Category: Politics

Analysis of JMEC’s Statement on the Despairing Situation of South Sudan

By: James Okuk, PhD, Pol. Sci. Lecturer, Juba, JUN/26/2016, SSN;

In the Opening statement delivered to the members during the plenary meeting in Juba on 23rd June 2016 by H.E. Festus G. Mogae, the Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), it could detected that the preliminary monitoring and evaluation of the pace of the implementation of the August 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) is overwhelmingly negative and frustrating to those who want to see a meaningful peace settlement in the country as a whole.

For the first time H.E Mogae has started addressing the scary and disappointing situation of South Sudan with ‘a heavy heart’ of almost-getting-frustrated as he narrated the highlights of his assessment to the 32 members of his institution, representing the parties to the agreement, the other South Sudanese Stakeholders and Adherents, the Regional Guarantors, and International Partners and Friends of South Sudan {i.e., 2 each from GRSS, the SPLM/A–IO and Faith-Based Leaders; 1 each from Former Detainees, Other Political Parties, Women’s Bloc, Civil Society Organizations, Eminent Personalities, Business groups and Youth; 1 each from Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Djibouti, Somalia, Rwanda, Chad, Nigeria, South Africa , Algeria and African Union Commission; and 1 each from U.S, UK, Norway, China, United Nations, European Union and IGAD Partners Forum (IPF)} and also the public at large both nationally and internationally.

For him the parties are failing to adhere to the letter and spirit of the ARCSS as stipulated in the Preamble and also to the spirit of the transitional National Constitutional Amendment Committee, culmination in the national elections at the end of transitional period.

According H.E. Mogae, Chapter I on Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) is not fully established and moving as expected. It is seems to be paralyzed by the fact that only the Presidency and the Council of Ministers are in place but not working collectively as one team of peace yet.

There seems to be a parallel government operating separately and secretly from the TGoNU. This is blocking any progress in the expansion and reconstitution of the Transitional National Legislative Assembly and Council of States, the reform of the Judiciary, the reconstitution and establishment of the Other Specialized Transitional Institutions and Mechanisms (i.e., the undersecretaries, the professional commissions and authorities) and the restructuring and composition of State Governments, especially in Conflict-Affected States and other states in accordance with power-sharing quotas in the ARCSS.

The formation and operationalization of the expected Boundary Commission to look into the issue of 28 states as directed by the IGAD’s Council of Ministers in January 2016 remains a far away dream as some dirty games have been pushed into this to fail it.

But above all the JMEC’s Chairperson identifies the delays and obstruction against the implementation of Chapter II on the Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements (e.g, work of CTSAMM, JMCC, JOC, Joint Integrated Police, the Strategic Defence and the Security Review Board, etc) as the priority area of the worry about the viability of the ARCSS.

Most content of his statement identified the critical areas for attention because without security in place there can’t be any meaningful peace and sustainable development in South Sudan, which might also pose a regional and international threat as the new country on the globe doesn’t exist as an island of its own among the nations.

For the first time he came out openly to diagnose the problem and identify lack of political will from the Principal former warring parties (the SPLM-IG and the SPLM-IO) to silent the guns in all parts of the country, especially the country side where the social fabrics is seriously wounded by the bitterness of harmful consequences of the war (i.e., killings, robberies, ambushes, intimidation, harassment, sexual violence, child abduction and conscriptions, displacements and refuge in UNMISS PoCs and neighboring courtiers).

He urged the Presidency to intervene and give clear directives to their respective lieutenants on this urgent matter because it is hopelessly putting the ARCSS on a dangerous hold with a possibility of an undesirable collapse.

Lack of progress in Chapter II (due to absent of leadership and cooperation from the military commanders and lack of commitments by their representatives) is seriously hampering the implementation of Chapter III on Humanitarian Assistance and Reconstruction.

Access of humanitarian personnel is being denied in the most-needy areas for rescue and sometimes the relief agents are harassed or killed. Thinking about the establishment and operationalization of Special Reconstruction Fund (SRF) remain a far away dream.

Also the reforms and legislations which are needed for effectively implementing Chapter IV on Resource, Economic and Financial Management Arrangements is being delayed mainly by lack of comprehensive permanent ceasefire in the country, which causes more desertion of citizens to save their threaded livelihood but stay idle in UNMISS camps (PoCs) or other refugee camps in the neighboring countries and at the mercy of good Samaritans and NGOs.

Spending more money and lives on military war operations has not been reverted to humanitarian, economic and services sectors yet. The currency exchange rate and inflation has continued its descent, further escalating the suffering of ordinary people.

For H.E. Mogae who is a professional economist in addition of being a statesman, a country without a stable running economy can’t b regarded as a dignified territory for happy life.

Despite the politicized dodging of full and timely ARCSS implementation, the JMEC’s Chairperson warned the parties not to temper with Chapter V on Transitional Justice, Accountability, Reconciliation and Healing.

He wanted the components (i.e., Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Commission, Compensation and Reparations Authority, and Hybrid Court for South Sudan) of this type of special justice to be established without further delays so as no the keep abetting impunity continuity of violence in the country.

This has to go hand in hand with implementation of Chapter VI on Parameters of Permanent Constitution so that issues of governance and management of diversities in the country could be addresses comprehensively and based on scientific findings, including the federal system of government and the suitable number of units of the levels of the government (e.g. No states, 3 states, 10 states, 21 states, 28 states or more states).

According to H.E. Festus, the JMEC shall keep reminding the parties on Chapter VIII on Supremacy of the ARCSS and Procedures for Amendments so that they do not operate outside the deal without approval by the JMEC (e.g. trying to amend the ARCSS matrixes and unilateral decisions by the Presidency on critical issues like advisors without getting back to the JMEC, the Council of Ministers and all the Parties).

The JMEC shall keep its commitment as stipulated in Chapter VII of the ARCSS and remain seized to in how to overcome some of the major obstacles to ARCSS implementation with the mandated mission:
1) Monitor and oversee all aspects of the implementation of the Agreement;
2) Monitor and oversee the mandate and tasks of the Transitional Government of National Unity, including the adherence of the Parties to the agreed timelines and implementation schedule;
3) Oversee all work of Pre-Transitional and Transitional institutions and mechanisms created by the Agreement;
4) Enjoy, under the laws of South Sudan, such legal capacity as may be necessary for the exercise of its functions, including the capacity to contract and to acquire and dispose of real and personal property;
5) Request status reports from any of the Pre-Transitional or Transitional institutions, as it deems necessary;
6) Break deadlocks within the TGoNU, as per the provisions of Chapter VII, Article 6 of the Agreement;
7) Publicize its work, conduct public outreach to the people of South Sudan, and ensure that the progress of implementation of the Agreement is widely disseminated;
8) Report regularly to the TGoNU Council of Ministers, the Transitional National Assembly, the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and to the Secretary- General and Security Council of the United Nations on the status of implementation of this Agreement, as provided for in the Agreement;
9) In the event of any non-implementation of the mandate and tasks of the TGoNU or any of the Pre-Transitional and Transitional institutions and mechanisms created by the Agreement, or any other serious deficiencies, recommend appropriate corrective action to the TGoNU, and/or remedial action to the national and international institutions named above; and
10) In the event the TGoNU fails to take such remedial actions, the Chairperson shall report such matters with recommendations to the other stronger international bodies for pressure and action.

The address of H.E. Mogae should prick the conscience of the ruling leaders of South Sudan if at all they have a sympathy left for their suffering population from effects of the senseless war and crazy volatile shocking economy.

These political leaders should not gamble and undermine the gravity of the despairing situation being faced by vulnerable and downtrodden population who still has the electoral power of mandating the legitimate governing of the country.

So far the parties (especially those who have the monopoly of means of violence) are still behaving as expulsive strangers to each other rather than cohesive partners for peace. The mistrust between them is still high.

That is why the Overall Supervisor of the ARCSS implementation is seriously worried, given his assessment of the behavior of the parties. For him the stalemate on the pending issues might threaten the viability of the whole peace agreement and draw the country back to a gloomy situation of ‘to-be’ or ‘not-to-be’.

But so as not to be blamed if things went wrong later (God forbids), the Old Man from Botswana is now set and prepared to stage official complain in form of monitoring and evaluation report on the hindered implementation of the ARCSS, to be presented to the TGoNU’s Council of Ministers, the Chairperson of the IGAD Council of Ministers, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the African Union Peace and Security Council, the Secretary General of the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council.

The report shall be accompanied with recommendation for remedial actions, perhaps including punitive measures against those individuals who are obstructing the progress of ARCSS implementation and working for its collapse.

This reminds of Eleven Thesis by Karl Marx in his Theses On Feuerbach: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

The JMEC has descriptively analyzed the worrying Situation of South Sudan. The conclusion is almost drawn: the parties to the agreement, especially the principals who have the monopoly of means violence, are unable to develop the desired and expected Political Will to work jointly and responsibly to implement the ARCSS fully and in time.

The tough question is: What next if the intransigence against peace realization in the country continues?

The Open Options:
1) Resignation by JMEC and other peace-lovers who are getting frustrated with lack of full implementation of the ARCSS so that war is given another chance to consummate the remaining breath in South Sudan (a country so far that doesn’t have a dignified countryside because of its loosened social fabrics due to the senseless war), or
2) External Intervention to prevent more humanitarian and warmongering catastrophes under the world responsibility to uphold the Principle of Protecting Vulnerable Civilians against humanity crimes and other serious bad news that are punishable by international law (the R2P).

The recent toughened language of the Spokesperson of the UN Peacekeeping Operations Department in New York regarding the UN release of official report of the attack on civilians in the UNMISS’ Malakal PoC in February 2016, is already painting a grey writing on the wall as to what might befell South Sudan if the ARCSS collapses.

Both options are very bitter but the second one could be a lesser evil if the worst comes to the worst.

Now for the two options to be avoided, I am appealing to the top political leaders not to compromise the fate of new country on the globe by refusing to change the old political mindset in order to embrace peace sincerely.

Oh, Oh, Oh My Leaders; Soften Your Hearts and Make Peace Sooner Before it Becomes too Late for You to Continue Letting Down Your People Without Consequences.

Oh, Oh, Oh; It is Now Time for Courageous Action Towards Rekindling the Hope of Peace Before the Outsiders Come in to Do it for the Downtrodden People Who are Part of the Dignity of the Humanity as Well.

Put your Act Together and Take Charge of Bringing Dignity of Our People Back and Quickly So as to Close the Window that Justifies the Intervention of Foreigners into Our Internal Affairs.

The Essence of Any Government is to realize for its People the Security from Fear and from Wants so that they don’t contemplate deserting and wishing a downfall by any means to their very government of the day.

If indeed some individuals are obstructing peace why should they not be distanced from power positions?

While we keep dragging our feet, people are dying of hunger and curable diseases, the economy is collapsing, and insecurity is becoming rampant all over the country. Even areas that used to be peaceful are now flashpoints of insecurity.

If Malakal was gone long time ago and Wau is now being deserted, will Juba not be the next in the line if ARCSS implementation continues to remain a myth?

What will we call the triple historical centers of politics in South Sudan if these cities are no more?

What other signs are we waiting for to get convinced that we are fast sliding into an abyss if we don’t revert from this tipping point in the coming few days if not weeks?

The exit is peace and not war. Listen well my leaders!

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

Urgent Solutions to South Sudan Economic Crisis

BY: Bullen Mony-Awut, South Sudan, JUN/24/2016, SSN;

We, Economists, advise the government of the day but it is usually up to the government to either take an advice and salvage its reputation or ignore it and later say that we wished we had implemented the previous advice that we received.

First and foremost, politics and economy move together, that is why there is what is called political economy which is the combination of politic and economy. Worldwide these days, the role of both is very profound. In Africa here, the Late Gadhafi was cherished by his people because he focused on the economy before he died.

Libya was almost like the West because the oil money was well managed, there was free university education in Libya, free apartment for newly wedded couples, free health care, tarmacked roads and so much more.

It was because of those good things that he ruled Libya from 1969 to 2011. Another example is from our neighbor Rwanda, which after 1994 genocide, Paul Kagame focused very seriously on Rwandan Economy and as I write this article, Rwanda’s economic development is a role model in the whole of East Africa if not Africa as a whole.

This explains why he was voted in several times, because what matters to the citizens is not who should rule them but who addresses their economic needs.

The above examples give you a clue of how important focusing on the economy is to every citizen worldwide.

Back to the above topic, I have not taken interest to pick up my computer and write ever since peace was signed, and government of national unity formed. The reason is that I wanted to see how the government would address matters of our Economy, after a lengthy period of time without any action seen.

I have been compelled to write this opinion article because I have seen the direction where things are heading to is not right. Everyone of you who is reading this article will concur with me that there are economic problems facing us, from high inflation, lack of payment for public servants’ salaries.

Also, lack of government investment in what are called government parastatals, lack of good roads with exception of Nimule road which is now said to be wearing out, lack of proper education and health care that explains why millions of dollars are sent to neighbouring and abroad for education and health purposes respectively.

Last but not the least, the high cost of living in Juba and various cities simply because of high inflation rate, absence of lending to general public by commercial banks which emanated from failure of central bank to implement credit creation through its bank rate and high government expenditures evidenced by lack of funds in our treasury.

Because of the economic mess, our nation is being threatened now by the donors, ‘Sudan Tribune’ has it that donors want 28 states to be dropped if they are to donate some money to the government, that cannot be the case if government really gets serious in exploring possible ways of getting the money to revive economic recovery.

Yeah, where will the money for funding government of national unity come from? This is one of the most frequently asked questions, however with a serious plan backed up by actions but not words (lip service), a permanent solution can be found, otherwise 28 states are now being criticized based on their economic non-viability but not on political grounds.

Alternatively, if they were criticized on political grounds, we would have heard citizens demonstrating as a means of exhibiting their dislike for the creation of more states.

In contrast, we are seeing most of them celebrating, for example in the creation of my new state.

It should be noted that our government’s problem is coming from low government revenue, with oil prices falling almost daily, and no additional export for the republic of South Sudan, the government is bound to run out money as it is now.

Government expenditure must be matched with revenue otherwise if its expenditure is higher than revenue generated, the government may enter into debts. If it spends less than it generates, an economic recession would occur.

For our case in south Sudan, our government is spending more than it gets given that our single export (Oil) has gotten its price falling hence it is generating low revenue.

The followings are the suggestions if and when they are implemented all, we shall see south Sudan getting back on its feet:

1. Focusing on refinery with the intention of exporting its output to the neighboring countries and for local consumption. If the government leaves everything and focuses its investment on refinery, it would be a matter of time for us to have a strong economy, because upon finishing construction of the refinery, the output of our refinery would be exported to Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Sudan among many other neighbouring countries that would be in need of our oil.

As the construction of the refinery would be going on, the government could choose from the following options to sustain our economy temporarily, that is, it would use expansionary monetary policy by using fiat money. Or it could borrow some money from international lending institutions.

I prefer the former to the latter because addressing the former could be easy i.e. through contractionary monetary policies such as selling of treasury bills to general public.

Therefore, refinery should be number one priority for the current government.

2. The ministry of Health through medical commission can evaluate the type of diseases that take our people outside for treatment and the corresponding countries that treat those diseases. If the data is found, the ministry would urge those countries through their embassies here to establish their branches in Juba so that hard currencies are not used for medical reasons abroad. As a result, the few hard currencies we have could be saved and channeled to other ventures. The similar approach can be applied to education section as well.

3. Cutting down government expenditures and reviewing other means of generating revenue. The government should after 2018 elections focus on reducing its expenditures by reducing the size of the army through demobilization and integration, reducing the size of its ministries, reducing its embassies to only those that are of high importance to us, reducing foreign travels for its senior staff, and more importantly, fight corruption in action rather than in words, stop accommodating government officials in hotels but have them stay at their homes, and review the budget for the office of the president among others.

The government should also avoid by all cost purchase of luxurious vehicles for its senior staffs, vehicles like V8 are very expensive in cost and maintenance. By doing so, enormous revenue could remain in our treasury necessary for meeting other expenditures.

4. Adapting stringent system that ensures accountability and favors transparency. All ministries should have financial systems and approved budgets, in that regards, expenditures should only be as per the approved budget lines. It should be noted that systems are implemented by people, as such, the likes of current bank governor and minister of finance should be removed and replaced with people who would stick to financial regulations but not those who would be busy looting and depleting government treasury.

5. Exploring other sources of revenues other than oil. Our government should embark on exploring other means of generating revenue such as extraction of gold in Eastern Equatoria, exporting of teak that is in Western Equatoria, exporting meat from our castles to countries that do not have enough of it, establishing agricultural schemes that use irrigation and that are funded and owned by government as government parastatals, reviving major government projects such Simsim factory at Eastern Lakes state, Nzara cotton farm among many other ventures.

All that the government has to do is to prioritize and then achieve the results.

In conclusion , it should be noted that there is no permanent friend nor enemy in politics, the same applies to the common man, citizens do not mind who is ruling them regardless of the time he/she spends in power, all that they care are matters that affect their daily economic activities.

For example, Gadhafi became president of Libya in 1969 and ruled up to 2011 when he was ousted by Western powers on economic grounds. I, therefore, call upon the presidency to wake up and listen to voices of its people.

The tendency of relying on politicians for economic solutions is misleading and ought to be stopped if good relations with citizens are to be maintained. As I said above, we economists do advice and it is usually upon the government of the day to either consider that advice and succeed or ignore it and later regret (we wish we have heeded the advice).

The writer is South Sudanese Economist at and can be reached by phone : 0927099778

Sensing collapse of the State as Judges and Teachers went on Strike; beware of possible strike by all public servants

By: Tong Kot Kuocnin, LLM, Univ. of Nairobi, Kenya, JUN/22/2016, SSN;

In my previous article titled ‘Economic and Political uprising are civil means to end Unproductive Governments,’ I succinctly explored in depth the economic hardships that befell on Tunisian to that befalling on South Sudanese. Truly, the economic hardships we’re facing are not less than the economic hardships and situation which caused President Ben Ali of Tunisia to flee, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen to leave office and flee and the great President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to resign and put under trial.

The causes and conditions of this so-called Arab Spring which almost swept through the Arab world are not less than the economic hardships we’re facing in South Sudan. Our economic situation is much worse than that of the Arab Spring World.

Our unemployment rate is beyond hundred per cent level. Hundreds of south Sudanese go to bed with empty stomachs. Some are already dead and the rest are on their way to the graves. This is worse than that of the Arab Spring. The only difference is that we’re used to enduring hardships of all sorts meanwhile the citizens of the countries where the Arab spring burst aren’t used to this kind of situation.

The Bank of South Sudan has commercialized the dollar instead of keeping it as a medium of exchange. It has commercialized the dollar, making it an item for trade and not a medium of exchange causing hikes in almost every item on sale in the market.

Today, the rate of 1 dollar stood at 50 SSP, meaning that one hundred dollar is equal to 5,000 SSP causing inflation rate to double more than 300%. The two institutions, ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Central Bank have completely failed in tackling and strategizing the efficiency of our economy.

It seems that in South Sudan, everything runs on its own. Traders are selling and raising prices on their own, Central bank floating the rate of the dollar as it wishes unquestionably.

The luckiest rich few are manipulating everything from the Ministry of Finance with their so-called (sharab moya) commission to the Central Bank to the market at the expense of the downtrodden poor South Sudanese who have no ability to change the status quo.

The authorities both at the ministry of finance and economic planning and the central bank together with their cohorts are responsible for this economic downturn.

We entrusted hyenas with responsibility to look after our goats and sheep. We gave them power to roast any goat or sheep they wish amongst our goats and sheep. The country is left at its own whim to turn its economic downturn into economic boom magically.

We’re convinced truly that our government whether previous or current is indeed a boondoggled government. Where’s the Joshua? Or is he the driver of this vehicle that is taking South Sudanese to hell earlier than the days that God planned to them each at a time.

Let our government know that the root causes of the Arab Spring aren’t more than ours and that Arab Spring may inevitably ensue in this part of the world for we may be forced to violently demand our socio-economic rights to food and decent living like them.

We can’t permit others to enjoy live at our expense or resources that belongs to all of us.

Thus, if the president can’t think twice to bring in responsible personalities with expertise both at the ministry of finance and at the central bank, to turn things around, he must be prepared for eventualities for the people of South Sudan will not in any way continue to suffer at the hands of selfish and corrupt leaders who buy their positions at the expense of the people.

If Michael Makuei says that judges, teachers and other public servants who went on strike are working for the regime change, then how about those who steal 4 billion dollars which is still missing to date and, those who stole 30 million SSP and 14 million dollars that caused Mayen Wol and his associates a life imprisonment sentence, what were they working for?

Makuei must come to his senses and realize that it is no time that they play with our minds as they wish. There will be time when the people of South Sudan stand up to forcefully demand their socio-economic rights from these oligarchs and mafias.

We will surely touch these untouchable mafias and oligarchs who scoop all our money for their selfish enrichment unless they rescue themselves from these shambles.

I assure you, economic and political uprisings as civil means of ending the life of a repugnant and an unproductive government like the government of South Sudan will be inevitable.

Mr. President, this is a fact. Look at the faces of South Sudanese; listen to their voices on the streets on how they are suffering and you will dismiss this failed minister of finance who buys his position using public money and the weak, lousy and ailing governor of the Central Bank for the danger is haunting you and it will surely reached your gate if you don’t act swiftly.

The state is collapsing at your watch. Your government is at a stake. Act swiftly and salvage the country and its people.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

Why the Seat of Hybrid Court for South Sudan should be situated in South Sudan

By Tong Kot Kuocnin, Lawyer, NAIROBI, JUN/11/2016, SSN;

Successive crises have beset the Republic of South Sudan since its independence from Sudan marked by rising militias and warlords fighting for petty interests and demands. The most recent and more devastating one is the conflict which erupted on 15th of December 2013, due to failure of the SPLM leadership to amicably settled the procedures and mechanisms of voting within the SPLM primaries if need be, causing untold suffering and unspeakable human and material destruction.

While the virulence of the violence which shook the country transcended into unprecedented scale in particular, its tribal dimension around which the events crystallized constituted just one episode in a thorny political and security crisis resulting into the signing of the Compromise Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan in August 2015.

In the Agreement, chapter V, article 3, ushered in the establishment of an independent Hybrid Judicial Court for South Sudan thus far known as “The Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS).”

The court shall inter alia be established by the African Union Commission to investigate and prosecute those bearing the greatest responsibility for the violations of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese laws committed from 15th December 2013 through to the end of the Transitional Period.

The terms of the HCSS shall therefore conform to the terms of the Agreement and African Union Commission (AUC) shall provide guidelines relating to and including the location of the HCSS, its applicable jurisprudence, infrastructure, funding and enforcement mechanisms, number and composition of judges, privileges and immunities of the court personnel and other related matters thereto.

This is, however, the theme of this article, ‘why the seat of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan should be located in South Sudan’s territory.’

It is apparent that hybrid courts are set up in transitional states, following a time in which serious crimes have been committed on a large scale during the armed conflict and where the national justice system is unavailable or incapable of conducting trials adequately, neutrally, impartially and independently.

Moreover, since hybrid courts can be given under both crimes under international law and domestic crimes, they may cover a more extensive catalogue of crimes than purely international or purely domestic courts.

Hence, to have the seat of the hybrid court for South Sudan situated in the country’s territory has a lot of jurisprudential benefits because working alongside international judges, prosecutors or lawyers and national jurists are likely to gain valuable legal expertise and experiences because trials taking place before international court removed from the state concerned cannot promote local capacity building which is particularly desirable in post-conflict states like South Sudan.

Similarly, the prosecutions of crimes under international law with help of international community and international experts are instrumental in the promotion of the norms of international law on the national level.

This not only includes norms of substantive international criminal law, but also fair trial standards but it points to the fact that a hybrid court established in the state concerned is moreover a practical advantage.

Unlike international courts that are far removed from the commission state such as the ICTY, ICTR or the ICC, the hybrid courts have more direct access to local witnesses and other evidences.

With hybrid court located in the commission state, there are fewer logical obstacles involved, which in turn results into low costs and speedier proceedings.

Moreover, the applicability of national law and the involvement of national personnel can ensure that domestic legal culture and corresponding expertise are represented.

At the same time, the involvement of the international community counteracts perceptions of bias and lack of impartiality that may be associated with trials carried out by judges and prosecutors who had worked under a prior repressive regime.

Thus, the combined national and international elements can be instrumental in ensuring that the proceedings are perceived as legitimate and impartial.

Hitherto, criminal trials within the commission state can constitute opportunities for a society to come to terms with atrocities committed in its past.

The society’s interest in conducting trials through its own criminal justice system, the involvement of national personnel, and the local exposure of the perpetrators of these crimes can best be described as ‘ownership’ of such criminal proceedings.

Therefore, hybrid courts provide a conducive atmosphere for potential national reconciliation and provide the best avenue for the society’s attempts to come to terms with atrocities committed in its past.

Moreover, having the hybrid court for South Sudan situated or located in its territory provides not only jurisprudential outputs but it equally presents a rear opportunity for infrastructural development for the country.

It also provides economic opportunity for such foreign members of the court will equally contribute to the development of economy of the country.

The court will equally leave behind a judicial legacy which will further develop and strengthen the capacity of the local or domestic judicial system.

This is why the African Union Commission should consider locating the seat of the Hybrid Court for South Sudan in any part of the country. This is to ensure a long lasting legacy for the rule of law and human rights and equally contribute to ending a culture of impunity by ensuring the prosecution of particular serious crimes committed during and throughout the period of the conflict.

The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at the School of Law, University of Nairobi specializing in Law, Governance & Democracy. He can be reached via: tongbullen@gmail.com

Drastic times call for drastic measures to rescue suffering civilians in South Sudan

By: Luka Geng Geng, lukagenggeng@gmail.com, University Campus, Wau, JUN/10/2016, SSN;

Whilst we look into the future of our country, we must also not forget to learn from the past; taking this country in our recent past perspective, we may note down the huge differences from today, in the past few years after independence in July 2011, South Sudan should be a country full of hope for freedom, prosperity, bright future and hope for no more suffering. Instead,the country found itself in the grip of a massive, man-made humanitarian crisis.

Despite the fact that a handful peace agreements were signed between the government and rebels, with the most recent one being the ARCISS peace in August 2015, the suffering of civil population still deteriorating as that couldn’t end sooner to our expectations.

The repercussion of December 15, 2013 Juba coup attempt coupled with the economic crisis which is extremely felt today is a far cry from the scenes few years back when the entire nation took to the street in jubilation to celebrate the hard won independence.

Everybody thought that the suffering has come to its ending on that very day after when the country became an independent state from the hands of merciless Arabs.

Nevertheless, the young nation continued to be stormed and shaped only by violence, violence towards civilians has been widespread, including several reported attacks by unknown gun man, kidnapping, murder cases, massive displacement, raging human rights violations and dire food shortages which all amount to untold suffering of our civil population.

For the sake of the millions of innocents who have already suffered so much….and for millions whose lives and future hang in balance today, I think it is appropriate for me in this article to question the measures undertaken by the government to address such untold suffering of civil population in the young republic of South Sudan.

But prior to putting any question across, one needs to clearly explain the level of suffering that is endured by an ordinary citizen in the republic of South Sudan for better understanding of who want to know.

While I prepare to give you the tip of iceberg, I’d first and foremost like to plainly point out in a high tone that our civil population must be the only human population that has faced such a long term dramatic suffering since the end of world war II in 1945 (Second world War).

The fact that the two rounds of longest running civil wars spanning nearly 40 years fought over ideology, religion, ethnicity, resources, land and oil in Africa’s history took place in the present day South Sudan proves that its inhabitants suffered most than other people on the planet Earth.

During the times of wars, South Sudan citizens were subjected to various forms of human suffering and hardships both economically and politically. At the same time, what is felt today is not an exception; our civil population still suffering to no end, yet many people still don’t believe that our country is already in drastic times.

How would you best describe or call such times in country were civil servants must spend three to four months without being paid their salaries? Times in country where the rate of US dollars against its local currency has reach to its peak of decline in value?

A country where prices are all in record high in the markets? A country where there is no visible sign indicating that this suffering is short-lived?

A country where higher education staffs in the universities and Doctors in the hospital so far went for strike and still on hold strikes for their last three months payment without appropriate solution?

Agree with me or not, using my own vocabulary, a country in such a situation is automatically in drastic times, and as we know, drastic times call for drastic measures. But where are the drastic measures adopted so far by our government to address the untold suffering of our civil population in the republic of south Sudan?

Just for trial I think or in an attempt to bring back the situation to its normalcy, the minister of Finance and economic planning alongside with the governor of central bank in the last few months took to the radio station to announce the free floating policies against US dollars, they also went as far as announcing the increment of government employees salaries from lower scale to super scale grade.

However, these attempts were not correctly put right, they are totally naive and unpopular and they couldn’t be called drastic measures to address the current suffering of our civil population from economic crisis.

What the duo as well as the whole government of president Kiir should know is; “extreme situation can only be resolved with equally extreme action, which means drastic measures must always be put in place for drastic times like the current situation”.

Under article 18 and 20 of the international covenant on civil and political rights, each UN member state has duty to protect its people. So South Sudan government must do it best to alleviate the unprecedented suffering that has been inflicted on civil population.

Although it could not be denied that the same government that worked hard to ensure the independence of this nation in the recent past, the question that we are always bond to ask ourselves with regards to independence goes this way; did the formal independence bring to an end the civil population suffering in the republic of South Sudan?

Ostensibly, the answer to this question couldn’t be fully provided but the answers from majority have always been a big no in capital letters.

Initially, it was thought that the suffering which was endured by our civil population in the hands of Arabs from the north could only end with the independence, but the formal independence could not put to an end the suffering of our innocent people.

Today that the suffering continues, the key to ending the suffering of innocent people in the republic of South Sudan must be devised and I think it rests squarely on leaders’ shoulders.

The key to ending this stagnant suffering is leadership, it is up to the leaders of this country to adopt the spirit of reconciliation and tolerance so as to allow them an opportunity to deal with current situation by putting drastic measures that may rescue the suffering civil population.

South Sudanese leaders must practice the leadership that brings people together regardless of their ethnicity, religion, belief and gender and enable their full participation in society.

If our current leaders are not to this standard then the suffering of our innocent civil population will be difficult to reverse, but we are still advocating for righteousness and spirit of reconciliation and tolerance to end the current economic crisis in the country

The writer of this piece is a medical student in the University of Bahr el Ghazal; Wau, He can be reached at lukageng@gmail.com

Citizen’s Power, National Security and the Intimidation of Civilians

BY: Kuir Garang, BA (Phil), MA (Phil. & CS), South Sudanese poet and author, JUN/05/2016, SSN;

Citizens in any nation should, in principle, be the true owners of power. Undoubtedly, they are the ones to reward or punish subversive behaviors or deeds contrary to the health and well-being of state’s socio-political, socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-intellectual development.

In Africa, however, power is concentrated in the hands of the callous few, who wield it in a subversive manner and call it patriotism. Turning against citizens is treason not patriotism. And this treasonous expropriation of power by the elite political class uses national resources and institutions to effect this seed of national decay.

Shouldn’t citizens speak up and regain their power from these callous traitors of national conscience? Shouldn’t citizens stop the madness that’s plundering national funds on expensive cars on impassable roads and mansions in foreign countries?

Isn’t it shameful and unconscionable that some hardly have anything to eat as others drive in hundred thousand-dollars sport utility vehicles?

Isn’t it shameful that some folks are sleeping in expensive hotels as mothers and children beg for food in the street or die of preventable diseases?

Aren’t you ashamed of yourself when workers go for months without salaries as you sleep in a hotel paid for by the government?

I guess any reasonable answers can’t be obtained because national security agents are the protectors of these people; the people whose consciences are devilish but protected as patriots by national security apparatuses! So in a way, I’m wasting my time! But am I really wasting time in writing this polemical article?

Not, really! If you read it and your conscience doesn’t get affected, then you belong in the zoo! If you read this piece and you get affected but feel powerless then you can be excused but still held complicit in the rape of functional structures of national prosperity!

And if you read this and get affected but feel afraid for your life then, I hear you…but pass it along to sensitize the people! People should have the power not the callous tribal elites!

Save your nation from these treasonous elites or you’re part of this negative political orgy: the unconscionable destruction of the nation.

In South Sudan, the ruling political elites use national security to safeguard their treasonable, behind-the-doors tribal schemes.

Instead of using resources and national institutions to protect the soul of the nation—citizens—these gluttonous traitors use national security, the police force and the national army to legitimize intimidation of civilians and disenfranchisement of the citizenry.

The government has ceased to serve the people. It’s become their enemy with all the state security structures aimed at eliminating the voice of the people.

South Sudan has become a police state, a giant prison. National security departments have been tasked with the role of determining when and whether or not someone should leave the country. Is that freedom we fought for?

What’s the business of national security in the private business of citizens? How’s an assault on citizens’ rights and freedoms not a treasonable offence? This has to change!

South Sudan is not a prison for politicians to seek permission to leave? National passports are a permission for citizens’ exit and entry…as many times as they want!

To my fellow South Sudanese who are part of national security, we are not your enemy! We are not the enemy of South Sudan. All of us want our children to grow up in a prosperous country where everyone is treated equal with no tribal preference. But remember that you are protecting the interest of a few elites who don’t even care about you. Please protect the country from those who are actually destroying it.

Wake up and realize that you are being used for the destruction of the country. You’ve been used to turn South Sudan into a PRISON, a gigantic PRISON! Is that what you want? No! You’re better citizens than that!

A nation in which citizens are free easily prospers. Be protectors of citizens not their intimidators! Let citizens write freely within the law! Stop censoring newspapers. Let citizens express their opinions freely on air, online or in print!

Tackle those who abuse freedom of speech through the courts not through arbitrary arrests and censorship! Censorship of newspapers was the tradition of Khartoum, the enemy we fought for more than 50 years?

You’ve been turned into the very oppressor we wanted to get rid of! Please wake up! Nothing is as beautiful as a nation that protects national freedoms: religion, speech, political associations.

Wouldn’t it be beautiful for South Sudan to be called the nation with the freest press in Africa because of the professional of National Security of South Sudan! Think about it!

I would like both the citizens and national security to take their power back from the elites. They should remember that they have been turned against one another to protect the continuation of treasonous deeds of the ruling elites.

Let freedom reign! Let citizens speak! Let South Sudan be the freest county in Africa! Let us dream however costly!

Kuir Garang is a South Sudanese poet & author. For contacts, visit the website: www.kuirthiy.com

Who needs to reconcile with who? An open letter to President Salva Kiir and his deputies

BY: Agok Takping, Australia, MAY/30/2016, SSN;

In a more comical and dramatic way possible, vice president James Igga and Taban Deng Gai hold their hands up in the air while kneeling down in a rally in Nairobi, presumably begging South Sudanese to forgive them as SPLM leaders. On his part, Dr. Riek Machar went to Emmanuel Jieeng church in Juba and told the congregation that the people of South Sudan must now head towards the path of reconciliation while on the same podium, he tried to justify his side of the story to what started the war.

President Kiir and many other government officials have been talking to South Sudanese about reconciliation as well. Undoubtedly, reconciliation is a much-needed process that must start immediately so that we can start rebuilding our country as brothers and sisters.

However, I feel that although the hatred between the Nuer and many other tribes in greater Equatoria Versus Dinka has been gradually growing, the people who really need reconciliation first and foremost are SPLM/IO and SPLM/IG.

We all know that the tension between SPLM/IO and SPLM/IG forces mostly in former Unity state has always been high and still is. The soldiers there don’t see eye to eye. The same is true across greater Upper Nile.

It was less than a little over a week after the formation of the unity government that the SPLM/IG and SPLM/IO forces clashed not far from Bentiu, of course, both sides denied being the instigator.

However, it was extremely worrying to see the SPLM/IO military spokesman boasting about how they beat the government forces and captured some AK47s and PKMs, the man was in Juba and he was reporting with arrogance as if he is not living together with the so-called enemy.

Dr. Riek’s bodyguards feel like “today” will be their last day every time they go to work with their boss, they are in a maximum alert. They don’t trust the government soldiers, deep down in their minds and hearts they believe they can be attacked at any time, they think that the SPLM/IG is out to “kill” their leader.

This is exemplified by the incident in Nuer Presbyterian church in Juba few weeks back, it was reported that Dr. Riek’s bodyguards ordered the church’s car park to be cleared so that their motorcade is the only one parking there.

In a church attended by the former chief of staff of unifying SPLA forces, Gen Hoth Mai, it was a worrying development because the other bodyguards of other Generals were armed to the teeth too.

On the government side, although Kiir bodyguards see themselves stronger and feel ready to “fight off with ease the SPLM/IO attack”, the same is true, they too feel that SPLM/IO have an agenda. Thank God, we are still sluggishly sailing forward without major incident but it just shows you who really need to reconcile with who.

The SPLM/IO want to have cantonment areas for their forces in Bhar el Ghazal and Equatoria not because the forces in those cantonment areas will bring peace, it is purely for the anticipation of war. The SPLM/IO leadership have not openly stated that fact but that is a strategy behind their insistence to have bases in those areas.

This is because in their calculation, the likelihood of war breaking out again between the two SPLMs is very high, therefore, to have a base in both Bhar el Ghazal and Equatoria means that they will have multiple fronts across the country and not just being concentrated in greater upper Nile again like previously.

The SPLM/IG too is predicting a war and so they are not willing to give the SPLM/IO bases in Bhar el Ghazal and Equatoria because they want the SPLM/IO to be in Juba and their previous areas like Pagak, Akobo and other areas in Greater upper Nile.

The SPLM/IG don’t want another front in the contested two regions mentioned. Without that being solved and dusted (albeit hearsay they reached an agreement on it), the leadership of the two rogue SPLMs has no moral right to talk to South Sudanese about reconciliation.

The flippancy on both SPLM/IO and SPLM/IG is there for all to see but the leadership on both sides choose not to rectify it. Instead, they are inconsiderately trying to make us (the average) South Sudanese feel that reconciliation needs to start with us?

My leaders, what are they smoking really? Someone must tell them that do your job first by making sure to reconcile amongst yourselves before coming to lecture us about reconciliation.

What both Kiir and his two Vice Presidents should do is to exchange their direct phone numbers and talk directly to each other. They both need to have one weekend together drinking beer and eating some roasted goat meat at Kiir’s Luri get-away ranch in the outskirts of Juba.

Their respective bodyguards need to have a trust building weekly, get together where they will play some sports, eat together and make personal friendship with each other, in simple, make them feel like they are brothers who are just working to make a living but not some tribal guards carrying out the ancestral duties.

Dr. Riek and his chief of Gen staff, Gen Dual, should visit Bilpham SPLA HQ and address the army there, yes those are the people who need to be lectured about army to army reconciliation.

General Malong did that and I congratulate him for being a leader who knows his exact job description.

People (Lado Gore and Makuei Lueth) who had their tongues cut through the veins of the either opposing sides need to join the course too and visit army barracks, not churches.

When the SPLM/IO forces in Juba are fully reconciled with SPLM/IG forces, then the next phase is for both leaders to go to Bentiu, Akobo, Nasir, Pagak and all major towns in greater Equatoria using the same plane and holding rallies together there.

As they visit various army units along the way, they will need to instruct all heads of armies divisions for both IO and IG in greater Upper Nile to exchange their satellite phone numbers so that they can quickly notify each other if an incident has or is about to occur among their forces.

In fact, there is nothing that should stop the IO soldiers near Bentiu to go to the city individually and buy things from the market, the same should be the case with IG forces near Akobo. I mean if we are indeed doing everything for reconciliation.

In conclusion, our leaders, especially Dr. Riek, need to define their objectives first before executing them. Going to the church as an average Christian whose aim is to worship God is one thing, however, it is another to go to the church and talk politics.

Now is not the time for the campaign. But if Dr. Riek is truly looking for reconciliation, he should first look up in the dictionary the meaning of the word itself and define it, reconciliation means giving up your position on the issue and instead talking about something that everyone will perceive as reconciliatory.

Going to the church and arguing your point and justifying your stance the way you have always believed it, is not reconciliation.

Dr. Riek or Salva must stop lecturing people about their side of the story in the 2013 war. They need to swallow their egos and have each go to the church and tell the congregation only two words: “I am sorry”.

That’s what leaders do, right?

I am not urging anyone to go to the church and say sorry but if Dr. Riek thinks the church is a place to meet people, then he must only go there and say sorry and the same is truer for Kirr and Wanni as well.

The average South Sudanese are powerless, therefore, it matters not whether we reconcile or not. True reconciliation will come in South Sudan when president Kiir reconciles fully with Dr. Riek because they are the ones who have the power to start and stop the war.

Agok Takpiny
Australia

The Rationale of Expanding National Legislature (Parliament) in South Sudan

By Mabor Maker Dhelbeny, Lawyer, Juba, MAY/28/2016, SSN;

Legislature is one of the three arms of National Government in accordance with Article 51 (a) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan (TCOSS) 2011. In its composition and establishment, Article 54 provides that “there shall be established a National Legislature composed of the following: (a) the National Legislative Assembly; and (b) the Council of States”.

Since the Republic of South Sudan has adopted the system of bicameral from the Sudan, therefore, this Writer would like to focus more on one house – i.e. an Upper House, by exploring the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), its expansion and mandate in regard to the Agreement on the Resolution of Crises in South Sudan, 2015.

The supreme law of the land however requires that members of parliament shall be elected through universal adult suffrage in free and fair elections, conducted by secret ballot; and the number of MPs (Members of Parliament) including the composition of NLA shall also be determined by the domestic electoral laws.

After the interim period of the autonomous government, all members of Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA), ninety-six (96) MPs in the National Assembly of the Sudan by virtue of their membership in that Assembly and additional number of MPs appointed by the President, have transformed themselves to be the members of NLA during the transitional period (Art. 56 (1) & (2) of TCOSS, 2011 (amended 2015).

Upon signing the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS) in August, 2015, the NLA is expected to be expanded not later than three (3) months of pre-transitional period for the duration of thirty (30) months of Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU).

Under the provisions of Article 11 sub-article 1 of the ARCISS, the expanded NLA shall be known as the Transitional National Legislative Assembly (TNLA) comprising of four hundred (400) MPs, including the prior three hundred and thirty-two (332) members and an additional sixty-eight (68) representatives appointed according to the following criteria: (a) South Sudan Armed Opposition: fifty (50) members; (b) Former Detainees: one (1) member; and (c) Other Political Parties: seventeen (17) members.

Contradictorially, the August Agreement seems to have violated some provisions of the Constitution on one hand and recognized on the other. For instance, the above-mentioned provision contravenes Article 56 (2) (c) of TCOSS, 2011 (amended 2015) which stipulates that “…during the transitional period the National Assembly shall consist of such additional number of members appointed by the President not exceeding sixty-six (66)”.

This appointment has already been made by the President, based on the supremacy of the ARCISS under chapter VII. This means that the appointment of additional sixty-eight (68) representatives to the National Legislature by the President of the Republic is a violation of the Constitution. This is because the required number has exceeded sixty-six additional members by two (2) as stipulated in the Transitional Constitution.

In a comparative study, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), 2005, had allocated the seats of National Assembly of the then Sudan as such: (a) The National Congress Party (NCP) – 52% (b) The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – 28% (c) Other political parties from the North – 24% (d) Other political parties from the South – 6%.

Furthermore, the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) thereafter the Independence of South Sudan in 2011, has reconstituted itself as the Transitional National Legislative Assembly – an inclusive constituent legislature, composed of one hundred and seventy (170) members appointed by the President of Government of Southern Sudan after wide consultation with relevant political forces and on the basis of the following percentages:
(a) 70% representing the SPLM;
(b) 15% representing the NCP; and
(c) 15% representing other Southern Sudan Political forces (Art. 94 (2) of ICOSS, 2005).

Though the Agreement does not forge the allocation of seats as the CPA and Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan (ICOSS) provided, but the fact that it focuses on balancing the legislative power cannot be denied, thus, by appointing more MPs from the opposition and other political parties through different criteria.

In other words, the increased number of August House has an important implication, especially in service delivery and political dispensation during the transitional period of unity government. It’s simply put as an accommodation of antagonists! Perhaps, this prompted the expansion of National Legislature by appointing more representatives to the existing number of MPs and therefore, the unseated members from the NLA and Council of States following the December 15, 2013 crisis, shall be reinstated to their seats and shall continue to serve for the duration of the term of both Houses during the transitional period (Art. 11.2 of ARCISS, 2015).

If we were to follow, respect and uphold laws, therefore MPs who have lost their memberships for one reason or the other as per the provision of Article 63 (1) of the Constitution, deserved no rights to be reinstated to their seats either in the NLA or in the Council of States. But the implementation of the Agreement allows them to take this golden opportunity of reinstatement as advantage.

Such MPs, who made a U-turn, have been the leading exponents of the NLA expansion during the negotiations of compromise peace agreement. The expansion of NLA is indeed articulated in the Agreement albeit, in a way of reform and by reinstating the unseated MPs. The question that poses itself is that: “Is there any criterion provided by the ARCISS for selecting the Speaker of TNLA?”

In accordance with Agreement, the Speaker of TNLA will be selected from Equatoria, thereafter the expansion is completed. But the Agreement falls short of criteria or procedures for selecting the Speaker, in terms of partisans (Art.11.4 of ARCISS). This seems to have been the cause of delay in selecting the speaker and as such some MPs of Equatoria from the SPLM/A-IO or any other political parties may be in a position to nominate their candidate for speakership.

Since the National Legislature is composed of two houses, – i.e. the National Legislative Assembly and Council of States, hitherto the Agreement recognizes their mandates and functions as it was provided for in the Constitution (Art. 11.5 of ARCISS). The mandates that most MPs fulfilled today are often distinguished into three (3) functions below-mentioned:

Firstly, the function of “Legislator” reflects that MPs are elected (or appointed in rare cases) to the National Legislature as – “Legislators” in order to legislate, deliberate on bills and pass legislations, whether original or changes existing laws. This sometimes, captured the attention of many electorates that such roles would be considered as the direct responsibility of the MPs.

But legally speaking, “…the National Legislature shall be competent to (a) consider and pass amendments to this Constitution; (b) enact legislation on all assigned to it by this Constitution; (c) discuss statements by the President and take decision as may be necessary; (d) authorize annual allocation of resources and revenue in accordance with Article 87 of this Constitution” (Art. 55 (3) of TCOSS, 2011 (amended 2015).

Secondly, the function of “Representative” refers to the fact that MPs are also elected or appointed to represent their electorates or group of people and/or political parties.

In the legal sense, “…the National Legislature represents the will of the people of South Sudan and shall foster unity and nationhood, …oversee the Executive and promote the decentralized system of government” (Art. 55 (1) of TCOSS, 2011(amended 2015).

With this recent development, the appointment of additional number of MPs by the President articulates that these members are not coming to represent the will of the people of South Sudan but instead, they are coming to represent interests of their political parties in the TNLA. In essence, all MPs should act as representatives of their people in order to foster unity, nationhood and reconciliation amongst the people of South Sudan.

The representation of people must be the basic source of authority for a body that makes the law under which South Sudanese society operates. In a country where social fabrics are broken as the repercussions of war, MPs are expected to represent differences of their communities which may be deeply rooted either in ethnicity, geography, or political identity by bringing them into the policy-making arena. Such function(s) can be achieved through cooperation between executive and legislatures.

This has significantly been confirmed when John Johnson (2005) argues that: “for legislators to be able to play their role of representation, oversight, and legislation … there needs to be a certain degree of cooperation between the branches in policy making (each side must be willing to bargain and compromise in order to get some policy benefits), the legislature must have some capacity to monitor the executive and the executive needs to be willing to comply with legislative enactments”.

Exceeding such degree of cooperation between the two organs, its ends result may be worst. For instance, if the legislatures keep on blindly endorsing decisions made by the executive branch, then they (legislatures) will be called “rubber stamp”, a term which connotes non-democratic. This is common mostly in African parliaments dominated by one party, just like the SPLM (before its disintegration) in South Sudan National Legislature.

Therefore, MPs exercising this function of representation must be aware of the needs of the constituents and respond to those needs immediately. As this is the year of peace as well as famine, thus MPs who will turn their back to the people they represent in some constituencies affected by the shortage of foods, will not secure their votes in the next elections unless they do something tangible now! Or else they remain status quo by reneging the Agreement and the Constitution.

Because the National Legislature is a branch of government closest to the people, thus MPs more than any other government officials at the national level are expected to deliver constituent services by accessing government funds for projects – i.e. CDF (Constituency Development Funds) to benefit the constituency by providing foods to the community this time. This is because parliamentarians are accountable to their constituents.

This Writer assumes that some CDF meant for building schools, clinics or primary healthcare centers in certain constituencies have been diverted to other projects of self-enrichment by some MPs. It happens when MPs took recess in order to visit their constituencies and listen to their people’s problems and share government policies with them but instead some prefer to travel abroad. This demonstrates that most MPs feel reluctant to take their duty of moral obligations to represent their people effectively and efficiently.

Thirdly, the function of “scrutinizer” or “overseer” entails that all MPs are expected to exercise over the workings of Executive, implementation of laws which will be passed by TNLA and support or criticize the proposals placed before the National Legislature by the government.

As Scrutinizers, therefore, MPs are expected to oversee the performance of the National Government institutions; approves plans, programmes and policies of the TGoNU; summon Ministers to answer questions of members of the Assembly on matters related to their ministries; vet and approve appointments as required by this Constitution or the Law and cast vote of no confidence against Minister (Art. 57 of TCOSS, 2011 (amended 2015).

In conclusion, the Agreement seems to have created a trajectory of the National Legislature for reforms – from a one party state to a multi-party democratic transitional process. Besides accommodation, the rationale for expanding TNLA is to represent the will of the people; initiate reconciliation and foster unity among South Sudanese communities; oversight the executive performances of TGoNU; and to pass legislations, whether new laws or amended existing laws particularly in areas related to the implementation of ARCISS. Moreover, the conduct of its business entails that the TNLA is expected to support the Agreement and enact legislation that enables and assists the transitional processes and reform stipulated in the Agreement (Art. 11.6 of the ARCISS, 2015).

The Writer is an Advocate & Legal Consultant in Juba, the Republic of South Sudan. He can be reached through comment(s) via his email address: mabor.lawyer@gmail.com

“The Paper Tiger in South Sudan”: Report Targets Violent Kleptocracy at Root of War & Atrocities

May 24, 2016 –SSN;

New policy brief by Enough Project’s John Prendergast argues “Grand corruption and extreme violence are not aberrations; they are the system.”

An Enough Project policy brief published today authored by John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, presents the case for the U.S. and the broader international community to counter the violent kleptocracy — rampant, high-level corruption linked to mass atrocities and armed conflict – in South Sudan. The brief argues that if this kleptocratic structure is left unaddressed, the fledgling peace effort stands little chance of success.

The 9-page brief, “The Paper Tiger in South Sudan: Threats without Consequences for Atrocities and Kleptocracy” follows Prendergast’s testimony before a House Foreign Affairs hearing on South Sudan last month. The brief presents critical recommendations for U.S. leadership, including imposing and enforcing targeted sanctions on senior officials of consequence in order to pressure these leaders to place the well-being of their people ahead of personal enrichment and power politics.

Prendergast and experts from the Enough Project will be available for selected interviews and comment on the brief.

Selected excerpts from “The Paper Tiger”:

    “After 30 years of either living in, visiting, or working in South Sudan, and after extensive analysis undertaken by my colleagues at the Enough Project, our collective conclusion is that the primary root cause for the atrocities and instability that mark South Sudan’s short history is that the government there quickly morphed into a violent kleptocracy. Grand corruption and extreme violence are not aberrations; they are the system.”

    “In the short term, an elite pact like the current peace deal between the Juba government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) may be the quickest path out of the immediate violence. But sustainable peace in South Sudan will remain illusory without fundamental changes to end impunity and establish accountability.”

    “Unless this violent kleptocratic system is addressed head-on by policymakers internationally, the billions of dollars spent annually for peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and the ongoing diplomacy and assistance supporting the peace deal there will simply be treating symptoms, not addressing the primary root cause of cyclical conflict.”

    “Fighting for control of the government allows for control of a vast wealth-generating machine. And using extreme violence to keep control, once you have it, is viewed as imperative. Unless this violent kleptocratic system is addressed head-on by policymakers internationally, the billions of dollars spent annually for peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and the ongoing diplomacy and assistance supporting the peace deal there will simply be treating symptoms, not addressing the primary root cause of cyclical conflict.”

    “The surest way for the United States and the broader international community to create real consequences and build critically-needed leverage for peace is by hitting the leaders of rival kleptocratic factions in South Sudan where it hurts the most: their wallets. This requires a hard-target transnational search for dirty money and corrupt deals made by government officials, rebel leaders, arms traffickers, complicit bankers, and mining and oil company representatives.”

    “Addressing root causes will require much greater international leverage, which until now has been a cripplingly and puzzlingly insufficient part of international efforts to support peace and human rights in South Sudan.”

    “Sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, asset seizure and forfeiture, and other economic tools of 21st-century foreign policy are key instruments in securing foreign policy goals. How strange and disappointing it is that these tools are not effectively utilized for promoting peace and human rights in countries like South Sudan. Going forward, these tools of financial coercion should be essential components of U.S. and global efforts to secure peace, prevent mass atrocities, and promote accountability in South Sudan and other African conflicts.”

    “It is not only South Sudan’s kleptocrats who are making a fortune from the country’s brutal civil war. A host of mercenaries and war profiteers have turned up in South Sudan, eager to profit from the country’s misery.”

    “[T]he U.S. and international donors should further support the South Sudanese government institutions that are designed to hold those in power accountable, including the Anti-Corruption Commission (SSACC), the Fiscal, Financial Allocation and Monitoring Commission, and the National Audit Chamber (NAC). The United States and broader international community should also increase diplomatic and financial support to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), a body that was set up in late 2015 to monitor the implementation of the peace agreement.”

    “[S]ome members of the Security Council have signaled that they will block any further sanctions proposed against South Sudan’s leaders. Given the low likelihood of a deeply divided U.N. Security Council acting on this issue, the United States should build a coalition of countries prepared to impose targeted sanctions on key high-ranking officials on both sides of the conflict who are undermining peace and then robustly enforce those sanctions.”

    “The administration should consider enacting secondary sanctions that would target foreign financial institutions engaged in facilitation of public corruption in South Sudan. Additionally, sectoral sanctions could be deployed to limit certain types of financing available for future (rather than current) petroleum projects.”

    “To be frank, sanctions in many countries are ineffective and at times counter-productive. The main problems with sanctions in South Sudan and elsewhere are that they often do not target top decision-makers and are not sufficiently enforced. To counter these challenges, targeted sanctions in South Sudan should be imposed on much higher-level officials and should be the subject of strict enforcement efforts to demonstrate seriousness on the part of the United States and broader international community.”

    “[W]e see some evidence that officials from countries neighboring South Sudan may have played a role in facilitating or helping to conceal the offshoring of their assets. The U.S. government must send a direct message to these countries and their financial institutions, starting with Kenya, that compliance with sanctions is not optional and facilitation of the wholesale looting of South Sudanese state assets will not be tolerated, or else there will be further consequences directed at their banking sectors. Finally, in conjunction with any future designations, the U.S. government should be proactive in ensuring that these countries and their financial institutions cooperate in providing information and take appropriate enforcement action.”

    “The United States has tools at its disposal to foster significant change and help to end the suffering on the ground in South Sudan. The Obama administration should deploy the tools of financial pressure accordingly, and the U.S. Congress should work to ensure that the agencies responsible for administering sanctions and leveraging such tools have sufficient resources and staff to fulfill this mission.”

    “[P]assage of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act by the U.S. Congress would help ensure that these agencies have a robust mandate to use their power to counter kleptocracy and disrupt the networks of those who commit mass atrocities while also protecting the journalists and human rights defenders who put their lives on the line while attempting to expose abuses.”
    Read the full policy brief “The Paper Tiger in South Sudan: Threats without Consequences for Atrocities and Kleptocracy”: eno.ug/1TItZos

    Congressional testimony by John Prendergast, at House Foreign Affairs hearing on “South Sudan’s Prospects for Peace and Security,” given on April 27, 2016 – complete text and video: eno.ug/1T22tSu

    For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606,gh@enoughproject.org.

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Shilluk and its Dinka Neighbors: Dinka Padang distortion of history

By: Jwothab Othow, May 21, 2016, SSN;

Sudan Tribune website published on 15 May 2016 an article by Dr Francis Ayul Yuar titled: “Dinka Padang Borders with Shilluk in Upper Nile.” The article was an attempt to establish that the group of Jieng (Dinka) sections who of late called themselves “Dinka Padang” occupied the eastern bank of the White Nile to the exclusion of the Shilluk in 12-15 century AD from Wunthou (north of Renk) to Fangak.

To prove his point, the author claims that the Shilluk “settled in their today west bank” in the 18th century AD. The author did not cite any reliable references to prove his point on the claimed dates of the settlement of neither the Dinka nor the Shilluk. This paper is to refute some of the outrageous claims he made albeit in the name of history.

Shilluk settlement:
The Shilluk nation is a well-established kingdom with known hierarchy of kings and one queen who reigned from the moment the tribe settled in the current Shilluk land in the 16th (not the 18th) century. The migration of the Shilluk was also connected with the dispersion of their brethren the Lwoo tribes from Wij-Pac resulting in the current Anuaks, Luo of Kenya and Bahr el Ghazal, Acholi, Thuro, Chat, etc.

Therefore, the date of that migration is not a matter of guess work, as the author is trying to do, but confirmed by the oral traditions of these tribes that span many countries in the East African region.

The claim by the author that the Dinka were in east bank since the 12th century does not give an explanation to the well-known settlement of the Anuak along the Sobat River until they were displaced by the Nuer in subsequent waves of migration.

The author quotes Dr Lam Akol’s 2010 paper and avoided to quote his most recent book titled: “Collo Boundary Dispute,” 2016, which dealt with the fight between Collo (Shilluk) and the Bel on page 11. The Bel have been established as Anuaks and when Collo defeated them at the time of Reth Dhokoth Bwoc (1679 – 90), they moved southwards joining their kith and kin along the Sobat river.

The version of the author is a tall order in a number of respects. It suggests that the Shilluk fought the Dinka, a preposterous claim supported by neither the Collo nor the Dinka oral history.

It also suggests that it is the Dinka who defeated the Funj Kingdom driving them “to their present home of Blue Nile State”. If this were to be true, then the Dinka could not have come to the area in 12 -15 century AD as the author claims. The Funj Kingdom or the Black Sultanate as it is also known, was established around the present day Khartoum in 1504 AD; i.e. in the 16th century.

Which Funj then did the Dinka defeat in 12-15 century? The Funj Kingdom dominated the area around Khartoum and the White Nile to Sennar (where the capital was later moved) and beyond for three centuries until they were defeated by the Turks in 1821.

When Collo came to the area they dealt only with the southern fringes of the Funj Kingdom. The two kingdoms existed side by side until 1821.

Furthermore, if it were true that it were only the Dinka who were on the eastern side of the White Nile, the author must explain when and how were the Dinka displaced by the Shilluk on that side of the Nile.

The author misses the point by quoting P.M. Holt out of context. History tells us that there are two theories on the origin of the Funj. Holt is a proponent of the theory that the origin of the Funj was Shilluk but the latter are categorical that they found the Funj in the area and displaced them.

No doubt the Sultanate had some royal rituals similar to those of the Shilluk royal court but this was due more to cultural influence than to common origin. Similar Lwoo influence is found in the Buganda Kingdom in Uganda.

Latjor Migration
Despite the precise date the author posits as the date Latjor migrated to Nasir area through north of Melut, he got it all wrong. Reliable historical evidence tells us that Latjor moved through the western fringe of Shilluk land and crossed north of Melut around 1821.

He proceeded eastward but was reported to have lost his direction. Then he and his group decided to come backwards and settled at the present day Paloic (Pa-loj) where they spent some years before resuming his journey around 1835.

This was the time of Reth Awin Yor whose reign also saw the waves of migrations of the Nuer from Liech (Bentiu) to east of Bahr el Jebel. Shilluk oral history including songs confirms this last date.

Reputable authorities on Nuer and Dinka migrations such as Professor Raymond C. Kelly (the Nuer Conquest, 1985) and Bimbashi H. Wilson (The Dinka of the White Nile, 1903) attest to these facts. That Latjor found some Dinka in the area where he crossed the White Nile in the 19th century is consistent with the Shilluk history on the movements of the Dinka into that area.

Conclusion
The author exposes his real intentions when he averred: “Any distortion of these empirical facts is nothing but fallacies cooked by few intellectuals of Shilluk with the intention to rewrite the history of South Sudan a fresh (sic).” He arrogates to himself the monopoly of “facts,” which can never be a trait of anybody who claims to be a historian or student of history.

My advice to the author is that not any written material is a reliable source of history, the same way that not any elder is a reliable story teller. To be taken seriously one must get information from reputable sources and check and crosscheck any information one gets. Cobbling together irreconcilable pieces of information can hardly pass as history.

Shilluk Kingdom is now five centuries old. It is rich in culture, history and governance. One must be very careful when attempting to challenge its history.