders still think along tribal lines or rather the so-called greater regions, whatever you call them, is the cancerous disease that kills in the midst of the spirit of nationalism and unity of our people. I want to see a nation where political differences do not mean personal antagonism.

A nation which can hold its head up proudly as the nucleus of a new dynamic economic region. Above all, a nation that is free to concentrate her energies on progress and development. Only in this way shall we be able to harness our energies and confront our single greatest challenge, the challenge of poverty.

Another point of contention is how to achieve a permanent Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. It’s crystal clear that making of a constitution required the participation of its citizens and would have been tantamount that any Constitutional Review process should come after the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) convention as the two are very much interconnected when the political temperature had cooled.

But after subsequent Political Bureau meetings, little did we know that the ruling party elites would fail to forge a common ground of reaching political consensus as to who will become the SPLM chairperson and flag bearer among the SPLM leaders come 2015.

Lines have already been drawn whether on tribal backing or making allies within the perimeters of the ruling party in readiness of either unseating or maintaining the current status quo.

Britain, the United States, Japan and a number of European Union Countries condemned the excessive use of force on media censorship and silencing of journalists like the killing of political commentator, late Isaiah Abraham, and more especially our relationship with the United States of America is shaky due to alleged support to rebels in the north.

Meanwhile, the world superpowers failed to see the daily support rendered to David Yau Yau rebel in Jonglei by the Sudan government. Another case in point why the West abruptly distanced itself from our Country is that corruption is a controversial phenomenon which has attracted international censure.

Most of South Sudanese citizens condemn the doom-laden chatter of tribalism, nepotism, corruption and lack of cohesiveness among our people, saying that it would consume those who created it.

For as the silence about the forthcoming SPLM National convention sets in, with looming realignment of existing political structure, only if not handled with utmost political maturity may lead to possible split should either side lose the Chair.

This will send a signal that things won’t augur well ahead and in the aftermath of the SPLM National Convention unless otherwise our leaders put aside their political antagonism and instead strengthen the legitimacy of our new Country on a solid foundation where tribes, hatred, corruption and ethnicity don’t dominate the national agenda.

Akot Marial, is a South Sudanese citizen living in South Sudan and could be reach on akotmarial@yahoo.com

Does South Sudan hold any developmental paradigms?

BY: Chier Akueny Anyithiec, Aweil, NBGS, MAR/29/2013, SSN;

Untiring complaints from general public of South Sudan continue to rise day by day except for a small group which finds this system of governance good for having the chances of gaining in it. The question remains whether we are safe in this country. This is happening because the current government never met South Sudanese’ expectations due to the fact that the ruling Party, SPLM, failed to realize the reason for our long historic struggle.

I don’t know whether we lost fundamentalists during the struggle or else we are then moving in no direction. However, the fact always repeats itself and my writing mostly is based on economical issues since it does not matter to me whether somebody understands it in the wrong way or supports it but just to say it because it is the fact.

South Sudan as a young nation is engulfed with lots of problems which will never end unless we act as early as possible. Take for instance, that South Sudan is leading in terms of settled number of International NGOs, in addition to the indigenous ones, but yet it is the very country with the lowest level of employment in Africa and also indeed with the lowest level of education, as outsiders claim so.

But I do always dispute this because the war which took long, exactly two decades, while some of South Sudanese have been moving on with their education.

However, if in case this situation exists, the few youth holding Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees, leave alone Masters and PHD who are unmentioned. They are not harnessing their talents because the country is totally hijacked by a wrong ideology with basically foreign motives in one way or another to exploit this nation at the expense of poor South Sudanese.

Our notion of having a Ministry of Public services and Human Resources is in muted glimpse because our government did not realize of what kind of ministry is available.

While our big people at all times stick to wrong obsession which they always say that our young people don’t want to work, yes, they don’t want to work but where are the vacancies for sure?

It is of a great axiom that South Sudan is a new nation with lot of chances but these chances have been taken over by foreigners because they find us as people without aims or objectives. This is the situation you find that all foreigners are the marketers, drivers, officers, Human resources personnel especially in NGOs and in public companies and they are exactly the most well-paid group.

The secret of not allowing serious qualified citizens to top positions in NGOs, Companies, etc, is very high leaving the youth with nothing. As I am writing this article today, the number of foreigners working in the private sector in this country is 80% compared to 20% for the citizens.

But why should we allow this evil act for sure?

The chances of working in hotels are totally forgotten because energetic and skilled South Sudanese have been already blocked out. It took me three consecutive months, as a Degree holder, moving around Juba and my aim is to get a job in the hotel industry but my struggle was in vain and up to now, I failed to secure one.

Why? Where are these people who always say South Sudanese don’t want to work? Who always says this really? Is it President Kiir or his top group who say this untrue statement? I don’t see the reason to why our dear President established the ministry of Human Resources and Public Services? It is a ministry which doesn’t know its works and the reasons for which it really exists.

Furthermore, it is not only a single ministry that has failed us, however this particular ministry knows what is truly affecting South Sudanese young people. How can they only approve adverts but not persons that are employed?

Oh! I see they don’t consider which types or kinds of persons will take those positions; whereby you find NGOs deciding for themselves. For sure, this has become an interesting country with nothing but oratorical things happening against the living of simple citizens.

The development of a country is tackled in many ways which need rules, guidelines and some developmental paradigms that make a country have proper directives for the smooth running of the country’s affairs.

By Chier Akueny Anyithiec, currently in Aweil,
Can be reached at 0912701780

A Federal system and Kokora are two different things

BY: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, MAR/18/2013, SSN;

The concept that a federal system and kokora are two different things is to address some confusion in people’s minds. In the context of South Sudan some people may perceive a federal system and kokora as synonymous. However, it can be asserted that a federal system and kokora are altogether two different things. The confusion arises from a negative perception of kokora.

People need to be made aware that a federal system and kokora are not synonymous. They need some education to be confident to see the difference. One way of educating people is through the definition of kokora in contrast to a federal system. This hopefully may shed some light on the difference between a federal system and kokora.

Kokora
Kokora is not an English word and so cannot be found in any English dictionary. It is a word in the language used by one ethnic group, the Karo ethnic group, of Equatoria. The Karo ethnic group is composed of the Bari, Kakwa, Kuku, Mundari, Nyangwara and the Pojulu. In translating the work kokora into English, it may simply mean division. In 1983 kokora became a famous catchword in South Sudan.

In 1972 South Sudan was granted the status of one region through an agreement (Addis Ababa Agreement) concluded to end a civil war. As a single region South Sudan was administered through a high executive council headed by a president with a council of ministers. Previously South Sudan was composed of three provinces known as Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile separately answerable to the central government in Khartoum in the old Sudan. However, the agreement unified the three provinces into a single entity, the southern region.

In the southern region people of the former province of Equatoria agitated for decentralization. In contrast, the majority of non-Equatorians were vehemently opposed to the decentralization of the southern region into three regions corresponding to its former provinces of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile. The situation became reminiscent of people in a tag-of-war. There was neither mutual understanding nor a middle way as suggested by Arop Madut-Arop in his book, ‘The Genesis of Political Consciousness in South Sudan.’

Arop Madut-Arop’s conviction was that the division of the southern region into three regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile should have been accepted but under an umbrella authority of the High Executive Council then. This was interesting. Had the southern politicians picked this up the situation might have been different and also the word kokora might not have been conceived as it was then.

Eventually when the southern region was divided into three regions of Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Upper Nile, the Karo word kokora became synonymous with the division of the southern region, the division which was negatively perceived and vehemently opposed by non-Equatorians who strongly felt Equatorians wanted them out of Equatoria by all means. It is not therefore strange that the strong feeling against kokora lives on as a result of the division of the then southern region.

The feeling of people towards kokora may explain the confusion in people’s minds between a federal system and kokora. Some people imagine that a call for a federal system is in fact a call for the division of South Sudan exactly the way the division of the southern region took place in 1983 and the subsequent departure of non-Equatorians from Equatoria.

Federal system
Hardly any argument will be made for the merit of a federal system. It is rather to articulate that a federal system is not the dreaded kokora which took place in a hostile atmosphere. By then politicians across South Sudan were unfortunately in bitter opposite camps with less focus on a middle way forward as people of one destiny.

A federal system should not be seen as a target against political opponents or a way of throwing out those who belong to other regions or states. It is not a political tool to discriminate but rather a tool that is used to promote national unity in diversity. Many countries in the world use a federal system without being fussy. Why should South Sudan be so unique not to adopt a federal system while it is a country full of diversities?

Kokora is already history. It is now thirty years since kokora first appeared in the scene. The population of people under 30 years old in South Sudan is 72.1 per cent. The implication is that the majority of population of South Sudan was not yet born when kokora took place. The question is why should a tiny minority of old people prejudice the energetic youth who are the future leaders of this country. Kokora is now being used falsely to warn people of divisions perceived as detrimental to national unity.

It is obvious that national unity is of paramount importance. What matters, though, is how to attain national unity. National unity cannot be attained by lecturing others. It is something that all have to work for. As in the SPLM Manifesto 2012 the Chairman, Salva Kiir Mayardit, said, “A new nation comes with new challenges. We must face challenges with innovative solutions and a bold approach”.

We need an innovative and bold approach such as exploring a federal system that is unique to South Sudan in promoting national unity instead of being paralysed by paranoia of kokora. Kokora as it is now history, unfortunately, uprooted non-Equatorians from Equatoria. Nevertheless, it was not only non-Equatorians who were uprooted but Equatorians were also uprooted from the other regions. The pain of kokora was shared. So living in the past is not going to be helpful in nation building.

We may need to be liberated from the paranoia of kokora. This is in order to be rational in charting the way forward in attaining national unity because a federal system is not the same as kokora. At any rate it is the human being to make any system capable of delivering adequate services.

For example, human weakness in the system in upholding the rule of law may see an increase in crimes being committed hence rampant insecurity that may be a threat to national unity.

Unity of South Sudan
How to promote the unity of South Sudan is a challenge. A centralized unitary system is considered by some as the guarantor of unity. However, what this does in a country of a very low literacy rate and where people are inclined to be too tribalistic is the encouragement of disunity.

A decentralized system is claimed to be operational but the reality is that it is more of a centralized system. Others have claimed that South Sudan is already applying a federal system. This is false. A federal system is not being applied. Those prejudiced are resistant because of what appears to be a hangover caused by kokora.

What appears to be a hangover caused by kokora is nothing but a guilt feeling for unforgivable crude behavior which I one time called medieval behavior. It is not kokora but the crude behavior that makes people suspicious that a call for a federal system is a ploy to throw them out, for example, from Equatoria.

This is, of course, ridiculous. A federal system has nothing to do with throwing people out from this or that region or from a state for that matter.

A federal system is for an equitable sharing of power and wealth for the benefit of people regardless of their region, tribal, cultural and political background. Arguably, a federal system is not the creation of tribal homelands. What is important is a strong central government that has an iron fist to deliver.

A hot line of communication for consultation, cooperation and coordination between the centre and the regions should be established in promoting national unity. There are mechanisms of creating a unique federal system for South Sudan that will address the fear of kokora.

Appropriate system
As to what is the appropriate system for South Sudan is a matter of opinion. However, worldwide support for a federal system is greater today than ever before because of a growing conviction that it enables a country to have the best of both worlds, those of shared rule and self-rule, coordinated national government and diversity, creative experimentation and liberty.

In South Sudan a centralized system is being adopted but it seems the centralized system is not delivering basic services as expected. There is regional disparity, rampant insecurity and stagnation in development. How can national unity be promoted is such a situation?

It may be appropriate to try something else. When the fear of kokora is overcome, the appropriate system will be a federal system. This is because a federal system enables a country to have the best of both worlds, those of shared rule and self-rule. This can only be good in promoting national unity in diversity in South Sudan.

Conclusion
It is hoped that the difference between a federal system and kokora has been satisfactorily elaborated. The fear of kokora should not be unduly the fear of a federal system for South Sudan. It was understandable what the trauma of kokora thirty years ago had on people. It might have been an unforgettable experience for those innocent ones. However, apportioning blame won’t be of any useful purpose in the search for a better way forward because it takes two to quarrel.

We either carry ourselves together or we all fall. What is important is for people to be open-minded for governance that works for inclusiveness as the vision is to build an inclusive secular democratic developmental state according to the SPLM Manifesto 2012.

It is hoped it is now clear that a federal system and kokora are two different things. In all, people should rest assured that the adoption of a federal system is not kokora or a ploy. Nothing will change in the way of movement of people out of Equatoria.

Inter-personal and community relations may improve as there will be reduction in crude behaviours which have been the source of antagonism. For example, such a crude behavior as grabbing land or plots of legitimate owners or disrespect for the rule of law will not be rampant as it is.

This, however, does not mean that people with inherent crude behavior would have been ejected or thrown out of Equatoria. What that means is that in a federal system there may likely to be a behavioral change for the better.

In conclusion, Equatoria is an integral part of South Sudan. So the fearful of a federal system that it is kokora and that they will be thrown out of Equatoria should relax, for Equatoria is a home to any South Sudanese like Bahr el Ghazal or Upper Nile which can also be a home to any South Sudanese.

Who is a patriotic South Sudanese?

BY: Deng Mangok Ayuel, AWEIL, NBGS, MAR/14/2013, SSN;

“To oppose corruption in government is the highest obligation of patriotism ― G. Edward Griffin”

Dying for the sake of liberation for justice, freedom and democracy were jingoistic confidence in Dr.John Garang’s SPLM/SPLA which brought our independence. However, South Sudan as a newly born country in Africa has never been fairly breathing politically at times. This is because the ruling party is not given a break by individuals who think they can do things better than those who fought for decades. It is surprising to have had fought for decades and botched to unite as South Sudanese and a political family in democratic world. The unity of purpose or political rationale needs collective hands and minds for nation buildings. It is a work for all.

Whenever there is peace in hearts, there is hope or love among the people – that hatred, corruption, tribal conflicts and cattle raiding are evil exertions that can bring shame to the society. Experience taught us how to be the masters and servants of our doings. We must change our traditional ways of approaching issues in the country. Poverty has been residing in our minds and soul, simply rooting corruption in our institutions.

Who is a patriotic South Sudanese? Where isa patriotic South Sudanese in me? I am forcing back tears of pride at my South Sudanism. It is my moral outlook to grieve, tell the truth and join hands with others to work together than blaming, criticizing anyone. This is my own idiosyncratic thoughts of ‘patriotism’ and I believe that many South Sudanese have impending hopes for their future. I shouldn’t stop doing what I have been doing. I have to contribute for the success of our nation.

Amid our political disagreements, patriotism — an entrenched love of our country — remains striking a hungry hole in hearts that has the potential to bring us together, particularly at times of national reconciliation. Is it easy for South Sudanese to reconcile and forgive each others?

It is better for those who wronged others to apologize before reconciliation. This shows that anyone can make mistakes but acceptance of wrongdoings upshots to forgiveness. I urge everyone to embrace a culture of peace, love and political togetherness to stop corruption and tribalism.

Within my own painstaking rational tribe of thoughts, patriotism is sometimes considered as a ‘political problem,’ – chauvinistic that is morally fitting to be protected by South Sudanese constitution and human rights activists. Every South Sudanese has a tone to voice, regardless of political background, tribe and education. Of course, freedom of expression is not freedom of obligation; I am afraid to pronounce that ‘constructive criticism’ is oil to politics.

A patriot is a person who loves, supports, and defends his/her country. While it is true that in a democracy, citizens/politicians are free to embrace their own individual positions in a fair opposition to the government’s because there is no country without opposition if there is a need to oppose.

Patriotism is in the end, unifying. “United we stand, divided we fall.” This aphorism captures the spirit of what it means to be a patriot. While we may have differences, we still share a common bond in wishing the best for our country. Indeed, for the most part, it cannot be disputed that patriotism calls for people to stand together. Taking pride in one’s nation and proudly representing it – my country, my people.

Be it a soldier, a civil servant, a politician, or everyday citizen. To be a patriot however, doesn’t mean that you need to publicly announce your love of nation. It can be a private, personal pride. After all, patriotism at its core is a feeling and voluntary. There is no need for patriot to cry through writings.

The idealistic problem of patriotism is blind ‘self-perfection’ and intellectual assumption of oneself as the better person among 8 million South Sudanese. Some people think of patriotism as natural and proper zeal of affection to one’s own country in which he/she was born, raised and fought for the benefits of life on its soil, among its people, and under its laws. They also consider patriotism an imperative part of our identity.

Some go further, and argue that patriotism is morally binding, or even that it is the core of integrity. There is, however, a major tradition in moral thinking which understands morality as fundamentally universal and impartial, and seems to rule out local, partial relation and loyalty. It is you, who is a patriot, that all you should do is to be honest, willing, transparent and accountable.

Patriotism has many eyes in political South Sudan. On 9th July, 2011, my colleagues and I celebrated the day to remember our fallen heroes and heroines. It was the genesis of our political achievement in which you and I deserve the right to enjoy the fruits of the struggle. Therefore patriotism versus nationalism but in one –!

According to George Orwell’s contrast as I quoted, “Nationalism is about power. Its adherent wants to acquire as much power and prestige as possible for his nation, in which he submerges his individuality. Patriotism is a devotion to a particular place and a way of life one thinks best, but has no wish to impose on others. Nationalism is aggressiveness and patriotism is defensiveness.”

When we celebrated the day – we were patriots and nationalists in our pending desires. Some of us have different interests that need unique strategies. It is about employment – either political, civil service, private sector job or joke vacancies. However, patriotism and nationalism are distinguished in expressions of the strength of the love and unique concern one feels for it, the degree of one’s recognition with it.

South Sudan is for everyone. If you feel that things are diverging, the good way is constructive dialogue and informative media approaches to create awareness and problem-solving mechanisms. The cure for fire is not fire.

South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2011 was met with joy, hope, worries and many challenges. Despite the fact that South Sudan is gifted with large amounts of natural resources, the country faces hindrances. These included a population suffering from invincible poverty and cattle raiding; extremely low levels of human capital amassing, food insecurity, poorly developed economic infrastructure, invasive bureaucratic corruption and political opposition for nothing. As mentioned there is nobody to blame, our country is new and needs patience than oppositions. Patriotism is not opposition.

Patriotism has a fair number of critics. The morality of writing to inform is, writing to die or stop writing to forget anything anywhere by everyone when it is enemizing. Are opinion writers patriots? Be it. I wanted to be an enemy to English vocabularies only – ‘English words’ not English or South Sudanese. And I am fighting now with my keyboard on the computer in order to avoid confrontation with words by those who usually disagree with anyone.

All in all, patriotism is not a disgrace at all. It sounds like this as they put it: “on my honor, I will do my best to perform my duty to God and my country.”

In my previous article titled, South Sudan: prides of our generation, and in my own wordings, “South Sudanese are great people. I graphed how uncles have balanced their lifetime as rebels during the civil war in Sudan and after separation as politicians in the Republic of South Sudan. They are patriots with hearts for their people and the next generation. There has been optimism in what they had been doing – that we have been socially and politically ordained by their visionary success in which you and I are now South Sudanese. There is no better time than now. The time to work, dream, excel and forget the past. It is our time to make things happen, milk our dream or enjoy the fruits of success.

Deng Mangok Ayuel lives in Aweil. He can be reached at: mangokson@gmail.com

We’ll neither improve nor forget under the SPLM Oyee regime

BY: Akic Adwok Lwaldeng, RSS, MAR/07/2013, SSN;

It has been the toughest year since we become free from Jallaba, more people are struggling to cope with rising situation in our beloved country, many are feeling the pain and disappointed about the incompetent Government in Juba. At a time when some of our citizens are travelling back to neighboring countries for safety, our country has been ruined by our selfish SPLM Oyee leaders, eight out of ten people say they are worried about the soon-to-be unstable country.

Everyone knows that shutting the oil down was wrong and a madness, no plan B, just hoping instead that Sudan Government will collapse. Hitherto, the oil revenues were spent unwisely, and some revenues went to individual bank accounts. It is a disgrace by the SPLM ruling party to misuse the power for their selfish ends.

I do not know any country in this world where stealing is as cool as in our country. In the a couple of years coming, if we’re still under this corrupted regime, we will have probably the highest density of thieves in the whole East Africa, maybe Africa.

Today there are more thieves in this government including some MPs in the National Assembly (JUBA) than before in the times of General Joseph Lagu and Justice Abel Alier, if I am not mistaken.

Stealing and deceiving or cheating are the most vices committed in South Sudan among the awful things in the human history and it’s a sin. However, I was brought up in the tribe where they consider that any acts leading in dishonesty are prohibited, eventually, you and your family will be denounced as evil in the community.

Even people will create a song in your family`s name and not that alone but no one will marry from your family, nevertheless, nowadays you can find some of my fellow tribes-people in this government are collaborating with dark hands from other communities where stealing and other evil acts are legitimate.

What is the source of this moral decadence that has permeated our society? Take a look at the top leadership of the nation, we have a president and vice president who are never letting any opportunity go by, they are reminding us that they are there to destroy our National wealth, in which both are the champions of corruption. And a null leadership character.

How we define corruption in this dispensation, I do not know. But the international community has put us at the extreme point of corruption index in the world. Forget World Bank and IMF, that the same organizations have found that the overwhelming percentage of this corruption takes place in our country is unbelievable. However, corruption, according to the presidency definition, is only when money is transferred to personal accounts.

Remember, allegedly that the President and some of his friends bought houses outside of our country at over over Millions of dollars. Assuming that he/she did not spend a penny of his salary since he started earning a living, there is no way he/she could has saved such money those days, even taking into consideration the alleged bank loans. How have those loans been repaid?

Think back, a former Finance minister, he is a closed friend of our president. He embezzled close to a billion dollars with his cohorts. This money was money meant for infrastructures and paying local and national services in the country.

He was arrested before he escaped the prison, yet our President did not fire or discipline him. Not only that, but last year 75 ministers and officials of SPLM/A stole our public funds with no shame. And he allegedly instructed that they will be tried in the future, nothing happened until the present.

We know that our president has been as silent as a lamb. These fellow thieves will be quietly investing their looted money on the properties outside of the country.

As South Sudan continues its bleeding, an overwhelming percentage of the best brains in the land are abroad. There are more intellectuals living overseas than are in South Sudan.

At home, half-baked and semi-illiterates are ruling us and ruining the country and they do not have any clue in the international politics and economy.

Given our resources, we should plan on launching satellites, instead our leaders go to shrines to swear to alien deities. I know some of them go for black magic that convinces them that he/she can hold up their positions if she/he can kill and harm their fellow human beings. Yet, we are not discriminating enough to ask ourselves why he/she lives in such squalid poverty and ill-health.

South Sudan may be one of (depending on which information you choose) the greatest oil producer in our continent (Africa), yet South Sudan is listed as one of the poorest country on earth. But individual South Sudanese are among the richest people in East Africa according to the BBC reports.

In short, this current government’s concept has destroyed our society; therefore, we all as a community should say with loud voice that enough is enough, we can’t go further.

Or we will start honoring the corrupt and the thieves with various titles, each title dotted with specified amounts. The only qualification for such honors is nothing other the bank accounts of their own and-or their children. Rather, such honor should go to the humble heroes’ widows and widowers, who work hard daily to barely scrape a living.

Missing from such lists are hard working honest people whose only disqualification is their bank account.

Finally, I am certain we will not give-up or dampen the spirit of our unity that will help us to discover the true meaning of the country. As the wise man says, the greatest gift which you can give to your people is unity and solidarity and it cost nothing.

But all that will not come through if the current thieves, SPLM Oyee regime, is still ruling us.

Akic Adwok Lwaldeng
adwokn@yahoo.co.uk

Politics of Self Determination still lingers in South Suan.

By: Justin Ambago Ramba, UK, MAR/05/2013, SSN;

“United we stand, divided we fall.” This very old phrase has been used in mottoes, from nations and states to songs. The concept is that if people are not united, they can be easily destroyed. No one understands this phrase any better than the people of South Sudan who had to struggle for their independence – fighting wars after wars for almost half a century.

But in fact it is also this very people who understand the opposite side of this phrase which they too adopted to garner international recognition for their self determination of the state of South Sudan as they fought for secession from the united Sudan. In a total agreement with the reverse used by Def Leppard in the song “When Love & Hate Collide,” “..divided we stand, baby, united we fall,” south Sudanese overwhelmingly voted to break the unity with Khartoum in January 2011. What goes around, comes around – but we shall come to that later in this article.

The second Equatoria Conference

Following the second Equatoria Conference held in Juba between 14 – 15 February 2013, the nascent state of South Sudan is now treading a route well known to all its citizens both at home and in the Diaspora. Indisputably this second conference has so far succeeded to bring the new country’s elites face to face with the horrors of ethnically driven political agendas which are already eating up the very foundation of what is left of its “ all but talks” national unity project.

Even in so doing this article in its humble attempt to shed light on the current turn in the politics of the country, the author is aware of the fact that it might not even add much to what is already the “day to day politics” of a land and a people seriously arrested in time and development. As a direct consequence of a gross misrule and poor governance that started the post independence South Sudan on the wrong footing, the current SPLM leadership will squarely bear the responsibility.

It also goes without saying that it is unsurprising to witness just within a year and a half of the immediate post independence period, that misrule and the chronic failures to address the root causes of the general discontent that fueled the first self determination and subsequently the secession from Khartoum’s rule has resurfaced here again.

Many of this nascent country’s post independence challenges were and are all well forecasted by people with indepth knowledge in the region’s history and politics. This is not in any way an undermining of the much deserved 9th July 2011 independence, but rather it is an eye opener for those who were quick to assume that all was done once the country seceded from the Arab Islamic North.

Tribal and regional favoritism which were inherent in tribal communities are still ripe in South Sudan and to no one’s surprise it continues to stare us in the face the moment we set foot in the Juba International Airport. While this kind of attitude isn’t in any way unique to this new country as the African continent is already infamous for it, the issue in our case is that this monster and everything that is negatively associated with it may very soon prove detrimental to our prosperity and stability. Even too sooner than anticipated.

The phrase “Finger pointing” has become the defense weapon used by the perpetrators and beneficiaries of the current tribal politics and ethnic favoritism in their futile attempts to silence any protests against their otherwise savage treatment of others. This obviously is not the right phrase to describe those who complain of communal injustices, nonetheless many out there continue to use the phrase with the sole aim of undermining the intentional sufferings that they and their tribal communities have so often inflicted on the others.

Believe me or not, all those individuals and communities alike who are on the receiving end of injustice in South Sudan, can never be silenced this way and all that this does is to strengthen their voices of dissent. Hence the promoters of injustices and their apologists will say what they want to say, but the voice of the truth will always be heard. We as south Sudanese need to bring openness into the center of the debate between the different opposing groups. The way forward is to part with the old tradition of trying to silence opponents through the use of “bully-politics,” and this practice must cease, for it only makes an already bad situation worse.

No two can differ on the fact that the ruling SPLM party has since long started the new country on the wrong footing by adopting the politics of patronage, and the dishing of job opportunities to the chosen ones only – cronies – kinsman – and old buddies.

And as if to add salt to injury, many people all across the different ethnic groups have vividly chosen to align with the current corruption riddled leadership in an attempt to consolidate their grips on power and promote a kleptocratic welfare policy aimed at serving this club of parasites. This too will however come to an end very soon given the wave of political awareness that is currently sweeping across the new nation.

It is an SPLM sponsored and managed Conference for Equatoria.

But what is this Equatoria Conference, before we lose the track of events? One view is that it is a conference of people native to the former province of Equatoria ( Equatorian) i.e. by Equatorians for Equatorians. This is only true as far as the 1st conference was concerned. However the second Equatoria Conference which is responsible for the current wave of debates is, at its best an SPLM sponsored and managed Conference for Equatoria.

Hon. James Wani Igga, the National Assembly Speaker and SPLM’s second deputy chairman together with the governors of the three States of Equatoria and many other SPLM cadres were ubiquitously present at the conference. Many of these politicians also doubles as prominent members of the SPLM’s National Liberation Council as well as members of the party’s Political Bureau. And for the conference to conform to the government of the day’s policy, it was made as a point to represent the Head of State by none but the presidential adviser Hon. Telar Deng ( Mr Deng’s second in a row) – and the vice president Dr. Riek Machar.

However as to why the Equatoria Conference ever came into existence in the first place and why it is being confirmed by the ruling SPLM party as a viable political forum for discussing the nation’s problems is a thing for this political party which has maneuvered itself into the center of the event to explain.

Nonetheless given the confused state of affairs in the country, coupled with poor governance and widespread corruption it becomes only natural for the SPLM in Equatoria ( or any other group for that matter) to take advantage of it, since they consider themselves as the sole representatives of both the so-called politically marginalized and the SPLM rule at the same time or at least that is how they are made to feel.

Visiting the resolutions of the 1st and 2nd Eqatoria conferences it is surprising to see the magnitude of the very hot national issues that they reflected . Although of course the resolutions of the conference are colored here and there with what looks like topics of regional political dimensions, still issues of national interests were also given a wider space e.g. governance, freedom of the press, human rights, land ownership and many others. To this end we can see why other people applauded the conference while others whose personal and ethnic interests appeared threatened quickly went ballistic on the offense.

We are yet again witnessing a new emergence of the old and too well known phenomenon of political and socioeconomic domination by elites from a single ethnic group at the expense of all the others. This on the other hand has drawn a wide reaction from all over the country and loud voices of protest are on the rise in every corner. The marginalized communities are bent to applaud the several demands for the redress of ALL injustices as they are listed in the Equatoria Conference’s resolutions, without having much to bother about the backgrounds and the immediate political interests of the conferees.

While before even talking about those voices out there who are ruthlessly condemning the Equatoria conference mostly so for its regional nature, in spite of the many national issues thereof discussed, one would like to underscore this very important step that has to be overcome by the Equatoria Conferees if any of their many demands and proposals are to ever see the light.

The success of this thing labeled Equatoria will only come about following the accomplishment of the much needed bottom to top enlightenment and mobilization of the grass roots and the masses. This must in all cases precede any other steps that will only follow later if this latest wave of mass liberation is to yield its truest fruit. For it is either this or to surrender to the modern day slavery forever, a simple fact that a villager in Equatoria seems to understand far better than the so-called” five star elites.“

For clarity purposes it doesn’t need any over-stressing before we can appreciate how Equatoria looks at itself as a social-political unit. It has since been acknowledged as such since the turn of the last century. Hence its only natural for the people now known as the Equatorians of South Sudan to freely identify themselves as such. It’s within their human and constitutional rights that Equatorians identify themselves as Equatorians – and no opinion on earth will change that.

Just as Abyei is the rightful homeland of the nine Dinka Ngok chieftains and not the Messeiriya Baggara, so is Equatoria Region a homeland of the people who collectively refer to themselves as Equatorians. This represents ethnic politics at its furthest extreme and mind you that no one has the monopoly on going ethnic.

Expectations of the grass-roots in Equatoria.

Coming to the modi operendi of the Equatoria conference follow-up committees – it is high time that they live up to the expectations that they have generated all across Equatoria Province. This they can only achieve by stepping forward to fill in and provide the much needed steering leadership role. Not too long the so-called SPLM party will become completely irrelevant to address any of those issues raised in the last conference. For a true and prompt realization of equal citizenship for all in South Sudan, an Equatoria political union is in fact an urgent necessity.

While it is a good routine to raise the conferences resolutions and suggestions to the Head of State for consideration, people shouldn’t underestimate the fact that the SPLM chairman remains true to what he stands for, and that is the promotion of his kinsmen while personally masterminding all those policies aimed at the systematic marginalisation of Equatorians.

My personal advise to all the political powers in Equatoria is that they should better speed up the process of organizing themselves into functional political units. This is not to undermine the broader unity of the country as a sovereign state. But the truth is that the current tribally driven political agendas in the country can only be counter-balanced by an effective and purposeful political and economic unity of All Equatoria.

Furthermore if these conferences and their follow-up committees are not going to metamorphose into political tools and entities to defend the rights of all Equatoria, then there won’t be any use for their existence in the first place.

Hence its time that those politicians from Equatoria who continue to pay allegiance to this terribly compromised political organization of the SPLM and its fatigued leadership are in for more disappointments. They must understand that they have become irrelevant – first to the current developments on the ground and not too long they also will become irrelevant choices in their own constituencies.

Whistle-blowing on self determination.

Somewhere in the media a prominent opinion writer Dr. I.S. Sindani is well ahead in turning people’s attention to the possibility of Equatoria going for Self Determination should the SPLM led government continues with its institutionalized tribalism and marginalisation policies. Whether we agree with Dr. Sindani’s whistle-blowing or not the idea of possible self determination for Equatoria is indeed a scary development.

In other words the cat has already been let out of the bag. At this juncture we better all sober up and focus our views on the issue as matured and experienced citizens. And especially given our well known political past in the former united Sudan, we should be able to predict what is awaiting us as a country and act accordingly.

The freedoms that the SPLM/A fought for from Khartoum is no where to be seen in the independent republic of South Sudan under president Salva Kiir Mayardit and his SPLM government. For this reason it is just natural for people to move and desist and reject injustice and discrimination, whether they are from Upper Nile, Bahr Ghazal or Equatoria. Meanwhile trying to teach a government of under-performers is itself being complacent with the rotten system, it is worth remembering that “only you can satisfactorily scratch your skin”.

The right to self determination which is universal is not limited only to the Equatoria Region of South Sudan and the reasons to seek this right is totally left to whoever is calling for it. In other words although we do all have the same right to have opinions, yet we cannot decide for others what will merit a sound reason for opting for self determination.

As such those who disagree with Dr. Sindani will be doing so because they want to protect either their personal, national or group’s interests – but they cannot by any means out reason him over the reasons he so viewed as enough to warrant a call for Self Determination. For when love & hate collide, we must be fair enough to see the rationale behind the choice of “ divided we stand and united we fall” as it becomes the only logically option to go by. Remember it is about when love and hate collide!

Federal system of governance.

Of much interest is the call by the conferees for a federal system of government in the republic of South Sudan. This crucial development in the politics of this turmoil region exactly mirrors the period that immediately followed the Sudanisation of jobs on the eve of the declared independence of the former united Sudan

An Equatorian elder, Agriculturist, politician and well known columnist, Jacob Kwaje Lupia has for since long been writing and advocating for the adoption of a true Federal System of Governance in South Sudan to replace the current heavily centralized and maximally corrupt and grossly tibalised unitary system which only a few are milking mercilessly while others gaze. Sounding like a diehard federalist JK Lupai is a voice from the heart of Equatoria that will never relinquish its core beliefs.

On a personal note it is my conviction that South Sudan will only return to be a good place when the administrative structures of the new country are taken back to the old system of the “three provinces”. We know why the enemy north divided our people into the current artificial units of ten states and it was exclusively meant to serve their interest only and not ours.

A South Sudan of Three federal states must not only be seen as an initial step towards the implementation of the much anticipated Federal System of Governance, but it is indeed an integral part of the grand pacification project all across the violent regions of this beautiful country . Our future lies in a Federal Republic of South Sudan with Three Federal States. This will bring back the trust we have lost in one another, for under the old structures south Sudanese will go back to healthily compete as three provinces or states instead of the current unhealthy competitions which are solely driven by our loyalties to our countless tribes and clans.

It is for all practical purposes that a federal republic of South Sudan under three former provinces is the only one sure route to achieve a sustainable national unity for all the citizens. Jacob K Lupai is a well known South Sudanese elder who has written a great deal about the politics of South Sudan and the issues of Food Security in the post independence era and he should be seen as one of this country’s dedicated sons, who has also given his time to educate us intensively about Federal System of Governance. We thank him for a work well done!

In the wider perspective, writing opinions are good for sharing views and educating the public as well as selling one’s ideas, we must also be seen to practically live by what we believe in. This goes further to stress that Dr I.S. Sindani is entitled to his opinions and as such will only be practicing his fundamental rights whenever he propagates his ideas of Self Determination for Equatoria. I for one I won’t be surprised if some people out there find what Dr. Sindani has opined is unacceptable to them, yet he deserves respect.

This is the bottom line for under tribal politics like everywhere else in Africa, the distance between rivaling ethnicities will only continue to drift apart as long as we remain arrested in this institution so-called tribalism. Unfortunately South Sudan for all anthropological, geographical, historical,economic and political reasons lies in the heart of this mess. The rest is common sense!!!

Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. Secretary General – United South Sudan Party (USSP).

South Sudan’s crying of dereliction: Why has God forsaken us?

BY: Tongun Lo Loyuong, RSS, FEB/27/2013, SSN;

For those of us unfamiliar with the technical theological phrase “cry of dereliction,” – it is a theological expression of the puzzling biblical utterance of “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?” – the last words/lamentation attributed to Jesus on the crucifix, moments before his death (see Matt. 27:46; and Mark 15:34). Biblical scholars and theologians have long found this to be one of the troubling verses in the New Testament. If this was God’s son, and God sent him to save the world from sin, then why did God abandon him while he was submissive to God’s plan and when he needed God the most?

Consequently, several interpretations of Jesus’ cry of dereliction emerged, two of which are mainstream and worth mentioning for our purposes here. The first is the theological explication championed by the biblical literalists, which tend to argue that in the cry of dereliction, God abandoned Jesus to preserve God’s Holiness, for God could not behold or be associated with our sin, which Jesus took upon himself on the cross.

Therefore, God turned the other way, which then provoked Jesus’ cry of dereliction for being abandoned by God. This was all part of God’s atonement plan for Jesus, aimed to achieve the objectives of the salvation plan for which Jesus volunteered. But the constraint with this type of interpretation is that it contradicts the pervasive biblical presentation of God as loving, accompanying, comforting, and assisting particularly in our trying times.

However, it may be asked, if God is willing to turn the other way in the face of gross injustices and wickedness, how the hell are we supposed to overcome the powerful evil and corrupt forces of greed in this world?

The second salient theological discourse of the cry of dereliction, which I find more appealing maintains that it is not in God’s nature to abandon God’s children. According to this school of thought, the verse must be interpreted metaphorically. Understood this way, the cry of dereliction is in fact a cry of vindication. This is consistent with Old Testament’s lamentation practice of prayer, such as found in Habakkuk 1:13, and the opening line of Psalm 22 and other lamentation passages in the Scripture.

In this form of prayer one is justified to raise complaints to God about deep sentiments of pain and suffering. It is an indication of a strong faith and intimate relationship with God, where one rhetorically questions God’s vindication intervention policies and sin-tolerance practices in the face of persisting injustices. In so doing, one knows that good will ultimately prevail over evil.

It is in the context of this latter theological explanation that the choice of the somewhat provocative title in this piece lies.
In this season of lent, a cry of dereliction is fitting and depicting of the endless suffering of an average voiceless and powerless South Sudanese throughout our history, and more recently during and after the “liberation struggle.”

As was the case with Jesus, it is indeed not hard-pressed to suggest that most South Sudanese feel God-forsaken in light of the prevailing deteriorating social, economic, and political state of affairs. “What kind of life is this?,” a friend recently quipped with disgust when sighting one of the extravagant convoys of our “liberators” marauding in the dusty streets and the overwhelmingly underdeveloped and poverty-stricken environs of Juba.

In a manner consistent with being locked in the colonial logic, the convoy sped in the narrow streets of Juba with such an aura of arrogance that does affirm the dawn of new phase of a colonial period in South Sudan. How disenchanting to see the lack of any moral conscience in the political leadership of this God-forsaken country.

Few will disagree that since the signing of the CPA, and the advent of the southern independence, most South Sudanese are by now resigned to the fact that the so-called “liberation” of South is no better than the preceding liberation of Sudan from the Anglo-Egyptian rule before it. Second class citizenship remains the order of the day and abject poverty persists.

Unsurprisingly, the lack of value added by successive empty “liberations” of the greater Sudan from different colonial masters both from within and from without, is a persistent pattern throughout the history of this country. This is an undesirable legacy that will continue to dominate the mindset of some of our people in the South for a long time to come.

It is ironic that we do not seem to learn from our tragic history. Such was the case with the so-called “independence” or “liberation” of Sudan from British colonialism in January 1956. The South came to suffer from another cycle of colonialism, of Arabic and Islamist mentality of domination that led to a southern mentality of resistance, which resulted in the birth of the liberation struggle in the first place.

Yet, no sooner were we supposedly liberated, than the emergence of yet another batch of colonial masters ensued. It is more painful this time because these are supposedly our own brothers, but who continue to be victims of the intractable colonial and slavery legacy in this country. These people need some serious help. They even unashamedly dare call a fellow southerner a slave.

As his Lordship Bishop Pio Lako, the Auxiliary Bishop of Juba recently aptly put it, “some of our people continue to tell our people to sit down.” “We liberated you, or we sacrificed more than you in the liberation struggle — so goes the pretext for justifying their master’s status entitlement in Juba, nowadays.”

Sit down. “We are born to rule.” Born to rule what? What is this liberation? As Jok Madut Jok once forcefully phrased it, “liberation from what and to what end?”

If Sudanese liberations’ history is, therefore, anything to go by it seems we are locked in the liberation struggle for God knows how long. Often after a liberation has succeeded, those who have made selfless sacrifices are overlooked or even rewarded with a form of punishment and subjugation, while the opportunists and those conspicuously known for political whoredom and harlotry and conspired with the enemy, are rewarded and end up reigning supreme.

As a result, one is left but to cry in dereliction to God, why have you forsaken us when we needed you the most while we continue to be subjected to all forms of undeserved suffering and indignity for more than 1160 years of our documented history to the present.

How long will the women of Jonglei continue to suffer from violence and rape as a result of the so-called cattle rustling? How long will the children of Warrap and Unity States in the peripheries continue to die from hunger, malnutrition, and curable diseases while some greedy elite few in the center enjoy ugly filled bellies and health purchased from quality healthcare overseas by South Sudanese public funds?

How long will the people of Central and Eastern Equatoria States continue to lose their lands to those in possession of power and gun? How long will the youth of Western Equatoria continue to form vigilantes in order to defend their women, children, and property from insecurity and brutality created by LRA and local criminals?

How long will the people of Greater Bahr el-Ghazal States be massacred by security forces with impunity and support from the corridors of power in Juba, and be incited to commit atrocious inter-communal violence amongst each other?

How long will the elite and corrupt few continue to enrich themselves, while the whole country wallows in abject poverty, unemployment and lack of adequate social service provision? How long will the freedom of press, and the basic human right to freedom of expression be suppressed?

And how long will those who attempt to speak out against these vices be framed as rebels and unpatriotic, and arbitrarily imprisoned indefinitely and without due process, or in worse case scenarios be eliminated or made to disappear?

In short, will we continue to suffer indignity and human rights abuses indefinitely?

Framing our problems in terms of a cry of dereliction seems a theological construct that best conceptualizes and gives meaning and perhaps, a sense of much needed consolation and hope that signs are written on the wall that vindication is well underway to South Sudanese.

And so we raise our voices in the cry of dereliction as a God-forsaken people eagerly anticipating vindication sooner rather than later. The clock is ticking!