Category: Politics

The revitalized ARCISS … What next after the peace celebration in Juba?

BY: Dr. Peter Adwok Nyaba, Professor, politician, minister and opposition member, OCT/29/2018, SSN,;

This is a pertinent question to the South Sudanese leaders both in the government and in opposition as well as to those standing on the side lines. I take this question from what Prof. Jok Madut said on his Facebook page on 27 October, 2018.

It was about celebrating the revitalized peace agreement before the parties started the actual implementation. His concern that “celebrating now is to isolate the leadership from the people, to show that leaders only think of appeasing each other and nothing else.” I would wish that they only appeased each other but left the people in peace and in one piece.

I am puzzled more when different at cross purpose messages emanate from Juba. The government is saying one thing but the zealots in the SPLM are saying something different in the peace rallies they are conducting in the suburbs of Juba in the name of what they categorize as ‘sensitizing the people about the R-ARCISS.’

I would prefer to call it conscientization than sensitization. However, this is besides the message I wanted to deliver.

We are in the second month of the pre-transitional period to prepare the country for the transitional period, which begins in earnest on 12 April 2019. During this time, the parties should put in place the institutions and instruments of governance during the three-year transitional period.

The celebration of the revitalized agreement takes place while violations to the provisions are taking place that raised suspicion and reluctance by some leaders of the opposition to go to Juba.

Mind you, President Bashir will have to assure the safety of Dr. Riek Machar and other opposition leaders in Khartoum who will accompany him to Juba.

I believe the pre-transitional period is time to build trust and confidence between the South Sudan political leaders bitter contesting of the country’s leadership. The celebration in Juba should be the start of serious national dialogue among the political leaders since they have already agreed on how to share power.

By national dialogue I don’t mean negotiations; rather I am talking about a political discourse to have a scientific and correct understanding of the fundamental problem of the people of South Sudan.

I come from the political school or thought which attributes the social, economic and political crises afflicting South Sudan and its people in their social formations is NOT power but poverty and ignorance consequent to their socioeconomic and cultural underdevelopment.

All other contradictions like ethnic nationalism, corruption, insecurity, conflicts are secondary or offshoots of poverty and ignorance.

No doubt, had the South Sudan political leadership known this fundamental truth they would not have unleashed the civil war. It is therefore important that the leaders take time to study the situation and understand it well.

I would call on President Salva Kiir Mayardit to take the initiative commensurate with his statement that he has forgiven all and sunder including those who have been writing about him and his government.

He is the president of the country and therefore has all the power and authority to call the leaders of the opposition, including those who rejected the revitalized agreement, to a meeting to workshop and problematize the fundamental problem of South Sudan.

The objective of such a meeting would be to come up with a political program or plan in the social, economic and political domains, which the revitalized transitional government of national unity (R-TGONU) would implement during the three-year transition period.

The R-TGONU should really be an expression of unity of purpose translating into reality our people’s desire and yearning for peace.

It should really be a genuine and a patriotic effort to put South Sudan back on its feet in the manner we struggled for liberation and its independence. South Sudan cannot afford again to waste away and remain the sick man of Africa.

We have seen in the countries of the region, to which many of our people are refugees, that leaders are working hard to compensate for lost time and development opportunities.

Therefore, President Kiir’s reasons for convening this leadership workshop is to prepare a transitional government that will deliver on something he and other leaders have agreed on.

This means that the R-TGONU he will commission on 12 April 2019 will be a government with a plan of action and this will determine those who will be appointed to serve in those portfolios. It can’t be any other way.

The leaders of the opposition have a duty and responsibility to ensure the successful implementation of the R-ARCISS. Therefore, the question, what next? is addressed equally to the opposition leaders.

To appreciate its depth significance requires a change of attitude and a shift in political thinking. We can’t force President Kiir to change his attitude without a corresponding transformation on the other side.

The destruction that has afflicted the nation is a shared responsibility particularly for many of us who were in the SPLM/A and its splinter variants.

In conclusion, South Sudan is bigger than any individual, group of individuals or any single ethnicity.

For those who strive for power, let us think critically and strategically how power could be used to serve the people than personal or ethnic ambition.

Losing or not being in a position of authority is not in itself a limit situation. The most critical factors in the struggle for power and leadership are civility, ideology or knowledge and organization. END

The author is a prominent South Sudanese academic and politician.

The Consequences of Failing to Implement R_ARCSS

BY: Dominic Ukelo, South Sudan, OCT/27/2018, SSN;

Until recently, International Community focused its attention on the negotiation of peace agreements to resolve conflicts in the Republic of South Sudan and paid little attention to effective implementation process.

Unfortunately, during the last decades it has been proven that insufficiency in implementation of agreements has led to a serious consequences of failure to achieve a sustainable peace in the country.

The notion that a contract or an agreement between state and armed opposition parties would remain binding in the post-agreement phase, has been dishonest.

The reality revealed that, in the 1980s and 1990s, a just negotiated agreements in such countries as Angola, Cambodia, and Liberia collapsed and resulted in new deadly violence.

In fact, in some cases more blood was shed after failure to implement a peace accord than before the peace negotiations began.

Suspicions of implementation of any agreement in the Republic of South Sudan has been shadowed constantly.

Some of the factors that led to this shadow of failing to implement peace agreements in the country are lack of political will or seriousness to implement an agreement, security dilemmas of the warring parties, inadequate international involvement, the presence of spoilers whose commitment to peace is only tactical, vague, incomplete, or expedient peace agreements, and the lack of coordination among implementing agencies.

Such elements are merely a first step to understanding the problem of implementation in the country.

As of yet there has not been systematic, rigorous empirical examination of these factors.

And even if such explanations offer general insight into the problems of implementation, there is a need to develop policy-relevant strategies to overcome the reasons for failure to implement any peace agreement.

However, after the succesful implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement CPA in 9th January 2005, the government under leadership of President Salva Kiir Myardit, has been blamed for falling short of implementing any agreements between the state and the opposition parties.

Even when a settlement is negotiated and agreed as of ARCSS in 17 August 2015, a simplistic and a short term view of how to implement an agreement has undermined success of the agreement in the Republic of South Sudan.

The government of the country under leadership of president Salva Kiir Myardit, continuously assuming incorrectly that the government can achieve peace and therefore stabilize the economy, after outright military victory.

Unfortunately, the government could not discover in conflict after another that, even if it succeeded, winning the war militarily would bring a sustainable peace in the Republic of South Sudan.

Only peaceful resolution and effective implementation of an agreement remains a fundamental aspect of resolving any conflict in the Republic of South Sudan.

Moreover, critical factors of successful peace implementation in the Republic of South Sudan are demobilisation, disarmament of civilians armed by the Juba regime, and restructure of armed forces to be a national army.

The absence of these factors allows for a continuation of conflict.

Dominic Ukelo
26 October 2018

South Sudan opposition Machar’s forces sexually abused women, girls in latest violence: UN

WARNING: This story contains disturbing and graphic details
The Associated Press, Oct/18/2018, SSN;

While the UN has previously detailed abuses by the South Sudanese government, Thursday’s report focused on troops loyal to Machar. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters)

South Sudan’s armed opposition abducted women and girls as young as 12 and lined them up so commanders could choose “wives,” and those not selected were left to be raped repeatedly by other fighters, a new UN report said Thursday.

The report, based on victim and witness accounts, gives new details on the surge in violence and abuses that occurred even as South Sudan’s rivals negotiated the latest agreement to end a five-year civil war.

“Most of the abducted civilians are, as far as we know, still being held captive,” new UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said in a statement.

South Sudan civil war has caused 400,000 ‘excess deaths,’ report says
South Sudan reaches peace deal with rebels.

The report focuses on the Western Equatoria region between April and August, saying 900 people were abducted and some 24,000 people forced to flee their homes as fighting surged after months of relative calm.

It says opposition forces attacked at least 28 villages and a refugee camp, and abducted young men and boys were made to be fighters or porters.

One survivor said she was “tied to a tree and raped by two fighters until she passed out due to pain and bleeding. When she regained consciousness, she was threatened with rape again.”

Hundreds of thousands killed:

While the report also notes “harm to civilians” by South Sudanese troops, it focuses on the armed opposition led by Riek Machar.

It notes that the human rights division of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan has identified three opposition commanders “who allegedly had effective command and control of the forces committing these abuses, which may amount to war crimes.” The report does not name them.

The armed opposition “doesn’t have a policy of harassment towards civilians,” spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel told The Associated Press. “Our duty as a movement is to protect civilians and their properties at all times.”

This is just the latest in a series of reports by the UN and others that have described civilians being raped, shot, hung, tortured and burned.

Often the reports say South Sudanese government troops are largely to blame but opposition forces also have been accused.

More recently, the UN says at least 900 people were abducted between April and August.

South Sudan’s latest attempt at a peace deal returns Machar once again to his post as deputy to President Salva Kiir, an arrangement that more than once has led to deadly violence.

The civil war erupted in late 2013, just two years after the world’s youngest country won independence from Sudan, when fighting broke out between supporters of Kiir and Machar largely along ethnic lines.

A report last month estimated that the civil war has caused more than 380,000 deaths either through violence or disease as humanitarian efforts struggle in what has been called the world’s most dangerous country for aid workers.

“The abuses in the UN report are horrendous and stress the devastating impact that the continued impunity by forces has had on civilians, especially women and girls,” Nyagoah Pur, a researcher in the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, told the AP, calling for the speedy establishment of a long-promised hybrid court in South Sudan to prosecute abuses. END

From the people of South Sudan to American Ambassador Nikki Haley: An open appeal for urgent action against Mr. Ashraf Al Cardinal, the icon of corruption in South Sudan

OCT/07/2018, SSN;

The people of South Sudan would like to commend your sustained efforts to end their suffering and bring about a lasting peace that will set their hard-won country on the right path of stability and progress.

We are particularly pleased that despite your extensive global responsibilities, you have remained seized on the issue of South Sudan, thanks to your first-hand experience during your historic visit to the country a couple of years ago.

Excellency, Last month, you authored an article titled: Combating Corruption is about ensuring peace and Security, which was published widely in the media on September 9th, 2018.

In that piece, you clearly showed how corruption in Tunisia triggered a revolution against “a dictator who treated his country’s treasury like his own personal bank account.”

And if the world has known a country ruled by a dictator who “treated his country’s treasury like his own personal bank account”, it is yet to learn about a country called South Sudan that is being ruled by a brutal plutocracy – one that consists of both local and international thugs.

The modus operandi of this plutocracy is state-hijacking, possessing and extracting of oil resources to the exclusion of its people.

Here are two examples, among others, of what they do:

1. In July 2018 in a letter addressed to General Manager of Commercial Bank International (CBI PJSC), dated 25th, July 2018, the plutocracy made “a confirmed irrevocable commitment” to pay USD 299,614,428 (two hundred ninety nine millions plus) to Mr. Ashraf Sidahmed Al Cardinal.

According to the letter, which is enclosed herewith, the payment is against “good and services” which will be supplied. The first installment of USD 50,000,000 was paid in August 1, 2018 to the following account:

Account Name: Commercial Bank International
Account No: 2000193002007
Bank Name: Wells Fargo Bank (A major American Bank)
Swift Code: PNBPUS3NNYC.

The truth is that there are neither “goods nor services” to be supplied. These are just phantom “goods and services” and there is nothing surprising about such charade.

However, what the people of South Sudan find to be stunning is the fact that billions of dollars continue to be siphoned over the years from South Sudan under the watch of their greatest friend and ally, the United States of America.

2. As you were busy in September convening the first ever Security Council meeting on corruption and its consequences for conflict around the world, the man that reigns supreme in South Sudan, Mr. Ashraf Al Cardinal, was busy, too, brokering a USD 2.9 billion deal between South Sudan and his native country the Sudan.

This time, the racketeering was under the name of compensating Sudan for damages incurred during the brief capture of Heglig by South Sudan.

As it will be recalled, the Oil-rich Heglig is a South Sudanese territory but was used by Sudan as a rear base for South Sudanese rebels frequently attacking Unity State of South Sudan.

When these rebels were repulsed and pursued to their base, leading to the capture of Heglig by South Sudan in 2012, Sudan feigned victim-hood, and the Obama Administration bought that false claim.

South Sudan was then bullied and labeled as the aggressor and was forced out of Heglig. Sudan retook the town and now claims to have incurred losses in “its oil installations.”

In the midst of peace talks and confusion in Khartoum last month, and despite fierce opposition from South Sudanese officials, Ashraf Al Cardinal went ahead and brokered a secret deal that would now settle the dispute to the tune of USD 2.6 billion in favor of Sudan, of which he will get a 10% share, amounting to USD 250 million.

Uganda’s president Museveni will get a similar amount for “protecting South Sudan,” while the rest of the amount will accrue to Sudan with a tiny portion going to the South Sudanese side of the plutocracy.

The people of South Sudan will get, not roads, not schools, not hospitals, not medicines and not electricity but death and only soft death in the form of polluted land and water resulting from the brutal extraction of their oil and minerals.

Poor South Sudan, whose oil installations in Unity State including the only oil refinery were destroyed by the Sudanese sponsored warlords, will get nothing in compensation.

Instead, it will pay an exorbitant USD 2.6 billion for oil installations that were built by the Chinese for USD 600 million and paid for from South Sudan’s own cost oil!

Excellency, You correctly said in your article that combating corruption is not just about good governance; it is about maintaining peace and security.

You further added that the United States, as a country that leads the way in uncovering corrupt networks and holding those responsible to account, wants to ensure that corruption gets the attention it deserves.

Consistent with this line, and in order for peace to prevail in South Sudan, a demonstrable action against corruption needs to be taken. This demonstrable action must involve sanctioning and freezing the accounts of Ashraf Al Cardinal who is a major peace spoiler in South Sudan.

As we write, South Sudan is literally cash-strapped, with oil lifting schedules booked for Ashraf till February 2019.

This means the Government will fail to pay the civil servants who had already gone for months without salaries. And since the Troika countries are not going to provide funds for the recently signed Revitalized Peace Agreement, the already fragile peace might collapse because South Sudan’s money had gone to one man called Ashraf Al Cardinal.

Under such grave circumstances, the United States is the only force on earth that can stop Ashraf from softly exterminating the people of Sudan.

His bank accounts in ABN AMRO of Holland, CBI PJSC of Dubai and Wells Fargo Bank of the United States must be frozen. His assets in England, France, Holland and Dubai must be frozen.

There is no country in the world where one man, and a foreigner for that matter, sets out to harbor over $2 billion in European and American banks, secures more oil cargoes to the tune of 300 million, gets a commission of $250 million in racketeering business, and yet continues to walk free.

Sanctioning Ashraf will send a message to his co-plutocracies in South Sudan that there will be no safe haven for the loot.

The people of South Sudan have great confidence that you and your colleagues in the US Treasury Department will not let them down and that you will make good of your solemn promise of ‘uncovering corrupt networks and holding those responsible accountable.”
—————————————

Attached is copy of letter from South Sudan Ministry of Finance and planning:

———- Republic of South Sudan ————–
Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFP)
Ref: MF&P/RSS/J20-D-1 Date: 25th July 2018

The General Manager,
Commercial Bank International PJSC
Festival City Branch, P.O. Box 4449,
Dubai Festival City Mall Crescent Drive,
Umm Ramool, Al Gharhoud,
Dubai, UAE

Subject:

    CONFIRMED IRREVOCABLE COMMITMENT LETTER OF USD: 299,614,428

ALCARDINAL INVESTMENT LLC was contracted by the Government of the Republic of South to supply goods and services to the Government of South Sudan to the value of USD 299,614,428 (Two Hundred Ninety Nine Million, Six Hundred Fourteen Thousand Four Hundred Two Eight US Dollars).

In this irrevocable letter, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning confirm the commitment to pay:-

1. USD 50,000,000 (Only Fifty Million Dollars) in 10 (ten) days starting from the 1st. of August 2018.

2. USD 20,000,000 (Only Twenty Million Dollars) monthly from October 2018 to August 2019.

The Revitalized Peace in South Sudan: The Fruits of IGAD Mediation

BY: Malith Kur, Student at McGill University, Canada, OCT/04/2018, SSN;

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, has proven to the world that Africans can solve African political problems. The role that IGAD has played in South Sudan beginning with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Naivasha in 2005, which resulted in the emergence of South Sudan in 2011 as a sovereign nation, stands tall in this regard.

Again, when naïve political violence erupted in South Sudan in late 2013, IGAD, with the blessing of the African Union (AU), resolved to lead the initiative to restore peace in the country.

Such efforts culminated in the signing in 2015 of the Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

Despite IGAD’s rigorous diplomatic engagement with the conflicting parties, the ARCSS failed to cement peace in South Sudan because of its design, which established two parallel governments in the country.

South Sudanese cannot blame IGAD for the design of the ARCSS but Troika nations (the US, UK, and Norway). The Troika nations funded the peace process and so, had a greater say on its design.

They supported the existence of two hostile armies in the country—one commanded by Salva Kiir and the other by Riek Machar.

Their hostility to each other led to the failure of the peace process in July 2016 when the clashes occurred at the statehouse in Juba.

The ARCSS failed, but IGAD has continued to encourage the rebels and the government to pursue a peaceful end to the conflict through the revitalization and revision of the ARCSS.

South Sudanese commend IGAD for its consistent attempts to deal with South Sudan’s complex political issues.

Indeed, the government and most members of the South Sudan Opposition alliance (SSOA) represented at the IGAD sponsored peace process have signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018 the revised agreement to end the violence in the country.

However, some groups within the SSOA have rejected the revitalized peace agreement.

They claim that the deal has not addressed the issues related to the number of states, communal or tribal boundaries, and federalism. They are also demanding a lean government.

They want IGAD to solve those issues; however, it is unrealistic for South Sudanese to expect that all solutions to their problems will often come from IGAD.

In principle, South Sudanese do not necessarily oppose the demands that some opposition groups have voiced. They oppose any attempt that makes achieving peace in the country contingent on those demands.

The question of ethnic boundaries or number of states in the country cannot be resolved through political resolutions coming from political parties alone much less IGAD’s decision.

They are issues of local concern that require the local solutions.

Hence, a comprehensive peace must first prevail in the country so that all South Sudanese could have the opportunity to address those issues.

Number of States and Ethnic Boundaries:

The number of states in South Sudan is a temporary matter. It is not that important to stop some opposition groups from signing the revitalized peace agreement.

We know why people ask for more states in the country. They do not ask for the creation of new states to expand tribal borders.

What drives the demand for more states is the false assumption that the establishment of a new administrative unit allows the federal government in Juba to channel more funds to that region.

Hence, the problem is neither the number of states in the country nor the boundaries of ethnic communities.

The problem is a wrong perception that the creation of a new state brings more opportunities for communities in that location to receive more support from the central government.

Politicians including the opponents of the government know that creating more states in South Sudan does not facilitate development but expands the government.

They understand that the country does not have enough resources to sustain paying an increasing number of government officials. That is the problem associated with the creation of more states in South Sudan.

We know it, but it does not warrant the continuation of violence. It requires public awareness.

Once South Sudanese understand that the more states they have, the less development they get out of them, they will be the ones to choose the right formula for establishing the number of states in the country.

Thus, the opposition groups that have rejected the revised accord because of the creation of 32 states do not have any argument to make to keep the country in the state of war.

Therefore, IGAD made the right decision by supporting the proposed referendum during the interim period to determine the number of states in the country.

Federalism:

The IGAD sponsored peace process is not the right forum where South Sudanese would judge whether the current system they have in the country is good or bad.

The configuration of the current national system is an integral part of the development of the permanent constitution.

South Sudanese should embark on the process of developing a permanent constitution in a peaceful environment.

It depends on how one understands a federal system; otherwise, South Sudan is in principle a federal state.

However, South Sudanese can peacefully review the current system if whether it meets their needs or not.

The first step is to end the war for the current violent situation in the country cannot allow for the proper process of constitutional development that defines clear boundaries between the federal government and state governments.

South Sudanese need peace to participate in the constitutional making process. That is the better way for them to be the authors of a federal system they want.

The impulse behind the demand for a so-called strong federal system by Thomas Chirilo— the leader of National Salvation Front (NAS) and his constituents based in the USA, UK, and Australia— is Kokora (a system that aims at drawing hard borders between ethnic communities in the country).

Jaafar Numeri, the former president of Sudan, introduced Kokora in the 1980s when he divided the then Southern Sudan into three regions at the demand of his political allies in Equatoria region.

It was a political strategy to weaken the unity of Southern Sudanese.

At this time, however, South Sudanese do not need to be coerced into establishing a system of governance that will curtail their freedom to move, live, and work anywhere they want in their homeland.

All they need is to be allowed to use the fruits of IGAD mediation to strengthen peace and freedom in the country. End

Malith Kur is a South Sudanese peace activist and student at McGill University, Montreal. He can be reached @ malith_kur@yahoo.ca.

A “Political Tsunami” hits the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA)

BY: Dr Lako Jada Kwajok, South Sudan, SEPT/28/2018, SSN;

For almost a year, the “storm” was slowly gathering on the horizon even before the existence of SSOA. The elements of such an eventuality (divisions) were all over the place as early as the time of the Nyahururu meetings.

The subtle telltale signs were there to be picked up by those who correctly analysed the events in the political space. They didn’t escape the notice of sharp observers.

SSOA is an anomalous body with members bound loosely together against the regime in Juba. Right from the start, there was widespread skepticism among some intellectual circles about the future of the alliance. It stems from the fact that SSOA is a mixed bag of political entities whereby you find opposing objectives.

On the one hand, there are those who want a regime change as the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party has utterly failed. On the other hand, you have those affiliated with the SPLM who are for SPLM reunification but in a new outfit.

So, how do you marry these two distinct positions and remain united in an alliance? Of course, there are the opportunists in their midst, who are merely looking for jobs and personal gains.

The fragility of the coalition was displayed on numerous occasions by plenty of political maneuvering, back and forth relations, and the unique status of one organisation where it’s part of the government while maintaining its membership in SSOA at the same time.

These are the anomalies that I referred to earlier.

On September 13, 2018, a group of members of SSOA issued a joint statement distancing themselves from the signed revitalized peace agreement saying that it’s unsustainable.

The group included the National Salvation Front (NAS), the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), the Former Political Detainees (FPDs) Chairman, Ambassador Emmanuel Aban signing for the National Democratic Movement (NDM), and the United Democratic Republic Alliance (UDRA).

The group pointed out the fact that the agreement fell short of addressing the root causes of the conflict and maintains the status quo.

Among the grievances enumerated by the group were the omission of federalism, maintenance of the 32 states, and departure from the principle of having a lean government.

They further expressed their dismay for the signing of the revitalized peace agreement by a group within SSOA. They did refer to the collective negotiation position that was developed during the preliminary stages of the High-Level Revitalisation Forum (HLRF) summarised in 10 points.

The following are some of the positions agreed upon:

1. The state of emergency shall be lifted upon signing of the agreement.

2. The country shall adopt a FEDERAL system of governance during the transitional period through the effective division of powers and resources among the federal, state, and local government.

3. Annulment of the thirty-two (32) States and revert to the (10) as stipulated in the TCRSS 2011 and ARCSS 2015. In addition to the two (2) administrative areas of Pibor and Abyei.

4. President Kiir shall NOT lead the Transitional Government because of his successive violations of ARCSS and its eventual abrogation.

5. Dissolution and reconstitution of all institutions of government.

It’s evident that the signed revitalized peace agreement is nowhere close to addressing any of the above fundamental issues. The reservations of the group that signed the deal should duly emanate from the positions above. They said they signed the agreement because their reservations were met.

The agreement text, however, lacks evidence to support their claim. No amendments or modifications were made to the final deal in Addis Ababa. It appears the IGAD Heads of State and Government never paid any attention to the reservations.

Some are trying to find excuses by saying that in a negotiation you don’t get everything you want. That’s very true, but by the same token, your opponent doesn’t get everything he or she desires.

By the looks of things, the government got everything it stood for while those who signed the deal came back empty-handed. Well, not entirely accurate as the agreement awarded them positions at the expense of the South Sudanese people.

For the first time in history, we got a government with 5 Vice Presidents. China with its 1.411 billion souls does not have a Vice President; only a President and a Premier. I got the feeling that we are being ridiculed across the globe.

The press release of the dissenting group within SSOA seems to have infuriated the Khartoum group that signed the agreement. It responded with a statement of its own giving the impression that the time of niceties and cordial treats is over.

But it was outrageous to accuse their previous colleagues, and now probably adversaries, of forgery by using SSOA’s logo on their press statement. They well know that SSOA belongs to all of them and there is no way that any group could claim that it belongs to it solely.

If at all there’s forgery, then it would be the signing of the revitalised peace agreement because SSOA’s charter obligates the interim Chairman to obtain a consensus before signing any deal.

The statement is also misleading as it implies that all the members were on the same page in private although the other group was saying something different publicly.

The public has seen correspondences from NAS and PDM leaderships instructing the Interim Chairman not to initial or sign the agreement on behalf of SSOA, but every member could do so individually.

But the Interim Chairman, Mr Gabriel Changson, chose to ignore the legitimate rights of his colleagues and signed the deal. His act was unwarranted and amounts to what they are accusing their colleagues to have done.

But what I find as the audacity of the highest order is to accuse their colleagues of running away from Khartoum when things got tough.

Among those who left Khartoum, was a certain General who fought numerous battles during the liberation war. He led the SPLA to capture Kassala in the North and Yei in the South.

Now, how dare people who never experienced battlefield environment, where life could be lost in the blink of an eye, doubt the bravery of one of our heroes?!

Moreover, almost all the groups that signed the agreement reside in Khartoum. Why do they want others to hang around and be humbled?!

Such rhetoric is more damaging to the credibility of the politicians who indulge in it. It’s no longer a secret that the mediation team in Khartoum used coercion, intimidation, and obtained signatures from the opposition under duress.

Those who left Khartoum must have thought of avoiding being humiliated. The Khartoum group concluded its statement by saying that it forgives the other groups and extends an olive branch for them to come back to SSOA’s fold.

Well, the other group doesn’t think it ever left SSOA and says the Khartoum group has been compromised.

To that Ambassador Emmanuel Aban, the NDM Spokesman responded on Radio Tamazuj that the NDM under Dr Lam Akol abandoned its principles and objectives. That he and other NDM leaders would continue the struggle till fulfilment of the goals that led to the establishment of the Movement.

And before the “storm” could downgrade or settle down, we were confronted with yet another one albeit very devastating.

The South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) leadership decided to sack its Chairman, former Governor of Western Equatoria State, Joseph Bakasoro, for signing the revitalised peace agreement.

They have elevated his deputy Dr Vakindi Unvu as Interim Chairman while Kwaje Lasu, and General Abraham Wani remained in their positions as Secretary-General and Chief of Staff respectively.

Even the Federal Democratic Party (FDP) of Gabriel Changson was not spared of divisions. Some of the members tended their resignations over party stance and conduct of business.

It’s only a few weeks ago that Dr Lam Akol and former Governor Joseph Bakasoro went to the media separately declaring that they were in the process of reconciling NAS with the splinter group that broke away from it.

Well, whether those endeavours were genuine or not, they would have been more useful if directed to the right place. Few would miss the analogy of someone rushing to put out a fire in someone else’s house while leaving his home ablaze.

As it stands, the future of SSOA remains in limbo. Gabriel Changson mandate as Interim Chairman expired last month. The Secretary-General, Kwaje Lasu is with the other group.

The situation is one of stagnation because SSOA’s charter requires unanimity in any decision-making process. They never foresaw that such a situation would ever arise.

It wouldn’t have occurred had the Khartoum group not foregone the 10-points collective position.

For example, the Interim Chairman’s term in office cannot be extended nor can a new Interim Chairman be elected. The same applies to the Secretary-General.

SSOA is effectively non-functional as any decision by any of the two groups will not be recognised by the other.

The way forward would have been for both groups to come together and reconcile. It’s not going to happen because the issues that caused the division are irreconcilable.

The Khartoum group has opted for more of the same while those who refused the agreement chose to struggle for realising a real change to the current situation in the country.

The Khartoum group could abruptly disappear if the deal gets implemented and they join the government in Juba. In that case, the group that did not sign the agreement would have the name SSOA all by itself.

But should the deal not get implemented, gets abrogated or war breaks out, then the Khartoum group would find itself in a very embarrassing situation.

Nobody apart from our enemies likes or promotes divisions within SSOA. Unity on a robust platform for the greater good of the people should be what binds the opposition.

Three observations emerged in the aftermath of SSOA’s debacle:

Firstly, SSOA lacks cohesion regarding political objectives. I am not 100% sure that all members want the SPLM party to be removed from power. There are those who want to go back to their previous positions. Therefore, a break up that results in a more cohesive group is not a bad thing.

Secondly, for the first time, and in the open, we saw national matters eclipsing family ties and tribal belonging. I would not mention names for privacy, but it’s a positive development. It tells us that there is still hope to rescue South Sudan from its current predicament.

Thirdly, the politicians from the younger generation seem to be more confident, assertive and command more popularity than those from the older generation. They bring into the political discourse contemporary ideas, knowledge, vigor, and even experience.

Perhaps, it’s time for the old guards to retire and give space to the younger generation.

Dr Lako Jada Kwajok

Pragmatic Patriarchy of the Sudan Over South Sudan

BY: James Okuk, PhD, Professor, University of Juba, South Sudan, SEPT/23/2018, SSN;

“We honor the human capacity to manage our collective lives with peace and even, at times, dignity” – Barbour & Wright

The political process of the Sudan and South Sudan has largely been determined by shifting situations of war and peace, traceable to the history of the entry of Arabs into the Sudan as legitimized by the Baqt (652 – 1323 AD). That treaty spelt out the patriarchal soft invasion, free movement and safe residence of Arabs under guise of trade—using Nile Valley, Route Forty of Sahara Desert, Mediterranean-Transatlantic Maritime Routes and Red Sea-Indian Ocean Routes with connection to Asian Silk and Belt Roads. It obliged the indigenous African natives to cease raids on the entering Arabs (Jellaba) in return of guaranteeing them the Peace of God and blessings of Prophet Mohamed. The local inhabitants had to build mosques, pay annual tribute of 300 slaves and deport fugitives or opposition elements back to the Arab Umayyad Dynasty in Egypt.

While the Land of Cush was grappling with effects of the unfair Baqt, the Treaty of Westphalia (1648 AD) was already marking a critical juncture of political secularism as sanctified by equal freedom of the powerful sovereign nations with ‘pecking-order’ for the less powerful ones. Within the trends of the nation state, Thomas Hobbes endorsed the idea of patriarchal authority in the Leviathan (1651) where he argued for necessity of absolute sovereign to enforce security and peace, to prevent “war of all against all”, and to avoid subjecting the citizens to “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short” living. Also Sir Robert Filmer promoted similar thinking in the Patriarcha (1653) where he defended “divine right”of kings in the exercise of authority. But James Tyrrell wrote Patriarcha Non Monarcha (1681), John Locke wrote Two Treatises of Government (1689) and Algernon Sidney wrote Discourses Concerning Government (1698) to rebut the “divine right” theory. Their argument centered on the “natural right” and the “social contract” theories for justifying the legitimacy of any government.

I – TRACING PATRIARCHAL TRENDS IN ORIGINS OF SUDANESE STATE

Comparatively, the Sudan has been a patriarchal country since the time it was founded by Albanian-born Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1821 with objectives of extracting valuable resources (e.g., gold, ivory, ebony, ostrich feathers and strong black slaves) and expanding his political adventure internationally. Southern Sudan was laid loose when the Turkish Naval Officer, Captain Salim Pasha, crossed the tough mosquito zone of Sudd Region in 1841 to establish resources hunting posts along the Nile—Tawfiqia, Gondokoro, Rejaf, Nimule. Muhammad Ali’s successor, Khedive Ismail Ibrahim Pasha (1830 – 1895), tried to mend the sour relations of his patriarchal rule in the Sudan, especially with the ‘virgin tribes’ in Southern Sudan and Nuba Mountains who had been hunted intensely for slave trade since the Baqt era. He commissioned some European adventurers as military governors over there to help him in implementing the Anglo-Egyptian Slave Trade Convention (1877) and the Congo Act (1885)—freedom of navigation and commerce, notification in advance when appropriating newly scrambled territories for colony and suppressing slave trade.

Though the Mahdiyya uprisings (1881 – 1898) crushed the Turko-Egyptian Rule under Governor Charles Gordon Pasha in Khartoum (1885), Khalifa Abdullah al-Taishi’s Rule became marred with despotism as it regenerated into slave trade regime with forced islamization in Upper Nile, Bahr el Ghazal and Lado Enclave. The Shilluk and Azande Kingdoms were left with no option but to resist fiercely the deviated Mahdiyya Darvishes in their unethical rule. The French Congo-Nile Mission under command of Captain Jean-Baptiste Marchand found it receptive to advance into the Nile Watershed from Western Africa in 1896, defeating Mahdiyya and declaring Shilluk Kingdom as one of the French Protectorate in Africa but with autonomy to pursue its interests collaboratively.

The British had to send General Herbert Kitchener to Sudan in 1898 with heavy expedition to conquer it from Mahdiyya, to expel the French colonialists (“Fashoda Syndrome”), and to establish Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Rule (1899). Although the British Consul-General in Egypt, Lord Cromer, regarded Southern Sudan as a useless large tract of valueless land whose tribes were difficult and costly to govern fruitfully, the subsequent British Governors-General in Khartoum proceeded to apply multiple strategies—Punitive Military Patrols, Bribery Gifts to Strong Chiefs, Divide-and-Rule Rivaling, Locational Facial Identification, Closed District Ordinances, Passports and Permits Ordinances, Trade Permit Orders, Vernacular Languages and Structural Self-contained Customary Tribal Local Units with foreign Church missionaries allowed to provide catechetical services and limited literacy.

The World War I (1914 – 1918) and politics of the League of Nations; the invasion of Eritrea by Italy in 1935 and encroachment on eastern Sudan; the rapprochement of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty (1936); the pressure by Northern Graduates General Congress to be involved in government with advocacy for lifting the restrictive British policies on Southern Sudan; the World War II (1939 – 1945) and politics of the United Nations; the formation of Northern Sudan Advisory Council in 1942 to bring the Sudanese elites closer to corridors of Condominium Rule; the enactment of Local Councils Ordinances in 1943 with ‘safeguards’ by the British for the uniqueness of Southern Sudan; and the Unilateral Declaration by the Penultimate King Farouk of Egypt for recognition as the Monarch of both Egypt and the Sudan, all these political developments shifted the paradigm and moved the British authorities to rethink their colonial neglect of Southern Sudan. They decided to empower the local population to stand united as unique Negroid African entity in case they got attached to Northern Sudan and Middle East, became annexed to East Africa, or remained autonomous and independent nation.

II – LEGACY OF COLONIAL TRANSITIONAL GEOPOLITICS

Unfortunately, London-Cairo-Khartoum geopolitics betrayed the expectations of Southern Sudanese for self-rule. London preferred appeasing the traditional elites in Khartoum to strike a blow on Cairo. The Egyptian Information Minister, Salah Salim who served under the Junta of Mohamed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser, shuttled frequently to Southern Sudan to promote the unity of the Nile Valley and sabotage ‘Sudanization’ of the Sudan. The Thirteen-Man Committee (chaired by Justice Stanley Baker and with Buth Diu as the only member from Southern Sudan) drafted the Sudan Self-government Statute without consideration for special status of Southern Sudan. Northern Islamist Parties (patronized by Khatimya Leader Ali al-Mirghni and Ansars Leader Abdel Rahman al-Mahdi) spat on the face of Southerners by excluding them from the negotiations on the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium exit from the Sudan on justification that the South had no political parties or matured leaders to represent it independently without Northern patriarchy.

The tense situation of the pre-independence of the Sudan in 1955 spiked the Nzara and Yambio riots, followed by Torit mutiny of Equatoria Corp and wider unrest in different parts of Southern Sudan. Khartoum blamed the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium policies of isolation, mistrust and bitterness of Southerners against the Jellaba’s ancestral involvement in slave trade. Also miscommunication, rumors, propaganda, underdevelopment, illiteracy, ignorance and backwardness were identified to be the fuelers of the unrest. The Stanley Baker’s Self-government Statute was converted into Transitional Constitution of the Sudan (1956) but without ‘due consideration’ for autonomous government (federalism) as demanded by Southerners to preserve their multi-cultural, multi-customs, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tribal societies. Nothing much was done by the succeeding ‘Sudanized’ government to implement the feasibility studies for big developmental agro-industrial schemes and mechanized farming in Southern Sudan—Nzara Cotton and Cloth, Melut and Mongalla Sugar, Aweil Rice, Wau Fruits, Tonj Kenaf, Kapoeta Cement, Upper Talanga Tea, and Malakal and Bor Fish Freezing/Drying. Also Southern Sudan was not given a fair annual budget by Khartoum to run its affairs.

The young politicians in Southern Sudan got wary with the status quo and patriarchal politics of Khartoum. They won elections overwhelmingly in their constituencies in 1957 for campaigning enthusiastically on platform of newly formed Southern Federal Party—adoption of secular federalism, repatriation of Southern schools from the North, recognition of both English and Arabic as official languages, special economic programs for the South, formation of organized armed forces for the South, redefining the Sudan as an African country rather than part of Arab world. Though their leader Ezbon Mundiri was arrested, the young Fr. Saturnino Lohure challenged in Khartoum the Constitutional Constituent Assembly (1958):

“The South has no ill-intentions whatsoever towards the North; the South simply claims to run its local affairs in a united Sudan. The South has no intention to separating from the North, for had that been the case nothing on earth would have prevented its demand for separation. The South claims to federate with the North, a right that the South undoubtedly possesses as a consequence of principle of free self-determination which reason and democracy grant to free people. The South will at any moment separate from the North if and when the North so decides, directly or indirectly, through political, social and economic subjection of the South.”

The continuous betrayal of aspirations of Southerners and the crises of the civil war (“Southern Problem”) contributed immensely to the collapse of subsequent patriarchal governments in Khartoum: Ismail al-Azhari’s and Abdallah Bey Khalil (1956 – 1958), General Ibrahim Abboud (1958 – 1964), Sadiq al-Mahdi and Mohamed Ahmed Maghoub (1965 – 1969), Jaafar Mohamed Nimeiry (1969 – 1985), Sadiq al-Mahdi and Mohamed al-Mirghani (1986 – 1989) and Omar al-Bashir (1989 – 2011) whose government collapsed only in South Sudan though it remained intact in the Sudan. Among these patriarchal heads of states and governments only Field Marshal Nimeiry and Field Marshal al-Bashir managed to stay longer in power, maneuvering between war and peace in the South.

III- UNIQUENESS OF PRESIDENT NIMEIRY’S PATRIARCHAL POLITICS

Immediately after assuming power in 1969, Nimeiry acknowledged the “Southern Problem” and diagnosed it as being caused by backwardness and western imperialism (similar to the findings of Qotran’s Committee of Inquiry on Southern Unrest in 1955). He prescribed the solution by un-shelving the deliberations of the 1965 Round Table Conference and Twelve-Man Committee, which recommended for recognition of unique cultural diversity and formation of special autonomous regional government for the South. He endorsed the 1972 Addis Ababa Peace Agreement with its implementation mechanisms—Relief and Resettlement Commission; Joint Ceasefire and Joint Military Commissions (12,000 integrated troops for South with 6,000 drawn from Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile on equal quota); High Executive Council and People’s Regional Assembly; and Public Service.

Juba stood firm in honor of Addis Abba Agreement when President Nimeiry started to dishonor it in favor of Khartoum’s interest on valuable resources in the South, especially by trying to annex oil and agricultural rich areas (Bentiu, Hofrat el Nehas, Kafia Kingi and Northern Upper, etc…). He awarded exploration licenses to American Chevron in 1974 and to French Total and Royal Dutch Shell in 1980 without consulting Juba. Oil refineries were planned in Khartoum to be constructed in the North with pipelines connecting oil fields in the North to Port Sudan. The digging of 360 kilometer Jonglei Canal (with involvement of Egypt) was launched with no care on the infringed community land rights and disrupted ecological setting of Sudd Region (blockage of 350,000 m2 of grassy marshes and lagoons of 30 rivers converging naturally to form an environmentally rich climatic lake and plenty of variety of fish).

After securing ‘National Reconciliation’ with Islamists in the North in late 1970s, President Nimeiry turned his political arsenals Southwards in early 1980s to exploit the politicized rifts of tribal and regional divisions (known as “kokora” in Juba). He considered the Addis Ababa Agreement as ‘Un-Qoranic’ and ‘Un-Biblical’ to be upheld sustainably. He interrupted the integration process for Anyanya forces by redeploying some of the battalions to the North against their will and with intention to keep them far from the redrawn South-North boundaries. He declared Islamic Law (Sharia) to be binding on all, including Christians and African traditionalists. Finally he decreed the dissolution of the unified regional government in Juba to replace it with disconnected fragile sub-regional administrative regions (Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal & Upper Nile).

The disappointed and angry South Sudanese were left with no option but to take up arms and organize for liberation cause, culminating in the formation of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in July 1983 under leadership of Col. Dr. John Garang de Mabior and other colleagues. SPLM/A leaders defined the struggle as inherent in disadvantageous marginalization of the deprived people in the peripheries of old Sudan, not “Southern Problem” as such. Its war paralyzing the economy, caused humanitarian catastrophe and mobilized the professionals and trade unionists in Khartoum to up-rise against President Nimeiry. The armed forces sympathized with the people to overthrow him in April 1985 while he was on visit in Washington DC under the host of President Reagan and Vice President Bush Senior.

In a nutshell, President Nimeiry played both negatively and positively in his patriarchy on North-South politics of the Sudan with unpredictable bullying but courage to face tough situations head-on during his 16-years rule. He had direct links with influential and rivaling Southern political leaders (Abel Alier, Joseph Lagu, Peter Gatkuoth,, Bona Malwal, Francis Deng, Adwok Luigi, James Tambura, Mathew Obur, Clement Mboro, Hilary Logali, among others) with deep understanding of their political psychology as they were all part of the one party system of the Sudan Socialist Union. Also Nimeiry was intimately engaged with strong Kings and Chiefs of biggest tribes of Southern Sudan (Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Azande, Bari Speakers, etc…) and could get into a helicopter to land anywhere at the grassroots localities without fear of insecurity. The ordinary people in Southern Sudan, including school children, knew Nimeiry and could sing his name in admiration (recalling the song: “Abukum Miin? Nimeiry!”—“Who is Your Father? Nimeiry!” However, it was only after President Nimeiry betrayed the Addis Ababa Agreement that he lost the trust of Southerners. The SPLM/A composed hate song against him and the parasitic bourgeoisie of his regime. His patriarchy collapsed miserably in the face of the force of the people.

IV – PRAGMATIC PATRIARCHY OF PRESIDENT AL-BASHIR

Also upon taking power in Khartoum, President al-Bashir got the support of the National Islamic Front with Dr. Hassan al-Turabi as the regime’s ideologue for “Civilizational Project” (akin to the “Civilizing Mission” of the Crusades). The declared National Salvation Government waged more aggressive Jihadist (Holy) war against the SPLM/A and all infidels in Southern Sudan. As Mengistu Haile Mariam’s Derg Regime in Ethiopia collapsed, the SPLA/M also got split into Nasir and Torit factions. But as President al-Bashir failed to defeat or crush the SPLM/A militarily, he decided to engage its factions in rounds of peace talks—Frankfurt (1992) and declaration on self-determination, Abuja I and Entebbe (1992) and Abuja II (1993) on outstanding issues of participatory secular governance and inclusive development (e.g, taking towns to the people).

The regional Intergovernmental Authority on Draught and Development (IGADD), which later was renamed as the Intergovernmental Authority on (IGAD), took upon itself the mediation of the Sudanese conflict by declaring these Principles in 1994: dialogue for reaching a just political solution, right for self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan, attractive unity in diversity of the Sudan, separation of religion from the state via secular competitive democracy, guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and human rights, fair sharing of wealth and power, permanent ceasefire and interim security arrangements, and realization of sustainable peace in the Sudan.

Based on some internal peace initiatives, the SPLM/A Nasir faction signed Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 and Fashoda Peace Agreement in 1998 with self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan to be conducted at the end of 4-years interim period. The respite facilitated the security of oil fields in Southern Sudan where Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Canadian, French and Swedish companies invested in petroleum business despite the international concerns about human rights violations and scorched-earth policy. Zionic Lobbyists, Churches, humanitarians NGOs, and human rights activists persuaded the U.S. Congress and President Goerge Bush Junior to intervene with “Carrot and Stick” policy based on the Sudan Peace Act (2002), especially after the Islamist terrorists who were connected to al-Bashir regime attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (9/11/2001).

With the IGAD and its friends and partners (Troika, Italy, China, Netherlands, EU, AU and UN), pressing for resumption of peace talks, the SPLM/A factions of Dr. Riak Machar and Dr. Lam Akol got merged under the leadership of Dr. John Garang in 2001 and 2002 respectively. As a result of that, the Machakos Protocol (July 2002) was signed to mark a breakthrough. Later and after rigorous detailed negotiations more agreements were signed in Naivasha—Agreement on Security Arrangements (September 2003), Wealth Sharing (January 2004), Power Sharing (May 2004), Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile (May 2004) and Resolution of the Abyei Conflict (May 2004). The signed Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Nairobi in 2005 established the National Congress Party’s dominated Government of National Unity in Khartoum and 15 states in the North, and also the SPLM/A’s controlled Government of Southern Sudan in Juba (2005 – 2011) and 10 states in the South. The oil wealth was shared equally between South and North. The multi-donor trust fund was established in Juba for coordinate the funding of post-war peace-building projects.

Despite the hitches and hiccups between Juba and Khartoum, the 2008 Census and 2010 general elections were conducted as agreed. The incumbent SPLM/A and NCP leaders got reconfirmed to their dominant political positions in the North and South. The people of Southern Sudan were allowed to overwhelmingly vote for separation in July 2011 Referendum. The African Union, the UN and entire International Community recognized the new Republic in July 2011 and mediated between the two countries to cooperate and assist each other to resolve the outstanding political and economic issues, some of whose mitigations were designed in the expense of oil revenues of South Sudan—Transition Financial Arrangements of 3.028 billion USD paid to Khartoum and hiring its oil pipelines and other facilities for 24.5 USD per a barrel of oil passing.

But border war over Panthou (known in oil mapping as Heglig) erupted shortly in 2012 with Juba deciding to shut-down the oil production, the consequence of which partly spiked the 2013 conflict with destruction and displacement of residents of Malakal, Bentiu, Bor and others. By flunking the country and entertaining tribalism the leaders of South Sudan betrayed the required stewardship for unity, peace, justice, liberty and prosperity for the people of South Sudan. Also the failure of the Transitional Government of National Unity and the opposition groups to commit themselves to the implementation of the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) pushed the region to mandate President al-Bashir to take charge of High-Level Revitalization Forum, including reactivation of the paralyzed bilateral cooperation agreements between Juba and Khartoum in the oil and other sectors (border, trade, banking, debts/assets, labor, post-service benefits, freedoms for nationals and joint security). The slogan of “One People in Two Countries” became an adage for breakthrough in bridging the gaps in positions of the parties on outstanding issues of security and governance.

With the new approach adopted by Khartoum for mediated negotiations of the revitalization of the ARCSS, optimism was regained to put South Sudan back on the track of peace. President al-Bashir’s patriarchal pragmatic bullying and leverage on the leaders of Southern Sudan, and his declared moral responsibility for ensuring the welfare of South Sudanese as his extended family, has been seen working well for the negotiating parties to reach a final peace deal without more delays. The South Sudanese ‘oil for peace and development’ has become an attractive diplomatic policy, inducing the IGAD and its allies to entrust Khartoum with additional mandate to finalize the remaining details of the revitalized ARCSS and its implementation matrices as well as the mechanisms of funding so that peace is fully restored for general elections to take place at the end of re-scheduled transitional period of 40 months.

V – FRUITS OF PATRIARCHY OF THE SUDAN ON R-ARCSS

Will the patriarchy of the Sudan hold for longer over South Sudan and continues to be the catalyst during and after the agreed transitional period for the implementation of Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS, especially given the lessons learnt from the above-mentions historical experiences?

The success of the patriarchy of the Sudan over South Sudan, when it is utilized for peace, is expected to attract some tactical or strategic cooperation of the big international geopolitical allies (U.S, China, UK, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, Brazil, etc…). It has already created some joint political ventures, though with Cold War tendencies, by the known veteran regional heads of state (al-Bashir at North Pole and Museveni at South Pole of South Sudan). However, the fact that the major parties agreed quickly to compromise for peace as mediated by Khartoum and with oil business as part of the deal alongside border security and governance, is a strong indication that Khartoum has a real leverage on Juba and on South Sudanese opposition leaders. Juba can’t survive for longer if Khartoum decides to block the oil passage to international markets or give the armed opposition of South Sudan at its border a direct support to go for battles in the oil fields in Upper Nile or at the borders in Bahr el Ghazal. Also the business of East African countries with South Sudan, especially Uganda and Kenya, depends much on revenues generated through oil that has to pass first via Sudan so that hard currency could come next flowing into Juba’s coffers.

Thus, President Omar al-Bashir’s patriarchal role would probably continue to have impact on the needed post-war checks and balances on the revitalized transitional government of South Sudan in the four years to come or even beyond. It is given that he will pass the elections in 2020, especially with peace restored to South Sudan and cooperation agreements operationalized for the Sudanese traders and labor force to get engaged in garnering back their lost benefits from the historical neighbor considered as one of them though inhabiting a breakaway country of a united past in the Middle East geopolitics.

The success of peace process in South Sudan is seen as a rescue card for the dwindling economy of the Sudan, especially after it has lost the assistance it used to get from the Gulf Countries and when it has adopted a new trend of diplomatic rapprochement with the United States of America on advice of China. Since the restoration of peace for the good of ‘one nation in two countries’ has become so personal for President al-Bashir, it is hoped that the 8-month Pre-transitional Period will be taken seriously by the principal parties to the R-ARCSS through goodwill gestures and honest preparation of levelled ground for new peace government to get inaugurated with participation of heavy-weights politicians. It shall remain a critical litmus test and defining critical juncture for viability of both Sudan and South Sudan.

Though doubts are real yet optimism is high that sustainable security, humanitarianism, economy, rule of law, justice and electoral democratization shall become possible best news for enduring peace with good governance in South Sudan with Khartoum at the lead and region behind as checked complementarily by the sustained pressure and partnership of international community.
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Dr. James Okuk is professor of political science in University of Juba, independent analyst and postgraduate alumnus of University of Nairobi. He is reachable at okukjimy@hotmail.com.

Kiir-Machar’s Khartoum Peace Agreement: A Looming disaster

BY: Duop Chak Wuol, South Sudanese, SEP/15/2018, SSN;

Throughout the South Sudanese peace process, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) has been faced with serious political issues. These issues make it nearly impossible for the armed opposition to come up with a counterproposal that could force the government to accept a genuine peace.

The armed opposition failed the people of South Sudan by accepting a pro-tyrannical peace deal that will only work in favor of Salva Kiir.

This Arab Sudan-mediated so-called revitalized peace agreement is designed to empower Kiir’s brutality, keep elites in control and deny democratic reforms to take shape. This peace agreement is not just wrong; it is a looming disaster for the people of South Sudan.

Why is the Khartoum’s power-sharing deal disaster?

There are many critical issues the East African regional peace mediators have ignored.

However, the failure to address the root causes of the civil war, expansion of the government, the issue of 32 states, proposed legislative body, and the failure to replace the current National Constitutional Review Commission with an impartial and inclusive body are the main issues that the SPLM-IO should have paid close attention to.

It is good to remind people that most of the SPLM-IO’s fundamental reform provisions were deliberately rejected by the mediators in late August.

Kiir’s regime and its regional allies are working hard to make sure this pro-Juba peace deal is materialized.

For instance, during the signing process in Addis Ababa, the government, SPLM-IO, and other political parties were forced to agree that the National Constitutional Review Commission, which is currently being run by Kiir’s loyalists, will only be restructured in the fourth month of the transitional period.

The new provision stipulates that an internationally renowned constitutional entity will conduct workshops for parties to the conflict and that the parties would then use the outcome of the workshops to draft a new legislation to amend the constitution.

Why would the armed opposition and other parties accept to amend the constitution four months after the transitional period begin?

It is important to remind people that Juba’s regime consistently refused to allow the proposed constitutional review committee to study and amend the current tyrannical constitution.

There are also logical reasons to believe that four months are enough for Kiir to formulate a strategy that could impede the constitutional review process to carry out its mandates, let alone the fact that the requirement is stipulated in the final pact.

This peace was pre-determined by the incumbent Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU). Everything in it was designed by Kiir to make sure he accommodates SPLM-IO’s leaders in exchange for his cruelty to continue.

What I find baffling is that the armed opposition keeps arguing that it accepts the agreement because it wants to end the suffering of South Sudanese refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The SPLM-IO is categorically wrong on this. Remember, the armed opposition did not cause the ongoing conflict. Its soldiers and supporters are technically living outside Juba and other government-controlled cities.

The idea that it wants to end the war by abandoning its reform agenda without giving a reasonable explanation is absurd.

The armed opposition fought for almost five years, claiming it worked for reforming the political system. It is now clear that the SPLM-IO is merely looking for ways to rejoin the very tyrannical system it once rejected. This is rather intriguing, to say the least.

There is a newly-found argument within the SPLM-IO that assertively claims that anyone who questions the viability of the peace deal is wrong or is against its doctrine.

Even some of the armed opposition supporters went too far, calling on those who questioned SPLM-IO’s peace strategy to either go to the bush or shut-up.

This is, again, one of the fallacious arguments being disseminated by clueless armed opposition supporters who seem to lack critical thinking.

For example, when Juba initially attached reopening of oil fields to Khartoum’s peace agreement, every sensible South Sudanese knew that Kiir was not working for real peace; rather, he was looking for ways to have huge financial power before the SPLM-IO and anyone who opposed his leadership to strike a deal with him.

He did this to make sure that he maintains an upper-hand, should the war resume in Juba when rebels rejoin his government.

This issue was raised by many South Sudanese political analysts—nevertheless, the supposedly democratic movement of SPLM-IO suddenly became hostile to those who questioned its political dogma.

Do you still remember when in August 2015 Kiir signed the agreement with a list of reservations?

The SPLM-IO has been committing serious violations by allowing Juba’s repressive regime to get whatever it wants.

For instance, the armed opposition released Prisoners of War (POWs) and political detainees and abided by ceasefire agreements while the government keeps prosecuting POWs and political prisoners and keeps attacking the armed opposition positions.

Kiir also refuses to accept SPLM-IO’s peace deal provisions he sees as a threat to his ruthless leadership. This systematic refusal of the armed opposition demands seems to work in Kiir’s favor.

For example, the most contentious issues in this peace agreement are the issue of 32 states, National Constitutional Review Commission, the consensus in the proposed incumbent government-dominated parliament, root causes of the civil war, security arrangements among others.

Kiir is truly a calculating dictator. After he realized in Addis Ababa that the SPLM-IO would refuse to sign the final deal, he then instructed his negotiating team to come up with a smart way to lure the armed opposition and other political leaders to accept the agreement.

He did this by downplaying that the issue of 32 states is not a big problem because a body proposed in the pact will be tasked to resolve it or the people of South Sudan will decide through elections.

Kiir also traps the SPLM-IO by claiming that constitutional amendments will be conducted four months after the transitional period began.

This is a monumental red flag that the armed opposition and other political leaders failed to examine.

The armed opposition must tell the people of South Sudan why it puts too much focus on wanting to secure a peace deal while the government is simply working hard to destroy its existence.

Is the recent peace deal really the democratic agenda the armed opposition has been singing for nearly five years?

It is increasingly becoming more evident that the SPLM-IO is prepared to sign-up for any deal if it is given its shares in any proposed transitional government.

This decision appears to be politically correct, but it can only be just if the armed opposition is simply fighting for its own viability, not on behalf of the people.

For nearly five years, the SPLM-IO vowed to either reform South Sudan’s political system or remove Kiir from power by all necessary means.

Now the very central idea the armed opposition drove its existence from is surprisingly vanishing. The SPLM-IO did not sign a good deal.

The Khartoum peace agreement is not a good deal. What the armed opposition signed is an accommodative pact — this is no different from exchanging your own freedom with an autocratic ring.

Kiir is an experienced and cunning tyrant. This peace is not a real peace, but a rather all about awarding positions to the SPLM-IO and other political parties.

Kiir wants these parties to abandon their political doctrines and rejoin this infamous Oyee’s band.

It is shameful and must be confronted by the people of South Sudan. The elites in South Sudan must be told by the people that they are working for their own bellies, not the people.

The SPLM-IO’s apparent deal with the government suggests that South Sudan’s current tyrannical leadership could probably continue ruling for years.

It must be made abundantly clear that the armed opposition has no legislative or constitutional power to amend the constitution.

Kiir rules by decree and he loves it. Any attempt to deny him such a one-man rule is doomed to failure because he will have a legislative number to overrule any attempt to democratize the constitution.

Constitutional changes are done through parliament or an established legal entity.

This peace deal is simply an empowering of the existing Kiir’s viciousness because the two important government branches, the National Constitutional Review Commission and the future transitional Parliament, will be controlled by Salva Kiir’s fanatics.

The SPLM-IO and some of its clueless supporters must stop waging a deceitful campaign to try to push people into believing that Khartoum’s power-sharing deal is the real deal.

The idea that reforms will be done after the armed opposition rejoined the government is simply a political blunder.

This seemingly twisted assumption can only be accepted by uninformed individuals. If the SPLM-IO is fully committed to this questionable deal, then it must prepare for a third political tragedy.

This is the 21st-century: the days of political cults are over.

The author can be reached at duop282@gmail.com.

BREAKING NEWS: Mabior John Garang to Riek Machar, “I reject the ‘bad’ Khartoum Peace Deal”

AUG/13/2018, SSN;

Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon: Chairman and C-in-C of the SPLM/SPLA-in-Opposition

Subject: My reservations on KPD, Date: 13/8/2018.

My Dear Chairman,

Allow me to register my reservations regarding the Khartoum Peace Declaration (KPD) signed on August 5th, 2018. When the Addis Ababa Agreement was signed in 1972, the then Captain John Garang de Mabior, my father, wrote a famous letter to Joseph Lagu, then leader of the Anya Nya Liberation Movement, outlining the weaknesses and the fundamental problems of the agreement signed in Addis Ababa. When the Addis Ababa Agreement collapsed in 1983, Dr. John Garang was free from moral guilt.

My Dear Chairman,

I want to be on record like my father in 1972 to express my views on the weaknesses and the fundamental problems of KPA. It is an illusion to expect the SPLM/SPLA (IO) to accept an agreement that would be a surrender in disguise, our civil population may not be “graduates,” but they’re not stupid, they know what a bad agreement is.

This is a people’s war, we are not the ones fighting the war and except for a just negotiated settlement, the war will not stop. The Taban/Ezekiel debacle should be a lesson.

My Dear Chairman,

The signing of any agreement even if we got all we wanted, will not change the bigoted attitudes of our elites, which is fuelling the conflict. It is also an illusion to think that someone else will solve our problems, while we remain spectators in our own affairs.

It is an illusion to expect that: “something will happen,” as if invoking Dr. John Garang sayings will solve the problem, as I see some entitled politicians doing.

Even if we are captured, killed or forced to sign a bad agreement and the root causes are not addressed, then war will continue.

If the provisions of the agreement are violated, the war will continue, if the elections at the end of the transition are rigged, the war will resume, that is if it even stops during the implementation.

My Dear Chairman,

The lessons from the last transition are still fresh in our memories and we all know the war never stopped, we shall not repeat the same mistake.

The civil populations of South Sudan did not initiate violence, it was the Kiir regime, this is an incontrovertible fact; we must always be clear of this in our minds.

Let no one be confused; the objective of ending Salva Kiir’s power to kill our people is a major tactical objective and we intend to achieve this by any means possible, whether it is through a negotiated settlement or through an armed struggle, is totally determined by the methods used by the regime, which are well documented.

The cultural revolution we envisage can’t be brought about by cooperation with the current status quo, it must be replaced.

Yours in struggle,

Capt. Mabior Garang de Mabior,
Chairman of SPLM National Committee for Information and Public Relations
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Once again, Dr. Luka Biong is on his trade mark political character, the flip flopping! All of you remember his recent article and disappointment about NAS refusal to sign the bogus Khartoum agreement and assertion that those parties that appended that deal have actually sold S. Sudan souvernity to the Jalaba government in Khartoum!

But as we have reiterated in the recent past, Dr. Biong double standard political stand is obvious and well known to most conscious citizens.

After leading the development and execution of Kiir’s regime autocratic policies against the innocent people, hence leading to the current pathetic state of affairs in the country, Dr. Biong fled the country and is now masquerading as senior political advisor and scholar on South Sudan democratic future!!!

For many of us who know Dr. Luka Biong’s activities back then in Juba, we greatly doubt very much his seemingly sugar-coated critisim of the very regime he once served wholeheartedly and still greatly admire though behind the curtains.

Dr. Luka is now stating that the activities of his cousin brother, Dr. Francis Deng, in Khartoum in reselling Abeyi area to Sudan is a noble cause and does not amount to tempering with South Sudan souvernity!!

Think about political double talking!! Dr. Francis has already been issued a Sudanese diplomatic passport probably, a preparatory plan by Khartoum to appoint him as the first Sudanese Governor to united Sudanese Abeyi region.

For sure Dr. Luka will have no problem with such recolonisation blunder!!

Change IGAD’s Peace Agreements Model for rewarding Impunity in South Sudan

By Hakim Dario, PDM Chairman,
14th August 2018, SSN;

President Salva Kiir Mayardit will go down in history as one of the worst rulers rewarded for impunity by none other than IGAD in the newly independent country, South Sudan. After a decade in power since 2008 – 2018, his ministers and many generals, Members of Parliament and politicians, as well as many communities in the country rebelled against him and fought battles to resist his authoritarian and autocratic grip on power to rule with impunity.

The rebellions by George Athor, Athurjong, David Yau Yau, Murle and Chollo communities from the fallout of the SPLM polit-bureau inspired rigging of elections in 2010 rang the alarm bells of what was in store awaiting the fate of the country under Kiir’s rule in the lead up to independence in 2011.

The weight of expectations for the once in a lifetime opportunity, after more than 50 years, to exercise the right to self-determination referendum and usher in the world’s newest 193rd independent and sovereign state of their own, has held the people to together at this historic crossroads.

On 11th April 2011, the first Equatoria Conference was convened in Juba, as if inspired by and echoing the 1947 Juba Conference, albeit at a new crossroad that was within the peoples and nation’s grasp.

The conference resolutions reminded the people of the new nation “to be” of the historic calls of the 1947, five decades earlier, for a federal constitution and governance in a new interim social contract as we celebrate our deserved and long fought for independence.

This lofty goal now or then, without much quarrel, seemed to be fully within our grasp to chart at the onset of the country’s independence. It was not to be.

The opportunity, unjustifiably, was lost to peacefully enact a Transitional Federal Constitution of South Sudan (TFCSS2011) as an interim social contract between the people in the new “to be” state. However, Salva Kiir, John Luk and SPLM caucus had other ideas and plans in store for the nation.

What we got instead was the TCSS2011 which concentrated and vested unlimited power in the hands of President Salva Kiir to make him an autocrat who ruled by decrees with impunity. The people were cheated, and had the outcome been a TFCSS in 2011, today’s war would have certainly been averted by a genuine devolution of power.

The SPLM chose otherwise, but beat a too familiar path to make Kiir another long lived African dictator.

The SPLM politbureau members too (Dr Riek Machar, Pagan Amum, Rebecca Nyandeng), not long afterwards as did Athor, Yau Yau, Dr Lam Akol, Peter Sule before them, soon found cause and reasons for rebelling against Kiir autocratic rule in 2013, which led to the nearly four years genocidal civil war in the country today.

This surely has had the effect of dashing the nation’s hopes for embracing a peaceful democratic political order in the newly independent nation.

The pattern of rebellion against Kiir’s rule with impunity has become something of a statistical normal, with some rather significant standards of deviation from the normal, in the most unlikely of Kiir-insider Generals of Paul Malong category, his former Chief of Staff, also rebelling against Kiir at the 11th hour in 2018.

How is it that there is such wide spread rebellion against Kiir’s rule all these past 10 years?

The missed opportunity of instituting a TFCSS in 2011, has now come back full circle to haunt the people and the country four years on in the ARCSS 2015, and in the yet to be concluded revitalized ARCSS 2018.

A Transitional Federal Constitution was resisted by SPLM and Kiir in 2011, furthermore in ARCSS2015, and lately in so-called Khartoum Revitalized ARCSS 2018 through the HLRF process.

This serial and persistent rejection by President Kiir of a TFCSS as an interim social contract for the people and the country, in 2011, 2015, and 2018 is now very ominous.

The very existence of South Sudan under Kiir’s and JCE rule as a country is in question. In the face and throes of the ongoing polarization and ethnic fault lines fueling the current civil war in the country, destroying what was left of the social fabric, the people are left with stark and difficult choices to make for their own future existence and governance.

In this Kiir’s business model for the country, at highly incalculable operating cost to the country, Kiir has become the law of the land and CEO, deriving his authority from a small minority of so called Jieng Council of Elders (JCE).

A clique and assembly of his section of Dinka tribesmen and women from the tiny state of Warrap, now running the government business in Juba as the clan’s owned business. This business model bears unashamedly no resemblance to that of a state.

The clan government does not forbid Salva Kiir to sell all the wealth of the country, deny or delay all justice, deny the rule of law and deny responsibility to protect villages, homes, and rights of hundreds of thousands of innocent citizens who were either killed or displaced by Mathiang Anyor Dinka militia and army in Equatoria, Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile.

As recent evidence shows, Kiir’s business operating costs in the $40,000 order of magnitude per MP for car purchases, pales into insignificance, when resources are diverted as unquestionable urgent expenditure to buy Kiir’s rule tenure extension, without the least regard for austerity the country’s economy is reeling under.

To date, there is no accountability for government business profit and loss, and it is most unlikely there will ever be one with Salva Kiir as CEO, or with Dr. Riek Machar as his Deputy CEO under the regional IGAD countries’ “impunity business model” Agreements for South Sudan.

The autocrat, since 2010 quickly morphed into a kleptocrat, who didn’t hesitate to disown the interim social contract which the TCSS 2011 represented, and illegally decreed the creation of 32 states without due process nor by any legitimacy conferred by ARCSS 2015 that he was expected to implement in letter and spirit but had chosen not to.

In July 2016, Kiir without opting for peace unashamedly chose violence against his peace partner, and disowned ARCSS 2015 in its wake, sadly did so with utter impunity.

This is the unseemly peace partner to be rewarded and entrusted with heading government business to implement another revitalized ARCSS 2018 that gives Kiir the legitimacy he desperately needs to stay on in power for another three years.

Another three years for the people of Greater Equatoria Region, with half of the 64 tribes in its territory, meant continued denial of entitlement to their economic, social and cultural rights, peoples and human rights, and for them to have no say in the affairs of their governance and existence under Kiir’s kleptocratic rule.

The same is said of the people of Greater Bahr al Ghazal and Upper Nile regions. Having disowned the transitional social contract of the TCSS 2011, there is no basis of legitimacy for Salva Kiir to rule the country and to further resist the establishment of a new peoples transitional social contract for a union of peoples by an agreement under a new Transitional Federal Constitution 2019.

Salva Kiir is now without doubt an obstacle to peace in South Sudan, and he must resign and go to let the country pick up the pieces of the damaged social contract and fabric.

To stitch them back together after he completely destroyed it, requires a new people’s driven social contract and the will to affect the three autonomous regions people’s union in a Transitional Federal Constitution for a Transitional Federal Government (TFGSS).

The denial of justice and rule of law for another three years of rewarding illegitimacy and impunity by the Kiir Revitalization Agreement (KRA 2018) in Khartoum, is not what the people wanted, rather it is what IGAD wanted, it is what Sudan and Uganda wanted for SPLM and other elites to grant Kiir another lease of underserved legitimacy.

The way forward is people-centric

There is no other fairer way that the SPLM and Kiir’s tribal elites strangle hold on power in South Sudan can be broken without returning to the historical devolution of power to the people in the former three autonomous regions of Upper Nile, Equatoria and Bahr al Ghazal under a Transitional Federal Constitution.

This is with the view that the regional state governments together with the people’s union government would derive legitimacy, authority and power from the people of the three regions.

Legitimacy is shareable between peoples but is indivisible and inseparable for sharing between elites without representation and mandate. The elites-centric power sharing of the KRA 2018 rewards the elites at people’s expense.

The responsibility sharing equally between the three regions in a federal social contract offers a fairer basis on which to rebuild the country’s broken social fabric and restore the rule of law and justice under the constitution. The restoration of the ruptured social fabric, justice and the rule of law is needed to maintain the unity of South Sudan as a nation.

This will not be complete without bringing Salva Kiir to stand trial for the crimes he committed against the people and the state after independence.

Until Salva Kiir is tried before a competent court of law for crimes of state corruption and atrocities against the people under his rule and policies, the rule of law and due process in South Sudan would not be restored or established for future posterity to live in peace.

Kiir must be tried under the rule of law for the country to save and redeem itself. It’s only when the rule of law is taken for granted in South Sudan, that the human and people’s rights, their social, cultural, economic and political rights, and equality of opportunity will be protected for all citizens, communities and peoples of the 64 ethnicities.

There is no way individual accountability will be skipped by a People’s Democratic Government for crimes committed by political leaders in any public office of the state. The long arm of the law will reach near and far places to end impunity and corruption in every corner of the country. All those identifiable leaders in public office roles who are found to be associated with aiding corruption whilst in public office or were directly engaged in commission of corruption for self-interest at the expense of the public interest, will be held to account under the law. That is what the country needs in order to change and move forward.

The authority, legitimacy and power of the Government lay with the people, not with Salva Kiir, nor with SPLM factions and elites without representation and explicit mandate of the people. This premise is essential to set expectations of negotiation for a realistic and sustainable peaceful settlement to the conflict, and without conditions for rewarding sacred cows by the agreement.

Thus, in order for any current or new genuine efforts to succeed and restore peace in South Sudan, the efforts need to shift the focus away from rewarding elites-power sharing to a distinctly people-centric peace-making, one in which the people are active participants in decisions on fundamental matters of their existence and governance.

Compelling grounds both humanitarian and political now exist that impunity, in which the people and the country are trapped for perpetuity must be challenged and ended with Kiir’s rule once and for all.

The people, an entire one third of the country’s population and size, as that in Equatoria region who demanded a federal constitution and governance for the country, like those calling for the same in Upper Nile and Bahr al Ghazal regions, are without voice, rights or authority to freely exercise political power and decision making by legitimate constitutional mechanisms over affairs of their governance and existence.

The 64 different ethnic groups, 32 of them in one region alone are together treated as an insignificant minority whose voices through multiple peoples conferences in 2011 and 2012, are disregarded and accorded no political space so that Kiir can continue to rule with impunity.

The people in Equatoria, Upper Nile, Bahr al Ghazal must stand up to challenge Salva Kiir’s illegitimacy and demand to exercise and enjoy their economic, social, cultural and political rights, human and peoples’ rights in their region without encroachment by concentration of unlimited powers in the hands of a President who is not himself or herself subject to the rule of law.

And without this constant of the rule of law, peace in South Sudan would remain an illusion, as long as IGAD’s “impunity peace agreements” model continue to be the regional favored game plan for South Sudan.

The international community and the region could help end the war and facilitate the negotiation of a realistic and sustainable peaceful settlement by standing with the people against impunity and tyranny, and de-recognizing Salva Kiir led government as illegitimate, led by a kleptocrat who must be denied diplomatic recognition and support. END