Category: Politics

Dr. Riek Machar: A First Vice president or a Failed Suicide bomber?

BY: Malith Kur, London, Canada, JUL/23/2016, SSN;

“Riek Machar had a gun in our meeting, reveals President Kiir as he recounts gun battle ordeal.” CCTV Africa Reporter (http://cctv-africa.com/2016/07/21/video).

As time goes by, extremely troubling details are emerging from what happened in and around the State House in Juba over a week ago. The scene of devastation and unexploded ordnances lying around the presidential compound are indications that a vicious battle took place there. It is a scene that an ordinary person would expect to see on a battlefield, but not within the vicinity of a presidential palace.

According to CCTV reporter, “it is an extraordinary tale.” It is a tale that betrays the madness which has always accompanied Riek Machar’s search for power in South Sudan. But what is even more extraordinary in the eyewitness—President Kiir—account is that the First Vice President was carrying a pistol, a gun.

The simple question to ask in this situation is, “why he carried a gun?” It is a legitimate question for South Sudanese and foreigners alike to ask. But before we try to answer this question, let us take a look at how senior government officials are protected in the world.

We understand that high-ranking government officials around the world fall under the protection of their assigned, professional security personnel. They do not need guns when they attend the business of running the affairs of a nation.

All nations protect their very important people very well. Their protection is governed by the so-called “first rule of protection,” which states that “the protector cannot be a protectee, at least not at the same time.” In other words, important government officials cannot function while looking after their own security. Somebody has to protect them.

Following that principle, presidents and other high-ranking officials worldwide are not responsible for their security details. The state agencies specializing in the protection of government officials carry this responsibility.

The business of the state officials is to run the country, not to manage the minute details of their security. Often well-trained security agents are given necessary resources by states to perform efficient protection of high-ranking officials.

So president Kiir, Fist Vice President Machar, and the Vice-President Wani have well-trained bodyguards and do not need guns to protect themselves.

Given the first rule of protection we have mentioned above, why did Riek Machar, the Fist Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, carry an undeclared gun to the meeting at the State House on July 8, 2016? It is an act that warrants a criminal investigation. It has gone beyond what we expect from political aspirants in the country.

As we now know, few hours before the fighting around the State House in Juba began, Mr Machar’s spokesman, James Gatdet, posted a note on his Facebook page in which he claimed that President Kiir attempted to put Machar behind bars. He also rushed to announcing the incident of fighting around the State House.

Indeed, there is a correlation between the Facebook post, the fighting that erupted at the State House, and the gun Mr Machar was carrying in his pocket.

Looking at these activities, one cannot fail to see that there was a coup planned to take place on that day. Machar came with a gun in the anticipation of a violent confrontation and he was ready to use his gun had the conditions permitted him to do so.

President Kiir is right when he says that Mr Machar was likely to assassinate him if he had a chance. The apparent reason Machar did not use his gun to assassinate the president was the fear for his own safety. If his forces had entered the State House, he would have shot the president and announced a takeover by force. That is it.

There is no doubt Mr James Gatdet, who is a professional liar, is going to come out denying that Machar had a gun is his pocket. He will go as far as suggesting that president Kiir is lying to gain sympathy from the public.

But we need to be very clear here that Dr Riek Machar has gone too far and his behaviors amount to a criminal activity. He has chosen terrorism instead of sound political discourse. The ways in which he is pursuing his opportunities to grasp power are no longer governed or supported by the international norms.

I heard him last time saying that he had never killed even a fly, but this time around he wanted to kill the President of South Sudan.

In this unprecedented episode, President Kiir has shown high standards of political civility and how a statesman should conduct himself when dealing with political enemies. He sacrificed his own safety in protecting Machar from a potential harm.

As I have learnt over the years the conduct of Riek Machar, he cannot protect his political enemies. If Mr Kiir were in Machar’s position, Machar would not have spared his life. It would have been an opportunity for him to get rid of a political competitor. This is how William Nyoun, Peter Panom Thinypin, and Karbino Kuanyin Bol died. Riek Machar’s political and military associates killed them in a cold blood.

In 1991, senior military and political figures from Dinka, Nuba, and other communities who were in Nasir but did not endorse his coup against John Garang were brutally butchered in front of him. He never lifted a finger to protect them.

The fact that Machar was armed when the fight occurred at the State House explains why he is refusing to return to Juba and call for a special protection force to intervene in South Sudan to guard him.

The emergence of these details concerning what happened in Juba on that fateful afternoon makes it impossible for the government and the South Sudanese populace to accept a third party intervention in the country at this time.

What needs to happen instead is for IGAD to launch an investigation into the events which occurred at the State House in Juba to establish its cause. This process does not require any military intervention. It requires urgent criminal investigation to uncover the hidden facts.

The revelation indicating that a member of South Sudanese Presidency carried an undeclared gun while in a meeting with the president is quite serious. It reveals a gang’s mentality that has developed in the rebel movement. This gang’s mentality prevalent in the SPLM/A-IO is the factor driving the endless violence in South Sudan.

South Sudanese would want to know why Mr. Machar carried a gun into the meeting at the presidential palace in Juba.
Those who call for Mr Machar to be replaced with someone else from his party are right. He is no longer a politician but a potential assassin, who is willing to lead a death squad as we have seen at the State House in Juba. He should not be allowed to come near the State House again. He is a failed suicide bomber.

Malith J. Kur
London Canada
mkur@uwo.ca

Who’s to blame for the political violence in South Sudan? What’s the way forward?

By: Professor Mahmood Mamdani, Makerere University, Uganda, Posted on TheEastAfrican, Jul/16/2016, SSN;

IN SUMMARY: “Political violence requires a constituency and raises more difficult questions — among them, how to isolate the perpetrators of political violence from their supporters.”

Since Independence Day in July 2011, South Sudan has fallen rapidly into strife and disarray. Tensions erupted in the capital, Juba, at the end of 2013 and spread to three large provincial cities.

By the following year, thousands were dead and the AU had appointed a five-person commission of inquiry, chaired by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The commission spent several months in South Sudan. When it delivered its findings in 2014, I was the only one of five members who dissented.

In the official report, the violence in South Sudan was characterised as mainly “criminal,” but in a minority view entitled A Separate Opinion, I argued that it was more than a breakdown of law and order.

Rather, the violence was political. Criminal violence is the action of individual perpetrators, to which the response is simply to judge and punish.

But political violence requires a constituency and raises more difficult questions — among them, how to isolate the perpetrators of political violence from their supporters.

To begin to answer these questions, we need an accurate description of what happened.

Ethnic lines

Two main ethnic groups dominate South Sudan: Dinka (the larger group) and Nuer. Juba is settled along ethnic lines, and the killings in the capital at the end of 2013 — by Dinka militias — were organised as a house-to-house operation in Nuer residential areas.

The political objective was to cleanse Juba of its Nuer population, divide the inhabitants of the country along ethnic lines, and destroy any basis for consensus, polarising 11 million citizens in the new state into us and them.

A displaced person in a UN compound told the commission: “They put a knife into what bound us, turned the crisis from political to ethnic.”

By “they” was meant the government that assumed office at Independence; the crisis turned ethnic at the end of 2013 after an explosive meeting of the National Liberation Council (NLC), the executive committee of the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

The tension had been simmering throughout 2013 and rose dramatically when three members of the NLC announced their intention to contest the chairmanship, a position that would automatically qualify its holder as the ruling party’s candidate for the presidency in the upcoming 2015 election.

In April, the presiding NLC chair and President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, who is Dinka, removed the executive powers of his vice-president Riek Machar, who is Nuer.

In July, Kiir dismissed all his ministers and then embarked on a tour of the Bahr el Ghazal region in the predominantly Dinka northwest, delivering provocative speeches that were broadcast on the national TV network. By the time he called for the NLC to meet on December 14, the stage was set for a showdown.

The killings in Juba lasted until December 18 and left hundreds of Nuer dead, but who carried them out? The most widespread explanation among senior military, intelligence, police, and government officials we talked to was that they were the work of several thousand irregulars recruited during border skirmishes with Sudan shortly after Independence.

The people who carried out the killings from December 16–18 were mostly from Bahr el Ghazal.

Nuer communities in Juba responded to the killings with a rebellion and a local uprising. Community-based fighting formations outside Juba known as the White Army, 50,000 in all and fresh from a run of campaigns against the Murle ethnicity in 2012, converged, first on Bentiu, which they ransacked, and then on Juba.

An intervention by the Ugandan army halted the march of the White Army. At the same time, the UN Mission opened its compound to protect IDPs from hostile forces on the government side.

Both the Ugandans and the UN were credited at first with reducing the level of violence, even preventing a genocide; later, both were accused of prolonging the crisis — the Ugandan army because it propped up the government, and the UN Mission because it turned a blind eye to armed IDPs in the camps.

There are two major examples of secession in post-colonial Africa: Eritrea and South Sudan. Eritrean Independence followed a military victory against the regime in Addis Ababa, but there was no military victory in South Sudan. External factors militated in favour of South Sudan.

Madeleine Albright’s decision to back SPLM against Khartoum in 1997 was a child of Washington’s war on terror. Only a reasonable fear that it could be the next target of US aggression in a post–9/11 era that had begun with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq explains why the government of Sudan agreed to hold an independence referendum in the South and let half the country secede.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in 2005 when the South gained autonomy from Sudan in preparation for full independence in 2011, turned out to be a shoddy affair.

In spite of opposition from some regional states to a short five-year time table, it was rushed to the table by a Troika of Western states—the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway—once it was clear that Washington’s interest in the Sudanese civil war had forced Khartoum onto the defensive.

Without the threat of US intervention against an African country identified as an enemy in the war on terror, Khartoum would not have signed the agreement.

Who determines terms of peace?

The CPA’s lamentable approach to the array of armed groups in the future state of South Sudan was based on the assumption that only those with the capacity to wage war have the right to determine the terms of the peace.

The most alarming consequence of the agreement was that non-militarised political opposition, both in Sudan and the country that was about to come into being, was thoroughly marginalised.

Enthusiastic voices from the rest of the world, in particular the Troika, reinforced the illusion of the new regime, led by Kiir, that all it needed to ensure its continued hold on power was international support.

It basked in the extenuations that the world now grants to victim cultures: the south, when it was part of Sudan, had been terrorised, starved, bombed, and brutalised, and it follows, as it does for post-genocide Rwanda, that whatever happens next, the victims in charge of their own destiny must be coddled and absolved of responsibility.

In Sudan six years ago, the regime in Khartoum was roundly and correctly accused of fraud when it took the country to the polls. But in South Sudan, the rigging of the referendum on self-determination, which produced a 99.8 per cent Yes vote, was approved with a cheerful smile by the international community.

Two years later, when the ruling SPLA appeared to split more or less down the middle—each half intent on devouring the whole—the Western press was mystified.

It had always commended the “Christian and animist” victims in the South against their “Muslim and Arab” oppressors in the North, and now reached for an equally formulaic explanation for the outbreak of civil war in the victims’ new territory, where all was supposed to turn out well.

The new formula was an old one: “Tribalism.” The ethnic nature of the split in the National Liberation Council was the best to hand: It was, after all, a standoff between Nuer and Dinka. From this point of view, the current conflict, which has continued since 2013 and led to deaths estimated in the thousands, is between a Dinka-led government and a Nuer-led rebellion.

Who should be held responsible politically for the extreme violence that has destroyed lives of hundreds of thousands in South Sudan since December 2013?

Two groups above all. First, the Troika of Western states, and its friends such as IGAD, for their decisive role in framing an agreement that set up a politically unchallenged armed power in South Sudan.

Second, the pre-July 2013 Cabinet of the Government of South Sudan for the political crisis that led to the political meltdown on December 15, 2013.

The regional organisation of states, Igad, and the UN Security Council representing the international community have patched together another makeshift agreement to stop this round of fighting in South Sudan.

The agreement has three key features: A coalition government based on a sharing of seats between the two sides to the civil war; a demilitarised Juba which will be the seat of this government; and an agreement to have a hybrid court try all those considered criminally culpable for the mass violence during the civil war.

The obvious dilemma with this agreement is that those likely to be tried are the same as those who hold power.

With this in mind, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar have written a joint op-ed in the New York Times proposing that there should be no trial but a reconciliation premised on forgiveness, though Machar disavowed the op-ed four days after it was published, claiming not to have been consulted about its contents.

From the point of view of both Igad and the troika, this proposal may be the least costly way forward. But it is unlikely to hold the key to a stable future.

An alternative way forward would require greater political will, more resources and a more radical vision from all parties concerned.

It calls for a recognition that the transition that was the CPA failed; that it fed the worst anti-reform tendencies in the SPLA and turned into a breeding ground for the violence that erupted in December 2013.

South Sudan needs a second transition. Instead of giving political power to those with the gun, this transition will seek to forge a political compact both at the level of society and that of the political class. It will seek to combine political justice with political reform.

Political justice is about political accountability, at both the individual and the societal levels. Key to the pursuit of political justice will be the exclusion from high office of all those politically accountable for the mass violence that followed the crisis of December 15, 2013.

Key to political reform will be demilitarisation and democratisation at the societal level so that the process of reform of militias at the local level goes hand-in-hand with that of creating self-governing democratic communities.

The demilitarisation of Juba is a starting point; for it to continue, demilitarisation will need to extend beyond Juba to most of the country.

The challenge in forging this transition is political. Is it possible to put together a political authority with the credibility, the vision, and the experience for a task that combines elements of tutelage with that of a democratic project?

For this, I suggest a hybrid political authority led by an African team—the most likely being the AU’s High Level Panel on Sudan (both North and South), chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki—backed up by the joint authority of the African Union and the UN.

Prof Mahmood Mamdani is the director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Kampala, Uganda.

Jieng Council of Elders’ pre-plan: To arrest, harm & celebrate Dr. Riek Machar’s death on 9th July, 2016

By: Bol Khan, JUL/18/2016, SSN;

The pre-plan designed by Jieng Council of Elders’ leadership in Juba was to arrest Dr. Riek Machar on Friday 8th July 2016 at J1, harm/murder him and then celebrate his death on Saturday 9th July 2016. This was what the later details transpired. The details transpired that the postponement of Independence Day Celebrations was not done out of the blue.

It wasn’t a normal postponement as such! The primary plan was to divert the public’s attention from what the Administration’s Legislative body, the Jieng Council of Elders, had already worked on & cooked: A plan to arrest and harm Dr. Machar before Friday 8th July 2016.

Yes, the prime reason as reported was a financial hardship which had earlier on badly hit the Council led-Government of Salva Kiir. This became known to everybody. However, the Jieng Council of Elders (JCE) in collaboration with the administration also thought of how they could get Riek Machar in an official corner so that they arrest and permanently harm him.

Thus, the council’s executive body led by Salva Kiir Mayardit on 8th Friday July 2016 was acting on its legislative body’s directives.

I have concrete evidences sent to me by an insider in the administration. Had this pre-plan succeeded on Friday 8th July 2016, a little budget reserved by the administration would have been used to celebrate Dr. Machar’s death instead on Saturday 9th July 2016.

Accordingly, as directed by the council, President Salva Kiir called Dr. Riek Machar for a meeting at J1 on Friday 8th July 2016. While on the other hand, the council also directed its military wing to send extra force as soon as Dr. Machar arrives at J1, State House.

Indeed, when Dr. Machar arrived at J1 on Friday 8th July 2016, the forces that would start fighting were immediately sent by the military wing under the leadership of Malong Awan. A huge forces which Ateny Wek, Salva Kiir’s spokesperson and Akuei Bona Malual, J1 Council’s Representative to the UN later described as “unknown gunmen” appeared from the Headquarters and opened fire on Dr. Machar’s bodyguards.

Paul Malong was nicknamed by the Administration as “King Paul” for having successfully masterminded 15 December 2013 genocide in Juba, Wau’s mass murder in June 2016 and many more atrocities he planned, instigated and executed.

Primarily, the Jieng Council of Elders’ forces took for granted that they would easily chase away Dr. Machar’s unit in three minutes time on Friday 8th July 2016.

Primitively, they only looked at Machar’s protection unit as was very small, without taking into account guards’ nationality and that fighting those natural bravest bodyguards was not as easy as withdrawing cash ($ USD) from South Sudan Central Bank (SSCB).

The council’s forces also thought once they start fighting, Machar’s gallant unit would be easily wiped out or even during the fighting, perhaps Riek would come out running, cowed, crouched or cringed in fear. Or might come out either to see what was happening or see his bodyguards’ whereabouts.

Instead, Machar small unit force made the opposite happen. That fierce fighting took place between unequal forces and Dr. Machar’s bodyguards humiliated the council’s forces instead. The two forces fought until when a third party, the UNMISS separating forces came. And reportedly, this was where the council’s members could start blaming each other for the failure to arrest and finally harm Dr. Machar.

On Friday night when the council’s prominent members realized that their designed pre-plan failed then they went back to the drawing board. Where they freshly start strategizing how they could again get Dr. Machar after the failure of a calculated assassination attempt at J1.

The Council leadership could not sleep for those two consecutive nights, i.e. Friday & Saturday nights. Desperately, they agreed to launch an open and direct attempt on Dr. Machar and his protection unit comprising of only one thousand-three hundred and seventy (1,370) servicemen.

They resolved that “All the available weaponry or military hardware currently in SPLA’s possession including helicopters gunships would be used against Machar and his forces on Sunday. Hoping, ordering over thirty (30,000 excluding unified police) to fight and crush Machar would have resulted into rounding up, arresting and permanently harming him.

Perhaps, by launching both ground and aerial bombardments attacks using heavy artillery plus helicopter gunships may result into a whole elimination of him and his forces.

On Sunday morning, 10th July 2016, SPLA launched fierce offensive ground attacks and then followed by aerial bombardments on SPLM-IO’s two bases, wishfully hoping to hear that Dr. Machar got killed in combat.

The multiple attacks which were coming from different directions were all beaten back at best by SPLA-IO’s protection and support units. A war which was initially set to take only two hours lasted for five good days between over thirty thousand (30, 000) Jieng Council of Elders’ troops and only one thousand, three hundred and seven (1,370) strong servicemen of Dr. Machar. While Machar’s small forces were using only slight machine guns e.g. AK47, RPGs and few PKMs compared to modern weaponry and military hardware including helicopter gunships the SPLA were using against Machar’s forces.

Congratulations Dr. Machar’s gallant forces!! With this unequal number of forces and military supplies the two armies had in mind, if you made SPLA-IO’s troops to be thirty thousands (30, 000) and SPLA-IG’s troops as only one thousand, three hundred and seventy (1,370 ) troops in Juba. What do you think would have happen therein?

Could Jieng Council of Elders still roving around maiming ordinary citizens, today in Juba? I don’t think. Hence, Malong and Council’s cronies must not proudly talk today in Juba as if theirs was braveness. They are not!! If they think they are, can they accept two equal forces with equal military hardware in Juba? Will they?

Willingly, and to avoid further clashes, the SPLM/A-IO’s forces had to voluntarily decide a tactical withdrawal from its two bases on Monday evening.

When Jieng Council of Elders heard this, the council’s online and blanket Ambassador, Gordon Buay Malek, quickly posted a white lie on his facebook account saying “SPLM-IO’s Chief of Staff, Gen. Gatwech Dual, IO’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration & Finance, Gen. James Koang Chuol and perhaps Dr. Riek Machar were all believed to have been confirmed dead during series confrontations between the SPLA-IG &SPLA-IO forces in Jebel Kujur”.

Gordon Buay is a South Sudan’s Jieng Council of Elders trivial, self-imposed representative to the United States of America. Gordon’s name was not included in South Sudan’s Ambassadorial list; so he has no fixed basic salary in the Council’s pay roll.

He depends only on wage; he earns a living by making up information and reports this hoodwinking information to the Council, JCE, so that he is given something to eat at least for a day. His (Gordon Buay) payment depends on how much information he made up or how many lies he makes/levels per day against Dr. Riek Machar’s character. This is how he survives all these years since late 2013.

Back to the topic, so the notorious Jieng Council of Elders’ deadly but failed pre-plan was to murder and celebrate Dr. Machar death on date 9th July 2016. Even if the executive branch of Jieng Council Elders managed to arrest and permanently harmed Dr. Machar on Friday 8th July 2016 at J1, the offensive attacks which were later launched on Sunday 10th July 2016 against the SPLA-IO would have all been suspended.

What they would have been busy doing was the celebrations. This was evidently transpired and was ascertained by the following two factors: 1) The celebratory sporadic firing of guns into the air allover Juba on Monday night was of this fact that they thought what Gordon Buay uttered about the alleged killings of Gen. Gatwech Dual, Gen. James Koang and Dr. Machar were true.

Some Jieng’s Community members automatically became arch enemies of Dr. Machar in 1990s when He, Dr. Machar challenged the SPLM’s first objective/vision of Secular, United, and One Sudan. Additionally, as a result of that long-established tribal incitement, which has later on been spread by some Jieng Elders for years now, about almost sixty-five (65) percent of today South Sudan’s Jieng Community, wish to see Dr. Riek Machar’s corpse placed into a grave.

From that year, Jieng Community (with more or less) began to believe that as long as Dr. Riek Machar still exists on this planet South Sudan cannot and will never be a stable country. Without complimenting Him (Dr. Machar) for having opposed that unachievable United Sudan Vision in 1991. Gluttonously, they also forget that what they are enjoying today in Juba was Dr. Machar’s brainchild.

Lastly and not the least, in my capacity as the said Council regime’s survivor, I would like to add my voice to those whose voices might have reached you, Dr. Machar, earlier on. About how you should be cautious or stay alert regarding these evil acts of Jieng Council of Elders.

Naturally, ninety (90%) percent of this Jieng Council of Elders-led Community knows very well how to set a political, coordinate and eliminating evils plans. Let’s not forget that, the organized terrorists always have millions tricky ways to achieve their evil and deadly plans every time, anywhere and at anytime.

Bol Khan can be reached on bolkhan39@yahoo.com

Direct from Juba, South Sudan Reality: Painful Independence, Failed Leadership!

By James Okuk, PhD., JUBA, JUL/12/2016, SSN;

Thank God that some of us are still alive and are able to communicate from Juba today after being confined in a prison-like and imposed hunger situation since Friday 8th July 2016, the very day six years ago when I wrote the article “South Sudan Paradox: Joyful Independence, Sorry Leadership”.

As we reflect back down the memory lane, the proven reality these days could be summed up as “South Sudan: Painful Independence, Failed Leadership”. This is what is being said in the the internal and also the external arena.

Even the Korean UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, who sang jubilantly on 9th July 2011 with the fashionable “SPLM Oyee” which was considered synonymous to “South Sudan Oyee” by then is now totally frustrated by the senseless recurrency of the man-made bad news of massive killings and displacements in the Republic of South Sudan.

May I pay my sincerest condolences to each and everyone of us (nationals or foreigners) who has lost their dear ones and valuable properties in these extraordinarily terrible days in Juba. Also I wish a quick recovery to those who became sick and were unable to receive medical attention in time due to severity of the situation and safety isolation.

Internally, the military calm is back to Juba this morning after our ears have heard the shots and sounds and our eyes have seen fire smokes and night colours of every type of weapon (heavy and light) available in the country and put on disproportionally deadly use.

However, the political heat is still high and the official media outlet (SSBC/SSTV) together with some sectors of private social media are unrelentless in promoting this uncalled for heat. The Radio stations (especially the credible Eye Radio) are back life on air and able to balance the information and sift the propaganda by bringing in as well the direct voice of the First Vice President and Chairman of SPLM/A-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, and others for the better judgment from objectivity.

Ceasefire has been announced by both leaders of the warring parties and civilians are told to resume their normal life.

Despite the above, the civilians are still terrified and disgusted by the irresponsible behaviour of their top opposing SPLM/A leaders who could’t honour their pledges to work together for restoring peace in all corners of the country.

Most people (including the church leaders like Msgn. Rev. Roco Taban) have totally lost trust in such kinds of leaders who are not true to their words and who can’t build trust in the needed collective responsibility.

More dire humanitarian situation has been created to add to the already-difficult economic situation in the country. The Churches, some Embassies (e.g. of DRC in 107) and UNMISSS camps have been filled up again by the innocent civilians.

Some vulnerable civilians (women, children, adults and elderly) found themselves nowhere but fearfully hiding in the bushes with wild animals whose risks were seen less deadly than the armed human beings of South Sudan.

The tolls of the casualties from the man-made four-days war of SPLA factions (IG and IO) inside the civilian residences have been very high. Many of the dead have remain unburied for hours and rotten with no dignity of the final rites.

The spree of looting has been terrible in many shops and homes. A very painful internal despairing scenery, indeed!

Externally, the IGAD’s Council of Ministers has decided in its extraordinary meeting of 11th June 2016 in Nairobi to put Juba International Airport under UN Trusteeship. The frontline states of the IGAD-member countries have also decided to send to South Sudan a well-armed regional intervention forces with attack helicopters and gunships to boost the UNMISS peace-keeping capacity, protect the civilians and scare the bloody and insensitive violent military and political leaders from massive displacement of civilians from the dignity of their serene livelihood.

If the worst of the continuous war is not averted soonest, Kenya and Ethiopia may be ready to avail a quick response as from now to next week. Uganda has already deployed its troops heavily at the borders with South Sudan, waiting to enter again for any eventuality.

Khartoum has also offered to contribute a batch of quick emergency soldiers to the regional forces, probably alongside the Ethiopian segment of intervention forces.

The UN Secretary-General has described President Kiir and First Vice President Riek as “failed leaders” and called upon the the UN, the region and the entire international community not only to invoke “the Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) but also “the Responsibility to Act” (R2A) in order to rescue the civil population.

He recommended for Armed Embargo and more sanctions blacklisting to be enforced on South Sudan as soon as possible.

Since the time he took up the duties of the UN General Secretariat, Mr. Ki-moon has not been seen talking in a very tough and warning language on peace and security issues the way he has done it recently on the worrying situation South Sudan is undergoing.

He is now a very angry man because all his diplomatic efforts and shuttles on resolving the conflict in South Sudan seem to be going to waste at the time he is about to end his UN office tenure.

It is already serious and South Sudan might become a regional and international war theatre in addition to the internal war situation we are in.

All these external interventions are happening due to intransigence of our top SPLM/A leaders who are commanding deadly independent armed forces respectively. They have refused to listen to good advices for peace.

Now they are in big trouble (e.g., for war crimes and other crimes prosecutable under international law). The external intervention has become real and taking a toll on our sovereignty.

Both internal and external fronts are almost erasing the credibility and trustworthiness of the SPLM/A-IG and SPLM/A-IO from their good records. I don’t know what face has remained from the messing factionalized SPLM/A top leadership to be kept for a dignified future. Only the days, weeks and months ahead will tell.

Shame on our unwise and uncaring leaders!

Nevertheless let’s wipe our tears of sorrow and keep high the hope for a rising nation as the paradox is being resolved, be it through internal pressure or external intervention.

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

Joint Administration and UN Trusteeship Insulting but not Outlandish – Revisited

BY: Kuir ë Garang, CANADA, JUL/11/2016, SSN

“To say that these are universal problems is to assume that we are solving Africa’s problems. No! This should be about our concern for South Sudan as South Sudanese. We are not Somalians or Congolese”;

We are Still in a Labyrinth:

In 2014, following SPLM’s leadership political indecisiveness and power struggle that’d plunge South Sudan into both political and military confrontation, the talk on UN Trusteeship or Joint Administration gained traction. But like any sociopolitical phenomenon, the idea was received with mixed reactions by South Sudanese intellectuals, political elites and policy institutes. Obviously, the reason for this mixed reaction seem facts-based; but it’s rather a question of our general understanding of patriotism.

On March 27, 2014, I wrote an article in response to one of Sudd Institute’s ‘weekly policy briefs’ of March 11, 2019 by Nhial Tiitmamer and Abraham Awolich. And on April 11 the mentioned authors responded to my article by clarifying some of their postulates and the reason why the ‘brief’ didn’t contain thorough and comprehensive policy analysis and alternative proposals.

It’s been more than two years since then; but given the despondent state of things now in South Sudan, it’s prudent that we re-start the debate in order to remind the South Sudanese leadership of their role and the wretchedness (inadvertent or purposed) that’s become South Sudan.

It’s our role as ‘learned’ and ‘informed’ South Sudanese to speak for the voiceless. It is, unequivocally, our duty to remind South Sudanese intelligentsia that criticism and the analysis of what’s wrong with the political class and the general ideological leaning, is the heart of patriotism; the pivotal center around which national well-being revolves.

While I am not going to respond to Nhial’s and Awolich’s article word by word, I am going to answer some of the questions they raised; or some of the issues they believed I didn’t address. Since this is about policy recommendations and our aspirations for South Sudan’s sociopolitical future, it’s crucial that we honestly debate the fate of the country in an exhaustively informed manner.

Besides, unfortunately, the very conditions that necessitated the debate on Joint Administration and Trusteeship are exactly the same way we first debated them two years earlier or even worse. And even worse, the prospects of any better future are even beleaguer.

Insulting but not Outlandish:

The authors charged that “While saying that a UN trusteeship or joint administration is insulting but not outlandish as we stated, Mr. Kuir fails to state why it is insulting.”

I used the word ‘insulting’ to underscore the fact that having our country taken over and ruled (even for a short time) by a committee of both foreigners and South Sudanese obviously gives an impression to the outside world that we are an incapable lot.

Admittedly, it’s a state of affair which, in all honesty, insults people’s sociocultural realities, their sociopolitical creative capacities, and their intellects.

However, I said the two proposals aren’t ‘outlandish’ because there’s nothing strange, bizarre or peculiar about South Sudan been taken over by a different administrative body given our existing, hopeless realities. And these realities are hampering any formidable developmental path towards the South Sudan we had all hoped for.

Fortunately, the authors realized that their usage of the term ‘outlandish’ was in fact inappropriate. “Perhaps it is a mistake on our side to have chosen such a word without explanation or definition. We think the two proposals are not insulting. They have been proposed out of context,” they wrote. Inappropriate or inapplicable, should have been the terms used instead of outlandish.

Falling Short of Recommending the Proposals:

The other question the authors raised was the reason why I shied away from recommending the two proposals, writing that “Mr. Kuir also fails to state why he declines to recommend the two proposals.”

I see myself as a reasonable South Sudanese so I didn’t recommend the proposals by then because I believed South Sudan still had the capacity to remedy the situation and change the course of things towards the future we crave.

Essentially, things don’t have to be perfect for one to believe that socioeconomic and sociopolitical situations would improve. What’s important are the indications that such a case is a possibility. With peace negotiation on-going then, I assumed a signed agreement after the military crisis would change our mindset; and that a brighter future was a possibility. We can all attest to the fact that that’s not a possibility anytime soon. That, I assume, is clear.

Failure to Analyze the Merits of the Proposal:

As regard to why they didn’t do a proper appraisal of the merits of the two proposals, the authors argued that the merits where already mentioned by the first proponents of the proposals [Hank Cohen & Princeton Lyman et al] and that it would be ‘redundant for us to provide the merits again.” But the authors realized the error in that and added that “Perhaps, it can be considered a mistake on our side to assume that people had read the articles we were critiquing.” It’s of course a mistake not just something that’d be ‘considered a mistake.’

As policy institute scholars, their main goal should be the synthesis of policy ingredients into potentially useable policy products. We should always write to make things easy for our policy consumers not make them do our work. Besides, the context with which we [South Sudanese] write might not be the context with which the authors we refer people to, do.

While it’s crucial and expedient to point readers to the original article, it’s imperative that the authors put the merits not only in their own words but also in their context as South Sudanese. To say that “X has already written about merits so go and read them; I’ll here write about demerits” is rather an odd intellectual stance for policy institute scholars to adopt; and I hope that that is corrected for the benefit of the institute’s readers like me.

Legality of Trusteeship:

Admittedly, this is where the authors seem to have a point when things are taken strictly on face-value without rationalized context in regard to South Sudan.

They wrote that “under the UN Charter, article 78 of chapter XII, a territory that has become a member state of the UN cannot be placed under the UN Trusteeship System because the relationships between the member states are based on the principle of respect for sovereign equality.”

Given the fact that the world had just come out of the horrors and madness of second world war, and many colonized peoples were fighting for independence from their colonial masters, it’s obvious why such a clause was necessary. That chapter XII could be used as a pretext by some nations to ‘legally’ occupy and recolonize others was a reality. A respect for sovereignty of others was meant as a protective clause for UN member states.

However, we need to remember that Chapter XII (“International Trusteeship System”) was initiated as a solution-focused idea to deal with a given problem.

“The United Nations shall establish under its authority an international trusteeship system for the administration and supervision of such territories as may be placed thereunder by subsequent individual agreements. These territories are hereinafter referred to as trust territories,” Article 75 states.

To argue that it should always be applied in the manner in which it was initiated without context is to lose sight of the content of the problem we are talking about. We always need to remind ourselves, as South Sudanese, as to why we are even talking about Chapter XII.

Did it occur to the authors [Nhial & Awolich] that Chapter XII, Article 78, can be amended to include sovereign states in extremely special circumstances?

Isn’t the severity of the problem and the fact that South Sudanese leadership has failed to even show a single way-forward not enough to alarm us? South Sudan is leading nowhere and what we need to talk about now isn’t the fact that “Most fragile states should have been put under the UN trusteeship system, if fragility is an automatic invitation for the UN to take over a country.”

We need to think about what can help end death, political instability and economic hardship in South Sudan. Thinking about why certain solutions aren’t proposed for other fragile states (such as Somalia and Congo DRC for example) is to believe the problem in South Sudan isn’t severe enough yet. And why do we worry about other states?

It’s neither our problem that they are in crisis and neither is it our problem that they’ve never considered “International Trusteeship System”. We need to think about quintessential realities of our nation and our problems.

I can entertain the argument that Joint Administration and Trusteeship cannot work in South Sudan with reasons given. To say that these proposals were presented out of context as the authors had argued, is to ignore the central article of Chapter XII (76). However, the argument that Chapter XII doesn’t apply to our realities in South Sudan is to lose sight of the fact that laws are made, nullified and remade. This therefore takes care of the legality question.

No Convincing Ground for Trusteeship and Joint Administration:

I always assume that the gravity of the problem affects us in the same manner so to say that “the two proposals we assessed do not provide convincing proofs” troubles me. I know the two authors, more than anyone I know, care deeply about South Sudan and they understand the gravity of the problems South Sudan is in more than many of us. However, I don’t know if they realize the impression they convey by saying that there’s no convincing proofs for the two proposals.

Two questions present themselves in this context. Is what isn’t convincing the viability of the two proposals as possible solutions for the problem, or the fact that things are not yet bad enough for us to consider things like trusteeship?

I am convinced that the current systemic problems and the leadership’s inabilities are beyond bad within the current context. It’s simply inconceivable that the current system and leadership is able to ease the suffering of the people and bring in economic and political stability. I am also convinced that:

1. Government officials embezzle funds and get away scot-free
2. Security officials intimidate opponents and the media if they don’t toe the government line.
3. Military intelligence, military police and the national security kill citizens anyhow
4. Inter-tribal relations are at their lowest in all corners of South Sudan
5. There are no functional institutions and structures for sound decision making.
6. There’s no room for political disagreement and debate
7. Government officials say what they want and do what they want.
8. Workers go for months without pay but no one is held accountable
9. Hunger and diseases are a common occurrence
10. Infrastructure are nonexistent

(To say that these are universal problems is to assume that we are solving Africa’s problems. No! This should be about our concern for South Sudan as South Sudanese. We are not Somalians or Congolese)

So to argue that there are no ‘proofs’ is to either be in denial or believe that things need to get worse than they already are now. This would be a terrible state of affairs as South Sudanese have suffered in the most grotesque manner possible. We need to conscionably look at the suffering of South Sudanese to realize that we have convincing proof that alternative methods of governing South Sudan are necessary now. Our suffering civilians are proofs enough.

Alternatives to Joint Administration and Trusteeship:

While the five points Nhial and Awolich present as alternatives are part of the general solution structure, they are merely part of the regular government functionality. What a given, nascent government hasn’t’ done yet isn’t an ‘alternative’ but the goal towards which it is aiming. Below, I summarized and contextual the author’s ‘alternatives.’

1. Liaising with foreign governments for credible skills transfer to South Sudanese to strengthen capacity building
2. Giving assistance in form of goods to curb funds embezzlement
3. Offering cash payment in a conditional manner that helps in changing bad institutional practices and behavior
4. Building accountability model with good cooperation between funders and South Sudanese officials
5. Making sure South Sudanese are assisted in taking over institutional responsibility as foreigners leave. (Please read Nhial’s & Awolich’s original response.)

Unfortunately, these, in my view, aren’t alternatives but what any conventional government SHOULD perform or aim to achieve if it isn’t doing them yet. To call them alternatives is to assume there is something else a government should do.
Viable alternatives aren’t merely prescriptive itemizations, which the current government should execute. South Sudan needs more than that. The leaders have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they have neither the will nor the capacity to implement any of the ‘alternatives’ the authors mentioned.

What’s required in South Sudan is a complete overhaul of the top governance system and decision-making infrastructure. Assuming that the current leadership will perform the above tasks is to still have confidence in the current leaders; and to still entrust the future of South Sudan and lives of the people into the hands of two men who’ve shown total disregard for human life.

President Kiir recently compared the genuine grievances of the citizens to football fans’ complaints about the performance of the players. That’s to take the lives of the people and their suffering lightly, a dangerous state of mind for a national leader. Dr. Riek Machar asked Stephen Sucker of BBC ‘Hard Talk’ in 2014 who he should apologize to, saying with straight face that “I am the victim.”

These two men can’t work together and they have shown that building military strength around them is their primary objective. Are these the people to implement these ‘alternatives’ or are we expecting a miraculous change in their mindset? The problem in South Sudan isn’t merely what is to be done but WHO is to do it.

And to argue that “South Sudan has been under a UN Mandate in the last 9 years with little to show in terms of political and social stability in the country” is to assume that the UN has a greater role in the actual governance than it actually does.

Why I Entertain Joint Administration or UN Trusteeship:

I need to first remind my readers that should South Sudanese leaders change from self-interested stooges and in their obsession with quest for power and riches at the expense of the people, it would be ridiculous for me to talk of the above two proposals. We are talking about these proposals, not as the ultimate solutions, but as viable alternatives that can give South Sudanese a small room to build their country.

While Trusteeship or Joint Administration wouldn’t be the ‘magic wand’ that’d solve all our problems, there’s a very patriotic, conscionable reason why I would now recommend them.

Embezzlement of public funds:

If the instituted leadership under the mandate of the would-be initiated clause under amended Chapter XII reports to the UN General assembly on regular basis on how developmental money is used, the chances of national funds being misappropriated would be minimized. Most of the development dollars would go to the purpose for which they are intended. Money for roads, hospital, schools, and salaries would easily and transparently go towards the purpose for which they are intended.

Institutional Structures and Decision-Making protocols:

Decision-making now in South Sudan is concentrated in the hand of the president and a few trusted individuals. This allows junior officials who believe the president would back their wild thoughts to say what they want whenever they want. Under the guidance of experts, South Sudanese officials would learn to treat the functionality of institutional structures and administrative protocols based on research facts as sacrosanct.

Impulsive decision-making based on whims would be avoided and new decision-making methods and apparatuses learned. In a situation where a presidential spokesperson overrules two Vice Presidents because he belongs to unquestionable tribe, a nation leads nowhere.

Curbing Insecurity:

Insecurity in South Sudan is caused by lack of accountability. And this lack of accountability stems from the tribalized nature of the security sectors. Having a person, no tribe would accuse of favoritism would be a sound way to make sure the national security sector is not only overhauled but also de-tribalized. The president has his own brand of body guards, who seem to fall outside the regular South Sudanese army.

This forces Vice President Riek Machar to copy the same by having his own brand of body guards. All these contribute to insecurity by fomenting mistrust and fear. The leaders should have a non-tribal secret services to guard them.

SPLM & SPLA:

The historical link between SPLA, which is supposed to be the national army, and SPLM, which is the ruling political party, has proven to be problematic. A Joint Administration or Trusteeship would make sure the way SPLA meddles in the political affairs of the nation is completely checked. Our current leadership isn’t able to ensure that the SPLA doesn’t interfere in political affairs because many politicians use this historical tie to make SPLA an intimidation tool. Most of SPLM’s politicians are army generals.

Media Censorship and Freedom of Speech:

Media is one of the mirrors of society and it’s one way through which government’s performance is discussed. The current leadership sees the media as an enemy rather than a tool to evaluate its performance and inform the nation through unbiased news reporting.

Besides, the manner in which opinion writers and people with different opinions are intimidated or killed, compromises the development of sound national conscience and moral consciousness.

Nations develop when different ideas are allowed and available governance ideologies critiqued thoroughly. This isn’t an atmosphere that’s possible now.

Applying Laws in Practice not Merely having them on Paper:

South Sudanese constitution has guarantees that could ensure the nation develops soundly and freely. Trusteeship or Joint Administration would be led by people who value laws and can apply them rather than using them as smokescreen while using informal, unwritten laws to run the country.

I don’t suggest these things because I don’t care about our sovereignty or the well-being of our civil population. I suggest these proposals because the suffering of our people has become unbearable to me and I don’t see any way forward with the current leadership.

The situation that led to this state of affair is grander than we usually realize. And Mahmood Mandani sums it up brilliantly in this article, Who’s to Blame in South Sudan, in Boston Review that “To think of South Sudan as a failed state is to overlook the simple fact that the very political foundation for the existence of a state—administrative, technical, and legal infrastructure or a political compact as its foundation and direction—has yet to be forged, either within the elite or between the communities that comprise South Sudan. There was no bureaucracy, no judiciary, nothing to fail; the leadership of this non-existent state was propped up and lionized by important sections of the international community, led by the troika, and now the country is in chaos. Rather than a failed state, South Sudan was a failed transition.”

This makes it inconceivable that the said ‘alternatives’ have any leadership or structure to implement them. With this in mind, Mandani’s question becomes imperative: “Is it possible to put together a political authority with the credibility, the vision, and the experience for a task that combines elements of tutelage with that of a democratic project?”

The answer is yes! But the question is the composition of such a ‘political authority.’ The nature of this ‘political authority’ can easily be instituted by the UN, Troika, AU and IGAD and South Sudanese technocrats.
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Kuir ë Garang is a South Sudanese poet, writer and author living in Canada. He’s currently visiting family in Perth, Australia. To contact the author, visit www.kuirthiy.com

Little to celebrate on independence day as South Sudan turns five

BY: AFP, JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN, JUL/08/2016, SSN;

In Summary:
Tens of thousands have died in a civil war since December 2013 that has left the economy in ruins, forcing the government to abandon independence celebrations for the first time since secession from Sudan.
The International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned backers of a stalled peace process to act “urgently” to save it “and prevent the country from returning to full-scale combat”.

South Sudan marks five years of independence on Saturday with celebrations cancelled in the face of a deepening hunger crisis and fears the world’s youngest country could slide back into war.

Tens of thousands have died in a civil war since December 2013 that has left the economy in ruins, forcing the government to abandon independence celebrations for the first time since secession from Sudan.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned backers of a stalled peace process to act “urgently” to save it “and prevent the country from returning to full-scale combat”.

The conflict has triggered a humanitarian crisis with over two million people forced from their homes and almost five million in need of emergency food — over a third of the population.

“Life is as bad as it has ever been in South Sudan,” said human rights lawyer David Deng, pointing to soaring inflation, rising attacks by gunmen, hunger and intense distrust between rival forces.

“If this situation isn’t salvaged soon, I feel we may be looking at a protracted conflict every bit as bad as the 22-year war” that preceded secession, Deng said.

Prices of goods and services have soared since 2011, with inflation running at almost 300 percent, and the currency slumping by 90 percent this year.

“The fact that government does not have money to celebrate the anniversary highlights the magnitude of the economic problem,” said James Alic Garang, an economist with the Juba-based Ebony Centre think tank.

‘PREPARING FOR WIDESPREAD CONFLICT’

After a 1983-2005 civil war, the country split from Sudan on July 9, 2011, following a referendum six months earlier.

Since then South Sudan has fought a brief war with old enemy Sudan over oil, before turning on itself in a civil war that broke out in December 2013.

Rebel chief Riek Machar returned to the capital in April as part of a peace deal which saw him become vice president, forging a unity government with President Salva Kiir.

Yet fighting continues.

Babikr Yawa, a mother of three, fled fighting last month in the Kajo-Keji district, close to the border with Uganda.

“We are suffering here. There is no food, no good shelter,” Yawa said. “What we want is that President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar should end the conflict.”

‘EPIC CORRUPTION’

In June, fighting in the town of Wau — now the country’s second city after Malakal, Bor and Bentiu were razed during the war — forced some 88,000 people to flee their homes, with almost 20,000 seeking shelter beside a UN base.

The peace deal is simply being ignored, the ICG said.

“Formerly warring parties are now flouting it and increasingly preparing for widespread conflict,” ICG said.

“Unless something is done, it is a matter of only a little time before there is a return to war, and the agreement collapses.”

The mood on the streets is very far from the celebrations of 2011.

Earlier this year UN chief Ban Ki-moon recalled the sense of euphoria, “the pride, the spirit, the hope”, when he witnessed the raising of the new country’s flag at independence.

Speaking after his last visit in February, Ban spoke instead of how “that hope has been betrayed… by those who put power and profit over people” in a speech citing “massive human rights violations and epic corruption.”

‘HOW CAN WE SURVIVE?’

The economic collapse is driving unrest and threatening peace, aid workers say.

“A peaceful South Sudan cannot be built without solid foundations,” said Oxfam’s country chief Zlatko Gegic. “South Sudan’s economy is in crisis. Without economic reform, its people will continue to suffer and the fragile peace process will be jeopardised.”

A kilogramme of sugar that used to cost eight South Sudanese pounds now costs 30, while a 50-kilogramme bag of white flour that once sold for 180, now costs 1,200.

“We are just living in problems and nothing is good,” said Etisam Ahmed, sitting in a market on the dusty streets of Juba. “We are just here by God’s grace. If you go to the market today and buy something, tomorrow you will find the price has increased. So how can we survive?”

More than 160,000 civilians are living in UN-guarded camps across the country — down from a peak of more than 200,000 at the height of the war — a clear indicator that many feel it is still too dangerous to go home.

South Sudanese say that there is no doubt independence was the right choice, but many are deeply saddened by the turn their nation has taken and are yet to see the benefits of peace.

“I think it will be hard to find a South Sudanese person who regrets independence, despite all that has happened,” Deng said.

“That’s not to say that independence was the silver bullet that people made it out to be at the time. It is clear now that even without the role of Khartoum.

The Paper Tiger in South Sudan: Threats without Consequences for Atrocities and Kleptocracy

By: John Prendergast -May 24, 2016- JUL/07/2016, SSN;

Introduction
After 30 years of either living in, visiting, or working in South Sudan, and after extensive analysis undertaken by my colleagues at the Enough Project, our collective conclusion is that the primary root cause for the atrocities and instability that mark South Sudan’s short history is that the government there quickly morphed into a violent kleptocracy.

Grand corruption and extreme violence are not aberrations; they are the system. Fighting for control of the government allows for control of a vast wealth-generating machine. And using extreme violence to keep control, once you have it, is viewed as imperative.

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

The theory of change that underpins this policy brief is a simple one: if there are no consequences for mass corruption and mass atrocities, then there should be no illusions that anything beyond cosmetic change is going to result from South Sudan’s current peace deal.

The incentive structure favors mass corruption for self-enrichment and the use of deadly violence to maintain or gain access to power. That incentive structure must be significantly altered for sustainable peace and democratic governance to have a chance to take hold in South Sudan.

At a U.S. congressional hearing on April 27, 2016, Luka Biong Deng emphasized the importance of “making the costs of non-implementation more than the costs of implementation.” He added, “The parties should be made to believe that by not implementing this peace agreement, they will pay the price.”[ii]

The surest way for the United States and the broader international community to create real consequences and build critically-needed leverage for peace is by hitting the leaders of rival kleptocratic factions in South Sudan where it hurts the most: their wallets.

This requires a hard-target transnational search for dirty money and corrupt deals made by government officials, rebel leaders, arms traffickers, complicit bankers, and mining and oil company representatives.

Unfortunately, the United States and its allies have continuously threatened consequences without imposing them. They have become paper tigers in South Sudan, roaring without biting.

This has had the unintended impact of hardening the sense of impunity of South Sudan’s leaders, as one threat after another regarding arms embargoes and higher-level targeted sanctions have not come to fruition.

Leading South Sudanese officials have learned how to do just enough to forestall more serious international actions, tying up the U.N. Security Council in endless debates and often marginalizing that body in the face of one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises.

A government at its most basic level is supposed to deliver social services, provide security, and safeguard the rule of law.

In South Sudan, however, with no internal checks and balances and no international accountability, the state has been transformed into a predatory criminal enterprise that serves only the interests of those at the top of the power pyramid.

Competing factions of the ruling party have hijacked the state itself and are using its institutions—along with deadly force—to finance and fortify networks aimed at self-enrichment and maintaining or acquiring power.

The factions vying for power in Juba truly believe that they can loot state coffers and commit atrocities with impunity.

In the short term, an elite pact like the current peace deal between the Juba government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) may be the quickest path out of the immediate violence.

But sustainable peace in South Sudan will remain illusory without fundamental changes to end impunity and establish accountability.

If South Sudanese people who are striving for peace, human rights, and democracy are to be supported by the broader international community, it is critical that outsiders have a proper diagnosis of the primary driver of ongoing violence in the country today.

A return to deadly conflict is likely unless the economic and atrocity crimes at the root of the country’s violent kleptocratic system are addressed. END

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urgent Solutions to South Sudan Economic Crisis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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