Category: Politics

National Dialogue of the deaf and blind is a waste of time

BY: Alhag Paul, South Sudan, JUN/07/2017, SSN;

The dynamics of the National Dialogue have thrown up interesting social realities. One of these realities is the newly emerging willingness of some intellectual members of the Jieng community to speak out openly.

This is a good development because the blanket silence of the Jieng over the horrendous behaviour of their leaders and the regime in Juba is fueling hatred toward them.

The debate on the National Dialogue is offering opportunity for expression of such change. During a meeting on the subject at Westminster University on 28th March 2017, Peter Biar Ajak surprised some by coming clean.

Peter and the other speakers unanimously agreed that if the National Dialogue is to work, President Salva Kiir must not be the patron as he is part of the problem to avoid the issue of partiality of the process.

They also stressed that the National Dialogue must be inclusive and it should be held in a neutral place to ensure security of the participants.

These concerns have been raised internally by the various South Sudanese political groups and externally by international community.

For example, the People Democrat Movement (PDM) produced a detailed comprehensive document on the topic and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission emphasised the need for impartiality and inclusivity during his visit to Yei, South Sudan.

Peter crucially went further to touch the nexus of Dinkocracy to the National Dialogue. Important as it was, it nearly went unnoticed had Peter not brought it to light.

It appeared as if Peter was clear that the stain of Jieng tribalism would make the National Dialogue exercise lose its credibility.

This is not because over 40 percent of the steering committee of the National Dialogue including its leadership is Jieng, but rather because of the emerging picture about the Jieng government following the resignation of Lt. General Thomas Cirillo Swaka and others from the army.

The resignation letters of these patriotic servants of the people laid bare the tribal nature of the army.

Peter highlighted this point powerfully as an academic distancing himself from the tribal regime and appearing to be patriotic. He stated to the audience that, “since the creation of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), the structure of the government (of South Sudan) turned into Dinka government. With defection of General Thomas Cirillo now the remaining five Chiefs of the army are Dinka and this is now Dinka militia.”

He went on to say, “Dinka nationalism is becoming a threat to South Sudan”. With this truth, Peter in effect joined a new group of Jieng converts who are now seeing the light and want to act patriotically.

In contrast to Peter’s view, The Sudd Institute in their paper titled, The Dialogue Brief, South Sudan’s National Dialogue: what it should be and why it should be supported dated 31st March 2017 attempts to manipulate its readers.

It deceptively paints the national dialogue of President Kiir as a process that has a huge support throughout the country.

This sort of misinformation and manipulation should not surprise anyone as the Sudd Institute is one of the three Jieng think tanks funded clandestinely by the government of President Kiir.

The others are: Ebony managed by Deng Lual Aciek and Centre for Strategic Analysis and Research managed by Peter Biar Ajak himself.
Peter has spoken the truth.

Dinkocracy reigns supreme in South Sudan. Whether Peter’s expressed truism is honest or not, it does not matter. He has at last demonstrated that as a Jieng he has the capacity to be objective.

It would be wrong to say that Peter of all the Jieng is the first person to state the truth about the regime in Juba. Nearly a decade ago, a Jieng lady called Ayeng Jacqueline and few others complaint against Jieng imperialistic behaviour.

In my article, ‘Tear down the SPLM’: will South Sudanese now respond? I wrote about their novel efforts.

“True South Sudanese like Ayuen Panchol and Ayeng Jacqueline Ajak who expressed her view in “Let’s try to reform our people. A Dinka woman’s point of view on Madi land issue” published in February 2009 by South Sudan Nation are leading the way in the Jieng community to do the right thing for the country.

South Sudanese should stand up with them. They are caring of the country and its people. These are individuals who have demonstrated their human values. They say things as they are.

If South Sudan had the majority of its population with the likes of Ayeng and Ayuen, the country today would be a different place to live in and Oyee would have been history.” (http://www.southsudannewsagency.com/index.php/2012/09/02/tear-down-the-splm-will-south-sudanese-now-respond/)

The disappearance of these patriotic Jieng from the political scene of South Sudan must be a result of Jieng group pressure. As such we the non-Jieng need to support the good Jieng and where possible protect them to counter the tribal pressure exerted on them to conform.

These complaints must not be forgotten because this is the evidence that women are part of the struggle and they should not be made invisible by male dominance as experienced by women worldwide.

Of recent, converts such as Kuir Garang Kuir have been very vocal against the regime and credits should be given where it is due.

This will help in making the Jieng understand that they are not hated but rather it is their imperialistic behaviour that the people do not like.

Therefore, Peter Biar Ajak being a Jieng from Bor will go a long way if he starts to talk the truth about the Jieng occupation of Madi land, Bari land, Chollo land etc.

I have no doubt that people like him can persuade the Jieng to shun their colonial mentality if they so choose to be on the right side of history.

The impact of Jieng imperialistic adventures on the image of the Jieng and above all Jieng relationship with others is so unhealthy to the extent that it risks serious repercussions for the Jieng as a people.

Presently, Jieng unity that enabled them to abuse South Sudanese is in crisis. The Jieng delusionally committed horrendous crimes in believe that they will remain invincible.

Well, in life there is nothing like that. Human beings act in groups primarily as individuals and individuals have personal ambitions which if suppressed may lead to group fissures and ultimately to disunity and conflict.

This process now seems to be taking place among the Jieng. The squabbles in the heart of Jieng power triggered by the removal of Paul Malong from his military position have opened up cracks rippling through their supposed iron cast unity.

Paul Malong now most likely feels bitterly deceived, used and abused by President Kiir. He may virtually be going through emotional and mental turmoil.

To a large extent, he is possibly a person in crisis with the probability of posing danger to himself and the society.

What makes this situation worse is President Kiir’s Machiavellian restrictions on his movements which suggests he is under house arrest.

Worst still, His supporters are being weeded out of the system and disarmed at lightening speed while his opponents such as General Dau Aturjong are being rehabilitated and fast tracked into position of power.

In a nutshell, Paul Malong to President Kiir is now an enemy exactly like Riek Machar. What an irony? The conflict between this two is similarly replicated throughout the entire Jieng tribe mirroring the bigger conflict of the Jieng against the other 63 tribes.

To illustrate the cracks in the Jieng community, look at the following picture.

The Agouk Jieng of Chief Justice Chan Reec are accusing the Apuk Jieng of President Kiir of Apukanising Warrap like they Dinkocratised the country.

The Malual Jieng of Paul Malong are accusing the Apuk and the Agouk of using them as cannon fodder in their war of imperialism in the country.

The Tonj Jieng of Nhial Deng Nhial and Akol Kur are working hard to replace President Kiir.

The Bor Jieng of Michael Makuie are busy strengthening their militia after being armed by the state to start military incursions into Murle, Mundari and Bari lands.

In addition to this the Bor Jieng have started to challenge the Bahr El Ghazal Jieng groups re-igniting their centuries old rivalries.

The question to ask is: where is the supposed unity of the Jieng? Clearly the so called unity of the Jieng is something that is held by the feeling that they own the state of South Sudan which is sheer fantasy.

In 2015 Ambassador Telar Deng emphasised the importance of Jieng unity to hold on to state power in South Sudan.

Holding on to state power without smooth unity is unworkable. The fissures in the Jieng community are unlikely to heal in the short or medium term because it involves deceit and spelled blood (sacrificed Mathiang Anyoor for Jieng glory).

Again, take the classic example of Paul Malong whose character is highly questionable, please see, The coin of power: Gen. Paul Malong aspires for president!! (http://www.southsudannation.com/the-coin-of-power-gen-paul-malong-aspires-for-president/).

He mobilised the Jieng youth in their thousands who they (JCE) then sacrificed on pursuit of the illusion of Jieng supremacy. Now he Malong himself has fallen foul of the very Jieng system he wholeheartedly supported.

Was it really worth it? Is he any better than Riek Machar whom he tried to kill for President Kiir? Should this not serve as a lesson to every Jieng that Dinkocracy does not pay?

If Paul Malong of all Jieng can be trashed like he has, who is the average Jieng? Thus, the Jieng should emancipate themselves from Dinkocracy and adopt democracy.

Paul Malong’s predicament should be a lesson to every one – personal safety and happiness can only be achieved in an authentically democratic state of law and order with a government that protects everyone regardless of tribe, gender, age etc.

Anything other than that is a fantasy and bound to fail.

From the above, unless the Jieng are saved from themselves by honesty of their own tribes mate, they are likely to take all of us down with them. I said this elsewhere and I reiterate it now.

So the good Jieng need to follow the example set by Ayeng Jacqueline, Ayuen Panchol, Kuir Garang ,Peter Biar etc but also go further to join their fellow countrymen in the real struggle against Dinkocracy in other national political movements.

How can South Sudan get a democratic government so that finally the people can begin to experience the benefit of independence?

The panellists at the Westminster University meeting expressed hope that the National Dialogue could be the process.

Also according to Sudan Tribune, Mr David Shearer, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in South Sudan, believes that the National Dialogue will help in resolving the conflict in the country.

“The national dialogue, initiated by Kiir, is both a forum and process through which the people of South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.” (UN official urges “common strategy” on South Sudan’s political process. http://sudantribune.com/spip.php?article62544)

I would like to argue that the optimism expressed by the panelists and Mr Shearer may be unrealistic. It is possible that Mr Shearer may not have seen the letter written by Cannon Clement Janda dated 3rd May 2017 in which he declined President Kiir’s appointment to the Steering Committee of the National Dialogue.

Cannon Janda listed the following crucial points as reasons why the National Dialogue would not bring peace:
Quote
1. The decree is very vague on the issue of governance of our country. By issuing the decree President Kiir believes that the process of National Dialogue will end up on his desk for his final consideration and or decision. This is totally unacceptably on the issue of how South Sudan is governed and how the present rulers have drained all national blood and wealth can not be considered a serious process.

2. A credible National Dialogue could only be conducted in an atmosphere of complete freedom. That freedom includes freedom of press to all views of the participants without fear and favour. That atmosphere does not exist in present South Sudan.

3. A genuine dialogue must be done after political process and by limited elected persons with authority to air the views of their communities. Being picked makes every individual only loyal to President Salva Kiir and not to their communities. Such a process is worthless.

4. The country is bleeding. Half of its population is either in refuge in foreign countries or rounded up in internally displaced camps. The other half is threatened with man-made famine. Who is there to dialogue?

5. Finally I noticed the majority of the membership of the National Dialogue Steering Committee are people who helped President Kiir to destroy our beloved country. What credibility is there for such persons who should be arraigned in front of an international criminal court to account for their deeds. Is the inclusion into the National Dialogue Steering Committee an attempt to massage their images. Unquote

Cannon Janda’s views are shared by majority of South Sudanese and arguably he could be seen as the voice of the people. He actually has been vindicated after the swearing in of the National Dialogue Steering Committee on 22nd May 2017.

Mr Abel Alier, one of the co-chair has a murky history in South Sudan.

He is not only a tribalist to the bone and the architect of Dinkocracy, but he is the man responsible for dividing South Sudanese by practising tribal discrimination in 1970s as the President of High Executive Council of Regional Government of Southern Sudan.

At the time he Jienganised the police and unleashed it on the other tribes which resulted into the redivision of Southern Sudan into three regions namely: Equatoria, Bahr El Ghazal and Upper Nile.

The Equatorians fought Jieng abuse of power under the slogan – Kokora. Alier singlehandedly is the person responsible for training, mentoring and nurturing the current crop of hardcore tribalists known as JCE.

It is his ideas that waters the tree called JCE. How can such a person as Cannon Janda asked be credible leader of the National Dialogue?

Deducing from the above, Jieng unity is clearly unsustainable and there is a slow realisation among them that their regime is atrophying. Hence, the reasonable ones are now marching into the camp of patriotism.

President Kiir’s launching of the National Dialogue as a vehicle of deception to rescue the regime is experiencing serious resistance and the signs are that it will flop.

This leaves us with only one viable option for solving the problem of South Sudan which is: a National Conference for peace in South Sudan. Such a conference must not be led by IGAD or AU for obvious reasons.

From December 2013, these regional and continental organisations woefully demonstrated beyond doubt immaturity in handling the problem of South Sudan due to their members own interests.

Countries such as Uganda and Kenya could not resist being partial and evidence indicate that their lack of impartiality has actually pushed the country to where it is now.

In South Sudan needs intensive care (https://pachodo.org/latest-news-articles/pachodo-english-articles/7643-south-sudan-needs-intensive-care), IGAD and AU were warned of President Kiir’s introduction of tribal militia and they did nothing and what we have now is a total mess.

Therefore, the proposed conference should be:
a) held outside South Sudan preferably in Tanzania;
b) inclusive of all the stakeholders and,
c) led by one of the renowned elders of the world such as Mr Koffi Annan or Archbishop Desmond Tutu or Ms Mary Robinson with full backing of the Security Council.

I have elsewhere made the last point in few articles couple of years back. I still believe it is the only viable option left.

Finally, the addiction of the Juba regime to violence at any cost to maintain Jieng hegemony and its failure to listen and seriously take advice from the stakeholders and the international community means that the National Dialogue amounts to a partial self dialogue of the deaf and the blind.

Essentially this is an interaction that will be characterised by ‘unresponsiveness’ to the real national crisis and as will be expected, it will not lead into any peace.

So it is utter waste of time and resource though it will help President Kiir in distracting attention of the world from horrors in South Sudan.

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

The National Dialogue Steering Committee & Membership Composition: Analysis

BY: Hüstin Läkü SR, South Sudan, MAY/27/2017, SSN;

Overview:

Several points should be made regarding “Republican Order for the Reconstitution of the National Dialogue Steering Committee” and Membership composition. The data collected on each individual member shows that Membership composition is not inclusive, but exclusive and dominated by one ethnic group mostly from two regions of South Sudan (formally Upper Nile and Bhar Al-Ghazal) currently, Warrap and northern Bhar Al-Ghazal, Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile States. It is not a national dialogue; rather it’s a dia-state dialogue.

In addition, some members are from one family, for instance; Lt. Gen. Pieng Deng is a half brother of Dr. Francis Deng, as well as Ms. Lily Albino is a daughter of Rtd. Maj.Gen. Albino Akol Akol. Data collected when analyzed on key positions, ethnicity, political parties, gender and professional association affiliations etc. leads to the conclusion that it’s not a national dialogue, but a fraud and a scam to manipulate the current situation to benefit Jieng council of elders (JCE), buying time, mislead international community as well as insulting to the intelligence of South Sudanese citizens and friends of South Sudan.

The initial observations show the following:

Which one comes first, Peace or dialogue?

As a matter of principle, achieving peace should be the priority and followed by dialogue. Therefore, dialogue cannot replace absent of peace and it cannot resolve political and humanitarian crisis in the country in the way it’s conceived and being implemented.

Furthermore, this is not the right time for dialogue in the middle of ongoing war in the country and massacre of thousands of civilians, forcing hundreds of thousands into refuge in the neighboring countries. A genuine dialogue should be after the 2015 peace implementation and when All South Sudanese returnees and refugees have returned home in their constituencies.

For instance, South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established and functioned after political settlements brought the nation together after long period of healing processes. To do the opposite is setting the country into wrong direction, shaky ground and it might lead to disintegration of South Sudan to smaller States as it happened in the Balkans.

Key Positions

Co-Chair and Rapporteur and Deputy Rapporteur positions are controlled by JCE hardliners. These members are the architects of the “born to rule” Dinka slogan in late 1970’s and early 1980s. The slogan born to rule is now born to destroy South Sudan.

As is commonly said, the previous experiences determine the future experiences and outcomes; the hardliners will control direction of discussions as well as pre-determine the resolutions of South Sudan National Dialogue (SSND) which will not be representative of views and opinions of opposing parties and other ethnicities.

For example, in 1989, President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir initiated national dialogue and invited SPLM/A to participated, and Dr. Garang declined on the ground that, it was not inclusive and controlled by the northerners and hardliners Members of NIF and SSND is no different than the former Sudan national dialogue and even worst.

Ethnicity

South Sudan has 66 ethnic groups and only 18 ethnic groups were represented in very small number against 45 members from one ethnicity group. 48 ethnic groups who suffered the most human right violations are excluded from participations. Equatoria has 32 ethnic groups and 13 ethnic groups were appointed.

Political Parties

South Sudan has 36 political parties and only 2 are included and these two are part of Juba regime. E.g. Taban Deng IO and Joseph Ukel groups. In addition, most members are SPLM and SPLM/IO cadres. The key positions of decision making are controlled by hardliners of Jieng Council of elders (JCE) and excluded women.

Gender

Gender representation is not balanced and contrary to the concept of 25% quotas for women. The current list shows that women represents only 15.6%, and 8 out of 15 women are mostly citizens of Warrap, northern Bahr Al-Ghazal, Jongeli, and Unity States and sadly enough there is no single woman appointed in key position-this is a complete marginalization of South Sudanese women and defeats 25% quotas system.

Religious leaders

Clergymen representation is not balanced and the current list shows that there is no representation from government critics such as Catholic Church vocal clergymen Bishop Laku, all were excluded as well as important members of opposition groups such IO, PDM, NMC, NDC and many others. The list shows many Bishops and Pastors who were silent about their colleague Pastor Lasu and many other pastors who were killed by national security the day after national day of prayers and prior. This shows that these Bishops and Pastors are supporters of government and its corrupting influence on society, with many among them being co-opted by the government.

Civil Society, Youth, and People with disabilities

Civil Society, Youth and people with disabilities groups are completely disregarded. The behavior of South Sudan government suggests that youth and people with disabilities have no value in South Sudan’s development, decision-making as well as have no say in future of nation building.

For the benefit of readers and concerned citizens of South Sudan and friends of South Sudan, it is important to shed light on some key members of the committee, and provide analysis on overall selected members and draw conclusion with some recommendations to move the country forward.

First

Abel Alier is Dinka from Bor and was a Former Vice President of Sudan (1970-1982), he served as president of the High Executive Council of Southern Sudan in Juba, after Lt. Gen. Joseph Lago gave him green light to do so. Alier was the first Southern Sudanese to introduce mono ethnic politics and Dinka hegemony in South Sudan which lead to Kokora in 1983. His time was known by tribalism, employment and appointments of one ethnic group based on tribal lines and favoritism.

Alier never participated in the first phase of civil war (1956-1972) fought mainly by Equatorians as well as the second civil war from 1983-2005. Alier has always acted on the advice of Khartoum regimes and advanced the interests of Arab-north in the South. Alier is one of the architects of “born to rule” slogan in late 1970s and early1980s.

Bona Malwal is a Dinka from Warrap and Warrap is Kiir’s home State. Malwal is a member of the secretive Jieng Council of Elders tribal advisory council to President Kiir. Malwal was Minister in Alier’s Cabinet in the Regional Government of Southern Sudan. Malwal is key member of the “born to rule” Dinka slogan along with Alier, Justin Yack and Joshua De Wal.

Malwal was an opponent of the late Dr John Garang De Mabior and the anti- separation of South Sudan. Malwal was known for his famous hate speech which he delivered on Saturday, March 21st, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas, U.S.A. In the meeting, Mr. Bona Malwal said “South Sudan existed thanks to the Dinka and therefore belongs to the Dinka people, and the Dinka have earned it and are where they are now above all others in South Sudan.” Please, refer to below link for full text.

South Sudan a country for Dinka only, Bona Malwal tells Dinka in USA

Dr. Francis Deng, is Dinka Ngok of Abyei. Abyei is still disputed area by both Juba and Khartoum and its fate is still unknown. Deng is known for his unionist position and opposes South Sudan secession and defended his views in many public forums in Middle East. He expresses his views in letter exchange with former University of Juba Professor currently in Oman as well as with former retired South Sudanese Professor at University of Toronto in Canada. 25% of Abyei citizens hold key positions in South Sudan government and some holders of Sudanese passports and working for Khartoum regime and some receiving salaries from both Juba and Khartoum.

Lt. Gen. Pieng Deng is Dinka Ngok of Abyei, and a half brother of Dr. Francis Deng. Gen. Pieng was former Chief of Police. South Sudan Police Services administrative corruption happened under his authority.

Second

Analysis

The objective of a dialogue is not to analyze things, or to win an argument, or to exchange opinions or to pre-determine the outcome of dialogue or pre-written dialogue resolutions. Rather, it is to suspend your opinions and to look at the opinions of other parties into dispute, to listen to everybody’s opinions, to suspend them, and to see what all that means in resolving political crisis, peace without justice, land grabbing, marginalization and exclusion from administration of the country, mono ethnic politics and centralization of political, economic, administrative and military powers in the hands of few or two ethnicities.

SSND in its current status will not achieve everlasting peace, but rather it will create more division, suffering, killings, and political instability in the region. The call for dialogue is short on details of how the country would be secured for the oppositions to attend a national dialogue convened by Kiir, when he was the one who led South Sudan to the present Quagmire”.

How would a tribally dominated Government be impartial in addressing the problems it created of bad governance, exclusion of majority of non-Dinka people in the national political process, and the country’s collapsed economy and dysfunctional, illegitimate political institutions?

What South Sudan requires is political settlement through peace talks that includes all parties into the conflicts, but not mono ethnic dialogue or dia-state dialogue. Why mono ethnic dialogue? because it excluded 48 ethnic groups in the refugee camps in the neighboring countries who would love to participate.

The solution to South Sudan man-made political and humanitarian crisis is not mon dialogue, but reforms of government institutions and deliver justice to the victims of land grabbing; rapes; marginalization and exclusion; favoritism; tribalism; lack of promotion of non Dinka public servants; limit President Powers; division of powers to three levels of government; human rights crimes and held criminals and public servant’s thefts who stole 4.5 billion dollars from government coffer accountable.

The solution to South Sudan bad governance is for the current and future government should reflect 66 ethnic groups at all government levels specially security, police, customs, army and public services as well as division of powers to all levels of governments.

The solution to South Sudan political crisis is when South Sudanese is treated equally not based on his or her ethnic groups and employed based on job merits, not of favoritism.

The solution to South Sudan political crisis is encouraging opposition groups whether it armed groups or not they should participate in any national issues. Government’s argument of preventing them is has no logic to it. During the CPA talks, If Khartoum regime would put forward similar argument of “preventing armed groups from peace talks” South Sudanese would be fighting the north today.

What should be done?

If Juba regime still maintains its position of resolving political crisis through dialogue, than the SSND should be under the auspices of an independent international organization such as Initiative of Change Swiss (IofC). IofC has credibility, expertise, experiences, and skills to select members from all parties in the conflict, conduct fair and impartial process in neutral location and submit final report with recommendations.
http://ca.iofc.org/iofc-international

African Union should replace IGAD lead in negotiation with both government and opposition groups, because most IGAD Members have vested interests in South Sudan and they are not impartial.

African union should encourage and support opposition groups to unite their objectives, and speak in one voice.
Kiir’s government should release political and non-political detainees, because it is key towards political settlement. The current list of detainees is exclusively non-Dinka which raises alarm. Please, see attached detainees list for full picture of injustice and discrimination.

South Sudanese politicians and senior public servants are well known for their high level of corruption. They have sticky fingers that have been implicated in the disappearance of public funds, and development money which more often than not ended up in their private accounts in banks overseas. To combat, financial corruption in South Sudan, it is very important that Western governments should pass law that will prohibits transfer of money from South Sudan to western banks without proper transparency; also the law must force, and persecute the international financial institutions (IFI) and other banks or bankers who fail to disclose any private accounts from South Sudan, and specially if the account is related to statesmen. Failure of the Western governments to act means that the West is encouraging, and abetting the endemic corruption in Africa.

AU,UN,EU and Western governments should find legal mechanism to recover the stolen $4.5 billion from South Sudan and repatriate the fund to pay public servant salaries, development programs and project such as health care, schools and others

Finally, President Kiir’s should put the interest of the nation first, before his personal and tribal interests. Kiir should give peace a chance by consideration stepping down to provide positive environment for political settlement and move South Sudan out of political, economic, humanitarian crisis. The longer Kiir stays in power the worst people suffer in refugee and IDP camps as well as the country suffers economically.

Hüstin Läkü,SR
Federalism, Decentralization, Conflict Resolution and International Development Consultant

History rewards those who destroy but not those who build the nation

BY: Santino Aniek, UpState New York, USA, MAY/22/2017, SSN;

President Kiir has tired down a relationship between the man who helped him during the 2013 Crisis when madness consumed Mr. Mayardit’s humanness by dissolving the entire government and dismissing some of the seniors members of the SPLM Party. There is, obviously, much we do not know about what has just happened between President Kiir and General Paul Malong Awan, why it happened. Just as obvious, there is much more, so much more that we need to know the firing of General Paul.

In addition, we need to damn the dishonesty and expose the truth now to avoid another conflict because South Sudanese people are tried of wars. In fact, I really do not get it, I mean, I expect it because every thing is possible in South Sudan, but I do not get it.

As of today, no one understands the psychology of Juba, because it seems like there are many people in that country who are not only uninterested in peace and security, but will actually get angry with you for displaying any interest in peace and security of our citizens.

And so this happens on both sides, government as well as opposition, by the way. However, there is a flood coming that will devastate the future of our country in ways no one can predict.

Except that the speed with which this has all happened, just over couple of days into President Kiir’s dumpster firing of General Paul, means it was all very predictable because all things in South Sudan are possible. And no one who played a role in controlling this President should be allowed to forget it.

Truly, I’m sorry; this is madness because General Paul helped President Kiir in staying in power, but ended up being fired, why.

The dismissal of General Paul is a “moral evil” because if this tragedy is not handled responsibly, it will cause devastation of South Sudan.

Nonetheless, General Paul never rebelled against the movement or against the government and he was opposed to all rebellions since the start of the movement till today. Which is more than can be said for the numerous people in President Kiir’s government who have rebelled not once, not twice, but many times and ended up in the most important positions in the government.

Nevertheless, during the formation of President Kiir’s government, General Paul did not run to Juba to pursue a position, but he stayed in Aweil because, as a humble man, he could not bring himself down against his colleagues who’re always pursuing government position.

Now tell me what would you do differently if you were General Paul Malong? Would you take up arms against the government you have defended for so many years?

If you are President Kiir, is that such a simple choice to be making to fire a guy that has been defending you all these years?

Can you really not appreciate the complexity of the situation that General Paul is facing now in Juba? Folks, I need help here because I’m totally lost since the day I heard the news till now.

In fact, General Paul was and is still widely respected by both sides, by the SPLA, by the SPLM, and by the majority of South Sudanese people.

For example, reading the reaction on social media has made all of us understand just how highly regarded General Paul is by the SPLA and by the people South Sudan he defended all these years.

Therefore, at the time his appointment as general chief of staff, General Paul is one of the greatest Generals this country ever produced, and he is a man of honor and dignity.

More importantly, South Sudanese people recognize that, SPLA recognize that, SPLM recognized that, and President Kiir recognizes that, but today, President Kiir cast General Malong aside as a bad General, a traitor, and from the reaction we have received on social media, he has made the firing of General Malong as disgraceful.

Finally, we can talk about the political cause of the firing of General Paul, but it cannot be disputed that the man who actually fought this senseless war did so to protect the country as well as to protect President Kiir.

We may not know the whole detail and the motivation of the firing, but sometimes a bit of historical perspective is necessary. We now know, the same historical perspective that afforded people to stand behind President Kiir.

Such a moment when Juba seems to be falling apart, who did not remember that moment, but maybe, I should say maybe there is a partial credit to General Paul by creating his own name and by helping President Kiir during all these years.

Yet, we put these evils aside General Paul took care of it, but to just fire him is troubling. Can we not then put our differences aside and allow a great man like General Paul to be remembered and honored, as a compatriot and honor him?

Ultimately, the supporters of President Kiir may mark this firing of General Paul as one of the truly dark days in South Sudan, a day that may soon take an even more ominous turn.

Sadly enough, President Kiir’s sudden firing of General Malong is a matter that should deeply concern every South Sudanese, regardless of party, tribe or ideological leanings.

Most importantly, the firing of a General or politician in South Sudan is always a very serious matter in normal times. But these times are not normal because the country has been engaging in one of the most important and dangerous conflict that the country ever had.

In fact, to politicize this thing is the last thing South Sudanese people need as we struggle through the maze of problems, concealment and ever-deepening mysteries all these years.

The last time the President fired political heavy-weights, Aleu Alieny Aleu and Telar Ring, was during the widespread criminal conspiracy. And during the firing of these two, we all know how that turned out.

In real sense, this potential tragedy of firing General Paul is much graver if President Kiir and his General resolved their differences very quickly.

We are talking about the very security of President Kiir and the sanctity of our country.

Now, it is true that history does not reward good people like General Paul, but it rewards those killers of our people.

Santino Aniek is a concerned South Sudanese in Upstate New York, U.S.A. He can be reached at santino.aniek5@gmail.com and find me on Facebook, on Skype and on twitter @saniek.

The End of Bullying, Harassment and Humiliation: Gen. Paul Malong Awan’s Sacking has changed the meaning of Mutiny & Rebellion in South Sudan

BY: Mayak Deng Aruei, USA, MAY/14/2017, SSN;

At a very young age, children are told to remember the Golden Rule: “Treat others how you want to be treated.” The headlines for the news outlets in South Sudan, and in the Region of East Africa was about the sacking of the SPLA (South Sudan) Army Chief of the General Staff.

For a country that celebrates nothing other than big names, the firing of General Paul Malong Awan caught millions South Sudanese by surprise. The actual facts as to what transpired on May 9, 2017 can be traced to fundamentals of security in the country.

Adding to the fading trust among the high-ranking members of the SPLM & the SPLA, the 32 federal states are proving something else.

It was a rumor until General Paul Malong Awan was relieved, his well guarded place couldn’t be infiltrated, all attempts thwarted and “he ran away to Yirol before handing over the office to the incoming Chief of the General Staff,” according to the President.

The loss of trust between the President and his former Army Chief of the General Staff has little to do with them as individuals, but rather with the inner circle which has a hidden agenda, and thirst for more recognition.

The term “scapegoat for the inefficiencies” was later authored to sugarcoat the rattling clearing of the thorny bushes. In South Sudan, the known facts and patterns make sudden change of command, and a rapid takeoff looked more than a preempted mutiny or rebellion.

For the records, not everyone can be bullied, harassed and humiliated without a price. The departure of the Elephant in the Room (Gen. Paul Malong) marked the end of political mockery in the Republic of South Sudan, and aspiring/young inexperienced politicians ought to re-examine their stances on national affairs.

First and foremost, General Paul Malong Awan should have been the last that President Salva Kiir could humiliate in the face of the struggling country, and the Government he helped stay in place.

Humiliation in the context of the sacking of the Army Chief has much to do with being relieved without prior consultations, and other options put on the table. Example, possible arrest as security assurances entailed.

In 2013, General Paul Malong Awan was quick to side with President Salva Kiir, at a time when political atmosphere was so cloudy, and when coalitions of political opponents posed a very serious threat to the President during the SPLM National Convention.

At the onset, General Paul Malong Awan, then the Governor for the defunct state of Northern Bahr El Ghazal organized a special session for the four states of Barh El Ghazal Region. The gathering of the Governors brought together leaders of Barh El Ghazal Region, and their citizens saw more years of President Salva Kiir in power.

In that meeting, Governor Nyandeng Malek showed little interest in such regional alliance, and Governor Paul Malong Awan called her out, pointing out that Governor Nyandeng Malek should have been the first to back President Salva Kiir since the two hailed from the same state (Warrap).

The gathering was a success, and the people of Barh El Ghazal stood shoulder to shoulder with the President, with some pledging unlimited support should South Sudan’s known patterns take their shapes.

Secondly, General Paul Malong Awan mobilized and trained the youths (Mathiang Anyoor) from his home state of Northern Barh El Ghazal, left Governorship at the dawn of rebelling forces, and became the Army Chief of the General Staff.

The fight was a tough race, and General Paul Malong Awan, nicknamed King Paul, kept on with the fight against Dr. Riek Machar of the SPLM-IO who declared Armed Resistance against the sitting president after his chances for running for presidency were demurred.

For more than three years, General Paul Malong Awan was the man of the people, Hero of all times, and the only General who had the guts to protect the territorial integrity of South Sudan.

As the dust settled down, the inner circle of President Salva Kiir closed their eyes, debunked everyone’s contributions, and put their own interests above that of the nation.

Thirdly, General Paul Malong Awan is a decorated General who has won the confidence of Jieng Council of Elders(JCE), an Advisory Committee made up of influential veteran politicians who served both in the old Sudan as well as in the Liberation Movement.

With all of that, the sacking of General Paul Malong Awan without proper consultations put President Salva Kiir in a very awkward position, and the Army became divided more than any time since the civil war erupted in 2013.

The challenges for the President intensified, and quite a number of active Generals reportedly left with General Paul Malong Awan when he reacted to his firing on South Sudan Television(SSBC).

The social media, a platform used by young literate South Sudanese and well established elites was jammed few minutes after the airing of the news.

Fortunately enough, the Army listened to the voices that called for calm, and General Paul Malong Awan took off with almost anything he wanted, and soldiers watched the convoys as they exited Juba.

It was one of the few recent times change of command where the Jieng Nation was asked to apply what make them unique among other communities.

The “wait a minute/let’s wait for more details” attitude, saved President Salva Kiir from being savaged by the most feared General of all times.

The term “Jieng Nation” does not refer to South Sudan as a Jieng’s nation, rather, it refers to Jieng’s society or society in the image of Jieng as a unique Group in South Sudan that has characteristics of a nation-state.

In their vast territories, Jieng have norms that are hard to be broken by their own people, they ask a lot of questions before starting a fight, and those compelled to go on their own become outcasts.

Three days into the military standoff, President Salva Kiir addressed news media, and had this to say: “So I am here to assure you, that the security situation remains normal and all citizens are urged to continue with their daily routine duties, because there is really nothing that people should worry about.”

With that being the rhetoric after the facts, there is a good reason to doubt the way and thoughts that led to the sacking of General Paul Malong Awan were put together and finalized into actual decision.

Some quarters, particularly the President’s inner circle, are illogically following the path not accustomed to by a politically fragile nation like South Sudan.

Like, seriously, why would people push the President to make such rushed decisions in the middle of the war that has taken unforgiving twists?

Those further attempts by the President to calm down the enraged General didn’t seem to help much: “Gen. Malong is now in Yirol, I didn’t talk to him this morning, I tried but I found that he was resting because yesterday his blood pressure shot up very high because yesterday when I talked to him, he was not in a good mood, he was in fighting mood.” This part explained something else in the mix of a murky military showdown.

On a final note, the sacking of General Paul Malong would have not made headlines had it been done logically and professionally, and without letting speculations move the desperate crowds.

The way it was done raised a lot of questions, and unearthed doubts that stemmed from behind the scene dealings.

The subsequent appointment of Gen. James Ajong’o Mawut was rushed, but nothing in the records to say something negative about the new SPLA Army Chief of General Staff. From the tone of the new Army Chief, the man is so logical, talked in a well organized manner, highlighted duties associated with his position, recognized the negative impacts of the ongoing war, aligned his tasks with those of other Army Chiefs elsewhere, and made important notes about the pending Peace Agreement.

The people of South Sudan should not be put into conflict for unknown reasons, and changes in the military, specially in wartime must be done professionally and ceremonies of outgoing officials must follow traditions expected in the military so as to avoid backlashes.

In ending this dreading piece, South Sudan’s ruling elites have lost integrity as the custodians of the new nation; they have tainted the founding principles, they have made it difficult for citizens to grow politically, they have derailed the smooth running of Government’s institutions, and they have impeded what should be normal transfer of servicemen from one branch to the other.

The sacking of General Paul Malong Awan is no different from cases where the political organizers/Ringleaders have been treated as Rebels, apprehended or pursued to the bushes.

Above all, those who are still in the game should be advised to avoid belittling, bullying, harassment and humiliation by surrounding themselves with trusted guys.

The coalition of community’s leaders, particularly Eastern Lakes state have saved the nation of South Sudan from irrational decision that would have ignited infighting within the ranks of the national army.

For another year, mutiny and rebellion would be meaningless to sycophants who have been mouthpieces for select groups. As a nation, South Sudanese need to deploy professionalism everywhere, approach political differences methodically, and free themselves from collusive partnerships.

©2017 Mayak Deng Aruei: He can be reached at Kongor.da.ajak@gmail.com

Jieng Council of Elders rejects Deployment of Regional Force in South Sudan

APR/19/2017, Press Release;

The adoption of Resolution 2304 by the UN Security Council on August 12, 2016 barely a month after Riek Machar’s unsuccessful third coup attempt on July 8, 2017 was a serious mistake by the world’s body as it missed a great opportunity to help South Sudan in its quest for peace and stability.

In the view of the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE), this move is flagrantly un-constructive and conspicuously fails to recognize the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan and the will of its people.

The Resolution is sadly a hollow and misguided regime change agenda that certain powers would like to effect in our beloved country.

Feeling a bit emboldened by the passage of Resolution 2304 by the Security Council, proponents of the Neo-Trusteeship international administration in South Sudan and their supporters managed to convene a series of hearings before the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate on September 20, 2016.

The aim of these hearings was to foster better understanding as to the feasibility of the establishment of international administration in South Sudan under the auspices of the United Nations and African Union.

Among the notable “experts” that presented to the Senate committee were Dr. Paul R. Williams and Kate Almquist Knopf.

Dr. Williams acknowledged that there is no legal framework for Neo-Trusteeship but erroneously recommended that it might be a viable means of creating peace and stability in South Sudan.

In a way that directly links the regime change agenda in South Sudan with the so-called Regional Protection Force, Williams added, “neo-trusteeships typically require a robust and sustained peacekeeping presence.”

On her part, Kate Knopf recommended the establishment of “international transitional administration” in South Sudan under the United Nations and the African Union for 10-15 years.

Ms. Knopf went on to state that any opposition to UN/AU transitional administration could be mitigated through:

1) Negotiating President Kiir’s and Riek Machar’s renunciation of a role in South Sudan politics.
2) Leveraging important constituencies’ frustration with President Kiir, Machar and their “cronies to gain these constituencies support for transitional administration.”
3) “By deploying a peace intervention mission with credible coercive force.”

Suffice to say that judging from the position cited above, the Regional Protection Force is clearly a tool for invading South Sudan so as to effect a regime change agenda in South Sudan.

Simply put, everything from the level of armament and mandate given to the Regional Protection Force smacks of the regime change agenda, which we are strongly against.

Moreover, the area of operation for the force, which is Juba, is chosen purposely as a first step towards the establishment of Neo-Trusteeship in South Sudan.

In our view, the Resolution would actually foment animosity among the people of South Sudan. Among other shortcomings, the Resolution would disrupt internal peace processes and embolden the armed opposition against the government, hence, more discord and disunity in our country.

If allowed to happen, this situation would certainly spell more suffering for our people.

The Resolution essentially gives this force unfettered powers and an unlimited freedom “to use all means necessary” to meet their operational objectives, a condition that undermines both the security of ordinary citizens and the power of the state and government.

Instead of a constructive engagement premised on genuine dialogue, the proponents of Resolution 2304 have now made it abundantly clear that they intend to place South Sudan under the so-called UN/AU Neo-trusteeship, an idea that a few disgruntled South Sudanese politicians with their foreign allies, all of whom are hell-bent to effect a well premeditated regime change agenda through illegitimate means.

According to these elements, since they are defeated politically as they have successfully displaced themselves out of the government by their wrong political calculations and misjudgments, they prefer that it is better for the country’s independence and sovereignty, which claimed a million lives of our martyrs, be turned over to foreign bodies like the UN/AU.

In short, it is either their way or the highway.

To reiterate, Resolution 2304 is an affront to the South Sudanese people, as it aims to usurp their hard-won independence and sovereignty.

In terms of its content and objective, this misguided document claims to want to fix South Sudan’s crisis by allowing foreign forces to take over the security of our national capital, Juba, including the airport.

On some unrealistic and baseless grounds that the security environment in Juba has worsened since the last tragic and violent events that unfolded on July 8, 10-11, 2016, the world body is trying to sanction an illegal activity – taking over and placing a sovereign and independent nation under a UN trusteeship.

As a member of the UN family, there is no any legal basis whatsoever for the Republic of South Sudan to turn over its hard-won independence and sovereignty to anybody in the world.

This includes the UN, which is not allowed by its own charter to usurp power of any member state such as South Sudan.

While it may be true that the security environment ins still fragile in South Sudan in a way consistent with that of any post-conflict recovery situation, nothing warrants the deployment of any additional force besides the UNMISS 13,000 forces already on the ground.

On this note, the world should be informed that following Riek Machar’s third failed coup attempt this post July and consistent with Mr. Machar’s third failed coup attempt this post July and Mr. Machar’s demonstrated recidivism into political violence of catastrophic magnitudes, the security situation is not bad as anybody would like to portray, particularly in Juba where the UN envisions the need to bring additional 4,000 troops as called for in Resolution 2304.

In light of the aforementioned grounds, the Council strongly rejects in its entirety Resolution 2304, because it is a ploy to exacerbate discord amongst and suffering of our people.

It gives foreign forces a blank check “to use all means necessary” so as to achieve the establishment of the so-called Neo-trusteeship, which others are openly advocating for.

South Sudan does not need foreign troops, who are bent on toppling the government but it rather needs the international community to support the Transitional Government of National Unity to consolidate peace in order to restore decent livelihoods to our people.

Signed:

Hon.Joshua Dau Diu,
Co-Chair, Jieng Council of Elders

Kiir’s Dinka Army commits Ethnic Cleansing on the Fertit & Lou people of Wau

APR/11/2017, SSN;

Announcement by the Government of Wau Federal State in Opposition.

Government of Wau Federal State in Opposition would like to express its concern about the appalling situation in the state where there is increase of the Internal Displaced Persons in the UNMISS and Churches in the recent event of the ethnic cleansing and indiscriminate attacks by the government troops and its militias against the innocent civilians.

Since April 4th, 2017 the regime in Juba has launched a full scale offensive in Besselia, Baggari, Bazia, and Kuajena counties where the Kiir SPLM/A government troops have been defeated by the Western Bahar Al Ghazal Lion Forces WBGLF.

On Monday April 10, 2017 and specifically in the Wau city, the government troops and its militia, who are entirely from members of Dinka tribe, turned their guns on the civilians, searching house to house and killing unarmed population in areas inhabited mostly by Fertit and Lou tribes.

The Government of Wau Federal State in opposition would like to re-express its concern about the killing and the instigated Humanitarian crises in the state.

The government of Wau Federal State in Opposition strongly condemn the attack by the government troops and its Dinka militias, where the government troops killed in cold blood hundreds of innocent civilians.

The government of the state would like to ask the International Community, including United Nations and other Non-governmental Organizations NGOs to interfere and safe the lives of thousands of the innocent citizens in the state.

(N.B. The UN and the international community, in fact, today has declared what the Kiir government is doing is tantamount to ‘ethnic cleansing’ as particular tribes are severely targeted by the Army (SPLA) and Dinka tribal militia in the direct command of the government.

Already, since the start of this way, nearly 2 millions South Sudanese have crossed the borders as refugees fleeing from the ethnic war taking place in South Sudan).

The government of Wau Federal State in Opposition would like to ask the UN to call for urgent meeting, to discuss and to condemn the perpetration of ethnic cleansing against Fertit and Lou tribes, by Dinka militias.

Western Bahr Al Ghazal citizens around the world should be informed that their community back home, the Fertit and the Lou tribes, have been left alone by the International Community, to face the killing machine in Juba.

The International Community has been watching in silence the atrocities been committed against the Fertit and the Lou tribes by the regime of Salva Kiir Mayardit.

The government of Wau Federal State in Opposition would like to call upon all the people of Western Bahar Ghazal globally to come together, unite and help support their fellow citizens and beloved ones in the state back home.

The evil is still planning to eliminate your entire relatives from the motherland.

Major General Dominic Ukelo

Governor of Wau Federal State in opposition

South Sudan: A Country without Dignity, a Sanctuary of Corruption & untold Suffering

By: Daniel Juol Nhomngek, Kampala, Uganda, APR/04/2017, SSN;

In South Sudan, the system is rotten to the core. Corruption has eaten up everything. Money is the language of the day and no one thinks about a country called South Sudan.

Because of corruption and mismanagement, South Sudan and her people have lost their dignities as they are not respected internationally. This is why the leaders of South Sudan are given money and at the same time abused by other countries without responding to such attacks.

The clear example to support the above point is the recent remark made by Dutch Minister for International Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen, who openly abused the President, Kiir, and other leaders of South Sudan that and I quote “The leaders of South Sudan are bastards who starve their own people.”

A bastard means illegitimate child, a child born to unmarried parents. It also means illegitimacy in English law. In simple terms, it means a narcissistic and annoying Character.

Under normal circumstances where the principles of state sovereignty governing international diplomacy and relation applies, South Sudan would have broken ties with the government of the Netherlands and recalled her ambassador unless that government apologizes.

But because we are a begging and dependent nation on other countries, then we have to allow our dignity and dignity of our nation to be trampled upon by other countries without any fear of reprisal.

Hence, South Sudan is a nation sacrificed for and slaughtered at the altar of corruption. South Sudan is a nation bleeding from and facing untold suffering caused by corruption which occupies the heart of our governance system.

However, though we are abused day and night, we must be just by admitting that all our problems have their roots in the poor governance and misuse of resources by our leaders.

Hence, the Minister from Netherlands was right to call our leaders “bastards” because they have annoying character, they’re corrupt and because of that they are illegitimate as they have rebelled against the will of the citizens of South Sudan contrary to social contract as provided for under Article 9 of the Constitution.

It is important to point out that social contract as provided for under Article 9 of our constitution provides that the government of South Sudan cannot have a right to obedience from South Sudanese unless it lives in accordance with the principles of social contract. This is not the case now in South Sudan.

As we have seen today in South Sudan, the people have been abandoned by their leaders, left in the lurch and have now become beggars while the leaders are enjoying all they need in life with their children abroad.

Hence, South Sudan as a whole has lost dignity as it has now become a begging nation as described below:—
— The streets of Juba are full of the people who are forced by the conditions to become beggars. Widows and children of the Soldiers who have been killed are now begging on the streets yet those soldiers died while defending the wealth of the cliques who hold power and wealth and who maintain such wealth through blood of the innocent citizens who are trapped and killed in the rivalry caused by corruption and power struggle among these top leaders.

— Citizens are dying of poverty and hunger amidst plenty. Youth are being recruited on daily basis to defend leaders not the country. They are not defending the country because currently South Sudan has lost it vast lands to the neighboring countries, which shows that soldiers are not defending territories of the country called South Sudan.

— South Sudanese children who are in camps are being denied national examinations, which is the destruction of the future of South Sudan. For example, on March 8, 2017 as it was reported, South Sudan leaders stopped about 900 students living in the United Nations protection of civilian camps at Jebel Kujur from doing nationwide secondary school examinations (see; reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/s-sudanese-camps-halted-sitting-national-exams).

The reason for denying them examinations was that they must come out of the camps. How can a reasonable leader deny a child basic needs on such grounds?

This shows that South Sudanese leaders are not human beings but automated machines for power. If they were human beings they must have realized that denying children education is a violation of their right to education which will have negative implications on the future of South Sudan.

The action of denying children education alone shows that South Sudan is trapped in power struggle without aims and objectives. The government and the rebels are fighting for power without basis. The power with basis is the power with clear objectives and goals, which is not the case in South Sudan war. All mess in form of war is being done as motivated by corruption.

For the above reasons, it will take time for South Sudanese and South Sudan to recover from the present war. This is because the war has no aims or objectives that will guide those who are involved in war to reconstruct after the war.

However, the fact is that the present war is a war for an opportunity to dehumanize and corrupt the system to the detriments of all innocent citizens. This is why rebels and the government do not care for the welfare of the citizens who are trapped in the war.

In fact, it has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that South Sudanese leaders on both sides do not care about people but only for what benefits them. We are ruled by corruption and because of that South Sudan has become synonymous with corruption and money.

This is supported by the fact that South Sudan Central Bank has been looted and left empty because of corruption. This was confirmed by the Minister of Finance, Stephen Dhieu, who recently came forward to break the good news to the president that all money has gone without any trace and the Central Bank is now empty and a house of rats.

The overall implication is that South Sudan has become a sanctuary of corruption as corruption has permeated all offices. The clear example is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Sudan which is the corruption house.

If it were not because of corruption, how on earth can a fresh graduate from University and those who have not finished Universities be appointed ambassadors?

In addition, in the same ministry of foreign affairs, when you go you will not be surprised to get the files of some of the staff without any papers except birth certificates and recommendations from big man in the government.

In summary, the proper definition of the government of South Sudan is that it is the government of corruption, self-services, a sanctuary and a house of corruption headed by corrupt government.

Citizens are therefore advised to unite and disown the government of South Sudan unless it carries out serious reforms. If they do not give heed to this advice the country will fall apart and that will mark the end of South Sudan and all South Sudanese citizenry.

The Author is human rights lawyer and can be reached through juoldaniel@yahoo.com/+256783579256

The Devil’s Advocate: Rebels in South Sudan can win militarily

BY: Samuel Atabi, South Sudan, MAR/30/2017, SSN;

Several diplomats and key experts have one view of the civil war raging in South Sudan: No side can win the war by military means. For a young rebel recruit, this can be a devastating statement, for in taking up arms, he believes he can remove the dictatorship that is causing, in hundreds of thousands, the death, rape, displacement and suffering of South Sudanese.

A close examination of the statement, however, reveals that it is actually shorthand for a much longer one which says something like: “You South Sudanese do not have the requisite quantity and quality of armaments for a knock-out victory for one side or the other.”

True, there is parity, at least in doctrine and skills on both the rebel and government forces; after all, all of them are products of the same SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Army).

Stalemated outcomes from battlefields of the war that started in 2013, attest to this conclusion.

But the question that needs to be answered is this: “Is it always true that African rebels, fighting against an unjust government, cannot win outright militarily?”

As a Devil’s Advocate, in this instance, my answer to this question should be a resounding “NO.”

Recent history of civil wars in the region is replete with spectacular military victories against sitting, arguably, dictatorial governments. As a raft of testimonies below will show that these victories came about because the various insurgents did receive generous military support from foreign allies or sympathizers.

To avoid a convoluted recounting of these testimonies in a report format, I would rather animate the very leaders of these victorious insurgents to speak for themselves. These testimonies are based on historical facts.

I call upon President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (YKM) of the Republic of Uganda as the first witness.

YKM: “In 1981, a fascist government of Uganda, led by Milton Obote, rigged and stole a general election in which my party was poised to win. We did not take this insult lying down. I, together with others moved to the bush to start an armed struggle.

In the bush we formed a coalition called the National Resistance Movement (NRM), with its military wing named the National Resistance Army. I will spare you a lot of details.

But in five years we fought fierce battles against the government troops (the UNLA) and won. In 1986, in a final battle of Kampala, we comprehensively defeated the fascist army who retreated to the north of the country.

After forming the government, we pursued the remnants of this army, killed many of them but spared those who surrendered.

The only persistent group from this old army was the LRA (the so-called Lord’s Resistance Army), which, as I speak, we have reduced to just a dozen or so soldiers and are now hiding far away from Uganda, probably in Central African Republic.

It was not easy though. The White people (Museveni routinely utters this phrase) refused to give us arms. But my late friend, Col. Muamar Gaddafi of Libya came to our aid. We were able to arm ourselves sufficiently to face the government in Kampala.

If you have time, I can also add that we trained and armed the Rwandan Patriotic Front of Paul Kagame and others. These guys later returned to their country, Rwanda, to defeat another tribal and fascist regime there and form a government.

These two stories were straight military victories. I do not accept any crap that insurgents cannot, a priori, defeat an unpopular sitting government.”

Our next witness is Mr Meles Zanawi (RIP), Past President of Federal Republic of Ethiopia to give an account (from wherever he is) of insurgent’s victory in that ancient African country.

MZ: “We founded the Tigrean People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) around 1974. We were encouraged in this by our erstwhile comrades in the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF).

By that time, the EPLF had fought for over thirty years against the government of, first, Emperor Haile Selassie and, later, against that of Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, without success.

After studying the war situation intently, we in TPLF decided to broaden our appeal to other Ethiopian ethnic groups and formed a coalition with a multi-ethnic movement called Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF, a mouthful).

The three fronts, EPLF, TPLF and EPRDF, together mounted a decisive military campaign in the early 1990’s against Mengistu. Finally, in May 1991, the long and arduous stalemate in the war against the regime was broken.

As we were approaching Addis Ababa to wrench the power from the oppressive government, Mengistu, himself, fled the country. The date was 21 May 1991. The rest, as they say, is history.

But let me say this in conclusion: the Eritreans were able to gain their independence through this direct military defeat of the Mengistu’s regime; it was not a negotiated settlement. The same can be said of our assumption of power.

We were decisive in our victory because of arms supplies which our allies and friends gave us. These creative and deeply caring allies and friends must remain unnamed for the time being. Yes, insurgent can defeat an uncaring government through military means.”

Because of the limitation of space and time, I will not bother you with further witness testimonies. But from the stories given above, it is now abundantly clear that, insurgents, given certain circumstances and arms, can indeed achieve military victory over their governmental opponents.

Despite all these glowing testimonies, it is still important to ask whether the rebel organizations in South Sudan (now believe to be over 40) can defeat the Kiir’s tribal autocracy in Juba.

For an answer to this question, we now call upon Dr Riek Machar of the SPLA-in opposition (SPLA-IO) to give a justification why the rebels deserve military support in order to succeed like his Ugandan and Ethiopian counterparts.

RM: “I will not detain you with minutiae of the war since its eruption in 2013. But I can say this: the SPLA-IO composition, aims and strategy are constantly being reviewed in the light of lessons learnt following the violence of July 2016.

Although the number of the rebel movements is now reported to be over 40, the reality is that all of them, except very few, are aligned with SPLA-IO. Even the few ones are welcome to join us. This alignment makes our command structure and control very manageable.

In addition, politically, as some organizations such as the International Crisis Group have acknowledged, the SPLA-IO is now a truly multi-ethnic army. Our forces are now widely spread throughout South Sudan: from Equatoria, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Jonglei, and Upper Nile to Unity states.

In all, we represent all the 64 tribes of South Sudan. This contrasts sharply with the SPLA-in government (SPLA-IG) which has become a mono-ethnic monolith that is led by a President controlled by self-appointed, reactionary and tribal Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

Our aim is anchored on peaceful resolution of the conflict through the August 2015 peace agreement. Our war effort is defensive and ultimately aimed at bringing the government in Juba to a negotiating table.

From the media reports, the government has set its face against any peaceful dialogue that will include the opposition. Yet, in the meantime the SPLA-IG continues to kill civilians in thousands, rape them in thousands and send them into refuge and internal displacement by the millions.

Furthermore, reports of the government concluding military alliances against our forces are increasing on daily basis. In the face of this intransigence, on the part of the government, what are we in the opposition to do?

We believe that the people of South Sudan are entitled to self-defense against the brutal Kiir regime in Juba. That is why we now appeal to all peace loving governments and people to support us with arms to resist and eventually force the government to the negotiating table.

We need field guns, assault rifles, heavy and light machine guns, rockets, anti-tanks, shoulder-held anti-aircrafts and others. Yes, we need the famous Stinger anti-aircraft missiles for defense against the mercenary-operated Juba regime’s aircraft and helicopter gunships. (We understand the unease of supplying the Stingers to rebel forces such as the Afghan anti-Soviet forces that later passed them on to the Al Qaeda for use against the US forces . We are not terrorists neither are we anti-Americans).

Additional to our self-defense needs, the military hardware will assist us to degrade the forces of Juba with their allies should there be a need for prior military action before an international force or any interim trustee government is deployed or installed in Juba. (We are open to persuasion about these issues).

UNMISS, the UN forces in South Sudan, are reluctant to engage militarily with the SPLA-IG despite their wide-ranging and robust mandate.

I will conclude by reminding the international community that, in the past, appeasement of a determined genocidal regime such as that of Hitler’s had led to the death of millions of Europeans and Jews.

Kiir’s regime is equally determined and genocidal. To avoid a similar fate for our people, the removal of the regime requires the use of military means.

Like Churchill’s appeal to the Americans during the Second World War, we in South Sudan ask you to “give us the tools and we will do the fighting”. You know where to get me and I will be waiting for your call.

Samuel Atabi is the Devil’s Advocate; all the words are his and can be reached at samuelatabi@gmail.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What really went wrong in South Sudan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What could be done to save the remaining lives?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In conclusion

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

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

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

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

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