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LATEST: ‘Messy’ peace hope as South Sudan readies for Machar’s return

By AFP, Posted Thursday, April 14 2016, THE EAST AFRICAN;

The 1,370-strong armed rebel force completed their arrival into Juba last week as part of a long-delayed August 2015 peace deal, a prelude to rebel chief Riek Machar’s expected return on April 18.
Both Kiir and Machar are former rebel leaders who rose to power during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war between north and south — a war in which the men also fought each other — before South Sudan won freedom in 2011.
Juba saw some of the worst atrocities in the first weeks of war, but since then has been largely calm. With armed factions now inside the city, people are nervous.

On a dusty patch of earth cut into thick bush on the outskirts of South Sudan’s capital, hundreds of rebel soldiers who took part in a more than two-year civil war have set up a new base.

The camp is basic: a few blue tents in the baking heat, piles of cut grass to build thatch hut shelters, pit latrines and a few leaky water taps.

Here lies the best hope yet to end a brutal civil war that saw the world’s youngest nation spiral into catastrophe and pushed to the brink of famine, with tens of thousands killed, over two million forced to flee their homes, and multiple ceasefires shattered.

The camp, one of three in Juba, has no visible defensive positions or walls — and the rebels are edgy with all sides still heavily armed.

Rebel general John Mabieh Garr points towards a nearby government army base.

“(It) would be better if they stay distant from us, until we know the reality of the peace agreement,” he mutters.

The risks are great and the stakes high.

Symbolic step forward

The 1,370-strong armed rebel force completed their arrival into Juba last week as part of a long-delayed August 2015 peace deal, a prelude to rebel chief Riek Machar’s expected return on April 18.

Machar, who fled during the massacres that erupted in December 2013 when war broke out in Juba, is set to take up the post of vice-president — the same job he was sacked from months before the conflict erupted — and form a unity government with arch-rival President Salva Kiir.

“When Machar returns, it will allow the formation of the transitional government, the most significant step in the implementation of the peace agreement,” said Casie Copeland from the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank.

While Machar’s arrival will be a major symbolic step forward, many warn that practical implementation of the peace deal will be a long and tough task.
There are other rebel forces still fighting who are not included in the peace agreement.

Machar’s arrival to Juba will mean the peace agreement is now on the right path,” said civil society leader Edmund Yakani, director of South Sudan’s Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO). “But it does not mean the country is free from violence.”

No panacea
The conflict now involves multiple militia forces driven by local agendas or revenge, who pay little heed to paper peace deals.

“There are many questions as to the feasibility of the arrangement,” said David Deng from the South Sudan Law Society (SSLS).

Even the usually upbeat Festus Mogae, a former Botswana president heading the international ceasefire monitoring team, has warned that the “formation of a new government will not in itself be a panacea.”

ICG’s Copeland warned Machar’s arrival would be only one step in a “messy peace”, but that crucially it is backed by regional nations, putting pressure on the leaders to make the deal work.

Tensions remain deep, with the rebels accusing the army of boosting troops in the capital, which should be officially demilitarised within a 25 kilometre (15 mile) radius apart from units allowed under an August 2015 peace deal. The army denies the claims.

Violent kleptocratic system

Both Kiir and Machar are former rebel leaders who rose to power during Sudan’s 1983-2005 civil war between north and south — a war in which the men also fought each other — before South Sudan won freedom in 2011.

They come from the South’s two main ethnic groups — Kiir from the Dinka people and Machar from the Nuer — tribes that are themselves split into multiple, and sometimes rival, clans.

Civil war broke out in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of planning a coup, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

Today the country is close to collapse with soaring inflation, oil production cut due to war and the income earned from it a fraction amid a slump in global prices.

“Unless the violent kleptocratic system that underlies the war and mass corruption is addressed, no temporary unity government will be able to end the war and associated atrocities,” said John Prendergast from the Enough Project campaign group.

“This conflict was in many ways driven by competition over the spoils of state control. Unless there are serious consequences for mass corruption and atrocities, the deadly status quo is likely to continue.”

Juba saw some of the worst atrocities in the first weeks of war, but since then has been largely calm. With armed factions now inside the city, people are nervous.

“People are clearly worried,” said Deng. “But people are also hungry for peace, and this agreement is, in reality, the only path towards that… so people are willing to accept the risk in the hope it will pay off.” END

A plea to Mogae and Kiir to avert GRSouthSudan’s invective financial economy

By James Okuk, PhD. JUBA, DEC/24/2015, SSN;

Getting water and food, sleeping in peace at homes without fear of being harmed, and celebrating seasonal festivals for all citizens should have been the most immediate responsibility of the Government of South Sudan (GRSS) like any other normal governments in the world. Alas! This is happening only to a very limited number of isolated privileged few citizens these days.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – In Opposition (SPLM-IO) advance delegation of peace have already arrived in Juba with accommodation and feeding in the best five star hotels while the common citizens are moaning economically at the suburbs and countryside.

Though their repatriation and return to Juba is good news to peace-loving citizens and international friends, still the recently prescribed disastrous capitalist economic shock by the Governor of Bank of South Sudan (BoSS) and Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) is opening another front of terrible poverty war.

What is the use of having dollars available in commercial banks and fuel stations if majority of the made-to-suffer poor South Sudanese cannot afford sufficient pounds (SSP) for a minimum purchasing power?

What is the utility of ‘free float’ or even call it ‘managed float’ if this is being mismanaged in the negative expend of the common citizens?

Where in the world a capital city can be proud to call itself a human habitat without available cheap drinking and bathing water for all the residents?

If the staggering abnormal economy of the Republic of South Sudan is still infected by Oil’s Dutch Disease, and worst by kleptocratic war situation, what a hell on earth have those who came up with ‘floating policy’ are bringing upon the common poor citizens?

Why would the international experts of well-established laissez-faire economic institutions and their South Sudanese stooges want to unethically experiment irrelevant economics theories on dear poor lives of already downtrodden citizens of the Child Republic of South Sudan?

If the BoSS and MoFED have secretly been suspected as the main suppliers of dollars to Atuots and few other paralleled hard currency black marketers (what President Kiir described as ‘illiterate shabby men with expensive new brand dollars under umbrellas in Juba and Custom markets’), will these GRSS’ financial institutions be free and credible this time round to act in favor of the most affected low-income citizens?

Despite the fact that the poor citizens have accepted to tolerate the situation of celebrating 2015 Christmas without new shoes, cloths, hair styles and cuts, cakes, sweets, local groundnuts, soft juices, hard drinks and delicious foods, I don’t think they will continue to afford a welcome of the New Year 2016 with the current demise of hard currency floating policy!

It is becoming clearer that the current messed-up financial economy of South Sudan is based on nothing dignified but irrelevant advanced laissez-fare policies akin to the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) that was intended to neo-colonize Africa and the rest of least developed countries on deceptive and vicious traps of the so-called ‘Economic Growth’.

Like what the common citizens of the SAPs affected African, Latin America and Asian countries faced in 1970s and 1980s, the ordinary citizens of South Sudan are already paying the prize dearly while we continue encountering contradicting and confusing messages (as usual) from our old SPLM ruling party’s economists and their cunning international advisors.

I doubt whether the GRSS top decision-makers have been closely attached to the vulnerable disadvantaged poor so that they could know where and how they get charcoal, firewood and cooking dry grass!

I doubt whether these heartless decision-makers understand where water is fetched from for serving many residences in Juba were it not for the committed Eritrean truck drivers but who are now pushed by the hiked crazy fuel and dollar crises to charge the poor citizens accordingly and un-affordably!

I doubt whether these elites comprehend that those who used to sell Cleto’s 1.5 liter fuel plastic containers are poor women, neglected children, unemployed youth, and disabled elderly citizens who made some ends meet for temporary economic Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at the end of the bad days before things could get better after war! The litany of agony is longer.

That is why the poor citizens are now left with nothing much to console them at this tough of the toughest times but a honest plea to JMEC’s Chairman, H.E. Fesus Gontebanye Mogae, and GSS President, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, to intervene quickly by using their joint veto powers to avert the on-going genocidal economic wrath and red pangs of poverty.

We are lucky to have with us an experienced people-oriented developmental economist and sagacious hard-working statesman in the person of Former Botswana President, who shall soon visit the other affected states of South Sudan to see the full image of the painfully regrettable level of SPLM/A’s made economic hazards and destructions in the new country.

If the disastrous hard currency floating policy cannot be canceled now, let Presidents Mogae and Kiir order serious and urgent subsidizing measures to be implemented immediately, particularly in the basic strategic economic sectors of fuel, water, food, transport, communication and pharmaceuticals. Prices of luxurious and prestigious items could be left to be determined by the floating markets reaction and bargain.

Friedman’s economic approach (i.e., controlling the supply of money and allowing the free market to fix itself) and Chicago Boys’ ‘Shock Doctrine’ is not a proper ‘therapy’ for the war affected South Sudan. It increases the vulnerability agony of the working-poor, leave alone the lazy-poor.

Also the Keynesian economic therapy is not totally relevant for unmodified adoption in South Sudan because productivity of goods and services is still a big problem due to the SPLM/A’s war legacy and perpetual politically motivated destabilization.

Depending on bad wills of reactive anarchical markets in South Sudan is a lethality prescription. It has already shown its counter-productivity in the last very few days. The Republic of South Sudan needs controlled and subsidized markets now, perhaps, until such a time when it has reached a status of adulthood where it could be economically self-reliant with productive sufficiency and surplus.

Playing the dirty politicized economic game by way of gerontocratic kleptocracy of financial anarchy without fixed principles (except anarchy itself) is too harmfully bad for the poverty-ridden South Sudan.

A utilitarian economic growth should be a function of a holistic people’s development and not mere numeric growth of calculated Gross National Income (GNI) without fair distributive and equal opportunity justice.

Thus, let Chairman Mogae and President Kiir come to the most urgent rescue of the poor citizens of the naturally resource-rich Republic of South Sudan. It is good for them to have tamed the politico-military anarchists by awarding them with power privileges in accordance with the provisions of the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).

Nonetheless, they should do this simultaneously with taming of heartless economic (particularly financial) anarchists of South Sudan too. Let them use their legitimate peace powers to prescribe the most needed basic subsidies now before it is too late for the ordinary citizens to keep hanging on the thin thread of difficult livelihood these days. Waiting for a utopian prosperous future in the land of the ‘dead’ is a meaningless posterity. Lives of the majority of the citizens of South Sudan should be saved first from the current economic woes for good future promises to make sense later!

No best wishes for a Happy Christmas 2015 and Prosperous New Year 2016 till the current GRSS created invective financial economics is averted finally through pro-poor subsidy policy that should coexist with the pro-rich hard currency floating policy rate.

Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at

Tiger Faction New Forces attacked & shoot down SPLA helicopter


The Tiger Faction New Forces (TFNF) would like to inform that today 28th November, 2015 at 8:00 Am and 2:00 PM Sudan local time respectively, Government forces attacked our positions in Thoworgwang using two helicopter gunships.

Tiger gallant forces defended their positions with courage and valor and gun downed one of the attacking helicopter gunships. These attacks come when South Sudanese and the international community are eagerly anticipating the implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement signed in August.

However, President Kiir and his Jieng Council of elders are not interested in the implementation of singed peace agreement but are hell bend to continue war with devastating consequences upon the civil population.

We are prepared and determined to defend our civil population from Kiir’s dictatorship until the last man. As we write this statement Government forces with the assistant of Sudan’s rebels known as Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) have massed their troops in Omaar (Massabal) area with the intention of carrying further ground attacks on our forces around Wadakon.

President Kiir is consciously and willingly derailing the implementation of the signed comprehensive peace agreement with absolute impunity.

The Republic of South Sudan is heading towards Somalization as result of Kiir’s dictatorial tendencies and we therefore call upon IGAD and the United Nations Security Council to exert more pressure on Kiir’s government and to utilize resolution 2206 (2015) which layout ground for targeted sanctions on individuals blocking peace in South Sudan.

International Community must stand with the people of South Sudan and it is high time to sent a strong message to Kiir and his administration that there intransigence will not be tolerated any longer.

Long live the struggle of our People
Long live South Sudan
A lutta continua
Brig Gen: Otowang Achwang
Tel:+249961558003: E-mail:

Lakes State Community looses zeal for Kiir’s leadership.

BY: Lotueng Junub, Rumbek, Lakes State, MAR/20/2013, SSN;

The current Public opinion in Lakes State has it that if people of South Sudan were to go to the polls today, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit would have been defeated in the first round of the ballot, no matter who his main rival is in the SPLM, apart from traitor, Dr.Lam Akol, this being due to Kiir’s nagging hatred for the people of Lakes State in general and Agar Community in particular.

There had been a lingering rumour that President Kiir has taken a sad face towards Lakes State on the pretext that the people of Lakes State are having Secret dealings with the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, an accusation which was widely denied by Lakes State Community terming it as a sledge hammer to crack a nut.

All we know in Lakes State of the last frequent visits of the Vice President was that he used to visit Lakes State in his capacity as Vice President as well as Deputy Chairman of SPLM in the Republic of South Sudan for that matter.

However, the whole episode started to surface in mid 2012 when the Vice President was delegated by the SPLM Secretariat to lead a team to Lakes State for SPLM thanksgiving Campaign to grassroot Constituencies, the second visit was on 29th July, 2012 when the vice President came to Lakes State again for the conclusion of Thanksgiving Campaign.

To put it blatantly, the issue of Vice President’s visit to Lakes State was being used as a scapegoat by President kiir ostensibly for collective punishment to the people of Lakes State, as the saying goes, “when two elephants are fighting it’s the grass that suffers.”

In this case it’s the innocent masses of Lakes State who are paying a price for the crime they haven’t committed meanwhile it was Kiir who appointed Dr. Riek Machar as his Vice President as well as SPLM Deputy Chairman and now resorted to telling people indirectly that no one should cooperate with his vice. Who is fooling who in this game?

Another visible scenario is that President Kiir has forgotten the electorates of Lakes State who overwhelmingly voted for him by 98% in the last 2010 general elections, however, since he was elected as president of the Republic of South Sudan he never set foot in Lakes to thank Lakes State Populace for having voted for him.

He denied Lakes State community government’s projects, a living example is the state road connecting Juba-Aweil has been left in a very appalling condition simply because it passes through Lakes State.

Also, Total Oil Company was ordered in February 2013 by president Kiir to leave Lakes State and relocate to Bor with immediate effect of 28/02/2013, as a result, a lot of projects funded by TOTAL were left uncompleted while a considerable number of people employed by TOTAL lost their jobs.

Our Elected governor was removed on 21/01/2013 and Maj. Gen. Matur Chut Dhuol was appointed as Caretaker governor under 101 (r) not because of tribal fighting that flared-up into Rumbek town on the 18/01/2013 between Kuei and Rup sections of Rumbek Central County.

South Sudan remains in a fragile situation under Kiir’s leadership and has been rocked with issues of lack of political will on the part of the government, insecurity in the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap, Unity and Upper Nile, ranging from cattle raiding, tribal feuds and revenge killings yet governors of the other states haven’t been removed.

The characteristic manner leading to Chol Tong’s removal was not insecurity but it was crystal clear that president Kiir colluded with some politicians of Lakes State in Juba to remove an elected governor on the ground that Eng. Chol Tong was accused of having close ties with Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar.

Of course, as Vice president, he is supposed to be accorded due respect and cooperation by any State governor he visited.

Secondly, he was accused to have opposed Hon. Daniel Awet Akot for single-handedly appointing Hon. Mabor Ater Dhuol as Acting SPLM Secretary of Lakes state following the sudden death of SPLM Secretary, late Samuel Mathiang Ker. Ater’s appointment was widely objected to by SPLM Assistant Secretaries, County chairpersons and County secretaries in Lakes State, condemning it in the strongest terms possible as a decision taken without consultation from State Liberation Council and it was deemed unconstitutional.

Due to SPLM leadership inability to reload our party with vibrant leaders, it subsequently led into fragmentation of SPLM Party as analysts fear that if President Kiir insisted on holding to SPLM chairmanship in the forthcoming National Convention, it may probably lead to further split in SPLM which will indeed see the ruling party losing the grip of power to non-SPLM candidate.

SPLM in all ten States has been experiencing internal wrangling yet other elected governors in those States haven’t been removed, what is special about Lakes State?

In the aftermath of the removal of the Elected governor in Lakes State, the controversy now in so many people’s lips is that, why president used article 101 (r) in part to removed elected governor and refused to implement 101 (s) which allows for holding gubernatorial elections in Lakes State within 60 sixty days (two months) which lapses on 23rd March, 2013.

The government of the Caretaker governor in Lakes State will lose its legitimacy unless otherwise elections are conducted before 23rd March 2013.

There is a common knowledge that President Kiir wanted to eliminate all potential Lakes State politicians who’ve been working in his government and are now put on non-effective list as follows:

1.Gen.Dut Manyok
2.Gen.Matur Chut
3.Gen. Alfred Ajuong Makuer
4.Professor Machar Kachuol
5.Gen. Mager Achiek
6. Chief justice wol Makec
7. Gen.Makur Thou
8. Isaac Makur Ater (former Undersecretary of Finance)
9. Eng. Jacob Marial Maker (former undersecretary of Roads)
10. Eng. Chol Tong Mayay (former governor of Lakes State)
11. David Nok Marial
12. Khamis Chawul Lom
13. Said Chawul Lom
14. Ustaz William Ater Maciek
15. Dr. Peter Nyot Kok
16.Dr.Achol Marial
17. Awan Maper (former minister of Environment).
The list of Lakes State politicians who are awaiting reassignment from president Kiir is endless anyway.

With all these vivid analysis of all problems Lakes State community have encountered during president Kiir’s leadership, it’s imperative that our president is taking people of Lakes State for a ride and as a result Lakes State Community have completely lost any zeal for Kiir’s leadership and have demanded change of leadership in all spheres of political transformation.

Therefore, the Youth of Lakes State have taken it upon themselves to sensitize their people not to vote blindly comes 2015 general elections, like what happened in 2010 when leaders came to seek for their votes and who, when elected into public offices, they failed not only to implement what they promised but also have forgotten even to come and say thanks for having voted for them.

The days for regionalism are gone. When it comes to general elections in 2015 Lakes State will vote as a block to a leader on a give-and–take basis but not as a region as there has been enormous marginalization in regionalism where some States in Bhar El Ghazal are more developed while others are less developed.

Lotueng Junub is a South Sudanese citizen living in Lakes State and could be reach on

Unbearable Human Rights Abuses in South Sudan

By Michael Ayuen Kuany, USA

AUG. 19/2012, SSN; My country, the Republic of South Sudan, is suffering from chronic depression over the killings of their own citizens. The liberation process of South Sudan had different fronts: physical warfare, international diplomatic engagement, and civil society advocacy. All of these led to the creation of this new country.

The 21 year-civil war between the Sudan armed forces and the Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLA) had paramount contributions of the grassroots from both sides. This article examines human rights abuses against civilians, the disarmament campaign in Jonglei and discrimination against the Diasporas.

Human Rights Abuse in South Sudan:

South Sudan was granted self-autonomy under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) with the Sudanese government for the period of six years before votes for independence could be cast in 2011. Regardless of this beautiful opportunity for South Sudanese to have full custody of their own internal affairs, citizens remain in fear.

Today the universal idea of freedom for which the South Sudanese have been fighting for is still a dream for them. Citizens are arrested and killed for expressing their views on whether our country is heading in the right direction.

I have lived in South Sudan’s capital of Juba and I have witnessed how civilians are being treated. There are no legal procedures being followed and any punishment for those found to have committed the crime is not defined by law. It is based on how politically connected you are. What makes our current leadership in Juba different from the government in Khartoum that used to deny us our rights?

Most of the crimes being committed in the Republic of South Sudan today are being committed by law enforcement agents and the government elites (those handling big positions in the government and in the military).

A democracy must respect all public opinions and worldviews. It is important for South Sudan to create a positive image on the world stage as it galvanizes international support. Every nation stands on its own records and it is clear that South Sudan has failed its first test as a country. It has failed in the respect that many human rights violations have occurred in this first half of 2012.

On many occasions citizens are arrested for voicing their own views. Early in 2012, Dr. James Okuk, a noted writer, was taken into custody by security agents for his writing against corruption within the new government. He was arrested with no legal charges made against him. He was only released because of public outcry.

Deng Monydit, another noted writer, was arrested in regards to an article he wrote regarding the marriage of the President’s daughter to an Ethiopian national. Whether one agrees with Mr. Monydit on his stance in the article or not, is irrelevant, he is entitled to his opinion as a South Sudanese citizen.

Disarmament Campaign in Jonglei:

Since the peace deal was signed in 2005, Jonglei state has found itself enmeshed in tribal warfare. Thousands of lives have been lost and hundreds of thousands of animals have been reported stolen. In addition to this, a large number of children have been abducted from their families. Little independent research has been conducted but there is evidence that the government of Sudan has been supporting local militias to destabilize South Sudan.

In March 2012, the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir issued an executive order to deploy 15,000 combat forces to collect local arms that were in the hands of civilians. This move by the president was received with mixed reactions. Some people supported the idea to conduct statewide disarmament and some people rejected the plan claiming it would leave them with no protection when others are not disarmed.

This executive order was put in place all over Jonglei state at the same time. There are indications that improvements have been made. According to the Governor of Jonglei state, Kuol Manyang Juuk, violence has been reduced by 90% which is a very big achievement.

However, since the inception of the disarmament campaign, there have been issues of torture, rape and killing by the SPLA forces. A woman was raped by two SPLA soldiers in Kolnyang Payam in Bor County. The victim was later notified that the culprits were arrested and they will face justice. But there is no trial scheduled and it is uncertain that the perpetrators are in jail. How can justice be served when the victims are not involved?

In Twic East and Bor counties respectively, many people have experienced torture in the hands of the SPLA. The SPLA were given mandates to collect all illegal arms from the people. Not everybody in South Sudan has access to weapons but when some individuals told the SPLA that they didn’t have any arms, they were beaten and tortured. It is not known whether there were instructions given to the SPLA on how to deal with those who didn’t have weapons. All of these issues have been raised and no action has been taken by authorities in charge.

In July 2012 when the nation was celebrating the one year anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, the diaspora were mourning the death of their brother, Mayol Kuch who died in the hands of the SPLA in Bor, South Sudan, while he was visiting his home village of Kolnyang in Bor County. Mr. Kuch was sleeping in a hut when the SPLA soldiers went to his village in response to the local disputes among groups of people in the village.

As soon as the soldiers got into his hut, they started beating him and took him to the army barracks where he was tortured throughout the night. After Mr. Kuch lost consciousness, he was released and taken to the hospital in Bortown where he was later pronounced dead.

Mr. Kuch is one of the ‘Lost Boys’ who walked for a thousand miles from South Sudan to Ethiopian and Kenyan camps in 1987 as the result of the 21 year civil war between the Sudan armed forces and South Sudanese. The lost boys have made an enormous contribution in the signing of the CPA and they have raised international support for South Sudan.

The United States is one of the leading countries that have played an important role in bringing peace to South Sudan. This has been done through the connections of the lost boys and many other South Sudanese Diasporas. Mr. Kuch suffered all his life for the country he loves and now he shamelessly died in the hands of his own people.

It is time for the government of South Sudan to make things straight and bring those who are responsible to justice. What good did the disarmament forces bring to the people of Jonglei state? Mr. Kuch was a naturalized US citizen from the state of Texas. The government of South Sudan must publicly explained how he died and what measures have been taken to bring justice to this injustice.

Is this the nation we dreamt for where injustice spreads like a wild fire? Lord prints our national identity in our hearts and changes the mindset of those who think they are the supreme owners of our land and that we all belong to South Sudan. In the name of freedom, peace to South Sudan and to the world!

-Michael Ayuen Kuany holds a master’s degree (MA) from Eastern Mennonite University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is the founder, president and CEO of Rebuild Sudan. He can be reached at:

Prostitution in Juba, the Shocking Inside Story

East Africa: Prostitution in Juba, the Shocking Inside StoryTagged: East Africa, East Africa, Governance, Human Rights, Kenya, Legal Affairs, South Sudan, Sudan, Women

BY: JOYCE JOAN WANGUI, 8 AUGUST 2012AUG. 20/2012, SSN; Phostine Anyango tossed and turned in her sleep. She was unable to sleep. She agonised the whole night about her future. The mother of four beautiful children was about to make a decision that would dramatically change her life.

Was she willing to abandon her nine-year marriage in search of riches in Juba, South Sudan?

She was jobless. Her husband was a casual labourer. Life in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums was unbearable. She recalled almost tearfully the days she used to sell doughnuts. Those were hard and tough times. Today, her children were out of school. She had to end their poverty-stricken life. Her elder sister Auma resides in Juba where she engages in prostitution. She had put up a major argument for Anyango to join her.

For days, Anyango tearfully agonised. But each day she stared at the empty stove and looked into her children’s hungry eyes, she got lured. Eventually she decided to travel to the newfound land of opportunities.

Auma, a seasoned prostitute, had perfected the art. She was even constructing a stone house at her rural home in Kisumu from her proceeds. Prostitution in Juba, says Auma, is very lucrative. She is able to target the crème de la crème with absolute ease.

Anyango joined hundreds of East African girls flocking into Juba daily to trade in flesh. Since South Sudan gained its independence in July 2010, its capital city Juba became a fast growing metropolitan city. It attracts investors, tourists, NGOs and sex workers from neighbouring countries.

Kenyan girls have outsmarted the rest in the world’s oldest trade. Cathy Groenendijk, head of a Juba-based NGO, Confident Children out of Conflict, says: “Kenyans are street-smart. They are considered the top of the ladder in this trade.”

After several days of research and reading, I found out that Kenyan girls are taken to Juba by traffickers who include relatives, friends, recruiting agencies and South Sudanese men. My research led me to a house in Nairobi’s Ngumo estate. The house, occupied by South Sudanese nationals, operates as an agency that takes women to Juba. Their list of jobs ranges from bankers, hoteliers, waitresses, teachers among others.

I met five girls waiting for their documents to be processed. They each had to part with a registration fee of Sh3,000, a valid passport, a KCSE certificate and a medical certificate. The entire process which takes one month eventually costs each applicant Sh60,000.

Once complete, two employees of the agency take the girls to Juba by bus. An inside source who strictly spoke on condition of anonymity says the girls are taken to brothels and oriented in the sex market. This particular recruiting agency liaises with brothel owners in Juba, mainly owned by ex-military South Sudanese officials. The girls find themselves trapped into sexual slavery with no means of escape.

A further probe on the legality of this agency could only land me in murky waters. I decided to check with the Ministry of Labour’s National Employment Bureau only to realise that the agency is not registered and none of the officials know of its existence.

Though prostitution is illegal, it has grown rapidly, causing sleepless nights to Juba authorities. They fear the city could soon degenerate into a sex tourism destination. It is estimated that the population of sex workers in Juba stands between 3,500 and 10,000. They are spread out in major sex hot spots namely Jebel, Gumbo, Customs and Gudele markets.

These spots are characterised by numerous brothels, commonly referred to as ‘sex camps’ which masquerade as ‘lodges’. A first time visitor would be tricked by the term, only to end up in the hands of prostitutes. Interestingly, the demand for sex trade here is as high as the supply.

In many UN organisations, NGOs and other foreign owned companies, work policies have no family package; hence most male clients relocate without their wives. In a bid to quench their sexual thirst, they are forced to have sex with the variety of prostitutes scattered in Juba. A spot check by this reporter within Jebel and the Queen of Sheba Hotel spotted many UN vehicles at the exact time the sex work commences.

Jebel is the most preferred sex spot. Located 8km west of Juba City, it is by far the cleanest and most organised. It is home to all types of prostitutes.

Customs, located in the heart of Juba town, is a heap of dilapidated sex camps built from decrepit structures made of papyrus and tin and old plastic sheeting.
According to CCC, the Juba-based NGO that rehabilitates street children and sex workers, an estimated 400 to 600 sex workers live in this congested makeshift brothel.

I visited these places severally and discovered that some prostitutes, particularly Congolese, women live with their children. Many of the children were born inside the sex camps. With no proper upbringing, there is fear of the young ones ending up like their mothers.

I marvelled at the women’s ability to endure the stench of rotten garbage that hangs around the camps. Their clients, some rich and affluent, are not bothered by the filth that abounds: “Well, if a man wants sex, he can have it anywhere,” explains Miriam Kasonga, a Congolese woman.

Prostitution in Juba brings with it bondage, crime, involuntary servitude and even human trafficking. Women face unique challenges such as scarcity of condoms, inability to access ARV drugs for those infected with HIV, refusal of some clients to use condoms, and harassment by police.

Ironically, some girls have eschewed these challenges. They are making a killing out of the sex work through certain survival skills: “I came here to create wealth, so I target rich Dinkas (tall, dark Southerners) and Arabs from Khartoum, who pay me in dollars,” explains Ruth.

Ruth will never live in a sex camp and has managed to get a ‘steady boyfriend’ who pays her rent in an up-market residence. “I make close to $300 (Sh25,200) per night because I follow rich men in their hotel rooms.” She calls herself a self-made prostitute who is not under the mercy of pimps, like numerous others. To excel in Juba, says Ruth, you must strive to package yourself.

Gut-wrenching decisions: Prostitution in Juba is multi-faceted. Some women enter into the trade voluntarily while others are lured or coerced into it. Others who are gainfully employed in Juba supplement their income through prostitution.

Majority however are trapped into sexual bondage. They endure violence and humiliation. Another section engages in transactional sex, a common trend among Kenyan girls. While women admit that they make quick money in the trade, the dynamics force them to make gut-wrenching decisions.

One Fatuma Abdallah admitted that she had to share a used condom which rotated among three sex workers: “In our brothel, we are so poor and desperate. We cannot even afford to buy condoms. The little money I make out of selling my body is only enough to feed me,” she confesses.

Fatuma is a 17-year-old school dropout who hails from Nairobi’s Eastleigh area. Her aunt, who travelled with her to Juba in 2011, introduced her to prostitution. Cathy Groenendijk of CCC notes that when the body becomes the only asset for a woman, prostitution becomes an option.

In Juba, sex trade is mainly fuelled by foreigners although some young South Sudanese girls have learnt the tricks. It occurs in sex camps. Ethiopian sex workers are scattered around big hotels like the famous Queen of Sheba and Juba Bridge Hotel. Some even engage in sexual acts on the road side or on the hotel corridors.

“We always want to be unique from the rest. We act as strip dancers, escort girls or waitresses, where we solicit for sex from our clients,” said a young Ethiopian who could neither disclose her name nor age.

The girls complained that most male clients refused to use condoms. This exposes them to STIs (Sexually-transmitted infections) and HIV/Aids.

An Ethiopian veteran sex worker told me: “Here, one has to make life and death decisions so as to survive. The locals who are our main clients will never agree to use condoms. Some know they are very sick and all they want is to spread their HIV to us,” says Afeworki Hailu.

She is still nursing a knife stab on her thigh which she earned from a client when she insisted that he uses a condom, “He nearly killed me but I managed to escape. When you tell men to use condoms they draw knives or guns on you.”

HIV in Juba a time-bomb: Phyllis Jones-Changa, of Family Health International, an NGO funded by the US Agency for International Development that works with most at-risk populations, describes HIV in Juba as a time-bomb. A study conducted in 2011 in four main states – Eastern, Western, Central Equatoria and Western Bahr el Ghazal – placed HIV prevalence at 8 per cent.

This is a sharp increase from the 3.1 per cent recorded in 2009. With the rise in HIV comes the agony of inaccessibility of ARVs, ill treatment of prostitutes in hospitals and the subsequent death of many girls who can’t even be transported for burial in their home countries.

The government of South Sudan is desperate to rein in sex trade. The paradox here is that most brothels are owned by ex-military officials, police men and the affluent. According to the girls, a remarkable number of GOSS officials also engage in sex with the prostitutes, albeit discreetly.

The government physically demolishes the brothels but they’re soon reconstructed. An official from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports terms the new ‘cultural revolution’ sparked by foreigners and scores of Southerners who returned after the secession as a catalyst for prostitution.

“South Sudanese cultures which are embedded on good morals have been corroded by foreign influence. Most women and men are exporting their prostitution and crime skills to Juba and inculcating them in our people.”

Underage girls too are engaging in prostitution, causing a major headache to the ministry of Gender and Child Welfare. The growing numbers of prostitutes aged between 12 to 14 is catalyzed by the new wave of street children in Juba. “This is the price we are paying for peace,” says an official from the ministry who declined to be named.

Noting that the secession of South Sudan from Sudan was a huge accomplishment, he adds that the country is overwhelmed by a huge number of returnees, most of who are jobless and end up in all manner of crimes.

But neither Auma nor Anyango is concerned by the stigma attached to foreigners and sex trade. Neither do they care if the authorities are destroying the sex camps. They are hell bent on making ends meet and finally returning to Kenya with loads of money.

“I had to make a brutal decision. I abandoned my husband and children for quick money here,” admits Anyango. I met Anyango and Auma at Jebel market; one of the biggest markets in Juba.

Girls flock this market to trade in sex for any price. They charge anything from South Sudanese pound (SDG) 10 to 100 (Sh315-3,145). Some have rented small rooms within the market. Others convert their business premises into lodges at night. Jebel has an estimated 600 to 800 prostitutes.

“Here, we sleep with anyone that looks like a man, including young boys; as long as they can part with the pounds,” says Anyango. She has no remorse for abandoning her family. On a good day, she can make 100SDG (Sh3,145) which she considers a radical departure from the Sh100 she earned daily in Kibera.

In Juba, however, Anyango’s earning is considered meagre owing to the high cost of living. An ordinary meal of white rice, beef and a cool drink costs 30 SDG (Sh945). In other sections of Juba, one needs at least 600 pounds to enjoy a decent meal. Anyango and her sister rents a room for 50SDG per day which means that they have to work extra hard to break even.

Failure to pay rent would compel them to move deeper into the compound, past the garbage heaps, to very dilapidated shanties, which is difficult to attract clients. Noting that daily rent might be hard to come by, the sisters strategise by having regular clients, so called ‘steady boyfriends’ who in turn pay their rent and food. “This means we have to remain attractive to our clients, lest they find other meat elsewhere.”

Most women I interviewed blamed poverty for their plight: “No one would want to leave their families and come to sell their bodies here,” says Mary Wangui, a bar operator who rents space at night for sex clients. She says the high rate of poverty, especially among Kenyan women has forced them to ‘diversify’.

“Most women who rent my rooms are over 40 years; some have families back home but prefer to do prostitution in Juba.”

The bar owner introduces me to three women who are ailing from HIV complications. “We are waiting to die and be buried here. Since we got this disease from local men we have to spread it here,” says one.

At the Juba Teaching Hospital, the major government hospital, some sex workers decry harassment by local nurses and negligence by doctors. Those with no local ‘God-fathers’ or whose visas have expired bear the heaviest brunt as they are mistreated.

In my routine checkups, the nurses discovered that my CD4 count was so low and all they could tell me is to go and die in my country,” confesses Margarita from Uganda. Brothel areas have no proper health facilities save for pharmacies that over-price the drugs.

The Child Act of South Sudan 2008 prohibits child prostitution but poverty, homelessness, and lack of a defined family unit encourages the vice.

Achan is a 14-year-old Dinka girl who lost both parents during the war. She has no recollection of where her siblings or other relatives are. She sleeps in the cold, just outside Konyokonyo market, one of the oldest markets in Juba and the dirtiest of all. It has since been demolished to pave way for new, cleaner structures.

Though shy and naïve, Achan looks older than her age. She is inured to the cruel life. She agrees to tell me her ordeal through a translator. “I exchange sex for food, water or soap. Sometimes a group of police men who make night patrols rape me till morning and do not offer me anything.”

When lady luck befalls her, she is invited by other street girls to service truck drivers at Gumbo, a major transit point for many long distance truck drivers.
She has never used a condom because she has no access to it. Her peers are lucky enough to be employed as part time bartenders at night, where they also sleep with men for as little as 3SDG. Her wish is to work as a brothel prostitute because this will assure her of a bed, toilet and bathing water.

CCC’s research also revealed that women pimps take advantage of underage local girls by forcefully taking them and selling them to male clients.

No love in Juba, only sex: Sex workers in Juba have one mission – to make money. No one has time for love. At Near Bros ‘Lodge’, home to a mixture of Kenyan, Ugandans and Congolese sex workers, I meet Stella Njeri. Stella does not even look at the faces of her clients: “I cannot even tell the colours of their underwears,” she says. All she cares about is how much she can make in each encounter.

Another Congolese quoted by CCC in their 2011 Action research says that she has never enjoyed sex, “I do it without any emotions. It is like the way you use your computer in the office or a cup to drink water.”

Another Kenyan girl told how she shares her men with her girlfriends, if they are unlucky to get clients. “I usually have a steady client and when he finishes with me, he is free to sleep with my three other friends while I watch.” Is she not jealous? Jealousy does not count here. She says they all came to get money and not love.

In this lodge, I discover that Kenyan girls distinguish themselves from the rest. They will never agree to sleep with a man without protection, unlike their Ugandan and Congolese counterparts. They reveal that most Kenyan girls are educated and exposed and will never agree to stoop low, at whatever cost.

“Even if it is about money, one has to think of the dangers involved. We buy our own condoms at 5 Sudanese Pounds or sometimes get them for free from UNFPA and other NGOs.”

Damaris Umutoni is a beautician by day and a sex worker at night; a situation replicated by many girls in Juba, as a means of supplementing their daily income. She left Uganda in 2010. Her parents had died leaving her with the burden of catering for her siblings: “We literally foraged for food and I couldn’t stand by and watch my younger ones dying while I could do something to change the scenario.”

Umutoni left Kampala for Gulu, Northern Uganda. She started selling her body. She would later befriend a South Sudanese man who took her to Juba and took full advantage of her. “The man enjoyed all manner of sex with me without even caring to use a condom.”

He even acted as her pimp by soliciting sex on her behalf from other men and never bothered to pay her a single dime. Her sexual freedom arrived when she discovered Customs market. Customs is a major sex hot spot located along the main road from Yei into Juba town, between the Dr John Garang Mausoleum and the Juba University roundabouts.

Here, she was able to network with fellow Ugandans who showed her the tricks of trade. She can now negotiate her own price and send money to her siblings back home.

When a Juba girl tells you she works for the ‘UN’, she means she can offer service to any man, anywhere and at any price. Auma and Anyango admit that the trade is surrounded by many risks: “You are either worrying about the wrath of the police or being infected with the deadly HIV or the amount of money you need to send back home,” says Auma, adding that at any given minute, one has to be worrying about something.

The current political situation in South Sudan, termed as precarious by the international community, has done little to deter the efforts of sex workers. Police patrols have been intensified in major hotspots, including Jebel, and even though many foreign girls are nabbed for lack of necessary papers, majority walk their way to freedom by offering free sex to policemen.

Ajok Deng, a social worker, descries the double standards that some police apply when dealing with prostitutes, “Why would a police demand for sex and at the same time pretend to be offering security?”

Trafficking for sex
The Counter-Trafficking Act, signed into law by President Mwai Kibaki has been touted as a milestone in curtailing the trafficking in persons. It offers protection to trafficking victims in Kenya. The law gives a 30-year jail term or a hefty fine of Sh30 million for convicted traffickers. This notwithstanding, traffickers are still engaging in the act despite the penalties.

Scores of women I interviewed admitted that they were victims of trafficking. A simple internet advertisement that read, ‘Waitress jobs available in Juba, attractive salary, accommodation offered, visas & work permits organized for you’ landed Beatrice Mugambi in jeopardy.

She fell into the scam of an unscrupulous recruiting agency that once had offices in Nairobi’s River Road area. “I parted with Sh150, 000,” she says. This caused a financial dent in her family as her father had to sell a huge chunk of land to ensure that her daughter would be gainfully employed in Juba.

On the material day, Beatrice met with her agent at the Kampala Coach Bus terminus where she would be introduced to five other ‘beneficiaries’ of the waitress job.

The agent accompanied them to Juba and ensured that all border regulations were complied with. “She was very good to us and ensured that we had meals and drinks at every stop. On arrival at Nimule, the border of Uganda and South Sudan, they were each given $50 to pay for their visas.

Upon arrival in Juba the woman took them to Gumbo brothels near Juba Bridge hotel. This is when it dawned on them that they had been duped.

“We started as cleaners and laundry women around the brothels. The woman later oriented us into the prostitution job. She lied to us that we would work as waitresses when the completion of the ‘big’ hotel was done. The woman (agent) could use derogatory words, often telling the girls that what they couldn’t do with their hands, they could perfect it with their genitals. Soon Beatrice and her co-workers were immersed in prostitution.

Evans Kimoni, director of employment at the National Employment Bureau cautions Kenyans to be wary of fake recruiting agencies. In the wake of the sufferings that domestic workers undergo in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kimoni says that people should be extra careful.

“The ministry is aware that some of the recruitment agents purporting to recruit workers are not genuine. They are exploiting Kenyans. No worker should agree to pay any fees as such; expenses are paid by the employer,” he says.

He adds that anyone planning to seek employment abroad should ensure they have a valid contract. Most people, he says, are ignorant and travel without knowing which job they are going to do. “Some do not bother to inquire about the salary or duration of contract.”

“When an agency claims to offer larger than life employment packages, put a question mark,” he says, adding that his ministry is open for all inquiries from people seeking employment abroad. His department has availed a list of all legitimate recruiting agencies. The list is posted on the ministry’s website which was created with the help of the International Office of Migration.

So what measures has the ministry taken to crack down on rogue agencies? Kimoni says his department works together with the National Security Intelligence Service and the police to net rogue agencies and ensure they are arrested and charged in court.

In worst case scenarios, these agencies are de-registered and its members forced to refund any money they might have taken from unsuspecting clients. “We de-register them and circulate the information in our websites that these agencies are fake and no longer exist.”

The ministry is working on modalities to ensure that foreign embassies accredited to Kenya, including Juba, have labour/employment attaches who will intervene on behalf of workers who are exploited by their employers.

“We need to have government to government bilateral agreements as this will ensure that Kenyans seeking employment abroad are guided under clear terms and regulations,” says Kimoni.

Security bond
Kimoni says plans are underway to have a security bond introduced that would compel all employment agencies to deposit a certain amount of money to an insurance company as bond. This bond, to be signed between an employer and the government, will serve as a guarantee for anyone working overseas, so that in case of repatriation, the bond (money) would be used to transport the worker back home.

“The purpose of the bond is to enable the repatriation of the employee in the event of unforeseen circumstances. The agency will also be required to execute a separate bond with a reputable bank or insurance firm for wages assessed at the equivalent of one month’s wage for all employees engaged in the agency.”

Kimoni decries human trafficking of any form but is optimistic that his ministry, in conjunction with Foreign Affairs, ILO and IOM will curb the vice.
(All names of sex workers have been changed, to protect their identities.)

Muni Hillary
P.O. Box 41, Juba, Sudan
Cell: +249 (0)955255586 | 0477220542 Fax:-

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

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