Category: Politics

No Better or Bitter Enemy than a Man who killed one’s son and jubilant to kill the father too!

By J. Nguen, AUG/28/2016, SSN;

Today is 28 of August; a day in 1991 of which “self determination” for the people of South Sudan was emboldened and declared as the centerpiece and supreme objective of the liberation struggle in the Sudan. There is no better time than acknowledging the objective achieved. Thanks to the SPLM/SPLA’s brave and able “Political–Military High Command” officers, Dr. Lam Ajawin, Gordon Koang Chuol and Dr. Riek Machar Teny, who made self-determination for the people of South Sudan the supreme objective to die for 25 years ago.

Back to the main focus of this piece! On July 8th, 2016, Dr. Riek Machar survived another well coordinated and planned assassination attempt on his life. This was one of the three major assassination attempts on his life.

The July 8th assassination attempt compared to other attempts was lethal. Dr. Machar himself escaped death narrowly. But, unfortunately, the assassins managed to kill close relatives including, Machar’s son and the entire 37 strong fleet body guards. May be their souls rest in peace for ultimate sacrifice!

On December 15, 2013, the same enemy killed 39 of Dr. Machar’s body guards and some close relatives residing in Machar’s residence. In both instances, Machar’s homes were bombed to ground, evidence of determined beasts ran wild.

However, the assassination attempt in 2013 was given recourse. This unfulfilled melioration can be attributed to a pending proposed hybrid court inked in the Compromised Peace Agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on August 17th, 2015. The hybrid court and other provisions in the agreement led to Dr. Machar’s return to Juba on April 26, 2016, despite stiff warnings from well wishers, reasoning that the move was too risky.

These advises were presented both in print and in close knit private discussions between Machar and aides. Some of us cautioned Machar and cohorts that the whole process was a drummed up trick to decapitate his options. Such sentiments were supported by stark evidence by President Kiir’s regime’s intransigence toward implementing the agreement. It was established that Salva Kiir and cohort were playing fox and after all non-committal to the peace agreement.

Despite all warning signs, Dr. Machar gave-in to the region and the international community and against all odds trusted them because of some undisclosed assurances made behind closed doors. Also, I should say, this is also coupled with Machar’s hard-mindedness driven by supreme ego of nationalism and humanistic convictions.

Sadly, in less than three months upon Machar’s return to Juba, hell got loose as predicted. Dr. Machar was cheated and narrowly escaped death in a wheelchair.

Therefore, at this point, one would ask where the region and the international community were when Machar and commanders were being hunted down.

To our dismay, the region and the international community have turned jubilant spectators as Machar dodged barrel bombs and Israeli-made machine guns. The region and the international community continued to stay aloof and only were involved in unhelpful and lazy diplomacy while the assassins were busy and thereof jubilant that the hunted was in their reach and doomed.

As a result they killed his son, close relatives and the entire fleet of 37 men strong. In disguise, in less than a week, President Salva Kiir called on Machar to report to Juba in 48 hours or risk replacement. Meanwhile, President Salva Kiir himself has given a tall military order to bring back Dr. Machar’s head “dead or alive.”

Then, the Transitional Government of National Unity of which Dr. Machar was part of and the cabinet ministers Machar nominated were aborted. In earnest, President Salva Kiir installed his preferred choice among the SPLM/A-IO’s defected assassination co-conspirators.

At this juncture, it’s imperative to stress that Salva Kiir was convinced Dr. Machar’s head would be by his desk before July ends, dead or alive.

Against all odds, on August 17, 2016, Dr. Machar, his wife Madam Angelina Teny and close protection unit were extracted by the United Nations Force from the South Sudan and DRC’s border. Uncensored report indicated that President Salva Kiir and assassins were devastated and couldn’t believe the hunted survived the countrywide manhunt both by air and ground force.

An inside operative revealed that this technical “task to kill” was assigned to the U.S.A trained Americans mercenaries (BlackWater) and the Uganda Special Force hired by the regime. Remarkably all efforts successfully failed but Dr. Machar’s condition during the extraction was revealing to say the least.

So far, a friendly country has chipped in and bestowed Machar a helping hand. Now, Dr. Machar is recuperating and the world is waiting for his next move. Despite Machar’s incredible ordeals, the region and the USA appeared insensitive to what happened to the SPLM/A-IO and its leader.

It’s revealing that the region and the international community don’t care about the welfare of the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan to the letter and spirit.

The region and the international community don’t care why Dr. Machar and his men in uniform were attacked, humiliated and killed. The region and the international community don’t care and don’t want to know why Dr. Machar narrowly escaped death and ended up in the DRC.

The region and the international community don’t give a damn that the peace agreement was being violated by President Salva Kiir before their watchful eyes. And above all, the United States don’t care why local are being killed based on their ethnicities while American humanitarian workers in South Sudan were raped by Salva Kiir’s forces in Juba.

This is where I have a major problem. Why I wrote this comment before Dr. Machar briefed the media, South Sudanese, the region and the international community on his next move, the way forward and how he narrowly escaped death.

Dr. Machar, the region and the international community must know these:
I. There is no better and bitter enemy than a man who killed your son and close relatives not one but twice;
II. There are no better and bitter enemies than men who destroyed one’s nationhood and people, their crime, their tribe;
III. There are not better and bitter enemies than men who destroyed one’s livelihood in disguise of tribal interest;
IV. There is no better and bitter enemy than a man who destroyed one’s properties, your community and nation solely for distorted self-interest;
V. There are no better and bitter enemies than men and people who castrated boys from your community, abducted girls, raped women and girls and killed them after rape;
VI. There are no better and bitter enemies than men and government who ordered soldiers to rape women and girls in lieu of their salary;
VII. There are no better and bitter enemies than men and government who burned alive theelderly and children based on their ethnicity;
VIII. There is no better and bitter enemies than men and government who force one’s people to live as IDPs in their own country;
IX. And there is no better and bitter enemy than a man who killed your mother, her crime is her tribe.

If these crimes are nothing and no profound reasons to fight for in the eyes and mind of whomever, then I must confess that life in itself is not worth living. But, I believe there is one rare human being out there, who held the convictions that one has a right to life and such a core principle ought to be respected and protected.

Therefore, this is paramount and it’s time to act. Dr. Machar must STOP behaving like Christ. It’s time to reach out, even though it means dinning with the evil in human cloth.

There are no better times and worse devils than the crimes committed against the people of South Sudan by President Salva Kiir.

J. Nguen is a South Sudanese analyst and political commentator. He can be reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com.

The Demise of National Unity in South Sudan and the Way Forward

BY: Dr. LAKO Jada Kwajok, UK, AUG/18/2016, SSN;

“We don’t like you. My plan would have been to order the South Sudanese soldiers to capture the airstrips in Torit, Juba, Bahr Al-Ghazal and Upper Nile so that no government aeroplanes would land. We would then capture the steamer, and then declare our intention to secede from you [Northerners]. We are not politicians nor do we know politics. We do not like you at all – we cannot forget the atrocities that you committed against our ancestors. If it means death, so be it!”

The above are the words of our hero, Daniel Jumi Tongun during his interrogation in the aftermath of the Torit Mutiny on 18/08/1955. The British lured the Equatoria Corps mutineers into surrendering to the Sudanese government.

All those who surrendered totaling 300 soldiers including the leader of the revolt, Lieutenant Ronaldo Loyela were summarily executed by firing squads. Those were the esteemed martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the independence of South Sudan. Their colleagues who never trusted the British and hence didn’t surrender withdrew to the mountains and later formed the nucleus for the Anya-Nya movement.

Daniel Jumi Tongun and Marko Rume were arrested following the discovery of a telegram linking them to the mutineers. The two only escaped execution because 10 to 20 of the accused who were brought to testify against them, denied ever knowing the two suspects.

It was a display of bravery and readiness for self-sacrifice on both sides. On one hand, the mutineers knew they were in deep trouble but that didn’t make them betray their civilian leaders. On the other hand, the two leaders exhibited unwavering stance and were not afraid to tell the Jallaba exactly what Southerners felt about them.

Before the mutiny, it was known to few people that Tongun did write a letter to the Equatoria Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) in Torit urging them to postpone their plan to a later date. He advised them to wait for the return of the leading Southern members of parliament like Benjamin Lwoki and Buth Diu Thung who were in Khartoum at the time.

But tensions reached a boiling point following the evacuation of families of the northern soldiers, the ordering of the No. 2 company of the Equatoria Corps to travel to Khartoum and the arrest of Lieutenant Emilio Taffeng; one of the few high-ranking Southern officer.

These events prompted the Equatoria Corps NCOs to proceed with the execution of their plan without heeding the advice of their civilian leaders.

Resistance to foreign invasion or intrusion was a common denominator in the relation between the various communities of South Sudan and all the aliens.

However, the Torit mutiny was the first concerted effort by the Southerners against foreign rule. It ushered in a new dawn of collective endeavours by all the communities towards the realisation of the independence of South Sudan.

That era also witnessed the emergence of the spirit of national unity and a belief that our destinies as different tribes are intertwined.

South Sudanese national unity was though in its early stages of evolution and many would have expected it to grow much stronger as communities establish more ties through learning each other languages, the development of a common language (for example Arabi Juba), intermarriages and commercial activities among other factors.

Alas! The progression everyone expected became a sort of regression and those early stages in mid-1950’s turned out to be the golden era of South Sudanese national unity. The question that comes to mind is what went wrong?!

I believe three factors bear much of the blame for the demise of South Sudanese national unity.

The initial damage to our national unity occurred with the signing of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement (AAPA) on March 12, 1972. Although General Joseph Lagu, the leader of the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) included Joseph Oduho (one of the hawks) in the negotiating team, people in Equatoria remained skeptical about the peace process.

Some South Sudanese politicians including members of the SSLM who were staunch supporters of South Sudan’s independence like Eliaba Surur, refused to endorse the peace initiative. Tongun thought that Aggrey Jaden, former President of the Southern Sudan Provisional Government and Francis Mayar, a lawyer who lived in Kinshasa should have headed the peace delegation to Addis Ababa.

Tongun and Chief Lolik Lado of Liria were dismayed by Abel Alier leading the government delegation. Lolik asserted that by sitting on the side of Northerners, “Alier made it easier for the North to get more from the South and difficult for the South to get more from the North.”

Many South Sudanese are still oblivious about the reason why Alier was chosen by Numeiri to lead the government delegation. From the Northerners’ perspective, it made sense because Regional Autonomy for the South was Alier’s idea in the first place and he was known to be a strong supporter of the unity of Sudan.

Nevertheless, Alier could have garnered support for his administration by fostering the fragile national unity through inclusive and equitable policies. Instead, he pursued a tribalistic policy turning Southern Sudan into a brutal police authority under his Chief of Police Ruben Mag.

The Kokora (re-division) movement in Equatoria was the natural result of Alier’s failed policies.

The emergence of SPLM/SPLA in 1983 was met with little enthusiasm if at all in Equatoria. Dr John Garang was never a well-known political figure in South Sudan before 1983.

There hadn’t been any covert mobilisation of the masses or enlightenment about the objectives of the movement.

The fact that it resorted to looting, rape and unlawful killings of members of the other ethnicities made many people particularly the Equatorians believe that the SPLM/SPLA is a tribal movement bent on settling grudges with the Equatorians for bringing about Kokora.

Additionally, two more reasons contributed to the limited recruitment of the Equatorians into the movement. The name of the movement and its objectives were a big problem for them. How could they sacrifice their lives for the liberation of Sudan when they have fought for nearly two decades to secede from it?!

And to a lesser extent, the general impression that the SPLM/SPLA was a communist movement didn’t help in attracting recruits in Equatoria to join it. Having many known communists at the helm, the formation of the Red Army and allegiance to the former Soviet Union and its allies were enough evidence to back their belief.

During the early stages of the movement, Garang used to persuade the secessionists that they can fight up to Kosti at the borders with the North and leave those who were for the liberation of the whole Sudan to proceed northward.

It was misleading and dishonest as there can’t be two objectives for a liberation movement.

A few years ago, I watched a video clip shown inadvertently by General Malaak Ayuen over SSTV where Garang questioned the wisdom of the Bashir’s government in striking a deal with Dr Riek Machar, the secessionist while continuing to fight him the unionist.

The truth of the matter is that Garang was a unionist and many SPLM/SPLA cadres still believe in the New Sudan vision. From the outset, the New Sudan vision appeared unachievable to many people especially those who know the intricacies of the Sudanese society and politics.

But most worryingly it was irreconcilable with the demand of the Equatorians and others for total independence from the North. With such a conflict of objectives, national unity became a casualty of all the eventualities.

With President Kiir at the helm in Juba following the independence of South Sudan, the tide could have been turned favouring a cohesive society which would ultimately salvage our national unity.

Kiir had the perfect circumstances at the beginning of his reign for a successful or even an iconic Presidency. He took charge of a country that owed no loans to any foreign governments or international monetary institutions. A government that had billions of US Dollars of oil revenues stashed in its coffers, vast untapped natural resources and a reasonable number of technocrats to lead the modernisation process.

Apart from the Abyei issue which is a little bit complicated, the rest of the territorial claims against our neighbours are amenable to amicable solutions. Only a few countries in the world received the kind of support we enjoyed at the United Nations at the time of joining it. All the major world powers and the international organisations were backing us.

What else would any President hope for? People were overly happy with their newly earned freedom and would have excused the President for any petty shortcomings.

Well, rather than using the massive oil revenues to launch a robust economic development and growth, he squandered the billions of Dollars through corruption that is unheard of in modern history. Tribalism and nepotism became the order of the day.

The enthusiasm that filled the hearts of the young graduates and the young entrepreneurs during the celebration of the first independence day soon settled into a profound despair in the face of unemployment and lack of business opportunities.

The Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians that plunged the country into a civil war was a tremendous blow to national unity. And it didn’t end there as numerous atrocities were also committed by the SPLA against the other Non-Jieng communities.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the President didn’t relent in pursuing his divisive policies that saw the establishment of the illegal 28 new states. In doing so, he hammered the last nail in the coffin of national unity.

South Sudan will never be at peace in the absence of a system of governance that is acceptable to all the communities. Those who think they possess the power to maintain the status quo are just deceiving themselves and postponing the inevitable.

As we can see now, the communities that were considered in the past to be noncombatant have taken up arms to defend themselves and the war has spread to every and each corner of South Sudan.

The current regime has clearly failed and continuing the same system of governance would fall within the definition of insanity which is repeating the same thing with the hope of getting a different result.

In the first place, we must understand that technically South Sudan is not a nation but a group of mini-nations or tribes trying to live together in a territory that was “tailored” for them by the colonialists. There is no doubt that some of the tribes in Equatoria would have preferred to live together with their brethren across the borders in Uganda and the DRC.

The same applies to the Nuer and the Anuak people who probably would have opted for their communities to be within one territory in each case rather than being divided between Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Hence, it’s imperative that we adopt the system of governance that would meet the aspirations of all the communities in South Sudan.

In a world of reason, federalism would have been the right choice to address the need for devolution of power from the centre to the states. But the events that have occurred which were often beyond reason and the magnitude of the damage inflicted on the social fabric of the country – showed that the situation requires more than federalism as a solution.

Now in South Sudan, we have people who were made refugees three times in their lifetime. They were refugees in the neighbouring countries during the Anya-Nya War, through the SPLM/SPLA War and finally in the current Kiir’s War.

When are they going to live peacefully and enjoy life in their God-given land?! Father Saturnino Lohure must be stirring in his grave of what has become of South Sudan.

The only system of governance that would bring about a lasting peace in South Sudan is a confederation of states. Switzerland is a Confederate state and ranks No. 8 on the list of the richest countries in the world. Belgium is a hybrid of a federation and a confederation and remains one of the most stable and advanced countries of the world.

In the case of Serbia and Montenegro, despite sharing the same ancestry and ethnicity, yet they initially chose a confederation which subsequently became two independent states.

Looking around the world, one cannot help admiring the Swiss Confederacy that has been there since 1291.

Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok

References:
( 1 ) The First Sudanese Civil War – by Scopas S. Poggo, Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University, Mansfield campus.
( 2 ) War and Peace in the Sudan 1955 – 1972, by Cecil Eprile.

Why South Sudan should accept deployment of 4,000 regional protection forces.

BY: Chol Deng Yol , South Sudan, AUG/15/2016, SSN;

Political manipulation is amplifying in South Sudan to the extent that the informed folks have become uninformed; truth have become untruths, deceptions and deceits proceed honesty, allegation turns newscast and news chances claims. There is just too much confusion; the public is disordered with unsubstantiated information here and there.

Two weeks ago, politicians organized peaceful demonstrations in all states of South Sudan to protest against foreign forces intervention following IGAD’s communiques on South Sudan. One week later, the same politicians, after the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, accepted deployment of what they called “Protection” force to South Sudan, defeating the purpose of the earlier organized peaceful demonstrations in the country.

The very innocent general public including school children who were organized into peaceful demonstrators, even though, rejecting deployment of foreign troops were puzzled by the government shifting position to unconditional acceptance of the foreign troops.

To some informed citizens, the government shifting position was translated as a ploy to score some diplomatic scores regionally.

The uninformed majority duped as “peaceful demonstrators” were made to understand that UN was set to take over the Country’s affairs. To the poor uneducated and unconscious South Sudanese, there existed little knowledge on the difference between the so-called UN Trusteeship/stewardship and regional protection forces.

Erroneous analysis of the root causes of our problems will always make fools of us, the South Sudanese.

Transiently, we are in current crises because of power struggling among the SPLM elites. These elites, because of their thirst for power, have fragmented the legendary SPLM party into IO, IG, DC, and SPLM Equatoria etc.

To the politicians, the knowledge gaps among the general population have turned into golden opportunity to misinform the uninformed citizens to rebel against the international community, particularly the UN, instead of against the very politicians who have mishandled the affairs of the sovereign state, South Sudan.

From time to time, our South Sudanese politicians lie to the public that the UN and the international community should be blamed for the ongoing political crises because they both have interests to proclaim the sovereignty and leadership of the government.

But the question begs; to whom is the principle of sovereignty attested to? Do we have sovereign state or sovereign individuals in South Sudan?

In modern societies, individual persons do not have sovereignty unless they are absolute rulers like the Pharaoh, but this is the case yet again in South Sudan.

Our politicians act as if they are above the sovereignty of this beloved country forgetting that they are under the sovereignty of another entity called South Sudan. Naturally, we, the South Sudanese are impatient with high temperatures but these high dispositions will always put our beloved country at risk.

Cognizant of our people temperament and the government’s way of handling political and diplomatic issues, the recent adoption of the UNSC resolution 2304 (2016) on the deployment of 4000 regional protection forces to South Sudan was a clear assessment to the South Sudanese diplomatic maturity; the world has resorted to our neighbors, with their fickle interests, to fix our house, a move that will likely be rejected by the government.

For the government of South Sudan to maintain her face globally, acquiescence to the deployment of the regional forces remains the only viable option otherwise the current regime will be isolated diplomatically.

What the government should do now is to work-out the “exit” strategy for the regional protection forces; negotiate the size, mandate, weapons and contributing countries.

Direct confrontations with IGAD, African Union (AU) as well as the UN Country member states will not only scare away investors, including big financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank, but also will motivate possibility of placing South Sudan under some form of international supervision.

Threats of arms embargo and sanctions may be avoided only if our government avoids further falling-out with the United Nations country member states as well as the UN Security Council.

I would conclusively advise our government to approach diplomatic matters with sober thoughts because in the middle of difficulty lies any opportunity, otherwise accepting regional forces is far much better than the UN Trusteeship.

LATEST: Kiir rejects deployment of 4,000 regional troops to South Sudan, the implications

International Press: AUG/14/2016, SSN;

Regardless of the Kiir government’s latest rejection, the UN has approved the deployment of 4,000 foreign troops to South Sudan. Presidential Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny, told the media that the government of President Salva Kiir on whose behalf he spoke, will not cooperate with the United Nations approved force “because we will not allow our country to be taken over by U.N. Any force that will be called Juba Protection Force will not be accepted.

Ateny made the remarks after the government convened a cabinet meeting at which it was resolved to send a letter rejecting a proposal authorizing deployment of protection force from the region under the united nations mission in South Sudan.

The letter prepared by the minister of cabinet affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro and approved by president Kiir likened the deployment of 4,000 foreign troops to “invasion and interference in the internal affairs”.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda are expected to contribute the bulk of the troops who will be authorised to use “all necessary means — including undertaking robust action — to fulfill their mandate”.

The force would ensure security in Juba and at the airport and “promptly and effectively engage any actor that is credibly found to be preparing or engaging in attacks”.

The council would consider imposing an arms embargo on South Sudan if UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reports that there are impediments to the deployment.

Ban will deliver a report to the council in 30 days and a vote on the embargo could take place in five days if he finds that the government is uncooperative.

South Sudan’s war has raged for two and half years, fuelled by growing stockpiles of weapons.

Britain voiced disappointment that the embargo was not imposed immediately with deputy ambassador Peter Wilson telling the council: “We must and we will return to this issue.”

TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS

The vote followed a week of tough negotiations, with China, Russia and Egypt voicing concerns over deploying UN peacekeepers without the government’s full consent.

South Sudan’s ambassador said his government rejected the resolution, telling the council that details of the deployment — including timing and the weapons the troops would be allowed to carry — must be negotiated with Juba.

“Consent of South Sudan would have been important as it would have given the force the necessary freedom to carry out the outlined mandate tasks,” said Akuei Bona Malwal.

Uganda, an ally of President Kiir, said it would not contribute troops to the force, even as the UNHCR reported that 110,000 South Sudanese had crossed into Uganda, by latest reports.

“No one thinks this regional force will be a cure-all to the instability and the violence that exists there,” US deputy ambassador David Pressman told reporters. Sudan also declined to join this regional force.

The United Nations Security Council took vigorous action on Friday to greatly strengthen a peacekeeping force in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, ravaged by civil war and suffering for nearly three years. The South Sudanese government immediately vowed not to cooperate.

A resolution, passed by an 11-to-0 vote with four abstentions, basically gives the United Nations far more authority in South Sudan, backed by thousands of additional troops and lethal force if needed, to protect civilians and pressure armed antagonists in the conflict — including government soldiers. It also threatens to impose an arms embargo on the country.

The Security Council’s approval came as the mandate of the current peacekeeping operation, known as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, or Unmiss, was about to expire. Unmiss has not been effective, as a peace agreement has been repeatedly ignored.

The resolution, sponsored by the United States, represents an unusually robust action by the Council, invoking its rarely used coercive power to militarily intervene when international peace and security are considered to be threatened.

David Pressman, an American ambassador at the United Nations who attended the vote, criticized the South Sudanese government for what he described as actions that had crippled Unmiss’s ability to operate.

“Until the leaders of South Sudan are willing to put what is good for their people before themselves — putting peace ahead of personal ambition and power — and until they show the will to find a political solution to this grinding conflict, the people of South Sudan will continue to suffer from the bloodshed and instability their leaders wreak,” Mr. Pressman said after the resolution was approved.

South Sudan’s government opposed the strengthened peacekeeping mission, raising the possibility of clashes between the country’s armed forces and foreign soldiers deployed there by the United Nations.

Under the resolution, the United Nations’ mission will be extended for at least three months, and a new 4,000-soldier “regional protection force” will be deployed in Juba, the capital, and other strategic locations, including the airport.

The new force represents an increase of over 30 percent in armed personnel for the United Nations mission of 12,000 troops, which has been unable to stop episodic bouts of killing and abuses, including widespread rape, by both government forces and rebel factions.

United Nations soldiers and aid workers have been repeatedly harassed and attacked, and in some cases killed. Thousands of South Sudanese civilians, fearing for their lives, have been living in United Nations sites in Juba and other locations.

The resolution specifies that the new force, which diplomats said would mostly be drawn from neighboring countries, will be authorized to “promptly and effectively engage any actor that is credibly found to be preparing attacks, or engages in attacks, against United Nations protection of civilians sites, other United Nations premises, United Nations personnel, international and national humanitarian actors, or civilians.”

The resolution does not impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, some member states and outside advocates, including international rights groups, had wanted.

But in what was intended as a coercive step, the resolution allows an arms embargo to be imposed if the government does not cooperate.

The resolution’s failure to achieve a unanimous approval of the 15-member Security Council partly reflected the difficulties it has often faced in deciding on any action involving the use of military force.

Russia, China, Egypt and Venezuela, the Council members that abstained, had criticized some provisions in the resolution. Russia and China in particular have been reluctant to take actions that they view as incursions on another country’s sovereignty.

Still, the Russians and Chinese did not feel strongly enough to exercise their veto power, which both have as permanent Security Council members.

South Sudan’s promise as a newly independent state in 2011 devolved into civil war two years later, and has left tens of thousands dead and more than 2.3 million people displaced.

Soldiers loyal to President Kiir — who belongs to the Dinka ethnic group, South Sudan’s largest — battled troops led by Riek Machar of the Nuer ethnic group, which is believed to be the second largest.

Troops on both sides committed human rights abuses against civilians on a devastating scale, United Nations human rights officials and other groups have found.

A peace deal officially ended the fighting last year. Mr. Machar, who had served as vice president before he was dismissed in 2013, agreed to become Mr. Kiir’s deputy again and returned to Juba in April.

But fighting broke out again between the two sides on July 7, killing hundreds. Mr. Machar’s residence was destroyed and he fled the capital. He has refused to return to Juba until more international troops are deployed.

Last week, an investigation by the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, placed most of the blame for the violence, which it said included mass rapes, on Mr. Kiir’s forces. Mr. Hussein said that while some civilians were killed in the crossfire, others were summarily executed by government forces who appear to have singled out members of the Nuer, an ethnic group loyal to Mr. Machar. The investigation also found that these same forces committed most of the 217 cases of sexual violence, many involving minors.

The resolution also calls for an arms embargo, but only if the government does not cooperate with the expanded peacekeeping force. The Security Council has threatened several times in the last 18 months to block arms shipments without making good on the threat.

And the Obama administration, apparently fearful of losing leverage with Mr. Kiir, has refused to cut off the arms flow. While such a ban would affect both sides, experts believe it would have more impact on the government, the only side with heavy weapons, including helicopter gunships from Ukraine.

Severing that supply chain, as well as the trade in tanks and artillery, could actually get Mr. Kiir’s attention.

Prospects for a UN Arms Embargo on South Sudan: IGAD, AU and Security Council in support!

By Luuk van de Vondervoort, a former member of the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan, AUG/11/2016, SSN;

With clear signs that the UN Security Council may be ready to implement a proposed arms embargo on South Sudan, the HSBA recently published detailed assessment found out that there are important dissimilarities between Darfur and South Sudan that could make an embargo in South Sudan more impactful, with positive implications for the protection of civilians and the stabilization of the security situation.

There are signs that the UN Security Council may be ready to take this step in South Sudan.

But, unlike Sudan, South Sudan is a relatively isolated country with very limited infrastructure, including roads or airports capable of accommodating aircraft with heavy-lift capacity. The country is heavily dependent on foreign
aid, particularly since the near complete collapse of revenues in the wake of falling oil production and global oil prices.

The country has virtually no indigenous manufacturing capability and therefore currently imports all weapons and ammunition. Similarly, there is limited capacity to service or repair damaged equipment, as evidenced by the abandoned military hardware that litters many areas in the country.

Instead of seeking spare parts to repair such hardware, South Sudan frequently looks to import entirely new
equipment, also as this is more lucrative for those signing the contracts.

All of these factors mean that, from a technical perspective, the implementation of an embargo is much more feasible in South Sudan than in Darfur. Active monitoring of the few main entry points into the country would make weapons importation much more difficult.

It is often pointed out that the country is already awash with weapons, which would limit the impact of an embargo. This is true, but it ignores the role of heavy weapons in the conflict.

The recent July 8 fighting in the capital, Juba, saw the use of Mi-24 attack helicopters, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and other heavy weapons. The continued availability of these weapons has significantly encouraged those who seek a military solution at the expense of political compromise.

An embargo is likely to have its greatest impact on these heavy weapons systems — as it has in Darfur, and as the HSBA report noted—as they are the easiest to track and monitor, including by satellite, as has been already demonstrated by the UN Panel of Experts for South Sudan.

An embargo would also inhibit South Sudan’s efforts to establish its own internal weapons manufacturing capability, which the government has shown recent interest in advancing.

Given South Sudan’s high dependence on donor support, there is a drive for transparency in the country’s finances that would also support the efficacy of an embargo.

Donors do not want their funds being diverted for the purchase of attack helicopters, so those member states supporting the humanitarian response in South Sudan have a strong incentive to report on violations of an embargo.

The likely necessity of South Sudan receiving comprehensive international support to alleviate its acute financial crisis will mean stringent conditions and controls on expenditure.

Contrary to the situation in Sudan, this international financial scrutiny would lower the additional resources and
political capital required for monitoring and thus enforcement of the embargo.

With regard to regional support for an embargo and the dynamics of the Security Council, once again there are important differences between South Sudan and Sudan. The key suppliers of weapons to Sudan, the Russian Federation and China, as the HBSA report notes, have consistently rejected active policing of the embargo.

But in South Sudan, China, Israel, and Ukraine, all previously important weapons suppliers, have all expressed
significant reservations over the conflict in the country. There is evidence that some of these suppliers have begun to unilaterally withdraw — or at least limit — support for weapons sales to South Sudan.

Ukraine, for example, has found itself in a difficult position: it requires the support of the United States and the European Union in response to its conflict in eastern Ukraine, and seeks to align itself with EU policy, which includes the Union’s own arms embargo on South Sudan.

Ukraine is therefore both a significant weapons supplier, having provided the Mi24 helicopters, but now supports an arms embargo. Ukraine’s shift in position is indicative of a broader change among Security Council member states on the embargo in recent months, illustrating a concern that the conflict is spiraling out of control and likely to lead to regional insecurity if left unaddressed.

The role of some regional states, specifically Uganda, is a concern. Uganda has been vocal in rejecting a weapons embargo, and has been a significant conduit for weapons during the conflict. However, there is reason to believe
that Uganda’s resistance to the embargo would be moderated if it was put into effect.

The Ugandan government was not happy to be mentioned in the UN Panel of Experts’ report to the Security Council and the international scrutiny that accompanied it.

Furthermore, Uganda’s strategic importance to key allies, such as the United States, has somewhat declined as it has sought to limit involvement in both the counter-Lord’s Resistance Army operations and the African Union (AU) mission in Somalia.

The recent AU meeting in Kigali showed Uganda to be largely out of step with most of the region on South Sudan. Ugandan President Museveni is seemingly reassessing his position, as evidenced by his call on South Sudanese President Kiir to accept a regional intervention force.

At the same time as Uganda has become more isolated over South Sudan, Sudan’s relationship with the international community has been more cooperative than at any time in the past decade, and this may be affecting its role in providing arms to South Sudanese elements.

While there is evidence that Sudan has supplied weapons to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO), Khartoum appears to have resisted the rebels’ requests for heavy weapons, which suggests that it is closely monitoring the situation and moderating its engagement accordingly.

Ultimately, it is a matter of degree to what extent an embargo will reduce the arms flow to South Sudan. But an embargo will have at least one foreseeable impact, which is that certain sellers who do not wish to be seen as
contravening international law will withdraw from the market.

This will not discourage individual arms smugglers and the countries that supply them. But the black market tends to deliver bad quality or inappropriate weapons at excessive prices, thereby increasing the cost of doing business in South Sudan, both literally and politically.

Apart from such technical aspects, an embargo serves an important political function that is mentioned in the HSBA report but easily underestimated.

So far, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development-IGAD, the AU, and the UN Security Council have only threatened an embargo. The Government of South Sudan appears increasingly immune to these threats and expects no action.

The embargo would signal, first of all, that there is resolve inside the Security Council to push through with new, previously untried measures—and that more may follow. This would signal that the government does not act on an
equal standing with other sovereign nations that are allowed to freely purchase weapons on the international markets, because these countries do not use weapons to systematically kill their own citizens.

Juba has been incredibly sensitive to any such signalling and understandably so: the implicit message is that the current crop of leaders is unworthy to be the representatives of its people.

Delegitimizing the current leadership on the basis of its actions, particularly if the embargo is clearly tied in with language on human rights violations, can drastically change the tone of the debate and demonstrate that the international community is looking beyond the Kiir-Machar dichotomy.

Embargoes can outlive their use when they are not sufficiently tailored to support diplomatic efforts and political developments. In South Sudan, the Security Council should introduce the embargo while simultaneously outlining a pathway to its lifting by tying the embargo to milestones that the conflict parties need to achieve.

Conditions for partial lifting could include a lasting cessation of hostilities and an integration of forces.

Ultimately, the embargo could be fully lifted once a newly-elected government is in place that meets basic criteria of governance and protection of civilians. This requires more committed diplomacy that’s based on active monitoring and a solid understanding of the power dynamics inside South Sudan and the region.

But this would make the embargo a fully-fledged part of a political solution for South Sudan’s future instead of an empty gesture setup to fail.

(Luuk van de Vondervoort was the arms expert on the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan until mid-2016.
For questions, comments on content, or feedback, contact:
Emile LeBrun
HSBA for Sudan and South Sudan
Small Arms Survey
emile.lebrun@smallarmssurvey.org)

Lam Akol resigns from Kiir’s South Sudan govt, says Peace Deal is Over

AUG/01/2016, RadioTamazuj & other sources, SSN;

Dr Lam Akol Ajawin, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security in the South Sudanese cabinet, has resigned his position saying that “there is no more peace agreement to implement in Juba.”

Lam was one of two members of the non-armed opposition parties to be appointed to ministerial positions in the Transitional Government of National Unity under the terms of the peace deal signed last August.

The ‘unity’ government is showing more signs of fractures with the departure of SPLM-IO Chairman Riek Machar from Juba with several other officials and now Lam Akol’s resignation.

The National Alliance chairman in his resignation statement blamed President Salva Kiir for dealing a “final blow” to the peace deal by his actions since the first week of July “culminating in the military attack on the First Vice President, dislodging him from Juba and invoking his absence to fill his position with a person of his choice in the name of SPLM-IO.”

“One cannot with a clear conscience serve under such a regime,” the minister wrote.

Lam cited other violations of the peace deal including the creation of 28 states, delays in forming the transitional assembly, obstructions of ceasefire monitors, and “ethnic-oriented killings in Rajaa, Wau and other ares in Equatoria, [and] refusing to lift the state of emergency.”

The outgoing agriculture minister condemned and mocked the president’s decision to replace Machar with his top lieutenant Taban Deng as first vice president, calling Taban Deng a ‘poodle.’

Lam pointed to the violence last month in Juba as marking the end of the security arrangements of the peace deal. “History teaches us that whenever the security arrangements of any peace agreement collapse the whole agreement collapses,” he said.

The minister has also resigned his position within the non-armed opposition National Alliance and the Democratic Change party, saying that there is “no free political space in Juba.”

Lam Akol, who never endorsed the use of violence during the 2014-2015 period of the civil war, now hints at the possibility of joining the armed opposition, though in his statement he did not specifically say he would do so. He disclosed, “We are consulting with like-minded compatriots so as to build a broad national front to lead our relentless effort to save our country… The people of South Sudan will not sand more of a callous, totalitarian and ethnio-centric regime that seems to thrive on the suffering of its own people.”

Sources confirmed to Radio Tamazuj prior to Lam’s departure that opposition groups are organizing to form a new coalition to battle the Kiir government after the breakup of the SPLM/SPLM-IO government, though the details of these efforts are yet to be reported.

In Juba, meanwhile, Kornilo Kon, the head of the National Alliancein Juba, confirmed to Radio Tamazuj that his former boss Dr. Lam Akol submitted his resignation on Monday to the party members after consultation.

He said that the party members have accepted his resignation and appointed immediately a new leader. Meanwhile, they plan tomorrow to nominate someone from their ranks to replace Lam in the cabinet as agriculture minister.

In the latest developments, forces loyal to embattled South Sudan first vice-president Riek Machar on Sunday warned they would attack Juba if a third force is not deployed in South Sudan.

“We are waiting for orders from the commander-in-chief to give orders and we move on Juba,” said James Gadet, Machar’s spokesman.

He said fighting was going on in the northwest of Juba and also claimed that the opposition (SPLA-IO) had captured a military bases in Katigir.

Gadet also said government forces loyal to President Salva Kiir had carried out aerial bombardments of their bases in Lanya County but the ground attacks had been repulsed.

He also added that in the past one week, their forces had captured 21 military trucks from government soldiers.

Meanwhile, guarantors of the South Sudanese peace deal, which include East African nations, China and Western powers, met in Khartoum on Sunday to discuss the situation of the transitional government after the July violence and the removal of Machar.

Festus Mogae, Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Chairman, urged the guarantors to “do everything… to prevent a relapse into full-scale war and salvage the Agreement.”

But Lam Akol called the guarantors “impotent” to ensure that Kiir respected the agreement, “a situation that emboldened him more to dishonour the agreement.”

“The agreement was the only hope to save our country from the abyss. Yet, Kiir has opted to leap into the dark. This is the worst nightmare for the people of South Sudan,” said the former minister.

Dr. Riek Machar: A First Vice president or a Failed Suicide bomber?

BY: Malith Kur, London, Canada, JUL/23/2016, SSN;

“Riek Machar had a gun in our meeting, reveals President Kiir as he recounts gun battle ordeal.” CCTV Africa Reporter (http://cctv-africa.com/2016/07/21/video).

As time goes by, extremely troubling details are emerging from what happened in and around the State House in Juba over a week ago. The scene of devastation and unexploded ordnances lying around the presidential compound are indications that a vicious battle took place there. It is a scene that an ordinary person would expect to see on a battlefield, but not within the vicinity of a presidential palace.

According to CCTV reporter, “it is an extraordinary tale.” It is a tale that betrays the madness which has always accompanied Riek Machar’s search for power in South Sudan. But what is even more extraordinary in the eyewitness—President Kiir—account is that the First Vice President was carrying a pistol, a gun.

The simple question to ask in this situation is, “why he carried a gun?” It is a legitimate question for South Sudanese and foreigners alike to ask. But before we try to answer this question, let us take a look at how senior government officials are protected in the world.

We understand that high-ranking government officials around the world fall under the protection of their assigned, professional security personnel. They do not need guns when they attend the business of running the affairs of a nation.

All nations protect their very important people very well. Their protection is governed by the so-called “first rule of protection,” which states that “the protector cannot be a protectee, at least not at the same time.” In other words, important government officials cannot function while looking after their own security. Somebody has to protect them.

Following that principle, presidents and other high-ranking officials worldwide are not responsible for their security details. The state agencies specializing in the protection of government officials carry this responsibility.

The business of the state officials is to run the country, not to manage the minute details of their security. Often well-trained security agents are given necessary resources by states to perform efficient protection of high-ranking officials.

So president Kiir, Fist Vice President Machar, and the Vice-President Wani have well-trained bodyguards and do not need guns to protect themselves.

Given the first rule of protection we have mentioned above, why did Riek Machar, the Fist Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, carry an undeclared gun to the meeting at the State House on July 8, 2016? It is an act that warrants a criminal investigation. It has gone beyond what we expect from political aspirants in the country.

As we now know, few hours before the fighting around the State House in Juba began, Mr Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet, posted a note on his Facebook page in which he claimed that President Kiir attempted to put Machar behind bars. He also rushed to announcing the incident of fighting around the State House.

Indeed, there is a correlation between the Facebook post, the fighting that erupted at the State House, and the gun Mr Machar was carrying in his pocket.

Looking at these activities, one cannot fail to see that there was a coup planned to take place on that day. Machar came with a gun in the anticipation of a violent confrontation and he was ready to use his gun had the conditions permitted him to do so.

President Kiir is right when he says that Mr Machar was likely to assassinate him if he had a chance. The apparent reason Machar did not use his gun to assassinate the president was the fear for his own safety. If his forces had entered the State House, he would have shot the president and announced a takeover by force. That is it.

There is no doubt Mr James Gatdet, who is a professional liar, is going to come out denying that Machar had a gun is his pocket. He will go as far as suggesting that president Kiir is lying to gain sympathy from the public.

But we need to be very clear here that Dr Riek Machar has gone too far and his behaviors amount to a criminal activity. He has chosen terrorism instead of sound political discourse. The ways in which he is pursuing his opportunities to grasp power are no longer governed or supported by the international norms.

I heard him last time saying that he had never killed even a fly, but this time around he wanted to kill the President of South Sudan.

In this unprecedented episode, President Kiir has shown high standards of political civility and how a statesman should conduct himself when dealing with political enemies. He sacrificed his own safety in protecting Machar from a potential harm.

As I have learnt over the years the conduct of Riek Machar, he cannot protect his political enemies. If Mr Kiir were in Machar’s position, Machar would not have spared his life. It would have been an opportunity for him to get rid of a political competitor. This is how William Nyoun, Peter Panom Thinypin, and Karbino Kuanyin Bol died. Riek Machar’s political and military associates killed them in a cold blood.

In 1991, senior military and political figures from Dinka, Nuba, and other communities who were in Nasir but did not endorse his coup against John Garang were brutally butchered in front of him. He never lifted a finger to protect them.

The fact that Machar was armed when the fight occurred at the State House explains why he is refusing to return to Juba and call for a special protection force to intervene in South Sudan to guard him.

The emergence of these details concerning what happened in Juba on that fateful afternoon makes it impossible for the government and the South Sudanese populace to accept a third party intervention in the country at this time.

What needs to happen instead is for IGAD to launch an investigation into the events which occurred at the State House in Juba to establish its cause. This process does not require any military intervention. It requires urgent criminal investigation to uncover the hidden facts.

The revelation indicating that a member of South Sudanese Presidency carried an undeclared gun while in a meeting with the president is quite serious. It reveals a gang’s mentality that has developed in the rebel movement. This gang’s mentality prevalent in the SPLM/A-IO is the factor driving the endless violence in South Sudan.

South Sudanese would want to know why Mr. Machar carried a gun into the meeting at the presidential palace in Juba.
Those who call for Mr Machar to be replaced with someone else from his party are right. He is no longer a politician but a potential assassin, who is willing to lead a death squad as we have seen at the State House in Juba. He should not be allowed to come near the State House again. He is a failed suicide bomber.

Malith J. Kur
London Canada
mkur@uwo.ca

Who’s to blame for the political violence in South Sudan? What’s the way forward?

By: Professor Mahmood Mamdani, Makerere University, Uganda, Posted on TheEastAfrican, Jul/16/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: “Political violence requires a constituency and raises more difficult questions — among them, how to isolate the perpetrators of political violence from their supporters.”

Since Independence Day in July 2011, South Sudan has fallen rapidly into strife and disarray. Tensions erupted in the capital, Juba, at the end of 2013 and spread to three large provincial cities.

By the following year, thousands were dead and the AU had appointed a five-person commission of inquiry, chaired by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The commission spent several months in South Sudan. When it delivered its findings in 2014, I was the only one of five members who dissented.

In the official report, the violence in South Sudan was characterised as mainly “criminal,” but in a minority view entitled A Separate Opinion, I argued that it was more than a breakdown of law and order.

Rather, the violence was political. Criminal violence is the action of individual perpetrators, to which the response is simply to judge and punish.

But political violence requires a constituency and raises more difficult questions — among them, how to isolate the perpetrators of political violence from their supporters.

To begin to answer these questions, we need an accurate description of what happened.

Ethnic lines

Two main ethnic groups dominate South Sudan: Dinka (the larger group) and Nuer. Juba is settled along ethnic lines, and the killings in the capital at the end of 2013 — by Dinka militias — were organised as a house-to-house operation in Nuer residential areas.

The political objective was to cleanse Juba of its Nuer population, divide the inhabitants of the country along ethnic lines, and destroy any basis for consensus, polarising 11 million citizens in the new state into us and them.

A displaced person in a UN compound told the commission: “They put a knife into what bound us, turned the crisis from political to ethnic.”

By “they” was meant the government that assumed office at Independence; the crisis turned ethnic at the end of 2013 after an explosive meeting of the National Liberation Council (NLC), the executive committee of the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The tension had been simmering throughout 2013 and rose dramatically when three members of the NLC announced their intention to contest the chairmanship, a position that would automatically qualify its holder as the ruling party’s candidate for the presidency in the upcoming 2015 election.

In April, the presiding NLC chair and President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, who is Dinka, removed the executive powers of his vice-president Riek Machar, who is Nuer.

In July, Kiir dismissed all his ministers and then embarked on a tour of the Bahr el Ghazal region in the predominantly Dinka northwest, delivering provocative speeches that were broadcast on the national TV network. By the time he called for the NLC to meet on December 14, the stage was set for a showdown.

The killings in Juba lasted until December 18 and left hundreds of Nuer dead, but who carried them out? The most widespread explanation among senior military, intelligence, police, and government officials we talked to was that they were the work of several thousand irregulars recruited during border skirmishes with Sudan shortly after Independence.

The people who carried out the killings from December 16–18 were mostly from Bahr el Ghazal.

Nuer communities in Juba responded to the killings with a rebellion and a local uprising. Community-based fighting formations outside Juba known as the White Army, 50,000 in all and fresh from a run of campaigns against the Murle ethnicity in 2012, converged, first on Bentiu, which they ransacked, and then on Juba.

An intervention by the Ugandan army halted the march of the White Army. At the same time, the UN Mission opened its compound to protect IDPs from hostile forces on the government side.

Both the Ugandans and the UN were credited at first with reducing the level of violence, even preventing a genocide; later, both were accused of prolonging the crisis — the Ugandan army because it propped up the government, and the UN Mission because it turned a blind eye to armed IDPs in the camps.

There are two major examples of secession in post-colonial Africa: Eritrea and South Sudan. Eritrean Independence followed a military victory against the regime in Addis Ababa, but there was no military victory in South Sudan. External factors militated in favour of South Sudan.

Madeleine Albright’s decision to back SPLM against Khartoum in 1997 was a child of Washington’s war on terror. Only a reasonable fear that it could be the next target of US aggression in a post–9/11 era that had begun with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq explains why the government of Sudan agreed to hold an independence referendum in the South and let half the country secede.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 when the South gained autonomy from Sudan in preparation for full independence in 2011, turned out to be a shoddy affair.

In spite of opposition from some regional states to a short five-year time table, it was rushed to the table by a Troika of Western states—the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway—once it was clear that Washington’s interest in the Sudanese civil war had forced Khartoum onto the defensive.

Without the threat of US intervention against an African country identified as an enemy in the war on terror, Khartoum would not have signed the agreement.

Who determines terms of peace?

The CPA’s lamentable approach to the array of armed groups in the future state of South Sudan was based on the assumption that only those with the capacity to wage war have the right to determine the terms of the peace.

The most alarming consequence of the agreement was that non-militarised political opposition, both in Sudan and the country that was about to come into being, was thoroughly marginalised.

Enthusiastic voices from the rest of the world, in particular the Troika, reinforced the illusion of the new regime, led by Kiir, that all it needed to ensure its continued hold on power was international support.

It basked in the extenuations that the world now grants to victim cultures: the south, when it was part of Sudan, had been terrorised, starved, bombed, and brutalised, and it follows, as it does for post-genocide Rwanda, that whatever happens next, the victims in charge of their own destiny must be coddled and absolved of responsibility.

In Sudan six years ago, the regime in Khartoum was roundly and correctly accused of fraud when it took the country to the polls. But in South Sudan, the rigging of the referendum on self-determination, which produced a 99.8 per cent Yes vote, was approved with a cheerful smile by the international community.

Two years later, when the ruling SPLA appeared to split more or less down the middle—each half intent on devouring the whole—the Western press was mystified.

It had always commended the “Christian and animist” victims in the South against their “Muslim and Arab” oppressors in the North, and now reached for an equally formulaic explanation for the outbreak of civil war in the victims’ new territory, where all was supposed to turn out well.

The new formula was an old one: “Tribalism.” The ethnic nature of the split in the National Liberation Council was the best to hand: It was, after all, a standoff between Nuer and Dinka. From this point of view, the current conflict, which has continued since 2013 and led to deaths estimated in the thousands, is between a Dinka-led government and a Nuer-led rebellion.

Who should be held responsible politically for the extreme violence that has destroyed lives of hundreds of thousands in South Sudan since December 2013?

Two groups above all. First, the Troika of Western states, and its friends such as IGAD, for their decisive role in framing an agreement that set up a politically unchallenged armed power in South Sudan.

Second, the pre-July 2013 Cabinet of the Government of South Sudan for the political crisis that led to the political meltdown on December 15, 2013.

The regional organisation of states, Igad, and the UN Security Council representing the international community have patched together another makeshift agreement to stop this round of fighting in South Sudan.

The agreement has three key features: A coalition government based on a sharing of seats between the two sides to the civil war; a demilitarised Juba which will be the seat of this government; and an agreement to have a hybrid court try all those considered criminally culpable for the mass violence during the civil war.

The obvious dilemma with this agreement is that those likely to be tried are the same as those who hold power.

With this in mind, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have written a joint op-ed in the New York Times proposing that there should be no trial but a reconciliation premised on forgiveness, though Machar disavowed the op-ed four days after it was published, claiming not to have been consulted about its contents.

From the point of view of both Igad and the troika, this proposal may be the least costly way forward. But it is unlikely to hold the key to a stable future.

An alternative way forward would require greater political will, more resources and a more radical vision from all parties concerned.

It calls for a recognition that the transition that was the CPA failed; that it fed the worst anti-reform tendencies in the SPLA and turned into a breeding ground for the violence that erupted in December 2013.

South Sudan needs a second transition. Instead of giving political power to those with the gun, this transition will seek to forge a political compact both at the level of society and that of the political class. It will seek to combine political justice with political reform.

Political justice is about political accountability, at both the individual and the societal levels. Key to the pursuit of political justice will be the exclusion from high office of all those politically accountable for the mass violence that followed the crisis of December 15, 2013.

Key to political reform will be demilitarisation and democratisation at the societal level so that the process of reform of militias at the local level goes hand-in-hand with that of creating self-governing democratic communities.

The demilitarisation of Juba is a starting point; for it to continue, demilitarisation will need to extend beyond Juba to most of the country.

The challenge in forging this transition is political. Is it possible to put together a political authority with the credibility, the vision, and the experience for a task that combines elements of tutelage with that of a democratic project?

For this, I suggest a hybrid political authority led by an African team—the most likely being the AU’s High Level Panel on Sudan (both North and South), chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki—backed up by the joint authority of the African Union and the UN.

Prof Mahmood Mamdani is the director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Kampala, Uganda.

Jieng Council of Elders’ pre-plan: To arrest, harm & celebrate Dr. Riek Machar’s death on 9th July, 2016

By: Bol Khan, JUL/18/2016, SSN;

The pre-plan designed by Jieng Council of Elders’ leadership in Juba was to arrest Dr. Riek Machar on Friday 8th July 2016 at J1, harm/murder him and then celebrate his death on Saturday 9th July 2016. This was what the later details transpired. The details transpired that the postponement of Independence Day Celebrations was not done out of the blue.

It wasn’t a normal postponement as such! The primary plan was to divert the public’s attention from what the Administration’s Legislative body, the Jieng Council of Elders, had already worked on & cooked: A plan to arrest and harm Dr. Machar before Friday 8th July 2016.

Yes, the prime reason as reported was a financial hardship which had earlier on badly hit the Council led-Government of Salva Kiir. This became known to everybody. However, the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) in collaboration with the administration also thought of how they could get Riek Machar in an official corner so that they arrest and permanently harm him.

Thus, the council’s executive body led by Salva Kiir Mayardit on 8th Friday July 2016 was acting on its legislative body’s directives.

I have concrete evidences sent to me by an insider in the administration. Had this pre-plan succeeded on Friday 8th July 2016, a little budget reserved by the administration would have been used to celebrate Dr. Machar’s death instead on Saturday 9th July 2016.

Accordingly, as directed by the council, President Salva Kiir called Dr. Riek Machar for a meeting at J1 on Friday 8th July 2016. While on the other hand, the council also directed its military wing to send extra force as soon as Dr. Machar arrives at J1, State House.

Indeed, when Dr. Machar arrived at J1 on Friday 8th July 2016, the forces that would start fighting were immediately sent by the military wing under the leadership of Malong Awan. A huge forces which Ateny Wek, Salva Kiir’s spokesperson and Akuei Bona Malual, J1 Council’s Representative to the UN later described as “unknown gunmen” appeared from the Headquarters and opened fire on Dr. Machar’s bodyguards.

Paul Malong was nicknamed by the Administration as “King Paul” for having successfully masterminded 15 December 2013 genocide in Juba, Wau’s mass murder in June 2016 and many more atrocities he planned, instigated and executed.

Primarily, the Jieng Council of Elders’ forces took for granted that they would easily chase away Dr. Machar’s unit in three minutes time on Friday 8th July 2016.

Primitively, they only looked at Machar’s protection unit as was very small, without taking into account guards’ nationality and that fighting those natural bravest bodyguards was not as easy as withdrawing cash ($ USD) from South Sudan Central Bank (SSCB).

The council’s forces also thought once they start fighting, Machar’s gallant unit would be easily wiped out or even during the fighting, perhaps Riek would come out running, cowed, crouched or cringed in fear. Or might come out either to see what was happening or see his bodyguards’ whereabouts.

Instead, Machar small unit force made the opposite happen. That fierce fighting took place between unequal forces and Dr. Machar’s bodyguards humiliated the council’s forces instead. The two forces fought until when a third party, the UNMISS separating forces came. And reportedly, this was where the council’s members could start blaming each other for the failure to arrest and finally harm Dr. Machar.

On Friday night when the council’s prominent members realized that their designed pre-plan failed then they went back to the drawing board. Where they freshly start strategizing how they could again get Dr. Machar after the failure of a calculated assassination attempt at J1.

The Council leadership could not sleep for those two consecutive nights, i.e. Friday & Saturday nights. Desperately, they agreed to launch an open and direct attempt on Dr. Machar and his protection unit comprising of only one thousand-three hundred and seventy (1,370) servicemen.

They resolved that “All the available weaponry or military hardware currently in SPLA’s possession including helicopters gunships would be used against Machar and his forces on Sunday. Hoping, ordering over thirty (30,000 excluding unified police) to fight and crush Machar would have resulted into rounding up, arresting and permanently harming him.

Perhaps, by launching both ground and aerial bombardments attacks using heavy artillery plus helicopter gunships may result into a whole elimination of him and his forces.

On Sunday morning, 10th July 2016, SPLA launched fierce offensive ground attacks and then followed by aerial bombardments on SPLM-IO’s two bases, wishfully hoping to hear that Dr. Machar got killed in combat.

The multiple attacks which were coming from different directions were all beaten back at best by SPLA-IO’s protection and support units. A war which was initially set to take only two hours lasted for five good days between over thirty thousand (30, 000) Jieng Council of Elders’ troops and only one thousand, three hundred and seven (1,370) strong servicemen of Dr. Machar. While Machar’s small forces were using only slight machine guns e.g. AK47, RPGs and few PKMs compared to modern weaponry and military hardware including helicopter gunships the SPLA were using against Machar’s forces.

Congratulations Dr. Machar’s gallant forces!! With this unequal number of forces and military supplies the two armies had in mind, if you made SPLA-IO’s troops to be thirty thousands (30, 000) and SPLA-IG’s troops as only one thousand, three hundred and seventy (1,370 ) troops in Juba. What do you think would have happen therein?

Could Jieng Council of Elders still roving around maiming ordinary citizens, today in Juba? I don’t think. Hence, Malong and Council’s cronies must not proudly talk today in Juba as if theirs was braveness. They are not!! If they think they are, can they accept two equal forces with equal military hardware in Juba? Will they?

Willingly, and to avoid further clashes, the SPLM/A-IO’s forces had to voluntarily decide a tactical withdrawal from its two bases on Monday evening.

When Jieng Council of Elders heard this, the council’s online and blanket Ambassador, Gordon Buay Malek, quickly posted a white lie on his facebook account saying “SPLM-IO’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Gatwech Dual, IO’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration & Finance, Gen. James Koang Chuol and perhaps Dr. Riek Machar were all believed to have been confirmed dead during series confrontations between the SPLA-IG &SPLA-IO forces in Jebel Kujur”.

Gordon Buay is a South Sudan’s Jieng Council of Elders trivial, self-imposed representative to the United States of America. Gordon’s name was not included in South Sudan’s Ambassadorial list; so he has no fixed basic salary in the Council’s pay roll.

He depends only on wage; he earns a living by making up information and reports this hoodwinking information to the Council, JCE, so that he is given something to eat at least for a day. His (Gordon Buay) payment depends on how much information he made up or how many lies he makes/levels per day against Dr. Riek Machar’s character. This is how he survives all these years since late 2013.

Back to the topic, so the notorious Jieng Council of Elders’ deadly but failed pre-plan was to murder and celebrate Dr. Machar death on date 9th July 2016. Even if the executive branch of Jieng Council Elders managed to arrest and permanently harmed Dr. Machar on Friday 8th July 2016 at J1, the offensive attacks which were later launched on Sunday 10th July 2016 against the SPLA-IO would have all been suspended.

What they would have been busy doing was the celebrations. This was evidently transpired and was ascertained by the following two factors: 1) The celebratory sporadic firing of guns into the air allover Juba on Monday night was of this fact that they thought what Gordon Buay uttered about the alleged killings of Gen. Gatwech Dual, Gen. James Koang and Dr. Machar were true.

Some Jieng’s Community members automatically became arch enemies of Dr. Machar in 1990s when He, Dr. Machar challenged the SPLM’s first objective/vision of Secular, United, and One Sudan. Additionally, as a result of that long-established tribal incitement, which has later on been spread by some Jieng Elders for years now, about almost sixty-five (65) percent of today South Sudan’s Jieng Community, wish to see Dr. Riek Machar’s corpse placed into a grave.

From that year, Jieng Community (with more or less) began to believe that as long as Dr. Riek Machar still exists on this planet South Sudan cannot and will never be a stable country. Without complimenting Him (Dr. Machar) for having opposed that unachievable United Sudan Vision in 1991. Gluttonously, they also forget that what they are enjoying today in Juba was Dr. Machar’s brainchild.

Lastly and not the least, in my capacity as the said Council regime’s survivor, I would like to add my voice to those whose voices might have reached you, Dr. Machar, earlier on. About how you should be cautious or stay alert regarding these evil acts of Jieng Council of Elders.

Naturally, ninety (90%) percent of this Jieng Council of Elders-led Community knows very well how to set a political, coordinate and eliminating evils plans. Let’s not forget that, the organized terrorists always have millions tricky ways to achieve their evil and deadly plans every time, anywhere and at anytime.

Bol Khan can be reached on bolkhan39@yahoo.com

Direct from Juba, South Sudan Reality: Painful Independence, Failed Leadership!

By James Okuk, PhD., JUBA, JUL/12/2016, SSN;

Thank God that some of us are still alive and are able to communicate from Juba today after being confined in a prison-like and imposed hunger situation since Friday 8th July 2016, the very day six years ago when I wrote the article “South Sudan Paradox: Joyful Independence, Sorry Leadership”.

As we reflect back down the memory lane, the proven reality these days could be summed up as “South Sudan: Painful Independence, Failed Leadership”. This is what is being said in the the internal and also the external arena.

Even the Korean UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who sang jubilantly on 9th July 2011 with the fashionable “SPLM Oyee” which was considered synonymous to “South Sudan Oyee” by then is now totally frustrated by the senseless recurrency of the man-made bad news of massive killings and displacements in the Republic of South Sudan.

May I pay my sincerest condolences to each and everyone of us (nationals or foreigners) who has lost their dear ones and valuable properties in these extraordinarily terrible days in Juba. Also I wish a quick recovery to those who became sick and were unable to receive medical attention in time due to severity of the situation and safety isolation.

Internally, the military calm is back to Juba this morning after our ears have heard the shots and sounds and our eyes have seen fire smokes and night colours of every type of weapon (heavy and light) available in the country and put on disproportionally deadly use.

However, the political heat is still high and the official media outlet (SSBC/SSTV) together with some sectors of private social media are unrelentless in promoting this uncalled for heat. The Radio stations (especially the credible Eye Radio) are back life on air and able to balance the information and sift the propaganda by bringing in as well the direct voice of the First Vice President and Chairman of SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, and others for the better judgment from objectivity.

Ceasefire has been announced by both leaders of the warring parties and civilians are told to resume their normal life.

Despite the above, the civilians are still terrified and disgusted by the irresponsible behaviour of their top opposing SPLM/A leaders who could’t honour their pledges to work together for restoring peace in all corners of the country.

Most people (including the church leaders like Msgn. Rev. Roco Taban) have totally lost trust in such kinds of leaders who are not true to their words and who can’t build trust in the needed collective responsibility.

More dire humanitarian situation has been created to add to the already-difficult economic situation in the country. The Churches, some Embassies (e.g. of DRC in 107) and UNMISSS camps have been filled up again by the innocent civilians.

Some vulnerable civilians (women, children, adults and elderly) found themselves nowhere but fearfully hiding in the bushes with wild animals whose risks were seen less deadly than the armed human beings of South Sudan.

The tolls of the casualties from the man-made four-days war of SPLA factions (IG and IO) inside the civilian residences have been very high. Many of the dead have remain unburied for hours and rotten with no dignity of the final rites.

The spree of looting has been terrible in many shops and homes. A very painful internal despairing scenery, indeed!

Externally, the IGAD’s Council of Ministers has decided in its extraordinary meeting of 11th June 2016 in Nairobi to put Juba International Airport under UN Trusteeship. The frontline states of the IGAD-member countries have also decided to send to South Sudan a well-armed regional intervention forces with attack helicopters and gunships to boost the UNMISS peace-keeping capacity, protect the civilians and scare the bloody and insensitive violent military and political leaders from massive displacement of civilians from the dignity of their serene livelihood.

If the worst of the continuous war is not averted soonest, Kenya and Ethiopia may be ready to avail a quick response as from now to next week. Uganda has already deployed its troops heavily at the borders with South Sudan, waiting to enter again for any eventuality.

Khartoum has also offered to contribute a batch of quick emergency soldiers to the regional forces, probably alongside the Ethiopian segment of intervention forces.

The UN Secretary-General has described President Kiir and First Vice President Riek as “failed leaders” and called upon the the UN, the region and the entire international community not only to invoke “the Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) but also “the Responsibility to Act” (R2A) in order to rescue the civil population.

He recommended for Armed Embargo and more sanctions blacklisting to be enforced on South Sudan as soon as possible.

Since the time he took up the duties of the UN General Secretariat, Mr. Ki-moon has not been seen talking in a very tough and warning language on peace and security issues the way he has done it recently on the worrying situation South Sudan is undergoing.

He is now a very angry man because all his diplomatic efforts and shuttles on resolving the conflict in South Sudan seem to be going to waste at the time he is about to end his UN office tenure.

It is already serious and South Sudan might become a regional and international war theatre in addition to the internal war situation we are in.

All these external interventions are happening due to intransigence of our top SPLM/A leaders who are commanding deadly independent armed forces respectively. They have refused to listen to good advices for peace.

Now they are in big trouble (e.g., for war crimes and other crimes prosecutable under international law). The external intervention has become real and taking a toll on our sovereignty.

Both internal and external fronts are almost erasing the credibility and trustworthiness of the SPLM/A-IG and SPLM/A-IO from their good records. I don’t know what face has remained from the messing factionalized SPLM/A top leadership to be kept for a dignified future. Only the days, weeks and months ahead will tell.

Shame on our unwise and uncaring leaders!

Nevertheless let’s wipe our tears of sorrow and keep high the hope for a rising nation as the paradox is being resolved, be it through internal pressure or external intervention.

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Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com.