Category: Politics

Lack of ideology, moral politics & the rule of law: Causes of South Sudan problems

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Lawyer, Kampala, Uganda, MAR/26/2017, SSN;

Six years ago, South Sudanese overwhelmingly voted for separation from Sudan after over forty years of struggle for independence. Thus, independence made South Sudan become a sovereign state.

In that regard, when we talk of State sovereignty we mean the State responsibility and because of that responsibility the state has a primary duty to protect its citizens, which lies with the state itself (see; The Report of the International Commission on Responsibility of States to protect and Intervention and State Sovereignty December 2001)

Sadly six years down the road, South Sudan has lost the direction as it has fallen into some kind of a military dictatorship (though it is not a typical military government) that retains power through the use of political violence, kidnappings and other oppressive tactics.

These tactics are used solely to protect and maintain the interest of the cliques that have held the government and the president hostage in order to continue sacking the blood of South Sudanese amidst ruthless and aimless war.

Thus, South Sudanese are now trapped in war, famine and potential genocide though the beneficiaries of the war do not like to hear the word “genocide”.

In that respect, the recent report on South Sudan’s war, famine and potential genocide by the Enough Project entitled “How The World’s Newest Country Went Awry: South Sudan’s war, famine and potential genocide,” properly summarizes the State of South Sudan as a “den of thieves,” in which battles by profiteers over power and the corrupt spoils of power, including an “oil-fueled gravy train,” have fueled endless cycles of conflict.

In addition, the same report of Enough Project cited above pointed out that the current war is the cause the famine due to the war and political violence, which is likely to result into genocide.

This is because as report puts it, “The competing kleptocratic factions are fighting over a lucrative prize: control of the state, which in turn brings control over oil and other natural resource revenues, patronage networks, some foreign aid, massive corruption opportunities, immunity from prosecution and accountability, control over the army and other security organs, the ability to control or manipulate banks and foreign exchange, the opportunity to manipulate government contracts, and the chance to dominate the commercial sector”.

Looking at the report cited above which explains the problems of war, famine and likelihood of genocide facing the country currently, the immediate question that comes in mind is: what is the problem or what causes all these problems in South Sudan?

The simple answer is that all the problems facing South Sudan now have their genesis in the lack of ideology, moral politics and the rule of law.

Thus, where the country is run on proper ideology guided by the interest of the state and citizens, then a true, moral or proper politics develops. The true or moral politics is the politics that puts the nation interest above individuals.

Hence, where there is a conflict between individual personal political preference and that of a country itself, then those individuals who have political ideology different from the state are supposed to resign from the politics. This is the basis for which some politicians resign or are forced to resign from politics or from the government.

As pointed out above, moral politics is supposed to guide the nation towards achieving the interest of the people which was supposed to have been the case in South Sudan. Nonetheless, in South Sudan as we see today, there is lack of ideology which has resulted into the lack of proper or moral politics and absence of the rule of law as the three are interrelated. How the three are interrelated shall be explained later in this work.

But the lack of ideology in South Sudan is the cause of ill-conceived and bad politics. Hence, politics in South Sudan is mixed with personal interest and because of that the government, political party and politicians are inseparable, which complicates the issues of governance in South Sudan.

In other words, due to the misconception of politics which is perceived as personal, the Government of South Sudan is run on patron-clientelism. This is ‘a patronage network that binds both patron and client together in a system of exchange in which the relationship is mutually beneficial but at the same time the power, control and authority lie with patron (see; peace and Conflict in Africa edited by David J. Francis p.10)’

In relation to the above paragraph and in relation to South Sudan, politics is based on patron-client relationship, which is replicated at different levels, including local, national and international, and between individuals, groups, communities and states. This is seen in Juba and in various states in South Sudan, which is a mode of governance.

This mode of governance though it is bad it is not easy to eradicate as they feed into and support each other.

The type of politics discussed above comes about due to the lack of political ideology. Lack of political ideology causes messy or bad politics characterized by the systems of governance, which involve the exercise of political authority based on an individual wishes, which is further used to serve the private and vested interests of the state power-holders, including the ruling and governing elites.

Hence, in such a state of affairs, the state resources are used for personal benefits and in oppression of the citizens to protect personal interests by authorities.

In the kind of system, as cited the above paragraph, the State governing institutions are appropriated, used, subverted, privatized, informalized and subordinated to the interests of the personalized ruler, the regime in power and its supporters as seen under the SPLM Government headed by President Kiir in South Sudan.

Therefore, in the country where the system as described above is adopted, there is no always a distinction between the public and the private sphere of governance and the political ascendancy as well as individual preferment is based on loyalty to the power holder.

Hence, the power-holder such as the president emerges not only as a personalized ruler and the prime purveyor of patrimonial resources (public resources) but also commands monopoly over all formal political activity, whereby the formal state and governmental institutions are subordinated to the ruler’s vested and strategic interests.

In truth, the state where the ruler personalizes the system, there are always organized criminal activities in the form of informalization and privatization of state governing institutions in which large scale of corruptions and fraud are legalized or carried with impunity against the citizens.

Innocent citizens who protest against bad governance or corruption as referred to above become criminals while the true criminals such as government officials who steal government resources perceive themselves innocent and prosecuted.

So, they end up organizing criminal activities sanctioned under the state laws and enforced by the State security apparatuses that go around tracking down patriotic citizens who complain against the misuse of state resources and power.

In addition, when they feel threaten and see the threat against their power, they form private militias and also privatize civil war that helps them remain in power in the pretext of protecting national interest, and consequently, there is a growth in an economy of plunder, and the ‘re-traditionalization of society’ through the use of witchcraft and occult practice in governance as seen in various government institutions in South Sudan.

The emergency and existence of the problems in South Sudan as discussed above are due to the lack of strong political ideology and the rule of law that should have guided South Sudanese leaders to lead the country to the desired direction in its development.

As mentioned above, the rule of law in simple language means the supremacy of the law. In other words, it refers to the situation where the authorities base their administrative decisions on law and everything done by the authorities must be done in accordance with the principles of law in their areas of administration and which must be in line with the Constitution.

Thus, ideology, politics and the rule of law are intertwined or closely connected. This is because where one of them is weak then the other two are weakened or become ineffective and by implication, citizens become the victims of bad governance.

In this respect, bad governance is the product of the absence of law or the rule of law. Where there is no law, there is always uncertainty and uncertainty creates anxiety among the citizens and where the citizens always experience anxiety caused by uncertainty in the governance, the citizens lose confidence in their leaders and hence politics experiences mayhem and eventual political crisis as seen in South Sudan.

Due to the lack ideology in South Sudan, there is no true or politics guided by morals and because of that the law has become an enemy to the leaders. The overall consequence of the absence of law in South Sudan is the outbreak of civil war and famine which have created a hell for South Sudan’s people. But at the same time it has created bloody and lucrative businesses for the country’s leaders and other commercial collaborators, i.e. South Sudan’s war profiteers” to the use the language of Enough Project Report.

Moreover, the absence of the rule of law caused by lack of ideology and lack of true politics has made the war crimes a source of income for South Sudanese warlords or leaders as it pays.

This is because there is no accountability for the atrocities and looting of state resources that has resulted into the current famine and starvation facing the nation.

As you read this article, thousands of South Sudanese are imminent danger of starvation caused by corruption within the system as it is the system itself, which is corrupt and which is the very purpose of the state of South Sudan.

In South Sudan, as the Enough Project found, the leading accelerator of the conflict is greed-fueled by kleptocracy in which state institutions have been hijacked by a network of individuals who are working hard to rich themselves at the expense of masses.

This group or network of people is composed of leaders and their commercial collaborators internally and internationally, backed by the use of extreme violence.

As a matter of fact, the network is composed of leading government officials, generals, businessmen, foreign investors, banks, oil and mining company representatives, money transfer entities, and others connected to the international financial system. The automatic result as expected is the disempowerment and destruction of the viability of the state institutions that are supposed to hold leaders accountable.

This is because all the parties involved want to avoid both accountability and transparency and then the National Security apparatuses comes in to brutally suppress all forms of dissent and independent expression or political activity against the corrupt leaders.

Besides the above, the insecurity experienced by corrupt politicians makes them not have confidence in national security and because of that they begin recruiting ethnic-based militias and armed to attack the communities perceived to be opponents to political leaders and their political mischief.

Of course, there is need for fairness here, the use of militias goes back to the time of the British colonial and Khartoum regimes era, when identities were politicized, just as the Belgians did in colonial Rwanda, establishing ‘tribal authorities.

However, that does not absolve the government of South Sudan as it has a primary duty to transform the society.

As pointed out above, tribal groups are recruited and dressed in the national army uniform to send the message that they are members of national army while other citizens join rebellion not because they want regime change and promote national ideology and the rule of law but they want to eliminate one ethnic group in the country.

Consequently, soldiers in the government and rebels in the bush are killed without accountability in the process of defending the national government without national agenda and rebels are killed in defense of their tribal interests threatened by the interests of the government officials. Hence, the country becomes divided and also a loser on both sides.

Sadly enough, after the soldiers or rebels have been killed in defense of the national government without national agenda or in defense of their tribal interests in the bush, no one among the leaders whether in the government or in the bush cares for the widows and children of those killed, so the war becomes most expensive and demanding venture.

Since there is no one who cares for the children and widows for those fallen soldiers, majority of the members of the army have lost patriotism and becomes mercenaries hence the army becomes a bunch of undisciplined group of individuals.

In summary, it is important to point out that due to the lack of ideology, proper or moral politics and the rule of law, the SPLM government has lost the objectives of which they SPLM of 1983-2005 was founded on.

Because of that, if the SPLM/A of 1983-2005 were to meet face to face with the SPLM of 2017, they will shoot at each other because the SPLM of 1983-2005 will think that we are still under the Sudan rule.

The SPLM of 2017 is ideologically corrupt and seriously dictatorial which has put it in terrible mess and this means that there is a need for radical change in the SPLM political structure.

There is a need for honesty to tell the leadership of the SPLM that the party is now in bad shape or political intensive care unit and because of that there is a need for restructuring of the SPLM in order for it to survive.

In addition, President Kiir should be informed that what he is told by the cliques around him in the State house is different from what is on the ground. The President should know that whereas he has weakened the rebels, he has completely lost control over the security of the country and citizens are in grave danger of death.

The president must also know that for South Sudan to be saved from falling apart there is a need for compromise. To compromise is part of ideology strategy because where there is ideology leaders are ready to compromise in order to agree on the ideological framework and development.

Finally, this article has a suggestion that the president does not want to hear but for the sake of South Sudan, the article points out and suggests that the President is no longer capable of leading the country and there is a need for him to prepare a strong person within the party that can save the SPLM from natural death or disappearance from the political scene.

If the President does not listen to this advice, he must prepare for the collapse of the country and if the country collapses and citizens get finished, then what was the purpose of liberating South Sudan and the South Sudanese?

NB//: the author is South Sudanese Human Rights lawyer, a graduate from Makerere University, School of law and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com/+256783579256

No Ideology, No Nation: The problems of South Sudan

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Lawyer, Kampala, Uganda,MAR/22/2017, SSN;

National building begins with ideological building. Without defining and identifying a proper ideology, the nation remains confused, corrupt and stranded. As defined, an ideology is a collection of beliefs held by an individual, group or society. It can also be described as a set of conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one’s beliefs, goals, expectations, and motivations.

In this regard, an ideology is a comprehensive normative vision that is followed by people, governments, or other groups that is considered the correct way by the majority of the population, as argued in several philosophical tendencies. Hence, as those of Karl Marx and Frederick Engel observed in their work, the ideology is set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of society such as the elite to be followed by all members of society.

In relation to politics, the ideology refers to the system of abstracted meaning applied to public matters, thus making it central to politics. Implicitly, in societies that distinguish between public and private life, every political or economic tendency entails ideology, whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.

In the Althusserian sense, Ideology is “the imaginary relation to the real conditions of existence.”

Where the nation does not have a clear ideology like South Sudan, the whole system becomes corrupt as there is no ideology that directs people on what to do, when to do it, where to do it, how to do it and why it should be done.

The role of leaders of a country run without ideology is not defined but it is geared at retaining power hence, all intellectual tendencies are corrupted when they consort with power. This is exactly what is happening in South Sudan today.

In South Sudan you get government and rebels fighting meaningless and aimless war. The people in the aimless war are viewed as objects. This is why women and girls are raped, young boys are recruited and leaders keep on buying guns with country’s resources even though people are facing dangerous hunger and starvation.

The recent report confirms the above statement that country resources are being used in purchasing weapons while people are starving in the country. Hence, the report pointed out that the government of South Sudan is spending its oil revenue on weapons, even as the country descends into a famine largely caused by Juba’s military operations, according to a confidential United Nations report.

Thus, the report by a panel of experts, whose findings were dismissed by South Sudan’s government, calls for an arms embargo on the country – a measure rejected by the Security Council during a vote in December 2016.

The report further pointed out that the experts found a “preponderance of evidence (that) shows continued procurement of weapons by the leadership in Juba” for the army, the security services, militias and other “associated forces.”

As stated in the above report, while hundreds of thousands (100,000) of people are facing starvation in various parts of South Sudan such as part of the former Unity State, the government of President Salva Kiir continued to make arms deals hence spending millions of dollars on arms.

The reason the government of South Sudan is seen as being inhuman which it is in reality is because it does not have the ideology. Where there is correct ideology for a country, the question is always, “What is a nation?” Such a question as this is always important because it guides the government in the nation building process.

When Dr. Garang was heading the Movement called SPLM/A, not like the one we have today, there was a clear ideology called the “New Sudan” built on clear ideology. Hence, New Sudan with its ideological leaning acted as a guide throughout the war from 1983 to 2005. It was the clear ideology of the Movement that made SPLM/A strong as there was a direction where people of Southern Sudan were going.

In addition, there was a law called the SPLM Manifesto of 1983 as revised in 2008, which made the liberated areas experience strong rule of law and strong army: the SPLA.

With the demise of Dr. Garang and the rise of General Kiir, South Sudan was buried alive as it was sacrificed on the altar of corruption. Therefore, the SPLA that used to be strong in the bush was weakened in towns, which made some of us long for those days when we were in the bush in which the rule of law use to exist and everybody felt at home.

In fact, the SPLM/A used to be strong in the bush because its leader, Dr. Garang, tried by all means to avoid being hated and despised at all costs by the rural people of Southern Sudan. As Niccolò Machiavelli in the Prince puts it, a leader (or a prince) may be criticized for a lack of virtue, but he will never be hated for it. However, a leader (Prince) will be hated if he takes the property or women of his subjects.

In other words, a leader must avoid robbing his subjects of their honor. The leader will be despised if he or she has a reputation for being fickle, frivolous, effeminate, cowardly, or irresolute.

Hence, if the leader is regarded highly by his subjects, he will be shielded from conspiracies and open attacks.

In South Sudan, the President has failed to control the situation due to the fact that he fears his officials whom he allows to rob citizens directly and indirectly of their resources. This is why the President has become unpopular because he allows the national resources to be unfairly shared through corruption.

All the above problems are facing South Sudan because of the lack of clear national ideology. As the Uganda President Yoweri Museveni observed over South Sudan in regard to lack of ideology recently, there is no national ideology on both sides of the rebels and the government as they are following what he termed as pseudo-ideology of sectarianism.

Museveni expressed the above view on South Sudan when he was meeting Xu Jinghu, the Chinese government Special Representative on African Affairs, at State House, Entebbe recently. He criticized the leadership of the different parties involved in the conflict saying the leadership is making the conflict a tribal affair.

He is quoted to have said, “The main problem in South Sudan is ideological. The groups there don’t have clear headed leaders to guide the people about their future. They push the pseudo-ideology of sectarianism of tribes and yet this is detrimental to the people’s well-being. The conflict cannot be resolved through force but by negotiations aimed at two things; first are elections. It is the medicine for sectarianism because in an election, no single tribe can marshal numbers to win.”

As seen above, the main problem of South Sudan is lack of ideology, which has left the country in a confused situation in which the rule of law has become an enemy to the state. People are being tortured directly and indirectly. People are being tortured indirectly as they are subjected to hunger and poverty because of grave corruption and they are being tortured directly by the National Security which is being used by the leadership to protect their interest not that of the nation.

The army has been allowed to be infiltrated by business people who are in form of generals and whose business is to corrupt everything and also oppress junior officers and other soldiers. Currently, no one cares for the family of the soldiers killed defending government or the nation.

To make the matters worse, the president and his group have turned the nation into personal enterprise in which they are using national resources for personal benefits and also to eliminate different South Sudanese who complain with the way the nation is being managed.

In summary, without ideology, no country and without ideology, no people, as people are exploited through corruption and daylight robbery promoted by confused state of affairs.

In order for South Sudan to come out from the current crises, there must be peace and then serious reforms in the army undertaken and the rule of law must be promoted and respected while strong ideology be adopted to guide the nation in its path to development where the justice, liberty and prosperity can be achieved by all South Sudanese.

NB//The author is human rights lawyer residing in Kampala Uganda, and can be reached through: juoldaniel@yahoo.com or +256783579256

The mess in South Sudan isn’t entirely Museveni’s fault: A caution to Gen. Thomas Cirillo

By: Samuel Atabi, MAR/03/2017, SSN;

The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, is not politically a popular man among many in the ethnically divided South Sudan. The source of this political unpopularity can be divided into two main parts: among the non-Dinka group, Mr Museveni is accused of advising President Kiir to adopt dictatorial tendencies in order to advance a tribal hegemony over other non-Dinka tribes; and within the Dinka elite can be found those who hold Mr Museveni responsible for the death of Dr John Garang, the leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

Garang died in a helicopter crash in 2005 after visiting with Museveni. This group of accusers asserts that Mr Museveni did not share the vision of a “New Sudan” that was espoused by Garang and, therefore, as a motive, he might have colluded with others who had similar view, to eliminate Garang.

In any case, Museveni was the “last man to see Garang alive,” as a criminal prosecutor might say. Together, the two groups are passionate in their belief although there is no incontrovertible evidence to support their positions.

The lingering doubt on the veracity of these accusations tends to support a view expressed by many non-South Sudanese, including two expat friends of mine, that “South Sudanese have the habit of blaming others for their own problems.”

Mr Museveni himself appears to defend himself when he was recently quoted in the media as saying that the main problem in South Sudan is lack of clear-headed leaders, and leaders who are bereft of ideology but who “push the pseudo-ideology of sectarianism of tribes that is detrimental to the people’s well-being.”

If there is no tangible evidence to support the charges against the Ugandan president, can one then hold a contrary view that he has always acted in the best interest of South Sudanese as a people?

In my opinion, the answer is yes, to a large extent. I will explain why.

In the mid-1980’s, the SPLA was some few years old but it was already embroiled in a quarrel arising from accusation that it was giving support to Ugandan rebels; these rebels were resisting the newly installed government of Museveni’s National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M).

Unsurprisingly, the NRA government was in turn accused of harboring some SPLA dissidents who had disagreed with Garang’s objective of fighting for “New Sudan;” the dissidents were separatists who favored secession from Sudan.

Among the dissident SPLA officers was a prominent Equatorian who became a close political friend of Museveni’s.

With time, the NRA government made it up with its rebels whose members were then absorbed in various posts in Uganda; but a group of rebels called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) held out and still exists to this day albeit at a much reduced fighting capacity.

Later, Sudan became the main supporter of the LRA; this in turn spurred Uganda to support Garang’s SPLA. The two leaders then became friends.

The friendship between Garang and Museveni appears not to have been completely consummated though, because there was, at the time, some evidence that Museveni did not share the vision of a united New Sudan as championed by Garang.

In one episode that confirms this claim, and which the author has an intimate knowledge, key Uganda government officials, apparently with a tacit permission from the top, supplied the senior Equatorian officer referred to earlier, with funds and military materiel apparently without the knowledge of Garang.

The purpose for this generosity was for the Equatorian to form a guerilla faction to fight for independence of South Sudan, outside the Garang-led SPLA.

Were this faction to prosper and grow into an effective insurgency, the celebrated support that Museveni was extending to the SPLA would have waned and stopped altogether. But this was not be because this new faction failed to take off as will be explained shortly.

There is another reason why SPLA continued to get support from Uganda. It is now publicly known that Uganda’s assistance to the SPLA was also motivated by the country’s leader’s deep emotional and ideological desire to free South Sudanese from the oppression of the Arab-and Islamic-dominated north Sudan.

Although South Sudan did gain its independence in 2011, Museveni must still remains disappointed by what is going on in our country and also with his erstwhile Equatorian ally.

As pointed out earlier, the logistical and financial support given to this ally was to enable him embark on the recruitment of South Sudanese from all ethnic groups to fight in the proposed faction.

Disappointingly, the man decided to recruit only from his own tribe in Equatoria!

Furthermore, there were no officers to lead these recruits. More distastefully, the funds and vehicles were diverted to promote business activities of the relatives of this officer.

Eventually, word of this monumental incompetence and corruption reached those who provided the assistance and, were it not for the intervention of a close relative of the Ugandan leader, this officer would have faced a military justice, which may have included facing a firing squad.

This is how the well-intentioned project of creating a faction to fight for independence came a cropper.

This debacle should act as a cautionary tale to my brother, Gen. Thomas Cirillo Swaka, the leader of the newly-created National Salvation Front (NAS). Like the failed officer, he is an Equatorian.

Furthermore, there is now a heightened expectation not only among the Equatorians but also among other South Sudanese that NAS might be the answer for the removal the terrible regime now in Juba. He must not fail and disappoint them.

General Swaka should resist the temptation to go tribal and to succumb to an abhorrent Jieng Council of Elders’ type of machination and maleficence that have destroyed the country.

He should remain firm against tribal-minded “expert” advisers and a Bari Council of Elders, if one (ever) exists.

To my fellow compatriots, South Sudanese, presidents and leaders do not have to follow advice given to them; they must first know what they want to achieve.

On this score, I will hesitate to blame Mr Museveni for the calamity now befalling us.

Samuel Atabi is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reached at: samuelatabi@gmail.com

Gen. Paul Malong, SPLA Military Chief of Staff: Is he holding Pres. Salva Kiir to ransom?

By FRED OLUOCH, MAR/15/2017, TheEastAfrican, SSN;

IN SUMMARY:
*** To his admirers, Gen Malong is an embodiment of sacrifice and patriotism due to his contribution to the Independence struggle and the role he is playing in keeping the Kiir regime in power.
*** To his critics, he is an ambitious and ruthless soldier being driven by his desire for the continuation of his Dinka hegemony over the remaining 64 ethnic groups of South Sudan.

South Sudan’s Chief of General Staff, Gen Paul Malong Awan,is a man under intense focus both locally and internationally following a series of defections of senior military commanders from the national army.

Gen Malong —who took over the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA) leadership in April 2014— is perceived as the “real” power behind President Salva Kiir by working closely with the Jieng Council of Elders, the Dinka cultural association, to control the government and thereby alienate other communities from the country’s leadership.

Since February, four top military and government officials have resigned accusing the populous Dinka community of nepotism, corruption and perpetuating ethnic cleansing in various part of the country.

On March 7, former deputy chief of staff in charge of logistics, Lieutenant General Thomas Cirilo Swaka announced that he is forming a new rebel group, The National Salvation Front (NSF) to liberate the country from the grip of ethnic Dinka.

Gen Swaka —who was the first to quit in February— accused President Kiir of turning the country’s military into a “tribal army.” Others who have resigned include Col Khalid Ono Loki, who headed the military court in Juba; Brig-Gen Kamila Otwari Aleardo, a former commander of the Logistics Support Brigade; and Minister for Labour and Public Service Gabriel Duop Lam. Mr Lam accused President Kiir of failing to implement the August 2015 peace deal.

In an interview with The EastAfrican, Gen Malong dismissed the allegations saying he was experienced military manager treating all SPLA cadres fairly. He also dismissed claims that he is angling for the top seat should the opportunity arise.

“President Kiir is not at the mercy of any individual. He is a legitimate president, elected by over 90 per cent of citizens in 2010. I am concentrating on my defence portfolio, working hard within my capabilities to prevent the country from collapsing,” he said.

President’s number one ‘protector’

“I am an insider in the Kiir presidency and I am committed to assisting him steer the country to the right path and not somebody with political ambitions out to usurp his power and authority”.

Gen Malong has been making political statements that portray him as the number one “protector” of President Kiir and that of the country following the rebellion led by Dr Riek Machar in December 2013.

In January, Gen Malong, known to his admirers as “King Paul”, raised fresh national debate when he was awarded an honorary degree from Al Neelain University Centre for Human Development Studies in Khartoum for his efforts in brokering a peaceful co-existence among the Rizeigat and Messiryia of Sudan and the Dinka Malual of South Sudan in the volatile border when he was the governor of northern Bahr-el-Ghazal from 2008 to 2014. President Kiir attended the ceremony in Juba.

The move was, however, seen as Khartoum trying to appease the general over the disputed border region of Abyei.

Admirers and critics:

To his admirers, Gen Malong is an embodiment of sacrifice and patriotism due to his contribution to the Independence struggle and the role he is playing in keeping the Kiir regime in power.

Both he and the president hail from neighbouring districts in Bahr-el-Ghazal state. The president comes from Gogrial while Gen Malong is from Aweil.

According to Philip Achuoth Deng, the director at Leading Minds Institute —a non-governmental organisation that trains on life skills, Gen Malong has proven that he is brave enough to protect South Sudan’s national interests, making him an indispensable partner to President Kiir.

“However, he at the same time evokes a lot of phobia and hatred in certain quarters, not only locally but internationally. But he remains steadfast in his belief that power struggles should not obscure South Sudan’s national interest,” says Mr Deng.

To his critics, he is an ambitious and ruthless soldier being driven by his desire for the continuation of his Dinka hegemony over the remaining 64 ethnic groups of South Sudan.

Col Loki after his resignation accused Gen Malong of engaging in “relentless endeavours” to promote and protect his Dinka tribesmen at the expense of others.

Obasanjo commission:

International partners in the South Sudan peace process perceive Gen Malong as “the architect of immense human suffering” having been fingered by the Obasanjo Commission as one of those who have committed war crimes.

The commission accused him of mobilising Dinka ethnic militia, Mathiang Anyor (Brown caterpillar) with the slogan Dot Ke Beny (Rescue the President), to massacre the Nuers in Juba in the first days of the civil war.

Gen Malong is also seen as a major stumbling block to the implementation of the August 2015 Peace Agreement. In February last year, he was quoted as warning President Kiir of serious unrest should he be removed from his position. He also said that Dr Machar would become president only “in his presence”.

But Gen Malong says his main complaint with the peace agreement is that its guarantors and financiers fail to recognise South Sudan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He says that having two armies with parallel allegiance as provided for in the agreement creates different centres of power and compromises the security and sovereignty of the country.

“I am not bothered about my critics because I am always committed to the wellbeing of the country and its citizens and not to the international community,” he said adding that “my rivals and particularly in politics will always consider me as a villain and a war criminal.” END

Madam Rebecca Nyandeng calls on Pres. to resign immediately for tribal and poor leadership!

From Al Jazeera TV, FEB/26/2017, SSN;

South Sudanese politician Rebecca Garang, widow of SPLM founder John Garang, tells Upfront on Al Jazeera:
• President Kiir has caused a “man-made famine”
• “All of us, as the leaders of South Sudan, we did not lead our people properly.”
• “Our leaders are using the name of their tribes in order for them to cling to power.”
• “We are calling for a dialogue where the whole people of South Sudan are brought on the table.”

Last week, the U.N. declared a famine in two counties of South Sudan, affecting more than 100,000 people, with a further million people on the brink of famine in the country.

On Upfront on Al Jazeera this weekend, host Mehdi Hasan asked South Sudanese politician Rebecca Garang who is to blame. “Of course it’s the leader,” she replied. “…because it is a man-made famine… He did not…ah, all of us, as the leaders of South Sudan, we did not lead our people properly.”

Garang is the widow of John Garang, the founder of the SPLM, and is widely considered to be the ‘mother’ of South Sudan. After fighting in the second Sudanese civil war, she went on to serve in Kiir’s cabinet but has since become one of his leading critics.

Garang warned recently that “a genocide is looming” in South Sudan. On Upfront, she put the blame on both President Kiir and his former vice president, Dr Riek Machar. “Our leaders are using the name of their tribes in order for them to cling to power,” she said.

The 2015 ceasefire between Kiir and Machar hasn’t held, even though there are now 11 000 UN troops in South Sudan. “So what do you do?” Hasan asked Garang. “Do you have a new peace process? Do you try recycling a ceasefire? Are you calling for some kind of foreign military intervention?”

“We are calling for a dialogue where the whole people of South Sudan are brought on the table so that they discuss the issues concerning them because their government is not doing anything,” she replied.

President Kiir had similarly called for a dialogue, but she said, “He appointed himself to be the patron of the dialogue when he’s a party to the problem.”

“Are you calling for him to stand down: President Kiir?” Hasan clarified.

“Yes. He has to,” she said.

Hasan also grilled Garang on reports her late husband recruited thousands of child soldiers to fight for him; whether or not she had any regrets over pushing for an independent South Sudan, considering the subsequent fallout; and over her record as human rights advisor to Kiir, during a time when Human Rights Watch reported that government forces were responsible for extrajudicial killings and torture.

(Watch and embed the full eight-minute interview at https://youtu.be/JyYpi8WtbwY.

For more information, visit http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2017/02/blame-south-sudans-civil-war-170224083924234.html.)

Over 5 Million People are at Risks of Dying in South Sudan; Why is the World Silent?

By Dr. Gatluak Ter Thach* FEB/25/2017, SSN;

The international and regional media outlets are silent of seriously informing the world about man-made catastrophes in South Sudan. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), together with South Sudanese regime in Juba, have announced that a grave famine hit South Sudan, especially Unity State and other regions in the nation.

This news did not surprise anyone since most civilians in South Sudan depend heavily on agricultural productive services while the disastrous civil war displaced them from their destroyed homes and they did not cultivate. A new UNHCR report published recently disclosed unbelievable statistics of South Sudanese who left their homes.

The report stated that hundreds of thousands of people who are displaced from their homes suffered inside the country, “with many facing threats of kidnappings, rapes, armed attacks, [killings] and “acute food shortages.”

South Sudan refugees who reached Uganda are over 698,000 with more arriving every single day. Ethiopia ranks second, according to the UNHCR report with 342,000, while more than 305,000 are in Sudan. Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo are other countries that host significant number of South Sudanese refugees.

About 1.5 million South Sudanese had left the country for refuge in the neighboring nations. This statistics of refugee displacements places South Sudan on top of any refugee country in the continent Africa and third in the world behind Afghanistan and Syria respectively. More than 60 percent of South Sudanese refugees are children, many arriving with alarming levels of malnutrition and traumas. Thousands of women and girls have been raped; their homes were burned with all their properties destroyed.

The economy of South Sudan crushed since the inflation rate ranks highest and is more than 800 percent; it is alarming percentage in the moment, which makes it difficult to import goods from other countries since the new nation does not produce its own goods.

It is also a problematic for everyone, including the heavily weights, to place food and feed families, let alone the average poor. The UNHCR report indicates that “opposition to UN and AU transitional administration could be mitigated through a combination of politics and force— by working with important South Sudanese constituencies frustrated with [South Sudanese] President Salva Kiir, former First Vice President [and current SPLA-IO leader] Dr. Riek Machar, and their cronies; and then deploying a lean and agile peace intervention force to combat and deter the remaining spoilers once they have been politically isolated.”

I think this suggestion will exacerbate the situation. My humble recommendation is to deal with both Pres. Kirr and Dr. Riek to bring a real peace instead of sidelining anyone of them.

What really went wrong in South Sudan?

Personally, I struggle to point solely on one tangible rejoinder to this query because no logic seems to make sense in South Sudan, and whenever one states the facts, others take the evidence differently since inventors’ aims are to frustrate and ensure people remain incomprehensibly abstruse.

In my humble attempt to share what I know, I can piece this question into three categories. First and foremost, South Sudan historically got its independence in 2011 from Sudan, but its founding leader died few weeks before he assumed his role. The successor (Pres. Kiir) lacked the capacity to carry on the tasks he had in hands to drive the nation forward.

Though the successor had initially made a fair decision to bring on-board Dr. Riek as his deputy, but due to fear of unknown, as well as pressures from within his closed circles, relationship between the two leaders (Pres. Kiir and Dr. Riek) did not go as expected, and with no diligent working relationship and collaboration among the leaders, fruits of a political production could not easily be engendered as what people wish.

The second point is vision. The Pres. Kiir did not have a vision for the country. This is not my opinion alone on him. There were numbers of discussions made about his vision. One was when Pres. Kiir himself made with former US President Bush, Jr, and he was asked to articulate his vision for the country. However, Pres. Kiir relied on his subordinates to share what they thought was the vision for the country. Contrary to how anyone who leads anything, leave alone a country can do.

Vision is critically important for a leader and how to move a diverse country like South Sudan forward requires a visionary leadership which Pres. Kiir does not have, and the country is where it is because of that.

The third aspect is corruption. According to local and international analysts, corruption in South Sudan went above human imaginations. Pres. Kiir himself had at one point produced a list of several government officials of whom he accused of eating 4 billion dollars from government pots. Even though there were disputes to his accusation as some officials of the accused individuals came forward to clear their good names, evidences are there to display indeed some leaders, including Kiir himself, robbed the country with scarce resources deemed to serve and develop the nation.

A number of army generals who recently resigned from Pres. Kiir regime in Juba encompassed corruption in the lists of their frustration points, but Pres. Kiir and his closed allies did not care or grasp corruption as one of the major challenges facing the country.

As General Kamila Otwari Aleardo Paul put it in his letter of resignation to Pres. Salva Kiir and I quote, “Sir, with your partiality, favoritism and bias policies, you have dumped the country into chaos making it an incessant conflict zone.”

Gen. Kamila hails from Lotuko tribe in South Sudan. He accused Pres. Kiir who hails from Dinka tribe and his regime of squandering public funds to equip and serve his Dinka tribe only. A sentiment shared by many minority tribes in South Sudan at the moment.

Number of resigned and defected generals in addition to civilian members from different ethnic groups blame Pres. Kiir for practicing tribalism and nepotism as political self-empowerment to continue status quo in order to remain in power.

Pres. Kiir’s administration is similarly accused of mismanagement and bias policies, as well as killings of other ethnic groups. In December 2013, over 20,000 ethnic Nuer were murdered in less than a week by new trained tribal militias recruited and armed by Pres. Kiir’s Army Chief of Staff, Paul Malong Awan, a close friend and ally to Pres. Kiir and a member of his tribe.

The same killings are happening all over South Sudan currently, and both (Pres. Kiir and Gen. Awan) are responsibles of the continuing of the present conflict in South Sudan. The SPLA army Pres. Kiir leads is mainly responsible for committed atrocities on civilian population, along with deterring relief agencies to deliver aid assistance to people in needs. The SPLA army continues to confiscate properties without accountability.

What could be done to save the remaining lives?

The world must realize people of South Sudan are dying on daily basis in alarming rate at the moment, and it has to be stopped with an immediate action. According to UN agency, more than 5 million people are at risk of vanishing if nothing is done now to bar their lives. A conservative reliable estimation of more than 150,000 have already died as result of the current civil war started in December 15, 2013.

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSCAU), at its 411th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government, in Banjul, Gambia, on December 30, 2013, mandated the establishment of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS), which was headed by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Republic of Nigeria.

The Chairperson of the Commission, in consultation with the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and other relevant African Union (AU) structures, immediately established a Commission to investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and made recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.

The Commission was also requested to submit its report to Council within a maximum period of three months though it went longer than that, the IGAD-PLUS took the commission report and recommendations for further implementation. As part of its response to the crisis in South Sudan, the Commission adopted the Terms of Reference (ToR) detailed in the Concept Note Relating to the Establishment to:

• Establish the immediate and remote causes of the conflict;
• Investigate human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict by all parties from December 15, 2013;
• Establish facts and circumstances that may have led to and that amount to such violations and of any crimes that may have been perpetrated;
• Compile information based on these investigations and in so doing assist in identifying perpetrators of such violations and abuses with a view to ensuring accountability for those responsible.

The Commission interpreted its mandate to consist of four focal areas: healing, reconciliation, accountability and institutional reforms after identifying perpetrators. The Commission approached its mandate in a holistic manner, which was to emphasize the interrelatedness of the mandate areas.

The commission recommendations were enshrined as tools to pave ways for better forward to bring a lasting peace in the country. These recommendations were incorporated in the peace deal signed by the leaders, and this is the only way to bring a lasting peace in South Sudan. With no peace and accountability, how do people reconcile?

The peace could also bring permanent harmony in the country had it been executed as drafted and signed. However, there is no peace nor ceasefire in the country now. There is already a steady process of ethnic cleansing taking place in several areas of South Sudan that causes the current famine.

Yet, Pres. Kiir still preaches for an exclusive national dialogue. How could he conduct honest national dialogue when there is no ceasefire, leave alone a peace in the country? Why not he bring peace first before a dialogue as it was purposed in the August 2015 Peace Agreement if he is serious?

For the lives to be saved in South Sudan, the world must earnestly declare an end to this man-made crisis by tackling situation differently this time than it has been. Pres. Kiir must be told to either accept the previous peace deal, implementing it with his former foe, Dr. Riek and not with friend, or else accept to step aside and allow his party to choose a person deems suitable to represent IG party in a meaningful, unified government.

Pres. Kiir has no choice nor a mandate in the peace deal to hand-picked whomever he wants from other parties despite the objection of parties’ members as it was the case for Gen. Taban Deng Gai, who claims a fake representation of IO forces and sympathized members.

The international community, especially the United States of America, which has spent more than 2 billion USD in humanitarian assistance already in South Sudan, whereas the regime in Juba has spent twice as much on purchasing modernized military hardware to murdering its own people, as well as mortgaging the national resources to prolong the war and save no lives, must redouble their efforts to pressure Pres. Kiir to do what’s right for his people and country in order to spare innocent lives in addition to bringing a lasting hope to South Sudan.

In conclusion

This is a call on people of goodwill to stand up and help save lives of innocent South Sudanese civilians. I believe it will take all of us to bring an end the suffering of South Sudanese private citizens from their brutal leaders whose objectives are for erasing population from their original land and confiscating their properties for personal enrichment.

The world must prioritize peace by giving an ultimatum to the leaders, especially Pres. Kiir, to either join hands with his opponents and bring lasting peace or vacant the power for people of South Sudan to choose a leader who will unify their diverse ethnic groups. The agreement signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in August 2015, provided a roadmap for a genuine peace to be realized, but it is a dead deal now because Pres. Kiir did not want to implement it.

The world has also failed to lift up to its obligations, including making Pres. Kiir accountable instead of opting to isolate another signatory, Dr. Riek, who has so far committed everything he had, including his life, to join Pres. Kiir in his unfriendly territory, where Dr. Riek and his few bodyguards barely made it out after assassination attempt on his good life on July 8, 2016, which resulted in the collapse of the peace agreement.

However, I still believe that the peace deal could still be resuscitated and saved by urging the two signatories (Pres. Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar) plus others to sit back together on a table for the full implementation, and as a result, some South Sudanese lives could be saved!

Dr. Gatluak Thach lives and works in Nashville, TN. Author can be reached at gat@gmail.com; He is on Facebook, blog and tweet @gatthach.

Thinking outside the Box: Fragmentation of South Sudan is Becoming a Possible Reality

By Joseph Oreste Odhok, South Sudan, FEB/22/2017, SSN;

The civil war in South Sudan is poised to become a proxy regional war as some countries in the region begin to flex their muscles in furtherance to varied interests. Of late the regional bloc, IGAD witnessed intensive shuttle diplomacy from within and surprisingly from outside the bloc.

President Kiir visited Cairo on invitation of his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi who later returned the visit to Juba. President Al-Sisi made similar visits to both Uganda and Kenya on Dec 18th 2016 and Feb 18th 2017 respectively. A move seen as lobbying for support against construction of the Ethiopian “Renaissance Dam”, which Egypt regards as a threat to her national security.

In their bilateral talks at the State house in Entebbe, President Museveni welcomed Egypt’s intention to contribute troops for protection force in South Sudan. He also asked Al-Sisi to discourage the UNSC policy on imposing sanctions on South Sudan and further assured the Egyptian President that his government would work hard and take strict measures to ensure conservation of the River Nile so that Egypt would not be affected.

This meeting has its political overtones on South Sudan conflict and marks the beginning of a downward spiral to the fragmentation of the country, and a threat to regional peace and international security.

According to unverified information, South Sudan and Egypt made a deal that would make it possible to disrupt and frustrate the work on the Ethiopian “Renaissance Dam” project. This secret deal entails allowing the Ethiopian rebels to operate within South Sudanese territories, in return to providing air cover to the SPLA by Egyptian air force.

The ongoing Arial bombardments of civilian population settlements around Malakal and other areas of the “Shilluk Kingdom” on the West bank of the Nile seems to substantiate the claim.

Literally, the Shilluk kingdom is now empty after all the civil population — including the IDPs of Wau Shilluk— fled their villages for safety to the neighboring Sudan.

Mr. David Shearer, the head of UNMISS in South Sudan said he was denied access to Wau by the government and that he did not know the fate of the civilians sheltering there whom he thought fled towards Kodok.

President Kiir is well known for not keeping his promises. In fact, he is a pathological or a plausible liar. For how could you talk of conducting a dialogue and at the same time carry out military campaigns against those who’re supposed to take part in that same dialogue?

While this latest position of the regional bloc coupled with Egyptian meddling in the country’s affairs has emboldened President Kiir to deflect the peace agreement and openly declare before the parliament that he would neutralize the armed opposition wherever they are, Ethiopia and Sudan on the other hand, I believe, would not sit by and watch their own peace and national security being tempered with.

In the case of Ethiopia, it has soft borders with South Sudan with by having the same tribes on both sides of the border. These blood relation and ethnic bonds provide a sense of unity and belonging to each other. This sense of belonging could easily come to play in times of conflict and great turbulence such as this one.

In Equatoria, the situation could be described as catastrophic as evidenced by the number of fleeing civilian population to Uganda and Kenya, and the defecting officials to the Opposition. Most people in that region are living in constant fear and under harsh living conditions as the SS currency lost its purchasing power.

Add to this, the fear of crackdown and risk of deportation back to the country should they opt to take refuge in Urban Areas in Kenya and Uganda. These factors combined make the life extremely miserable for those still in the country.

The people of Western Bahr el Gazelle, mainly the Fertit tribes, are still sheltering in the UN protection sites and churches and in the bushes under harsh living conditions. In a nutshell the only free people who the president referred to as citizens of South are his tribes-people the “Jieng.”

Sudan’s concerns would come from the deteriorating security situation on its white Nile and South Kordufan States borders with Upper Nile State. Also the security of her nomads and their cattle while on their seasonal journeys for pasture and water in the area.

The Niger nomadic tribe of Flata Ombororo also visits the area in search of pasture and water.

Nevertheless, the Sudanese oil installations in Upper Nile and Unity States remains the most important items. The security of these installations will ultimately determine the next move of the Sudanese Government should the war escalate between the belligerent parties.

At present the Sudanese are working to lift the remaining US sanctions from their country and would not want to be distracted from achieving that goal. Though that should not be taken for granted.

This new escalation of conflict with vehement characteristics of ethnicity which is openly advocated by a tiny tribal elite and sanctioned by the Head of the State, made the polarization even worse, and the demise of the country much imminent than ever before.

The recent defections of senior military and civil service officials from the government, and their revelations are but clear testimony to the level of frustration and despair.

The insistence of the President on going ahead with the fake “National Dialogue” while promising to quell the rebellion by military means is an inept way of handling of the country’s affairs and a brazen idiocy.

Unless he wanted to throw the country to the dogs as Adolf Hitler had done before the allied forces brought him to his knees, there is no rational reason to opt for military solution. There shall not be decisive military victory by either side.

If Egypt, Uganda and Kenya all stand behind Kiir’s government to advance their covetous and malicious interests, they too should know that there are others out there who similarly covet South Sudan and would want to enter the scramble for this dying animal.

This unfolding unfortunate situation will eventually turn the country into a safe haven for criminals and illicit trade and by extension provide a springboard for terrorist activities.

In conclusion, the current political development of events in South Sudan brings me to corroborate the supposition in a report published by Pax International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) — Scenarios for South Sudan in 2020 — in which the author predicts the Fragmentation of the country into many parts by October 2017.

The collapse of the government and fragmentation of the country is now becoming a possible reality given the recent policy shift to a military solution of the conflict, the already declared famine and the collapsing economy.

Dr. Riek and his SPLM/A–IO should not take the blame for collapse of peace. After all it takes two to tango. END

Freedom Fighters or Terrorists: The SPLM /A-IO Equatoria Groups

By Mading Gum, FEB/12/2017, SSN;

Of all the leadership qualities that made Dr. John Garang, SPLM/A leader, one of the greatest freedom fighters in Africa to stand out was that Garang was a great thinker. Garang offered a new nationalism of Sudanism, opposed to divisiveness and separatism. He imagined a political community in New Sudan in which democracy, equality, economic and social justice and respect for human rights is the core.

In his mind, the enemy was clear: all the institutions of oppression that have been evolved in Khartoum to oppress the masses of the Sudanese people. ‘The masses of the Sudanese people’. Remember that.

But why did Garang define the enemy as the institutions of oppression rather than Arabs? Was the Dien Massacre of 1987 not carried out by armed Arab Baggara militias who killed and burnt to death hundreds of Dinkas? Were Arabs militias of Rufa in Jabalyin not responsible for the massacre of over 200 Shilluk civilians in 1989? What about over 90 Shilluk victims who fled for safety but were killed in cold blood at the nearby police station manned by Arabs?

The tragedy in the South Sudan brutal conflict is lack of political imagination beyond tribes, hatred, revenge and self-enrichment. Garang offered New Sudan that transcends tribes in the past. None does today.

Political violence or terrorism, the missing link:

South Sudan conflict can be read in different ways. If you read from the perspective of my friend, Professor Remember Miamingi, the Juba regime is a terrorist state that has expanded the concept of “enemy combatant to the tribes and communities from which the principal enemy comes from.”

For Miamingi, the rebels are the principal enemy, the presumed freedom fighters. Another perspective, underrepresented in the mainstream media, views rebels as nothing but terrorists who “exploit the relative vulnerability of the civilian underbelly” in the dark forests and highways of Equatoria. I will focus on the latter as much has been written about the former.

Although the difference between political violence and terrorism is still unsettled, it is Paige W. Eager book “From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists: Women and Political violence,” that offers a striking contrast between political violence and terrorism.

Political violence is distinguished by three key features. First, it is a broader category that encompasses guerrilla warfare, national liberation movements, violent strikes and demonstrations.

Second, political violence aims to re-order the political and social set up of the society. To overthrow a tyrannical government, to redefine and realize justice and equality, to achieve independence or territorial autonomy are key examples.

Third, violence does not intentionally target civilians but is directed toward property, law enforcement and political authorities.

Terrorism is distinguished primarily by the intentional or threat to use violence against civilians targets for political goals. Intentional targets, who are civilians, differentiate terrorism from broader political violence where civilians are rarely intentional targets.

Bruce Hoffman offers five criteria that set terrorists apart from other criminals. First, there are political motives and second, violence or the threat of violence is utilized. Third, the violence act is intended to have psychological consequences beyond immediate victim. Fourth, organization with chain of command structures conducts the act. Fifth, and the last, the perpetrators of the act are a subnational group or non-state entity.

Terrorists in Equatoria bushes
At the height of December 2013 conflict, SPLM/A–IO prided itself as an alternative to Juba regime and they almost succeeded before tribalism, hatred and revenge engulfed them. IO existence is of contradiction and this also applies to the IO in the Bush. It preaches one thing and its members practice different things.

It is undisputed that IO Equatoria groups have political goals underpinning the terror on the highways and bushes. Equatorains have long harboured feelings for autonomous status for their states under federal framework.

However, July 2016 fighting in Juba and subsequent clashes with IO forces in the bushes of Equatoria as Riek Machar escaped to DRC aggravated the situation. Now, these groups have nothing to do with liberating South Sudan or fighting to realize justice and good governance. The primary aim is to revenge.

And to them, the enemy is not the oppressive Juba regime but Dinka as a tribe. Miamingi observation illustrates this: “…right now we are having ethnic groups within Equatoria region have taken up arms predominantly in response to abuse they have received but also the government’s targeting other ethnic groups on response of their ethnicity”.

The assertion makes two things clear. First, the received abuses are first attributed to Dinka tribe. The line between the government forces and ordinary Dinka civilian is blurred. Second, the act is primarily revenge motivated other than liberating the masses of South Sudanese from all the institutions of oppression in Juba. Here, the political poverty of the freedom fighters becomes apparent.

Unlike liberation movements which target property, government officials and law enforcement agents, South Sudan is witnessing the emergence of terror groups hell-bent on wiping out members of ethnic group perceived to dominate the government in particular areas.

Whether this increases civilian suffering or not is not their point. As long as the targeted ethnic group can be drawn into the bloodbath for genocide to occur, they are fine with it.

The trumped Ethnic nationalism
In late 2016, Alan Boswell gave a dramatic personal account of the rising ethno-nationalism in South Sudan. In Upper Nile, an ethnic Shilluk defence militia marched new graduates to war with songs against Dinka. At the Western end of the country, a Zande rebel leader derided a Zande governor as “Dinka”, a handmaiden for a “sell-out or traitor”.

To understand these ethnic nationalists’ sentiments, one has to look at Benedict Anderson book ‘Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism.’ Anderson defines nations as social constructs, imagined political communities that live in the imagination of its members and belonging to it is about a sense of connectedness to those imagined people. In South Sudan, there is no an imagined political community beyond Naath nation, Shilluk nation, Jieng Nation etc.

One imagined political community that offers a classic example is Equatoria. Although there is no ethnic community called Equatoria there lives in the minds of almost all people in that region of the existence of such political community, separate from Dinka and Nuer. There is a tendency to regard Equatoria as a “deep, horizontal comradeship”.

Dr Justin Ambago, one of the Equatoria prolific writers, admitted “The situation is not the same with indigenous populations of Equatoria, the country’s most southern region. People of Equatoria are more keen to identifying themselves as Equatorians, although they belong to nearly thirty different ethnicities”.

Now, the Moru rebel leader remarks become clear. Equatoria nationalism is ethnic nationalism which carries with it the seeds of xenophobia towards Dinka, the enemy. The freedom fighters have failed to imagine a political community beyond tribe and region. And here, sadly though, the IO Equatoria groups have succumbed to terrorism, wallowing in the miasma of ethnic nationalism.

The writer can be reach at madinggum@gmail.com

Uganda holds the key to South Sudan question: Prof. Miamingi explains problems the country faces

JAN/29/2017, SSN;

Before the signing of the Peace Agreement, we were talking about crimes, after the signing of the Peace Agreement, we are now talking about genocide unfolding in S.S.

The chaos goes on seemingly unabated in South Sudan. Uganda’s New Vision website Public affairs Editor Paul Busharizi sat down with human rights and governance expert, S.S Professor Dr Remember Miamingi, to understand the mess in the new country.

Question QN: What is the state of Affairs right now in South Sudan?

ANSWER: The state of Affairs right now in South Sudan at the moment is tragic and to put it in perspective before the Peace Agreement was signed in August 2015, S. Sudan had less than 200,000 internally displaced persons, less than 100, 000 refugees that we had outside the country.

After the signing of the Peace Agreement, today South Sudan has close to 2 million South Sudanese outside as refugees, over 500,000 internally displaced South Sudanese.

In 2013, we had around 2m people that were said to be facing famine. Today, 6 million South Sudanese are facing starvation in the country.

Before the signing of the Peace Agreement, we were talking about crimes, after the signing of the Peace Agreement, we are now talking about genocide unfolding in S.S.

So after the signing of the Agreement, the situation has deteriorated significantly that the UN, AU and international Agencies are now saying genocide is unfolding in S.S in a rate that is extremely disturbing.

QN: Who is perpetrating the genocide?

It is both ways; it is the armed practice to the conflict. But what has happened is that we had a political conflict which degenerated into an ethnic conflict and this ethnic conflict has been excavated by a rhetoric of dehumanising other people on the base of their ethnicity and that which started in 2013, you had a conflict which picked the Dinka ethnic groups and Nuer ethnic group.

But right now we are having ethnic groups within Equatoria region have taken arms predominantly in response to abuse they have received but also the government’s targeting other ethnic groups on response of their ethnicity.

So you have a gov’t that is embarked on a policy of ethnic cleansing on the base of ethnicity but you also have armed groups that have gone back to return the same policy and targeting communities, wiping out entire communities on the basis of ethnicity.

And when you have a country where ethnicity, ethnic hatred is as deep as we have in S.S where dehumanisation of others is a state policy while conflict has provided a symbol of context for it, and the economy has completely collapsed and there’s a war for survival, genocide in that context is devastating.

And so what we are seeing in S.S if not arrested will be than worse than what we witnessed in Rwanda.

QN: How many ethnic groups do you have in S.S?We have 63 ethnic groups in S.S. Sixty three a big number to have a genocide. Who would be killing who? Probably it’s not a genocide

What you have is that even though there are 63 ethnic groups in South Sudan, you have a gov’t that is predominantly one ethnic group and that is the Dinka. You have the rebellion that is predominantly one ethnic group and that is Nuer.

And so when the gov’t attacks the Nuer community through militias and armed groups, they wipe out the entire community not because they are rebels but because they are Nuers.

And when you target one ethnic group primarily and mainly on the basis of that ethnicity with the intention of wiping it out completely, that is the classical definition of genocide and you also have a return, that when this rebel group attack either predominantly Dinkas, they carry out the same policy.

So it is even though they are different ethnic groups, you have primarily two main actors that are engaging on a very devastating act of threatening to wipe out the ethnicity of the other in the context of war that is unfolding.

And so when we are talking about the genocide, we are not undermining the fact that there is massive killing, we are not undermining the fact that there is rape; the rate of sexual violence we have in S.Sudan, we have not witnessed it since we started fighting the Arabs for close to 30 years. The scale of brutality that we as S.Sudanese are meting on each other today, not even the Arabs figured it that way.

QN:So how did it come to this?

That is the 1 billion dollar question because S.S was born a Golden nation to so much virginity and potential with Good will in the region and international.

My answer to that question is that first, S.S suffers from leadership deficit; when we had independence everything was prepared and dreamt around Dr. John Garang de Mabior who was the vision of the movement and the man who articulated and provided direction to where the country was going and demised in 2005, providing a leadership vacuum and the comrades stepped into, who had no vision, had no national interest, they were completely committed to quality of their bellies, it was corruption, it was anything other than the nation building and therefore this leadership deficit led us to where we are today.

Secondly, in my opinion it was the capacity deficit, what we could have done as a country was to say we have a country, we have not governed before, we do not have experience in this, we could have gone to Uganda and say Uganda, we have one of the best civil services in the region. Can you second some men and women to come and help us? We could have gone to Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania and amass capacity to help us do institutions.

So in the absence of institution, in the absence of systems, we had a complete collapse between party, government, the state and the army.

In fact our parliament became like a cantonment area where generals would go if you did not find work somewhere else, you ended up in Parliament. So we had the entire system that was conflicted together because of capacity issues.

But thirdly, in my opinion, is that when we fought North Sudan, we had our own differences and problems and some atrocities that were committed by S.Sudanese against others. They were not addressed at all because we said let us first and foremost deal with the North.

Once we are finished with that, we will come and deal with our own nation and when we finished with the North, we had no opportunity to deal with those issues not that we didn’t have an opportunity, we did not prioritise solving our own post injustices, solving our own grievances and the same people we have in the North that we fought could easily capitalise; took advantage of those differences we had and from there could help in generating the kind of situation that we are having today.

We also got here in my opinion because of the role that our neighbours had played in Sudan in South Sudan during the war. Uganda sacrificed so much during the war and when for example Uganda was expected to play a role when the country was going forward and so was Ethiopia and Kenya.

And so that, different players playing with the different actors in S.S in trying to push one national interest against the other national interest and the conflict that arose also helped feed into the conflict that we are having today. SO it’s a number of issues from leadership through down to regional geo-political dynamics.

QN: What role did South Sudan’s neighbours have in the chaos we see now?

I want to agree that yes, the conflict we have in S.S today, apart from we can’t take responsibility away from National actors, but that our brothers and sisters in the region have also contributed in complicating a search for solution for the problem and I will also give a good example: Uganda played a significant role in fact if you are to rank countries together, the kind of support we receive from Uganda in liberating is monumental.

But when the conflict broke out in 2013, the government of Uganda took one side in the conflict; this was a fight between brothers. The government went in through Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and then supported one side to that conflict and that was to the government.

Now of course government to government support is reasonable except that in the context of South Sudan, we had a government that was predominately bigger that have just been accused of committing crimes against humanity -war crimes and possibility genocide against another main ethnic group the Nuer.

And now when you dare come and help one side, you are actually strengthening one ethnic group against the other. And there strengthening the divide between the two ethnic groups.

Uganda has probably one of the most important opportunities to bring the conflict in South Sudan to an end. It is able, it is capable but I do not know if it is willing to do it.

Let’s go to Ethiopia, Ethiopia seeing Uganda on one side inevitably because of the different dynamics in the region, but also because of the sacrifices Ethiopia made in Sudan then. We had Ethiopia supporting the armed groups and so when you add this to Sudan who basically had interest in ensuring that S.Sudan was as destabilised as it can be, so that at least its armed industry can thrive and so that its own security might be strengthened by a weak South Sudan.

Now you have Egypt coming into this picture through Uganda and with support from Uganda to support Salva Kiir. The moment Egypt is in S.S, Ethiopia is with the rebels, the moment Egypt is in S.S, Sudan is with the rebels. So already all this put together, you have Kenya that has its own interest that has played significant interest in bringing together the Peace Agreement also having its own competition and its national interest.

So these national interests as valid and genuine as they are, not managed well, contributed significantly to the intractability conflict that we have today.

But there is no solution in S.S that is not a solution that is accepted by the region and that is why it is extremely important and we are already asking whether we need mediators to mediate the regional mediation because the differences between the different countries in the region have almost paralysed Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) the ability to provide mutual, impartial mediation to the conflict to the extent that IGAD as an institution has been compromised.

And so without the new incredible mediation and without a united regional front that the AU and UN will depend on to address the conflict in S.S. we are in a situation that as the conflict is deteriorating, solution is going further and the ordinary people in S.S are looking for leadership.

My coming to Uganda was basically to talk to Uganda leadership and so you have the golden opportunity, you can use your experience, you can use your expertise you can use your capacity and have a big nation as a big brother to rise above narrow personal relationships, narrow personal economic and political interests and provide leadership in those regions and if not for any other reason, the outgoing Chief of staff in Uganda in an interview just about a few days ago said the greatest security risk to Uganda remains S.Sudan.

So even if it’s not out of solidarity for S.Sudanese, from a security interest of Uganda, you have over 2m people crammed between the border of Uganda. These people are coming from some of the most traumatised experience, they are interacting with Uganda across that border. You have the flow of arms either to S.S or from there for survival along that border.

You have the social consequence that comes with a small country that was may be 5 or 20 or 30, 000 people right now hosting over 400,000 people in their communities. You have the socio-economic burden that brings in.

So it’s not just not a security threat in that sense but it is also an economic threat because the international community is not putting its money into United Nations system sufficient enough to provide for this.

It is the community that will subsidize them. It is the community that will carry the burden and those people are Ugandans.

It is also a social threat because nobody is providing social and psychological support to these people. Traumatised as they are, the cultural violence, the culture of treating things from the way they came from will begin to interact with local culture there and that is an issue Uganda will have to deal with tomorrow.

And so from that perspective we are saying, you can and you should because the Americans are not bearing this, Ethiopia is bearing this but not every other country in the region is carrying the burden. And we are just talking about those apart from so many 100s of 1000s of persons scattered across Uganda here in Kampala and everywhere who basically depend on this.

Students across the schools here can’t pay their fees because S.S has collapsed. Business men that had invested so heavily in S.S have gone bankrupt; they are having social issues to deal with here. So it is in the interest of Uganda as it is in the interest of S.Sudanese that as brothers, that we fix this.

QN: Where do you derive your confidence that Uganda holds the key to the resolving the situation?

When the war of liberation in S.S was almost failing, failing because of the same compromises in the region, Uganda stood its ground. Uganda did not only provide material support, Uganda in certain circumstances put boots on the ground in S.S in support of the liberation war.

It did it despite the divisions, it did it despite that some people were compromised like Moi, like other people in the region by the government of Sudan.

So historically, Uganda has stood on the right side of history. But in addition to that, I personally do not see President Museveni, just as a president. He is an elder and a statesman who has been in this region long enough, to understand this region long enough, whose actions have impacted heavily negatively or positively on this region to build networks and respected beyond his region.

The utterances that President Museveni makes here become policies in Washington DC, the utterances that he makes here become AU policies sometimes. So there is a cloud. the only unfortunate thing is that that socio capita has been underutilised, that social capital has been limited because of what i perceive as complete distrust from the leadership in Uganda of the leadership of the rebel movement in S.S and because of that distrust, Uganda cannot come to see itself bringing these two people together; some body that you do not trust at all, you do not respect at all; that is causing havoc in the country.

I think as a leader and as an eldest states-person, it is incumbent that you, Museveni, bring these people together. Let there be peace and let South Sudanese be given opportunity to choose who their leaders are. All that they want is peace.

Today, if Uganda closed down the bank accounts of all the generals who are fighting in South Sudan, their monies are kept here, their houses are here and their children are here. Uganda has leverage. If it speaks today, Juba listens because if Uganda closes its door today, the government in Juba will collapse within days, it has the power.

And so I’m convinced from the historical perspective, we are connected as people, culturally we are connected, our burdens become your burdens. But also from the capacity of this country the experience of dealing with conflicts in the region, Uganda has the expertise to deal with us and to deal with our problems each and when it wants.

QN: The distrust between Uganda and the rebel side in S.Sudan. What is the genesis of the distrust?

My understanding and perception is that one of the greatest setback to the entire liberation project in South Sudan was when the rebel movement broke into two in 1991 and that break was instigated by Dr Riak Machar and in Lamako and that pushed the movement back 10 years.

So the effort that Uganda had put into and other countries was almost brought to a total failure but act of a man from a perspective of a Ugandan Government, That was selfish. There was ambition, and on top of that he went back to Khartoum where their image was, there so there was the issue of destruction.

But in addition to that there was history around the conversation to deal with the LRA, the negotiations that had to do with LRA, the understanding and I have no evidence is written down and I have spoken about, I have not verified myself, is that during that 1991 break, one of the conduits that Sudan was providing support to the LRA was through the breakaway movement of Riak.

And so even then when Riak came to Juba and was managing the peace conversation between the governments here, the trust on the side of the government wasn’t there. So the government here sees Riak… that is my perception from far, as not being a reliable leader and not being a true Nationalist and therefore not being a kind of core liberator that will go with a tradition of NRM and ZANU–PF and all those.

So when in 2013 the same Dr Riak Marhar again was alleged to have been involved in an attempted coup, which could have thwarted the project of the nation building, my thinking was that some people in this country had enough. And so it acted and allowed that personal hatred to then inform a national strategic approach.

QN: There was an issue too that the SPLA is not a coherent force and therefore the chaos?

The SPLA before 2005 was one of the most disciplined, professional forces in the region in terms of even though were rebels. Then came in 2005 and the finding of the disagreement under the death of Dr John Garang de Mabior now when Salva Kiir came to power one of the greatest threat to Salva Kiir control over the army was the so called Garang boys.

The Garang boys were the Generals, professional and the training core OF SPLA who probably didn’t have so much respect for General Salva Kiir and what President Salva Kiir then did was one by one, systematically eliminate these people.

These also owned the regional dynamic that Garang was from Bor and you had Salva Kiir come from Bahr el Ghazal and that before Salva came in, that all the people who were probably Dinkas from the Bor. So they then went ahead to balance that. So that was one major diluting factor.

Now the second diluting factor, was as we approach the referendum, Khartoum was busy providing arms to different rebel groups across South Sudan and to avoid these spoilers, spoil the chance of this country to vote in a referendum.

Salva Kiir invented these eviction policies where all those militias were incorporated into the SPLA, they came in with their ranks. That today, it is important to note that we have 745 generals in the army and these people came in with their culture, traditions, they had no training, they came in with the structure, they maintained their ranks; that second diluting factor then completely took away whatever professional advantage that the SPLA had.

The Third diluting factor is corruption when we got independence, S.Sudan suddenly had at that its disposal, it was dealing in billions of dollars from the proceeds of oil and when this money used to come in first, and we had no banking system. The money would come in cartons, millions of dollars in cartons that was kept at the SPLA secretariat.

The SPLA secretariat was the Minister of Finance. Suddenly people had to deal with money and with no accountability at all.

And so every other consideration gave way to corruption and patronage and so the professional disciplined solders that we had completely disappeared that today, it is even worse because when the conflict broke out in 2013, by that time because of these big tribes, most of the malice were from Nuer tribe. So when the conflict broke out, 70% of the army broke and went with the rebels.

So even within the diluted, 70% had gone. So what we have today, when people talk about SPLA today, it doesn’t exist, when people talk about the army, it doesn’t exist because what we have in S.S is a Coalition of miltias whose commanders and control are not to Salva Kiir as the commander-in-chief but it is to the different militias Commanders that brought them together, responsible for feeding them and their salaries and all that they get. So that is another complicating factor.

And that is why if Uganda had not intervened in 2013, ehh… (sighs) the war would have been over from the sense of the rebels because Juba would have fallen because there was no army to provide.

So his right one has not only destroyed the army in the country but has created the greatest security threat as a country. If Sudan attacked us today, we would have no army to fight with because we have finished our army, fighting ourselves.

QN: So how will this be resolved?

Yes, but we are hoping. The resilience of the S.Sudanese people. We started fighting on August 25, 1955. The resilience that saw the S.Sudanese all through those years is the only blink of hope. And that is why we are asking our brothers with the government, the people of Uganda, add your voice to these people, give them the moral support that you can because that’s all they need, the one that will bring about change. And we hope for support as we continue to talk to our conscience as Africans.

QN: You talked of lack of capacity in S.Sudan, the only figures I see is that S.S is two and a half times the size of Uganda, it has about only about 100 km the tarmac road, but what about the people, teachers, professionals and graduates?

Now as they maybe not in the same measure, with many rebel movements across the continent. When SPLA fought during those wars, so many S.Sudanese went into refugee camps and as a result of being in refugee camps, benefited from Education in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and other neighbouring countries and many of them got resettled in countries in the West and also went there to have education. So there is a reasonable size of S.Sudanese in all who have gone outside, who are well-educated and who are willing to return home to contribute.

But what happened Is that immediately we got independence, those who fought, felt that while they were busy here struggling and sleeping in the trenches, you went outside eating bread and butter and going to school and now suddenly you now want to come back, and say you’re Doctors, you’re this. NO. This is our time. In fact it is our time to eat. And that first closed the opportunity so that even the diaspora that returns, returns on personal or relational basis to contribute in whatever capacity that they did.

Even if we had the opportunity of bringing all our diaspora back, but still it will not be enough because the art of the governance is not in class. It comes through experience and those who were outside. Not all of there were in governance, they would do different things.

So we still need to depend on our brothers and sisters who in this region stood by us. But again pride. We fought the Arabs. We are capable just doing about anything. So that arrogance and that approach as if we had it all, closed the door. I do not know how many times the presidents of the region…. Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, UN all of them will come back to Sudan and say we can provide, we will pay for the capacity and bring people to support you.

I do not how much the president will say YES YES and nothing will be done. Because we use gov’t institutions and positions as a reward system that will then oil our patronage networks and keep up loyalty.

So bringing people (expertise) from outside we have no control over them, who have a name to protect, institutions where they were seconded from weakens that control and the entire network and therefore corruption will thrive and as a result, we sacrificed the future of our country for our personal and immediate benefits.

QN: Looking forward, what do you think happens given the current context you have described?

I sincerely believe that the war in S.Sudan right now has almost reached the point that is mutually hurting for all the parties. The government that is broke, it does not have enough money to buy loyalties like it should, for all its patronage networks, it is dealing with rebellions.

Right now, in 2013 we had about 14 rebel groups fighting across S.Sudan. Today we just published report, we have 40 across. Conflict was only in two areas in 2013 and now we have conflict across S.Sudan. So the scale of the challenge is enormous for any government even as callous as you can, you just cannot go to bed and sleep. Because you see the country collapsing.

Today we have inflation above 1000%, somebody that was earning 7,000 dollars in 2013 today is not more than 170 dollars’ worth. And so government no matter how proud it wants to be, no matter how strong it wants to appear, it is completely in a very vulnerable position.

So often the rebel movement controls the structure and command by virtue of these being scattered. The economic pressure you cannot sustain and control all these rebels outside, how do you feed them. They cannot continue fighting the war long enough and so this is an opportunity for the region to take leadership.

They have fought themselves to a stalemate.

It is a stalemate. A mutually hating stalemate and it is an opportunity for the region to come in right now and say you know what, we are tired of trying to accommodate you but have not succeeded.

We are going to act on behalf of those boys and girls, women and men who have no issues with what you’re fighting for; who are primary victims. This is for us a Road Map.

Let’s have a credible inclusive National dialogue. Uganda will host it. Kenya will host it. Let’s bring all those people together but also those men and women from the village. Let’s bring them here. Let’s have the Church – the African Council of Churches- the Council of Churches of S.Sudan. Let’s us have the traditional rulers. Let them facilitate this conversation, they have a history of doing it, a degree in comprehensive disagreements, they did it for people with disagreements, they can do it again.

Bring these people together. Let us talk. Whatever we agree on the round table, we are going to enforce. And we are going to put a threat that is crude but credible on the table. But anyone who then do not honour their commitment of S.Sudanese people will be isolated and will be dealt with.

I think there is that capacity in the region to be able to bring everybody together not only the political actors, but every S.Sudanese who has suffered to have a National Plan and Dialogue, agree on that National Plan of Action and solve that plan of action as we have seen the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) doing in Gambia; that is where we want to go. We cannot continue seeing few people spoiling the name of the continent.

– See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1444981/uganda-holds-key-south-sudan-question#sthash.b5PDq5lq.dpuf

Machar Versus Kiir: Two dangerous enemies who can’t work together

By Michael Abraha, Kenya, JAN/17/2017, SSN;

We know Pres Kiir and Dr. Machar are not only political opponents but dangerous enemies who have no heart for each other. The reality is that their self-serving rivalry has cost South Sudan so much bloodshed and the nation is at a stand still because neither side is willing or able to play a fair political game.

I believe it was wrong, ab initio (from the beginning), for these two ambitious men to try to work together as president and Vice President.

Machar should learn from Kenya’s Raila Odinga and be only an opposition leader without any portfolio. This would give him ample time to articulate inclusive ideas and policy agendas with the forthcoming elections in mind.

Meantime, some of his SPLA/IO members should be allowed to serve in the various branches of the interim administration under Kiir.

Given the current hostile environment, Machar and his party should be given full security guarantees. And there are many ways he and his organization meet their financial needs.

Equally crucial in this equation is for Kiir to try to emerge as a renewed statesman devoting more of his time and energy to the task of healing and unifying the nation. No external force can bring peace and unity for S. Sudan.

He can achieve statesmanship of the Mandela stature if he can convince himself and his ardent supporters that their economic benefits and privileges cannot be permanent and may have to be sacrificed for the sake of the nation.

Finally, Kiir and Machar should realize there can be no South Sudan without the Nuers or without the Dinkas. Ethnic violence is a shame in the 21st century.