Category: Politics

South Sudan: A Country betrayed by our own

BY: Nul J. Mayendit, JUBA, NOV/19/2014, SSN;

The Republic of South Sudan is known for brilliant people, great historians, situated on a very rich geographical location with fertile soil. A country endowed with enormous natural resources such as oil that sell highly in the International markets, probable uranium, gold, diamond and etc.

This country has been categorized as among the failing states within its phases of inception a regional district to Sovereignty within which it obtained “Free at Last” the 9th July 2011 Independence.

World’s records in business journals, economic magazines have shown South Sudan as one of the most upcoming States with spontaneous development, Democratic and a potential business hub.

South Sudanese from different backgrounds on other hand writes, testify and advocate to the entire world that this country is a failed state, being characterized by dictatorial hegemony, poor economy and above all a corrupt country.

It is very clear that the negative impression that global citizens have about our country is our own bias, erroneous reports and slanderous communications to media houses.

We are a betrayal to our own selves, foreign citizens talk positive about this country but the South Sudanese finds it a “fashion” to abuse and belittle themselves in public places such as conferences, workshops, media and even churches.

Beginning from the top-most citizens, military Generals, state-sponsored tycoons and other gurus sharpened a python tongues against South Sudan. We have mentioned enough aspects of a failed state to foreign population staying within and abroad. We betray our country on the systemic cancer called “corruption”, Government officials and civil societies, religious leaders and opinion leaders sang songs about tribalism, nepotism and citizens’ laziness to work, this alone, partly explains why an influx of foreigners in South Sudan. Of course yes!

A case in point is the Presidential slogan of “Zero Tolerance to Corruption” instead some civil servants, Ministers, army generals and the general public took it for granted and used the same roadmap to blame the President to have failed in implementation. Come-ons! Policies and roadmaps are set by the Head of States and the rest remains a collective contribution by all.

I have registered a particular case with the civil society that is composed of majority from opposition parties, former civil servants and less educated self-proclaimed journalists. This organization lacks transparency and the ability to analyze personalities and the systemic disparities in the Government of South Sudan.

The organization has sold the image of the country to the brim that it does belong to the world of furnished and improved corruption, tribalism and war crimes. They have never and still cast doubts whether they will ever be partial about the current leadership’s achievements; I suspect they have taken upon them as “ Personal”. How much do you have to offer and when?

It is quite unfortunate and an embarrassing for some citizens who at one point serve in this system to criticize and displace the weaknesses they were part of onto others, after all they have been removed or professionally short-circuited with their positions.

I have a respect for one individual who did oppose Governments from the word “go” Dr. Adwok Nyaba, although he hates the consequences and I quote “I do not enjoy the tenancy of Prisons”. Who does anyway!

Constructive criticisms of this elite and one learned fellow personally impressed me, even if he represents it with absurdum.

In our collective search for meaningful political change, we need to understand that change is a process. It takes time to build democratic institutions and establish fair political practices. Violent opposition is not a political change but destruction [Malith Kur, London]

There is no country that has a proper definition of democracy in the world. Every nation has its principal application in the context to which it perceives democratic governance. Therefore, South Sudanese on a serious note require comprehensive understanding of their own nation, legal precedence, its populace, resources and the level of their physical presence in order to advocate for the so called democracy.

I know of one challenge to “democrats of South Sudan” the imported democracy from various countries makes fewer efforts to bring forth any role model country other than betraying our own country as a failed state.

What did we have then while we were classified asylum seekers, refugees and or political and army deserters?

Isn’t it better to have a bad Government than having none? South Sudanese are staining this country with the best paint that will cost the most expensive detergent to remove it in future.
There is no point of being hopeless, let’s consider future improvement.

In south Sudan, “there is no constitutional provision for dual citizenship” therefore, South Sudanese abroad that have another citizenship must give a chance to true South Sudanese in the country to resolve their own and adjust to the next level of best governance, or else your contribution has gone ransack and it has incited our country into tribal slums.

Your cyberspace has become tribal base forum and a college of deceits, naïve propagandistic and sufficient enough to cause another war within the families.

The best attitude of a good citizen is to be proud of his/her origin, country and defend it where necessary, the rest are an inside renovation which does not require publication and indoctrination of a foreign population to have negative image towards your country.

We as South Sudanese have never had a sovereign State before, some of us are aware of how much price was paid to obtain this country.

Are we in our right mind to even tongue-slide of mentioning the country as a failed state? Hate this with fashion!

Compatriotism, nationalism, Pan Africanism, Comradeship and citizenry that pay taxes are key elements to form a good citizen. Do South Sudanese have these doctrines in them? They’re reflected in our own actions, the display of our scientific analysis on the current tragedy in which the country is held up with.

The future of this country will never come from another country or citizens but from us. Leaders come and they go, however, The Republic of South Sudan will always remain forever and forever more!

The author can be reached at chaapwut@gmail.com
Based in Juba.

The marginalisation of Equatoria- Enough is enough!

BY: ELHAG PAUL, South Sudanese, NOV/02/2014, SSN;

Whether by design or coincidence, once again Equatoria has been marginalised in the affairs of the country. President Salva Kiir’s SPLM-IG, Dr Riek Machar’s SPLM-IO and their off shots the SPLM-G10 together with IGAD have to a large extent connived to exclude Equatoria to maintain the strangle hold they have over the people of the most peaceful part of the country.

SPLM’s creation from the outset was intended to fight and subjugate Equatorians. The silent policy of this organisation towards Equatorians has been crystal clear. It strove to oppress and marginalise the Equatoria region through violence to disempower its people within and without the movement.

This was done through the policy that stated no groups are allowed to join the movement but only individuals. This policy evidently was designed and intended to keep individuals isolated and weak.

It is associated with predatory groups wanting to dominate and control people. This had a devastating effect on the Equatorians within the movement because what it did was it directly eliminated Equatorian leadership.

It cut Equatorian leaders and potential leaders from being recognised by their own people while at the same time installing and building Jieng as their direct bosses.

(Please see ‘The broken social boundaries in South Sudan.’ http://allafrica.com/stories/201307050284.html)

However, this policy was not applied to the Nuer. The Nuer joined the movement in all sorts of groups with their leaders intact and recognised. This obviously ensured the continued survival of Nuer power within the SPLM/A.

Unlike the Equatorians who became victims of violent elimination under the watch of the current useless Vice President James Wani Igga.

For example, a certain notorious cousin of Dr John Garang by name Deng Agwang openly executed Equatorian officers and soldiers of the SPLA at will in Eastern Equatoria during 1980s and early 1990s without any accountability.

The net effect was total disempowerment of Equatoria. The Nuer continued to grow in strength because as a group they could assert their interest. This group approach to the membership of SPLM is the single act that has helped the Nuer to resist and face down the Jieng at different critical times including the current conflict.

The balance of power between the Nuer and the Jieng in South Sudan has always been maintained through this unspoken arrangement. Now that the two are at each other’s throat, both want to use Equatoria to strengthen their positions in order to control the country without any discernible benefit for Equatorians.

Basically both groups view Equatorians as their donkeys or slaves to be exploited.

Equatoria’s patriotic stand to always fight for the freedom of South Sudan unfortunately has made them to ignore their inalienable rights in South Sudan to their own detriment.

By default, their patriotism has turned them into the underclass in the country they greatly sacrificed for. This is unacceptable and Equatoria must re-strategise to regain their rightful place in the social structure of the country. They should no more play second fiddle.

The exclusion of Equatoria from the talks in Addis Ababa should serve as the final straw that broke the Camel’s back.

Dr Machar has openly claimed that he is fighting for implementation of democracy in South Sudan. This is welcome and everybody in the country is looking forward to it. However, a mere statement stating a noble position is not good enough if it is not followed by action.

If the actions of a supposed leader who promises something contradict his words, then alarm bells ought to ring loudly lest the people are taken for a ride.

This article is the alarm bell. Dr Machar has been part of the system (Dinkocracy) since 2002 when he returned to the fold of the SPLM after having led a rebellion against it from 1991.

For nine solid years he fought the system in order to change its objective of united Sudan. He did not succeed. The rebellion movement that he led fractured into two. The other part that Dr Machar led which was renamed South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) ended up signing the Khartoum Peace Agreement in 1997 which granted him the position of Vice President of General Omer Bashir.

While he was a ceremonial Vice President in Khartoum he found himself powerless and this led to his return to the SPLM under Dr John Garang in 2002. In the process of defecting, Dr Machar basically abandoned all those he took with him to Khartoum. They remained at the mercy of President General Bashir.

There is a crucial thing here to be noted. The quality of leadership of Dr Machar, his values and principles and his ability to hold a group together is highly questionable.

It is important to note this point because Dr Machar may eventually sacrifice the Nuer and the Equatorians with him now exactly in the same manner he did in 1997 and in 2002 if he sees an opening for seizing personal power.

The alliance with Nuer must not be confused with support for Dr Machar. South Sudanese standing with the Nuer is based on the fact that they were subjected to horrendous and unacceptable killings by President Kiir and the Jieng.

Everybody acknowledges, accepts and condemns the ethnic cleansing done on them. Because of this, the Nuer have all the rights in the world to be given support to fight for their own survival.

Dr Machar as a Nuer happened to have been targeted and so people sympathise with him. But unfortunately Dr Machar is taking the fight of Nuer as a chance to advance his own personal interest.

He seized on the massacres of the Nuer to promote his personal ambition to accede to power. The evidence can be gleaned from the interview he held with Al Jazeera on 22nd December 2013, a week into the ethnic cleansing.

Dr Machar categorically stated that he wished to become the president. There was no need for Dr Machar to unequivocally express his ambition when the Nuer people were being hunted down in Juba by the Dootku Beny militia. This reckless behaviour exposed his lack of care for his own people.

As far as Dr Machar was concerned he wanted to be president and that was all. The ongoing killing of the Nuer was not an issue. Initially, he even resisted naming the targeted killing of Nuer as ethnic cleansing.

If Dr Machar was a true leader, he should have used the interview to articulate the horrendous experience of the Nuer and by extension the suffering of South Sudanese people. This would have presented him as a conscientious leader in waiting which would be exactly like what he verbalised.

Others could argue that Dr Machar is an ally of Equatorians because he championed the cause of federalism. Yes, it is indisputable that Dr Machar has called for the implementation of federalism.

However, the question to ask is why did he not show his support when he was the vice president?

Crucially, in July 2011 at the adoption of the infamous interim constitution of Mr John Luke Jok and following the three Equatorian conferences Dr Machar did not side with the Equatorians.

This evidence raises serious issues with the integrity of Dr Machar. Simply put, when Dr Machar was in alliance with President Kiir and as his Vice President, he was happy to step firmly on Equatorians with his Jackboots. He was happy helping President Kiir and the Jieng to lord it over Equatorians mercilessly.

Since Dr Machar rebelled following the mid December 2013 incident, he sung all the right songs to woo Equatorians to support him. He has succeeded to some extent but unbelievably he has started to backtrack in a very worrying manner.

Those people in SPLM-IO should not just be carried away by the heat of the moment. They need to scrutinise Dr Machar’s speeches (some through his spokesperson James Gadet Dak) and actions carefully to see the very worrying signs in the open political space now.

Dr Machar is already displaying dictatorial and tribal tendencies akin to Dr John Garang’s behaviour at the early stages of SPLM inception which morphed into the monstrous organisation that we now know.

The evidence to this lies in:
– 1) the manner Dr Machar makes his appointments,
– 2) in how he dismisses the participation of the stake holders in Addis Ababa by emphasising direct talks between him and Kiir only and
– 3) in how he neglects the rights of other oppressed groups.

The second and the third parts are very crucial because these are the bits responsible for marginalisation of Equatorians from the talks in Addis Ababa.

As it is now, the talks technically are clearly between Bahr El Ghazal on one hand led by President Kiir and Upper Nile on the other led Dr Machar as an armed opponent of the system (Dinkocracy) with the SPLM-G10 playing the role of supporting both regions ensuring Equatoria is kicked into the long grass.

The exclusion of Equatoria is a combined effort of President Kiir, Dr Machar and the IGAD.

First of all, President Kiir used the machinery of the state of South Sudan to exclude the Equatorian leaders from the process by quarantining them in Juba. Although they were officially invited by IGAD to the talks, the system (Dinkocracy) illegally denied them the right to travel and on top of that, their passports were confiscated. This severely oppressive action amounted to direct exclusion of Equatoria from the talks.

Secondly, all the other parties invited to the talks in Addis Ababa found themselves abused and corralled to accept being represented by Dr Lam Akol as their leader. Dr Lam himself has now been fouled and quarantined by the system. This shameful act was done by IGAD and the delegation of government of South Sudan exposing the collision between them.

Thirdly, IGAD from the outset has all along been interested in patching the SPLM as a solution to the problems of the country. Within this position, they deliberately ignored the violation visited on the Equatorian leaders and the other invited participants.

Not only that, but they participated in forcing the other parties to be led by others whose ideology and values widely differs. This was a violation of the very principle of stakeholder participation.

The question that IGAD must answer is: why have they violated their own principles by denying all the lawful South Sudanese political parties participation individually in their own right? Please see, ‘IGAD’s inadequate strategy in South Sudan’, http://allafrica.com/stories/201404140864.html?viewall=1 and ‘Reflections on Justice Peter Sule’s indefinite incarceration’, http://allafrica.com/stories/201305080235.html

As it can be seen, the quartet: SPLM-IG, SPLM-IO, SPLM-G10 and IGAD have all connived to exclude and marginalise Equatoria. There is no doubt that the views of Equatoria are not represented in Addis Ababa.

This raises serious issue of legitimacy of the talks going on in Ethiopia. Now that the views of a third of the country (Equatoria) are not taken into consideration, whatever the outcome, it may not be binding on Equatoria.

Equatorians should not accept any outcome from Addis Ababa as binding upon them because their interest was not represented, articulated or considered in the current talks taking place in Addis Ababa.

If Dr Machar was a democrat and an ally of Equatoria he should have demonstrated it by fighting for all the stakeholders regardless of whether they are his supporters or not.

As a freedom fighter (based on his claim) espousing the ideal of justice, he should have been in the forefront showing that he wants to see the country return to peaceful co-existence by insisting on the participation of all stakeholders including the Equatorians.

Unfortunately, he only fought for the participation of his own people and in my opinion Dr Machar has failed the test of a truly national democratic leader.

Therefore, clearly without any doubt, Equatoria is on its own. It remains marginalised and oppressed by grand design of Jieng, Nuer and IGAD. What does that mean? Simple, Equatoria is not weak as perceived and believed by others and some Equatorians. Equatoria is the sleeping giant. It only needs to wake up.

The only thing crippling Equatoria is the dysfunctional SPLM. Equatorians must first desert the SPLM or the Equatorians in this hopeless organisation need to think outside the box and join their sisters and brothers to realise its interest.

Equatorians, therefore, need neither the Jieng nor the Nuer for allies. What it needs is internal unity of purpose, unity of survival and unity of destiny. Without such unity, the options before it are limited.

Thus this suggested kind of approach is a must to offset the brutal jungle politics employed by fellow countrymen from the other two regions.

On its own Equatoria can lead and bring stability to South Sudan. After all, South Sudan numerically (population) is equally divided between the three regions. Each region is a third of the country.

If Equatoria organises itself, it has equal chances of winning the presidency in any elections held in the country. This should now be the policy of Equatoria. Go it alone and if any alliance is to be made, the leadership must be of Equatoria. Anything less than that should not be entertained or accepted.

Equatoria must not take this insult from the SPLM warring factions and IGAD lying down. Enough is enough because the unnecessary bloodletting in the country needs to stop.

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

Conflict Alert: Looming Military Offensives in South Sudan

BY: Casie Copeland, CRISIS GROUP.ORG, OCT/29/2014, SSN;

Warring parties in South Sudan’s civil war are preparing for major offensives as seasonal rains ease. Hardliners in both the government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) are entrenching their positions, and think, as one opposition commander declared, “we will settle this with war”.

Renewed conflict is likely to be accompanied by widespread displacement, atrocity crimes and famine. Despite some progress, nine months of peace talks in Addis Ababa have been unable to stop the fighting.

With splintering interests, weak command and control and proliferating militias and self-defence forces, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body mediating peace talks, must expand and strengthen its political links on the ground with senior commanders, armed groups and militarised communities not represented in Addis Ababa if a future agreement is to have meaning.

The coming violence will present new challenges for UNMISS as it prioritises protection of the nearly 100,000 civilians sheltering in their bases.

The soon-to-end rainy season was accompanied by reduced fighting, which allowed both sides to import arms and marshal forces that were hastily mobilised at the outset of war in December.

The government is emboldened, perceiving a diplomatic swing in its favour, following Kiir’s July visit to Washington and the August IGAD heads of state summit, giving it the space to launch a major offensive while stalling in Addis Ababa.

It has spent tens of millions of dollars on arms – largely from oil revenues – (rather than humanitarian assistance for its people); strengthened its military cooperation agreement with Uganda; undertaken mass recruitment, including of children; and mobilised police units in efforts to regain some of the strength it lost with the defections of troops and loss of weapons to the SPLA-IO.

However, major government victories are unlikely to end the rebellion. Furthermore, given the Ugandan army and Sudanese rebel deployments on its behalf, government advances will likely threaten Sudan’s national security interests, increase regional tensions and further inflame the conflict.

At the same time, state and opposition-supported, ethnically-based armed groups, such as the Nuer White Armies, have flourished and are only tenuously controlled by their sponsors.

Including the Ugandan army and Sudanese rebels backing the government, there are now at least two dozen armed entities operating in South Sudan.

The fragile coalitions threaten to further fracture, particularly in oil-producing Upper Nile State. Many of them, as well as some powerful generals from both the government’s Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the SPLA-IO, have expressed their intention to fight on, even if the political leaders sign an agreement.

Despite these obstacles, the IGAD mediation team has focused on trying to broker a deal between Kiir and Machar in Addis Ababa, ignoring other actors.

As Crisis Group warned in July, this lack of broad-scale engagement has led many commanders and armed groups to reject the political process. Most of these parties have their own interests.

IGAD should work with the African Union High-Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP)(that is supporting the Sudanese dialogue process), led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, in order to secure the withdrawal of the Sudanese armed groups as called for in the January cessation of hostilities agreement and previous AU-mediated agreements.

Furthermore, despite many threats, IGAD has not taken punitive measures against the two main parties for violating cessation of hostility agreements, committing war crimes and otherwise undermining the peace-talks, and nor has it requested the African Union or UN Security Council to do so.

Armed actors increasingly believe there is little muscle behind the mediation, which is challenged by divisions within the regional body.

IGAD should continue the process with the two main parties, but given the deteriorating situation on the ground, it must expand its efforts and strengthen its links to other groups and militarised communities not represented in Addis Ababa, through increased political presence on the ground (not simply the Monitoring and Verification Teams observing the ill-implemented cessation of hostility agreements).

Its mediation should be supplemented by separate but linked negotiation tracks on issues not being comprehensively discussed in Ethiopia, particularly the Tanzanian-led SPLM party talks; a re-activated Political Parties Forum; engagement with armed groups; and processes to address violent communal conflict.

Promising internal SPLM party talks have begun, sponsored by Tanzania’s ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM; in English Party of the Revolution), however they have not yet changed the calculus for war on the ground.

The Political Parties Forum should be re-activated and the leader of the largest opposition party, the SPLM-Democratic Change, should be permitted to travel from South Sudan to re-join the talks.

Much of the dialogue and work with community representatives, armed groups and militarised communities should take place in South Sudan, not in Addis Ababa.

China and the U.S. should play a more active, neutral, consistent and transparent role in ameliorating the regional divisions to help break the impasse.

The two should take a harder line with their allies within the region who continue to enable the war and are party to cessations of hostilities violations.

The limited U.S. and EU individual sanctions, aimed at punishing a few commanders on both sides that are seen to have broken the cessation of hostilities, have thus far had little impact on the combatants’ calculations and individual IGAD, AU or UNSC sanctions are similarly unlikely to turn the tide unless used as leverage to further political negotiations.

In light of the anticipated intensification of fighting, UNMISS’ mandate, due to be renewed on 30 November, should continue to focus on civilian protection.

This is particularly true of protection of civilians already sheltering inside UNMISS and, where possible, it should extend protection beyond bases.

Hosting nearly 100,000 civilians inside of its bases for an extended period is far from ideal, however the mission must continue to provide protection until conditions allow for their safe and voluntary exit from the bases.

Civilians should not be moved into less protected UN humanitarian sites or other specially-designated sites where protection standards will not be the same as within a peacekeeping base.

Supporting further ethnic divisions by moving people to their “ancestral” lands where famine and conflict are likely in the coming months is also not a viable option.

Many recommendations Crisis Group made in its December 2013, Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General, its April report, A Civil War by Any Other Name, and July conflict alert, Halting South Sudan’s Civil War, remain relevant to averting further escalation, improving the peace process and ensuring UNMISS has an appropriate mandate and posture.

To stop further intensification of the war, IGAD should take the following steps:-

* increase its political presence on the ground in South Sudan, with a specific focus on engagement with commanders and armed groups;

* start dialogue with all armed groups and militarised communities;

* open four separate negotiation tracks, both in Addis and South Sudan, sequenced and pursued so as to contribute to the broader national political dialogue and focused on:
-1) the SPLM (supported by Tanzania’s CCM party);
-2) a re-activated Political Parties Forum;
-3) armed groups; and
-4) communal conflict; and

* work with the African Union High-Level Panel on Sudan and South Sudan (AUHIP) to secure the withdrawal of the Sudanese armed groups as called for in the January cessation of hostilities agreement and as well as previous AU-mediated agreements between Sudan and South Sudan.

As the conflict threatens to intensify once again, the United Nations Security Council should take the following actions:-

# institute an arms embargo for South Sudan, which must then be carefully monitored to prevent further escalation;

# identify the government’s and opposition’s sources of weapons and how they are paying for them; and increase leverage over the parties;

# establish a Contact Group that includes IGAD, the AU, UN, Troika (U.S., UK, Norway), EU, China and Tanzania to facilitate coordination and discussion on the way forward; and

# maintain UNMISS’ core protection of civilians mandate, including allowing civilians to shelter within UNMISS bases until they are able to make a safe and voluntary exit.

Greater coordination between regional and international actors is urgently needed to ensure the high-level peace talks better reflect the growing number and power of increasingly autonomous armed groups in South Sudan as well as the regional dynamics behind the war.

A clear strategy for engagement with armed groups and facility for linking local negotiations with a wider national process will help prevent the civil war deepening and spreading further in South Sudan and the region.

Casie Copeland

A federal system of government won’t divide people of South Sudan

By: Jacob K. Lupai, JUBA, OCT/26/2014, SSN;

Fears have been expressed that adoption of a federal system of government will surely divide up the people of South Sudan into hostile sectarian or reactionary groups along ethnic or regional lines, each trying to finish off the other. The question to ask, though, is the fear genuine, unfounded or both. One may tend to answer that the fear at best is both genuine and unfounded.

The fear is genuine as it is the fear of the unknown. People are simply not sure of what is in store for them in a federal system. However, those with genuine fears may easily be persuaded when the facts about federalism are laid bare for an informed decision.

On the other hand the fear is unfounded because it is based on illusion and erroneous assumption that some people are targeted for special treatment and that the proponents of federalism have a hidden agenda of their own.

Those with unfounded fears of federalism may be stubborn because they themselves might have a hidden agenda of their own. However, it seems that many South Sudanese have now been persuaded of and seen the merit of federalism. Immediately after independence of South Sudan the governors of the ten states called on the national government to implement fully a decentralized system. The governors called for a more federal system during presentations to the First Governors Forum after independence.

Since September 2014 the national government has agreed to the installation of a federal system of governance in South Sudan. This all suggests that it is not now a matter of if but of when a federal system will be adopted in South Sudan. The unfounded fears are fast disappearing into thin air, giving way to genuine fears that can easily be managed.

Federalism

Many people may need to know why there is a need for federalism in South Sudan. It must be underlined that the present system is not federalism. After the opponents of federalism had come out with all their guns blazing against federalism there now should be a time for calm and reflection on federalism. South Sudan will not be the first in the world to ponder over federalism or centralization of power and neither will it be the last.

The people of South Sudan are dynamic and will always be searching for a better way forward for development and unity. The present conflict is precisely a search for how best South Sudan should be governed for prosperity for its entire people. This is evidenced by the peace talks in Ethiopia. The problem seems to be that there is lack of culture of dialogue for consensus but violence. In addition there are people who are inherently fearful of change and those include the diehard opponents of federalism who would do anything to maintain the status quo at all cost.

One important question to ask is what do people know about federalism. Perhaps, we may need to look at the United States of America (USA) as a model of federalism with principles such as the separation of powers, an independent judiciary and individual rights.

In the federal system in the USA a state has established tripartite division of governmental power, legislative, executive and judicial. The federal government cannot intervene to protect states against internal violence without a request from the state legislature or the governor, something contrary to what is happening in South Sudan where an elected governor can be unceremoniously removed on an allegation of insecurity in the state.

In the USA there is a commitment to state autonomy. In the federal system in the USA there is no provision for revenue sharing and it does not require the federal government or the states to cooperate or coordinate with each other on tax matters. The USA federal constitution does not require the federal or state governments to balance their budgets. In contrast, in South Sudan the national government dictates a ceiling within which the states should develop their budgets, a limiting factor indeed for the states to develop according to their needs.

With the brief highlights of principles of federalism as in the USA, it is hoped that people would have a glimpse of what federalism may all be about to appreciate the contribution of federalism to development.

Unity of people of South Sudan

South Sudan was created not by a voluntary union of its diverse ethnic groups but by the work of the British in their colonial administration of the old Sudan. According to the British the administration of South Sudan was to be developed along African rather than Arab lines. The British were not therefore committed to administering South Sudan as part of the old Sudan but believing that South Sudan might eventually be linked to the British East African colonies.

South Sudanese were not part of the concept of linking them to the British East African colonies. They had no power to choose voluntarily where to belong. Like most people of diverse ethnic groups in Africa before the British colonial rule, South Sudanese were of various ethnic groups occupying the geographical area the British called Southern Sudan with no common agenda.

South Sudanese were never united in modern sense. They saw themselves as people of different ethnic groups, each with its distinct language and ways of life. South Sudanese only became united in the face of harsh treatment by the Arabs of old Sudan. It was then when South Sudanese realized they were people of one destiny thanks to the Arabs’ arrogance and insensitivity which helped to consolidate southern unity for a protracted struggle for freedom.

After having attained independence it is not clear whether the unity during the period of the protracted struggle for freedom still exists. Independence brought with it challenges and responsibilities for which South Sudanese seemed not to have been prepared. There was nothing to motivate in the form of a common agenda for unity as people of one destiny. Southerners seemed to have resorted to tribalism and nepotism instead of nationalism.
After independence tribalism and nepotism seem to have surfaced with vengeance and this is likely to wreck havoc on unity of the people of South Sudan. The current conflict cannot only be claimed to be a contest for leadership. It has become something on ethnic lines although it is now a search for an appropriate system of governance as shown by the talks in Ethiopia between the protagonists.

Some people would like to be neutral because of the ethnic nature of the conflict. The question, though, is not who is either right or wrong. It is purely a conflict for ethnic hegemony that is threatening to tear apart the unity in diversity of people of South Sudan. The giant ethnic groups want to be rulers by all means and whether this is at the expense of unity of the country or not, is yet to be seen.

Acceptance of reality

Acceptance of the reality will be the second liberation of people of South Sudan. South Sudanese are obsessed with the propaganda that they are one people. The propaganda seems to be borne out of the fear that unity in diversity will deprive others of their self-adored hegemonic tendencies. People are simply preoccupied with a strong belief that they have to be the rulers instead of promoting unity in diversity.

The reality is that there are about or more than 64 ethnic groups in South Sudan. This confirms that there are diversities. In addition the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan confirms those diversities that South Sudan is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-racial entity where such diversities peacefully co-exist.

One observation is that the phrase “where such diversities peacefully co-exist” is arguable. In the current conflict many are seeing it as it is on ethnic lines and, clans’ revenge killings are taking place with impunity. One may wonder whether all this confirms that there is peaceful co-existence in South Sudan. If there was peaceful co-existence with law abiding citizens, insecurity wouldn’t have been so rampant.

One other reality is that a centralized power is not suitable to address the problem of diversities as in South Sudan. Devolution of powers is appropriate. In South Sudan the purported decentralization system is in reality centralized power where, for example, an elected governor can be removed and, the judiciary and taxes are centralized. Acceptance of reality opens a wider avenue for dialogue in exploring a better way forward. It also brings people closer for unity.

Factors dividing people

It can be asserted that it is not diversities that divide people but it is how those diversities are managed that divide people. In brief South Sudanese are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. The two factors of ethnic and cultural diversities are well pronounced and when they are poorly managed will most likely lead to disunity.

It is indicated above that South Sudan has many ethnic groups and for cultural diversities there are two main cultures, namely pastoralism and sedentary farming. The two cultures clash frequently both formally and informally. The clash can be a source of ill-feelings hence disinclination to unity. Relationship between pastoralists and sedentary farmers needs a special management approach in promoting peaceful co-existence.

Along Professor Taban Loleyong road, Juba-Kajo Keji main shortcut, some pastoralists led loose their animals that destroyed completely food crops in a total area of 4 feddans. The pastoralists carried guns and were a menace, being arrogant and uncooperative.

The destruction of food crops not only causes household food insecurity but armed and arrogant pastoralists are a security threat to local farming communities. In such circumstances how can there be peaceful co-existence for a strong untied South Sudan. The government must wake up in the interest of national unity.

The factor of ethnic dimension in dividing up people cannot be overexaggerated. There are about 64 ethnic groups is South Sudan as already mention above. For only one ethnic group to take upon themselves to dominate in every aspect of state affairs is a sure recipe for disunity as had happened in the old Sudan when the South broke away because of intolerable marginalization.

When South Sudanese struggled for independence as people of one destiny it was not for fun. People were very serious to put an end to marginalization so that it was history. Now to revive the Arab style system of marginalization of fellow citizens is totally unacceptable. Those who are inclined to copy the Arab style of marginalizing others are surely digging a deeper grave for themselves that they would have difficulty in resurrecting because disunity would have been total.

Other factors that are causing disunity is poverty, poor enforcement of the rule of law where victims do not get justice and insecurity perceived to be perpetrated by other fellow citizens.

Federalism unites

One is hoping to see the emergence of a Federal Republic of South Sudan where power is granted to the states to handle economic affairs and implement national policies instead of the national government turning around to be another implementer in the states. Handling economic affairs and implementing national policies, and with adequate capacity and resources this can only accelerate tremendously socio-economic development in the country.

Federalism is a measure to handle ethnic conflict because of the adequate power granted to the states. In federalism the state has power to have the three arms of government, namely the executive, legislature and the judiciary which can only be good in enforcing the rule of law where one ethnic group with hegemonic tendencies is unlikely to dominate and be biased as in a centralized system.

In federalism each state will have its police, prisons, wildlife and fire brigade that serve the needs of the citizens of the state including those from the other states without fear or favor. In contrast centralized law enforcement agencies are likely to be dominated by only one ethnic group and this can be disturbing to other ethnic groups because of the perceived favoritism being openly displayed.

Federalism provides for fair representation of ethnic minorities of the public service systems of the states and regions. This is in contrast to the domination of such public service systems by one ethnic group.

After the bloody war for the would be independent Republic of Biafra in Nigeria, the Nigerian government reorganized the country by creating 12 states in the place of the previous four regions to foster stability and reduce ethnic tension to realize unity. This was intended to undermine monopolization of power as well as to increase the political influence and safety of minority ethnic groups. This was to hold Nigeria together as a united country.

One may wonder why a federal system cannot be of service to South Sudan with its ethnic and cultural diversities as Nigeria. I am not suggesting copy and paste the Nigerian constitution. Surely the states in South Sudan will welcome the power to have the control over their own affairs and also to see that the central government does not interfere in state affairs, for example, in removing an elected governor on flimsy accusation and interfering with the appointments of ministers and commissioners.

One finds it strange that a system that is likely to accelerate development in the states is being resisted in contrast to the billions of dollars being squandered at the centre as in the case of the dura saga and 4 billion stolen without any recovery. How much that would have contributed to paved roads, clean drinking water, improved health and education services, availability of electricity and increased agricultural production for food security in the states for high standards of living of the people.

A federal system of government will not divide the people of South Sudan because there will be freedom of movement, residence and employment in any part of the Republic of South Sudan for all law abiding citizens. As a matter of fact federalism unites as in Switzerland where the Italian, French and the German ethnic groups peacefully co-exist as citizens of the Swiss federation.

Conclusion

Since after independence on the 9th July 2011 South Sudanese seem to have moved on because the conflict that started on the 15th December 2013 has become an eye opener. Some may be wondering why to become independent in the first place only to slaughter each other. Others may be hopeful that after a storm there will be calm after the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s (SPLM) internal contradictions have plunged the country into turmoil and unnecessary violent confrontation that should have been replaced with internal dialogue for a peaceful resolution of outstanding issues.

The main problem here is that people seem not to understand the difference between the government and the SPLM, the dominant party in government. When one disagrees with the SPLM as a matter of policy it is likely to be interpreted that one may be against the government and vice versa.

The government represents the country in its entirety while the SPLM represents nobody except its membership just like any other political party representing its membership of different ideology to the SPLM. On the other hand when an SPLM member dares to criticize the SPLM for whatever reason the member may be construed to have left and abandoned the SPLM as a party.

A party that has confidence will not be defensive but welcoming of criticism that carries everybody forward. Only a party deficient in abstract understanding of issues may be inclined to have robots or parrots as yes-man-sir members. This is nothing but the stifling of innovativeness in transforming a party into a modern strong party capable of being flexible enough to face challenges different from the pre-independence era of the liberation struggle.

When the government does not perform as expected it is not the fault of the SPLM but the fault of the SPLM individual members given assignments in government. This may seem contradictory. However, the only fault of the SPLM one can think of is its absolute weakness in applying the SPLM Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, Draft February 2013 which is very clear on members performing poorly in assignments.

The SPLM is too weak to discipline its members in government who are underperforming and very corrupt. It may need to learn from the Chinese Communist Party how it is disciplining its corrupt members.

In conclusion, a federal system will unite South Sudanese as people of one destiny who are struggling vigorously to eradicate poverty, ethno-centricism, nepotism, corruption, injustice and inequality for a strong vibrant and highly developed South Sudan that will be a paradise for its entire population regardless of their ethnicity, language, culture, religion, educational background and political affiliation.

Jacob K. Lupai is the author of the book, South Sudan: issues in perspective, launched on Friday 24 October 2014 in Aaron International Hotel in Juba, South Sudan. The Special Guest of Honor was HE Manasse Lomole Waya, the Acting Governor and Deputy Governor of Central Equatoria State. The Book Reviewer was Professor Scopas Dima Jibi, the Minister of Cabinet and Parliamentary Affairs, and the Master of Ceremony was Hon Suba Samuel, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. The audience included Advisors to the Government of Central Equatloria State, Cabinet Ministers and members of the public.

The entire SPLM leadership owns up to human rights abuses & crimes against humanity

BY: SINDANI IRENEAUS, Hargeisa, Somaliland, SOMALILAND, OCT/23/2014, SSN;

The cat is out of the bag. At least the Tanzanians have made it to jump out of the bag straight to our eyes and ears. No one can any longer deny it whether now or in future. The world has also heard it.

The African Union must have taken heed of it while the ICC prosecutors should be happy and excited that they will no longer delve deep in investigating the heinous crimes in South Sudan in order to unravel the people behind the genocide, mass rape, rampant torture, ethnic targeted killings, disappearance of people, violation of individual rights and mass displacement of people in Juba making South Sudanese to live destitute lives in their own country.

If you are still wondering what I am talking about, let me make it abundantly clear that I am talking about the surprising admission by the entire leadership of the SPLM that they are responsible for the crises in South Sudan.

Allow me to quote the Arusha communiqué; entitled: The Arusha Communique: Intra-SPLM party so as to clearly illustrate the point and make it abundantly plane to everybody. I quote “The parties acknowledge a collective responsibility for the crisis in South Sudan that has taken a great toll on the lives and property of our people”.

The communiqué was signed by none other than Cde Paul Akol Kordit on behalf of SPLM in government; Cde Duer Tut Duer on behalf of SPLM in opposition and Cde Kosti Manibe Ngai on behalf of SPLM detainees and it is dated October 21, 2014.

“The great toll on the lives” means the mass killings, torture, rape, displacement and incarcerations and disappearances”.

“Great toll to property” means the destruction to private and public properties such as individual Nuer houses in Juba, destruction of public homes such as the one of the former vice president, destruction of villages in upper Nile and Bentui, looting of peoples’ houses in Juba, land grabbing and confiscation of travelers property such as goods, cell phones, money and any other things that fall into category of property.

Right from the start let me make it abundantly clear that the leadership of these factions have frankly and without shame owned up to the criminal act and brutality that has been meted to the people of South Sudan.

By admitting that they are responsible for the “crisis in South Sudan that has taken a great toll on lives and property of the people of South Sudan”, it means they systematically planned, directed and executed all that befell the people.

Secondly they are saying that whatever crimes committed by their subordinates that include the rank and file of the SPLA soldiers on both side of the divide in this criminal war, was methodically organized, plan and directed by them.

There is nothing called random killing by rogue soldiers, nothing called revenge killings or being detained innocently. All have participated in one way or another in brutally murdering innocent children, women and civilians.

They conspired to exterminate ethnic groups and planned ethnic killings in the country. They smartly planned and uprooted South Sudanese from their residences and made them to be refugees and internally displaced in their country.

They directed mass rape as a tool of war. They displaced thousands of South Sudanese and forced them to refugee in neighbouring countries. They carried out targeted killing particularly of those perceive to be against the regime. They planned and directed the torture of human rights activists in Juba in order to silence them.

Now that these leaders have admitted and owned up to the genocide, ethnic killings, raping, torture and the whole range of human rights abuses in South Sudan, let me be clear on apportioning the crimes.

By owning up to these crimes the leadership of SPLM in government has owned up to:

1. Targeted ethnic killing of more than 20,000 Nuer civilians in Juba, destruction of Nuers property in Juba, Bor, Malakal, and Unity state particularly the destruction of leer in Bentui
2. The targeted killing and disappearance of people in Juba such as the killing of Isaiah Abraham because of his writings
3. Torturing human rights activists such as Athuai; the chairman of civil rights organizations in Juba
4. Attacking innocent Nuers who were sheltering in UNMISS compound in Bor
5. Illegally using of banned chemical weapons on Nuer soldiers on Juba-Bor road where hundreds of soldiers died as a result of cluster bombs
6. Carrying out rampant rape of Nuer women in Juba by government soldiers and operatives just because of their ethnicity
7. The fact that it fabricated a coup in order to eliminate its opponents and create chaos and suffering in order to perpetuate tribal, dictatorial and corrupt leadership in Juba
8. Consciously recruiting, training, arming, directing and commanding a tribal militia to carry out genocide and commit serious human right abuses in South Sudan
9. Hiring mercenaries from Uganda and northern Sudan to propagate its genocide and ethnic cleansing policy.

Likewise by signing the communiqué, the leadership of the SPLM in opposition has owned up to:

1. The revenge killings that occurred in Akobo in the UNMISS compound.
2. Alleged killing of innocent people in hospital and in a church in Bor
3. Innocent killing of captured soldiers from Sudanese rebels in Malakal
4. Ethnic killing of innocent chollo people because of their alleged support to General Olony, the leader of the Chollo militia in Malakal.

Lastly the leadership of the SPLM detainees in collaboration with the other leaders of SPLM has owned up to the rampant corruption, tribalism, nepotism, molding a dictator, mismanagement of state affairs, inability to render services to the people of South Sudan while they were in government.

What is the implication of this admission to the future of South Sudan?

First these leaders have admitted that they created chaos in South Sudan because of their failure to provide effective leadership. They have admitted that they are criminals, thieves, trbalists and dictators who are repugnant to democracy.

Above all they have committed crime against humanity and human rights violations. They have disunited and completely broken the bridges that had made the people of South Sudan to stick together.

They have admitted that they have failed the people of South Sudan who had voted overwhelmingly for them to steer the country into prosperity and rapid development.

They have admitted that they cannot unite, lead and administer the nation other than their stomachs and their cronies.

They have above all admitted that they have failed the peoples’ mandate and instead turned to kill and maim the very people who elected them, looted the country for their individual gain, destroyed the property of the very people who they were entrusted the protect.

The question is whether in any meaningful way these leaders have any legitimacy left to continue governing in South Sudan?

The fact is that any elected leader who has turned against his people, massacred them, plunger their wealth and property, displaced them, raped and tortured them, in the eyes of the law has lost his/her legitimacy and cannot longer purport to lead and speak on their behalf.

Therefore the current SPLM leaders are not longer legitimate elected leaders of South Sudan. They deserve not to speak on behalf of the people any more.

Since they have collectively taken responsibility for the heinous crimes against humanity and human right abuses, their only option is to stand up boldly and answer to their crimes before the International criminal court in The Hague.

As they stood boldly in their gray suites in front of Kikwete; the Tanzania President and owned up to their crimes, they should likewise stand tall, boldly and upright in front of the international criminal court to defend themselves individually or collectively.

On the other hand they should also face their victims and relatives of their victims to whole heartedly apologize to them like the great men and women in South African who faced their victims and relatives of their victims and apologized under the tutelage of Bishop Tutu truth and reconciliation commission.

Finally, what is my advice in these circumstances? My brotherly advice first goes to these leaders to tell them that this is decision time.

Either they make South Sudan to take the path of reconciliation and embark on peaceful co-existence and development of the country or they would like this great nation to sink with them during this period of their demise.

Taking path of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence means the leadership in Juba should immediately resign or seek no leadership position in the transitional administration.

Similarly the leadership of the SPLM in opposition and SPLM detainees must negotiate in good faith for peace and transitional government without them.

This is because with them in any form of government, genuine reconciliation will not happen in South Sudan. It would be like covering a fire with mud without extinguishing it completely.

Secondly, I must advise these leaders that they either face peoples’ truth and reconciliation commission to ask for forgiveness from the people of South Sudan because there is no South Sudanese who has not been aggrieved by their reckless leadership or wait to present themselves to the international criminal court where they can have the opportunity to clear their names as individual or suffer the consequences of their action.

This is the only way to end the impunity that has been the order of the day in South Sudan.

My advice to the IGAD peace negotiators is that peace and reconciliation can only come to South Sudan when the root causes of the current conflict are fully discussed, agreed upon and future roadmap for thorough reforms including the institution of federal system is drawn up.

Once this is achieved then a transitional government without these the self-confessed SPLM butchers of South Sudan can be established.

Excluding the entire leadership is crucial so that reconciliation and building of the social fabric of the people of South can begin.

The SPLM leaders should be offered the chance to seek forgiveness from the people of South Sudan through truth and reconciliation commission or face the international criminal court to clear their names.

By considering or allowing these leaders to participate in the transitional or future leadership in South Sudan without reconciliation or not answering to the heinous crimes they committed against the people of South Sudan, means IGAD itself is condoning impunity in South Sudan and in fact the South Sudanese will view this as if IGAD is adding salt on the bleeding wounds in South Sudan.

Certainly this will not go unchallenged because there many patriotic South Sudanese out there who will take over the mettle of liberating the people of South Sudan from the yoke of murderous leaders, looters and plunderers of the country. I

t does not matter how long this will take but the people have to be liberated from these criminals and impunity must be ended.

My advice to the friends of South Sudan including the troika is that they should continue to stand firm in supporting the people of South Sudan during this trying time. There is no quick fix to the issues in South Sudan neither can there be quick fix by reconstituting SPLM of self confessed criminals and looters.

The current leaders are bent to continue with their determined efforts to propagate chaotic crisis in the country for their comfort and comfort of their tribes and cronies.

South Sudan is not devoid of leaders but the country has been taken hostage by leaders who have no future of the country in their hearts. For eight years they have been in government, they have only perfected the art of looting, corrupting and balkanizing the country into tribal enclaves.

Nothing is acceptable than allowing and accepting the impunity that is striding the breath and length of entire South Sudan.

What about the Tanzania government. I must extend my sincere congratulations to the government of Tanzania for bringing these leaders together to finally take responsibility for the crimes they committed in South Sudan.

They have been denying this for long and now they have owned up. My sincere advice is that Tanzania should make these leaders to realize that the confession they made is not the highway to assume leadership again but it is the rough road for them to stand up and face their victims or their relatives and say we are sorry or else they must face the law at The Hague in order to end impunity in South Sudan. T

here is no middle road for these leaders. They either succumb to the law or are forced to face the law.

For the AU commission tasked to investigate human rights abuses and crimes against humanity in South Sudan, I would say that the Commission‘s work is made easier. The people have already taken responsibility for these crimes. The only work you are left with is to identify who bears the greatest responsibility so that the law takes its course.

There is no time to waste now because the people of South Sudan need closure for their sufferings.

Last but not the least, please, ICC, take up the case of South Sudan as soon as the AU commission presents it to you. South Sudanese are yawning for justice and they want to see justice prevail and this should be done as soon as possible for any justice delayed is justice denied.

Sindani Ireneaus
Hargeisa; Somaliland

South Sudanese ‘Peace Talks’: What we need to know

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, OCT/12/2014, SSN;

In my last appearance on Lagos-based TVC news, I sounded a little more optimistic regarding the prospect for ‘peace’ in South Sudan, a position that’d sound naïve to anyone who’s familiar with the intransigence and job-focused nature of politicking in South Sudan.

Anyone, who takes what South Sudanese politicians say literally, risks falling into the unforgiving side of history. That is a good thing to remember when it comes to South Sudanese political mechanics. However, that shouldn’t mean a good step taken shouldn’t be acknowledged despite the constellation of obstacles facing the peace process.

The Obstacle: Jobbization of National Agenda
The talks in Ethiopia are indeed about the future of South Sudan. However, they are by no means tailored towards the future of the average South Sudanese. The talks, mostly about jobs and not peace, are purely about personal ambitions and political positions.

What Dr. John Garang De Mabior saw as jobbism disguised as patriotism among the Anya Anya II leaders is what’s characterizing the current conflict. Almost everyone in the SPLM in opposition has grievances about a job lost or a job one didn’t get.

On the government side, it’s about protecting one’s job not necessarily about standing up for the people of South Sudan. This is a great obstacle for peace in South Sudan.

As long as both parties don’t see something written down, something that guarantees them government jobs and ensure job security and longevity, we wouldn’t see the peace signed soon.

The Obstacle: IGAD, Medley of Incompetence and Dictatorship
Inter-Government Agency on Development (IGAD) is credited as having successfully mediated the peace process that culminated in Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005; and eventually ended with the peaceful secession of South Sudan from Sudan. However, a number of things have to be considered before that assumption takes hold in history as having a definitive Truth Value.

CPA was realized because of a number of factors we don’t see now in Ethiopia (Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar).
– The documents aren’t drafted by the very people who know why the war started in the first place. The warring parties just receive IGAD drafted documents.
– IGAD isn’t mediating but dictating the terms. A credible mediator doesn’t threaten but convinces the warring parties. The fact that IGAD threatens the warring parties is a clear indication of mediation and mediators’ failure.
– The key players in Sudanese war took charge of the peace negotiations in Naivasha and no great consultations were required outside the peace venue.
– When Dr. John and Taha took charge of the talks, the world knew that the ideologues behind the Sudanese religio-military, socio-economic and politico-racial dimensions were at the table and could adequately reconcile the war paradigms and dimensions.
– Taha and Garang struck a cordial working relationship that, to everyone, indicated that the language of peace was here and that ‘peace was coming.’ We don’t see that now in Ethiopia.
– CPA wasn’t about who gets what job-wise, but the security of the agreement, fail-safe mechanisms for referendum, resources sharing and everything that was in the interest of the people of South Sudan. Now, in Ethiopia, it’s all about JOBS.

IGAD has proven itself to be an utter failure. Garang and Taha were the ones who brought the CPA. The leadership, moral courage and patriotism shown by Garang and Taha have been replaced by self-interest driven talks meant to secure one’s political survival.

Mediators should create an enabling atmosphere for peace to blossom. Instead, IGAD has created a poisonous atmosphere where the warring parties don’t trust it.

How can an organization mediate between two parties that don’t trust it? This is a fallacy IGAD isn’t ashamed to maintain.

But what did we expect from the likes of Yoweri Museveni, Paul Kagame, Omer Al-Beshir, Ismael Guelleh, Isaias Aferweki, Haile Mariam Desalegn …among others?

These are leaders with sorry-state human rights records. How can we possibly expect them to care about South Sudanese if they don’t even care about their own citizens? Anyone who checks the human rights records of these leaders and their political control mechanisms would just feel sorry for the people of South Sudan.

How can these leaders give South Sudanese something they don’t have in their own countries?

Why would they allow President Kiir to stop what they actually cherish: Absolute Totalitarianism and Unquestionable Leadership for Life?

Lack of Accountability
South Sudanese leaders aren’t accountable to anyone. With no doubt they can do what they want and when they want. It’s regrettable that they have extended this state of mind to regional and world leaders.

They duped South Sudanese, plunged them into perpetual misery and poverty, and proved to the world that civilians don’t mean anything.

The Cessation of Hostilities agreement was signed on January 23 and Cease Fire agreement signed on May 9 by the two Principals, all of wish were violated with no consequences. The leaders recommitted themselves in June to sign the agreement and end the war by August 10.

That day came and went. Then recently the leaders of IGAD (naively, I think) conditioned the two Principals to sign the agreement in 60 days. This day came and went on October 9.

Despite the threats of sanctions and the threats of famine on the people of South Sudan, the two warring parties refused to sign the agreement. And they have done so without any consequences.

One is left to ask: Why would these people sign any agreement if they face no consequences. They treat the people of South Sudan like dirt and insects and get away with it. And they are doing the same thing with world leaders. Like South Sudanese, the world and regional leaders are just as helpless.

Why would the regional and world leaders expect leaders to comply when they aren’t accountable to anyone but themselves?

Glimmer of Hope
Despite all the dishonesty and lack of concern, South Sudanese leaders seem to have taken a small step towards peace and that is something worth noting. Federalism and creation of the position of Prime Minister were dismissed outright by the South Sudanese government side. Accepting these controversial issues is a step in the right direction.

I have come to realize that South Sudanese leaders say a lot of things they don’t mean and even things they wouldn’t do.

Michael Makuei Lueth, the South Sudanese minister of information and the current spokesperson of the government, talks in a manner that makes it hard for people to believe him. I have ceased to take him seriously. A man with no sense of courtesy towards others, doesn’t care about the consequences of what he says, is not someone you can take seriously.

He says a lot of things that are not only detrimental to the government but to South Sudan as a whole. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s what is signed in Addis that matters rather than what the perpetually disgruntled Makuei says.

And in an equally annoying manner, Mabior Garang De Mabior, the opposition PR person, says a lot of things that are dangerous for peace in the country. Mabior has great potential to positively contribute towards socio-economic development in South Sudan; however, the young man is filled with mysterious bitterness and anger that undermines the supposedly national interest he’s fighting for.

I have therefore started to see these two men as talkers rather than men whose ‘settling of scores’ statements mean anything. My glimmer of hope therefore rests with the papers signed rather than what these two men say. They are meant to talk and propagandize ad infinitum and so far their talks mean nothing.

And US’s Stephen Rapp beautifully summarises, while speaking in Juba recently, the risks of focusing on the elite power-sharing while excluding the needs of the average South Sudanese due to lack of accountability.

“But the point is if this conflict will end just with some kind of deal between elites, or some kind of power sharing, that will not bring peace to this country. It will indicate that in the future, acts of violence could be rewarded. And so genuine peace requires that accountability element…”

There are indeed on-and-of talks in Ethiopia; but they aren’t necessarily talks about peace or the well-being of South Sudanese but jobs, simple callous quest for jobs.

Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese writer and author living in Canada. For contact, visit www.kuirthiy.info

There is no need for Federalism in South Sudan

BY: Taban Abel Aguek, RUMBEK, LAKES STATE, OCT/08/2014, SSN;

About two weeks ago, the Vice President of South Sudan, James Wani Igga, gave a well informed presentation on federalism to the National Assembly. His lecture was well researched; and to some extent, it truly met the standards of other well established researches on federations across the globe.

According to Igga’s presentation, only about 28 of the world’s 193 countries are federalists. That is about 15% of the current governance systems in the entire world. It is practiced most in the elite world of nations that have existed for centuries.

It began to be applied in the US as early as 1787, Canada in 1867 and Germany in 1871. This means that it took years of negotiation and establishment for federalism to be adopted after issues that were deemed as ‘firsts’ were accomplished by the nations that are federal today.

South Sudan became a country in 2011 and would want to become a federal state in 2014. To me it is comical.

From the federalism debate, including the research paper by Igga, it is quite easy to draw many similarities than differences between federalism and the current decentralized system in South Sudan.

The type of decentralized system of governance applied in South Sudan is very much like federalism. The question now is what do we need federalism for? Is it the name ‘federalism’ or the system of sharing powers between the central government and the states?

Federalism is a political system in which the powers are divided between the central government and numerous regional governments. But that is what South Sudan already is.

We have a decentralized system in which some powers are devolved to states. There are state governments led by Governors. Almost everything a federal state offers has already been issued by the current decentralized system.

States have their own legislatures and some autonomy of their own affairs. What has not been applied in our case is fiscal federation. But all the rest is some sort of devolution that is akin to federalism where states possess their constitutions and structures as enshrined in their laws.

There may be weak spots with the current system but they can be corrected in the final constitution of south Sudan.

In fact, some of the cracks in the current system may either be technical or political, but it requires no change of a whole system.

We as a nation, have a problem not with constitutions at all but constitutionalism. Whichever system we apply, our problems shall still exist – and at any time we apply complete federalism – things might even change for the worst.

Some people argue that federation holds the answer to domination by big tribes. Others believe it would give complete control of resources to those regions who own them. But that is a big assumption.

If there are those people who think that with federalism they will be allowed to own resources in their regions then that is a misplaced conscience.

What was fought for by all for more than fifty years cannot be allowed to be exploited by any single region or tribe in the country. All resources shall remain national resources and they can still be shared equitably even under the federation.

And the Dinka Oil in Atar and Paloch that have kept the country running since the signing of the CPA shall also remain a national resource just like any other mineral resources in the country.

So, there is no problem of Dinka with federalism. Rather, the main problem with federalism is that there is no need for federalism in South Sudan.

Various Governance researches indicated that federalism can be good in the sense that it enhances Localized Governance, Local Representation and Freedom to Form Policies.

And it still makes just very small difference and changes nothing for the better for the large masses of the South Sudanese public that are in a dire need of peace and basic services as the first things, and not the system of Governance.

South Sudan still has so many hurdles to surmount. That some other people want it to walk so suddenly in the footsteps of the United States is a nightmare.

There are disadvantages of federalism even in the A-List countries. These include conflict of authority, uneven distribution of wealth, promotion of regionalism and framing of incorrect policies. It may as well lead to pitches- State versus State- meanwhile corruption continues to thrive even more.

Moreover, it prevents the creation of a national policy. That is why the United States does not have a single policy on issues; instead, it has fifty-one policies, which often leads to confusion. And the overlap of the boundaries among national and state governments makes it tricky to assign blame for failed policies.

For South Sudan, Federalism is the one last remaining danger it should avoid at all cost. South Sudanese are there to see it happen. Should federalism be the system to govern this country, then we should agree that this was a bomb that we allowed to be planted under our watchful eyes.

First of all, South Sudan is a country so much polarized by tribalism. Federalism itself can become the first victim of the war fought in its name.

The Neimeri’s policy of re-division of South Sudan was seemingly a good one in the eyes of some leaders, but without the knowledge of its architects, ‘kokora’ emerged. There are high chances that federalism may be tribalised and kokora-ized.

The much needed stability and development in South Sudan cannot be attained through federalism. Apart from practical and technical difficulties in applying federalism, care must be taken with regards to maintaining the unity of our people.

With our already divided people, federalism may come to be the last rift that sets them apart completely into mini-states that do not want one another.

With federalism, we may arrive at a stage where our country might badly be Balkanized and disintegrated into small uncooperative states.

There is nothing that would prevent the federal states from being hostile to one another. People will tend to put their states first before the nation and doors might get slammed on vital calls to national issues.

I was privileged to attend the federalism lecture by the Vice president, and I could figure that it holds a proper insinuation.

Federalism was being demanded by South Sudanese as a second alternative after the failure to attain independence under the Anglo–Egyptian and Arab rule in the former united Sudan.

Federalism is also no longer a popular demand. It has not been subjected to a public opinion; and therefore, there is no baseline from which anybody gets substantiation as to why they think federalism is a public demand.

Federalism should not be forced down the throats of the South Sudanese people. It is not the first thing this country needs now. An attempt to force it on south Sudanese will only backfire.

Should federalism get adopted in the Addis Ababa talks as already reported in the media, then its architects must prepare the remedies to any harms it would cost this nation.

Taban Abel Aguek is a Member of Lakes State Legislative Assembly. He can be reached at abelaguek79@gmail.com

Why the Lakes state conflict is a result of a continuous misdiagnosis of its genesis?

BY: Agok Takpiny, AUSTRALIA, OCT/06/2014, SSN;

There has been a rapid escalation of violence (mostly revenge related killings) within greater Rumbek. The violence pitted Agaar against Agaar and or Agaar against GOK. The cycle exploits the discontents among Lakes state citizens towards the state government.

Some people who are not close to the people of Lakes state may think that the discontentment towards General Matur Chut’s government may be that the people after all were happy with previous governor Mr Chol Tong.

This isn’t true, when Chol was elected, there were high hopes that Chol Tong (a civilian) would be able to solve the state’s conflict. Those hopes were dashed when Chol Tong failed miserably to quell the unrest, in fact, he was even accused of taking sides.

Hence, when Gen. Matur Chut was brought in by the president, there were terrible expectations of the people that he will not be like previous governors. However, as it turned out, Gen. Mature chut is only a different face of the exact same coin (failure).

A million dollar question that ought to be asked is why are all successive governors of Lakes state failed to bring a stop to this protracted violence that cost so many lives?

Depending on who you are, there are multiples answers to what exactly makes Lakes state conflict uncontrollable. Understanding the problem in its entirety is a first step in solving it.

However, in the case of Lakes state governors, there is only one approach to solve the conflict and that is brute force. What they (governors) don’t know is that as the philosophy of the Chinese martial art (Tai Chi) teaching says: “if one uses hardness to resist violent force, then both sides are certain to be injured at least to some degree. Such injury, according to Tai-Chi theory is a natural consequence of meeting brute force with brute force”.

Undoubtedly, this has not only been gruesomely felt by the people of Lakes state alone, but by everyone in the country as the roads through Rumbek are becoming death traps.

The continuous use of brute force by the governors as a way to resolve the conflict is a result of not knowing the problem itself.

There are three legs to this conflict that need to be identified and solved one by one.

Firstly, cattle theft or robbery is one leg, the second leg is revenge killing, and the third leg is lack of cooperation between the state government and the community.

Now we have broken the conflict down into mini issues, let us then try to analyze these mini issues individually. We will start with cattle rustling, which has seen a rise recently.

-Cattle theft
Dinka have been practicing a bride price system of marriage for generations. When a young man reaches the stage of marriage, he must have at least 20 cows or more in order to get the girl he wants. To make sure that his wife will have something to eat when she arrives, his relatives and friends usually contribute some 30% to the overall dowry charged by the girl’s relatives.

Thus, if the girl’s parents charge 20 cows as their daughter’s bride price that a groom must pay and the groom has only 20 cows, the 30% contribution by friends and relatives will save the groom 6 cows which he will use to feed his wife.

However, this is not the case anymore, as we speak the average bride price in Lakes state is 150 cows. Of course, if this were wages, no one would argue because the cost of living in economics point of view does increase annually, hence it would be irrational to think that wages remain the same for about a decade.

Laughably though, in Lakes state nothing has changed, only the bride price which has seen a substantial rise in recent years. Can you see the problem?

As the bride price increases, parents or relatives of the girls have become more “protective” of their girls. In the perspective of the girl’s relatives, whoever impregnates “your” sister or daughter did not just impregnate the girl, he literally “killed” 150 cows as the girl who got pregnant outside wedlock is deemed “worthless”. Many people have died in Lakes state because of this.

Moreover, economically, people of Lakes state have not moved an inch upward, that mean getting a cow now is exactly the same (hard) as it was in 1964 (half a century ago). Unless of course you are the son of a corrupt SPLA General.

So, for a young man who has an average father (not a politician or SPLA General) to be able to get at least 80 cows in order to marry a girl of his choice, he must understandably steal or rob somebody’s cows and sell them and then buy “clean” cows for his marriage.

Here the other young men whose their cows are stolen or robbed will then regroup and launch counter-stealing, and the cycle continues. In this process, hundreds, if not thousands died. This is exactly what is happening in Lakes state.

Have you identified the problem yet?

In an ideal world, a world where conflict or even tragedy is analyzed and turned into an opportunity to put things right in order to avoid a similar fate from happening again in the future, you would have thought that strict regulations on dowry payment would have been introduced a long time ago.

However, in our world, South Sudan world, nobody bothers to give it a shot. Nevertheless, it is not too late, bride price must be reduced to 15 cows or less. This would not only reduce cattle theft as bride price would be largely affordable to everyone, the incentives to forcefully deny a girl child a much needed education would be largely diminished.

The number of girls completing their high school without to being forcefully married off by their parents would triple.

Therefore, regulating the bride price will save lives and enhance girls’ education. Punitive measures incorporated into the legislation to punish whoever breaks such a law must be strictly implemented.

-Revenge killing
Currently in South Sudan, killing a person (intentional or unintentional) is considered as a wrong payable rather than a crime. A murderer is normally only required to pay cows as blood compensation and nothing more.

To pay the cows, the murderer is usually backed up by his tribe to pay the blood cows to the victim of another tribe. Here, the members of the murderer’s tribe bear the responsibility to pay for what their member had committed. The total of cows for blood compensation is normally 30 cows.

The idea is to lessen the burden bored by the offender and to signal awareness and deterrence upon the offender’s tribe to be careful in the future undertaking and to avoid further bloodshed.

Upon receiving the blood cows, the victim’s immediate family has no right to keep all 30 cows for themselves, the whole tribe must share the blood compensation of their slain son/daughter. In some cases, the victim’s immediate family (parents, spouse, and siblings) can only get 10 cows out of 30 as their share of blood cows.

Yes 10 cows for the life of “your” brother, husband, son/daughter. It is absurd, isn’t it?

The absurdity doesn’t end there, however, the nature (health, gender, and age) of the cows for the blood compensation is obliquely defined. The victim’s family or tribe representative is only allowed to choose 5 out of 30 cows, the murderer and his tribe are allowed to bring any type of cow (barren, males, sick etc.) to make up the remaining 25 cows.

Additionally, sometimes the murderer without remorse for what he did or feel sorry for the victim’s family would come again and steal the very cows the court asked him and his tribe to pay as blood compensation.

Here, do you think justice have been served? For me this is not enough to let loose the murderer to continue enjoying his life and possibly brag about his “bravery” (brutality).

This is exactly what is happening in Lakes state and thus the victim’s family is left with no choice but to take revenge.

To correct this situation in my view need no brainer, by applying common sense one would come up with a solution. The solution is to change this medieval legal system.

Firstly, a person who committed homicide (intentional or unintentional) must be taken as a person who committed a crime against the state (not against the victim’s family although the lost will affect them the most).

Secondly, blood compensation must be changed from cows to money in the region of about SSP 50,000.

Thirdly, to ensure that the victim’s family receives blood money for their lost, the state needs to pay this money and not the murderer or his tribe.

This is not a new thing at all, in many countries, including Australia, where I live; the government must pay substantial amount of money to the family of every road accident victim.

Fourthly, the recipient of the blood money must be explicitly defined, that’s if the victim is a married man/woman and both his/her parents or one parent are/is alive, the blood money must be divided between the victim’s spouse and his/her parents only. If the victim is single, the parent(s) must be the only recipient of the blood money, in other words, the blood money must only be given to the closest next of kin of the victim.

By putting such a law in place, the victim’s family will feel that their government is there for them and that the justice will eventually be rendered.

Coupled with making revenge killing a first degree murder, the victim’s family will feel that there is no need to risk losing another family member trying to avenge the death of their loved one since the government will pay the money and the murderer will be put away for the majority of his life or even for good.

In determining the appropriate punishment for culpable homicide (unintentional murder), the state could impose imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty (20) years, and shall also be liable to fine if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

If the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, the state government can impose imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten (10) years or with fine or with both.

Moreover, the state reserves a right to impose the death penalty or life in jail without parole for First Degree Murder (intentional murder). However, to introduce such important reforms, the state government must involve the community led by chiefs from the scratch right to the implementation of the legislations.

-Failure of communication
Although I was born in the later years of the stable united Sudan, I have learned that the traditional institution of Chiefs played a significant role in the united Sudan and has continued to exist during the early periods of our twenty one (21) years of struggle.

The Chiefs play a significant role as a bridge between the grassroots and the government fostering a two-way communication between the government and the community. Chiefs also used to preside over customary courts, which handle more than 90% of all cases tried in the then Southern Sudan.

In those days when chiefs have all of their powers, the communities in villages and cattle camps used to listen to what they had to say.

However, as the SPLM/A grew bigger and the central command became too far away from the community, two-way communication was quashed. The SPLM/A adopted guerrilla style of managing people.

Everything was done according to how the local commander wanted it, chiefs were used by SPLA commanders to get what they want (food, transport and human resource) from the people.

For example, if the chief fails to collect the milk, bulls or other food items for rations or failed to bring a number of conscripts, the commander in charge of that particular operation usually punishes that particular chief by whipping him and taking some cows. There was no respect for chiefs.

Surprisingly, it got worse after the signing of the CPA. As we speak, chiefs don’t preside over customary court cases anymore, commissioners who are both organized criminals who are only after the money have created countless courts headed by gangs.

The aim of creating as many cuts as possible is to generate income for the commissioner by robbing the community through issuing unnecessary fines which are not based on any legislation.

All of these made traditional chiefs toothless in the eyes of the wild youths (gelweng). Understandably, the chiefs are now reluctant to engage with the state government to find a way forward.

To rectify this, the Lakes State government with all county commissioners needs to become more responsible, responsive and sensitive to people’s needs and expectations.

Quite frankly, one way communication and iron fist style of rule is no longer workable. People have to be taken on board and policies for them have to be made with them. The state government need to come closer to the community to be able to understand their felt needs, problems and expectations.

It should be taken further down to the village levels and cattle camps. Every cattle camp has its leader, the state government must add them into the payroll together with all chiefs.

This is particularly important because as seen in many reports about Lakes state conflict, the state police often claim that “the community has refused to share any information which may lead to arrest of the criminals with the police”, therefore using the chiefs and the head of the cattle camps to act as part of the government could go a long way to put a stop to this protracted violent.

In a country where there are no addresses or street cameras to locate criminals, the best solution is to employ chiefs and the heads of the cattle camps to track down the wrongdoers.

Now you have read the whole article, do you think all these are unachievable (legislate and implement)?

Agok Takpiny

Disclaimer: views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author. Agok Takpiny is a concerned South Sudanese in Melbourne Australia. He can be reached on agoktakpiny@ymail.com

IGAD’s unsustainable African solution to the African problem in South Sudan

By: Riang Yer Zuor Nyak*, SOUTH SUDAN, OCT/05/2014, SSN;

Africa, as Africans know it, is full of problems which generally include social, economic and political. In this chaotic environment, violations of fundamental human rights are common. Most of these human rights violations tend to be committed by governments or powerful individuals who have close associations with some sort of armed sources of power.

Local law enforcement agents find themselves under the control and command of such violators. For this reason and others, bringing these types of perpetrators to justice is always next to impossible.

It is in this context that International Criminal Court (ICC) sometimes comes in to play so as to fill the gap. Some of the situations where grave human rights violations have been made on the continent include that of Liberia/Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, DRC, Kenya, Uganda and etc. These cases were taken to ICC at one time or others after Africa had failed to deal with them.

In other words, it is Africa’s inability to properly solve her own problems that makes the rest of the world, especially the West, interfere with Africa when universally prohibited grave human rights abuses take place.

Recent events involving the ICC show that African leaders are not happy with the Court, referring to its activities as re-colonization of the continent or unjust targeting of the African leaders. The irony is that in most cases, it is the African states that forwarded most of those cases to the ICC.

Nevertheless, the African leaders feel embarrassed, threatened and exposed. They see a need to fight back so as to stop the ICC from coming after the remaining or future human rights violators. But they cannot do it alone.

Therefore, they want to appeal to the ordinary Africans using the word “colonization” so that they can get support from the Africans in their opposition to the activities of that international court that has become a real threat to them.

Their powers to maim the continent and her people at will have come under a real scrutiny of a court that they can never intimidate as it is located a sea away from the African Continent.

From the look of things, African leaders have not really been unjustly targeted as they claim. Rwanda happened in Africa; Liberian sponsored violence in Sierra Leon happened in Africa; Darfur happened in Africa; Northern Ugandan violence against civilians happened in Africa; post election violence in Kenya happened in Africa; DRC child recruitment into the rebel army happened in Africa; post election violence in Ivory Coast happened in Africa. The list is long.

In any of the mentioned situations, no single African national court was able to deal with each of the situations. It follows that none of the African solutions was available. This was why the ICC came in so that justice could be provided for the victims.

In December 2013, Salva Kiir savagely killed tens of thousands of ethnic Nuer in Juba in just days, targeting them on the basis of their tribal origin. Up to now, no African leader makes any condemnation. They are just talking about whether or not there was a coup when they should be talking about whether or not there was or is genocide being committed. That there was no coup is now laid to rest as evidence point to the lack thereof; that genocide has been committed is clear. Yet African leaders still talk as if things are not yet clear.

Logically speaking, talking about what might have been the cause should have come second after a criminal was first stopped from his genocidal activities. But if Salva Kiir was not one of the so-called African leaders, a great deal of noises would have been made.

Here, one can conclude that being a president in Africa has really become a card to destroy African lives at will. The club provides them with an immunity that one cannot find anywhere in the African written law books. These are criminals unlike their counterparts outside the continent.

Therefore, the claim that African leaders were or are being targeted is out of question in each situation above. Each was and is a situation where a monster above local laws gets taken outside of his locality in search for justice for his victims. In simple words, a non-African solution sometimes becomes a necessity.

Then, why do African leaders make noises that they have African solutions for African problems when it is clear that they could not find their own proper solutions for the above-mentioned grave situations? The answer is simple.

The African dictators do not have the confidence to rule Africa without hurting the Africans. They do not have what it takes to peacefully and voluntarily charm Africans into following them. They simply resort to violence to maintain their positions.

To them, ruling with an iron fist is a strength of leadership for which one should be praised. When one is peaceful and democratic, one is labeled as a weak leader.

But these supposedly strong leaders feel threatened by the Court in The Hague. Each of them can see himself doing the same or similar thing in the future, or has already done what an African leader has been or is being taken to ICC for having done.

Or some of them have already been indicted and that they do not want to cooperate with the Court and are out mobilizing colleagues or members of the club to come to their defenses in the diplomatic arena.

So, when it comes to resolving a problem in which one of them is implicated, they would prefer an African forum which they can easily manipulate one way or another.

To the African leaders, especially some IGAD leaders, South Sudanese civil war is an African problem that requires an African solution since Salva Kiir is the accused author of the Juba massacres. They are not prepared for a situation where Kiir would end up somewhere outside of Africa answering questions regarding the massacres.

They see their position on this as an exercise of independence on the part of Africa. The problem is that the process for the search for an African solution to this particular African problem is not funded by the IGAD.

Non-African bodies funding this process can definitely influence the outcome. Then where is independence that IGAD is trying to assert? This lack of independence and the IGAD leaders’ need to protect one of their own can make a very dangerous combination.

This danger was clearly demonstrated in the last IGAD Heads of State Summit in Addis Ababa in August 2014 when the Heads of State, including Salva Kiir, issued a document whose contents amounted to nothing less than a common declaration of war on the SPLM/SPLA.

The Summit drafted a protocol as a framework for the resolution of the problem. It provided for a transitional government to be formed in Juba. The document was not a result of any negotiation between the warring parties as the government delegation had boycotted the last round of negotiations which were to last till August 28, 2014.

In absence of the government delegation, the IGAD Mediators asked the SPLM/SPLA to continue negotiating with other stakeholders. This was positively responded to, and the negotiations continued up to the time when the Summit was convened.

Surprisingly, none of the negotiated positions were reflected in that IGAD Framework. Therefore, the document was not a South Sudanese document, and both Dr. Riek Machar and Salva Kiir rejected it — citing the need for the two parties to negotiate so as to make some concessional discussions before arriving at a final decision.

At that point, the document was left to the IGAD Heads of State who said that it was “…our document and we will sign it as ours…” without the warring parties being part of the signing.

Something needs to be clarified for the benefit of those who were not present at the Summit. The document is widely discussed in the public media as having been accepted by the government, that it has been signed by Salva Kiir and that only the SPLM/SPLA declined to sign.

That can never be any further from the truth.

The truth is that both the SPLM/SPLA and the Government declined to sign as parties to the conflict. Yes, Salva Kiir—though tricked into signing by Gen. Sumbeywo of Kenya—signed the document by appending his signature on the signature page of the document without knowing what he was signing on to.

Dr. Riek Machar was the second to be approached in this kind of trick and refused to sign a blank sheet of paper, saying that he was not ready to sign a “blank cheque”. He wanted to see, first, the document that he was being asked to sign. This was after both had rejected the document in the presence of many foreign observers.

So, this Kiir’s signature was later used, not as a party to the war, but as one of the members of the IGAD Heads of State.

It is believed that some people are not aware of this distinction and the trick used on Kiir. But some quarters, such as the government in Juba and its agents, are actively working to cover up the story of the trick and mislead the public that Salva Kiir’s signature on that document represents the position of a party to the conflict so as to make it look as if it is only the SPLM/SPLA that has refused to sign.

Others, such as IGAD and other international bodies, are intentionally and passively allowing the misleading statements to go uncorrected so as to achieve certain unfair goals. They can try as much as they want, but truth will always remain that the warring parties have refused to sign the IGAD Protocol and requested to be allowed to negotiate.

Having no other choice, IGAD granted 45 days for the Parties to mutually negotiate and conclude their own deal.

The IGAD document is difficult to categorize. One does not understand whether the document was a product of a frustration with people and groups working behind the scene, or a result of a true and genuine IGAD’s understanding of the South Sudanese situation.

Of course, one should not underrate the resolutions of the recent African Union (AU) Summit in June in Equatorial Guinea where the AU resolved to protect sitting African Heads of State from prosecution for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In either way, IGAD has shown a very serious lack of credibility as a regional body in dealing with regional issues.

By any standard, South Sudanese civil war is more serious and dangerous than the 2007 Kenyan post-election violence, which led to the formation of the Kenya’s Grand Coalition Government in 2008.

Yet, that Grand Coalition Government was better than that which the IGAD leaders want to see established in South Sudan in terms of power-sharing. It is difficult to understand the thought processes leading to such a position.

The Protocol provides for a transitional national unity government to be headed by “The head of state and government, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces…” which “…shall be the elected, incumbent president.”

According to the document, an office for a Prime Minister shall be established for coordination of the implementation of interim processes. This Prime Minister shall be nominated by the SPLM/SPLA and has to be “…credible, professional and competent person…” who shall also be “…acceptable…” to Kiir.

In addition, the Prime Minister shall work “harmoniously” with the president and would never stand for any election for a public office at the end of the transitional period.

First, the document confirms Kiir as the head of the Transitional Government of National Unity without leaving it to the parties to negotiate. The justification seems to be that he was elected in April 2010.

If this is the case, then the IGAD is wrong. Kiir was elected under a constitution and an election law which became irrelevant on the morning of July 10, 2011. He owes his current position as the President of South Sudan to the current Transitional Constitution which gives him up to July 2015. This makes him a President by constitution—not by election.

It was the reason why he was able to remove the vice-president who had been his running mate during the 2010 elections. It was also why he succeeded in removing elected governors in Lakes and Unity states, respectively. Otherwise, he would not have succeeded in the exercises.

Therefore, IGAD’s justification for him to lead the expected transitional government on the basis that he is an elected president does not pass the test. As a constitutional president, Kiir has ceased to be legitimate from the very same day that he embarked on the unconstitutional act of maintaining power through violence and committing the ultimate crime of genocide.

He can no longer protect the constitution as he has made coups against himself by intentionally violating that constitution many times; he cannot be trusted again to protect the lives of the people of South Sudan as he has presided over numerous killings of the South Sudanese communities, the last one being the massacres of the Nuer in Juba in December 2013.

Even if he were to be an elected president, Kiir would not have been elected to bring the current situation. His unconstitutional acts of unleashing violence on his political rivals and genocide which led to the current situation would have de-legitimized his status as an elected president.

Therefore, IGAD leaders just need to come out publicly to the South Sudanese that once one becomes a president in Africa, one must always remain as such, however one behaves. That would be more understandable given our experiences as Africans who have only known dictatorships since decolonization.

Second, IGAD’s document was intentionally produced so as to indirectly prevent Dr. Riek Machar from participating in the transitional government. They badly want Kiir to lead the transitional government without opposition for bad reasons.

But they know that Dr. Riek Machar would never again allow Kiir to rule the country the way he has been ruling it since 2005. To them, the best thing to do to ensure that Kiir does not get any opposition during the transition is to keep Dr. Riek out of that government.

Words such as “credible”, “professional” and “competent” as adjectives describing the Prime Minister were intentionally used so that the SPLM/SPLA could legally be bound to look only for a technocrat, non-politician other than Dr. Riek who is known as one of the well-known politicians in South Sudan when making its nomination.

The word “acceptable” to the president was placed there to give Kiir a legal ground to reject Dr. Riek if the SPLM/SPLA later insists on nominating him for the post. Here comes the possibility of a stalemate.

To water it down, a clause is inserted that the Prime Minister would not vie for any office after the transitional period. Again, that clause was placed there as an incentive for Dr. Riek to want to wait outside the transitional government so that he could later run for an office toward the end of the transitional period.

There is a question that keeps lingering on when looking at the IGAD’s attempt to erect such a massive wall around Kiir’s position and powers during the transitional period. Why is IGAD trying very hard to see that Kiir absolutely leads and controls the government during the transitional period?

The provision that the Prime Minister shall work “harmoniously” with the president is the third legal hurdle for the SPLM/SPLA to deal with.

In case the SPLM/SPLA succeeds with the nomination of Dr. Riek and Kiir fails to reject the same, he can later have a legal ground to remove the Prime Minister as not working “harmoniously” with him.

This IGAD’s idea that Kiir should not be opposed in his decisions and activities during the transition is without a proper justification. This idea of Kiir running the government single-handedly during the transition makes one think that IGAD wants Kiir to use the period to repair his tattered self politically, militarily and diplomatically for any eventualities at the end of the period.

This IGAD’s position should be taken together with Kiir’s statement on the 9th of May 2014 when he stated that he “…must always remain the leader…” of South Sudan.

He is, definitely, being prepared for a longer political life after the transitional period. In light of this, IGAD could be seen as conspiring with Kiir against the people of South Sudan.

Third, the document is discussed on the media as a power-sharing one. The IGAD leaders have made it very clear that all the executive powers remain with the president.

The president is the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces; he is the head of state; and he is the head of government to be assisted by his deputy in all of his functions.

The office of the Prime Minister is created only to give the SPLM/SPLA a space to occupy with functions of coordination of the implementation. Yet, IGAD and its supporters call this a power-sharing arrangement. If this is power-sharing, then I do not know what is not.

One would think that a proper power-sharing arrangement would equally divide executive powers between the two power centers: the Prime Minister and the President. But, this IGAD document has not done that.

The bottom line is that, for whatever reason, IGAD has failed in its search for an African solution to the current African problem in South Sudan. By coming out with the document of the last Summit, IGAD was only resorting to forcing the warring parties to come together in a badly conceived transitional government, which, in my opinion, would be another way of telling South Sudanese to stop fighting for now, go back to Juba and re-start fighting.

What IGAD should have done was to let the parties talk. Instead of being rushed into forming a transitional government under Kiir’s leadership, the parties should have been given time to identify and address the root causes of the war, agree on who is to account for the atrocities committed in Juba in December, agree on critical reforms to be made, agree on the security arrangements, agree on the form and structures of the transitional government that would carry out the reforms, and then agree on the leadership as the last step toward signing a peace deal.

But IGAD unjustifiably jumped the gun and resorted to a process where they started with the leadership and then the government, leaving the rest unresolved. It was an attempt to simply force South Sudanese to go back to Juba under Kiir’s leadership without first addressing the root causes of the war—not even thinking of any reforms.

That was very lazy, insulting to the people of South Sudan and disrespectful of those whom Kiir savagely exterminated in Juba. It can only add fuel to a burning fire.

In Somalia, an internationally recognized Federal government sits in Mogadishu. That government and its leadership are, at least, cleaner than the one sitting in Juba and its leadership. Yet, the African Union, including some of the members of IGAD, is struggling to keep that government in Mogadishu. They are unable to force Somalis to come together under that government and leadership.

This difficulty exists partly because the root causes of the Somalia’s problem, leading to the collapse of the central government in 1991, might not have been properly identified and addressed.

After years of struggling with the situation, they still keep thinking that the problem is a lack of a central government in Mogadishu that can only be solved by putting one in place. It is a real failure.

This same IGAD is now trying to force the people of South Sudan to come together in a badly conceived transitional government under Salva Kiir who has committed genocide against a section of the South Sudanese society without first addressing the root causes of the December violence.

IGAD should understand that our problem is not a lack of a transitional government; in fact, the current government in Juba is a transitional government; it should understand that the problem that caused the war was not that Kiir was not a president; he had been the president before the war, and he has been the president ever since the war broke out.

Yet, we are in a big problem. Therefore, IGAD should stop thinking that having a transitional government led by Kiir is the magic African solution to the current war in South Sudan. This is a solution that can never be sustained.

If this is the only solution that IGAD can think of, then it must, instead, come out clearly and openly to admit that it has failed so that a different forum can pick up the task.

The way things look seems to suggest that IGAD has failed and decided, as an exit strategy, to impose Kiir on the people of South Sudan as a temporary solution to the problem. What comes after that imposition does not concern it.

It is completely conceived and done in the best interest of IGAD, not in the interest of the people of South Sudan. This is absurd. What makes IGAD leaders think that they should oppose non-African solutions to African problems, but impose a non-South Sudanese solution to a South Sudanese problem?

It is like trying to drive the people of South Sudan to the sky above by leading them into an abyss dug perpendicularly deep into the ground hoping and believing that, somehow, the abyss would eventually lead to the blue sky above the ground. This is a blind-mindedness that can only be induced by dictatorial tendencies which characterize leadership in most of Africa.

In any case, an intellect is, definitely, being insulted here. It is only a question of whose intellect it is that is being insulted: South Sudanese in particular, or African in general?

While in the process of finding a solution to the current civil war in South Sudan, IGAD must know, in case it does not know yet, that Kiir has committed genocide, and he must be dealt with as a criminal—not as what it refers to as an “elected, incumbent president.”

A proper and sustainable African solution should be that which keeps the criminal behind bars, and away from participating in the transitional government.

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

James Gathoth Mai is an invisible Judas Iscariot of South Sudan

By: Stephen Kong, South Sudan, OCT/02/2014, SSN;

James Gathoth Mai. The invisible Judas is worse than Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus Christ. According to Matthew 27:5-8 when Judas realized his crime is too big to handle, “he threw the money into the temple floor and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

But the former Chief of Staff of the SPLA (South Sudan National Army), James Gathoth, the invisible Judas collected his money and went for vocation in Australia where his family resides.

These two men shared a lot in common. They both hated those who love them. And in death, they are friendless. During December 15-24, 2013, Invisible Judas James Gathoth Mai could not talk to his dying relatives whom their only crime is because they are born to a Nuer mother and father.

The powerful General who claimed to have liberated South Sudan from the North, offered no help. Hung up the phone and congratulated his relatives’ killers. Judas Iscariot and an invisible James Gathoth Mai are the elements and the influences of evil. Their only differences is how they used their blood money.

Then Judas Iscariot realized his mistake stood like a man and faced the confrontation with a judgment verdict of his delusion and disappointment. He Judas Iscariot of Jews took responsibility to end his own life by hanging himself.

The invisible Judas James Gathoth of Nuer never until this day realized the crime he himself perpetrated against his own brothers, sisters and their children.

The sad fact about invisible Judas James Gathoth is, his real accomplishment in life is fighting with his Nuer tribe. But the good thing is, this time he betrayed the nation. Nuer are the tribe of South Sudan, since he was the second powerful man.

The innocent Nuer who died on December 15-24 owed him protection because they were his subjects. Invisible Judas James Gathoth, committed act of Genocide against the Nuer. He Judas Iscariot James Gathoth Mai is constitutionally responsible ruler at the time of genocide.

He chose not to protect them because he was a willing full participant. I choose the word Genocide here because it doesn’t need a lawyer or law degree to define what happened in Juba against Nuer people do constitute genocide.

It is purely a genocide. Why? Because Nuer are killed, they were singled out, sometimes by the scars on their foreheads or discovered their ethnicity based on their ID cards. They are executed to death simply because they are members of Nuer tribe.

Salva Kirr gave hate speeches on two occasions before genocide took place, James Gathoth Mai whom I suspected of being an invisible Judas Iscariot concealed behind Salva Kirr and Kuol Manyang Juuk.

The invisible Judas kept himself busy by talking on South Sudan TV, directed his messages especially to Nuer in army. On many occasions before and after Juba genocide took place, invisible Judas James Gathoth Mai was quoted by Sudan Tribune “South Sudan army chief warns against involvement in politics”.

Thank God, his goofy conspiracy backfired and failed to produce anything of value to deter Nuer sons and daughters from rescuing their own people. Invisible Judas, James Gathoth Mai is the military leader who oversaw the killing of Nuer women and children and at the same time expecting Nuer in army will bow to his plea.

My friends from Dinka Bor community argued that invisible Judas Iscariot, James Gathoth Mai did not kill the Nuer in December of 2013. I confronted them with the question who has the power to prevent Juba massacre than invisible Judas, James Gathoth Mai?

I was blasted to hear their claims that former governor of northern Bar-Elghazal Malong Awan is the one who is responsible for killing of Nuer in Juba.

The main point here is who has the power and constitutional authority to protect the lives of innocent women and children no matter what their tribe is? No other person rather than Salva Kirr and invisible Judas James Gathoth Mai.

I cannot believe that people forget the facts, shut their eye and even contradict themselves. Current Army Chief of Staff, Paul Malong, like majority of Dinkas, killed Nuer with guarantee from Chief of Staff Judas Iscariot James Gathoth that there is no Nuer threat.

Dinka are free to kill. Malong Awan did contribute with recruitment and selection of Dutku Bany and Gwelweng (Special Dinka presidential force). With instruction of invisible Judas Iscariot, James Gathoth Mai Nguth. This is cunning way to detached people’s is attention from present danger.

I am sorry to say the least but the plan worked, many innocent lives are lost because Nuer in particular anticipating the general chief of staff, a Nuer by birth, Judas Iscariot by alienation, will protect their innocent children from Dut-ku Bany and Guelweng.

Nuer always mentioned the conjunction word “if” (Dung MI, LAMI, and Kami) regardless of all the warning signs, Nuer forgot to say if. If they did the result could have been different. Many lives could have been saved from massacre.

If Nuer profiled Judas Iscariot James Gathoth Mai’s background from the time where the devil James started his military career, they should have seen too many red-flags, this is a general who spent all his military life independently killing and fighting with Nuer.

Nuer are blinded by the love of a country called South Sudan. They are hopeful the past is forgotten and life will continue.

That’s until when war broke out within the presidential guards, when invisible Judas Iscariot, James Gathoth Mai, used his constitutional power of chief of general staff to protect the Dinka presidential Guard against their Nuer colleague.

This is Judas’s response to a flashback that resulted from his discrimination and violent crime against Nuer people, this is a general who is in delusion and paranoid in fighting with Nuer resistant movement known as the separatists, or Anyanya II, abbreviated as (A.2).

The simple question is, if Judas Iscariot, James Gathoth Mai is able to protect a well equipped Salva Kirr’s Dinkas presidential Guards from their Nuer colleagues, why? And only why he never tried to stop genocides against Nuer innocent women and children from Dutku-Beny and Guelweng?

This must be a trillion dollar question. The answered is obvious, Judas Iscariot, James Gathoth Mai and his boss (Banydit) Salva Kirr Mayardit previous blueprint, the heinous crime against Nuer people.

To South Sudanese the truth is Judas Iscariot, James Gathoth Mai’s involvement in crimes, made the entire Nuer community left with nothing but the feeling of victimization, vulnerability, fearfulness, isolation and unprotected by the law.

In the history of Nuer tribes anything that threatened the lives of Nuer women and children always leads to war-cry. The technical term in Nuer is (Wiwi) when Nuer heard the messengers of war cry there is no question asked.

It is a message that tells Nuer women and children their lives are in real danger. Thank God the four sons of Denah namely Yien, Dak, Baal, and Bany heard the war cries and answered the call according to the threats.

And they will always be the first responders to anything that threatened Nuer Homeland, whether the threats arise from Sky, Land or River, DENAI SON of Geah, and Gaawar son of Kar or Jakar will always be the first defence for the Nuer Homeland and her people’s dignity.

Judas, that is the message.

For question, concerned or comment please dropped me a line at stephenpajok@yahoo.com

Stephen Pajok Kong Kulang