Category: Politics

Why South Sudanese shouldn’t trust the Obasanjo Report on South Sudan Crisis?

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, RUMBEK, MAR/30/2015, SSN;

Is it out of love or mockery that Africa appears to care too much about South Sudan? From the first day the conflict erupted in South Sudan, Africa has been suggesting possible remedies to the crisis in the country.

Apart from hosting peace talks in Addis Ababa, the African Union (AU) also promptly formed a five member commission of inquiry to “investigate the human rights violations and other abuses committed during the armed conflict in South Sudan and make recommendations on the best ways and means to ensure accountability, reconciliation and healing among all South Sudanese communities.”

The commission of inquiry is composed of prominent and respected individuals with exceptional skills and experience. The Chairperson of the Inquiry Commission is composed of former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo, other members include Lady Justice Sophia Akuffo who is the Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Makerere University (Uganda), Bineta Diop who is AU Chairperson’s envoy for Women, Peace and Security, AU Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security and Prof. Pacifique Manirakiza who is a commissioner at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, the Gambia.

No doubt, this is a team of well placed African leaders that equally possess huge experience and tested competence.

Now, one wonders why a series of very dirty wars were allowed to rage on in Sudan long before the separation of South Sudan the former O.A.U couldn’t take such a step. Until today, another bad war is raging on in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains and Darfur region and the AU instead of investigating crimes committed – genocide included – chooses to protect the main perpetrators of the crimes and conflicts in Sudan.

No investigative team of inquiry has been set for Sudan. And President Beshir stays insulated from the ICC by the AU. So, there are two AU’s: one that investigates crimes in South Sudan and the other one that shields Beshir from going to the court in the Hague.

But maybe for the AU loves South Sudan so much, there can be nothing else anyone can say than to appreciate such a concern.

The report of this Commission of Inquiry has not yet been made public. But there had only been a leaked report purported to have been prepared by AU. The ‘leaked’ report almost caused an outrage and misunderstanding both in the Government and the opposition camps. Not because it carried such weird and witty recommendations like the axing of both the President and the rebel leader Dr. Machar in the formation of a transitional government, but it also looks shallow, unprofessional and lacking content to match the jurisdictions and standards of a veritable inquiry.

The AU, in person of Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamina-Zuma, has already disowned the report. That has helped a bit fix the mess.

Regardless of the fact presented by the AU in delaying the report – for fear that it may obstruct peace process in Addis Ababa – the US, the EU and so many other affiliate NGOs, still call for publication of the official report.

That makes it quite perplexing how the same agencies and organizations that call for a speedy peace process also adamantly demand for the release of the AU Commission of Inquiry report when we all know that it could delay peace.

As seen in the leaked report, any document that carries coined stories and discrepancies may likely bang the door closed on the Addis Ababa talks.

The leaked report of the Commission of Inquiry, since it now lacks any official backing and rightful authenticity, can be assumed a bluff. But the question remains: can the current team of experts investigating into the country’s crisis produce an honest, credible and unbiased report? And can this commission be fair enough in their findings and recommendations?

Methinks No!

With due respect to each and every member of the Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan crisis with regards to ‘human rights violations, atrocities and so much more, not many South Sudanese believe that this commission of inquiry is one that they should trust to carefully and honestly analyze the crisis, make proper findings and suggest the right recommendations on the conflict in South Sudan.

This is not because we may suspect the competence of the team. Neither do we think they can be manipulated by some interest groups with stakes in the war in the country.

We all know who President Olusegun Obasanjo is. He is a well respected African statesman who made a name in the making of both modern and the old Nigeria. He handed over power peacefully in 1979 after he lost elections to Shehu Shagari.

In 1976, he ascended to power by the privilege of death as President Murtala Mohammed, who he deputized, died in assassination. But he could not hold onto power during the election. Nigeria, through him, saw a peaceful transfer of power.

That he handed over power peacefully made him a darling of the West, particularly the US, Germany and Britain. But just like Dr. Riek Machar he attempted coup in 1995. The coup failed and he was not as fortunate as Riek Machar who miraculously found his way out of Juba simply to embark on a rebellion in a matter of days.

Obasanjo was arrested, tried and jailed for life. The West, because they were the architects of his failed coup, pressurized for his release. Due to that pressure his sentence was reduced to 15 years.

By a complete twist of fate, he was again a beneficiary of death as his arch enemy Gen. Sani Abacha died of an illness in 1998. A year later Obasanjo contested elections and won comfortably. Like an American President who served two complete terms he led Nigeria for eight straight years.

That Obansanjo is a believer of coups is not the point of concern. Rather, the issue – and relevance to the case of South Sudan – is his concept of reforms. Nigeria, in so many aspects, does not resemble South Sudan. So, Obasnajo’s reforms for Nigeria cannot marry up with the South Sudan reforms.

Still one asks himself if everything has worked well for Nigeria. President Obasanjo’s homeland, just like South Sudan, is until today deep in crisis. It has for a long time been engaged in a series of insurgencies and is still held knee-deep in one of the worst corruption in Africa.

The Boko Haram poses a big threat to Nigeria the way Riek’s rebels are to South Sudan. That begs the question: has Obasanjo put right his home country to even dare look into issues of other countries?

There is a belief that Obasanjo holds experience and valid solutions to Africa’s problems as he is taken to be a symbol of reform and democracy. Yet, Africa has moved much more than Obasanjo. It seems Africa is still being driven by personality cult.

Much as we hail President Obasanjo’s huge experience, there is a question of his age. It is my personal feeling that Uncle Obasanjo has not very much energy left in him. The Obasanjo of 1998 cannot be the Obasanjo of 2015. He can easily be outwitted and asked to sign a blind cheque for South Sudan.

The commission of inquiry on South Sudan crisis can be manipulated under his watchful eyes by those that hold very dangerous views on South Sudan. And that might be the greatest fear of South Sudanese.

One such fear is the inclusion of Prof. Mahmood Mamdani of Uganda in the same commission of inquiry. Like Obasanjo, Prof Mahmood Mamdani possesses an intellectual power but that cannot stop us from interrogating his inclusion into this important commission. This is because Prof. Mahmood has a long held view that Dr. Riek, South Sudan’s rebel leader, is a reformist.

At the Annual Retreat of the National Resistance Army (NRM) at Kyankwanzi on February 11th, 2014, which was later published by the New Vision of Uganda on 16th Feb, 2014, Prof Mahmood Mamdani delivered a lecture on South Sudan conflict titled “No power sharing without political reform.”

In the lecture, the well endowed Professor gave his analysis on the genesis of South Sudan crisis, its ripple effects and the way forward.

In some instances he made his views clear on Riek being a reformist – how he arrived at that only God knows – but there was never clear inclination anyone would easily put him in since he appeared spread all over and pointing the issues of the ethnicity between the Dinka and the Nuer.

True to his writing, the British heightened ethnicity in South Sudan. But he equally has his own views and one dangerous thing among them is his criticism of the independence of South Sudan.

Prof. Mahmood made it clear that he was against the independence of South Sudan. He said, “The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 turned out to be a shoddy affair, rushed by those in a hurry to birth an independent South. The people of South Sudan are just beginning to pay the price for that haste.”

Poignant to the feeling of South Sudanese, Prof. Mahmood believes that South Sudan is a “child of the war on terror.” That explicitly means that South Sudan statehood was driven not from our own struggle but born out of the war on terror. There has been no abuse like this on the history of struggle of South Sudan.

In short, Prof Mahmud Mamdani is one guy that has long formed an opinion about South Sudan. He made his position clear that he is inclined to support Dr. Riek’s reforms. He continues to blame what he termed as ‘rushed’ independence of South Sudan.’

Therefore, there can be no reason he could have been appointed into the team of inquiry on the crisis of South Sudan. According to global criteria on choosing an inquiry team should not have been a member of the team of inquiry for south Sudan. It is like sending a sensitive case of a sheep to a wolf.

Looking already at the leaked ‘fake’ report of the commission of inquiry, one wonders if you don’t see the hands of Prof. Mahmud Mamdani. While Mzee Obasanjo leads by his good name, the dirt may continue to be done by the enemies of South Sudan.

Prof. Mahmud has also been fighting against the term limits of President Museveni of Uganda. His inclusion in the committee of inquiry on South Sudan crisis only helps him find another podium from which he could fight Museveni away from home.

So there goes the story of the AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan! South Sudanese have to waste not their time in laying hope on this commission. They should expect a bad report that is based on manipulations under the supervision of a helpless old man.

South Sudanese shall forever continue to give their respect to President Obasanjo as one of the living fathers of the modern Africa. But that people will agree with the report of an important inquiry committee may only come as a surprise.

Taban Abel Aguek is an MP in Lakes State Legislative Assembly – Rumbek. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

The Problem with Salva and his Unreasonable Cronies

By: Riang Yer Zuor Nyak, MAR/23/2015, SSN;

It has been reported by many media outlets that Salva Kiir and his group had a public rally in Juba on the 18th of March 2015. It is reported that the purpose of the rally was for the president to inform the public of why he had returned to Juba without a peace agreement signed. The contents of his long speech, plus other shorter ones made by his entourage, have been reported by many of these media outlets. They are more or less similar, which makes one to begin to believe that the contents are authentic. If this is the case, then let’s take a look at parts of the speech.

Salva’s Speech
Salva spoke on a number of issues. Nevertheless, he never had the intention of addressing them to display what had really transpired at Addis Ababa talks. Instead, he used them to twist the truth to achieve a goal that is as murky as his ideas in resolving the war. Below are some of the excerpts, not in any particular order.

On Two Equal Presidents
In his speech, Salva blamed the failure to reach peace on the issue of positions. He stated: “We could not reach peace because of positions. Riek wants to be equal with me and recognized as head of state. There is no country where there are two presidents”.

Throughout the whole period of the last talks, it has never been the case that there should be two presidents. The SPLM/A has never come up with such a proposal; the government delegation has never made such a proposal; nor has IGAD or any other party proposed the possibility of two presidents. Where did Salva bring such a position from as one of the causes for the failure to reach peace? He must have been thinking that ordinary South Sudanese were not able to closely follow the progress of the talks, and that they could take any statement from Salva at face value.

On Shifting from the Position of a Prime Minister to that of a 1st Vice President
“We could not agree on the structure of government since August last year. We said Riek would be number 3 in the hierarchy but he refused and said he wants to be executive Prime Minister. We accepted but I said there should be 3 deputies…Riek again left the first idea of Prime Minister and demanded to become a first Vice President…Riek always want to be number two to me so that when I go outside the country he remains acting.”

Before August of last year, the issue of a position of a prime minister was never on the table. There was only the issue of the president. The question that the Parties were dealing with was who that president should be. Should it be Salva? Should Salva leave the government, as he was responsible for the genocide committed in Juba in December, and allow Dr. Riek to reunite the country that Salva had disunited?

The idea of the prime minister was introduced in August by the IGAD as a middle ground. Their idea was for Salva to continue as president and SPLM/A to nominate the occupant of the office of the prime minister. In their minds, Dr. Riek was not even the envisioned prime minister. He was to wait outside the Transitional Government of National Unity so that he could run for the highest office in the land at the end of the transition.

In the name of peace, the SPLM/A made a concession by dropping its previous position that Salva should step down as president. Instead, the IGAD proposal was accepted with the counter-proposal that the prime minister be executive, and that the two Principles (president and prime minister) should work together without deputies. The idea was that the two needed to work together as the ones solely given the responsibility for the smooth implementation of the peace agreement. This was to eliminate excuses later that ‘we failed to implement this or that because of so and so who did not do his work’. The government and IGAD refused such a counter-proposal.

The idea to drop the creation of the office of the prime minister and replace it with the office of the 1st Vice President also came from the IGAD. Both the SPLM/A and the government were surprised at the February 1st Summit with the proposal. IGAD failed to explain why it suddenly changed its previous position on the president-prime minister arrangement. People were only forced to speculate as to the reason why the change came about. There are those who think that the change came about due to the SPLM/A demand that the prime minister should be executive, and the IGAD does not want that to be the case. There are also those who think that the idea to remove deputies, including the vice president, was not sitting well with some IGAD heads of state who started presenting themselves at the August Summit as the voice representing the South Sudan region of Equatoria. They see Wani, the current vice president, as the representative of Bantus in South Sudan, and the two principals as representatives of the Nilotics.

It is difficult to understand why Salva wanted to mislead South Sudanese in his rally that it was Dr. Riek Machar who demanded the position of a prime minister in August and, then, dropped it for the position of the 1st vice president. Again, in the name of peace, the SPLM/A did not see the reason to make that an obstacle so long as the 1st vice president could share the executive powers with the president.

I cannot, possibly, believe that Salva was not aware of what was going on in Addis Ababa. His delegation must have briefed him of all developments as to the progress of the talks. I believe that he was deliberately being dishonest. But, what could have been the reason for lying? Could it be to achieve a political goal?

On the 2002 SPLA/M Merger
“They want to take Wani’s position but what if Equatorians take up arm against government? I told Riek we will not appease you and give you Wani’s position again…I told him we will not repeat the 2002 agreement we displaced Wani and put you in his place…IGAD and other countries want me to throw away my Vice President Wani Igga in favour of Riek Machar. If they make Riek the 1st Vice President and I die, then Riek would automatically become the president but if Riek is the 2nd Vice President and I die then Riek would not be the president. That cannot happen.”

First, I find it difficult to understand why these people associate positions with individuals. There is no such thing as Wani’s position. There is the office of the vice president, and Wani just happens to be the current occupant. It does not belong to Equatorians, and as such Equatorians do not need to take up arms for that position. They are democratically, as of right of citizenship, eligible for any position—including that of the president.

Second, the 2002 merger was not a situation where Wani’s position was given to Dr. Riek Machar. The agreement was a merger between two movements (SPDF and SPLA/M). The initial idea was that the two principal leaders were to make an arrangement where one would lead and the other would follow. Salva was against that, arguing that the two men (Drs. Garang and Riek) were both from the Greater Upper Nile. He saw such an arrangement as a way of the Greater Upper Nile dominating his Greater Bahr al Ghazal. He wanted Garang to lead as a member of the Greater Upper Nile community followed by himself (Salva) as representative of Greater Bahr al Ghazal. Who followed him was not his business. Interestingly, he conveniently forgot that he and Dr. Garang were members of the same Dinka tribe. He did not see the possibility of other South Sudanese to see two Dinka men one following the other as dominating other tribes.

Eventually, the crisis created by none other than Salva himself was resolved by saying, ‘Look, we are all members of SPLA/M. We only split in 1991. Since we are now reuniting our ranks, let us go back to the SPLA/M hierarchy.’ Dr. Riek believed that the issue was not the positions. Instead, it was the issue of uniting the Southern front and demand self-determination together with one voice. He believed the he could do whatever that he needed to do to make the war a success in any position. He compromised. Dr. Garang remained in his previous SPLA/M position as number one, Salva who was then the number two (after Kerubino and Nyuon had died) remained number two, Dr. Rek remained number three, and Wani remained number four. The only person who was the victim of this compromise was Dr. Lam Akol who should have been number four after Dr. Riek and before Wani. I am not sure why it was not done that way. It could probably be that he rejoined late after the arrangement was completed.

So, there was no Wani’s position that was taken by Dr. Riek Machar. It was the agreement that the previous SPLA/M hierarchy should be used to break the deadlock created by Salva who was not in favor of two people from the same region to be numbers one and two respectively, but was in favor of two men (himself and Garang) from the same tribe to be numbers one and two in the movement’s leadership hierarchy.

Third, from his statements, it appears that Salva does not see the issues. The only issue that he sees is personal. It is about Dr. Riek Machar’s possibility to lead South Sudan as president. This is what he seems to be fighting against. His political issue is ‘Riek’; his social issue is ‘Riek; and his economic issue is ‘Riek’. But, what about real issues that are facing the people of South Sudan? What do South Sudanese think about the issues affecting them on daily basis? Criminals are killing the people in Juba on a daily basis, and Salva was not able to tell the audience how he plans to deal with it; the ever-shapeless economy is deteriorating on daily basis, and Salva did not tell the rally what his immediate plans are; and health and educational services are in their ever-unproductive states. These are in addition to the war related issues. South Sudanese think about all of these things. Should their thoughts matter?

No one thinks that Salva will die any time soon. As such, his succession should not be an issue in the peace process. Whether Dr. Riek or Wani should succeed him should be a future matter reserved to the time when his death actually becomes a reality. If he has any information pointing to the imminence of his death, he must keep it to himself so as to not allow it to be a stumbling block in the peace process.

On the Position of Vice President and Two Armies
“I don’t agree with the suggestion that Riek be given the position of vice-president. I don’t accept the issue of the two armies.”

The issue here is not whether or not Salva agrees with Dr. Riek being given the position of a vice president. Nor is it the issue of him (Salva) accepting the idea of two armies. The main issue is that the level of atrocities among ourselves has never been as high as it has been ever since the war broke out; the level of mistrust has never been as high as it has become; the level of hatred among our people has never been as high as it has been this time; and there are diverse political programs that need to be protected on both sides. The question now is how to reasonably solve this problem. He has to come up with a reasonable alternative—not just disagreeing “…with suggestion that Riek be given the position of vice president…” or not accepting “…the issue of the two armies”.

There are reforms that must be agreed up on. Once they are agreed up on, they will have to be implemented. Salva has already rejected those. But, he must accept them at the end. With his current rejection, can he be trusted to implement them later? There is a need for him to share executive powers with Dr. Riek Machar (vice president or prime minister) so that he (Dr. Riek) sees to it that they are implemented.

The two armies must co-exist. The processes of implementing the peace agreement must be protected.

On Compensation for the Victims
“There were people who supported Riek for first vice president position so that his people who died in Juba are compensated. If its about compensation, did Riek compensate Dinkas he killed in Bor 1991?″

First, Salva is not clear as to the people whom he referred to as “…supporting Riek for first vice president…” He should have made it clear so that we know whether he was talking about people in the SPLM/A, people from the International Community, or people within his government. We would like to know so that a proper response could be given.

Second, no one, at all, associates any position with the compensation of the victims of the Juba massacres—let alone the position of vice president. The IGAD who came up with the proposal do not seem to care whether or not the victims get compensated. The SPLM/A has never made such an indication. The SPLM/A simply believes that the victims will be compensated whether Dr. Riek Machar becomes the vice president, prime minister or president.

Third, he talked about the compensation of Dr. Riek’s “…people who died in Juba…” It is good that he has made it clear that he targeted the Nuer in Juba because he thought (and still thinks) of them as Dr. Riek’s people. It makes his motive for killing them clear. He has committed genocide by systematically targeting the Nuer on the basis of their tribal origin. Any South Sudanese who had been doubting up to the 18th of March 2015 has no reason to remain in doubt after the 18th.

Fourth, it is interesting that Salva associated the compensation of the victims of the Juba massacres with lack of compensation of the Dinka people killed in Bor in 1991. Is he suggesting that he killed the Nuer in Juba in avenging the deaths of the Dinka in Bor in 1991, and that the two communities are even? Or is he trying to suggest that if the Nuer whom he massacred in Juba have to be compensated, the Dinka who had been killed in 1991 have to be compensated first? He has to be clear so that the rest of the South Sudanese who are neither members of the two seemingly feuding (as Salva wants members of his tribe to think) tribes should know what do think and do.

What about the Gaat-Jaak Nuer massacres in 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987? Has he prepared himself for their compensation? The Gaat-Jaak massacres were carried out during a different war; the Bor massacre was carried out during a different war; and they have to be dealt with using different mechanisms. But, Juba massacres were carried out during the current war. As such, the peace talks that are intended to end the current war must address the issue of the compensation of the victims. It is only a blind-minded can fail to see this.

On Federalism
“Riek said we must apply federalism but we are already a federal state although we don’t call ourselves one.”

If Dr. Riek calls for the application of federal system of governance and Salva believes that we are already a federal state, then what would be the disagreement? If he agrees with the call and believes in the federal system, and that he thinks that he is practicing it, then, why not calling ourselves as federal?

The truth of the matter is that we are not currently a federal state. Salva knows that. He just thinks that the people of South Sudan do not know what federal system is like. Or if he does not know, then why is he rejecting something that he does not know.

Few things that he must know are that, no national president can remove state governors and replace them where there is a federal arrangement; no national president can dissolve a state legislative assembly, as provided by the current transitional constitution, in a federally arranged state; no federal president can remove a minister at the state level in a federally arranged state; there cannot be a unitary judiciary in a federally arranged state; and etc.

Salva is simply against the idea of federating South Sudan. He knows that he is going against the aspirations of the people of South Sudan who have been demanding federal system since 1947. He enjoys controlling state power so that he is the only human being that matters in the whole country. He has to have the courage to come out publicly to declare to the people of South Sudan that he is against federalism, instead of hiding behind the illogical idea that we are already a federal state.

We need federalism now. There are those who say that federalism should wait until such time as when we embark on the permanent constitutional making process. That is unjustified. We all know what our people want. When the time comes for the making of the permanent constitution, we will still ask the people of South Sudan whether they want to continue with federalism or they want to go back to the unitary system.

On the Dissolution of Parliament
“I told Riek parliament will not be dissolved because MPs were elected by people not us. Even if they are not doing their work. I want to tell MPs here Riek doesn’t want you because he says you are doing nothing in parliament.”

First, the idea that members of the National Legislature were elected is not an issue. The whole process that is taking place in Addis Ababa is dictated by the current war situation in the country. The power-sharing that was being discussed between the two warring parties was (and is) what necessitated the idea to dissolve and reconstitute the National Legislature.

The SPLM/A does not believe in a big government. Big governments, unnecessarily, take away resources that should be used for development activities, which should benefit the ordinary citizens of South Sudan. For example, the current members of the National Legislature are not less than 400. If the power-sharing ratio is taken to be 50/50 between the SPLM/A and the government, and the current members are taken to be the government portion, then more than 400 could be added to be the portion of the SPLM/A. The country would end up with more than 800 members of the legislature. But, then, for what purpose should we embark on such a costly project? That would mean robbing the people of South Sudan of their resources. This is why it is important to dissolve and reconstitute the National Legislature so that we can maintain the same number of people as the existing one without any cost added. It is cheaper that way.

Second, the idea that Dr. Riek Machar wants the dissolution of the Legislature because he does not like the members is way too cheap a politics. They may be “…doing nothing in parliament” as Salva stated. But this is not an issue right now. Dissolution and reconstitution of the National Legislature is a necessary part of the power-sharing arrangement whether or not current members are doing something in parliament. Salva thinks that telling members of the legislature that Dr. Riek does not like them is an easy way of turning them against Dr. Riek. It only shows how out-of-ideas the man is.

On Sanctions
“Let them sanction South Sudan but if they will not ask God to stop rain in the country we will still prosper without aid.”

Salva talked of sanctions as if they are meant to be imposed on South Sudan. He knows very well that sanctions, as discussed by the United Nations Security Council, are intended to target individuals who are found to be responsible for the failure of the peace process. Those people will be banned from traveling; their accounts with foreign banks will be frozen; and the rest of the country will continue as usual.

If this is the case, then sanctions will not hurt ordinary South Sudanese. They have no money stashed away in foreign bank accounts; they do not even have money to travel abroad. It, simply, is not their sanction. Salva should just worry about himself and his partners in crime since they are the only ones to lose millions of stolen dollars in their foreign bank accounts, and their lucrative travel benefits.

The other interesting part of the above statement is talking about rain. This suggests that Salva is turning to agriculture. But, after what? The land has been there for our people’s benefit; the rain has been there; and food has been imported from Uganda and Kenya for all of these years. He did not see any problem with this, as he was not personally affected by the situation. He never made it a point to sensitize our people to produce their own food to stop dependency on foreign produced food. Any leader who has the prosperity of his people in mind—people who have a land such as that in South Sudan should have led a crusade of agricultural production years before the current threats of sanctions. At this time, he should be talking about himself and his partners (who are going to be subjects of the sanctions with Salva) to turn to the land to grow their own food.

Our people have been trying on their own, without any assistance from the government, to produce their food for subsistence. Those who have tried to produce more end up not getting a market for their produce due to lack of roads. Salva should come up with a solution to that problem before talking about rain. God will definitely send rain, but He will not send roads to market centers.

On the Negotiation of Equals
“We want practical solutions and now is the time to do what is best for our people. No president negotiates with rebels, but I went to negotiate with Riek because I want peace, but Riek thinks we are equal that is why he became intransigent.”

If wanting peace means going to Addis Ababa for negotiations, then Salva does not want peace. This is because he did not go to Addis Ababa voluntarily, at least for the last round. Instead, he had wanted Wani to go to Addis Ababa. He had to be pressured into going to negotiate with Dr. Riek. In fact, Dr. Riek had to issue a press release urging those who had influence on Salva to apply more effort to persuade him (Salva) to avail himself for negotiations.

On the issue of equality, Salva does not seem to understand how things work. It is not written anywhere that presidents should not negotiate with rebels. He needs to understand that unique situations need unique ways of dealing with.

The delegations of both the SPLM/A and government had been in negotiations for a long time. They tackled certain issues. However, there were issues that they were not able to decide on. IGAD proposed that the two Principals (commanders-in-chief of the two armies) be brought together to resolve these issues. The idea was to expedite the process by bringing the two heads of the two warring parties together to expeditiously take care of the most difficult issues.

Looking at the roles (commanding the two warring armies) that the two Principals play in this war, and given the fact that the process is meant to stop the two armies from fighting, the two men are equal. If he does not understand that, then, he has a problem. The fact that one is a president and the other is a chairman does not make any difference. They are just titles. It is the roles of these two Principals in bringing the war to an end that matters. Salva should not attempt to hide behind a title to avoid facing Dr. Riek. It just can’t work.

On IGAD’s Shifting of Goal Posts
“All of you have seen me going to Addis Ababa to meet with my brother Riek Machar so that we resolve the issues, but always when we go we find that the goal post has been shifted to another place. And all the time when we go and stumble on a new agenda, in such a way you don’t expect peace to come.”

This statement puts the blame for failure of the peace talks on the one who frames the agenda. This is IGAD. It is true that IGAD has not been consistent in this area. They have shifted a lot, especially in the areas of power-sharing. This has been a problem. But, it could have been overcome had the government been sincere and serious. All the IGAD positions were drafted in favor of the government. In fact, the government did not go to the talks with any particular position on all the issues. They only adopted the positions put forward by the IGAD. Even then, the delegates would not want to discuss details.

The interesting thing about Salva’s blame of IGAD for failure is that he was confusing his audience at the rally. At one point, he squarely put the blame for the failure of the talks on Dr. Riek Machar. At another point, he squarely put the same blame on IGAD. Which is which? The poor members of the audience must have been forced to read between the lines to figure out for themselves what was right or wrong.

On IDPs
“I want IDPs in Juba, Bor and other towns to go back to their homes. The authorities will give them support.”
Sometimes I wonder if Salva listens to himself. To begin with, the IDPs in Juba and Bor are survivors. Salva attempted to exterminate their kind. They are literally alive because of the UN protection. Salva once talked about these people, referring to them as rebels. He is now asking the same people “…to go to their homes” and that “…the authorities will give them support.”

Salva has not yet apologized to these people for what he has put them through; he has not given them any sincere promise that he will never kill them again if the go back to their homes; he has not withdrawn his statement calling them rebels; in his speech on the 18th of March, he referred to them as Riek Machar’s people; and he has not yet reached a peace deal with Dr. Riek Machar. How does Salva harmonize these mixtures of positions that he has taken against these IDPs and his request for them to go back to their homes?

Martin Elia Lomoro’s Speech
Martin Elia Lomoro, the current Minister for Cabinet Affairs, was one of those reportedly made short speechs. Among the statements he made, one stands out. “Citizens of South Sudan, if you remove president Salva Kiir, you will see what will happen to you…”

This scare tactic is characteristic of the regime’s officials these days. At any time, if an opportunity avails itself, these kinds of threatening statements are commonplace. They want the people to start fearing change. But, these Salva’s cronies are South Sudanese who should know South Sudanese better. There is nothing that they can say to make our people accept their current positions as spectators who are not entitled to tasting our Independence. They are made only to smell the sweet smell of their hard earned Independence. Lomoro needs to find something better to say. Or else, he should keep quiet.

Kuol Manyang’s Speech
Kuol Manyang, who is Salva’s Minister of Defense, made a comment regarding the two armies proposed by the SPLM/A for the 30-month transitional period. He showed his rejection of it without supporting his position. He simply called it “unnecessary”. Anyone who wants to make a point always tries to justify why he or she is taking a certain position on an issue. It is this way that one’s position is either bought or rejected. Vagueness does not help. It could be taken as lack of justification or an attempt to keep people guessing as to one’s real position.

Conclusion
The problem with Salva and his cohorts is that they do not see politics as issue-based—issues that are socio-economic in nature. They consider it as a game of lies. They tend to think that whoever lies more wins the game. They should realize that the game does not end with the players. Players just play, and the spectators, who are the citizens of South Sudan for that matter, make the judgment. And that judgment must be based on the issues involved. If one misses the issues that matter to the people, one loses no matter how long one talks.

The issues presented to the two Principals for negotiation were the following: Federalism, Institutional Reforms, Wealth sharing, Parameters of permanent constitution making process, Reconstitution of the National Legislature, Transitional Justice, TGoNU, Leadership Structure of the TGoNU, Security arrangement, and Accountability and National Reconciliation.

Salva and his team did not want to negotiate and agree on any of these issues. The only thing that they called a compromise on any of these was for them to acknowledge that federalism is a popular demand by the people of South Sudan. However, they wanted it to be considered only after the transitional period.

Salva attempted to blame others for the collapse of the peace talks. At one time, he blamed it on Dr. Riek Machar; at another time, he blamed it on IGAD for continuously shifting the goal post. That was not true. Yes, IGAD continuously shifted the goal post. Nevertheless, the issues remained. It was Salva who refused to negotiate the issues. If his response to every issue on the table was a ‘No’, then he was the one single-handedly responsible for the collapse of the talks.

The rally on the 18th of March only turned out to be a wrong circus made of lies and threats. As such, the speakers became inconsistent, illogical, dishonest, and vague.

The author is a South Sudanese. He can be reached at riangzuor@yahoo.com.

US, the first global empire built on politics of lunacy, sanctions and humanitarian intervention

QUOTE: “Is it a football match between the US and the UK where it should be played for 90 minutes, where on the earth can you time peace.” Says Baranaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan minister for foreign affairs.

By: Simon Yel Yel, Juba, MAR/19/2015, SSN;

Sanctions, sanctions and more sanctions! Every day we wake up in the morning holding breath to hear the psychotic Samantha Power speaking on the behalf of US, UK and the UN announcing what the so-called targeted sanctions on south Sudan government. Everyone wonders what the US are really up to, is it oil or they want to expand their empire?

The items in the proposed modus vivendi by IGAD are awaiting atomic bombs and even US can’t allow the Iraqi government to have such a band-aid solution signed with ISIL.

Can US persuade Iraqi government to have a power sharing with ISIL and for ISIL to have its own independent army within Iraq for a period of even 6 months leave alone the proposed 24 months by IGAD?

The velocity with which the US wants the south government to concede the impossible and unbecoming demands of the rebels is inversely proportional to the mass of hypocrisy of drone attacks by US in Pakistan and airstrikes in Iraq against ISIL.

It was early March this year when we saw the US ambassador to UN, Mrs Power, presiding over the UN Security Council creating a sanction regime on south Sudan.

The resolutions adopted the travel ban and assets frozen of south Sudan government officials who are branded by Power to be the ones blocking peace.

I don’t know who will be the causalities of Mrs Power’s sanctions, will it be Hon. Nhial Deng, Hon Micheal Makuei and Hon James Kok Ruai for rejecting the rebels’ proposal to make Riek Machar to be a ceremonial prime minster, or Hon. Dr. Gai Yoi, Hon. Akol Paul Kordit and Hon. Daniel Awet for signing the Arusha agreement to reunite the SPLM again and maintain Salva Kiir as chairman of the SPLM?

Is south Sudan government blocking peace? Really, Mrs Power! Methinks not, unless you want the rebels to implement their failed coup on the negotiations table.

Are you really called Power? As the English dictionary defines power to be the ability to do work, am seriously doubting your reasoning capacity. Why your mind is lacking ability to think?

I thought whatever you think should reflect the English meaning of “POWER” as your name carries but naïve me! You don’t have ability to think and differentiate the truth from the imaginary, no doubt you are suffering from psychosis.

No wonder what the US wants is oil and to get it, it is a prerequisite to install their puppet.

The installation of the puppet democratically requires a lot of things to do, like economics sanctions to anger the populations to go on the street and talk trash about the government, overstepping their freedom of expressions, asking the elected president to step down and occupying the government premises.

When the government intervenes, the US and UN will come in angrily and talk authoritatively that “he (president) is a man who has killed the pro-democracy Protesters and hence, he crossed the red line and lost his legitimacy.”

From there, the military-humanitarian intervention follows in the name of human rights abuses and famine control.

From the literate to the illiterate, everyone is wondering what the US thinks the sanction is and does it make sense to sanction south Sudan when the government rejected the rebels’ unbecoming demands?

The government officials have done nothing wrong to be sanctioned unless US want them to abandon the government and join Riek’s rebellion.

Sanctions are political tools that stand between diplomacy and guns, the midway between negotiations and soldiers.

They begin where diplomacy ends and often they come soon after the futility of diplomatic dress down and feasibility studies are done to know which side doesn’t want peace, something Mrs. Power knows-not.

The failure of the IGAD to bring both parties to the agreement is due to unbecoming demands from the rebels’ side but still IGAD is not despaired to bring peace to south Sudanese.

How many years did the Sudan government and SPLA take to sign CPA? Did the USA sanction government of the Sudan or SPLA for taking long time to agree?

Where on the earth can you time peace like a football match?

We all know that after travel ban and assets frozen, the economic sanctions will soon follow to anger the population for the US to find way to intervene militarily.

Economic sanctions are a third option used when military intervention is deemed to be either inappropriate or impossible. It is a default policy option, which according to Simon Chesterman and Beatrice Pouligmy, “reflect the seriousness of the problem rather than the seriousness of engaging with it.”

The political pundits and scientists suggest that economics sanctions and embargo will soon follow this travel ban and assets freeze and finally military humanitarian intervention follows to install Riek Machar like what had happened in Libya, Iraq and other countries invaded by the US.

The first step against a “target” country is usually the imposition of sanctions- meant to destroy the country’s economy and soften it up for a possible military attack at a later date.

Sudan has been sanctioned since 1997, and there’s been what the US describes as “targeted” sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe since 2003.

Syria has been repeatedly sanctioned- even before the ongoing civil war it was sanctioned for being one of the “state sponsors of terrorism.”

Sanctions on non-NATO and non-EU member like Belarus were extended earlier this year and of course we now have US sanctions on Russia.

Various reasons were given for the imposition of sanctions on these states in different parts of the world, but the real reason is never openly stated – namely that they are, or were, all countries independent of the US and their leaders refused to show enough deference to the empire builders of Washington.

Washington relies on a cravenly pro-US media elite to make sure that the leaders in question get the full-on “boo-hiss” pantomime villain treatment like what Sudantribune is doing everyday.

There is an issue which bothers me and other people alot, why Mrs Power didn’t brand the Israeli president Benjamin Natenyahu as “war criminal” for killing thousands of Palestinians or even raise a motion in the UNSC to send peacekeepers to the West Bank to protect the dying Palestinians from Israeli daily bombardment?

This is not even double standard; this is amazing, primitive and misanthropic. One should not crudely try to make everything suit their interest, calling the same thing black today and white tomorrow.

All the Western powers led by US prefer not to be guided by international law on their practical policies but by the rule of gun shadowed by economics sanctions and travel ban, they sometimes come out openly invading countries and dishonoring the UNSC resolutions like in Libya.

They act as they please; here and there, they use force against sovereign states, building coalitions based on the principle “if you are not with us, you are against us.”

To make this psychosis aggression look legitimate, they force unnecessary resolutions from international organisations, and if for some reasons this didn’t work, they simply tend to ignore the UNSC and the UN overall if there is little resistance within coming from Russia and China.

There are numerous write-ups on the debate of whether or not sanctions work; on what sanctions are intended to achieve, and if sanctions-imposers really want sanctions to work the way they declare through their public utterances.

Whether sanctions are declared or imposed through individual countries, regional bodies, or through the United Nations, there is always a political context to every sanctions regime.

There is always something behind the curtain when US talk of humanitarian interventions, human rights abuses and sanctions but one day the world will say enough is enough.

Russia and China stopped the US invasion of Syria and what they did to Ukraine is the answer to that but who will really stop the US invasion in south Sudan, Russia or China?

I personally don’t know yet because their stand is not clear to me on south Sudan.

The US can not tolerate any power challenging them in their doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance and any possible challenger must be destroyed. Like what they are doing now to Iran and Russia.

The US, in their self-anointed role as “masters of the world”, deluded by their own belief in their own exceptionalism, continue to commit atrocities and destroy peoples and states worldwide, and they remain unchallenged.

They sell their aggressive wars to the people as “humanitarian interventions” or “democracy” operations, but the reality is that all of the recent US aggressive wars have been and continue to be illegal acts and crimes against humanity and peace but no a single country stood up to challenge their evil acts.

I would like to tell the people of US, the people who, since the foundation of their nation and adoption of the Declaration of Independence, have been proud to hold democracy above all else; south Sudan will never go silent if you want to walk on us proudly and unchallengeable as” masters of the world”, you ought to know that we are “masters of our own.”

If you aggressively invade a country for territory or any other reason it is illegal, if you do the same for ideological reasons or because you are against the president or government it is also illegal. And that is exactly what the US has been engaged in time and time again to expand their empire and promote their interest.

Can anyone imagine Guem, an island neighboring Philippines to be under US administration? Do you know how far is the US with Guem?

US just hand-picked a typical American not from Guem to be the governor. How do you call that, it is democracy or colonization? This is what Mrs. Power wants, turning the independent country (south Sudan) to be a territory of the US.

There is a long list of countries where the US has organized coup d’états, supported revolutions, overthrown governments, invaded, annexed, supported groups or forces who overthrew or attempted to overthrow governments or outright executed the leaders. Again all of these “interventions” were illegal, and south Sudan soon will follow.

The toppling of the governments by their (US) puppets can be portrayed as a “democratic revolution” like in Ukraine and other countries while condemning and killing the same democratic revolution to take place in other countries.

The same democratic revolution happened in Jordan and Saudia Arabia but it all died down because the US is friend to the governments.

Terrorist proxies, described of course as “rebels” and “pro-democracy freedom fighters,” are also used to foment civil war with the aim of destabilizing independently-minded governments -and providing a pretext for a US-led “humanitarian” military intervention.

All what had happened in many countries invaded by US are likely to happen in south Sudan. Imagine Susan Page saying that the rebels in south Sudan are fighting “a just war.

It is just a matter of time and the US will declare officially their support to Riek’s rebellion and called it “pro-democracy fighters” to fight illegitimate president.

If the rebels of Riek need further support, and the supply of arms, equipment and money is not enough, then of course there’s the option of direct military intervention to help them defeat the government- as occurred in Libya in 2011.

Mendacity is indeed the hallmark of modern US imperialism.

The current US Empire is a more dishonest project than the British Empire- because at least then the British openly acknowledged having an empire.

But the US never acknowledges its empire building- not only that, imperial propagandists have the chutzpah to falsely accuse others of territorial expansionism and of trying to build their own empires.

It is clear that by any objective assessment US imperialism is the biggest cause of instability in the world today and has been for many years now.

The rise of ISIL and the growth of jihadist groups generally is directly caused by US’s hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East- and its decision to target secular, independently- minded governments such as the ones of Saddam in Iraq, Gadaffi in Libya and Assad in Syria, which were bulwarks against Islamic fundamentalism.

Sometimes it seems to be an almost useless fight to try to bring the truth to the American people and the world given the way they have been lied to and convinced of their own exceptionalism but the truth must be known and in the end it is only the truth that will set us all free from tyranny.

Even simple readers from the West and West sympathizers in Africa have been conditioned to attack the messenger for the message and try to discredit anyone who shows them the illegality of their leaders, I am sure I will be attacked for what I have written here but if one person sees the truth then the effort was worth it.

To conclude, I want to make it very crystal clear, as they (US) always say, to the US, UK, UN and their sympathizers that your days are numbered and the war you are trying to weigh on south Sudan is very expensive and I want to assure you that south Sudan can’t and will never be like Libya and Iraq that you have easily invaded, you will never get away with this time.

The writer is south Sudan citizen and can be reached at simonyel55@yahoo.com or 0955246235

Hypocrisy and Self-Interest at the failed IGAD-brokered South Sudan ‘Peace Talks’

BY: Kuir ë Garang, ALBERTA, Canada, MAR/11/2015, SSN;

Now that the warring parties have failed to sign a peace deal to end the 15-month old conflict in South Sudan, the jittery public is asking: “What’s Next?” And ‘what’s next’ is the unquestionable reworking of the entire peace process. Winning militarily is an illusion.

In October last year, Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn told a press conference after the two principals in the conflict failed to strike a deal arguing that changing the negotiating strategy would not bring results. Bizarrely, he advocated for the same strategy that was proving fruitless.

When the last round of the talks failed [again] on March 6, Mr. Desalegn, however, seemed to have had an epiphany. Having come to the realization that using the same strategy over and over without results is foolhardy, the Prime Minister finally called for a change in strategy.

While we all understand that the two principals have failed South Sudanese for having started the war and failing to end it, we have to remember the mediocre method used by IGAD and the patronage being exercised by the regional leaders and the African Union.

In January, the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Bashir Bandi, gave an interview to SSTV and what he said underlined what many of us have been advocating for for months. Mr. Bandi explained how South Sudanese brokered ways forward were frustrated by IGAD’s mediation team.

Anytime South Sudanese made progress at the talks, he argues, IGAD would postpone the talks without giving any reasons and without consulting the two delegations.

Besides, IGAD is not mediating the talks, but forcing them. There’s never been a peace initiative in which talks are given strict timelines and the parties threatened to sign or they be punished. We don’t need the peace talks if the arsenals mediators have are threats. Threats are symptomatic of mediators’ failure.

The attitude regional and African leaders have adopted towards South Sudanese leaders is condescending, patronizing and disrespectful. With no doubt, South Sudanese civilians are suffering and dying and the country’s development has been frustrated. However, regional leaders are treating South Sudanese leaders like idiots, who can’t think for themselves.

Unfortunately, the leaders are playing along with such disrespectful patronization. And I agree with Dr. Marial Benjamin: there’s nowhere in the world where you give peace a deadline.

Dr. Riek Machar and President Kiir Mayardit have brought the country to its knees and it’s high time they pulled it back up. Time and again, the two leaders have asked to be allowed to negotiate as South Sudanese but IGAD refuses to listen.

Kiir and Riek should realize the patronizing manner in which they are being treated and take charge of the talks. Do we really need such useless IGAD’s mediation?

Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin has proven incapable of mediating peace. Instead of the stakeholders drafting positional papers, which IGAD can just work through for a compromise, all draft papers are written by IGAD and given to the two sides with “sign it now or be punished!” That’s not mediation but self-serving blackmail!

Is it really impossible for Kiir and Riek to call a south-south meeting in Nairobi or Addis Ababa and strike an understanding without the patronage and condescension of the ineffective regional leaders?

And how do we expect people who haven’t brought peace to their own countries to be interested in peace in South Sudan?

Ethiopia arrests political opponents, journalists and bloggers. It still hasn’t solved the problem of Oromo Liberation Front. Human Rights Watch in May of 2014 called for Ethiopia to respect human rights and prosecute security forces abuses in Gambella, Somali region of Ethiopia and in Oromia. A HRW report in October of 2013 documented incidents of torture by the government.

Sudan and Uganda, both of which ruled by dictators, are classic examples of hypocrisy at South Sudanese talks. Sudan is ruled by a legal fugitive, it’s fighting wars in three fronts (or more) and its human rights records are appalling. The cases of Amin Medani and opposition leader Farouk Issa are current crack down on political voices.

And the dear Yoweri Museveni has essentially occupied South Sudan as he dictates what President Kiir does. Museveni tries to portray himself as the regional superman. His ego is inflated by regional conflicts. His presence in Somalia, interference in Congo, Rwanda, Sudan and South Sudan shouldn’t be seen in naïve lenses as Mr. Savior at work. Museveni’s power thrives in these conflicts. End the conflicts and his influence disappears!

It is therefore crucial for Kiir and Riek to chart a different course for peace in South Sudan. It’s naïve to expect that people who don’t and can’t respect human rights records in their own countries would wish for peace in South Sudan.

The decision not to release AU report on post-December 2013 conflict is testimonial of how African leaders view human rights.

But remember, this article by no means absolves South Sudanese leaders of the atrocities committed by their forces. And this also doesn’t mean Riek and Kiir have no part in the hypocrisy surrounding the peace talks.

Indeed, South Sudanese would open their hearts to forgive if the leaders showed some elements of care, leadership and responsibility. Good leadership is about sacrifices on behalf of the people.

Beside IGAD’s hypocrisy, the two leaders have not set any example in regard to forgiveness, letting go and striking a peace language that’d herald in the advent of peaceful atmosphere in the country.

And unlike IGAD’s leaders, who threaten Kiir and Riek instead of doing their job for peace to come to South Sudan, the United Nation Security Council Resolution 2026 (2015) that calls for targeted sanctions on individuals is appropriate.

It’s not a blind, unstructured threat like what IGAD usually mete out on South Sudanese leaders. The proposals would be calculated, targeted sanctions on individuals that are obstacles to the talks. To claim that sanctions would be counter-productive is to lose sight of who is fighting in South Sudan, who is suffering and who is imposing the sanctions.

I don’t know why South Sudanese leaders worry if they aren’t obstacles to peace talks!

It’s therefore time for our leaders to restore the dignity of the country through peace by seeing regional leaders for what they are: hypocritical self-interested group.

Kuir ë Garang is the author of South Sudan Ideologically. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info

South Sudan’s senior officials’ irresponsible use of language

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudan, MAR/04/2015, SSN;

“These are people who must make their living by sucking the blood of other.” Michael Makuei, the minister of Information of the Republic of South Sudan roared in a press conference labelling the Human Rights Watch. His colleague Martin Elia Lomuro, the minister of Cabinet Affairs sitting next to him leapt in “mosquitoes” complementing the link of the dehumanisation process to which the former delightfully repeated “mosquitoes, yes.” https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/i-will-shut-down-un-says-south-sudans-information-minister

While the press conference held on 16th February 2015 to castigate the media and non -governmental organisations sounds hilarious, it is in fact very concerning. How has South Sudan descended to this level of thuggery? Do responsible people representing a state speak like that? Where is the etiquette of diplomacy associated with the conduct of state affairs? Painful to say but these two ministers have vindicated Gerrard Prunier’s observation and conclusion that South Sudan is governed by “idiots ….rotten to the core.” What these two have done has brought further disrepute to the people of South Sudan collectively. The world must wonder how a country of 8 million can allow itself to be led by such “idiots”.

Recently, the former president of Kenya Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi made a telling remark about South Sudan which could be construed as offensive as he appeared to question the very right of the people of South Sudan to self determine. His kind of speak echoes the language of the colonialists who flocked to the continent during the scramble for Africa sanctioned by the Berlin agreement of 1884.

Moi said definitely in anger that perhaps the people of South Sudan “were not ready for independence.” Though his comment self evidently is harsh, it is difficult not to sympathise with him given his own personal contribution in the liberation process. The irresponsible and criminal behaviour of the SPLM exasperates everyone and pushes people to say things they would not say under normal circumstances. Moi is likely to have assessed South Sudan based on the behaviour of SPLM not realising that South Sudan truly has other competent leaders suppressed by SPLM violence.

In reality South Sudan has all along been ready to self govern. The problem giving rise to Moi’s question is the fact that he Moi and all the other African leaders in the last 3 decades believed only in the SPLM as they still do now in the IGAD peace talks. They have refused to acknowledge and work with the real leaders in South Sudan who do not espouse the violent and tribalistic agenda of the SPLM. The former president would have done better if he said perhaps the SPLM was not ready for independence because this would be the truth given the organisation’s formative objective. Please see ‘Kenya’s ex-president criticises S. Sudan leaders over conflict’ http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article53969

South Sudan has competent world class leaders who could lead it smoothly without problems. For example, Peter Sule, Richard Mulla, Bishop Paride Taban and many others. South Sudan has unfortunately under the SPLM become the laughing stock of the world. Though this appears to be the case, in reality South Sudan has sons and daughters of high calibre meeting the world standard of leadership who can easily run the country competently and appropriately. The only thing preventing the qualified people from ascending to power is the violent nature of SPLM coupled with the decades long of Arab oppression that rendered the people helpless. Surely, the nonsense in Juba is bound to change for the better sooner or later.

The press conference held by the Ministry of Information was not necessary at all and there was no credible reason to hold it in the first place. The matter vexing the ministers could have been raised and discussed amicably with the head of UN Margaret Ellen Loj in their air conditioned offices avoiding the exposure of their crudeness and ignorance.

Both ministers are on record on numerous occasions chanting that South Sudan is a democracy. Surely democracies are comfortable and cool with the media. Democracies do not go out hunting journalists and shutting down radio stations etc simply because a political opponent has aired their views in them. Makuei’s misplaced anger is because Rebecca Nyandeng Garang was interviewed by Radio Miraya. He ranted “Miraya you are interviewing rebels. If it happens again we are shutting you down. And this must be made clear. We are shutting you down if you interview any rebel here to disseminate his or her plan and policies within South Sudan.” The intimidation and harassment comes out clear in this message. It basically boils down to an issue of control backed by threats of violence.

The contradiction in Makuei’s utterance is that he as a yester decade rebel has forgotten that rebels rebel for a cause. It is not for nothing that people take up arms. The government must be doing something seriously wrong. It is advisable for them to review themselves.

If President Kiir’s government is a democracy as they forcefully claim when it suits them, is there any need for ranting against the messenger (radio Miraya)? The primary role of media in a democracy is to facilitate the flow of information and ideas in order to enable citizens to assess the ruling party and also to assess the opposition parties. Media is a one of the key tools known worldwide that holds government to account. In addition media is a medium of education, and helps in developing the whole population generally.

Now to then try to control the media crudely like what the two ministers have done hugely undermine their claim to South Sudan being a democratic country. Granted the media has a vile side to it. For example in propaganda or character assassination it can proof to be a lethal weapon. But to deal with this problem a democracy resorts to the courts and not oppressive practice the type of which the duo displayed.

The sad part of this story is that the ministers concerned have publicly displayed their personal incompetence with the issue. They do not know that Radio Miraya was not just set up like a stall in a market. Even in a market a stall has to have a license from the local authority. The radio station in question is covered by a bilateral agreement between South Sudan and the United Nation. Which means the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would have the lead responsibility and not the Ministry of Information.

However, for any breaches of the agreement by either side there must be reference to the agreement. So the ministers having decided there was a breach, they should have passed the matter over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deal with. Or, the lest they could do was to consult with their legal advisers with reference to the agreement for appropriate measures before going to the street on riot. Had they done this, they would have saved themselves the embarrassment of a climb down by Makuei the following day when confronted by Ms Loj over the threats they made.

Makuei, the crude face and trademark of Dinkocracy ended up coiling his tail and assuring the UN that Radio Miraya broadcasts would continue according to UNMISS mandate as stipulated in the status of forces agreement signed between the UN and the government of South Sudan. All the bravado of the other day dissipated into thin air. What a disgrace? Please see ‘South Sudan UN chief Løj meets Makuei over Miraya shutdown threat’ https://radiotamazuj.org/en/article/s-sudan-un-chief-l%C3%B8j-meets-makuei-over-miraya-shutdown-threat

This self inflicted humiliation would have been avoided were the Dinkocrats in Juba to be conscious enough to know that in this 21st century it is utterly useless to try to control the media. Virtually nothing can be hidden in this world of information technology. With the internet the globe has become so little that within minutes somebody as far away as New Zealand would know what is going on in the other end of the world.

Thus closing radio stations, killing and detaining journalists is not enough to silence the people and keep them ignorant of the government abuses and crimes. The panacea is simple, just do the right thing and everybody will be happy.

Which brings us to the abuse of this specific case. The current leadership in South Sudan, especially the SPLM party is heavily influenced by the behaviours of the rulers in Khartoum. The elites in that country are fond of dehumanising the people of African origin because they want the country to be perceived as an Arab country.

In 2012 at the height of the Panthou war ignited by President Salva Kiir, President Omar Bashir of the Sudan publicly called Kiir and the SPLM insects. The former was caricatured in the Sudanese media like a beetle with his head attached to a body of a flying insect being sprayed off by a fog of Piff-Paff insecticide. Piff-Paff is a brand name of the company that produces the insecticides in pressurised can in the Sudan. The simple genocidal message to the people of Sudan was that South Sudanese represented by SPLM government are not human beings and so they could be gotten rid off like flies.

In response the SPLM through Dr Anna Itto called President Bashir a mosquito. That was an unfortunate thing showing Anna’s ignorance of the magnitude of the issue. Instead of the SPLM leadership seizing the opportunity to make a political capital by exposing the genocidal mind of Khartoum establishment by pointing to such language as evidence of what was going on in Darfur, Nuba mountains and Blue Nile in that country they shot themselves in the foot. Please see ‘The Oyee deniers of truth in South Sudan’ http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/opinion/articles/the-oyee-deniers-of-truth-in-rss

SPLM sadly copied the abuser to proof itself equally an abuser. This recent exchange between President Bashir of the Sudan and Dr Itto of the SPLM is pertinent to what happened in the press conference hosted by Makuie. For the ministers to absurdly complement each other in the use of a dehumanising language against staff members of non-governmental organisations is very concerning. What precisely was their intent? Was it an incitement or a behaviour of ignorant people? If it is the former that then can be a crime. If it is the latter then they should not be representing the people of South Sudan.

It is pathetic that Makuei who is spoken of as a lawyer behaves like a bully in a cattle camp (Luak) with his colleague cheering him up. If President Kiir was a true leader with values and a true sense of right and wrong, these irresponsible ministers should be disciplined to give his ugly government a little face lift.

Irresponsible use of language by people in power is inadvisable. Just see what President Kiir’s repeated use of the emotive 1991 split in his speeches to the SPLM did in December 2013. It landed the country into mud and it is still stuck in it. In Rwanda in mid 1990s the use of language inappropriately was the catalyst for the subsequent genocide that cost nearly a million lives. The Tutsi victims were labelled in the local language ‘Inyenzi’ meaning cockroaches and this was spread through the media. To be specific, this vile message was broadcast through Radio Television Des Milles Collines (RTLM) and it circulated like a wild fire on dry grassland. http://history1900s.about.com/od/rwandangenocide/a/Rwanda-Genocide.htm

The crucial elements triggering the genocide in Rwanda were the use of dehumanising language and control of the media by the perpetrators. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/may/16/congo.rwanda

The similarity with the reckless behaviour of the two Dinkocrats in their press conference to say the lest is shocking. They need to know that this is a very dangerous slippery slope to justify grave harm to other people. This is not to say the action of the duo could result into a genocide because their ranting was directed to a small community of NGOS. However this could make the community of the NGOs in South Sudan to become target of attacks something no normal person in their right sense would want to see happen at all.

That ignominious press conference symbolises the way how the institutions of South Sudan government are filled up with SPLM party apparatchiks and heartless opportunists without the right experience and knowledge for the purpose. A good number of them are blatant liars.

For example, Ateny Wek Ateny the presidential spokesman masquerades as a lawyer when in reality he is a drop out of a law school in the early stage of the course in Hertfordshire, an area east of England. Ateny educationally is a clone of Telar Ring Deng. Do you remember the story of the latter in parliament in relation to his appointment as a minister for justice? Was Telar confirmed to the post? No! If these people were not Dinkocrats would they be in government? I leave you to work out the answers for yourself.

Now think about how possible is it that a truly qualified lawyer can behave like Michael Makuei? Sensitivity in the use of language is the hallmark of the legal profession. How come then that someone who is a qualified lawyer would be so lackadaisical like the minister of (Dis)information? Do you remember his behaviour at the UN Protection Camp in Bor in April 2014? Was that really a behaviour of a lawyer?

If you add up his daily gaffes and the frequent crude presentations and scandals you are likely to reach an interesting conclusion of this man. One wonders how he could be a minister in 21st century if it were not for the Dinkocracy stringently applied by the SPLM in the country. As the rulers of South Sudan they only bring us shame, shame, and shame. Oh’ dear!!!

Now is it really necessary to have the ministry of (Dis)information in this day and age? This structure is an outdated thing which belongs to yester century. It should be abolished with its remit transferred to the ministry of culture as a directorate.

Hardly people talk of ministry of information in this modern world because it has become obsolete with the rise of information technology. Its purpose specifically was for state propaganda to disseminate and present the country in good light. A sort of public relation outfit. Dictators, innovative as usual quickly capitalised on its ability to shape and numb the collective mind in their interest seized on it and converted it into an instrument of repression/oppression, exactly what the Dinkocrats are doing.

SPLM wants to shut up the opposition but this is not going to happen. They can shut down the entire social media in South Sudan. It is not impossible. Yes, in theory they could especially given the oil cash but the draw back has serious economic repercussions that would be so dire that eventually it will bring them down. An outcome they strive to avoid but then becomes the inevitable. So it would be a defeatist or rather a suicidal approach to take.

Again if they opt to shut down the social media they will deprive themselves of the best available means and methods of harvesting intelligence. Social media overtakes radio stations and print newspapers. Therefore, shutting down radio stations and newspapers is not a solution to control information. The only way to control damaging information is by engaging your opponents with counter narrative which people in the west call ‘winning hearts and minds’. But to win hearts and mind needs the government to treat people equally with respect which Dinkocracy does not know.

Social media now delivers information directly to the audience in the comfort of their bedrooms, house vicinities, cafes, restaurants and everywhere via simple gadgets like mobile phones, IPADs, laptops etc. Thus the rebels or to put it correctly for that matter as in the case of South Sudan freedom fighters like Major Lasuba Lodoru Wongo, Dr Riek Machar and others will always be heard and communicated with right in the belly of the best (government controlled areas).

With this could the duo not see that they are time wasting trying to muffle Nyandeng? Patrick Dixon, the author of ‘Futurewise’ puts it succinctly that internet has taken power from the dictators and given it to the people. This is what democracy is all about. Note, the writing is on the wall.

Dinkocracy will not survive in the present world of social media. The holders of this vile ideology either tame themselves, go back to their luaks, and behave in a civilised manner or they face the gathering tsunami of South Sudanese anger in a peoples revolution.

The food for revolts is not what the rebels say or will say in Radio Miraya. It is what the government does – bad policies, bad practices and bad governance that feed rebellion such as the killing of Isaiah Abraham, Cecilia Oba, ethnic cleansing etc. The ugly and stinky information generated by acts of government in the form of abuses enables rebels to make their cases which then snowballs into regime change/revolutions. It is here that social media becomes a tool to facilitate revolts.

Paul Mason in his book ‘Why it’s kicking everywhere’ published in 2012 by Verso argues that “new technology underpin our ability to be at the same time more individualistic and more collective, it shapes our consciousness and magnify the crucial driver of all revolutions in the perceived difference between what could be and what is.” (p85).

In a nutshell this is the connectedness with all that is needed to fell a dictator and dictatorship.

For better understanding of the impact of social media in bringing down governments please watch the following videos: 1) Egypt’s social networking revolution. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqHPRHOHcN8
2) Inside story – the tool for revolution? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpdZ7XZpT-A
3) Dictatorships and revolutions in digital age: people power after Tunisia, Eqypt, Libya https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjfMqXFS2FA
4) How social networking can spark revolutions: impact SMS, Twitter, Facebook on democracy, dictators https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLm3E1YapR8

In conclusion, the press conference held by Michael Makuei has done more harm to the government of South Sudan. It has tarnished the image of the country and anybody who doubts the genocidal tendencies of President Kiir’s regime must think again. This regime of terror must go because it is a danger to itself, South Sudanese people and the international community.

[Truth hurts but it is also liberating]
Elhag Paul
elhagpaul@aol.com

The Problem of Nimule Jienge scramble for Ma’diland

BY DAVID AJU KANYARA, JUBA, FEB/28/2015, SSN;

The problem of Guru (Nimule) is like the Hydra; the daughter of Gaia, whose head when cut off, a few will spring up — even more dreadful than the previous! In the case of Guru (Nimule), Hydra is the goddess of greed and lust for power, personified in few individuals at the center of an intricate and big web (exclusive clubs) with their leaders in the center of each web.

Essentially we have four major nightclubs: Juba nightclub, Torit nightclub, Nimule nightclub and Kampala nightclub (still emerging).

Juba is the epicenter (the mother) of all the dramas in Ma’diland. Her ultimate goal is to take over Ma’diland, for the benefit of the Jieng and she is doing so with the help of a handful, less than 1 %, corrupt and greedy sons and daughters of Ma’di.

In the Words of Gen Martin Kenyi, these few are the loudest, I would add amplified by Juba.

The below chart illustrate the actors who are involved in scramble for Ma’diland:(Chart unavailable)

In Ma’diland the epicenter of the drama is Nimule, with late Kisire being the leader of the Nimule nightclub – for over the last 7 years. However his demise is switching the center of power to Abila (to the Ganyipira group).

During Kisire’s reign, the Abila group was subdued and Kisire’s nightclub had monopoly of power. His demise has left a vacuum in his nightclub, which now Abila group is trying to fill.

The demise of Kisire and his senior aide (the two were recently assassinated in Nimule) is subject to many speculations and conspiracy theories, but one can’t rule out the Abila group from having a hand. Both Abila group and Kisire group have Juba as their power base. It is widely believed that Juba fell out with Kisire and found favor with Abila group, which led to the demise of the former leader’s demise.

The epicenter in Torit is governor Lobong and his deputy Jerome Surur. Lobong survival in the past was due to partly his seemingly unwavering support to the power base in Juba. Some insiders also said he bribes Juba with kilos of gold, to remain in power. December 15 came as a blessing for Lobong to remain in power. Juba has power serious issues to deal with, than worry about removing Lobong from power.

For now Juba would rather keep him in power than fire him and risk the anger of the Toposa – if not a sizable number of disgruntled Equatorians.

Currently in the center of Nimule nightclub is the power-broker, little David Eriga, who acts as a go-between broker with Torit and Nimule. Eriga however has got no influence, neither in Nimule nor in Torit. The day he losses favor of Torit, he may face the fate of chief Ajugo.

Insiders from government have it that Ajugo found his death in the hands of a Dinka man sent from Juba. The security apparatus in Juba knows this well, but as a escape-goat to cover the plot, Ma’di community leaders got rounded up and jailed and tortured for months.

At the end, the case died without the killer of our chief being brought to face justice and to this date justice did not prevail to dry up the tears of mourning mother, wives and children of late Ajugo.

Bilal is also a power-broker just like little Eriga. In the past he had direct access to the power-base in Juba through a men like Salva Matok (Kiir’s close confidante and former interior minister). But over the last 24 months, things have changed dramatically for him, and Bilal’s relevance to Juba power-base has diminished much to ZERO.

In fact Bilal has no influence by himself and his power to intimidate his fellow Ma’di was taken away from him immediately after Salva Matok lost his power. Bilal’s survival depends on the expectations from the benefits of the promises he makes to Juba and Torit.

The day he losses favor of Juba, his fate may not be any different from that of Kisire and Gwanya. If and when that happens, many Ma’di boys will get themselves in detention falsely accused of murder.

Another pseudo-power, that of Igga Emilio, whose place in this complex of social dramas is worth head scratching. He is caught between the expectations of the Ma’di community and the interest of power base in Juba. The rather cozy relation Emilio has with Kisire’s group in the past made the Ma’di community to look at him with suspicion.

Months before coming to take his new job as Chief Area Administrator, the relationship between Emilio and Kisire’s group was already badly damaged. The demise of Kisire put a final nail on the relationship between Emilio and Kisire’s group (which’s almost now dismantled)!

Today the relevance of Emilio to Torit is also fast diminishing. The arbitrary arrest of his community members on allegations of being rebels of Gen. Kenyi has put Emilio in very awkward position. Emilio being trusted less by his power-base in Torit, and he is seen helpless if not irrelevant by many members of his Madi community.

Though he has a military background, a brigadier without any army to command is not commander. It is hard to speculate on Emilio’s fate but Juba is merciless to those who are not useful in the ploy to achieve its priced objectives- THE MA’DI LAND.

It is important the rest of South Sudan, Equatoria in particular, study this case very closely because it lays bare the playbook of the Jieng council of elders in turning South Sudan into Dinkaland! We are reminded of the Colonial powers, DIVIDE AND CONQUER!, the born-to-rule!

Somewhere outside the web, are Gen. Kenyi and his boys, who believe it is the personal responsibility for every Equatorian to rescue South Sudan from Juba. For now Juba thinks Kenyi is only a nuisance – mere irritations. But when that irritation starts to get more and more, Ma’diland will be an epicenter of a bigger drama – that may become serious concern to Juba leading to genocide and ethnic cleansing of the Ma’di people in the name of fighting rebels, playbook scenario seen in the Nuerland and Juba itself.

Only few months ago when Jada Tibi struck two trucks on Nimule Juba-road, Juba become very concerned. It was not possible to ignore the irritation Kenyi caused to Juba. If only Juba can learn a lesson from the past, it will avoid making the same mistake again and again.

As for the power-base in Juba, its commitment to subdue Ma’di people and grab the land of the natives is something which seems to be a raison d’etre for people like Mathok and the belligerent, notorious information and official spokesman of RoSS Minister Michael Makuei Lueth.

Somewhere in the outskirts are Ann Itto, the acting secretary of SPLA, and Former Ambassador John Andruga, who are fighting for their political survivals. Whereas he has failed to find relevance in Juba, John Andruga is trying to rediscover himself through his farming project.

As for Anne Itto, she is just hanging around – without whatsoever predictable future. Both Ann Itto and John Andruga have no influence in Juba – either negative or positive. Their inability to explain their helplessness has put them in rather the bad books of a big block of the Ma’di community members.

For now the whole of Ma’di, community is left like a volcano waiting to explode. A volcano is a chaotic system, and in chaos one can only expect of strange attractor, either a subset of phase, where all trajectories strive.

The way things are, the global dynamics of the complex web where Hydra of Guru lives is difficult to predict with certainty. But one thing is sure, one problem temporarily solved in Ma’diland brings a new one, just like the new heads of Hydra spring up from a cut.

Now there is no brand of unknown faces coming in Nimule and Ma’di land in the name of peace and coexistence between the host community and their uninvited guests, the Dinka Economic Displaced Persons/EDPs, mainly from Jonglei.

The Juba-based government has recently carried intimidation and bullying arrests, and constant disappearances including recent unlawful kidnapping of Deputy Lopirigo Lagu Jabakana, who was snatched– for a better word– kidnapped when he was attending the funeral of his relative in the village of Arapi, Amoria, Pageri boma.

He was snatched three weeks ago till this date nothing is known by his family of his whereabouts. It seems the government has succeeded in its bullying of the citizens into silence.

The new leader of Nightclub, supported by David Eriga with the money given by Reconcile International, a long local NGO based in Yei being funded by Danish Church Aid. These organizations have committed crimes by drafting irrelevant Memorandum of understanding between the Dinka Squatters in Nimule and these few corrupt indigents to attempt to legalize the squatters, displaced and robbers the Ma’di land.

This document if signed will give permanent habitat for the Jieng Nomads who decided to squat permanently and occupy the Ma’di land.

Again, let those with eyes see and those with ears hear what is happening in the Ma’diland where the playbook of the colonial and the born-to-rule dark policy of the Jienge is displayed in broad daylight, for after her, this shall be replicated all over South Sudan, Equatoria in particular.

The government of Kiir is using the country’s money to bribe, corrupt and starve the desperate indigents to the benefit of the Jieng. As it may seem believed but also uttered by them, they fought for their independence from the Arabs, now we have to fight them for ours!

They are forgetting, South Sudan’s journey to independence was unequivocally born in Equatoria, amplified by the Nuer (Anya-nya II) and celebrated in Juba (Equatoria land). While the Jieng fought and died for a united Sudan, the rest of the 63 tribes never wavered from an INDEPENDENT SOUTH SUDAN, for which we shed our blood and will continue to do so FOR THE NATURAL RIGHT TO LIVE IN OUR ANCESTRAL LANDS!

David Aju Kanyara

“The voice of the voiceless”

The Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s role in Peace process in South Sudan

By DENGDIT Ayok, South Sudan, FEB/26/2025, SSN;

Chama Cha Mapinduzi, hereinafter referred to as (CCM), the ruling party in the United Republic of Tanzania, under the leadership of president Jakaya Marisho Kikweti, and its Secretary General Mr. Abdel Rahman Kenana, is a name that was not known to most of the people of South Sudan before the current SPLM’s war; but it had surfaced in line with the regional efforts geared towards finding a solution to the SPLM’s created crisis in South Sudan, which has put our nascent Republic on the brink of collapse, before entering its fourth year.

It is obvious that the CCM party is working side by side with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states for the achievement of peace in our country through the Arusha intra-party peace dialogue, which is part and parcel of the broad-spectrum for the realization of peace in the country through an initiative it had made in September last year when the three groups of the SPLM at loggerhead on power were invited to sit together and sort out their differences and reunify their ranks.

It is worth noting that the CCM efforts yielded fruits within a short time, in less than three months, in bringing together the conflicting views of the three faction of the SPLM. This commendable success led to the signing of the framework document on October 20, 2014, in which the three groups have confessed that their differences were the reason for this war and recognized their collective responsibility towards the ongoing strife, a confession which will surely condemn them sooner or later!

History has right now recorded that the Tanzanian initiative is the best and the quicker in finding solution to the crisis in comparison with the IGAD mediation which was and still a big mess in terms of wasting the whole year in talks without achieving anything.

The parties to the conflict have been signing deals followed by numerous violations in hours on the same day of the signing, starting from the January 23th 2014 agreement on cessation of hostilities, until the last agreement signed on the Establishment of the Transitional Government of National Unity in the country.

The war is now raging in the edges of Upper Nile, in the face of the ongoing round of peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, which is considered to be the final round according to the timetables stipulated in the last agreement.

The philosophy behind the Tanzanian initiative, in bringing the three SPLM factions together in talks, is achieving peace within the SPLM first, as a party that holds power and has full control over the state, as a way forwards for realizing a comprehensive peace in the country at large.

This means that the Tanzanian role though limited on the intra-party dialogue, is a successful and a quick regional hard work for the realization of peace within the SPLM in the first place and in South Sudan at large, and evidently, the three SPLM factions have signed the reunification agreement on the 21th of last month, despite the challenges ahead of the reunification scenario.

This move, however, is a historical credit to the CCM party initiative and the Tanzanian political leadership, and which South Africa has joint lately under the leadership of President Jacob Zuma.

The initiative has up to now achieved a lot with the timetable for the implementation of the Arusha agreement signed last week and the return of former political detainees to Juba within a period not exceeding 45 days fully guaranteed.

This, on the other hand is connected with the ongoing round of talks in Addis Ababa, because the return of former political detainees without the armed opposition will not make peace a real and comprehensive peace for the whole country.

Therefore, the two sides in Addis Ababa are expected to expedite the talks and strike the final deal and bring peace back home soon and save the nation from death and destruction.

The CCM as one of the African liberal movements will always remain as a source of pride for the people of South Sudan and will be given much respect and great appreciation for this historical efforts in bringing peace to our country, and teaching the SPLM leadership the meaning of making sacrifice for people, struggle for the sake of people, vanity of power struggle, the beauty of peaceful dialogue, harmony, sorting out the internal political differences amicably and showing them that high political greediness and wrangling for political positions through the barrel of the gun that had plunged to country into the oven of this war is meaningless.

What happened in Tanzania after the killing of thousands of innocent of our people could have been done in the Nyakuron meeting, had the SPLM leaders then adhered to the spirit of resolving their differences in a peaceful manner. The name of Arusha and the United Republic of Tanzania in general will remain in our historical heralds like Naivasha, Karen, Nakuru and Nanyoki in Kenya.

Notwithstanding the signing of the SPLM reunification deal, the SPLM leaders up to this moment stand in the shadow of John Garang’s legacy, they haven’t come up with a national political ideology and a clear vision for leading the country after the independence.

They haven’t yet produce any idea in the art of possible, except this war which they have produced against men, women, children and the elderly of this country as a mechanism for getting political positions.

The help of the CCM and the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa and the entire region is still needed even after the realization of peace, for the SPLM leaders are not trustworthy, and there are no guarantees that what has happened in December 2013 will not be repeated.

*The author is a journalist working with Almaugif Arabic daily newspaper in Juba. He is reachable at dengdit_a@yahoo.com.

Why our ‘Intellectual Journey’ doesn’t lead to ‘a Coherent Political Ideology’

BY: Kuir ë Garang, Author, ALBERTA, CANADA, FEB/21/2015, SSN;

Charity begins at home and the originator of that charity most likely ends at home.
I was advised by some colleagues several times to join a certain policy forum. I refused three times citing the fact that the forum is too ‘elitist’ and most of the times the elites are out of touch with the average folks like me. When the reminders to join the forum became really constant, even from people I’ve not met personally but know me from my writings, I finally gave in and joined the forum.

My innocent assumption was that the forum would merely be a discussion or critiquing of policies that’d be beneficial to the country. I expected to see policy suggestions [only] and how they could be modified and perfected into usable policies for the government of South Sudan.

Naïve me! I was disappointed to realize that the debates were no different from those vexatious ones on my Facebook wall: circular, partisan, hypocritical, dishonest with education taken at face-value. Big theories are suggested without context! Partisanship is so much intellectualized that it takes one through rigorous analysis to discern disguised partisanship. My disillusionment became so intense that I had to unsubscribe from the forum in less than two weeks.

Believe me, if leaders argue with ‘take it or leave it’ conditionals then I wonder how the leadership we have (or are building) inside and outside the government of South Sudan can be salvageable. Leadership is about relationship building and bringing the best out of people (Corrales, 2007). The purpose of leadership, Corrales argues, can only be achieved through building of strong relationships. Are our leaders (inside and outside) the government doing that?

Even Dr. Nyaba, who’s done more through writing than anyone in South Sudan to highlight the problems we have in the country, does little to build relationships with ‘the other side’ or even within the Chollo community leadership. It’s always a blame-game (see IGAD’s ‘Peace Talks’ & Arusha Intra-SPLM dialogue).

Perhaps the RISC model (Rapport, Initiative, Structure and Commitment) can help in our leadership purpose; and that is, influencing our people into coalescence of canonical togetherness…or simply, doing good (Corrales, 2007).

If the learned, veteran politicians and the nation’s elites have the same mindset my younger Facebook friends have, then Kiir and Riek aren’t our major problem. It seems our ‘intellectophere’ is either irrelevant in national coexistence, or our national future is being intellectually crippled by intellectuals with holier-than-thou attitudinal ontologies.

We are learned but we don’t know how to give our knowledge context and relevant usability. We seem to have what cognitive psychologists call ‘declarative knowledge’ as opposed the helpful ‘procedural knowledge’ (Van Greenen, 2004).

And this reminds me of a very excellent article written by Dr. Adwok Nyaba (SSN December 30, 2014 http://www.southsudannation.com/our-intellectual-journey-towards-a-coherent-political-ideology) about ‘Our intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology.’ Anyone who’s not read that article should do so in its entirety. The article pinpoints, with surgical precision, the problems in South Sudan and within SPLM. These problems range from poverty of democratic mentality and ideals, indifference to development of institutional capacities, incoherent sense of nationhood (post-1956 & post-2005), the infamy of militarism mixed with the malady of tribal essentialism, lack of essential development programs, the Siamese-twins problem of the SPLM-SPLA, the primal nature of our tribal relations etc.

We can all agree that Dr. Adwok’s article is very crucial to our structural, functional and governance problems in South Sudan. The question then becomes: are the power holders in South Sudan able to easily apply the content of the article? If not, then the appropriation of what Dr. Adwok wrote needs to be procured in a manner that’d make it beneficial to us through the power holders.

Pointing out the problem is part of the solution but devising how the problem should be tackled shouldn’t be left out. Without intersubjective understanding among the political actors, nothing can be possible. Institutions aren’t ‘brute physical facts’ as Stephen Krasner (1999) has said. They exist because people exist.

Political leaders are audience and consumers of intellectuals’ works. Understanding the general psychology, state of mind and intellectual capacities and consciousness of who is in power helps in devising mechanics and avenues of knowledge provision for purpose of ideological creation and reification.

Intellectuals (whatever that means) in South Sudan needs to remember that leadership is about relationship building and appropriation of knowledge with people-people relationships in mind. We in South Sudan seem to think of knowledge in the abstract or in self-serving appropriation!

Besides, we have the problem of hypocrisy in South Sudan. Most, if not all of us, are mired in what I call ‘stuck-in-the-past syndrome’ in South Sudan Ideologically (2013). And as Adwok highlighted, some South Sudanese leaders don’t want to let go the past and embrace future-relevant ideas and facts to develop the country. We are all stuck in the past in one way or another.

With no doubt, we have ten states in South Sudan. These ten states, midwifed from the previous three regions of Bahr El Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria, are constitutionally recognized. However, most of us (Nyaba included) talk and write as if the previous three regions have constitutional relevance. These regions are stuck in our heads and we simply can’t let them go! Some of us talk of Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria!

However, our intellectual and political integrity depends on saying things that make sense. We tend to ignore this fact; however, it exposes the hypocrisy we exudes on daily basis.

If the learned in South Sudan can’t let go this simple fact, then why do they blame the semi-illiterate generals and politicians, who can’t seem to understand that SPLM is now a political party and that SPLA is the national army.

No one should advise if he/she can’t lead by example! Greater Upper Nile is constitutionally defunct and exists only in our heads. If we have nostalgia for these three regions then let’s wait until we go back to them through the abolition of the current ten states. There and then can we have political and intellectual currency to utter that [Greater X…]! Let’s be consistent to be believable and respectable! What in God’s name is ‘Elders of Bahr El Ghazal?’

What’s the contemporary or constitutional relevance of Bahr El Ghazal to Lakes State and Warrap State? Nothing! The only relevance is a past that’s stuck in our heads!

Yet, we hope to develop ‘a coherent political ideology!’

Another good example of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy (in this discourse) comes from my own county (Twic East). Some potential intellectuals, who can help in the development of ‘a coherent political ideology,’ come out here as very hypocritical and untrustworthy, intellectually!

Twi people (or Twi Dinka) were part of Kongor District from the mid-1970s to mid-1990s and prior to that, they were part of ‘Bor District’ (Sammani, 1984). Kongor District is the one that is now divided into Duk County and Twic East County. The ‘Bor District’ housed (until mid-1970s) the Dinka sub-tribes of Hol, Nyarweng, Twi and Bor before being divided into Kongor District (Twi Dinka, Nyarweng Dinka & Hol Dinka) and Bor District (Bor Dinka & Thony Dinka).

These sub-tribes have distinct Ethno-dialectal differences (see Ethnology of Africa, 1930; Beswick, 2004) despite having forged a close existential relationship for centuries. Because they were part of the ‘Bor District’ they were known collectively as Dinka of Bor District (see Raymond Kelly, 1985, Willes & Douglas, 1995).

Sound intellectuals and politicians know that this close relationship, good neighborliness and brotherhood can be maintained without falsification of identities.

However, against the required intellectual integrity, the intellectuals among the four subtribes are mentally stuck with the old, defunct ‘Bor District’, which they left in 1970s. While the District was named after the now inhabitants of ‘Bor County’ (Kelley, 1985) the other three subtribes were erroneously referred to as ‘Dinka Bor’.

The inhabitants of Twic East County and Duk County are not ethnolinguistically ‘Bor.’ The Bor Dinka (now the inhabitants of Bor County) would call me ‘Cuir’ and President Kiir would be president Ciir!

Bor only applied to Twi people because of their administrative inclusion in the ‘Bor District,’ however, Twi intellectuals, while they apply research-based debates or methods in some aspects, refuse to apply the same method in the case just cited. You wonder why! They want to look politically good…but they know what that means in terms of intellectual and scholarly integrity!

There are tons of books to establish what I just cited (in addition to what elders can say). And Dr. Nyaba should probably ask the likes of Dr. Majak D’Agoot and Dr. Lual Achuek Deng (in the spirit of intellectual journey) the essence, intellectual and scholarly soundness of ‘Greater Bor.’ What historical facts (Oral or written) support ‘Greater Bor’ etymology? Is it an administrative area, a geographical area, or a dialectal group?

Consulting historians like Douglas Johnson may help! Here, intellectual soundness and historical-facts are sacrificed for political expediency or prudence. It’s not about scholarly establishment of facts, which is required, but political necessity. Is that the message to our youngsters?

And we wonder why we have incoherent political ideologies and a herd of confused young ‘intellectuals’; and some misled western scholars like Stephanie Beswick in Sudan’s Bloody Memory, who beautifully presents the correct ethno-histories and ethno-dialectal categories of the four subtribes but added that the ‘Eastern Dinka’ are now referred to as ‘Dinka Bor’. Or Deborah Scroggins, who says Kuol Manyang is a ‘Twic Dinka’ in her book Emma’s War (2004).

What does that say about our ‘intellectual journeys’, ‘incoherence’ of ‘our political ideologies’ and how we make political decisions? Is preferring political gentlemanliness over facts a good way to act as role models for the younger ‘intellectuals?

Sadly, this is the very problem we have in Juba! And as Peter Thatcher (2013) argued in Leading by Example, “Behaving with integrity is…about standing up for what is right however uncomfortable that might be.” To create a sense of togetherness through gigantic falsehood (or conscious misleading of uninformed masses) is to create a great disservice to our people, the integrity of our intellectual force and a blemish on our scholarly claims.

Does this tie in coherently with our ‘intellectual journey toward a coherent political ideology?’ Sadly yes!
We need to ‘live what we are thinking’ as Weldon Long said. Some folks in Kiir’s leadership see research-based or knowledge-based decision making as an inconvenience to their political agenda. They understand its value but it’s an ‘inconvenient truth’ as Al Gore said about the facts of climate change.

Democratizing SPLM would chip away on the powers of the president! Strengthening institutional structures for accountability would reduce the chance of the corrupt to embezzle public funds.

For younger learners like me, I’d love to see our leaders and intellectuals appropriate their knowledge in a usable manner, lead and live by example and take it upon themselves to embark on people-people creation of honest understanding.

I’d want to look up to leaders and intellectuals who don’t make decisions because of their convenience but because of certifiable facts future generation can learn from. If intellectuals make decisions because of convenience then why would we blame Kiir Mayardit?

If we are stuck with defunct administrative centers that no longer exist then why would we blame an illiterate commander, who sees the power of the guns as the only solution to his remaining relevant?

Even if SPLM had a sound political ideology, a coherent policy framework and feasible programs to implement, all would mean nothing if inter-tribal relations are still thorny or if they are informed by falsehood or conscious skewing of facts.

Our intellectual journey and coherent political ideology needs intellectual honesty, reduced partisanship and tribal essentialism; and application of reductionist appropriation of knowledge.

Theories can be understood or interpreted differently. And postmodernist theories (while ridiculed as ‘everything goes’) are a cautious reminder that positing something without providing context is to either leave one’s audience with confusion, or to have done nothing helpful at all in a functionalist sense.

If our intellectuals aren’t consistent or functionally honest in their intellectual outputs, then we can’t wonder much as to why our ‘intellectual journey’ doesn’t lead to ‘a coherent political ideology!’ It’s informed by politics rather that facts!

Kuir ë Garang is the author of ‘South Sudan Ideologically.’ For the list of the cited works see the version of the article on www.kuirthiy.info

1. Beswick, Stephanie (2004) Sudan’s Bloody Memory: The Legacy of Slavery, Ethnicity and war in South Sudan, Rochester, University of Rochester
2. Corrales, Roman (2007) The Leadership Relationship, Quenzon City, Katha Publishing Co. Inc.
3. El Sammani, Osman Mohammed (1984) Dynamic of the Planned Change in the Twic Area, Berkshire: Ithaca Press
4. Kelley, Raymond Case (1985) The Nuer Conquest: The Structure and Development of an Expansionists System, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press
5. Krasner, Stephen D. (1999) Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy, Princeton, University Press
6. Nyaba, Adwok (2014) Our intellectual journey towards a coherent political ideology, South Sudan Nation, December 30 < http://www.southsudannation.com/our-intellectual-journey-towards-a-coherent-political-ideology/>
7. Scroggins, Deborah (2004) Emma’s War, New York: Vintage Books
8. Thatcher, Peter. (2013), Leading by Example, Bookboon.com (Kindle)
9. Van Geenen, Erwin w.G. M (2004) Knowledge structures and the usability of knowledge systems, Delft, Eburon
10. Willes, Charles, Armine (1995) Upper Nile Province Hand Book: A Report on People and Government in Southern Sudan, Oxford: University Press

South Sudan Peace: Root causes being ignored. View from a non-expert prospective

By: Khorhok Gar, South Sudan, FEB/13/2015, SSN;

How do you define stupidity if not a lack of making intelligent decisions or acting in an unintelligent or careless manner? It has been a year now since the outbreak of violence in Juba between Presidential Guards. Some estimated that the conflict has killed tens of thousands, displaced more than 1.9 million, and forced hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighboring countries.

The Regional and International community have been searching for peace since onset of the conflict. Yet the prospect for lasting peace in South Sudan is unlikely soon due to the following reasons:

1. The IGAD and Troika countries are failing to address the “Root Causes” of the conflict and even an African Union of Inquiries is refusing to release their findings.

2. IGAD and Troika countries fails to acknowledge that “SPLA” is no longer a National Army of South Sudan hence as long as Juba regime still insisting they are a national army this is one of the obstacles for peace.

3. The failure by International Community to hold Salva Kiir accountable for crimes he committed against South Sudanese and numerous violations of the country’s constitution will continue to jeopardize any effort for lasting peace in the country.

4. SPLM fails the people of South Sudan, therefore, the international community, regional leaders should not insist on Reunification of SPLM factions; instead they’d support a two-party system in the country by giving the opposition and civil society more voice in which they can enhance the efforts of inclusiveness within the country’s political arena.

The Root Causes:
Many people agreed that the conflict in South Sudan was triggered by leadership failure within SPLM Political Bureau. Nonetheless, the current approach taken by IGAD mediators and Troika countries ignore the root causes of the conflict.

Since the start of peace negotiation earlier last year, the IGAD mediators seem to be missing crucial parts of the conflict by not addressing the root causes of the conflict, shifting their focuses on power sharing and cessation of hostility.

In fact, the current conflict was on making in March 2013, when the Political Bureau met to discuss issues concerning party documents among them are Basic Rules, Code of Conduct, Manifesto, and the Constitution.

In a meeting, the differences emerged among top leadership. The disagreement was based on argument whether the voting in the party election should be by show of hands or secret ballot.

Prior to the Political Bureau meeting, SPLM was under pressure both internally and externally for not fulfilling the aspirations of the people of South Sudan, in which they were yearning for in the last 21 years of liberation struggle.

Majority of citizens were dissatisfied with lack of services delivery and the rampart insecurity in most parts of Upper Nile and Bahr El Ghazal regions.

However, learning that SPLM has lost support from majority, some high-ranking members of the party started to distance themselves from Kiir and his inner-circle. These events were followed with recommendation from Juba’s Western Allies that there is a need for change for the country to move forward.

The worst part of these recommendations was a letter written to seventy-five (75) high-ranking members of SPLM/A to repatriate the stolen money and afterwards the letter was leaked to the public by Kiir’s western advisor to embarrass his administration for lack of transparency.

Despite the fact that the IGAD mediators have identifies most of these issues that brought the current crisis, they have failed to address them effectively.

I believe if the IGAD takes the following approach since the beginning of peace talks and both warring parties accepted it, a lasting peace can be realized in South Sudan. Anything less than addressing the root causes of the conflict is a waste of time and resources.

SPLA is no longer a National Army of South Sudan:
Both sides should accept the fact that SPLA is no longer a national army that can’t protect neither the constitution nor the territory of South Sudan.

We all witnessed this in December 15, 2013, when Presidential Guards went door to door targeting one ethnic group simply because they are Nuers.

The government’s failure to transforms SPLA from guerrillas into a national professional army has resulted into the current civil war. Changing the name “SPLA” by forming a national army of South Sudan can boast peace and reconciliation otherwise majority of South Sudanese don’t trust SPLA anymore as a national army.

IGAD and Troika countries should support merging the two forces in equal numbers to reflect national identity of the country.

System of Governance:
Many South Sudanese want federal system of governance, Salva Kiir and his allies should know that there are people who are supporting opposition because they want to govern themselves without interference from Juba.

IGAD mediators should push for this demand for the reason that it will address the issue of marginalization of ethnic minority.

Changing the current Transitional Constitution to a permanent one followed with a nationwide referendum to make it a permanent constitution will give an impression that Salva Kiir is serious about change.

Resource and Financial Management:
South Sudan with its weak institutions, putting oil trust funds and managed by an independent institution plus support from World Bank and IMF can quickly jump start development and reconstruction efforts quickly.

Revenue from oil should go directly to build roads, hospitals, schools, and other important infrastructures. Putting oil money into development will assure citizens that the government is now serious about curbing corruption and malpractices.

Reconciliation and Healing:
The failure by Africa Union Commission of Inquiries to release their findings is another setback to those who are yearning for justice and accountability. Without accountability the prospects of reconciliation and healing will be difficult to achieve, this will also send a signal to the perpetrators of worst atrocities that the culture of impunity will continue to exist.

In conclusion:
A nation built without a foundation will never prosper. The war we are fighting now is rooted deep within our souls. We become greedier with power and forget where we are coming from and where we are going to.

As a people of this great land with rich culture and self-sacrifices, we never reached a point in our history where murderers and thieves become heroes.

The question is: is it the way we want to raise our children? Where in the world are supposed role models killers and thieves? Are we losing our moral values?

For last ten years, we failed to deliver services to those we claimed we had liberated from Arabs. After our resources became scarce, we quarreled over who should get what of the national coffers instead on who should do what.

We did not target each other as other politicians do all over the world, but we decided to punish each other by killing innocent women and children, because we do not want to die.

We brought Ugandans and other foreign mercenaries to protect us and our property and our foreign business partners but not innocent civilians.

Even though most of us wanted the current conflict in South Sudan to end as soon as possible, there are many other deciding factors that are being ignored by both Regional Governments and their Western Allies in which I believe if not addressed they will prolong the war for many years to come.

The IGAD members’ states are only interesting in power sharing between SPLM factions ignoring the roots causes of the conflict. Their deep hatred toward Dr. Riek Machar blind them into a point where they forget that Nuer as a people have same rights like any other human being in this planet to defend their dignity and their existence.

The author can be contact at khorhok@hotmail.com

Where do the Governors of Equatoria stand on Federalism?

By: Dr Lam Akol, Pres. SPLM-DC, JUBA, FEB/09/2015, SSN (First published 6 February 2015);

Last Friday the 30th of January 2015, the three Governors of Equatoria traveled to Addis Ababa to present their protest on what was reported in the media as relegating the current Vice president, who is from Equatoria, to the third position in the Executive in the IGAD proposed power sharing arrangement within the peace agreement that will end the war and bring peace to the country.

They took with them a document titled “Equatoria Community Second Extra-Ordinary Conference and the Fifth Conference Resolutions” purported to have been the resolutions of an extra-ordinary conference held in Juba the same day by “Equatoria Community.”

The document did not receive as much publicity as the reported anger of the Equatorians on denying their number the proposed position of the First Vice President of the Republic.

Thanks to “Juba Monitor” newspaper which published the full text of the resolutions on a full page of the paper with true signatures of the three Governors. This was in its issue No. 304 dated Monday the 2nd of February 2015. Since then the veracity of document has not been challenged, therefore, one may safely assume that it is authentic.

There is a lot that can be said on whether the issue of hierarchy within a political party is a regional matter or is purely party business, or whether state appointments are the prerogative of state organs and institutions or matters to be determined by communities.

Even whether state officials hold government positions in a personal capacity or in the name of the communities/States they hail from. These matters are not of interest to this author and will not be discussed here.

The purpose of this piece is to deal with one extremely important aspect of the published resolutions of Equatoria Community; that is federalism. The reason for doing so is because if there was one issue that Equatorians showed proven unity on is their near unanimous demand for a federal state in South Sudan.

In all their conferences which to date number five (according to this latest document), the demand for federalism in the four previous conferences has been a constant and prominent item in the resolutions.

Last year, the three Governors themselves came under tremendous pressure from some influential quarters in the national government for adopting such a stand but they stood their ground, to the admiration of many South Sudanese who believe in free speech, not to mention those who support such a system of governance to be fully implemented in our country.

Indeed, the three Governors sent in June last year a joint delegation, including ministers from the three States of Equatoria, to the Addis Ababa peace talks in an attempt to persuade the negotiating parties and influence the mediation to include in their agenda the adoption of federalism as part of resolving the current crisis.

Federalism in the Document
It is this author’s considered opinion that as far as federalism is concerned the resolutions of Equatoria Community dated 30th January 2015 which the Governors took to Addis Ababa are a turning point indeed.

These resolutions are different from if not in contradiction to the resolutions of the previous four conferences. The following paragraphs shall attempt to explain why.

The Communique is a carefully drafted document. It is noteworthy that in a long preamble, which constitutes almost half the document, there is no reference to federalism which had featured prominently in the resolutions of the previous four conferences of Equatoria Community.

The sole paragraph that deals with federalism came under “Other Issues” [(B)(2)] which we quote here in full.

Quote: “Federal option for the republic of South Sudan shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process but not through party interest agreement. Neither the SPLM nor the other political parties and organisations have the mandate to determine and impose federalism on South Sudanese people. Equatoria’s constant call for federal system is a peaceful, open and civic demand driven by our socio economic and political situation in our country. It is therefore a constitutional right in a democratic society to propose the best governance system to serve the people”. End of Quote.

Analysis
For the ease of analysis, we shall break the above statement into its essential elements. These elements are:

1. Federalism “shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process”.
This statement can only mean that the issue of federalism should not be raised in the current peace talks and should await the permanent ‘constitution making process’. This sounds familiar a language and we all know where it comes from. But, is this the view of Equatoria Community? If so, why did they send a delegation to Addis Ababa in June to promote federalism and sell it to the negotiators?

2. Federalism is to be negotiated “not through party interest agreement”
If we take the previous sentence that federalism shall be democratically negotiated in the constitution making process, one assumes that the parties that will take part in those negotiations are the political parties, each of which has a stand (interest) on federalism and other issues related to the constitution of the country. So, if all issues are to be negotiated ‘through party interest agreement’, why not federalism? The current system of governance in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan 2011, call it what you like, came as a result of agreement of political parties (some say, imposition of the SPLM) in 2011. This is a system the drafters of the Communique seem to particularly like and would like to maintain as we shall point out later. Why was ‘party interest agreement’ acceptable for the current system and objectionable for federalism?

If the ‘party interest agreement’ is meant to refer to the outcome of the peace talks in Addis Ababa, mainly between the government and the SPLM/A-in opposition, why would a federalist reject federalism that comes through such an agreement and accept other agreed points? Are we interested in the application of federalism or in who brings it about?

3. “Neither the SPLM nor the other political parties and organisations have the mandate to determine and impose federalism on South Sudanese people”.
This is the key statement in the whole document. If the political parties in the country do not have a mandate to decide on federalism, who has?

As mentioned earlier, the SPLM and the other political parties (some of them, to be exact) sat down in April 2011 and worked out a Constitution that became the constitution of all South Sudanese. This constitution ‘imposed’ a particular system of governance on the South Sudanese people.

Make no mistake, the Southerners were not consulted on that Constitution. Now, why should following the same procedure be acceptable in relation to the current system and objectionable when it comes to adopting federalism?

One may innocently further ask the drafters of the Communique: if it is not the SPLM and other political parties that ‘determine and impose federalism’, how shall federalism ‘be democratically negotiated’ in whatever forum?

Add to the above points the constant reference in the Communique to the “decentralized Equatorial (sic) States”. Nowhere is the three Equatoria States mentioned without that being preceded by the word ‘decentralized’. The drafters must have wanted to pass a clear message.

Those familiar with the political discourse that followed the hot debate about federalism last year will not fail to understand why this stress on decentralization from the side of the drafters of the Communique.

People have then been made to understand that the choice was distinct between federalism (as proposed) and decentralization (presumed to be the current system of governance enshrined in the Constitution).

In theory and practice, decentralization is the system of governance antithetical to centralization of power. It spans a wide range of forms: local government, autonomy, federalism and confederation (as was in Switzerland). Hence, the use of decentralization without further qualification as to which type you are referring to is misleading, to say the least.

As you can see, federalism itself is one type of decentralization. However, we shall here follow the popular use so that we do not confuse the readers. One can infer from all the above that the drafters of the document are for the current system of ‘decentralization’ to be maintained.

But, is that the view of the Governors and the Equatorians they represent?

What was the Outcome of the Addis Visit?
One cannot fail to admire the determination and courage of the Equatoria Governors for standing up for what they believe in and taking their case to Addis Ababa where the President was at that time. This was a commendable step.

Our country will be saved only when all of us say what we believe in, and not what the powers that be would like to hear. However, let us honestly and soberly evaluate the outcome of that trip.

The publicly declared aim of the visit was to insure that the current Vice President occupied the position of the First Vice President proposed by IGAD mediators.

It must be stressed that at the time the news broke out up to the moment of writing, it remained a proposal; the two sides did not agree on it yet. So, there was no position of First Vice President that was on offer.

The Governors must have found out in Addis Ababa that the position of the government delegation on the matter was the rejection of the proposal and had suggested instead two Vice-Presidents of the equal status, whatever that means!!

Where does this arrangement, if accepted by the other side, leave the original demand of getting the No. Two position?

If the trip was to influence the position of the government in the talks to accept the proposal and then give the position to the Equatorian Vice president, then judging from the position of the government, not much has been achieved.

As things stand today, the current Vice President will retain his position after all. Was the trip premature or were other issues discussed? The Communique helps us answer this question.

To come back to our main point, what did the Governors tell the government negotiators about federalism? Did they convey to government negotiators what came in the Communique above?

The reason for asking these questions is because the agreement that was signed by the two parties on the 1st of February is silent about federalism.

One hoped the Governors reminded the two negotiating parties about their commitments to federalism so far. As a matter of fact, the stakeholders in Bahir Dar did agree in October 2014 on the following in relation to federalism.

Quote: “Acknowledge that a federal system of governance is a popular demand of a large section of the population of South Sudan and therefore agree to reflect it by way of effective devolution of more powers to the states in this agreement particularly in the areas of security, judicial administration, law enforcement, fiscal reforms and public sector reforms.” End quote. (Source: Summary of Areas of Agreement and Disagreement, Reviewed and edited by the Negotiating Committee on 4th October 2014).

If there was no backtracking by either of the parties, why didn’t the same statement appear as it is in the agreement of 1st February?

Or did they withdraw that commitment on reading the Communique of Equatoria Community that the issue of federalism should await the constitution making process?

It is oxymoron to talk of ‘imposition’ when the stakeholders have acknowledged that federalism is a popular demand.

These are legitimate questions that await honest clarification. It is clear the drafters of the Communique were not certainly for a federal system of governance.

Maybe in the rush to catch up the plane that same day, many of the participants including the Governors did not have time to have a critical look at the document.

Some cynics suggest that federalism was traded off for the second position in the Executive. One is disinclined to accept this view at the moment, and would rather give the Governors the benefit of the doubt. END